Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Crusaders Revisited. (Odds & Ends)

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Crusaders Revisited. (Odds & Ends)

Article excerpt

"Crusaders! Crusaders!" This cheer has wafted over the bleachers of countless football and basketball games in many a Catholic school that has adopted the Crusader as its mascot and mantra. An image of a Crusader, decked out in battle armor atop a horse, is emblazoned on many high school rings. Bookstores do brisk business selling a variety of Crusader decals, which are displayed in the rear windows of many a car cruising around these schools' neighborhoods.

Crusaders! Crusaders! My high school was one of many that adopted the Crusader mascot. It all seemed so proper back then, well before the Second Vatican Council convened. My school was located in the middle of an excessively Catholic part of Chicagoland. The Holy Roman Catholic Church then indulged itself with a theology of the church triumphant.

Both theology and history have evolved since that time, thanks be to God. Catholicism, in a move akin to the emperor of Japan renouncing his divinity after World War II, abandoned its triumphant theology in favor of a pastoral theology that, ideally, centers on all people's experiences, their spiritual traditions included. And the exclusively Western interpretation of history that presented the Crusades as an honored symbol of Catholic faithfulness has gradually been replaced by an understanding of the Crusades as a series of well-orchestrated, particularly violent attacks on the Muslim world.

Crusaders! Crusaders? Things do change. …

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