Mark Gregory is now speaking about them Cathars, I say!
He starts with his adventure in Cathar country in Southern France. One day I shall go!
Mark seems he’s going to dispel the legends of the Cathars as these wise and alternative Christians with New Age tendencies.
Mark explains this about the Cathars (are you ready):
Catharism never existed. It’s all bad scholarship and Christian romance.
They were just a form of Catholicism in a continent were Catholicism was a fluid and messy stew.
It’s a crappy term like Hinduism, Buddhism and Gnosticism…all created by westerners during the 18-19th century.
Mark is giving the history of bad historical methods, but hasn’t gotten into the reasons the Cathars aren’t Cathars (but I see his point). There is a lot of lazy scholarship.
Those persecuted by the Inquisition were but unfortunate Catholics in lands wanted by nobles. They were called the Good Men and Good Women, never considered heretics until the Inquisition created it for its own reasons. The violence created a romantic view that later became the Cathars. But the Good Men and Women were just Catholics, and many of their alleged beliefs and rituals are not recorded in those times, but added later.
The “Cathars” did believe in Baptism, did believe in reincarnation, abstained from meat to be pious, were worried about Satan, never had churches but the Catholic churches, and that’s about it. Dualism existed but only in the classrooms with intellectuals. Dualism was a concept no one in laity or even nobility knew about, because dualism really made sense in those days. The ghost of the Gnostics were resuscitated and then attached to the Good Men and Women.
The Good Men and Women were heretics, but they were not a religion. And they never called themselves Cathars.