Noted Historian Rick Santorum Retcons The Crusades

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum thinks we've been too hard on the Crusaders.

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum thinks we’ve been too hard on the Crusaders:

“The idea that the Crusades and the fight of Christendom against Islam is somehow an aggression on our part is absolutely anti-historical,” Santorum said. “And that is what the perception is by the American left who hates Christendom. They hate Christendom. They hate Western civilization at the core. That’s the problem.”

There is a narrow sense in which one could make this argument with a straight face: The Crusades began in response to requests for help by the Christian Byzantine emperor Alexios I in defending against incursions into Anatolia by Muslim Seljuk Turks. A century of fighting such advancement along the borders of Christian Europe certainly created the conditions for Pope Urban II to agree. But that’s about as far as it goes.

Over the course of two centuries and nine crusades, Catholic forces launched campaigns not only to “defend Christendom,” but also for purely economic and political reasons. Crusaders not only fought Muslims in Palestine, but “pagan Slavs, pagan Balts, Jews, Russian and Greek Orthodox Christians, Mongols, Cathars, Hussites, Waldensians, Old Prussians, and political enemies of the various popes.” Even leaving aside the depredations within Europe (not to mention without) that Crusaders committed from the very start, by the time they were petering out, they’d long since stopped being primarily about defending Christendom in any but the purely rhetorical sense.

Taking or retaking Jerusalem was often, though not always, a factor in ginning up support and troops for a Crusade. One might even convince oneself that Christian Europe was trying to hold the line against Islamic expansionism. But that rationale doesn’t extend to Germans and Swedes launching Crusades to convert their neighbours by the sword, attempts to establish commercial supremacy, or bringing fellow Roman Catholic Stedingers to heel with the blessing of the Pope.

The context of Santorum’s remarks are not given, so it’s possible that the apparent revisionism isn’t as dramatic as it seems. But it’s hard to imagine how more detail could redeem an attempt to cast two centuries of intermittent waves of warfare in almost every direction, against almost every conceivable enemy, as a purely defensive struggle from being what it appears to be: Nonsense of the first order.

FILED UNDER: Europe, Middle East, ,
Dodd Harris
About Dodd Harris
Dodd, who used to run a blog named ipse dixit, is an attorney, a veteran of the United States Navy, and a fairly good poker player. He contributed over 650 pieces to OTB between May 2007 and September 2013. Follow him on Twitter @Amuk3.

Comments

  1. Vast Variety says:

    This sort of thing happens when you white wash history textbooks like they do in Texas.

  2. Russ says:

    I would guess Santorum didn’t rely on Wikipedia for his view of what constituted a “crusade.” I would go farther, and suggest that he meant what almost everyone means when they refer to the Crusades – the campaigns to take and/or hold the Holy Land.

    I’m not quite sure how that falls under the usual definition of retconning.

    He’s absolutely correct, however, when he notes that the Left hates Christendom and western civilization.

  3. Dodd says:

    I would guess Santorum didn’t rely on Wikipedia a history book for his view of what constituted a “crusade.”

    FTFY

  4. Zebraitis says:

    “He’s absolutely correct, however, when he notes that the Left hates Christendom and western civilization.”

    Source?

    Citation?

    As a “very left” individual, brought up with the teachings of Christ, I do believe that is an incorrect overgeneralization on your part.

    Some would say that it may be projection: Is it possible that you hate “the left” so they must hate you and your beliefs?

  5. Ernieyeball says:

    “He’s absolutely correct, however, when he notes that the Left hates Christendom and western civilization.”

    Get out the brooms. Sweeping generalizations are the order of the day. Or. Straw Men are the denizens of the comment section.
    What’s the use. This is political discussion. Rational thought and analysis is no where to be found.

  6. steve says:

    I dont know anyone on the left who hates Western civilization. I know two atheists who despise Christianity. One is a libertarian, one a socialist. Meh. The very large majority of those on the left, just like those on the right, respect Christianity (are Christians), love their country and embrace the values of Western civilization. Advocating for a top marginal rate of 40% instead of 35% does not mean one hates the Western world. You would then have to accuse Eisenhower of sharing those beliefs.

    I think that a big part of the issue here is the part that evangelicals have decided to take in American politics. many in the left dislike/hate the politics of the evangelicals. I think that is a far cry from hating Christendom.

    Steve

  7. He’s absolutely correct, however, when he notes that the Left hates Christendom and western civilization.

    This is utter ahistorical gibberish. There is no functional definition of “the left’ that isn’t directly a result of “western civilization.”

  8. Taiko Drum says:

    There is also that pesky Fourth Crusade where the Crusaders decided to attack and sack Constantinople instead of proceeding on to the Holy Land.

  9. ponce says:

    A few weeks back, Mike Huckabee attended the opening of another illegal Israeli West Bank settlement and declared the West Bank Palestinians should “get out of Israel and move to a Muslim country.”

    It didn’t get much press here (I read about it in Haaretz) but it seemed a rather bizarre thing for a Republican Presidential candidate to be doing.

    Our press sure has done a poor job informing Americans about the weird connection between far right Republicans and the holy land.

    This Santorum outburst must be one of those dog whistle things only America’s religious fanatics understand.

  10. george says:

    Who didn’t conquer whatever they could get away with back then? Islam spread through the sword (all the way to Spain and Austria), Christianity did the same. China was put together over a millennium by the sword, India had its empires.

    So yeah, the crusades were just business as normal back then. It no more makes sense to judge them by modern standards, then it makes sense to judge the spread of Islam via conquest that occurred roughly the same time.

    The problem is when we still do the same things today.

  11. Have A Nice G.A. says:

    Oh sorry, I thought your was talking about the Muslim crusades, the Catholic ones was mostly bad too.
    And as ponce points out the Jewish ones, and lets not forget the ones that Bush went on.
    Bad bad bad….
    Heck them dang Republican Governors are on one against the working man right now….

  12. Alan says:

    Well, Santorum has only proved himself to be “antihistorical”. As for his statements, what a load of santorum! (Can I say that on this site?).

  13. PJ says:

    Wikipedia? Santorum? i think Conservapedia is his, or his staffs’, choice. Wikipedia and the truth both have a liberal bias and should be avoided. Also, Wikipedia is being mean to Santorum by not removing an article that I probably shouldn’t link to.

  14. CB says:

    “And that is what the perception is by the American left who hates Christendom. They hate Christendom.”

    ahh, theres nothing like making completely bullsh!t assertions in the name of scoring political points

    sigh

  15. Matt B says:

    Dodd, Kudos on a good article!

    And yeah, the entire left hates the west/christianity thing never has made much sense.

  16. Russ says:

    “Hey hey, ho ho, Western Civ has got to go.”

    – Jesse Jackson, leading a protest at Stanford University, c1990

  17. sam says:

    Game over, guys. With a stunning display of inductive reasoning, Russ the Logician has found a statement by Jesse Jackson that absolutely, positively, beyond any shadow of a doubt, proves, let me say that again, proves, the Left hates western civilization.

    For my part, I surrender.

  18. Walt says:

    You all are right: the Left does not hate Christendom. Fact is, there is no Christendom to hate. There’s hardly any Western civilization left either. There is also very little art or manners. There’s lots of sex on TV and the Web (and in the high schools); but little love remains. We do have WalMarts (some have to make do with K Marts) in nearly every town now, along with acres of asphalt for parking. Got tons of pollution, STDs, and crime (especially drug related). But on the other hand, almost everybody has a cell phone . . . and yet hardly anyone is home for dinner, and that makes it really difficult to understand all the obesity around. I mean, fat people everywhere. We have a veritable cornucopia of divorce, domestic violence and abortion. Education standards are low enough to skip over: Johnny and Susie can hardly read, and they grunt at each other too much. College students can’t spell. Much real thinking seems rare; lots of emoting though. Lots. Yet there is a real hankering for “correctness,” especially of the political sort. They say the campuses, boards, commissions, councils, and bureaucracies are so correct that most people are afraid to say much . . . except the politicians. Got lots and lots of them. And they do make zillions of promises. And spend trillions of dollars. Ain’t much beauty, honor, joy, courage, temperance and genuine happiness around these days. No, the Left doesn’t hate Christendom or Western civilization; there is nothing left to hate. Pass the remote, please.

  19. sam says:

    Other than that, Walt, how’s your day going?

  20. Kylopod says:

    This type of view has been going on in right-wing circles for a while now. Maybe he read from Regnery’s Politically Incorrect Guide series, at least one of which tries to justify the Crusades. I think it was their guide to Islam.

    Other “politically incorrect” truths you will learn from these books is that the Civil War was not about slavery, that the robber barons benefited the U.S. more than any government program ever did, that the medieval Islamic world didn’t contribute greatly to science, that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS, and that hunters are “America’s real environmentalists.” (For the record, I haven’t purchased any of these books, but I did gloss over several of them, courtesy of Amazon’s previewing option.)

  21. Matt B says:

    Ah the old death of civilization as we know it argument. The fact is that Walt’s argument has existed literally since the dawn of time. Literally. Like as in Plato’s Socrates complaining that those radicals and the “Alphabet/Written” language would be the end of memory.

    Btw, I appreciate that “Jesse Jackson” is the “Left” — so who is the proxy pundit/pol for the right? Is it universally agreed to be the divine Limbaugh? I’m glad to see, in that case, the right hates, or at least cares so little, about the sanctity marriage and loves prescription pain killers.

  22. An Interested Party says:

    I’m just curious, Walt…all those horrid things you describe..who is responsible for all of that?

  23. mantis says:

    “Hey hey, ho ho, Western Civ has got to go.”

    – Jesse Jackson, leading a protest at Stanford University, c1990

    Ahem

    Spearheading multi-culturalists’ crusade against Stanford’s Western Civ core curriculum for freshmen, Mr. Jackson led protestors in a march across campus chanting, “Hey hey, ho ho, Western Civ has got to go!”

    Mr. Jackson and his supporters had argued that the required reading from the Bible, Marx, and Greek philosophers was too biased in favor of western culture. They eventually managed to have Western Civilization replaced with the Cultures, Ideas, and Values (CIV) program. After much controversy and negative publicity concerning the change, Stanford eventually replaced CIV with the current IHUM program.

    Ah, so really, they were opposed to a particular bit of required curriculum at Stanford, and not actually protesting all of western civilization.

    But I’m sure this still proves all the left hates western civilization.

  24. An Interested Party says:

    (For the record, I haven’t purchased any of these books, but I did gloss over several of them, courtesy of Amazon’s previewing option.)

    You may not have spent any money on them, but you will never regain all that valuable time lost on those tomes of wisdom…

  25. Kylopod says:

    @An Interested Party

    Some of us don’t consider entertainment a waste of time.

  26. anjin-san says:

    We have to keep in mind that Russ’ definition of Western Civilization probably does not extend very far beyond reality TV, quarter pounders with cheese, Britney Spears, asphalt, and a glow in the dark Jesus stature made in China.

  27. tom p says:

    OK, I admit it… I DO hate Cristendom and I reserve EXTRA SPECIAL loathing for all of western civilization.

    There, I said it. I feel so much better now.

  28. tom p says:

    Anjin, you forgot NASCAR and the NRA.

  29. Wiley Stoner says:

    One has to wonder how Sharia deals with gay rights, unions and women. I wonder if they would stone the likes of Anjin or maybe they would put him to the sword. Any bets. They defend their religion to the death. Athiests like the progressives represent have nothing to defend and will fall when challenged. I certainly will not defend your sorry a$$es.

  30. sam says:

    ” I certainly will not defend your sorry a$$es.”

    I feel safer already.

  31. wr says:

    Wiley Stoner — Not sure I get your point. Plenty of Christians like to murder gays. All across the south and midwest good Christians are trying to pass laws calling for the execution of women who have miscarriages. And we know how the Right deals with unions.

    So I guess you’re saying you approve of Sharia law?

  32. An Interested Party says:

    Some of us don’t consider entertainment a waste of time.

    Good point…kinda like watching Glenn Beck, I would imagine…

    I certainly will not defend your sorry a$$es.

    Who knew that a Super Soaker and a wiffle ball bat could be so generously called a “defense”…

    So I guess you’re saying you approve of Sharia law?

    It is rather interesting how very similar fundamentalists of Islam and Christianity really are…

  33. Walt says:

    Matt B,
    You sound a bit like one of those college students I was talking about. Quote: “The fact is that Walt’s argument [‘the old death of civilization as we know it argument’] has existed literally since the dawn of time. Literally. Like as in Plato’s Socrates complaining that those radicals and the ‘Alphabet/Written’ language would be the end of memory.” And Matt really means what he says, literally. Literally. But, Matt, Socrates wasn’t around at the “dawn of time.” And no one at all was making any arguments at “the dawn of time.” And the civilization of Socrates’ time? Gone. Long gone. Literally. Lots of books have been written about this, the rise and fall of nations and civilizations. (Oops. You probably don’t read much, which explains a lot about your comments.) Let’s see, how to illustrate this? Oh yeah, it’s kinda like, you know, as in “what goes up, must come down.” Uh, hmmm. Like, you know, people are born, and then they die. Literally. Let’s see, another helpful example . . . oh yeah. I was recently in Charleston, SC, and it’s still so lovely, but the civilization that built it is gone, really, truly departed. Literally. Kinda like all that, Matt. Hope this helps.

  34. Walt says:

    Sam,
    Sorry I didn’t get back to you. My day went okay. But, hey, it’s great right now. I home watching American Idol.

  35. An Interested Party says:

    I was recently in Charleston, SC, and it’s still so lovely, but the civilization that built it is gone, really, truly departed.

    Which civilization is that? Depending on which one you think it is, it’s probably a good thing that civilization has been relegated to the dustbin of history…

  36. Matt B says:

    Touche Walt… touche. 🙂

  37. anjin-san says:

    > I wonder if they would stone the likes of Anjin or maybe they would put him to the sword

    Well, if there were any way for the Muslim hoards you so fear to actually get here, and they did threaten to “put me to the sword”, being full of bullet holes would probably be a problem for them, just as it would for anyone who entered my home with violence in mind. A Beretta trumps a sword.

    It’s been a while since someone stupid enough to use the “put him to the sword” line in here. It’s making me kind of nostalgic.

  38. anjin-san says:

    > Anjin, you forgot NASCAR

    Yea, overlooked that. Actually, I enjoy racing, but am more into Porsche Cup events.

  39. Walt says:

    Interested Party,

    “Which civilization is that?” Ever heard of a history book? Uhhhh, sorry, I know that’s expecting a bit much of you. Let’s try this: ever seen the MOVIE “Gone with the Wind”? Okay, okay, it was the civilization of the Old South, the Antebellum South. Never intended to really point any of its virtues, except to note that it was a civilization that could build such gems as Charleston, Savannah, Augusta, GA, Aiken and Montgomery, AL, Wilmington, NC, Richmond and Fredericksburg, VA, etc. But I am a bit confused: how is that “it’s probably a good thing that civilization has been relegated to the dustbin of history” depend upon “which one you think it is”? My point, though, is that, good or bad, it’s GONE. And yes it’s in the “dustbin of history.” Meanwhile, we are still here, the glorious, new American civilization of Chinese goods, illiterate graduates, political correctness, ghetto ethics, and a smugness that only a gross, malevolent, and infantile arrogance could possibly explain. Charleston is only a relic; but, hey, we now got Wall Street, DC (in and everywhere also outside the Beltway), and Hollywood. And so we Americans can really be happy. . . if we don’t forget to take our meds.

  40. Walt says:

    Just picked up the book “God’s Battalions: the Case for the Crusades,” by Dr. Rodney Stark (a HarperOne book). The title seemed politically incorrect enough to attract me, so incorrect that it makes me think it just might have a bit of truth in it. Some of you too might want to read it, even it you have to hide it while on campus.

  41. Dodd, I thought you were obligated to defend all things to the right of Obama. 🙂

    “In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed—but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.” — Harry Lime

    There are many observers of life that have noted that civilizations are built on warfare and strife. Sometimes it may even start out as a defensive action but it rarely stays that way for long. Heck, I think Lord Clark said that all great art came from these kind of civilizations.

  42. Matt B says:

    @Charles

    Heck, I think Lord Clark said that all great art came from these kind of civilizations.

    Of course, typically the norms of what is considered good art is usually set by the victors. There is a lot of cross-cultural influence in that good art of course (i.e. Moorish influences in a lot of southern European art.

    The other key thing to remember is that while the Church controlled the reproduction of texts (pre Gutenberg), most “heretical materials” (including a lot of philisophical texts) were allowed to degrade, rot, or were burned, or were scratched out and written over (Parchment was expensive).

    In fact, beyond the spread of print culture, we have to that Italian printers like Manutius for the preservation of latin and greek texts — basically he used a significant amount of his profits to have those texts translated and reproduced for scholarship.

    Just picked up the book “God’s Battalions: the Case for the Crusades,” by Dr. Rodney Stark (a HarperOne book).

    Didn’t know he had published something new. Stark’s an interesting Agent Provacteur, that said is credibility in anything along these lines is the fact that he is Christian and teaching at a Christian college. This fact isn’t typically forefronted in his readings of history.

    And before I’m accused of being anti-Christian intellectual, let me say that Martin Marty, Lutheran Pastor and U of C emeritus, is one of the finest scholars I’ve ever read — and he definitely writes on Christian matters. Likewise Reinhold Niebuhr’s “The Irony of American History” is/was one of the most transformative books I have ever read.

  43. Dodd says:

    Dodd, I thought you were obligated to defend all things to the right of Obama. 🙂

    Yeah, I’m a bad Fox News/Glenn Beck/GOP Talking Points parrot. Strange none of my usual detractors has noticed…..

  44. Matt B says:

    @Dodd — actually we did :). Hence my comment/compliment about the article above.

  45. An Interested Party says:

    @Walt: Why yes I have read a few history books, thanks for asking…I was just making sure that you were actually lamenting the end of the Antebellum South, and, by golly, yes you were! Forgive me if I don’t join you in shedding tears for this sad, backwards, racist culture that thought it was just ducky to treat human beings as property while they were building so many gems…and I do apologize most profusely if I am expressing any political correctness and smugness that only a gross, malevolent, and infantile arrogance could possibly explain…please do look into your heart and see if you could possibly forgive me for this gross transgression…thank you…

  46. Walt says:

    IP

    You have that smugness I was describing, the smugness of a very little mind that sees himself as a modern day Sherlock Holmes who has ingeniously detected my Southern political incorrectness. Ah, ha! as you set the trap, “[J]ust making sure that you were actually lamenting the end of the Antebellum South, and, by golly [jeepers, creepers, Mr. Wilson!], yes you were!” Now Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, here’s what that sneaky Walt actually said, something perilous to the ears of all children and shocking to those of proper mental training: “Never intended to really point to any of [the Old South’s] virtues, except to note that it was a civilization that could build such gems as Charleston, Savannah, Augusta, GA, Aiken and Montgomery, AL, Wilmington, NC, Richmond and Fredericksburg, VA, etc.” (Imagine saying something like that publicly!) Sherlock has caught me red-handed admiring something that we are not supposed to admire; it’s a big, bad no-no to even dare to comment on the beauty of an antebellum town. What a tiny little PC world you live in, if one can call it living. You, who claim to have read history, and all you can see of the Old South is nothing more than a “sad, backwards, racist culture”? I laughed my way through your entire comment. Now I am going to let you in on a secret. I have run into the likes of you before on this site and have been rebuked for daring to say something fond about the Old South. So why do you think I chose, out of all the possible, thousands of options, Charleston, SC and mentioned, too, Margaret Mitchell’s classic? Unlike you, who are so pathetic, I can walk down Broad Street or stand on the Battery in Charleston and breath in the history, the beauty of that great town. And I can do that even while hating slavery and racism. So you took the bait and have proved yourself to be a narrow minded, politically correct, know-nothing, the very thing, the prime specimen — as I have been saying — of what so marks our mindless American culture. Welcome on stage, dipstick; hope you enjoy the limelight!

  47. Walt says:

    “The other key thing to remember is that while the Church controlled the reproduction of texts (pre Gutenberg), most “heretical materials” (including a lot of philisophical texts) were allowed to degrade, rot, or were burned, or were scratched out and written over (Parchment was expensive).”

    I keep just wagging my head in disbelief! Matt, let me ask you a question: in the light of all the historical knowledge we have about the so-called Dark Ages, the Middle Ages, the High Middle Ages and the Renaissance — in the face of all that, can you, with real knowledge and honesty, justly assert what you did above? For it is false, and any reliable historian will say so. Seriously, have you never read about the massive enterprise of the Benedictine monasteries of Europe, how those monks, from the 6th century on, collected, preserved and protected, copied and translated thousands upon thousands of ancient, classical manuscripts? They even preserved and copied the writings of ancients like Lucretius, who was an atheist philosopher and sometime poet of the erotic. Still, he was deemed worthy of preservation. Have you been taught what you wrote above? Or do you just pretend to be knowledgeable of things? Are you stupid?

    Suggestion: stop reading and speaking all this pabulum and propaganda; do some intense reading, study and research about these things. The truth really is important. And either some of you have been deprived of it, are too lazy to find it, or you just don’t like it.

    Check out this article by Dr. Paparella of Yale and New York University:
    http://www.metanexus.net/magazine/tabid/68/id/10539/Default.aspx

  48. Matt B says:

    For it is false, and any reliable historian will say so. Seriously, have you never read about the massive enterprise of the Benedictine monasteries of Europe, how those monks, from the 6th century on, collected, preserved and protected, copied and translated thousands upon thousands of ancient, classical manuscripts? They even preserved and copied the writings of ancients like Lucretius, who was an atheist philosopher and sometime poet of the erotic. Still, he was deemed worthy of preservation. Have you been taught what you wrote above? Or do you just pretend to be knowledgeable of things? Are you stupid

    Thanks for the cite Walt! My background is far more in later Print Culture. I’ll have to look at Paparella’s work. BTW, in researching this reply I can across the work of James Hannah, if you’re not familiar with him you should take a look, I think his work would interest you (http://bedejournal.blogspot.com/).

    I’m especially embarrassed at my oversight as “A canticle for Leiobwitz” is a favorite book of mine – and the Churches preservation of texts is a key theme within that book. BTW, if you haven’t read it, it’s a great book

    So it’s clear that I had a total blindspot in my writing about the Benedictines. And in that moment, I did something I’ve accused others of: flattening the Church (and it’s monasteries) into a single monolithic institution. I was a slightly aware of the Benedictine scriptoriums, but hadn’t realized the scale on which they operated.

    At the same time, it’s also true that they didn’t represent all of the scriptoriums. My understanding is not all abbots or Monasteries operated under the same principles. Another thing I failed to note in my previous post is that this wasn’t simply a conspiracy of suppression (that happens on both a Religious and Governmental level with the advent of print). In some cases it was a sheer issue of materials: In the case of Palimpsest, erasure of texts often had far more to do with the scarcity of the material rather than purely ideological reasons (this I did know but wasn’t clear about). And in other cases, it was an issue of time — that the reproduction of older texts wasn’t as high priority as those of canonical value (again, this appears to have been the case more so in some of the other orders). It wasn’t necessarily that a text was intentionally supressed as it might have degraded past recognition before there was an opportunity to copy it.

    BTW, if you know of any texts that discuss the reproduction of texts outside of the Benedictine order, please suggest them.

    It also still remains that a lot of texts were lost. And that Mauritius was working to recover texts in his operation.

    I should also note two other interesting points. There were “scriptoriums” in Islamic/Moorish cities as well. And also ones in the Orthodox Church. Getting back to the crusades, it seems that many of those were destroyed during the Crusades. In particular it appears that the greatest losses of the Orthodox church were caused by Normans and Turks alike.

    As a slight side request, I see no reason to call anyone stupid. I worked from the information I had. You provided better sources. And I acknowledged it and learned. That, last time I check, is called a productive conversation.

  49. Walt says:

    Matt,

    Thank you for your response and amazing openness! I did not call you stupid; I asked if you were. Obviously you are not. But I still apologize: I am increasingly frustrated with what seems a near complete disregard for truth, and I get over-heated sometimes. Mea culpa.

    I also like and admire Walter Miller’s “A Canticle for Leibowitz.” It’s a very good novel. Read it many years ago.

    You’re right: the Church in the West had no monopoly on scriptoria, and whatever the fruit, good or bad (I think more bad than good), of the Crusades, I think you will discover in history that the Western monks did far more than tire their fingers in scriptoria. They excelled in many areas. Don’t know much about the role of any other religious orders in the project of manuscript preservation. Seemed to be a special effort by the Benedictines but also of the Catholic Church in general. But you seem to be more knowledgeable in the broader area of this topic.

    I used to live in Italy and would on occasion venture up from Rome to Subiaco, St. Benedict’s founding monastery before he shifted to Monte Casino. Beautiful. In some ways it was hard to come back to America.

    Pax tecum

  50. Matt B says:

    Thnx Walt….

    I can totally understand how coming back to the US would be both tough and a culture shock after that.

    And in general I always look forward to discussions on these topics. And, again, I really appreciated the links!

  51. Walt says: