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

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

Page 28

verts from Christianity, especially if they are related, some being minors,
some adults, and others their own children? Happily, the reply is yes, because
of either "correction", the hope of putting them right, or "necessity", presumably
material necessity. Cohabitation with a heretic (Moslem?) spouse is also
permitted, if there is no contumelia creatoris; perhaps this means here,
provided the Christian spouse does not take part (or perhaps is just not
seen to take part) in Moslem (or Coptic?) worship. 
 What about those who have been given a period of crusading for a penance,
but are infirm, or poor, or afraid? Give them another penance. What of those
who are held back from keeping their vow by serious business? They should
not involve themselves closely with others, and, when disengaged, should
fulfill the vow. Are those who steal from Moslems bound to make restitution?
They are so bound. Are those who bring grain, small pieces of wood, or the
like excommunicated? Only if they do so in dispendium Terrae Sanctae, or
to attack Christians. What about clergy who give scandal by acting as merchants?
They are subject to the appropriate canonical penalties. Is ignorance about
what trade is forbidden an excuse? No, because the prohibitions are public,
but if the offenders are ignorant, and stop when they are informed, then
they are not excommunicated. If a sailor has no other means of earning his
living, and takes service on a ship that is carrying contraband, is he excommunicated?
Yes, but he can be absolved at discretion if he makes proper satisfaction.5°
Many of these decisions bear witness to a sensible and occasionally humane
application of a harsh law which was intended to erect a powerful barrier
between Moslems and Christians, and appears to a considerable extent to have
 It is beyond the scope of this chapter to examine the extent to which the
canons were modified by official license, or by being ignored, but the actual
correspondence of the popes fills out an otherwise incomplete picture. There
is not much evidence about the life of Latin communities in North Africa,
but, as we should expect, the intentions of the later canons contrast with
the pre-crusading situation of the eleventh century. At the earlier date,
as we saw, when an indigenous hierarchy in the Roman province of Africa just
survived, Gregory Vii's diplomacy shows him concerned to reach an agreement
with the Hamm~did ruler. Something of this spirit remained alive at the papal
court; when, later, the local Christian church had died out, the popes, in-
 50. "Raymundiana," in Monumenta ordinis Fratrum Praedicatorum historica
(Rome and Stuttgart, 1898), vi, fasc. 1. doc. vm, pp. 29 if. 

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