Roman Catholic Church

Start Free Trial

How did the Roman Catholic Church influence political power and social services in Europe?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Social Services: Many of the social services that are now offered by secular governments were once the exclusive domain of the Roman Catholic church. Only the Church could marry you, baptize you, or bury you. There were no passports or identity cards and so your baptismal certificate and parish records were your only official identity documents and proof of residence. Poor relief was handled exclusively by the church, as were hospitals and asylums for the poor.

Political Power: The Pope was not only a spiritual leader but the temporal head of the Papal States. The Pope's ability to excommunicate a king or noble gave great political power, as did the sheer wealth and influence of the church.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial