Triumphs and Tragedies

Triumphs and Tragedies2020-11-18T10:15:19-04:00

Triumphs and Tragedies

Many Catholics at this time are worried, bewildered and angry about the state of the Catholic Church. They’re disgusted by the sex abuse scandals and dismayed by the hierarchies cover up and the Vatican’s slack response. They’re upset by financial skulduggery in Rome and lazy modernism among the clergy.

I produced this twenty-three part podcast series so we could get the overview of church history. There is basically one episode per century. When you listen to Triumphs and Tragedies you will see that the church has experienced corruption from within and persecution from without in every age. To be a Catholic is to be involved in a great battle and warfare is always a messy business.

These podcasts are available for Donor Subscribers to the blog. To learn more about becoming a Donor Subscriber go here. For details of the best way to listen and download these podcasts, and how to do so on your mobile device go here.

I hope you enjoy listening to these podcasts and will share with others.

Triumphs and Tragedies – 1

The Introductory session of my twenty part series on the history of the Catholic Church. This session opens with a discussion of why it is important to know history--especially if we are Catholic. It explains the format and opens with a short discussion on the historicity of the gospels. Each [...]

Triumphs and Tragedies – 2

The second episode of my podcast series on the history of the Catholic Church covers the first century. 1-100 AD The first episode is an introduction answering the question why we should study history and asking how historically reliable are the gospels. Each episode will cover about one century in [...]

Triumphs and Tragedies – 3

The Early Church Wrestles Gnosticism: This third episode of my twenty part podcast series on the history of the Catholic Church takes us into the second century: 100 AD- 200 AD. As the last apostle dies, the church moves forward in a struggle to emerge from the marketplace of ideas, [...]

Triumphs and Tragedies – 4

The Church Faces Persecution. This week's episode covers the third century: 200 AD- 300 AD. During this century the church continues to consolidate its growth with rapid expansion, while at the same time the persecution of the church increases. The development of firm doctrines, the three fold ministry of Bishop, [...]

Triumphs and Tragedies – 5

The Victory of the Cross. The Roman Empire endorses Christianity and the church copes with Arianism. In this fifth episode of Triumphs and Tragedies I discuss the events of the fourth century--the conversion of the Emperor Constantine, religious freedom for Christians and the church dealing with the Arian heresy. This [...]

Triumphs and Tragedies – 6

In the sixth episode of Triumphs and Tragedies the Catholic Church copes with the heresies of Pelagianism and Nestorianism. Giants of the church--St Jerome, St Augustine, St Ambrose are active while Pope St Leo the Great steps in to bring order out of the chaos of the crumbling Roman Empire. [...]

Triumphs and Tragedies – 7

The sixth century sees the continued decay of the Roman Empire as barbarians invade Italy from the North and East. The Emperor Justinian reclaims large portions of the Empire, but it doesn’t last. Meanwhile, monasticism surges forth from an unexpected region and St Benedict establishes his simple monastic communities which [...]

Triumphs and Tragedies – 8

The Power of Pope St Gregory the Great and the Clash of Popes and Emperors. This century sees the increase in temporal power of the papacy as the Roman Empire continues to crumble, and this brings the popes into conflict with the emperors in Constantinople. Meanwhile the monastic movements continue [...]

Triumphs and Tragedies – 9

The eighth century - from 700 - 800 AD. The temporal power of the papacy increases as the Byzantine Empire disintegrates. The Lombards dominate Italy and the pope looks North for political support and military defense. Meanwhile the Benedictine monastic movement grows as English missionary monk St Boniface evangelizes the [...]

Triumphs and Tragedies – 10

Half way through the twenty part history of the church, things become very grim. Its not called the Dark Ages for nothing. In this episode dealing with the ninth century we are faced with the nadir of the papacy. These popes were not just incompetent, venal or weak. They were [...]

Triumphs and Tragedies – 11

The tenth century is a very dark chapter in the history of the papacy. The popes have become no more than mafia dons--killing, torturing and scheming to get the power and wealth that has come to be linked to the papacy. Once on the throne most of them live decadent, [...]

Triumphs and Tragedies – 12

After two hundred years of a very dark time, the church struggles into reform. The German kings prompt the reform by appointing good popes, but it backfires when the popes clash with the kings over the question of who appoints the bishops, priests and abbots. Popes Leo IX and Gregory [...]

Triumphs and Tragedies – 13

During the twelfth century the reform movement begun the century before moves into full gear. Motivated by the monastic movement which is also going through reform, the pope established an administrative and legal machine that unites Europe and provides a foundation for the expansion and consolidation of papal power. This [...]

Triumphs and Tragedies – 14

In the thirteenth century Pope Innocent III continues the reform movement, confronts the Abigensians with violence, but welcomes the Dominicans and Franciscans. During this century power struggles with the secular rulers continue, but the papacy emerges as a strong monarchy bringing administrative and spiritual unity to Europe.

Triumphs and Tragedies – 15

The events of the fourteenth century and thereafter can only be understood by having knowledge of the philosophical upheavals that took place in the 12th and 13th centuries. In this episode we look at the development of the universities and the thought of the great medieval philosophers before covering the [...]

Triumphs and Tragedies – 16

The fifteenth century: As the French Avignon Papacy ended, the Great Schism began, only to be resolved at the beginning of the 15th century at the Council of Constance. As the century developed the rise of the Renaissance popes take place, and they seem oblivious to the mounting pressure for [...]

Triumphs and Tragedies – 17

The sixteenth century is one of the most momentous 100 years in church history. We've had to break this up into two episodes. Episode 17 deals with the Renaissance papacy and the reform movements that were going on at the end of the fifteenth century and leading into the sixteenth. [...]

Triumphs and Tragedies – 18

The second half of the two part episode on the momentous sixteenth century. How can you fit everything in? Luther, Calvin, Renaissance popes, Michelangelo, Raphael, Shakespeare, Henry VIII and his wives and offspring, St Thomas More, Erasmus. Whew! This episode also had to deal with the Council of Trent, the [...]

Triumphs and Tragedies – 19

The Counter Reformation, the Council of Trent and the struggles between Jansenists and Jesuits. It looks now like there will be 23 episodes. Twenty will cover 18th c. Twenty one - 19th. Twenty two - 20th. Twenty Three - 21st and where we go from here. I hope you've enjoyed [...]

Triumphs and Tragedies – 20

This episode takes us into the 18th century in which the church slides into political intrigue, is weakened by a series of ineffectual popes and is devastated by the French Revolution.

Triumphs and Tragedies 21

The nineteenth century sees a resurgence in the Catholic faith after the terrible devastation of the French Revolution. Pope Pius IX stands up to modernism, but the world is on the brink of the disastrous twentieth century.

Triumphs and Tragedies 22

The twentieth century: Pope Pius X hammers the heresies of modernism, the church flourishes in missionary lands and Europe is plunged into two world wars. The final episode will deal with the Second Vatican Council and the church's ongoing struggle with the modern world.

Triumphs and Tragedies 23

The second half of the twentieth century takes us through the papacy of John XXIII, the second Vatican Council and the fallout of this brave attempt to relate the Catholic faith to the modern world. We conclude by looking at the results and where we are today and suggest what [...]


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