Monty Python says that nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.
In Seven Lies About Catholic History Diane Moczar answers some charges that are frequently made regarding the Catholic Church. The lies addressed concern the dark ages, progress, the Crusades, the Inquisition, Galileo, the Reformation, slavery and the treatment of Indians in the new world.
The publisher is TAN books, which is a Catholic publishing house, and Moczar, despite having a Ph. D., is a distinctly minor league academic who teaches at Northern Virginia Community College. These two facts alone are enough to disqualify the book and the author in the eyes of some snotty Ivy Leaguers, but none of that has nothing to do with the validity of her argument.
Lets take one example, her chapter on the Crusades. She points out that the Crusades were defensive. Were they? I haven’t been motivated enough to pursue a reading of the Quran or the Hadiths, and while I do have some Arabic and Persian literature in my library, and some Oriental rugs on the floor, I’m not likely to become all that interested in studying Islam anytime soon. However, it is worth pointing out that while Christianity has an Act of the Apostles that describes the missionary efforts of Peter, Paul, Barnabas, Philip, and the other apostles, none of whom are on record as doing anything other than preaching, and that its first martyr, Stephen, was killed, rather than a killer, there is no corresponding record of preaching and missionary journeys by Mo and his successors. The Christian martyrs such as Stephen, who was stoned to death; Thomas More and John Fisher, who were beheaded; the martyrs of Nagasaki, who were crucified; and the myriad others did not go into a Sbarro and blow themselves and the customers up; nor did they hijack planes and fly them into buildings. The Islamic faith was spread through the sword, not through the word. And it did reach Spain, and threatened Europe. So yes, the Crusades were defensive.
As I said the book will be greeted with disdain by some. It lacks a good apparatus, i.e., there are no footnotes, and no formal bibliography. However, it is aimed at a general audience, and its intended purpose is apologetics, a defense of the faith, and is intended for an audience of believers to give them ammunition to defend their beliefs. Moczar does provide guidelines for pursuing additional research, and the reader who wishes more in depth knowledge could probably follow her suggestions for additional reading and gain some benefit. If you read it with these caveats in mind, it will be beneficial to those who are Catholics.
Next up, a sci-fi novel from David Weber that is aimed at the young adult audience.