How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization.
Whew! Whether a blog title or a book title it is a title that is certain to bring out the raging hordes of anti-Catholic protestants, bigots, the historically ignorant and the run-of-the-mill Internet denizen short on facts and long on pronouncements.
Thomas E. Woods is an American historian, political commentator and the best selling author of twelve books. Woods is associated with several institutions but perhaps most notably the Mises Institute. His book How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization was published in 2012 and is a brilliant, engaging, and stirring defence of Christianity in general and the Catholic Church in particular.
Let me make it clear here. I am not Catholic. I am not a Catholic apologist. Indeed, since the great schism in 1054 when Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy diverged Roman Catholicism has sprung several branches of outright heresy. Catholicism has also been responsible for several scourges that have resulted in the deaths of millions of non Catholics exclusive of Muslims. (My own opinion is that the reasons for The Crusades were justified although the way they were executed was not.)
Woods does not deal with Catholic heresy nor does he write about Catholic excesses. His book deals exclusivel with the titled matter, How the Catholic Church Built Weastern Civilization and in that regard it is a brilliant treatise.
Popular lore has all this to the contrary. The Church squelched science, we are told. Just look at Galileo. Except the truth lays elsewhere as even a few moments in a history book will show you. Galileo was never persecuted for his science which was championed and accepted by the church. His offence lay elsewhere.
That Wood's premise is true is not in any doubt by any qualified scholar. From education to science to art to literature to charity to hospitals to morality to government the west as we know it, the civilization we live in was built by Catholic thinking.
I could find no fault at all with Wood's facts or their presentation. This is a brilliant book if, perhaps, a little short at 280 pages.
We live in an age where Western Civilization seems to be collapsing at an alarming rate. A great deal, if not all, of the collapse can be blamed on the rot of post-modernism which is leading the west to abandon the very things that built it. By this I do not mean Catholicism but the things with which the Church endowed us that allowed us to climb to heights of civilization while the rest of the world remained backwards and barely out of the stone age.
It has long been known that Christianity in the person of St. Benedict saved civilzation during the collapse of the dark ages. Wood's book is a brilliant and engaging, historicaly precise treatment of how Christianity then built the West we know now.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
Ask a college student today what he knows about the Catholic Church and his answer might come down to one word: "corruption." But that one word should be "civilization." Western civilization has given us the miracles of modern science, the wealth of free-market economics, the security of the rule of law, a unique sense of human rights and freedom, charity as a virtue, splendid art and music, a philosophy grounded in reason, and innumerable other gifts that we take for granted as the wealthiest and most powerful civilization in history. But what is the ultimate source of these gifts? Bestselling author and professor Thomas E. Woods, Jr. provides the long neglected answer: the Catholic Church. Woods’s story goes far beyond the familiar tale of monks copying manuscripts and preserving the wisdom of classical antiquity. In How theCatholicChurchBuilt Western Civilization, you’ll learn: · Why modern science was born in the Catholic Church · How Catholic priests developed the idea of free-market economics five hundred years before Adam Smith · How the Catholic Church invented the university · Why what you know about the Galileo affair is wrong · How Western law grew out of Church canon law · How the Church humanized the West by insisting on the sacredness of all human life No institution has done more to shape Western civilization than the two-thousand-year-old Catholic Church—and in ways that many of us have forgotten or never known. How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization is essential reading for recovering this lost truth.
At The Dessert News, Wood says:
5 our of 5 Stars