As a Catholic, I have heard many criticisms of my faith through the years, but James Ferragut's June 28th letter in which he blames the Catholic Church for the hundreds of years of conflict between Christians and Muslims, as well as the institution of slavery and the promotion of racism, reaches a new low of uninformed bigotry.

Jim, I would suggest if you wish to pontificate on the origins of slavery and the crusades, you at least do a minimum amount of research. It may come as a surprise to you, but the Battle of Tours (or the Battle of the Highway of the Martyrs as Muslims term it), was fought in in 732 A.D. In that battle, Charles Martel defeated the Muslim invaders and halted their advance into Western Europe, essentially saving Europe from Muslim domination.

For your edification, the first crusade occurred in 1095 A.D., a full three and a half centuries after the Battle of Tours. Hence, the first aggressive action was instituted by Muslim forces long before the first crusade.

In addition, the first crusade was launched by Pope Urban II after the Muslim Seljuks, a Turkish tribe, had taken control of Jerusalem and much of Asia Minor. The history of the conflict between Christians and Muslims has many heroes and many villains on both sides, and its origins are complex. To simply blame the Catholic Church is gibberish.

And as for slavery and racism, it existed all over the world long before Jesus arrived on this earth. There is absolutely no basis for laying a heavy amount of blame for slavery and racism at the foot of the Catholic Church, and to do so is a spurious attack that is beneath your dignity.

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The Inquisition of the Middle Ages, and the sexual abuse and corruption that exists in the Catholic Church, are certainly worthy of criticism. But, your allegations are outrageous and without justification. I hope you see fit to apologize to all Catholics. The world is full of hatred and misunderstanding. Don't contribute to it.