In medieval times the clergy had a lot of power, almost as much as royalty, because they obtained power through each other. The king protected the clergy by assuring the people that they knew God personally and therefore knew exactly what God willed in everything. In return, the church protected the king by telling people of the kingdom that he was direct descendant of God. The People were kept busy so that they had no time to think about the injustice the faced everyday, and afraid to fight back because of the threats of the clergy.
The clergy had several different ways of ensuring that the fear that kept them in charge of the people was maintained. First of all, they apparently knew God personally and knew what His will was. They also were in charge of indulgences (money that people paid to shorten their time in purgatory). Basically, if the people got on the bad side of the clergy, they would not be allowed into heaven after they died.
The second reason for that constant fear that they lived in, was that the clergy fed them scraps of food that they did not want. The peasants needed it because with all of the other expenses that they had to pay they kept getting further and further behind, and costs of food would only add to it. If the people tried to fight against the church, they might stop giving them the food and they could go hungry and starve. This was also good for the clergy because when they helped the people in small ways, it made the people like them more.
The church and the king worked together to ensure that the people were kept so busy that they had no time to consider the ways in which they were being treated so unjustly. They were constantly in service of the king and taxes were so high that it prevented them from ever getting ahead or having any social mobility. The high taxes also made the people so poor that they could not afford any education for their children, they had no way to learn to stand up for what they believe, and even...
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