French    German    Spain    Italian    Arabic    Chinese Simplified    Russian

Western Civilisation

Until the advent of materialism and 19th c. dogma, Western Civilisation was  superior to anything Islam had developed.  Islam has not aided in the development of the modern world; in fact civilisation has only been created in spite of Islam.  Proof of this resides in the 'modern' world and the unending political-economic and spiritual poverty of Muslim states and regions.  Squatting on richer civilisations is not 'progress'.  Islam is pagan, totalitarian, and irrational.   

Back     Printer Friendly Version  

Sunday, March 10, 2024

Bookmark and Share

The Church and Medieval Universities

No Church. No University system. As dead simple as that.

by Ferdinand III


The Rise of Medieval Universities - Brewminate: A Bold Blend of News ...


It is amusing to hear the self-proclaimed, Atheist-Rationalist-Globalist-Humanist (aka Communist) usher forth with declamations of moral and intellectual superiority, over the undressed, stooped, toothless, superstitious, moronic, childish religious peasant, because he/she/zhe has a Phd from a University – an institution built by the Catholic Church.  The irony is of course lost on the egocentric self-worshipper. 


Along with eye-glasses, time and the printing press, not to mention the practical usage of electricity which led to modern devices, the devout worshipper of stuff happens, random chance and ‘The Science’ would not have the means, methods or avenues to accumulate he/she/zhe’s random degree.



The Middle Ages developed education at a far higher more formalised and rigorous level than any other epoch in world history until the 19th century.  The formation of universities was a new phenomenon utterly unique in global history.  Nothing like it existed in pagan Greece, Rome, Arabia, China, India or the Americas.  The institutions of today were built and are modelled on the medieval.  Catholic Christian Europe was the only era in history which showed a consistent and reverent desire if not obsession, with the preservation, extension and improvement of knowledge.



The earliest universities began to appear in the early 12th century, sited in Bologna, Paris and Oxford.  Each university might adopt a particular focus – medicine at Bologna, law at Paris, natural sciences and theology at Oxford or Cambridge.  Each school had well defined programs, with the length of degree study not dissimilar to what we have today.  Medieval universities were chartered legal corporations, self-interested in quality and in developing ‘craftsmen’ for teaching, much as guild would develop an apprentice into a ‘craftsmen’ for that particular guild and skill set.



Most universities offered the seven liberal arts, civil and canon laws, natural philosophy, medicine, and theology.  These courses created what is now called a ‘Renaissance of the 12th century’, leading directly to the great scientific, naturalist and theological developments of the 13th.  Huge translation efforts saved countless ancient artifacts from extinction.  Geometry, maths, logic, metaphysics, natural philosophy, Aristotelianism, medicine, legal studies all flourished.  Justinian’s 6th century codex of civil law was rediscovered, improved and became the basis for much of secular law and indeed medieval and modern canon law. 



The papacy and Church at large were instrumental in building these cathedral schools.  Enormous investments were made by the Church in the construction of buildings, the funding of salaries and expenses, the on-going maintenance and repair, the administration and the development of courses and degrees.  Given their corporate status, the universities were run as a business, influenced and often-allied with the State, but determinedly independent of secularisation and secular powers.  That is obviously no longer the case today and our education system is far worse off being entirely dependent on State whims.



By the year of the poorly named ‘Reformation’ of 1517, around 81 universities had been granted a private charter across Europe.  Of these, 33 had a papal charter, 15 a royal, 20 possessed both, and 13 had no charter.  These universities could not grant a degree without the approbation of either the Church, the King or monarch, or both.  If issued with a degree from the most famous universities such as Bologna, Paris or Oxford, the ‘master-degree’ holder was able to teach anywhere in Europe, with his degree stamped with ‘ius ubique docendi’. 



Universities usually added social and economic power and gravitas to their towns.  Economic activity was generally enhanced by the arrival of thousands of students.  Conflicts with local townspeople were not uncommon, including brawls, street fights and physical conflict.  The Church and secular rulers usually extended protection to students and offered legal help in litigation with locals. 



Importantly the Church stood up for the freedom and liberty of both the university as a separate corporation, independent from secular power and for the rights and freedoms of students to engage in inquiry and pursue their studies.  By the mid 13th century, the Church had defined a right called ‘cessatio’ which it protected the rights of students and faculty to work and study in safe and well maintained premises including proper habitation for the students.  Students and faculty were protected from abuse, larceny and deceitful practices in the provisioning of accommodation, food and supplies.



Universities enhanced upward social mobility and the diffusion of knowledge.  Most students came from modest backgrounds, they were not the rich and elite.  Many were young, aged 14 to 20 and the most popular degree course was law.  Over time the positive impact of a university on a town was so substantial that towns began to compete to attract a university to relocate or to build up the funds to start a new one.   The University of Padua was built in 1222, from a diaspora of disaffected scholars from Bologna.  A variety of grants and privileges from the secular state to universities became the norm, in order to develop and grow the university. 



Universities today are now everywhere and accepted as 'normal'.  There is nothing inevitable about this institution or the vast networks of such schools which dominate many towns and cities across the world.  The concept of the university, its purpose, its curricula, its culture of inquiry was only built in Catholic Europe. It is a simple fact to state the truth -  No Catholic Church, No University system. 

Article Comments:

Related Articles:

Catholic Legacy

4/14/2024:  The Cathedral School at Chartres

4/7/2024:  The Church and the rise of 'Science'

3/31/2024:  The Shroud of Turin and the physical appearance of Jesus Christ

3/24/2024:  The Scholastics and Rationalism

3/10/2024:  The Church and Medieval Universities

3/3/2024:  The Monks and the medieval industrial revolution

2/26/2024:  The Monks who built Western Civilisation

2/18/2024:  The Carolingian Renaissance or was it the Dark Ages?

2/14/2024:  The Catholic Church, a light in the darkness of pagan barbarism.

2/4/2024:  The Indispensable Catholic Church