VATICAN CITY—Saying they had been giving some thought recently to the idea of sending legions of Christian boys and girls to retake the Holy Land and wanted to gauge the level of support, Vatican officials reportedly began putting out feelers Wednesday to determine how the public might react to another Children’s Crusade, much as was attempted in the year 1212. “We just want to test the waters here and find out whether sending 30,000 children between the ages of 5 and 18 to march toward Jerusalem carrying devotional banners and wooden crosses is something the faithful would be into,” said the director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke, adding that priests around the world had been instructed to slip questions into their weekly sermons to see if the notion of dispatching vast numbers of youths to cross the Mediterranean and recover the True Cross resonated with their congregations. “I want to stress that nothing’s been planned. We just want to ask Catholics out there: Would you send your child for such an initiative? Would you be okay with them leaving for several years to convert the Muslim bands occupying the land of Christ? And how does, say, May or June of next year sound? No pressure. We’d just like to know where everyone stands on this.” Burke went on to assure parents that if they ended up going forward with such a crusade, Vatican leaders would make sure to take precautions so that no children would be tricked into boarding cargo ships, sold as slaves in North Africa, and tortured into renouncing Christ.
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