4. What are the main differences between Cathars and Waldensians?

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  • 4. What are the main differences between Cathars and Waldensians?
    • Waldensians were 'Poor Men of Lyons'
      • A community founded by a merchant of that town, Valdes
      • Christians who rejected ecclesiastical hierarchy and who practised a form of apostolic poverty
      • Preached without official licence, and translated scripture and liturgical texts into the vernacular
    • In 1170, Valdes renounced worldly affairs and took to preaching the Gospel in vernacular and living strictly by its precepts
      • Valdes' unlicensed preaching, not approved by local clerical authority, which was specifically outlawed in papal bull Ad abolendam of 1184
      • Valdes' criticism of clergy that marks him out as heretical, as opposed to his beliefs about Creation and incarnation of Christ
    • Waldensian profession of faith distances suspected heretic from key traits of dualism (dualism a key part of Catharism)
    • Like Cathars, Waldensian brothers and sisters struck a chord with southern European laity
    • Like Cathars, Waldensians practised personal poverty and women had relatively high profile
    • Waldensians came to reject all violence, even judicial, and by early C13th they too denied authority of unworthy clergy almost as far as being 'Donatists (believing sacraments cannot be performed adequately by priests who have sinned)
      • Cathars believe sacraments are meaningless
    • By 1190s, Waldensians were established in many small towns of Languedoc, openly preaching, their leading lights inlcding Peter of Les Vals, and anathema was pronounced against them at Fourth Lateran Council in 1215
    • Medieval clergy distinguished clearly between Catahars and Waldensians
      • Peter of Les-Vaux-de-Cernay, one of chroniclers of Albigensian Crusade, observed differences between heretics who
        • on one hand, 'postulated two creators' and are called 'the Perfect' or 'Good men'
        • on other, the 'sect of heretics who received the name "Valdenses" from Valdius, a citizen of Lyon'
      • Manuals for inquisitors were structured to deal separately with Cathars and Waldensians
        • William Pelhisson, chronicler of early inquisition, refers to Cathars as heretici perfecti and Waldensians as Valdenses
          • Distinguishes clearly and using terminology noting Cathar elect
      • Particular characteristic of Waldensians in Languedoc was that they were often medical doctors

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