Changing Policy on Medieval Heresy Essay

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Heresy, as defined by the medieval church, is 'an opinion chosen by human perception, found on the scriptures, contrary to the teachings of the church, publicly avowed and obstinately defended' (Moore ix). The word 'Heresy' originates from the Greek word, 'Hairesis', meaning 'choice' (George xi). During the Medieval time period, which stretched from the 700's to the 1400's, heresies became sought out as religious alternatives to the constraining Catholic Church (George 342, Roach 11). The common people began to become increasingly more educated (Roach 52). With this came the ability, the need, to question authority (Moore 3, Roach 59). Because of the Church's religious monopoly and the laity's demand for knowledge, heresy became a …show more content…
As the Church forced more and more pressures on the populace, heresies began to emerge to bring answers to the laypeople?s religious questions (Lambert 39-40). At the beginning of the 1100?s, there were the first instances of the laity beginning to become more outspoken in their religious choices (Roach 26). In 1076, Remihrdus of Douai started preaching against simony, which was the selling of church pardons so that the laity was no longer accountable for their personal sins (Roach 14, 27). The Church decided that his ideas were too heretical so the bishop of Cambrai had him burned at the stake. Even after Remihrdus was killed, sermons against the practice of simony continued, though many searched for pastoral approval before continuing with their teachings (Roach 27-28). In France in 1116, Henry of Le Mans, also known as Henry of Lausanne, spoke out against people marrying because of their dictated caste system and the corruption of the clergy (Roach 30). While the bishop of Le Mans, Hildebert, was visiting Rome, Henry persuaded the entire town to forsake the clergy (Roach 30, Lambert 49). His followers were convinced to come forth and marry prostitutes so that the women would have a proper home and clothing (Roach 31). When Hildebert returned, he found that the townspeople had been turned against him. In response to his blessing they shouted, ?It is of no value to us to accept your blessings?go