Having recently had a rather illuminating exchange on sola scriptura with Cath prompted by Aelianus' post (follow up here), I thought I'd lower the tone by referring you to by far the best summary of the historical differences between Catholicism and Protestantism that I am aware of on the web (as well as a splendid example of the use of Scots (albeit of the Ulster Scots variety) in serious academic discussion) courtesy of Professor Billy McWilliams of 1690 an' all thon. (Be warned, the good professor, despite his elevated academic status as "Visitin' Lekturer at the Ulster Scots School o' Dancin', Ballymena" tends to the Rabelaisian in language -so read no further if this troubles you.)
Whit was the Refarmation?
As the word "refarmed" wud suggest, the Refarmation involved the farmin' o'er again o' somethin' that had already bin farmed afore, namely Presbyternianism. Frae ma lengthy studies oan the matter, includin' a short stint as Professor o' Religious Things at Annahilt Sunday School, Ah hiv larnt thit the o'er surt hid taken the pure Christian faith an' added stuff ontil it. Stuff like the Pope, purgatry, nat atin' mate o' a Friday, Blood Transfusions an' sayin' haitch instead o' aitch. They were clean gettin' away wi' it fur they made the Bible intil Latin an' kept the ordinary folk unnerinformed on matters, til a German Pastor called Martin Luther King Sr suddenly wised up an' decided fur til rectify matters. Thus in 1517 he writ a big thing an' started the whole Refarmation when he nailed his Testes to a church door in Wittenburg.
Whit the Pope did.
The Pope wasnae tae pleased about the Testes incident, an' summoned Luther King Sr til a big meetin' where he tried fur til make him eat Worms. He refused, an' thus invented pratestin'. Prior tae this naebody had ever pratested aboot anythin', mainly just gettin' a wee bit pished aff an' the like, an' sae we get the term Pratestant. Ah amnae tae sure whit happened next, fur it gets wile complicated, but it saims thit a wile lock o' important German folk agreed with Luther King. Afore he knew it, half the country was pratestin', he'd translated the Bible intil German, had accidentally gat married an' the Pope was rippin'. This in turn led til the Counter Refarmation, which Ah cannae even be arsed til think aboot whilst sober.
For the full dissertation, and much other good sense, see here.