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Centralization of control in m

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Centralization of control in m

Medieval times were shaped greatly by religious and secular motives to form centralized power and control. The religious leaders, in particular, were very influential in this process of centralization. The methods used to attain this power were directed at various aspects of their influence in order to realize the greatest control possible.

The concepts of power and control are difficult to define because they present themselves in a variety of different ways in a variety of contexts. The Pope had the ability to affect how people thousands of miles away thought and acted. This was an extremely powerful and unique capability. The ability to control another's actions is an invigorating and highly desirable experience for those in control.

When a person or group of people, in this case the Christian leaders, possess power and control they act to increase their power. It is often believed that things are not to remain static, either your empire grows or it declines. If you wish to avoid the latter, you must pursue the former.

In order for a build up of central authority to occur, religious leaders knew they needed to address a variety of areas. Each of these areas represented a certain power and facet of life that was directly related to the influence of the Christian faith.

The universities deep within the Christian sphere of influence were near the heart of the religion. They represented a group of people learned in the ways of the world, more so than almost any other group of people. Having the universities under their control gave them the "scientific" backing they needed in order to be authorized to do with your empire as they saw fit. The religious leaders could do as they pleased continue efforts to increase centralization.

In his Regulations for His College, Robert de Sorbon presents many rules that are based on religious practices. In theory, a university does not require religion to be a part of its institution, but in medieval times they were inseparable.

The most obvious example of this influence is the rules against eating meat on religious holidays. This shows that religion has penetrated university way of life to the core of its values and practices. As you performed your everyday tasks as a student, you were constantly reminded of the religious influence present all around you.

A more subtle effect of the Christian influence was the inclusion of religious moral and ethical principles in the university philosophy. Many of the rules involving room use, clothing, and women paralleled monastery life. These people, although not directly involved with the religious world, were completely within the Christian paradigm.

The universities' close ties to both the religious and secular world gave them increased power as well. In 1070, St. Anselm used logic to "prove" the existence of God. By supporting the theology of the church, he received respect for his work.

Christianity's most dedicated believers were vital to their plan for increased centralization. The standardization of practices in monasteries was an attainable and straightforward method of increasing the churches control. If each monastery was less able to form its own character and rituals, the Pope and other high religious leaders would gain power. Instead of controlling what occurs in a few monasteries, they advanced that authority to almost all of them, giving them greater influence on the religion as a whole.

As St. Benedict quoted of the apostle in his Rules of St. Benedict, "Test the spirits, to see whether they come from God." He is stating that one must sacrifice all of their personal desires and needs for God. If the Pope is in control of the monasteries, he is ultimately in control of the monks.

The monasteries allowed the high Christian authorities to develop standard religious practices and conformity among their most devout followers. Unlike the other areas of Christian influence, the monks were people who had already confessed their faith in Christ and were willing to do whatever the church desired. The way of the church was the way of God and they would do whatever possible to become closer to God.

The increased influence over monasteries allowed the church to use those monasteries as connections to their other, less devout, followers. Many people could not read and required the more educated to tell them about God and religion. If the monasteries were standardized religious temples spread throughout the Christian Empire, the commoner could find out about Christian beliefs and laws more easily.

In addition to the orthodoxy instituted in the universities and monasteries, other areas needed to be addressed in order to increase centralization. One of the most important of these was the way in which heretics and other people far from the Pope's control were dealt with.

In medieval times, communication techniques were far more rudimentary than those we take for granted today. A message to someone on the other side of France could take weeks or longer. This made it difficult for the Pope to have control of things that were not near to him. The way in which the Pope dealt with matters far from his home played an important role in how centralized and controlling his churchdom could become.

No circumstance was more enlightening to the ...

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