Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/113

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93
THEIR ORGANIZATION.

Catharism thus was a thoroughly antisacerdotal form of belief. It cast aside all the machinery of the Church. The Roman Church indeed was the synagogue of Satan, in which salvation was impossible. Consequently the sacraments, the sacrifices of the altar, the suffrages and interposition of the Virgin and saints, purgatory, relics, images, crosses, holy water, indulgences, and the other devices by which the priest procured salvation for the faithful were rejected, as well as the tithes and oblations which rendered the procuring of salvation so profitable. Yet the Catharan Church, as the Church of Christ, inherited the power to bind and to loose bestowed by Christ on his disciples ; the Consolamentum, or Baptism of the Spirit, wiped out all sin, but no prayers were of use for the sinner who persisted in wrong-doing. Curiously enough, though Catharism translated the Scripture, it retained the Latin language in its prayers, which were thus unintelligible to most of the disciples, and it had its consecrated class who conducted its simple services. Some regular form of organization, indeed, was necessary for the government of its rapidly increasing communities and for the missionary work which was so zealously carried forward. Thus there came to be four orders selected from among the " Perfected," who were distinguished from the mass of believers, or simple " Christians " — the Bishop, the Filius Major, the Filius Minor, and the Deacon. Each of the three higher grades had a deacon as an assistant, or to replace him ; for the functions of all were the same, though the Filii were mostly employed in visiting the members of the church. The Filius Major was elected by the congregation and promotions were made to the episcopate as vacancies occurred. Ordination was conferred by the imposition of hands or Consolamentum, which was the equivalent of baptism, administered to all who were admitted to the Church. The belief that sacraments were vitiated in sinful hands gave rise to considerable anxiety, and to guard against it the Consolamentum was generally repeated a second and a third time. It was generally, though not universally, held that the lower in grade could not consecrate the higher, and therefore in many cities there were habitu-


    made of it explains the prohibition of the Bible to the laity by the Church. — Archives de l’Inq. de Carcassonne, Coll. Doat, XXXVI. 91. (See Appendix.)
    Yet the Catharan ritual published by Cunitz quotes Isaiah and Solomon. (Bcitrage zu den theolog. Wissenschaften, B. IV. 1852, pp. 16,26.)