Talk:Catharism/Archive 3

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I find it tremendously funny that we could've accumulated a page on the Cathars without ever once using or discussing the words 'cathartic' or 'catharsis'. Anyone with a reliable sense of this want to add a little remark on it? I may not be the appropriate expert on etymology, but I'll give it a shot if noone else does in a few days. --Penumbra 2k 17:15, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

Since there is considerable debate about the etymology of the word Cathar (does it come from the Greek meaning "pure ones" or from a German word meaning "cat"?), making an assumption of a connection between "cathar" and "catharsis" wouldn't really be terribly appropriate. Alaraxis 01:57, 1 June 2006 (UTC) Alaraxis

From what we know the first recorded use of the word Cathar comes from a German source - A German Catholic commentator talking about the phenomenon in his home country rather than the French expression of the Heresy. He described the Heretics he saw - who never called themselves Cathars - as Cathars. What is complex is that the two meanings - the Cat and the Pure One - were implicit in the word even then. The Cathars, who called themselves simply 'Good Men and Good Women' were accused of performing 'the Kiss Of the Cat' ie kissing the anus of a Cat in an effort to defame them. However, they were also referred to as 'Pure Ones' or 'Perfects' not in a complimentary way but to suggest they were absolute heretics and sinners. Ironically, the idea that they were 'Pure' links with their own view that their Christianity was genuinely Pure, hence, I think, the adoption of the word Cathar as a badge of honour, perhaps in the same way that gay people have adopted the words Gay or Queer as a term of pride. The fact is that the Cathars valued spiritual and physical Purity very highly so to be accused of being 'Pure Ones' was a good thing. Whatever the case the word Cathar has its roots in the Greek words for Purity (Catharsis means Purification) as well as the German word Katz, or Cat. When we use it now we tend to feel that its etymology as Pure is more appropriate I think in this context. ThePeg 22:23, 28 October 2006 (UTC)

Cathar comes from the Greek word katharos, which means pure. Anyone who wanted to talk about purification or purifying would have reason to use the Greek base... at least, in areas where Greek was used as an academic or intellectual language. So, whether you talk about pure people or cleansed wounds, you might have reason to use the same base. The one potential flaw that I can think of with this reasoning is that the Greek language all but died in Western Europe between 500 A.D. to 1300 A.D. The Albigenses were in Western Europe during the period when the Greek language was virtually unknown in that region (Latin dominated). Pooua 01:25, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Actually, this is a common (and modern) misconception. Examine the primary sources of the Cathars themselves, and you will see unequivocally that they never - not once - referred to themselves as Cathars. Their names for themselves, and the names by which they were referred among their sympathisers, were "Good Christians", "goodmen" and "perfects". They were referred to perjoratively by their detractors as "Cathars", and it is indeed thought to have originated as a term explicitly linking them with cats. This is by no means the only instance of the term "cat" being used in this way: cats had bad press in this period and were associated with devil-worship, with women fighting, and so on. It was thus a typical way of referring to an heretical belief, and the term was taken up more widely as the church did not consider that they themselves were not "Good Christians". The terms used by the Cathars to identify themselves were bound not to flourish as identifying terms by the orthodox Christians of the period, for obvious reasons.

Cathars as stemming from the Greek is a folk etymology, an explanation in retrospect, which has no basis in the real etymology of the word. Almirena 04:48, 23 December 2006 (UTC)

Possibly true, but I think its interesting that somehow this word - Cathar - has caught on and seems right for the movement, perhaps for its sound and perhaps for its connection with the word Katharsis and thus purity. We don't speak of them nearly so often as Albigensians do we? Even if it is 'an explanation in retrospect' it fits emotionally and psychologically when we speak of them.

Having said that, I was under the impression that it was a German Catholic who referred to them as Cathars for the first time but in the context of their being 'Pure Heretics' just as the terms Perfecti and Perfectae were used in the sense of 'Complete/Perfect Heretics'. In fact the Cathars never used these terms either. As you say, the spiritual elite of the movement called themselves simply Good Men and Good Women (Bons Hommes and Bonnes Femmes). ThePeg 21:13, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

Inventive and spurious degrading false etymologies were a Christian rhetorical tradition that was well-established even before Jerome. So I'd always discounted this one, until I read Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, Montaillou: The Promised Land of Error; "It was this essentially spiritual insistence on purity, in relation to a world totally evil and diabolical, which gave rise retrospectively to a probably false etymology of the word Cathar, which has been said to derive from a Greek word meaning 'pure'. In fact 'Cathar' comes from a German word the meaning of which has nothing to do with purity." (Introduction to the Englisah edition, p. viii). In the article I'd recommend quoting Ladurie, with his "probably", rather than taking any stand. --Wetman 23:27, 25 December 2006 (UTC)--Wetman 23:27, 25 December 2006 (UTC)

Claims of groups to Cathari lineage

I removed the section Claims of groups to Cathari lineage because there are no sources conforming to WP:V. Dominick (TALK) 15:20, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

Dominick or his administrator are free to contact us directly for the contact coordinates of the independent Medieval scholar whose bona fides even Dominick would be hard pressed to criticize. She has agreed to monitor and assist in providing editing for the purposes of ensuring neutrality.

As for your rationale for removing the section Claims of groups to Cathari lineage because there are no sources conforming to WP:V. That is not quite precise.

This page really does need editing for neutrality. Perhaps our contribution can be to ensure that this is the case.


Agcweb (TALK) 15:02, 20 May 2006 (UTC))

There appears to be a multitude of misinformation concerning the Cathars including their doctrines as well as their history. It is written on several web sites that the Roman Catholic Church started the Inquisition and burned heretics at the stake. When in fact it is recorded "neither the bishops who met at Toulouse, nor Pope Innocent III, nor St. Dominic, as has sometimes been incorrectly stated, were the founders of the Inquisition" (Church History, John Laux). It was the civil authorities NOT the Church itself that condemned and burned at the stake. The only involvement of the Church was the proclamation that an individual or group was or was not heretical. The civil authorities did the rest.

This isn't true. The Inquisition was set up by the Catholic Authorities to hunt down and exterminate the Cathar faith. The Dominicans were the masterminds of it. Deeply sinister fugures like Conrad of Marburg were undoubtedly Church Apparatchniks. THe Dominicans have a lot to answer for. It was Dominican Priests who were behind the notorious Malleus Malleficium (or whatever its name was) which led to the deaths of thousands of innocent women. Their traditional enemies were the Franciscans who, to my mind, were much closer to the spirit of Christ. ThePeg 22:26, 28 October 2006 (UTC)

( Of couse the Catholic church never burned a single heretic: mani puliti. Is there any reader unaware of the expression "relaxed to the secular arm"? From the very first (Priscillian, fourth century), obstinate discontents were remanded to the secular authorities. The intentionally misleading quibble here cannot be let stand. I just hate being played for a fool. --Wetman 12:42, 23 May 2006 (UTC) )

Although as previously mentioned there were Cathars that became very orthodox in time we must not lose sight that there were indeed some VERY heretical and devious doctrines that were promoted by the Cathars. They weren't burned at the stake simply because they were not Roman Catholic. For instance their stance on the teaching that the Old Testament God was actually the devil who created all matter as well as the marriage institution. This doctrinal twist made way for sexual abuse by various Cathars who claimed marriage was not sanctioned by God and could result in reproducing more evil matter into the world (children) but sexual relations outside of marriage with individuals or concubines was acceptable. As this opened the door to moral decadence the Church procliamed this as a heresy. There is a multitude of other doctrines and practices that were integrally a part of Catharism. The surface has yet to be touched. CA

On this page, nothing of the sort has been said, unless you are reading something differently. Dominick (TALK) 16:37, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

No one said it was on this web site. Do a google search. I feel Wikipedia can be an instrument in clearing up common misconceptions by quoting verifiable sources. CA
Please read what wikipedia is not. Sorry. Dominick (TALK) 18:18, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
I read what Wikipedia is not then I read what Wikipedia IS. It stated "Wikipedia is an online Encyclopedia". Webster says an Encyclopedia is a collection of "articles on various topics...covering all branches of knowledge or all aspects of one subject". An article that does not attempt to provide different aspects of this subject is not a complete encyclopedic article. People go to an online encyclopedia to learn the true history or information about that subject. If there is much misinformation available on the net one should be able to go to an encyclopedia to verify if this is indeed true or false. If something is verifiable information then it should be recorded and made available to the public. This is just my opinion but it is a good one. CA

This is absolutely not the case with the Cathars. They did not preach sexual licentiousness at all. In fact exactly the opposite. Their belief was that sexual activity was wrong as through procreation more souls were trapped in the world of matter. Cathar Perfecti took an extraordinarily strict vow of celibacy. It was the representatives of the Catholic Church who were famed for their sexual hypocrisy at the time. A story which typifies this is the famous one of a Cathar girl being exposed by a Catholic clergyman when he made sexual advances on her. Her response was to absolutely resist him on the grounds that it would endanger her soul. His suspicions were immediately aroused (clearly not the only thing that was aroused!) and he began to question her, trying to find out if she was a Cathar. They were joined by another, higher up Catholic who, on hearing the story, had her arrested as a Cathar (she was). The records show that the first clergyman was not rebuked for making sexual advances on her. As for the other charge, that the God of the Old Testament was Satan - the Cathars believed that Man was exiled in the World of Matter which the rebellius angel, Satan, had created in order to prevent him from remembering his place in the bosom of God. The Cathars believed that each of us contained with him or her a shard of God's Light - the Divine Spark - which was trapped in the Flesh. The hope was that through Christ this Divine Spark could be set free to return to God (hence the vow of celibacy, sex being to do with Matter). The Cathars therefore did not recognise the Creator God as being the true God as the true God would not have created anything material. Cathar doctrine only acknowledged the New Testament God of Love as the true Divinity, the wrathful and tyrannical God of the Old Testament was to be rejected. This was not a new idea. Marcion had a similar view. As Gnostics, the Cathars were interpreting the Old Testament God as being equivalent to the Demiurge figure of the Gnostic Gospels, Yaldaboath. In fact the doctrines the Catholic Church really hated were the Cathars' denunciation of the Church as the 'Synagogue of Satan' and the Pope as Anti-Christ, the fact that the Cathars believed that no vows to Feudal Authorities were valid and that they went around offering absolution of Christian ministration for nothing. In so doing the struck at the very foundations of the power of the Church. As ethical Christians even the noble Bernard of Clairvaux could not fault them and found himself in a quandary as to how to deal with them. Even St Dominic recognised their purity and adherence to the austere piety of Christ's teachings. The accusations of sexual licentiousness were part of the propaganda aimed at them by the Church which, in the end, proved itself not to have the moral high ground by using the bloodiest methods possible to destroy this sect. ThePeg 23:57, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

Unless you can give the source of this "story", it stands as most likely apocryphal. I would suggest you read the information at, and examine the information concerning the elaborate (and long) seduction of Beatrice de Planisolles ( The Cathars condemned all sexuality and acts of sex as sinful - indeed, sex within marriage was considered the worst evil of all. Thus, because sex outside marriage was PERCEIVED BY THOSE WHO COMMITTED IT as a sin, it was less evil because of the feeling of guilt. This convoluted view of sexuality meant that priests within the Cathar movement are documented to have had no qualms in seducing girls and women, counselling married women to abandon their husbands and so on, all the while telling the women that these deeds were good.

The Cathars believed all sins would be forgiven when consolamentum was administered to them - a deathbed repentance, in fact. This gave rise to the belief that what they did during their lifetime was of little matter. If they trespassed once consolamentum had been given, they could have it re-administered.

The perfecti indeed were required to have no sexual congress, to eat no meat or meat products, etc. The earlier perfecti were noted for extreme abstemiousness - but their abstaining from sex sprang from the belief that sex in itself was utterly evil and that giving birth was an appalling evil. This is in contrast with orthodox Christianity which teaches no such thing. There can be no disagreement that there was corruption in the Church at the time, springing at least partly from the control and authority that laypeople had over church offices (this was particularly bad in the Languedoc), and the increasing wealth gathered by the Houses. The heresy was the factor that led the Pope to announce a Crusade, but a desire to seize lands and wealth, as well as political and military objectives, drove this "Crusade" far beyond the Pope's intended purpose. It began, that is, as a religious situation, but it became largely a secular squaring off as the southern nobles fought for their towns, inherited property and moneys, and their political freedom. Almirena 05:07, 23 December 2006 (UTC)Almirena

The story can be found in both Zoe Oldenbourg's book "Massacre at Monstegur" and Chris O'Shea's "The Perfect Heresy" neither of which I have on me at the moment. Both were scrupulously researched and sourced. If you are happy to wait I would be happy to find their sources for you. However, your analysis of how Cathar priests went around seducing women is very fallacious. I assume you're basing this on the evidence taken by a Catholic Inquisitor of a village in the Languedoc which was found to be a secret outpost of Catharism almost a hundred years after it was thought the movement had been suppressed. One of the Cathar Perfecti was indeed guilty of behaving like that.

But the truth for the main part of the Perfecti/ae was simply not that. If you broke the austere vows of celibacy and vegetarianism etc in even a small way you lost your status as a Perfecti immediately. Cathar Perfecti did not spend their time sleeping their way through the population of France. It sounds to me - alas - that you are basing your analysis of Cathar behaviour on what their enemies said of them and how their doctrines were distorted or interpreted by the Church and the Inquisition (the story you're referring to is completely different to the one I am talking about. You're talking about a particularly corrupt Cathar leader in Montaillou some time after the fall of Montsefur). Why would even Bernard Of Clairvaux have acknowledged the devout Christianity of these people if it were not so? Almost all movements of the time which were trying to break free from the Church at the time were accused of sexual licentiousness by the Inquisition in order ot discredit them.

Similarly, the Consolamentum did not mean that what you had done during your life was of little matter. The Consolamentum was how one became a Perfecti or was taken before death so as to purify the soul before its next incarnation. One thing everyone agrees about the Cathars were that their movement demanded very severe ethical standards. For me the austerity of their belief is too much and I don't agree with much of their ideas about matter and sexuality, childbirth etc. But they cannot be accused of immorality or of invalidating the necessity of living an ethical life. Indeed, to say the Consolamentum 'gave rise to the belief that what they did in their lifetime was of little matter' is as much of a distortion as saying that the Catholic idea of the Confessional just lets people off the hook. As for the fact the Consolamentum could be readministered, well not if you were about to die. And if you were a Perfecti the process pf initiation and training was about three years. Break your vows and it was another three years before you could recieve it again. And again, one could say the exact same thing about Catholic Confession and Absolution. In the end, it boils down to whether you believe in the forgiveness of sins. Christ certainly did.

The bottom line here is that to be a Cathar Perfecti, to maintain that lifestyle, was an extremely difficult thing to do. It was profoundly austere and some would say anti-life. You can accuse the Cathars of being miseribalists or Christian extremists but you cannot accuse them of immorality or moral laxity. That simply was not the case. ThePeg 13:23, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

A few changes

Great to see so many people taking an interest in this page.

I made a few changes which I hope are OK with everyone.

The area did not get annexed to France until the end of this period (and as a result of the Crusade). It is misleading therefore to talk about the area as being Southern France (unless qualified, as in "what is now part of Southern France".)

Simon de Montfort did not take over leadership of the crusade until after the fall of Carcassonne - so he was not responsible for what happend earlier at Beziers.

I rephrased some observations which had a POV - eg it is always POV to refer to any group as heretical. Cathars and Catholics thought of each other as heretical. Who are we to say who was right?

I also added a comment about Catholic priests who adopted Cathar ideas - mainly because it's so surprising to modern minds. Happy to provide citations if needed - or if anyone else wants to just look up the 11 cannons at Orleans who were burned alive or the events at Montaillou.

I think the order of the article could be looked at, and there's a bit of duplication - but this is as much as I can do today. A section on Cathar Castles might be useful too. Congratulations everyone on making such an interesting article.

Springald 15:34, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

Medieval Cathars varied in their views but tended to think of the Church of Rome as apostates. There were no Cathar 'castles" as such, simply refuges owned by nobels within which Cathars retreated to and were martyred. But commentaries on the relationships between the Cathari, nobility and local villages would be useful. Agcweb (TALK) 15:22, 20 May 2006 (UTC))

(rm personal discussion; put it on your talk pages, but not here thank you.) Dominick (TALK) 23:29, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

==Slay all (AKA "Tuez-les tous; Dieu reconnaitra les siens." ("Kill them all; for the Lord knoweth them that are His.")==

It is said the monstrous words, "Slay all; God will know his own", alledged to have been uttered at the capture of Béziers, by the papal legate, were never pronounced (Tamizey de Larroque, "Rev. des quest. hist." 1866, I, 168-91) For such a serious charge to remain in the article and thus be further propagated as fact it should be accompanied by verification, citations, or removed. Don

I guess thats a counter reference. Dominick (TALK) 18:30, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

Not precisely. "Don" plagiarized the statement verbatim without citation from New Advent, the online Catholic Encylopedia. [1] Even then, the correct citation should read Ph. Tamizey de Larroque, "Revue des quest. hist." (Paris, 1866), I, 179-186).

The quote is attributed to Arnaud-Armaury, the Cistercian Abbot of Cîteaux, and "spiritual advisor" (Papal Legate) to the Albigensian Crusade. That over over 20,000 women, children and men were slaughtered, either burned or clubbed to death for the approximately 200 good Christians living in the town was obviously a coincidence. The reference back to Tamizey de Larroque is frequently cited by apologists for Roman Catholicism. Previously they relied on "The large numbers of burnings detailed in various histories are completely unauthenticated, and are deliberate inventions of phampleteers..." The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1917, III pg. 34 until even this was discarded by Romanists in the face of overwhelming historical documentation to the contrary.

It is precisely to avoid these problems of citations so they may be placed in context that we again encourage Dominick or his administrator to contact us directly for the contact coordinates of the independent Medieval scholar whose bona fides even Dominick would be hard pressed to criticize. She has agreed (as time permits during the academic year) to monitor and provide editorial assistance for the purposes of ensuring neutrality and historical accuracy with clear citations. Agcweb (TALK) 20:52, 22 May 2006 (UTC))

With all the foolishness, if it isn't in a reference that I can get I am apt not to believe it. If you produce a reference showing that's what he said, then it should go in, if there is not a verifiable reference then it does not go in. Wikipedia does not publish original work, if you have something to publish find a journal or write a book. I am tired of two signatures from the same web address arguing with each other, and other irragularities. If you have something to say, back it with black and white. Dominick (TALK) 02:16, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
Sir, you are the one that has refused to contact us to allow entry of an impartial scholar. We have peacefully called your bluff. You are an ardent supporter of Roman Catholicism. You say: "I am tired of two signatures from the same web address arguing with each other, and other irragularities."
Then prove this statement. We have a fixed IP address and you have allowed crimimally libel against us from one person under mutiple names.

belief in the Romanist faith is private to yourself. Your free will in this matter is also private to yourself. But clearly you are a supporter of Rome, and here you are, the editor of the foremost opponent of the Cathars.

You do need to understand that the AGC will have an independemt scholar here and that your continued failure to allow this or contact us betrays not only your weakness as an editor, but also a weekness in your faith.
Did you not mention that you prevented us from writing on your talk page?
Do you not think it a contradiction that someone so pre-disposed to the Romanist Church should be the main editor?
Have your administrator contact us and we can put this to rest. We beg you.

Agcweb (TALK) 013:05, 23 May 2006 (UTC))

You can do that yourself I am not interested. You, or the "cast of thousands" here have been making this talk page useless long enough. I am interested in an article that reports what is published on the topic. I am not in need of a scholar, I have my own contacts for people of impeccable reutation who loan or refer me to texts when I ask. You do need to understand that your people can easily supply references here, and since you are being snippy, they will be checked.
Frankly the farther I am from people who cause this kind of drama the better. If you post personal attacks on CW or anyone else, they will be removed. If you post on my talk page for the most part is is my right to remove it. I do not want to deal with people who seem to be promoting a hoax. I don't have time or inclination to deal with you.
Anyone can edit a wikipedia article. I have a familarity with the Cathars and Albegensian Heresy, and I was willing to work on a long neglected article. This is an article about a medieval sect. There are no modern Cathars, and I find no evidence of your organization beyond a web presence. I think with the people here, and my own checking, I conclude this is a game on your part. Please find something else to do, or contribute constructively. Have a nice life. Dominick (TALK) 12:09, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

Proposed changes for discussion

We apologize in advance if this long insertion does not conform precisely to the Wikipedia protocols or in-house jargon. We were dragged into Wikipedia and it is somewhat confusing to us. We are making a sincere effort to contribute in a positive way and hope our suggestions are received in that same spirit.


Existing text: "Other separate heretical movements, such as the Waldensians and the pantheistic Brethren of the Free Spirit survived into the 14th and 15th century, until they were gradually replaced by, or absorbed into, early Protestant sects, such as the Hussites.."

Proposed change: Other separate heretical movements, such as the pantheistic Brethren of the Free Spirit survived into the 14th century and were gradually replaced by, or absorbed into, early Protestant sects, such as the Hussites, while the Waldensians continue to this day as an independent body.

Sources are multiple, specifically and the information there is easily referenced and verifiable.


Existing text: "The Cathars proclaimed there existed within mankind a spark of divine light."

Proposed change: The Cathars believed there existed within humanity a spark of divine light. Given that the good Christians (Cathari) of that time held to an equality of sexes, in the debate over mankind vs. humankind; humanity seems appropriate.

Use of the word heretical

It seems appropriate in the introduction, but less so in the above quote. Possibly "Other movements..." or "Other religious movements, independent of Roman Catholicism...." might be more neutral.

Spell Check and Use of accent signs

May we suggest an overall spell check of text? Most are minor mispellings or tpyos easily rectified. There is much that can be accomplished and cleaned up in the article if we work together and adhere to the Wikipedia common standards and protocols. Also, when reference is made to a French city, town or person, the correct accents should be used e.g. Béziers not Beziers. The same would be applied to locations is other parts of Europe where Catharism flourished.


The article should have a comprehensive bibliography of verified scholarly manuscripts. We have one on our web site. It includes multiple points of view.

External links

Based on the criteria issued by Dominick in archived pages, the continued inclusion of Blessed Yohanne and Site of German Cathars (Katharer) should be discussed to a common understanding. Since the AGC website has pre-existed all of the present links is has merit on that basis. It should be noted for clarity - as the posting history shows, we did not post the link to our site, and we are indifferent to the matter. The relevant question is common criteria for the acceptance of such links. All links or none at all unless they are scholarly should be the policy. Our preference would be that External Links reflect academic or scholarly links. Maybe a subsection entitled Miscellaneous Links might break the impasse?

References vs Reference

Reference can be merged happily and seamlessly within References. Otherwise it seems confusing.

See also

Again, confusing. This merger of fact and fantasy is unproductive. There needs to be a clear delineation between fact Château d'Usson and sketchy stuff Ancient mysteries . This section should be merged or referenced more precisely.

Claims of groups to Cathari lineage

This is a valid section and this should be restored when other dramatic elements are resolved, as they will be soon. There are many persons and groups claiming to hold, preserve or maintain the so-called Cathari lineage. In as much as they exist in one form or another, even as a website, this is a fact and should be stated as such. It is not for one person to pick and choose subjectively what documented facts appear. The same criteria must apply to ALL groups and external links without exception.

Related comments: (which can be moved)

The AGC does not care one whit if we are listed or referenced in this article. We did not place the original link as the history shows. We barely have enough time for our own website. For the sake of argument however, the AGC has been on the Internet since circa 1994-95. That is a fact and should - for the sake of argument - be reported as such. Debates as to whether the AGC is an "Internet hoax or invention" as Dominick stated without providing citation is another matter.

Dominick and his administrator have been offered to contact us directly for an opportunity to invite an independent medieval scholar whose bone fides are beyond reproach to visit this site on a regular basis as her time permits and provide some clear direction and citation referencing. We hope in the interests of the preservation of truth and the purposes of Wikipedia this offer is accepted without prejudice. Agcweb (TALK) 013:05, 23 May 2006 (UTC))

Waldensian website, and other sites are secondary sources, if the primary sources are easily obtained obtain them. Frankly your contentions were not supported by the Waldensian site. Frankly websites about Waldensians and other groups have no bearing on the Cathar article, as this was a localized medieval sect, and the beliefs were markedly different.
As far as contacting anyone, nothing of the sort is needed. All our business can be consummated here. If you want to contact an admin, be my guest. Dominick (TALK) 12:20, 23 May 2006 (UTC)
Sorry to barge in on this, but I can't help wondering what the fuss is about. The idea that the Cathars were just a local sect is patently absurd. And what happend to the quote about the papal legate who was the first leader of the crusade (not merely "a leader"). The quote "Kill them all ..." comes from a fellow Cistercian and is supported by other contemporary evidence, including the papal legate's own letter to the pope following the massacre. I'll be happy to provide some references if anyone's interested. Whether there are any modern Cathars seems as relevant as asking if there are any modern Roman Catholics. In either case you can easily make the answer either yes or no, depending on how you define your terms. Nostick 19:09, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
Sorry you feel that way. There is no evidence that any Cathars exist today, but there are many pretenders. This is the article about the medieval sect. That "Kill them all" quote was an invention. Dominick (TALK) 19:22, 5 June 2006 (UTC)

But Nostick is right to say that the Cathars were not a 'local sect'. Not only were they linked to the Bogomils in what is now Bosnia but there were Cathars in Lombardy, Tuscany, Aragon, Catalonia and across northern and western Germany. A handful even made their way to England where, along with Waldensian refugees they influenced the Lollards whose movement, led by Wycliffe, would help to lay the grounds for England's rejection of Catholicism as the state faith and the printing of the King James Bible. So the Cathars were only local in so far as existing across most of Western Europe would count as local. It was the very size and popularity of the movement which made the Church wake up to them as a threat. Interestingly, I read recently in a book by Phillipe Roy that when they were forced to convert many Cathars joined the Franciscan movement which was the closest to theirs in the Catholic Church. Interesting. In fact I would recommend this book as of everything I have read about the Cathars it seems to be as clear-sighted an approach to the truth of this movement as I have read. I think its called Catharism: A History and Spirituality but I will find out. ThePeg 15:49, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

You will find some of Roy's book translated into English on the Religio Perennis site ( Its in the process of being fully translated at the moment. As I say, it is the best writing I have read about the Cathars as it clears away the romanticism, myth and New Age cobblers about them and treats them as a Christian sect (something we forget to do, as I say. When we ask 'What did they believe?' we very rarely go back to the Gospels. In fact most of its in there). Good stuff. Take a look. ThePeg 12:07, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

Yes Nostick you should provide those references voluntarily. There are so many sources available. The problem that we have is that one person here seems to determine what is fact and what is 'invention' if it conflicts with his personal faith view. A clear violation of NPOV.

Dominick is now modifying his position. There are now 'pretenders' to the medieval movement. Give a man enough rope... he can build a bridge of cited fact and understanding leading to a scholarly article consistent with other Wikipedia articles or hang himself by a lack of verifiable citations. [User:Agcweb |Agcweb]] (TALK) 23:05, 05 June 2006 (UTC))

Citation re "Kill them all..." now provided. Dominick, just as a matter of interest on your other interesting thread, what evidence is there that any Catholics exist today, apart from the fact that living people claim to be Catholics? In case of doubt this is a genuine question as I can't really see your train of argument about modern Cathars. Nostick 17:48, 8 June 2006 (UTC)
By the way, I agree with the suggested improvements listed above, except removing the cross reference to Usson. On the contrary I think it would be a good idea to include cross links to all the so-called "Cathar Castles". Alternatively, if we included some sort of Chronology, they'd all get mentioned and cross linked in the body of the article Nostick 17:48, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

I'm afraid I cannot let "Given that the good Christians (Cathari) of that time held to an equality of sexes, in the debate over mankind vs. humankind; humanity seems appropriate" pass without comment. The Cathars did not hold to an equality of the sexes. "The perfecti included many women as well as men, perhaps as many as one third, but it would be too easy to assume that the Cathars regarded men and women as equals. The belief that (female) perfectae became male, or more probably sexless along with men, when they finally gained salvation suggests that the Cathars rationalised the subordinate position of women in medieval society, just as the Catholic world did." - Costen, Michael, "The Cathars and the Albigensian Crusade". Manchester Unity Press, Manchester, 1997. p. 74-75. Almirena 05:24, 23 December 2006 (UTC) Almirena

The Cathar movement did allow women equal status to men in terms of worship in a way not allowed in the established church of the time. Some of the most famous and influential Cathars were Perfectae, including some high-status noblewomen in the Toulousian and Foix families. Perfectae were allowed to preach and theologise on equal terms with men. There is a famous story of a Catholic Potentate telling a Perfectae to shut up and sit down during a debate (not apocryphal, I will find the source for you). Chris O'Shea points out that as the Cathars believed in reincarnation they did not see how the physical sex of an individual could have any significance in worship. In one life one might be a man but in the next a woman so why harp on about gender? For the Cathars the soul was androgyne (NB androgyne, not sexless), as it is in Kabbalism, Hermeticism, Gnostic Christianity, the latter of which Catharism had its roots. Specifically they believed that the soul was a fallen angel trapped here. The body was an illusion, a shell of matter created by Satan to distract the Soul from its true origins (again, I will find you sources for all this). The quote you give is not clear. How does making the soul "male" or androgynous, rationalise the subordinate position of women in Medieval society? The reality is that the Cathar movement afforded women much more status than any other walk of Medieval life. It may not be the same as modern feminism or equal rights but for its day Perfecti and Perfectae stood side by side. ThePeg 13:35, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

Here's one source, the one for the idea that the human soul was confined to the earth in bodies of matter. The translation from the French is my own: "And Satan said... I will put you on the Earth of Forgetfulness where you will forget that which you said and had in Zion! And presently he made them garments, that is to say bodies of the Earth of Forgetfulness" Extract from a Sermon by Cathar Jacques Authie from the book Les Cathares by Julie Roux and Anne Brenon ISBN 2911515285, page 54. One more source to follow... ThePeg 17:07, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

And here's another, this one from a document found in the Inquisition's Archives in Carcasonne. Its actually from the Bogomil church but was found among the Cathars by the Inquisitors. The Bogomils were, of course, the sister and possibly mother church of the Cathars. It partly explains the Cathars' cosmology, that humanity are fallen angels trapped here by Satan: Happy reading. ThePeg 17:14, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Cathars and shared beliefs with Buddhism and Hinduism

I've seen sections that compare different religions in some articles. The similarity between Hinduism and the beliefs of the Cathars is very evident in this article. Perhaps a comparative section should be added.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

I agree this similarity really struck me as well - might be worth someone with a more scholarly knowledge adding their thoughts on this. all the best, Anit

We will be providing that scholar to review and contribute to this article very soon. In theory there are and were commonalities with Hindu belief. On balance however, there was/is much more in held in common between Buddhism and Cathar Christianity in terms of theology, spirituality, life practice and world view. A section on Catharism and Eastern religions has merit. Agcweb (TALK) 1800, 25 May 2006 (UTC))

Anyone can edit a wikipedia page, A "scholor", a doctor, Wonder Woman or Captain America all have the same weight. Like it was said before, no person has a claim to a link to this group, as it died out in the middle ages. Dominick (TALK) 00:19, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

What no-one talks about are the huge links between Catharism and Kaballism. People forget that the region was hot-bed of Kaballistic faith (the Languedoc was very tolerant of the Jews, much to the Church's fury) and the two doctrines definitely overlap. Both believe in reincarnation and the belief that Man has fallen from Eden, contains the Divine Spark and needs to be reunified with God. Both also believe that Fallen Man is exiled in the Material Realm (for the Kabbalist, Malkuth) and needs the intercession of the Divine to bring him back. Light imagery is common to both and the Kabbalistic idea of the Shekinah is very similar to the Gnostic idea of the Sophia. ThePeg 22:54, 28 October 2006 (UTC)

Another thought - the Buddhism/Hinduism link. Some theories believe that the lifestyle of the Cathar Perfecti has its roots in the gnostic beliefs of the Prophet Mani. Mani saw himself as uniting the traditions of Christ, Zoroaster and the Buddha and preached a more austere version of Zoroastrian Dualism. The Zoroastrians did not believe that copulation was a sin or that meat should not be consumed. They beleieved that Ahura Mazda (the Light principle) had created the world perfect but that imperfection had come in with the attack of Ahriman (the Dark Principle) who brought Time, suffering and corruptibility into the world. Mani went further and argued that the world of matter was a wholly corrupt creation of the Dark Principle, hence the Just Man avoided as much contact with Matter as possible. This connects with Cathar teachings well, presumably through connections with the Middle East via the Byzantine Empire, the Bogomils and across to Western Europe. Its possible that the similarity between Catharism and Buddhism come via Mani.

It should also be added that there are similarities between Cathar behaviour and Essene ideas of conduct as well as, as we know, the early Gnostic movements. It should be remembered that Christian,Jewish and Muslim Gnosticism (Kaballah & Sufism) all have a belief in reincarnation (presumably the promise of Eternal Life with God through Christ was interpreted as a release from the cycle of death and rebirth) as did Greek and Egyptian Gnosticism (Orphic and Hermetic beliefs). For some reason reincarnation as an idea has been suppressed in the western exoteric traditions and not in the east, presumably because western exoteric religion is often about control. If you have only one life then the fear of what comes after makes you easier to control. If you keep coming back then the authority of a church or whatever can't do much to you except for catch you each time. ThePeg 14:10, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

Cathars, Troubadors & Eleanor of Aquitaine,

Since this Cathar biz was all over the Southwestern portion of what is now France, in a changing time when the 'Romans' were the last Model of civilization, learning of their beliefs would give us a clue to the family from whence Eleanor sprang.

Thru I-net research, I have learned (and I know someone will correct me if they think this is wrong) that the Cathars believed in equality of sexes, reincarnation and practised birth control. Also; no capital punishment, no extraordinary means to sustain life, no taking of life. Also, the Mary Magdalene faction seems to be stuck in the middle of this somewhere. Why else would they attack Beziers on her feast day?

The troubadors/court of love add the concept of 'Technical Virginity' which could explain a great deal of the reputation of her whole family.

I do always try to fit all the pieces together like a puzzle, and am just trying to get the big picture here.

Good luck! Don't quite see how the Romans come in: the Arabs were a much nearer and more visible model of civilization. On Mary Magdalene, no comment.
Equality of the sexes: in some ways they were closer to it than others at the time, but they hadn't reached it. Birth control? That depends. Their views tended towards disapproval of sexual reproduction, in animals and humans, with various consequences one of which might be fewer children. Is that what you mean? Andrew Dalby 08:04, 22 June 2006 (UTC)
Andrew is right. Also Roman = Occitan in this context. For more background on the above questions, take a look at this page and this page. gcp(talk)16:25, 30 June 2006 (UTC)

From what I understand, the Cathars believed that women could be as close to the Christian Mysteries as men. There were female Perfecti (known as Perfectae) as much as there were male. In this they were in the tradition of the Gnostic Churches of old who freely embraced women as preachers etc. One of the things the Catholic Church really hated about the Cathars was their integration of women into their ranks. The Cathars believed in reincarnation, hence the idea that anyone should be excluded from the Godhead was ridiculous. If one was a woman in one life and a man in the next why would you deny the female incarnation the rights of the male? In the same way the Cathars didn't recognise social distinction as a factor in how one should be treated spiritually. This again incensed the Church and the Temporal Authorities as it upset the whole class system of the period. As for birth control, the Cathar Perfecti abstained completely from all sexual contact. As they believed that the material was the domain of Satan the idea of sexual activity as abhorrent. Procreation was even worse, as it trapped more souls in the world of Satan. So the issue of Birth Control didn't even come into it. We tend to forget that the Cathars were Christian. We like to recast them as Hippies or Liberals or proto-Buddhists, New Age Pagans or whatever. The truth was that they were Christian, their ideals were based on the teachings of Christ, right down to how they travelled around the region in twos staying with people who took them in, healing the sick and spreading the Word - just as Christ enjoins his apostles to do. What is true is that their brand of Christianity truly tried to reconnect to the pure essence of Christ's teachings - hence the tenacity with which they held on and were protected by the populace with whom they were very popular. Even the Catholic Authorities found it very hard to unearth facts to denigrate them with. They had to make do with slander and feeble accusations of sexual perversity. But the bottom line is that the Cathars were not happy-clappy modern liberals but Christians first and formost. ThePeg 22:39, 28 October 2006 (UTC)


I took out "power to bind and loose", just added to the list of things that the consolamentum is, because I don't understand what "power to bind and loose" is supposed to mean here. If the editor wants to put it back and explain what it means, fine. Andrew Dalby 17:36, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

The power to "bind and loose" on earth and in heaven is referred to in the NT. According to RC's it was given exclusively to Peter (and is now enjoyed by the Pope). According to others it was given to all the apostles (and is now enjoyed by all bishops). I don't know if the Cathars ever made the claim for themselves, but they have a form of "apostolic succession" that had been practiced by early Gnostic sects before the "orthodox" Church invented their own version of it in the fourth century. Nostick 19:45, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

Indeed the ancient Cathars claimed to have a succession of ordination. The line of this succession most probably merged uncharted into another group or groups. The Apostolic succession of the early catholic Church also merged uncharted into other groups. There can be no doubt that there were legitamate successions from the early Church. As a matter of fact it would be literally IMPOSSIBLE for a succession NOT to exist. There were too many Christians branching off into too many directions with direct connections stemming from one another. It would be a MIRACLE to prove that there was NOT an Apostolic succession. With this view the succession is more like a web then a line. On another note...Blessed Yohanne in Russia , called King of the Cathars, is said to have both a Cathar and an Eastern Orthodox succession. The Cathar succession was alledgedly hidden in Russia until handed down to Yohanne. He received another line of succession at Montsegur in France. He received his Apostolic succession from the Eastern Church in Russia. All of this is interesting material but in the end the ordination that counts the most is the one that bypasses the hands of man and comes straight from God himself. CoWinn

Antonin Gadal

I've added a link to a website dedicated to Antonin Gadal, a historian of the twentieth century who did a vast amount of exploration of the Cathar caves of the Ariege and had strong theories about the mysteries of Cathar faith. This was clearly a very interesting - and largely unknown - man. Worth a look.

Its very interesting that the beginnings of Catharism in the Ariege region correspond to some of the most ancient megalithic sites in Europe. Gadal explored many caves in this region of the Pyrenees. Some people think that the Cathars could be traced back to the Essenes. Certainly according to Zoe Oldenbourg who wrote Massacre At Montsegur they saw themselves as heirs of the Primitive Church and thus connected to a tradition much older than the Catholic Church of Rome which persecuted them son. ThePeg 2006 (UTC)

This is very similar to what I have so far discovered. I have traced the Cathars back through the Paulicians and back further to the Antiochan Church. Also I have discovered their connection with the Ebionites which had a lineage to the Essenes. The link you provided is tremendously interesting. Thank you. CoWinn

CoWinn - in fact the Cathars trace their lineage back further than even the dawn of Christianity to the Persian Zoroaster, although they may well not have known or acknowledged this. The centreal dualism of Light vs Darkness and the role of Man in this battle was first conceived of as a cosmology by Zoroaster. We know from the Bible and Historical accounts that Judaism was influenced by and influenced Zoroastrianism (cf Book of Daniel and, historically, Cyrus' release of the Jews back to Israel) and in the New Testament this is tacitly acknowledged by the story of the Magi, Magi being a Persian word for Priest-King. Like Christianity Zoroastrianism has a concept of a Messiah who will come to restore the Light to the world. The Prophet Mani who was also Persian who came after Christ and Buddha was also a huge influence on the Cathars. He introduced some of the more ascetic ideas which became part of the Cathar Perfecti modus vivendi - vegetarianism, sexual abstinence and an end to procreation. The Zoroastrians didn't believe that Creation was from Darkness and Evil, as Mani and the Cathars did. They believed that the Light created everything and that this Creation was perfect. It was the attack of the Dark and thus the corruption of Creation which had to be fought. Mani made Zoroastrianism more austere. The Cathars adopted some of these beliefs which also linked with some of the ideas of the Essenes. If one is a Christian one might find the idea that the Persian faith is at the root of one's belief hard to take. If one sees Christianity as the highest form the central Revelation of the Universe has taken one can be calm. As mankind develops, its understanding of the Truth evolves. The development of Christianity - or the kind of Christianity the Cathars were on to - was that the Divine Light could be incarnate in Man. If we'd based Christianity on that idea we might have got somewhere. Instead we turned that idea on its head and decided Man was inherently corrupt and couldn't live up to Christ in the least. Had we believed in the idea of the Divine Light in every man and woman - as all the Christian Mystics from Eckhardt to Hildegard von Bingen, Evelyn Underhiill tp Carl Jung did - then we might be living in a very different world. We haven't taken proper care of the message. ThePeg 11:27, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

Mmmmm. Not really sure about this link - seems a bit thin on hard fact and pretty heavy on POV. For the moment I just tidied it up. Does anyone else have any views ? Springald 10:06, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

I'm not impressed with the website either -- all innuendo, and absolutely no documentation to back any of it up (references to Gadal's own books really aren't going to cut it). No serious historian of the Cathars takes any of this stuff seriously as history, and it seems absolute absurdity to put this on the same plane as Pegg's and Lambert's books. I'd be in favor of removing it -- or of creating a separate section that contains sites related to modern Cathars and/or neo-Cathars. Alaraxis 00:19, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

I included the link because it opened up a different perspective on the Cathars, not because I agreed with it. If you explore Gnostic literature - the Pistis Sophia etc - all of which has links with the Primitive Church, the Valentinian and Marcionian movements which the Cathars identified themselves with you will see that not all of Gadal's conclusions are foolish. A read through the Hermetica will show you how many of the Cathar's ideas of Rebirth coincide with those writings, a look at how the Essenes operated would indicate that there were links there too. It should be remembered that that website is little more than a precis of Gadal's thoughts. You will find them enlarged and elaborated upon in his foundation and with the Lectorium Rosicrucianum all of whom will give you more citations and references if you need them. Anyway, links are there to enlarge debate. I have seen many more POV links all ove the Wikipedia. If you go to Tarascon you will see how revered Garrigou is - Garrigou being the man who mentored Gadal. Garrigou is not regarded as a charlaton. Much of what Gadal came up with started with Garrigou who was a very well respected historian. ANyway, I am much gratified that people looked at the link, anyway! ThePeg 22:47, 28 October 2006 (UTC)


Just a small point — a matter of taste, really:

The following first line of the Theology section struck me as somewhat heavy for a popular encyclopedia:

The Catharist concept of Jesus might be called docetistic — theologically speaking, it resembled modalistic monarchianism in the West and adoptionism in the East.

I'm reasonably well educated, but that meant nothing to me; and at that moment I didn't feel in the mood to go chasing links. It wouldn't have mattered if the next section explained these terms sytematically, but it seemed to veer into other terms of reference.--qp10qp 20:30, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

I'm reasonably well educated on these issues, too, and I'm mystified as well. Docetism was the belief that Christ did not actually have a human body or die on the cross, but only had the *appearance* (Gr.: dokesis) of a body. Modalistic monarchianism, put forward by Sebellius and others, claimed that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are three different modes of the same being, seen at different times; roughly, that God puts on three different faces at different times. Adoptionism was the view that Jesus was adopted as the Christ when baptized by John the Baptist and the Holy Spirit "descended on Him as a dove." These views appear to be incompatible to me, so I can't account for the synonymy in the article. jrcagle 18:05, 21 September 2006 (UTC)

Simply put, the Cathars did not believe that Christ had physical form because they equated matter with sin and evil. Ergo Christ could not have had a body as he was pure Good and, as part of the true God, could not have had anything to do with matter. This may seem like faulty logic but that is what they believed. His physical appearance was an illusion. Not sure that makes things any clearer but there we go! ThePeg 18:32, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

Yes, it does make things clearer. On further reading, I agree that the Cathars were docetics of some sort. This would, however, make it impossible for them to be modalists (I think). Modalism was one of the early opponents of Gnostic docetism. jrcagle 22:42, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

When did Catharism appear?

Reading this page without much knowledge of the subject, I absorbed the opening statement in good faith:

"Catharism was a religious movement with dualistic and Gnostic elements that appeared in the Languedoc around the middle of the 12th century . . ."

Further down the page I was then jarred by the following:

"The first known Occitan Cathars appeared in Limousin between 1012 and 1020. Several were discovered and put to death at Toulouse in 1022."

Apart from the term "Occitan" coming at me out of the blue, the suggestion that there were Cathars in the area in the early eleventh century struck me as contradicting the opening statement of the article. --qp10qp 20:50, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

This seems a fair point - as does the one above. I'll make the appropriate changes. Gcp 17:14, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

I am a Modern Day Cathar

Some people might consider this faith werid, and the work of the devil. But when I was in france for a class trip my class walked into an ancient cathar church, And I went Inside and felt someone strange inside my heart I got this same powerfull feeling in other parts of france where the cathars were When I got back to my country I felt inclined to study catharism and I saw how simular they are to stuff I have belived my whole itnire life. Treat men and women eqauly, that both heaven AND rencarnation exist, that their is more than one god, and that sexaulity is not an evil thing. So Guess what call me strange but I consdier myself a modern day cathar. it's my religion and no one can tell me otherwise. Even tho I know for a fact I am a rare breed of people that use to be living a long time ago.

New section

In their quest to discredit the Cathars, the Catholic church successfully associated their name with sodomy. Cathars in Europe were called Bulgres (French Bougre, English Bugger) since many came from Bulgaria. Cathars were against procreation, so Catholics reasoned that they must prefer sodomy to other forms of sex, although there is no evidence that this accusation by the Catholic church was true. The word bugger now refers to a sodomite and buggery to sodomy, and has now become a general expletive.

The statement is basically valid but, 1, I don't think it could be proved that the "Catholic church" did this (rather than popular rumour in a highly religious society), 2, there is a sudden switch in the paragraph from medieval Europe to modern England (bugger is not a general expletive elsewhere, so far as I know!) I might edit this, if someone else doesn't. Andrew Dalby 08:42, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

bougre in French. The connection with Bulgar is a familiar one. --Wetman 13:51, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
The quoted section has now disappeared again. Andrew Dalby 11:25, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
Dalby, come to Australia. You hear the word all the time! reinthal 23:46, 7 November 2006 (UTC)


Is it just me or is the ritual suicide practiced by the Cathars almost unmentioned in the article? Lostcaesar 10:19, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

You could usefully add something about the Endura, but do a bit of research first - there is no evidence of "ritual" suicide. Gcp 11:40, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

In the latter stages of Catharism when an individual was close to death (and death was very certain) the dying person would fast from food until he expired. This was to purge him/her self from the taint of this material world before they passed on.


The Endura was not a ritual suicide. It happened as one was dying already. The aim was to purify oneself before death. It wasn't a form of voluntary euthanasia which would have been anathema to a Christian movement such as the Cathars. ThePeg 22:49, 28 October 2006 (UTC)

Yellow Cross

Shouldn't the yellow cross have some sort of description attached to it, like underneath it or something?

I am not exactly sure how to do this.

jptdrake 07:02, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

If you look at the code for the image, it has between double braces the image file with a vertical bar and then the word right, then another vertical bar then the word framed then another vertical bar and the caption. If you want to change the caption to something else, just replace 'Cathar Cross' with something else, then. SquirleyWurley 01:15, 5 September 2006 (UTC)

New Links

I added the link to the Assembly of Good Christians and also the link to the Apostolic Gnostic Church. Both of these are Cathari. CW

I'm a little confused as to how external links should be handled. A list of blogs on the Gnosticism page, some of which in my view were very well focused on the ancient Gnostic texts and research, though by modern people walking a gnostic path today, were deemed not appropriate by 999, I was directed to WP:EL external links page. SquirleyWurley 05:34, 9 September 2006 (UTC)

Agreed! The external links and references need to show more clarity and focus. We will offer specific suggestions next week for discussion. Agcweb (TALK) 3:17, 15 September 2006 (UTC))

Assembly of Good Christians has a bona fide medieval historian that has done much to add some good historical information to this article. I think these links should stay for people seeking info on modern day Cathari. CW

I wonder, in general, maybe these Gnostic, Cathar, and other pages, should just have a 'modern Cathars' or 'modern Gnostics' section with links to significant modern groups. I certainly think the blog list on the Gnosticism page deserved to stay. Now that it's gone, someone came in and added some groups in to an external links section of modern gnostics. Instead of having a never-ending game of remove and add, remove and add, why not just have a section specifically for it, since there are modern people and groups who sympathize and consider themselves on the path? I could use your insight on the Talk:Gnosticism page, if you don't mind. SquirleyWurley 06:53, 11 September 2006 (UTC)

Languedoc cut

Have cut the following text from the article. It all seems largely irrelevant but am pasting here for the author to clean-up and move to other pages or otherwise address. reinthal 00:52, 8 November 2006 (UTC)


What does 'pro-Cathar surrender mean'? ThePeg 18:27, 29 November 2006 (UTC)


This article makes too many incorrect or bold claims regarding theology and the "big bad Catholic Church," and seems to be rather biased.

You'll have to give your argument and cite examples. As you'll see from the above discussions this is a big issue! In terms of the "big bad Catholic Church" it does have to be said that the Church launched the Crusade and the Inquisition against the Cathars and not vice versa. Whatever one thinks of the merits or demerits of the two movements the violence and killing was undeniably started by the Church. I guess it depends on your POV whether this makes them "big & bad" or not. Defenders of the True Faith or Brutal Suppressors of the Right to Freedom of Speech, Thought and Worship? You decide. :-) ThePeg 17:17, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

Thinking about it I wonder what a supposedly neutral article on this story might look like? Even if one presents the facts blankly the Catholic Church doesn't come out too well. Eg in the late 12th and early 13th Century a pacifist, vegetarian, dualist version of Christianity now known as Catharism flourished in great numbers in the south of France. They were tolerated and often embraced by the local authorities and people, to the extent that aristocratic families had converts and Catholic Languedocians were ready to protect them. At first the Catholic Church, who this movement saw as the enemy, tried to use peaceful means to halt the spread of the movement but when this failed a Crusade, lead by Simon de Montfort, was launched against them. Over decades of drawn out war thousands were slain, whole cities were razed to the ground - Beziers, Carcassonne - communities put to the sword and Cathars who would not recant burnt at the stake. When even that did not succeed the Church set up the Inquisition to root out, expose, punish and, if they would not convert, burn members of this movement. By a sustained campaign of this kind the Cathar movement was stamped out and there are no followers remaining today. - How is that? ThePeg 14:58, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Modern Cathars

Besides being brutally NPOV (which topic has been discussed in detail already), the last paragraph of the "Cathar" article (NOT the "Catharism" article), entitled "Modern-day Cathars and Catharism" is completely ridiculous. There are no modern-day practitioners of Catharism in the western Pyrenees that can claim an unbroken family history of practice. The only modern-day Cathars are reconstructionists, such as the Assembly of Good Christians. Either the author of this section is mistaken, or else is trying to convey that there is a group of modern-day Cathar restorationists holed up in the Pyrenees. If the later is the case, please provided a citation.Narsil27 21:12, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

Assessment comment

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Catharism/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

Last edited at 04:06, 7 May 2009 (UTC). Substituted at 20:18, 2 May 2016 (UTC)