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The Foundation Of The Ecclesiast





In the period between the conversion of the Franks and the rise of the
dynasty of Charles Martel, or the period comprising the sixth and seventh
centuries, the foundation was laid for those ecclesiastical institutions
which are peculiar to the Middle Ages, and found in the mediaeval Church
their full embodiment. In the Church the Latin element was still more or
less dominant, and society was only slowly transformed by the Germanic
elements. In the adjustment of Roman institutions to the new political
conditions in which Germanic factors were dominant, the Germanic and the
Roman elements are accordingly found in constantly varying proportions. In
the case of the diocesan and parochial organization, only very slowly
could the Church in the West attain that complete organization which had
long since been established in the East, and here Roman ideas were
profoundly modified by Germanic legal principles ( 101). But at the same
time the Church's body of teaching and methods of moral training were made
clearly intelligible and more applicable to the new conditions of
Christian life. The teaching of Augustine was received only in part at the
Council of Orange, A. D. 529 (v. supra, 85), and it was profoundly
modified by the moralistic type of theology traceable to Tertullian and
even further back (v. supra, 39). It was, furthermore, completed by a
clearer and more precise statement of the doctrines of purgatory and the
sacrifice of the mass, and to the death of Christ was applied
unequivocally the doctrine of merit which had been developed in the West
in connection with the early penitential discipline, and which was seen to
throw a new light upon the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross. These
conceptions served as a foundation for new discussions, and confirmed
tendencies already present in the Church ( 102). Connected with this
theology was the penitential discipline, which, growing out of the ancient
discipline as modified by the earlier form of monastic life, especially in
Ireland, came under the influence of the Germanic legal conceptions (
103). In the same period monasticism was organized upon a new rule by
Benedict of Nursia ( 104), and the need of provision for the education of
the young and for the training of the clergy was felt and, to some extent,
provided for by monastery schools and other methods of education ( 105).





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