Der Spiegel online today has a story and photos about the excavation of a mass grave of soldiers killed during the Battle of Ltzen (1632), an event of the Thirty Years War remembered most for the death of King Gustav II Adolf of Sweden. Some 20,000 men fought in the battle, and between 6,000 and 9,000 of them are thought to have died. There was no clear victor. Among the items excavated is this bullet etched with a cross. Symbolic enough of why the old regime of Cuius regio eius religio would eventually (after how many more deaths?) yield to regimes of religious freedom.
Rev. Joseph A. Komonchak, professor emeritus of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, is a retired priest of the Archdiocese of New York.