Call For Common Action Against The Turks

October 4, 2018

SPEECH OF PIUS II AT MANTUA

JUNE 1, 1459

 

Our brethren and our sons…we summoned princes and peoples that we might together take counsel to defend Christendom. We came full of hope and we grieve to find it in vain.

We are ashamed that Christians are so indifferent. Some are given over to luxury and pleasure; others are kept away by avarice. The Turks do not hesitate to die for their most vile faith, but we cannot incur the least expense nor endure the smallest hardship for the sake of Christ’s gospel. If we continue thus, it will be all over with us. We shall soon perish unless we can summon up a different spirit. Therefore we urge you, who are holy men, to pray God without ceasing that He may change the temper of the Christian kings, rouse the spirit of His people, and kindle the hearts of the faithful, so that now at least we may take arms and avenge the wrongs which the Turks day after day are inflicting on our religion.

Up, brethren! Up, sons! Turn to God with all your hearts. Watch and pray; atone for your sins by fasting and giving alms; bring forth works meet for repentance; for thus God will be appeased and have mercy on us, and if we show ourselves brave, He will deliver our enemies into our hands.

We shall remain here till we have learned the disposition of the princes. If they intend to come, we will together take counsel for our state. If not, we must go home again and endure the lot God has given us. But so long as life and strength last we shall never abandon the purpose of defending our religion nor shall we think it hard, if need be, to risk our life for our sheep.

PIUS II

 

Ross, James Bruce and Mary Martin McLaughlin, eds. The Portable Medieval Reader. New York: Viking, 1949.

 

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