St. Bernard's Influence On The Second Crusades

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St. Bernard of Clairvaux played a pivotal role in the preaching of the Second Crusade. Though the Second Crusade is generally regarded by historians as a massive failure, the opinion of Bernard of Clairvaux has not changed over time, nor has the way historians regard his influence on the Second Crusade. This is made apparent by the views portrayed by George Dickson Kerr in Bernard of Clairvaux and Christian Society in the Twelfth Century, published in 1966 and The Second Crusade: Scope and Consequences, published in 2001, written by Jonathan Phillips and Martin Hoch.
Bernard of Clairvaux was born in Fontaine, France in 1091. He was a tremendous influence on the Twelfth Century as a whole. During his lifetime, he founded 160 monasteries throughout
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Pope Eugenius III promised Bernard the same indulgences for it that Pope Urban II had promised during the First Crusade (Catholic Online). Bernard is well remembered in history, which can partly be attributed to the fact that 482 of his letters were preserved and translated (Gasquet). Bernard died on the 20th of August, 1153 at the age of sixty-three. St. Bernard was canonized in 1174 by Pope Alexander III (Gasquet). In 1830, Pope Pius VII declared Bernard a Doctor of the Church (Catholic Online). Bernard was an extremely religious man, and he often used his beliefs to get others to believe in him. He is historically remembered as a well-liked man, which supported by many of his letters. For example, in a letter written in 1127 to Suger, abbot of St. Denis, Bernard wrote that God had done “great things” for Suger’s soul (Gasquet 70). Throughout his letter to Suger, it is clear that Bernard was very pleasant and optimistic. He said “if I recall the remembrance of past evils it is not in order to cast confusion or to reproach on anyone,” but rather to make the future look brighter, “because there is nothing which makes the present good shine forth more clearly than a comparison with the evils which preceded it” (75-76).
In another letter, to Pope Innocent in 1139, Bernard of Clairvaux describes in detail his devotion to his faith. Bernard’s writing expresses a gentle nature, and shows that his later actions during the Second Crusade were spiritually motivated, with good intentions. In this letter, Bernard proclaimed his loyalty to Archbishop Falco of Lyons. Bernard’s letters prove him to be very articulate and persuasive, which must have helped attribute to his

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