Bernard Gui, An experienced inquisitor describes the Albigensians
This reading is by Bernard Gui, and it is an excerpt from his complete work called “The Inquisitor's Manual.” Bernard Gui was a Dominican inquisitor during the middle ages. He is known for his numerous writings against heresies in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. In thanks for his work, Pope John XXII made Bernard a Bishop. Bernard Gui explains the practices of the Albigensian heresy. He explains that they claim to be wholesome and honest, despite the fact that they are attempting to discredit the sanctity of the sacraments. They believe they are being wrongfully persecuted by the Inquisitors, like the apostles were wrongfully persecuted by the Pharisees. According to the online Catholic Encyclopedia, the beliefs of the Albigensians have a close resemblance to the principles of the Gnostics and the Manicheans from earlier centuries. The Albigensians claim that the evil of material things corrupts the holiness of the sacraments. They use complicated examples to attempt to discredit the sacraments. The water used in Baptism, is “corruptible” because it is “sold out of avarice” and cannot “sanctify the soul.” The host in the Eucharist comes from straw, which is contaminated by horses. This contamination would not be possible if the host was actually from the body of Christ. Lastly, the sacrament of confession, which rids Christians of their sins, is performed by priests. According to these heretics, priests are unclean; therefore, they are not qualified to cleanse others. In addition, the Albigensians criticize the adornment of crosses by saying it is praising the death of Christ. In order to combat these heretics, Pope Innocent III calls for the Albigensian Crusade, which lasts for about 45 years and is effective in reducing the prominence of the heresy.
"Albigenses." CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA:. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2012. .
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