Ch. XXVI Crusades, Islam p 254-259

CHAPTER XXVI

THE CRUSADES[1] and OTHER CONFLICTS WITH ISLAM

 

References on The Crusades:

 

Much of the information on the Crusades in this Chapter came from “The Crusades” by Hilaire Belloc and published by Tan Books.

 

Another good reference is “Christ the King: Lord of History” by Anne W. Carroll and published by Trinity Communications.

 

I highly recommend them for those who want to “dig deeper” into this subject.

 

What were the Crusades?

 

The Crusades were a conflict between Catholic Civilization and hostile Islam.  The Crusades were holy wars undertaken by the Catholics of Europe for the purpose of freeing the Holy Land from the tyranny of the Turks.  The participants wore on their right shoulder a red cross, hence the name Crusade.

 

Why were the Crusades launched?

 

They were a reaction to the slaughter, pillage and enslavement of the Catholic Nations in the East. Islamic hoards and terrorists continuously attacked pilgrims visiting The Holy Land.  There were Centuries of peril and invasion during which half of the Catholic lands were lost.

 

The Catholic Nations in the West were finally alarmed when the Catholics in the East suffered a terrible defeat at Manzikert in Turkey in 1071 AD. Islam was also looking to conquer the West and already controlled most of Spain! The Catholic knights of various Nations and their armies, united in a Holy effort to free the Holy Land and retake the lost Catholic lands.  It was a struggle for survival of both the East and the West.

 

How long did the Crusades last?

 

 It was a ninety- year struggle and is usually described as three and sometimes four Crusades:

 

The First Crusade lasted from 1095 to 1099 and was highly successful but incomplete and precarious.  Fifty years later critical territory was lost.

  

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The Second Crusade was an insufficient attempt to regain these losses and lasted from 1147 to 1148.  Then followed about a 50-year struggle to hold on to what they had.  Jerusalem eventually fell in 1187. 

 

The Third Crusade was launched during the remainder of the Century.  They rallied with all of their strength to regain Jerusalem but the cause was lost.

 

The Fourth Crusade, early in the reign of Innocent III (1198 – 1216), was stopped at Constantinople because there wasn’t enough money to pay the Venetians for ships to the Holy Land. The great Catholic City of Constantinople became Istanbul!

 

In Spain, Ferdinand and Isabella regained control in 1492 with the fall of Granada.  It took however till 1609 for Spain to become a Catholic country again when the last of the Moors were expelled.

 

In 1571 the Turks were over-running all of Europe and were on the verge of wiping out Christianity (now weakened by the Protestant Revolution).  When all seemed lost, Pope St. Pius V organized a Rosary Crusade.  He asked Our Lady to deliver them from imminent disaster.  When the day of the great battle arrived, the Catholic soldiers literally went into battle with swords in one hand and Rosaries in the other. Thus on October 7th, on the Feast of the Most Holy Rosary, one of the greatest military upsets in all history took place at Lepanto.  The little Catholic fleet, very greatly out numbered, defeated the mighty Turkish Armada and Christianity was saved. – all through the power of The Rosary.

 

The Crusades almost succeeded but then failed to free the Holy Land of Islamic domination.  The Crusades failed to destroy the errors of Islam.  Their poor fanatics, who are taught that by killing Catholics, they do a service to “Allah”, are still with us today.  

 

And what about the Christians?   In 1517 Martin Luther launched the Protestant Revolution.  Catholics were again slaughtered, persecuted, culminated and robbed and Catholic Churches were looted, destroyed and confiscated all across Europe.   A unity of the Catholic Nations under the direction of the Holy Father disintegrated.  The Protestant Revolutionaries even fought each other and their “private interpretation of Scripture” led to bickering ideologies including Atheism and the spawn of  Communism and Nazism. Below is a quote from the back of Hialire Belloc’s book, “The Crusades”:

 

            “Hilaire Belloc predicts here (writing in 1937) that we have by no means seen the

 last of the results of the 12th-Century Christian military failure against Islam.  He

states that ‘Islam has in the main preserved its soul,’ and that therefore its material

strength may return.  On the other hand, Europe is disintegrating, for the Christian

 cement which held it together has crumbled.  And in that great spiritual contrast,

states Belloc, lies our great peril from Islam yet today.”

 

Today, Islamics are enjoying the “freedom of religion” granted them in many nations. Amazingly they are one of the fastest growing religions in these countries.  Despite this freedom granted to them, many groups continue to spawn fanatics that hate all non-Moslems and feel they have a right to kill all non-believers in the name of “Allah”! Islamic nations, however do not grant “freedom of religion in any of the nations that they control.

  

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Who are the Islamics anyway, and what are their goals?

 

Islamism is sometimes called Mohammedanism after its founder, Mohammed. Mohammed was born at Mecca, Arabia in 570.  He married a wealthy widow at the age of 24.  Mohammed’s position in the community was that of a wealthy merchant.  He had many contacts with both Christians and Jews.

 

When he was 40 years old, he felt himself selected by God to be the Arabian prophet of true religion, for the Arabs had had no prophet, as other nations had. His new religion was a mixture of Judaism and Christianity. The people in Mecca however weren’t buying it. In his first years he made few converts and many enemies.  The Christians and the Jews were not buying it either, as he expected, and they also became his enemies.  In the summer of 622 a plan was made at Mecca to murder Mohammed.  It was found out and Mohammed escaped north to Medina and ruled there. The Medians won a battle over the Meccans, which gave Islam much prestige in SW Arabia. In 630 He marched against Mecca which fell without a fight.  He then imposed his religion on the greater part of the Arabians. Mohammed died in 632.

 

 The original Arabian conquest looked to be short lived but then it was introduced into the fierce Mongol hordes.  They became not only Mohammedan, but fanatically Mohammedan. They were possessed with a fierce lust for cruelty and mere destruction. They burnt and massacred everywhere in their campaigns.  Which eventually led to the disaster at Manzikert and the start of the Crusades.

 

Attacks on the Church because of the Crusades:[2]

 

1.      On the grounds that the Catholic Nations of Europe were the aggressors and encouraged by the Pope.

 

CATHOLIC RESPONSE:

 

It is important to understand that the Crusades were a “Just War”.  The Catholic Nations of Europe were definitely not the aggressors.  The Moslems had been aggressors against Catholics since the seventh Century.  Their attacks on Catholic Countries were still going on in the eleventh Century.  In 1071 the Turks had attacked and virtually annihilated the Byzantine army at Manzikert.  The Catholic countries of Europe were clearly justified in defending themselves against Moslem attacks. The Crusaders did not attack the Moslem homeland, Arabia.  They only attacked those originally Catholic territories that Moslems had conquered.

 

Even today Islamic terrorists are killing innocent people, all over the world, even in their own countries, in the name of “Allah”!  Even today we not only have a right but a duty to protect ourselves from these fanatics.

 
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2.      On the grounds that this kind of war was inappropriate for Christians to fight.

 

CATHOLIC RESPONSE:

 

It was not only appropriate but it was a duty for Catholics to protect themselves and the innocent and helpless against the viscous attacks by Islamic terrorists.  It is also appropriate for Catholics

to try to regain the land that was lost, like the Holy Land. Catholics have every right to freely make Pilgrimages to where Christ walked and protect these Holy Shrines from those who would desecrate them

 

3.      On the grounds that immoral things happened on the Crusades.

 

CATHOLIC RESPONSE:

 

Yes, there were abuses during the Crusades. For example Jerusalem and Constantinople were sacked and the Pope, when he found out about it, excommunicated those responsible.

 

An immoral act during a war does not detract from the justice of the cause of the war.  Immoral actions are condemned but the war itself remains just.

 

 

 


[1] Hilare Belloc, “The Crusades”

[2] “Christ the King: Lord of History, Ch. 13 by Anne W. Carroll

 

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QUESTIONS

 

Apologetics Chapter XXVI – The Crusades

(20 points, each question)

 

1.      What were the Crusades?

 

 

 

 

2.      Why were the Crusades launched?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.      Someone says that the Crusades were an example of the cruel Catholics, trying to force their religion on the Moslems. What would you say?

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4.      Someone says that true Christians would not fight such a war as the Crusades.  What would you say?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.      The Crusaders were really evil. They sacked Jerusalem and Constantinople, all with the approval of the Pope. This proves the Crusades were not just.  What would you say?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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