The role of the Catholic Church in Western civilization has been intricately intertwined with the history and formation of Western society. Through its long history, the church has been a major source of social services like schooling and medical care; inspiration for Western art,culture and philosophy; and influential player in politics and religion. In various ways it has sought to affect Western attitudes to vice and virtue in diverse fields. It has, over many centuries, promulgated the teachings of Jesus within the Western World and remains a source of continuity linking modern Western culture to classical Western culture.
While the West is no longer universally Catholic, the Catholic heritage remains strong in Western countries: festivals like Easter and Christmas are marked universally as public holidays; Pope Gregory XIII‘s Gregorian Calendar has been adopted internationally as the civil calendar; and time
itself is measured by the West from the assumed date of the birth of the Church’s founder, Jesus of Nazareth: the Year One AD (Anno Domini).
The cultural influence of the Church has been vast. Church scholars, virtually alone, preserved literacy in Western Europe following the Fall of Rome. During the Middle Ages, the Church rose to replace the Roman Empire as the unifying force in Europe. The cathedrals of that age remain among the most iconic feats of architecture produced by Western civilization. Many of Europe’s universities were also founded by the church at that time. The Reformation brought …