The Compact History of the Catholic Church: Revised Edition

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The Compact History of the Catholic Church: Revised Edition [Paperback]

Alan Schreck Ph.D.
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 22, 2009
<div>A must-have guide to the Church through the ages.

Maybe you ve wondered just what the Church has to offer. Or maybe you ve been tempted to give up on it as you realize its weaknesses. The Compact History of the Catholic Church sweeps through the centuries offering a clear-eyed view of the Church s development and contributions to world history. God s faithfulness and mercy are evident, too, as he continually renews the Church and raises it again and again from the pit of trouble to new heights of faith, charity and peace.

Now including a handy timeline highlighting major developments and figures from the time of Christ into the twenty-first century.</div>

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Editorial Reviews


History is always written from a particular point of view. If you want to read Church history from a spiritual point of view, this revised edition of a fine book is for you. --Fr.Benedict J. Groeschel, C.F.R., author, Healing the Original Wound: Reflections on the Full Meaning of Salvation: How to Experience Spiritual Freedom and Enjoy God s Presence

About the Author

ALAN SCHRECK, PH.D., professor of theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, is the author of numerous books, including Catholic and Christian, The Essential Catholic Catechism, Catholic and Christian for Young Adults and Vatican II: The Crisis and the Promise.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: St. Anthony Messenger Press; Revised edition (January 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 086716879X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0867168792
  • Product Dimensions: 4.5 x 0.6 x 6.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #268,242 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Filling a tall order January 31, 2008
Covering 2000 years of history in the space of a pocket-sized book of less than 200 pages is a tall order indeed. Dr. Schreck pulls off this seeming-miracle somehow and fills that tall order with perhaps the most concise yet fact-filled history of the church yet provided.

Beginning with the Roman Catholic understanding of the church as a foundational chapter, Dr. Schreck then takes us on a whirlwind tour of the centuries. He begins the tour with a wonderful overview of the apostolic and early church fathers of the first 6 centuries. This is the time that truly defined how the church would be governed and the development of understanding her sacraments. Then, Dr. Schreck guides us through the two chapters devoted to the key people and events of the middle ages and around the rocks of schisms, reforms, and heresies. Dr. Schreck does not ignore the issues of crooked church leaders or the evils inherent in temporal powers too closely allied with the state. After this, Dr. Schreck guides us through the development of the church in the modern era of discovery, war, and challenging anti-theistic philosophies. In closing, he brings us to the post Vatican II church finding its identity in light of that council's focus. The final chapter summarizes key themes and gives us some insight into the veneration of Mary and her appearances and messages through church history. The close association of Mary with the church means that her messages at these sightings, though optional beliefs for individual catholics, will have an effect on the direction of the church as a whole. As our mother, she guides with the subtle loving touch of persuasion.

Dr. Schreck is immensely impartial in his coverage perhaps to a fault.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A necessary overview of church history February 11, 1999
By A Customer
Any student of church history should begin with this book. It provides an overview of the Church and places current teachings in historical perspective. I have found this book to be an excellent gift for non-catholics who have a limited view of the church and its effect upon history.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect For Your First Journey Into Church History March 19, 2001
This book is not intended to the complete history. It is intended to be the concise history of the Church. What is geat here is that the different periods of the church are explained warts and all. If you don't know a lot about the history of the Catholic Church, this is a great place to start. If you find this interesting and want to know more, there are other works that deal with the history in more detail.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Place To Start Or To Organize. April 5, 2007
"The Compact History Of The Catholic Church" is a very compact story of this most significant institution the world history. Viewed through the eyes of faith, Author Alan Schreck begins with an explanation of the Church. He explains the marks of the Church, One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. He then takes the reader, chapter by chapter, through the period of the Apostles and Fathers, Middle Ages, Late Middle Ages, Reformation and Counter Reformation, the Confrontation with the Modern World, the Church in the Twentieth Century, from Vatican II to John Paul II, and concluding with a perspective on the Church and the Role of Mary.

I say that this book approaches its subject through the eyes of faith because history is examined with the recognition that the Holy Spirit is guiding the Church. The author sees the direction of the Spirit in the turns taken by the Church through the centuries.

The one thing that I really liked about this book is the way it puts events in context. I have often read, in more detail, about specific events in Church history, but this book shows how they fit in order and relate to each other. I found definitions of heresies and sects, the role of philosophers both within and without the Church and the impact of social movements on the Church as resulting from the Church. I recommend it for anyone wanting to get an overview of Church history, or to organize the bits of history that they already know.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short but sweet July 19, 2007
As Dr. Schreck states in the Preface, this book is a compilation of "a series of simple lessons on the history of the Catholic Church" for a group setting. Thus it "provides a non-technical introductory overview of the Catholic Church and its history." In this it delivers. For the uninitiated, it provides a very quick overview that can be comfortably read in an afternoon. For those with a genuine interest, they will not want to stop here; rather it will whet the appetite for more.

The first 100 pages cover the time up to the 20th century, the last 53 from the turn of the 20th century to 1986 when the book was written. The last chapter is particularly good because it allows for some reflections ("perspective," he puts it) by the author. There is a 15 page "Teaching Summaries" at the end that is helpful for a quick review any time it is needed.

As an introduction to the history of the Catholic Church this is a fine book. If you are past that stage, look to more in-depth treatments.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear, concise writing and logical presentation May 15, 2009
In The Compact History of the Catholic Church, Alan Schreck reveals the nature and story of the chosen people of God through the Old and New testaments and formation and development of the Church over the centuries. Instances of failure and weakness are part of those people and that church, yet God's faithfulness and mercy are unwavering. The history of the Catholic Church, Schreck writes, "is a history of God's constantly forgiving and renewing his people....As a matter of historical fact, no other human institution has existed for two thousand years, as the Catholic Church has."

Schreck is a professor of theology and author of numerous books on the Church. His gifts as a teacher and scholar translate into written works marked by clear, concise writing and logical presentation. The Compact History is divided into eight chapters that systematically cover a given time period with internal subheads identifying important dates and events. Back matter consists of teaching summaries, notes, a 21- page timeline, and a comprehensive index.

In Chapter 8, Schreck addresses the Holy Spirit's ongoing work of reform and renewal. He points out that the life of the church has ups and downs that may appear to be cyclical. He cites the work of Christopher Dawson, a Catholic historian who has defined six "ages" of the Church, marked at the beginning by a time of growth and ending with a period of "decline in the spiritual life and vibrancy of the Church or with another type of crisis." The first age Dawson recognizes opens with Pentecost, which led to widespread conversion within the Roman Empire and severe, empire-wide persecutions.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A very interesting book. I will use it as a reference for my future classes of the Catholic faith.
Published 2 months ago by Paul Fierman
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Arrived before I expected.
Published 2 months ago by Kim Roth
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!! Concise
Excellent!! Concise, read-able, and jam packed with info. Written in a way that the history is not boring or dry!
Published 5 months ago by Kristine Hammar
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting.
Being a convert to the Catholic Church, I didn't know a lot of the early history. This book is very concise and definitely gives me a good overview of Church history from its... Read more
Published 14 months ago by George
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book
This book is very informative. I was not raised as a Catholic and have wondered about the history of the Catholic Church and this book is absolutely amazing. I love it.
Published 15 months ago by Shallae DeMers
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Compendium of the Catholic Church History
A great book for Catholics who want to know more about their church. I recommend it to persons of all ages.
Published 19 months ago by Mark Twain
4.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful to a convert
The book was excellent in helping me understand the history of my new faith. As an adult convert, the history of our faith was a bit of a mystery to me and this book gives great... Read more
Published on May 10, 2013 by Sandi Atkinson
5.0 out of 5 stars history of catholic church
This is one of those books one likes to keep
on hand.
Which is why I bought it in the first place.
Reference. Read more
Published on April 13, 2013 by J-Ro
5.0 out of 5 stars Catholic Church History made easy.
Easy read filled with information. I teach in RCIA and this book is a great reference for me although I do not teach this section.
Published on February 17, 2013 by Lucille Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars An Easy To Understand Book !!
Very well written by Dr. Schreck! I bought this same book some years ago when it first came out. I really like the updates in it. Read more
Published on January 13, 2013 by RJ
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The Compact History of the Catholic Church: Revised Edition
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