Western Civ Paper - Caitlin Kelliher December 4, 2007 Mr....

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Caitlin Kelliher December 4, 2007 Mr. Montona Misbehavior of the Church In order for civilizations to evolve, there must be change. It has been noted throughout History that there have been multiple periods in which change was exponential but perhaps the most recognized era of change was the Renaissance. During this time there were numerous social, economic and most importantly a religious transformation. The economy was restructuring itself to fit a new merchant class into the midst of it. The bubonic plague swept across nations greatly decreasing the population of the world. 1 But the church went through the biggest change as its followers were exposed to the worldliness of the institution and disillusioned by the power it had held for centuries. The disenchanted way of Christian followers is evident in Erasmus’s book, Praise of Folly, as he outlines the various problems throughout the corrupt establishment and its leaders. As the deceptive personal lives of clergy, the purposeful exclusion of non- scholars and the lucrative business of pardons were exposed; the church’s downfall became evidence of the changing world. As scholars such as Thomas More and Erasmus uncovered the false innovations that the church created in the Bible to give themselves power and precedence, the population of Europe began to see the cracks within the seemingly unbreakable status of the clergy. Their personal lives were on display and the lies in which they lived in surfaced. Praise of Folly by Desiderius Erasmus describes in detail some of these lies. “At this point let us suppose some wise man dropped from heaven confronts me and 1 Mark Kishlansky, Patrick Geary and Patricia O’ Brien, Civilizations in the West Vol. 1 to 1715, (New York: Pearson Longman, 2006) 301-303, 324 – 328.
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insists that the man whom all look up to as a god and master is not even human, as he is ruled by his passions, like an animal, and is no more than the lowest slave for serving so many evil masters of his own accord.” 2 Erasmus is clearly describing the clergy. They are like every other male on earth in their wants and needs towards females but the clergy are lowlier than a loyal husband because their actions are deceitful and they abuse their power. They have an inability to follow the Christian values that they teach which becomes obvious when they have mistresses and they get away with their wrong doing due to the position that they hold within the Church. Although Erasmus makes a weak attempt to justify the clergy’s actions by claiming that all men are pigs 3 , they should be held to a different standard than the common man. Their job is to lead the population into eternal life through stressing the importance of living without sinning. They shouldn’t be conforming to the expectations that society has for men. Not only were the clergy unable to control their passion for women but also they
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course HIST 103 taught by Professor Austin during the Fall '07 term at University of Delaware.

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Western Civ Paper - Caitlin Kelliher December 4, 2007 Mr....

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