Book Review

Five Anti-Catholic Myths

By Gerard M. Verschuuren
Angelico Press
ISBN: 978-1621381280

Book coverThose of us who make the case for moral consistency in the Catholic tradition are often confronted by those who claim that the Church has promoted error in the past. They would argue that if the Church got it so badly wrong on slavery, it has likely got it wrong on abortion, marriage etc.

The myths examined in this wonderfully readable work are slavery, the Crusades, the Inquisition, Galileo and the Holocaust.

The author notes that slavery was a common practice in the Roman Empire. Had the Church attempted to abolish it immediately, it would have led to economic chaos. The Church did however condemn the slave trade in the Middle Ages and did so consistently. The Catholics who rejected Papal teaching on this issue were surely like the dissenters of today.

On the Crusades, it is shown that it was the Muslims who were the invaders. The Crusades were a defensive response to Muslim aggression. The noble aspirations that were so obvious during the First Crusade were sadly to crumble later due to fallen human nature.

The author notes that because of the "Black Legend" regarding Spain, the number of those put to death by the Spanish Inquisition has been highly exaggerated. In fact, the Inquisition saved thousands of people who would otherwise have been punished or executed.

Regarding the Galileo affair, it is noted that Galileo was a complex individual who did not limit himself to proposing scientific theories. Instead, he dabbled in theology while ridiculing his opponents, many of whom were very willing to listen to him.

On the Holocaust, it is noted that Nazism was a deeply anti-Catholic movement leading to the slaughter of thousands of priests. Far from being "Hitler's Pope", Pius XII saved many Jewish lives. It was only some decades after his death that Rolf Hochhuth portrayed him in such a negative way.

There are many other anti-Catholic myths. However, the author helps us destroy five of the biggest. This is an important book for Catholic apologists.