Crusades on EWTN

EWTN recently produced a great talk by Professor Steve Weidenkopf on the Crusades.

Description: Prof. Steve Weidenkopf combats the myths and lies spread about the Crusades by sharing the real history and holy purpose on which it was founded. Hosted by Fr. Mitch Pacwa.

 In the video they mention this event :

[INDENT]In 2001, former president Bill Clinton delivered a speech at Georgetown University in which he discussed the West’s response to the recent terrorist attacks of September 11. The speech contained a short but significant reference to the crusades. Mr. Clinton observed that “when the Christian soldiers took Jerusalem [in 1099], they . . . proceeded to kill every woman and child who was Muslim on the Temple Mount.” He cited the “contemporaneous descriptions of the event” as describing “soldiers walking on the Temple Mount . . . with blood running up to their knees.” This story, Mr. Clinton said emphatically, was “still being told today in the Middle East and we are still paying for it.”
While some people might think this “blood running up to their knees," is what happened, but with a little intelligence one can see that this would be impossible in an open battle field and especially not possible on the top of the Temple Mount. These were the words of a later commentator, not an eye witness. He was making an allusion to a metaphorical and apocalyptic explanation of how God would avenge his foes.
See :

[INDENT]Revelation 14:17-20
“17 And another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. 18 Then another angel came out from the altar, the angel who has power over fire, and he called with a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, “Put in your sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for its grapes are ripe.” 19 So the angel swung his sickle on the earth and gathered the vintage of the earth, and threw it into the great wine press of the wrath of God; 20 and the wine press was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the wine press, as high as a horse’s bridle, for one thousand six hundred stadia.”
[/INDENT]Both Presidents Clinton and Obama blamed the Catholic Church as if it were responsible for modern day Islamic atrocities.

In response to the accusation that religion causes wars,

They also mention the following secular source to show that deaths caused by atheistic regimes is much greater than those caused during Christian wars.


I wish we had stronger leaders and not apologists for Islamic terrorists.

Thank you, I saw that and lets don’t forget it was the Muslims that invaded and the Crusades that responded. God Bless, Memaw

Just War. The knights were breathing the Holy Spirit on their enemies. I couldn’t think of someone else better to be slayed by.

Yes, I watched this program as well. The professor gave a very good explanation of the truth surrounding such a widely misunderstood topic.

May God bless you all abundantly and forever! :slight_smile:

Historian Steve Weidenkopf
Hardcover. 285 pages.
Price: $22.00
Item #: CB379

07/29/15 - Combating the Myths and Lies about the Crusades - Steve Weidenkopf
Price: $15.00
Item #: MPD659


Tell that to the Eastern Christians killed by Bohemond of Taranto and the countless other crusaders who cared so little for their brethren of faith.

People like to think that the Crusades were just a series of wars between Christians and Muslims. But anyone who reads about the history of the Latin Crusader states knows that such is far from the truth. Muslims and Christians often allied with one another to attack other Muslims and Christians.

The entire narrative of the crusades has been skewed because of 19th and 20th colonialism, in addition to 9/11 syndrome.

We took this Crusades course at our Church. It goes into the history really well. The first Crusades were to protect Christians who were being slaughtered by Muslims. There were many Crusades over the years, many taken over by secular kings and for their own fortunes. It’s too bad the Church gets the bad reputation for these other Crusades when the Popes had very little control over them.

Here are some of my notes on the first half of the talk.
Grammar mistakes and all Lol. Maybe someone will improve it.

It was in the 16th Century that the malignment of the Crusades began. Luther who was opposed to whatever was associated with the Pope .
[Indeed, Luther argued that **to fight the Muslims was to fight Christ himself, for it was he who had sent the Turks to punish Christendom for its faithlessness.]

Enlightenment period French and British authors use a [false caricature] of the Crusades to attach the Church.
Anti religious writers create false narrative of the Crusades
Voltaire claimed that it was superstitious religious zealots who had nothing better to do then to travel 2500 miles to grab land from peaceful Muslims

Edward Gibbon and David Hume in the 18th Century

began the use of term “Crusades.”

The actual Crusaders never used that term. They only recognized themselves as
“Those signed with the Cross.”
They sowed crosses on their clothing to represent their
Vow to God. The came to Liberate those in Jerusalem,
Not to convert Muslims. It was a war of liberation and restoration.

Christian had been in the territory in Iraq, Syria, Middle east, since the time of first century, but then in 600’s the Muslims overran the area.

Byzantine emperor wrote letter to the Pope asking for forces to fight against the advancing Muslims

The Christians of this time were backward.
Muslim overlords used Christian subjects and the advancements of Christian culture to their, Muslim, advantage.
It was a Byzantine architect who had designed the Dome of the Rock
Muslims accreted the technological advances of the Christian people they had conquered.
Persians had considered the Muslims barbarians. Persians had to write the first grammar for the Muslims.
Syrian Monks translated books into Arabic for the Muslims.

Muslims Persecuted the indigenous Christians in the Middle East.
12,000 pilgrims laid down their weapons before beginning the journey as a penitential pilgrimage. They were Brutally massacred outside of Jerusalem.

It cost 4 times a persons annual income to go on a Crusade.
Reasons for going on pilgrimage :
Love of God, Love of the Church, fellow Christians who were being persecuted in Jerusalem, and love for themselves as they offered themselves and their lives for the spiritual rewards of an indulgence so they could get closer to God.

Common Myths:
The Crusaders Went To make a lot of money.
Most who managed to come back alive were more impoverished than when they left.
There was NO material benefit for most of the Crusaders

Myth :
The reason why the Crusades happened was because of a population explosion.
The First born sons inherited all the land.
The Second and third born sons were left to fight each other because they could not inherent territory or material wealth or anything, and so to get them to stop fighting one another the Church marshalled them together to go fight against Islam and to gain territory and wealth over there.

Jonathan Riley Smith
has showed that overwhelming it was the firstborn sons who went on the Crusades.
Those who had most to lose, went on the crusades,
Example Richard the Lionhearted, King of England went on the crusade, but he did not gain anything materially from it. His younger brother is known as John Lackland.
[He was called “Lackland” because as a younger brother he did not receive any inheritance as he three older brothers did.]
John Lackland did not go on the crusade.

Most crusaders went back home after they completed their vow.
Those who remained knew they had to work with the Muslims that were around them. Some Christians are amazed to learn about the alliances that were made by these remaining Crusaders with some Muslims in opposition to other Muslims who wanted to kill them. These alliances, however, show that the Crusaders did not hate the Muslims. They did not oppose all Muslims. They did NOT come to try to convert the Muslims or to drive them off the land. Their purpose was to restore the freedom of worship to the Christians who had always been in the Middle East
[as well as to restore the safety of the Pilgrims who traveled there in peace since the time of Christ.]

El Cid and other in Spain did the same thing as well. They worked with the friendlier Muslims
Similarly, the USA today works with friendlier Muslims.
The Crusades were Not about hating Muslims.
They were Not about trying to convert Muslims.

Fr. Mitch Pacwa praises this new book THE GLORY OF THE CRUSADES
by Historian Steve Weidenkopf because he shows a deeper Understanding of the Crusades by seeing and writing through the lens of those who lived it.

Rather than through the lens of the anti-Catholic rhetoric of those who used the crusades to attack the Church.

The Crusaders could not get an indulgence if they went for glory or for greed.
To gain an Indulgence Pope Urban II required that they NOT go to gain any benefit materially and not to go to gain a better reputation for themself.


Here are some excerpts from another really good article on the Crusades.

Crusade Myths by Thomas F. Madden

Your average man on the street in both New York and Cairo would agree that the Crusades were an insidious, cynical, and unprovoked attack by religious zealots against a peaceful, prosperous, and sophisticated Muslim world.

**Sir Steven Runciman **in his three-volume work, A History of the Crusades (1951-54). For Runciman, the Crusades were morally repugnant acts of intolerance in the name of God. The medieval men who took the cross and marched to the Middle East were either cynically evil, rapaciously greedy, or naively gullible.

This beautifully written history soon became the standard. Almost **single-**handedly **Runciman managed to define the modern popular view of the Crusades.
desiring, after all, to be popular–tend to parrot Runciman. The same is true for other media, like the multi-part television documentary, The Crusades (1995), produced by BBC/A&E and starring Terry Jones of Monty Python fame.

Here, then, are some of the most common myths and why they are wrong.

**Myth 1: ****The Crusades were wars of unprovoked aggression against a peaceful Muslim world. **

**Myth 2: ****The Crusaders wore crosses, but they were really only interested in capturing booty and land. Their pious platitudes were just a cover for rapacious greed. **

**Myth 3: ****When the Crusaders captured Jerusalem in 1099 they massacred every man, woman, and child in the city until the streets ran ankle deep with the blood. **

**Myth 4: ****The Crusades were just medieval colonialism dressed up in religious finery.
It is important to remember that in the Middle Ages the West was not a powerful, dominant culture venturing into a primitive or backward region. It was the Muslim East that was powerful, wealthy, and opulent. Europe was the third world. …
the expense of Crusades to maintain the Latin East was a serious drain on European resources.
Myth 5: ****The Crusades were also waged against the Jews.
**Myth 6: ****The Crusades were so corrupt and vile that they even had a Children’s Crusade.
**Myth 7: ****Pope John Paul II apologized for the Crusades. **

**Myth 8: ****Muslims, who remember the Crusades vividly, have good reason to hate the West.
See the full article and the answers to these myths at

Next time, I will try to make a Free Pamphlet on the Crusades. On my new web page on this I will link to many other good articles and resources on the Crusades. I will also piece together some facts that will help explain to others why this subject is so important. It will help us respond to those who say,

“Okay. I see that Catholic Church history, and the Crusades, and all that is important to you. But it really does not concern or affect me.”


As someone who has read both Runciman and Madden’s works, I can tell you that Madden either is completely mischaracterizing Runciman’s work on purpose or has never read it. Madden even goes as far as to call Runciman’s history Marxist in some of his student edition books, which is not the case at all. Runciman never said any of that. Runciman merely pointed out the fact that profit was never mutually exclusive to genuine religious piety at the time, a fairly uncontroversial claim and not central to Runciman’s trilogy either. Most took a financial loss, yes. But that did not stop the Crusaders from pillaging cities and establishing their own states in the Levant for their own benefit. Yes, Runciman cast his own personal moral judgments in his writings, but that hardly impugned the accuracy of his works. And while his trilogy has largely been superseded by a number of other works, it is only largely due to the fact that we now know more and have access to more documents, not because Runciman had such a terrible bias.

Madden’s argument for Myth 5 is also completely laughable. The whole idea that popes somehow exercised true authority over any of the Crusades is absurd. Yes, they called for them and started the idea. But once the genie was let out of the bottle, anyone could essentially go on a Crusade and against any person practically, which is why the whole numbering system for the Crusades is so problematic. Peter the Hermit’s campaign against the Jews of the Rhineland was done by people who took the cross. And it wasn’t rag-tag or just some minor warcrimes either. These are people who participated in the First Crusade until the end of it. They believed they were fighting the true enemies of Christ on all fronts. And to the average medieval person, the enemies of Christ were often Muslims, Jews, pagans, and heretics. It’s this exact sort of mentality that led to the Albigensian Crusade, the unnumbered crusade against the Byzantine Empire led by Bohemond of Taranto shortly after the conclusion of the First Crusade, the Fourth Crusade, and the Crusades in the Baltic states.

In short, Madden is correct on many points, especially on the 1099 Latin capture of Jerusalem and the modern Muslim memory of the wars, but his whole argument of wars of defense, not being about the Jews, and Runciman are all so wrong. They take everything out of context. The Crusades were never just waged against the Levant or Spain. They were waged in many places and against many peoples, some condemned and some not.

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