I am just to curious to hear how the catholic church was like a raging horde of death during the crusades. One member who will not be named do to charity claimed to have stuided the matter even having a degree and can tell us all about it. funny the way I read history the church went a long way to avoid the crusades and then only went on crsuade in responce to a christian emperor we specifically asked for his help. Even after the muslims closed the route to the holy land the responce was to set up holy sites in europe. after the church of the holy secplecur was destroyed and the empty tomb underneath they did not call a crusade. Then the crusade basically smashed its way to the holy land retook jersulm and then they did and interesting thing THEY ALL WENT HOME. they left a small contingent of men to gaurd the city and left. The first 8 were pretty well like that. With the rather notable exception of the sacking of a christian city. When the pope hear this his quote was they will never forgive us. Sure there were issues but the crusaders were nothing like the terrorists of today. They did not try to expand there lands they did not try to amass a fortune going on crusade. They expended all the futal oaths going on crusades. there peasents did not have to work for the rest of the year. In reality they lost quite a bit of money in going on crusade. The childrens crusade of course was a rather interesting concept that ended pretty well like they should have figured it would have. But the crusades were not the evil encarnate they are made out to be by many “historians”.


Well, you did seem to over-simplify things, there. The sack of a Christian city, Constantinople, was not a minor issue. Several of the Crusades utterly failed, and some of them were called by a Pope, not the Christian emporer.

Sometime, I’m going to study the Crusades a little closer, but I understand that Hillaire Belloc’s book is a pretty good read to get a closer picture of the truth.


well you only have so much room before it becomes a blog. No Constantinople was a big thing that is why I mention it, so that people dont think i’m saying everything went just peachy. whoever most of the crusades perticularly the early crusades were started either in the case of the first one when a christian emperor called for help, or as a direct responce to the muslims threatening the holy city. not as a blanket land grab. or a way to increase commerce in europe. But really what I have always found most telling is when at the end of a givin crusade, they had varying degrees of sucess, They accomplish there goal, opening a stable pilgrmage route to the holy land or freeing the holy land itself, then they go home. sure they leave a token force to gaurd jeruslem. They went home all of them. woo hoo that was fun wonder what the wife is cookin. lets go see shall we. They never bother to colonize or militarly keep any of the land they just trudged through in some cases fought tooth and nail for.


I heard that on one of the crusades, the crusaders thought the dome of the rock was Solomon’s temple. :eek:


A little bit of study in any of the books on Catholic Church history will paint a pretty bleak picture of the Crusades. While there may well have been some good intent on the part of some people, mostly they were profiteering expeditions underwritten by people with little or no religious motivation and for whom the "collateral damage’ was unimportant.

Killing of Muslims, Jews, and Christians was pretty indiscriminate and entire cities were decimated that had nothing to do with the “conflict”.

Again, at least in the beginning, the intention might have been noble, though with no control over the implementation. But it is indeed a dark chapter in our history.



Not all crusades were evil, however. The first was certainly necessary to repel the turkish invasion of western Europe, which had pushed as far west as italy (and, to this day, greece is still partially inhabited by muslims descended from this invasion). The second crusade could be called justifiable as well… it’s not till we reach the third and fourth crusade that motivations shifted from protection and religiousity to personal gains.


What many fail to realize is that there were also crusades that freed France and Spain from Muslim invaders. The Spanish were not totally out of the woods until the time of Christopher Columbus’s voyages to the West. If it weren’t for the crusades all of us, including those academicians who excoriate them, would be worshipping in a mosque today. Have little doubt of that. Freedom of worship has had a price and we need to be grateful to those who won it for us including the Church in the Middle ages.


I’m not going to brand anything as “evil”, and I also fully recognize that things have to be taken within the context of the times, given what people knew and the slowness of communication which would make implementation difficult at best.

That being said though, even the initial crusades had some very dark moments to them, just as even the most ardent supporter of our time in Iraq has to admit that not everything has been glorious in how things have been executed.

The point is that to try to stand with pride over the Crusades is to be in denial that very human people at the time made some horrible decisions and did some horrible things. We can stand with a certain degree of pride that our Church has allowed itself to be guided sufficiently by the Holy Spirit to survive and learn even from those things.



IMO, the Crusades were fully justified and were successful in halting further Islamic intrusion into Europe for awhile.

And this long-standing war with Islam is not yet over…look around. Islam may have been dormant until recently, but most every world-wide confilict involves Muslims.

Don’t get squeemish over the Crusades, for I have a feeling that much more killing is to come.


I think we need to start them back up. But not against Islam as much as against the secular humanists. The Moslems are our ally in that war.

After that we can get back at each other’s throats.


The crusades were in every way a defensive war. They were the West’s belated response to the Muslim conquest of fully two-thirds of the Christian world. While the Arabs were busy in the seventh through the tenth centuries winning an opulent and sophisticated empire, Europe was defending itself against outside invaders and then digging out from the mess they left behind. Only in the eleventh century were Europeans able to take much notice of the East. The event that led to the crusades was the Turkish conquest of most of Christian Asia Minor (modern Turkey). The Christian emperor in Constantinople, faced with the loss of half of his empire, appealed for help to the rude but energetic Europeans. He got it. More than he wanted, in fact.

Dr. Thomas Madden is quickly becoming the foremost crusade historian in the United States. Serious students of the crusades in the United States cannot progress far in their studies without becoming aware of his work. He is currently serving as the Chair of the Saint Louis University History Department and is active with the Society for the Study of the Crusades in the Latin East [SSCLE].

His Doctorate is from the University of Illinois, which he received in 1993. His numerous scholarly publications include four books, nine journal articles, three edited volumes, and two essays in edited volumes. His areas of specialty are the Fourth Crusade and medieval Italian history.


Compared to what life was like in the Europe of those times. The Crusades might very well be seen as something glorious and to be proud of. Life was very cheap and not so pleasant in many respects. Millianarists like to say that life has become so terrible in modern times as part of the forecast of the End Times, but they lack a vision of where we have come from since the Roman Empire. Napoleon and Hitler were pikers in comparison they just had more modern tools.


I imagine there would be a few Jews that would argue with you on that point. The modern tools increased the carnage exponentially.


It is usually asserted that Crusaders were merely lacklands and ne’er-do-wells who took advantage of an opportunity to rob and pillage in a faraway land. The Crusaders’ expressed sentiments of piety, self-sacrifice, and love for God were obviously not to be taken seriously. They were only a front for darker designs.
During the past two decades, computer-assisted charter studies have demolished that contrivance. Scholars have discovered that crusading knights were generally wealthy men with plenty of their own land in Europe. Nevertheless, they willingly gave up everything to undertake the holy mission. Crusading was not cheap. Even wealthy lords could easily impoverish themselves and their families by joining a Crusade. They did so not because they expected material wealth (which many of them had already) but because they hoped to store up treasure where rust and moth could not corrupt. They were keenly aware of their sinfulness and eager to undertake the hardships of the Crusade as a penitential act of charity and love. Europe is littered with thousands of medieval charters attesting to these sentiments, charters in which these men still speak to us today if we will listen. Of course, they were not opposed to capturing booty if it could be had. But the truth is that the Crusades were notoriously bad for plunder. A few people got rich, but the vast majority returned with nothing.


The people of the times might have considered them glorious by comparison with their “normal” lives.

I don’t think I’ll be using it as a selling point for Catholicism in my evangelization efforts.


Agreed. Kings went on Crusades. Certainly not (just) lacklands or ne’er do wills.


I wish we today had the zeal of the Crusading times for Christ and the Church.


but you might want to understand that you cannot compare the crusades with anything BUT there normal lives. It was all they had a t the time. you cant comparre actions commited then with what we know now. they did not know it then. things you take for granted did not exist then. you can only judge a person in history by the times they lived in. and for the times most of what happened in the crusades was glorious. yes there was some human failure in them, but much more glory. The good comes with the bad and we all go to God together that is how christianity works.

As a side not I did not think the person who inspired the post would show up for the party. probably because he had nothing serious to say about them anyway.


This is not surprising when one realizes that most of the soldiers were peasants who were illiterate and uneducated even in matters of their own homeland. Many of them went on the crusade because they were promised indulgences.

If that is the case, it appears we will soon need another one!:frowning:


Why do people have this idea that stupidity was the reason behind the crusades. The peasents went because it was good for them. First there was the indulgence. Yes you got right with God by sacrificing and going on crusade. There was and still is to this day certain indulgences involved with visiting certain holy places of God. Much of the time this is what they were going to. The first crusade was “We are going on pilgrmage to jeruslem. We are bringing our swords and God have mercy on the poor fool who gets in our way”. And that is exactly what they did. They went straight to Jeruslem. They opened the pilgrmage route, and took out every army that dared to get in there way. Okay I added the bravodo but you understand what I mean. Well for the peasents this worked because he fulfilled his futal oath to his lord by going on crusade. It was great for him he was done for the year when he got back. Not so good for his lord who had lost his work for the year.
So he gets right with God (look up in the CCC what an indulgence actually is. This is a wholely different thread dont take us there) AND does not have to work for the rest of the year. That does not sound that dumb to me.

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