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6 Proclaiming the Message

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Chapter Summary

The themes and arguments for taking the cross that were found in the papal bulls were communicated to the people by way of the sermons preached in order to recruit men and gather means for the crusades. Sermons were an important element in the campaigns to launch a new crusade, and the popes seem to have taken care to appoint skilled preachers, and to control the organization by naming legates for the purpose. The sermons mention or allude to a spiritual reward for the crusaders in different ways, either in the form of an "eternal reward", the remission of sins or a cancellation of penance. Some of them seem eager to present the crusade as an advantageous opportunity for gaining a special reward, while others are more concerned with stressing the crusaders' need for penitence and self-sacrifice.

Keywords: crusades; eternal reward; papal bulls; penitence; self-sacrifice; sermons; skilled preachers

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