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Catholic Dictionary




A modified form of the Manichaean heresy that flourished in Southern France in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. It claimed that a good deity created the world of the spirit, and an evil god the material world, including the human body, which is under its control. The good deity sent Jesus Christ, as a creature, to deliver human souls from their imprisonment. Albigensians favored suicide and advocated abstaining from marriage. A crusade was organized against them as a menace to society, and was opposed by Raymond of Toulouse. In Belgium, France, and Germany the war against them continued even after their defeat, contrary to the wishes of Pope Innocent III. By the fifteenth century they had disappeared as a political force, but their Manichaean ideas reappeared in the Reformation.