From the days of the apostles, the Church's pastors and teachers have met, when necessary, to defend and explain the Catholic faith. From the "Council of Jerusalem" in the Acts of the Apostles, through the Councils of Nicaea, Constantinople, Trent, and Vatican II, these meetings of the world's bishops are some of the most important events in the life of the Church and the most profound expressions of the Church's teaching authority.
More than a history of the twenty-one ecumenical councils, this question-and-answer book provides a practical and theological explanation of them. It provides the historical context that led to each council, the reasons it was convened, the major events that happened during the council, and the impact of its teachings, then and now.
While surveying some of the most important issues and controversies in the history of the Church, the author also explains and defends the teaching authority of the bishops as successors to the apostles, particularly when teaching together as a single, united body, in union with the pope.
"We cannot begin to understand ourselves or our current crisis unless we understand the councils — what they are, what they said, and how they said it. We are the children of Vatican II, as we are the children of Trent and Chalcedon. Paul Senz guides us through the history of the councils — and helps us to see their divine sense and providential purpose."
— Scott Hahn, Professor of Theology, Franciscan University; Author, Rome Sweet Home
"Paul Senz has given us a way to transcend our historical moment and appreciate all the general Church councils. He gives us the definitions we need to advance in understanding, and he answers the questions that arise when we're reading those great histories of the Church."
— Mike Aquilina, from the Foreword; Author, The Fathers of the Church
"For Catholics, a knowledge of the history and the teaching of the Church councils is necessary if we are to know where we are and what we are. This wonderfully accessible book takes us through the Church councils, answering all the questions Catholics need to have answered."
— Joseph Pearce, Author, Faith of Our Fathers: A History of True England
"Besides the canonization of Scripture, few events have affected the Church more than the ecumenical councils. What has been too massive a topic for the average person is now easy and approachable thanks to Senz's readable book."
— Stephen Ray, Author, Upon This Rock: St. Peter and the Primacy of Rome in Scripture and the Early Church
"This easy-to-read guide provides clear, concise, and engaging answers to questions concerning the twenty-one ecumenical councils. It should be on the 'must have' list of every Catholic interested in theology and Church history."
— Steve Weidenkopf, Adjunct Professor of Church History, Christendom College Graduate School of Theology
"On a topic that could otherwise be dry, Senz offers an easy-to-follow, logical flow of questions and answers, which makes it a joy to read. As we are still living in the wake of Vatican II, it is especially critical to understand the ecumenical councils, not least for the sake of the unity of the Church."
— James Papandrea, Professor of Church History, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
"Church councils have formed a significant part of the deposit of faith. This work plays an enormously important role in this story. May we all become more deeply rooted in the great truths of faith from our careful perusal of its contents."
— Rev. Charles Connor, S.T.L., Author, Classic Catholic Converts