Living history

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Next year will be the 10th anniversary of “9/11.” Mass planners note: It will fall on a Sunday. There is a considerable accumulation of musical and liturgical material for any Votive Mass to be sung on this occasion, though much of it perhaps too dangerously “relevant.” This is because so much of the violent history of the Catholic Church was in direct conflict with Islam.

My reader may have heard of the Crusades, though he may not know anything about them, beyond what is taught in our schools: that they were some kind of hideous black mark against Christian civilization. He will certainly have heard of the Spanish Inquisition (ditto), but less certainly of the Reconquista (ditto).

Over the years, I have taken the liberty of quizzing a few Canadian high school students on the Battle of Lepanto. First question: “Have you ever heard of it?” Since the answer to that was in each case, “No,” further questions were unnecessary. To be fair, I have drawn a similar blank after almost every other question I have asked a Canadian high school student about world history for as long as I’ve been asking. And, when I haven’t drawn a blank, I’ve almost wished I had.

On this ninth anniversary of 9/11, I should like to take my reader back, briefly, to “9/10.” But, instead of Sept. 10, 2001, I have selected 1683. There is limited space in a newspaper column, so history buffs among my readers will have to forgive my simple pr

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