Increasing lay investment in parishes and fraternities certainly had something to do with religious motives. The Black Death must have been an awe-inspiring experience, and the daunting prospect of purgatory may have been reason enough for contemporary parishioners to try and improve their chances of salvation. Some must have followed the Church's guidelines in a rather unreflected fashion, but many acted out of genuine devotion and a deep belief in the efficacy of intercession. Such activities, however, did not take place in a social vacuum. They could be expensive and depended on a variety of circumstantial factors. Parish life should not only be discussed on the basis of (Reformation-inspired) questions concerning the popularity of religious practices and/or potential roots of sixteenth-century change, but also with reference to contemporary socio-economic conditions. The absolute figures spent on priests or the embellishment of churches mean little, unless they are interpreted in light of the size of available resources and other spending purposes. This chapter will tackle some of these issues, even though the evidence does not always permit more than a very tentative assessment.