Lumen – Shining a Light on History

“We don’t dLumeno God!” said Number 10 communications director Alastair Campbell in 2003. Public recognition of religion and its contribution to society would never be the same again.

Seven years later, England striker Wayne Rooney was stopped from responding to a question about the Rosary beads he habitually wears, by an FA official.

Never mind the much documented morality of these two famous gentlemen, the two episodes are indicative of a wider trend to banish religion from the public square and this is particularly clear in the case of the Catholic Church.

Fr Andrew Pinsent, a CTS author and Research Director at Oxford said, “At the end of the Intelligence Squared debate in October 2009, broadcast worldwide by the BBC, 87% of the audience rejected the notion, ‘The Catholic Church is a force for good in the world.’”

Setting the record straight

Something had to be done. So he and Fr Marcus Holden, a tutor at Maryvale Institute, wrote LUMEN: The Catholic Gift to Civilisation.

Fr Andrew explained the motivation for writing the booklet to CTS Catholic Compass.

“So much of what we value in our society comes from Catholic civilisation. Those attacking the Church could, of course, point justifiably to many sins, failings and omissions by members of the Church over the past two thousand years.

“But there is clearly an urgent need to bring these fruits of Catholicism to wider public attention for the sake of truth, justice and to prevent the channels of grace being obscured.”

Here at CTS Catholic Compass, we want to take this opportunity to look back at some of those achievements in fields such as education, philosophy, science and the status of women.

Lumen Authors
Fr Holden (L) Fr Pinsent (R)

Fr Andrew continued, “LUMEN is not, of course, an entirely novel initiative, and some of the same ground is covered in more detail in How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization by Thomas E. Woods (2005).

“What is new about the LUMEN project, however, is the attempt to summarise these contributions in a compact form, illustrated with beautiful images, as well as a great effort to reveal the deeper connections between Catholicism and its many fruits.

“For example, it does not simply state that the Church has encouraged art or developed music, but also tried to explain why Catholic civilisation has been fruitful in these areas.”

Doing our part

We will highlight some of these areas in the coming days, so we can do our bit to help realise the authors’ hopes.

“We hope that after reading this book, the next time someone asks, ‘What have the Roman Catholics ever done for us?’ Catholics will have plenty of wonderful answers ready.”

You will have even more answers, if you come and read the blog, as well as the book.

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What do you think the most important contribution was?

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