Wednesday, April 26, 2017

In defense of history …

… The Enduring Myths Of Catholic Inequality | Standpoint. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Professor Stark refutes ten anti-Catholic calumnies still “deeply embedded in our common culture”. The institutional Church was not anti-Semitic; it did not suppress the apocryphal gospels; it did not persecute pagans; it did not plunge Europe into “a millennium of ignorance and backwardness” in the Dark Ages. The Crusades were not motivated by greed, and the Spanish Inquisition did not torture and murder “whuge numbers of innocent people”. The Church did not impede the development of science; nor did it condone slavery or support authoritarian regimes except where they defended Catholics from persecution; and it did not thwart economic enterprise prior to the Protestant Reformation.


  1. Jeff Mauvais12:50 AM

    As a Catholic, I had high hopes for this book when I bought it last year. Unfortunately, I was deeply disappointed. Stark's supposed corrective to centuries of anti-Catholic bias among historians exhibits the same kinds of dishonesty he condemns. For example, he cites scholarship that shows Jewish conversos represented fewer than 5% of those persecuted by the Spanish inquisitors between 1540 and 1640. His choice of this date range is illustrative of his methods. The same scholarship shows that, from 1580 to 1530, 95% of the persecutions targeted conversos, and that 2000-3000 were executed. Not the hundreds of thousands claimed by earlier historians, but still too many. I suggest going directly to the historians cited by Stark, like Henry Kamen in the case of the Inquisition. I binned Stark's book, something I rarely do, because I didn't want to disseminate yet more dishonesty on this topic by donating it to charity.

  2. Jeff Mauvais12:54 AM

    1480 to 1530