Author Topic: The Crusades in context - setting some facts right.  (Read 400 times)

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Offline Xavier

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The Crusades in context - setting some facts right.
« on: March 10, 2018, 03:40:12 AM »
1. It seems most people have forgotten that the Crusades were originally meant to be wars of Christian self-defense after nearly 5 centuries of Islamist invasions into Christian lands. This view essentially comes from secularist liberalism. The facts are starkly different and there are many scholars who have set the facts right. A brief introduction below. https://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/games/crusades.aspx A more scholarly article here by historian Prof. Paul Stenhouse. http://www.answering-islam.org/Authors/Stenhouse/crusades.01.htm

How can anyone after reading it still maintain the contrary?

2. Standard just war doctrine taught by St. Augustine and still enshrined in international law applies toward defense when (1) Islamist armies long before 1095 had invaded Christian lands, slaughtered Christian pilgrims and dared to rape Christian nuns (2) Islamist expansion posed grave and continual risk to the safety of Christian countries (3) all other means of negotiating a peaceful settlement had failed. There is the famous letter of Pope St. Gregory VII to a Muslim King, cited in Vatican II, where the Supreme Pontiff urgently pleads for peace saying, basically, God Almighty commends nothing so much as this in us, that having loved Him we ought also to love our fellow men. That Christians and Muslims owe special duties of respect toward each other since after all, though in diffetent ways, both recognize God is One. That the Pope desires and hopes for peace with the Muslims.

When the Islamists proved recalcitrant, the same Pope said on his deathbed, "I would rather risk my life to deliver the holy places than govern the universe." Just the thought that brother Christians were suffering Islamist incursions and sisters in Christ had been raped was enough to make western Christians - many of whom were extremely prosperous - leave behind land, family, wealth and risk everything to undertake a hard and perilous journey to ride to the defense of Eastern Christians against the invading Seljuk Turks. These are the facts, the Turks finally conquered Constantinople in 1453 and made it Turkey. The last Crusade was when the Islamist invasion of 1571 into Lepanto was repelled.

N.B: Note well that particular later atrocities like those of 1182 and 1204 had nothing to do - and the latter of which had been expressly proscribed by Pope Innocent III - with the right to just war. Both right to wage war in self defense and right conduct during war are components of a just war. These isolated incidents of both individual Greeks and Latins were heinous acts and deserve condemnation from both sides, both Warren Carroll and Bishop Ware describe them sufficiently and fairly.

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The first Crusade began in 1095… 460 years after the first Christian city was overrun by Muslim armies, 457 years after Jerusalem was conquered by Muslim armies, 453 years after Egypt was taken by Muslim armies, 443 after Muslims first plundered Italy, 427 years after Muslim armies first laid siege to the Christian capital of Constantinople, 380 years after Spain was conquered by Muslim armies, 363 years after France was first attacked by Muslim armies, 249 years after the capital of the Christian world, Rome itself, was attacked by a Muslim army, and only after centuries of church burnings, killings, enslavement and forced conversions of Christians.

By the time the Crusades finally began, Muslim armies had conquered two-thirds of the Christian world. 

Europe had been harassed by Muslims since the first few years following Muhammad’s death.  As early as 652, Muhammad’s followers launched raids on the island of Sicily, waging a full-scale occupation 200 years later that lasted almost a century and was punctuated by massacres, such as that at the town of Castrogiovanni, in which 8,000 Christians were put to death.  In 1084, ten years before the first crusade, Muslims staged another devastating Sicilian raid, burning churches in Reggio, enslaving monks and raping an abbey of nuns before carrying them into captivity.

In 1095, Byzantine Emperor, Alexius I Comneus began begging the pope in Rome for help in turning back the Muslim armies which were overrunning what is now Turkey, grabbing property as they went and turning churches into mosques.   Several hundred thousand Christians had been killed in Anatolia alone in the decades following 1050 by Seljuk invaders ...

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Islam's attack on Christianity

For the Christian states bordering the Mediterranean, it was a four-hundred and sixty-three year period of regular, disorganized [and occasionally organized] bloody incursions by Muslim mainly Arab and Berber land and sea forces. These came intent on booty - gold, silver, precious stones and slaves - on destroying churches, convents and shrines of the 'infidels,' and on the spread of politico-religious Islam throughout Europe from their bases in the Mediterranean and the Adriatic.
At the time of Muhammad's death there were flourishing Christian and Jewish communities in Arabia, and throughout the major centres of the Persian Empire. The whole of the Mediterranean world on its European, Asian and African sides, was predominantly Christian.
It had taken only a few years for Muslim tribesmen from Arabia, inspired by Muhammad's revelations and example, to invade the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire whose emperors devoted more time to religious disputation than to defending their empire. In 633 Mesopotamia fell. After a few years the entire Persian Empire fell to the marauding Arab tribesmen who drove the young Persian emperor Yazdagird into the farthest reaches of his empire, to Sogdiana [Uzbekistan], where he was eventually murdered by his Tartar bodyguard in a miller's hut.
Damascus fell in 635, and Jerusalem capitulated five years after Muhammad died, in February 638.
The fall of Alexandria in 643 sounded the death knell of more than thousand years of Hellenic civilization that once enriched the whole of the Near East with its scholarship and culture. Henri Daniel-Rops claims that from the point of view of the history of civilization, Alexandria's fall was as significant as the fall of Constantinople to the Turks eight-hundred years later.[4]
Cyprus fell in 648-9 and Rhodes in 653. By 698 the whole of North Africa was lost ...

At the Council of Piacenza summoned by Pope Urban II and held in March 1095, Byzantine delegates emphasized the danger facing Christendom from Muslim expansion, and the hardship facing Eastern Christians until the infidel be driven back.[17] They repeated an appeal made by Emperor Alexius to Robert of Flanders asking him to return to the East with some knights to assist the Byzantines in their struggle with the Muslims.
Towards the end of that same year, Urban II, at another Council held at Claremont in France, took up the suggestion, and urged Europe's Christians to 'Take the road to the Holy Sepulchre ... let each one deny himself and take up the Cross'. The Assembly rose to its feet and shouted 'God wills it'.
Muhammad died on June 8, 632 AD. It had taken four hundred and sixty three years for Europe's Christians to combine their forces and rise up in defence of themselves and of their Faith.
"My daughter, look at My Heart surrounded with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You, at least, try to console Me, and say that I promise to assist at the hour of death, with all the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months go to confession and receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary and keep Me company for a quarter of an hour" - The Theotokos to Sr. Lucia.

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Re: The Crusades in context - setting some facts right.
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2018, 09:06:45 AM »
The modern bias against Christianity seems to have total recall on denouncing the crusades and amnesia of jihadism 24 hours after it happens.
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Offline IreneOlinyk

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Re: The Crusades in context - setting some facts right.
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2018, 11:01:25 AM »
So Paul Stenhouse is a Roman Catholic priest who has translated  from Arabic into English the 16th century document:  Futuh al-Habasha, 'The Conquest of Abyssinia,' by Shihab al-Din Ahmad bin 'Abdu 'l Qader bin Salem bin Uthman.    Big deal: how this this qualifiy him as an expert on the Crusades?  He is not an established historian teaching at a university or publishing learned peer reviewed tomes on the Crusades.

What you call "isolated incidents " against the native Eastern Orthodox Christians and also Jews cannot be ignored. 

https://www.misacor.org.au/index.php/join-us/msc-life-stories/1275-life-story-paul-stenhouse-msc

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Re: The Crusades in context - setting some facts right.
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2018, 11:06:21 AM »
Please remember about secular intentions of the crusades: show of power of the Roman pope; not enough fields for noblity in Europe (so, a promsie of the new ones in the conquered land); overtaking Orthodox faithful nad having (much more) Roman Catholic influence in the Middle East than before.

If the intentiosn had been truly clean and heavenly, the united powers of the Western Europeans countries plus Byzantine ones should have gained much more than it happenned in reality.

Of course, it's a long and complicated subject, every side there tends to some simplifications.
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Offline IreneOlinyk

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Re: The Crusades in context - setting some facts right.
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2018, 12:20:19 PM »
Please remember about secular intentions of the crusades: show of power of the Roman pope; not enough fields for noblity in Europe (so, a promsie of the new ones in the conquered land); overtaking Orthodox faithful nad having (much more) Roman Catholic influence in the Middle East than before.

If the intentiosn had been truly clean and heavenly, the united powers of the Western Europeans countries plus Byzantine ones should have gained much more than it happenned in reality.

Of course, it's a long and complicated subject, every side there tends to some simplifications.

Yes, the secular motivations and the attitudes of the Latin Christians towards the local Eastern Orthodox Christians led to the plundering and much suffering.  An oversimplification of this tragic history by an obscure RC priest in Australia does not contribute to helpful dialogue between the Orthodox and Catholics.