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Every Catholic at some time in his life has undoubtedly felt a desire to know the history of the Catholic Church. But where to begin the study of 2,000 years? Probably no book was better conceived or better executed to fulfill this need than Church History by Fr. John Laux. It was written expressly both for students and for adults, and anyone who becomes familiar with this book will find that he has acquired an excellent background in Church history.Starting at the very beginning of the Church and proceeding in historical sequence right into the 20th century, Fr. Laux presents the story of the Church in both a masterful and an extremely readable manner. He starts with the preparation of the world for the coming of Christ and Our Lord’s life and ministry. He then discusses such topics as the martyrs of the Roman persecutions, St. Athanasius and the Arian heresy, St. Jerome and the translation of the Scriptures, the early Fathers and Doctors of the Church, the Councils of Ephesus and Nicaea, Pope St. Gregory the Great the rise of Mohammedanism, Charlemagne and the Holy Roman Empire, the Conversion of the Germans, Irish, Poles, Slavs, English and other peoples, the Greek Schism, the Crusades, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, the Hundred Years War, Albigensianism and St. Dominic, the Inquisition, the Babylonian Captivity of the Popes, the Great Western Schism (when there were 3 claimants to the papal throne), Scholasticism and the Medieval universities, the Renaissance and Humanism, Luther, Calvin and the rise of Protestantism, Henry VIII and the loss of the Faith in England, the Council of Trent, the Catholic Reformation, the founding of the Jesuits, the growth of the Church in the New World, Jansenism, Gallicanism and Rationalsim, the 18th-century Enlightenment and the French Revolution, Cardinal Newman and the Oxford Movement, Vatican I and the decree on Papal Infallibility, the work of the Church in the early 20th century, and of course much, much more.Fr. Laux taught Church history for many years, and this book is the fruit of his work. As a result, he shows incredible talent as a writer of history: 1) He always maintains balance and proportion in his treatment; 2) he is thorough, yet brief; 3) he focuses on the interesting and the germane; 4) he intersperses the history with many brief, interesting biographies of famous people, such as, St. Patrick, St. Augustine, Martin Luther, etc.; and 5) at the end of each chapter, he quotes briefly from a famous writing of the era. Thus, he blends a medley of elements into a comprehensive historical composition that is at once brilliant and fascinating. Church History by Fr. Laux is a story of the Church unparalleled in its scope, depth, variety, interest and impact. It is a book every Catholic should read, that people might understand in what manner the “mustard seed” of the Faith has grown to be the greatest institution in the entire world. No one can be a knowledgeable Catholic—or even a knowledgeable person—without knowing her story and how she has steadily advanced, overcoming all obstacles and all enemies in her quest to convert the world to Jesus Christ.
Father John Laux, M.A., was a high school religion teacher who wrote his own Catholic curricular books after spending a large number of years teaching and researching. His works were first published in 1928 and includeCatholic Apologetics, Mass and the Sacraments, Introduction to the Bible,Catholic Morality and Church History. He capsulated the Catholic faith extremely well, thanks to his lively prose and succinct way of accurately explaining the details of theology. Though Father Laux originally wrote his books for high school students, they remain very informative for those in college and even adulthood as well. He wrote in a timeless, direct and to-the-point style that continues to present Catholics with in-depth explanations of their faith today.