Monday, November 22, 2010

Review: Seven Lies About Catholic History

Diane Moczar has done us a good service by writing this book, Seven Lies About Catholic History. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. Dr. Moczar takes us through just seven out of the millions (probably) of lies perennially told about the Church. She begins by first examining some reasons for the lies. Then she devotes a chapter to each of the ones selected. A overview (in a great biting tone btw) is provided for each one. Then she debunks the lie and goes about teaching us how to debunk it. This book is a good way to give the uninformed Catholic an easy way to answer some of the most vicious lies about Church history. Even for the student of history this book could serve as a refresher (or as a first step toward reality).

The lies covered between the covers are:

1. The Dark Ages
2. The Catholic Church, Enemy of Progress
3. A Crusade against the Truth
4. The Sinister Inquisition
5. Science on Trial: the Catholic Church vs. Galileo
6. A Church Corrupted to the Core
7. A Black and Expedient Legend.

There was one point in the book that I mildly disagreed with Dr. Moczar about. She seemed to defend the Church's relaxation of its usury laws, which I believe hasn't worked out for us so well. Our entire modern financial system is based on immoral usury and we have now seen the results. However I am not in the money-finance-CNBC business at all, so perhaps I'm wrong. Certainly the history is fuzzy to me.

The chapter I enjoyed the most was "A Black and Expedient Legend". The Black Legend is a bunch of (reformation period protestant) nonsense history that calumnied Catholic Spain during the 1500-1600s. It basically says that Catholic explorers and conquerors brutally treated, enslaved, and tortured wonderful native and noble savages while looking for gold in the New World. I learned a lot from that chapter I didn't know, such as the fact that captured Spaniards were sacrificed to the Aztec Gods and also that Cortes refused to eat the meat (because it might have been human!) when eating dinner with Montezuma.

This book was a lot of fun to read and so I recommend it! At about $12 it makes a good stocking stuffer. You can also get it for your Kindle or other eReader.

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"The whole truth is generally the ally of virtue; a half-truth is always the ally of some vice." - G.K. Chesterton