I just finished a remarkable book called Triumph by H.W. Crocker III and have come to the conclusion that the Catholic Church, like the nation of Israel, is miraculous in that it exists at all.
Throughout the centuries, the Catholic Church has endured schisms, heresies, persecution, attacks, murder and genocide in Europe and throughout the world. Today, despite the Vatican being one of the smallest political units on the planet, the population of the Catholic Church is, ironically, 1.2 billion people.
No doubt that the most cutting portion of the book was the centuries of the Protestant Reformation. Having been a non-Catholic Christian for decades (I never considered myself Protestant in the sense that I was protesting the Catholic Church at least consciously) it was still difficult to read. Up to the point Luther, Calvin, Zwingli started making noises, the pillars of Protestantism had already been erected and dismantled in heresies that were around as early as St. Augustine and the first centuries AD.
Some of the striking tidbits:
- Atheism is just a logical extension of Protestantism
- Despite his criticism, Voltaire was a practicing Catholic
- The Jesuits taught the great minds of the Europe
- Erasmus was as critical of the Catholic Church as Luther, but never supported the Reformation
- Oscar Wilde converted to Catholicism
- The Catholic mind subverts state to the church, the Protestant mind subverts the church to the state. The former kept political corruption in check, the latter can’t do anything about it.
- Of the nations of Europe that have a Protestant pedigree (Scandinavia, England, Germany) the portion of those that attend church are disproportionately Catholic. Most everyone else in those countries don’t bother.
- Pope Pius XII saved, conservatively, 760,000 Jews that would have otherwise been killed by the Holocaust. Of the number of Jews that Hitler had at his disposal, this number represents one third of those that escaped death during those years of the 20th century. No nation or individual comes close to that claim.
- During the 10th century the chances of you being murdered was one in three, if you were pope.
- Thomas Moore persuaded his son-in-law, a Protestant, to convert back to the Catholic Church. King Henry VIII was a devout Catholic—the Anglican Church expanded under Queen Elizabeth, his successor.
- King Henry VIII had the bible translated in the vernacular and distributed to the people. He revoked this once everyone’s private interpretations created the usual chaos.
Triumph is a must read for every Christian. Catholics will certainly like it; Protestants will find it difficult to read.