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It's not by accident that the pope (from the Latin papa or "father") was called pontiff (from pontifex maximus or "chief priest") ― a title previously reserved for the Roman emperor.Today we remember the period of time when the Church ruled Western Europe with an iron hand as the "Dark Ages," although more charitable historians will call it the "Middle Ages." Feudalism With its well-organized bureaucracy, the Church found itself assuming a position of paramount importance in the evolution of feudalism in European society.At first, the Church took over the properties of pagan temples and temple priests.But it continued to expand it holdings, until it became by far the biggest landowner in Europe, collecting huge amounts of taxes from the hapless peasants.The inequality of human capacity was obvious, the need for subordination inescapable.As the Church's empire grew in size so did its need for more money to support it.The Church, aligning itself with the Franks, stepped in to restore order.
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