Skip to comments.How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization
Posted on 06/02/2014 7:13:05 PM PDT by NKP_Vet
Thomas Woods' book titled HOW THE CATHOLIC CHURCH BUILD WESTERN CIVILIZATION is an unanswerable antidote to anti-Catholic bashers and their mindless sychophants. Prof. Woods provides a compelling case that Western Civilization could not have thrived without the valuable achievements of the Catholic Church over the past 2,000 years.
Prof. Woods survey of the Catholic Church in late Ancient History and during the Dark Ages makes clear that the Catholic Church authorities and especially the monks were invaluable in preserving learning. He makes clear that the early Catholic monks and nuns were the only literate people in Europe, and they preserved learning by handcopying books and teaching. Prof. Woods' treatment of this historical episode gives the thoughtful reader an insight as to how crucial those who were in religious orders were to European recovery.
Prof. Woods' chapter on Medieval universities is solid. He gives the conditions under which teachers and students operated and makes clear that the "Age of Scholasticism" was an intllectually vibrant age. The books gives examples of the curriculum and the emphasis on logic and reason both in learning and solving intellectual issues. The Age of Reason actually began in the Medieval Catholic universities rather than in the 17th and 18th centuries. Prof. Woods' evaluation of Medieval Scholasticism compares favorably with John Baldwin's THE SCHOLATIC CULTURE OF THE MIDDE AGES, 1000-1300.
Chapter five of this book undermines the notion that the Catholic authorities tried to undermine scientific study. For example, Prof. Woods cites numerous examples of Catholic university officials supporting scientific study and lending considerable resources to the study of astronomy. He also gives an honest assessement of the trial of Galileo who was also highly praised by Catholic authorties including the Pope. This reviewer learned for the first time that the Jesuits started the study of seismology. This chapter is important because it undermines the false notion that the Catholic Church was against science. One should note that many scientific advances that are taken for granted and which are important originated with the Catholic Church.
Not only did the Catholic Church make invaluable contributions in science and philosopy, but Prof. Woods presents an abundence of evidence of the valuable contributions that the Catholic Church made in developing both Canon Law and the concepts of natural and legal rights. These chapters are especially important in that they clearly prove that the Catholic jurists had meticulous concern for the rights of individuals including those who were not Catholic. This thesis is proven beyond doubt in chapters nine, ten, and eleven.
Prof. Woods presents a historical case of what happens in "A World Without God" which is the title of the book's conclusion. The twentieth century is thus far history's bloodiest century. The absence of moral codes except that of what the state dictates without religious convictions, convictions taught by the Catholic Church, presents historical tragedy.
Prof. Woods could have written a five foot book shelf on the crucial role of the Catholic Church in creating Western Civilization. Those who want to know more should consult the bibliography at the end of the book HOW THE CATHOLIC CHURCH BUILT WESTERN CIVILIZATION which is a good bibliography. This reviewer would have included Regine Pernoud's book titled THOSE TERRIBLE MIDDLE AGES:DEBUNKING THE MYTHS and G.K.Chesterton's ORTHODOXY. A recent book published by Father Duffy titled QUEEN OF THE SCIENCE:THE SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CATHOLIC THEOLOGY AND LIBERAL LEARNING should be read in tandem with Prof. Woods' book.
Prof. Woods has simply written a great book. HOW THE CATHOLIC CHURCH BUILT WESTERN CIVILIZATION should be in every Catholic school on the planet. Thoughtful Protestants who do not define their religion by Catholic bashing would benefit from this book. This book should not be recommended to Catholic bashers as it could cause cultural shock and apoplexy. If anyone reads this review and assumes this reviewer is a Catholic, they would be wrong. This reviewer has studied enough history to know just how crucial the Catholic Church has been and is wise enough to appreciate the Catholic Church's achievements.
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There were certainly many valuable contributions. How does that balance out against many of the problems?
The reformers did not disavow their heritage. Protestants have as much claim on the accomplishments of Christianity as any Roman.
I was about to cry, thinking that my cherished, sweet Dr.O would have loved to have read this book, then I checked the source and saw its publication date: Regnery History; 1ST edition (May 2, 2005).
Sure enough. If he had wanted to, he had the chance to read it. One day, I’ll check his massive book shelves, in every room, and I’ll likely find a copy there.
What's wrong? Not enough new stuff to trash Free Republic non-Catholics with?
Spoken like a true anti-Prot basher.
“He makes clear that the early Catholic monks and nuns were the only literate people in Europe, and they preserved learning by handcopying books and teaching.”
Their vows of poverty were, no doubt, necessary because of their immense student loan debts. Probably all of them were liberal arts majors.
The Catholic Church IS western civilization. I don’t recall the likes of Bernard Berenson seeking out Methodists in his books on the great art of Europe.
It’s Prod, not Prot.
“Mindless” is unhelpful. Ad hominem attacks are unnecessary from those who hold a logically strong position. Overplaying one’s hand like this would tend to make an undecided person actually doubt the veracity of the Catholic position.
If you can read this thread thank Jean Chauvin.
Well, while it’s certainly true that Christianity has made the Western world what it is, we can’t take all the credit. The Jewish people certainly laid a great foundation to build on (Mosaic law, 7 day week, health practices, God as Creator, etc.).
What if we chant it? < / humor>
it’s interesting to note that Tom Woods is an anarcho-capitalist. Just listening to his show this morning.
Just pointing out an historic fact.
Unless you are so delusional that you think all accomplishments of western civilization were accomplished by romans.
Overreaching a bit aren’t you dear?
Yes, I agree. Jews certainly made huge contributions to civilization.
All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh-water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?
If the Baptists take over Western Civilization and make everyone Baptist by law, then after a 1000 years they can say that Baptists did all that was accomplished by all Christians, non-Christians and all of Western Civilization during that period, it is silly thinking.
Prod - that’s the current slur used by the bead counters.