The Crusades (in particular the Nobles Crusade) were just and reasonable wars and I’m fed up with people acting as though the crusades were the result of a power-hungry and bloodthirsty Church.
There were three noble reasons the crusades were declared: Defend Europe, help our Byzantine ally, and protect Christians in the Middle East.
First off, the crusades were strictly defensive in a sense. Islamic armies had been menacing Europe for hundreds of years and many Europeans had been butchered by Mohammedan swords. Catholic Spain was actually under Moslem control at this point. Syria, Iran, and North Africa had all been heavily Christian areas until Mohammed’s generals brought the sword with them and converted the populace by intimidation, deception, and force. Europe was next on the Moslem hit list. Spain had already been captured and the Moslems had already tried to attack the rest of Europe through France (though they were stopped at Tours). Something had to be done, and fast! The crusades were the answer that could halt this pending Moslem invasion. Had the crusades not been launched the Moslem militaries would have kept building up and they would likely have overwhelmed Europe. Millions of innocent Europeans would have died and the Catholic Church would have been savagely abused.
Secondly our separated Byzantine Christian brothers were being harassed by Moslems and they begged us for help. As fellow Christians, it was the Catholic duty of Europe to aid these separated Christian brothers in the East. Had the crusades not been launched the Greek population would have suffered a horrible fate at the hands of Moslem pillagers.
Finally, the Seljuk Muslims were commiting unspeakable atrocities against Christians in the Middle East. Christian women were being raped ontop of altars, pilgrims robbed and beheaded, Churches burnt to the ground (including the Holy Sepulchure), ect. The final blow came when the Seljuks banned Christians from entering Jerusalem under pain of death in 1095. Jerusalem was a sacred city where Our Lord had walked and to allow the savage Seljuk Moslems to defile it and persecute Gods people was unthinkable.
I’m sick of revisionist secular historians claiming the Moslems were the “good guys” during the crusades and the crusaders the “bad guys”. Films like “Kingdom of Heaven” promote this perverted viewpoint. Everyone convieniently forgets the Moslems butchered 100,000 civilians in Antioch. Everyone forgets how Saladin ordered the beheading of all captured Knights at Hattin. Everyone forgets how Saladin butchered Europeans constructing a settlement. Everyone forgets how Saladin enslaved those in Jerusalem who couldn’t buy their way out of the city. Everyone forgets how Saladin stole a priceless relic: a possible piece of the True Cross.
Certain crusaders themselves certainly did some evil things: the massacre of Jerusalem, sack of Constantinople, ect. These vile actions were not ordered by high crusader leadership however. However those actions still cannot be excused nonetheless. Certain rotten actions doesn’t change the fact that the crusades themselves were a reasonable war against a savage enemy though.
Our brave crusader ancestors fought the same enemy we fight today: RADICAL ISLAM! We should start to honor our heroic crusader ancesotrs instead of scorning them.