138 – Religious Lives in Britain

Alright, so last week we talked about how uneven and confused the conversion of Britain was. And how the beliefs of one village might not bare all that much similarity to the beliefs of another village even though they both might profess to worship the same god.

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  1. I remember in world history (it was about 10 years ago so I don’t remember much detail) that priests where generally not allowed to marry after some event in the 300’s. But, it continued in small areas or something. Was Britain just different in that it still happened there frequently? Or did marriage happen a lot until it was finally banned for good in the 1100’s or whenever time it was?

    1. The Church didn’t like the idea of married priests sleeping with their wives since the Council of Nicea, but it largely kept going until the 12th century when the Catholic Church decreed that the clergy could no longer marry under any circumstances.

        1. The church became more and more interested in sex (or rather in preventing lay people and clergy from having sex) as time went on. As for reasons, there were quite a few motivators, but land inheritance and encouraging bequests of land to the church were among them.

        2. When you put it like this, it somehow seems far-fetched…But I suppose there is still some logic to it :)

  2. Hi I’ve been slowly catchimg up on all the podcasts and they’re totally great! Question though… It sounds like the nuns, monks, and priests of this area all came from the wealthier classes. Is there any evidence that lower classes joined the priesthood as well? Or were they maybe too busy trying to survive.

    1. I’m sure there were some, but our evidence from the Lives of Saints and other sources are overwhelmingly of the upper classes moving into the clergy. Bede, Guthlac, Alcuin, all were from the upper crust of society.

      1. Thank you… If the evidence available points to it being an upper class thing that might have made for an interesting change later on when the vows of poverty were taken a little more seriously.

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