From Wikipedia: “…fundamental theology does not directly work towards evangelisation, but rather towards the analysis of where and by what means God brings human beings to assent to his Word“
This definition is rather interesting as during the first centuries of the church such as the Patristic and Middle Age – St. Thomas Aquinas is just an example – the church concerns were not around the Fundamental Theology as the faith was not at risk.
The religious climate during the Middle Age was stable in the sense that every aspect of life contributed to make the faith in a evident truth.
All the environment that surrounded the human life of that period led to a close religious contact with the church through songs, missionaries, cathedral constructions, Relics, artistic elements like sculptures, paintings, etc.
Not accepting the church teachings, guidance and authority sounded like a mortal sin. The faith was a key part of the medieval ages. During this period the fundamental theology need was reduced, the faith was somehow a natural element in people’s life.
Nevertheless, this signs of faith and sanctity concealed other reality, particularly present in the rural religiosity: the association of old pagan habits to the christian faith, specially the ones associates with superstitious rituals.
Examples of this were reported by a Breton preacher that tells about several women cleaning a chapel and gathering the dust that they would throw high in the air to wish good return of their fisherman husbands and sons from the sea. Other example is the report of existing habits of some people looking for the new moon, and on their knees do the Sunday prayers to honour it.
The church teachings tried to finish with this pagan habits threatening people with the spectrum of mortal sin, but the fact is that even today we still have in our christian heritage signs of pagan habits.
The vision in the Medial Ages was that the church owned the truth and the truly religion. Anything that tried to challenge that would be a mistake, a sin and a disease. The cure found for that illness was initially the catechesis and the holy church teachings.
During the XVI and XVII centuries the Church and the Protestant Reformation were committed to convert Europe through this strong evangelisation, missions and preachings.
Did they succeeded? There is no easy or quick answer to this question and I invite you to keep following this blog we will cover it in a later stage.