The Vatican conducts a conference on the Crusades and puts them into the proper historical context. Read it here.
At the conference, held at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University, Roberto De Mattei, an Italian historian, recalled that the Crusades were “a response to the Muslim invasion of Christian lands and the Muslim devastation of the Holy Places”.
“The debate has been reopened,” La Stampa said. Professor De Mattei noted that the desecration of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem by Muslim forces in 1009 had helped to provoke the First Crusade at the end of the 11th century, called by Pope Urban II.
He said that the Crusaders were “martyrs” who had “sacrificed their lives for the faith”. He was backed by Jonathan Riley-Smith, Dixie Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Cambridge University, who said that those who sought forgiveness for the Crusades “do not know their history”.
CONFLICT OVER THE HOLY LAND
# Historians count eight Crusades, although dates are disputed: 1095-1101, called by Pope Urban II; 1145-47, led by Louis VII; 1188-92, led by Richard I; 1204, which included the sack of Constantinople; 1217, which included the conquest of Damietta; 1228-29 led by Frederick II; 1249-52, led by King Louis IX of France; and 1270, also under Louis IX
# Until the early 11th century, Christians, Jews and Muslims coexisted under Muslim rule in the Holy Land. After growing friction, the first Crusade was sparked by ambushes of Christian pilgrims going to Jerusalem. The Byzantine Emperor Alexius appealed to Pope Urban II, who in 1095 called on Christendom to take up arms to free the Holy Land from the “Muslim infidel”
N.B. Regina Apostolorum is the Legionnaire's Seminary in Rome.