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DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT CATHOLIC HISTORY: From the Catacombs to the Reformation

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 Contents - Aug 2010AD2000 August 2010 - Buy a copy now
Feast of the Assumption: Benedict XVI's homily
Troubled future of the Church in Ireland - Archbishop Diarmuid Martin
News: The Church Around the World
The Mass: why we should focus on its essence - Fr John O'Neill PP
Liberalism: Christian churches and the 'religious left' - Babette Francis
Foundations of Faith: The Sacrament of Penance: whatever happened to confession? - Br Barry Coldrey
Foundations of Faith: The angel who died on Christmas Day - Arthur N. Ballingall
Justice: A Queensland Year 12 student: the injustice of abortion
Vocations: Mother Dolores Hart OSB: from Hollywood to convent - Michael Gilchrist
Letters: Liturgy
Letters: Infallibility - Dr Frank Mobbs
Letters: Safe abortion? - Maureen Federico
Letters: Obama Health Bill - Sr Rose Mary Kinne OP
Letters: Euthanasia - Dr Arnold Jago
Letters: Definitions by design - J. Loring
Letters: Future Church - John Barich
Books: THE CATHOLIC PRIEST IMAGE OF CHRIST: Through Fifteen Centuries of Art - Terri Kelleher (reviewer)
Books: THE GUILLOTINE AND THE CROSS, by Warren H. Carroll - Michael Daniel (reviewer)
Books: BLESSED PIUS IX, by Roberto de Mattei - Michael Daniel (reviewer)
Books: JESUS CHRIST, YESTERDAY, TODAY, FOREVER, by Fr Anthony Percy - Micheal Daniel (reviewer)
Books: DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT CATHOLIC HISTORY: From the Catacombs to the Reformation - Terri Kelleher (reviewer)
Books: Order books from
Reflection: Why the true meaning of marriage must be enshrined in law - Archbishop John C. Nienstedt

From the Catacombs to the Reformation
by Diane Moczar
(Our Sunday Visitor, 2006, 176pp. Out of print but available on Internet. ISBN: 978-1-59276-202-6)

The title of this book indicates clearly who will benefit from reading it - those who don't know much about Catholic history.

One can easily gain the impression that the Church was to blame for most of the bad things that occurred in history, for example, the so-called Dark Ages, despite the fact that it was the Hun people from the north of China pushing the Germanic or Gothic barbarians from the north and east into the Roman empire that accelerated its decline, destroying buildings, art, water systems and books (the foundations of civilisation) while the Church in its monasteries preserved and copied books so that when the time was right the learning therein could once again be mastered and passed on to future generations.

At the end of the Dark Ages, in the eighth century, it was Christian leaders such as Pelayo in Spain and Charles Martel (the Hammer) of the Franks who resisted and, in the case of the latter, turned back the Moorish (Islamic) invasion of Europe. If this had not been achieved the civilisation of Europe would have been very different and the growth in human rights and well-being that are the legacy of Christendom to the world might never have occurred.

The early Middle Ages, the eleventh century, saw an enormous renewal in civilisation: the revolution in agriculture, the growth of towns, the decline in feudalism and its iniquities.

At the same time, the saintly Pope Leo IX introduced reforms mid-century which Pope Gregory VII later reinforced, as the Church went through a period of rejuvenation.

The century was also replete with wonderful saints who ensured the flowering of these reforms and who should be of great comfort to us today at the beginning of the third millennium when the Church is facing its own serious problems such as the sex abuse scandals.

Then into the bustle of the high Middle Ages, the 12th century, came developments in literature, art, education, history, philosophy, theology and architecture as well as large-scale building projects including castles and cathedrals.

The 13th century was the high summer of Christendom being full of saints like flowers in bloom: St Francis, St Dominic, St Margaret of Hungary, St Elizabeth of Hungary, St Ferdinand of Castile, St Louis of France, St Thomas Aquinas, St Bonaventure, while the reign of Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) was one of great achievement.

Dr Moczar concludes with advice on how to find out more about the events of the thousand years of history covered in this volume and how to evaluate sources that may recommend themselves. Her approach is an excellent way to introduce anyone to the study of Church history, particularly young Catholics.

Dr Moczar is a prolific writer and all of her books are worth investigating.>/i>

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 23 No 7 (August 2010), p. 18

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