Vatican changes heart over Crusades – again

Reopens debate on war for ‘noble aim’ of regaining Holy Land for Christianity March 25, 2006

Despite a 2000 request for “pardon,” widely interpreted as an apology to Muslims for the Crusades, by the late Pope John Paul II, the Vatican reopened the debate last week with a conference that characterized the wars fought centuries ago as defensive measures taken with the noble aim of regaining the Holy Land for Christianity, according to the London Times.

The conference, held at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University, brought together scholars from around the world who were anything but apologetic for the series of wars fought by European Christendom over 750 years ago.

Italian historian Roberto De Mattei told the attendees the Crusades were “a response to the Muslim invasion of Christian lands and the Muslim devastation of the holy places,” noting the destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem by Muslim forces in 1009 that preceded the First Crusade called by Pope Urban II in 1095.

Crusaders, argued De Mattei, were “martyrs” who had “sacrificed their lives for the faith.”

. . .more


29 thoughts on “Vatican changes heart over Crusades – again”

  1. John Julius Norwich on the sack of Constantinople by the Crusaders in 1204:

    “Once the walls were breached the carnage was dreadful. ..Never since the barbarian invasions had Europe witnessed such an orgy of brutality and vandalism, never in history had so much beauty, so much suburb craftmanship, been wantonly destroyed. Among the witnesses was Nicetas Chroniates:

    ‘They smashed the holy images and hurld sacred relics of the martyrs into places I am ashamed to mention, scattering everywhere the body and blood of the savior. As for profanation of the great Church they destroyed the high altar and shared out pieces among themselves … And they brought horses and mules into the Church, the btetter to carry off holy vessels, and the pulpit, and the doors, and the furniture whereever it was to be found.

    A common harlot was entrhoned in the patriarch’s chair, to hurl insults at Jesus Christ; and she sang bawdy songs and danced immodestly in the holy place… nor was there mercy shown to virtuous matrons, innocent maids or evn vigins consecrated to God.’

    It was Constantinoples darkest hour – even darker, perhaps, than that which was to see the city’s final fall to the Ottoman Sultan.

    .. By the sack of Constantinople, Western civilization suffered a loss greater than the sack of Rome in the fifth century or the burning of the library in Alexandria in the seventh – perhaps the most catastrophic single loss in all history. Politically, too, the damage done was incalcualble. Byzantium never recovered any considerable part of it’s lost dominion. Instead the empire was left powerless to defend itself against the Ottoman tide.

    There are few greater ironies in history than the fact that the fate of eastern Christendom should have been sealed by men who fought under the banner of the Cross.”

    “A Short History Of Byzantium”, Pages 304-306

  2. So what’s your point Dean?

    To justify several centuries of Moselm agression against Christians, Buddhists, Animists, and Hindus?
    Maybe you should balance out your post by going back to Missourian’s posting about the conqest of India bythe Moslems.

    The Mohammedan Conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history. It is a discouraging tale, for its evident moral is that civilization is a precarious thing, whose delicate complex of order and liberty, culture and peace may at any time be overthrown by barbarians invading from without or multiplying within. The Hindus … had failed to organize their forces for the protection of their frontiers and their capitals, their wealth and their freedom, from the hordes of Scythians, Huns, Afghans, and Turks hovering about India’s boundaries and waiting for national weakness to let them in. For four hundred years (600-1000 A.D.) India invited conquest; and at last it came. The Moslem Conquest (of India)
    Our Oriental Heritage | 1936 | Will Durant

  3. Our Civilization Which NOW Protects Orthodoxy is under Assault

    Orthodoxy is America is protected by the United States Constitution and it is that Constitution and the way of life it permits that is under seige. If our civilization gives in to this assault the Orthodox will suffer terribly, as will many others.

    Time for us to put ancient divisions within the West behind and come to her defense.

  4. I am so tired of the Western Attitude that the Christian were always wrong in the battle with Islam, which I think has never ended. Remember the Arabs did not control North Africa and the Levant. These were Roman and then Christian. The mass muder of Christians during thr 6-20th was one of the worst of holocousts. Islamis culture destroyed Roman and Western Civilization in these areas. I am sure there were excesses by the Christians during the Crusades, war is hell. But to say that this was any worse than any other war is nit correct. The Muslims of the Levant were not poor innocent sheep. They were cruel wolves. Their relentless attacks on Christianity and Western Civilation were brought to a temporary stop. The final advance was only repelled at the gates of Vienna. Give me a break, tell us how peaceful the Islamic world was as it went through the Bulkins. 700 hundred miles separated Spain from Austria in the 16th century. Thank Holy God for the brave Christians who fought the unholy Islamic invasions

  5. Ron, the assault wasn’t just against the West

    The Islamic armies pushed East into Afghanistan and the Indus Valley, cutting a bloody path. The Balkans groaned under Muslims oppression for centuries. The Muslims would visit Christian villages and remove the brightest young boys for service in their empire. They preyed on the Christian Balkan population like a farmer keeping a herd of cows. The centuries old and priceless Christian churches and artifacts of Cyprus have been destroyed by the Turks with a carelessness bred of contempt. Muslims are busy attacking Buddhist monks in Thailand as we speak. The Phillipines have nearly lost two or three southern provinces to Muslim rebels. The entire world is under assault by Islam.

    The Islamic armies pushed West into North Africa and Central Africa, collecting millions of Black African slaves.

    The very first test of our nation’s navy its battle against the Muslim slavers that terrorized the Mediterranean coast and even the British coast. Think of the Marine Corps hymn “From the Halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli.”
    The “shores of Tripoli” referes to the Muslim kingdoms of North Africa.

    Mark Steyn considers the cartoon controversy and the Afghan Christian’s case to be tests of resolve of Western countries. Will we have the “civilizational confidence” to push back, as we have both the right and the power to do?

    The excreble Prince Charles is visiting Egypt as we speak, his creepy bride who agreed to remain his mistress during his royal marriage of convenience, was wearing some kind of Islamic head covering. I have to stop typing now, I’m ill.

  6. Realism not Pessimism

    I make these comments so that we Americans can look at reality in the face. I have no more time for Karen Armstrong and John Esposito and the “tiny minority of extremists” routine.

    I think that the average American learned a great deal from the cartoon controversy and as much as our culture has degraded I still think that Americans will not live under the yoke of the mullahs. Or, I hope so.

    The spectable of Prince Charles blaming the Danish newspaper for the violence committed by Muslims is more than I can choke down really. It’s a shame that he cannot be impeached.

  7. Pope Urban got carried away with the whole ‘Holy War’ thing and cribbed too much from Muhammad and too little from Christ. He produced a distorted Theology that was eventually put right, but I firmly believe he meant well. The ends, however, don’t justify the means and his theories led to many an unforeseen and tragic end.

    Which doesn’t mean that, overall, the idea of Western Christians fighting to retake the Christian East was wrong. I’m only questioning the recruiting tactic employed, not the idea of sending an army East.

    Of course, a real army would have been nice, but since there was no Western Emperor to dispatch one, the Pope (I think) did the best he could under the circumstances which were far from ideal. Fortunately, his successors have largely cleaned up the Theological baggage from that era.

    The Crusades were a defensive war. They were ‘Just War’ par excellance. Of course the 1204 sack of Constantinople was completely wrong and unjustifiable. That means that the Crusaders were led by men who were infinitely fallible. It doesn’t mean that the overall idea was wrong, only that it was extremely poorly executed.

    I think a modified version of the Crusades would be entirely appropriate today. The Copts are trapped in a Muslim state, even though (population wise) they could easily sustain one of their own. Various Copts in exile (none would dare in Egypt) have noted the artificial nature of borders in the Middle East and have asked for Western assistance in carving out a homeland. An ‘exchange’ of populations would then occur, much as happened in Europe post-WWII when all the nations that could sought to remove troublesome populations who could be the pretext for WWIII.

    The Sudanese would like a homeland as well. We all know what is happening there. Of course, the Assyrians in Iraq have begged for a state in the Ninevah province, the Christians in Nigeria are trapped in an artificial state and are being persecuted. There are also Christians in Indonesia that are concentrated in areas that could be ‘carved out’ into homelands as well.

    All in all, however, there is no stomach for this kind of mission. The government of the United States is, instead, committed to the idea that culture doesn’t matter. If given a democratic system, Muslims will revert to peaceful and happy people with whom Christian minorities can live in peace and harmony.

    Hogwash. I’d die tomorrow to give the Christians of the Middle East states of their own. That woudl be a Crusade worth fighting for. But for a chance for Muslims to vote in the Sharia – you can keep that fight. I won’t touch it.

    The Catholic Church needs to stop saying, “I’m sorry,” and instead get back to the business of standing up for the Western values it gave birth to. The Orthodox East needs to adopt those values which are consonant with the faith, and reject those which undermine Orthodoxy. Then we all need to focus on the big threats out there. That is a goal not served by constantly dishing out insults over things that happened 800 years ago betwen the Eastern Romans and the Western Crusaders.

  8. Glen,

    Perhaps what we need to do is organize an Orthodox militia of freedom fighters here in the states. This country was founded by a militia, and perhaps the time will come again where we will need to “pick up our guns” and do just that.

    I’ve been thinking that perhaps an Orthodox militia would also help unify the Church here in America. Orthodox Christians from all over the world could gather here to strategize and train: Serbs, Russians, Greeks, Georgians, Ukranians, Antiochians, and now Americans. It seems like its high time that we all get together and start seriously arming ourselves.

  9. Glen: Your rationalizations for all of the atrocities and damage committed by the Crusaders remind me of Donald Rumsfeld’s flip remark about the anarchy and looting following the American capture of Baghdad that, “Stuff happens. Democracy is messy”. I have no doubt that if the lunatic idea for a new Crusade against the Islamic world ever came to fruition it would result in an outcome no less disasterous than that of all the other unfortunate Crusades.

    The Crusades were most certainly not a “defensive” war. Western Europe was not threatened or under attack, Byzantium was. The Crusaders consistently demonstrated that they were not there to assist their fellow Christians of the east, but to usurp and supplant them. The primary motivation of the scheming noblemen who led the Crusades was plunder and power. Antioch and Palestine were not returned the Byzantine Empire upon recapture but converted into Frankish principalities and fiefdoms.

    The Crusades were not a “Just War”, unless you think there is something just about slaughter of 40,000 Arabs and Jews that occurred following the Crusaders entrance into Jerusalem. This slaughter was not an isolated incident, but emblematic of the Crusaders treatment of the indiginous Arab population who they referred to as “filth.”

    The armies of the Fourth Crusade did not appear before the gates of Constantinople by accident, or because it was on the way, but by deliberate design. The Fourth Crusade was directed against Constantinople because the Franks and Germans were deeply in debt to the Venetians who had furnished the ships and provisions fo the campaign. The wily old Venetian Doge, Enrico Dandolo, strongly suggested to them that the way to retire thier debt would be to help deliver Constantinople into Venetian hands.

    The Crusades caused incalculable damage and left a deeply toxic legacy that poisons relations among Christians and Muslims, and Orthodox and Catholics to this day. The Crusades led to the Great schism between the churches and weakened the Byzantine Empire so that it could no longer serve as a bulwark against Islamic incursions from the east, as it had successfully done for the previous 400 years. Eastern Christendom fell because of the damaged caused by the Crusaders and their successors who carved up the Byzantine lands and destroyed what little defensive capability the Empire had left.

    Some people may want to praise the Crusades as a way to to stick their thumb in the eye of Muslims. But defending the Crusades is really just a way to show one’s ignorance of history.

  10. Dean wrote:

    The Crusades were most certainly not a “defensive” war. Western Europe was not threatened or under attack, Byzantium was. The Crusaders consistently demonstrated that they were not there to assist their fellow Christians of the east, but to usurp and supplant them. The primary motivation of the scheming noblemen who led the Crusades was plunder and power. Antioch and Palestine were not returned the Byzantine Empire upon recapture but converted into Frankish principalities and fiefdoms.

    Yep. That’s all true. It still doesn’t mean that the West wasn’t justified in sending an army to help the East, or that the Muslims had superior claim to the lands of the Levant than did the Christians. It does mean, however, that when you organize a gaggle of German barbarians and send them to the richest part of the world that you get bad results.

    That is what they were, remember. The Franks, the Lombards, the Normans, the Germans – all of them were barbarians just a few rungs up the ladder from Attila the Hun. They could never be compared to the Byzantines who were their superiors in every respect.

    Their atrocities doesn’t mean the idea of sending help to the Orthodox East was wrong, it just means that the people who were available to provide that help were, shall we say, not up to the challenge?

    When the Muslims make the case that the Crusades were unjust it is from their standpoint that once territory passes to Muslim control, then it must remain Muslim forever. Therefore, any attempt to wrest control of that territory from them is an offense against Allah and an injustice. That is, of course, bunk. The Greeks and all the Balkan peoples know that quite well, having dispensed with Muslim rule and reclaimed themselves from ‘dhimmi’ status.

    A ‘Just War’ can turn unjust by being pursued by the wrong methods. The Frankish warriors got the East and acted like what they were – barbarians. That was wrong. Of course it was wrong. I’d never excuse the wanton slaughter of civilians, or the sack of Constantinople. Those things can not be excused, but then again, I don’t necessarily blame the pope for the what the Doge of Venice did when the penniless barbarians couldn’t pay their passage on his ships.

    As I already said, I don’t care for Pope Urban’s adopting ‘jihad’ to a Christian concept, anymore than I care for how the Crusaders acted once they made it to the East. Nor do I care for the way the Crusaders pushed aside Byzantium, and did not treat the Greeks as allies or even as equals. The lands of the East were Byzantine, and should have reverted to Byzantine control once retaken. The fact that they did not, again, simply reflects badly on the execution of the Crusades and the intent of their leaders. It does not, however, mean that the idea of the Christian West helping the Christian East is somehow invalid – only that it hasn’t really been done in a Christian manner to date.

    Now, the right lesson to learn from both the Crusades and our colonial experience is this. To date, when Western Christians go East, the net result usually is that Eastern Christians die in droves. That doesn’t mean the idea is wrong, only that Western Christians have done a spectacularly horrendous job so far, and I have seen nothing to make me believe that we in the West are going to improve on that record any time soon.

    I warned everyone prior to the Iraq War that the Assyrians would be the big losers. And sure enough, that is exactly what happened. The Americans are more than willing to sacrifice them in order to maintain our relationship to the Shia majority. The same thing would happen, under our current mindset, if we invaded Syria (I’ve warned about that too) or if we took over Egypt.

    In order to actually intervene in the Middle East, and make a positive impact on the lives of Christians there, then we would have to adopt a ‘refuge’ stategy of providing homelands with defensible borders. Such a policy would not need to involve massive bloodletting, if the borders were done right, then Western forces would be there primarily to secure the borders and provide economic assistance.

    If we are not going to actually adopt a ‘Christian protection’ type strategy, then I would just as soon stay home. Any other strategy is going to tick off Muslims, who will then turn around slaughter the ‘infidels’ who are closest at hand and unable to defend themselves – their Christian neighbors.

  11. Dean ignorance of history is the examples you give by you excuses for Muslim agression against Christians

    I guess Charles Martel just misunderstood those peaceful Muslim intentions with their armed troops at Tours in 732.


    The events that rescued our ancestors of Britain and our neighbors of Gaul from the civil and religious yoke of the Koran.



  12. Glen: I accept your argument that Sharia law is incompatible with international law and generally accepted standards of civilized behavior. Nations who adopt Sharia law, particularly as it applies to treatment of non-Muslims, are asserting the right to mistreat and violate the human rights of others, as they would never tolerate being mistreated themselves.

    Once again my difference in opinion with you is strategy, how to respond – and I believe that the sniper rifle, to employ a metaphor, is a better weapon than the shot gun.

    As I said before international law and international forums like the UN and the EU should be utilized first to broadcast and publicize instances of religious persecution and demand that respect for religious freedom be a prerequisite for any interaction or commerce by any nation with the rest of the world. For example, Turkey should not be allowed into the EU until Orthodox Christians can practice their faith in that country without gfear of harrassment or persecution,

    Demonizing all Muslims is a shotgun approach that makes all Muslims fee threatened, weakens the moderate, progressive forces within the Islamic faith, and generally gives credence to the virulent anti-western proaganda of the Islamic fundamentalists.

  13. JBL – RE: No. 11. You are attempting to conflate incidents that occurred 350 years apart from each other. The Crusades, which began in 1,095 were not a reaction to incursions by the Moors into Spain and France in 732.

    There is no relationship between the two events and certainly there was no coordination between the 8th centuy Moors and the 11th century Seljuk Turks.

    The Crusades began in response to a plea by Emperor Alexus I Comnenus to Pope Urban II for assistance in fighting back the Seljuk Turks who we re just beginning their incursions into Anatolia and Syria, following the disasterous Battle of Manzikert a few years previous. Pope Urban used the request for assistance by Alexus to promote an entirely different campaign to retake the Holy Lands.

    Up until the 11th century the Byzantines had successfully held back both the Turks and Saracens. However, a series of inept, ineffectual Byzantine emperors during the 11th century had neglected the military defense structure in Anatolia and allowed it to fall apart. The defeat at Manzikert was the result of inept leadership and lack of coordination among the Byzantine generals who allowed their forces to be seperated and then caught off guard, by the highly mobile and lethal Turks.

    Had the Byzantines prevailed at Manzikert, or avoided the battle all together through negotiation, the Seljuk Turks might have been diverted south towards Mesopotamia and would have extinguished themselves fighting the Arabs.

  14. Dean –

    Suppose the policy choices are a) current Bush policy b) a modified policy that combines respect for national sovereignty with absolute demands that any loans, economic assistance, foreign aid, military aid, etc. would require adherence to a minimal standard of human rights.

    Well, then I’d vote ‘B’ hands down. The Bush policy is combining the worst of all worlds in my opinion. He is needlessly empowering Islamists, doing next to nothing to promote secularism, sponsoring Constitutions that enshrine the Sharia, and generating a waive of resentment that is endangering the lives of Christians living under the Muslim yoke. Simultaneously, he is taking a soft line on Turkey, whose current reform movement is completely the result of pressure from the EU (no thanks to us).

    On the other hand, I would much prefer option ‘C,’ which would assist in the breakup of multi-religious states to free Christians from Muslim domination. This policy would be predicated on the idea that no amount of international efforts will ever produce an actual acceptable standard of treatment for non-Muslims in a Muslim-majority nation, and that, where possible, the Dhimmi status of Christians should be ended. This would be a policy that would not threaten all Muslim states, since a great many of them are 98% or 99% pure. It would also be a policy that was only implemented where feasible. Muslim countries that have populations that are so intertwined as to be impossible to separate them (not the case in Sudan or Nigeria), should be given plan ‘B’ as outlined above. All of these states have relatively recent borders, and treating them as somehow set in stone is a major mistake in the post-Cold War world.

  15. The horrible sacking of 1204 was an unjustifiable atrocity. As was, of course, the secret alliance between plotted by Byzantine Empire with Saladin AGAINST the Crusaders, or the mostly forgotten massacre of Latins on 1882. NONE of this has anything to do with the fact that EVERY SINGLE Crusade on the Holy Land WAS a defensive measure against Islamic aggression against Christianity.

    A lot of the Catholics were truly willing to defend their brothers. When Constantinople fell to the Turks, many Catholics died defending it. They should be honored. Are they? This thread acts as if they never gave their lives in the defense of the Christian faith.

    More importantly, let us not forget that may Orthodox did actually prefer to live under Muslim rule than Catholic rule. I guess we are just horrible people and to suffer genocide by non-Christians is a preferable fate than to live with us. Unfortunately, after centuries of oppression, they are fast running out of candidates for the position of Patriarch, on a building that is under constant threat of vandalism and bombing. It’s truly sad.

    As for the title of the post, the Vatican never changed its mind about the Crusades.

  16. Dean why do you think Frankish knights were willing to go on the first Crusade when the call came? It wasn’t just monetary or power they were seeking.

    When you try to dissect what ethnic Muslim group did what you’re obfuscating. To the Medieval Christian the issue was Mohammedism not their ethnicity.

    And you really need to get beyond modern revisionism about the Crusades.

  17. We must learn from our mistakes and ‘pull our socks up’.
    What are we doing today?
    Satan wants us to start bickering among ourselves so that he can do his dirty works while we’re caught up with nonsense!
    We no longer have this luxury!!
    We must stay alert and on course.

  18. We must learn from our mistakes and ‘pull our socks up’.
    What are we doing today?
    Satan wants us to start bickering among ourselves so that he can do his dirty works while we’re caught up with nonsense!
    We no longer have this luxury!!
    We must stay alert and on course.


    We musn’t forget that much of what the Muslims hate about the West, namely institutionalized immorality, is the same thing that Catholics and Orthodox alike are worried about. We need to clean up our own acts. Not that this will make the Muslims like us or let us alone, but at least we will get some deserved, positive respect.

    Christianity, East and West, really needs to unify to change our own culture.

  19. Dean, Note 12 The U.N. cannot be effective because MOST of its members DO NOT SHARE OUR VALUES

    Dean, let us set aside the stinking heap of scandals surrounding the United Nations, perhaps one of the most corrupt institutions on earth. There remains a fundamental logical flaw to your approach which simply will not go away.

    There exists a fundamental logical flaw in the idea of using the United Nations to enforce the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) . It is this: the majority of countries which belong to the United Nations DO NOT ENDORSE the UDHR. Those countries and there are close to 100 of them in the United Nations do not accept our Western concepts of human rights. The Organization of Islamic States has flatly rejected the UDHR and has formulated its own Islamic Declaration of Human Rights (IDHR). The IDHR states that sharia law is God’s perfect will for mankind

    The United Nations has instead supported human rights abusers like Libya and Sudan and hosted the notorious Durban conference which equated Zionism with Nazism.

    Why do you want to reject, nullify and hamstring our constitution and our country and subject it to the whims of the despicable countries that make up the United Nations?

  20. Missourian: It would be difficult. However, if the international organizations themselves won’t cooperate, then the US and other European countries ought to act independently and make religious freedom a condition for every international agreement we and they have with any Muslim nation.

    If Turkey wants to enter the EU, if Egypt and Palestine want foreign aid, if Saudi Arabia and Pakistan want visas to send their young people to American and European universities, if Morocco and Algeria want to use Europe as a safety valve for their unemployed workers, they all should have to protect the freedom of religious minorities within their borders.

    That is one of my biggest problem with the Islamic world (in addition to the suicide bombing and misogyny). They want the benefits of interaction with the Western world, and they want their people to be treated well in Europe and the US, but they don’t want to reciprocrate when it comes to non-Muslims in their own countries.

    Another thing we can do of course is wean ourselves off middle-eastern oil in order to have a stronger barganing position with the Arab countries when dealing with these issues.

  21. Delance wrote:

    A lot of the Catholics were truly willing to defend their brothers. When Constantinople fell to the Turks, many Catholics died defending it. They should be honored. Are they? This thread acts as if they never gave their lives in the defense of the Christian faith.

    And the canon used by the Turks were made by a Hungarian engineer. Given what happend later to Hungary, I’ll bet his countrymen don’t exactly honor his memory.

    But seriously, we could go back and forth with this all day long. The point is that it is all completely irrelevent. Somewhere, out there, there may be those who feel like there is some point in parading out the past history of the Catholic Church/Catholic Lands and the Orthodox Church/Orthodox Lands, but I don’t see it.

    As I said earlier, the idea of the West sending aid to the East was completely justified, but the execution of the whole thing was abysmal on all sides. If we actually expect to do better in the future, then we need to learn from the past and quit repeating it.

    One of the primary reasons for Muslim expansion was the disunity of the Christian world. We don’t need full communion to be restored to agree that opposing the Muslims takes precedence over rehashing injuries that no one alive today even suffered.

    Time to put all that to bed and move on, as the cliche goes. At the current time, Pope Benedict is one of the clearest thinking, bravest, and most outspoken of the world’s clerics in pointing out the truth about Islam. I honor him for that.

    As for the Patriarch of Constantinople running out of candidates – there are other Patriarchates in exile. That one can go into exile as well. The absence of a Patriarch in Constantinople will mean practically nothing for the Orthodox world, other than, perhaps, one more impediment to Orthodox unity in the U.S. will be removed. Perhaps that is even God’s intention to bring some good out of the evil being perpetrated by the Turks.

  22. Note 22, Dean, “freedom of religion” is anathema to Islam

    All I can say is that “freedom of religion” is anathema to Islam. In one of the most respected collections of Hadith Mohammed is quoted as saying “He who changes his religion, kill him.” This one of the central tenets of Islam as practiced today in dozens of Muslim countries. This principle is encoded in law. This is NOT, repeat NOT, the position of “extremists” or “fundamentalists” this is the position of the entire Muslim country.

    Some people have suggested closing down the United Nations and starting again with a league of democracies which share values.

  23. Glen,

    I agree with you. Disunity between christians is a terrible historical reality. Think about the Battle of Lepanto, where a rare union of Christians did prevail. The Holy League was able to defeat the Turkish fleet and forever break their naval power. But just after the victory, bickering and disunity prevailed. They had an opportunity to keep pressing, but it was lost.

    Belloc figure all this out in the 1930’s, but pretty much nobody listened to him. The true strength of a society lies on its culture and Faith, areas where Europe is in doing poorly. A secularized, post-Christian European society can be conquered easily by radical Islam.

  24. Missiourian wrote:

    Some people have suggested closing down the United Nations and starting again with a league of democracies which share values.

    Why do we even need an institution like the UN? What did either the League of Nations or the UN even accomplish that couldn’t have been done with bilateral or multi-lateral talks? I’d just as soon trashcan the whole thing and replace it with nothing. If the U.S. just has a hankering to spend tax payor money on full employment for bureaucrats, then we can accomodate that by having even more wasteful government programs run inside the U.S.

    That, of course, was one of my single biggest disappointments with the Bush Administration. The UN is a waste of time, money, and effort. Withdrawl from the UN has been a staple demand of right-wing politics for generations. However, what was one of the big justifications for the Iraq War? One of them was that we had to take out Saddam or UN resolutions wouldn’t mean anything.

    Well, they don’t mean anything. Not unless the US puts its military muscle behind them. We decide whether the resolutions are worth the paper they are printed on or not. So why do we need the place? To put a stamp of approval on our policies? It’s a worthless organization run by leftist bureaucrats.

    Time to send it to the ash heap of history.

  25. Glen, trade requires fairly complex international structures

    I tend to agree with you on the United Nations. Once againt, the U.S. has allowed itself to be trapped into funding its enemies. The OIS has used the U.N. quite well as a shield against criticism of its rotten regimes.

    Modern trade requires a fairly sophisticated set of agreements controlling international monetary transactions. We may not need a U.N. or a League of Nations but we need a fairly robust set of international agreements to facilitate trade.

    Trade is actually the only real answer or solution to helping Africa pull itself out of the pits. African countries need to be able to sell what they have alot of, cheap agricultural goods. While there are some strong protectionists in the U.S. or “friends” the French has lead the charge for agricultural protectionism in the EU.

    There may be times when joint military actions are useful or effective and a pre-existing organization could facilitate that, of course, I agree with you in general and on many specifics in the realm.

  26. Missourian –

    There are plenty of multinational organizations that exist for specific purposes. The WTO, NATO, and the Organization of American States come to mind. The U.S. can and should continue entering into organizations organized on a bi-lateral and multi-lateral basis. However, these organizations should have a point and should be limited in scope to some issue of manageable size. If the organization moves in a bad direction, the U.S. should be able to opt out.

  27. Glen

    There isn’t any real disagreement between us, I would just emphasize that sophisticated trade relations require some sophisticated trade organizations.

    As to the United Nations it is the same old story of the Islamists using our dime to work against us. I say, pull the plug now. The world cannot be worse off.

  28. Perhaps if you read his prayer again, you will see that he wasn’t apologizing for The Crusades at all.

    “We cannot fail to recognize the infidelities to the Gospel committed by some of our brethren… [l]et us ask pardon for the divisions which have occurred among Christians (obviously speaking of Orthodox and Protestant factions) for the violence some have used in the service of the truth and for the distrustful and hostile attitudes sometimes taken towards the followers of other religions. (it is difficult to discern if he is speaking here on behalf of followers of Islam or not).”

    We did not see the Holy Father criticize Pope Urban II for his eventual response to the more than 400 years of Islamic bloodshed which took place nor did he apologize for The Crusades by name, however much some people would like to read into this.

    The unfortunate part is that although The Catholic Church may recognize the many flaws of its humanity throughout the centuries, it has evolved along with the times in terms of social humanitarian relations and skills, whereas Islam has not, and that perhaps is the one thing the whole world needs to fear.

    The Vatican never wavers with regards to faith and morals, although not one would claim that there were never any fauxpas throughout The Church’s history with regards to opinions apart from that, which is allowed.


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