Catharism

Catharism is a virtually unknown religion with the basic principles of Christianity and dualistic and gnostic properties. It was popular mainly in France throughout the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The growth of the faith ended in massacre…

The Cathari believed in two Gods, rather than the one omnipresent God of Christianity. These two Gods were seen as equal in status. Simply, these two gods are known as good and bad. The ‘bad’ god was seen as creator of the world and was thus known as ‘Rex Mundi’ (God of the world). The Cathari believed that the physical world in which we live is evil and chaotic. The second god was the one they chose to worship. This god was seen as a pure spirit and god of love, peace and order. According to some Cathars, the purpose of man’s life on Earth was to transcend matter, perpetually renouncing anything connected with the principle of power and thereby attaining union with the principle of love. According to others, man’s purpose was to reclaim or redeem matter, spiritualizing and transforming it.

This was a different view to the Catholic Church regarding material creation, on behalf of which Jesus had dies, as being evil and implying that God was a usurper. They denied that Jesus could become incarnate and still be the son of God. To the Cathars, Rome’s luxurious Church seemed the exact manifestation of Rex Mundi’s sovereignty. The the Church, this was dangerous heresy. There was mission to end the movement…

In 1147, Pope Eugene III sent a legate to a Cathar district in an attempt to arrest the Cathars. There was temporary success, but the movement couldn’t be extinguished. When Pope Innocent came in power in 1198, he was determined to succeed in eliminating the Cathari. At first he tried conversation and legates into various Cathar regions. However, many nobles, common people and bishops had begun to support or protect the Cathars and some were beginning to doubt the Catholic Church in Rome or the power Innocent had bestowed upon his legates. In 1204, the Pope suspended powers of some bishops in the regions. Saint Dominic tried to preach to the Cathars, but found only few converters. So began a crusade.

In 1208 the papal legate, Castelnau, met with Count Raymond VI of  Toulouse and after arguing for some time Castelnau excommunicated the Count on charges of heresy. Castelnau was murdered as he returned to Rome. As soon as he heard of the murder, the Pope began to preach a crusade against the Cathars, asking for support of the King of France. The King refused to lead to crusade himself or risk his son, but instead appointed a series of barons, notably Simon de Montford. A formal crusade was called.

When the crusade turned to massacre in 1209 in the city of Beziers, de Montford ordered troops to gauge out the eyes of 100 prisoners and cut off their noses and lips. This only hardened to resolve of the Cathars. Arnaud, an abbot-commander was supposed to have been asked how to tell the Cathars from the Catholics, to which he replied ‘Kill them all, God will recognise His own.’ The doors of the local church were broken down and an estimated 7,000 people were killed. Elsewhere in the town, thousands were killed. prisoners were often blinded or used to target practice. The remainder of the city was burnt. Arnaud wrote to Pope Innocent, “Today your Holiness, twenty thousand heretics were put to the sword, regardless of rank, age, or sex.”

The war ended with the Treaty of Paris in 1229. However, Catharism was not yet extinguished. In the same year, the Inquisition was formed. Operating throughout the rest or the 13th and most of the 14th Century it succeeded in its aims. Cathars refusing to recant were killed. If they chose to recant, they were obliged to wear a yellow cross and to live separately from other Catholics. The Cathars became increasingly scarce until they seem to disappear from existence completely…

You can read more about Catharism here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catharism  & http://www.cathar.info/

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  1. Pingback: Unauthorized Biography - Nostradamus Future Predictions

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