Dark and Evil Superstitions Abound, Seventh Century, A History of the Christian Church, Lesson 8, 11-14

The monks, generally, were held in high repute by the common people due to their stringent way of life. The heads of families, striving to outdo themselves in promoting this monastery way of life, often consigned their children to the monasteries and covenants and to the solitary way of life, not forgetting to send along a nice dowry with the children. Abandoned sinners, who had passed their days in sinful pursuits, left the greater part of their fortunes to some monastic society in the hope of purchasing pardon. Families gave their inheritance in order to purchase favorable prayers of the saints.

In all this Dark Age, religion lay dying under a heap of dark and evil superstitions. In earlier ages, the Christian worship was confined to one God and His son Jesus. But now, the Christians worshipped a multitude of objects including the remains of the cross, the image of saints and to bones whose owners were extremely dubious. The first Christians taught that Christ, by his sufferings and death, had made atonement for all. These Christians taught that Christ, by His sufferings and death, had made atonement for all. These Christians taught that men were excluded from the Kingdom if their contributions hadn’t sufficiently enriched the Church. The early Christians were studious only in order to attain a virtuous and simple life, while these latter Christians placed the whole of religion in these external rites.

The writers of this age spent their time in fruitless arguments rather than in an attempt to set down a systematic dogma of Christianity. A man named Theodore, a Greek, who was named Bishop of Canterbury, published a study on Penance, which was new to the Latin Church world. This study taught the clergy how to divide sins into various classes, to judge them, to determine the degree of guilt, how to deal with the offender and prescribed the forms of consolation, exhortation and absolution. This book spread rapidly all over the Western Church and was used universally until it was replaced by a new canon of indulgences in the Eighth Century.

Although every Pope seemed to think he was required to add some element to the worship service, there was hardly anything worth mentioning added during this century. Boniface V enacted the law by which the churches became places of refuge, a law which gave immunity to even the worst crimes, and allowed the worst vices to be practiced in the churches without fear of reprimand.

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