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Feudalism and the Church

Hugh O’Reilly

This is not an apologia for feudalism from the social and political perspectives.

Suger stain glass windows

The glory of the Church in the Middle Ages is owed to feudalism
The past, however, belongs to justice, and justice demands from impartial and sincere men the duty of recognizing a truth that is as clear and brilliant as the light of the day. This is to declare that of all the phases of history through which temporal society has passed, the feudal age was the one – so far – that most continuously favored the development of the Church.

After a careful investigation of the facts, we do not fear to proclaim: None of the powers that reigned over the world before and after the feudal aristocracy in the Middle Ages assigned to the Church such a great portion of authority, wealth, honor, and, above all, liberty. None has given her such a quantity of gigantic and admirable monuments, spread so generously everywhere over the face of earth. None has listened with more respect to her voice, has defended her liberties and rights with such courageous and numerous armies. Lastly, none has filled her sanctuaries with so many faithful and saints.

To attack feudalism in the name of the Church, the regime to which monarchy and democracy owe its very make-up, is the apex of both ignorance and ingratitude.

Translated from and based upon
Charles de Montalembert, Les Moines d’Occident. vol.6, p. 5
Posted September 19, 2009


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