The Battle of Lepanto

Battle_of_Lepanto_1571  The Battle of Lepanto took place on October 7th, 1571. Occupied by the Turks in 1498, Lepanto is chiefly celebrated for the victory won by the combined papal, Spanish, Venetian, and Genoese fleets, under Don John of Austria. The Turks had 208 galleys and 66 small ships; the Christian fleet about the same number. The crusaders lost 17 ships and 7500 men; 15 Turkish ships were sunk and 177 taken, from 20,000 to 30,000 men disabled, and from 12,000 to 15,000 Christian rowers, slaves on the Turkish galleys, were delivered. Though this victory did not accomplish all that was hoped for, since the Turks appeared the very next year with a fleet of 250 ships before Modon and Cape Matapan, it was of great importance as being the first great defeat of the Muslim forces on the sea. Held by the Venetians from 1687 to 1689, and thence by the Turks until 1827, it became in the latter year part of the new Greek realm. Today Naupactus, chief town of the district in the province of Arcarnania and Ætolia, has 4,500 inhabitants, all Orthodox Greeks. The site today is rather small and silted up; the strait connects the Bay of Patras with the Gulf of Corinth.

Miguel de Cervantes, a soldier for Habsburg Spain, was so severely wounded in the hand at Lepanto that he became a writer. The Holy League credited the victory to the Virgin Mary, whose intercession with God they had implored for victory through the use of the Rosary. Andrea Doria had kept a copy of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe given to him by King Philip II of Spain in his ship’s state room. Pope Pius V instituted a new Catholic feast day of Our Lady of Victory to commemorate the battle, which is now celebrated by the Catholic Church as the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.

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The Human Problem…


“Without God, without this personal and transcendent God in the world, this Spirit and Father God, who reveals himself first to Abraham, to Moses and to the prophets and who is made definitively manifest in Jesus, this God of the conscience and of reason who has scattered everywhere signs of his presence but who uncovers his whole face and compels attention with a necessary firmness only within the Christian faith, without this God the human problem, even in the structures of the earthly city, finds no solution.”

– Henri de Lubac


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Western Civilization and Christianity

Henri_de_Lubac“Let us state to begin with that our European civilization is basically Christian. It would be foolish to seek another basis for it. It is no less foolishly irresponsible than thinking we could maintain it at all costs, coping with the crisis in which it is foundering by continuing to dismiss or neglect Christianity itself. One does not live indefinitely from the perfume of an empty vase. . . .”

– Henri de Lubac

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“Those who advocate Utopia presume that they can become fathers of the future without having been children of the past.”

– Hans Urs von Balthasar

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The best is yet to come.






The Best Is Yet To Come, by Martin Nowak,

DSPT Fellow and Professor at Harvard University
2015 DSPT Commencement Address

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The Spirit of the Age


“It is easy to give way to the dominant tendency to surrender to the spirit of the age and the spirit of the world by shutting our eyes to the errors of public opinion and the evils and injustice of popular action … But it is also easy, and it is a more insidious temptation, to adopt an attitude of negative hostility to the spirit of the age and to take refuge in a narrow and exclusive fanaticism which is essentially the attitude of the heretic and the sectarian and which does more to discredit Christianity and render it ineffective than even worldliness and time-serving. For the latter are, so to speak, external to the Church’s life, whereas the former poisons the sources of its spiritual action and causes it to appear hateful in the eyes of men of good will.”

– Christopher Dawson (1939)

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It can be done.

“They had been men of little faith, with their continual questioning and their childish egotism; but now they went out into the civilized world full of the spirit of self-sacrifice and strong in soul. And they carried the new fire to the hovels of slaves and into the palaces of emperors. Twelve simple, uneducated fishermen revolutionized the world, and that with no other instrument than their new faith and their readiness to die for that faith.”

– Karl Adam

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Meet the Anne Franks of Today


“It is unconscionable to remain willfully ignorant and silent while these Yazidi and Nigerian girls suffer. Not only are they victims of the authentic war on women, but they are also victims of a war on innocence and humanity itself.”

“Our study of history is invaluable for understanding the present. While genocides of the last century are the subject of countless books, documentaries, and lectures, we must and cannot ignore the history being made in front of our eyes.”

– Peter LaFave

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Concerning the “Ecological” Path to Salvation

By their fruits you shall know them. A lot of people who get paid to think logically, rationally, and lucidly are overpaid. One who has performed these essential tasks above and beyond his pay-grade is Fr. James Schall, S.J. For the digital age, this piece (link below) is longer than most, but it repays the time it takes to read it many times over. A faithful Catholic philosopher, tested by a long stint at Georgetown University, Fr. Schall has learned how to elude capture by fashionable intellectual trends. Hear him out.

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Thank Goodness Encyclicals Aren’t Binding On Catholics


The Church exists to make us aware that Christ has profoundly altered mankind’s existential and eschatological circumstances and to help us adjust our lives accordingly. Secondarily, she may use her powers of persuasion to urge the adoption of moral standards and social arrangements most congenial to man’s Christ-altered condition. As for the Church’s primary duty, there will always be scandals, for our sin-ridden impulse is to insist on having our own way. When it comes to the Church’s ancillary task of giving prudential counsel on how best to use material resources or on what political or economic arrangements are most conducive to human flourishing, her admonitions might receive a more attentive hearing if accompanied by her awareness that these are matters beyond her inherent competence. She cannot avoid certain scandals related to her primary duty. When it comes to more worldly matters, however, her advice will more likely receive a proper hearing if given in an avuncular and not a hectoring tone.

For example, this from someone who seems otherwise favorably predisposed to the teachings of the Church:

“While rightly speaking against a culture of ‘practical relativism,’ [Pope Francis] states that the same ‘thinking that leads to sexual exploitation of children…is also the mindset of those who say: Let us allow the invisible forces of the market to regulate the economy, and consider their impact on society and nature as collateral damage.’

“Perhaps I misunderstand the Holy Father’s point. Does he mean to say that anyone who trusts the billions of individual decisions which constitute ‘the market’ is no better than one who sells children into sex slavery? Or is it only those who also dismiss the ‘collateral damage’ that are, for all intents and purposes, members of ISIS? Was this meant as a challenge, or an insult? I know how I took it.”

Neal Dewing

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