Warren Carroll, founder and first president of Christendom College, died last Sunday. According to the obituary the college published, he was a great teacher:
Before his retirement, Carroll was one of the few teachers that every student had in common. For most, the memories of hearing Carroll’s interpretation and telling of history during History of Western Civilization I and II are unforgettable. There were the heroes: Constantine, Pelayo, Isabel of Spain, Athanasius, Don Juan of Austria, Our Lady of Fatima, Philip II, and Charlemagne; and the villains: Thomas Cranmer, Luther, Cecil, Lenin, Rasputin, Stalin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Queen Elizabeth I, Pope Alexander VI, Arius, Theodora, and Justinian.
His explanations of the historic D-Day invasions; the complications of Watergate and the Vietnam War; the Battle of Lepanto; the Crusades; the Inquisition; Henry II kneeling for three days in the snow before Gregory VII; the story of Charles the Fat and Charles the Bald; the missionary work of Matteo Ricci; the great theological battle over “homoousios vs homoiousios;” and the Robber Council of Ephesus could never be surpassed. And then there are the memorable phrases: “History can be summed up in five words: Truth exists. The Incarnation happened,” “You can never bribe a pope,” and “One man can make a difference.”
I know him only from his books:
His love of teaching history naturally spilled over into writing history: 1917: Red Banners White Mantle, Isabel of Spain, Our Lady of Guadalupe, The Rise and Fall of the Communist Revolution, The Last Crusade, and The Guillotine and the Cross.
Carroll is also known for his major work, the multi-volume History of Christendom. Five volumes have been published to date; together they present a narrative account of European and Catholic history from antiquity through the year 1815. The series is noteworthy for its frank Catholic understanding of crucial historical events, from the Crusades to the French Revolution.
(I wonder if he had worked enough on the sixth volume that someone at Christendom can finish it!)
Note that he died on July 17--which is usually the memorial of the Blessed Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne. He wrote about them here.
Eternal rest grant unto Dr. Warren Carroll, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen.