Recently, there was a “meme” posted on the Facebook Catholic Memes page regarding the Crusades (shown on the right), which mentioned the following unfortunate situation of the Crusaders:
- Be raided, enslaved, raped, murdered, and conquered for 500 years
- Your homelands suffer from destitute poverty because of the constant sea raids destroying naval trade and transport routes
- Byzantium is begging for help, southern France is easy picking for slavers, Spain is conquered and France is invaded, churches are burned and nuns are raped en masse in conquered cities, southern Italy and Sicily live in fear
- Call upon nobles, peasants, the poor and rich alike to put an end to centuries of oppression and evil and retake the holy lands that are dear to you
- Sell your lands, your estate, your everything to buy armor, a sword, and enough food to make it halfway across the world, knowing you won’t return but believe in the cause of justice
- Lose hundreds of thousands of good men for over a hundred years in perpetual war
- Roughly a thousand years later your descendants look upon you as the evil aggressor against a supposedly innocent people and they view your faith which you hold so near and dear to your heart as a force of incomparable hatred and malice
To be sure, there were questionable moments in the Crusades, but it highlights the recurring tragedy, that a vast majority of people today so readily and blindly believe the Enlightenment/Protestant propaganda: that the Medievals believed in a flat earth; faith and science are opposed, or; that the Inquisition was a house of horrors (or even the more recent one that Pius XII was indifferent to Nazism).
Usually, people are more moderate with these kinds of beliefs, except, it seems, when it comes to the Catholic Church, such that in these cases, the very opposite turns out to be true: the Medievals (since the time of Greeks) of course knew the earth was a sphere; the Church fostered science, learning and the universities; the Inquisition was more civil than the civil courts of the day, and; Pius XII is praised for his efforts by the Jews themselves (and all the media of the day, predating the modern propaganda).
While each of the above points demand a closer study, it suffices to say here that the popular lens with which our contemporary culture views the Catholic Church – the attitudes and preconceptions which colour the perception even before we come across any information – ought to be questioned first.