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Essay on the church in the middle ages

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  1. Maybe it was because of the wealth it exemplified, or the deterioration of morality in the popes.
  2. Such ideas require faith to take a back seat to works and tradition. A contemporary account states.
  3. References Bredero, Adriaan H. The church looked to the pope for answers but only got false hoods.
  4. For example, on a number of occasions, throughout his Epistles, Paul preaches the absolute necessity of faith. There were good clergy and bad clergy.

One click instant price quote The Church was undoubtedly the greatest influence in medieval life, affecting not only the religious and moral codes of the period, but also the political and social climate, which in turn allowed the Church to flourish. The Christianity of the Middle Ages is a highly debated topic. Was it merely "a pragmatic religion, a matter of sensible insurance against the inevitability of death, fear of Hell and the penalties of Divine Judgement?

Church In The Middle Ages

Religion is often considered to be a helpful tool in the study of history, as it can illustrate the ideas, prejudices and wishes of a period. For example, the Middle Ages and the connections between Church and State. Churchmen maintained that their spiritual authority transcended political boundaries acting as an independant third party in disputes. Over time, however, this role seemed to change, with the Church taking on a more dominant role.

Christianity In The Middle Ages Research Essay

There was a separation of the Priesthood of Melchizedek, who was both Priest and King - the powers now belonged to two different people, both being expected to keep out of the affairs of the other. The power of the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages affected all aspects of life, and perhaps even the way people saw the afterlife. To truly understand the progression of Christianity through the ages, one need first examine the Apostolic period and the Christianity that it preached.

Or did the Church lose something over time? The Apostolic period established the basic theological concepts of Christianity, which do seem to be quite different to the theological teachings of the Medieval Church. For example, on a number of occasions, throughout his Epistles, Paul preaches the absolute necessity of faith. The Medieval and even present Catholic Church say this is not so - they say that faith alone is insufficient.

This is where Medieval concepts, such as confession, penance and purgatory, come into the equation.

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Such ideas require faith to take a back seat to works and tradition. It was not until the first Century, after all of the Apostles and others who had been in direct contact with Christ were dead, that many Churches developed a hierarchical organisation. There was a turn from the Apostolic Christianity of love, equality and worship of God, to a Christianity that preached that man was never fully forgiven his sins and needed to work to reduce the punishments he would receive in the afterlife.

To do this, man needed a mediator to reach Christ. Romes acceptance of Christianity as its official religion may have strengthened the institution of the Medieval Church. Diversity of belief and practice was no longer going to be tolerated, Rome did not want a loose federation. In fact, Constantine may have seen Christianity as "an instrument of cohesion, a pillar of the new Imperial structure he was building, a State Religion to underpin his government.

If so, this could very well explain the Church's appearance in the political world. The word Catholic, when it was first applied to the Church, originally meant world-wide, but "by the end of the second century, it meant holding to doctrines of Apostolic tradition as accepted by a universal federation of Churches which recognise one another.

By the third century, the Apostles Creed had been formulated and adherence to it was obligatory. O'Grady, p 63 The end of the fifth century saw the Catholic Church generally accepted as the one True vehicle of Christianity, and any person or group who did not conform were considered heretics and were either converted or killed.

The Church had two primary purposes. Firstly, "the solemn public worship of God" Baldwin, p 1which the Church elaborated into the Liturgy; and secondly, the Church aimed for the sanctification of souls, where the seven Sacraments were preached.

A particular feature of the time was that men and women were tempted to seek new means by which such Institutions could be bypassed.

Bolton, p 14 People obviously found the Institutionalised Church constrictive and found new ways express their spirituality.

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Early heresies are certainly an important development in Christianity, especially the Gnostics and Marcionites. Gnosticism was considered perhaps the biggest threat to Orthodoxy, and it was these Gnostic tendencies that reappeared in the Middle Ages, threatening the unified Church. Gnostic comes from the Greek word gnosis, which means knowledge. It is a largely secret, mystical tradition, which was eventually seen to permeate parts of the Church.

For example, both Clement and Origen accepted parts of Gnosticism.

  • Architecture during the Middle Ages became a new style with new problems to solve and a new kind of extraordinary buildings to build;
  • The power of the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages affected all aspects of life, and perhaps even the way people saw the afterlife.

Clement 150 - 215 AD often quoted Gnostic sources in his writings, and Origen 185 - 254 AD had some of his Gnostic-influenced ideas condemned by Councils in the fifth and sixth centuries.

Councils of Alexandria and Constantinople Clements ideal was the Christian Gnostic, an idea not dissimilar from the Jewish kabbalists.

Example research essay topic: Roman Catholic Church Middle Ages - 2,042 words

Both systems, Gnosticism and Kabbalah, require an oral tradition, so one could easily see how Catholicism could go hand-in-hand with Gnosticism - they both place oral tradition over scripture. Also, they considered all material matter to be vile and corrupt, which one could possibly infer from reading the Bible a particular way.

For example, Jesus states that "the Spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak" See Matt 26: The Marcionites, as well as other Heresies, such as Catharism and Manichaeism shared the same views - that matter was evil and only things of the Spirit were of importance. For the Marcionites, all was surrounded by male and female Spiritual Beings aeonsof which the pre-human Jesus originally belonged. This group also considered knowledge to be an essential part of mans existence.

Anyhow, the Middle Ages seemed to produce or revive a great number of Heresies, most of which could be said to have been begotten of Orthodox Christianity. Inquisitions were held to ensure the protection of the faithful, especially from the twelfth century onwards.

The hearing was usually presided over by a Friar, although for more difficult or well-known cases, a higher member may have been called in.

Control Of The Church During The Middle Ages

The court had two functions - to to identify the heretic and deal with the problem. It was not until the mid thirteenth century that torture was introduced to the procedure, under strict and controlled conditions. The Court was admitting to failure to help the lost soul, but at least the faithful were safe from the corruption that a heretic might spread.

The Inquisitions could also be seen as a unifying practice for the Church - by battling a common enemy, they were brought together and provided discipline for the Church. Other individuals, out of a deep feeling of religiosity or dissatisfaction with the Institutional Church, turned to Monasticism.

It began quite early on, when Christianity was brought to Rome and being a Christian was considered respectable in society. Many Christians thought it was too easy, especially considering many of Christs speeches, proclaiming that they would be persecuted for His sake. From the fourth century onward, it was considered one of the highest callings. It was a well-balanced life of prayer and manual labour.

Why was the Church important in the Middle Ages?

The brothers rose at two in the morning, and for three hours they were involved in prayer and meditation. From five to nine they studied. Quarter past nine until noon they worked in the fields. At twelve they had their one meal of the day, followed by an hours Siesta.

  • A style termed Romanesque from about 1000 onward had dominated; this gave way to the Gothic in about 1150 which spread Europe during the Beginning Middle Ages 1196 words - 5 pages were great during this time as well;
  • In any series of causes, Aquinas says, there must be a first cause, which causes the second, which causes the third, and so on;
  • This is where Medieval concepts, such as confession, penance and purgatory, come into the equation;
  • For example, the Middle Ages and the connections between Church and State;
  • No single foot solders or archer could stand up to any one knight;
  • For example, on a number of occasions, throughout his Epistles, Paul preaches the absolute necessity of faith.

They would work again until four and were in bed by half past six. It was forbidden for them to receive gifts and they instead worked for any money - educating boys, performing the sacraments for neighbours etc. Something else these groups of people were objecting to, in their move, was "the individual conscience against the established order.

But why did the Church need such organisation? Firstly, it needed unity. Constantine, in the Council at Nicaea in 325 AD, settled many issues which he hoped would strengthen the Catholic Church and his Empire. There was also the unity against Heresy - "if a Kingdom be divided against itself, that Kingdom cannot stand. The word Pope is taken from the word for papa, as he is considered to be the fatherly, spiritual leader of the Roman Catholic Church. IN patriarchal times, a Father was considered the spiritual leader of his family - note Abrahams move from his family - to be removed from his Fathers idolatrous spirituality.

Christ singled out Peter as the Chief of His Apostles, so Peter was considered to be the first Bishop and "only those churches that could trace their descent from one of the Apostles, were repositories of the true faith, which the Apostles had handed down.

Because of this Apostolic link, he cannot be wrong - "God will not permit the Pope to make an error in solemn official declarations concerning matters of faith - this is the infamous Papal infallibility, which is rejected by non-Catholic Christians. The Papacy exercise its power in a number of ways. Firstly, and most importantly, the Pope had authority over essay on the church in the middle ages Catholic faith everywhere.

There were Papal Courts, which disciplined and excommunicated heretics. The Pope was also given the authority to interpret - both law and scripture, and since it was such a unique gift, he could easily pressure social groups and government. Hall, p 6 The Papacy was, however, considered to be independant of politics. There was an "insistence by the Popes upon a territorial state of sufficient size to guarantee political.