Monday, October 8, 2018

"Good Christians"

Actually, the Cathars were not Christian, nor part of any monotheistic religion, since they believed in two gods. And the so-called Cathar castles may have been used by the Cathars but not built by them. From Atlas Obscura:
Catharism was a dualist religion. They believed that God created Heaven, the Kingdom of Light where no evil exists. Whereas the material world, where evil prospers, was created by Satan. Man’s purpose is to free their soul from this “prison of flesh” and reunite it with the mind in the presence of God. This can only happen if the soul attains knowledge, only attained through baptism—not by water, but by “fire and spirit,” as Christ gave to his apostles. Failing this, when the body dies, the soul will pass to another body. This cycle will continue until salvation is attained. In other words, you stay in this cycle until you finally get it right.

The Cathars believed themselves to be “Good Christians,” or “Bon Hommes.” Their priests, both men and women, were called “Parfaits,” or “Perfects,” as in “perfect Christians.” Cathars did not believe in the church hierarchy of archbishops, cardinals and the Pope. They considered the church decadent; this was during a time when the Catholic church was a bit scandalous, and the clergy accustomed to living large. The Parfaits also did not ask the believers for monetary offerings, which had to be a huge selling point.

The simple, trapping-free religion appealed to many, and Catharism grew in popularity. In 1198, Pope Innocent III decided that something must be done. He sent two legates to the Languedoc region, both monks from the Abbey of Fontfroide. But their attempts to convince people to abandon Catharism in favor of Catholicism were unsuccessful. The Pope proceeded to enlist the Abbot Arnaud-Amaury to raise a company of Crusaders. And so, the crusaders won their first victory at Beziers in July of 1209. Then the “ost,” as the army of Crusaders was called, proceeded to Carcassonne, a well-known Cathar haven. (Read more.)

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