He uses the small amount of written evidence available to give us a clear account of Cathar beliefs and rituals. For by there were no more Cathars, the remarkable flowering of Languedoc civilisation was over, the Occitan language was in decline, the power of the King of France and the Pope had been re-asserted, and the troubadours had stopped singing. What did the Cathars leave behind? They also left behind the lesson that faith and tolerance is no match for relentless persecution. None recanted; more than men, women and children, including 21 last-minute converts, were burned on a huge pyre in The Field of the Cremated.
The Register of the Inquisition records a conversation between two Cathar women in Montaillou in which one asked, "How can people manage to bear the pain when they are burning at the stake?
God takes the pain upon himself, of course. Love puzzles? Get the best at Telegraph Puzzles. Books on Amazon.
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