someone asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 1 decade ago

was corruption in the church a part of the renaissance or the medieval period?

i thought it led to the renaissance... but this book im reading is confusing me.

6 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Well, the Renaissance began in the 1200's in Italy, and spread very gradually north--the 1500's are considered the English Renaissance.

    The corruption, alas, had begun in the Middle Ages (just think of how the Avignon popes behaved--they did their share of purchasing elections to ensure French popes during this period) and continued into the Renaissance.

    It didn't lead to the Renaissance, but it certainly led to the reformation and the beginning of Protestantism.

  • 1 decade ago

    While we tend to think of history as a sort of cumulative progress, it really runs in cycles. The history of corruption in the Church also runs in cycles. During the dark ages there was terrible corruption at different times; the early middle ages were possibly the most corrupt of all at the Papal level, though corruption is always uneven. At almost the same time you have terribly corrupt Popes like John X and XII, Edward the Confessor was reforming the Church in England. So it's patchy.

    The Renaissance didn't just burst onto the scene as is sometimes depicted, it grew slowly over about a century before it officially 'starts.' Many date its beginning at 1450, some later, but its roots go back to the economic improvements that came from the growth of the trading empires of the Italian city-states. Strangely enough the Black Death played an important role as well, making individual workers much more valuable--scarcity increases value. The Crusades also brought a wealth of new knowledge back into Europe. It can easily be argued that the Crusades were the seed of the Renaissance, but I think there was a lot more to it than that.

    As the Renaissance started rolling along, the recovery of many classical works and the increased education available made the Reformation inevitable. The custom of giving gifts to the Church as a pious act had hardened into the (in my view) ridiculous doctrine of supererogation. The idea was that the Pope can assign the extra merit of the Saint's lives to anybody who paid for it. That was the corruption that brought Martin Luther to rebel, and sparked the Reformation and all the Protestant churches. Corruption in the Church (in any institution that has secular power) is always going to exist, but it ebbs and flows in a cyclical way. As the Reformation progressed corruption decreased, but it still crops up to this day. It is actually much lower overall today, however, because the Church has much less secular power than well...ever.

    If you want to point to the worst corruption in Church history then I think you'd be safe with the papacy of John XII (955 - 965 AD). He has to be the worst, but it can be argued he was at the end of the dark ages or the beginning of the middle ages depending on who you ask.

  • 1 decade ago

    Before the Renaissance, corruption in the church led to a decline in church power in Western Europe, and the rise in authority of central governments in England, France, and the Holy Roman Empire (Germany). In the 14th century, the papacy was actually moved to France (Avignon), which only exacerbated the corruption. When the papacy returned to Rome in 1377, corruption went with them.

    Then, during the Renaissance, there were numerous corrupt popes in office, particularly the Borgia family, including Alexander VI. This is what partly led to the scientific questioning of the Catholic church's doctrine, the rise of secularism, and ultimately the Reformation.

    Source(s): MA in history
  • 1 decade ago

    The Renaissance. Forget about the Borgias for a moment, and have a look at the Medici and their relationship with the Church.

    1. Lorenzo de' Medici married his 12 year old daughter off to the boozing, gambling, lecherous and ugly 39 year old nephew of a prominent cardinal to have his son Giovanni raised to archbishop by the age of 14.

    2. Archbishop Giovanni de' Medici raised his younger cousin Giuliano to Bishop and then Archbishop while he was in his teens.

    3. Pope Sixtus had such a resentment of the fact that the Medici bank would not lend him the money that would allow him to buy more territories that he conspired with the King of Naples and Florentine exiles to have Lorenzo and his brother assassinated.

    4. The assassination attempt took place in the Duomo (the Cathedral of Florence) during the Easter Sunday service! Lorenzo was wounded, but his brother was killed (stabbed 19 times).

    5. Among the knifemen were two priests and an archbishop, all acting under papal instructions. The papal army waited on the outskirts of Florence ready to take the city if news of Lorenzo's death came through.

    6. When Giovanni de' Medici became Cardinal, he and his cousin led an army to take back the city of Florence which had exiled his family. It was a bloody affair.

    7. When Giovanni de' Medici became Pope Leo X he wrote: 'God has given us the papacy, now let us enjoy it.' And he did, sending the Church almost broke with his partying.

    8. As he needed money, Leo X instituted the 'indulgences' - the practice of selling guaranteed spots in heaven that so infuriated Martin Luther. He started with the wealthy, but soon there was an army of salesmen-priests selling indulgences across the countryside to the poorest of people.

    9. One pope later, Giuliano de' Medici (Lorenzo's nephew) became Pope Clement XIII. By this time, the reformation movement was growing. Instead of self-reflecting, he struck out with excommunications etc.

    This is just one family's association with the Church, without even stepping into Borgia territory. Thene there's the Church's involvement in politics, the pettiness of a succession of Popes (including one who excommunicated the whole of the Republic of Venice - twice! - because he was unhappy with the leadership).

    Sounds corrupt to me.

    Source(s): Martines, L (2003) 'April Blood'
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  • 1 decade ago

    what led to the renaisance was the plage (la peste)

    there was so much death from rats that the church had to allow corruption which broke the foundations of medieval christian whatever

    try looking up : Macaber Arts of the end of medieval ages

  • 1 decade ago

    It's continuous

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