The relationship between Church and society

Social involvement

The influence of the Church throughout medieval English society was enormous – it regulated almost every area of daily life. Many institutions and practices that are organised by secular, as well as religious, authorities today were entirely run by the Church:

  • Schools and universities
  • Hospitals
  • Provision for the poor and old
  • Many civic and social organisations in towns and villages.

Medieval classroomThis influence was frequently beneficial, seeking to promote care for others, but the Church's powers and influence could also be abused for personal gain, as in the case of the Pardoner.

Ideas shaped by the Church

The Church's teachings and practices profoundly affected the way in which medieval people saw the environment, human society, history, politics, morality and their own individual place in the world.

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