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This Essay Is About The Corruption Of The Papacy In The Middle Ages.

1875 words - 8 pages

ECCLESIASTICAL CORRUPTION IN THE MIDDLE AGESReligion and faith dominated virtually every aspect of life during the middle Ages. However, the Church's influence suffered greatly during the later part of this age of faith. Many historians hold that the Medieval Church was a landmark of corruption. This view is often used to explain the decline and fall of the Church and the success of Martin Luther's reformation. It depicts the Church as being ruled by power hungry popes who abuse their positions of authority. At this time "the increasing hostility of the laity to ecclesiastical wealth and decadence undermined papal prestige"."Omne malum a clero"--every evil comes from the clergy. The clergy are church officials who are divided into two classes. The first class, monks and nuns, lived in accordance to a recognized religious rule, and remained secluded from the outside world. The second class of the spiritual clergy include the priests, bishops, and arch bishops, who have taken the Sacrament of Holy Orders which allows them to administer sacraments and perform religious services. It is not clear which of the two classes engrossed themselves in the most corruption, there is documentation condemning them both. In the year 1245 at the Council of Lyons, Pope Innocent IV had called the sins of the higher and lower clergy "one of the five wounds in the Body of the Church," and at the second Council of Lyons in 1274 Gregory X declared that "the wickedness of many prelates was the cause of the ruin of the whole world!"Perhaps this can be traced back to the increase of the importance of the clergy after the establishment of the Canon Law and their exemption from any sort of secular jurisdiction. The clergy lived above the law, which was a breeding ground for clerical corruption. The importance of community life and prayer, as well as the oath of poverty, became obsolete as many monks retained inherited estates and acquired wealth. This directly violates all that a clergyman embodies.The corruption associated with the medieval church is further demonstrated by its support of the Order of the Temple. The Order of the Temple was a type of religious order that had been founded in the early twelfth century during the crusades in order to protect crusaders against bandits while they traveled to the Holy Land.The brothers of this order, referred to as Templars, protected Christian Territory, living as monks, claiming poverty and following strict guidelines of dress. However in the early 14th century the brothers of the order of the temple "were outlawed by both the Pope and France for such crimes as idol worship, homosexuality, and fraud".Templars were said to be corrupt in that they acquired their wealth by stealing it, they encouraged homosexual acts between brothers, and they did not make charitable donations or give hospitably, as religious orders were required to do.These crooks that appeared to be "brave knights of Christ" received payments from Clergymen and...

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