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“If Catholicism is a religion of love and forgiveness, why did Catholics kill thousands of people during the Crusades?”
How would you respond?
Below are some of the best answers from our SPSE – Catholic Apologetics Facebook group
Love and forgiveness do not preclude justice, which is what the Crusades were all about.
The Crusades were expeditions undertaken to deliver the Holy Places from Islamic tyranny. The Christian crusaders main goal was to reconquer their lands that were stolen from them. The Christian soldiers were the heroes of the story & it is written n the history books. Some folks don’t want to teach this side of history, because of their implicit bias against Christianity.
Have you studied the reason for the crusades? If not for the crusades much of the Holy Land would not have the beautiful places for people of any religion to go on pilgrimage. The people of that time believed that they were saving “holy” ground, and they did just that. If we believe that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, then we have a duty to protect the most holy places where He spent His time on Earth. We shouldn’t judge history in a lofty ivory tower.
The crusades was a defensive war against Muslim aggression. Had it not been for the crusades the entire world would be Muslim. A great book to read on this topic is “The Glory of the Crusades”.
Catholics only went on an aggressive war 400 years after the Muslims began invading Europe. Given the opportunity the Muslims would have killed every man, women, and child in Europe. No where in the Bible does God say that one must not defend yourself, your family, or your neighbor. If anything, God would be very displeased if one neglected to do this. I always wondered why it took so long for the Catholics to smash the invaders.
There are 4 conditions that make a war a just war. They are: If the damage inflicted by the aggressor is lasting, serious and certain AND
all other means of putting an end to it are impractical or ineffective AND there is a real prospect of success AND the use of weapons don’t produce evils more serious than the evil to be eliminated. I think it’s safe to say that the Crusades were just. Having said this, however, men are fallible and there were numerous instances where individual actions did not align with Church teaching.
What would you do if someone broke into your home to rob, rape and kill? Being loving and forgiving doesn’t mean you shouldn’t defend your family and your home.
Catholicism is all about love and forgiveness for those who repent, but evil gets dealt with.