Light From Darkness: Nine Times the Church was in Turmoil, and Came Out Stronger Than Before

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Ask Catholics about the crisis in the Church today and you’ll often get one of two responses: The end is upon us! or Everything’s fine—the Holy Spirit is in charge!

Neither of those attitudes makes sense from the perspective of history, says Steve Weidenkopf (The Real Story of Catholic History).

In his new book, Light from Darkness, Weidenkopf shows how the Church's past ages were no less tumultuous than our own. Yet, whether it was decadent hierarchs selling out the Faith for pleasure and power, or hostile princes, heresies, or ideologies (sometimes all three at once) menacing Christendom, the Catholic Church not only persisted during hard times but came through them stronger than before.

In each case, though, Weidenkopf demonstrates how the Church's survival was not an accident or a last-minute miracle. Instead, good Catholics (lay and clergy alike) cooperated with God’s grace to beat back error and corruption and reform the house of God from within. They resisted the twin temptations of cynical schism and Pollyanna passivism and went to work—first in their own hearts—bringing good out of evil, light from darkness.

These nine inspiring stories of crisis and reform should give all Catholics today reason for hope—and a model to follow as we deal with the trials that God has permitted in our own time.


Steve Weidenkopf teaches at the Christendom College Graduate School of Theology. He is the author of The Church and the Middle Ages: 1000-1378 (2020); Timeless: A History of the Catholic Church (2019): The Real Story of Catholic History:  Answering Twenty Centuries of Anti-Catholic Myths (2017); The Glory of the Crusades (2014); and is the creator and co-author of Epic: A Journey Through Church History and the author of The Early Church adult faith formation studies. Steve is a member of the Society for the Study of the Crusades and the Latin East, an international academic group dedicated to the field of Crusading history. He is also a Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. Steve and his wife live in Northern Virginia and are blessed with six children and one grandchild.

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