Influence Of Catholic Church In Medieval England

2158 words - 9 pages

Throughout history, scholars recognize The Medieval Period as a pinpoint of religious, artistic, and expressive diversity. Many came to rely on the church, the only institution to survive the fall of Rome, and depended on its guidance. Eventually, people began to shape their lives around the Church and the way it functioned. As the Catholic Church expanded and thrived, divisions and disagreements occurred that resulted in a split- The Great Schism. European thinkers, writers, and artists began to look back and celebrate the art and culture of ancient Greece and Rome (Blake 52). This curiosity and authority to speak at will sparked an innovation that made the Catholic Church so prevalent. During the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church dominated society and its surroundings; as the prominent religion, economic system, and the only way to salvation, the Catholic Church served as the most powerful institution in all of Europe.
As the Catholic Faith spread across England and the rest of Europe, it became the most largely followed religion of the Medieval Period. After the fall of Rome, no single state or government existed that united people who lived in Europe (Blake 78). The only foundation people could look to was the Church, and Europeans gradually drifted and attached to the Catholic faith. As the faith grew in popularity, its dominance thrived even greater. Almost the entire population relied on the Church for support. Even royalty derived much of their power from alliances with the Church (Blake 78). People came to the church with both religious problems and basic needs issues. Many Europeans, especially commoners, could not afford provisions and went to the Church for food and shelter.
The strict policies and historical presence since the first century captivated Christians from all backgrounds. The Pope had authority over all of Europe and “…for almost five centuries, Europe was a single cultural unit under a uniform religious organization that was dominate by the Papacy” (Knowles 596). Because of his unmatched power, he could excommunicate people, including the king, from the Catholic Church. Many kings attempted to threaten the papal power, including King John of England. Kings did not understand that “It is the bishops who are the judges of the Christian emperors, and not the emperors who are the judges of the bishops” (Schnürer 34). Pope Innocent III excommunicated King John of England because of an argument over appointing an archbishop, resulting in religious jolt that awakened people to realize the true supremacy of religious leaders and began to recognize the Pope as the spiritual representative of Jesus on Earth.
Monks and nuns left secular-focused society to devote their life to God and took vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience to the abbot in order to fully be a part of this lifestyle. Monastic life consisted of filling social needs. Activities included tending to the sick, helping the poor, and educating...

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