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Children’s Crusade Debacle - Part 3
The Children's Crusade
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?