Following the Fall of Rome, civilized parts of Europe recognized the need for a new method of government to protect them from barbarian invasions. The answer to this was a feudal system. This entailed a supreme ruler dispensing his land to lords to govern as they wish. In this manner, the unstable boarders of a territory could be guarded individually, providing safety from attack. While this system worked to a degree, it had one very great flaw; the lords often felt no allegiance to the kings and internal coups threatened his supreme rule. To combat this, Catholicism was made to be the most prevalent part of most people's lives.
Catholicism brought unity to the peoples of Europe. The common were given something simple to believe in that gave them hope for a better life to come, one not dominated by grueling labor. It preached righteousness and unselfishness in this life in order to ascend to heaven in the next.
This tenet urged people to be docile and unquestioning of the practices of the Church, giving it immense, unchallenged power.
One of these practices was the obtaining of wealth and land by the Church. Practitioners paid a tax to the church for their services for fear of being excommunicated and consequently an afterlife spent in eternal damnation. People gave whatever they could to the church in hopes of remaining in its good graces, including noblemen. Large plots of land were donated to the church by landowners, and thus, the economic and social power of the Church grew to surpass even that of the alleged ruler, who was also often in its pocket.
The Church was one of the only groups that set up schools. In addition to winning the people's adoration, this move allowed for the Church to...