Is the word "medieval" anti-Catholic?


#1

me·di·e·val mdee v’l, mèddee v’l ] or me·di·ae·val mdee v’l, mèddee v’l ]

adjective

  1. of the Middle Ages: relating to, involving, belonging to, or typical of the Middle Ages in Europe

  2. old-fashioned: old-fashioned, especially because lacking modern enlightened attitudes
    Some of the attitudes in the industry were positively medieval.

[Early 19th century. Formed from modern Latin medium aevum “middle age.”]

me·di·e·val·ly adverb


#2

:confused: Why on earth would you think that?


#3

No. “Medieval” comes from a latin term meaning “middle age”, which actually sounds very neutral. Any suggestions of the term being anti-Catholic is purely in our minds, just as there is nothing wrong with being old-fashioned or traditional.

Gerry :slight_smile:


#4

[quote=Maranatha]me·di·e·val mdee v’l, mèddee v’l ] or me·di·ae·val mdee v’l, mèddee v’l ]

adjective

  1. of the Middle Ages: relating to, involving, belonging to, or typical of the Middle Ages in Europe

  2. old-fashioned: old-fashioned, especially because lacking modern enlightened attitudes
    Some of the attitudes in the industry were positively medieval.

[Early 19th century. Formed from modern Latin medium aevum “middle age.”]

me·di·e·val·ly adverb
[/quote]

Of course not because Medieval Christianity was Catholic Christianity, there wasn’t any thing else.


#5

Nope.


#6

[quote=Br. Rich SFO]Of course not because Medieval Christianity was Catholic Christianity, there wasn’t any thing else.
[/quote]

The Medieval church resembled more the loose affiliation of the orthodox churches than the present ultra-montain Catholic church. Of course there were the Waldensians and Hussites as well though. But why let a little thing like the facts get in the way of the truth?

Adam


#7

What does the term “ultra-montain” Catholic Church mean?


#8

It only refers to a time period. I don’t see the connection. Yeah, there was a Catholic church in medieval times. I think that being able to refer to a common religious practice that occurred then and now demonstrates remarkable continuity. No idea how the word itself would be anti-Catholic. Was the medieval church perfect - no. Is any creation that humans are involved in perfect, regardless of its religious affiliation or lack thereof - no. Is admitting that there were ever problems in the church “anti-Catholic” - not according to the pope.


#9

[quote=philipmarus]What does the term “ultra-montain” Catholic Church mean?
[/quote]

He is probably referring to the current highly centralized structure of authority in the Catholic Church centered in Rome/Vatican.

Gerry :slight_smile:


#10

The word “medieval” is not anti-Catholic in itself. However, I have to wonder if people are not understanding the point that I think Maranatha was making in asking the question.

I think a lot of people today use the word “medieval” in an anti-Catholic way. For example, many use it now to refer to something that is primitive, unenlightened, arrogant, discriminatory, and violent. I think what these people are referring to is often the control and power that the Church wielded during this time. So, in that sense, there is a certain anti-Catholic connotation to the way that many use the word “medieval” today, but there is not an anti-Catholic connotation to the word itself.


#11

Hi, Maranatha,

“Medieval” is not anti-Catholic, but “Dark Ages” is. There was nothing dark about Medieval times, except perhaps in the interval between 500 and 800, when the times were very unsettled due to the Barbarian invasions. Even then, it was the church, especially the monasteries, who supported the development of agriculture and preserved the ancient writings and traditions.

Verbum


#12

I think “medieval” (of the middle age) is exactly what we should strive to be – not “ancient” or “modern”, and so equally free of the errors of the pagan past and of mindless enthrallment to the latest spiritual fad.


#13

[quote=Verbum]Medieval" is not anti-Catholic, but “Dark Ages” is. There was nothing dark about Medieval times, except perhaps in the interval between 500 and 800, when the times were very unsettled due to the Barbarian invasions.
Verbum
[/quote]

I was diagree with this concept too. References of time as itself is not a negative connotation ofr religion. The Dark Ages is when the vast majority of the populations lost much of the orginial teaching their society held in reference to knowlegedge.

Some parts of the Church remained a light in the dark for all knowledge and not just religious belief. It is negative to blame the dark ages on the Church. Some of its institutions preserved the learning of ancient languages, basic medical and science traditions (like hygiene), and social philosophy literature related to democracy and logic, as well as continuining its role as a promoting religious light. Not all of the Church’s members protected the knowledge that did not have its root in faith, but without the Church it is questionable whether so much early knowledge would have existed. The Chruch was the source of most of the great libraries and centers of learning.


#14

[quote=atsheeran]The word “medieval” is not anti-Catholic in itself. However, I have to wonder if people are not understanding the point that I think Maranatha was making in asking the question.

I think a lot of people today use the word “medieval” in an anti-Catholic way. For example, many use it now to refer to something that is primitive, unenlightened, arrogant, discriminatory, and violent. I think what these people are referring to is often the control and power that the Church wielded during this time. So, in that sense, there is a certain anti-Catholic connotation to the way that many use the word “medieval” today, but there is not an anti-Catholic connotation to the word itself.
[/quote]

I think it is anti-Catholic, perhaps anti-Christian and it issued for those purposes.

  1. The word was created at the beginning of the 19th century when the struggle between the secular enlightened (I don’t concede that word either) philosophies and Christianity was new and the secular philosophies were considered modern. Religious enlightenment was considered superstition.

  2. The word is usually mispronounced. It should be pronounced “medi-eval” but is usually pronounced “mid-evil”.

  3. Protestants use the “mid-evil” pronunciation to support their “Whore of Babylon” theory.

  4. Secular rationalists (a third term I don’t concede.) use the “mid-evil” pronunciation to cover everything from the Greek philosophers to the secular enlightenment. (i.e. Christianity)

Maybe it’s just me but words matter and I don’t use the term.


#15

We need to have the courage to reclaim words that have been abused and misused and not retire them all together, or peopel win victories over us and our faith. If we feel that “medieval” and “dark ages” are somehow anti-Catholic, than we need to confront people who use them as such.

Literally, they are periods of time only. Yes, the Catholic chruch dominated then, but it does not mean that the church should be associated only with that time period and the evils and/or misunderstandings that a few of its members made then. Stand up and say the great things the church did then, as well as not having fear of ankowleding the mistakes that a few men made as men, even though they may have been members of the Church. Men are not perfect. It’s why people need the Church as a whole.

It’s funny how quick societ is to attack the church on the mistakes of a few of its members. Forgive me, but for a while, I found it shameful to be associated with the Church due to the sex abuse scandals. Which was horrible (teh scandal and my reaction) . Don’t get me wrong.

But around that time, I remember reading an article in small print in the back of a newspaper from some where in North Caroina about how some Baptist minister was arrested for offering “relationship therapy” because his “counseling sessions” involved him behvaing inappropriately with members of the opposite sex, to put it mildly. If it were a Catholic priest, it would have been international news. But for some reason no one questioned sexuality as a concept in the Baptist church structure because of this incident, and it made me wonder who reports what and why.


#16

I don’t think “medieval” is anti-Catholic in the first sense given, but in the second sense it is. I would never use it in that sense, and I cringe when anyone does. Especially when it is used of things like torture or witch hunts which actually came in in the later Middle Ages and were more characteristic of the supposedly more enlightened Renaissance.

Also, most historians today have concluded that the “Dark Ages” were not as dark as previously believed. It’s not a term much used by professionals any more.

In Christ,

Edwin


#17

“Medieval” is not anti-Catholic, but “Dark Ages” is. There was nothing dark about Medieval times, except perhaps in the interval between 500 and 800, when the times were very unsettled due to the Barbarian invasions. Even then, it was the church, especially the monasteries, who supported the development of agriculture and preserved the ancient writings and traditions

I recommend an excellent short book on this by Christopher Dawson called [size=2]Religion and the Rise of Western Culture**.** [/size]
This gives an excellent history of the “Dark Ages” period. It shows the various reform movements of the church. I remember reading in it of one King who reknounced his Crown to become a wandering monk and preach the Gospel. It good antidote to “Dark Ages” myth.


#18

[quote=Maranatha]Maybe it’s just me but words matter and I don’t use the term.
[/quote]

So what term do you propose for the historical period between the Fall of Rome and the Renaissance ?


#19

[quote=Timidity]So what term do you propose for the historical period between the Fall of Rome and the Renaissance ?
[/quote]

I would use the term Middle Ages to indicate the time form the fall of Rome to the French revolution. Both events mark a change the prevailing governing systems. The first is the end of empire and the second is the beginning of the modern state.

Renaissance also implies a reemergence of the arts after a period of suppression. I contend that the middle ages were not dark (devoid of advancements in science) and the arts were not suppressed except when they supported heresy.


#20

[quote=serendipity]We need to have the courage to reclaim words that have been abused and misused and not retire them all together, or peopel win victories over us and our faith. If we feel that “medieval” and “dark ages” are somehow anti-Catholic, than we need to confront people who use them as such.

Literally, they are periods of time only. Yes, the Catholic chruch dominated then, but it does not mean that the church should be associated only with that time period and the evils and/or misunderstandings that a few of its members made then. Stand up and say the great things the church did then, as well as not having fear of ankowleding the mistakes that a few men made as men, even though they may have been members of the Church. Men are not perfect. It’s why people need the Church as a whole.
[snip.]

[/quote]

Since the word was created at the beginning of the 19th century for the purpose of being derogatory I don’t feel it can be reclaimed. I prefer the use of alternate words when apologizing.

I recognize the failings of Church leaders during this time and I’m not afraid to admit them and recognize them as sins. It is still important to choose your words carefully.

When the Republicans wanted to ban a certain late term abortion procedure, they called it partial-birth abortion. The label stuck and it infuriated the Democrats. The debate was won when the term became ubiquitous.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.