chapter  12
29 Pages

The Spiritual Life of the Central Middle Ages

The growth of urban populations during the central Middle Ages made some parishes too large for one man to minister to the spiritual needs of all inhabitants, and many urban parishes were subdivided. This chapter talks about the Cathar who was heirs of the Manichaean heretics of the late Roman Empire. Both St Francis of Assisi and Waldo were converted to the life of poverty by wandering preachers from southern France who were probably Cathars. Saints and heretics are often difficult to distinguish in the spiritual life of the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. The chapter explains Christianity which had been imposed on the peoples of Europe, first by the Roman emperors and then by the Germanic kings. It had never eradicated the vestiges of the older folk religion, and indeed few church authorities even tried to do so until the twelfth century.