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Crusades and the Church In the right time of the Crusades, the official church was becoming corrupt and sexually motivated. It should be said, too, that crusaders did not require guarantees to "go on crusade." The long crusade, in English or in any other language, is a much later innovation. What we call "crusades," contemporaries understood as "pilgrimages" or even simply "journeys." Aside from a tiny elite, people were illiterate as well as if they could read, there was no access to a Bible or some other scriptural instruction. This was an age of superstition and magic, in which visions, signs and wonders were maintained by many. The masses' only source of knowledge about God was whatever the corrupt and greedy clergy decided to teach. The early crusades broke new reasons for the energy of their Church. It gave the Pope that the maximum order of control and caused new religious vows. The crusade was a holy war, which differed from previous wars against the enemies of Christendom because it had been waged by command of the pope. To be able to ignite the fire of the Crusades, the Pope had to take existing theology about war and violence and flip it on its head. Until this moment a Christian soldier needed to do penance for virtually any violence so as to decrease the time he would spend in purgatory before going to paradise. Violence was considered a necessary evil, but nonetheless still wicked. Popes Gregory VII and Urban II changed this. They stated that an act of warfare against the infidel, i.e. the Muslims, was in itself an act of penance, and when a Christian were to lose his life so doing, he'd go straight to heaven. Most Crusaders extended this notion to include killing Jews too. With many folks confronting what they believed could be countless years in purga...