I like to peruse new books on Amazon–or anywhere– and came across this new title named The Catholic Enlightenment. The title of the book really drove my interest, as well as the billing of the book to be a huge addition to the historical record. My academic career being in history and also being a Catholic it would seem like the book is a home run for my interest of heart. Also, my ‘expertise’ or ‘focus’ in history academically seems to be tailor made for the book’s subject as it was a focus on the Early American Republic, which was highly influenced by the Enlightenment.
The book, being released on February 3rd, 2016, has no reviews on Amazon, and so wanting to learn more about the title I sent off to find a more detailed review on the subject matter. I found one on www.patheos.com and here are some of the interesting points I pulled from the review.
** “the Enlightenment (a.k.a. “Age of Reason“) is commonly used by atheists as a blunt tool against religious people.”
** “Catholics tend to see the Enlightenment as a period of sinful darkness and secular fanaticism. For them this secular ideology fueled the apocalyptic destruction of the French Revolution and 20th century totalitarianism.”
** And one of the most interesting thoughts** “Most interestingly, Catholics got a jump start on many Enlightenment reforms thanks to the reforms of Trent. The Council, much like Vatican II, aimed to improve the quality of Catholic practice by stressing active participation and social involvement (through the Works of Mercy). This is definitely not how many Catholics remember Trent–if they are at all familiar with it.”
The review is very thought provoking, one would only hope the book serves the intellect just as well. Many of my posts lately have challenged Traditional stances on Catholicism; however, I wouldn’t necessarily claim that I attempted to co-opt Trent to justify Vatican II. It’s a very interesting position, because, in my conversations with my fellow Catholics, most Catholics either fall on the Pro-Trent aisle or the Pro-Vatican II aisle. However, it’s also the heart of many of my dialogues to co-opt the two councils has a development of faith in Christ. Let me be clear–and my traditional friends will love this assertion–The Council of Trent is so vital to the Catholic faith that if you are Pro-Vatican II then yes you do have to justify Vatican II council with Trent (they are not equals and this would be why when defending the vernacular Mass, I cite Trent documents and sessions.)
Nonetheless, one of the skills everyone learns, or should learn, taking university level college courses is how to detect bias in every author’s written work. Let’s make a clear distinction here, every historical thesis is filled with author bias on the events. My posts all have bias, it’s unavoidable.
It appears the author, from this review, attempts to treat the subject matter with fairness. Although it will be interesting to see if the author attempts to come down on a pro-Trent, pro-Vatican II, or an attempt at both that all Catholics seem to focus their attention on. Is the book an attempt to fashion a more appealing brand of Catholicism towards secularists and will use Vatican II to do so or attempt to place Vatican II as a development of Trent?
I suppose I’ll have to read the book as quotes, shown below, only attempt to entice one to open the book and read.