The Church and its influence.Posted: June 10, 2012
Why was the Medieval churches important?
Medieval churches were crucial to society at that time because for hundreds of years they took care of peoples spiritual and physical needs.
Spiritually only through a priest, a monk, or a nun could you receive forgiveness for sins, or indulgences (which was a document received in exchange for money saying you are forgiven for a sin you have done, e.g. stealing). Local priests in each small community also performed baptisms and the Echuarist each Sunday. Echuarist was a ceremony commemorating the Last Supper, in which bread and wine are consecrated and consumed.
Often the church or in larger cities chapels and even cathedrals were the center of the town around which markets would be held to bring funds into a town or village. Religious holidays such as Christmas and Easter were a chance for people to join together.
Physically the church was supporting orphans and the poor around the area. In medieval Europe, there was no such thing as social welfare in the state. Also the church was often the hospital of the area, many monks and priests had recieved medical trainging.
One of the last reasons why the church was important was because when serfs usually worked in the land, most times when the human lord wasn’t there a church representitive like a bishop would take its place in collecting feudal dues
What were the positive effects for the Church?
Some of the positives effects for the Church included:
- The Church provided for the spiritual well being of the people, it was something they valued.
- The Church was a source of education for a lot of people.
- The Church provided an avenue for the social advancement, as even a serf could become a bishop based on achievement.
- Feudal society had no other clear avenues for improvement.
- The church moderated the actions of kings. It often prevented war or sought to make war less brutal.
- In many areas, the church had its own independent court system to which an accused person could appeal.
- It was like a hospital to some, monks and priests had medical training.
What were the negative effects for the Church?
There was not really many negative effects for the Church, the only negative effect was that People had to pay a lot of taxes to the Church. The priests were ‘crooked’ Atheists that just wanted money.
They paid 10% of what they earned in a year to the Church ( taxes was called tithes). Tithes could be paid in either money or in goods produced by the peasant farmers. As the peasants had little money, they almost always had to pay in seeds, harvested grain, animals etc. This normally caused a peasant a lot of hardship as seeds would be needed to feed a family the following year. What the Church got in tithes was kept in huge tithe barns; where a lot of the stored grain given by the people, would have been eaten by rats or poisoned by their urine. When a failure to pay tithes, the peasants were told by the Church, that since they did not pay the tithes, their souls going to Hell after they had died.
Why was the Church so wealthy?
The reason why the Church was so wealthy is because of people payed tithes. People would pay the tithes because they did not want to go to Hell. Another reason the Church was so wealthy was because people also had to pay for baptisms, (if you were not baptized you could not go to Heaven when you died), marriages (couples did not live together for the Church told them it was a sin), and also burials. You had to be buried on a holy land if your soul was going to Heaven. The Church also didn’t have to pay taxes; this made them even more wealthy, wealthier that the King of England at this time.
What are Heretics?
Heretics were religious groups that did not believe in God. While the groups ranged in beliefs, their commonality was their rejection from the Church. Many of them still thought of themselves as Christians despite the Churches rejection. Some of them thought that the Church changed so much, some even thought that the Church was heretical. So, this way, heretics were inside and outside of the Church. It was quite hard to determine who was a heretic and who was not. Heresy was one of the worst things someone could do back in that time. Lucky people would get beheaded, but most would be burnt alive in town for entertainment and people to see.