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The Role of Medieval Roman Catholicism in Christianity


The Roman Catholic Church is the major and leading Christian denomination in the world. It has existed as an institution since the first century AD, and its form, scope, and teachings have changed over the years. The headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church is in Italy, the Vatican City of Rome. The Church is headed by the pope who has supreme authority over the practices and the beliefs of its members. The fact that the church is based in Rome and has a Greek meaning for “universal”, forms the basis for its name (Thomas, et al, 2003). The word Catholic stands for the fullness of the church and many centuries, the Roman Catholic Church has declared that it is the sole true denomination for Christians.

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Middle Ages

Many theologians and historians of Christian history categorize the years 500-1500 to be the Medieval Period or the Middle Ages. Medieval Roman Catholicism stands for the transition between ancient Christianity and modern Christianity. The first 500 years of this age, called the Early Middle Ages, was marked by a low level of learning and culture hence they were referred to as the Dark Ages. After 1000 years, there was a change in Christianity and the way they carried out themselves economically, socially, and politically, courtesy of the efforts of the Roman Catholic Church at that time that commanded political authority and influence. It played a big role in history since it laid a base on which the advancements we see in modern Christianity were founded.

The most significant role

The most significant role the Medieval Roman Catholic Church played in the development of Christianity was the spiritual life and the work of a Christian. This was a large influential civilization in the Medieval Ages. The political role played by the church then is reflected in Christianity today as most church leaders now take up political positions and give their opinions on how governments should be run. This comes from the fact that the Medieval Roman Catholic church had a strong influence in Europe. Everybody was part of the church and felt its power and influence, except of course the Jews and the Arabs. The power and the wealth of the pope were far more than that of the kings and the nobles put together. This gave power to the pope and Christianity was a religion not to be taken lightly. Up to now, Christianity, whichever denomination has great wealth and still has some extent of authority that is respected by the rulers of this world (Thomas, et al, 2003).

The Medieval Age also saw the church taking part in proceedings of court cases especially those involving the clergy and property of the church. It also took up the responsibility of taking care of families, marriages, wills, the poor, the widows, and the orphans, which is seen in the charity works done by churches today. Christian churches like the Joyce Meyer Ministries, Trinity Broadcasting Network, the Potter’s House, and even the modern Catholic Church have programs that take care of the less fortunate in the society (Frank, et al, 2002). A function that was spearheaded by the Medieval Catholic Church in the Middle Ages.


Discipline is another role the Roman Catholic Church played in molding Christianity. The church believed in the spiritual power of ex-communication of the people who broke the law. A person who offended the church and was found guilty of the offense was expelled from the church and the assembly of Christians. Christianity then grew to be an institution of integrity and good deeds. This is still being expected from Christians today and those leading corrupt lives are always suspended from their leadership positions in the church, just to defend the integrity of Christianity to the common public (Frank, et al, 2002). The church also fought for the rights and worth of individuals as it still does today. Christians were people who knew their rights and their positions in society and they still do so today.


The Roman Catholic Church is the mother of all Christianity that made tremendous progress in the Medieval Ages that amazingly changed the face of Christianity. It was and is still the wealthiest church in the world and this influenced other churches to try and get wealth since it was the basis of their authority in the political world. The cases of discipline, the life of a Christian individual, the position of Christianity, the spirituality and function of a Christian are things that stem from the Medieval Roman Catholicism that has influenced Christians over the years.


  1. Frank, Bruni, Elinor and Burkett, (2002). The Gospel of disgrace: Children, Sexual violence and the Catholic Church. Harper Perennial. p. 336. ISBN 978006052232
  2. Thomas, P., Rausch, Catherine and E. Clifford (2003). The Third Millennium Catholicism and Christianity; The Liturgical Press. ISBN 9780814658994.

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