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The Medieval Church Mr. Blais European Middle Ages.

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Presentation on theme: "The Medieval Church Mr. Blais European Middle Ages."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Medieval Church Mr. Blais European Middle Ages

2 A Secular Church After the fall of Rome the Roman Catholic Church became the most powerful spiritual and secular (worldly) force in Western Europe. The Pope as the head of the church and representative of Christ on Earth claimed authority over all secular rulers. Bishops and church officials during this time were also feudal lords with land and wealth of their own.

3 Church Authority To Medieval Christians all people were sinners and doomed to eternal suffering unless they participated in the sacraments (sacred rituals of the Church). Since the Church decided who could participate they had absolute authority over religious life. The Church also had its own laws (Canon Law) and courts to address religious teachings, behavior, and morals.

4 Church Enforcement If people refused to follow church law the church could excommunicate them, meaning they could not receive the sacraments and would be shunned by other Christians. Powerful nobles might face an interdict which could exclude an entire village or region from receiving the sacraments. These powerful policies caused even the most powerful kings to bow to Church authority.

5 The Local Church Village churches were the social centers for peasants and priests were a central part of peasant life. But peasants also had to pay a tax to the church called the tithe. The tithe was used to help sustain the church and to help the poor. Women were seen as equals before God, but on earth they were inferior. They were also compared with unrealistic religious figures (Eve or Mary) leaving them without a realistic female role model.

6 Monasteries Monasteries/Convents were places for people to dedicate their lives to God. One monk named Benedict developed rules for the monasteries: – Oath of Poverty and Prayer – Vows of chastity, purity, and obedience to the abbot (head of monastery) – Also required work in the fields and other physical tasks. Monasteries also provided basic social services such as tending to the sick, giving to the poor, and setting up schools.

7 Centers of Learning Monks and Nuns were some of the few people in Europe who could read and write and they helped preserve countless ancient texts by copying them down usually multiple times. Other Monks and Nuns took even further interest in education and produced original religious and historic texts. Some Monks and Nuns helped spread Christianity through missionary work. (Ex. St. Patrick)

8 The Holy Roman Empire Every since the crowning of Charlemagne in 800 A.D. many powerful European kings worked closely with the church. In 962 The King of Germany, Otto I, took any army into Italy to help the Pope against rebellious nobles. As a reward Otto was crowned Holy Roman Emperor. The Holy Roman Emperor claimed authority over areas of Germany, Italy, Austria, and Switzerland. But in reality this land was all ruled by wealthy and powerful vassals.

9 Conflict with the Church The close ties between the Pope and the Emperor also opened the possibility for conflict. The key conflict came over who (the Pope or Emperor) should appoint high church officials, seeing as these officials had both secular and spiritual obligations. Under Pope Gregory VII this conflict came to a head for Gregory was determined to make the church independent from all secular rulers. VS

10 Pope vs Emperor Gregory VII outlawed the practice of Emperors appointing religious officials. This brought an angry response from the Holy Roman Emperor, Henry IV, who felt he had every right to appoint these officials since they held his fiefs. The debate heated up and in 1076 Gregory excommunicated Henry. With Henry’s nobles also trying to overthrow him Henry went and begged the Pope for forgiveness, which was given after three days.

11 Concordat of Worms Years later Henry got revenge on the Pope and would force him into exile. Finally in 1122 both sides accepted a treaty known as the Concordat of Worms. Under the treaty the Pope could appoint bishops with spiritual rights but only the emperor could give them fiefs and political authority.

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