As the world entered the modern age, the Catholic Church faced new challenges to its authority, both from without and within. As one of the planet's oldest institutions, the Church had already survived 16 centuries, but as winds of change altered the global landscape, the Church's very existence would be called into question. Professor Thomas F. Madden leads these compelling lectures, focusing on a Church both adapting to a world in flux and striving to exert its influence and power. Throughout modernity, the Church responded to - and weathered - a host of major world events: the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, colonization of the New World, and of course the World Wars that in large part defined the 20th century. As the face of the Church, the popes affected Catholicism in ways that can only be truly understood from a careful examination of the past. And so the lives of the popes, along with major Church proceedings, wars, and other significant world events, are brought to bear in a comprehensive look at the Church in the modern age.