15 Facts About Catharism


Catharism was a Christian dualist or Gnostic movement between the 12th and 14th centuries which thrived in Southern Europe, particularly in northern Italy and southern France.

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Catharism arrived in Western Europe in the Languedoc region of France in the 11th century.

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Catharism was initially taught by ascetic leaders who set few guidelines and so some Catharist practices and beliefs varied by region and over time.

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Catharism underwent persecution by the Medieval Inquisition, which succeeded in eradicating it by 1350.

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Catharism says of them: "They absolutely reject those who marry a second time, and reject the possibility of penance [that is, forgiveness of sins after baptism]".

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Catharism has been seen as giving women the greatest opportunities for independent action, since women were found as being believers as well as Perfecti, who were able to administer the sacrament of the consolamentum.

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Catharism attracted numerous women with the promise of a leadership role that the Catholic Church did not allow.

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Toward the end of the Cathar movement, Catharism became less equal and started the practice of excluding women Perfects.

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Catharism concluded that only preachers who displayed real sanctity, humility and asceticism could win over convinced Cathar believers.

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Catharism's conviction led eventually to the establishment of the Dominican Order in 1216.

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Catharism's body was returned and laid to rest in the Abbey of Saint-Gilles.

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Catharism's forces were then greatly augmented by reinforcements from France, Germany, and elsewhere.

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Catharism's reply, recalled by Caesarius of Heisterbach, a fellow Cistercian, thirty years later was —"Kill them all, the Lord will recognise Catharism's own".

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In spite of the wholesale massacre of Cathars during the war, Catharism was not yet extinguished, and Catholic forces would continue to pursue Cathars.

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In popular culture, Catharism has been linked with the Knights Templar, an active sect of monks founded during the First Crusade.

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