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The Cathar Martyrs

Cathar Beliefs

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The Cathar Beliefs

The Cathars have sometimes been described as 'Western Buddhists' with many shared concepts.

Whilst professing to be Christians, they rejected the Old Testament and especially revered the Gospel of John.

Their religion appears to have originated in Armenia and had Dualistic and Gnostic schools, similar to ideas promulgated by Marcion of Sinope.

They generally rejected authority, especially that of the established Church, maintaining that Love and power were incompatible.  One of the key doctrines was that the world and worldly things were created by the devil and that they were essentially evil.  They repudiated the incarnation, crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus who was seen a pure spiritual and not physical, worldly and therefore evil entity, created by the Rex Mundi or Devil.  The Trinity, Hell and purgatory were similarly rejected.  Jesus was seen as a pure spiritual and not evil worldy being.  As in Buddhist philosophy believers could escape through a series of births and rebirths, rejecting worldly desires and embracing love.

The leaders were called 'Parfaits' who lived austere lives being celibate, vegetarian, avoiding dairy products, promulgating non violent and refusing to swear oaths.  They are not technically priests, though they would gave a form of deathbed blessing.  Again many of their vows parallel those of Buddhist monks in some ways.  Lay believers could lead a more normal lifestyle, though many would take on the full vows in old age or before death. This ceremony called Consolamentum was in effect an ordination, absolution and baptism combined.

Clearly their beliefs brought them into collision with the Church of Rome who turned on them with the greatest vehemence.

 

 

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