Christian Influence In Italian Culture Essay

2279 words - 9 pages

Christian Influence in Italian Culture

Things are not always what they appear to be. When one talks about the influence of religion in a culture, the person must carefully define what they mean by "religion". Many times when things are done in the name of Christianity, there are other factors that shape those events. The Crusades could be considered an object of Christian influence, but most would agree that the bloodshed that took place does not complement the message of that religion. Regardless, despite the gray area that exists when one talks about the influence of a religion, an influence still exists. The evidence of Christianity's influence on a society can be seen almost anywhere. This influence can be seen in obvious ways, such as the number of churches on a block, the general morality of the culture, or the presence of Christian social ministries helping the needy. However, it can also be seen in more subtle ways. It can be seen in individuals who, because of their belief, choose to affect the world around them. Despite the existence of a separation between Church and State in most Western countries, any religion can profoundly impact the society at large whether through massive institutions or fervent individual believers. This situation can be seen in the history of Italy. The center of Christianity's largest denomination in Rome undoubtedly has an immense effect on the nation. The presence of Catholicism has led to profound influences on Italian society. The piety of Francis of Assisi in the 13th Century, the politics of the Christian Democrats party during the 20th Century, and the role the Catholic Church continues to play in the 21st Century demonstrate how Christianity has impacted Italy in various ways throughout its history.

In the modern world of massive corporations and multi-million dollar marketing, it is hard to imagine how a humble individual can have the effect that Francis of Assisi had and still has to this very day. His influence surpassed that of the political and spiritual leaders of his day. He holds a more prominent place in history than the pope of his time does.? He inspires people living centuries after his death. George Holmes writes, ?There are few cases in European history of individuals whose lives have been so generally accepted as an inspiration by the people of a whole country?.[1]? The fact that people still talk so much about Francis is a testimony to how remarkable the friar was.? He lived a radical life.? The Assisian abandoned all that he owned to live a life of unwavering poverty.? He lived a life of humility; quickly confessing his own sins and rejecting leadership in the order that he had founded.[2]? He loved and gave to everyone, even the most destitute of society.? He often worked with victims of leprosy while rebuilding churches.[3]? People were drawn to Francis because of these remarkable aspects of his character.? Francis was such an incredible figure that his example...

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