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The Civilization That Is Catholic


Rather than absorbing the disparaging popular image of Catholicism, let’s take some vigorous steps to learn – and even to relish – the notable contributions Catholicism has made to world civilization for millennia. We might even share it with our kids.

Imagine if we could walk through a museum showing some of the great Catholic achievements in world history. This would be much more honest than going along with the massive propaganda efforts of the Enlightenment to suppress this remarkable history. Thomas E. Woods’ book How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization offers a tantalizing picture of just some of the thousands of world-changing contributions that Catholics have made over the centuries.

Let’s start with astronomy. Woods says “the Roman Catholic Church gave more financial aid and social support to the study of astronomy for over six centuries from the recovery of ancient learning during the late Middle Ages into the Enlightenment, than any other and probably all other institutions.” He was quoting the conclusion of a researcher at the University of California, Berkeley.

Looking at the building of European culture, he calls Saint Benedict “the Father of Europe” because of the whole range of institutions and charitable works done by Benedictine monasteries through the ages. They range from centers for animal husbandry and farming to centers of learning and libraries. And don’t forget the worship.

Of course, there were innumerable other contributions in the cultural arena. A Dominican priest, Francisco de Vitoria (born 1483), is often called the Father of International Law for his arguments about the legal status of the peoples of the New World. He argued that the natural law “existed not just among Christians but among all peoples.”

Read more at The Catholic Thing.

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