12C – The Church’s Story: The Modern Age

  1. General

    From the mid 18th century until the mid 20th century great change took place in all areas of human life. These changes had an impact on the Church which responded in a variety of ways.

    Modern Church History Timelines for each century.

    A  source of information about the Catholic Church and the Modern world

    An array of sources indexed for the teaching of Modern History.

  2. The Age of Reason

    The Age of Reason of the eighteenth century was a period of rapid development in philosophy and the sciences.

    The Enlightenment or Age of Reason – a brief overview and comparison with the 21st century.

    Age of Rationalism (1648-1789) a brief overview of this period from a Catholic perspective.

  3. Philosophers, scientists and the Church

    During the Enlightenment period the Church was challenged by those who claimed that human reason without faith, provided people with meaning the answers to life’s deepest mysteries.

    A few of the key people of the Enlightenment.

    The story of Galileo and the Catholic Church is often misrepresented. This is a balanced article about the approach of the Church to Galileo’s conclusions.

  4. Revolutions

    The political, industrial, economic and social revolutions of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries brought many changes to people’s lives often challenging their faith.

    List of Links for information on the French Revolution

    Industrial Revolution sites.

  5. Mission to Asia and Africa

    The nineteenth century saw great Christian missionary expansion into Asia and Africa.

    The History of Christianity: A brief survey of the rise of Christianity in the Developing World

    Charles Lwanga and companions, Ugandan Martyrs – The Catholic Way

    The Chinese Rites Controversy – 1715 – Three decrees which focus on the issue of Chinese rites and chart the course of the failure of the Jesuit Mission

  6. Mission to the America’s and the Pacific

    The Church’s mission reached out to the Pacific and Americas in the nineteenth century including Aotearoa New Zealand.

    History of the Mission to New Zealand – Internal link to Year 9 Topic.

    St Peter Chanel – first missionary martyr of the Pacific.

    A review of the film Blackrobe – a film which deals with the Jesuit mission to the Indians of Quebec.

    St Frances Cabrini – missionary to the United States.
    Frances Xavier Cabrini – a brief biography and links to other resources.

  7. Italian unity and Vatican I

    With the rise of Italian nationalism and the loss of the Papal states, the papacy lost its worldly powers. In order to strengthen the Church the First Vatican Council was called.

    The First Vatican Council from Wikipedia

    History of Italy 1846-8

    Pope Pius IX

    Italian Unification. Cavour, Garibaldi and the Making of Italy.

    Catholic Answers;
    the BELIEVE Project

  8. World War I and Benedict XV

    Pope Benedict XV refused to condemn any one country for the First World War but committed the Church to negotiate for peace.

    Some brief biographical notes on Benedict XV

    With battle smoke hanging heavy over Flanders fields and Carpathian Mountains, the Cardinals realized that the next pope should be a diplomat. The man chosen was Giacomo della Chiesa, who took the name Benedict XV

    A man with renowned diplomatic talents, Benedict found his abilities – held an unique position as a religious emissary of peace, although he was ignored by the powers.

    Pope Benedict XV’s Peace Note of 1 August 1917

  9. The Church in World War II

    The Church’s response to the Second World War.

    Pius XII and the Jews. A brief article which uses quotations from victims of Nazism, who pleaded for the Vatican not to speak out, because of the inevitable consequences to themselves.

    Understanding the Vatican during the Nazi period. An article which looks at the Pope and the Vatican during this time.

    A Question of Judgement: Pius XII & the Jews a monograph.

  10. Support Resources for AS90821

    If you are being assessed on The Modern World to Achievement Standard 90821 these resources may be useful.


    Remember that these are resources that fit the generic title of the standard within this topic.  You should read the actual standard 90821, the national moderator’s report, and the assessment task that your school has set.


    AS 90821 may be used to assess The Modern World.  You are required to Describe and provide reason for the changes in an expression of a religious tradition using a range of details and reasons (depth) and using a range of examples to support your answer. There are various aspects to The Church in the Modern World, some of them are covered in these resources.


    FaithCentral would love to know about sites that you have found useful in your preparation for assessment to any achievement standard. We are also keen to know what you would find helpful to have on FaithCentral. Please share your resources and views with us via ncrs@tci.ac.nz. Remember we are not miracle workers and will not be able to help the night before the task is due in.