FishEaters Traditional Catholic Forums

Full Version: Good topic to write about?
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
So I am currently taking a world History class (1500s - 2015)

As a project I need to write a minimum of 6 pages touching upon an idea, event, or invention that has happened since that particular time period and describe whether I think it was a good thing or a bad thing. I need to describe the overall impact that the particular thing had on the world and explain whether they were good effects or bad.

I want to use this project as a means of evangelizing. I would like to write about a topic that is in some way related to the Catholic Church

What are good topics to write about?

Some of the topics that come to mind are:
The Enlightenment
The Reformation
The French Revolution
The development of the modern State



Papal efforts to end chattel slavery.
(03-03-2015, 04:42 PM)Clare Brigid Wrote: [ -> ]Papal efforts to end chattel slavery.

Thanks I did not think about this.

Do you know of any source documents that I can use for research?

I know for example that Pope Paul III's encyclical against slavery helped in the creation of the Laws of 1542

Also do you think I should stick to the Popes against slavery? Or should I generalize it to the Church against slavery? The reason I am asking is because I have found some articles about some saints and other Church officials that are not popes, but nevertheless they fought against slavery.
I can't remember the primary sources off hand, but I read about them, and the rest of the history, several years ago.  You'll be able to dig them all up with a little research.

This topic also brings to mind a barn burner of a sermon by Fr. McAfee at St. John the Beloved in McLean, VA at the traditional Mass there.  (I would attend while visiting my best friend from college, now a teacher at an Opus Dei prep school for boys.)  Fr. McAfee preached on this very topic.  He ended by recounting the failure of the U.S. bishops, before Emancipation, to respond to clear papal teaching prohibiting chattel slavery.  I'll never forget this line:  "And why is it that the American bishops did not follow the popes' teaching?  BECAUSE THEY WERE COWARDS!!!!"

If you can dig the sermon up here, you'll never regret the effort to find it:  http://tallguyav.com/stjhomilies.html

It was probably in 2010 or 2011.

Hope you learn a lot from this topic, if you choose it, and show how the Church was at the forefront of opposition to chattel slavery.  (And yes, it would be fine, I think, to generalize to the Church as a whole, but it's only a six page paper.)
Not to be a spoilsport, but while it is certainly true that certain popes opposed the slave trade, I am not sure that one can really say that the Church as a whole was ever really a consistent or outspoken opponent of either slavery in general or the slave trade in particular. Pius IX, for instance, asserted that slavery was not against the natural law, though I don't know if he ever said anything about chattel slavery. I think any paper on the subject would have to take this ambiguity into account. With this example in mind, and while I am certainly sympathetic to the claim that we should have some sort of ideal of Christian scholarship rather than falling back on some mythical secular objectivity, I am not sure that one should really look at the writing of a history paper as an opportunity to evangelize in an explicit way, especially when writing about the history of the Church, which is not always the best advertisement for the Catholic faith and must be dealt with in its complexity.

That said, I think addressing the development of the modern state would be a good opportunity to challenge many modern assumptions about the relationship between politics, religion, and violence. It might be a big topic, but you could also look at the conflicts between Europe and the Ottoman Empire and how the ideals of Christendom and the Crusade fared in early modern Europe. I'm sure you can make just about anything that you find interesting into a suitable topic for a paper, though.
You could talk about the effects of globalization of that time period. for example tobacco, potatoes, yams, etc...
(03-03-2015, 06:32 PM)ArturoOrtiz Wrote: [ -> ]
(03-03-2015, 04:42 PM)Clare Brigid Wrote: [ -> ]Papal efforts to end chattel slavery.

Thanks I did not think about this.

Do you know of any source documents that I can use for research?

I know for example that Pope Paul III's encyclical against slavery helped in the creation of the Laws of 1542

Also do you think I should stick to the Popes against slavery? Or should I generalize it to the Church against slavery? The reason I am asking is because I have found some articles about some saints and other Church officials that are not popes, but nevertheless they fought against slavery.
Papal efforts to end slavery and how the Church effectively ignored him.
The Synod of Manila at the beginning of the Spanish conquest of the Philippine Islands forbid slavery and retained the local rulers, so as long as they submit to the Spanish Crown. And they did so.

N.
(03-03-2015, 03:18 PM)ArturoOrtiz Wrote: [ -> ]So I am currently taking a world History class (1500s - 2015)

As a project I need to write a minimum of 6 pages touching upon an idea, event, or invention that has happened since that particular time period and describe whether I think it was a good thing or a bad thing. I need to describe the overall impact that the particular thing had on the world and explain whether they were good effects or bad.

I want to use this project as a means of evangelizing. I would like to write about a topic that is in some way related to the Catholic Church

What are good topics to write about?

Some of the topics that come to mind are:
The Enlightenment
The Reformation
The French Revolution
The development of the modern State

These topics are certainly interesting, but are much too broad for an "at least 6 page" paper.  Several volumes have been written, and several more could probably still be written on each of those subjects.

The enlightenment influenced the French Revolution, and was in turn influenced by it.  The development of the modern state (the republic) is a result of the revolutions that swept across Europe and European colonies.  Many of these events happened- at least in part- as a result of the protestant reformation, because the desire for religious freedom, and the anti-religious sentiment that thrived under the 18th, 19th, and 20th-century European and European colonial revolutions was most felt by unfaithful subjects of Catholic, Anglican, and Orthodox monarchies.

I suggest finding specific examples that portray the Church in a positive light.  The Blessed Martyrs of Compiegne and Pope Piux XII's assistance of the Jews during the holocaust (that's a really good one right there) are just a few examples.