The Catholic Church in the Modern World
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By E. E. Y. Hales
From the vantage point of the twenty-first century, the Catholic Church and modernity seem to be two entities inextricably at odds with one another. Modernity, for better or worse, stands for change; the Church, for stasis. Following the upheaval of the French Revolution, the Church has been “striving to sift the wheat from the chaff amongst the new ideas” of modernity. Surveying the two centuries from the pre-revolutionary ancién régime to the commencement of the Cold War, Hales looks at the Church as a whole, revealing the range of her influence, the rationale for her political and diplomatic campaigns, and, ultimately, the primary principle of her existence: to safeguard the Faith and provide for the salvation of souls.
“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…” –Thomas Babington Macaulay
A carefully researched, balanced assessment of a complex, at times contentious period in Church history, The Catholic Church in the Modern World demonstrates Hale’s distinctive talent for surveying the past from the perspective of the present with both candor and nuance—a talent the twenty-first century would do well to emulate.
E. E. Y. Hales (1908–1986) was an English Catholic historian and author. He held a brief professorship at Yale University and then served as an Inspector of Schools for the British government, retiring as a Commander of the British Empire. In 1949, he converted to Catholicism. Best-known among his authored works are Pio Nono: A Study in European Politics and Religion in the Nineteenth Century and The Catholic Church in the Modern World.