Last night I attended Mass in honour of Our Lady of the Rosary in the Extraordinary Form at my home parish. It was wonderful to see the high altar used once again for Mass.
After Mass there was a reception down in the basement,. The walls of the basement had been lined with pictures of the heroes of old who kept the Turk out of Europe- Jan Sobieski, Don John of Austria, and a few others. I pointed out to some people that there was at least one man missing, a man who fought almost his whole life to keep the Turk from crossing through his tiny kingdom of Wallachia and into the soft underbelly of Europe. I was speaking, of course, of Vlad Tepes.
I don't think anyone appreciated my humour. It is part of the price I pay for being a contrarian, ninety degrees from everyone. However, I do have my point. Although dear old Vlad is best known these days as the inspiration for Dracula, he was more than a model of a vampire. He was far, far worse.
And yet he too played his part in defending Europe. Europe was not defended by an army of saints and angels, and as the case of Don John itself amply demonstrates, sometimes you need a real bastard.