After the middle ages, a firm, structural religious base was needed to fulfill the ever-changing lives of the Europeans. The Christian church was dominant throughout Europe, as it is today, but it was not the dependable foundation that Europe needed. The religious environment was negative and contradicted all original Christian beliefs. This nearly secular Christian religion created an environment that undermined prosperity and stability in Medieval Europe by its trouble in the papacy, the question of true salvation, and trickery of indulgences.
First, the Christian faith discouraged prosperity and stability by its trouble in the papacy. The church was in danger of having the very top of its institution, the papacy, destroyed. The corrupt papacy became unfixable, and conditions were becoming worse. It also became out of touch with public opinion. The papacy was seemingly doomed to fail. In a frantic attempt to resuscitate the church, a second pope was elected to the papacy, which only made matters worse.
At first, the papacy appeared to improve and regain its power. However, it had no stable base, and there was no guarantee in permanent prosperity. The Christians began to wonder, if each pope held the genuine key to St. Peter's gate, how could they be sure that their church was the sure path to salvation? This religious insecurity brought great tension among the European community. Eventually, people of every class began to doubt the probability of reaching salvation by remaining with their church. Their questions about the afterlife remained unanswered, and people of all classes suffered from lack of religious stability.
Another way the religious environment of the time discouraged prosperity and stability was the dishonesty of indulgences. Since people wanted a sure guarantee for salvation, the churchmen were bribed. Indulgences were basically a person's way of paying to get into heaven, or salvation. This was recognized as a crime in the church, but was still not uncommon. If a person was truly sorry for their sins, they could get out of purgatory and be sent directly to salvation if they simply gave donations, or indulgences, so they were told. It brought money to the church, along with dishonesty and greed.
The Christian faith does not believe in cheating, it is a sin. However, this paid way into salvation was certainly cheating, and would not allow a person to find salvation! Although contradictory, each attempt, such as indulgences, the trouble in the papacy, and questions about the genuiness of salvation, were efforts to repair the church. The damages done to the church seemed unfixable, and perhaps the papacy felt that dishonesty was necessary to revive their church. Either way, this environment truly created an environment that did not allow religious prosperity or stability.
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