How can we prove that the crusades weren't wrong?


Many people tell me that the crusades were wrong because Catholics killed many people and they even compare it to nonwdays terrorism. How can we say that the crusades were not that way?

They also say that the Church contradicts herself because she teaches that killing is wrong and she sent thousands of crusaders to kill people in Jerusalem.



the “crusades” were roughly a 200 year war that ultimately resulted in catastrophe

christians were defeated in the end

that’s the way the cookie crumbles

wars of occupation are difficult


For one the crusades were a defensive operation. Islam spread by the sword taking 2/3 land that was Christian. In fact in the 16th century most Europeans had believed they would be conquered had it not been for some bad rain storms Vienna would have fallen.
Crusaders didn’t view themselves as occupiers. They believed they were going on a pilgrimage and would gain indulgences that way.
Only the first crusade was successful. By the late 13th century the last Christian outpost fell and it was a defensive operation from then on.
Most middle easterners had never even heard of the crusades until the 19th century. To them it was just another " war of infidels" in their eyes. The entire notion of the crusades as being this nasty invasion was actually made up by the west during colonization of Syria and Palestine following WW1. Actually the grave of one of the great Muslims, sultan Saldi was overgrown and forgotten in Damascus until Germany came in and paid tribute to him for his admirable behavior when the Christian’s fell to him. Muslims however picked up on this false narrative and used it against the west especially after Israel was created. Any non Muslim state is seen as an abomination to them and a crusade. The war in Afghanistan Bin Laden called a new crusade.

The truth is the crusades were called in the beginning to aid the Byzantine empire which was on the verge of collapsing to the Ottomans. Eventually it did. So really saying the crusades were Christian’s fault would be like blaming the U.S.for the attack on Pearl Harbor. It largely began only as a defensive tactic to protect and retake land that was forcibly taken by the sword to begin with.

The entire narrative of the crusades was made up by the west. The middle east had forgotten all about it. It became a thing again when colonization allowed the west to go back into the middle east and many leaders of western nations thought they were “finishing” the crusades. It backfired when colonization was frowned on following ww2.
I will not apologize for that. Islam only spread by force. In fact only two countries in the world, Indonesia and Bangladesh converted willingly and peacefully.


But you can’t make the same argument about the crusades against the Albigenses, against the Hussites, against the pagans in the Baltic lands. Those could not be in any way called defensive crusades. They were crusades meant to conquer, and to kill or convert the non-Catholics.


Pope Urban II called for a crusade against the Muslims to regain control of Jerusalem. To all crusaders, he gave this promise: … The belief that fighting in a crusade would give you forgiveness of sins.

Just because you call an army - ‘pilgrims’ does not make them pilgrims. In a similar way George Bush said, ‘This crusade, this war on terrorism is going to take a while’ His understanding of Crusade seemed to be an invading army.

We justify what we want to justify.


I was very struck by an argument I read about the Nazi extermination effort aimed at Jews. This argument said that contrary to the idea that it was rooted in Europe’s appalling history of antisemitism it was in fact rooted in the practice of intra-Christian wars which led to the complete elimination of the opposing Christian sects. Now there is a difference because conversion was a possible way out of losing one’s life. But these approaches persisted up to the second world war with the fascist Croatian approach to orthodox Serbs of ‘expel a third, convert a third, kill a third’. These attitudes leading to extermination we not present only in the Catholic Church but in other Christian Churches also. It is a legacy of guilt that remains a problem despite the efforts of modern Popes and other leaders to recognise and atone for this.


That can have been true of the fascist Croats, but it has nothing to do with the Nazi extermination effort aimed at the Jews, or the similar Nazi effort aimed at the extermination of the Roma (the Gypsies). In their case, conversion was futile, they were to be exterminated on racial grounds. Hitler was a fake Catholic anyway. He felt contempt toward Christianity, but he was publicly Catholic.


Chapters 14-17 of this book should help you out.


it has nothing to do with being “anti-catholic”;

after a brief glorious first try to occupy territory a thousand miles away

the “crusades” were military blunder after blunder;

including sending children into battle

sacking a friendly city
a christian king being captured

and ultimately total defeat

all to remain the status quo to this date


Few deeds in history are wholly right or wholly wrong. The Crusades were not wholly wrong, but they were largely so, and they were very destructive. There is no need for anyone to prove otherwise
We all feel reluctant to admit that something we love can have been responsible for evil in the past, but it is sometimes so. It happens with our countries: was my country always right in what it did? No, even though I may often be tempted to look for excuses.

We can recognise what was wrong in the past with something we love, without that being seen as disloyalty to that something as it is today.

The past was often a nasty place. There is no reason for us to deny it. Concentrate instead on making the present better.


There is a big distinction between crusades and Islamic terrorism .

The crusades started out with trying to defend pilgrims women and children. Initially it was needed . It later disintegrated into a lustful conquest of territory and power . Note that this later phase would then be classified as a contradiction of Christianity.

Islamic terrorism is jihad and 100 % by what Muhammad preached and advocated


A lot of evil has been committed in our Church with God’s name blasphemously attached to it. Is it necessary to “prove that the Crusades weren’t wrong?” My faith doesn’t stand or fall based on this issue. And history isn’t black and white.


Agreed, our faith hangs and depends on loving God; loving our neighbours and even praying for our enemies. We cannot overcome terrorism with more terrorism; this is not what our faith teaches


This is another great one too.


The Catholic Church doesn’t teach that war is wrong. For example, it didn’t say it was wrong to fight against Germany in World War II, considering it a just war. That is, Catholics believe that some wars can be justified. Your acquaintances are wrong about this.
I haven’t thoroughly considered the rightness or wrongness of the crusades. One factor to consider, though, is the fact that the Moslems had conquered the Holy Land centuries before when it was a Christian land. The crusades took it back from the conquering Muslims.
It is politically correct to say the crusades now were unjust and wrong. But I wouldn’t simply follow what others say about such a thing. It is better to decide for yourself.


Hitler wasn’t even a Christian.


And those were justified on the grounds that they we were leading souls into damnation and disrupting social cohesion.


The crusades were justified. Taking the fight to the Muslim heretics that had slaughtered countless Christians and desecrated our holy sites was their duty.


The original idea behind the Crusades in the Middle East was admirable. Islam was pressing hard against Constantinople and had marched up the Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal). Something needed to be done to defend Christendom. The First Crusade was a success as people have said. But, man being man, the others were less than successful. It is true that Constantinople was sacked (and the Crusaders were excommunicated by the Pope for it) and it is true that the Crusaders killed folks in Jerusalem. Yet that was not the Church but the sinful men who were on the Crusade.


The crusades had nothing to do with the Ottomans. Urban II declared the Crusades in 1095, the first Ottoman emperor didn’t start reigning until 1299.

It was a different group of muslims that the crusaders fought in the middle east.

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