Talk:Role of the Christian Church in civilization

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Orphaned references in Role of the Roman Catholic Church in civilization[edit]

I check pages listed in Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting to try to fix reference errors. One of the things I do is look for content for orphaned references in wikilinked articles. I have found content for some of Role of the Roman Catholic Church in civilization's orphans, the problem is that I found more than one version. I can't determine which (if any) is correct for this article, so I am asking for a sentient editor to look it over and copy the correct ref content into this article.

Reference named "Orlandis":

Reference named "Duffy221":

I apologize if any of the above are effectively identical; I am just a simple computer program, so I can't determine whether minor differences are significant or not. AnomieBOT 20:44, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

Thanks, I just spent some time enhancing this article and also corrected those refs. Sorry they were left that way, it was probably me that did that. NancyHeise talk 22:51, 9 November 2008 (UTC)
Talking to computers, Nancy? Now I am worried! Johnbod (talk) 22:57, 9 November 2008 (UTC)
Is there no person behind that message, really? Gosh it sounds so humanlike. Maybe you are not a real person either? :) NancyHeise talk 01:26, 11 November 2008 (UTC)


This page is incomplete, it needs a section on the Church in India where a large portion of the population is educated by Catholic schools and where the church has a large network of social ministries and hospitals. NancyHeise talk 16:25, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

Enlightenment View[edit]

This article presents an optimistic post-Enlightenment view which has been called revisionist by a more than a few authors. Anyways, the other, more pessimistic view is presented in the article conflict thesis, which claims that the Church promoted clerical fascism and obscurantism for hundreds upon hundreds of years. This view could maybe be included in order to achieve a balanced NPOV. ADM (talk) 08:48, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

Hi ADM, please see the list of books used to create this article, they are university history textbooks, not works of Catholic apologetics. These are the most scholarly works that WP:reliable source examples asks us to use. The fact that none of them discuss conflict thesis or clerical fascism might be because those ideas are considered WP:fringe which we are not supposed to cover in an encyclopedia article. Thanks for your comments. NancyHeise talk 04:38, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
Not so much that, but, as conflict thesis puts it in the lead: "The historical conflict thesis was a popular historiographical approach in the history of science during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but most contemporary historians of science now reject it.[1][2][3] It remains a widely popular view in the general public". It is also an aspect of the history of science, not civilization in general, though it has counterparts in other areas. The article clerical fascism deals entirely with the 20th century. I don't think ADM can have read obscurantism either! Johnbod (talk) 15:16, 12 May 2009 (UTC)


There are a number of POV problems with this page:

1. it assumes things are 'evils' from which the Church rescued their 'victims' by twisting them out of their historical/cultural context. For example, human sacrifice: even Catholic missionaries in South America noted that those being sacrificed went willingly to their deaths in what they saw as a necessary religious ritual.

2. it skirts around or ignores many of the most controversial areas where the Church has impacted on civilization: its stance on homosexuality is covered in a very inadequate way with a link to a page explaining the official position while abortion and contraception aren't even mentioned.

3. the provision of education is portrayed as automatically positive, not as a means of proseltysing or retaining members.

I'll post a POV tag while we consider some fixes.Haldraper (talk) 09:58, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

  • These comments reveal a pretty strong POV themselves, I'd say. Any chance of some good references on the human sacrifice point? The Aztecs, I think the principal contemporary culture practicing human sacrifice, mainly sacrificed prisoners of war AFAIK, so I'm dubious about this. It was one of the reasons they were so unpopular among their subject peoples, who Cortes was able to enlist to fight against them - see Human sacrifice in Aztec culture. More to the point would be questioning "Latin America" here. The Incas also practiced human sacrifice on special occasions, usually of children, something we don't seem to mention in Inca religion. Perhaps you should take your POV stickers there? All the article says is "Slavery and human sacrifice were both part of Latin American culture before the Europeans arrived" and that the church stopped them (eventually in the case of slavery). This seems entirely neutral to me, & should be in no way offensive to those who think slavery and human sacrifice good ideas. Johnbod (talk) 10:21, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
Johnbod, on the human sacrifice point I had in mind the Catholic missionary Bartolomé de las Casas who not only noted that the 'victims' of human sacrifice went joyously to their deaths but that it was hypocritical of Europeans who had their own long - and only relatively recently abandoned - history of human sacrifice to condemn such practices. You could add, I certainly would, that it's pretty ironic for the Church to baulk at others' religious celebration of human sacrifice when it's central ritual (Mass) is based on one.Haldraper (talk) 16:37, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
There's a certain difference between sacrificing up to 2,000 POW's, or several hundred children, on a single day, & commemorating the death centuries before of a single individual. Or am I being POV there. Johnbod (talk) 20:35, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
I don't see a consensus for a POV tag and I think that the tag encourages a "battleground mentality". If you think the article is missing something, why don't you improve it instead of just complaining? NancyHeise talk 02:29, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

source used inappropriately[edit]

This source (currently #58) is used inappropriately. How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization". Catholic Education Resource Center - This is actually a review of the Thomas Woods book How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization. We should be citing facts to the book, and not to a review of the book. Since this book has been used as a source for the article, hopefully someone has access to it and can replace the references to the review with the page numbers for the book. Thanks! Karanacs (talk) 18:54, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

The same problem with this one [1] - this is also a review of the Woods book. Karanacs (talk) 18:55, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

Stunningly POV[edit]

This page is full of value-laden words, uncited claims, and one-sided justifications and apologies. I will work to fix some of these, but I can't do it alone. I have added an NPOV tag. WhyDoIKeepForgetting (talk) 10:05, 24 February 2010 (UTC)

At the very least, the following should discussed:
-- WhyDoIKeepForgetting (talk) 10:23, 24 February 2010 (UTC)
-- WhyDoIKeepForgetting (talk) 10:51, 24 February 2010 (UTC)
I would go even further than your general comment: it reads as if written by committee, swinging back and forth on all sides of neutrality with the weak hope of the average somehow being neutral. Even if it works out that way, it's a really poor way to write.
There is a lot of worthwhile content already here, and I disagree that adding all of those new points would be helpful (although some might). In particular, Nazi Germany only existed for a historical blink of an eye and coverage of the role in civilization of a 2000 year institution vis-a-vis this would set up the article to be deluged with minutae (let alone that section becoming a magnet for POV pushers). A better solution would be to walk through the article and rewrite the content already there in more declarative, encyclopedic tone. After that is done I think we'd be in better shape to see what is prominently missing. Baccyak4H (Yak!) 15:45, 24 February 2010 (UTC)
We have articles on most elements of that list. And I don't see how a lot of them are that significant in the Catholic Church's contribution to civilisation. What we're looking at here is how the Catholic Church has affected civilisation in significant ways. Xandar 19:53, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

POV tag[edit]

I didn't put the POV tag on the article, but I endorse the fact that Tahc did so. I first brought up some of these concerns years ago. We should not conflate the Roman Catholic Church with the Christian Church. Even though the Roman Catholic Church's official POV is that the two are the same, I don't believe that most researchers agree. The article also focuses almost solely on positive impacts made by the church, and not any negative. Karanacs (talk) 19:26, 10 February 2015 (UTC)

Furthermore, Africa and Asia likely should not be included here, since the article's scope is Western civilization. Karanacs (talk) 19:29, 10 February 2015 (UTC)

While I certainly agree with the need to include negative impacts made by the church, the article was since its inception about the Roman Catholic Church. It seems like a reverse of logic to first move the page into "The Role of the Christian Church etc." and then say that the page's content does not conform with the page title. If we need a page about the Christian Church's role in Civilization, we should create a separate page/article that reflects the roles of all Christian denominations, and not change a pre-existing page which originally concerned solely the Roman Catholic Church. Domchiu (talk) 22:00, 6 March 2015 (UTC)

The article was renamed Role of the Christian Church in civilization because that is a suitable topic. The Role of the Roman Catholic Church in civilization cannot be a suitable topic because it would lead intractable and pointless POV conflicts over when and where the Church was also Roman Catholic.
Claiming an article is or should be about something just because it was in the past is not in agreement with any Wikipedia policy. This idea violates the concept that you cannot WP:OWN articles. tahc chat 23:59, 6 March 2015 (UTC)