Today feels like a very historic day for our Church. This morning, we witnessed the first official “tweet” from the newly-minted @Pontifex Twitter account (read a recap here), marking a new phase in the New Evangelization as Pope Benedict XVI engages with the Faithful via social networking. Today, I’m thrilled to share a terrific resource for anyone interested in learning more about the history of our Church. Check out History of the Catholic Church: From the Apostolic Age to the Third Millennium by James Hitchcock, Ph.D. The book releases on 12/19 but is available now for pre-order and would make an amazing gift for any reader on your Christmas list. LMH
Turning the Pages of Catholic History
James Hitchcock offers readable, compelling story of the Church
SAN FRANCISCO, DEC. 11, 2012 – “Men are surprised by each new turn of the pages of the book of history.” With those words, esteemed historian James Hitchcock introduces readers to HISTORY OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH – from the Apostolic Age to the Third Millennium. The new book is available now from Ignatius Press.
Hitchcock, a leading commentator on the Catholic Church in America and longtime professor of history at St. Louis University, maps a fascinating journey of discovery. HISTORY OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH transports readers from Jesus’ call of the apostles and the birth of the Catholic Church, through the struggles of saints and sinners, the rise and fall of empires, the contributions of great Catholic thinkers and the holy lives of simple believers, to the Church’s place today as the longest-enduring social institution in human history. From Peter to Benedict XVI, Hitchcock recounts the divine and human drama of that great community of diverse believers known as the Catholic Church.
“While in every age the Church demonstrates her power to transform the world,” Hitchcock writes, “the moral weaknesses of both her leaders and her members are at the same time both a scandal and an ironic witness to her divine character – mere men could never have accomplished the good that the Church has achieved over two millennia. Left entirely to men, the Church ought to have perished at many points in her long history.”
Hitchcock is an able historian and superb writer, combining keen historical judgment with an entertaining and readable style. He surveys the grand sweep of Church history and the culture-shaping role the Church has played in world history. Only a historian of outstanding skill and intellectual stature could cover such a vast topic with such style, insight, and profound judgment.
This is no mere “historical textbook;” it’s a rich, adventurous true-story told in just as rich a fashion. HISTORY OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH is a compellingly hard-to-put-down book, more like an engrossing novel than a “history book.”
Endorsements of HISTORY OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH already are impressive.
“To love the Church, we must understand her history,” said Timothy Cardinal Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “As Blessed Pope John XXIII remarked, ‘History is our best teacher.’ Thank you, Dr. Hitchcock, for this timeless gift to the Church for the Year of Faith.”
“If you want an unforgettable account of the fullness and drama of the Christian story, read this book,” said Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput, Archbishop of Philadelphia.
“The book is well-written,” said Glenn W. Olsen, emeritus professor of history at the University of Utah. “It is not burdened down with details or many footnotes, but is attached to a strong narrative line centering on meaning.”
“History is indeed the war of good against evil,” Hitchcock writes, “but the progress of that war is hidden from human eyes.” Nevertheless, HISTORY OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH provides mere mortals a revealing glimpse into the shape of the war’s course.
Copyright 2012 Lisa M. Hendey