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Religion Essay Exampe: Church of Western Europe in the 10-12th Centuries

3 pages
612 words
Sewanee University of the South
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During the early 10th century churches in Western Europe used to be led by the bishop of Rome known as papa or father. During that time, the western church had entirely banned clerical marriage, and the Catholic Church used to be the central institution which controlled a vast amount of wealth. The pope had the power to ex-communicate secular rules and above all, he freed the subjects to take the oath of obedience towards him. The pope also used to be the advisor to the Kings and Emperors. The church had the mandate to exercise jurisdiction over the issue of incest, adultery, matrimonial cases and the legitimacy of children (Morrison 104).

In the early eleventh century, the church began to decline after the rise of the pope as a secular prince. The congregation no longer had the power to elect the clergy and priests as this was done by the bishops. The change led to the emergence of evil priests (Lawrence 45). The rise of feudalism in Western Europe intensified the problem as the ecclesiastical group wanted to be their leaders. The fall of the church created room for ecclesiastical officers to be sold and bought. Pope was elected by few, violent -ridden group of Roman nobles thus lead to the election of an incompetent and immoral pope. The rise of Orthodox reduced the power of the pope, and he was to have authority over his diocese, not the whole empire. The ecclesiastical desire for independence resulted in conflict as each team wanted to rule as the pope. The desire was stimulated by the increasing population which saw a significant change in the political, social and economic era of Western Europe. Killings were made in the name of power and leadership, and corrupt leaders inherited the clergy positions (Lawrence 87).

In1049 a new pope (Pope Gregory) was imposed by the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire who began to reform the church in Western Europe. Among the reforms brought were the denouncing of the sales of officials and calling on all priests to celibate. From then the pope would be the universal head of Catholic Church with the power to elect bishops (Koenigsberger 56). Imposition of celibacy rules was meant to reduce the inheritance by ecclesiastical officers hence decreasing clerics with self-interest in the church. The Reformation led to an increased relationship between the church and state up to the twelfth century (Koenigsberger 78). In the 11th century, Western Europe developed intellectual spirits and artworks which saw the emergence of modern nation-sate in Europe.

In the mid-13th century, violence emerged in the city of Rome leading to the relocation of the pope from Europe to Avignon, France. The conflict led to the fall of the Roman Catholic Church in Western Europe and the invasion of the external powers like Russia (Koenigsberger 88).

The Conflicts that Resulted from the Ecclesiastical Desire for Independence

The Roman Catholic Church developed its mighty power which led to conflict between the pope and the emperor who consisted of the Ecclesiastical.

The Roman Catholic Church split into two forming western Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox Christian churches (Lawrence 67).The conflict created room for the Islamic to penetrate into the Western Europe hence increasing the Islamic culture in the region.

The other impact was the increased division of power which led into the introduction of Norman aristocracy in the region. A powerful monarchy was crested which engendered the government system of Europe (Lawrence 56).


Works Cited

Koenigsberger, Helmut Georg. Medieval Europe 400-1500. Routledge, 2014.

Lawrence, Clifford Hugh. Medieval monasticism: forms of religious life in Western Europe in the Middle Ages. Routledge, 2015.

Morrison, Karl F. Tradition and authority in the western church, 300-1140. Princeton University Press, 2015.

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