Journalist Julia Duin published in The Washington Times a summary of the essential dates of Western civilization selected by Diane Moczar, a specialist in medieval history at the Northern Virginia Community College.
The list is found in Prof. Moczar’s book, Ten Dates Every Catholic Should Know.
She deplores the fact that Catholics have forgotten their history and the importance of Catholicism in universal history.
Catholic history is the history of Western civilization. Catholics do not appreciate the heritage of their faith and have no notion of what is being lost. Even worse, they know little about heresies and about Islam.
This is why Diane Moczar proposes the “Ten Dates that Every Catholic Should Know,” namely:
1) 313: The Edict of Milan ends persecution of Christians;
2) 452: Pope Saint Leo saves Rome from Attila and the Huns;
3) 496: Baptism of Clovis, king of France;
4) 800: Coronation of Charlemagne as Emperor of Christendom;
5) 910: Foundation of the Abbey of Cluny;
6) 1000: Beginning of the Church’s most glorious age;
7) 1517: Luther begins his revolt in Wittenberg;
8) 1571: Catholics defeat Muslims at Lepanto;
9) 1789: The French Revolution attacks the Catholic Church;
10) 1917: Communist Revolution and the Fatima apparitions.
The apex of Catholicism, as far as the professor is concerned, took place with medieval civilization.
Her favorite time period is the thirteenth century because it was “the greatest of centuries,” when the Catholic Church was at her best level ever.
“Medieval civilization was great because it was centered on God, it was Christ-centered,” she explained. “The Church shaped all institutions. She was the champion of the rights of the serfs and the poor.”
It was the most creative period since the Fifth Century B.C. [the century of great Greek philosophers such as Socrates and Plato].
At that time, Saint Thomas Aquinas taught philosophy using recent Latin translations of Aristotle. The flourishing Gothic style was the most recent architectural style created in 700 years.
Saints like Saint Francis, Saint Bonaventure, Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, Saint Louis the King in France, enlightened the world’s horizons.
For Professor Moczar, the fourteenth century brought a series of disasters that began with the black plague around 1340, which killed one-third of Europe’s population.
Other calamities were the One Hundred Year War, which began in 1337, and the Great Schism of the West.
Today, Moczar concludes, students have no sense of time or date. Young people ask whether Napoleon came before or after Columbus. If we want to have brilliant college level students, we must not fall that low.