In the modern era, the medieval Catholic Church is often spoken of in negative terms. It is inevitable in a world largely shaped by the Reformation that many people focus on the corruption that plagued the Catholic Church in the late middle ages. However, long before the papacy faced off with Martin Luther, the Catholic Church played a vital role in European society. In the wake of the fall of the Roman Empire and in the centuries before nation states coalesced, the Catholic Church was the sole entity that held European society together. We'll examine the history of the Catholic Church from 200 to 1563 AD, with a particular focus on the social impact of the church.