During the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church was the sole church in Europe, where it has its own laws and its own treasury. The church was considered as an important law-making body, recognized not only by the people, but also by its leaders. The heads of the Catholic Church played big roles in the government, as they used their influence to get their way on things. Bishops were rich people at that time, and has come from a line of noble families. They have a tight hold on the people, especially since they are the ones who are “closer” to God.
The lives of the people living in the Middle Ages were greatly dominated by the church. The church’s influence is limitless, from peasants, to noble lords and even the Kings – they all succumb to the will of the Church. Many of the medieval people dedicated their lives in the service of the Catholic Church and the religion they are in. They offer a life of service to the people of the Church, in hope that their actions would be acknowledged by God, the creator. This had been the usual threat being issued by the people of the church in order to get what they wanted from the people (Carr).
During the early years of the Christian religion, its growth was being suppressed by the Roman Empire. This is because the Christians have refused to worship the Roman gods or acknowledge the power of the Roman Emperor. Christians have been persecuted all throughout the empire. These persecutions ended during the reign of Emperor Constantine, who made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. Constantine the Great then proclaimed himself as the emperor of the Christian people, thus spreading the religion throughout the Empire (Middle-Ages.org.uk).
The beginning of the 5th century saw the crumble of the Roman Empire. This is caused by invading Germanic tribes conquering the city of Rome. This has led to the period referred to as the Dark Ages. The fall of Rome however, signals the rise of the Christian Church. The Dark Ages became a stepping stone for the Catholic Religion to flourish. From the Dark Ages up to the Early Middle Ages, the only accepted Christian religion was the Catholic religion. Catholic means universal, or as a whole. Any sect that was established was viewed to be as acts of heresy and the people are heretical (Middle-Ages.org.uk).
The power of the Catholic Church in the middle ages was so great, that it owned lands, imposed its own taxes, and created its own laws. It is a very powerful institution that even Kings succumbed to its influence. The Church also accepted gifts and special offerings made by those who wanted to make sure that they have a place in heaven. The influence of the church extended to various lands. They were alongside the kings and rulers of Europe when it comes to power. Those who oppose the Church will instantly receive excommunication – they would go straight to hell when they die (Oakley).
One of the major events in the Catholic Religion in the middle ages occurred in the latter part of the middle ages. This is when the Eastern and Western Christian Churches split because of issues which arise from the crusades. This is called as the Great Schism, separating the two halves of Christian Churches. Another split occurred in the Western Christendom when two Popes have been elected and established at two different places. This is caused by disagreement in the elections. This continued to a few decades, up until the issue was healed at the Council of Constance, and the Catholic Religion finally became known as the Roman Catholic Religion.
Carr, Karen. “Medieval Religion”. 1998. November 4 2007. <http://www.historyforkids.org/learn/medieval/religion/index.htm>.
Middle-Ages.org.uk. “Middle Ages Religion”. 2002. November 4 2007. <http://www.middle-ages.org.uk/middle-ages-religion.htm>.
Oakley, Thomas P. “Religion and the Middle Ages”. 2007. November 5 2007. <http://www.catholicculture.org/library/view.cfm?recnum=5231>.