Christians are faced with the problem of reconciling the demands on the individual of love with the apparent need in a sinful world to use force. St Augustine’s answer has proved itself to be generally acceptable. In a private capacity no man ought ever to kill, even in his own defence; but he may be justified in doing so as a public duty. Public warfare, as opposed to personal acts of violence, must be legitimised by public authority. It follows that a Just or Holy War must be authorised by a ruler whose powers are normally considered to include the right to proclaim it. A difference between crusades and other Holy Wars was that the ruler who legitimised them was not an emperor or king, but the pope, who claimed to be acting on Christ’s behalf; and resulting from the papal initiative were the characteristic privileges enjoyed by crusaders, particularly the Indulgence, which could be granted only by him.
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