Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Mike Aquilina's The Resilient Church is an effortless, respectful look at a number of episodes in the history of the Roman Catholic Church. Not a comprehensive history (or even an attempt at a concise one), this book offers readers a number of vignettes from the life of the Church, through its encounters with heresy and holiness, scandal and salvation. Political events find their way in, but Aquilina's focus is on the Church as exemplifying one particular virtue: perseverance. Inasmuch as all Christian history is the story of a divine marriage, Christ and his Church, consider this book as an honest and sometimes humbling memoir of how that, as yet not fully consummated, marriage plays out in the lives of the faithful across millennia. It's an excellent read, and while not scholarly, the reader is bound to find something of interest. I particularly enjoyed the treatment of the Crusades. Inasmuch as the history of the West largely cannot be understood outside the history of the Church, this book is recommended for believers and non-believers alike.