Some short (2 pg) history papers I wrote. Islam, Crusades, a Church - State interraction.
|‚ÄėThe Koran‚Äô ‚ÄúThe Chapter of Unity‚ÄĚ, ‚ÄúUnity Versus Trinity; Christ only a Prophet‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúJesus, Son of Mary, etc‚Ä¶.‚ÄĚ, Surah 112, 5 and 4 respectively [Petry, p. 203-4]
Six years after the death of Muhammad (A.D. 632), Jerusalem fell to Islamic invasions from Arabia. Within one hundred years, Islam had swept through Persia, Egypt and much of Europe ‚Äď Spain and half of France ‚Äď with fear and the sword. The Catholic Church in Africa actually "disappeared under the Moslem deluge" (Bokenkotter 122). Islam did, however, bring some technological advancements like gunpowder from the Far East and knowledge about math, astronomy, some medicines and translations of ancient Greek philosophy.
Islam was founded by Muhammad, a man who claimed to be ‚Äėthe prophet‚Äô. The writings that contain Islam‚Äôs sacred stories and beliefs is called the Qur'√£n. Muslims deny that Muhammad authored the Qur'√£n. They do not believe that it was authored by any human being (even with divine inspiration), but rather, the present version of the Qur'√£n "corresponds to a heavenly archetype of "the Book" [i.e., a word-for-word dictation from heaven]" (Kritzeck and Wilde 607). In the early years after Muhammad's death, the Islamic invasions were not primarily aimed at converting Christians or Jews. During its initial spread, conversion was actually discouraged (Rahman 305). However, Islamic law imposed heavy taxes on non-Muslim subjects, mainly the jizya ('poll tax'). From their beginning, then, Muslims tried establish the Earthly rule of Islam (305).
This excerpt from the Qur'√£n stresses the oneness of God, opposed to God‚Äôs Triune nature. One line of the Qur'√£n declares, "He is God alone!" (Cp. 124). It says that Christians may be saved by believing in God but they must not say that He is three (Cp. 125)! Apparently, even Jesus testifies against the faith of Christians. God asks, "...who dost say to men, take me and my mother for two gods, beside God?" Jesus replies, "'I never told them save [...] Worship God, my Lord and your Lord...'" meaning that anyone who worships Jesus or Mary his mother is taking the initiative to worshiping wrongly (Cp. 124). The Qur'√£n asserts that Jesus did not rise from the dead. It says that God, in His wisdom and might, never allowed Jesus to die. Like many Gnostic cults, the Qur'√£n teaches that only a similitude of Jesus was crucified (125).
These arguments had particular impact on the Catholic Church because the main defenders of the faith were now peasants, who were largely unlearned and increasingly superstitious. While Islam brought cultural advancements, it also tried to crush western culture. City life decreased; there was a decline in trading, small-scale farming and moral standards; there was also a decline in art, study, leisure and education. While some ecclesiastical leaders became civil leaders, like Pope Gregory who asserted this responsibility when the political leader was gone, western leaders mainly disappeared as Muslims invaded. Of course; one does not invade a country and then leave one‚Äôs enemy in power. Peasants, then, were left to defend the faith against strong claims, like, ‚ÄėChristianity is polytheistic‚Äô and ‚ÄėJesus never died, but was taken up by the wisdom and strength of God‚Äô (Cp 125), made by learned invaders. Finally, Christian monks and nuns in their monasteries upheld western culture and learning.
Bokenkotter, Thomas. A Concise History of the Catholic Church. Doubleday: New York. 2005.
Kritzeck, J. Wilde, C. Islam in New Catholic Encyclopedia. Second Edition. Volume 7. Thomson Gale: Detroit.
Rahman, F. Islam: An Overview in The Encyclopedia of Religion. Volume 7. MacMillan Publishing Company: New York. 1987.
(‚Äėcp 124-5‚Äô = Petry, p. 203-4)
Urban II, ‚ÄúThe Pope‚Äôs Address at the Council of Clermont‚ÄĚ (1095), Fulcher of Chartres, et. [Petry, pp 242-243]
In the face of scandals like the Cadaver Trial in A.D 896, which took place under Pope Stev(sp?)en VI, Pope Nicholas II (A.D. 1059) tried to regain the dignity of the Throne of Peter. For example, he decreed that all popes would be elected by cardinals; this would impede political interference such as that which led to the Cadaver Trial. Pope Gregory VII (A.D. 1079) continued to promote reform that addressed problems plaguing the Church.
The ‚ÄúDictatus Papae‚ÄĚ, which Gregory VII issued, emphasized the authority of the Pope. This re-emphasis of authority consolidated, in turn, the authority of Church laws. Thus, Church laws against things like clerical marriage, concubinage and simony ‚Äď the sale of spiritual goods ‚Äď were solidified. In the document, it decrees that the Pope alone has power to depose and to reinstate bishops (Cp 131). This clause battled the problem of lay investiture. Lay investiture was a problem where political rulers insisted on giving new bishops symbols during their ordination, like staffs or rings, to symbolically say, ‚ÄėI own you.‚Äô The dictates went even further to prevent political interference; it says that the Roman pontiff ‚Äúhas power to depose emperors‚ÄĚ (Cp 131), annul any earthly decree or judgement to give citizens permission to accuse wicked rulers and become free from their oaths to them. This proclaimed authority would eventually be hearkened back to by Gregory VII‚Äôs successors. However, the ‚ÄúDictates‚ÄĚ of Gregory VII it did not solve every problem. For example, it did not explicitly restrict the financially extravagant life-style of some bishops.
The ‚ÄėHoly‚Äô Roman Emperor, Henry IV (A.D. 1076), was not happy. He began viciously reviling the Pope. If Henry lost control of clerics and their scattered pieces of land, his civil administration would be disrupted (Bokenkotter 117). Henry sent a letter to the papal throne called ‚ÄėThe Deposition of Gregory VII by Henry IV (1076).‚Äô Therein, Henry calls Gregory a ‚Äėproud, lying, stealing, violent, power hungry, war-mongering, disobedient-to-scripture, dishonoring, cursed, ‚Äúfalse monk‚ÄĚ who was really ‚Äúnot pope‚ÄĚ at all (Cp 132-133).‚Äô Certainly this Church/State tension had its effect. Robert Somerville writes that there actually was some confusion about Gregory‚Äôs status as pope but his ‚Äúelection was certainly valid‚ÄĚ (122). This confusion was caused because ‚Äėpublic acclamation‚Äô actually accepted Gregory as pope even before he was elected pope by the cardinals. Thus, Henry IV‚Äôs claim must have compounded the confusion. However, Gregory did not take the throne by violence. As to the charge that he was a base liar, this charge is unfounded. Richard P. McBrien testifies to Gregory‚Äôs integrity where he says that Gregory‚Äôs ‚Äúemphasis on the purity of the clergy increased the moral standing of the papacy‚ÄĚ (590). Gregory VII was also known as a ‚Äústubborn idealist, (McBrien 590)‚ÄĚ and was fully recognized as a saint of Jesus Christ by the Catholic Church.
Pope Gregory VII responded with a formal letter called ‚ÄėGregory VII‚Äôs First Deposition and Excommunication of Henry IV (1076)‚Äô. It contradicted a few of Henry‚Äôs name-blackening remarks and says that Henry is hereby ‚Äúdeprived of his kingdom of Germany and Italy‚ÄĚ (Cp. 133). It officially recognizes Henry‚Äôs excommunication; as it says, ‚Äúhe has cut himself off from thy church‚ÄĚ (Cp. 133) with his many iniquities and dishonoring of the Church [i.e., wherein the Holy Spirit resides].
The last document describes Henry IV‚Äôs repentance at Canossa (A.D. 1077) where the Pope eventually received Henry back into ‚Äúthe bosom of the holy mother church‚ÄĚ (CP 134). This repentance is significant because it seems to confirm the Pope‚Äôs authority to dispose Earthly princes. Three years later, however, when it became clear that Henry would not ever regain the throne (Bokenkotter 119), ‚ÄúHenry invaded Italy, drove Gregory from Rome into Norman territory [‚Ä¶] and installed [‚Ä¶] a so-called antipope, Clement III (Somerville 123).‚ÄĚ
Bokenkotter, Thomas. A Concise History of the Catholic Church. Doubleday: New York. 2005.
McBrien, R. P. Gregory VII, St. in The Harpercollins Encyclopedia of Catholicism. Harpercollins Publishers Inc.: New York, NY. 1995.
Somerville, R. Gregory VII in The Encyclopedia of Religion. Volume 6. MacMillan Publishing Company: New York. 1987.
(cp 132-3 = Petry 243)
Council of Clermont, "the Truce of God and Crusaders' Indulgences", Mansi XX [Petry, p 243]
In the year A.D. 1095 Pope Urban II called for a war against the Muslims in the Holy Land. Historically, this was an act of self-defense. Unfortunately, the effects of this first Crusade were not the exactly effects that were intended, and I do not just mean victory.
After the Islamic invasion around the Mediterranean, from the years A.D. 750-1009, non-Muslims had to either flee or be killed, except for Christians and Jews. They could remain and pay a heavy tax. By the year A.D. 1009, Islam had become quite fractured and Muslims in the Holy Land had started persecuting Christians and Jews. For example, they razed the three-block Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Thus, Urban II called for a war against those Islamic peoples in order to lift this persecution, to regain the land for the Byzantine Christians, on whose doorsteps the Islamic invaders were trampling, and to allow, again, for safety for pilgrims to the Holy Land.
Urban II made this address to the Bishops in a gathering called the Council of Clermont (1095), which is not considered a General or Ecumenical council. The majority of this excerpt of the address deals with internal church matters. The Pope encourages the bishops to be good shepherds: learned, modest, peacemaking and pure. He warns them against the selling of spiritual goods and against sins of omission (Cp 135). In short, Urban II promoted biblical virtues in their midst.
Still affirming that he desired peace, he announced that their ‚Äúbrethren who live in the east are in urgent need of your help‚ÄĚ (Cp 136). He recounted that Turks and Arabs had conquered lands, captured and killed many people, destroyed churches and ‚Äúdevastated the Empire‚ÄĚ (136). He then said that the Lord Christ beseeches and commands them to ‚Äúpersuade all people of whatever rank [‚Ä¶] to carry aid promptly to those Christians and to destroy that vile race [i.e. ‚Äúwhich worships demons‚ÄĚ (Cp 136)] from the lands of our friends‚ÄĚ (Cp 136). Any Christian with a devout purpose, and not mere honor, who died during this endeavor, would have their sins forgiven. He also decreed that non-combatants, like monks and women, should never be attacked (Cp. 136). Further, he proclaimed a ‚Äėpeace truce‚Äô where crusaders could fight only three days of the week, in the hopes of curbing unnecessary violence.
Urban II had firm belief in the unity of the Latin and Greek Churches. (Schwaiger 1551) Georg Schwaiger explains that Urban II‚Äôs call for the crusade was ‚Äúbased‚ÄĚ in his theological understanding of this unity (1551). A clear political reason for the Crusade, though, was that the Byzantine emperors were appealing for help (Froehlich 168).
Unfortunately, the prospect of acquiring land did incite many nobles and peasants to fight (Livingstone 435). The crusade itself might be called successful, except that there were some unspeakable events along the way, such as crusaders pillaging Europe on the way to regain Jerusalem, and crusaders killing the non-combatants once they reached Jerusalem. The Byzantine emperors‚Äô pleas were also ignored, because the crusaders then set up ‚ÄėCrusader states‚Äô where they took charge. A certain Baldwin, brother of Godfrey the Crusader general, even crowned himself ‚ÄėKing of Jerusalem‚Äô (Livingstone 436).
Then 500 years of bloodshed followed. These Crusader states never really consolidated because there were ‚ÄúConstant quarrels among the leaders and rival interests of the major European powers‚ÄĚ (Froehlich 168). The Eastern Empire was eventually weakened, as a result of this crusade, in its ‚Äúdefense against Muslim Expansion (Livingstone 436).
Froehlich, K. Crusades: Christian Perspective in Encyclopedia of Religion. Volume 4. MacMillan Publishing Company: New York. 1987.
Livingstone, E. A. (Editor). Crusades in The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. 3rd Ed. Oxford University Press: Oxford, New York. 1997.
Schwaiger, G. Urban II in The Papacy: An Encyclopedia. Volume 3. Routeledge: New York. 1994.
(cp 135-6 = Petry, 243)
(MORE TO COME SOON. FOR EXAMPLE, ‚ÄúAn Account of the Sack and the Desecration of Hagia Sophia‚ÄĚ, Nicetas etc. [Petry, pp. 248-250] (THE FOURTH CRUSADE))