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He was abbot of Poblet in Catalonia from to , then of Grandselve from to In , he was named a papal legate and inquisitor and was sent by Innocent III with Peter of Castelnau and Arnoul to attempt the conversion of the Albigensians. Failing in this, he distinguished himself by the zeal with which he incited men by his preaching to the crusade against them. This is the origin of the modern phrase, " Kill them all and let God sort them out.

Caesarius did not hear this statement first hand, merely writing that Arnaud was reported to have said it dixisse fertur in the original text. He left an account of this expedition. His stirring spirit embroiled him with his sovereign, Simon de Montfort. In , he presided in the council of Montpellier , assembled to consider the complaints of the Albigensians. One of the Rambo movies? Well it was in Doom didn't see it, just did a search. It's been said in other pop culture places, so you will probably find other sources. Doyle : You slept with the wife of General " Kill -'em-all-and- let - God - sort - them - out " Richardson?

It was also used in "Needful things. Let God sort them out. I've never heard of these two movies. Reedster , Mar 26, Ahhhhh I knew it!!!! I remember watching the movie and thought as soon as he said that I thought how stupid can't they come up with anything more original. Bean , Jul 30, By the Middle Ages the role of women in the early Church had been forgotten, and St Paul said everything on the matter that was needed.

1, Years and It Still Resonates, The Origins of a Phrase – Battles and Book Reviews

From this perspective, it seemed anti-Christian to allow any form of equality to women. Churchmen were horrified therefore to learn that Cathars had not only Parfaits male members of the elect but also Parfaites women members of the elect.

This was probably exacerbated by misunderstandings - for example Catholics never seem to have understood that Cathars did not recognise a priesthood, nor did they understand the nature of the Melhoramentum. In their minds women Parfaites were priestesses, worshipped by ordinary believers. The truth would have been bad enough, but this seemed to be an even more pernicious blasphemy. Although the Waldensians were doctrinally as opposed to the Cathars as the Catholic Church, they nevertheless adopted some Cathar ideas, for example permitting women a role in spreading the faith.

Here is the Cistercian Alan of Lille writing against this heretical idea around If it is a dangerous thing for wise and holy men to preach, it is most dangerous for the uneducated who do not know what should be preached; to whom, how, when, and where there should be preaching. These persons resist the Apostle [St Paul] in that they have women with them and have them preach in the gatherings of the faithful, although the Apostle says in the first Epistle to the Corinthians: "Let women keep silence in the curches, for it is not permitted them to speak, but to be subject, as also the law saith.

But if they would learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home". The square brackets are mine. Times change, and equality of women is now regarded as laudible outside the Roman Church. There is therefore a danger of misreprenting Parfaites as being fully equal to Parfaits.

Massacre at Béziers

The truth is not quite so straightforward. Certainly, Parfaites underwent the same training as Parfaits. They took the same vows at identical ceremonies. They led the same ascetic lives, and probably enjoyed the same rights at least in theory. In practice Parfaites do not seem to have travelled and preached, nor did they normally administer the Consolamentum , nor do they seem to have been elected as bishops.

1209: Massacre of Beziers, “kill them all, let God sort them out”

Instead they lived together in communities, often in large town houses. In summary, neither the propaganda of the Roman Church nor the rosy picture of the Cathar apologists is right, but both are near the truth, which is that women treated much more like the equals of men than they were in the Medieval Church or in the modern Roman Church. It is possible that the Cathars treated women in the same way that the earlist Gnostic Christians had treated women - initially unaware of St Paul because they predated him, and later ignoring his innovative opinions.

A Christian principle, adopted by St Augustine from the ancient Greeks, it that every part of nature has a proper function. This reasonable sounding proposition can be extended to a less reasonable conclusion: that every part of nature, and in particular every part of the human body, should be used for its proper function and for nothing else.

If God had intended you to swim, he would have given you fins. If God had intended you to fly, he would have given you wings. This sort of argument has largely been abandoned applying it consistently takes theologians where they prefer not to go. But there is one example of this idea that is still applied almost as strongly as it was in the time of the Cathars. God had designed the sex organs for the purpose of reproduction, so it was and is wrong to use them for anything else. In particular it was, and is, of the utmost importance that semen should should be deposited in a human vagina.

Every sperm is sacred. This idea explained many aspects of Catholic theology which seem odd to outsiders. Not only did it justify bans on sodomy and contraception, but also coitus interuptus and masturbation. On this question, Cathars held almost exactly the opposite view. While Catholics taught that semen should be deposited where it could lead to conception, Cathars held that semen could be deposited anywhere that it could not lead to conception.

So it was that on one hand practices like masturbation could be no sin whatsoever to Cathars, and why on the other Catholics could believe it to be a heinous crime against God.

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Who practised it more is a different question, and one to which we do not know the answer. Catholic teachings following the traditional line of argument have now been abandoned, or at least are no longer openly advocated. For example, as we know from medieval penitentials, experiencing a nocturnal emission was a far more serious sin than committing rape.

The former involved spilling seed outside its divinely appointed receptacle, and the latter involved depositing it in the correct receptacle. The former therefore was a serious sin, and the latter was not. Cathars, or at least Parfaits and trainee Parfaits, refused to eat animal products - not only meat but also milk, cheese and eggs - anything that resulted from coition. Some at least refused to eat honey, apparently on the grounds that it, like the morning dew, was the product of monthly copulation between the sun and the moon.

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In many respects Cathar parfaits resembled modern day vegans, except that they did eat fish. The justification was that fish, as they believed, did not reproduce sexually and so could not imprison a soul as other animals could. That fish reproduced asexually was a genuine and widespread belief in the Middle Ages. The same error underlay the Catholic practice of eating fish on fast days. This practice is still alive in the Roman Church, and a vestige of the same error is the common practice of serving fish on Fridays - Fridays having been traditional fast days.

Incidentally, the Roman Church classified such diverse animals as beavers and barnacle geese as fish with the happy consequence that their fast day diets were not as boring as they might otherwise have been. Another such wheeze was to eat animal embryos, on the grounds that they lived in water the fluid within the womb and so also counted as fish.

Inexplicably, but happily, the logic does not seem to have been applied to human fetuses. For many centuries the Roman Church regarded vegetarianism as a capital crime on the grounds that God had given man dominion over the earth and had provided animals for him to eat. Inquisition records include cases of people being required to kill and eat animals, often chickens, to prove that they were not Cathars. Failure to do so meant death. The Mainstream Church was hostile to vegetarianism well into the twentieth century. In Britain a Government Minister, John Selwyn Gummer, could still publicly ridicule vegetarians as being anti-Christian as late as the s, citing the traditional argument that God had given man dominion over the earth and had provided animals for him to eat.

Vegetarians are still regarded as vaguely anti-Christian by many denominations even today. The Inquisitor Alan of Lille noted that while Catholics refrained from eating meat because it promoted sexual desire Concupiscence , Cathars abstained from it because of their teaching about the transmigration of souls metempsychosis. They thought the flesh might contain a morsel of soul that, according to his accusation, would somehow become even more earthbound if ingested and metabolised.


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In recent years some apologists have taken to denying that the Roman Catholic Church executed people for refusing to kill animals. Here is an extract of a Church document Gesta episcoporum Leodiensium from the period , translated from Latin into English. It is as far as I am aware the earliest case of people being executed for refusing to kill a chicken. Here he is taking about what happened to some people at Goslar:. After much discussion of their vagaries and a proper excommunication for obstinacy in error, they were also sentenced to be hanged.


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When we carefully investigated the course of this examination, we could learn no other reason for their condemnation than that they refused to obey some one of the bishops when he ordered them to kill a chicken.