Short Catechism of Church History for the Higher Grades of Catholic Schools by Rev. J.H. Oechtering begins at the Apostolic times, then very briefly progresses through the centuries until the 19th century; for example, how Christianity spread and how the Church dealt with schisms, amongst other things. A copy can be downloaded at archive.org/details/shortcatechismo00oech, which is the 10th edition first published in 1908, well before Vatican II.
The text utilizes the Q&A format that is typical for a catechism, making it easily accessible. Of course, as a text aimed for school-aged children, it is brief and simplistic and does not always discuss the controversy that surrounds just about every bit of history. In that regard, one may be tempted to dismiss this as Catholic-bias. Nonetheless, it is a refreshing read considering all the modernist and protestant propaganda available today.
To those who are familiar with the material, this can serve as a convenient but limited reminder and summary. And to those who aren’t, then this can be a good starting point that at least exposes one to a point of view that is sometimes not part of today’s mainstream. The chapters about the early heresies and the Fathers of the Church (chapter III), the Middle Ages and protestantism are particularly interesting (chapter IX to chapter XIII). The weakest is probably chapter VIII about the Crusades. Even as a text intended for school-aged children, it can discuss the politics and repercussions with a little detail.
The main text is approximately 100 pages, after which is the List of the Popes that typically include a corresponding sentence or short paragraph about the individual and a List of the Ecumenical or General Councils, spanning approximately 40 pages. Below is the list of chapters.
Introduction: Christ and His Church
Chapter I: The Beginning of the Church—The Apostolic Age
Chapter II: The Persecutions by the Roman Emperors
Chapter III: Constantine’s Conversion—The Great Heresies and the Fathers of the Church
Chapter IV: Monastic Life
Chapter V: The Church and the Barbarian Nations of Europe
Chapter VI: Origin of Church Property and the Temporal Power of the Popes
Chapter VII: Mohammedanism—The Greek Schism
Chapter VIII: The Crusades
Chapter IX: Church and State in the Middle Ages
Chapter X: Benefits which the Church bestowed upon the World during the Middle Ages
Chapter XI: Trials of the Church during the Decline of the Middle Ages
Chapter XII: The So-called Reformation, or the Origin of Protestantism
Chapter XIII: Council of Trent, 1545–1563, and its Results
Chapter XIV: The Eighteenth Century
Chapter XV: The Nineteenth Century
List of the Popes
List of the Ecumenical or General Councils
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