The Rise of the Papacy


In the void left by the collapse of the Roman Empire, the bishop of Rome grew even more in both power and prestige. There were both positive and negative ramifications of this reality.

Write a 5-7 page research paper discussing how and why the papacy in Rome became the center of power as it did. What factors contributed to its dominance of Western Europe until the Reformation? What were the positive and negative ramifications of this reality? Beware! While you must include a solid appraisal of the positive and negative ramifications of the growth in power and prestige of this institution, your paper must not be a sustained polemic or attack against the papacy or Roman Catholicism. Instead, the intent of this assignment is for you to demonstrate that you have an understanding of the key factors that contributed to changes in the papacy.



Special Note: This course covers the history of the church up until the Reformation. Your paper must be limited to that period. Do not discuss issues related to the papacy in the modern era (i.e., after A.D. 1500).


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