Charity and Religion in Medieval Europe by James Brodman

By James Brodman

Demanding situations traditional perspectives of medieval piety via demonstrating how the ideology of charity and its imaginative and prescient of the lively existence supplied a big replacement to the ascetical, contemplative culture emphasised via such a lot historians.

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18 the pious and the practical interest in the poor, whose status in law they defined. Church lawyers concluded that, because poverty itself was not a moral evil, individuals so afflicted should not be deprived of their legal rights. Consequently, in ecclesiastical courts, paupers were exempted from the payment of certain court fees and in some instances were provided with free counsel. Perhaps because the canonists attempted to reserve for ecclesiastical courts any case where justice might be threatened by a litigant’s poverty, secular courts in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries reacted by also taking the indigent under some form of protection.

See also Tierney, Medieval Poor Law, 15–18, 33– 44. The concept of right can also be seen in Thomas Aquinas’s Summa theologiae: “He who suffers from extreme need can take what he needs from another’s goods if no one else will give them to him” (Little, Religious Poverty, 179). the pious and the practical 19 ing God. Rather his poverty was merely a burden. Charity and justice, on the other hand, demanded that he be assisted; society in some sense owed this to him as a form of moral restitution. ”¹⁴ Pope Innocent III A pivotal figure in promoting assistance to the poor is Innocent III (r.

Catholic Historical Review 67 (1981): 561. the pious and the practical 21 They are bracketed by his patronage to the new ransoming Order of the Holy Trinity, which he had approved in 1198, and his creation of a larger Order of the Holy Spirit in 1204. Furthermore, in western and southern Europe, the years from 1194 to 1207 witnessed severe famine, the product of natural calamities and poor harvests. In Italy, a Cistercian monk of Fossanova, a monastery located between Rome and Naples, described 1202 as a year of hunger.

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