The Church of Cathedral and Crusade, Volume 1
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By Henri Daniel-Rops
The Church of Cathedral and Crusade is the third installment in Henri Daniel-Rops’ monumental History of the Church of Christ. This volume includes the first seven chapters of that work, surveying the salient characteristics of the period 1050 to 1350; the religious foundation of the age and its expressions in prayer and pilgrimage, liturgy and sacrament; the archetype of medieval manhood, St. Bernard of Clairvaux; the leavening labors of reform and renewal by Popes Gregory VII and Paschal II and Sts. Francis of Assisi and Dominic de Guzmán; the relationship between Church and State, popes and monarchs, and ecclesial and secular hierarchies; the governmental model of the medieval Church and its effects on the moral and material economies; and the tension between such Christian ideals as fidelity, humility, and charity (symbolized by St. Louis IX) and those all-too-human realities of impetuosity, vanity, and violence.
There is nothing gloomy about medieval culture; it radiates joy and a spirit of bold originality.… “I hold God made all for the best.…” There you have that tranquillity and sublime confidence which alone could have produced the cathedrals and crusades. ( Henri Daniel-Rops)
Spectacular in scope and detail, The Church of Cathedral and Crusade presents Christendom in “the springtime of its youth” in which it “built the cathedrals, compiled the summae, embarked on the crusades, spread and intensified the Gospel message; while the Church’s power reached heights hitherto unexplored, and she herself became the guide of human thought.” The cause of this incomparable creativity? Simply, on Daniel-Rops’ studied assessment, that “from the lowest to the highest, society believed.”
Henri Daniel-Rops (1901–1965), the nom de plume of Henri Petiot, was a French Catholic historian. His bibliography comprises seventy books—written over a span of just thirty years—and includes Sacred History, Jesus and His Times, and the monumental, ten-volume History of the Church of Christ. He also served as editor for the Twentieth Century Encyclopedia of Catholicism, which consisted of one hundred and fifty volumes. Phenomenally successful in his own time, Daniel-Rops made religious history accessible and popular; in 1955, he was elected to the Académie française and in 1956 he received the Order of St. Gregory from Pope Pius XII.
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