WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

The church in the modern world

The Communio adult education series resumes from 5 October in the Hutt Valley, when Monsignor John Broadbent concludes his popular survey of the history of the church.

This series of six presentations covers the church’s reactions to the modern world in its birth pangs and through to the 21st century.

The chosen beginning of 1648 was the year of the peace treaty concluding the 30 years of war – partly religious, partly political – which introduced grudgingly the idea of tolerance among the European states.

Never again would those states go to war about religion. Religious persecution, direct or indirect, would still go on within some states for some time, but gradually a tolerance prevailed.

How did the church react to this situation and did it continue to grow in this post-reformation period?

It was also a time of intense philosophical, theological and scientific ferment both within and outside the church culminating in the Industrial, American and French Revolutions.

Under Napoleon a weakened papacy was turned around by the heroism of Pope Pius VII as the emperor’s prisoner. In the Napoleonic aftermath at the Congress of Vienna when territories belonging to the papal states were returned, the able Cardinal Consalvi made great gains for the church.

As the South American republics revolted against Spain and Portugal, concordats were signed that restored the pope’s right to nominate bishops. The huge missionary expansion of the church in Africa, Asia and Oceania also created hundreds of bishoprics under direct papal control.

The theological and political events leading to the first Vatican Council in 1869-70 under Blessed Pius IX, which led to the declaration of Papal Infallibility, are examined.

The rise and condemnation of Modernism at the beginning of the 20th century and its influence on theology are also discussed as well as the church’s stands during the first and second World Wars.

In the era post-World War Two, the election of Blessed John XXIII in 1958 and his calling of the second Vatican Council marked a watershed in church history. The reaction to Vatican Two leads us to our present situation.

All are invited to attend the six sessions from 7.00 – 9.00pm on consecutive Thursdays from 5 October in Sts Peter and Paul Parish Hall, Lower Hutt.