This is the essay for the 24th week of the 9th Grade Tom Woods Homeschool. In this blog post, I will be answering three questions. The first one is, What did the Albigensians believe?
The second one is, What were the mendicant orders of the thirteenth century?
The third one is, What was the significance of King Philip IV of France?
The Albigensians believed that there were two gods. The good god created spiritual things and the evil god created material things. The Albigensians believed that all material things were bad and that the body was the prison of the soul. Because the Albigensians rejected material things they also rejected the sacraments because they used your senses.
The Albigensians were split into two different groups. There were the perfect and the believers. The perfect were the Albigensians who had no worldly possessions and lived by begging and preaching to people. The perfect also didn’t eat meat or drink milk and they were celibate. The believers were the Albigensians who couldn’t commit to the lifestyle of the perfect but still supported the Albigensians.
You had to become one of the perfect before you died, through a ceremony called the consolamentum. However if the already perfect thought that you couldn’t adhere to their rigorous lifestyle, then you would be killed by suffocation during the ceremony. So it was in your favor to wait as long as possible until you were sure that you could adhere to the lifestyle of the perfect. In the consolamentum you’re accepted as a perfect by putting your hands together with the already perfect.
In the 13th century, there were two mendicant orders established. Mendicant orders are orders of beggars who preach to cover their essential needs. They live a monastic lifestyle, like monks. Unlike monks, they are not confined to a monastery but instead travel the world.
The first mendicant order was the Franciscan order. The Franciscan order was established by St. Francis of Assisi. Francis suddenly got very ill and received a message from God. God said to Francis to rebuild his house because it was tumbling down. Francis took this literally and started renovating sacred buildings. Francis eventually figured out that God meant he should fix the Catholic Church itself. Francis did this by preaching about God for food and other essential things. He gained a huge male following doing this. This following is the first Franciscan order and is called the Order of Friars Minor.
St. Francis also gained a female following. This female following become the second Franciscan order, which is called the order of Poor Clares. The Poor Clares lived a lifestyle akin to the monks in monasteries and they usually stayed in one location. The third Franciscan order was composed of people who couldn’t give up everything for the faith. Instead, they gathered in places from time to time and took religious vows, preached, etc.
The second mendicant order of the 13th century was the Dominican order. It was founded by St. Dominic. Dominic established a mendicant order because he wanted to show the Albigensians that not all Catholics were worldly and wealthy. Dominic lived very similarly to Francis, but Dominic still wanted to learn, while Francis thought that preaching alone was enough. Dominic wanted to learn so he could persuade people not to join the Albigensians and beat the Albigensians in debates.
Philip the Fair was a very significant king because he had a struggle against the Catholic church. The struggle with the church came from the belief that the king should have more power over everything. This belief mainly came from the resurrection of interest in Roman law. Philip centralized power in France by first having lawyers that supported him, he made everyone pledge that they were loyal to him regardless of who their lord was. Philip also created several institutions such as the Estates General, whose sole purpose was to give support to the king when a large number of people were against him.
But Philip also did other much worse things. He was almost always in debt due to his military campaigns. Philip was trying to get rid of his debt in any way, shape or form. Trying to get rid of his debt he devastated the country. One of the ways he paid off his debt was by debasing the currency a lot by reducing the number of precious metals in the coins. Philip also took away all of the property from Jews, bankers and the Knights of Templar.