Despite the too-frequent abuses of men and women, which may have driven “weaker vessels” from the Church, the Church is the safest and most sure institution to protect the rights and dignity of the individual, the sanctity of the person, per se, the preserver of culture and social development.
The proof is that, had it NOT been for the Church during the Dark Ages (between the fall of Rome as a political power and the advent of the Renaissance Era, when humanity began to “live” again), there would have been NO Western civilization, at all.
The Church took Her cue from the Gospels, which, after all, were the records of Jesus and His teachings for our relations to the world around us.
Jesus, as both a Jew AND a rabbi/teacher, understood that the Jews were the first to address the dignity of the individual, and how society ought to be organized to suit the needs of the individual, which is, after all, the mirror of the Father of Lights!
We owe what we have and who we are to the Irish monasteries and those monk-and- nun-scribes, who preserved for the future – for US: the writings not only of the Apostolic Fathers of the Church, the post-Apostolic Saints the very Scriptures themselves, as well as the ancient philosophers and scientists.
Between the scriptoria in the monasteries, saving our intellectual and spiritual heritage – often at great risk to their lives from the Danish/Norse invaders – and the Islamic preservation of the Greek and Roman wisdom and science, the architectural studies (most importantly, the Gothic arch), the mathematicians, medical knowledge and the philosophers, our civilization would not have developed without these noble copyists and scholars.
When the Moors brought this “classical” knowledge into Andalusia in Spain, they thereby established a cultural centre where Jews, Christians and Muslims all lived, worked, traded goods and ideas in harmony. The arts flourished, wisdom was disseminated and a civil society was brought forth.
This wonderland was forcibly destroyed when Ferdinand and Isabella, Their Most Catholic Majesties, decided to purge Spain of the civilizing influences of a cosmopolitan society. It took another few hundred years for Spain and most of Western Europe to develop away from the medieval practices like blood-letting, burning witches and heretics, and other superstitious twaddle.
On a more contemporary note, it seems the United States is embracing that sort of ignorant rubbish, once again. How long, I wonder, before we begin burning “witches” or libraries? We have already banned books and chased university professors out of their classrooms. What else is left for us to prove that we are actually a nation of morons?
Many political and public figures already disparage scientifc fact, to public acclaim; Darwin’s theories are reduced to ridicule; while at least one museum is erected wherein Jesus is shown with dinosaurs…one can’t make this sort of silliness up!
Unfortunately, though such displays may make for entertaining imagery, scientific facts cannot possibly be produced to support such fantasy. One may as well use Disneyland as a science museum.
Children, and susceptible adults, get the wrong impressions from these kinds of fundamentalist extravagance. This sort of “museum” is founded more on an emotional display of faith than sound scientific fact and research. I have read the Bible more than once and cannot for the life of me, think where it validates such fraud.
And this, I think, is where the true Church must step in and bolster up true knowledge and progressive science. It will not do to turn our face from the future and TRUTH, and look instead to a past, already dusty with the failed superstitions and ignorance of a time best relegated to the dust-bins and file-cabinets of history. We should seek absolute TRUTH, not some sort of hybrid between faith and our desires…more faulty foundations upon which we ought NOT to build.
Even Jesus, in the Gospels, most especially in Luke 8:5-18, addresses the matter of those who broadcast the seed onto stony areas, or into shallow soil, or among thorny patches, as well as in good soil. While the immediate reference is to the Gospel Truth, insofar as the Gospel Truth informs our social fabric, it also addresses the “secular” truths upon which we build our society. We cannot have one and not the other. Truth is truth and cannot be negotiated out of the way, or ignored.