Quoted from the author's "Introduction" in Volume 1.
"The English political philosopher Hobbes had defined the Roman Church as "the ghost of the deceased Roman Empire sitting crowned upon the grave thereof," and more than a century ago it seemed to very many thoughtful observers that another fall of Rome was close at hand. Napoleon had ordered his soldiers to bring Pius VII to France, to hear in stronger terms the imperial commands which he had refused to obey; and so low had sunk the power of this successor of the medieval "princes of all the earth" that only the silent and sullen peasants shuddered when he was brought, in gilded cage, to the feet of the new monarch of
the earth. Half of Europe had thrown off the Papal yoke two centuries earlier. Now France, the last great power to sustain it, was in rebellion: and from France the spirit of revolt spread rapidly over Italy, Spain and Portugal, and the audacious regiment that had so long held southern Europe for the Papacy, the Society of the Jesuits, was disgraced and disbanded Men recalled the successive stages of the fall of the Roman Empire fourteen centuries earlier.
Pius VII, Napoleon's generals said, would be the last of the long line of men who had claimed to be the spiritual sovereigns of the world."
"Yet the Papacy so far recovered that forty years later a distinguished Protestant historian, Lord Macaulay, predicted that even in those remote days when travelers would come from new civilizations to gaze upon the ruins of the city of London, as we go to see the ruins of Thebes and Babylon, the Popes would still rule their millions of prostrate subjects from the Vatican Palace. France was once more almost entirely Catholic; Spain, Italy and Portugal, red with the blood of their rebels, were despotically ruled in the interest of the Pope: and, strangest of all, ten million subjects of the Pope now promoted his cause by every artifice at their command in the leading Protestant lands — Germany, England and America. Gradually, however, the modern spirit rose from victory to victory, and at the close of the century the Papal statisticians would report, in privacy of the sacred palace. that the loss in the course of the century, in seceders end descendants of seceders, amounted to about one hundred millions. Surely now some enduring and invincible force was destroying the fabric of the medieval organization."
These 6 double volumes total to 770 pages. It is a complete and factual account of the history of the Roman Catholic Church from its beginning -- the middle of the first century -- to the third decade of the 20th century, written by a man who was called "the world's greatest scholar."