"Every chancellery in Europe, every court in Europe, was ruled by these learned, trained and accomplished men—the priesthood of that great and dominant body."
— President Woodrow Wilson, The New Freedom
With the evidence of stubborn facts, historians have given their verdict: from the genius of Christianity and the cultures of the Jews, Greeks, Romans, Arabs and Germanic peoples, the Catholic Church built a new and original civilization, embodying within its structures the Christian vision of God and man, time and eternity.
Its construction and maintenance, amid attrition and cultural earthquakes, is a saga spread over sixteen hundred years. Catholic priests do not hold a monopoly on the struggles or achievements involved. However, in the embryonic stage of Western Civilization from A.D. 300 to 1000, because they numbered so many men of heroism and genius, and due to their triple mission to teach, sanctify and govern, they became the pioneers and irreplaceable builders of a new culture and socio-political order.
Heroism and Genius presents some of these formidable men of the Dark Ages and the medieval period, sketching their decisive role in the building of the landmark social, artistic and economic institutions that mark Western Civilization: Fathers of the Western socio-political ethos, and Free-Market Economics; leaders of nations, statesmen, and defiers of tyrants; music composers, pioneers of universal education, and architects of some of the world's loveliest buildings; and the clandestine revolutionaries behind the flowering of the culture of romantic love that is the classic model for relations between men and women.
This is a popular history of the key role of the Catholic priesthood in laying the foundations for the socio-political-cultural ethos of Western Civilization, with a sketch of various institutions characteristic of that civilization.
"This book is the excellent fruit of Father Slattery's years of serious scholarly study of the great men who have made history because they loved the Catholic faith and gave witness to it in every aspect of their lives."
— Cardinal Raymond Burke
"Slattery's book is the final blow to the Enlightenment's version of Western history, in which the Church was nothing but an obstacle to progress. I heartily recommend it."
— Thomas Woods, Ph.D., Author, How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization
"This extraordinary book is an essential read for anyone desiring to understand where we have come from and where we presently are."
— Michael D. O'Brien, Author, Father Elijah: An Apocalypse
William J. Slattery, Ph.D., S.T.L.,was ordained to the priesthood by Pope John Paul II in St. Peter's Basilica in 1991. He has given the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius retreats in English and French in the U.S.A. and Canada. In recent years he has written a series of books, soon to be published, on the formation of priests, while residing at the Pontifical North American College in Rome.