Skip to comments.Al-Azhar – The Vatican Official apologies demanded
Posted on 03/17/2005 8:52:08 AM PST by annalex
Morocco TIMES 3/17/2005 | 1:35 pm
Egyptian highest religious authority Al-Azhar has requested the Vatican to present official apologies on Christian crusades carried out against Muslims seven centuries ago.
Sheikh Fawzi Zafzaf, President of the Interfaith Dialogue Committee of Al-Azhar, said during a press conference that his committee has sent a request to the Pope last February, demanding an official apology on Christian crusades against the Muslim world, following the example of the Jews.
The principle of demanding apology from the Vatican germinated following Pope Jean Paul II's visit to Syria and Egypt a few years ago, and the apologies the Catholic Church presented to the Jewish and some other Christian doctrines, explained Sheikh Zafzaf. Al-Azhar is only asking for a similar treatment, he added.
The Vatican's ambassador to Egypt has abstained from commenting, saying that Al-Azhar's request is now being considered by the Holy See.
One horrible episode was the 1204 sacking of Constantinople. It is impossible to imagine anything but a gross indifference to the true objective of the Crusade driving the Franks' behavior. Was an apology ever offered by the Vatican to the Orthodox?
There also was the mass reprisal of the civilians (Jews and Muslim) in Jerusalem in 1099, following a siege. Was that a violation of the contemporary rules of war? Was the Pope's apology exclusive to the Jews and "Christian doctrines"? Was that one needed? Is another, specifically to the Muslim, needed?
Your comments are welcome. If I may ask, let us refrain to the references to the recent confrontation with Islam in the War on Terror, as wholly irrelevant.
For your bumping consideration.
Catholic contrition ping.
One sincerely hopes the answer will be something along the lines of "It will be a cold day in hell...."
"Was an apology ever offered by the Vatican to the Orthodox?"
Oh yes, a very gracious and humble apology from +JPII himself which was accepted in the manner it was given.
2) With all due respect, the Crusades cannot be separated from the current "War on Terrorism", because the enemy of Western Civilisation is the same mohammedans.
The reason I suggest a focus on the medieval timeframe is because it is very easy to fill the thread with contemporary references, and there is no shortage of such threads.
But if you insist, it is my opinion that the present unpleasantness is fundamentally different from the Crusades. The leaders of the War on Terror are very specific in shunning a Christians Against the Islam designation; Jerusalem is not the stated objective; there is no popular upswell of support comparable to one that fueled the Crusades.
And I agree with your stated differences. Western Civilisation has indeed changed since medieval times. Nnot necessarily for the better, either, as it cannot any longer be called "Christendom". I also agree that this present darkness is adequately covered on other threads. I would suggest, however, that study of the medieval Crusades might reasonably be approached from the "lessons (to be) learned" point of view. What was done right then? What was done wrong then? These questions can be moral, strategic, tactical, other, or some combination. In so far as we are still fighting the same enemy, nearly a millenium later, such lessons could be highly instructive. However they should, as you requested, be addressed within the context of their time .
Arab Muslims gained control of Egypt and the Holy Land in the late 7th Century. The next 400 years of Arab control saw a flourish of learning and research that contrasted sharply with Dark Age Europe. Many European nobles sent their sons to learn in places such as Cairo, Cordova and Baghdad. The Arabs permitted pilgrimages because they were good for the economy (medieval tourism). Things changed in the 11th century as the world of Islam experienced its first fundamentalist movement. Secular oriented caliphs were overthrown and replaced by fundamentalist regimes who squashed any learning that was not of the Koran. Universities were closed and libraries were burned along with their books (including the one in Cordova, then the largest in Europe). The Seljick Turks (not Ottoman), who were staunch supporters of Islamic fundamentalism captured Baghdad, and, by 1090, Jerusalem as well. Immediately, the permissive attitude of the Arab rulers was replaced by strict enforcement of Islamic laws. Christians and Jews became persecuted and pilgrims became martyrs.
On top of this, the growing power of the Turks could not be checked by Byzantine armies. Fearing the worst, the Emperor in Constantinople appealed to Rome and Western Europe. Pope Urban II, seeing this as an opportunity to heal the schism of 1054, protect Christian Europe from Muslim Turks, and relieve the sufferring of the faithful in the Holy Land responded by calling for a Crusade in 1096. The Franks (France, Holy Roman Empire, England) and Vikings (Scandinavia, Normandy and Sicily) set out across Europe, joined with the Byzantine Greek Army and together captured Jerusalem in 1099. This in and of itself is one of the greatest military feats of Western history.
So, should the Vatican apologize for lauching the Crusades? Only when Muslims apologize for systematically eradicating Christianity from the Middle East and North Africa.
How about we finish the current one, then apologize for the last five or so.
a) any reason to offer apologies to any other religions or sovereign states and
b) if the answer to a) is "yes", whether they have ever done so?
There may well have been examples of Crusader excesses in an otherwise worthy cause. However, I'd be interested to hear if the gentleman quoted in the article considers that there is any shred of responsibility on the Islamic side.
Not just for this episode but also for other Islamic "excursions" such as the Moorish invasion of Spain.
Maybe I have not been paying attention but I see little evidence that self-reproach is a major feature of the Islamic faith.
One big thing that was done right was the setting of the objectives: defense of the indigenous Christians, rights of passage, and of Christian relics.
As the reason for the ultimate failure of the Chrusades, the lack of economic interest in the Palestine is usually cited. They didn't think much about crude oil then.
This anecdote (I am retelling it from memory, will check for accuracy later) illustrates the apathy that doomed the crusaders' Jerusalem Kingdom to a slow decline after the military phase had succeeded. Frederick in his travels discovered no less a relic than the King of Jerusalem crown virtually abandoned in a cathedral. Surrounded by his courtiers Frederick put the crown on his head himself. No one uttered a word. He, now the King of Jerusalem, left Palestine soon to attend to his politicking with the Pope. The fate of the Holy Land somehow ceased to matter to those people.
You can't really apologize for something that you, directly, didn't do. You can express how wrong it is to 'force' your views on another person. That people tried to 'force' their views on other people in the past, is a regrettable and wrong thing to do. I think you could say that much. I will say that much.
The Crusades were not about forcing view X on person Y. They were, like any war, about killing people and breaking things. But neither forcing views or killing people is necessarily wrong. I don't think the Crusades were wrong, they were overall a just, defensive war.
It is clear that war crimes were committed by the crusaders in that context. Some were committed as a result of poor individual judgement and others as a result of poor leadership. The sack of Constantinople, for example, was a colossal failure of leadership.
Those crimes need to be seen in the legal context of the rules of war at the time. Reprisals against the civilians are a war crime today. I don't know if the rules of war permitted them in 1099. I don't know if the natural law also universally condemns the reprisals. Consider that if the cause of the war is just, then the besieged citizens ought to recognize that, overthrow or at least passively resist the combatants purportedly fighting on their side, and open the gates to the invading army. To put it differently, in a siege environment, where the weapon is hunger, it may be impossible under natural law to separate combatants from civilians; such separation may only we available if the mutually understood rules of war codify it.
Since none of us participated in person, what would the meaning of an apology be? I think that if a fault is found, the apology is very meaningful if it comes from the same entity that initiated the behavior at fault. That would, in this case, be the Church Militant represented by the Pope in Rome, the same thing in 11 century and today.
See what kissing the Qu'ran gets you?
Catholics are still waiting for apologies, too, then. People have to remember that the leaders of the jews and some jews, killed Jesus, that although it was a willing Sacrifice of Jesus, the people, instigated by jewish leaders didnt do it with that in mind. They just wanted to see Jesus dead. Then... they persecuted the Christians.. where is the apology for that?? Can only jews be offended? or muslims?
The muslim invasion of Spain was not a peaceful one, and they turned churches into mosques. During the crusades, the muslims killed, too, and they attacked, and they also desacrated churches by turning them into mosques, i.e. the Church of Agia Sophia (orthodox church). Today, Christians are killed in places where islam is the official religion or the religion of the majority of the people.
We should also, receive an apology from the anglicans, since the head of that church, henry viii, killed many Catholics, destroyed monasteries, stole Church property, etc, etc, etc, etc...
Why should we be the only ones distributing apologies that wont get anyone any where... they only make people get the wrong opinion. After the Pope asked for forgiveness for all the crimes Christians had committed against the jews, people began to say that the Pope had asked for forgiveness for all the crimes THE CHURCH had committed. (That's lunacy). Not even during the inquisition was the Church entitled to kill, nor can the Church do that.. the State did the burning and killing, etc, etc, because a crime against the Church, then, was also a crime against the state.
Protestants should also ask for forgiveness for all the lies they had said and invented against the Church, especially during the years of the protestant reformation.. dafaming or ruining the reputation of others goes against the commandments of God, and civil law.
These people who want to receive apologies should get a new hobby because they want to receive, but not give. That's not fair, just, or wise.
No, the Church cannot demand apologies as ours is the mission to forgive.
When asked for an apology we are entitled to examine the reason. If we apologize, we should do so without reservation.
It is an asymmetrical Christian thing.