[quote=Vox Borealis]I hesitate to post here,since I have already been involved in a long and contentious thread concernig the Crusades. However, here it goes…
It is almost certain to me that the Crusdaes were evil. Now, I am not saying that they were not justified–according to the Just War doctrine, CCC 2309. However, the section of the catechism on war begins: “The fifth commandment forbids the intentional destruction of human life. Because of the evils and injustices that accompany all war, the Church insistently urges everyone to prayer and to action so that the divine Goodness may free us from the ancient bondage of war.” CCC 2307.
So, at least as I see it, basically all war is evil, or is bound up with and accompanied by evil. Now, war may be the lesser of two evils–the final and grave solution to a greater evil–in this case war is justified. Therefore, I am pretty confident that the Crusades were evil, though possibly no more evil and almost certainly less evil than other armed conflicts. I’ll leave it up to everyone else to bicker about whether they were justified or not.
By the way, I have read some of Madden’s work on the Crusades–excellent stuff.
Okay- how’s this for irony- me, a non-Catholic Christian- defending the Crusades and the actions of Pope Urban II!!
(A true sign that we are living in the end times!!!)
Anyway- I think we need to examine war a little. Was David evil for his slaying of the Phillistines in defense of Israel? Keep in mind, the Jews were (and are) savage fighters- and even back then, the bible speaks of them taking a certain part of the male anatomy off of the fallen Phillistines as proof of how many were killed.
Did God show the Phillistines kindness when they captured the Ark of the Covenant? No… the Phillistines put the Ark in the pagan temple of Dagon (fish-man God of the Phillistines) and left it there as a trophy. The next morning, the Phillistines awoke to find that the God of Israel (via the Ark) had destroyed the huge statue of Dagon in the temple, and brought it face down before the Ark.
The Phillistines quickly latched the ark on to a mule (or cow… I forget) and let it guide itself back to the Israelites. They were terrified. God showed them no mercy, nor did he expect Israel to do so either.
(I recall in Presbyterian Sunday School- they always wimp out and leave out the David and Goliath part about David beheading Goliath with Goliath own’s sword… argh! I hate when stories are “sweetened” for consumption!)
God expects his people to defend themselves.
1 Samuel would be a good read on this topic.