Church and State through the Centuries: A Collection of Historic Documents with Commentaries

Church and State through the Centuries: A Collection of Historic Documents with Commentaries

Church and State through the Centuries: A Collection of Historic Documents with Commentaries

Church and State through the Centuries: A Collection of Historic Documents with Commentaries

Excerpt

In English-speaking countries the lack of knowledge of classical or modern foreign languages is often a serious handicap to historical studies, whether in the Universities and other academic institutions or outside them. Nowhere is this lack likely to lead to more fundamental misapprehensions than in the study of the history of the Christian Church. Our aim in this book is to provide reliable English translations of the most significant official documents in one of the most controversial fields of Church History--the story of the Church's relationship with the secular political power through the various metamorphoses of that power over twenty centuries of history. The decision to confine the collection to these sources and to omit any quotations from individual writers, however distinguished, was taken to prevent an already large book from becoming unwieldy and thus defeating its own purpose. We believe there may also be a positive advantage in being able to inspect the official statements of religious and political authority in isolation from the sometimes distracting interpretations of individual publicists. Supporters of both sides have often used highly selective methods of quotation of official sources, and for this reason we have presented the vast majority of the documents in extenso. We venture to hope that this method of presentation may assist the interested reader in the study of a subject which has suffered, perhaps more than any other, from the prejudices of controversy.

Most of the documents selected appear in an entirely new English translation. Some are appearing in English, to the best of our knowledge, for the first time: these are indicated in the table of contents by an asterisk. Explanatory commentaries prefix each individual document, and each of the eight chapters into which the book is divided is preceded by a short general introduction. We have endeavoured to keep the intrusion of personal opinion to a minimum and to allow the documents to speak for themselves.

We acknowledge with grateful thanks the kind permission given to us by the Catholic Truth Society, London, to reproduce their copyright translations of certain modern Papal Encyclicals. The documents concerned are indicated at their appropriate places in the text.

SIDNEY Z. EHLER
University College, Dublin, JOHN B. MORRALL
July, 1954 . . .

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.