• 21 Ecumentical Councils that Shaped Catholic History and Beliefs

  • By: John W. O'Malley
  • Narrated by: John W. O'Malley
  • Length: 4 hrs and 50 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (49 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Internationally best-selling author, renowned professor, and the "dean of American Catholic Historians", Fr. John O'Malley presents his masterpiece on the 21 councils that shaped history. 

No other institution, except possibly the papacy, has more greatly influenced the church and the larger history of the Western world than the ecumenical council. Most of us, however, know little about it.

This course is designed to take you through the fascinating history of the ecumenical (church-wide) council, from its first appearance in Nicaea (325) through Vatican Council II (1962-1965). 

This 12-part audio series explores the deep issues of faith and the sometimes curious issues of clerical behavior with which the councils dealt. Councils, which were principally (but not exclusively) assemblies of bishops, gathered in the name of Christ or the Trinity, who made decisions binding on the whole church. Those decisions were about either doctrine (what Christians believe) or about "discipline" (public behavior, especially of bishops and priests).

You'll explore how councils gave us the creeds, shaped our understanding and practice of the sacraments, and settled major controversies. To explore the councils is to explore the developments of theology and history that have given us the church as we know it today. With this course you will understand why the ecumenical council remains one of the most important institutions in Western civilization.

This course is part of the Learn25 collection and includes a free PDF study guide.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2008 Now You Know Media Inc. (P)2008 Now You Know Media Inc.

Critic Reviews

“John W. O'Malley, S.J., is not only the dean of American Catholic historians, he is also one of the church's greatest and most accomplished teachers.” (James Martin S. J., author of My Life with the Saints)

What listeners say about 21 Ecumentical Councils that Shaped Catholic History and Beliefs

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Well done

Listened with great interest at the history of the Church Councils and the topics considered at each. Father does a good job giving a brief overview of their histories.

1 person found this helpful

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A Helpful Overview

These lectures provide a good high level overview of the 21 ecumenical councils. A good starting point for a deeper dive into church history and the development of Catholic doctrine and practice.

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Does prejudice support an unstated agenda?While

While this Jesuit maintains an academic show the subtleties of his prejudices sneak out in his off hand comments. The Jesuits have lost their zeal for the faith.

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well spoken but only partially neutral.

The author speaks his own book very well and does a great job with the history here up until he gets to Vatican II at which point his neutrality in the narration of the events is cast aside to a degree and he does not deal with any of the negative after-effects that followed the Second Vatican Council, despite having dealt with the after effects of earlier councils. one cannot expect too much depth in so short a work, but it felt as though he began to ignore the elephants in the room at that point, which the work can be faulted for.

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Nuanced and Engaging Introduction

I thoroughly enjoyed this introduction to the councils and thought that Fr. O'Malley did a wonderful job delivering a nuanced by quick overview of each one.

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History and theology at their very best

Fr. John O'Malley, in my view, is the world's greatest living Church historians. This course is a masterpiece. As O'Malley explains, the 21 Ecumenical Councils indelibly shaped both the 2,000 year development of Christianity and the course of Western Civilization. O'Malley places each council in context. What were the circumstances and questions it faced? Who were the personalities that gave its arguments voice? What were the impacts of its decisions - both short and long term? Each lecture is well organized, insightful and fascinating. O'Malley is an amazing teacher.

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very disappointing

Way too superficial, more off the cuff than well planned, I could have done a better job with a little research.