Roman Catholic Church And Judgement In The Middle Ages

1739 words - 7 pages

“In flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.” (Thessalonians 1:8, 9). The Middle Ages was a time of death, pain and superstition; no one could escape God’s judgment. When the Roman Empire fell, The Church had created an everlasting clutch of control over the people. If one did not obey The Church, they were excommunicated and labeled heretics, cast out into the world with no spiritual guidance, never to see the light of God again. However, The Church also offered hope and a chance of salvation in a time that was inevitably grim and solitary. This statement will be proven the through the analysis of The Church’s rise to power, the threat of heretics, the effects of excommunication and inderdictment. The role of monks and nuns in the medieval society, the use of sins and the idea of heaven and hell and how The Church used sacraments to gain control of people’s lives will also be discussed to prove this statement. Christianity is based upon the teachings of a Jewish man named Jesus. He encouraged people to act out of compassion instead of self interest, to tolerate difference and work towards reducing the suffering of less fortunate beings. However, Roman Emperors, Nero, Decius and Valerian, persecuted those who practiced Christianity; regarding the worshiping non-Roman gods as treason. It wasn’t until later in the Empire’s development that Christianity became more accepted.
Emperor Constantine was the first Roman Emperor to declare the freedom of worship and in 392, Emperor Theodosius made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire after witnessing a miracle from The Lord. After Jesus’ death, his followers continued to spread the word of God until The Church itself was formed. In the Dark Ages, the Christian Church had developed into the most powerful institution in Europe; however, in the start of The Church’s rise, there were many Germanic tribes who did not follow its teachings. The Church then gradually mixed old faiths and new religion to convert the Germanic tribes to Christianity. Then in 771, Charlemagne, King of the Franks, supported The Pope and created the first true Christian kingdom in Europe. His Christian faith led the Germanic tribes to follow the teachings of The Lord and convert to Christianity. He encouraged the growth of monasteries and valued priests who could read and write. He made the Frankish Army defenders of The Church and Pope in Rome and gave The Church a financial base by payments of tithe, 10% of peoples’ income, to support The Church and priests. In AD 800, Charlemagne was crowned Holy Roman Emperor, ruler of France, Germany and Italy. In a violent society were cruelty and murder were common, The Church was the only stable body that offered some hope of salvation for suffering people. By the 11th century,...

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