The Church in the Middle Ages

The Church in the Middle Ages

The Church in the Middle Ages Importance of the Roman Catholic Church Almost everyone in Western Europe belonged to the Roman Catholic Church ( although Scandinavia didnt become Christian until about 1000AD) Almost everyone deeply believed in the Churchs teachings, in God, heaven and hell

Importance of the Roman Catholic Church The R. C. Church was the only unifying force throughout Europe The R. C. Church filled the need for leadership when governments were weak and it did many of the things that modern governments do today. Actually, it is probably more correct to refer to

the R. C. Church in the Middle Ages as simply the Church (because there was only 1) Importance of the Sacraments Sacraments: holy rituals of the Church Included 7 Sacraments: Baptism-performed a.s.a.p. after birth Holy Communion Confession (Reconciliation)

Confirmation Marriage Holy Orders Last Rites (Anointing of the Sick) Saints and Angels Satan and his

demons In addition to heaven and hell, there was an intermediate place purgatory-where a soul went after death if he had committed too many sins to immediately go to

heaven, but not so many that he should go permanently to hell. In purgatory, the soul was punished for sins, and then could go to heaven Relics: Bits of bone, a tooth, etc. of the saintsa bit of the cross, a piece

of the Virgin Marys veil, were thought by many to have miraculous power. Importance of the Sacraments The Sacraments followed each person from birth to death The Church taught that without these

sacraments you could not go to heaven A priest could pronounce forgiveness of sins in the name of the Church . The Church could compel almost any Christian person to obey its orders by the threat of: Excommunication: cutting an individual off

from the sacraments because of some serious ongoing sin (the person could be granted forgiveness and be re-communicated) Interdict-cutting a whole region or country off from most sacraments (except Last Rites) to compel a ruler to obey an order of the Church Hierarchy of the Church Pope: head of the whole Church and the most

powerful person in W. Europe Cardinals: Princes of the Church; members of the Curia who advised and elected the Pope Archbishops: Leader of an Archdiocese (several Dioceses). Usually a member of the nobility and often a Feudal Lord as well Bishop: Leader of a group of parishes called a Diocese; had a large church called a Cathedral Parish Priest: Responsible for a Parish;

directly served the people Hierarchy of the Church Usually the only way a commoner of great ability could move up in the world was by becoming a member of the Church hierarchy MONASTICISM The Medieval Church had 2 types of clergy:

secular (in the world-this included parish priests and the hierarchy just mentioned) monks and nuns (people who lived apart from the world in monasteries or convents). Monks and nuns were called regular clergy (not meaning ordinary. It means they followed a regulation). MONASTICISM Monasteries and Convents were places where men

and women withdrew to devote themselves to God Monks-men-monastery-headed by an Abbot Nuns-women-convent-headed by an Abbess People were so religious that about 10% of the population became monks or nuns MONASTICISM Both monasteries and convents followed a set

of rules called the Benedictine Rule, which was developed by St. Benedict at a monastery called Monte Cassino, in Italy in the 500sAD MONASTICISM Benedictine Rule: strict daily schedule of work and prayer Prayer 8 times a day, beginning at 5:00 a.m., ending at 2:00 the middle of the night

Useful work: farming, caring for the poor and sick, copying manuscripts, etc. Took vows of poverty (no individual property), chastity (no sex) and obedience (to the head of the monastery & the Church) Some strict monasteries even had vows of not talking. They used a form of sign language MONASTICISM

Important functions of monasteries & convents: praying for the souls of people: caring for the poor and sick; establishing hospitals; hospitality to travelers; establishing schools; copying manuscripts. They also farmed and served as models in agriculture. Some monasteries became very rich, because often nobles gave them money

or land in order to gain spiritual favor. POLITICAL ROLE OF THE CHURCH Popes had great spiritual and political power across Europe. He could usually force almost anyone, including a ruler or king, to obey an order of the Church through threat of excommunication and interdict.

The Pope was also the actual ruler of the Papal States POLITICAL ROLE OF THE CHURCH Canon Law Church law the governed matters such as marriage and annulment (divorce as such as not allowed, and only the

Church could grant an annulment; Canon law also governed all matters involving clergy POLITICAL ROLE OF THE CHURCH The Church could also

punish heretics people who held beliefs contrary to the Church. They could be persecuted or even executed. ECONOMIC ROLE

The Church had great wealth from the tithe-10% paid by every person, and other special taxes, as well as the income from its land. Also, people often left money or land to the Church in their wills The Church became the greatest land-owner in Europe Monasteries were often leaders in agriculture and produced goods for trade. Influenced the economy by their rule that Christians could not charge interest on loans. Interest on loans

was called usury PROBLEMS Much, probably most, of what the Church did was good, but not always As time went on, problems developed in the Church. Lay investiture-practice of a lay (non-clergy) ruler choosing and investing (giving the symbols of

office) to a bishop or archbishop Simony-basically requiring that a person pay a large fee, in effect buying, a high Church office REFORMERS and SAINTS In response to problems, and to the general feeling that the Church was loosing its original devotion to God, reformers arose.

REFORMERS and SAINTS St. Francis of Assisi: 1200s-Italy. Became a wandering preacher, a holy hippie, who lived in absolute poverty and preached among the poor. He also wrote poetry and even preached to animals. He was really far out there, but in a beautiful, holy

way. Founded the order of Franciscans, who lived and preached among the people. They were called Franciscan Friars. REFORMERS and SAINTS St. Dominic Became a preacher deeply concerned about heresy (beliefs other than those

officially held by the Church). Founded the Dominicans, who sought out heresy and tried to stamp it out Some of what they did was good, but unfortunately, it also lead to the inquisition, a Church court that put suspected heretics on trial and punished them (sometimes burned them at the stake)

REFORMERS and SAINTS St. Hildegard of Bingen Germany, 1100s A woman who from childhood had holy visions. She became the Abbess of a great convent that was very idealistic Even the Pope turned to her for advice

She turned her holy visions into great works of art: visual art (paintings) as well as music that is still heard today. REFORMERS

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