Inquisition and crusades: needed or mistakes?

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Tom_of_Assisi

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Usually when I talk about The Catholic Church with “unfriendly” non-Catholics their chief arguments against The Church center around the crusades and the inquisition. I think both movements are historically justifiable if understood accurately; however, most people who are so convinced of the “evils” of the crusades and inquisition know virtually nothing about them other than that they were bad.

It seems so curious to me also, that Muslims are allowed to say how afraid they are of Western nations because they still “remember” the crusades, but Muslims never talk about the original crusades—when Muslims conquered and converted by the sword the Holy Land (and Africa and Spain) in the first place…cough cough double standard cough cough

thanks
 
This subject requires a great deal of reading and research to ferret out the truth. I lack any genuine scholarship in this area, but I will make a couple of comments that I believe can be easily verified by unbiased sources.
  1. The Inquisition needs to be understood in the context of the times.
  2. The worst case scenarios and tales describing the Inquisition were written by the enemies of the Church. Spain was generally hated as a political and military power, and the Catholic church was doing battle with the protestant reformation. The convenient thing about this was that you could hate either one or both, and pretty much say whatever you wanted. All negative utterances would be taken as fact by their adversaries.
  3. Most of the statistics of wrong doing and descriptions of the major players in the Inquisition were greatly exagerated. Most modern scholars, including non-catholic and atheist scholars, attest to this.
There are really only a couple of things to say about the Crusades.
  1. Wars bring out the worst in people and many people on both sides did bad things.
  2. If it weren’t for the Crusades and the catholic church most people in Europe and perhaps elsewhere would be Muslim. Christianity merely fought back to thwart Islamic conquest and to free the Holy Land.
***Like I said, I’m not a genuine scholar in this area (or any other for that matter) so all of you readers out there might want to cut me some slack. Please correct, clarify, and educate me in this area. Thanks in advance.

All Peace and Goodwill.
 
Most of the people who partook in the Crusades were poor and were sacrificing sooooo much to fight for God. They were not money-hungry knights. They scarped and saved for months to save the money to afford the trip to the Middle East. Look at the sacrifice that Richard the Lion-Hearted made for the 3rd Crusade. He settled inter-Euro disputes to his grave disadvatage so that he could lead the charge. What a difference the center of life was for Mideval man than for us? Can you picture any leader today making that sacrifice today?

the only thing i know about the inqusition is that people much more perferred the interrogation of the Church than the State. Augustine has some good stuff about the benefit of inqusitions for Catholics in his political writing but that might not be real useful in trying to win over converts-its kinda hard core:)
 
Needed. Did people in the Inquistion & Crusades make misstakes? Yes … just like thay do today. However thay were/ are needed.
 
inquisition: a terrible topic to have to discuss. often misunderstood as well. of all the inquisitions, only two actually focused around witch trials and one of those was led by the puritans in america. the other was the worst of all the inquisitions, the spanish inquisition. started by the spanish government and endorsed by corrupt catholic bishops earning state money, this inquisition was later stopped by the vatican.

So, what about the other inquisitions? not about witches, rather about heretics. extremists like jack chick will claim that heretics meant something much akin to fundamentalist protestants today… but the truth of the matter is that these heretics would only resemble today’s fundamentalist protestant if that protestant happened to be militant and believe that anyone (married or not) who engaged in any sexual activity should be killed and that governments and churches should be overthrown through acts of terrorism. these called themselves the gnostics. at one point they were forming an army, but this was quickly quashed by government soldiers. however, they continued to try to infiltrate church and government to assasinate high ranking officials for their cause. the inquisitions sought to put an end to this early fundamentalist terrorism, although it probably caught up a few non gnostics in the mix as well. all in all, however, the inquisition was not as one sided as most people like to portray.
 
Tom of Assisi:
Usually when I talk about The Catholic Church with “unfriendly” non-Catholics their chief arguments against The Church center around the crusades and the inquisition. I think both movements are historically justifiable if understood accurately; however, most people who are so convinced of the “evils” of the crusades and inquisition know virtually nothing about them other than that they were bad.

It seems so curious to me also, that Muslims are allowed to say how afraid they are of Western nations because they still “remember” the crusades, but Muslims never talk about the original crusades—when Muslims conquered and converted by the sword the Holy Land (and Africa and Spain) in the first place…cough cough double standard cough cough

thanks
See: crisismagazine.com/april2002/cover.htm

catholic.net/RCC/Periodicals/Dossier/1112-96/article4.html
 
Were the Crusades a Mistake? Well lets see. 300 years of Islamic persecution: murder, rape, theft, beheadings, oh look up the Pact of Umar, thats a lovely piece of evidence for the "loving and tolerant Islamists’. The Crusades were needed and were not a mistake. God we need another one now, with the way Islam is spreading.

Were the Inquisitions a mistake?
Good question; let’s examine the situation of Spain under the reign of King St. Ferdinand and see whether the Inquisition is as big of a “dark spot” as men like Edgar Allan Poe make it out to be.
Spain had been overrun by the Moors (Spanish Muslims), and the Spanish had fought a 700-year war to reconquer their nation. When the Moors are finally pushed off of the Spanish mainland by St. Ferdinand, they returned to North Africa; immediately after resupplying their troops, the Moors sacked the small Italian island of Otranto. Otranto had 24,000 citizens, half of whom they killed for being Christian. Every priest and bishop was killed, and the old archbishop was publicly sawed in half.
St. Ferdinand heard of this and, in modern terms, “went to DEFCON 5”. After securing his territory, he found that there were Moors in his government. With this, he had no problem. However, he later found that there were Moors claiming to be Christians in his government who were working for the reinvasion of Spain by Muslims. This is high treason in any system of government. Spain, seeings this as a governmental problem, asked the Church to establish an “inquisitio” to root out these people. The Church reluctantly agreed to conduct an “inquisitio” under the rule of the Spanish government.
Without writing a book, here’s what happened. Two witnesses would accuse someone of being a false Christian (be they Jewish or Muslim). This person would be questioned by the Inquisition. If they were found to be subversive in this way, they were given two choices: either confess the Christian faith (an auto de fey) or leave Spain. If they were again accused by two different people, they were re-tried; if found guilty again, they were handed over to the Spanish government. The Church never executed anyone.
Let’s look at rough numbers. In the nearly 400 years that the Inquisition ran in Spain, about 100,000 people were accused of false profession. Of those, ~10% (~10,000) were actually found guilty. Of those 10%, only about 1,000 (~1% of the original) were convicted a second time, and 200 were executed by the Spanish government.
Of course, abuses crept into the system; but, for the critics of a system like the Inquisition, I challenge them to found a judicial system that lasts for 400 years without making mistakes.
For further information, read Henry Kamen’s The Spanish Inquisition. By the way, he’s Jewish and ends up coming out on the side of the Church. Hope this helps.
Yours,
Pio Nono
PhatMass Phorum. Answer.

Neither were a mistake, but mistakes happened within.

🙂
 
It is not just Muslims who suffered from crusades. In 1204, Constantinople fell to crusaders, and plunder that followed was the most blasphemous act. Weakening of the Bysantium eventually resulted in its fall to Turks; so at least the IV Crusade helped the Muslims **in **the Europe. It is not merely a mistake, but rather a wound which is bleeding even until now.
 
CEBA TOKAPEB:
It is not just Muslims who suffered from crusades. In 1204, Constantinople fell to crusaders, and plunder that followed was the most blasphemous act. Weakening of the Bysantium eventually resulted in its fall to Turks; so at least the IV Crusade helped the Muslims **in **the Europe. It is not merely a mistake, but rather a wound which is bleeding even until now.
Every side suffered during the Crusades. It was quite a complex situation. But, due to political correctness…and historical revisionists…the Crusades are painted in a completely negative light now within the media. The Crusades…in particular along the Eastern front…was a defensive action. Within the Muslim controlled areas…Muslims enforced harsh economic and religious discrimination against those it controlled…making Jews and Christians second-class citizens. In quite a few cases…Muslim leaders went further. Also, atrocities were committed against Christians. One particular event that sparked great anger to the initial Crusade…in 1095…was the destruction of the Holy Sepulchre by the Fatimid caliph al-Hakim.

As one historian noted:

"Muslims could be, and frequently were, barbaric in their treatment of Christians and Jews. One example is how the Turks dealt with German and French prisoners captured early in the First Crusade prior to the sacking of Jerusalem. Those who renounced Christ and converted to Islam were sent to the East; the rest were slaughtered. Even Saladin, the re-conqueror of Jerusalem was not always merciful. After defeating a large Latin army on July 3, 1187, he ordered the mass execution of all Hospitallers and Templars left alive, and he personally beheaded the nobleman Reynald of Chatillon. Saladin’s secretary noted that:

He ordered that they should be beheaded, choosing to have them dead rather than in prison. With him was a whole band of scholars and Sufis . . . [and] each begged to be allowed to kill one of them, and drew his sword and rolled back his sleeve. Saladin, his face joyful, was sitting on his dais; the unbelievers showed black despair.

In fact, Saladin had planned to massacre all of the Christians in Jerusalem after taking it back from the Crusaders, but when the commander of the Jerusalem garrison threatened to destroy the city and kill all of the Muslims inside the walls, Saladin allowed them to buy their freedom or be sold into slavery instead."
 
It is not just Muslims who suffered from crusades. In 1204, Constantinople fell to crusaders, and plunder that followed was the most blasphemous act. Weakening of the Bysantium eventually resulted in its fall to Turks; so at least the IV Crusade helped the Muslims in the Europe. It is not merely a mistake, but rather a wound which is bleeding even until now.
Err the Muslims started the suffering in the first place, Muslims always try and play the victim role, and it disgusts me, look at Saudi Arabia, and try and find one free religion there, now go back to medievil times, and then add on to that, 300 years of conquest of almost half the known world. They have permission to kill innocent people or as they call them ‘Kufrs’. Europe had a choice, lie down and die, or fight back and risk a massive retaliation if they totally failed.

The Byzantine empire, couldnt have been weakened anymore than it was, they were in a civil war during and after Muhammads time, they were fighting with the Greeks, for over 3 decades. Whether thats true Im not sure, I read it off a Byzantine, or Turkish, brochure I got when i was going to turkey.
 
The Crusades are looked upon as something negative predominantly by Westerners. When the Pope appeared to “apologize” for the Crusades several years ago, newpapers in the Muslim world found it quite funny as they won nearly allthe wars and walked away with a huge chunk of Christiandom’s lands. The Muslims are upset at the crusades in the 1500-1600s when they lost the final battles and never recovered, while their culture generally declined thereafter.

Except for Spain and a few isolated areas in France and Italy, the Crusades lost most of their lands to the Muslims. They did not agressively try to regain their lands but lived with the consequences of having lost battles.

In response to one of the previous threads, the Spanish Inquisition was one of the few places where “witches” were not prosecuted. Their inquests were so thorough that people went to Spain to avoid inquisitions in England and France.

Additionally, during and after the Reformation, most Universities were under Protestant control and most books about the Inquisition were drafted by these protestors of the Roman Catholic church.
 
**
Tom of Assisi:
Usually when I talk about The Catholic Church with “unfriendly” non-Catholics their chief arguments against The Church center around the crusades and the inquisition. I think both movements are historically justifiable if understood accurately; however, most people who are so convinced of the “evils” of the crusades and inquisition know virtually nothing about them other than that they were bad.
It seems so curious to me also, that Muslims are allowed to say how afraid they are of Western nations because they still “remember” the crusades, but Muslims never talk about the original crusades—when Muslims conquered and converted by the sword the Holy Land (and Africa and Spain) in the first place…cough cough double standard cough cough

Tom, how in tune with the times or at least with the Pope, you are.

Yesterday the Vatican released a *book length study entitled **The Inquisition. *
ewtn.com/news/index.asp

EWTN NEWS printed an article entitled NEW STUDY PUTS INQUISITION IN HISTORICAL CONTEXT, which said in part:

“The historical study-- which began with national archives and also used previously secret Vatican archives that were opened to researchers in 1998-- sought to answer several popular questions about the Inquisition, such as the extent to which torture was used, and the number of people put to death. The historians found that the number of people executed for heresy was considerably lower than widely imagined. Although the final statistics are uncertain-- in part because the Inquisition extended over several centuries-- the researchers found that in the Spanish Inquisition, among the 125,000 cases tried, less than 1 percent ended with the death penalty.”

**
 
I strongly recommend

Jonathan Riley Smith’s

WHAT WERE THE CRUSADES

It’s been recently republished by Ignatius in paperback. It won’t take you long to read.

I hate corporate apologies, btw. I’m not even sure they are metaphysically possible.

Chris C.
 
I’m looking forward to seeing the new materials out of the Vatican on the Inquisition.

I reject the idea that “the” inquisition was some monolithic “Catholic” thing. It was largely secular and moderated in most cases by Church influence. It was a different time from now, and judging what the Spaniards had faced (out of context) seems rather uncharitable. Usually the Church is judged on what Spain did without ANY other context… followed by a scramble to re-inforce anti-Catholic ideas turns up a relative few other “problems” by and in “the Church,” though all facts tend to be judged by today’s standards (in the context of a secure state, with adequate to excellent shelter, food, and personal wealth).

I wonder how Tom’s protestant friends respond to the idea that Judaism (and possibly Christianity itself) may have been wiped out without the Crusades.

As I recall, the Moslem invaders had at various points taken over all of Spain and were well into France, had taken the toe of Italy, and after being fought off for decades by Scanderbeg in Albania, went to the gates of Vienna. In that time, the Church was under attack by Pagans in the East and North, and the Protestants were more interested in stealing power from the Church for the benefit of the State (include “marriage” in that and see where State marriage has evolved to today) than worrying about the Jews or the Catholics or their eventual future.

As I further recall, the Protestants refused participate in the prayers for the Christian fleet at Lepanto, which was the turning point for Moslem expansion into Europe.

It may be a moot point. The Protestant birth control ethic (adopted even by Catholics) will likely lead to a Muslim take over of Germany, France, and significant control of England and Spain in the next few hundred years, following current trends.
 
The crusades were not a mistake. They were to retake land taken by the Muslims who took it by the sword. Mistakes were made by individual people, but on the whole they were right. Just as the war in Iraq is right but individuals have made grave errors in judgment. I believe that in the next 25 years we will have to again defend The Faith against Islam. I see no condemnation from them against the radicals who behead and otherwise mistreat us. Now that I think about it I don’t think the radicals are considered radical by most Muslims. I belive most of them hate us and our religion and really want to distroy us. I don’t really know a lot about the Spanish Inquisition, but what I do know looks bad.
 
As far as I’m concerned Queen Isabella of Spain should be a Saint. Read her story, an amazzzzzing women - Confession everyday and did not tolerate injustice. They were definitely Monarchs who took their job to defend God, Faith and Country seriously. Now that is a back bone of a nation. hmmmm what has happened to Spain since?
 
James and Joanna Bogle, two of England’s popular historians and authors, have a series on EWTN called, “Catholicism: the Heart of History”, that presents a scholarly look at Catholic history, from the birth of Christ to the present.

I saw their show when they discussed the Inquisition. They stated there were roughly 300 executions in 400 years. Yesterday’s press release says less than 1% of 125,000, so I’d say the upper limit is 1250.

The Bogles also made a contrasting observation. They claimed there were 400 executions per year of Catholics in England during the same general historical period. I’ve also read that King Henry VII alone executed 70,000 Catholics.

As another contrast, I’ve have heard of some of the wilder evangelical protestant claims that the Inquisition executed 68 million (more than the entire population of Europe in that era), for example: teachinghearts.org/dre04historynotes.html#inquisition
 
This quote helps me to reexamine the consequences of the Crusades.

Christian Life and Worship in the Apostolic Age (Until the mid-4th Century)
The love of Christians for each other astonished the heathen.
There was a truth in the jibe of Lucian, which the humorist himself did not understand.
“Their Master.” he said, “has persuaded them that they are all brothers.”
The fraternal kindness extended to strangers, and to Christians of foreign nations, occasioned special suprise.
Hospitality and almsgiving were universal among believers.
Collections were regularly taken in the churches for the benefit of the poor.
New converts would sometimes give their entire property to the Church.
Special contributions were often taken for fellow-disciples–it might be, in distant places–who were in distress.
In the case of those who were under arrest, or otherwise persecuted for their faith, there were perilous
expressions of sympathy and helpfulness.
When a pestilence broke out, it was noticed that the Christians did not desert the sick or neglect the burial of the dead.
**They even took care of the heathen who had none to befriend them.
Charity was not unknown before among the heathen;
but the word acquired a new force of meaning from the obedience rendered to the “new commandment” which
Christ had given: “Love one another.” **
  • Excerpt from ‘History of the Christian Church’ by George P. Fisher
So what changed?
 
Apparently a prior answer got lost in the nebulosities of the interwebs.

I note that, if we include the inquisition and crusades, we should also include the Witch trials and executions–some 50,000 persons perished in the mob violence, mostly in the Rhineland and England. These were not areas ever under any of the various inquisitions, and while some happened before the Reformation, most of the deaths occurred under Protestant control. Might an inquisition or two, under proper control, have limited these deaths?

Also: consider a modern situation with some resonances to this.

In the past month or so, there has been great outcry over 796 or 797 deaths in an orphanage in Ireland. Early reports that the children were tossed into a cistern or septic tank have proven false; they were buried in a mass grave. However, even in my own state, such things happened at the State School for the handicapped, and at the State Mental Hospital.

Some calculations: 797 deaths, carefully recorded and due to causes such as childhood disease, or even stillbirths, over 37 years (1925 to 1961) is less than an average of 22 deaths per year. At times, there were over 250 children in the orphanage, cared for by the charity of professional and trained nursing sisters. Nobody was forced to come and have their babies there–it was a free choice. This rate seems high to us–but these were in the years before modern medicines were available, and many children died even in the best families. Result: Huge outcry and horror in the English media over these fewer than 800 deaths. No notice of the thousands of children who lived.

Now, consider 2010. In that year, 4402 women with Irish addresses traveled to England and Wales for abortions. (There were a total of 196,109 abortions in England and Wales that year.) The deaths in the orphanage occurred at a rate of 0.5% that of abortions. And abortions are a chosen, automatic death–even if a mistake is made and the child is born alive, apparently. It takes a little over two months to kill as many Irish children (deliberately) as died of natural causes in 37 years! Result: No notice at all in English media. Business as usual. In fact, the opposite is true: the fact that 4402 women came so far to have abortions is indication that there is great demand for such services, and Ireland should make abortion legal! So the outcry is in fact that not enough babies are being killed!

I guess it all depends on what your outlook is. Catholic Church charity = abuse and death, while secular abortion = needed service.
 
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