The Albigensian theologians and ascetics, the Cathari or perfecti, known in the south of France as bons hommes or bons chretiens, were few in number; the mass of believers (credentes) were perhaps not initiated into the Catharist doctrine; at all events, they were free from all moral prohibition and all religious obligation, on condition that they promised by an act called convenenza to become " hereticized " by receiving the consolamentum, the baptism of the Spirit, before their death or even in extremis.
In 12 4 5 the royal officers assisting the Inquisition seized the heretical citadel of Montsegur, and 200 Cathari were burned in one day.
It is the second of the two sects of Cologne (the first being composed very probably of Cathari) that is referred to in the letter addressed in 1146 by Everwin, provost of Steinfeld, to St Bernard (Mabillon, Vet.
Priscillian perished for insisting that it was such; and seven centuries later the Church began to burn the Cathari by thousands because they took a similar view of the Christian life."
There was this in common among the Cathari, Waldenses, Albigenses and other heretical bodies that overran so many parts of Western Europe in the second half of the 12th century and the beginning of the 13th, that they all inveighed against the wealth of the clergy, and preached the practice of austere poverty and a return to the simple life of Christ and the Apostles.