The Catholic church and the creation of modern Western institutions


Has it ever occured to you guys just how much society and it’s development owes to the Catholic Church?

The church invented:

  • Banking(or more specifically International Banking)
  • Tourism
  • Travel Agencies(Yep! had to organise pilgrimages somehow!)
  • Penitentiaries(Prisons! hence the name Penitentiary which comes from Penitent)
  • Hotels
  • Hospitals
  • Universities
  • Modern Style Public Schools

Not to mention other artistic and scientific things like the fact it practically funded the renaissance…

Now here’s my second question… is modern secular society using such inventions without respecting the Catholic roots of society? What will happen if society forgets just how much the church has carried Western Civilization on it’s back? Is that happening today? are people forgetting just how much positiveness the faith of our lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has given to this world when they support things like Athiesm and Abortion?


Descendants frequently enjoy the fruits of their ancestors without heed for the love their ancestors had for them. Even if the world forgets the good the Church has brought into the world, that doesn’t change the fact that it was the Church that engendered it.



I know a number of writers over the years have pointed out that the West is living off, and using up, its vast supply of Catholic capital (such as the things you’ve mentioned). I know Chesterton was one who observed this.

Using up that capital without replacing it, it must be added.


The modern classic on this topic:

**How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization **
by Thomas E. Woods Jr



I think that’s true.
Of course part of the explanation is that the Church was the largest and most influential organisation in Europe during the Middle Ages. It is not too surprising that double entry bookkeeping was invented by a Franciscan friar to keep Church books in order. Had Europe been pagan then temples would presumably have invented some means of keeping track of their sacrificed chickens.

However in fact the modern world was not brought into being by paganism. The Romans had a sophisticated technology, but they didn’t have science, and so their advnaces could never become self-sustaining.

As someone who works in science, I see that our scientific culture is in much deeper trouble than most people admit, or realise. Arts collapse immediately the Church’s support is withdrawn, or to be exact when the Church’s influence is withdrawn - you get a first round of genuine, if shallow, anti-Christian radical polemics, which do qualify as artistic works. Then it’s plinths being mistaken for sculpture. Science can potter on for a while, because it is much harder to convince yourself that you are teaching a scientiifc subject when you aren’t. But the decline is insiduious, and it is much harder to recover once the damage is done.


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