Some historical issues

does anyone have some historical knowledge on the following?

religious tolerance by the church, when conversing with others, I often find an attitude of “well cahotlics treated protestants badly and jews as well, so they shouldn’t complain about muslim persecution now”. for example, why were jews put in to ghettos and sometimes cahtolics monarchs started wars with protestants.

as well as colonization by spain and Portugal, it’s often portrayed as quite a brutal ordeal. and skeptics claim that that’s why most of the Americas is catholic, because it was forced on them.

the transmission of faith, now we have bible studies, rcia, mass in the vernacular, catholic schools, catechism classes. how did others transmit the faith historically? were their other ways? I realize not all our modern options would have been possible or feasible in other time periods

any factual sources would be appreciated. there seems to be a lot of misinformation floating around

Here is a timeline of Catholic promotion of religious tolerance:

Regarding religious wars, our Church’s teachings lay out very strict conditions within which war may be waged justly, and it is my understanding that any wars not meeting those conditions were opposed by many strong and faithful Catholics in all periods of history, including at the Reformation.

However, I think some of the actions Catholics took in the religious wars of the time are justifiable. For example, it is my understanding that the 30 Years War was opened by an unjustified revolution of Bohemian Protestants against the Catholic emperor in Germany. Because I think the revolution was unjust, I also think the Catholic powers of Europe had a right to come together to suppress it. And this is arguably the most significant of the wars in world history where religious differences played a major role.

Of course, even within a just war, the use of force must be limited and the nations involved must try to prevent abuses and brutalities against the enemy. I don’t know enough about the history of warfare to prove whether the Catholic parties in the religious wars of Europe tried to follow the conditions for just war or not. I would guess that in some cases they did not, and when they did not their actions were opposed by faithful Catholics.

Actually, I think it is quite difficult to analyze wars that way as a rule. A good analysis of major wars in history, in light of the Church’s just war doctrine, would be an awesome contribution to Catholic literature. I’m not aware of any books just on that issue. However, books of Church History by Catholic authors do often try to say what Church leaders did during major wars of history as part of their overall narrative. I recommend you take a look at Joseph Darras’ excellent book, “A General History of the Catholic Church.” Volume 4 covers history from after the Reformation, and you could look up any wars you are interested in to see how he treats them. The book is here:

[Regarding] colonization by spain and Portugal, it’s often portrayed as quite a brutal ordeal. and skeptics claim that that’s why most of the Americas is catholic, because it was forced on them.

The book I just mentioned treats the colonization of the Americas in two places, one here (scroll to #35) and one here. It explains both the good and the bad, points out where the Church promoted the rights of the native Americans, and defends some people who have been unjustly accused of brutality toward the natives.

Among other historical resources you could look at as evidence of the Church’s mind on brutality toward native Americans, I recommend you look up the encyclical Sublimus Dei, which was released in 1537 A.D., the life of the Defender of the Indians Bartolome de las Casas, who was a Dominican friar who is up for sainthood, the New Laws promulgated by Emperor Charles V, which helped implement the reforms demanded by Pope Paul III, the Last Will and Testament of Queen Isabella of Spain, which demands fair treatment for Indians, and the contributions of the University of Salamanca, which helped establish a doctrine of universal human rights for native Americans. A good example of how they did this was through the distribution of the ideas of the university’s headmaster in the book “On the Indians Lately Discovered.”

OK, for sake of argument, let’s suppose that EVERYTHING you have said is true. Catholics were repressive, the routinely tortured people and forced conversions at the point of a sword, and whatever other bad behavior you could come up with. Lets suppose, for the sake of argument, that WHATEVER you can come up with in the way of bad behavior is true.

Now, tell me why you think it matters. You obviously think it matters, or you would not have asked the question. Without quibbling over particular historic events, assume that I am willing to accept WHATEVER bad (sinful) behavior you could imagine (regardless of whether there is a shred of historic evidence), and then tell me why you think it matters.

Because that’s really the question here.

It really does not matter if just ONE, or ALL of your accusations (or ALL of the accusations that you could imagine - baby-eating Bishops, for example) are accurate. If just ONE is accurate (and I’m pretty sure that this could be proved) then the question is the same.

Tell me why you consider just ONE, or a MILLION accusations of sinful behavior to be relevant? What do you think that one example of a sinful Catholic, or a million examples, proves regarding the Catholic Church?

Do you think it proves that Catholics are sinners? This is nothing new - the Church teaches that ALL Catholics are sinners. Even our Saints (with the exception of Mary) are sinners.

Why do you ask this question?

It wasn’t forced.

But, so what if it was? What does it prove?

Never quibble about history. If Angel1 can show (from historic record) that it WAS forced, you are made to look like a fool, and Angel1 thinks he has won a victory. Never argue about history - argue about Doctrine.

So what if Hitler (or Stalin) was secretly a Catholic Bishop?

So what if Alberto Rivera had really been a Jesuit priest, and everything he “says” is true?

When someone can show any reason why it MATTERS whether Alberto Rivera was a Jesuit priest and whether it MATTERS why anything he “said” is true, THEN we can debate his actual status (and it will be a quick debate). Until then, SO WHAT?

It matters because calumny matters. As Catholics, we are supposed to stand up for the truth, not just for doctrinal truth, and if we hear someone committing calumny against someone when we know that what they are saying is false, we have an obligation to stand up for the victim or we become complicit in the sin. This is because “everyone enjoys a natural right to the honor of his name and reputation and to respect” (CCC 2479) and we commit sin when “by flattery, adulation, or complaisance [we] encourage…and confirm…another in malicious acts and perverse conduct.” (CCC 2480)

If somebody calumniates the Bride of Christ, I for one would like to correct them.

You divert your resources away from the real issue (which is the flawed premise that sinful Catholics somehow invalidate the Church). Every minute that you spend quibbling about the Crusades is one minute that could have been spent explaining why the Crusades don’t matter (either the successful First, or the other debacles).

So you manage to discredit some crazy story that 10,000 women were raped in the Third. So what? One woman is too many (and you can never demonstrate that nobody was raped. because it really happened). What have you accomplished? You have “proven” that the Church is “not as bad as he said at first?” When it has NOTHING to do with the validity of the Church, whether it was one or 10,000?

By debating historic issues, you validate the guy’s faulty premise (that sinful Catholics somehow invalidate the Church). You might succeed in defeating an actual lie (10,000 rapes) only to then be confronted with the Cadaver Synod (and that really happened). But, if you do get confronted with the Cadaver Synod (or the Pornocracy, or whatever), your one and only defence is to explain why it doesn’t matter - which is what you should have done in the first place.

But, by now, you’ve already quibbled over historic details of the Crusades (and you reached a stalemate, because that’s always what happens when debating history, because you moved on to civilian casualty counts). Now you’re trying to explain why Pope Stephen’s macabre trial of Pope Formosa’s corpse doesn’t matter, when you’ve just quibbled over the Crusades. Now, the other guy is thinking, “well, if it doesn’t matter for the Cadaver Synod, why did it matter for the Crusades?” The thing is, it DIDN’T matter for the Crusades. You led him to believe that, because you were willing to debate how many women were raped in the Third. But it doesn’t matter how many - the Church is still the Church, no matter how badly Catholics behaved. (of course, rapes matter in many other respects, as does all sinful behavior, but it does not matter to the validity of the Church, so don’t allow someone to keep believing that it does by validating this false premise.)

Once someone understands why it would be irrelevant if Hitler was a Bishop then they loose interest in such historic arguments, factual or not. You win every argument at once by yanking away the flawed premise that sinful Catholics somehow invalidate the Church.

There are many shameful episodes in Church history. You’re gonna get confronted with one - an actual one - sooner or later.

While it is true that the Spanish and Portugal colonization was quite savage it is not true that most Latin Americans are catholics because it was forced. It was the catholic church the one who stood up for the rights of the Indians and the one that denounced what was happening. With Fray Bartolome De las casas and fray Antonio De Mintessinos who were the first defensors of the indigenous people of Latin America and if it hadn’t been for fraybbartolome De las casas the Latin american indigenous people would have ended up just like the native Americans - decimated to the point that today they are a minority in north america (contrast this with Latin america in which 80% of the population is from indigenous origin).

The Dominican friars very early in the 1500 in the Hispaniola island (today Dominican republic. There is a reason why it is called “Dominican”) stood up for its indigenous people, they helped them and assisted them. Of course the Dominicans as missionaries did evangelize but the people’s acceptance of them was not because it was forced, it was because the Dominicans fought for them. A very similar situation happened in Puerto Rico with Fray Bartolome and in the rest of Latin america. The catholic missionaries were evangelizing while at the same time raising their voices against a the slavery of Indians.

it matters because I want to know what really happened

I’m tired of being fed all kinds of things by secular historians or anti-cahtolics to later find out that it wasn’t accurate.

I don’t think sinners invalidate the church, by any means but it would be nice to at least be able to explain things if someone is wrong about something. I asked these particular questions because they are topics with a lot of misconceptions and I am not as familiar with them

I’d like to hear more about this. Who was treated badly, can you please get the names of some particular people. By whom (again names) were they mistreated? Can you please give some citations what the mistreated people said? What did those accused of the mistreatment have to say in response?

Are these well founded accusations with details and records of the incidents or simply unfounded, false accusations?

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