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Children’s Crusade Debacle - Part 3

Updated on October 30, 2010

The Children's Crusade

King Philip Augustus of France
King Philip Augustus of France | Source
Saint Lawrence Bishop of Brindisi
Saint Lawrence Bishop of Brindisi | Source
Pope Innocent III
Pope Innocent III | Source



King Philip of France ordered the young Stephen to stop and come back when he was older but did nothing to stop them. The bishop of Brindisi refused to let the remnant from Germany proceed but did not make the effort to stop them. Pope Innocent III had declined to grant their appeal to be released from their vow. 

All of Europe was downcast by these expeditions, which it had lacked the courage to forbid. Innocent III had cried, “These children put us to shame. While we sleep, they joyously leave their homelands.” Nevertheless, he also had done nothing to stop the hordes of young people from walking to their sure death.

            Christine Mallouhi closes off the crusade period with this thought, “The impact of the crusades in Europe was enormous. They were a movement which included nine Crusades between 1096 and 1291 and directly affected the life of almost every single person in Western Europe in one way or another for a period of around 400 years.”            

             In the time period of the Children’s Crusade it is safe to say that over 60,000 families were decimated by the contagious enthusiasm displayed by the 100,000 children as they went and the foolish hopefulness of adults who sacrificed their children for an presumptuous dream uninspired by God.


Thomas Powers from Southbury, Connecticut offer these thoughts in his forward to “The Children’s Crusade” written by George Zabriskie Gray,

“The Children’s Crusade certainly had its pathological aspects, but it is better understood as a kind of litmus test for the sincerity of medieval religious faith. The children who set out for Jerusalem took their teachers at their word. They put their trust in God and expected to win by faith what their elders had failed to win by arms. In short, they accepted literally what their elders, when it came down to it, had intended only metaphorically.”

Children will innocently believe that which adults will not even give a second thought. The adults in this era learned a hard lesson, what they had rejected, they had mocked, and their children took seriously. Children believe with a greater force than can ever be imagined, as their hearts are not hardened by failure and disappointment.

What is being taught our children?

What are they seeing, or hearing in the background that is influencing their hearts but at which we scoff?

Are we doomed to replay this horrendous event in the future or will we pay attention to what is taught and preached from the pulpits and sanctuaries of our churches today?

We need to pay attention to the past in order to save our children today. Are we listening?

return to Part 1

return to Part 2

We need to pay attention to the past in order to save our children today.

Are We Listening?
Are We Listening?


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    • UlrikeGrace profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Canada

      Thank you Deborrah for your enthusiastic recpetion of this unique episode in the life of the Church! I agree we need to learn from this, these children paid a high price, and it seems that children are still paying a high price because we, the church, as a whole, are not speaking up in their defence. We do NEED to pay attention to their perceptivity but at the same time discern the "spirit" behind what they are sensing. Children are vulnerable...we need to protect them, learn from them, but not stifle them...Bless you my sister Ulrike Grace

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 

      8 years ago

      UlrikeGrace, THANK YOU! Children are indeed a gift and Blessing from the Lord! It is important that they be loved, encouraged, cared for and protected! Although sad; In their innocence these children demonstrate perserverance... We can learn a lot here! The adults were negligent! This is a wonderful teaching tool!

      As you say; "Are we doomed to replay this horrendous event in the future or will we pay attention to what is taught and preached from the pulpits and sanctuaries of our churches today?

      We need to pay attention to the past in order to save our children today. Are we listening?" Amen & AMEN!!

      Bravo and thank you for this informative, thought provoking presentation!

      In HIS Love, Grace, Joy, Peace & Blessings!

    • UlrikeGrace profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Canada

      Again I have to say Amen rls. May the heart and the Spirit of your prayer reach the Father's ears and may we respond when He initiates such. thank you for reading this all the way through and being so honest with your comments. Blessing to you rls, I appreciate your faithfulness to the Father. Love in Him, Ulrike Grace

    • UlrikeGrace profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Canada

      Hey parrster, thanks for stopping and gving this a read. I am glad that it has intrigued you enough to want to learn more. That is what writing is suppose to do!

      It was a sad period to say the least. Not only for the children but the darkness of the Church at that time. Makes me think are we really so far away from this today? It seems this darkness just goes around and around, first the dark ages, the world wars especially WWll...what will next grab our attention so we realize just how much of God's brilliant light has been diminshed in the world. Blessings to you and thank you for your comments. Your friend and sister in the Lord Ulrike Grace

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      The Scriptures teach us of the value of children and how they are a blessing and gift from God. I think the study of history and the failures of men and women who professed to be followers of Jesus Christ should be seen through the glasses of God's Word. That lesson can clearly be distilled from studying this point in history and applied into our lives and culture today. May God give us the humility and wisdom to come before Him in prayer to seek his wisdom and grace to walk as He walked in this world.

    • parrster profile image

      Richard Parr 

      8 years ago from Australia

      Thanks UlrikeGrace. You have inspired me to read more about this unique period. What you have written has reinforced the importance of children seeing that we are what we preach; if we want to instil a lasting faith within the. For although they will believe anything told them for a time, it is only modelled conviction (genuine faith) that will retain their respect and ongoing imitation. Along with this we must under-gird faith with sound reasoning, if for no other reason than to defend against those that would undermine it. If it is the case we find neither solid conviction nor the reason to support it, then maybe there is a problem with what we've placed our faith in. God bless.

    • UlrikeGrace profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Canada

      I agree...but I do truly believe it is so often becasue we, as the congregation or people, don't want to see the truth...we want to believe the our children and many others suffer. It doesn't always have to be the big things either even though that is what gets the "press." Our children are our responsibility and we too often leave the burden of teaching them to another and not even checking what it is they are being taught. Or worse, taking in from the environment we subject them to. Children do not have the ability or capacity to process things through to a logical conclusion becasue of the lack of experience and/or knowledge. It is suppose to be the guidance of their parents that devlopes this in them. We have sadly failed in this too many times. Thanks Inge for taking the time to read and comment. I appreciate it. Blessings to you,

    • profile image

      Inge Linton 

      8 years ago

      A very thought provoking hub, unfortunately it is human nature not to learn from past mistakes. A prime example is the church, mainly catholic, burrying its head in the sand and looking the other way during WWII and denying support and sanctuary to the jewish people. And, even in our time, some of the preachers abuse children and send rather bad messages, instead of being the defenders and protectors that they should be.


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