The Cathars or Cathari (from the Greek Katharos, meaning "pure", which is also where we get the word catharsis - or katharsis, Greek for purification.) was a gnostic movement considered heretical by the Roman Catholic Church. They professed Christianity, but declared that the true Christianity that Christ had taught was not that which the Church promulgated, and they openly criticized the papacy. Their theology included the belief that there were two gods representing two worlds – one benevolent and one malevolent. It has been said that the belief in this duality originated from Manichaeism, which arose in the third century AD with Mani, a Persian born in Southern Babylonia - now part of present-day Iraq.
Other groups often associated with the Cathars were Novatians, Paulicians, Bogomils, Patarines. In the second half of the 12th century the Cathari were widespread in Bulgaria, Albania, and Slavonia, where they divided into two branches: the Albanenses (absolute dualists) and the Garatenses (moderate dualists). But they reached their greatest numbers in the Languedoc (which means language of Oc) region of southeastern France where they were called Albigenses.
Cathars were vegetarians, and believed in tolerance, non-violence, and a simple existence. For this, the Church meant to exterminate them. With the religious fervor typical of the time – and aided by the propaganda which rapidly spread of how they committed every crime from incest to the consumption of the ashes of babies – by the late 14th century, the Cathari had all but disappeared, as did anything they may have written. What we know of them comes down to us primarily from the writings of those who condemned and persecuted them, whose statements must therefore be taken critically.
Remarkable similarities can be seen in the crusade against and demise of the Cathars with the present crusade against Muslims in the Arab world, not to mention anyone else who might possess the courage to stand up for that which is pure and true. The same religious fervor, lust for power and wealth, and COINTELPRO operations in the form of propaganda which demonizes the victims can be seen in our very own time.
- "Catharism was viewed as perhaps the most dangerous rival to the Catholic Church. In the same way that modern day COINTELPRO brands opposition to the Bush Reich's global conquest agenda as either a "cult" or "conspiracy theory", the Catholic Church labeled opposition "heresy".
- Knight-Jadczyk, Laura. The Secret History of the World and How to Get Out Alive, p. 164. Grande Prairie: Red Pill Press, 2005.