Middle Ages
Clergy of the Middle Ages

Clergy of the Middle Ages
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.97

     challenging words:    alms, hierarchy, tithe, teaching, parish, clergy, medieval, nuns, bishop, priest, politics, kings, mass, ordinary, punishment, income
     content words:    Middle Ages, Catholic Church

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Clergy of the Middle Ages
By Sharon Fabian

1     The Middle Ages had kings, lords, knights, and serfs. At the same time, the Catholic Church, the only Christian church in the Middle Ages, had a similar hierarchy. The pope was the leader of the church. The archbishops and bishops ruled large areas under the direction of the pope. The priests were each in charge of their local parish under the direction of their bishop. The priests and the other church leaders together were known as the clergy. The parish was made up of all of the church members in the area, and in the Middle Ages, this was nearly everyone.
2     The church was very important to the people of the Middle Ages. It was definitely not just for Sundays. Medieval people believed in heaven and hell, and they believed that they must do whatever the clergy told them to do in order to get into heaven and to avoid the fires of hell.
3     One thing they were told to do was to pay taxes, called tithes, to the church. A tithe was one-tenth of a person's income. It could be paid in cash or in goods, such as crops or cattle. People in the Middle Ages also paid for certain church services such as marriages, baptisms, and burials. They were willing to pay because they believed that the Church would only allow them into heaven if they had been baptized, married in the church, and buried in holy ground.

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