[T]here is no doubt at all that men made great achievements in physical science in the Middle Ages, some of which unfortunately were lost sight of later, but many of which remained to form the basis on which our modern scientific knowledge has been built…To most people it will be utterly uncomprehensible, however, that after all that they have heard about Church opposition to science and Papal discouragement of education as dangerous to faith, there should now be an absolute denial of the supposed grounds for the assertions in this matter. Most readers, even among educated people, will be very prone to think that their impressions in these matters cannot be entirely wrong, and that previous writers on the subject cannot have been either deceiving or deceived.
In all that relates to the Roman Catholic Church, however, before the date of the so-called reformation, it is important to remember that there came into existence a definite body of Protestant tradition, the creation of the reformers who wished to blacken the memory of the Old Church as much as possible to justify their own apostasy, and who therefore spared no means to pervert the facts of history or to exaggerate the significance of historical details so as to produce this false impression. Subsequent generations were oftener deceived themselves than deceiving. They were sure that the Church was opposed to education and to science, and consequently it was not hard for them to read in certain incidents and documents a meaning quite other than their actual significance, because this added meaning agreed with their prejudices on these subjects.
James J. Walsh, The Popes and Science (1908)