In The Canterbury Tales Chaucer conveys to us the status of religion during his time. Chaucer tells us the church, in general, was extremely corrupt during his time. He illustrates this in his characters. Most of his characters that belong to the church in a very high position and corrupt and the few that are honest devoted religious people don't have a very high status.
The Monk is one of the characters that Chaucer portrays to describe the level of religious corruption of the church during Chaucer's time. Monks are supposed to be humble, simple, and religious devoted people. They are supposed t live in poverty, prey, and work a little bit so they don't go nuts. Chaucer agrees with the fact that a little spice in a monk's life wouldn't hurt ("Should the man spend all his life in books?"), but the monk that is portrayed in the book is not of this nature.
The Monk leads a lavish life. He wears various types of expensive clothing. He wears jewelry and likes to hunt. His most favorite pastime is feasting. This includes dining on some very lavish and expensive dishes like a swan. The Monk doesn't pray much nor does he work. He just lives the life of a "semi-hedonist." The Nun is another character that Chaucer portrays to be religiously corrupt. She acts as a lady. She eats politely, carries her body elegantly and laughs gently. She has also spent some time on learning French since she does try to speak some. The description of the Nun doesn't compare with what a real nun (not just a nun but a "Prioress," head of the convent) should do. Not just that but a Prioress shouldn't wear a gold pin with the inscription "Love conquers all." This illustrates the fact that even one of the highest church official is religiously corrupt.
From The Canterbury Tales see that many high church officials are heading the opposite direction on the "religious" highway. However there are several characters that aren't corrupt. One of these characters is the Parson. He is a religious figure (although not of as high rank as the nun) who prays daily, pays money to the church, and even gives sermon at a local church. He doesn't care about such lavish things as the Monk and the Nun care about. He leads a simple, religious devoted life. However he doesn't have a lot of influence. He preaches by the countryside and can only influence locals. He doesn't have as much authority/influence as the Nun or even the Monk do. Through the Parson, Chaucer tells us that those people, who were devoted to religion, were not very powerful.
Through The Canterbury TalesChaucer illustrates his views on the church and religion in his time. He tells us that many high level church officials are extremely corrupt and not religious at all. Those that are devoted to the church and religion don't have much authority. This shows the level of corruption of Chaucer's time and how many sand helplessly and watch as these hypocrites take overt the Church and religious affairs of others.