17 Book Review

posted Apr 16, 2019, 8:28 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 16, 2019, 8:28 AM ]

The Church since its Foundation

(Church History in a Nutshell)

by Aurolina Mascarenhas DHM

Better Yourself Books & Media Pvt. Ltd. Bandra, 2019, pgs. 117

To understand the present, one needs to know the past – that is the value of history. This is true of individuals, and also of institutions, and it is particularly true of the Church. The Church is now over 2000 years old, and has been shaped by her history over the centuries. So to know her history and development helps one to understand the present better.

This struck me forcibly some 40 years ago. I was then a young priest, and at a party, a well educated and cultured Catholic young man was chatting with me. To my surprise, he suddenly asked me, "Father, do you think the Church will last for long?" I asked him the reason for his question. "Well," he replied, "we have so many problems in the Church today, and I keep wondering whether she will weather all these storms or just collapse." I asked him if he had read anything of Church History, to which he replied in the negative. I said, "If you had some idea of Church History, you would realise that over the centuries, the Church has weathered far worse storms than she faces today. And she has always survived. On many occasions, some thought that it was time the Church was buried, but she has lived to bury all her undertakers! So I have no doubt she will last long, or as Christ promised: for all times." That is the importance of reading Church History.

Unfortunately, few people take up what seems like the daunting task of going through a book of Church History, which could be a couple of hundred pages of complex data. To help initiate the layman into this project, Sr Aurolina Mascarenhas got the idea of presenting a brief readable vision of Church History or "Church History in a nutshell" as she has called her book. The book looks slim and inviting—117 small size pages in all. If one covers ten pages a day, one could finish the book in a fortnight of easy reading, and get a glimpse into Church History as a whole.