The Necessity of the Catholic Church in the Medieval Times The Medieval Church was popular in the Middle Ages. People’s entire lives revolved around it. The Middle Ages was a period in European history lasting from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Catholic Church played a more significant role in that period of time, than modern times. In medieval times, the Church dominated everybody’s life. All medieval people, from village peasants to towns people, believed that God, Heaven, and Hell existed. From the very earliest of ages, the people were taught that the only way they could get to Heaven was if the Roman Catholic Church let them.
The Church was a necessity for the Middle Ages. Although the Medieval Church imposed on everyone, it was a necessity because it provided houses for the poor (creating charity), gave the lower class salvation and hope, and started colleges and schools. The Medieval Church faced difficulties and obstacles, such as the Great Schism. The Great Schism was an event when the Catholic Church split between France and Italy and elected their own popes. They were already dealing with disease and the division added chaos and disorder to pre-existing problems.
It is known that “the 14th century was a difficult time for Europe. England and France spent most of the century locked in the Hundred Years’ War, which lead to social, political, and economic instability and insecurity,”(The Great Schism). This was an ongoing problem that was not solved till 1417 and when resolved it had lasting effects. These effects were minor and did not effect the power of the Church. The Great Schism did cause an uproar, but the Church already had such a great impact on society that it remained unaffected.
The medieval Church was a essential aspect of the Middle Ages and medieval life would have not been the same without it. The medieval lower class constantly faced poverty and lacked necessary possessions. The church provided them with these supplies and created the act of charity. It is said that “the Church had always taught that it was good to help the needy, and there were always many people in misery-victims of bad harvests, war or robbery; widows, orphans, old people; sufferers from illness or injury”(Cairns 27). The churches were charitable to the poor and believed it was their duty to help the less fortunate.
The “Kings, lords and rich men often gave food and clothes to the poor”(Cairns 27). They also set up places for sick and elderly citizens who needed to be cared for, which were called hospitals. The hospitals were important to the people who could not look after themselves, they were their only source of shelter. The only thing they could do for the ill was to make them comfortable. Due to the creation of charity medieval Churches creating charity, these are still locations in which people that face poverty are provided with food and other resources.
There are also locations where people donate tons of items to the less fortunate including food, clothes, and money. The church provided a haven for a substantial number of medieval citizens. Without Medieval Churches, refuges where people are treated and assisted would not be in existence in modern times. The lower class was not treated fairly. They were at the bottom of society and were not treated equally. Christianity was appealing to the lower class mostly because it offered equality and the salvation that the lower class desired.
It was a aspect of life that recovered medieval Europe from the Barbaric invasions of the Dark Ages. Christianity is based on universal acceptance and forgiveness. A sermon stated, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses,”(“Early Christianity. ”). This made the poor, who had been treated crudely by the upper class realize that they have to forgive and forget in order to be excepted by God.
The sermon also said to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust,”(“Early Christianity. ”). This helped medieval citizens realize that life is unfair and one has to accept it, love everyone, and live life to its fullest. This made the lower class realize that they had to follow this belief. Christianity provided everyone with hope, especially the poor.
People in the Middle Ages were not highly educated. They were not expected to know how to read and write, because their jobs did not require it, and it was said to be a waste of money and time to be educated. In order to work in a Church one had to be educated, or one was not allowed to do the job. A “clerk”, churchman, had to be able to read and write. Many kings would employ churchmen to read and write for them. It was said that “for hundreds of years, [the churches] kept education alive,”(Cairus 29).
Many boys went to school because they wanted to be churchmen, or they were just interested. Bishop William of Wykeham, of the Middle Ages, began at Winchester, which is still commonly known. This helped create universities and colleges for those who wanted to study after they learned all they were supposed to know. The whole idea of educating churchmen helped create a society that was highly educated and could prosper. The Medieval Church was a necessity for survival. It provided shelter and salvation for the poor. It helped the people realize that equality is superior.
Also it had lasting effects on history, it helped create the idea of charity, a monumental part of the modern world. Everyday people are helping the less fortunate people out. The Church helped shape what modern hospitals are like today. Another lasting effect of the Church is education, the Catholic Church forced many people into getting a higher level of education which helped benefit the people and the community. The Church helped withe the creation of schools which have influenced modern schools. Without the Medieval Churches life today would not be the same.