Carcassonne and the Cathars

Why were they hunted down, brutalized and burnt ? That is what happened to thousands of people called the Cathars, during the so called middle ages.

Recently, I took a flight from the UK and went to Carcassone in France. Soon as I arrived at the airport, I saw a sign that said – ‘Welcome to the country of the Cathars.’

Yes, they are still in existence, despite the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church trying to wipe them out. Like the Jews in Germany, during the 2nd World War holocaust, enough Cathars survived the genocide to keep their traditions and culture alive, including the Occitan language.

The Cathars called themselves Christians but did not believe in the need for a formal church with priests. They objected to Roman Catholic doctrine and practices. So, the Pope called for a holy crusade to exterminate them.

The Cathars defended themselves by building fortresses to withstand long seiges. The most majestic one is in Carcassonne. A friend of mine, who lives in the area, took me on a walk inside the walls. It is like a small town with many narrow lanes, now occupied by restaurants and shops. I wondered if the Cathars who lived there would recognize it if they returned now. They would certainly remember the Roman Catholics, and their supporters, whose mission was to exterminate them. So, much for religion and being merciful.

In one of my amazing stories, I will write a bioview on what I think it would have been like to live in such dangerous times.