Medieval Religion - The Catholic Religion
During the Dark Ages and Early Middle Ages the only accepted Christian religion was the Catholic religion. The word Catholic derives from the Middle English word 'catholik' and from the Old French 'catholique' and the Latin word 'catholicus' meaning universal or whole. Early Christians, such as Saint Ignatius of Antioch, who was martyred in c110, used the term 'catholic' to describe the whole Church - the literal meaning being universal or whole. Any other sects were viewed as heretical. The Catholic religion was seen as the true religion. The Christian church was divided geographically between the west (Rome) and the east (Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch).
History of the Catholic Religion - The Power of the Catholic Church
With it's own laws, lands and taxes The Catholic church was a very powerful institution which had its own laws and lands. The Catholic Church also imposed taxes. In addition to collecting taxes, the Church also accepted gifts of all kinds from individuals who wanted special favors or wanted to be certain of a place in heaven. The power of the Catholic Church grew with its wealth. The Catholic Church was then able to influence the kings and rulers of Europe.
History of the Catholic Religion - Excommunication
Opposition to the Catholic Church would result in excommunication. The word 'Excommunication' literally means putting someone out of communion. This meant that the person who was excommunicated could not attend any church services, receive the sacraments and would go straight to hell when they died. Excommunication was normally resolved by a statement of repentance
History of the Catholic Religion - The Great Schism and the Great Western Schism
In 1054 there was a split between the Eastern and Western Christian Churches prompted by arguments over the Crusades. This split was called the Great Schism. The Great Western Schism occurred in in Western Christendom from 1378 - 1417. This was caused by an Italian pope called Pope Urban IV being elected and establishing the papal court in Rome. The French disagreed with this and elected a French Pope who was based in Avignon. The schism in western Christendom was finally healed at the Council of Constance and the Catholic religion was referred to as the Roman Catholic Religion.
History of the Catholic Religion - Heresy and the Medieval Inquisition
The Medieval Inquisition was the institution of the Roman Catholic Church for combating or suppressing heresy. Heresy is defined as an opinion or belief that which was held deliberately and with knowledge against orthodox church teachings. The Medieval Inquisition was a series of Inquisitions by the Catholic Church to suppress heresy. The first Medieval Inquisition was established in the year 1184 against the Cathar movement. Torture was used after 1252 when Pope Innocent IV issued a papal bull which authorized the use of torture by inquisitors. No torture methods were allowed in an Inquisition that resulted in bloodshed, mutilation or death. The execution method of men or women proclaimed as heretics by the Inquisition was therefore being burnt to death. Many famous Medieval people were accused of heresy and subject to an inquisition. On Friday the 13th, in October 1307, Jacques de Molay, the Grand Master of the Knights Templar, and 60 of his senior knights were arrested in Paris. Joan of Arc was also subjected to an Inquisition.
History of the Catholic Religion - The Protestants
The practises of the Catholic religion were questioned during the Reformation and the beliefs of men such as Martin Luther (1483 - 1546) prompted a new religion called Protestantism. The term 'Protestant' was adopted when supporters of Martin Luther formally protested against efforts to limit the spread of Luther's new ideas.