Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Should the Church be Ashamed of the Crusades?

Excellent article on the Crusades from Jerrilyn Szelle Holladay on Catholic Online.

“What about the Crusades?” The question seems more like an accusation, implying that the powerful Europeans attacked a simple and peaceful people on their home turf for no reason.

Using the Crusades as a club to bludgeon the West into guilty silence is a modern practice that has more to do with twentieth century events like the First and Second World Wars and the strains of passivism these engendered, than with the reality of the 12th and 13th centuries.

In fact, the Muslims were proud of the Crusades. After all, they won. And the Europeans? The Crusades were the first stirring of coordinated defense against centuries of attack by Muslim forces. Until the 20th century the Crusades were viewed as honorable wars, by all sides.

So, be ready when someone flips you the Crusades trump card. The historical context is the key to this puzzle, not 20th century sensibilities. The events leading up to and following the Crusades place them where they belong in the flow of history.

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