What to say about the Inquisition and the crusades?


#1

There is this Fundamentalist (not very gentlemanly-like) gentleman I have been talking to for quite some time now and when ever I get the upperhand and (I quess he feels threatend or something) he will bash the Church by listing of bad things about the church. I.E. the Inquistion (which he gives sladerous # but no matter what I say about the # accuracy his the point he is tring to make stands) saying the beast in Revelation will sit on 7 hills and get drunk on the blood of saints. Also the Crusades the Child-abuse scadels and he says that the Catholic Chruch is always doing something Horrid on a Monstrous scale throughout its legalized history that the claim that it was founded by Christ is impossiable that something like this be founded by the most perfect person. What am I to think of this? What should I tell this gentleman (I truley do not if he is saying this to be slanderous or if he was just told this and never looked it up so please don’t tell me to go beat him with a rather large hammer)? Thank you and God bless.


#2

[quote=Montie Claunch]There is this Fundamentalist (not very gentlemanly-like) gentleman I have been talking to for quite some time now and when ever I get the upperhand and (I quess he feels threatend or something) he will bash the Church by listing of bad things about the church. I.E. the Inquistion (which he gives sladerous # but no matter what I say about the # accuracy his the point he is tring to make stands) saying the beast in Revelation will sit on 7 hills and get drunk on the blood of saints. Also the Crusades the Child-abuse scadels and he says that the Catholic Chruch is always doing something Horrid on a Monstrous scale throughout its legalized history that the claim that it was founded by Christ is impossiable that something like this be founded by the most perfect person. What am I to think of this? What should I tell this gentleman (I truley do not if he is saying this to be slanderous or if he was just told this and never looked it up so please don’t tell me to go beat him with a rather large hammer)? Thank you and God bless.
[/quote]

In my apologetics experience, anti-Catholics use these arguments as “conversation stoppers” when finding themselves on the weak and faltering end of a discussion. It’s actually a good sign, since it is usually a tactic of desperation on their part.

In addition to praying and offering up personal sacrifices for him, you can do one of three things:

  1. Go to the main webpage of this site and find the links to the apologetics tracts on the left hand side of the page. There is one that addresses every question you brought up. Study these, become handy with the arguments, and charitably engage your ungentlemanly gentleman friend again.

  2. If he isn’t capable of allowing you to present the facts without interuption or in an otherwise disrespectful manner, give him copies of the tracts, ask him to read them, and offer to discuss it later (this also works if you are thoroughly intimidated by the guy or you are a very poor speaker. He’ll respect you more, however, if you can articulate the facts yourself).

  3. If he refuses to allow you to do either of the above, continue to pray for him and let him know you are always available to discourse in the future on a more civil level.


#3

The shotgun attack is definitely desperation tactic. Each point they makes attaching the Church can be refuted but when their desperate, they throw them all at you at once and won’t let you get a word in.

To counter, say that you’d be happy to address all the issues. Ask him which one is his biggest problem with the Church and set a date to discuss it. Make sure you do your research before you get together.


#4

Here’s what I would say. Call them the Holy Inquisition and the Holy Crusades. These historic events are what saved Europe from complete destruction. Any half unbiased history book will at least get that point across, yet sadly those people who attack these great events seem to have a complete lack of will to read anything much worth reading.


#5

If it weren’t for the Crusades, your friend might be Muslim today.
Some historical perspective is called for.
crisismagazine.com/april2002/cover.htm


#6

This was discussed here:

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=58762

Some good links provided:

turrisfortis.com/history.html

ignatiusinsight.com/features2005/vryan_crusades_may05.asp

catholiceducation.org/links/search.cgi?query=crusades

crisismagazine.com/april2002/cover.htm

catholiceducation.org/links/search.cgi?query=inquisition

catholic.com/library/Inquisition.asp

catholic.com/library/galileo_controversy.asp

catholic.com/thisrock/1999/9911fea4.asp

and a new link from First Things:

firstthings.com/ftissues/ft0506/articles/madden.html

Books:

amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0300078803/qid=1117887842/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/102-2827042-0498511?v=glance&s=books

"YES, YES, YES. This book is an absolute Must. Kamen, is a jew and Cambridge scholar, who specializes in 16th Century Spanish history. He has chaired the best and numerous conferences on the Inquisition. His book is extremely well documented, with cites for virtually every thought including:

  1. The Inquisition was secular from Ferdinand and Isabella…NOT initiated by Rome.
  2. Rome issued a Papal Bull AGAINST Ferdinand and the Inquisition.
  3. One Spanish Bishop died trying to stop the Inquisition
  4. Numerous priests died trying to stop the Inquisition
  5. The numbers concerning deaths is sheer fantasy. Kamen sedulously pours over tax records from the Spanish Crown and found there were only a small number of jews in Spain at that time.
  6. The conversions from Judaism seemed valid to the Jews at that time. He goes over letters and writing from Rabbi’s in Africa who were alarmed that so many Jews were being converted and one Jewish physician, whose name I can’t remember was responsible for thousands of conversions and this upset the Rabbis!!!
  7. Kamen notes the large lag time between the Inquisition itself and rumors of Catholic atrocities. I think he faults protestants in the 19th century.
  8. Does Kamen find that Jews were killed in the Inquisition? Yes. Does he fault the Catholic Church? No. Does he blame the Spanish Crown and some runaway Dominicans? Yes. Did approximately 2,000 people die over a two hundred year period? Yes."

To be informed about the Crusades and Inquisition, it takes alot of reading…


#7

What to say?? Just that, Yes, they did happen. Read “Triumph: The Power And The Glory Of The Catholic Church” By H.W. Crocker. It is a fantastic book.
~ Kathy ~


#8

[quote=Montie Claunch]There is this Fundamentalist (not very gentlemanly-like) gentleman I have been talking to for quite some time now and when ever I get the upperhand and (I quess he feels threatend or something) he will bash the Church by listing of bad things about the church. I.E. the Inquistion (which he gives sladerous # but no matter what I say about the # accuracy his the point he is tring to make stands) saying the beast in Revelation will sit on 7 hills and get drunk on the blood of saints. Also the Crusades the Child-abuse scadels and he says that the Catholic Chruch is always doing something Horrid on a Monstrous scale throughout its legalized history that the claim that it was founded by Christ is impossiable that something like this be founded by the most perfect person. What am I to think of this? What should I tell this gentleman (I truley do not if he is saying this to be slanderous or if he was just told this and never looked it up so please don’t tell me to go beat him with a rather large hammer)? Thank you and God bless.
[/quote]

Other Christians are right to make so much of moral issues - for if the Church is immoral, or promotes or connives at immorality, she is doing herself serious harm; &, what is more important, dishonouring Christ. The man you mention will presumably be aware that Christians are to be holy - and the things he mentions don’t immediately suggest that the Church is holy. (I’m assuming - for the sake of argument - that the Inquisitions & crusades are as bad as they are often said to be.)

Which is why historical arguments for the Church are so often unconvincing. If the Church does not reflect the character of Christ, her claims to being the unique Church of Christ can look very shallow. Which is why the two objections you mention can be so forceful & so convincing.

It’s not that people are stupid, or bigoted, or ignorant, or no more so than we can be - they just do not see why they should join an institution which has so much blood on its hands. They often look not at the Church in isolation, but at the Church as compared with Christ. They see the spotless holiness of Christ; they look at the CC, according to the knowledge they have of it (& none of us, whatever our churchmanship, knows all details of all episodes in the history of Christianity); and they don’t see spotless holiness - they do, often, see only too much human sinfulness, often in very horrible forms. Then they compare the very high claims made for the CC with the actuality of her history - and don’t find them convincing. People may well be unconvinced, precisely because they are solid Christians. For they look for holiness in the CC - and they can’t see it.

There are reasons for that too. Holiness takes many forms - and it is far from obvious that mediaeval hermits scourging themselves, or women becoming nuns, are showing anything like holiness. IOW, it is not self-evident that people of the likes of St. Bernard of Clairvaux or St. Teresa of Avila are holy. This is partly because those ways of being holy are:
[list]
*]not clearly in accord with the Bible
*]are unfamiliar; &
*]belong to a different sort of culture from that with which many Protestants are familiar.
[/list]Protestant monks & nuns do exist - but only in some forms of Protestantism; all (AFAIK) European. It can’t (I suspect) be easy for a Southern Baptist (say) to see a mediaeval Catholic monk as a “true Christian”: even if that monk is St. Bernard.

It’s vital to make allowances for other Christians in what they say, or don’t know. For nobody can be expected to see Christian holiness where he sees no reason to think it is present. And we have to expect the Church to be judged by the standards to which she appeals & by which she claims to be guided - if we claim the Church is holy, it is not unfair of others to be unfavourably impressed when her actual behaviour seems to be anything but holy. It is quite right for her to be tried by the high standards to which she appeals, & by no lower ones. In fact, the judgement of others upon her may conceivably be a form of God’s judgement of her ##


#9

Hildebrand, thank you for a very helpful post. I think that your sentence To be informed about the Crusades and Inquisition, it takes alot of reading… just about sums up the problem.

Catholic bashers pluck obscure ‘facts’ from websites they have visited and leave the Catholic apologist with an almost impossible talk of finding the truth from second hand, at best, sources. Who has the time to do any indepth research which would cover all of the minituae these people bring up?


#10

items number 8 & 9 on this list are always helpful


#11

It’s not that people are stupid, or bigoted, or ignorant, or no more so than we can be - they just do not see why they should join an institution which has so much blood on its hands.

In my experience, it is most often that they are bigoted and ignorant and they use the “blood on the hands of the Church” as an excuse for their ignorance.

If they are going to play holier than thou, than they should look back upon their own protestant history and see that they have some blood on their hands as well. Some may hide their heads in the sand of their modern denomination but if you look back to the roots of protestantism there are plenty of misdeeds as well.

Other than that, I’ve read a few excellent books that deal with the Inquisition and the Crusades. My favorite recent books have been Kamen’s book on the Spanish Inquisition and H. W. Crocker’s book on the glory and triumph of the Catholic Church (I believe they were both mentioned by other posters). On must really do alot of reading before they can even began to say anything on the Inquisition or Crusades.

I began reading when confronted with the wild claims of protestants that the Inquisition killed of some 70 million people, which I thought was utterly rediculous.

Both the Inquistion and the Crusades were overall good things. Yes, some bad things happened but what ever happens in human history that something doesn’t occasionally go wrong? I think we could use an Inquistion today!


#12

Righteous causes, bad tactics.

Compare to the Gestapo and KGB: bad causes, evil tactics.

The reason your protestant friend will remain mum on the Gestapo is of course that Hitler rallied protestants around him by appealing to Martin Luther’s vile anti-semitism.


#13

EWTN showed a program about the Inquisition. It was produced by BBC, the title escapes me. Check their program archives it should be there. The program shows that most of what we know (even us Catholics) about the Inquisition is myth. It showed that anti catholic propaganda and political issues were involved in defaming the Dominicans. The truth is that it wasn’t even close to as bad as we think it is.

in XT


#14

The crusades were completely justified. I think everyone forgets about how the Muslims invaded Spain and were defeated outside of France around 500 years before that. In that time period it was kill or be killed, and it was in the Catholic Church’s best interest to do the Crusades and retake the holy city of Jerusalem. I feel so strongly for the crusades, I would volunteered myself, if I had lived in that time period.


#15

You could go on the offense: ask him to defend the actions of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I when they were burning Catholics at the stake.

See how he likes being in the hot seat.


#16

He wouldn’t have to defend himself. He has no claims of affiliation.

THis is one thing i was always told, they can point the finger at us because we are an organized institution. You can’t do that with most protestents in this country. Why, 'cause they can rightly say we don’t do that anymore reason being because the churchs that did that, broke into or were absorbed by other churches.

An if you get a really hardcore southern baptist, then they’ll think those catholics got what they deserved. Sad but i saw this when I was a kid and my dad would defend the faith.


#17

[quote=as-a-child]He wouldn’t have to defend himself. He has no claims of affiliation.

THis is one thing i was always told, they can point the finger at us because we are an organized institution. You can’t do that with most protestents in this country. Why, 'cause they can rightly say we don’t do that anymore reason being because the churchs that did that, broke into or were absorbed by other churches.

An if you get a really hardcore southern baptist, then they’ll think those catholics got what they deserved. Sad but i saw this when I was a kid and my dad would defend the faith.
[/quote]

What - would he actually suggest he is not an anti-Catholic Christian? That he has no affiliation whatsoever with other anti-Catholic Christians? Must be nice to be able to divorce yourself from those parts of your history you don’t like…

By the way, regarding the ugly aspects of the inquisition and the crusades, Catholics “don’t do that anymore” either.

And when you look at the hard numbers, the anti-Catholics burned at the stake a great deal more Catholics than the Catholic inquisitors ever did of heretics.

Catholics executed by the anti-Catholics "got what they deserved’? I daresay they did - martyrdom and instant admission to heaven - it just wasn’t in this life.


#18

The problem that you’re having with this fellow sounds similar to one that I have encountered several times in debate and discussion situations (and even in non-debate/discussions situations). His claims may be wrong in the first place, but almost as important is that they sound like they’re not necessarily related to the topic that you are discussing with him when he brings them up. I have encountered this at the university that I attend, most especially during an even that our pro-life student group hosts each year. We set up crosses on our university’s quad area (a high foot-traffic area). These symbolize the number of abortions that occur daily in the US (tombstones would be a bit harder to build or aquire in that quantity, and crosses are fairly well recognived as sometimes being used for such a purpose). I cannot tell you the number of people who would bring up such things as the War in Iraq as a “proof” that we were just hypocrites (this in spite of the fact that not all members of the group were supporters of the war, and some even protested it). If that “gentleman” brings up the inquisition (etc.) during an unrelated discussion, it most certainly means that you had the “upper hand” in the discussion and that he was running out of counter-arguments. How you proceed in that situation depends on your personality and style as well as what it is exactly that you’re trying to accomplish. You can simply point out that he is using invalid points and press on the argument, or you can engage in a debate about any one of those things that he mentions, or you can simply stop the discussion until he has time to “cool down” and come back for a more civil discussion (is this a person that you have a lot of contact with, such as a fellow employee?). Whatever your choice, I wish you the best of luck with this situation.


#19

I suggest just tell him that the Catholic church is a human institution run by humans and that humans make mistakes. He probably fell for the line that the Catholic church is divine, and therefore the humans who run are also divine and therefore cannot make mistakes.


#20

What - would he actually suggest he is not an anti-Catholic Christian? That he has no affiliation whatsoever with other anti-Catholic Christians? Must be nice to be able to divorce yourself from those parts of your history you don’t like…

Yes Nan that’s my point. As catholics we can’t separate ourselves totally from that which was done. Why? Because it’s the same church that it has been for 2,000 yrs, an were a part of it. So i claim her flaws and all.:smiley:

THe point that has to come across is a question of piety. One could say, well the crusades prove yours is not a pieous church so you can’t claim to be founded by Christ. With the same reasoning we could say that Jesus is not God because he chose Judas as an apostle.

An yes martydom is a glorius way to go.:slight_smile:


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