It’s been said that money can’t buy you happiness, but once in those distant dark ages, for the right price, it could come close. No matter how vile your vice or worldly your pleasure, absolution was just a pardon away -- a few extra coins, and voila, more time to imbibe. It was enough to make a sinner smile. You see, the medieval Catholic church was in an expensive expansion mode, erecting throughout Europe and the British Isles, massive monuments to God which served as satellite seats of power. A shift in architectural norms was also heralding engineering feats that invited cathedrals to literally kiss the heavens. Under such circumstances, tithing fell short. Bishops, Rome’s representatives throughout Christendom, were thus commandeered to bridge the fiscal divide. These sons of nobles, educated in elite universities, fluent in Latin and consecrated into continuous apostolic succession were possessed of a power without end. Even monarchs were required to take orders from and consult with their respective bishops on everyday affairs of state. While bishops’ levying taxes on the peasantry fed Rome’s coffers, hawking ‘indulgences’ proved more lucrative yet.