Abbots, Bishops, Cardinals, Pope

How was the church structured? The Pope was the top leader. Under the Pope were a few cardinals who were in charge of all the churches in large cities or territories. Bishops were under the cardinals. There were many bishops, each running a large church or monastery (a place to train new priests). At the bottom were the local priests and monks who did the work. The church had enormous power. Religious leaders told the king and nobles what god wanted. Since people in the Middle Ages feared god, the king did what the church told them to do.

Who were abbots and bishops? Many of the abbots and bishops were the younger sons of noble families. They received land from the king as payment for military service. As religious leaders, they could not fight in wars, so they gave some of their land to knights to fight for them.

How did the church get its wealth? People donated land, jewelry, and money to the church as penance for sins. Nobles paid the church for educating their children. Everyone had to pay for the sacraments.

Why did the church need reform? The church was very wealthy, while the people starved. Many priests and bishops began looking for ways to reform the church.

Source: Abbots, Bishops, Cardinals, Pope
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