View of the Crusades

First I am sorry if this is the wrong topic.
I was wondering what everyone’s opinion on the crusades where. Should Catholics defend them or reject them. Where they justified or not?

Well, they were primarily defensive wars, not entirely dissimilar to WW2 in some respects. All of the lands that were controlled by Muslims in the 11th century had been Christian and were conquered by force of arms. Further, Christian pilgrims were being attacked by Muslims. Islamic armies had invaded and conquered Spain and Portugal, invaded France and would eventually overrun Greece and march too the gates of Vienna. The goal was the conquest of Christendom. Without the Crusades we’d all be speaking Arabic.

All that being said, it was the Middle Ages and (like in all times of war) atrocities were perpetrated by both sides. All the Crusaders were not Saints.

Like most of history, the Crusades are complex and cannot be easily praised or attacked without seriously distorting what actually happened. In the end, they were both necessary and defensive.

They primarily are attack by people who know little of the real history of the times. They will ignorantly claim the Crusades were imperialistic (thus they read history backwards - retrojecting later European colonialism onto the Middle Ages), or were a way for younger sons to enrich themselves (Crusaders were primarily eldest sons b/c they required massive amounts of money to undertake - they also bankrupted more nobles than enriching them).

Most of the popular misconceptions of the Crusades originate with the polemics of the Reformers.

:popcorn: Well I’ll have to go back and read Zoe Oldenburg’s book on the crusades and maybe a couple of others. As to whether it was justified or not they were perhasp at the time.
Why should we as christians have to defend them.The turks(muslims) were a threat to the Byzantine Empire in their move towards Europe wich is one of the reasons for it. We finally defeated them at the Battle of Lepanto in the 16th or 17th century. To celebrate the Christian victory of the Muslims the pope at the time instituted the feast of Our Lady of Victory.
The Mercedian Order was founded to help christians captured by the muslims hence Our Lady of Ransom. Even before the Crusades Charlemagne and others fought against them when they came up from Spain to try and take over France and that.
Had some cousins of my grandmother,the von Lilienschilds who fought in the Crusades according to german records.Some of the family later went on to Lativa and fought in the crusades in the Baltic countries.It was a move to civilize and convert the pagan baltic tribes.

An invading hoard was taking land, and other property that did not belong to them. The “rightful owners” were just attempting to defend and keep what was theirs. From the time the first cave man wanted his neighbors cave, it’s an old and tired story. Greed.:cool:

They primarily are attack by people who know little of the real history of the times.

You mean by the same people who only read the headline to a news story or think they have all the answers because they have some kind of college degree?

They will ignorantly claim the Crusades were imperialistic (thus they read history backwards - retrojecting later European colonialism onto the Middle Ages), or were a way for younger sons to enrich themselves (Crusaders were primarily eldest sons b/c they required massive amounts of money to undertake - they also bankrupted more nobles than enriching them).

:rotfl:

Haven’t you heard? Ignorance is bliss! :thumbsup:

And you see, it’s fun to have white/colonial guilt, because it’s not really guilt, it’s a fun feeling that one controls on his/her own in order to indentify oneself as a victim to get more good feelings inside & government entitlements.

It’s also fun and cool to have that extra reason to keep the Church at arms length, therefore making all kinds of financial and sexual sins okay as long as there is some kind of “consent”.

Like most of history, the Crusades are complex and cannot be easily praised or attacked without seriously distorting what actually happened. In the end, they were both necessary and defensive.

The Crusades started off as a defensive-minded war. One could argue that things went a tad too far in the end, but I think the common misunderstanding is that the Pope woke upon day and said “Hmmm…I’d like to have the Holy Land back, so let’s go to war against the Muslims.”

But who is who in your tired old story?

Take me with a pinch of salt, because I’m not a great historian (I write historical fiction, but that’s a different story… :D), but:

  1. The wars themselves were just, and based on defensive principles. They were not wars of conquest.

  2. They must be judged against the culture (including rules of engagement) of their time. The Pope didn’t send drones into Constantinople. :smiley:

  3. Excesses were certainly committed by individual soldiers, or even groups of them. None of these were sanctioned or approved of by the Church.

  4. In the end, they didn’t achieve all of their goals.

They’re certainly not the atrocity story that some revisionists would have us believe. :wink:

Well the ones defending the invasion were the Christians, and the invaders were muslim.

Like all wars, they began with noble intent, but eventually strayed from their ideal. Yet, without the various wars against the Saracens, we of European descent would be bowing toward Mecca 5X per day. Of that, there can be little doubt.

The battle of Lepanto occurred in 1571 - curiously coincidental with the acceleration of the reformation. A divided Christianity was a weakened Christianity and this fact was not lost on the Muslims. Yet, the fledgling (and dividing!) protestants could never have amassed such a force to oppose the invasion of Europe. Does the Catholic Church ever get thanks for that? Ha!

:thumbsup: But why should they thank us? We’re the bad guys! :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

I would give the Eastern Orthodox Byzantine Empire more credit than the Catholic Church for protecting Europe from being overrun by the Muslims.:rolleyes:

Let’s get our time frame and our geography correct: We are speaking of Europe rather than Asia Minor, and the 16th century, not the 14th or 15th. Did the Byzantines force the Muslims out of Spain? (1492) Did they launch the providentially successful attack at Lepanto? (1571)

No, and no. The last of the Byzantine Empire had fallen before then (1453). Without the schism, with Christianity united, history might have been breath-takingly different in the east. With zero help from the reformers, the Muslim incursion into Spain was reversed, and the Muslim advance from Greece toward Italy was completely destroyed. Facts are facts, and history is history.

Unless you are pre-disposed to believe that the Catholic Church has never done a single good thing. :shrug:

First of all, there are two ways into Europe. The direct route through Asia Minor, and the long route through Spain. The Muslims conquered Syria in the mid 7th century. From then on, the Byzantines held off the Muslim attacks rather well until those gallant crusaders were nice enough to sack Constantinople in the 4th Crusade (1202).:rolleyes:

When Syria was conquered by the Muslims, Christianity was technically united (heresies aside). Also, I am not saying the Reformation stopped the Muslims.

Just because I am not Catholic does not mean I am anti-Catholic.

So, why did the Ottomans choose that third way?

Good.

Pretty hard to tell so far.

I mentioned two ways, not two.

Simply because I disagree with your assessment of history does not mean I am anti-Catholic.

Well Asia Minor can be seen as a land route. Spain is another, and Italy via or around Greece is a third way by sea, as I see it - and that is precisely where the Turks went in 1571.

Well, freeing the Iberian Peninsula and defeating the Turkish fleet at Lepanto must count for something, unless one stops short of this time period - but that is the period I was addressing. Crusades period? No. But I think it healthy to look at the big picture and not just puzzle pieces.

Seriously? Wow, considering (just off the top of my head) the following were all driven by the Roman Catholics

The Battle of Tours
The 780 Year Reconquista of the Iberian Peninsula
the 1061-1091 reconquest of Sicily by the Normans
the Siege of Vienna
the Battle of Vienna
The Battle of Lepanto

I find that view of history very, very strange

They were a defensive response to Muslim aggression. They were necessary to stop the spread of Islam. Islam spread so far into Europe, and I believe it wouldn’t have stopped without a response from the Christians. It is true, as with any war, that there are “good” and “bad” people from all sides, but overall the Crusades themselves were justified for the protection of Christendom. No Muslim lands were targeted, the target was to get back all lands that were taken from Christians. Our Church was restoring Christian lands. We never went further than that into Muslim lands to “conquer.” The Crusades do fit the Just War Doctrine of the Church.

It is blatantly obvious that those posters who defend the crusades as “defensive” wars haven’t read a true history of them. One need only read about the Normans in southern Italy and their reasons to take up the cross and understand that it was about power, aka money.

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