One out seven people on the earth is Roman Catholic. “Roman Catholics in the world (nearly 1. 1 billion) is greater than that of nearly all other religious traditions” (Roman Catholicism). The Roman Catholic Church is the largest religious tradition ever created. It was the first Christian church and its beginning can be traced back to Jesus’ twelve disciples. The Catholic Church is larger than all other christian churches combined. It is even larger than individual Isam religions Sunni and Shia. The church has made itself into a complex hierarchy from the people in the pew to the Pope at the top.
The most complex institution ever created is the Roman Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic Church has been around before the middle ages. It has hardly changed from its beginning to today. The church has been through a schism like the schism of 1054. It has seen the rise of rivalry churches like the Church of England and the Lutheran Church. The Roman Catholic Church has built churches that took over a hundred years to build. The clergy of the church is a complex system of ordained ministers.
The church is made up of the clergy. It is important to understand the clergy to understand how the church works. Clergy, a body of ordained ministers in a christian church” (Clergy). The clergy is organized into a hierarchy. At the bottom of the hierarchy is the Laity. The Laity is the common people in the church. Deacons are above the Laity. Deacons are ordained ministers that can baptize people and can witness at Marriage. Next up in the hierarchy is Priests. They serve a small parish such as a small town or village. Priests can baptize, serve communion, reconcile, marry people, confirm, and and anoint the sick. Higher than the priests is the bishop.
The bishop does the same thing as the priests but serves several parishes grouped into a diocese and lives in a large cathedral in a large city. Next up is the archbishop. The archbishop watches over an archdiocese. An archdiocese is made up of several dioceses. Higher than an archbishop is a cardinal. Cardinals watch over several archdioceses and has the responsibility of electing a new pope. The highest in the hierarchy is the Pope. The Pope is in charge of the whole Catholic Church and all of the church’s activities such as it’s charities, hospitals, and governing of the people.
The Pope lives in a monumental cathedral. According to A View On Cities St. Peter’s Basilica is “The largest church in the world” (St. Peter’s Basilica). There are many more cathedrals like St. Peter’s Basilica that took years to build. The church provided jobs for people in the middle ages. The jobs that the church provided included artists, carpenters, stone masons, architects and authors. The church needed stone masons and carpenters to build the massive cathedrals for the bishops and archbishops to live in. “Some cathedrals took more than a hundred years to build.
No effort or expense was spared to make them beautiful” (Hinds 23). It took more than a hundred years to build some cathedrals that would have provided a lot of work for stone masons and carpenters. Artists and architects were needed to make the cathedrals beautiful inside and out. Many great artists have made sculptures or paintings for the Roman Catholic Church; the paintings or sculptures were usually carved or drawn to depict a scene in the Bible. These paintings or sculptures of Bible scenes, helped people who cannot read understand some of the critical scenes in the Bible.
The goal of the church in the middle ages is to help people spiritually, and artists helped achieve this goal of the church. People in the middle ages, were helped by the Catholic Church spiritually. “it had become the legate of spiritual, administrative, and intellectual resources of the early centuries” (Guisepi). People in the middle ages, went to the church when they needed help spiritually. The church helped provide a meaning in life to common people. Some people wanted to get a from the busy world, and get closer to God.
These people who wanted get away from the busy world lived as monks or nuns in Monasteries. Monks or nuns lived their life to God. “All monks vowed themselves, for the rest of their lives, to poverty” (Hinds 34). Monks lived on as little as possible. They wore a brown cloaks and saved their heads for humility. The shaving of the hair helped monks get rid of any attachments and pride. “The Rule of Saint Benedict became the bases of monastery life” (Hinds 34). The Rule of Saint Benedict is rules for monks under an Abbot. An Abbot is the head monk in a monastery.
The rules can be summed up as pray and work. Monks spent a portion of their day praying. The other portion was work. The work monks did involved making paper, copying books, and gardening. Monks also vowed their life to chastity; they cannot marry or have relations with anyone. They vowed their life to solitude; they must act as individuals. Monks lived their life to silence; they lived quiet lives to get closer to God. Monks must be generous and help anyone who needs help. They must give everything they own away. Monks also vowed their life to stillness; they would rarely leave the monastery.
Duty was important to a monk’s life. Their duty was to pray and work. Some of the work monks did was copying books. Monks helped with spread of knowledge and literature by copying books; they were the only people who had time to copy books. The Roman Catholic Church was the leader in knowledge and literature. “It thus had enormous influence on the development of the art and culture of the western world through the Middle Ages” (Patheos). Many people in the middle ages didn’t know how to read. One of the reasons was there wasn’t many books to read from.
There wasn’t many books because all books would have been handwritten by monks in the Catholic Church monasteries. A large book like the bible would’ve taken months to copy. There are many myths that the Catholic Church locked away Bibles from the people so they couldn’t read the word of the Bible for themselves. The truth is that many people couldn’t even read. They kept the books locked up because they were valuable and didn’t want them to get ruined. The Church also kept literature alive because they were one of the few publishers of books.