Middle Ages: The Roman Catholic Church

 1.
How was the Roman Catholic Church a
powerful force during the Middle Ages?
 2.
Analyze the power of the Church with
Students will be able to evaluate the role
of the Roman Catholic Church in Medieval
1. When Europe
divided into small
independent feudal
states, the Roman
Catholic Church
became the single
unifying force on the
 2. The Catholic Church
played a powerful role
in nearly everyone’s
social and personal
 3. Most Europeans
were baptized,
married, and buried
by Catholic priests.
1. Throughout Western
Europe in medieval
times, each community
was centered around a
2. The church offered
religious services,
established orphanages,
and helped care for the
poor, sick, and elderly.
3. They also hosted
feasts, festivals, and
other celebrations.
1. As communities grew,
their members often
donated money and
labor to build new and
larger churches.
2. These cathedrals were
built to honor God.
3. Since most people
could not read and
understand Latin, the
language of the Church–
the shape and pictures of
cathedrals taught
1. Monks were men who
devoted their time to
praying, studying, and
copying and decorating
holy books by hand.
2. They also preserved
the works of the ancient
Greeks and Romans.
3. The Church founded
Europe’s first
4. Monks lived in
communities called
monasteries – they
became important
centers of learning in
medieval society.
1. Women who served
the Church were called
 2. In the Middle Ages, it
was common for a
woman to become a
nun after her husband
 3. Nuns prayed, sewed,
taught young girls,
cared for the poor, and
also copied and
decorated books.
 4. They lived in
secluded communities
called convents.
 The
church also held great political power.
 If a nobleman refused to obey the
commands of the Church, the pope might
punish him with excommunication, which
kept him from Church activities.
 All of the churches on his land would be
closed, and neither he nor his family, nor
anyone within his territory could be
baptized, married, or buried with the
Church’s blessing.
1. Among the most famous
military leaders was the
Frankish (Germanic) King
Charlemagne, or Charles the
2. He increased the size of his
kingdom and worked to
improve life for those who lived
3. News of Charlemagne’s
accomplishments spread to
4. Although the old empire was
gone, Rome was now the center
of the Roman Catholic Church
(Christian Church).
5. Pope Leo III recognized that
joining forces with
Charlemagne might bring
greater power to the Church.
6. In 800 A.D., Pope Leo III
crowned Charlemagne as the
new Holy Roman Emperor.
The inquisition was a
court set up by the
Roman Catholic
Church to investigate
heresy and punish
 Heresy was a serious
crime of the Middle
Ages in which a person
held beliefs that the
Church felt were
 Heretics, people guilty
of heresy, were
Jewish communities lived
under discrimination and
persecution in Europe.
They were forbidden to
won land.
They could work only in
certain professions, such
as banking.
Christians often blamed
Jews when disease or
natural disasters struck.
Yet Jewish communities
remained intact and
preserved their
Scholars continued to
make contributions to
learning for all
 1. In
1095 A.D., Pope
Urban II called for a
crusade, or a military
expedition, to reclaim
Christian control of
the Holy Land from
Muslim Turks.
 2. The empire of the
Turks included
Palestine, part of the
Holy Land, where
Christ was born.
1. Several
crusades between
1096 and 1272
failed to win the
Holy Land.
2. They
succeeded in: reopening the old
trade routes,
decreasing lords
power and their
fighting, increased
kings power,
making better
boats and maps,
and re-introduced
the Greek and