Theology II Final
By: Michael Pitonak
Background Chapter: The Roman Empire
The Romans flourished in practical disciplines such as organization and government. The large impact the Roman's had on the land is that in the western part of Rome Latin was the root language which they spread across their civilization. The Romans were greatly influenced by the Hellenistic world before Rome and also the Greeks greatly influenced. For example they got their polytheistic religion from the Greeks but modified for themselves with different names and rituals. The Empire was greatly controlled by the Emperor and the army. The people that weren't wealthy lived very hard lives of poverty. Slavery was also a large institution in Rome.
Chapter 1: Jesus and the Founding of the Church
After the crucifixion of Jesus, disciples were very afraid. They had just seen their master killed and thought they were the next targets. Even though he resurrected, the ascension happened pretty quickly after that so they thought that they were alone again. But then God sent down the Holy Spirit upon them and guided them on how to build His Church and chose Peter the be the "rock" or Pope. They all proclaimed around the land the Good News and then the Church rose and spread around the world.
Chapter 2: The Early Christians
The practices of the Early Christians took some time to develop but through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and time it began to show truth. They began to integrate the Gospel message into their own daily live and began to live lives as Christ. They began to start Baptism, which was instituted by Christ, and made the process more structured. It started with adults but in the 3rd century moved to infants. Agape was the first so to speak Eucharist but over time it developed into symbolism for love of Christ and his message and was named Eucharist. Mass celebrations started in private homes but then moved to churches that people built but were destroyed and built back depending on the ruler of the area. The apostolic fathers and church apologists arose at this time which their job was to defend and explain the Christian religion.
Chapter 3: Persecution of "The Way"
The earlier Christians referred to the faith as "The Way". Many thousands of people following "The Way" lost their lives to the Roman Empires persecution just because of their religion. These people who died for the faith are known as martyrs and show that Christianity was built upon death and suffering ans sometimes have to pay that price. Under Emperor Nero Christians were seen as criminals and were the scapegoats for everything such as the great fire of Rome. There was a man named St. Ignatius, who was the 3rd bishop of Antioch, who wrote 7 epistles denouncing all heresy and schism due to the persecution and this saved the Christians. But all this payed off because in the end the Church triumphed because of Constantine who freed them due to a event by God to show him who they really are. Then the Edict of Milan was passed to solidify the freedom from persecution for the Christians.
Chapter 4: The Church Fathers and Heresies
The persecution of Christians caused many heresies to arise amongst the religion. Due to its rapid expansion across the lands, many heresies cropped up among the believers. The early heresies were classified as material or formal heresies. Material heresies spoke to ignorance of truth and formal heresies were freely chosen. Some of the later heresies included Gnosticism, Marcionism, and Docetism. Due to these heresies the Council of Nicaea was called and many heroes who saved the religion arose such as St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Basil the Great, and Pope St. Leo the Great. Out of the Council of Nicaea arose the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed which described the faith.
Chapter 5: Light in the Dark Ages
Sometime during the 5th century, the Roman Empire fell. The barbarians took over Rome and all moral and economic things fell as well. The fall of the Roman Empire showed the Church that Rome was not its home. As the Empire struggled to keep away the Germans, the Huns showed up and took over all of it. They were pretty lenient on religion so everyone could practice the religion they wanted to. From these time arose monasticism which was devoting your entire life to God through prayer and self denial lived in seclusion from the world. There are two types: eremitical/hermit or cenobitical/common life. This created a new Christian way of life and culture.
Chapter 7: The Great Schism
There had been many differences and disputes between the East and West beliefs. The East did not think that the Pope was a great source of power and the West disagreed and these kinds of disagreements lead to the Schism between the East and the West. This was also caused by the Filioque controversy and the Photian Schism. This all lead to the Great Schism. A leading person in this is Patriarch Michael Cerularius who spoke as the patriarch of the east and make the Schism final. The Schism ended with the Catholic Church in the West and the Orthodox Church in the East.
Chapter 9: The Crusades, The Inquisition
The Holy land had been taken by the Muslims saying that it was their holy land. The Muslims kept going until the Western Europeans stopped them. The Christians did not agree with the Muslims owning the Holy land so Pope Bl. Urban II began the Crusades by announcing an organized assault in defense of Christian Europe. They were also a desperate attempt to stop Islamic expansion. The first crusade was the big success whereas the following were just a mix of successes and failures. The main goal of the Holy Land being Christian failed because the Christians could not hold back the Islamic expansion. During the High Middle Ages, the first Christian emperors felt like they should get involved in the religion so they started the Inquisition. This was a purging of all heretics so the people of the Christian faith would stay faithful. These were all converged by the Pope and he chose special people to do it because that person had to choose between the life and death of that heretic.
Chapter 10: The High Middle Ages
During the High Middle ages, most people wanted to get educated and keep the faith at the same time so they spent most of their time in monasteries and cathedral schools. This developed a new type of school called a university where people could go to receive higher education making people more intelligent. The universities on the north and south of Europe each had different organization but both offered unified course work. The universities created a more intelligent society and a more educated peoples.
Chapter 11: The Plague, Hundred Years War, Joan of Arc
In the 13th century, the Black Plague struck Europe and it struck hard. Medieval Europe was already going through famine and the plague didn't help. It had a 95% mortality rate and the Jews were the scapegoats for the spread of the plague. The English and French did not have good relations due to many disagreements. The Hundreds Year War began when King Edward II of England took the heir to the throne in France. The French were losing the war when Joan of Arc got a message from God to help in the war and she helped turn the tides of the war and won it for the French even though she was captured and killed.
Chapter 12: The Renaissance
After all the achievements of the Middle Ages, such as the establish of universities, the people's intellectual pursuits changed from theological scholasticism to more classic form of learning in Latin and Greek. This pushed forth a "rebirth" of that kind of teaching, or the Renaissance. With this "rebirth" of Latin and Greek teaching also came a new form of study known as Humanism. This is where people study the physical features of the human and its soul most often to create art. This created magnificent arts, from artists such as Michelangelo and Da Vinci, that we can now see today. But, this also came with downsides because with all the humanists, there is not much focus on the theological principles so the Church is losing people.
Chapter 13: The Protestant and English Reformation
The Church began to decline once the ideas of humanism arose. It began to be full corruption, sin, and moral issues among priests so reform was needed. One of the first reformers was named Martin Luther who was a monk in Germany. He first started by writing the Ninety five theses and giving it to the Church. None of these theses were heretical and they spread quickly. The Church later scheduled a debate with Luther and Luther explained himself well but the Church continued to reject and he didn't recant. After this he developed his own theology in his religion known as the protestant religion. After this, there was also a protestant revolution on England. This all started when Henry VIII could not get his annulment from the Church so he wiped out catholicism from England and made it a protestant country. He himself also becomes protestant. Also, the Christians battle the Turks and Lepanto and won the battle against all odds with a sudden change in wind supposedly from God.
Chapter 15: Exploration and Missionary Movements
Because of all the religious lines in Europe, the Church decided to embark on a mission across the world to spread the Catholic religion. It follows the wake of new explorations around the world. This al started by many people having technological innovations making this all possible such as Henry the Navigator. This all lead to Columbus discovering America. This discovery created a craze for exploration. Due to this a commercial revolution known as the Columbian exchange occurred. After this, the church began its mission trips. The missionaries had many obstacles such as distance and language but they still managed to be successful. They usually dealt with tribes of other lands which were not very accepting but Christianity spread quickly. Because of this success England took these trips to America and began to set up missions in America. This spread it among Native Americans and it helped them become more organized. The Spanish also joined in this and did the same thing on the other side of the country. The English also established a colony in Maryland as catholics.
Chapter 16: The Age of Enlightment
After all the tensions to be, so to speak caused by religion, the main powers of Europe decided that they would focus upon the peoples rights and when the scientific revolution came about, the religious morals and values were pushed back even farther to the point where the governments were constantly questioning them. This again brought about many heresies about the church such as Jansenism which said salvation was only granted to a small number of people. All of this lead to the scientific revolution which was a period of great scientific discoveries such as Descartes and Bacon founding a new philosophy known as empiricism which would end up being called the Enlightenment.
Chapter 19: The Rise of Soviet Communism , Nazism, Pope Pius XII, and WWII
The 20th century is known as the bloodiest century with over 188 million people killed because of war. This is caused by many wars and revolt across the world in many countries such as Germany and, at the time, the Soviet Union. The Soviets communism was based off of Marx's theories. They were very good at propaganda and convinced all other nations that they were moral and a good country when they really weren't. Religious persecution was a big thing in Soviet communism, especially in the Catholics and Orthodox. The Church was always against communism and many popes wrote encyclicals against it such as Pope Pius XI's Divini Redemptoris. In the 20th century in Germany a new political party was arising known as the Nazi's. Their leader, Adolf Hitler, became the leader of Germany and killed many people, such as the Jews during the Holocaust. Hitler was a dictator and Nazism became a blend of nationalist totalitarianism, racism: especially toward Jews, and neopaganism. After this the Soviets and Germans combined forces and invaded Poland. This is when WWII started. During this Pope Pius XII died and a new pope was elected but he died soon after being elected where Pope Paul VI was voted. Pope Pius was accused of not speaking out against the communists and not doing enough for the Jews. Two saint also arose from this persecution which were St. Maximilian Kolbe and St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross who sacrificed their lives for the lives of others during the persecution.
Chapter 20: Vatican II and Pope St. John Paul II
After Pius XII died, Pope Bl. John XXIII convened Vatican II for a number of reasons but the main one was that the world was in "a grave state of spiritual poverty". In this Vatican council they fixed this issue with a memorable speech from Pope Bl. John but 8 months later he died. The work done in Vatican II is embodied in 16 documents. After the death of John XIII died Pope Paul IV was voted in as the new pope. He saw the conclusion of Vatican II and also directed it implementation. Paul was not the pope for very long though because of his very sudden death. After this John Paul II was voted in as pope. He lived in Poland during the Nazi persecution and became a priest, bishop, and then a cardinal. In his 1st encyclical he mostly spoke of human rights and the dignity of man and the solutions to fixing issues of human rights. He served as pope through many tough times around the world but continued to spread his message. Also as in his time as pope he published a new canon of law for the western church and he also traveled to many troubled places despite his age and declining health.
Chapter 21: The Church of Immigrants to the U.S. and Slavery
The Church in the United States is known as a Church of Immigrants due to the amount of European immigrants that traveled to America and Catholicism a major religion in America. Due to this the Church's growth was massive in America. They encountered many obstacles such as America's developing constitution and the new Canon of Law giving the bishops control over all the churches in the parish. Due to Catholicism's rapid growth many anti catholics arose but Catholic's remained strong because of the strong community they had. Slavery, then also arose in the U.S. which Pope Gregory XVI condemned and a small number of these slaves were catholic. They wanted to get educated but the schools remained highly segregated. Vatican II greatly affected the American Church's development but there was some confusion. One bad thing that arose is the sexual abuse of minors by some members of the clergy but the Pope cleared that up.