Picture Credits

The authors and publishers wish to thank the following for their kind permission to reproduce the illustrations:

Abbas/Magnum Photos; Abegg-Stiftung; Riggisberg/Bridgeman Art Library; The Art Archive/Missions Etrangères Paris/Dagli Orti; Bibliothèque des Arts Decoratifs, Paris/Bridgeman-Charmet Collection; Catholic News Service; Sonia Halliday Photographs; Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston/Bridgeman Art Library; The National Gallery, London; Popperphoto; Carlos Reyes-Manzo/Andes Press Agency; Topham Picturepoint.

Picture research by Sandra Assershon.

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1 The First Thousand Years

We Catholics acknowledge readily...that Catholicism cannot be identified simply and wholly with primitive Christianity, nor even with the Gospel of Christ, in the same way that the great oak cannot be identified with the tiny acorn.

(Karl Adam, The Spirit of Catholicism)

A classic passage from an English historian, Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800—59), recalls the coming together in Catholicism of Greek and Roman culture, the anointing in 754 of Pepin III (714-68) by Stephen III (pope 768-72), St Gregory the Great (pope 590-604) sending St Augustine in 596 to become the first archbishop of Canterbury, and St Leo the Great (pope 440-61) confronting Attila the Hun and his forces in 452. Macaulay's evocation of Catholicism, written in 1840, runs as follows:

There is not, and there never was on this earth, a work of human policy so well deserving of examination as the Roman Catholic Church. The history of that Church joins together the two great ages of human civilisation. No other institution is left standing which carries the mind back to the times when the smoke of sacrifice rose from the Pantheon, and when camelopards and tigers bounded in the Flavian amphitheatre [i.e. the Roman Colosseum]. The proudest royal houses are but of yesterday, when compared with the line of the Supreme Pontiffs. That line we trace back in an unbroken series, from the Pope who crowned Napoleon in the nineteenth century to the Pope who crowned Pepin in the eighth; and far beyond the time of Pepin the august dynasty extends, till it is lost in the twilight of fable. The republic of Venice came next in antiquity. But the republic of Venice was modern when compared with the Papacy; and the republic of Venice is gone, and the Papacy remains. The Papacy remains, not in decay, not a mere antique, but full of life and youthful vigour. The Catholic Church is still sending forth to the farthest ends of the world missionaries as zealous as those who landed in Kent with

Augustin[e], and still confronting hostile kings with the same spirit with which she confronted Attila. The number of her children is greater than in any former age. Her acquisitions in the New World have more than compensated for what she has lost in the Old. Her spiritual ascendency extends over the vast countries which lie between the plains of the Missouri and Cape Horn, countries which, a century hence, may not improbably contain a population as large as that which now inhabits Europe. The members of her communion are certainly not fewer than a hundred and fifty millions; and it will be difficult to show that all other Christian sects united amount to a hundred and twenty millions. Nor do we see any sign which indicates that the term of her long dominion is approaching. She saw the commencement of all governments and of all the ecclesiastical establishments that now exist in the world; and we feel no assurance that she is not destined to see the end of them all. She was great and respected before the Saxon had set foot on Britain, before the Frank had passed the Rhine, when Grecian eloquence still flourished in Antioch, when idols were still worshipped in the temple of Mecca. And she may still exist in undiminished vigour when some traveller from New Zealand shall, in the midst of a vast solitude, take his stand on a broken arch of London Bridge to sketch the ruins of St Paul's.1

Macaulay's rhetoric suggests that history could be the best way into the subject of this book. Hence our two opening chapters will review significant events and persons who show us Catholicism in its strength and in its weakness. Our principal aim is to illustrate the origin and development of important Catholic beliefs and practices that are still with us. The first chapter will be structured in three major sections. It will outline events culminating in the Christian freedom granted by Emperor Constantine in 313, then move on to the Council of Chalcedon in 451, and finally to the split between Eastern and Western Christianity expressed by the mutual excommunications of 1054 pronounced by Cardinal Humbert of Silva Candida (d. 1061) and Michael Cerularius, the patriarch of Constantinople (d. 1058).


Catholic Christianity, which began in Jerusalem with the resurrection of the crucified Jesus (most likely in April AD 30) and the coming of the Holy

1 Essay on Ludwig von Ranke's History of the Popes , in Critical and Historical Essays , iii (London: Longman, 7 th edn. 1952), 100—1. The Venetian Republic originated in the fifth century (when people fled from the forces of Attila the Hun to the safety of some islands) and was finally overthrown by Napoleon in 1797. At the end of the first century AD , Antioch, now occupied by the Turkish town of Antakiyah, was (after Rome, Alexandria, and Ephesus) the fourth largest city of the Roman Empire. In June AD 630 Muhammad (c .570—632) took over Mecca and put an end to the idolatry against Allah that he found there.

Spirit, emerged from Judaism. During his public ministry, or what one might call the period of proto-Christianity, Jesus led a revival movement that had some surprising features (e.g. the presence of women who travelled in his company) but that remained largely within Judaism itself. He gathered a core group of twelve men (all Jews) and a wider group of disciples who seem to have included some non-Jews (e.g. Matt. 8: 5—13; Mark 7: 26; Luke 17: 11—19).2

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