Religious Persecution In Medieval Europe

Medieval Europe as a society greatly shunned deviations from cultural norms or established religious orthodoxy. From this denouncement, persecution of minority groups was commonplace, and possibly even a defining trait of European society at the time. Notably, mistreatment of Jewish communities and supposed Christian heresies were the more common forms of religious persecution. Furthermore, even Christians could be subject to persecution, if certain individuals were accused of breaking ethical standards. Likely causes to these recurring instances of persecution may have stemmed from the lack of diversity, as well as the influential religious authority of the Catholic Church. Moreover, it is these persecutions of differing beliefs and backgrounds …show more content…
The presence of the Catholic Church, a dominating authority in Medieval religious life, influenced much of the attitudes which allowed for the persecution of non-adherents to Christianity or Christian orthodoxy. The letter by Pope Gregory VII earlier established that the Papacy claimed powers that allowed for the deposition of European rulers, ability to annul any agreement or law, and the general status of infallibility for any decrees by the Pope. So naturally, the church required methods of demonstrating such authorities to reduce possible challenges to its authority. Notably, religious minorities such as followers of heresies or Jews were a far easier group to crack down than say, a European monarch who challenged Papal authority. This would become especially so after events in Medieval Europe that especially weakened the power of the Pope such as the Western Schism and the subsequent Avignon Papacy. And so, it would be obvious that the church would actively persecute or endorse attitudes towards persecution of religious minorities to such a degree. This, combined with the strong adherence to the church as the ultimate religious authority in Europe, inclined much of the European populace to in turn hold tendencies which allowed for the persecution of different religious groups throughout the Middle

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