A Church of Darkness
The Dark Ages were made up of centuries where civilization seemed to go back in time. It lasted from between the fifth century to the renaissance in the 16th century. This phenomenon happened in Western Europe where feudalism had taken the place and regional kingdoms ruled the lands. During this time, the rise of the Christian CatholicChurch rose and its dominance over Western Europe was endless. From a historical stand point, the church’s dominance and policies were a main component of the darkness in Western Europe. The church’s power was filled with
corruption through out their hierarchies, their policies over education
hampered the people of the age, and were incredibly intolerable of other ideologies.
With the helpof conversion of Clovis in the Frankish Empire and the conversion of the Roman Empire, the majority of the people were Christian peasants seeking salvation. The man most people turned to for this was the bishop of Rome, other wise known as the pope. In 1079, Pope Gregory VII passed the laws against celibacy. In the eye of the public this seemed like a noble thing to do. How ever behind closedoors this temped immorality. It became a common sight to see priests going to taverns, gambling, and having children to several women.
The corruption and hypocrisy of the church did not stop there. Not only were they doing immoral concepts, but the higher placed Catholics gained mass profits from this. A German Bishop by the name of Erasmus reported that in many places behind closed doors thepriest paid a tax to the bishop for the woman whom he lived and for each child he had by her. This kept the priest from loosing his job and the bishops wealthy. He also said that in one year eleven thousand priests had presented themselves before him for that very same purpose.
The reason that the church could get away with such a thing was because of the fact that they were the key toachieve paradise in the after life. This leverage gave the church the power to do anything they really wanted because before the reformation, no one had stood up to the church in a large scale.
Not only was the church corrupt during the dark times, but they also caused a lot of the problems themselves. One of the biggest components of the advances in a society is the education. During the majorityof the Dark Ages, the church controlled education.  The priests controlled the education institutions, and at certain points were the only literate people in communities. Through out the medieval period, institutions evolved from just prayer to cultural practices such as copying books. However, the majority of the books were bibles and nonetheless when a society is only focused on religion andnothing else it cannot advance. The lack of education also reflected on the literacy rate which
through out the dark ages became about 5 percent.
With the power obtained by the church the more intolerable they became. Their teachings were very strict. The church did not accept any faith, which would challenge their power. Any theological or religious opinion, which opposed the officialchurchly doctrine, was considered heretic and was persecuted.
One of the most hated groups was the Jews. The Papal seals through out the Dark Ages showed hatred against this religion that shared the same god. A great example was the seal passed in 1239, which ordered the seizure and examination of the Talmud and other Jewish literate. All of which was eventually burned. Another example was theseal passed in 1218, which ordered Jews to wear special Clothing.
Considering the fact that before the dark ages, the classical world enjoyed many innovations such as public baths and centralized empires, it is extremely hard to imagine how Western Europe fell into darkness for almost a thousand years. The churches large corruption, horrendous education, and intolerance largely contributed...