Has any pope condemned certain actions during the Crusades/Inquisition?


I know that many people have misunderstandings about the Crusades and Inquisitions, however, I’m well aware of them.

Now I have heard that there were popes that did condemn certain actions during these two events, but I cannot find any sort evidence to back up these claims. Can anyone help me out?




Slayer, to my knowledge, none did. If any of the Popes reigning during the Crusades did so publicly, they the 800 years of our separated bretheren resorting to the Black Legend (and recent secular-progressives in the media) have drowned them out.

I hope that this helps:)



I remember this from one of Dave Armstrong’s articles:

Reflections on the Sack of Constantinople in 1204 and Lesser-Known Byzantine Atrocities at socrates58.blogspot.com/2007/03/reflections-on-sack-of-constantinople.html

With reluctance, sadness, and regret, Catholics must forthrightly address the issue of the sacking of Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire (hence the center of Orthodoxy), in 1204 by the Latin Crusaders. Ideally, the numerous historical sins which members of both sides have committed - given the mutual acknowledgement of wrongdoing - should be left, for the sake of unity and good will, for the historians to mull over. Yet this incident was so tragic and has ever since been recalled with such pain and anger amongst Orthodox (and hence used as an “argument” against the Catholic Church) that it simply cannot be ignored even in the context of friendly ecumenical discussion. Bishop Kallistos Ware comments:

Eastern Christendom has never forgotten those three appalling days of pillage . . . What shocked the Greeks more than anything was the wanton and systematic sacrilege of the Crusaders. How could men who had specially dedicated themselves to God’s service treat the things of God in such a way? As the Byzantines watched the Crusaders tear to pieces the altar and icon screen in the Church of the Holy Wisdom, and set prostitutes on the Patriarch’s throne, they must have felt that those who did such things were not Christians in the same sense as themselves . . .

Can we wonder if the Greeks after 1204 also looked on the Latins as profani? Christians in the west still do not realize how deep is the disgust and how lasting the horror with which Orthodox regard actions such as the sack of Constantinople by the Crusaders.

{Ware, The Orthodox Church, NY: Penguin Books, revised 1980 edition, p. 69}

One would be hard-pressed to find a Catholic historian (or any Catholic who learns the details) who would defend what took place in this abominable, reprehensible catastrophe. Warren Carroll, one of the best orthodox Catholic historians of our time, candidly admits in his major series of volumes, A History of Christendom:

The sack that followed was one of the worst in all of history . . . No man, woman or child was safe from the ravagers. Robbery and rape were almost universal, mindless destruction widespread. Westerners . . . killed indiscriminately, without mercy or restraint . . . For this to have been done by crusaders - men actually wearing the Cross of Christ - was an ineffaceable disgrace . . . The Greeks never forgot the sack of Constantinople in 1204; its memory, more than anything else, has prevented the healing of the Greek schism from that day to this, despite several major efforts at reunion.

{The Glory of Christendom, Front Royal, VA: Christendom Press, 1993, p. 157-158}

So the first thing to be noted is that this horrific event is morally indefensible, and that Catholics know and accept this. Secondly, and most importantly, the pope at the time, Pope Innocent III, neither knew about nor sanctioned in the least this massacre and sacrilegious pillage. In fact, he had forbidden the Crusaders, on pain of excommunication, to attack Byzantium, instructing the leader, Boniface of Montferrat, that: “The crusade must not attack Christians, but should proceed as quickly as possible to the Holy Land.” He only found out the full horror of what had happened more than eight months later, and wrote to Cardinal Peter Capuano, denouncing the sack in no uncertain terms:

These “soldiers of Christ” who should have turned their swords against the infidel have steeped them in Christian blood, sparing neither religion, nor age, nor sex . . . They stripped the altars of silver, violated the sanctuaries, robbed icons and crosses and relics . . . The Latins have given example only of perversity and works of darkness. No wonder the Greeks call them dogs!"

{cited in Carroll, ibid., p. 158; from Mann, Popes of the Middle Ages, vol. 12, pp. 266-267}

Hope this helps

Keep the Faith


As far as the sacking of Constantinople is concerned, Innocent III was furious with the actions, as evidenced in this reprimand to the papal legate:


The Fourth Crusade was a complete mess from the start and after the sacking of the city of Zara, Pope Innocent III excommunicated the entire Fourth Crusade. (He later granted absolution to the Frankish contingent, but upheld the excommunication of the Venetians).

You probably know that there was never a crusade against the Jews, but that abuses–even savage persecutions—of Jews took place, especially during the first two crusades and mostly by rabble, (as opposed to knights). The Church got a fairly good handle on it after that, and I’m sure there are some papal letters where Urban, Gregory, or Eugenius sharply criticize such actions.

Various popular movements arose occassionally and were called “crusades” but were not official movements by any means. One such group began in Normandy in 1320 and marched south, intending to “help” the Holy Land, causing trouble wherever they went. Among other misdeeds, they attacked Jews, and Pope John XXII threatened to excommunicate anyone who supplied this rabble with food and help.

I could probably hunt down several examples of papal letters if needed. Meanwhile, I encourage the reading of these two articles: one by Jimmy Akin and one by crusade historian Thomas Madden.

Crusades 101: ignatiusinsight.com/features2006/jakin_crusades_sept06.asp

Crusades myths: ignatiusinsight.com/features2005/tmadden_crusademyths_feb05.asp


Pope John Paul II was a great ecumenist. He admitted and apologized for the crusades, inquizition, Catholic anti-semitism and others. Some report more than 90 such apologies and admissions.



Do you have documentation of those? The only ones I have read he apologized for the sins of Catholics during certain eras, but didn’t menion any specific actions. Of course, Catholics commit sins in every era and we should spologize for them all.


Hi Genesis -

Sure! A quick Google brings uo lotsa stuff!





Hope this works for ya!

God bless and keep Lent close,


A couple more -



The next one by Pope Paul VI


Let me know if you need any more.



Too bad the Crusader armies did not all contain professional soldiers or knights. conduct might have been better if it had. With tons of “rabble” going forth you really can not control them from so far away.:mad:



I was watching the History channel last night about the dark ages. At the end of the show they were starting to mention the crusades. They didnt go into to detail but they did say that the very first crusade was ordered(not sure if that is the right word?)by a Pope—They mentioned his name but I forgot. The program was over after that. shrug


ALLFORHIM, the Pope who, more properly, called for the First Crusade was Urban VIII.:smiley:


I goofed! I owe ALLFORHIM an apology because I was off by six Urbans…and about two hundred years.:o


Thank you, I wouldnt have known you were wrong unless I looked it up and I didnt. :wink:


Here’s what he said…

From Pope Urban II’s call for a crusade at the Council of Clermont in 1095
Freshly quickened by the divine correction, you must apply the strength of your righteousness to another matter which concerns you as well as God. For your brethren who live in the east are in urgent need of your help, and you must hasten to give them the aid which has often been promised them. For, as the most of you have heard, the Turks and Arabs have attacked them and have conquered the territory of Romania [the Greek empire] as far west as the shore of the Mediterranean and the Hellespont, which is called the Arm of St. George. They have occupied more and more of the lands of those Christians, and have overcome them in seven battles. They have killed and captured many, and have destroyed the churches and devastated the empire. If you permit them to continue thus for awhile with impurity, the faithful of God will be much more widely attacked by them. On this account I, or rather the Lord, beseech you as Christ’s heralds to publish this everywhere and to persuade all people of whatever rank, foot-soldiers and knights, poor and rich, to carry aid promptly to those Christians and to destroy that vile race from the lands of our friends. I say this to those who are present, it meant also for those who are absent. Moreover, Christ commands it.

“All who die by the way, whether by land or by sea, or in battle against the pagans, shall have immediate remission of sins. This I grant them through the power of God with which I am invested. O what a disgrace if such a despised and base race, which worships demons, should conquer a people which has the faith of omnipotent God and is made glorious with the name of Christ! With what reproaches will the Lord overwhelm us if you do not aid those who, with us, profess the Christian religion! Let those who have been accustomed unjustly to wage private warfare against the faithful now go against the infidels and end with victory this war which should have been begun long ago. Let those who for a long time, have been robbers, now become knights. Let those who have been fighting against their brothers and relatives now fight in a proper way against the barbarians. Let those who have been serving as mercenaries for small pay now obtain the eternal reward. Let those who have been wearing themselves out in both body and soul now work for a double honour. Behold! on this side will be the sorrowful and poor, on that, the rich; on this side, the enemies of the Lord, on that, his friends. Let those who go not put off the journey, but rent their lands and collect money for their expenses; and as soon as winter is over and spring comes, let them eagerly set out on the way with God as their guide.”


Pope Sixtus IV condemned the excesses of the Spanish Inquisition in 1482.


All in all, with the bad that the crusades had, is thanks to them that europe was capable of stoping on the spot the muslim advances. Had there been no militar action on muslim soils the expantion of their empire would have not stop in the south of Spain. Which takes me to the spanish inquisition that was an agressive byproduct of the muslim invasion, thou not its only cause.


If you could link to some of those papal letters it would be great.


I need some proof of this, please.


HI, here are 2 leads:


  1. In wikipedia: <<Establishing the new Inquisition in the Kingdom of Aragón was more difficult. In reality, Ferdinand did not resort to new appointments, he simply resuscitated the old Pontifical Inquisition, submitting it to his direct control. The population of Aragón was obstinately opposed to the Inquisition. In addition, differences between Ferdinand and Sixtus IV prompted the latter to promulgate a new bull categorically prohibiting the Inquisition’s extension to Aragon. In this bull, the Pope unambiguously criticized the procedures of the inquisitorial court, affirming that,

many true and faithful Christians, because of the testimony of enemies, rivals, slaves and other low people–and still less appropriate–without tests of any kind, have been locked up in secular prisons, tortured and condemned like relapsed heretics, deprived of their goods and properties, and given over to the secular arm to be executed, at great danger to their souls, giving a pernicious example and causing scandal to many.[5]>>


  1. In newadvent: <<The attitude of Sixtus towards the conspiracy of the Pazzi, his wars and treachery, his promotion to the highest offices in the Church of such men as Pietro and Girolamo are blots upon his career. Nevertheless, there is a praiseworthy side to his pontificate. He took measures to suppress abuses in the Inquisition, >>

i hope it can help u find the name of the bull in which he explicity says it.

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