An Apology for the Crusades, or, View from Another Continuum

"So, Roman Catholic Church, it is time to confess to your sins and prepare to meet your maker. Open your archives for all to see. Tell us the truth about your origins. Give back to the Jews any items from the temple of Solomon you have in your possession. Ask the Muslims to forgive you for the Crusades. Explain the total truth of your church and ask for forgiveness, which shall most certainly be granted since, in the overall karmic balance, your good works far exceed your sins." This quote comes from here.

That noise you heard was me spitting my coffee all over my computer screen in shock.

Savor, O reader, the utter historical illiteracy of these words: Ask the Muslims to forgive you for the Crusades.

Ask the paynims to forgive the Holy Church for resisting their mad butchery and enslavement of all Christian lands from the pillars of Hercules to Constantinople?

The demand is not that the Christian princes who organized the campaigns apologize, not the monastic knightly orders of Templars or Hospitallers, but the Catholic Church.

We are asking them to forgive us for opposing their rapine of the seven churches of Anatolia, or the overthrow of Alexandria, once the foremost seat of learning and civilization, now a sty? On your knees, Richard the Lionheart! Kneel, Roland, and beg forgiveness from the Saracen and from traitorous Ganelon! Bow, Don Juan of Austria! Vienna, apologize for not throwing open thy stubborn gates! Crawl, Charlemagne! Kneel, Geoffrey of Bouillon! El Cid, grovel for daring to oppose the conquest of the Prophet! Down, Saint James Motomoros, your face in the dust and kiss the boot sole of Baphomet and Mahound!

Does that sound reasonable?

In a nearby parallel universe, one where the Middle East and North Africa remained Christian, those places are the seat of the latest industrial and high-tech revolutions in biotechnology and computer AI and space travel.

The Archbishop of Mars, a colony settled by Jesuits, in this timeline is returning to Earth to attend the baptism of Heke Kohola, the first cetacean raised to sapience by uplift procedures: albeit some theologians question the validity of immersing a sea creature in water to wash away original sin.

Meanwhile, the newly-Christened Orion-drive interstellar vessel, LANTERN OF BETHLEHEM, begins her main acceleration burn for 36 Ophiuchus, where intelligent extraterrestrial life has been discovered. The mission is funded by the Vatican Observatory and various ecumenical missionary groups, since no worldly reason exists to bear the expense of an expedition not to be culminated until our greatgrandchildren’s time. However, the monks and eremites of the voyage are not motivated by any worldly concerns.

Only in our timeline, where the southern half of Christendom was raped by the an obscurantist and legalistic heresy called Mohammedanism, the resources of the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Enlightenment was wasted in wars, resources that otherwise would have been used for civilization and progress. The amounts absorbed and lost in the fall of the Eastern Roman Empire cannot be calculated. As a hint, for those of you who forget, during the administration of Thomas Jefferson, some twenty percent of the federal budget was spent on payola to Tripoli. Who knows what would have happened had trade routes to India and China been kept open?

The names of all the inventors (a word that natively only exists in Latin languages), scholars and thinkers from that timeline, who, in our timeline, were harassed and killed in Spain and Carthage and Persia, and never studied in universities, and never published their results, are memorialized in the special wing of the Museum of Lost Eternities maintained by the Time Custodians, as an homage to opportunities for progress aborted here.

Naturally, knowledge of this timeline is a closely-guarded secret of the joint KGB-CIA project investigating the Marconi-Tesla moebius-coil alternative continuum engine, Project Timegate, since it would be an embarrassment to the Islamic world to discover that Christianity is the only mainspring of progress history has known, and an embarrassment to the secular powers to have it publicly known that attempts to engender progress on secular grounds merely end in holocaust, as in Germany, Russia and the Far East during the Bloodshed Century (as what we call the Twentieth Century is known in by comparative historians from our neighboring timelines), or in bankruptcy and supine indifference to one’s own self-destruction, as socialist Eurotopia is currently discovering.

The discovery of alternative realities is the biggest blow to the current secular powers ever known, since it invalidates and humiliates the popular theories of the forces driving history. The chronochosm seems to be unfairly Euro-centric, even racist, in a fashion that is not merely politically incorrect, but even insensitive. Historians are not merely shocked, they are angered, to discover that Christ exists in every timeline, including the Narnia-like world where lions rather than human beings are the dominant form of life.

The Museum of Lost Eternities, is, meanwhile, asking for an apology for the crusades, but in different terms. They are demanding we apologize to the Crusaders, who shed such blood and made such sacrifices in Outremere, only to have their dreams abandoned by Christian princes too concerned with local bloodshed to face the general enemies of the faith.

The apology is owed to Geoffrey of Bouillon, Protector of Jerusalem, to Baldwin and Melisende, to Almalric and Sibylla–the apology we owe is that we of the West have forgotten their names and deeds.

But what says the Poet Ariosto on this matter? Here below is the John Huntington translation, which he penned during the reign of Elizabeth, of the Seventeenth Canto of ORLANDO FURIOSO, starting in stanza 51:

… They all were Christens then, but now alas,

They all are Turks; unto the endlesse shame,

Of those that may and do not mend the same.

52 –

For where they should employ their sword and lance,

Against the Infidels our publike foes,

Gods Word and true Religion to advance,

They to poore Christens worke perpetuall woes:

To you I write, ye Kings of Spaine and France,

Let these alone, and turne your force on those:

And unto you also I write as much,

Ye nations fierce, Zwizzers I meane and Dutch.

53 –

Lo, tone of Christen Kings usurps a name,

Another Catholike will needs be called:

Why do not both your deeds declare the same?

Why are Christs people slaine by you and thralled?

Get backe againe Jerusalem for shame,

That now the Turke hath tane from you and walled

Constantinople get that famous towne,

That erst belonged to th’Imperiall crowne.

54 –

Dost not thou Spaine confront with Affrike shore,

That more then Italy hath thee offended?

Yet to her hurt thou leavest that before,

Against the Infidels thou hadst intended:

O Italy a slave for evermore,

In such sort mard, as never can be mended,

A slave to slaves, and made of sinne a sinke,

And sotted sleepe like men orecome with drinke.

55 –

Ye Swizzers fierce, if feare of famine drive you,

To come to Lombardie to seeke some food,

Are not the Turks as neare? why should it grieve you

To spill your foes, and spare your brothers blood?

They have the gold and riches to relieve you,

Enrich your selves with lawfull gotten good,

So shall all Europe be to you beholding,

For driving them from these parts, and withholding.

56 –

Thou Lion stout that holdst of heav’n the kayes,

(A waightie charge) see that from drowsie sleepe

Thou wake our realme, and bring her joyfull dayes,

And from these forren wolves it safely keepe,

God doth thee to this height of honor raise,

That thou mayst feed and well defend thy sheepe,

That with a roring voice and mighty arme,

Thou mayst withold thy flock from ev’ry harme.

An apology to Constantinople for looting rather than saving her, of course, should be forthcoming. But somehow, I doubt the writer above intended that.