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THE LESSONS OF THE ALBIGENSIAN CRUSADE

by Ted Schmidt

Riding in my car in mid-November, I caught a good portion of a marvelous CBC Tapestry show on the Cathars and it brought back memories of a decades-old trip to Languedoc, in the south of France. It was here in an area around Toulouse and bordering on the Pyrenees that the Roman Catholic Church mounted a ferocious crusade to stomp out a movement they considered dangerously heretical. It was here that according to the great Catholic historian Lord Acton, "religious assassination" became Church policy and "murder was made a legal basis of the Christian Church." What was it that precipitated such maniacal religious fury against such a pacifist people? Was there anything to be learned from this Crusade which mocked the nonviolent gospel of Jesus? Let us go back in history and set the stage for some possible answers.

     On March 10,1208 on learning of the murder of his legate Pierre de Castelnau, Pope Innocent lll delivered his bull of anathema against the Cathars with his rousing
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