Nothing could be less true than that Lord Bacon had any serious influence in bringing about the introduction of the inductive method into science. At most he was a chronicler of tendencies that he saw in the science of his day. It is true that his writings served to give a certain popular vogue to the inductive method, or rather a certain exaggerated notion of the import of experiment to those who were not themselves scientists. Bacon was a popular writer on science, not an original thinker or worker in the experimental sciences. Popularizers in science, alas! have from Amerigo Vespucci down reaped the rewards due to the real discoverers.

Induction in the genuine significance of the word had been recognized in the world long before Bacon’s time and been used to much better effect than he was able to apply it. Personally, I have always felt that he has almost less right to all the praise that has been bestowed on him for what he is supposed to have done for science, than he has for any addition to his reputation because of the attribution to him by so many fanatics of the authorship of Shakespeare’s plays. It is rather difficult to understand how his reputation ever came about…De Maistre, in his review of Bacon’s Novum Organum, points out that this work is replete with prejudices; that Bacon makes glaring blunders in astronomy, in logic, in metaphysics, in physics, in natural history, and fills the pages of his work with childish observations, trifling experiments, and ridiculous explanations. Our own Professor Draper, in his Intellectual Development of Europe, has been even more severe, and has especially pointed out that Bacon never received the Copernican System, but “with the audacity of ignorance he presumed to criticise what he did not understand, and with a superb conceit disparaged the great Copernicus.”–“The more closely we examine the writings of Lord Bacon,” he says farther on, “the more unworthy does he seem to have been of the great reputation which has been awarded to him. . . The popular delusion, to which he owes so much, originated at a time when the history of science was unknown. This boasted founder of a new philosophy could not comprehend and would not accept the greatest of all scientific discoveries when it was plainly set before his eyes.”

James J. Walsh, The Popes and Science (1908)


As the Byzantine Church spread to regions inhabited by pagans, new branches of its rite sprang up in the new languages. This process involved not only the texts of the celebrant, but also the chant which began to be sung in the new languages without any speculation about the linguistic character or difficulties caused by different prosodic conditions. As an obvious procedure the same chant was sung, changing only the language. This process is so natural that I myself once met a cantor who sang ex abrupto in Serbian from the Bulgarian ritual or vice versa, as necessity required.

When the Hussites or Luther and his followers decided to change the language of the service, they could have gone down the same path. But rather another path was opened, namely, the replacement of liturgical chants with new examples. At first these were more or less related to the chant, but later they became poems with only a slight reminiscence of liturgical or biblical texts, and finally they evolved into fully independent congregational hymns inspired by subjective religious experiences. The divergence of these two paths took place in connection with changes in the history of literature, liturgy and music. Byzantine chant consists of artistic prose enunciated in an idiomatic musical language, while literature in the age of the early Protestant movements was dominated by strophic verse, the “poem,” and the music by melodious, syllabic, metrical singing.

Strangely, Protestantism while advocating “sola scriptura” proved insensitive to the wording and musical form proper to the Bible taking instead the late medieval trope and cantio as a starting point for its chant. A genuine reform, the longed-for return to “origins” would have meant basing the singing of the congregations on the prose text of the Bible by adapting idiomatic musical material. However, the Reformation simply continued the development of the late Middle Ages in liturgical chant (as in many other matters), instead of returning to the primordial Christian traditions. In this matter, too, it was a child of its time.

Laszlo Dobszay, The Bugnini-Liturgy and the Reform of the Reform (2003)

Above all, Professor Draper seems to know nothing of the magnificent hospitals of the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries, beautiful architecturally, well planned for ventilation and the disposal of waste material, with abundant water supply, with large open wards, windows high in the wall, tiled floors that could be thoroughly cleansed and which, alas! were to be replaced hundreds of years later by the awful hospitals of the first half of the nineteenth century, which with their small windows, narrow corridors, cell-like apartments and little doors, were to be more like jails than refuges. Some of the worst hospitals ever built in modern history had been erected in Professor Draper’s own lifetime. Some of the most beautiful hospitals in the world had been erected in Italy and other countries during the later medieval and Renaissance period, before the Reformation, under religious influence,–but Professor Draper knows nothing of them. The history of hospitals here in America is as largely religious as it was in other countries and times.

James J. Walsh, The Popes and Science (1908)

[T]he arguments advanced to show the opposition of the Catholic Church to science are founded on actual ignorance of the history of science or misunderstandings of particular incidents of that history. Not only was there no policy of opposition to science, but on the contrary encouragement of interest in scientific subjects, patronage of scientific workers and even definite endowment of scientific research by the ecclesiastical authorities. The tradition of Church opposition to science is founded especially on lack of knowledge of what was done for science in the medieval period and a misunderstanding of the medieval universities. This tradition owed its origin partly to the Renaissance, which, having rediscovered Greek, despised whatever Western Europe had accomplished during the preceding centuries and spoke of all that was done as Gothic, as if only worthy of barbarous Gothic ancestors.

Another large factor, however, in the creation of this tradition and one which meant more for us here in America than the Renaissance, was the religious revolt of the sixteenth century in Germany which has been called the Reformation. The reformers made it a point to minimize, if not actually to misrepresent, what had been accomplished under the old Church regime, and this Protestant tradition lived on here in America with much more vitality even than in Europe.

The consequence was the bringing up of a series of generations, who, if not actually believing as so many absurdly did, that the Pope of Rome was the Scarlet Woman and the Church the Babylon of the Apocalypse, were quite sure at least that no good could possibly have come out of the Nazareth of pre-Reformation times. It is only in recent years that we have come to recognize that all the talk about the Dark Ages is, as John Fiske said, simply due to ignorance of the time and its accomplishment. The later medieval period might well be called the “Bright Ages” for its art and architecture, its magnificent literature, its interest in education and in scholarship, its development of democracy and its formulation of the great laws and constitutions by which the rights of men were guaranteed in practically every country in Europe. Just as soon as this true state of affairs with regard to the medieval period is recognized, then all question of any policy of Church opposition to education and science disappears.

James J. Walsh, The Popes and Science (1908)

Most of what is said as to the opposition of the Church to medicine during the Middle Ages in A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom, by Andrew D. White (Appleton’s, New York), is founded on a supposed Papal prohibition of anatomy and on a subsequent equally supposed Papal prohibition of chemistry. These two documents are emphasized so much, that most readers cannot but conclude that, even without further evidence, these are quite enough to prove the contention with regard to the unfortunate opposition of the Church to medical science.

Without these two presumably solid pillars of actual Papal documents, what is said with regard to the Church and its relations to medical science in the Middle Ages amounts to very little…Indeed, this supposed Papal prohibition of dissection is definitely stated to have precluded all opportunity for the proper acquisition of anatomical knowledge until the first half of the sixteenth century, when the Golden Age of modern anatomy set in. This date being coincident with the spread of the movement known as the Protestant Reformation, many people at once conclude that somehow the liberality of spirit that then came into the world, and is supposed at least to have put an end to all intolerance, must have been the active factor in this development of anatomy, and that, as Dr. White has indeed declared, it was only because the Church was forced from her position of opposition that anatomical investigation was allowed.

Since so serious an accusation is founded on a definite Papal document, it cannot but be a matter of surprise that those who have cited it so confidently as forbidding anatomy, and especially dissection, have never given the full text of the document…Many references have been made to this prohibition by Pope Boniface VIII., but no one has thought it worth while to give, even in a footnote, the text of it. The reason for this is easy to understand as soon as one reads the actual text. It has nothing to say at all with regard to dissection. It has absolutely no reference to the cutting up of the human body for teaching purposes. Its purpose is very plain, and is stated so that there can be no possible misapprehension of its meaning.

James J. Walsh, The Popes and Science (1908)

[T]here is no doubt at all that men made great achievements in physical science in the Middle Ages, some of which unfortunately were lost sight of later, but many of which remained to form the basis on which our modern scientific knowledge has been built…To most people it will be utterly uncomprehensible, however, that after all that they have heard about Church opposition to science and Papal discouragement of education as dangerous to faith, there should now be an absolute denial of the supposed grounds for the assertions in this matter. Most readers, even among educated people, will be very prone to think that their impressions in these matters cannot be entirely wrong, and that previous writers on the subject cannot have been either deceiving or deceived.

In all that relates to the Roman Catholic Church, however, before the date of the so-called reformation, it is important to remember that there came into existence a definite body of Protestant tradition, the creation of the reformers who wished to blacken the memory of the Old Church as much as possible to justify their own apostasy, and who therefore spared no means to pervert the facts of history or to exaggerate the significance of historical details so as to produce this false impression. Subsequent generations were oftener deceived themselves than deceiving. They were sure that the Church was opposed to education and to science, and consequently it was not hard for them to read in certain incidents and documents a meaning quite other than their actual significance, because this added meaning agreed with their prejudices on these subjects.

James J. Walsh, The Popes and Science (1908)

The Tridentine reform did not aim at creating a new, up-to-date liturgy. All it wanted to achieve was to prune off the wild shoots of the late Middle Ages, of humanism and Reformation. It meant to be a reform in the original sense of the word: the restoration of the “pure” forms of the Roman rite. The Trident rite is therefore a special form compared to the liturgy of Paris, Cologne, Prague or to that of the Dominicans, Premonstratensians. The Tridentine reform slightly impoverished the Roman liturgy and mutilated its integrity by disregarding these traditions. (It must be acknowledged, however, that it happened in spite of the original intentions since the norm of Trent was established to replace the 16th-century “modern” reform liturgies, and not the traditions having survived “from time immemorial.”)

These drawbacks, nevertheless, can only be discovered if we compare the Tridentinum with eminent representatives of the Roman liturgy. Compared with other rites outside the sphere of the Roman liturgy or with the Bugnini liturgy, the Tridentinum proves to be a member of the Roman liturgy. In this respect the Tridentine rite is identical with the centuries-old Roman liturgy, being one of its branches itself, while the Bugnini liturgy does not belong to the great family of the Roman liturgy.

In my opinion this distinction was neglected by no means innocently or by negligence. It was done with a purposeful manipulation. The reason why the Bugnini liturgy was introduced as if it differed not from the Roman tradition, but only from the Tridentine rite was to create the misleading impression that all we had to depart from was a 400-year-old “Baroque” tradition. In fact, viewed in the light of the essence of the liturgy, breaking with the Tridentine rite entailed a break with the entire Roman tradition up to that point. If the Roman liturgy is identical with the liturgical order documented from the earliest sources up to the year of 1970, then the Tridentine rite is definitely a member of this tradition, while the Bugnini liturgy is not.

Laszlo Dobszay, The Bugnini-Liturgy and the Reform of the Reform (2003)

Before the beginning of the sixteenth century, that is, before the religious revolt in Germany, which has been dignified by the name of reformation, altogether some twenty medical schools were founded in various parts of Europe. Of these, the best known in the order of their foundation were Salerno, Bologna, Naples, Montpelier, Paris, Padua and Pisa. Excellent schools, however, were established also at Oxford, Rome, Salamanca, Orleans and Coimbra. Even early in the fourteenth century such unimportant towns as Perugia, Cahors and Lerida had medical schools. These schools were usually established in connection with the universities. It was realized that this would make the teaching of medicine more serious and keep the practical side of medicine from obscuring too much the scientific and cultural aspects of the medical training. In modern times in America we made the mistake of having our medical schools independent of universities, but with the advance in education and culture we have come to imitate the custom of the thirteenth and the fourteenth century in this regard.

The universities, as is well known, were the outgrowth of cathedral schools. Practically all those in authority in them, by far the greater number of teachers and most of the pupils, were of the clerical order, that is, had assumed some ecclesiastical obligations and were considered to be churchmen. At these universities, if we can trust the example of England as applicable to the Continent also, there were, according to trustworthy, conservative statistics, more students in attendance in proportion to the population than there has been at any period since, or than there are even at the present time in the twentieth century in any country of the civilized world. From this we can readily appreciate the enthusiastic ardor of those seeking education. Of these large numbers, the medical schools had their due proportion.

James J. Walsh, The Popes and Science (1908)

We are prone to think of evolution in human affairs as being the ruling principle. As a consequence of this, we are apt to consider that since intervening periods between the nineteenth century and the Middle Ages were lacking in education, in applied science, and in interest in physical science to a great degree, beyond doubt, then, the Middle Ages must have been still more lacking in these desirable qualities of education and human knowledge. This is the sort of deduction that greets one constantly in so-called histories of education, and especially in such supposed contributions to the history of the relationship of science to religion or theology as have been made here in America. This deduction, as I have said before, is made by men who are the first to asperse the medieval scholars for having used deduction too freely, and who are ever ready to praise induction. The induction in this matter–that is, the story of the actual history of science in the Middle Ages–is the direct contradiction of the deduction from false principles. Intervening centuries not only failed to progress beyond the Middle Ages, but some of them were far behind the achievements of that unfortunately despised period. Once more Prince Kropotkin has touched this matter very suggestively. After describing the achievements of applied science in the Middle Ages, he says:

“Such were the magic changes accomplished in Europe in less than four hundred years. And the losses which Europe sustained through the loss of its free cities can only be understood when we compare the seventeenth century with the fourteenth or thirteenth. The prosperity which formerly characterized Scotland, Germany, the plains of Italy, was gone. The roads had fallen into an abject state, the cities were depopulated, labor was brought into slavery, art had vanished, commerce itself was decaying.”

In the meantime the reformation so-called had come, and had carried away with it in its course nearly everything precious that men had gained during the four centuries immediately preceding. Art, education, science, liberty, democracy–everything worth while had been hurt; most of them had been ruined for the time. Even the nineteenth century did not succeed in bringing us back to a level with the earlier centuries in all the intellectual and esthetic accomplishments.

James J. Walsh, The Popes and Science (1908)

Another matter is the spirit of the Reformation itself, which was only to a very limited extent in keeping with the spirit of humanism and the Renaissance. On the whole, as we have said before, it was a reaction against the spirit of the times; it was a rigoristic movement, and thus ” medieval” in the popular sense. Intelligent Catholics have always understood that the Reformation was a movement towards and for more religion rather than the opposite.

At the Diet of Nuremberg (1523) Pope Hadrian VI, through his Legate, made a moving declaration which squarely blamed the Church for the Reformation. Many Catholics – as, for instance, the late Mgr. Seipel, Chancellor of Austria, and Giovanni Papini – see not in the Middle Ages but in the Renaissance and the Baroque the great Catholic age. D. H. Lawrence was at least symbolically right when he wrote that the Pilgrim Fathers ran away from the new European liberty of the Renaissance. Of all early Reformers probably only Zwingli was a humanist, a humanitarian and a liberal; while Luther, no less than Calvin, preached a holy war against the “paganized” Catholic Church. Nothing could be more erroneous than to follow in the footsteps of nineteenth century liberal opinion and to see in Luther a herald of the Chromium Age, with “democracy,” civil liberties, bath tubs, refrigerators and the U.N. just around the corner.

There was something decidedly Islamic in original Protestantism, with its idea of an all-controlling hidden God and His infallible Prophet, its secularization of marriage, its puritanism and messianism. Even today some of the survivals of original (i.e., pre-liberal) Protestantism in remote parts of Scandinavia, Holland, Scotland and the United States have, at least culturally, more affinity with the Wahhãbïs than with the Catholics from which they stem. It must be borne in mind that not so much the authoritarian organization but the liberal theology of Catholicism was the target of the reformers.

Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Liberty or Equality: The Challenge of Our Time (1940)