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Catholic History for Today's Church


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Table of Contents

Introduction Part I. The Papacy and the Popes 1 The Millennium and the Papalization of Catholicism 2 Papal Job Descriptions: Yesterday and Today 3 Cardinals in Conclave: A Troubled History 4 Reform of the Papal Curia: Historical and Theological Perspectives 5 The Beatification of Pope Pius IX 6 Two Popes: Benedict and Francis Part II. Two Councils: Trent and Vatican II 7 The Council of Trent: Myths, Misunderstandings, and Unintended Consequences 8 Bishops and Theologians at the Council of Trent: A Lesson for Today 9 The Council of Trent and Michelangelo's Last Judgment 10 Ten Sure-Fire Ways to Mix Up the Teaching of Vatican II 11 What Happened and Did Not Happen at Vatican II 12 Dialog and the Identity of Vatican II 13 Two Councils Compared: Trent and Vatican II Part Three: The Church at Large 14 Some Basics about Celibacy 15 Were Medieval Universities Catholic? 16 Excommunicating Politicians 17 One Priesthood, Two Traditions Conclusion: My Life of Learning

About the Author

John W. O'Malley, SJ, is a Roman Catholic priest and professor in the department of theology at Georgetown University. He is the author of a number of books, including A History of the Popes, The First Jesuits, What Happened at Vatican II, and The Jesuits: A History from Ignatius to the Present. Besides other honors he has received six best book awards as well as lifetime achievement awards from the Society for Italian Historical Studies, the Renaissance Society of America, and the American Catholic Historical Association. In 1995 he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and he is past president of the American Catholic Historical Association and the Renaissance Society of America.


A wide array of topics are covered here, including the fascinating stories of a number of the popes, the origins of priestly celibacy, as well as a summary of the great councils of the Church and what they did and did not decide. O'Malley is a masterful writer and elucidates complex ideas in a way that the average lay person can not only understand, but also appreciate. A key highlight is the chapter from an address the author delivered about his own life of learning and navigating academia. It is humble, encouraging, and filled with quite a bit of history itself from the author's multiple decades of experience as a student, priest, scholar, and teacher. As is the case with most of O'Malley's corpus of work, this collection will please even the most cursory student of history and whet readers' appetites for more. * Publishers Weekly *
Readers who are serious about their love of the Church will find this book to be of immense interest and insight. * St. Anthony Messenger *
If the historian's work is to make sense of the past, the effort is often shaped according to matters of the moment. This is history with a purpose, at work in the service of the present and is largely what O'Malley is about in this highly readable collection of lectures, book chapters, and previously published essays. A constant theme throughout is 'what happened in the past gives helpful perspectives on the present' (95). But this is not simply a collection of O'M.'s short historical writing: this is a handbook of historical pathways to contemporary Roman Catholic ecclesiology. And it's done with a personal touch. * Theological Studies *
John O'Malley, SJ, is the uncontested dean of Catholic historians in this country. Like everything he writes, his new book, a collection of superb essays, is based on his vast learning and written in sparkling prose. I cannot recommend his scholarship or his writing highly enough. -- James Martin, SJ, author of The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything and Jesus: A Pilgrimage
Only the best historians, who have spent a lifetime at their craft, can compass their learning into the brief scope of an essay. In the present volume, John O'Malley has done this time and time again to stunning effect on a range of topics in Catholic Church history, where he is the consummate guide. The elegance of expression in these essays is the direct consequence of his mastery of the subject. -- Jeffrey von Arx, SJ, president and professor of history, Fairfield University
Immensely learned and deeply humane, O'Malley demonstrates how Catholics cannot understand their present without understanding their past. His sparkling prose and acute insights are not to be missed by anyone concerned about the state of Roman Catholicism today. -- M. Cathleen Kaveny, Darald and Juliet Libby Professor of Law and Theology, Boston College
In this superb book, O'Malley makes clear that nothing sheds more light on the present than a firm grasp of the past. -- James L. Heft, SM, president, Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies, University of Southern California

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