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Zacour, N. P.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The impact of the Crusades on Europe
(1989)

I: The Legal and Political Theory of the Crusade,   pp. 3-38 PDF (14.2 MB)


Page 9

Ch. I THE LEGAL AND POLITICAL THEORY OF THE CRUSADE 9 
vaux, whose surviving crusade sermons, and whose treatise on the knights
of the Temple, naturally emphasize the "way of Christian life" but, as concerns
the law, stress two points. He is careful to define the conditions of the
papal offer of indulgence exactly, at a lower rhetorical level than usual—
taking the cross and making contrite confession. He contributed, as did many
who never went to the east, to the conception of irreconcilability and the
attempt to separate two civilizations by a barrier of canon law. Christ is
considered glorified in the death of the Moslem; the Christian in death is
led into his reward. Again, "the profit of the death which (the soldier of
Christ) inflicts is Christ, the profit of that which he receives is his own."
Even Bernard thought that this needed a bit of explaining. "Not that even
the Moslems (pagani) ought to be destroyed, if by any other means they could
be held back from excessive aggression and violence against the faithful."
Elsewhere, however, when he absolutely forbids any understanding with Moslems
(no allegiance, no money payments, no tribute), Bernard sounds no less uncompromising
than Cato, and writes, "either the religion or the people must be destroyed."5
 A survey of the canons and papal bulls throughout the main period of the
crusades reveals no specific justification of war, although this should have
been the basic legal problem for church lawyers. The official documents that
proclaim or support or enforce the crusade take for granted that such justification
as Urban, and particularly the idea of "recovery", had lent the war was fully
sufficient. The Moslems who are the targets of the warfare Continue to be
referred to as "attackers". Early in this period the crusade became a normal
penance; for example, the Second Lateran Council (1139) decreed a year's
service in Jerusalem or Spain for arson. The legal concept of holy war developed
most quickly in terms not only of penance, but of the indulgences which the
papal documents concede, and which became so popular at this time.'6 
 Indulgences evolved from the old system of penitentiaries, with their tariffed
penance, which, together with a process of redemptions, lasted into the eleventh
century. Indulgences in consideration of some good or pious work first developed
clearly in the course of this century, and did so more definitely in the
twelfth. The ordinary indulgence substi 
 15. De laude novae militiae, m (PL, 1~2, cols. 924—925); ibid., i(coi.
922), and Epistolae, col. 652 (ep. 457, ad universosfideles) and col. 653
(ep. 458, ad Wladislaum). 
 16. Karl J. von Hefele, tr. Henri M. Leclercq, Histofre des conciles (12
vols., Paris, 1907—1952), v-i, p. 731. 


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