Friendship v. Battles Over Differences – When do we fight?

In the1500’s the World seemed to be that of the Roman Empire and the Ottoman Empire.  The Catholic Church was under attack by Martin Luther, the ‘reformer’ and for whom the Reformation was named.  Charles V of Spain was awaiting coronation as the Holy Roman Emperor.  The pope was Leo X (followed by Adrian VI and then Clement VII).  Francis I of France and Henry VIII were considering their power base and the prospects for a larger universe.  Ferdinand, Charles V brother, was the leader of Hungary and the Hapsburg Empire was still in play.  While at the same time Suleyman was the leader of the Ottoman Empire – the son of Selim I the Grim, grandson of Mehmet II who in 1453 ended the Byzantine Empire headquartered in Constantinople.  Barbarossa was plying the Mediterranean Sea and controlling the Barbary Coast, his red beard and one arm a symbol of his might.  Much happened in that period, including Suleyman’s attempt to cross from the Islamic Ottoman Empire into the Christian world and assume control.  Fortunately he was unsuccessful in his attempt to invade and control Vienna (1532).  Thanks be to God.  The turmoil in religious and control elements in Europe kept the leaders from dealing with the signs before them to take over the Christian world by uniting and combining their resources.  Their resources had run thin protecting their own turf and personal indulgences.  Protestantism was emerging out of Germany despite efforts from the Vatican to burn the reformers and any of their materials.  The printing press, a 1400’s invention, kept producing many documents and pamphlets that opened the eyes of the masses to the personal selfish practices of the hierarchy of the papacy.   The materials could not be burned fast enough, or sufficiently to suppress the revolt.   The One that would strike down the revolt and restore order to the Roman Catholic Church was sought and the Vatican kept their allegiances at bay, leaning towards whomever or whenever the leader of that day showed the strength that might keep them safe, secure, and in control of the faithful. 

Suleyman had taken over the Balkins and ended the stay of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, the Hospitallers, in Rhodes (post the era of the Crusades and the Arabs takeover of Palestine) and invaded parts of Hungary.  He appointed his own head of Hungary – Zapola.  Ferdinand at one juncture sent envoys to Constantinople to offer a peace with the Ottoman Empire, offering riches, while resuming his posture as the King of all Hungary – to which Suleyman laughed.  The envoys were questioned on their intent and that of their leader.  They suggested they  traveled seeking friendly agreements among factions, settling differences without war.  Frederick must have no friends, was Suleyman’s thought, as his success in making such friendly agreements had never been successful.  Is this a reflection of the Obama plan?

This a most interesting time for the Vatican, the Protestants, the Muslims, leadership, religion, and a change in world thinking.  A good read – Defenders of the Faith, by James Reston, Jr. The Penguin Press, NY, NY, 2009.

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