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Letters by a modern St. Ferdinand III about cults

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Plenty of cults exist - every cult has its 'religious dogma', its idols, its 'prophets', its 'science', its 'proof' and its intolerant liturgy of demands.  Cults everywhere:  Corona, 'The Science' or Scientism, Islam, the State, the cult of Gender Fascism, Marxism, Darwin and Evolution, Globaloneywarming, Changing Climate, Abortion...

Tempus Fugit Memento Mori - Time Flies Remember Death 

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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Book Review: 'Seven Lies about Catholic History', Diane Moczar

Anti-Church bigotry parading as 'fact'.

by StFerdIII


Ms Moczar is an American professor of Medieval history and a practising Catholic. For over 30 years she has had to fight against both anti-Church [read anti-Catholic] bigotry within academia and the classroom and the categorization and depiction of the Middle Ages as some mindless 'Dark Age'. As with 'Global Warming' such ideas are 'settled science', even if they are spectacularly wrong and insipid. But then again Aristotle's 'vitalism' in which life forms just spontaneously appear was 'consensus science' for 2000 years.

This short book at 190 pages, is a good summary of the 7 great lies often told against the Catholic Church. Anyone interested in the Church, or in knowing the real story behind the lies needs to read this book. These 7 myths pervade our culture and educational systems, but they are premised not on facts, but fancies and sometimes, open bigotry. Voltaire's musings that Gothic Cathedrals could only have been built by uncivilized Gothic tribes after Rome's non-existent 'fall', and that nothing before the age of Descartes mattered until one ran into the late Roman empire; has about as much connection to reality as a trace chemical causing climate catastrophe. The Middle Ages were anything but dark and ignorant. Indeed compared to the proliferation of cults today they might appear to be profoundly enlightened. But as with many good lies Voltaire's ignorance gets transformed into fact.

Moczar compiles and refutes the 7 most egregious and obvious lies about the Catholic Church which are:

  1. The Dark Ages

  2. The Church as the enemy of progress

  3. The Crusades as all bad

  4. The Inquisition

  5. The Church against Galileo

  6. The Corrupted Church

  7. The Church as the destroyer of the Ameri-Indians

An infamous lie is of course the 'trial' and non-torture of Galileo:

That brief episode in 1633 has become both legendary and infamous....St. Robert Bellarmine, cardinal and friend of the Galileo's, had made it clear that since the astronomer's theory had not been proven to be true, it must be held only as a theory....Why did the Church go to such lengths to obtain a retraction from Galileo?....the public mocking of the Pope, in the Dialogue that Galileo had published in 1632...the blanket discrediting of scientific...authorities such as Aristotle, whose thought contained much that was valuable for Christian scholarship; the possibility that there existed some alternative theory...Galileo's theory included erroneous details...” [p. 109-12]

Galileo's 'trial' was a quick affair with 4 people attending and after he signed his retraction he went back to live comfortably at his Tuscan villa working happily until his death on physics.

There are plenty more lies about the Catholic Church of course, but Moczar is writing a short summation, not an Encyclopedia. We know that the Dark Ages were remote but hardly barbaric. There was a contraction in Europe beginning with the Moslem invasions of the Mediterranean in 632 AD, which cut off the Mare Nostrum from Eastern trade routes and supplies of materials, including that of Papyrus. The 'Dark Age' may have lasted from the Moslem takeover and destruction of civilized Visigothic Spain to about 900 AD or some 200 years. Indeed the socio-economic progress post the Moslem invasions of the 8th and 9th centuries, and that of the Vikings and Avars in the 9th and 10th centuries are staggering. Rationality flourished as did technological progress. This says nothing – as Moczar explains – of the artistic, literary, and educational developments during this period. Everything from hospitals [5th century Monkish inventions], to university curricula and advance agro-production were invented in the supposed Dark Ages.

Moczar explains the above and makes some key points in dismissing the other lies about the Catholic Church, including the incredibly ignorant premise that the Church held back development in Europe. Without the Church of course, there would not have been a European civilization worthy of that name, nor would Europe have conquered the world. Some facts presented by Moczar:

-Early Churchmen encouraged the development of both religious and secular learning

-The Church created the first public school system in the world in late Roman antiquity

-Convents and monasteries establish nurseries, orphanages, and libraries starting from the 4th century.

-The Church defended both religious and secular freedoms and academic inquiry into irreligious subjects.

-Examples of medieval scholarship “would fill volumes.” Indeed the list of thinkers, tinkerers, scientists and innovators is huge.

-The 'Thomistic' method dating from the 12th century and premised on the rationalist faith of St. Thomas was 'the real cause of the scientific breakthrough', developed by Roger Bacon, Francis Bacon, Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo and Descartes.

-Church 'philosophers' maintained since the time of Augustine that the highest faculty of the soul was the intellect and that truth was an artifact of divine creation. Faith is only achieved by rationality.

-As trade developed the Church dropped its opposition to charging interest on loans or making a healthy profit. The ban on usury was adopted in a localized-agriculturally-based economic age. As manufactures and commerce spread out from localities to the international market, the charging of interest and profit became accepted by the Church by the 11th century.

-Medieval Guilds established a welfare state with payments for sick days, hospital visits, and even death benefits for families.

-The Crusades in many ways saved Europe. See here for more details.

-The Church never forced conversions – except in the cases of Moslems and Jews in Iberia and that policy was enacted for good historical reason, namely the former destruction of Visigothic Christian and quite superior [to anything the Moslems built in Spain] Christian culture by the Moors along with their Jewish helpers.

-The Inquisition was a state policy, not a Church policy. The Church turned over 'heretics', or those who were creating social discord including acts of treason, to the secular state. It was the state which 'burned' those found guilty, though most people convicted of social malfeasance were let go, or given light prison terms. Torture was not use by the Church to exact confessions – contrary to Hollywood portrayals.

-Some of the 'Inquisition' was appropriate in that 'dualism' or the embracing of death [to free the soul] as coveted by the Albigensians became serious cults of sociopathy and carnage. Babies were starved to death for example in order to free the soul from the chains of materialism.

-During the 16th century the Spanish Inquisition executed less than 2 people a year on average or about 170 in total. This is 1/10 the number of young Moslem girls who are killed each year in dis-honour killings by Moslem families.

-The burning of Witches was mostly a Protestant reaction consuming 10.000 men and women during the 'Enlightenment' period, and mostly along the Rhine area.

-Copernicus, Kepler, Brahe and even Galileo were all funded by the Church. All of them were men of faith.

-Cortes and the Spaniards outlawed the slavery of Indians by 1538. La Casa and other church leaders established natural law rights and private property rights for Indians in the New World.

-By 1540 in the New World printing presses, hospitals and even public schools for Indians had been set up.

-There is little doubt that the Indians were better off under Catholic rule, than Protestant.

There is of course much more. But the above is a good sample of what Moczar offers. The anti-Catholic bigotry which pervades most of the modern world, is a product of course, largely of Protestant initiated slander and misrepresentation. There are many reasons for this including the rather extreme positioning of Luther and the Reformation; the anti-Spanish nature of English Protestant writers; the need for many in both the Protestant and secular realms to defame the Church for both religious and political reasons; and perhaps the attempt to rewrite history by modern Marxists and the cult of science [scientism] to cast any metaphysical project [excepting Islam usually], in the worst light possible viz a viz rationality, progress and 'progressive thinking'.

Keep in mind that today's world is beset by cults – the cult of warm, the cult of homosexuality, the cult of narcissism, the cult of science explaining 'all', the cult worship of the state, the cult of relativity and so on. Slandering the Church might make people feel emotionally satisfied but misrepresenting reality is hardly a sign post of rationality and intelligence. It is bigotry and myth-making. That is all it is. A good book and a great read for anyone interested in the reality of the Catholic Church and how it bequeathed – at least in part – the modern world to our present age.



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