Christian History 1200

"FRANCIS OF ASSISI" PAINTED  BY FRANCISCO DE ZURBARAN IN 1635
"FRANCIS OF ASSISI" PAINTED BY FRANCISCO DE ZURBARAN IN 1635
FRANCIS OF ASSISI COMFORTS A LEPER
FRANCIS OF ASSISI COMFORTS A LEPER
THE CHURCH THAT FRANCIS OF ASSISI BUILT BY HAND AT PORTIUNCULA (NOW INSIDE BASILICA OF ST. MARY OF THE ANGELS)
THE CHURCH THAT FRANCIS OF ASSISI BUILT BY HAND AT PORTIUNCULA (NOW INSIDE BASILICA OF ST. MARY OF THE ANGELS)

Francis of Assisi

One of the most important figures in Christian History was Giovanni Bernardone (1181-1226), known as Francis of Assisi. He a playboy and a warrior in his early life. He was fortunate to have been born into an affluent family in Assisi, Italy. His father had nicknamed him Francis; the name by which he is known.

In 1206, at the age of 25, Francis of Assisi had an epiphany in which Jesus spoke to him, telling him “Francis, as you can see, my church is falling to pieces. Go and rebuild it.” Francis of Assisi gave away his fine wardrobe and began to dress in rags. He took up the life of a beggar and started a new movement in Christian History named after him, the Franciscan Order (16,000 strong today). Francis of Assisi later wrote, “You cannot help the poor without becoming one of them.

Francis of Assisi, who had previously abhorred lepers, now embraced them and tended to their wounds. Leprosy was a common and highly contagious disease in Europe at the time. The disease causes oozing boils to break out, disfiguring its victims and resulting in a putrid odor. Lepers were quarantined in “colonies,” of which there were 20,000 in Europe during the days in Christian History of Francis of Assisi.

Francis rebuilt a few old churches nearby with money taken from his father. The old man was enraged at his son’s behavior; he beat him up and had him arrested. Francis became street-preacher and soon drew large crowds. He would not accept money, only food. He and his followers were often mocked and beaten.

Francis preached to the pope and broke out into a dance. Many in the audience wept and sang. Francis of Assisi altered the Medieval view of nature from that of a threatening menace to something to be loved as a manifestation of God’s creativity.

In 1224 Francis of Assisi built the first recorded crèche at the Mount La Verna Church. That same year he became the first known person in Christian History to receive the stigmata. Here is the famous Prayer of St. Francis:

Lord, make me a channel of your peace;

where there is hatred, let me sow love;

where there is injury, your pardon Lord;

and where there's doubt, true faith in you;

O Master,

grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;

to be understood, as to understand;

to be loved, as to love;

for it is in giving that we receive,

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

Prayer of St. Francis

FRANCISCAN ORDER TODAY
FRANCISCAN ORDER TODAY

Franciscan Order

It was decided by Cardinal Ugolino that the original teachings of St. Francis were impossible for more than a few men to adhere to. Francis was brokenhearted, and resigned as head of the Franciscan Order.

The Franciscan Order in England were known to go barefoot all winter through the ice and snow, fulfilling their vow of poverty to the extreme. Eventually, Brother Elias took over the reins, and it was he who built a church to contain the remains of St. Francis.

The Franciscan Order was instrumental in the rise of the universities. It played a major role in the “thirteenth-century renaissance” by establishing the value of secular learning apart from theology. The Franciscan Order at the Universities both studied and taught Theology, but added faculties of Law, Medicine, Art, Music, and Philosophy. Universities were incorporated by charter and were self-governing---apart from the Church. Bologna, Paris and Oxford were the first universities. By 1300 they had proliferated throughout Italy, France, England, and Spain.

ST BONAVENTURE
ST BONAVENTURE

St Bonaventure

St Bonaventure (1221-1274) guided the Franciscans after Brother Elias, and established the lasting ideals of the Franciscans. St Bonaventure declared that churches were to be simple without bell towers; vestments must be made of plain cloth; there would be no pay for preaching; no collection plates; the mendicants were to be devoted to moral teachings. St Bonaventure touted the personal religious experience, which was inspired by St. Francis. He wrote of mentally going beyond doctrine and reason to supernatural transcendence “First descend by grace into your own heart and then be transported in ecstasy above the intellect.”

 

"SACK OF CONSTANTINOPLE IN THE FOURTH CRUSADE" ENGRAVING BY GUSTAVE DORE
"SACK OF CONSTANTINOPLE IN THE FOURTH CRUSADE" ENGRAVING BY GUSTAVE DORE
FOURTH CRUSADE
FOURTH CRUSADE

Fourth Crusade

The Doge (Duke) of Venice diverted the Fourth Crusade (1202-1204) from its original aim of conquering Jerusalem from the Muslims, to ransacking Christian Constantinople and massacring its inhabitants. In three days of rape and murder the Fourth Crusade found time to pillage the Hagia Sophia Cathedral, and to set a prostitute to dancing on the Patriarch’s throne. The Fourth Crusade burnt down large swaths of Christendom’s most beautiful city, and they plundered untold riches of treasure and relics. Constantinople had possessed the world’s finest collections of literature and art, as well as three quarters of the wealth of Christendom. These acts of the Fourth Crusade embittered eastern Christians for centuries to come.

Pope Innocent III (1160-1216) launched the Fourth Crusade. He had decided that the 2nd and 3rd Crusades failed because they were managed by Kings---as opposed to the successful 1st Crusade, which was spearheaded by the Church in Rome. Muslims had by this time closed the overland route through what is now modern day Turkey, necessitating a seafaring venture to the Holy Land. Without kingly financing, Innocent turned to the shipbuilding powerhouse of Venice for assistance, but Venice had already cut a secret deal with the Muslims, and the Doge’s real goal lay in subjugating Constantinople as retribution for an earlier affront. The Fourth Crusade assembled in Venice and the Doge announced he would only provide ships if they would first sack the Christian city of Zara, Hungary.

 

KING JOHN OF ENGLAND SIGNING THE MAGNA CARTA
KING JOHN OF ENGLAND SIGNING THE MAGNA CARTA

The Magna Carta

Bad King John of England (1166-1216), the younger brother of the beloved King Richard the Lionheart, was a fat, arrogant, tyrannical coward. While John was away fighting in France, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Stephen Langton, called a secret meeting of the English nobility. He proposed the idea that the King should not be above the law but subject to it, and presented to those present a charter written a hundred years earlier but never enacted. The charter was primarily focused on wills and inheritance, but more importantly conferred specific basic rights under the law to the common peasant that included the right to trial by jury and the forbiddance of taxation without representation. It also contained a catalogue of items the king would no longer be permitted to do. King John was forced to sign the charter, now known in history as the Magna Carta---a lynchpin of democracy. To enforce the charter’s provisions, the first English Parliament was founded, and was soon replicated in France.

POPE INNOCENT III
POPE INNOCENT III

Fourth Lateran Council

Pope Innocent III convened the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215. In attendance were 71 patriarchs and archbishops; 412 bishops; 900 abbots and priors---it was the largest assemblage of the Middle Ages.

The Fourth Lateran Council approved the Dogma of Transubstantiation of the Holy Eucharist that “the body and blood of Jesus Christ are truly contained in the Sacrament of the Altar under the outward appearances of bread and wine.” The basis for this was largely taken from I Corinthians 11:27 & 29. 

It was decided by the Fourth Lateran Council that if the unworthy took the Holy Eucharist they would receive nothing except bread, while true believers received the heavenly food of the Body of Christ. The Holy Eucharist was considered “the end of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament.”

In both testaments there exists a priesthood and the required sacrifice for which priests had primary responsibility. A priest had a responsibility and duty to stay right with God personally, since he handled the sacred. The “Holy of Holies” was now the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Eucharist and the proper understanding of it had become the heart of the Christian religion.

The Fourth Lateran Council also determined that Jews and Muslims living in Christian lands must wear identifying badges---as Christians were already required to do in Muslim lands. In addition, the clergy were banned from wearing green.

 

DOMINICANS TODAY
DOMINICANS TODAY

DOMINICANS

The Dominicans are officially called the Order of Preachers. To this day OP follows the names of many distinguished Christians. The Dominicans lived initially as beggars, devoted to study and evangelism.

The Dominicans spread rapidly throughout Western Europe after their founding in 1216, preaching the Gospel and establishing schools. Their attire led to the nickname Blackfriars, which to this day is the name of their college at Oxford.

The Dominicans proved to be great writers, artists and architects. They became confessors, advisors, and ambassadors for the Kings of Europe.

The Dominicans translated Bibles, compiled encyclopedias, and wrote about theology. They also played a major role in the Inquisition. Some have called the Dominicans the Secret Police of the Middle Ages.

 

HORSES PULL MOULDBOARD PLOUGH AS IN 1200
HORSES PULL MOULDBOARD PLOUGH AS IN 1200

PLOUGH

By the year 1200, a revolution in agriculture was complete in Europe, enabling the sustenance of larger populations with a growing supply of ever more nutritious food. A large part of this revolution was the invention of a new plough.

The heavy, iron, three-piece plough on wheels could turn even the most stubborn of fields. Horses had largely replaced teams of oxen.  This was made possible as a result of special breeding techniques, and the inventions of the horse-collar and horseshoe.

Three-field crop rotation had increased yields by 50%, and also permitted the growing of all four cereals, while distributing the workload of farmers from spring to autumn. Upland fields were abandoned in favor of long open-strip fields in valleys, resulting in large valley villages across Europe. The new plough helped feed Europe for centuries to come.

THE FIRST NATIONAL FLAG "DANNEBROG"
THE FIRST NATIONAL FLAG "DANNEBROG"

National Flags

Denmark raised its national flag---the first in history---a red banner with a white cross, on the battlefield in 1219. Since then, every independent nation has adopted a flag of its own. National flags became a vital symbol of identity and a focus of patriotism.

CAPTURE OF DAMIETTA IN THE FIFTH CRUSADE
CAPTURE OF DAMIETTA IN THE FIFTH CRUSADE

Fifth Crusade

The Fifth Crusade (1217-1221) featured armies from Hungary and Austria.  They succeeded in reacquiring Jerusalem by 1217. The following year, additional armies arrived from Germany and Holland to mount a campaign against Egypt. The armies occupied the port city of Damietta, but their next move, a march on Cairo, proved to be disastrous. Tropical diseases took their toll on the Crusaders, and decimated their ranks. Finally, in 1221 the Crusaders were defeated and surrendered to the Muslims.  

"MADONNA WITH CHILD BLESSING" PAINTING BY GIOVANNI BELLINI IN 1464 OF THE VIRGIN MARY
"MADONNA WITH CHILD BLESSING" PAINTING BY GIOVANNI BELLINI IN 1464 OF THE VIRGIN MARY
"THE ASSUMPTION OF MARY" AS PAINTED BY TITIAN
"THE ASSUMPTION OF MARY" AS PAINTED BY TITIAN

The Virgin Mary

By the year 1200, devotion to Mary the mother of Jesus had reached full bloom. The Virgin Mary had conquered worldly wisdom through the miracle of the Virgin Birth. The view was that she was unique among not only human beings, but of all creatures---a creature that had become the mother of her Creator. She alone had the combination of motherly fertility and virginal purity. Since Mary the mother of Jesus had been a virgin and Jesus had remained a virgin, clerical celibacy was emphasized in the Roman Catholic Church.

The Virgin Mary had been called “full of grace” in Luke 1:28, because of her humility and obedience. Now, some Catholic theologians went further, writing that she had lived a life that was free from all sin. This led to a growing emphasis on the office of Mary the mother of Jesus as “mediatrix.” To quote Bernard of Clairvaux “The Virgin Mother was the way by which the Savior came to mankind in the incarnation and the redemption, and she was to be the one through whom we ascend to him who descended through her to us; through whom we have access to the Son; so that through her he who through her was given to us might take us up to himself.”

The idea was that through Mary the mother of Jesus heaven had been filled with saints who would have ended up in hell had it not been for her. As Bernard said “She is our mediatrix, she is the one through whom we have received thy mercy O God, she is the one through whom we have welcomed the Lord Jesus into our homes.”

The curse of Eve’s original sin had been lifted due to the blessing of the Virgin Mary. The “mediatrix” not only referred to her place in salvation, but also to her continuing position as intercessor between Christ and us. It was posited that God had chosen the Virgin Mary for the specific task of pleading the cause of men before her Son. Mary the mother of Jesus was addressed as the one who could bring healing and cleansing to sinners and give succor against the wiles of the devil. Guibert of Nogent asserted “there is nothing in heaven that is not subject to the Virgin through her Son.

Since the Virgin Mary possessed a unique holiness, it was fitting that veneration and prayer be addressed to her. This veneration went a step further for some, who decided that Mary the mother of Jesus must also have been immaculately conceived, so as to not taint Jesus with Original Sin.

COMMUNION OF SAINTS
COMMUNION OF SAINTS
"ALL SAINTS DAY" PAINTED BY FRA ANGELICO IN 1430
"ALL SAINTS DAY" PAINTED BY FRA ANGELICO IN 1430
COMMUNION OF SAINTS
COMMUNION OF SAINTS

Communion of Saints

The Apostles’ Creed includes these words:I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints.” What is the communion of saints? Alcuin had said “Saints are those who, in the faith that we have received, have migrated from this present world to God, and with whom believers have an association and a community of hope.”

This meant that the communion of saints made believers “fellow citizens and comrades of the blessed spirits.” Their footsteps were to be imitated and followed; a saint was a hero of the faith. According to Herman of Scheda, the communion of saints were, “angelic in appearance, steady in gait, holy in activity, sound in body, smart of mind, circumspect in work, outstanding in genius, great in counsel, catholic in faith, patient in hope, and universal in love.”

A saint was a reflection of Christ. Even now---before the general resurrection--- the communion of saints shared Christ in their spirits, and would eventually share Him in their bodies. This understanding of the relationship between Christ and the communion of saints made way for the ideas that believers should invoke the names of saints when praying to God, and that the communion of saints prayed for believers. Anselm had said that sin was not only an offense against God, but also against the communion of saints, and it was from there that prayers were developed for the salvation of the dearly departed.

Over time cults developed that were devoted to particular saints, based on the belief that certain saints possessed certain qualities. Many times these cults were geographically specific.

The first saint to be canonized was Ulrich of Augsburg. He had gone to Rome to commend himself to the martyrs there. Since Martyrs had been put to death for Christ, is was believed they were in such a state as to where they could pray for believers on earth. The veneration of martyrs preceded the veneration of saints.

Not all theologians approved of this growing devotion to martyrs and saints. There were those who not only ridiculed praying to dead saints for help, but also praying for the dead---and even the baptism of infants.

The veneration of relics had preceded the veneration of martyrs. In the Middle Ages and earlier, the arrival of a relic to a new site would be occasioned by miracles. Relics had to be protected against hostile forces, because through the relics of his body a saint became the “patron” of the place where they reposed. The power of God that manifested itself in a saint did not end at his death---it continued to work through the remains of his body. The very purpose of God performing miracles through relics was to show believers that the saint himself is alive and with the Lord.

With the growing popularity of relics came the inevitable charlatanism. All sorts of items turned up from the cords that bound Jesus at his trial, the sponge lifted to his mouth on the cross, a vial of bread from the Last Supper chewed with Jesus’ own teeth, Jesus’ baby teeth, and finally the granddaddy of them all: Jesus’ foreskin.

THE HOLY EUCHARIST
THE HOLY EUCHARIST
THE HOLY EUCHARIST
THE HOLY EUCHARIST

The Holy Eucharist

By the Thirteenth Century a definite shift occurred regarding the Sacraments. Baptism was no longer the chief sacrament---it was now the Holy Eucharist (Communion). In centuries past, baptism was, as Anselm said, “chief among the sacraments that Christ instituted in the church because it alone was necessary for salvation.” It was widely believed that un-baptized children were condemned.

The new emphasis was on the Holy Eucharist since it was the work of the very “logos” of God, whereas baptism worked by merely invoking the Trinity. Baptism came to be viewed as a temporary measure, while the Holy Eucharist carried divine power eternally.

Not everyone agreed with this assessment. Dissenters wrote that Transubstantiation was a false belief---that just as in baptism, the Holy Eucharist is figurative, not literal. The Roman Catholic Church answered that baptism is indeed figurative, but that the Holy Eucharist is literally the Body of Christ and no longer bread and water.

All of this was more important than we postmoderns might imagine. The position of the Roman Catholic Church was that each sacrament contained a certain spiritual grace, and that it was only through the sacraments that grace---forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation---was communicated to the believer. As Hugo of Saint-Victor said, “The sum of human salvation consist of three things: faith, love, and the sacraments. The denial of the sacraments is tantamount to a denial of the Church itself.”

History of Christianity Series

This is but the latest entry in my series on the History of Christianity. The previous episode was entitled "The Third Crusade" and prior to that I published "Holy Crusades." This Hub, Christian History 1200, is Episode Twelve.

More by this Author


Comments 48 comments

DiamondRN profile image

DiamondRN 6 years ago from Charlotte, NC USA

As usual, great history lesson, James.

It's amazing how distorted Christ's message has become.

Paul warned Jesus' followers to, "Test everything. Hold on to the good." - 1 Thessalonians 5:21 NIV

Nuff said!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

DiamondRN--- Thank you for being my first visitor!! I also appreciate your gracious compliments. Nice Scripture there. Good to see you.


H P Roychoudhury profile image

H P Roychoudhury 6 years ago from Guwahati, India

He period of crusade is the most exciting period of Christian era.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

H P Roychoudhury--- Yes, I agree H P. A very exciting period of time. There is more to come shortly. And I'll be coming over to read your latest Hubs soon, too. They are always good.


RevLady profile image

RevLady 6 years ago from Lantana, Florida

Great class James! Thank you for shedding light on this interesting aspect of Christianity past.

Blessings!

Forever His,


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Hello, James, why did the Crusader attack Christian cities and ransacked them? Not allot about the knight in shining, is there? Also how could sent the Crusader? As always a your hub, a masterpiece. Thank you.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

RevLady--- Thank you, my dear! You are surely welcome. I appreciate your ongoing encouragement.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Hello, hello,--- Well, the Pope thought he sent them to Jerusalem. He was betrayed by the Duke (Doge) of Venice, who had his own goals. Constantinople was the rival of Venice for trade by ship in the Mediterranean. You are right, there was no Knight in shining armor this time. Also, the eastern and western Christians didn't like each other, which was ultimately why Islam was able to defeat the eastern Christians--they were weakened by division amongst themselves. That's an old story: a house divided cannot stand.

Thank you for your compliments and you are most welcome.


Terri Lynn 6 years ago

Hi Jim, call me k 3212259116 ?????


Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 6 years ago from Moundsville, WV

James,

Another great lesson in the history of Christianity. You shoud combine them all in a book.

Looks like you got another sort of message above from Terri Lynn


stars439 profile image

stars439 6 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

Beautiful work. I especially love and adore Saint Mary with all my heart. I loved this work and I learned so much. I will read this repeatedly in time. God Bless you for being such a devoted servant of our Lord Christ in Heaven, and honoring God the way you do. God Bless You.


DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

DeBorrah K. Ogans 6 years ago

James A. Watkins, What a Great History lecture on Christianity professor! Hmmm maybe you should teach at Oxford or perhaps in Washington D.C.! You have done a splendid job! I so look forward to the research and effort you put forth into these very informative narratives!

It certainly is quite intriguing the history associated with the Church. It is amazing many of the conclusion that are drawn? Which further serves to show the fallacy of man’s plethora of assumed theories… Power that is not truly subject to God eventually corrupts… This is true inside and outside of the Church. We were not created to live apart from Our Creator! Time after time the Bible records what happens when a nation or person decides that they are going to live above or redefine what God has said….. "The TRUTH sets you FREE"

This serves to further confirm; One thing that always holds true is the TRUTH of God’s infallible WORD! Thank You for sharing my brother, Much love and continued prayers, Blessings! Great Job!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

James, You covered another piece of history exceedingly well. Very good article.


advisor4qb profile image

advisor4qb 6 years ago from On New Footing

I always wondered about that guy!


creativeone59 profile image

creativeone59 6 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

Thank you James for a intersting and informative and enlightening hub on christainity. thank you for sharing it. Godspeed. creativeone59


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Thank you, James, for your explicit answer. I found it fascinating.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa

Thanks for a well-written and well-reseaarched Hub, as usual, James. I find it ironic that Francis and the Crusades get in the same Hub. That so gentle a person is inspired by the same religion as inspired the Crusades. People do the damnedest things in the name of "God", don't they? I know there are extremist in the ranks of Islam, but I see similar extremism in the ranks of other religions too. Very, very sad.

As people, I would have thought, especially after all the blood-letting of the 20th Century, we would have learned that violence begets violence. Doing violence on an individual level, or on a societal level, just brings about more. And it so often shifts - the Jews are killed in millions by Hitler's madness, and now they perpetrate hideous violence on their neighbours. I'm not judging their motives, simply saying that violence is perpetuated like that. The violence preached by some from within Islam is justified by them in terms of historical events like the Crusades. I'm not saying they are right, just that actions like that are used to judge others, like your statement in the previous one that "The Holy Crusades were not an attack; they were a counterattack." And so we go on justifying violence and aggression over and over - you do it to me so I'll do it you, and so ad inifinitum.

In fact, judging is usually what causes this perpetuation of violence, which is, I think, why Jesus reportedly said, "Judge not, that ye be not judged."

Thanks again for an interesting Hub.

Love and peace

Tony


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Terri Lynn--- I tried. I'll try again.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Tom Whitworth--- I like your idea. Maybe I will combine them all in a book. Thank you for your compliment. Terri Lynn is my sister and I will contact her straightaway. :)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

stars439--- Thank you for your gracious words. I sincerely appreciate your ongoing support and encouragement. God Bless You!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

DeBorrah K. Ogans--- Teach at Oxford!? LOL! I doubt they would let me step foot in the place, though that is sweet of you to say. Thank you for your accolades and you are welcome.

Man can go astray when he discards revelation and the Word. Nothing fills that hole in our hearts as does the Creator who put it there. The Truth. What is Truth? Pilate asked Jesus. I think that is one of the best questions ever asked.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Pamela99--- Nice to see you here, my dear. Thank you for your compliments. I appreciate you.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

advisor4qb--- That guy? Francis? Thanks for coming. :D


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 6 years ago from Sparti, Greece

Wonderful Hub, as always, James - I always loved Francis of Assisi. There was a man who encapsulates what is good about Christianity!

I am an animal lover, so I like the stories surrounding his legendary kindness to animals :)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

creativeone59--- It's a pleasure to see you here, dear. You are truly welcome. It was my pleasure to put this together. I'm glad you enjoyed it.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Hello, hello,--- You are welcome. Anytime. Thanks for the fine question.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

tonymac04--- You are welcome. I appreciate your kind words, Tony.

I thought that juxtaposition might be a bit jarring. That might be a good thing. Thank goodness no other religious are trying to engage in mass murder these days except the extremists from Islam. They are enough to keep track off.

Yes, the religious wars before the 20th Century convinced many that Atheism was the way to go. I guess 100 million dead has scrapped that idea by now.

I'm not sure we agree about the Jewish question. I believe the state of Israel has every right to defend itself and that it has shown tremendous restraint, largely. I mean, the old school idea is if someone says they intend to wipe your country of the face of the earth, you annihilate them all--and Israel is perfectly capable of doing so right this minute. So postmodern sensibilities have changed.

The Crusaders left a sad and terrible legacy because of their behavior. But many people do not know that the entire Middle East was Christian before taken by conquest by the Arabs and millions of Christians were killed, enslaved, and ejected from the area.

Better would be for all people to put aside their grievances and live together in peace and brotherhood. Amen to that. And you are right that violence begets more violence. You're a good man with a good heart.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Sufidreamer--- Thank you, sir, for the compliments. It's great to hear from you, my friend. Yes, St. Francis is an extraordinary man by any measure. I almost delved more into his relationship with animals but space constrains me. In fact, I almost decided to just write a Hub about him, with more details, but ultimately stuck with my original plan.


Jane Grey profile image

Jane Grey 6 years ago from Oregon

James, I really enjoyed this article-- so much to ponder. I didn't realize that the worship of Mary, the saints, and the relics all began during the 1200s. I was also surprised at how much Mary was made a "goddess," of a sort, in the way she was assumed to be without sin, and on the level of mediator between God the Son and man. What do you think led to this new view of Mary? Also, thanks for writing about Frances of Assisi. I learned much about him that I had not heard before.

Jane


godpreacher profile image

godpreacher 6 years ago from Atlanta,Ga.

james,

I am both impressed and inspired.

What a great lesson taught, and so well researched.

We still have a lot to learn, and much growing to do.

God Bless


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Jane Grey--- Perhaps I didn't word that section about Mary with clarity. These things didn't begin in the 1200s by any means. They grew gradually among the laity more than the official Church. The Church sort of went along because it is what people wanted. Around 1200 these ideas came under attack and theologians began to feel the need to justify these things and wrote about it prolifically. So a large part of what I am quoting here is official Church response to criticism of these ideas. It was the criticism that grew louder around this time.

I love St. Francis. I am glad you enjoyed the article, Jane. Coming from a truly fine writer such as yourself, this carries great meaning for me.

James


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

godpreacher--- I am grateful for your positive response. Thank you for your compliments. To read affirmation from a real man of the cloth makes my soul fell good.


Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 6 years ago from Central Texas

Thank you so very much for filling in some blank spots in my education. I enjoyed this Hub very much and look forward to more. You've explained some things associated with the Catholic Church I was very vague on (my step-grandparents were Catholic and my education was brief and limited on the subject). I look forward to more - Best, Sis


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Angela Blair--- It's nice to see you here, Sis. You are quite welcome indeed. I am well pleased that you enjoyed my article. I will have another chapter out this weekend. Thank you for coming.

James


Hxprof 6 years ago from Clearwater, Florida

I enjoyed the summary of the development of Catholic doctrine. These days I'm fascinated by the differences between God's word and the doctrines of His church. Christ taught that false teachers would lead many astray, and of course Paul and Peter echoed Christ with some specifics regards His prophecy.

We live in interesting times James.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Hxprof--- I am glad you enjoyed it, brother. We do indeed live in interesting times. I thank you for your participation in my Hub conversations. I appreciate your encouragement.


itakins profile image

itakins 6 years ago from Irl

James-

I love 'The Poor little one' St. Francis of Assisi and had the great privilege of visiting his church a couple of years sgo- most inspiring.

There is a lot I could say but I will keep it brief!

Yes,Catholics do venerate Mary-however while we do see her as a mediatrix-we do not think all prayer must go through Mary-we pray to Christ directly.Prayer to Mary is said in the form of the Rosary,which is an 'outward' meditation on the life of Christ from the annunciation to His ascension into Heaven.

We do not worship Mary-or saints.We do not pray to relics or inanimate objects.Worship is for God alone.

Christians are so blessed to have great learned and holy men like the Franciscans and Dominicans et al.

Who are these false teachers?-there are 30,000 Christian sects in the USA -are they all teaching as Christ taught?

I don't think so!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

itakins--- What's not to love about St Francis? You are blessed--I hope I can see his little church someday.

You may comment all you want on my Hubs. I didn't mean to imply that all prayer goes through Mary-I know that is not so.

I surely agree with you that the Frairs of both orders have been an immense blessing on the Christian world. Who are false teachers? Not these folks on this page. All true Christians are teaching variations of Christ's message, suitable for the understanding of their particular followers. There are false teachers around. I'd nominate the leadership of American Episcopalians for a start. :)

I hope I succeeded in presenting Catholic beliefs at the time fairly and squarely. That was my intent. Thank you for your excellent comments.


itakins profile image

itakins 6 years ago from Irl

James-

My comment does appear a bit 'snipey' on re-reading-forgive me.

This is an excellent hub and you have presented it well.I am just feeling a little jaded by what is portrayed as 'Christian' opinion that is very divisive and most un-Christian-not on ths hub,or indeed any of your hubs-but some others.

This ,of course is not your problem.Coming from a tiny country with a very limited number of Christian sects-I am curious and baffled by the large number in the USA-why so many!It suggests to me that there must be some degree of 'menu picking'-I don't know!Any efforts to have a discussion with some of these 'Christians' are futile,but I have been assured that 'Heaven will not be too full-as Catholics will not be there'.It doesn't bother me especially-I am what I am-Thank God,but it surely must offend Christ to have such things preached -in His name.

Rant over:)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

itakins--- Nothing to forgive. I completely understand where you are coming from. The Christian in-fighting is sometimes brutal. Thank you for the compliments. I hope this Hub is not divisive. I simply find the history and the history of doctrine to be fascinating stuff. The large number of sects in the US is a subject to which I will turn eventually in this story. But first, it's on to Saint Louis, the Cathars, heretics, inquisitions, several more crusades, and knights.

And yes, there is a ton of menu-picking going on. Your observations are astute. Catholics not in heaven? Absurd.


rls8994 profile image

rls8994 6 years ago from Mississippi

This was such a beautifully written hub. Alot of good information!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

rls8994--- Thank you very much for saying so. I appreciate you for reading my article. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community.


Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 6 years ago from Great Britain

James, That really was a profoundly interesting article, that I need to read more than once. I love history of all sorts but ,Having a lot of Irish Catholics in my family , I thought I knew just about all I needed to about the Catholic Church. Not So!!!! You have shed light on many things for me in this hub. Thank you. Peace.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Dim Flaxenwick--- I am very pleased to read your wonderful laudations regarding my work. I love history, too, as you may have guessed. You are quite welcome. I appreciate the affirmation.


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

Thanks so much Sir James, I sang that song of St. Francis when I was member of the choir at the chucrh in the Philippines, (8 to 12 years old). It brought back memories, and St. Francis is well loved too. And yes Sir, sacraments are important, very important, Thanks for the trip to HISTORY, great work as always, Maita


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

prettydarkhorse--- Always a pleasure to hear from you, Maita. You are quite welcome. Isn't that song by Saint Francis absolutely beautiful? I think so. He was a great man. Maybe the finest example of a Christian man since the apostolic church. Thank you for your compliments.


The Old Hack profile image

The Old Hack 6 years ago

Fantastic hub. It’s easy to forget that the story of Christianity doesn’t end with the New Testament.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

The Old Hack--- Welcome to the Hub Pages Community. I will be over to read some of your work shortly. Thank you for the compliment. I appreciate you coming by to read my Hub.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working