Erasmus' view of war: In Praise of Folly

Now the Christian church was founded on blood, strengthened by blood, and augmented by blood; yet nowadays they carry on Christ‘s cause by the sword just as if He was defends His own by His own means had perished. And although war is so cruel a business that it befits beasts and not men, so frantic that poets feign it is sent with evil purpose by the Furies, so pestilential that it brings with it a general blight upon morals, so iniquitous that it is usually conducted by the worst bandits, so impious that it has no accord with Christ, yet our popes, neglecting all their other concerns, make it their only task. Here you will see feeble old men assuming the strength of youth, not shocked by the expense or tired out by the labor, not at all discouraged, if only they may upset laws, religion, peace, and all humane usages, and turn them heels over head. Learned sycophants will be found who will give to this manifest madness the names of zeal, piety, and fortitude, devising a way whereby it is possible for a man to whip out his sword, stick it into the guts of his brother, and nonetheless dwell in that supreme charity which, according to Christ’s precept, a Christian owes to his neighbor. Here I am at a loss as to whether certain bishops of the Germans furnished the popes the model for all this or took it from them. These colonels personally acted as colonels, laying by their garb, forgetting about benedictions and other such formalities, as though they esteemed it cowardly and lacking in decorum for a bishop to return his soul to God from any place but a battlefield. – Erasmus, In Praise of Folly, 1511