Church History in 5 Moments | Catholic Central

Posted By on November 19, 2019


– How old are you here? – Uh, like three I guess. – You haven’t changed a bit. – What? But I’m so much taller! And I’ve got this deep voice. And I don’t play with toys anymore. – Well, you can change and
still stay the same, you know, you’re like a tadpole, or a caterpillar, or the Catholic Church. – [Kai Voiceover] Huh? (upbeat music) – Hi, I’m Libby. – And I’m Kai. Welcome to Catholic Central. The Catholic Church emerged
from the ministry of Jesus in the first century A.D. But the way things are
today is not exactly how things have always been. – For example, Catholics
no longer follow Jewish law or say Mass exclusively in Latin. – And though people used
to get baptized naked, if you try to do that now, the
result would probably not be a warm welcome into the Church. – For an organization that
talks about eternal truth, you might wonder what’s going on. – Is the Church deciding
to change the truth? Will it change a lot more in the future? – And with all these changes,
is it still the same Church founded by Jesus Christ? But first, let’s get clear
on what we’re talking about. The Church doesn’t see
itself like Congress, which gets together and decides for itself what the laws should be, on a good day. – [Libby] Instead, the
metaphor the Church uses is the body of Christ here on Earth. – [Kai] And just like a human
body, it can grow and change while still belonging to the same person. – And, let’s be honest, over
the centuries, the Church has had some growing
pains and has responded by reevaluating things in order to live its purpose more fully. – Or, in the words of the
Second Vatican Council, “The understanding of the things and words “handed down grows,
through the contemplation “and study of believers,
which tends continually “toward the fullness of divine truth.” – While some Christian
denominations view the Bible as the only source of spiritual truth, or say that every word
is to be taken literally, Catholics believe that we should also draw on two other things. – Reason, our own God-given
ability to use our minds to make logical sense
of the world around us, to think, interpret,
understand, and make judgments. – [Libby] And tradition, the
collective wisdom of those who’ve come before us,
who’ve wrestled with these same questions for centuries, guided by the Holy Spirit. – So, how has this worked in history? – [Libby] Moment number
one, Post-Resurrection. In the first decades after
the life of Jesus on Earth, his followers disagreed about
whether he was only a messiah for the Jews, or whether his message was for all human beings. – [Kai] So, some of the early
church leaders believed that to be Christian, people would
have to follow the Jewish law from the Old Testament. – Like not eating pork, males getting… (man screaming) – But the apostles Peter,
Barnabas, and Paul, who had already been
spreading the message of Jesus to the non-Jewish Greeks, argued that Jesus had made those laws unnecessary. – Around 50 A.D., they
had a council in Jerusalem which we call, get this,
the Council of Jerusalem, to talk it all out together. Through this process of open discussion, they provided an opportunity
for the Holy Spirit to guide their hearts
in the right direction. – Ultimately, they realized
that things like circumcision were spiritually unnecessary
because their purpose was to distinguish Jews
from those around them. – But other principles
from Jewish law like not worshiping idols and
being sexually faithful are good for everyone spiritually. – So they would apply
to Christians as well. – Over the next three centuries, a series of other Church
councils came together to try to find a clearer
shared understanding of Jesus’ message and what God is like: ideas like the Trinity,
the Incarnation, and grace. – Back then, being a
Christian was a radical, dangerous choice that most
people weren’t ready to make. – [Libby] In those early years,
Christians were a persecuted and often secret minority
in the Roman Empire. – They had to make moral
decisions for themselves, but they weren’t in charge
of countries and armies, which leads to– – [Libby] Moment number
two, Post-Constantine. That dynamic started
to change in 313 A.D., when the Roman emperor
Constantine the Great made Christianity legal in the empire via the Edict of Milan. – Before then, Christians had been famous for being pacifists,
sometimes preferring martyrdom over fighting in the army. – Active soldiers weren’t
allowed to be baptized unless they gave up their careers. – [Kai] But as Christianity
came to be the dominant religion of the empire over the next century, Christians were leaders and trusted with protecting innocent people from harm. They had to ask themselves,
“Is it moral to fight to defend the weak and vulnerable, or is it more moral to let
barbarians rip ’em to shreds?” – [Libby] Great thinkers like
St. Augustine wrestled with how to apply Christ’s teaching
to these new circumstances. – Basic moral truth didn’t
change, but the reality of protecting innocents
required a new application. This led thinkers of the
Middle Ages to wrestle with what it means to fight
just or unjust wars, and all those wars led to– – [Libby] Moment number
three, Post-Reformation. – [Kai] When people started
breaking away as protestants, this forced the Church
to reevaluate itself and its role in the
world in a process called the Counter-Reformation. Up to then, it had had huge
political and economic power, but this had also bred
corruption and distraction within the Church. – The Church held a
council at Trent, Italy. – [Kai] Imaginatively
called the Council of Trent. – To get its priorities back
in order and handle the crisis, the council focused on
turning the Church back toward the spiritual realm,
the mission that it’s uniquely qualified to fulfill. – The ideas of the
Counter-Reformation led to a great flourishing of saints and thinkers who opened new ways for the Church to help people connect with God in deeper and more personal relationships. Saints like Teresa of
Ávila, Charles Borromeo, and Ignatius of Loyola
called for greater integrity in the Church and offered new
perspectives on spirituality. (ragtime music) (bites loudly) (coins jangling) – The reforms of the Counter-Reformation, like crackdowns on the
corrupt sale of indulgences, weren’t changes to moral law. – Rather, they were Catholics realizing that they hadn’t been following
the true moral law properly, and trying to get closer to the example Jesus set for humanity. – After the Reformation
and Counter-Reformation starting in the 1600s, European
society was transformed by new ideas in science, philosophy, and art. These ways of thinking sought
to find truth and beauty through paths other than religion, known as the Enlightenment,
which leads to– – [Libby] Moment number
four, Post-Enlightenment. These ideas challenged what
many Catholics believed, but because of its philosophical
emphasis on reason, the Church took the lead
among Christian denominations in embracing many new ideas,
like the scientific method, as complements to faith. – [Kai] Catholic scientists
in academic institutions saw science as a way of
better understanding God and the beauty of the universe. For example, in 1891,
Pope Leo XIII re-founded the Vatican Observatory so
that everyone might see clearly that the Church and her
pastors are not opposed to true and solid science,
whether human or divine. – Science was transforming
society in many other ways. Steam ships, and later airplanes, were connecting the
world like never before. The Church was encountering
new, global perspectives, and social reform movements
changed the way people lived which leads to– – [Kai] Moment number five,
The Contemporary Church. In 1959, Pope Saint
John XXIII realized that some of the practices
used to express the faith weren’t keeping up with the
needs of contemporary life. – He realized he needed
to throw open the windows of the Church and let the
fresh air of the Spirit blow through, and go back
to the basics of Scripture to look at how to interpret,
preach, and live it for the present day. – So he called the second
Vatican council, or, Vatican II, to see how
the Church could translate its mission to be the most
effective in our time. – Bishops sought input from the laity and made a series of changes
like celebrating Mass in the local language of
each church instead of Latin. They also gave a greater role
to the lady in Catholic life, which actually was a throwback
to the very early Church. – Which brings up an important point: part of every reform movement
is finding our way back to our original identity,
and it’s ongoing. – There are many questions
still before the Church, like how to think about economic systems that create great wealth
but leave others in poverty, the ethics of using new technologies, or other societal changes we
don’t even know about yet. – But with Scripture,
tradition, and reason working together, we can get ever closer to truth and to God. – With that being said– – We can’t ever predict how
the Church will develop, and the Church thinks in centuries, which is about how long we’d go on if we didn’t end right now. For Catholic Central, I’m Kai. – And I’m Libby. If you like this be sure
to hit like and subscribe. – Thanks for watching.

Posted by Lewis Heart

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