On this day in 1095 Pope Urban II made a speech.
The setting was the Council of Clermont in France.
Urban, indeed all of Europe, was alarmed at the aggression of the Turks in the East, who had taken the Holy Land and were invading the Eastern Roman Empire. Urban therefore addressed the Council asking them to help their Christian brethren in the East. As Robert the Monk recorded, Urban put it, apparently, this way: “Deus vult!… God wills it!”
Thus began the First Crusade.
In another version of Urban’s history-shaping speech recorded by one Fulcher of Chartres, Urban also addressed corruption in the Church. According to Fulcher, thus Urban:
Let those who have been accustomed unjustly to wage private warfare against the faithful now go against the infidels and end with victory this war which should have been begun long ago. Let those who for a long time, have been robbers, now become knights. Let those who have been fighting against their brothers and relatives now fight in a proper way against the barbarians. Let those who have been serving as mercenaries for small pay now obtain the eternal reward. Let those who have been wearing themselves out in both body and soul now work for a double honor.
Not a bad sentiment, when removed from its context and separated from some the the racial rhetoric common to the day.
Perhaps it would be good for Catholic men to see themselves as knights.
In one parish I know a zealous priest, Fr. Richard Heilman, started a men’s group called The Knights of Divine Mercy. He has even written a “field manual” for Catholic men. We belong to the Church militant after all. Book HERE Kindle HERE. I gave a talk to this men’s group not too long ago. They are doing good things. They also have a group for boys called the Squires of Divine Mercy.
Urban’s speech and Fr. Heilman’s efforts also remind me of the good movie called Courageous (USA BlueRay+DVD HERE. Just DVD HERE. UK DVD HERE. Yes, I think the concepts will “translate” for readers in the UK.) about some men who band together and decide they will make a special commitment, to each other and to God, to be better men, better husbands, and better fathers. The pastor who witnesses the vows the men make says this:
“I also have a warning for each of you. Now that you know what you are to do, and have committed to do it before God and these witnesses, you are doubly accountable. Let me also assure you, that you may have confidence in this resolution and your resolve now, because as you stand here there’s no challenge, no controversy, and no conflict. But I can assure you that challenges will arise, conflicts will arise, and controversy will arise. It is at that moment that, in order to live our this resolution, you will need courage… courage… courage.”
This is what we need from our fathers in the family and in the Faith. When I heard that in the movie I thought that that speech could be one of the best parts of the admonition a bishop is supposed to give to the men he will ordain priests.
Anyway, today in 1095 Pope Urban made a speech.