The Catholic Defender: A Double Take On The Crusades
One of the common questions I am asked is why the Catholic Church attacked the Muslims during the Middle Ages. Why did the Catholic Church convert many by the sword. This is an example of where people have attempted to rewrite history and ignore the facts. From the time of Muhammad's retreat to Mecca (Hiagra, 622 A.D.) and the establishment of Islam to the next 400 years the Catholic Church basically held a pacifistic approach to Islam. Islam has it's foundations based from an earlier heresy dating back to the early 4th century. The Arian Heresy challenged the Trinity and the Divinity of Jesus. Despite the ruling of the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D., bubbles of this heresy would continue. Mohammad claimed he was the Great Prophet of Deuteronomy 18:15-19, unfortunately for him and his many followers, they did not read the whole test as verse 20 says, "But if a prophet presumes to speak in my name an oracle that I have not commanded him to speak, or speaks in the name of other gods, he shall die". It really wasn't until the Muslims took the Holy Land in 1079 A.D. that Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont in 1095 A.D. called for all Christians to end their petty disputes. He would call for the first crusade.
This was a very important development for the defense of Europe and of Christianity. Islam had systematically taken nation after nation throughout the Middle East with the intent of World domination. The Islamic Terrorist still has this intent. In 656 A.D. the Koran was published and since then it has been used by the radicals to go after the "infidels". We are still dealing with this threat in the 21st Century. Were there wrongs committed? Sure there were. Were there glory seekers taking advantage for personal gain? Sure there were. I can write of a number of them since I have been at the tip of the spear. When ever a Soldier did wrong the media picked up on it like it was hot news. Sadly, the News didn't care to report the great good we were doing? There will be elements of that in every war. We see this today in Iraq and Afghanistan. American Soldiers have performed valiantly throughout these campaigns despite a small minority of wrong doing.
What is important is that those who did wrong are getting punished for it. Jesus said, "And he said to them, 'When I sent you out with no purse or bag or sandals, did you lack anything'? They said, 'Nothing'. He said to them, 'But now, let him who has a purse take it, and likewise a bag. And let him who has no sword sell his mantle and buy one. For I tell you that this scripture must be fulfilled in me, 'And he was reckoned with transgressors'; for what is written about me has its fulfillment'. And they said, 'Look, Lord, here are two swords'. And he said to them,'It is enough" (Luke 22:35-38). This scripture has been used to support a nations defense with 10% of it's means. Defense is the clear purpose for the swords as Jesus would later tell St. Peter that those who live by the sword shall die with the sword. In the Old Testament King David felt the teeth of this truth as he would not build the Temple. His own family would fight between themselves and him. But for self defense the Catholic Church has always understood the "just war" concept.
What is unique for me is that I spent 27 months in Iraq with a unit that had a cross on it's shield. I will venture to say that there were wrongs committed, however, the truth behind the crusades were necessary. Training to go to Iraq, we were given presentations from Iraqi interpreters who gave classes on the customs of the people. It was very interesting to me that they taught us the Muslims do not believe Jesus died on the cross but there was another person who was crucified for him. They deny the Resurrection. This was important for us to know when speaking with the the people there. Still, just as it was in the Middle Ages, today, it is necessary to deal with the Islamic Terrorists. The news is reporting the persecution of Christians in the Middle East. When I left Iraq in in January 08 for that particular 15 Month deployment, we had about 3,000 Iraqi converts to the Catholic faith in Baghdad. This was underground or in the green zone. Many of these now live in the United States, some of them work for the American forces as interpreters. There are many thousands of Iraqi Kurd from the Northern provinces that are converting to the Catholic Faith, all underground as it is a death sentence for a Muslim to become a Christian.
The current persecution of Christians needs to be stopped. Islam does not have the means to prevent this violence. If America turns to the Lord God, then America is the world's hope to stand up against this threat now. We must have the will and the backbone to succeed. I know there are good Muslims out there, but they do not have the political stamina to face the Islamic Terrorists or the will.
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; besides all these, taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." Ephesians 6:10-17