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Financial Indulgence Saved Christianity In Europe

1761 words - 7 pages

Random Lucky, Not (Yet) Infected, Citizen: “Is that a wart?”
Unfortunate, Infected by the Bubonic Plague, Fellow: “No, those are my lymph nodes and they are swelling.”
These were rough times, with no cure and no avail; it was the time of the Black Death. The Black Death devastated everything that it touched. The Black Death was an event that is, currently, known to us as the epidemic of the bubonic plague all throughout Europe. Towns were laid to waste and even entire major cities were left as ghost towns. Even when entire cities were not wiped out, all businesses and shops were closed down. When there were people vending their goods it was as if they were part of a syndicate black market operation because of the outrageous prices that were charged for simple, bare, essentials. The Black Death ravaged Europe and left nothing remotely close to life or civilization in its wake with the exception of one, the churches, which continued to operate throughout this period. While faith was, and still is, the forerunner in what allows churches and religion to remain afloat, that was not the situation at hand during the time of the Black Death. Churches were able to stay open due to the financial indulgence of the clergy.
The Black Death claimed numerous lives, not only the sick and the elderly, but also the young and healthy. The greatest, and worst, obstacle with the infection of the bubonic plague was the lack of knowledge of what was actually afflicting the population (The Florentine Chronicle, Rubric 643). The people during the time of the Black Death where even mind boggled at how the disease had spread to Europe, let alone assessing what the disease actually was and how to cure the disease. According to Marchione di Coppo Stefani, “Neither physicians nor medicines were effective. Whether because these illnesses were previously unknown or because physicians had not previously studied them, there seemed to be no cure” (The Florentine Chronicle, Rubric 643). Symptoms of the Black Death were as follows, “a bubo in the groin, where the thigh meets the trunk; or a small swelling under the armpit; sudden fever; spitting blood and saliva” (The Florentine Chronicle, Rubric 643). Unfortunately, the infection of the bubonic plague was not only an incurable disease, but it also it lead to the destruction of the the economy.
The European economy completely collapsed; the economy had taken a turn for the worse and degenerated into black market type operation. Thus, rendering the situation to those of the church and just about everyone, extremely difficult to survive in. This was especially so for the clergy, whom were solely, if not largely, dependent on donations. As one might imagine, there was nothing remotely close to a steady flow of donations during the time of the Black Death. Many people died from the Black Death, but there was more than just illness and death. There was money to be made by others’ fear; a chance to become rich while others were...

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