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Of all the churches, the Roman Catholic was most seriously threatened by the French Revolution. Characteristically, she associated herself with the traditional monarchs and supported the rule of legitimate lords, be they bishops or kings, against the rising tide of liberty, equality, and fraternity. As these liberal democratic ideas became more and more popular, the Roman Catholic church became more and more defensive. This defense made popular an old movement for complete centralization of power in the papacy, a movement called ultramontanism, which saw its fulfillment in the decisions of the Vatican Council (1869-1870). [excerpt]


This is a part of Section XXIII: Theological Meaning. The Contemporary Civilization page lists all additional sections of Ideas and Institutions of Western Man, as well as the Table of Contents for both volumes.

More About Contemporary Civilization:

From 1947 through 1969, all first-year Gettysburg College students took a two-semester course called Contemporary Civilization. The course was developed at President Henry W.A. Hanson’s request with the goal of “introducing the student to the backgrounds of contemporary social problems through the major concepts, ideals, hopes and motivations of western culture since the Middle Ages.”

Gettysburg College professors from the history, philosophy, and religion departments developed a textbook for the course. The first edition, published in 1955, was called An Introduction to Contemporary Civilization and Its Problems. A second edition, retitled Ideas and Institutions of Western Man, was published in 1958 and 1960. It is this second edition that we include here. The copy we digitized is from the Gary T. Hawbaker ’66 Collection and the marginalia are his.