The History of the Catholic Church: From the Apostolic Age to the Third Millennium by James Hitchcock

(San Francisco: Ignatius, 2012), 530

I was grateful to inherit this book when Fr. Romano passed away, and Fr. Dailey sung its praises and encouraged me to read it when he was over for dinner. The history of the Church is also in large part the history of Western civilization in terms of religion, culture, politics, art, and other domains of life. Hitchcock undertakes the impossible task of condensing 2000 years of history into a manageable volume and doing so in a way that seeks the truth with the eyes of faith. He is fair in his treatment of the great sin and failings of its leaders and members but also places these—and history itself—in the context of eternity. Indeed, as he concludes: "for Christians, there can be no final understanding of history in this life" (527).

Kindle Notes

1 Beginning at Jerusalem

  • The events of Pentecost showed that this Church would not remain merely a congregation of like-minded people but would be held together by divine power.3 (Location 202)
  • out of suffering, Judaism as a world religion was born. (Location 213)
  • Jesus summoned the Twelve from the midst of these factions, including even Simon the Zealot, and their divergent, even contradictory, views of Judaism often hampered the Apostles from truly understanding what Jesus was saying. (Location 215)
  • Jesus was profoundly Jewish, (Location 288)
  • The ways of the Kingdom are in many respects the reverse of those of human society—triumph (Location 294)
  • The Letters of Paul are the oldest records of Jesus’ life and work, (Location 334)
  • Jewish custom of fasting, observing Wednesdays and Fridays for that purpose. (Location 406)
  • But sexual lust is one of the strongest and most immediate expressions of self-will, which makes its conquest a necessary step toward a truly spiritual life. (Location 428)
  • The Sermon on the Mount was the heart of Jesus’ social teaching, but He laid down no plan for a just social order and thereby deprived all social orders of divine authority, something that, paradoxically, made social change possible. (Location 518)
  • (Christianity is unusual among great religions in not forbidding any particular food to its adherents.) (Location 557)

2 The Seed of Christians

  • But the Church’s eventual victory had a profound effect not only on her own life but on the entire Western world and the Christian Near East. Had it been victorious, Gnosticism might have penetrated the culture of the Roman Empire in such a way as to create a new world religion of deep pessimism and rejection of the world. Western culture would have lost that sense of the importance of human activity in history that distinguished it from the fatalism that at times affected much of the East. (Location 630)
  • pattern that would recur over and over again in the history of the Church: doctrines becoming fully conscious, and formally stated, only after being called into question. (Location 711)
  • But election alone did not make a man a bishop. Also required was the laying on of hands by other bishops (usually three), part of the process that insured apostolic succession. Thus each local church had to keep an exact record of the spiritual lineage of its bishops. (Location 748)
  • epiklesis (“invocation”) calling down the Holy Spirit on the gifts. (Location 755)
  • At the end of the Eucharist, some of the consecrated hosts (a name for a sacrificial victim) were reserved for the sick, but some could also be given to the congregation, who took them to their homes and consumed them each day, before taking any other food or drink. (Location 782)
  • From Revelation came the symbols of the four Evangelists: the man for Matthew, who elaborated the human genealogy of Jesus; the ox for Luke, who began with Zechariah’s sacrifice in the Temple; the lion for Mark, who began with John the Baptist in the wilderness; and the soaring eagle for John, whose writings elevated readers to the Eternal Word. (Location 793)
  • levels of exegesis (pg 46)

    • typological

    • allegorical

    • anagogical

  • The catechumenate was ordinarily a three-year period of instruction and probation, with emphasis on Scripture and the ethical teachings of Christianity, in order to judge whether the candidates were worthy of baptism. (Location 822)
  • Origen, whose father was a martyr, was an extreme ascetic, considered to be excessively rigorous in his moral teachings—according to legend he castrated himself because of Jesus’ admonition “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out” (Mt 5:29; see Mt 18:9). (Location 844)
  • The Empire underwent a long crisis that was military and financial in nature but also moral—a loss of patriotism that made citizens unwilling to assume their traditional duties, a prosperity that rendered them indolent and hedonistic, and a series of despotic rulers who made citizenship meaningless. In the Greco-Roman world, citizenship—full participation in the life of society—was considered the highest duty. (Location 848)
  • obedient to the state in a passive way (they prayed even for evil emperors) but detached from it. (Location 853)
  • complete prohibition of abortion, a prohibition found in the Didache (“teaching”), one of the earliest Christian writings. (Location 897)
  • St. Lawrence: He reportedly joked, “Turn me over, I’m done on this side”, as he was slowly roasted on a gridiron. (Location 942, pg 51)
  • Both [Egyptian, pg 52] schisms endured for centuries. (Location 952)

3 The Triumph of the Cross

  • the epithet “Eternal City” acquiring primarily a religious rather than a political meaning. (Location 1071)
  • St. Augustine (d. 430), bishop of Hippo (North Africa), wrote his seminal work The City of God primarily to refute the claim that the sack of Rome by barbarians had that cause. (Location 1090)
  • Because sinful men could not be relied upon to do good and avoid evil voluntarily, they needed the state to suppress bad behavior through the threat of punishment. At the same time, Christianity also offered membership in a universal community that transcended the Empire itself. The Church was a universal state that would ensure peace and justice. She represented the common unity of mankind that was greater than the unity of the Empire. (Location 1112)
  • An increasing number of bishops were taken from the upper ranks of society, and when imperial authority collapsed in the West in the fifth century, it was they who emerged as the natural leaders of society, fulfilling the role of the old Roman senators. (Location 1141)
  • The early Christians were an urban people, if for no other reason than that cities provided the best opportunity for evangelization. (Location 1151)
  • The Jewish custom of tithing—giving a tenth of one’s income to the Temple—was not generally practiced by Christians. Bishops reminded their flocks that all money given to the Church had to be voluntary. (Location 1180)
  • most clergy in the early centuries were probably married. (Location 1239)
  • As in the synagogue, psalms were sung before each of the three scriptural readings, which consisted of one from the Old Testament, the second usually from Paul, the third from one of the Gospels. (Location 1249)
  • Liturgical dancing was found only in heretical sects and was explicitly disapproved by Ambrose, Augustine, and others. (Location 1265)
  • near—altar rails were introduced as early as the fourth century. (Location 1265)
  • Communion was probably received in cupped, newly washed hands, (Location 1294)
  • Greek, Latin, and Syro-Aramaic were the important liturgical languages, (Location 1297)
  • Latin was adopted because it was the spoken language of the people, (Location 1330)
  • Just as the hostile Empire provided the political and physical framework within which the Church could spread, the seemingly alien Hellenistic civilization provided the cultural framework. With their triumph, Christians in effect became the custodians of that civilization. Difficult though it would have been to achieve, they might have tried to destroy Hellenistic civilization as irredeemably pagan, and, had they done so, the later history of the world would have been unimaginably different. (Location 1380)
  • Christmas, Easter, and other feasts continued to have pagan undertones, in accordance with the Church’s decision to adapt pagan civilization rather than to suppress it. (Location 1408)
  • St. Simeon Stylites (d. 459) lived for thirty-seven years on top of a pillar (stylos) in Syria, receiving life’s necessities by letting down a basket on a long (Location 1444)
  • Monks were to be cenobites, living near one another in separate cells but sharing prayer and daily tasks in common, eating two meals a day (never meat or cooked food), and fasting completely on Wednesday and Friday. (Location 1473)
  • Monasticism broadened the concept of sainthood. Previously, only martyrs were commemorated in the liturgy, and they alone were called saints. But at the end of the fourth century, that title was conferred on the Gallic monk and bishop Martin of Tours (d. 397), a former Roman soldier, who had introduced monasticism into the West before serving as a bishop. Thus began the tradition by which non-martyrs were venerated for their heroic virtue, classified as either confessors or virgins. (Location 1486)

4 Holy Wisdom

  • Many of the Fathers were also bishops, and their speculations arose directly out of their responsibility of guiding their flocks through treacherous waters. (Location 1496)
  • Christianity, much more than any other religion in the history of the world, placed doctrinal orthodoxy close to the center of its life, a sometimes excessive concern for doctrinal clarity that was motivated by both the Greek passion for philosophical certitude and the religious passion to be faithful to the Gospel. (Location 1500)
  • dogmas—things required to be believed—that (Location 1517)
  • of the Bible was facilitated by the invention of the book—pages of manageable size bound together so as to allow them to be turned over one by one, replacing long unwieldy scrolls that had to be laboriously unrolled. Gradually, the Greek word for a book (biblia) came to have only one meaning, the Bible. (Location 1527)
  • Greek, not Hebrew or Aramaic, was the first common language of the Church, the language of the New Testament. One of the Church’s greatest achievements—one of the great creative achievements in the history of the world—was to bring about a synthesis between Christianity and classical civilization in the highly sophisticated theology of the second through fifth centuries. (Location 1536)
  • Greek philosophy represented reason’s highest achievement, requiring that every attempt to understand the world must begin there. (Location 1563)
  • The early heresies roughly divided between those that slighted His divinity and those that slighted His humanity. (Location 1590)
  • Origen died in exile, amidst doubts concerning his orthodoxy. (Location 1593)
  • the most persistent and divisive heresy in the history of the Church. (Location 1604)
  • Council of Nicaea (Asia Minor) to settle the issue. After an intense struggle, the Council condemned Arius, declaring the Son to be “consubstantial” with the Father, that is, sharing the same substance. The issue finally turned on the Greek letter iota—the Son is homoousios (“the same” as the Father), not homoiousios (“like” the Father).1 (Location 1608)
  • Gnostics, the Nicene Creed affirmed that there is one God who is “Creator of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible”. (Location 1609)
  • Arians, the Creed stated that Jesus was “of one substance with the Father, (Location 1610)
  • Docetists (below) that He actually “suffered, died, and was buried”. (Location 1612)
  • After the Council, the Arians appealed to Constantine, and over the next few decades, there followed a dizzying series of moves aimed at nullifying the results of Nicaea. (Location 1621)
  • (Liberius was the first pope not to be venerated as a saint.) (Location 1632)
  • Docetism (from the Latin “to seem”) was first used to describe the Gnostics and later applied to a Christology that in effect claimed that Jesus’ human nature was an appearance only, even an illusion. (Location 1635)
  • Basil of Caesarea, his brother Gregory of Nyssa, and Gregory Nazianzen, who collectively became known as the Cappadocian Fathers, (Location 1644)
  • two “persons” united together—the divine dwelling in the human as if in a temple—of (Location 1655)
  • Theotokos—“Mother of God”—as she was popularly called, (Location 1661)
  • First Council of Ephesus (431) the title Theotokos was affirmed (Location 1676)
  • attempt to understand the Trinity as “modes” of a single Person—the (Location 1680)
  • Monarchianism, which sought to uphold the absolute sovereignty of the Father by denying that the Son and the Spirit are distinct divine Persons. (Location 1694)
  • “proceeds from both the Father and the Son” (filioque, in Latin). (Location 1713)
  • The East always led the way in Marian devotion. (Location 1723)
  • The Gnostic and Manichaean heresies had the effect of strengthening the Church’s teaching about the essential goodness of marriage, while at the same time guarding against disordered human appetites. (Location 1737)
  • One of the few reasons for which a marriage could be dissolved was to allow both parties to enter monastic life. (Location 1760)
  • lex orandi est lex credendi (literally, “The law of prayer is the law of belief”), (Location 1786)
  • On Christian Doctrine, which was the first comprehensive guide to Catholic teaching. (Location 1795)
  • Neo-Platonism affirmed that the spiritual, transcendent, unseen world is real and the world of experience a pale copy that can give only hints of ultimate reality. (Location 1833)
  • Pelagius (d. ca. 425) was a monk from Gaul who traveled widely, teaching that men do not inherit the sin of Adam but sin only in imitating him. (Location 1839)
  • For centuries, the uncertainties of travel and communication made it difficult for those in authority even to know the facts of a case, much less to make a competent judgment. (Location 1849)
  • the Church teaches only those things that have been believed “always, and everywhere, and by everyone”, a maxim that was often later cited as the criterion of orthodoxy. (Location 1859)
  • numerology, the belief that hidden proportions exist between creatures and their Creator and can be understood through mathematical relationships. (Location 1894)
  • Augustine was a profoundly important political thinker because, following Ambrose, he deprived the state of its aura of divinity and subordinated it to the higher divine purpose, a subordination that made Western ideas of freedom and justice possible. (Location 1902)
  • Augustine thereby laid the foundation for the theory of the “just war” (Location 1959)

5 Light in Darkness

  • The great Italian monastery of Monte Cassino was destroyed twice during the Dark Ages but refounded each time. (Location 2047)
  • Since the Church transcended all earthly regimes, she was the only institution not dragged down by the Empire’s fall, (Location 2122)
  • Female monasticism, for the first time in history, offered a way of life for women other than marriage, (Location 2139)
  • To the barbarians, Christianity was Roman, so that the monks who converted Europe were the missionaries of classical culture as well as of the Church, representatives both of the Kingdom of Heaven and of a higher worldly civilization. To a great extent, the acceptance of Christianity involved the adaptation of Roman culture, which was institutionalized in the Latin liturgy (Location 2143)
  • the missionaries were also instrumental, as in England, in the development of the vernacular languages, by regularizing their grammar and putting them into writing. (Location 2148)
  • The formation of a Christian legal system, adapted from Roman law, marked the first time in history that there existed, anywhere, an autonomous, self-governing body distinct from the state. (Location 2253)
  • As with the Romans, barbarian society was in many ways based on a system of patronage, whereby individuals placed themselves under the protection of powerful men, a custom that supported the developing belief in the saints as mediators between God and man. (Location 2261)
  • Lives of the saints (hagiography, from the Greek) were the most popular form of literature during the Dark Ages, (Location 2295)
  • turned back by Charles Martel (“the Hammer”, d. 741), in a momentous battle that, had it gone the other way, would probably have resulted in all of Europe’s becoming Muslim. (Location 2453)
  • Iceland was unique in the history of Christianity, becoming Christian by vote of the inhabitants in 1000, (Location 2460)
  • Slavic people (so-called in the West because, as non-Christians, they could be made slaves) (Location 2477)
  • There was measurable technological progress during the Dark Ages, especially in agriculture, building, and weaponry. (Location 2485)
  • Many works by ancient writers are lost, but virtually all that survive come down in manuscripts industriously found, collected, and copied in monastic libraries during the Dark Ages. (Location 2488)
  • Latin was now the language only of the educated. (Location 2489)
  • time when even some bishops did not have a complete Bible, which required the hides of over fifty calves. (Location 2512)
  • Augustine, a man who, except for the Scriptures themselves, influenced the course of Catholicism more than any other person in history. (Location 2528)
  • (thrones, dominions, principalities, powers, angels, archangels, cherubim, seraphim) (Location 2544)
  • Boethius taught that the cultivation of virtue is the practical purpose of philosophy, an idea that, in his highly influential book The Consolations of Philosophy, (Location 2625)
  • the greatest cultural achievement of the Dark Ages was the liturgy, (Location 2643)
  • Originally, the cross was bare, to signify the Resurrection, but devotion to the image of the crucified Christ developed during the seventh century, (Location 2654)
  • People lived primarily in sacred time, in accord with a calendar that commemorated the life of Christ and of His saints on particular days. (Location )2691
  • Proper (“belonging” to a particular feast), (Location 2717)
  • In the eleventh century, the Church at Rome acceded to the request of the emperor St. Henry II (1002-1024) to adopt this Frankish custom, thereby making it universal. (Location 2811)

6 Christendom

  • recovery was due mainly to the growth of centralized states under strong kings, (Location 2821)
  • Despite continuous internal conflict, medieval people believed in the idea of a unified Christendom based on Augustine’s idea of the two cities, an exalted view of a universal society that came closest to realization during the thirteenth century, not because the faith was then perfectly lived but because all aspects of life were consciously oriented toward Christian beliefs. It was an age of contradictions—cruelty and charity, beauty and squalor—but in no other age did Christianity achieve such complete expression. (Location 2873)
  • St. Thomas Aquinas (d. 1274), the most influential medieval thinker, affirmed monarchy as the best political system (Location 2937)
  • The Second Lateran Council (1139), which took its name from the pope’s cathedral in Rome, affirmed the reform program, (Location 2938)
  • Third Lateran Council (1179) added prohibitions against holding a plurality of benefices and against laymen disposing of church property. (Location 2987)
  • Momentously in terms of the history of the next nine centuries, the English Pope Hadrian IV (1154-1159), partly to implement reform, gave Ireland as a fief to Henry II of England (1154-1189), and a Norman aristocracy established itself there. (Location 3085)
  • The history of the Church in the Middle Ages is to a great extent the history of both new and reformed religious communities. (Location 3111)
  • Perhaps precisely because of this severity, Citeaux gave birth to almost seventy daughter houses. (Location 3143)
  • St. Francis of Assisi (d. 1226) was perhaps the greatest figure of medieval Christianity and, after Jesus and the Virgin Mary, the most admired Christian in all of history. (Location 3184)
  • The Carmelites, the third of the mendicant orders, were founded in the Holy Land in 1209 by the Englishman St. Simon Stock (d. 1265). (Location 3192)
  • Both Franciscans and Dominicans established “third orders” (“tertiaries”) for lay people who lived in the world but to some extent shared in the life of vowed religious. (Location 3213)
  • Privileged people were therefore supposed to practice inner detachment, and after death some bishops were discovered to have been wearing hair shirts beneath their splendid robes. (Location 3220)
  • Usury—the lending of money at interest for its “use”—was forbidden to Christians, thereby making money-lending the exclusive province of Jews. (Location )3295
  • Crusades—the war against the infidel overseas—seemed (Location 3384)
  • the Angelus (“The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary”)—punctuating the day at three equal intervals—was introduced in the fourteenth century. (Location 3399)
  • Bernard had a particularly strong devotion to Mary and taught that, as the Mother of Jesus, her face was the most like His and was therefore a foretaste of the Beatific Vision. (Location 3484)
  • The “Last Gospel” (the first chapter of John) (Location 3522)
  • But for mortal sins, private confession was still required, and absolution was not ordinarily granted at the time of confession but only after the penitent had completed a very demanding penance. (Location 3561)
  • (The names of some of the architects and artists are known, although in general their work was regarded as being done for God alone, not for public recognition.) (Location 3621)
  • The “Renaissance of the Twelfth Century” has been called the greatest of all such revivals, in that it marked the greatest progress within the shortest period of time. (Location 3640)
  • Lateran IV defined the doctrine of Transubstantiation (Location 3645)
  • The Scholastic movement essentially began with Anselm, who pushed the method of logical analysis further than anyone had, up to his time. He defined theology as “faith seeking understanding”, in that the truths of faith can be neither proved nor disproved by human reason, but men are obliged to use reason to understand them as far as possible. (Location 3651)
  • The biblical claim, “The fool has said in his heart ‘there is no God’ ”, showed that atheism was a failure not of belief but of reason. (Location 3655)
  • In God alone, existence and essence are the same, in that His essence is simply to exist, without limit, whereas creatures exist only in limited ways. (Location 3663)
  • Anselm also sought to resolve the issue of predestination, proposing that, since God exists in an eternal present rather than in time, His will and His foreknowledge are the same—nothing that He decrees is in the future; all is in the present. (Location 3672)
  • Himself called the last of the Fathers, Bernard was also one of the last of the monastic theologians, for whom the dominant concern was the salvation of souls rather than the pursuit of knowledge. (Location 3683)
  • the intellectual revival of the eleventh and twelfth centuries required a new institution in which original thinking could take place. Thus the university was born. (Location 3708)
  • (The Sentences of Peter Lombard [d. 1169] was one of the most influential books of the Middle Ages, (Location 3728)
  • Based on Lombard, he wrote a book called Yes and No, in which he pointed out what he considered to be unresolved contradictions among the opinions of previous thinkers. (Location 3755)
  • Muslim thinkers, who in 1100 had been far in advance of Christians in the study of the physical sciences, increasingly abandoned speculation completely, in order to protect the integrity of their religion. (Location 3761, pg 181)

    • It was to this divergence that Pope Benedict XVI referred in his controversial remarks about Islam at Regensburg, Germany, in 2007.
  • the Scholastics, beginning in the late twelfth century, began revising Aristotle’s thought to bring it into harmony with divine revelation. (Location )3771

  • God intended all men to be saved, assumed Aquinas, therefore truth must be knowable through reason. Human nature was damaged by sin, so that men see, in St. Paul’s words, only “through a glass, darkly” (Location 3811)
  • Along with Augustine, Aquinas was the most influential thinker in the history of the Catholic Church, the importance of whose achievement can hardly be exaggerated. (Location 3841)
  • The Franciscans were more mathematically inclined, perhaps because their philosophical approach was more Augustinian, hence more Platonist, than the Dominicans. (Location 3854)
  • Scholasticism, a comprehensive system that sought to understand every aspect of reality in relation to the whole, expressed the idea of Christendom itself, the organization of the entire universe according to an overriding spiritual principle. (Location 3863)
  • Dante’s tour of Hell revealed that punishment for sin was not an arbitrary divine decree but rather the patterns of human behavior carried into eternity, with the sinner suffering in ways that were the natural and inevitable results of his earthly behavior: (Location 3869)
  • Dante delineated a hierarchy of sins that, as a Thomist, he based on human reason. (Location 3885)
  • But his great poetic synthesis was created at the very point when Christendom was on the verge of unraveling. (Location 3887)

7 East and West

  • Alexandria traced its lineage to St. Mark the Evangelist. In the ninth century, when the city was under Muslim control, Venetian adventurers took the Apostle’s body to Venice, where the magnificent Byzantine-style St. Mark’s Basilica was built to house it. (Location 3959)
  • Easterners might condescend to Westerners as theologically backward, but Westerners could point out that the East was the hatching ground of almost all heresies. (Location 4048)
  • the East did not develop a rigorous abstract theology like Scholasticism. (Location 4074)
  • adiaphora—things that were indifferent in terms of doctrinal orthodoxy but were nonetheless points of difference between East and West—leavened (Location 4291)
  • won a great naval victory over the Turks at Lepanto, off the coast of Greece, thereby liberating fifteen thousand Christian galley slaves and freeing the Western Mediterranean from the Muslim threat. (Location 4306)
  • in general most Eastern Rites follow ancient Eastern customs: married priests, but not bishops; leavened bread in the Eucharist (which is not ordinarily referred to by the Latin word Mass); Communion in both kinds; an ikonostasis separating the sanctuary from the body of the church; baptism by immersion, immediately followed by chrismation; the Blessed Sacrament reserved mainly for the sick, not for veneration; standing during most of the Eucharist; and icons rather than statues as objects of devotion. (Location 4408)

8 Decline and Rebirth

  • Philip’s defeat of the papacy also marked the defeat of the larger ideal of a universal spiritual society. For three centuries, the movement of Christendom had been toward unity; now it began to reverse itself. (Location 4450)
  • In 1305, to placate Philip, the cardinals elected a friend of the king, the Frenchman Clement V (1305-1314), who never set foot in Rome and made his headquarters at Avignon, (Location 4485)
  • Gregory XI (1370-1378), partly because of rebellion in the Papal States, returned to Rome in 1377 at the request of St. Catherine of Siena (d. 1380), a Dominican tertiary who exhorted him to do his duty. After Gregory’s death, the cardinals met in one of the most momentous conclaves in the history of the Church. In the face of frenzied popular demands (Location 4492)
  • They elected another pope, a Swiss, who was named Clement VII, thereby beginning the Great Western Schism that would last for forty years. (Location 4570)
  • Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer (Location 4574)
  • The Black Death of 1347-1349 was the greatest natural disaster in Western history, (Location 4582)
  • The Black Death caused a great shortage of priests, mitigated only by the drastic reduction in the number of laity requiring their ministry, so that to some extent bishops were forced to ordain dubiously qualified men to fill the void. (Location 4612)
  • Franciscan William of Ockham (d. ca. 1349), the most important philosopher of the (Location 4678)
  • Devotion to St. Joseph, which had been neglected in earlier centuries, grew in popularity after 1400, (Location 4692)
  • The most extraordinary saint of the age (indeed, of any age) was Joan of Arc (d. 1431). (Location 4708)
  • St. John of Capistrano (d. 1456) also had an unusual history. An administrator in the Papal States, he separated from his wife and entered the Franciscans, of which he eventually became minister general, reforming his order and scathingly criticizing the corruption of the clergy. (Location 4749)
  • Its greatest expression was ~The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis (d. 1471), which, next to the Bible, is the most widely read book in the history of Christianity and, along with the Bible, the only book continuously in print almost since the invention of printing. Kempis urged his readers simply to follow the teaching and example of Jesus in the Gospel: the spirit of humility, charity, and submission to God’s will. (Location 4758)
  • There is a distinct note of anti-intellectualism in the work, as Kempis repeatedly warned that, of itself, knowledge might be sterile, whereas a heartfelt effort to do God’s will was salutary. Whereas for Aquinas and other Scholastics, a virtuous act was any act motivated by the intellect’s assent to truth and the will’s decision to act accordingly, for Kempis actual emotion was a necessary sign of authenticity. The penitent should shed real tears and experience desolation. (Location 4793)
  • favored instead a simple and practical kind of spirituality, and Gerson also wrote a treatise on mysticism that emphasized common sense, humility, charity, the natural human virtues, and submission to the hierarchy. (Location 4813)
  • William of Ockham was the most influential of the nominalists, holding that, since the mind could “perceive” things that did not actually exist (dreams, illusions), it did not know real things but only its own ideas, to which it gave names. (Location 4850)
  • Theologically, one of the most important developments of the later Middle Ages was a growing tendency to separate Scripture and Tradition, to treat them as two distinct sources of truth. (Location 4971)
  • There had always been Christian Stoics, but Valla was unique in being a Christian Epicurean, finding virtue in itself to be harsh and unattractive. (Location 4984)
  • Decameron (ten tales for each of ten days) of Giovanni Boccaccio (d. 1375) was a compilation of racy stories told in a hedonistic spirit by worldlings who, trying to insulate themselves from the plague, learned a moral lesson—inevitably they all succumbed to the plague. (Location 4995)
  • St. Antoninus, archbishop of Florence (d. 1459), was both an austere reformer of the clergy and a theologian who cautiously allowed charging interest on loans that were made for investment purposes. (Location 5085)
  • He moved the papal headquarters from the Lateran to the Vatican (Location 5148)
  • No one skewered clerical misconduct more effectively than Erasmus, especially in his Praise of Folly, which ridiculed both clergy and laity, the high and the low. (Location 5161)
  • his greatest achievement was an edition of the Greek New Testament, based on the best manuscripts he could find and published alongside the Vulgate. His Greek text did not differ from the Vulgate (Location 5174)
  • The intellectual life of the West changed dramatically in the 1450s with the invention of movable type, which allowed ideas to be spread far more rapidly than was possible through the painstaking copying of manuscripts by hand. (Location 5178)

9 Reform and Counter-Reform

  • The Fifth Lateran Council (1512-1517) was the first serious official attempt to reform the Church, (Location 5284)
  • The point of all this was to orient the Jesuit toward activity in the world, eliminating those things that might impede apostolic zeal. Against the concern that such a regimen might produce worldly men with no spiritual depth, Ignatius prescribed an unusually long period of training and an intense program of personal prayer and meditation, so that, even if a Jesuit found himself away from a community for long years, he might continue to grow in the spiritual life. (Location 5354)
  • On any list of Catholic doctrines, indulgences would not rank near the top in importance, but they proved to be precisely the point where the Church was most vulnerable, because many things came together there in a concrete way: anxiety about sin and salvation, the credibility of official teaching, the significance of external acts, the rapaciousness of some of the clergy, and the apparent sale of a spiritual good. (Location 5428)
  • If the Protestant Reformation had not been set off by Luther, it would have occurred in a different place around the same time, a classic illustration of the maxim that nothing is so powerful as an idea whose time has come. (Location 5444)
  • His most famous doctrine was that of predestination: that God decreed from all eternity that some would be saved and others damned, so that no human effort could have any effect. His idea was not substantially different from Luther’s, but Calvin imposed a kind of fearful somberness on his followers, based on the awareness of their possible damnation, whereas Luther encouraged people to hope that they were saved. (Location 5475)
  • King Henry VIII of England (1509-1547) was a militant Catholic who wrote The Defense of the Seven Sacraments to refute Luther, an act for which Clement VII (1523-1534) conferred on him the title “Defender of the Faith”, a title the English monarchs still claim. (Location 5484)
  • More had been something of a conciliarist, and he said little about the papal office. Instead, he made what was in a sense a historical, rather than a strictly theological, defense of the Church, extolling Catholicism as an entire way of life, (Location 5489)
  • (Late in the sixteenth century, the seminary set up in France to educate English priests produced the Douai-Rheims Bible, the first Catholic translation into English, which predated the King James Bible (Location 5532)
  • But quite early, it became apparent that sola scriptura was an inadequate principle, so that almost from the beginning the leading Reformers had to invoke some kind of church authority against the free interpretation of Scripture. (Location 5553)
  • demand that those who had been baptized as infants (practically everyone) be rebaptized as adults, a practice that led to their being called Anabaptists (“to baptize again”). (Location 5576)
  • responses to the Reformation were determined by a complex interplay of secular interests and religious belief. (Location 5625)
  • settlement—the Peace of Augsburg—that, however limited, was the first official recognition of religious tolerance in European history. (Location 5642)
  • the French Calvinists came to be called Huguenots.) (Location 5659)
  • Six days later, on St. Bartholomew’s Day (August 24), Catholics began systematically slaughtering Protestants in Paris and other cities, killing as many as five thousand. The St. Bartholomew Massacre became the most infamous religious atrocity in a century filled with such atrocities. (Location 5794)
  • In many ways, Ireland, so remote from the rest of Europe, remained the only country where pre-Reformation Catholicism survived unchanged, (Location 5830)
  • Both the ideal and the reality of Christendom as a single international society virtually disappeared in the sixteenth century, but the concept of a unified society based on faith survived and was even strengthened at the national and local levels. (Location 5833)
  • the religion of the people was largely determined by their rulers. (Location 5837)
  • the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were the great age of witchcraft prosecutions in Europe, an activity carried out by Catholics and Protestants with equal zeal. (Location 5839)
  • In the sixteenth century, for the first time in over twelve hundred years, all serious Christians were potentially faced with the possibility of persecution, (Location 5857)
  • mounted a final assault on the Muslim kingdom of Granada, which fell in 1492. (Location 5926)
  • Nicodemism—named after the Pharisee who visited Jesus only in secret—was the name given to those who conformed to the official religion in order to avoid persecution, while continuing to practice another faith in secret. (Location 5961)
  • Both Calvin and some Catholic moralists offered cautious justification for the profit motive and began to distinguish between usury and interest on loans to business ventures, although Luther did not. (Location 6067)
  • Trent also authorized the first comprehensive catechism of Catholic doctrine. (Location 6072)
  • The root of all theological issues was the nature and locus of authority. The Council affirmed the authority of the Vulgate, including those books (Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach or Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, Maccabees 1 and 2) that Protestants had rejected as uncanonical, (Location 6111)
  • Index of Forbidden Books, which began with theological works but eventually expanded to encompass philosophical works considered fallacious and works of fiction deemed to be immoral. (Location 6221)
  • “purgative (purifying) way” (Location 6225)
  • “illuminative way” (Location 6228)
  • “unitive way”, (Location 6251)
  • The Baroque spread as far as Latin America and Japan, but it flourished best in Europe, its exuberance stemming from religion but made possible by the aristocratic mentality that disdained economic prudence and spent lavishly as a sign of wealth and generosity (Location 6304)

10 Reason and Revolution

  • greatest of all religious conflicts—the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648). (Location 6715)
  • Descartes began the search for truth by undertaking to doubt everything that could be doubted, so that whatever remained would be certain. (Location 6741)
  • Pascal was almost alone in seeing fully what was involved in the scientific revolution, attempting to overcome skeptical rationalism several generations before that skepticism had fully emerged. (Location 6749)
  • he strove to formulate a highly original defense of Christianity that by the time of his early death had only reached the stage of aphoristic notes that are usually called simply Pensées (Thoughts). (Location 6756)
  • “Those infinite spaces frighten me.” (Location 6780)
  • There began a search for a religion that transcended theological differences and was accessible to everyone. The term Deism, from the Latin word for God, is now conventionally used for this rational religion, (Location 6809)
  • One of the favorite saints of the age was sixteen hundred years old: St. Joseph, the foster-father of Jesus, who for reasons that are unclear was not popular until early (Location 6829)
  • (After about 1650, upper-class families in Western Europe were having fewer children.) (Location 6886)
  • The Church’s greatest failure was intellectual. Theologically, it was a rather barren age, and for two centuries after Pascal, there was no major Catholic thinker, while an indeterminate part of the educated classes, including clergy, lost the faith or compromised it. (Location 6920)
  • (An index of the way in which fashion had invaded the Church was the bishops, including conscientious ones, who wore their miters perched on top of powdered wigs.) (Location 6931)
  • the Sunday sermon, which was the chief means by which most people were exposed to ideas. (Location 6932)
  • Since the philosophes placed their faith in reason, it followed that only the educated—the enlightened—could be trusted. Thus it was thought necessary that, while the process of enlightenment was going forward, the common people still had to (Location 6934)
  • undergo the discipline of supernatural religion. (Location 6939)
  • the philosophes, sensing that they were in the ascendancy, did not attempt to refute their opponents fairly. The aim of the Enlightenment was not toleration but the replacement of one kind of orthodoxy by another, demanding liberation from political and religious authority but by no means espousing complete freedom of expression. (Location 6944)
  • Whereas the philosophes were driven by passionate conviction and an urgent sense of mission, for a time most Catholic intellectuals seem to have been complacent about the threat, and many, including clergy, were eager to prove that they too were enlightened. (Location 6958)
  • Edward Gibbon (d. 1794) was an Anglican who briefly became a Catholic, then a skeptic. His Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire endeavored to prove in massive detail that the triumph of the Church had been the triumph of ignorance and barbarism. (Location 6961)
  • The Enlightened view of history was the story of the gradual emergence of mankind from barbarism, requiring that the old order be repeatedly destroyed in order to make room for “progress”—change that brought continuous improvement. (Location 7017)
  • policy of state control of the Church that came to be called Josephinism. (Location 7144)
  • Loyal Catholics were accused merely of the crime of “fanaticism”. (Location 7148)
  • Lay people who were conspicuously devout or who harbored priests were also sometimes sentenced to death. The (Location 7173)
  • Compulsory optimism was at the heart of the new creed, with the doctrine of Original Sin considered one of Christianity’s major errors. The Revolution promised the achievement of a perfect society and a perfect mankind. (Location 7224)

11 Modernity (Location 7245)

  • It was during this period that the familiar division of politics into liberal and conservative (“left” and “right”, from the seating arrangements in the French National Assembly in 1790) came into common use. (Location 7286)
  • In some ways, the most important part of the liberal program was universal, state-sponsored education, which to a great extent was intended to bring about the secularization of society, (Location 7290)
  • (They were not permitted back into Switzerland until 1973.) (Location 7291)
  • In 1829, despite the opposition of George IV (1820-1830) and fierce popular anti-Catholicism, the government, under the hero of Waterloo, the duke of Wellington (d. 1852), granted Catholics most civil rights. (Location 7429)
  • But on balance, the loss of the Papal States proved to be beneficial to the Church. They were only a fragile protection for papal autonomy, and fifteen hundred years of fighting for territory often had a deeply corrupting effect on the papacy. (Location 7447)
  • Congregation of Holy Cross (Location 7465)
  • St. John Bosco2 (Location 7469)
  • St. Thérèse of Lisieux (Location 7480)
  • heresy called the Maravites (Location 7483)
  • St. Catherine Labouré (d. 1875), a Daughter of Charity in a Paris convent, felt herself drawn to the chapel in the middle of the night, where the Virgin Mary gave her the design for the Miraculous Medal that became a popular Marian devotion. (Location 7487)
  • Lourdes, France, (Location 7492)
  • Fatima in Portugal (Location 7498)
  • Assumption in 1950. (Location 7500)
  • Mainly because of Lourdes, the Church developed a formalized procedure for dealing with apparitions. Such revelations are classified as “private”, meaning that they do not have to be believed and can add nothing substantial to the original deposit of faith. But they might be declared free of error and “worthy of credence by the faithful”. (Location 7527)
  • Among the various “liberties” that Liberalism demanded was the “free market” (labeled laissez-faire [“let it act”]), in which unfettered competition and the law of supply and demand would set prices and wages. Liberalism aimed to abolish most economic regulations, so as to allow the market to flourish unhindered, a radical departure from the centuries-old system in which economic activities were closely regulated by law for the sake of justice. (Location 7613)
  • the Enlightenment ended with the skeptical Scottish philosopher David Hume (d. 1776), who sought to undermine the “natural religion” of Deism, and the pious German Protestant Immanuel Kant (d. 1804), who held that the mind cannot know reality in itself but only in terms of its own categories, (Location )7690
  • Pope Leo XIII initiated the “Thomistic Revival”, affirming that Catholics should embrace truth wherever it is found but extolling Aquinas as the primary philosopher, the source of a unified view of reality that all Catholics should achieve. (Location 7716)
  • “a thousand difficulties do not make a doubt.” (Location 7719)
  • “illative sense”—numerous particular insights that eventually coalesced, not into iron certitude but into a high degree of probability. (Location 7738)
  • Beethoven (d. 1827) burst out of the formalism of the Baroque style as a man of two worlds: at the same time a promethean rebel and a devout Catholic. (Location 7745)
  • In earlier times, high art differed from popular art only in terms of the artist’s skill. Now, however, there was a popular market that consciously diverged from high style. (Location 7774)
  • “The Little Rock humbly submits to the Big Rock [Peter].”) (Location 7816)
  • The anticlericals sought to control the system, especially the universities, precisely in order to impede handing on the faith to new generations, (Location 7983)
  • Eire sought to base its laws on Catholic moral principles, such as not permitting divorce, and by 2010 was the only Western European country that did not permit abortion. (Location 8107)
  • Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber of Munich (Location 8117)
  • Bl. Clemens von Galen (d. 1946), bishop (later cardinal) of Munster. (Location 8217)
  • Catholic intellectual revival were the convert English Jesuit Gerard Manley (Location 8243)
  • The convert English historian Christopher Dawson (d. 1970) ranged over all of history, explicating better than anyone had ever done the crucial importance of religion at the heart of every civilization. (Location 8258)

12 To the Ends of the Earth

  • Because of the pagan worship of the sun, monstrances were often crafted with a circle of gold rays around the center, showing that Christ was the true sun, the source of all light. (In a reversal of influence, this radial type of monstrance was introduced into Europe from the New World.) (Location 8420)
  • the reducciones established by the Jesuits in Paraguay in the seventeenth century. By 1700, these communities embraced one hundred thousand Indians, perhaps the most successful social experiment ever attempted. (Location 8520)
  • Like all Jesuits of his era, he was a Thomist, and the Thomistic emphasis on natural theology—the truths knowable by the mind even before it receives divine revelation—underlay his efforts. (Location 8600)
  • that native cultures were to be respected insofar as they did not impede the faith. (Location 8664)
  • Japanese culture, however, recognized no transcendent moral law. The civil law embodied the highest moral principles, including obedience, and those who were put to death were seen as mere criminals. (Location 8854)
  • In one of the most remarkable episodes in the entire history of the Church, French missionaries discovered a small number of secret Catholics living around Nagasaki, a people who had been preserving their faith without priests for over two hundred years. (Location 9044)

13 The New Nations

  • At that time, and for a long time afterward, the United States was the only country in the world where it was possible for the Church to erect dioceses and parishes, establish charitable and educational institutions, and appoint clergy without at least the formal approval of the government. (Location 9282)
  • People of all religions were presumed to be able to live harmoniously together under a state that was neutral toward specific religions but not toward religion as such.
  • Bookmark - Location 9371 (Location 9403)
  • St. John Nepomucene Neumann (Location 9445)
  • The only schism in the history of the United States, the Polish National Church, was founded in Scranton, Pennsylvania, (Location 9466)
  • Baltimore Catechism, which was used in Catholic schools for the next eighty years. (Location 9707)
  • films—Boys’ Town, Fighting Father Dunne, Going My Way, The Bells of St. Mary’s, and The Miracle of the Bells. (Location 10055)
  • By contrast, neither Canada nor Australia had a significant movement that could be called Evangelical or Fundamentalist and, as those countries became less Protestant, in a sense they also became less Catholic. (Location 10059)

14 Joy and Hope, Grief and Anguish

  • In the end, most of the conciliar decrees were consciously balanced, often by a very careful choice of words. This balance would later allow both “liberals” and “conservatives” to claim conciliar authority for their interpretations.2 (Location 10154)
  • ressourcement (“recovery of the sources”). A return to the Church’s scriptural and patristic roots during the millennium before the advent of Scholasticism (Location 10171, pg 478)
  • aggiornamento (“updating”), moved in the direction of modernism3 by making the demands of contemporary culture its chief concern. (Location 10212)
  • During the 1950s, scholars at the Ecole Biblique produced the Jerusalem Bible, a rendering of the Scripture in modern French that was soon translated into English and began to supplant the Douai-Rheims edition that had been in use for 350 years. Over the next several decades, there was a proliferation of new biblical translations in many languages, and Catholics even began using Protestant versions. (Location 10421)
  • His Mater et Magistra (Mother and Teacher, 1961) was a strong restatement of the principles of distributive justice (Location 10452)
  • Unrecognized at first, it soon became clear that attempting to counter secularism by moving closer to the secular culture produced largely negative results. “Modernization”, rather than satisfying the discontented, merely whetted the appetite for more of the same. As had been happening to liberal Protestantism for some time, rates of church attendance and religious vocations among Catholics began to fall, almost exactly in proportion to how “progressive” the Church became. (Location 10484)
  • the postconciliar period therefore proved to be a time of rudderless experimentation, with change itself apparently now the only new certitude. (Location 10596)
  • a group of Catholic university presidents in the United States declared their independence from Church authority. (Location 10752) [i.e. Land-o-Lakes statement, Hesburgh]
  • Feminists, many of them male, were usually the angriest. (Location 10836)
  • innovative in the service of orthodoxy. (Location 10876)
  • The future pope’s (John Paul II) doctoral dissertation on the mystical theology of St. John of the Cross integrated the latter’s Thomism with his phenomenological descriptions of the mystical state. (Location 10904)
  • some Catholics were surprised to discover that they had more in common with Evangelicals than with liberal fellow Catholics. (Location 10959)
  • Under Joseph Ratzinger, the CDF began to act vigorously to correct questionable teachings, issuing official warnings against several theologians and in some cases ordering them to cease teaching and publishing. Although theologians sometimes complained that they were condemned without being understood, they were in fact being judged by a man whose intelligence and theological attainments were superior to their own. (Location 11117)
  • greater use of Latin as a vehicle of tradition and a unifying liturgical language; (Location 11121)
  • Significantly, he expressed belief that the priest at Mass should face ad orientem, as head of the congregation facing East toward God, rather than versus populum (toward the people). The ad orientem position, he believed, was more appropriate to the Mass as primarily an act of worship rather than a community celebration. (Location 11469)

Created: 2019-06-17
Updated: 2022-03-27-Sun