This article from Crisis Magazine shows why good Catholic history books are needed in every Catholic school and home.

New Gates History Curriculum Closes Young Minds to God

There seems to be no limit to the ambition of Bill Gates.
Bill Gates
After making tens of billions in the personal computer revolution, Gates has become a full-time cheerleader for leftist causes on a global scale—whether it’s reducing carbon emissions to zero by mid-century or reducing the world population by spending billions to pay for contraceptives in poor countries.
Now Gates is hoping to transform education. The Microsoft co-founder has recently made headlineshere and elsewhere for backing a new nationalized curriculum known as the Common Core. But his ambitions for education are even bigger. Gates has recently teamed up with historian David Christian to launch the Big History Project, a free online curriculum piloted last year in 55 high schools—45 in the United States, including four Catholic ones, and ten in other countries, from China to the Netherlands.
Big History lives up only to the first part of its name. It encompasses a 13.7 billion year-timeline in a bold effort to tell the entire history of the universe.
But it is not really history in any recognizable sense of the word. History traditionally takes as its starting point recorded history beginning with stories of Egyptian mummies and pyramids, or perhaps in the cradle of civilization, Mesopotamia. Big History, on the other hand, begins with the Big Bang. The ten-unit course devotes nearly half its time to covering the formation of stars and the solar system, then turns to the birth of life and the appearance of the earliest humans, before arriving at history proper, in the seventh unit. It’s tailor-made for the attention-challenged student of today, with the typical unit featuring minutes-long video lectures, interactive exercises, and floridly illustrated articles.
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Parents are seeing the end of summer fast approaching and are thinking of preparations for the new school year – choosing curricula, making lesson plans and purchasing new books. CTP has two offers to help.

A TEXTBOOK GIVEAWAY: A CTP history book of your choice with accompanying support materials. Please leave a comment to enter and please include some way of contacting you if you win. Entries will be taken through the end of July and the winner announced Thursday, August 1.

HOMESCHOOL GROUP ORDERS: Are you part of a homeschooling group or co-op? Combine orders and receive a 10% discount and free shipping on orders of five or more textbooks (any combination of our four books) shipped to the same address.* Contact your family, friends and neighbors and place an order before August 20. 

This special offer is not available on the CTP website so call 661-823-9380 (Monday – Friday, 9am – 6pm PST) or email  to place your order. 

*This offer is limited to homeschooling families and excludes retail businesses and schools. 

New Book on the Cristero Rebellion

The civil war that engulfed Mexico from 1926 to 1929 is the subject of the recently-released book: La Cristiada: The Mexican People’s War for Religious Liberty by Jean Meyer. “La Cristiada” or the “Cristero” Rebellion was a people’s uprising against the Mexican government’s anti-Catholic policies. Jean Meyer, a French expatriate to Mexico, is considered one of the foremost historians on the Cristero War. Published by the Knights of Columbus, Professor Meyer’s book is a well-documented text with numerous photos and illustrations.

Dr. Meyer’s earlier book, The Cristero Rebellion: The Mexican People Between Church and State 1926-1929  is also worth reading for those who want to delve deeper. This book is not an event-based history, but gives more of the sociological and cultural background of the Mexican peoples, reaching back to the 18th century. 

You can read an interview with with Jean Meyer in the Knights of Columbus’ Columbia magazine. 

You can also read more about the Cristeros in this excerpt from CTP’s soon-to-be published history book Lands of Hope and Promise: A History of North America. Further, the Vatican website has short biographies on the beatified Catholic martyrs of the revolution.

Viva Cristo Rey y Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe!

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A Busy Week in France

In France, this week began with celebration; for July 14 was “Bastille Day.”  The day commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution and the beginning of the end for the French monarchy and the ascendancy of the constitutional republic. The Bastille, a fortress in Paris, was the symbol to the Parisians of absolute, royal power. In it political opponents to the government had been imprisoned and it was a cache for the arms and ammunition which protected the royal power. A generation before, King Louis XV had sensed that his country was ripe for revolution. Amid the decadency, corruption, and oppression, he shrugged and predicted, Apres moi le deluge – “After me, the flood.” The storm broke violently when an armed mob stormed and seized the Bastille on July 14, 1789. 

The storm increased in intensity during the following ten years, becoming more violent and indiscriminate, climaxing with “The Reign of Terror.” The Church was an object of this violence since she was viewed as an ally of the monarchy and an enemy of Reason — an idea developed in the secular humanism of the Enlightenment. Many religious were made martyrs during the upheaval, and, ironically, one group’s death is remembered by the Church three days after Bastille Day. The Blessed Martyrs of Compiegne were 16 women from the Carmel of Compiegne, guillotined during the revolution. The following is their story, taken from CTP’s Light to the Nations II: The Making of the Modern World. 

The Martyrs of Compiègne and the Fall of Robespierre

An excerpt from Light to the Nations II: The Making of the Modern World, pp. 165-167
By Christopher Zehnder

The Terror now entered its darkest phase. Prisons in Paris began to overflow with thousands of accused persons. Executions increased. In the year from the beginning of the Reign of Terror to the passage of the Law of the 22nd Prairial, Paris had seen 1,256 executions; but in the six weeks following the passage of the law, 1,361 died under the guillotine. A steady stream of victims, men as well as women, patriots as well as traitors, climbed the scaffold. Among them was André Chenier, the poet who had composed the hymn to Robespierre’s god.

Among those who met their deaths during this period were the Carmelite nuns of Compiègne. Since September 1792, when the National Assembly had forced them to leave their monastery and abandon their habits, they had continued to live their religious life in small groups, near to a chapel where they heard Mass. But in June 1794, they were arrested for plotting against the republic and taken to Paris. During their trial before the Revolutionary Tribunal, the prosecuting attorney accused the nuns of being fanatics on account of their “attachment to childish beliefs” and “silly religious practices.” Without an attorney to defend them, the sisters were condemned as “enemies of the people by conspiring against its sovereign will.” They were 16 in number—ten professed nuns, one novice, three lay sisters, and two servants.

 Read the rest here.

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