How Could This Church Survive?: It Must Be More than a Human Institution
by John F. Fink
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

"If you have any knowledge of the history of the Catholic Church, haven’t you sometimes thought to yourself, ‘How could this church survive?’"

The Catholic Church had its beginnings soon after the death of Jesus, even though the apostles scattered, and there was much dissension about the best way to follow the teachings of the departed master. For the most part, the growth of the religion happened through spoken accounts as newly minted Christians spread out over the world. Peter was declared the first pope, and both he and Paul went on lengthy missionary journeys. The church faced wars, crusades, heresies, sectionalism, internal corruption, and the rise of Protestantism. Leading lights such as Benedict and Dominic firmly established the church’s monastic tradition. Some great popes displayed saintly virtues, held conferences, and helped to establish doctrinal truths on up to the present era when the world has seen flexibility and innovation in the development of church life and teaching.

Catholic author Fink offers a short, highly readable history of the church, citing major figures in its ponderous spread and gradual change. His composition allows for some comfortable moments—for example, taking a “time-out” from his main thesis to honor the Desert Fathers and Mothers. He speaks frankly about schisms, papal scandals, and doctrinal divides. He is quick to give credit where it is due, such as to the attempts by Pope Pius XII to save Jews during World War II, despite “the canard” to the contrary, and to the many visionary policies of Pope John Paul II. The author’s honesty and his wide knowledge of the subject matter are evident in this fact-filled narrative, which will answer many questions for his readers. His conclusion shows his devotion to the church, which, he believes, is and will always be “guided by the Holy Spirit.” His book can serve as an excellent general survey of church development and should be of interest to Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

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