Download PDF by Katherine L. French: The People of the Parish. Community Life in a Late Medieval

By Katherine L. French

The parish, the bottom point of hierarchy within the medieval church, was once the shared accountability of the laity and the clergy. so much Christians have been baptized, went to confession, have been married, and have been buried within the parish church or churchyard; moreover, company, criminal settlements, sociability, and leisure introduced humans to the church, uniting secular and sacred issues. within the humans of the Parish, Katherine L. French contends that overdue medieval faith was once participatory and versatile, selling other kinds of non secular and fabric involvement.

The wealthy parish documents of the small diocese of tub and Wells contain wills, court docket files, and special money owed by way of lay churchwardens of daily parish actions. They demonstrate the diversities among parishes inside a unmarried diocese that can't be attributed to nearby edition. through the use of those files convey to the variety and variety of past due medieval parish existence, and a Christianity bright sufficient to deal with ameliorations in prestige, wealth, gender, and native priorities, French refines our figuring out of lay attitudes towards Christianity within the centuries prior to the Reformation.

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The laity had to be able both to recognize and to report on defects. In fact, parishioners may have reported on matters of little interest to the authorities in hopes of finding a remedy for their own concerns. org/terms 33 clergy shared the same concerns, including a desire to deal with anything that interfered with masses for the good of their souls. 76 They covered issues ranging from lay resentment of episcopal interference to decayed chancels and clerical wrongdoing. These episodes reveal some of the dynamics existing between parishes and the episcopal hierarchy.

If the bishop had not lifted the interdict, no one would have been able to receive the sacraments. The punishment showed that offending the bishop or disobeying his directives could result in formidable obstacles to the laity's ability to work for salvation by receiving the sacraments and having a proper Christian burial. Interaction with the episcopal hierarchy thus compelled parishioners to act in specific ways. They had to act as a corporate body with leaders who could speak to the physical and moral condition of the parish.

They became capable of defining their own needs and interests and, in turn, articulating them to the ecclesiastical organization that oversaw them. Episcopal and papal regulation of the parish inadvertently fostered this self-awareness. Whereas, in the twelfth century, parishioners mostly fulfilled duties and had only a few rights with respect to their parish,29 by the fifteenth century, the laity had turned these duties into meaningful spiritual and political actions that they strove to preserve and expand.

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The People of the Parish. Community Life in a Late Medieval English Diocese by Katherine L. French


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