The outbreak of the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution at the turn of the nineteenth century transformed the world and ushered in the modern age, whose currents challenged the traditional political order and the prevailing religious establishment. The new secular framework presented a potential threat to the papal leadership of the Catholic community, which was profoundly affected by the rush towards modernization. In the nineteenth century the transnational church confronted a world order dominated by the national state, until the emergence of globalization towards the close of the twentieth century. Here, Coppa focuses on Rome's response to the modern world, exploring the papacy's political and diplomatic role during the past two centuries. He examines the Vatican's impact upon major ideological developments over the years, including capitalism, nationalism, socialism, communism, modernism, racism, and anti-Semitism. At the same time, he traces the continuity and change in the papacy's attitude towards church-state relations and the relationship between religion and science.
Unlike many earlier studies of the papacy, which examine this unique institution as a self-contained unit and concentrate upon its role within the church, this study examines this key religious institution within the broader framework of national and international political, diplomatic, social, and economic events. Among other things, it explores such questions as the limits to be placed on national sovereignty; the Vatican's critique of capitalism and communism; the morality of warfare; and the need for an equitable international order.
About the Author:
Frank J. Coppa is Professor of History and Director of the university's doctoral program in Modern World History at St. John's University. He is an Associate Editor of the New Catholic Encyclopedia. An expert in Modern European, Modern Italian, and Papal history he has published widely in all three areas. He is the recipient of numerous grants including Fulbright and National Endowment for the Humanities as well as University grants. He has served as general editor and contributor to The Dictionary of Modern Italian History (1985), The Encyclopedia of the Vatican and Papacy (1999), The Great Popes through History (2002), and The Encyclopedia of Modern Dictators (2006) among others. Most recently he has published The Papacy, the Jews, and the Holocaust (2006).