What Was The Role Of The Roman Catholic Church During The Middle Ages?

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First, the Roman Catholic Church was the only church at this time.  As such, it was felt to have a monopoly on religious knowledge and on the relationship between Europeans and God.  In other words, the Church could control who went to Heaven and who went to Hell.  This gave it tremendous power over people’s lives.  The Church did much to determine how people would live since it said what was permissible and what was not.Second, the Church was a major political force during this time.  Kings and queens wanted and needed papal approval, particularly when they were somewhat weak (as in times of conflict over succession).  This, among other things, allowed the Church to exercise political power as it could help to determine which claimants to a throne would be deemed acceptable.  There was a long history of tension between the church and secular authority over this and other political issues.Finally, the Church was deeply involved in economic life.  The Church controlled a great deal of land (the main source of wealth at this time), largely because it owned monasteries.  By owning all the land connected to the monasteries (often willed to it by people wanting to ensure their own salvation), the Church was a major economic power.

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