February 16, 2000
volume 11, no. 33

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    In this journey on the Barque of Peter, we continue to detail the evolution of the Mass and the Church from the early Christian times to our present day so that all may better understand the true meaning of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and our faith - the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Today we cover an overview of the crusades and some of the great saints during the 200 year span in which eight crusades were waged in an effort to recover Jerusalem and the Holy Land from the Islam menace which had usurped this sacred soil where Jesus once walked and where the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church was founded.

    We will be using various sources, but the best are four books that are out of print but provide so much solid material: "My Catholic Faith - A Manual of Religion" (1949) by Bishop Louis LaRavoire Morrow, S.T.D. from My Mission House ; "The Glories and Triumphs of the Catholic Church" (1907) from Benziger Brothers; "The Catholic Church Alone the One True Church of Christ" (1902) from the Catholic Educational Company; and "Cabinet of Catholic Information" (1904) from Duggan Publishing Co. In addition we will be using material gleaned from "The Oxford Dictionary of Popes" by J.N.D. Kelly; The Papal Princes: A History of the Sacred College of Cardinals" by Glenn D. Kittler; "Pontiffs: Popes who shaped history" by John Jay Hughes; "The Mass of the Roman Rite" by Fr. Josef Jungmann, S.J.; "The Story of the Church" from Tan Books by Fr. George Johnson, PhD; "The Story of the Mass" by Fr. Pierre Loret; "Rubrics of the Mass" by Fr. Peter M.J. Stravinskas; "The Wonders of the Mass" by Fr. Paul O'Sullivan, O.P.; and the Code of Canon Law", as well as the "Catechism of the Catholic Church"; "Baltimore Catechism"; Catholic Encyclopedia (Thomas Nelson Publishers); "Catholic Dictionary" by Fr. John Hardon, S.J.; "Dictionary of Saints" by John J. Delaney; "Butler's Lives of the Saints" from Benziger Brothers; "Saints of the Roman Calendar" by Enzo Lodi and Fr. Jordan Aumann, OP; "1999 Catholic Almanac" from Our Sunday Visitor, and numerous missals and references.

    With a better perception of what the Church stands for and what the Mass truly is, we will not so easily be swayed by new-fangled gimmicks and liturgical abuses being introduced by individual celebrants and ICEL, the International Committee for English in the Liturgy. We will discover why the basis for the use of vestments and sacred vessels, the purpose for the Rubrics of the Mass, the logic of Church Scholars and Popes through the ages for fending off changes that would water-down the faith and the Holy Sacrifice and even invalidate the greatest remembrance Christ gave to His Church.

Installment 36: A New Battlefront - the Crusades
        In the last installment we covered the beginning of Pope Blessed Urban II's pontificate. It was Urban II who, at the Council of Clermont, announced the First Crusade in 1095, though the Christian army did not enter Jerusalem until 1099. These Crusades were major military campaigns that lasted over 200 years. They were not only promoted by the Popes but partly financed as well. The fervor against the Islam invasion of the Holy Land reached feverish pitches, motivating kings and peasants to fight together for the cause under the banner of the Cross. Despite this being a holy and noble endeavor intent on recouping the land Jesus Christ walked - therefore "Holy Land" - it also profited many politically, economically, and idealistically. Many also sought the adventure and the notion that "to the victor go the spoils" as a way to gain independence and a better way of life.

        The Crusades helped to solidify the Christian cause, unifying various cultures throughout Europe. Though they spoke different languages, they could always come together in worship under one language - Latin - during the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass presided by missionary chaplains who had joined the ranks. The Church was always there for their spiritual care as well as many times for their temporal welfare. Today this "bond" of Latin is sorely missing in the universal Church and it shows. Taking its place in Europe is the Euro-currency for they still speak a different language throughout the old continent but it is the almighty dollar - the Euro-dollar that unites the masses. Sadly, the temporal has usurped the spiritual. That also gives credence that were there to be a crusade today it would never work. This has already been proven in East Timor where the Muslims annihilated hundreds of thousands Christians and the world barely blinked.

        The word "Crusade" was taken from the Latin for "to mark with a cross" which was cruciare, and the French croisade as well as the Spanish cruzada. Hence, the word "crusade" became a household word. In short it became a crusade to crusade for the Crusades. Every Crusader's emblem was a cross emblazoned on their chest, shield, and/or banner. It became part of the European culture.

        Some of the greatest saints during this era were Saint Dominic who was given the Holy Rosary as the most powerful prayer weapon we can have by Our Lady in an apparition in 1208; Saint Francis of Assisi who was charged by God to "rebuild My Church" and founded the Order of Friars Minor better known as the Franciscans. Yet St. Francis' greatest desire was to be a martyr in the cause of the Cruades. Another follower of St. Francis, probably his most loyal, was Saint Anthony of Padua who effected countless conversions in Italy. St. Anthony wanted so much to join the Crusades and ransom prisoners taken by the Saracens and Moors. He was even willing to give his life. if necessary, for God and the recovery of the sacred soil Christ walked. Another was Saint Clare who founded the Poor Clares and defended Assisi against the infidels by exposing the Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance on top of the gate to her convent crying out to God: "Deliver not to beasts, O Lord, the souls who confess to Thee." God responded, "My protection will never fail you." True to His words, the Saracens fled. Saint Simon Stock, to whom the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared and bestowed the Scapular for protection in 1245 came because the Scapular was necessary at the time for all those going into battle and is just as important, if not moreso, today. Three other great saints during the time of the crusades were a trio of the some of the greatest Doctors of the Church: Saint Albert the Great, Saint Bonaventure, and Saint Thomas Aquinas, the Angelic Doctor. There were countless other saints during the times of the Crusades, including the great Saint Louis IX, King of France who contracted typhus and died in Tunisia while leading another Crusade.

        There were eight Crusades in all. The first lasted six years from 1095 to 1101; the second was a five year war from 1143-1148; the third covered four years from 1188-1192; the 4th Crusade lasted only two years from 1202-1204 and the fifth was even less - one year in 1212. The 6th Crusade in 1229 also lasted only a year with the six-year 7th Crusade being the longest from 1248-1254 and the 8th and final Crusade was completed in 1270 after having begun three years earlier in 1267. In the next installment we will cover the Apostolic Line of Peter for the first half of the 12th century covering the 1st and 2nd Crusades.

Next Wednesday: Installment Thirty-seven: The Church and Empire: struggle for control.

February 16, 2000
volume 11, no. 33

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