I am teaching confirmation with a new co-teacher this year. And twice she contradicted what I said regarding the Church pointing out the evils of the Crusades. From what I had read about the Crusades was that despite horrible crimes committed by the some of the crusaders, these were not sanctioned by the Church or according to our Faith.
But my co-teacher pointed out things indicating I was mistaken. So, I decided to educate myself on the Crusades. After reading the harrowing exploits of El Cid in Spain who was reconquering Spain from the Muslims I read:
The First Crusade…had begun in November 1095, less than a year after El Cid’s greatest victory…What has been said here of the history (of the Christian reconquest of Spain) of the long conflict between Islam and Christendom, both on the eastern front of the Byzantine Empire and on the western front of Spain, not only during all the 450 years since the beginning of the great Muslim conquests but especially during the years immediately preceding 1095, should make very clear the error of the common assumption that the Crusades were an act of unprovoked Christian agression.
Up to this time all aggression had been Muslim. The Muslims were the original and continuing attackers and conquerors of Christian territory. They continued to rule hundreds of thousands of Christian people. The Christian counteroffensives, as in Spain, had all been limited and local: the Muslim aggression was much more nearly perpetual and universal, wherever Christendom was found. Despite the gradual loss of the temporal authority of their caliph the Muslims had displayed remarkable unity in supporting their war effort against Christendom. Muslim Spain had been saved and almost brought to victory in the age of El Cid by Muslims from Africa, the great new offensive against the Byzantine empire was the work of Muslim Turks from central Asia. Yet never until this time had Christendom generated a united military effort against aggressive Islam.
THE BUILDING OF CHRISTENDOM: A History of Christendom Vol 2, P 529, by Warren Carrol, 1987 (Before 9/11)
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