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The period from the eighth to the fourteenth century was one of vast reforms, some for the better and some for the worse. During this period in Europe, commonly known as The Middle Ages, economic reforms took place as well as social, political, and religious changes. One common theme throughout The Middle Ages consisted of the relationship between the Church and the State. The Catholic church during this era held a prominent role in society, and it had an abundant amount of power and authority during this time.

The Catholic Church exercised its authority in many different stages, in which a response from the people occurred because of the way the Church showed its power. The nature of the Catholic Church began its reform around the time Charlemagne, from 768 to 814, took control. He became a Christian emperor and the first great political leader in Western Europe. His main goal was to promote the Roman Catholic religion throughout all of the world known to man, and to do this Charlemagne coordinated with the pope, which in turn the pope crowned him the holy Roman Emperor.

Charlemagne strived to reestablish central authority and revive the culture of the Early Middle Ages, and he succeeded by gaining authority over a large area, including almost all of Western and Central Europe (Charlemagne p.130-131). Charlemagne also made many reforms, mostly Church and educational ones. He first reformed the monasteries by making them Benedictine; he also made sure that the churches were abiding by the rules and not doing anything wrong. Charlemagne designed a system in which four archbishops were set up in four different regions with their headquarters in cities in that particular region. The archbishops appoint bishops authority in their territories. As the Catholic Church’s authority increases during this time, it also comes with consequences.

This system of archbishops and bishops are great for the Church, but Charlemagne uses them as royal agents, which is part of royal policy. Furthermore, Charlemagne makes reforms in education in order to further improve the Church; he sets up a system which strengthens the priesthood by setting up bishop schools. These reforms indicate “a lack of division between religious and secular affairs” (Charlemagne p.131). Who really has authority, is it the pope or the king? King Charlemagne did make all of the reforms, but the pop...

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... the monarchies of Europe and by the papacy. Considering everything the Catholic Church has gone through , was it successful in the religious mission it set out for. The answer to this question is very opinionated to historians, but I believe the answer is no. Notably during the High Middle Ages in which the crusades occurred, many popes set out into various lands including Byzantium and Islam in order to spread Christianity and stop the popularity of the Islamic religion. Many historians believe that the Crusades contributed to the economic and intellectual development of Europe by reopening Mediterranean east-west trade, but these people are wrong (Cantor p.192). All the Crusades did was stir up religious prejudice and the intolerance of Muslims (Cantor p.193).

Although the Christian world learned a great deal from the Muslims, the Crusades were not a part of this occurrence. In addition, the fact that heresy occurred from such groups as the Hussites and the Waldensians further proves that the papacy had problems with people actually turning away from the Catholic Church. How could the Church be successful in its religious mission if groups of people are breaking away from it?
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