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Review by Dr Pravin Thevathasan


The Scandal of The Scandals
The Secret History of Christianity
by Manfred Lutz
Ignatius Press

Of course, there is nothing "secret" about the history of the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, the truth gets hidden by means of propaganda and there is so much about these days. What this superb book does is to give us an overview of events involving the Catholic Church from its beginning to the present. Admittedly, the chapters are brief. But there is still a great deal we can still learn.

For the purposes of this review, I will look at some well known "scandals" in Church history. Firstly, the Crusades. From its beginning, it was Islam that was on the attack. Many Christian nations were conquered. However, as the author notes, until about the year 1000AD, Islamic rulers had made it possible for Christians to go on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Islam then became radicalized. The Christian patriarch had been burned at the stake.

The Islamic Caliph Al-Hakim had the most sacred place in Christendom, the Holy Sepulcher, destroyed. In 1071, The Turkish Seljuq dynasty destroyed the Byzantine army and the Byzantine emperor begged for help of Western Christendom. In response, Pope Urban II called for the First Crusade. The Crusades are thus a response to Islamic aggression.

What of the dreaded Spanish Inquisition? Again, the author is spot on. It was founded in 1482 to resist heresy. It had nothing to do with converting Jews or Muslims. The Inquisition was remarkably advanced. No Christian could be punished simply on the testimony of biased witnesses.  There had to be objective evidence of heresy. Even those found guilty were given time to recant error. That is why the vast majority who went before the Inquisition was never punished. Only if they stood by their heretical beliefs were they handed over to the state to be punished. 826 people were sentenced to death by the Spanish Inquisition between 1540 and 1700. Outside of Spain, religious fanaticism would claim more victims in a single night than the Spanish Inquisition during its entire existence.

What about Galileo? Does not his case prove that the Catholic Church was against scientific advancement? Not at all, says the author. In 1616, the Roman Inquisition requested that he only voice his opinion that the earth moves around the sun as a scientist, not a theologian. The twentieth century Werner Heisenberg thought this to be fair. It was the rather arrogant Galileo who broke his promise  and in a pamphlet referred to his friend Pope Urban VIII as "Simplicio" or "fool." Arthur Koestler, no friend of the Catholic Church, observed that Galileo had by no means proved the accuracy of the Copernican system: he "was not tortured by the Inquisition, did not waste away in its dungeons...and was not a martyr of science."

The author is a Catholic psychiatrist and it was especially interesting to read his chapter on the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. He notes that sexual abuse of children and young people is rife in society and has been promoted by the sexual revolution of the sixties. Under the father of the sexual revolution, Wilhelm Reich, a view was promoted that children enjoy sex with each other and with adults. Very unfortunately, such a view was tolerated in some sections within the Church. Men who were sexually attracted to young males went into seminaries and got ordained. With what devastating consequences, we now know. The author notes that there is no evidence whatever that celibacy is to blame. What is needed is good selection of candidates to the priesthood and good seminary formation.
Pithy and brilliant. An enjoyable read.


Copyright ; Dr Pravin Thevathasan 2020

Version: 21st October 2020



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