In describing current events in the church as global politics, the main character in Ian Morgan Cron’s book Chasing Francis makes a pretty convincing case that things now aren’t so different from the way they used to be:
Another similarity between the Middle Ages and today has to do with the state of Christendom. In Francis’s day, the church was hemorrhaging credibility; it was seen as hypocritical, untrustworthy, and irrelevant. Some people even wondered if it would survive. Clergy were at the center of all kinds of sexual scandals. It had commercialized Jesus, selling pardons, ecclesiastical offices, and relics. Sermons were either so academic that people couldn’t understand them or they were canned. Popular songs ridiculing the church and clergy could be heard all over Europe. The laity felt used by the professional clergy, as if they were there to serve the institution, not the other way around. The church had also become dangerously entangled in the world of power politics and war…The demise of feudalism and the return of a money economy brought the rise of the merchant class and a ferocious spirit of aggressive capitalism. Greed ran riot in the culture. To top it all off, Christians were at war with the Muslims.
Sound at all familiar?