Canterbury Tales - Medieval Church
In discussing Chaucer's collection of stories called The
Canterbury Tales, an interesting picture or illustration of the
Medieval Christian Church is presented. However, while people demanded
more voice in the affairs of government, the church became corrupt --
this corruption also led to a more crooked society. Nevertheless,
there is no such thing as just church history; This is because the
church can never be studied in isolation, simply because it has always
related to the social, economic and political context of the day. In
history then, there is a two way process where the church has an
influence on the rest of society and of course, society influences the
church. This is naturally because it is the people from a society who
make up the church....and those same people became the personalities
that created these tales of a pilgrimmage to Canterbury.
The Christianization of Anglo-Saxon England was to take place in a
relatively short period of time, but this was not because of the
success of the Augustinian effort.
Indeed, the early years of this
mission had an ambivalence which shows in the number of people who
hedged their bets by practicing both Christian and Pagan rites at the
same time, and in the number of people who promptly apostatized when a
Christian king died. There is certainly no evidence for a large-scale
conversion of the common people to Christianity at this time.
Augustine was not the most diplomatic of men, and managed to
antagonize many people of power and influence in Britain, not least
among them the native British churchmen, who had never been
particularly eager to save the souls of the Anglo-Saxons who had
brought such bitter times to their people. In their isolation, the
British Church had maintained older ways of...