Skip to comments.Essays for Lent/Easter: Our Debt to the Catholic Church
Posted on 05/03/2012 6:19:04 PM PDT by Salvation
Our Debt to the Catholic Church
by Sebastian R. Fama
Attacks on the Catholic Church have never been in short supply. The Churchs critics have been maligning her and predicting her demise for centuries. While those same critics fade off into history one by one, the Church continues on in her mission, sometimes shaken but never defeated.
Whenever scandals arise in the Church gleeful detractors try to portray the aberration as the norm. Starting with Judas, the Church has always had within its walls those who would betray Christ. However, to focus on such individuals while ignoring those who take their faith seriously is dishonest. Any faith should be judged by the actions of those who practice it, not by those who dont.
To be sure, any scandal should be dealt with swiftly and decisively. Church leaders who fail in this regard betray the Church and do tremendous harm to the cause of Christ. Once there is knowledge of wrongdoing, action must be taken immediately. To do anything less makes one an accomplice.
When you consider all the facts, it is easy to see that the Catholic Churchs record is something to be admired. The miracles performed by Jesus give credence to His message. In like manner the Churchs tremendous contributions to Western Civilization give credence to its teachings.
Protestants would do well to note that God chose to give the Bible to mankind through the Catholic Church. After the fall of Rome it was the Catholic Church that preserved literacy and education. The barbarians who ruled after Rome had no interest in preserving education or any of the ancient literature. Monasteries produced thousands of books and preserved many others. Schools were established in cathedrals. These cathedral schools would become the first universities complete with degrees and accreditation. Many convents and monasteries established their own schools.
In answer to the Gospels call to care for the sick, the Church was the first to establish hospitals. Thomas E. Woods notes that by the fourth century, most large cities had Church sponsored hospitals. Even monasteries served as providers of medical care (How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization page 176).
From the beginning of its existence the Catholic Church has led the way in charitable giving. This of course is the natural result of Christs call to care for the less fortunate. In a column for the National Catholic Register Andrew McNair revealed some pretty interesting statistics. He writes in part:
Every year, more than 9.5 million Americans in need turn to one of 1,400 charitable organizations run by the Catholic Church.
The Church runs more than 600,000 soup kitchens and stocks more than 2 million food banks and pantries. The Church provides temporary shelter for children and families, battered women, senior citizens and others. At present, about 110,858 people depend on these shelters for help.
Catholic counselors and counseling agencies help close to 700,000 families, individuals and groups. Catholic housing services help around 67,000 homeless find and keep a permanent place to live. And Catholic neighborhood-support services sponsor youth centers, summer camps, sports programs and senior citizens centers; at present, nearly 300,000 people are enrolled in these services. Close to 80,000 girls and women are being served by Catholic pregnancy services.
In the 12th century the Church began to develop its system of canon law. This would eventually provide the foundation for Western Law. Prior to this, law in medieval Europe consisted of custom and some statutory law. Western Law was based on rules of evidence and rational procedures. Later on in the 16th century, and in response to the mistreatment of natives in the New World (North America), Fr. Francisco de Vitoria established the basis for international law. This reflected the biblical teaching that all men are created equal (Galatians 3:28).
In Wisdom 11:20 we read: "But you [God] have disposed all things by measure and number and weight." In Job 38:33 God Himself says: "Do you know the ordinances of the heavens; can you put into effect their plan on the earth?" Anyone who studied the Scriptures couldnt help but come to the conclusion that our God was a God of order. Now if God created the universe to operate according to rational laws, it seemed only natural that those laws could be understood and harnessed. Thus the study of science was born. Thomas E. Woods relates that "Roger Bacon, a Franciscan who taught at Oxford, was admired for his work in mathematics and optics, and is considered to be the forerunner of modern scientific method" (page 94).
The Jesuits contributed heavily to the study of science. In "The Jesuits: Missions, Myths and Histories" Jonathan Wright notes:
They had contributed to the development of pendulum clocks, pantographs, barometers, reflecting telescopes and microscopes, to scientific fields as various as magnetism, optics and electricity. They observed, in some cases before anyone else, the colored bands on Jupiters surface, the Andromeda nebula and Saturns rings. They theorized about the circulation of the blood (independently of Harvey), the theoretical possibility of flight, the way the moon affected the tides, and the wave-like nature of light.
The Jesuits were wise enough to record the results of their research into encyclopedias. Thus others were able to benefit from their work. The Jesuits were responsible for spreading scientific knowledge to China, India, Lebanon, The Philippines, Africa, South America, and Central America.
Fr. Nicholas Steno is credited with formulating most of the principles of modern geology. Catholic monks were the movers and shakers in developing agriculture. The Benedictines made great strides in this area. They turned swamps into fertile land. Through their efforts peasants learned about irrigation. Thomas E. Woods notes that "The monks were also the first to work toward improving cattle breeds" (page 31).
The Church was instrumental in the development of Astronomy, Mathematics, Banking, Chemistry, Architecture, Economics, Culture and Art. Pope Sylvester II is responsible for the Christian world throwing out Roman Numerals in favor of the Hindu-Arabic numbers that we use today. He also invented the clock so that we would no longer have to rely on sundials. Space does not permit me to list all of the contributions that the Church has made to Western Civilization. Suffice it to say, the list, as Mr. Woods and others so ably illustrate, is quite long. It is important to note that the Churchs contributions to Western Civilization were a direct result of its beliefs.
Despite being betrayed by some of its members, the Catholic Church has managed to accomplish what no other institution could. Even the Churchs most devoted critics have to admit that they have benefited greatly from the efforts of those Catholics who have chosen to live their faith.
Copyright © 2007 StayCatholic.com
For Further Study
Books - How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization by Thomas E. Woods Jr.
**Astronomy, Mathematics, Banking, Chemistry, Architecture, Economics, Culture and Art.**
There are many other contributions here.
Gal 5:2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.
Gal 5:3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
Gal 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
Gal 5:5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
Gal 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization.
Tom Woods superb book and series on EWTN:
Thanks for that link!
I was also thinking of English vocabulary — that sort of got mentioned. So many words have Latin and Greek roots.
Let alone, the medical profession.....!
We are certainly living in weird times in this Obama nation.
How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization
How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization
A Light in the Darkness
How the Monks Saved Civilization
The Church and the University
The Church and Science
The Origins of International Law
The Church and Economics
How Catholic Charity Changed the World
The Church and Western Law
The Church and Western Morality
Thats some article.
Were you talking about the one EyeGuy referenced or the one I posted?
I was referring to the one he posted with the seismology.
But then, that's typical of those who worship their own Most High and Holy Self, love only their self, and constantly prove they have no faith in Christ by relying on lies rather than the on truth.
If you read Dr. Woods watershed work, you will be utterly amazed at the number of fundamental areas of human knowledge the Catholic Church invented, preserved or greatly enhanced.
I already knew a little about this, but was truly floored by the revelations in this book.
BTTT on your remarks! Hammer hits nail.
I sent the link from CERC to our Spiritual Book Club chair who compiles all the choices. I would love to read it.
On another note:
Now that the bleeding in my eye has stopped the cataract surgeon has put me on a four-six month waiting list for that surgery.
Funny when I take off my glasses to read or type. He said that was a good indicator of cataracts. Couldn’t prove it by me.
“Funny when I take off my glasses to read or type. He said that was a good indicator of cataracts. Couldnt prove it by me.”
I’m not sure exactly what you mean, but it sounds like you are having the characteristic myopic shift that occurs often with cataracts. Depending on your prescription, that COULD make it actually easier to read without your current Rx.
Are you having to wait 6 months because of your ocular health, or the surgeon’s schedule?
Sal-What you posted. Great all of it. Amazing History.
Check out that link from EyeGuy!
Sounds like a great book.
Warren Carroll’s History of Christendom would compliment that nicely:http://www.amazon.com/The-Founding-Christendom-History-vol/dp/0931888212