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THE CATHOLIC CHURCH Unknown Binding – Unabridged, Audiobook


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Product Details

  • Unknown Binding
  • Publisher: Recorded Books, Inc.; Unabridged edition (2003)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: 1402513585
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.1 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,789,470 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

I guess a book regarding the good that has been done would be much too long.
Mark
This is an excellent summary history of the Roman Catholic church for the laity as well as academics.
Pat Brady
For those who are interested in the rise of the papacy, Kung's book is a must read.
Nick Mangieri

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Richard E. Hegner on July 3, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I purchased Hans Kueng's concise history of the Catholic Church, I was skeptical about whether 2000 years of history could be reasonably compressed into a volume as short as this. Yet as a Protestant from a family with a long Catholic heritage, I was eager to try it, and I do not for a moment regret reading this pithy, informative gem. Kueng really does trace Catholic history from the time of Christ--exploring what the church actually constituted in the early days of Christianity, how the church and its governing structure including the Papacy evolved, why the great schism between Eastern and Western Catholicism occurred, the historical frauds perpetrated by some medieval Popes in their efforts to consolidate power, the merits of the case of the Reformation leaders like Luther and Calvin, and the emergence of the modern absolutist Papacy from the time of Pius IX onward, and the brief moment of reform centered in Vatican II. Predictably, Kueng presents a rather biased history, especially when reviewing recent times. (He almost categorically rules out the possibility that John Paul II has had ANY positive influence, which I find hard to accept.) But that notwithstanding, I cannot see that anyone but the most conservative Catholics would find this book anything but enlightening and worth the time spent in reading it. If this is what the Modern Library intends to do with its new Chronicles series, it should be a real boon to those who want serious history in reasonably small doses.
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49 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Nick Mangieri on June 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Brilliant, forceful, authoritative - what else would you expect from Hans Kung? However, this book is not so much a history of the Catholic Church as it is an anti papal polemic. Kung glosses over or ignores much of church history while he develops his major theme, the rise of the papacy and its corrosive influence on the Church.
For those who actually want to read a short history of the Catholic Church (short being a relative term when dealing with a 2000 year old institution) I recommend the following:
Concise History of the Catholic Church by Thomas S. Bokenkotter. Available from this site.
For those who are interested in the rise of the papacy, Kung's book is a must read.
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Matt Fabian on December 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is not a bad book, its just the wrong book for the purpose. When I read a "Modern Library Chronicles" book I am expecting a good introduction to a subject by an accomplished author. I think the editors picked the wrong person to write this book. Kung simply has too much bagage and personal feelings about the Catholic church. This is not so much a history of the Catholic Church, but Hans Kung's critisms of the history of the Catholic Church. I am a Protestant, so I don't necessarily disagree with many of Kung's criticisms, but I just wanted a history, not Kung's constant criticisms of Catholic history. He could have included a lot more history into the 200 pages if he spent less time telling us how the Catholic Church would be perfect if it just listened to him. Again, its not a bad book (Kung has been a very important theologian in the 20th century and his criticisms of the Catholic Church should be read), its just not the right book for the series.
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Kerry Sullivan on January 18, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This short book provides a very readable and helpful overview of the history of the Catholic Church, and particularly the Papacy, from the Apostle Peter to the current Pope, John Paul II. As a Protestant without a lot of background in Catholic history, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and learned a lot from it. But as other reviews have noted, it is hardly an unbiased account. It presents the very unflattering story of a power-hungry papacy that has decreed itself infallible out of whole cloth, discriminates horribly against women, insists against all reason and Biblical authority on the celibacy of the clergy, and is simply hopelessly mired in the Middle Ages.
Because I lean liberal, I found myself agreeing with Kung at every turn. But I have the distinct feeling that I've heard only one side of the story--that there must be another more devout and wholesome side to the story of the Catholic Church that Kung did not see fit to dwell upon. I'd like to know the rest of the story.
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35 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Richard Wells on December 16, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Hans Kung's brilliance as an author and a theologian is not to be faulted, and in this volume he shows us how the Roman Catholic Church has survived 2,000 years in spite of itself. There is very little new here for anyone who has read church history. For those who haven't, the author rips through 2000 years with the highlights, and he basically tells us that good leadership has been the exception in Roman Catholocism, rather than the rule. The rule has been power politics at the expense of strengthening and sustaining a religious structure that serves the spritual needs of its members. At least, until Pope John XXIII and his miraculous Vatican II - ultimately betrayed by every succeeding Pope. The author's ire is especially aimed at John Paul II who's pronouncements to the world at large have been borderline progressive, though not followed by much action; and his pronouncements and actions to the church family which have been ultra-conservative. I have no disagreements with Kung's history or analysis, however, he weakens his case by using the final chapters to carry on about his own troubles with the Pope and the curia. This failing aside, Kung (whose volume "On Being a Christian" helped bring me back into the fold)gives us a factual and highly readable account of Mother Church, and some basic proposals for a Vatican III that could re-energize Roman Catholocism, and bring our Church into a more democratic model of a "people's church" in the new century. I won't be holding my breath, though.
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