Between the years 600 CE and 1450 CE in Europe, there was only one thing that stayed constant, and it was the Roman Catholic Church. The church remained a major influence on the people of Europe and the majority of the region continued to believe every single thing that the church preached. The only thing that did not stay constant was who had the power over the church and how the church made sure that everyone was following their rules that they had created. The church had varying teaching over the course of many years. It was also used as a tool for the rulers of that time.
The Catholic Church made its own laws and possessed land. The Roman Catholic Church collected taxes, service fees, and even accepted gifts from people who wanted a guaranteed "spot" in Heaven. The Church also had the power to influence kings and rulers. The Church helped by publicly supporting the kings and in return, the Church was given reasonable amounts of land and the clergy were given essential positions inside of the King's Court, which gave the Church the ability to manipulate policy and laws. The Church made many laws that include the involuntary conversions of heretics and the stifling of anti-church influences that could persuade other people to leave the Church and become heretics. This showed the immense authority that the Roman Catholic Church had over the people. Blasphemy (the speaking against God or anything that was considered sacred) was deemed as a capital crime (meaning it was punished by death).
Unlike today, the church had a close relationship with the State. There was practically no division between secular and state affairs. The secular law that existed during the Middle Ages in Europe stated that all crimes that were committed were sins. It was also said that the crimes committed tainted the souls and wronged the State. There were also other instances in which the Roman Catholic Church was involved with the businesses of the State. For example, the punishment of crimes was extended to encompass injuries toward other people.
The Roman Catholic religion was viewed as the only religion; it was called the "true religion". People who did not believe in Roman Catholicism were looked upon as heretics. The heretics were punished with excommunication (which is defined as the withdrawal of church membership) or burning at the stake. Until the Inquisition (which was a method of the Roman Catholic Church in which they fought against heretics), people who were accused of being a dissenter were usually killed without a fair trial, and usually the claim that they were heretics held no certainty. After the Inquisition, the heretics who confessed to their sins were forgiven for their sins and were allowed to live. However, death continued to be a punishment, but only for the unyielding heretics who refused to confess to their sins. After a while, the persecutions by the church stopped as the church diminished in...