The Friars Essay

This essay has a total of 785 words and 4 pages.

The Friars



Lawrence’s works details how the mendicant orders arose before and during the
thirteenth century. Europe supported the establishment of the church, implemented change
and reform leading to heresy and separation. Lawrence regards the “revolutionary
situation” (page 225), as one resulting partly by the growth of towns and the
general population. Due to social changes within medieval Europe itself it sought control
and threatened the stability of the Church and of the religious beliefs of the people.

In a way, the rise of the mendicant orders at this time is an answer to the problems in
this situation. Mendicant orders are seen by Lawrence as “a revolutionary answer to
a potentially revolutionary situation” (page 225) because of the long-term effect to
help preserve the church hierarchy. This sometimes was in conflict and even become partly
incorporated into that hierarchy themselves. Although, to some extent the mendicant
orders were innovative, they cannot be seen as itself revolutionary. In order to be
considered revolutionary, they would have had to overthrow the previous church order and
perhaps replacing it with a new one. But mendicant order did nothing of the sort. The
establishment of monasteries and schools allowed them to later become part of the Catholic
Church, government system.

The Friars were well trained in theology and pastoral skills which is why they were chosen
by the papacy to completely destroy the religious beliefs that opposed the orthodox views
(page 188). At this time religion in the West was a relatively new concept. The friars
are noted to have had some importance in the Inquisition: “suppressing the
heresy” (Webster’s New World Dictionary, 249). “Developing… out
of… measures… to combat the dualist heresies… rampant in France and in
northern and central Italy by the middle of the twelfth century.” (Page 189). Here
the Church used its various means to combat the Cathars and others who opposes the belief
of Dogma [that “body of theological doctrines authoritatively affirmed”
(Webster’s New World Dictionary, 146)] in that area. The Dominicans played a major
role in the Albigensian Crusade directed against the Cathars to wipe them out.

Dominicans also played a part in the development of the Inquisition. The Frascisians were
“drawn into enterprise, though at first on a more limited scale.” (Page 190)
although it wasn’t until Pope Innocent IV, that the Fransciscans began to play an
important role in the Inquisition (page 191).

Nevertheless, judging from just this it can be seen that the role of the Friars could
hardly be considered revolutionary. Instead of overturning the established order, the
friars supporting it, and even encouraged the use of violence against those who threatened
the heretics. Their presence resulted in reforms in learning and in the organization of
the Church that accommodated as a part of the clergy. The friar’s role counteracted
the threats made to the Church by enabling it to adapt new ideas. What the friars did do,
Continues for 2 more pages >>




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