Chaucer and Corruption within the Catholic Church Essay examples

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Chaucer and Corruption Within the Catholic Church

The Catholic Church has long been a fixture in society. Throughout the ages, it has withstood wars and gone through many changes. It moved through a period of extreme popularity to a time when people regarded the Church with distrust and suspicion. The corrupt people within the church ruined the ideals Catholicism once stood for and the church lost much of its power. In the Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer primarily satirizes the corruptness of the clergy members to show how the Catholic Church was beginning its decline during the Middle Ages.

Chaucer aptly creates a picture that exposes how materialistic the clergy is. They all should be concerned with spiritual matters, yet they
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Most likely they are escaping an unwanted marriage or chasing after the comfort and stability the position offers. As a woman during the Middle Ages, you are only as valuable as your husband or father is. Joining a covenant is a way to escape from that role. The materialism abounding throughout the descriptions of the clergy shows that people do not truly desire to be a part of the church since they are still caught up in worldly goods.

The greed of the clergy is shown vividly in the Prologue. The Friar's method of absolution shows his desire for money. "It's a sure sign whenever gifts are given to a poor Order that a man's well shriven. . . Therefore, instead of weeping and of prayer one should give silver for a poor Friar's care" (229-36, 110). He will give almost no penance if the sinner simply bribes him with either gifts or money. The Friar is so desirous of wealth that he cannot even perform a simple service like confession without letting his greed become involved. By being so concerned with gaining money, he is neglecting his proper duties as clergy member. The Summoner also allows his duties to slip when there is a chance to make a profit. When he finds a person doing something they should not be doing, "he would instruct him not to be afraid in such a case of the Archdeacon's curse. . . for in his purse the punishment should be" (672-75, 121). The Summoner will "overlook" the misconduct if he

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