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By Michael Kerrigan

The world’s biggest Christian association with 1.2 billion contributors, the Catholic Church is among the world’s oldest associations and has performed an important half within the improvement of Western civilization. yet in its upward thrust from Jewish sect to worldwide religion, it's been either the persecuted and the persecutors; it has turn into strong yet to blame of corruption; and it has preached ethical purity yet has been marred by way of abuse scandals.

From the persecution of the early Christians in old Rome, during the terrors of the anti-heresy witchhunts of the infamous Grand Inquisitor, Torquemada, to papal collaboration with the Nazis in the course of international battle II, darkish background of the Catholic Church tells the tales of heretics and pogroms, mom Teresa and martyred clergymen,

papal purges and crooked clergy, fake prophets and faithless pontiffs.

Illustrated with one hundred eighty images, work, and illustrations, darkish background of the Catholic Church finds the notorious underside of the world’s oldest Christian faith.

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Extra resources for Dark History of the Catholic Church: Schisms, Wars, Inquisitions, Witch Hunts, Scandals, Corruption

Example text

Christians were tolerated for decades on end, but could never feel secure – in times of economic hardship they made the ideal scapegoats for all the Empire’s ills. Understandably, perhaps, Pagan contemporaries were cynical about the whole ‘Love thy neighbour’ message and found it hard to recognize the distinction being made between affectionate goodwill and sex. ‘There is mingled among them a certain religion of lust’, one said. ‘They call one another promiscuously brothers and sisters’. The word ‘promiscuously’ here, of course, isn’t used in a sexual sense, but it’s easy to see how suspicious all this ‘love’ and siblinghood must have seemed.

Their clergy had the ear of the world’s rulers. Although Christianity’s fortunes were now closely tied to the strength and power of the Roman Empire, this alliance was also a source of vulnerability. As of AD 312, though, the potential pitfalls must have seemed extremely theoretical alongside the real and present benefits flowing from an association with the Roman state. In historical hindsight, it’s clear that Constantine’s own struggle to attain his throne (the fight which had in fact precipitated his Christian conversion) was a sign that all might not be well in the Empire.

Angelic reinforcements flock to Constantine’s standard at the Battle of Milvian Bridge, on 28 October 312. The victorious ruler made Christianity the official religion of his Empire. An unusual take on the Gospel message, but Constantine’s patronage transformed the fortunes of what was now the Church of Rome. Practical considerations may have brought them here – the catacombs offered the only obvious place of safety in a hostile city – but those who ventured down among the dead to pray for eternal life must surely have been fully conscious of the powerful symbolism too.

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