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Catholic Church Milestones: People and Events That Shaped The Institutional Church

William Frank Smith

Pages: 180
ISBN: 978-160844-821-0
List Price: 16.95
Category: Nonfiction
Available: December 2010
Edition: Perfectbound

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Catholic Church Milestones is a concise, easy to read introduction to the people and events that have shaped the Institutional Catholic Church from its beginning to the present day. Counting over one billion members worldwide, the Catholic Church is the world’s largest Christian denomination and over the course of the last two thousand years has played a significant role on the world stage. Milestones presents the reader with both the good and not-so-good people and events in the church’s history. Included are brief summaries of all twenty-one ecumenical councils; the highlights of several of the most notable papacies; introductions to several of the spiritual mystics who have enriched the church; and, descriptions of some of the world events that played a role in moving the church to where it is today. This is an ideal book for shared group discussion, as well as for personal reading and reference. Milestones starts with a basic understanding that Jesus did not found a “church,” rather his apostles and followers began small communities of believers after Jesus’ Resurrection. In each of eight discrete time periods, the principle people and events are listed and discussed. Starting with the early local communities founded by the apostles, the first time period encompasses the early persecutions faced by the followers of Jesus and the transition of this new Way from a sect of the Jewish faith into a completely separate, mostly gentile religion. By the fourth century we see the dramatic change as this new belief system becomes the official religion of the Roman Empire, followed by the even more dramatic changes as the Roman Empire splits and then falters, leaving the Pope in Rome as a major player in the political life of the western part of the former Empire throughout the middle ages.
At the beginning of the eleventh century the first major split occurs in the Catholic Church, as most of the Eastern Churches reject the leadership of the Pope and form a new “Orthodox” union that exists to this day; followed some five hundred years later by a major split in the West, as Martin Luther and other reformers call for changes in the church, which Rome soundly rejected. Instead the Catholic Church turned inward and put up further walls of separation in its counter-reformation―attitudes it would staunchly hold for the next four hundred years, even as the world changed with: the industrial revolution; scientific breakthroughs; communism; and, then two world wars during the first half of the twentieth century. Finally we look at the changing face of the church following the Second Vatican Council.

William Frank (Bill) Smith has been a volunteer adult education leader and lay minister in various Roman Catholic parishes in both California and Oregon for over thirty years. After a long career in business he retired in 2007 and with his wife, Barbara, moved from Southern California to Oregon. Bill and Barbara enjoy traveling, reading and spending time with their four children and five grandchildren. Now that he has more leisure time, Bill is creating a series of monographs reflecting many of the insights he has garnered in his ministerial work. Both Barbara and Bill remain active in their parish in Beaverton, Oregon―Mission of the Atonement―a unique parish that joins two Christian traditions, Roman Catholic and Lutheran, working side-by-side to make the Kingdom of God present in today’s world. Bill began his secondary and college education in the Roman Catholic Seminaries of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. He left the seminary mid-way through college and continued his education at Los Angeles College and the University of California majoring first in philosophy, then switching to psychology and eventually into business. He is Certified in Industrial Relations Practice by UCLA; he is a Certified Internal Auditor; and, he holds a fellowship in the Life Management Association. He has authored articles for the professional journals of the Institute of Internal Auditors and the Conference Board as well as conducting seminars for both organizations. During the course of his business career he had held positions as an officer and director of both privately held and publicly owned companies. Over the years his employers have included: Transamerica Life; Mattel Toys; The Harwood Companies; and, Intex Corp.
In volunteer roles his involvement in various Catholic parishes has included most every form of non-ordained ministry―most recently as a Bereavement Minister for five years before moving to Oregon―and many aspects of religious education. The educational roles have included participation in the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) program, direction of teenage Confirmation Programs, and a wide range of Bible Study programs. He has been a long time supporter of the Los Angeles Archdiocesan Religious Education Congress (the largest annual gathering of religious educators in the United States) and has attended the Congress regularly over the past thirty years.

In 2010, Bill and Barbara will celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversay.