The fight between two equals Good and Evil
As set down in St. John's Gospel
Good being the kingdom of the good lord
Evil being the material and time passing reality of the visible physical world.
Evil had imprisoned good inside men's bodies
Man enters the kingdom of God through his soul.
To achieve this, he had to "ascèse" detaching from the material world
The "ascèse" prepared him for baptism,
Salvation was found through "consolament"
The joining of soul and spirit
The Cathars only sacrement.
The holy book was the new testament
The prayer was the lords prayer.
They called each other Christians. Bons hommes. Good Men
Friends of Gods.
They were 40,000 Croyants (believers) with a 1000 priests (parfaits).
The croyants lived normal lives,
Except honoring the Parfaits, taking part in their ceremonies,
And sharing their ritual meal.
They could become parfaits after a three year apprenticeship.
The parfaits community was divided into houses run by an elder or prioress.
Professional and religious life was taught to encompass regular lifestyle.
The male and female priests shared their time between preaching and doing regular work.
The church imposed the priests to live on their labors.
The fruits of the parfaits labor and the croyants donation made the wealth of the Cathar Church.
The parfaits dressed in black.
Moved about, and lived in pairs, extolling the doctrines of their church, refusing secular laws.
The Cathar church had no rights over the population.
They did not believe in feudal heirachy.
They preached in the langue d'Oc.
Promoting feminism and equality for the serfs, the poor.
They were vegetarians.
Their way of life was accepted by the aristocracy, and became established in town and country.
Rome felt their lifestyle as a threat to both income and way of living
The Pope Innocent the Third in 1209 launched a crusade against them
He called in Simon de Montford to slaughter, and extinguish their power, their religion.