October 7, 2006


Lepanto, October 7th, 1571: A day to remember (Paul J Cella, Red State)

It is important to understand how close-run a victory this had been. A year before a large Christian flotilla had set out with the same purpose under a Spanish admiral, only to meet with debacle and return in disgrace. Venetian diplomacy in Constantinople, subtle and cunning as always, aimed at securing a separate peace with the Sultan even as the League was preparing its fleet. The Turkish Grand Vizier, a veteran of many intrigues, had flattered the agents of Venice with this chilling enticement to treachery: “You cannot cope with the Sultan, who will take from you not only Cyprus alone, but other dependencies. As for your Christian League, we know full well how little love the Christian princes bear you. If you would but hold the Sultan’s robe, you might do what you want in Europe, and enjoy perpetual peace.” Had Venice assented to the crouching peace adumbrated in this statement, the Holy League would have collapsed instantly. France, under “the shadow of the Valois,” who “is yawning at the mass” (Chesterton again), tacitly allied herself with the Ottomans, and many anticipated that she would make this friendship explicit soon enough, by giving the Turks access to French Mediterranean harbors. In northern Europe, and in pockets elsewhere, the revolt of the Protestants against the mad complacency and decadence of the Roman church had wrought division, strife, plunder, and bloodletting: “Christian killeth Christian in a narrow dusty room.” And beneath this revolt loomed another thing, destined to remake the world and drag everything of the secular order, and much of the spiritual order, in its train: the rise of the modern nation-state. Already King Philip II was subjecting the Church in Spain to his policy through the institution of the Inquisition. The succeeding generation would witness the rise of the France of Cardinal Richelieu, that ablest of nationalists, and the final consolidation of the nation, not the church, as the source of order and stability in the Western world. Out of this cacophony of the dying mediaeval age and the birth pangs of the modern, Pope Saint Pius V, Don John of Austria, and many thousands of simple Christian sailors and marines delivered to the West a great victory, and a last hurrah for Christendom.


Posted by Orrin Judd at October 7, 2006 9:35 PM

Te Deum laudamus.

Posted by: Lou Gots at October 7, 2006 11:09 PM