Many people erroneously believe that the dark ages were caused by the Catholic Church and its hatred of science/love of superstition, and its dominant control of the mind of man during what has been called the “medieval” or “dark ages.” But nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, just the opposite is true. So put your brain in high gear and let’s learn real history, not what the protestants taught after the Reformation – huge lies about history for the express purpose of putting down the Catholic Church so as to make themselves look like “the enlightenment.” Many of these erroneous teachings are still being taught as fact today, and good people have come to believe this wicked deception as the truth.
Ancient Rome was the center of culture, science, logic, and reasoning during its heyday, but all of that came to a screeching halt in 410 AD, when the Visigoths sacked Rome, and the Roman Empire came to an end. The Visigoths, along with the Barbarians, the Vandals, the Franks, and the Huns, were what we would call today “barbarians,” and were not into learning science, math, philosophy, and architecture. They were interested in conquering and destroying civilizations, the very epitome of “raping and pillaging.” And conquer and rape and pillage they did. So why is Europe so civilized today? Did these early barbaric conquerors of Europe all of a sudden take up an interest in culture? The answer is that the Catholic Church, and specifically the monasteries of St. Benedict (the Father of Europe) befriended the conquerors, converted them to the Church of Jesus Christ, and then took up the task of educating them and civilizing them.
One of the greatest of these converted leaders was a Frank, named Charlemagne, who died in 814 AD. Charlemagne was a member of the Carolingian family, and he took to learning and education like an ant takes to apple pie. It was Charlemagne who first encouraged churches to add schools next to every church. It was Charlemagne who promoted the copying of manuscripts from generation to generation, and to save them from destruction in numerous libraries. Thanks to his efforts, modern man in the 21st century still has some of these historical documents. Of course, at times, churchmen got too close to the barbarian ways and sometimes erroneously adopted them, but in the end, the Church won out and Europe was saved from the barbaric ways. Over the course of centuries, little by little, the Church educated the uneducated and preserved science from extinction. This period is known as the Carolingian Renaissance, which lasted until Charlemagne’s son, Louis the Pious, died in 840 AD. Roman sciences that were preserved and taught to the masses consisted of music, geometry, astronomy, basic math, logic, rhetoric, and grammar. The Germans were taught Latin by one Carolingian monk, named Alcuin, and this allowed the German people to become familiar with the Roman classics from centuries before. An Abbot named Fredegese invented what is known as Carolingian Miniscule. What is that? Well, we take it for granted today, but Carolingian Miniscule is punctuation standardization – the inclusion of spaces between words, capital letters, commas, apostrophes, and periods after sentences. Before Fredegese came up with this idea, reading foreign manuscripts was next to impossible. Hardly anyone today has heard of this Abbot of St. Martin’s Abbey, but his idea changed forever the way we read and write, and makes it all so much easier to understand.
The Carolingian Renaissance which ended in the 9th Century cured a lot of the lost learning that occurred from the Visigoth sacking of Rome. But in the next two centuries, more barbarian invasions were on the way – namely, the Vikings, the Magyars, and the Muslims. So once again the task of hiding volumes of the Bible and great literature in monastery basements and then reeducating the conquerors fell to the Catholic Church. And then once again in the 13th Century, Ghengis Khan and the Mongols invaded Europe and sacked and pillaged. Real students of European History might come to the realization that the dark ages weren’t caused by the Catholic Church preserving knowledge and transcribing Bibles and other secular literature, but rather from the barbaric invasions of the Visigoths/Huns/Franks/Barbarians in the 5th and 6th centuries; the barbaric invasions of the Vikings/Magyars/Moslems in the 9th and 10th centuries; and the barbaric invasion of the Mongols in the 13th Century! And each and every time, the task of re-education of the next generation AND the barbarians fell to the Catholic Church and their monks and monasteries. Pope Sylvester II, who died in 1003 AD, once said, “The just man lives by faith, but it is good that he should combine science with his faith.” That quote doesn’t exactly sound like a Pope who believes in superstition for the masses!
So what was a monastery, and why were they the cradle of civilization in Europe? Monasteries were usually located in out of the way places in the countryside, for the solitude of the monks. They had to become self-sufficient with agriculture. As a result, the monks learned how to dam rivers, how to reclaim lost swampland by draining the swamp and turning it into farmland for their crops, and how to redirect the flow of rivers for hydropower for their millwheels. And they didn’t only raise traditional crops like corn, but they also became experts in beekeeping for honey (and for pollinating their crops), brewing beer, and raising fruit so that they could make their own sacramental wine. That champagne we all drink for New Year’s Eve was invented by a monk named Dom Perignon at St. Peter’s Abbey. The monks also learned how to locate springs, and how to store water for future droughts. All of these techniques learned and perfected by the monks soon became the norm for agriculture everywhere. Los Angeles California owes its very existence to the rerouting of the Owens River some 200 miles away into the Los Angeles area. Since the monks preached that manual labor was a way to serve God, working long hours in the field was their normal workday.
The monks also were early ranchers as well, as they perfected cattle breeding, so that the best beef and traits of each particular breed could be combined with others. The monks also invented clocks, and one, invented by a 14th century monk named Peter Lightfoot, is still in existence today in London. In the 16th century, King Henry VIII ordered the Catholic Monasteries shut down in England, which delayed the Industrial Revolution by at least a century. We know this because evidence has been found in some of these decimated monasteries that the monks had furnaces which were beginning to extract iron from raw ore. And cast iron, as we all know, was the primary material used in the Industrial Revolution. Thanks to Henry VIII’s hatred of all things Catholic, the Industrial Revolution was delayed by at least a century.
The times of these barbarian invasions of Europe was also a time of kill or be killed in a lot of countries. One shining light in all of this blood spilling was the Catholic Church and its charity. The Church built hospitals for the indigent, and provided free medical care for millions of sick people, even enemies who wanted them dead. This charitable work is the precursor of all of the organizations today who help the poor and sick.
In the 12th century, the Catholic Church invented the University. Today there are universities everywhere, but back then, there were none. Oxford University was one of the first, and each university had to have a Papal Charter in order to operate. Oxford got its charter in 1254 AD. The universities founded by the Catholic Church initially specialized in liberal arts, civil law, philosophy, medicine and theology. Later on came engineering and science. Today there are actually European universities who go ballistic and refuse to let the Pope come speak at their university. But the students there are so ignorant and imbecilic, because they don’t even know they owe the existence of their university to the benevolence and industriousness of the Pope himself.
In 1582, Pope Gregory invented the Gregorian Calendar, which we still use today. The old Julian Calendar invented by Julius Caesar, was very inaccurate. Pope Gregory’s calendar discovered that there are EXACTLY 97 leap days every 400 years, and this has been proven accurate even to this day.
Many ignorant people still believe that the Catholic Church hates science because of one man, Galileo, while they refuse to even want to study the history of the Catholic Church and science. They will shout Galileo’s name in your face to prove how smart and scientific they are and how stupid you are for being a superstitious Catholic. But there is more to Galileo than meets the eye. For starters, the Pope loved his theories and welcomed him with open arms. But what got Galileo into trouble was that he was preaching Copernicus’ theory from the century before AS A FACT, and told the Church that they would have to reinterpret scripture accordingly. The Catholic Church was the National Science Foundation of its day, and it only gave its seal of approval to science that was proven. The Church told Galileo that he could continue to teach Copernicus' theory of heliocentricity (the theory that the earth revolves around the sun) as a theory only. At first, he agreed, and all was well. But years later, in 1632, he reneged on his promise and taught it as fact in his treatise called “Dialogue on the Great World Systems,” before it had ever been proven. This is very similar to the debate we have today with the theory of man-made global warming being taught as fact, when there is no proof of it. Galileo also taught that the tides were caused by the earth’s rotation, which is false (they are caused by the gravitational pull of the moon), AND that the earth’s orbit around the sun is a perfect circle (in fact, it is elliptical). So for this, Galileo was prevented from teaching anything, and place under house arrest in a VERY nice chateau.
Other great Catholic scientists were the layman Louis Pasteur, who invented the process called pasteurization, the Franciscan Roger Bacon, who is the father of the modern scientific method, St. Albert the Great, who was the first to publish many scientific articles on the logic and reason behind scientific creation, Father Nicholas Steno, who is the father of modern geology, the Jesuits, who were studying astronomy and earthquake science for centuries, Father Riccioli, who discovered the rate of acceleration of a freely falling object, Father Grimaldi, a Jesuit who discovered the diffraction of light, Fr. Boscovich, an 18th century Jesuit who calculated a formula to determine a planet’s orbit and who is known as the father of atomic physics, Father Gregor Mendel, who is the discoverer of genetics, Father Lemaitre, who came up with the idea of the Big Bang theory, and who explained it all to none other than Albert Einstein, who agreed with it. There are many, many more, and a simple google search of Catholic Scientists will show you just how the Catholic Church led the way in scientific research. There is a misguided effort today by the atheists to show that if you believe in science, you must be an atheist, but that is stupid propaganda. While the atheists were doing nothing, the Catholic Church was leading the way in scientific research, long before Darwin’s theory of Evolution popped up. The Catholic scientists were so successful because they knew that since God designed everything, that it could be discovered by man, because of our logic and reasoning. Randomness became less of an issue for scientists who recognized God’s hand in creation, and who were constantly thinking, “Well, since this IS, then this must follow.” A simple look at the design of the human genome which was recently mapped out proves that the DNA code had to have a master programmer, as it is so logical and sequential, just like the very computer code that is running the software on your Operating System.
The Catholic Church Cathedrals in Europe were even used for science. Holes in the walls of the cathedrals and lines on the floor (meridians) were regularly used for solar research. The exact timing of the two solstices and the two equinoxes were determined from these Catholic Cathedrals. Cassini even determined from using the Cathedral "solar system" that the earth’s orbit was elliptical around the sun, rather than circular as the haughty Galileo had once taught.
The Catholic Church also led the way in art and architecture. A visit to any Catholic Church today reveals beautiful stained glass windows. In the medieval times, few people could read, so the church used artwork and stained glass to portray bible stories. And the Gothic architecture in the old cathedrals is awe-inspiring to say the least. From the outside, many Catholic Churches look dark and plain, but once inside, the beauty of the sun streaming into the windows and the architecture make the Mass come alive. An important point to remember for all of the people who say that the Church should sell all of its artwork – Europe has been invaded and pillaged many times, by barbarians who would just as soon blow up art as look at it. Europe has been through 2 world wars, where Nazis stole artwork and where many museums were bombed and the artwork destroyed. Is that what we really want for all of the priceless art in the Vatican? To be blown up, stolen, or destroyed by the next invader or war? Or do we all want it safe and sound in the Vatican for all future generations to come and see? It’s obvious to the rational thinker.
And of course, the greatest contribution to the world that the Catholic Church has given is sacred scripture. Pope Damasus I at the council of Rome in 382 AD came up with the canon of scripture with all 73 books in it, which is still used today. St. Jerome translated the Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic texts into the vernacular of the day, Latin, so that everyone who could read in the modern world of that day would be able to read it. The big lie from the Protestants is that the Catholic Church chained the bible down to the altar to keep laymen from reading it, but the truth is that the cost of one bible was astronomical before the printing press. A stolen Bible could not be replaced easily, and Masses would have to be cancelled if there was no bible in the Church to read from. And when the Catholic inventor Johann Gutenberg invented the printing press, the very first book printed was the Gutenberg Catholic Bible, which is still in existence today with ALL 73 books, not the Luther canon of 66 books from the Deformation.
So the next time someone says that the Dark Ages were caused by the Catholic Church, please feel free to correct their ignorance!