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How the (Catholic) Church Built Western Civilization
Zenit News Agency ^ | September 26, 2005

Posted on 09/27/2005 7:37:51 AM PDT by NYer

Interview With Historian Thomas Woods Jr.

CORAM, New York, SEPT. 26, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Contrary to popular opinion, the Catholic Church historically has been the champion of scientific, economic, legal and social progress.

So says Thomas Woods Jr., history professor at Suffolk County Community College and author of "How the Church Built Western Civilization" (Regnery).

Woods shared with ZENIT how the Church has contributed to science, the development of free-market economies, Western legal systems and international law, and why Catholic intellectual and cultural figures desperately need to redeem Western civilization.

Q: How did it come to be that the Church is considered the enemy of progress, freedom, human rights, science, and just about everything else modernity champions, when in fact your book claims that the Catholic Church is at the origin of these phenomena?

Woods: There are many reasons for this phenomenon, but I'll confine myself to one. It is much easier to propagate historical myth than most people realize.

Take, for instance, the idea -- which we were all taught in school -- that in the Middle Ages everyone thought the world was flat. This, as Jeffrey Burton Russell has shown, is a 19th-century myth that was deliberately concocted to cast the Church in a bad light. It couldn't be further from the truth.

The matter of Galileo, which most people know only in caricature, has fueled some of this fire. But it is both illegitimate and totally misleading to extrapolate from the Galileo case to the broader conclusion that the Church has historically been hostile to science.

It may come as a surprise to some readers, but the good news is that modern scholarship -- say, over the past 50 to 100 years or so -- has gone a long way toward refuting these myths and setting the record straight.

Scarcely any medievalist worth his salt would today repeat the caricatures of the Middle Ages that were once common currency, and mainstream historians of science would now be embarrassed to repeat the old contention that the relationship between religion and science in the West has been a history of unremitting warfare -- as Andrew Dickson White famously contended a century ago.

Q: Can you briefly describe the Church's particular contributions to the origins and development of modern science?

Woods: Let's begin with a few little-known facts. The first person to measure the rate of acceleration of a freely falling body was Father Giambattista Riccioli. Father Nicholas Steno is considered the father of geology. The father of Egyptology was Father Athanasius Kircher, and the man often cited as the father of atomic theory was Father Roger Boscovich.

The Jesuits brought Western science all over the world. In the 20th century they so dominated the study of earthquakes that seismology became known as "the Jesuit science."

Some Catholic cathedrals were built to function as the world's most precise solar observatories, and the Basilica of San Petronio in Bologna was used to verify Johannes Kepler's theory of elliptical planetary orbits.

The science chapter of "How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization" is by far the longest. In addition to discussing examples like the ones I've just mentioned, it also notes that certain aspects of Catholic teaching -- including the idea of God as orderly and even mathematical, thus making possible the idea of autonomous natural laws -- lent themselves to the development of modern science.

Q: One question you have examined in particular in your books is the Church's role in the development of free-market economies. Many historians, including Catholics, claim that it was only with the Enlightenment and Adam Smith that Western nations were able to expunge "medieval" notions of economics and bring about the Industrial Revolution. Why do you think this is a misreading of history?

Woods: Recent scholarship has discovered that medieval economic thought, particularly in the High and Late Middle Ages, was far more modern and sophisticated than was once thought.

Many scholars, but above all Raymond de Roover, have shown that these thinkers possessed a deeper understanding and appreciation of market mechanisms, and were more sympathetic to a free economy, than traditional portrayals would suggest.

In general they did not believe, as has been commonly alleged, in an objectively ascertainable "just price" of a good, or that the state should enforce such prices across the board. To the contrary, the Scholastics were deeply indebted to Roman law, resurrected in the High Middle Ages, which described the value of a good as what it could commonly be sold for.

The common estimation of the market in effect determined the just price. Debate and discussion on this matter continues, but no serious scholar has been so foolish as to reject de Roover's findings root and branch.

I develop this point at even greater length in my book "The Church and the Market: A Catholic Defense of the Free Economy," which has received the endorsements of the economics chairmen at Christendom College and the University of Dallas.

An interesting tidbit, by the way, that I discuss in "How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization" is that at the very time Henry VIII was engaged in the suppression of England's monasteries, those monks were on the verge of developing dedicated blast furnaces for the production of cast iron. Henry may have delayed the Industrial Revolution for two and a half centuries.

Q: One of the more interesting claims of your book is that Western legal systems developed from canon law. How was this possible considering the seemingly incongruous subject matter?

Woods: What I argue is that canon law served as a model for developing Western states seeking to codify and systematize their own legal systems. Harold Berman, the great scholar of Western law, contends that the first modern legal system in the Western world was the Church's canon law.

And that canon law, particularly as codified in Gratian's "Concordance of Discordant Canons," served as a model of what Western states sought to accomplish.

Scholars of Church law showed the barbarized West how to take a patchwork of custom, statutory law and countless other sources, and produce from them a coherent legal order whose structure was internally consistent and in which previously existing contradictions were synthesized or otherwise resolved.

Moreover, the subject matter of canon law was not as far removed from that of civil law as we might think.

For example, the Church had jurisdiction over marriage. The canon law of marriage held that a valid marriage required the free consent of both the man and the woman, and that a marriage could be held invalid if it took place under duress or if one of the parties entered into the marriage on the basis of a mistake regarding either the identity or some important quality of the other person.

"Here," says Berman, "were the foundations not only of the modern law of marriage but also of certain basic elements of modern contract law, namely, the concept of free will and related concepts of mistake, duress and fraud."

Q: Additionally, you note that the concepts of international law and human rights were developed by 16th-century Spanish scholastics such as Francisco de Vitoria. How might this fact be relevant to today's discussions of international law, as well as the Holy See's role in shaping international institutions?

Woods: People such as Francisco de Vitoria were convinced that international law, which codified the natural moral law in international relations, could serve to facilitate peaceful coexistence among people of disparate cultures and religions.

The idea of international law, as the Late Scholastics saw it, was an extension of the idea that no one, not even the state, was exempt from moral constraints. This idea ran completely contrary to the Machiavellian view that the state was morally autonomous and bound by no absolute moral standards.

While the idea of international law is morally indispensable and philosophically unimpeachable, there are practical difficulties associated with its enforcement by an international agency.

If the institution has no coercive powers it will be impotent; if it does have coercive powers then it, too, must be protected against and becomes a threat to the international common good.

There is also the risk that the organization will seek to go beyond mediation and peacekeeping and seek to intervene in the domestic matters of member states or to undermine traditional institutions in those states.

This, of course, is what has happened today, what with the radical politics on constant display at the United Nations. The Holy See's role in international relations, it seems to me, is both to advance peace by means of its own initiatives, and to remain the great obstacle to the leftist social agenda put forth at typical U.N. conferences.

Q: It seems that over the last 40 or 50 years, Catholic contributions to art, literature and science have waned. Additionally, Catholic influence in the academy and other important cultural institutions has also declined. Why do you think this is the case?

Woods: This is a tough one to answer in brief, though I take it up to some extent in my book "The Church Confronts Modernity." That book looks at the great vigor of the Catholic Church in America during the first half of the 20th century.

Here was a self-confident Church that engaged in healthy interaction with the surrounding culture without being absorbed by it.

Hilaire Belloc observed at the time that "the more powerful, the more acute, and the more sensitive minds of our time are clearly inclining toward the Catholic side."

Historian Peter Huff notes that the Catholic Church in America "witnessed such a steady stream of notable literary conversions that the statistics tended to support Calvert Alexander's hypothesis of something suggesting a cultural trend."

According to historian Charles Morris, "Despite the defeat of Al Smith, American Catholics achieved an extraordinary ideological self-confidence by the 1930s, much to the envy of Protestant ministers."

That self-confidence and sense of mission has, for a variety of reasons, diminished substantially since the 1960s.

It is dramatically urgent that Catholic intellectual and cultural figures regain that old confidence and sense of identity, for people need to hear the Church's message more than ever. Pope Benedict XVI has made abundantly clear his displeasure with the moral condition of Western civilization and its need for redemption.

Simone Weil once wrote, "I am not a Catholic, but I consider the Christian idea, which has its roots in Greek thought and in the course of the centuries has nourished all of our European civilization, as something that one cannot renounce without becoming degraded."

Western civilization seems to be learning that one the hard way.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; Philosophy; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: catholic; churchhistory; thomasewoods; vatican; westerncivilization; woods
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1 posted on 09/27/2005 7:37:59 AM PDT by NYer
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To: american colleen; Lady In Blue; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; ...
Catholic Ping - Please freepmail me if you want on/off this list


2 posted on 09/27/2005 7:38:50 AM PDT by NYer
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To: NYer

I see Thomas Woods at mass every Sunday. =D


3 posted on 09/27/2005 7:41:55 AM PDT by murphE (These are days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed but his own. --G.K. Chesterton)
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To: NYer

the church rocks. /anti catholic sentiment.


4 posted on 09/27/2005 7:43:05 AM PDT by CaptainKeyword (it takes a college education to make a human believe he's a monkey.)
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To: NYer

An excellent post. Good point about art and culture being an area needing more confident Catholic artists. Gibson's movie was a breakthrough and I'm still amazed at the level of publicity he generated.


5 posted on 09/27/2005 7:45:16 AM PDT by rjp2005
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To: NYer

Science, as we know it today, would not exist without Christianity.

Great article, thanks!


6 posted on 09/27/2005 7:45:56 AM PDT by fizziwig
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To: NYer
Although raised Catholic, I left the Church at 16, baptized at 40 in a Baptist church, now attend Chuck Swindoll's church in Texas (www.stonebriar.org). I was also a history major in college, love God and His history.

Since living in Texas I have been amazed at the number of folks in other denominations who do not seem to understand that the Bible Baptists or other Protestant denominations read came from the same place. Or that the history of Jesus Christ and all His churches all come from the same beginning.

I still do not understand why some Baptists keep Catholics at arms length - perhaps just the same misinformation that goes on in so many other areas of our everyday world.
7 posted on 09/27/2005 7:49:19 AM PDT by txzman (Jer 23:29)
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To: NYer

Mark for later...


8 posted on 09/27/2005 7:51:20 AM PDT by PajamaTruthMafia
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To: NYer
This reminds me of a Hungarian customer I once had, who informed me that it was Hungarians who first invented the telephone; and that Tesla got some of his ideas from a Hungarian assistant. etc. etc.

Catholicism was definitely helpful; but, there is a reason it is called the "Protestant" work ethic.

9 posted on 09/27/2005 7:57:08 AM PDT by ikka
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To: fizziwig
I agree with the "Christianity" part, but that casts a much wider net than just the Catholic Church. I think Protestants did quite well in the good old USofA after having wrenched the bible from the hands of those that didn't allow the ordinary man to read it, and they seem to have been very blessed in all their endeavors, as opposed to Old Europe's stagnation.

Who can disagree that Protestant America and it's Constitution have given the world it's greatest and inspired discoveries.

10 posted on 09/27/2005 7:57:33 AM PDT by MissAmericanPie
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To: NYer

Good post. Thanks!


11 posted on 09/27/2005 7:59:31 AM PDT by DoctorMichael (The Fourth-Estate is a Fifth-Column!)
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To: NYer; All

I was Baptized, Communioned, and Confirmed Roman Catholic. Although I was unable to experience my Marriage as a Sacrement, I had the wedding rings blessed.
I believe, it is our American culture which makes the celebration of any religion, well most religions, a truly wonderful gift. It's what sets us apart from the dour Europeanism from which are ancestors, thankfully, escaped.
I know my comments were tangential to the topic but nonetheless, are the result of a Roman Catholic upbringing.


12 posted on 09/27/2005 8:01:40 AM PDT by olde north church (Here's to wishing Harry Harlow is roasting in Hell and his progeny are being tortured.)
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To: MissAmericanPie
I think Protestants did quite well in the good old USofA after having wrenched the bible from the hands of those that didn't allow the ordinary man to read it

The "ordinary man," that you refer to, even up until 19th century, couldn't read. Literacy did not become widespread until then. Also, before this time, if you were literate, there was a good chance that you could read Latin as well. Up until the Protestant "Reformation," the Bible was available for anyone to read in Latin, since it was the intellectual language of the time. The problem the Church had with vernacular translations wasn't with the translations themselves, it was the fact that most were bad translations.

13 posted on 09/27/2005 8:02:02 AM PDT by Pyro7480 (Blessed Pius IX, pray for us!)
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To: MissAmericanPie
after having wrenched the bible from the hands of those that didn't allow the ordinary man to read it

Long ago debunked urban legend.

14 posted on 09/27/2005 8:02:32 AM PDT by A.A. Cunningham
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To: NYer

According to the well-known theory of Max Weber (1864-1920), it was the rise of protestantism that led to the economic progress of western civilization. It's not called the Catholic work ethic.


15 posted on 09/27/2005 8:03:52 AM PDT by wideminded
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To: NYer
Slightly off-topic but still worth mentioning are two other calumnies against the Church:
16 posted on 09/27/2005 8:04:36 AM PDT by annalex
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To: NYer
Contrary to popular opinion, the Catholic Church historically has been the champion of scientific, economic, legal and social progress.

I’ve never believed that many thought the Earth was flat – at least, not anyone living near a coast or working the sea.
I also don’t buy that the Church encouraged science. While most early achievements were made by priests and monks it may have been because the Church controlled education. If a person wanted an education entering the priesthood was just about the only way to do it.
Economic advancement was helped along by secular guilds and monastic orders instituting a banking system and the development of large commercially centered cities – with help from Viking traders.
Our legal system owes more to the Vikings than to the Church – our jury system as an example. Much of our early civil and criminal law was based on Roman Law.
The Black Death contributed much to the advancement of Western Civilization – when a large percentage of the workers died their labor became a precious commodity, thereby helping social progress.

Not to denigrate the contribution of the Church – but it was hardly alone in advancing civilization, and should not be given credit for being the “Champion” of progress.

17 posted on 09/27/2005 8:04:45 AM PDT by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink.)
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To: txzman
I still do not understand why some Baptists keep Catholics at arms length - perhaps just the same misinformation that goes on in so many other areas of our everyday world.

I once experimented with the idea of becoming a Baptist. It was precisely because of the great amount of Catholic misinformation in the Baptist church that I quickly returned to Catholicism.

It was somewhat of a shock to hear so much hate of Catholicism when in fact the two religions are 99% similar.

18 posted on 09/27/2005 8:12:30 AM PDT by kidd
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To: NYer
Q: How did it come to be that the Church is considered the enemy of progress, freedom, human rights, science, and just about everything else modernity champions, when in fact your book claims that the Catholic Church is at the origin of these phenomena?

Did I miss something? When did the Church look anything like the the "Religion of Peace"? I guess nobody ever told me we Catholics were an enemy to any of the above mentioned items.

Hmmm... I thought we were pretty progressive, liked freedom quite a lot (I know you saw "The Sound of Music", too. Tell me that's not a freedom loving group of nuns), supported human rights for everyone (including those who aren't born yet), and had a lot of Catholic scientists (oh, and don't forget the monks and priests who are behind the science of wine).

Maybe they have me on the modernity thing, but really, do you want to see any of the clergy in low rise jeans and tube tops? ewwww.....
19 posted on 09/27/2005 8:17:31 AM PDT by GovGirl (Newsweek lied, people died...can we make that into a t-shirt?)
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To: R. Scott

"I also don’t buy that the Church encouraged science. While most early achievements were made by priests and monks it may have been because the Church controlled education. If a person wanted an education entering the priesthood was just about the only way to do it."

That's not really true. The Jesuits would take anyone with talent. Some of the worlds greatest philosophers and scientists came from Jesuit schools.

That Catholic Church was far from a perfect entity. The Spanish inquisition for instance stagnated the population and played at least a small part in Spain falling from the role of being a great power. But all the same I find it hard to believe that western civilization would exist today if it hadn't been for the church.


20 posted on 09/27/2005 8:25:22 AM PDT by whershey
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To: NYer

How can this be? The words "Christ," "Christian" and "Catholic" are absent from the new 70k-word EU constitution... < /s>


21 posted on 09/27/2005 8:27:50 AM PDT by Aquinasfan (Isaiah 22:22, Rev 3:7, Mat 16:19)
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To: kidd

99% is a stretch...but your intention is true.

people of similar faiths should learn to work together.


22 posted on 09/27/2005 8:28:47 AM PDT by wallcrawlr (http://www.bionicear.com)
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To: MissAmericanPie
I think Protestants did quite well in the good old USofA after having wrenched the bible from the hands of those that didn't allow the ordinary man to read it,

Who can disagree that Protestant America and it's Constitution have given the world it's greatest and inspired discoveries.

I can.

23 posted on 09/27/2005 8:32:52 AM PDT by murphE (These are days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed but his own. --G.K. Chesterton)
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To: whershey
That Catholic Church was far from a perfect entity.

It most certainly is perfect. It is divine. However, Church men including popes are often far from perfect.

The Spanish inquisition for instance stagnated the population and played at least a small part in Spain falling from the role of being a great power.

The Real Inquisition

24 posted on 09/27/2005 8:38:56 AM PDT by murphE (These are days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed but his own. --G.K. Chesterton)
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To: rjp2005
"Good point about art and culture being an area needing more confident Catholic artists."
Actually, after Michelangelo one positively does not need any more Catholic artists, for they are bound to be much worse, be they more confident or less so. Why spoil a perfect score?
25 posted on 09/27/2005 8:45:01 AM PDT by GSlob
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To: NYer

they are also responsible for the downfall, because of advocating illegal immigration through their Catholic Charities. Aiding and abetting illegal aliens is a crime. The Catholic church is responsible for.


26 posted on 09/27/2005 8:49:19 AM PDT by television is just wrong (http://hehttp://print.google.com/print/doc?articleidisblogs.blogspot.com/ (visit blogs, visit ads).)
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To: Pyro7480

"The "ordinary man," that you refer to, even up until 19th century, couldn't read. Literacy did not become widespread until then. Also, before this time, if you were literate, there was a good chance that you could read Latin as well. Up until the Protestant "Reformation," the Bible was available for anyone to read in Latin, since it was the intellectual language of the time. The problem the Church had with vernacular translations wasn't with the translations themselves, it was the fact that most were bad translations."

Good point.
And I'll add some more.
Up until the invention of the printing press, churches needed to guard their copies of the scriptures from theft so they could be read to the faithful at mass.
Scriptures were copied by hand and generally were only available to churches and those wealthy enough to purchase copies.
So...it is a lie that the Catholic Church denied access to scriptures.
Like you pointed out - the Church had to root out BAD copies that contained error - and the faithful listened to the Word at mass.
That's beside the point that the original manuscripts were preserved, translated, and declared divinely inspired by the Catholic Church to begin with.


27 posted on 09/27/2005 8:50:01 AM PDT by Scotswife
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To: NYer

This should be interesting.


28 posted on 09/27/2005 8:50:45 AM PDT by conservonator (Pray for those suffering)
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To: television is just wrong

Hey, I'm Catholic, and I have no disagreement with you there. To be more specific, it's the liberation theology wing of the Catholic Church.


29 posted on 09/27/2005 8:52:47 AM PDT by Pyro7480 (If you're still voting Democrat, you're stuck on stupid!)
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To: txzman

You are always invited back to the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church.


30 posted on 09/27/2005 8:52:59 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: kidd

What you say is so true!


31 posted on 09/27/2005 8:57:41 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: murphE

Me too!


32 posted on 09/27/2005 8:58:39 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: wallcrawlr
"..people of similar faiths should learn to work together."

Actually they do. Go to an "anti-abortion" protest--probably half the folks will be Roman Catholics, and the other half will be Southern Baptists and similar "fundamentalist churches".

33 posted on 09/27/2005 8:59:58 AM PDT by Wonder Warthog (The Hog of Steel)
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To: television is just wrong

Well, I guess that's bad news for you gringo.


34 posted on 09/27/2005 9:16:22 AM PDT by rudyudy
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To: Scotswife
Hoot man - it is all well and good that you agree with your church's extra biblical traditions - but there are quite a few dead Anabaptist who might disagree with your rosy review of church history and their martyrdom
35 posted on 09/27/2005 9:32:27 AM PDT by reflecting (Orange Beach - the most eastern beach in Alabama)
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To: rudyudy

racial terms are unacceptable on this website. The "G" word is just as bad as the N word.


36 posted on 09/27/2005 9:37:50 AM PDT by television is just wrong (http://hehttp://print.google.com/print/doc?articleidisblogs.blogspot.com/ (visit blogs, visit ads).)
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To: SirKit

Check this out!


37 posted on 09/27/2005 9:43:40 AM PDT by SuziQ
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To: reflecting

Your fictional "dead Anabaptists" have nothing to do with the origin of scripture and the fact that it was the Catholic Church that preserved it, translated it, and declared it divinely inspired.

You don't have to be catholic to see this...all you have to do is study history.


38 posted on 09/27/2005 10:57:52 AM PDT by Scotswife
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To: NYer

Interesting. I'll check it out; a fresh perspective is always welcome. But he'd better have his facts, jots and tiddles lined up smartly!


39 posted on 09/27/2005 11:12:48 AM PDT by Graymatter
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To: whershey
But all the same I find it hard to believe that western civilization would exist today if it hadn't been for the church.

I think the author is going beyond a claim that the Church merely preserved civilization (or didn't do it fatal damage!) It is also widely held that western civilization would not exist today if it hadn't been for the Arabs in the 8th-11th centuries.
Personally I think that empires and hegemonies wind up inimical to learning, if they don't actually start out that way, and insofar as they don't altogether smother civilization, they simply don't try hard enough, or they haven't the means to extinguish every last spark.
And of course, at times they just kept their enemies (inquiring minds) close.
I'll need convincing that the Church actively encouraged or nurtured scientific inquiry, its barely tolerable "red-haired stepchild."

40 posted on 09/27/2005 11:32:28 AM PDT by Graymatter
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To: whershey
But all the same I find it hard to believe that western civilization would exist today if it hadn't been for the church.

When Rome was sacked and the Western Empire was conquered by Germanic barbarians, it was the Catholic Church that held together the faint semblance of society during this tumultuous time. If it were not for the Catholic Church, Western society would have crumble with Rome, but, evidently, such was not the case.
41 posted on 09/27/2005 11:47:10 AM PDT by mike182d ("Let fly the white flag of war." - Zapp Brannigan)
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To: NYer

One of the great men mentioned here, 17th c. scholar Athanasius Kircher, had to describe his own work on astronomy as fiction, to avoid the sort of trouble Galilio had encountered.

Kircher, incidentally, gave us one of the earliest descriptions of a functional camera. The man's contributions went well beyond Egyptology. Here's an interesting page:

http://www.strangescience.net/kircher.htm


42 posted on 09/27/2005 11:54:28 AM PDT by Graymatter
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To: Graymatter
Sorry. Galileo.
Kircher was of similar stature and reputation, yet even he had to watch his step.
43 posted on 09/27/2005 12:00:57 PM PDT by Graymatter
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To: Scotswife

Sorry, but I don't worship people and organizations because of what they do. I worship God because of who He is.

The fact is that the Catholic Church has played a role in God's plan. It is not the Catholic Church's plan. God's plan would still go on without the Catholic Church.

If you really care about history, you will look back to the 4th Pope and the letter that he wrote to the Church of Corinth. That's where this whole mess began.

The Church of Corinth was not under Rome's rule, and yet the head of the Church of Rome wrote them a letter. When no one condemned him for writing a letter, future generations of Pope took this as the power and right to give orders and make decisions. There begins the layer upon layer. The searching for justification that Rome is supreme. Later they included Catholic into the name of the Church of Rome because they were so full of themselves. And the funniest thing is it all started with a letter that no one asked for and no one rebuked.

And if you even bother to read the letter, you will notice the opening statement "The Church of God which sojourns at Rome, to the Church of God sojourning at Corinth"

This Pope considered the churches to be seperate. He considered the churches as belonging to God. Now contrast that to the modern RCC's view that all churches and Bibles exist because of the Roman Catholic Church. Just a bit different don't you think?


44 posted on 09/27/2005 12:03:47 PM PDT by Tao Yin
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To: Graymatter

Most interesting! Thanks for the link.


45 posted on 09/27/2005 12:09:26 PM PDT by NYer
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To: NYer
I'll read your post and all the comments more thoroughly later. Meanwhile, I suggest you (and anyone alse who has been following this thread) read Arthur Herman's book:

How the Scots invented the Modern World : the true story of how western Europe's poorest nation created our world & everything in it

Available at your local public library. If your library does not have it, try interlibrary loan.

46 posted on 09/27/2005 12:12:30 PM PDT by freelancer (If we do not win the war against terrorism, everything else is irrelevant.)
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To: wideminded

The article is not talking about the 'work ethic',it's talking about the relationship between the Catholic Church and 'scholarship' in Western Civilization. After all, it was monastic congregations and Church libraries that protected and copied important manuscripts from the ancient scientists and astronomers. That's how these important documents came to be available to the scientists and scholars of the early Middle Ages who led Western Civilization out of the 'Dark Ages'.


47 posted on 09/27/2005 12:21:18 PM PDT by SuziQ
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To: Tao Yin

"Sorry, but I don't worship people and organizations because of what they do. I worship God because of who He is.

The fact is that the Catholic Church has played a role in God's plan. It is not the Catholic Church's plan. God's plan would still go on without the Catholic Church.

If you really care about history, you will look back to the 4th Pope and the letter that he wrote to the Church of Corinth. That's where this whole mess began.

The Church of Corinth was not under Rome's rule, and yet the head of the Church of Rome wrote them a letter. When no one condemned him for writing a letter, future generations of Pope took this as the power and right to give orders and make decisions. There begins the layer upon layer. The searching for justification that Rome is supreme. Later they included Catholic into the name of the Church of Rome because they were so full of themselves. And the funniest thing is it all started with a letter that no one asked for and no one rebuked.

And if you even bother to read the letter, you will notice the opening statement "The Church of God which sojourns at Rome, to the Church of God sojourning at Corinth"

This Pope considered the churches to be seperate. He considered the churches as belonging to God. Now contrast that to the modern RCC's view that all churches and Bibles exist because of the Roman Catholic Church. Just a bit different don't you think?"



First of all....it is complete rubbish to claim catholics worship "people and organizations"
If you would take the time to consult knowledgeable catholics on this, you might agree.
But I doubt you have any other interest than to engage in catholic bashing.

I have read Clement's letter.
It is the first example we can look at and see the primacy of the Bishop of Rome in action.
Certainly the Bishop of Corinth had jurisdiction over his territory - that is still true today within the Church.
But things weren't going very well for him were they?
It took a letter from the Bishop of Rome to straighten things out.
The Corinthians kept that letter and treated it as scripture for a long period of time. During the process of establishing the canon it was considered for inclusion, but left out in the end.
The writings of the early fathers do not support your dubious claims.
The first example we have of the Church being referred to as "catholic" was from Ignatius long before you claim it occurred.

The beginning of Clement's letter only supports what we already know...that bishops retain jurisdiction over their own territory.
So..The Church which sojourns at Rome,to the church sojourning at Corinth - that principle still holds true today.
The Bishop of Rome is not a micromanager...he only acts when necessesity obligates him to act...and that was exactly the case with the Corinthians.
Reading the writings of the Early Fathers does not give the impression each church was "separate" - or an island unto its own...rather, just the opposite.

But none of that has anything to do with my original point made on this topic.
The accusation was made that the Catholic Church restricted access to Holy Scripture.
That is preposterous.


48 posted on 09/27/2005 1:19:32 PM PDT by Scotswife
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To: MissAmericanPie
after having wrenched the bible from the hands of those that didn't allow the ordinary man to read it,

From the article: It is much easier to propagate historical myth than most people realize. (but you're doing your part, I see).

49 posted on 09/27/2005 1:26:37 PM PDT by workerbee (A person's a person no matter how small.)
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To: whershey
That's not really true. The Jesuits would take anyone with talent. Some of the worlds greatest philosophers and scientists came from Jesuit schools.

Yes – as I said, if a person wanted an education, the Church was about the only institution available. Once in, a scholar did not need to preach, minister, or become a part of the Church hierarchy.
50 posted on 09/27/2005 2:11:53 PM PDT by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink.)
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