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 Post subject: Re: J McSorley's Outline History of the Church
PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2015 8:13 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: J McSorley's Outline History of the Church
PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 2:25 pm 
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Now at p 796 (1800s), I'm blocked by this quote: "(Mexico) began to follow the familiar pattern in which clericals insist on their traditional privileges, while admitting no responsibility for abuses, whereas anticlericals rob the Church and the poor while professing to defend liberty and democracy." Your rating and comment would again be appreciated.
Usually McSorley carefully avoids making sweeping generalizations and unsupported judgments, but will sneak them in through footnotes. The foregoing quote seems to be his own opinion, with curiously little further comment. He introduces the topic by commenting that the Spanish Constitution of 1812 produced even more discontent in Mexico than in Spain itself, and then provides a detailed summary of the numerous revolutions and conflicting constitutions during the century.
The primary issue, I think, is the role of the Church against the dreadful poverty that has existed throughout history in so many Latin countries, even those with substantial resources like Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru. McSorley refutes an accusation by a Mexican Attorney General by reference to many Church charities mentioned in the accusation itself.
The major question, I think, is when and where the Church stops relying on free-will charitable contributions by its members and supports laws forcing borrowing and taxes on all citizens, which has led so often to national bankruptcy, crime, and non-payment of taxes.


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 Post subject: Re: J McSorley's Outline History of the Church
PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2015 9:40 am 
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Did you know/Do you believe?
p24 This is McSorley writing, not a quote or footnote. "These scattered communities (of the Jewish Dispersion) had been founded by the Hellenizing (sic) kings who proceded the Romans as rulers of the East, because they knew the Jews were a conservative influence (who would have imagined?) making for (sic) law and order and, as a rule, avoiding all disturbance if allowed full freedom to practice their religion." How would you rate this?


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 Post subject: Re: J McSorley's Outline History of the Church
PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 12:06 pm 
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I'm now at page 933 (1900s-the last chapter, because McSorley first published this in 1943; I have the ninth edition, 1954). What will I read when I finish this? Another broad history, or selections focusing on specific issues?
Most important, what should we learn from Church History? I'm still resisting conclusions until I finish, although I've already skipped around in most of the rest of the book--I read the short, four-page epilogue in the first few weeks.
I suspect the most important question is whether the Church has ever or will ever have authority and success in it's efforts to impose regulations on secular issues rather than just Theological?
Through most of the post-Roman and medieval ages, many secular rulers sought Church endorsement and support for reasons of gaining secular power. With the emergence of communist and atheistic socialism, Church secular influence has diminished enormously, could perhaps that be for the best?
Should the Church be among the many groups seeking universal power?


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 Post subject: Re: J McSorley's Outline History of the Church
PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2015 8:39 am 
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Curiously, the index has no listing for faith alone, but three for faith and reason. I've been struggling with Pope Benedict XVI's encyclical for months, so this topic is of high interest to me.
p313-"One outstanding achievement of the eleventh-century schools was the devising of a new philosophical approach to the Christian Mysteries...the philosophers of the schools developed a system of 'Christian Rationalism'...conspicuous among the sound writiers were Lanfranc and Anselm...among those classified as reckless or heterodox were Berengarius and Roscelin.
In other places McSorley is more skeptical of rationalism, which he describes as having been distorted by many, especially protestants and atheists, but also attacked by many.
I'm not at all sure that any intelligent Christian Rationalist has claimed "reason alone," have they?
Surely the search for rationale amid Christian Mysteries can't be evil. Isn't Apologetics basically the search for Christian Rationalism?


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 Post subject: Re: J McSorley's Outline History of the Church
PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2015 8:45 am 
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No. Thinking rationally and Rationalism are not necessarily the same thing. Rationalism tries to dispense as much as possible with the need for divine revelation.

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 Post subject: Re: J McSorley's Outline History of the Church
PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2015 12:45 pm 
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Rationalism is right up there with liberalism and even Grace, each with a long, confusing, and often misleading list of so-called "definitions." Don't you think dictionaries would be a lot more helpful if they focused on the origin of words and tried to be more specific about "best," and most specific connotations? I think it might be helpful to add a few other quotations from McSorley about rationalism, and hope you'll do the same from sources you like.
I'm aware that rationalism received papal condemnation, but so did modernism, democracy, the Magna Charta, and others. It is very difficult to intelligently discuss generalities, as CS Lewis and others have warned us.
Also I notice that the internet gives a strange preference to a Brazilian "philosophy, not religion" of Christian Rationalism, but I think we should remember the view of theology as faith seeking understanding.
Note to GKC et al: it might be best to be sure your copy of History is protected--yesterday I noticed that Amazon had only one copy available, for 113 lbs (used).


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 Post subject: Re: J McSorley's Outline History of the Church
PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2015 1:06 pm 
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eschator83 wrote:
Rationalism is right up there with liberalism and even Grace, each with a long, confusing, and often misleading list of so-called "definitions." Don't you think dictionaries would be a lot more helpful if they focused on the origin of words and tried to be more specific about "best," and most specific connotations? I think it might be helpful to add a few other quotations from McSorley about rationalism, and hope you'll do the same from sources you like.
I'm aware that rationalism received papal condemnation, but so did modernism, democracy, the Magna Charta, and others. It is very difficult to intelligently discuss generalities, as CS Lewis and others have warned us.
Also I notice that the internet gives a strange preference to a Brazilian "philosophy, not religion" of Christian Rationalism, but I think we should remember the view of theology as faith seeking understanding.
Note to GKC et al: it might be best to be sure your copy of History is protected--yesterday I noticed that Amazon had only one copy available, for 113 lbs (used).



If and when I find, it, I will. Been going steadily through my storage space. Maybe 450 boxes to go.

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 Post subject: Re: J McSorley's Outline History of the Church
PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2015 10:18 am 
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eschator83 wrote:
Rationalism is right up there with liberalism and even Grace, each with a long, confusing, and often misleading list of so-called "definitions." Don't you think dictionaries would be a lot more helpful if they focused on the origin of words and tried to be more specific about "best," and most specific connotations? I think it might be helpful to add a few other quotations from McSorley about rationalism, and hope you'll do the same from sources you like.
I'm aware that rationalism received papal condemnation, but so did modernism, democracy, the Magna Charta, and others. It is very difficult to intelligently discuss generalities, as CS Lewis and others have warned us.
Also I notice that the internet gives a strange preference to a Brazilian "philosophy, not religion" of Christian Rationalism, but I think we should remember the view of theology as faith seeking understanding.
Note to GKC et al: it might be best to be sure your copy of History is protected--yesterday I noticed that Amazon had only one copy available, for 113 lbs (used).

Democracy was condemned? I didn't know that.

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 Post subject: Re: J McSorley's Outline History of the Church
PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2015 10:48 am 
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The meaning of "democracy" has shifted over time. See the C/E article on the topic.

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 Post subject: Re: J McSorley's Outline History of the Church
PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2015 11:14 am 
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It has Cjristian democracy, not democreacy.

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 Post subject: Re: J McSorley's Outline History of the Church
PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2015 11:31 am 
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Jack3 wrote:
Democracy was condemned? I didn't know that.



What was condemned are the principles of the so-called "Enlightenment" and the French Revolution. Keep in mind that for a long time the word "democracy" was tainted and intentionally avoided. In the United States, the Founding Fathers deliberately went out of their way to avoid the word "democracy" using instead the term "representative federalist republic." The earliest political parties were the Federalists and the Republicans (not the same thing as the modern Republican party which wasn't founded until 1854).

In 1801, after an extremely bitter and contentious presidential election, president Thomas Jefferson tried to mend fences with the opposition by announcing that party labels should be irrelevant because "we are all federalists, and we are all republicans." Deliberately avoided was the word "democrat." That word was regarded as offensive and inflammatory.


It was only in the 1830's, more than 50 years after the Declaration of Independence, that the modern "Democratic Party" was founded, from the ashes of Jefferson's Republican party. This was the first time that the word "democrat" was used in a positive sense. But even then the word "democracy" was still not a respectable word. Instead terms like "self-government" were preferred.

In the Gettysburg Address in 1863, Abraham Lincoln avoided the use of the word "democracy" by instead speaking of "government of the people, by the people and for the people." "Democracy" still wasn't a respectable word.


It was not until the year 1917 that the word "democracy" was used by an American president in a positive sense when Woodrow Wilson spoke of entering World War I to "make the world safe for democracy." And that positive usage of the word didn't become common until World War II.


So, there's a reason why the word "democracy" has long been a "bad word." The Pope's condemnations of democracy fit right in with the condemnation of the Founding Fathers.

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 Post subject: Re: J McSorley's Outline History of the Church
PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2015 11:37 am 
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Thank you. Can you name the documents of condemnation so I can hopefully read them muself?

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 Post subject: Re: J McSorley's Outline History of the Church
PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2015 12:07 pm 
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Jack3 wrote:
Thank you. Can you name the documents of condemnation so I can hopefully read them myself?


Read the Syllabus of Errors and follow the footnotes for the original documents that are being quoted.

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 Post subject: Re: J McSorley's Outline History of the Church
PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2015 12:51 pm 
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Let's all remember that the ancient Greek city-states developed a variety of democratic governments in the era 600 BC, but even in small cities with essentially homogenous populations there were dreadful and tragic conflicts, and democracy self-destructed for 2000 years. Sadly, evil overcomes good unless good is willing and able to defend itself. If you can't learn that from history, you haven't much of a future. There aren't enough mountains for us to flee to.
I'm republican because it seems clearly absurd to let the common citizen decide critical issues.


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 Post subject: Re: J McSorley's Outline History of the Church
PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2015 12:00 pm 
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Now on p 1032--I'm really dragging my feet (re-reading, filling two notebooks on issues, etc) because I don't want to finish the book. There are so many issues I wish I knew much more about. I went to our closest Catholic college last week to see what Church history books they were selling for classes--the only one in stock was Bokenkotter's History, which I have tried many times to read but find dreadfully biased. Maybe the message is to try again. Would anyone join in discussing his book?
Interesting quote from p 1007: The number of nominal protestants in the world is probably as great at present as ever before, but the drift away from supernatural faith is marked. As a body, protestants hold no common doctrine; and they retain little of their religious tradition, except the claim to private judgment in matters of religion and their antagonism to the authoritative system of the Catholic Church. An increasing number proclaim their dislike of dogma and their belief that religion consists of good conduct and social service. The cleavage between fundamentalists and modernists has affected almost all protestant churches.


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 Post subject: Re: J McSorley's Outline History of the Church
PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2015 12:46 pm 
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McSorley's epilogue is disappointingly short, little more than two pages, yet it does much to explain his style of writing even though it does little to specifically encourage readers to recognize or act upon the "lessons of history."

Three of his most interesting comments are: "The centuries of Church history make a long story of difficulties encountered and dangers survived…students pondering this story have found persuasive evidence of the Church's Divinity in the fact that She still exists…"

"The reader of this book is in possession of evidence…which makes it comparatively easy to believe that the only Society which has lived thus long will live forever; that the Teacher who has never taught falsehood yet will never teach falsehood in the future; in a word, that the Church which links (our Pope) with Peter the Apostle is the Church of God."

"…Man must realize the indissoluble connection between peace and justice, the inevitability of punishment of selfishness, individual or collective. Thus, perhaps, he may providentially be led to a sense of the necessary connection between faith and human wellbeing--perhaps even to a realization that to remain unshaken, faith must rest upon an immovable Church."


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 Post subject: Re: J McSorley's Outline History of the Church
PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2015 1:04 pm 
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You're still reading this book? Is it really long or are you just reading slowly?

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 Post subject: Re: J McSorley's Outline History of the Church
PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2015 3:16 pm 
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You're right in both counts, but I'm determined to try to better understand to what extent there are lessons in history that can truly benefit us today, or whether our modern science and co-mingled cultures demand new answers and solutions.
Perhaps the starting point is seeking understanding whether there is basically one basic, universal human nature, or whether it's being shaped, progressing and regressing, by history, culture, evolution, and chance. I can't remember previously giving much thought to this beyond wondering about the sources of evil and malice (environment or inherent).
In a similar vein, I'm struggling to understand the extent to which Church Doctrine, Liturgy, and Dogma have been developed or Revealed. See my thread on Fr Joseph Champlin's Special Signs of Grace where I'm struggling to decide whether to ask for discussion of the origin of the Doctrine that Jesus instituted all seven Sacraments.
The outline structure lets Fr McSorley almost always escape gracefully from having to commit or even reveal himself in most controversies, which enables him to briefly identify, many of the innumerable challenges the Church has survived, but sadly permits very little specific discussion. I'm hoping in this thread some of the sources of answers to these issues will be shared.


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 Post subject: Re: J McSorley's Outline History of the Church
PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2015 10:04 am 
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I'm reluctant to stop writing in this thread before asking more explicitly for comments on the most important lessons of history, and adding a few of my own comments. I feel the need to grumble a bit about some of McSorley's conclusions, but much more I want to praise his scholarship and the enormous effort this book reflects.
Have you noticed that the book is the first historical recommendation in the Catholic Reading Plan by Sheed?
In McSorley's Preface he explains his structure of a chapter for each century as an effort to help readers visualize the time relationship of events, but he also uses the topical method for many subjects, which are specifically included in each relevant chapter, as shown in Table of Contents. Curiously, his "outline" style does not prevent his discussing some topics at considerable length, such as Church opposition to communism, reservations about infallibility, and especially his view that God will ensure the survival of the Church. Yet many more issues seem to be barely mentioned. Perhaps among the most interesting of McSorley's views is his decision to call the 900s the darkest age, whereas the 1900s (first half only is discussed) is merely "transition," but says very little to justify either chapter title.


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