Cathars and Cathar Beliefs in the Languedoc
Béatrice de Planissolles, Testimony to the Inquisition




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Source Documents: Béatrice de Planissolles, Testimony to the Inquisition


Béatrice de Planissolles was the Chatelaine - the wife of the Chatelain - at the famous village of Montaillou. The town is famous largely because of what happened to Beatrice and the inhabitants of her village. They were all arrested on the orders of the Bishop of Pamiers on suspicion of Cathar sympathies - what the Roman Catholic Church regarded as heresy.

Béatrice first appeared before the Inquisition on Saturday 26 July 1320 at the Episcopal Palace in Pamiers. She had been summoned by Jacques Fournier, the Bishop of Pamiers, to answer charges of blasphemy, witchcraft, and heresy, charges which were not clearly distinguished. Witnesses were called against Beatrice, but none for her. This was normal in such cases.

Beatrice and witnesses spoke in Occitan, but the record was transcribed in Latin.


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Witnesses against Béatrice, widow of Otho Lagleize of Dalou

The year of the Lord 1320, the 19th of June. After it came to the attention of the Reverend Father in Christ Monsignor Jacques, by the Grace of God Bishop of Pamiers, that Beatrice, widow of Otho Lagleize of Dalou, who lived in Varilhes, held certain sentiments that seemed to hint at the Manichaean heresy, or touch it, and especially against the sacrament of the altar, he wished with the assistance of Gaillard de Pomiès, substitute for My Lord the Inquisitor of Carcassone, to inform himself about the above-mentioned facts and received the testimonials that follow.


The Manichaean heresy in this context means Catharism.

The Inquisition, manned largely by Dominicans, was well established at Carcassonne.

Guillaume Roussel of Dalou, sworn witness and required to tell the truth, says:


It was ten years ago, it seems to me, but I do not recall clearly the season nor the day, I was at the home of this Beatrice, in her house near the church of Dalou, and there were Beatrice, two of her daughters of whom one must have been six or seven years old and the other 4 or 5, and several other persons around the fire. I do not recall the names of these last people.

We began to speak of priests and the sacrament of the altar, which is the concern of the priests. Beatrice said, it seems to me, that she wondered how, if God was present in the sacrament of the altar, he could permit himself to be eaten by priests (or even by a single priest). Hearing this, I left that house very upset.


The doctrine of Transubstantiation was then still a novelty, much ridiculed by non-Catholics ever since its formulation (formally 1215)

Why have you hidden this for such a long time?

Because I was never questioned and I did not think it was bad not to denounce this myself.


For most Inquisitors it was a crime not to denounce one's friends and neighbours in these circumstances.

Did Beatrice say this in the manner of a joke?

It did not seem to me that she said it jokingly, but that she meant it, or so it seemed from her expression and her word.


Did Beatrice go willingly to church?

No, not until she was reprimanded by Barthelemy, a vicar of the said church. After that, she went to church.


Who were the persons very intimate with this Beatrice, who would have known her secrets?

Grazide, the widow of Bernard Pujol, Bernarde, the wife of Garsiot, Mabille, the wife of Raymond Gouzy, Sibille, the servant of Michel Dupont of Foix, Esperte, wife of Arnaud of Varilhes.

  Inquisitors were also looking for their victims to name others - it was a necessary part of the proof of their contrition.

The same year and day as above, Guillaume of Montaut, rector of the church of Dalou, a sworn witness, was interrogated about that which precedes, and said,


It was 12 years ago - it seems to me, though for sure I do not entirely recall the day or the season - that I was at the church of Dalou and found there Mabille Vaquier, of Dalou, who is now dead. She said to me that she had reprimanded this Beatrice, who was the wife of her uncle, because she did not attend church, and also because she had heard her speak such an evil utterance that she was completely astonished. This utterance was the following: "You believe that what the priests hold on the altar is the body of Christ! Certainly, if that was the body of Christ and even if it was as big as this mountain (gesturing toward Mont Margail), the priests by themselves would already have eaten it!"


A coomon jibe was that even if the body of Christ had been as large as the Pyrenees or the Alps, it would already have been eaten.

Around the same time, the late Jean Roussel said to me at my home, where we were eating, that he had heard Beatrice say "You believe that what the priests have on the altar is the body of Christ! Indeed, if that was the body of Christ, even if it was as big as this mountain, the priests would have already eaten it all!" And because of this, he himself, Jean, had exchanged insulting words with this Beatrice.


And he said nothing more, though he was interrogated diligently. Asked if he were motivated or constrained by entreaty, gain, love or hate in giving this deposition, he said no, but that it was simply the truth.


Confession of Beatrice, widow of Otho Lagleize of Dalou


The year of the Lord 1320, the Wednesday before the feast of St. James (23 July 1320), there was sent by the Reverend Father in Christ Monsignor Jacques, by the Grace of God Bishop of Pamiers, a letter of citation against Beatrice, widow of Otho Lagleize, living in Varilhes, of which the tenor follows:


Brother Jacques, by divine aid Bishop of Pamiers, to his beloved in Christ, curé of Varilhes or his vicar, greetings in the Lord.

We command you to cite at once, and immediately, Beatrice, widow of Otho Lagleize, and Jeanne, wife of Guillaume of Reumaze, Junior, to appear next Saturday before us in our Seat at Pamiers, in person, to respond to certain allegations concerning the Catholic faith of which we wish to know the truth from them and the answers to other questions as may be reasonable.

Given at our episcopal seat, the Wednesday before the feast of Saint James the Apostle 1320. Return the letter with your seal as a sign that you have passed on this mandate.


On the Saturday named in this letter, the said Beatrice, cited by the curé of Varilhes (since this is whose seal appeared on the back of the letter of citation), appeared before the aforementioned bishop at his seat. My Lord Bishop admonished the said Beatrice that she was strongly suspected of heresy according to information which had been given to him and that she should reply with pure and complete verity on all counts against herself as principal and with others living and dead as witness.


Beatrice was already guilty - it was a crime to be suspected of heresy (not the same thing as being suspected of the crime of heresy)

At this admonition and request the said Beatrice said nothing, neither concerning herself nor concerning others, nor did she wish to do so. My aforesaid Lord Bishop, wishing to guide her, to encourage her to tell the truth and hide nothing and not wishing that she fall into perjury, asked her, without requiring her to take an oath, if she had ever said that if the sacrament of the altar was the true body of Christ, it should not be permitted to be eaten by priests and if it was as grand as Mont Margail, which is close to Dalou, it would have long ago been consummed by the priests alone. She said no.


He asked her if she had seen, received in her home or had gone to see at any time Pierre, Jacques and Guillaume Authié or other heretics. She said no, except that she had seen Pierre Authié, exercising his profession as a notary and in this capacity he had written the act of sale of an item of her husband. She had approved this sale by oath and Pierre had written up the bill of sale and ratified it. He was not reputed to be a heretic at this time and she had not seen him otherwise.


Pierre, Jacques and Guillaume Authie were Cathar Parfaits who had reindroduced the Cathar faith from Italy.

Under questioning by the Lord Bishop, she said she had been received once for one night at the house of the late Gaillarde Cuq, but she had not heard her speak of any divinations, nor seen any evil spells), nor received any evil teaching from her.


My aforementioned Lord Bishop, seeing that this Beatrice would not of her own will openly say anything concerning the aforementioned without taking an oath, and wishing to act with benevolence and to wait for her, assigned to her the following Tuesday to appear before him at the aforesaid seat, admonishing her to present herself on that day in person and to be ready to respond to the above allegations and others concerning the faith, under her own oath. The assigned day the said Beatrice accepted of her own free will, promising by her own oath to appear before My Lord the Bishop for the said assignation, and to respond to the above allegations under oath and to do all that was necessary in this same matter. And she was graciously excused until the said Tuesday by my said Lord Bishop.


That Tuesday the said Beatrice did not appear, although she was waited for patiently all the day and because of this my said Lord Bishop held her to be in contempt of court and accused her of such, ordering and seeing to it that her failure was noted.


After this, the said Beatrice, sought after by the men of the Lord Bishop carrying letters to bailiffs, officials and justices and such as they were, was found by them in flight, while she was hiding at Mas-Saintes-Puelles, in the diocese of Saint Papoul and was taken prisoner by the men of the Lord Bishop and the sergeants of the Court of Mas-Saintes-Puelles. She was brought to My Lord Bishop and presented to him the first of August, the same year as above, with the objects listed below having been found on her person. These were all shown in the presence of the Lord Bishop and she acknowledged that they had all been with her and that she had fled with them. (This list occurs at the end of her deposition.)


If Beatrice was a Cathar believer she would not have been prepared to lie on oath, or even to take an oath, something that all concerned would have been aware of.

This done, my said Lord Bishop, holding her strongly suspect concerning the Catholic faith, as much by the preceding information as by her flight and by the objects found on her, wishing to question her, received from her an oath to tell the pure, simple and entire truth both concerning herself as charged as well as concerning others living and dead as witness, on all questions touching the Catholic faith. When the oath was taken he interrogated her:


Are you guilty of heresy? Have you had relations and intimacy with the heretics Pierre, Guillaume, Jacques Authié, other heretics, worshiping them, seeing them giving or sending them anything or favoring them in any manner whatsoever?

No, upon my oath, except for what I have told you of Pierre Authié, that I ratified a bill of sale for my husband the knight Bérenger de Roquefort. After I had married this Bérenger, at our wedding ceremony, I saw Guillaume Authié dance. This was 24 years ago or so.


"Worship" - According to the Catholic Church, Cathars "adored" or "worshipped" their Parfaits. This was a misunderstanding of a Cathar greeting ceremoniy called the Melhoramentum.

Do you know other persons, living or dead, who had any type of relations or intimacy or who committed anything in life or death related to this crime of heresy?

No. But, when I was a little girl, and I was staying at Celles, about 6 years before marrying my first husband, the people went one day to see the body of Christ at the church there. I heard a mason (I do not know his name but I think he was called Oudin) ask where the people were going. Someone replied that they were going to see the body of Christ. He said "They have no great need to rush or hurry to see it, because even if the body of Christ were as big as the Pech de Boulque, it would have already been eaten many times over as pastry!" And these words, which I had heard spoken by this man, I cited sometimes, and repeated at Dalou without adding a word. I do not remember if it was when the people were going to see the body of the Lord at Dalou or some other occasion. It seems to me that it has been 12 years since I cited those words.


Pech de Boulque = Peak of Boulque, another local mountain.

To which persons and at what other times?

I no longer recall their names.

  Naming witnesses would ensure that they were called before Inquisitors too.

The 7th of August in the chamber of the episcopal residence, before the bishop and Gailard de Pomiès:


It was 26 years ago in the month of August (I do not recall the day) when I was the wife of the late knight Bérenger of Roquefort, châtelain of Montaillou. The late Raymond Roussel, of Prades, was the bursar and the steward of our house which we held at the castle of Montaillou. He asked me often to leave with him and go to Lombardy to the Good Christians who were there, saying to me that the Lord had said that man ought to leave father, mother, wife, husband, son and daughter and follow Him and He would give him the kingdom of heaven. And since the present life is brief and the heavenly kingdom eternal, it was necessary that man not care about the present life, in order to inherit the kingdom of heaven. When I asked him "How could I leave my husband and my sons?" he replied that the Lord had commanded it, and it was better to leave a husband and sons whose eyes were infected, than to abandon Him who lives for all eternity and gives the kingdom of the heavens.


Beatrice is quoting the New Testament here - the same passages that Catholic preachers coited to encorage men to go on crusade.

When I asked him "How can it be that God has created such a quantity of men and women if so many among them will not be saved?" He replied that only the Good Christians will be saved, and no other, neither religious, nor priest, nor anyone with the exception of the Good Christians. Indeed, he said just as it is impossible for the camel to pass through the eye of a needle, so it is impossible that those who have riches will be saved. It is because of this that kings and princes, prelates and religious and all those who have riches, will not be saved, only the Good Christians. They remain in Lombardy, because they do not dare do live here, where the wolves and the dogs persecute them. The wolves and the dogs are the bishops and the Preaching Friars who persecute the Good Christians and chase them from the country.


"Good Christians" = Cathars

"Wolves" = Catholic bishops

"Dogs" = Domiminicans

He said he himself had seen and met several of these Good Christians. They were such people that when one had heard them speak, one could not ever leave them them and if I myself heard them just one time, I would be theirs forever.


When I asked him how we two could flee and go to the Good Christians, because when my husband found out, he would follow us and kill us, Raymond replied that when my husband took a long trip and was a little bit out of the country we could leave and go to the Good Christians. I asked him how we would support ourselves when we got there. He replied that they would take care of us and give us enough to live. "But", I said "I am pregnant. What could I do with the infant I am carrying if I leave with you for the Good Christians?" "If you give birth to it among them, it will be an angel, and with the aid of God they will make it a king and a holy being because it will come without sin, having no contact with the people of the world, and they will instruct it perfectly in their sect, and it will know no other."


He told me then that all the spirits sinned at the beginning by the sin of pride, believing that they knew more and were worth more than God and for this they had fallen to the earth. These spirits incarnate themselves as a result and the world will not be finished before all of them are incorporated in the bodies of men and women. This is how the spirit of a baby who was just born is just as old as the spirit of an old man.

  The Cathar teaching concerning the Fall of the angels was not then orthodox Catholic belief, though it is now.

He said furthermore that when the spirits of men and women who are not Good Christians, leave their bodies, they enter into the bodies of other men and women until they have entered nine bodies. If amongst these nine bodies the body of a Good Christian is not found, the spirit is damned. If on the contrary it finds the body of a Good Christian, the spirit is saved.


Beliefs in reincarnation and the transmigration of souls was standard Cathar belief, though the details varied among different groups of Cathars.

I asked him how the spirit of a dead man or woman could enter through the mouth of a pregnant woman and through there to the mouth of the fruit which she carries in her womb. He replied that the spirit could enter into the fruit in the womb of a woman through any part of the body it wished. When I asked him why infants do not talk from birth, if they have the old spirits of other people, he said the God does not wish this. He told me as well that the spirits of God who have sinned place themselves wherever they can in order to dwell there.


Beatrice's question about talking shows an advanced capacity for rational thought.

In connection with demonic possession, the Catholic Church faced exactly the same sort of problem in providing a satisfactory answer (since as everyone knew demons were fluent in Latin and Greek).

He encouraged me then to leave with him to go to the Good Christians, citing as examples many noblewomen who had gone. He first told me of Alestra and Serena, two ladies of Châteauverdun, who painted themselves with colours to appear to be foreigners, in order not to be recognized and went to Toulouse. Arriving at an inn, the hostess wished to know if they were heretics or not, and gave them live chickens, asking them to prepare them because she had something to do in the town and left the house. At her return she found the chickens still living and asked them why they had not prepared them. They replied that if the hostess would kill them they would prepare them, but that they would not kill them. The hostess hearing this, went to tell the Inquisitors that two heretics were at her inn. They were arrested and burned. When they had to go to the pyre, they asked for water to wash their faces, saying that they did not wish to go to God painted thus.


The willingness to kill animals provided a simple way of identifying Cathars as they would not kill animals (other than fish).

Killing chickens was almost a standard test, and the refusal to kill was sufficient evidence to justify burning alive.

I said to Raymond that they would have done better to abandon the heresy that caused them to be burned and he said that the Good Christians do not feel the fire, because the fire which burns them can do them no harm.


Many people were at a loss to understand how Cathars could so consisistently opt to burn alive rather than abandon their faith.

Raymond told me again that one of these two women, at the moment of leaving her house in Châteauverdun had an infant in the cradle and she wished to see it before leaving. She embraced it, the infant laughed and and as she began to leave the place where it was lying, she returned again to him. The infant began to laugh and this merry-go-round began again so often that she could not leave him. She finally ordered the nurse to take away the child and thus she left.

And Raymond told me this to encourage me to do the same!


He told me as well that Stephanie, the wife of the late Guillaume Arnaud, one of the ladies of Châteauverdun had left all and gone to the Good Christians. Prades Tavernier, who had recently become a heretic and was called André, had left with her. He said this to convince me to leave but I told him that if 2 or 3 women of my rank left with us, I would have an excuse, but that I would not leave with him, while still young, because people would say of us that we left the country to satisfy our lust.


After having spread his heretical discourse to me quite liberally at several times and places and asked me to part with him, there came one night when we had dined together and he entered secretly into my bedroom and hid himself under my bed. I put the house in order and lay down to sleep and when all was quiet and everyone asleep and I myself was sleeping, Raymond came out from under my bed, placed himself next to me and began to act as if he wished to know me carnally. I said "What is this?" He said to be quiet. I replied "What, churl, remain quiet!" and began to cry and call my sevants who slept near me in the chamber, saying to them that there was a man in my bed.

Hearing this, he left both bed and chamber. The next morning, he said to me that he had done badly to hide himself close to me. I told him "I see now that all your invitations to go to the Good Christians are only intended to possess me and sleep with me. If I did not fear that my husband would not believe that I have done nothing dishonest with you, I would send you immediately to the tower dungeon."


It was normal at this time for servants to sleep in their master's or mistress's bed chamber.






We did not speak any further of questions of heresy and a while later Raymond left our house and returned to his home at Prades.


Have you believed and do you believe still that which he told you concerning the Good Christians, concerning the sin of the spirits in the sky and the reincarnation of spirits?



Have you ever revealed the propositions of Raymond to anyone?

No, except to a Friar Minor of the convent of Limoux, in sacramental confession.

  Friar Minor = Franciscan. There was a Franciscan convent (friary) at Limoux.

Has anyone else heard the heretical propositions that you heard from this Raymond?

I do not recall that there was anyone else present.


Alazais Gonelle, from the diocese of Alet, often came to my house to talk to me and she told me on the part of this Raymond that it would be good for us to leave for Lombardy and the Good Christians, because they alone would save our souls, since one could only be saved in their sect. If I wished to leave with Raymond, she herself, Alazais, would leave with us and she knew that if some of us left for Lombardy and the Good Christians, Algée of Martre, from Camurac in the diocese of Alet, would leave with them.


Alet = Alet-les-Bains

Lombardy was a place of refuge for Cathars. The local animosity to the papacy meant that the Church authorities had less freedom than elsewhere to persecute people for holding religious views other than Roman Catholic ones.

This Alazais was the concubine of Guillaume Clerge, the brother of the rector of Montaillou and this Algée is the sister of the mother of the rector. But I have never seen Algée.


What do you understand by these Good Christians whom Raymond and this Alazais cite constantly?

By 'Good Christians' I understand heretics.


About 25 years ago, I was living in Montaillou and one day in the month of July, Alazais, the wife of Bernard Ribas of Montaillou knocked on my door. I went to see what she wanted. She said that she wanted vinegar. I ordered it to be given to her. She then said that she did not want any, but that she wished to speak to me. I said that I could not and she left. The same day she came back to my house and knocked on the door. I sent to know what she wanted and she said that her daughter was sick and asked me to come down to her house, because her daughter wished very much to see me. I said to her that I could not come down to her house, because it was only a short time since I had come from childbed. This Alazais came again to my house, the same day, asking and supplicating that I would come to see her daugher, which I did not wish to do.


The same day, I had made a "re-dyed" candle for the church of Saint Marie de Carnesses. I called for a woman who lived with the rector of Montaillou, Pierre d'Espéra [Espéraza ?] (this woman was from Limbrassac) and we went together to the church. In the descent from Montaillou, we met this Alazais who was driving 2 geese; she asked me to come to her house to see her daughter Guillemette (the wife of Pierre Clergue of Montaillou). I said that I could not go, and she said that her brother Prades Tavernier was there and wished to speak with me because Stephanie, the wife of Guillaume Arnaud of Châteauverdun, had been charged with a message that he wished to give to me.


Saint Marie de Carnesses = the church of Montaillou,a pilgrimage destination. The candle is for the rite of purification (ritual cleansing of sin) after childbirth

But since it was well known that Prades Tavernier had left the country with Stephanie to travel to the heretics, I asked Alazais to leave me, because I did not wish to talk to Prades. She left me then and I did not see Prades Tavernier nor speak to him after he departed the country with Stephanie.

About 21 years ago, about one year after the death of my husband, I wished to go to confess at the church of Montaillou during Lent. When I was there, I went to Pierre Clergue, the rector, who listened to confessions behind the altar of Saint Mary. As soon as I had kneeled down before him, he embraced me, saying to me that there was no other woman in the world that he loved so much as me. In my stupefaction I left without being confessed.





"Solicitation" was a very common clerical crime, though very rarely punished. Confession boxes were introduced much later to try to reduce the incidence of solicitation.

Later, towards Easter, he came to visit me several times, and asked me to give myself to him. I said to him one day when he was soliciting me in my own home that I would rather give myself to 4 men than to one priest, because I had heard that a woman who had been known carnally by a priest could not see the face of God. To which he responded that I was stupid and ignorant, because the sin was the same for a woman to be known by her husband or by any other man, equally whether the man was her husband or a priest. It was an even greater sin with a husband, he said because the spouse believed she did not sin with a husband, but she had a conscience with other men. The sin was therefore greater in the first case.


The beliefs ascribed here to Pierre Clergue are prima facie evidence that he was a Cathar believer.

I asked him how he could talk thus, being a priest, because one said in church that marriage had been instituted by God and that it was the first sacrament, instituted by God between Adam and Eve, so that there would be no sin when spouses knew one another. He replied "If it was God who instituted marriage between Adam and Eve and if he created them, why did he not guard them from sin?" I understood then that he was saying that God did not create Adam and Eve and had not instituted marriage between them. He added that the Church taught many falsehoods. The ecclesiastics said this, because they were not inspired by respect or fear. Indeed, in part the Gospel and the Pater, and all the other texts of Scripture were "affitilhas", a word that one uses in the vulgar tongue to designate words that one adds to what one has heard. I replied to him that because of this the ecclesiastics plunged the people into error.

  affitilhas = apocryphal gloss. Exactly the same charge made by many modern scholars.

The 8th of August 1320, in the Chamber of the bishop's palace, before the bishop and Gaillard of Pomiès.


Speaking of marriage, he said to me that many of the rules governing it did not proceed from the will of God, who had not forbidden wedding one's own full sister nor another blood relative, since in the beginning brothers knew their sisters. But when many brothers had only one or two beautiful sisters each one wished to have them. As a result there was bloodshed between them and that is why the Church has forbidden a brother to know carnally his sister or blood relative. But before God the sin is the same, whether it concerns a stranger, a sister or another relative because the sin is just as bad with a wife as with another, to the point where it is almost greater between man and wife because one does not confess it and is united without shame.


We have only Beatrice's word that Pierre Clergue believed this, but it is a fact that many patriarchs of the Old Testament committed incest without any divine disapproval.

He added that marriage was perfect and accomplished when one person promised his faith to another. What one does in Church to the spouses, such as nuptial benediction was only secular pomp and had no value and had only been instituted by the Church for the glory of this world.

He told me as well that a man and woman could commit freely any sort of sin while they lived in the world and live according to their good pleasure. It was sufficient to be received into the sect of the Good Christians at one's death to be saved and be absolved of all the sins committed in this life. He said this was justified because Christ had said to his apostles to leave father, mother spouse and children and all that they possessed to follow Him, in order to have the kingdom of heaven. Peter replied to Christ, "If we, who have left all and followed You, we have the kingdom of heaven, what will be the fate of those who are sick and cannot follow You?" The Lord replied to Peter that his "friends" would come and impose their hands on the heads of the sick. The sick would be cured, and, once cured, would follow him and have the kingdom of heaven.


All this further indicts Pierre Clergue as a Cathar.

As Beatrice would have known, it was only by fingering others that she might hope to receive a small punishment rather than death.

These "Friends of God" the rector said were the Good Christians, who are called heretics. The imposition of hands that they give to the dying saves them and absolves them of all their sins.

To prove that it would be better for the world if brother were to marry sister he told me "Look, we are four brothers. I am a priest and do not wish to marry. If my brothers Guillaume and Bernard had wed Esclarmonde and Guillemette, our sisters, our house would not have been ruined by having to give them a dowry. Our house would have remained intact. With one woman who could have entered into the house for Raymond, our brother, we would have had enough spouses and our house would have been more rich. It is thus better that the brother wed the sister or the sister the brother, because when she leaves the paternal house with a large sum to wed a stranger the house will find itself ruined."


Catharss sometimes described themselves as the Friends of God.




This has always been a justification for close blood marriages, but anyone raised in the countryside will be aware of the genetic disadvantages.

With these arguments and many others, he influenced me to the point that during the octave of Saints Peter and Paul I gave myself to him one night in my house. This happened again often, and he saw me then during one and a half years, coming to spend the night two or three times per week in my house near the chateau of Montaillou. I myself went twice to his house, to unite myself to him. He also knew me carnally one year on the night of Christmas and he nevertheless said mass the next day, even though there were other priests present.


That night of the Nativity, when he wished to have relations with me, I said to him "How can you wish to commit such a grave sin on such a holy night?" He replied that the sin of having commerce with a woman was the same on the night of the Birth of the Saviour as on any other night. Since, both at that time and others, he said mass the next day after having known me the preceding night, without being confessed (because there was no other priest,) I often asked him how he could celebrate mass after having committed such a sin the preceding night. He replied that the sole valid confession is that which one makes to God, who knows the sin before it is committed and who alone can absolve it. But the confession that one makes to a priest who does not know it until the moment it is spoken and who has no power to absolve is worth nothing and is only done for the pomp and ostentation of the world. Because God alone can absolve sins, man does not have the power.


He added that I ought not confess the sin which I committed with him to another priest, but to God alone, who knew it and could absolve me, which no man could do. To incite me to believe that neither the Sovereign pontiff nor the other bishops nor the priests who depend on them have this power, he alleged that St. Peter was not a pope in this life, but as soon as he had died his bones were thrown into a pit where they remained for a number of years. When they were discovered they were washed and placed on the throne on which the Roman pontiffs sat. Just as the bones of St. Peter did not have the power to absolve when they were enthroned and made apostolic, neither Peter, who had become "apostolic" nor the Roman pontiffs who had been made Popes on that throne could absolve. Only the Good Christians who suffered persecutions and death, like Saints Lawrence, Stephen and Bartholemew, could absolve, but not the bishops nor the priests subject to the Roman church, who were heretics and persecutors of the Good Christians. God had taken this ability from them and retained it for Himself and transmitted it only to the Good Christians whom he had known and announced in advance would suffer persecution.


"he alleged that St. Peter was not a pope in this life, but as soon as he had died his bones were thrown into a pit where they remained for a number of years" - it is astonishing how early oral traditions like this survived into the Middle Ages and beyond, despite the efforts of the Roman Church to suppress them.



"priests subject to the Roman church, who were heretics and persecutors of the Good Christians" - a distinctively Cathar view

I asked him then, if the confession made to priests was worth nothing, and they had no power to absolve, why he himself heard confessions, made absolution and imposed penances. This priest told me that it was necessary for him and the other priests to act thus, even though it was worth nothing, because without it they would lose their revenues, and no one would give them anything if they did not do as the Church prescribed.


A common observation of Catholic priests into modern times, often voiced publically only after leaving the Church.

But only the Good Christians and those who were received by them after having adored them could absolve other men of their sins. And it was not necessary for those who wished to be absolved by them to confess to them, it sufficed to give oneself to God and to the Good Christians, and they would absolve them solely by the imposition of hands.

  "Adored" - According to the Catholic Church, Cathars "adored" or "worshipped" their Parfaits. This was a misunderstanding of a Cathar greeting ceremoniy called the Melhoramentum.

He told me all this and what follows at my house, from time to time near a window which looked over the road, during which time I deloused his head, sometimes by the fire, sometimes when I was in bed. We guarded against being heard by others when we talked of this subject. I do not recall well if Sibille my servant, the daughter of Arnaud Teisseyre of Montaillou, who became the concubine of Raymond Clergue, heard anything.


This priest told me that God had only created spirits, those which can neither be corrupted or destroyed, because the world of God would live eternally. But all the bodies which one sees and one senses, that is to say the sky and the earth and all that is found therein, with the sole exception of spirits, these were created by the devil, who rules the world. Because it was he who made them all - he who could not make anything stable and solid - these things are the prey of corruption.

He told me one time that God in the beginning made a man who talked and walked. Upon seeing this man, the devil made the body of another man, who could not walk or talk. God said to him "Why do you not make your man the sort who can walk and talk?" The devil replied that he could not, and asked God to make his man walk and talk. God replied that he would do so willingly, since what he would put in this man would be from Him, God. The devil replied that he would like that. God then breathed into the mouth of the man that the devil had made and this man began to walk and talk. Because of this, the spirit of man is from God and the body is from the devil.

  More confirmation of the priest's Cathar beliefs.

He told me also that God had made all the spirits of heaven and that these spirits sinned by the sin of pride, wishing to be equal to God. By reason of this sin they fell from the sky through the air and onto the earth. They dwell and penetrate into the bodies they meet, indiscriminately, whether into the bodies of brute beasts or the bodies of men. And these spirits who are in the bodies of brutes are also endowed with reason and knowledge just as those in human bodies, except that they cannot talk when they dwell in the bodies of brute beasts. And the fact that the spirits who are in the bodies of brutes are endowed with reason and knowledge can be seen because they flee what is noxious to them and seek what is profitable. This is why it is a sin to kill such a brute beast or a man, because each one as well as the other has a spirit endowed with reason and understanding. He said also that it was necessary for these spirits to enter into a human body to do penance for this sin of pride and that this must be done before the world is finished. It is only in human bodies, he said, that the spirits can do penance for this sin. They cannot do it in the bodies of brute beasts.

  All, apparently, conventional Cathar belief.

He told me also that if these spirits who have thus sinned can enter into the body of a Good Christian they rejoice greatly because when they leave that body they will return to the sky from which they fell. If they have not entered into the body of a Good Christian, but into another man or another woman, when they leave the body, they enter, if they can, into the body of another man or woman and so on up to nine bodies (if they do not enter into the body of a Good Christian man or woman).

But, if in these nine bodies which they enter successively there is not the body of a Good Christian man or woman, upon leaving the ninth body they are totally lost and can never more do penance. He told me that all this is true in a general manner, but when spirits who consent to the betrayal of Christ, as was the case of Judas and other Jews, leave their bodies, they are immediately lost and cannot do penance later. They will no longer enter into human bodies to do penance. But those who were present at the betrayal of Christ, without consenting, enter into nine bodies, like the others.

This priest told me also that only those spirits who enter into the body of Good Christians will be saved and no others, whether Christian, Jew or Saracen. According to what he said, all the Good Christians, those who adore them, believe in them and enter into their sect will be saved. And he said his mother Mengarde was saved, because she had done much good to the Good Christians, and na Roqua and Raymond Roché her son, who were imprisoned for a while because of heresy, drew all their subsistence from her house. His mother did so much good for these two because they were heretics and believers.


Clearly Cathar beliefs, though different Cathar groups favoured different details - eg sometimes 7 rather than 9 incarnations.

Could there be a connection here with the idea of "nine lives".




"Adored" - According to the Catholic Church, Cathars "adored" or "worshipped" their Parfaits. This was a misunderstanding of a Cathar greeting ceremoniy called the Melhoramentum.





This priest told me also that those spirits who were in the heavens and sinned in rebelling against God divided themselves - certain ones of them plotted and rebelled against God and those were the first to leave the heavens. Their sin was as grave as hell and they are demons. But there were other spirits who did not plot the revolt against God nor rebelled overtly, but who wished to follow those who engineered this revolt. These ones fell onto the earth and into the air and are incorporated into the bodies of men and animals, do penance and are saved or damned, as was said previously.

He told me also that the Good Christians do not believe that God can make the seeds of those things born on the earth increase, bloom and multiply. If this was so, God would also be able to make a seed grow as well on bare rock as in arable soil and seeds thrown on the rock would grow just as well as those thrown into the soil. But this happens, he said because the earth is fertile, and God intervenes in no way.







At least from a secular point of view, Beatrice is voicing better reasoned questions than the professional theologian philosophers of her time.

He told me also that the Good Christians do not believe that Christ took human flesh from the holy Virgin, nor that he descended to take human flesh from her, because before Saint Mary was born, Christ existed for all eternity. He only hid himself (s'adombra) in the blessed Mary, without taking anything from her. Explaining this word (adombration) this priest told me that the wine in the tun is within its shadow without taking anything from it, but is merely contained. Just so Christ dwelled in the Virgin Mary, without taking anything from her, but was simply in her as the contained is within the container.


Not in itself heretical - medieval philophers considered this a possibility: they expressed it differently, as water passing through a pipe.

He told me also that Christ, although he dined with his disciples, never ate or drank, although it seemed as if he did so.

  A characteristically Dualist belief.

He told me also that since the outrage of crucifixion was performed on Christ on the cross, no one should adore or venerate the cross.

  A Characteristically Dualist belief.

He told me also that to swear falsely on the Gospels was not a sin, but only to swear falsely by God.

  According to other Cathar souces, answearing was sinful.

He told me that the church of God exists only where there is a Good Christian, because he is the Church of God, but anywhere else there is no Church of God and the other men are not the Church of God.


He told me also that when the Good Christians are burned for their faith, they are martyrs of Christ.


He told me also that when these Good Christians have received someone into their sect, they should afterwards neither eat nor drink, except cold water, and, when these people then die of starvation, they will be the saints of God.

  Apparently a reference to the Endura. Either Beatrice or the scribe seems to have missed out important details here.

He told me also that the fire in which the Good Christians were burnt did not make them suffer, because God assisted them so that they would not suffer the fire nor have great pain.


The said Raymond Roussel told me of a man who was gravely ill, when a priest came to him and asked if he wished to see and receive the body of the Lord. This man replied that he wished to see the body of the Lord more than anything else in the world. This priest went to seek the body of the Lord and bring it to this sick man. He took it out of its case and held it in his hands, showing it to the sick man and asked him about the articles of faith, especially if he believed that this was indeed the body of Christ. The ill man, indignantly replied to the priest "You stinking villainous churl, if that which you hold were the body of Christ, and even if it was as big as a large mountain, you and your fellow priests would have long since eaten it!" And he refused to receive the body of the Lord.

Pierre Clergue, the rector told me that this world here, which the devil made, grows corrupt, dwindles to nothing and will destroy itself entirely, but before that happens, God will reassemble his friends and draw them to himself, so that they will not see the tumult that there will be at the end and destruction of the world.

  For this paragraph, the subject has switched from Pierre Clergue to Raymond Roussel.

When I left the country of Alion to contract marriage with my second husband, Otho Lagleize of Dalou, this rector told me that he was displeased that I was going down to the low country, because I could never save my soul there, since no one would dare henceforth to speak to me of the Good Christians or to come see me to save my soul. I was going to live with wolves and dogs, of which, he said, none will be saved. He called dogs and wolves all the Catholics who were not of the sect of the Good Christians.


He told me as well that if one day my heart inclined me to be received in the sect of the Good Christians, that I should let him know at once, because he would see to it that there was a Good Christian to receive me into the sect and save my soul. I told him that I did not wish to be received into such a sect, but that I wished to be saved in the faith where I found myself, citing my sister Gentille, who used this phrase first.


And these heretical arguments continued between us during approximately two years, and this priest taught me all of this.


These errors and these heresies that the rector of the church of Montaillou, Pierre Clergue, told you and taught you, did you believe them and do you still believe them?

Last year, when I left the country of Alion (Montaillou), from Easter until the following August, I believed these errors plainly and perfectly to the point where I would not hesitate to undergo any pain for their defense. I believed that they were true, as taught by this priest, who, because he was a priest, I believed to speak the truth. But when I was at Crampagna [Campagna ?] with my second husband and I heard the preaching of the Preachers and the Minors, and I dwelt among faithful Christians, I abandoned these errors and heresies and I confessed to the tribunal of penance to a Franciscan of the convent of Limoux, in the church of Our Lady of Marseille, where I had gone to see my sister Gentille, who lives in Limoux and was the wife of the late Paga of Post. This confession I made 15 years ago and for about 5 years I remained believing these heresies without confessing them, though I confessed in that time other sins I had committed.


Preachers = Dominicans

Minors = Franciscans

church of Our Lady of Marseille or Marceille lies just outside Limoux.

At the time when I believed in these heresies, I did not see (neither before nor since) a heretic that I knew to be a heretic, although I believed them to be the good men, because they suffered matyrdom for God and also because of what this priest had taught me, that it was only in their sect that one could be saved.

I have great regret at having heard these heretical remarks and more to have believed these heresies and I am ready to undergo the penance which My Lord Bishop would like to impose on me for this.    

The 9th of August 1320 in the chamber of the bishop's palace, before the bishop and Gaillard de Pomiès.


Nineteen years ago on the Assumption of Saint Mary (15 August 1301) I left Prades in the country of Alion, where I lived in a house near the church and came to Crampagna to wed Otho Lagleize. Before I left Prades, Bernard Belot of Montaillou, who later died in the Wall of Carcassonne, came to find me and told me that the rector of Montaillou, Pierre Clergue, mourned much for me, because I was going to the low country where I would not have the Good Christians to save my soul. The Good Christians did not trust the people of the low country at all, and no one there dared to speak of them and their life. Because of this the priest had fear that I would lose my soul when I descended into the low country where there are no Good Christians. Bernard told me also that the Good Christians, if they dared, would ask me to see them, because no one could be affirmed in their faith without having seen them and heard them speak. I told him that I did not wish to see them and that I did not have the heart to do it. He told me then to send them something as a sign of recognition, because when one of them received a kindness from another he would to pray to God for him. These Good Christians, he told me only pray for someone from whom they receive something. I asked him "And what should I send them?" He told me that it would suffice to send them anything if one wished them to pray God for you. I gave him 5 Parisian sous, a coin then in circulation, to bring to these Good Christians and I said "I do not know who will receive this money, but may it be for the love of God."


"the Wall of Carcassonne" - a closed prison where the prisoners were immurred on a diet of bread and water until they died - typically after a few months.

At the time when I was living at Montaillou and Prades, a rumour ran about among the believers that the heretics frequented the houses of the brothers Raymond and Bernard Belot, who lived together, and of Alazais den Riba, sister of the heretics Prades Tavernier, and of Guillaume Benet, brother of Arnaud Benet of Ax, who were all from Montaillou. And it was said that they served as guides to these heretics and knew their itineraries.


The same year when I sent this money to the heretics by the intermediary of Bernard Belot, I was at Crampagna with Guillaume Othon my second husband, toward the feast of Saint Michael in September. Bernard Belot came to see me at Crampagna, in the house or domain called Carol, where I lived at that time, and told me that the rector of Montaillou greeted me and was sending to me through him the act of marriage for my first marriage, in which was found the assignation of my dowry. I had left this document in deposit with the rector. Since I had no need to concern myself with this document, having already paid the heirs of my first husband, I thought that this Bernard was bringing me a message from the rector and I spoke to him in secret. He said that the rector greeted me and asked me to recall the remarks that he had made between us concerning the sect, the state and the way of life of the good men. I told him that I did not wish to remember them, and that, on the contrary, it displeased me greatly to have already heard or spoken of them. I told him it was worth more to hear the remarks of the Preaching Friars and the Minor Friars, than to speak of the sect and way of life of the heretics. Bernard told me that my heart had quickly changed and that the remarks that the rector and he had made to me had been lost. They had suspected immediately, he told me, when I descended into the low country that they had lost their good words. I told him that in the future he should not send me any more messages of this type, because if my husband knew it, no good would come of it. "In the future, do not return, because if you come to the house, my husband will think at once something evil on my account, either evil conduct or some other evil thing."


It was then that he left me, malcontent with my response and saying that they could not believe that their good words could be so quickly lost.


Twelve years ago, I was gravely ill at Varilhes in the house of the late Otho, my husband. This priest came one day to the synod at Pamiers and he entered into my house to visit me. When he was with me he seated himself at the head of the bed on which I was resting and asked me how I was, feeling my hand and arm. I told him that I was gravely ill. He then said to my late daughter Béatrice, who was present, to leave the chamber because he wished to speak to me alone. When she had left, he asked me how my heart was. I told him that it was very weak and that I had great fear of the remarks that had passed between us (I understand by that the heretical remarks above, which this priest had taught me). I had such fear that I did not dare to confess these sins to any priest, out of fear that he would judge me suspect concerning the faith. He told me to have no fear about that, because God, who knew my sin and alone could absolve sins, would remove it from me, and that it was not necessary to confess to any priest. He told me also that I would be quickly healed, and that he, when he descended to Pamiers, would see me and that we would speak together concerning these remarks. This said, he left me and after I did not see him again. He sent me all the same an engraved flask of sugar.


About 21 years ago, I was at Montaillou after the death of my first husband. One day, near Christmas, I was at the house of Alazais Maury of Montaillou. As we were warming ourselves at the fire Gauzia, the wife of Bernard Clergue, came by, and asked Alazais in my presence if Guillemette, the widow of Pierre Faure of Montaillou, was dead. Alazais said yes, that she was buried. Gauzia said then "And did you do well?" Alazais replied 'Yes, by my faith, well." Gauzia said again "And you did well, well? Nothing was lacking?" Alazais replied that all was done "well" and there was no obstacle to doing it. Gauzia then said "Thanks be to God!" This said, she sat down near the fire. As for myself, I did not understand why they exchanged these words between themselves, nor what they meant, but later, several days after, I found Alazais, I do not remember where and I asked her what the words that I had heard exchanged between her and Gauzia meant . She told me that it meant nothing special. I told her that, on the contrary, one did not say such words for nothing. She told me that she did not dare to reveal to me what they meant, because she had fear that I would denounce her. I promised her by my faith to guard her secret. She told me then that the Good Christians had come to the house of this sick woman, Guillemette and had received her into their sect, to make her a Good Christian. After this, they told her to eat or drink nothing except for cold water, which she did, neither eating nor drinking anything except cold water. She remained thus for nearly 15 days, until her death.











Again, Beatrice seems to describing the Endura, though she seems not to understand it fully.

From this moment, this Alazais began to see me and she spoke to me of the Good Christians, saying that they were holy and good men and it was necessary to have confidence in them rather than in the clerics, because they withstood many persecutions for Christ, and that the clerics did not withstand persecutions, but enjoyed the pleasures of the world.


She said that no one should leave the sect of the Good Christians for any danger or misfortune which might threaten. She said also that one could only be saved in this sect or belief, and whatever sins a man had committed in this present life, as long as he was received by them at the end, would be remitted and he would be saved.


She said also that the Good Christians did not dare to show themselves because the Church persecuted them and destroyed them and that it was a great kindness to give them gifts, that she herself and Raymond Maury her husband often gave them alms, embracing poverty by depriving themselves of nourishment to be able to give it to them, and often sending them wheat and other things they had, and always the best. I asked her then "These Good Christians accept wheat?" She said yes, and I gave her a quarter bushel (boisseau de village d'un quart de farine de froment) of wheat flour to give to the good men on my part. I do not know, in any case, whether she gave this wheat to them or not.

  embracing poverty (Mark 12,44)

Because of the remarks that I had heard on the subject of these heretics from the mouth of Raymond Rousel and the priest, I believed that what Alazais told me concerning the Good Christians was true, and it was for this reason that I gave them wheat through her. After this, I did not talk anymore of these heretics to Alazais.


About the same time, certain people said that Raymond Azéma, the son of Alazais, wife of Pons Azéma, travelled with the heretics. One night at the beginning of the evening, I was at her house and Raymond arrived, carrying a sack, which seemed to be full of something, and he departed quickly. I asked Alazais where her son was going at such an hour. She told me that he was going somewhere. I asked her to be more precise, and she replied that I was "cilhard", that is to say, that I had large eyebrows and she would not tell me where her son was going. I said "And why not?" She told me that I could not keep a secret. I assured her to the contrary and asked her also what her son was carrying in his sack. She told me in truth that her son was carrying food in his sack and when I insisted and asked her several times to whom was he carrying the food, she finally told me that he took it to the good men, whom the others call heretics, and moreover that these were good and holy men, who endured much persecution for Christ. Furthermore, one ought not abandon one's faith for any human fear, because all that one saw in the world was of the devil, who ruled the world, who had made it, and all this would be destroyed and lost like spider webs, with the sole exception of the spirits, which God had made. She told me also that men could only be saved in their faith and belief and even more that it would suffice for salvation if one were received into their sect at the end, no matter what sins one had committed in one's life. She said that this was a great thing that one could save one's soul by believing in these men and dying in their house. I said nothing to this, unless I said that no good would come to her son if he was arrested carrying his sack to the Good Christians. Later, I did not speak to her of this subject. This same Raymond drowned in the Douctuyre near the church of Our Lady of Vals.


to have large eyebrows = to be nosey





Characterist Cathar beliefs



People accused of Cathar belief would often incriminate dead people, as they were beyond the power of the Inquisition.

About 20 years ago, when I was living at Prades, I went one day, I do not remember exactly when, to Caussou to visit Ava my sister, the wife of Verèze, who was recovering from childbirth. The following Sunday I went to the church of Unac, which is the parish church of Caussou. When I was there, Raymonde, the widow of Guillaume-Bernard of Luzenac, who had also come there, embraced me and kissed me (because she was of my family) and said to me near to the entrance of the church "And you, cousin, who are in the good country, have you not seen the good men again? As for me, if I were there, I would see them gladly." I asked her who she called "good men"; she replied that they were the Good Christians. I told her that I had not seen any, and I did not wish to see them. She told me that if I saw them and heard them just once, I would never again want to hear anything else and having heard them one time, I would always be in a good state, wherever I went. We said nothing more on this subject but we went into the church and heard mass.


The 12th of August before the bishop and Gaillard de Pomiès.


While my husband was still living, Raymond Clergue alias Pathau, the natural son of Guillaume Clergue (himself the brother of Pons Clergue who was the father of Pierre Clergue the curé of Montaillou), took me one day by force in the chateau. One year later, at the death of my husband Bérenger de Roquefort, he maintained me publicly. This did not hinder the curé, Pierre Clergue, from soliciting me, even though he knew that his first cousin Raymond had possessed me.

"How can you ask that?" I replied. "You know well that your cousin Raymond has had me. He will reveal all!" The rector replied that such things should not be committed by force, nor would it hinder in anyway. "I know well what has gone on, but I can be more useful to you and give you more gifts than that bastard!" He told me also that they could both maintain me, he, the curé and Raymond. I told him that I would not permit that at any price, because there would be misunderstandings between them because of me and each of them would vilify me because of the other.

And after the priest had possessed me I had no more relations with this Raymond, although he tried from time to time. There was after this time a hidden hatred between Raymond and the priest because of this, which nevertheless I knew of.


Guillaume Clergue = the brother of Pons Clergue who was the father of Pierre Clergue the curé of Montaillou




Her objections arew practical rather than moral!




When I was at Dalou, after having contracted marriage with my second husband, Otho Lagleize, a marriage which took place at the Assumption of Saint Mary, this priest came to Dalou at the following harvest and told people that he was at Limoux. Entering my house, he said to me that my sister Gentille, who dwelt at Limoux greeted me, and I let him enter. We went together into the cellar, and he knew me carnally while Sibille the daughter of the late Arnaud Teisseyre, guarded the door of the cellar.


She had brought me the preceding day a present from the rector, a blouse made in the style of Barcelona, which had one red and one yellow ruffle at the collar, and told me that he would come the following day. In order that no one would find us, and if someone did appear he would not believe that anything bad had happened between the rector and me, this servant placed herself near the open door to the cellar, in which we were uniting ourselves, the priest and I. This sin committed, I led him out of the house. When we were by the exterior door, I told him that I had given 5 sous to Bernard Belot. "Did he tell you?" He told me that he had indeed told him and that I had done well to give him those 5 sous. I thought concerning those 5 sous that I had given them to Bernard so that he would take them for my part to the heretics and I believe that is what this priest understood also.

When he came to see me at Varilhes, when I was sick, as was said, and told me to remember the remarks that we had had together at Montaillou concerning the Good Christians, and that it was not necessary for me to confess, he told me also that he held the people of Montaillou beneath his feet because of the Inquisition. I replied "How indeed! You now persecute the Good Christians and their believers, you who usually wish them so much good?" He replied that he continued to wish them well, but that he wished to avenge himself on the churls of the district who hated him, in any manner he could and that later he would arrange it well with God.


red and yellow - the colours of Catalonia and Aragon








About 12 years ago, I was at Dalou. One day, a priest brought the body of the Lord to the house of Pont de Dalou, where Pierre du Pont, who wished to take communion, was dwelling. I went to this house and saw and heard the priest interrogate the sick man concerning the articles of faith, and also ask him if he believed that this was the true body of Christ, by which we make our salvation. The sick men said that he believed it and devoutly took the body of Christ into his hands. I returned to my house with Grazide Pujol of Dalou. On the road I told her that the body of the Lord would have been better received if this man had also said what he said above that if the body of the Lord was what the priests say it is, and if it was as large as a mountain, it would have already been eaten by the priests alone. Grazida told me to be quiet, because if someone heard me say words of this sort, they could be taken ill. I replied that I had said nothing bad, but that I was citing the words of the bad man who had said them.


Have you ever believed that the true body of the Lord was not in the sacrament of the altar?



Have you said to anyone these words or their equivalent?

I do not recall but if I do recall I will confess to it.


Have you spoken to other people concerning the heretical remarks which were taught you by Raymond Roussel, this priest and other persons named above? Have you instructed any other person, whom you have not already named?



Have you heard heretical remarks from other persons named above by you?



Has anyone ever told you that the devil was the beginning and maker of corporeal creatures, in the sense that he was not made or produced by God or by someone else, but that he was by himself and in himself a beginning, the same as the good God is a beginning, not made nor produced by any another of the spirits?

I have not heard it said. These men never told me either that God had made the devil, or the contrary.


Have you ever heard it said by these persons that there is a good God and an evil God?

No. They call God, he who made the spirits, and the devil they call creator of the world aand the one who who directs the world. I have not heard him called "hylé". (ylen)


Have you heard these people or others say that the good God made 10 worlds and that evil God 10 other worlds and that the evil God with his 10 worlds and those who are in these worlds fought against the good God and his world and the things which are in these worlds of God and that he was in part the vanquisher of the good God and had conquered a portion of his worlds?



Have you heard said by these people or by others that the spirits are from the substance or the parts of God?

No, only what I have said above.


The 13th of August in the Chamber of the Bishop's Palace, before the Bishop alone.


Have you heard these persons or others, whoever they might be, say that there are two spirits in man, of which one inclines the man to the evil (and this is of the devil) and the other to do well (and this is of the part of God)?



Have you heard them say that all the spirits created by God were of the same nature and condition?

This priest told me that all the spirits were created by God in heaven in the same condition; but some of them adhered to God and rested in heaven with him, others rebelled against God (and these were sent to hell and are demons); others, although they did not rebel against God, nevertheless followed the rebels, and they fell on the earth and in the air, and these are the spirits which enter into the bodies of brute beasts and men and women, as was said.


Have you heard them say that the devil, moved by pride and envy against God has made this world and all that is found in it, except the spirits, to appear to be equal to God?

No, but only that the devil has made all visible things. Why he made them, I never heard.


Did you hear them say that the scriptures of the Old Testament are not of the good God?

Not particularly, unless it was when this priest told me that all the scriptures, with the exception of the Gospels and the Pater, were "affitilhas" and lies.


Have you heard that the Son descended into the Virgin Mary and hid himself in her?

I heard this priest say that it was not the Father who descended, but that he sent the Holy Spirit who hid himself in the Virgin Mary.


Do they call the Mother of God Saint Mary, because according to this priest, the Holy Spirit did not take human flesh from her?



Did you hear him or any others say that Christ was dead?

This priest said that indeed he had been crucified, but I do not recall hearing him say that he was dead.


When he spoke to you of Jesus Christ have you ever heard him call him true man?

This priest called him true God, but I do not recall having heard him call him true man.


Did he say that Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead?

He said indeed that Christ was resurrected, but I do not recall if he said that he was resurrected from the dead.


Have you heard him say that Christ would judge the good and the evil in the last Judgement?



That all the men resurrected with their bodies would come to the Judgement of Christ?

He said "We will all come to the Judgement of Christ in which there will be many called and few chosen" and those few chosen would be only the Good Christians, and those who were received by them upon their death. Even if one has believed in the Good Christians during his life, if one was not received into their sect at the end one will not be saved.

He said also that no one, of any order, state, or condition whatsoever, Good Christians excepted, and those whom they received at their demise, will be saved. And although he said that all would come to the Judgement of Christ, I never heard him say, either to other believers or heretics that men would rise or come to the Judgement of Christ with their own bodies.

  "We will all come to the Judgement of Christ in which there will be many called and few chosen" (Matthew. 20, 16)

This priest or the other believers, did they deny the baptism of water, confirmation, the sacrament of the altar, of ordination or extreme unction?

I never heard them speak of the other sacraments, nor deny them, except those of penitence and mariage.

And she said nothing more concerning the Manichaean sect.

  "the Manichaean sect" in this context denotes the Cathars.

The 22nd of August in the chamber of the bishop's palace, before the bishop and Brother Gaillard de Pomiès.


Mengarde, the widow of Pons Clergue, told me one time, after the death of my first husband, in her house, while we were talking of na Roqua and her son Raymond Roché, who had been imprisoned for heresy, that a man who did good for them was a good man. I replied that that was well, because na Roqua was an honest woman. Mengarde then said to me, "If you only knew, it is good to do good to this Roqua". Paying attention to these words, I thought that Mengarde had told me this because she agreed with na Roqua concerning heresy.

  na Roquana = Dame Roqua, or Lady Roqua

At the time when I was living in Prades, after the death of my first husband, I was living in a small house touching that of Jean Clergue, rector of Prades at the town-house (l'hôtel) of Pierre Gulihem of the said place. Since this house was next to that of the curé all that passed in one could be heard in the other. Pierre Clergue, curé of Montaillou, who had come to see me, told me that he would send me Jean, his student, whose family name I have forgotten the following night to seek me to sleep with him the following night. I agreed to this.

I was thus at my house at the time of the first sleep (primum sommpnium), awaiting this student. He arrived and I followed him through a very dark night and we arrived at the church of Saint Peter of Prades, where we entered. We found Pierre Clergue who had made a bed in the church. I said to him "Alas! How can we do such a thing in the church of St. Peter?" He replied "Oh what a great shame it will be to St. Peter (O que gran dampnagge y aura sent Peire?!" This said, we placed ourselves on the bed and slept together in the church and that night he knew me carnally in church. Later, before dawn, he himself took me from the church and back to the door of the house where I was living.    

I had asked him at the beginning of our relations "What shall I do if I become pregnant from you? I will be dishonoured and lost." He told me that he had an herb and if a man carries this herb when he is with a woman, he cannot engender nor can the woman conceive. I said to him "What is this herb? Is it the same that the cowherds put over the pots of milk when they are sent to the rennet, which prevents the milk from curdling while it is in the pot?" He told me to not worry about what herb it was, but that it was an herb with this virtue, and that he had it.

  Medieval contraception

After this, when he wished to possess me, he carried something rolled up and threaded in a sac of linen, the size and length of an ounce or of the first joint of my little finger, with a long thread that he passed around my neck. And this thing which he said was an herb hung down between my breasts just to the beginning of the stomach. He placed it thus always when he wished to know me and it rested at my neck until he arose. When he wished to rise, he took it off my neck. And if sometimes, in one night, this priest wished to know me two times or more, he would ask me, before we united, where the herb was. I would take it, finding it by the thread which I had around my neck and place it in his hand. He would take it and place it before the opening of my stomach, the thread passing between my breasts. It was thus that he united with me, and no other way. I asked him one day to let me have this herb. He told me that he would not do so, because then I could give myself to some other man without conceiving. He would not give it to me, in order that I would abstain out of fear of the consequences. He did this above all in thinking of his cousin Raymond Clergue, alias Pathau, who had once maintained me, before this priest, his first cousin, had me, because they were jealous of each other.

  More contraception

He told me also that he did not wish that I should have a child by him while my father, Philippe de Planissolles, was alive, because that would be a great shame for him, but that after his death he would very much like for me to bear a child of his.


After this, the same year as above, the 25th of August, the said Béatrice appeared for questioning in the bishop's palace of Pamiers before the said Lord Bishop, assisted by Brother Gaillard de Pomiès, substitute of the Lord Inquisitor of Carcassonne, in the presence of the religious person Brother Guillaume Séguier, prior of the convent of the Preachers of Pamiers, of the discrete person master Bernard Gaubert, jurist and me the below-written notary. Since she was gravely ill and confined to bed, and seemed indeed to be near death, my said Lord Bishop told her that if she had concealed anything concerning the heresy in the confession she had made above, concerning her self or others, or if she had accused a person against truth and justice she should avow and reveal it or again she could disculpate the person whom she might have accused against justice. And My Lord Bishop enjoined her to do this at the peril of her soul. She replied, by disculpating this rector and accusing the above mentioned Raymond Roussel concerning the articles below:


Although she had said in her above confession that the rector had told her that God alone created the spirits and all the bodies that one saw and one sensed, those of the earth and the sky and all those which are found there, but that it was the devil, who directs the world, with the exception of the spirits, since the spirits live eternally, but that the corporeal things will be destroyed and corrupted, she said now, with a better memory returning to her, that it was not the rector who had told her this, but the said Raymond Roussel, and that near to the door of the chateau of Montaillou.


That which she said had been told to her by the rector - that Christ did not descend from heaven and did not take flesh from Saint Mary, but that the Holy Spirit only hid itself in her, in explaining the word "adombrationis" in the manner above - was in fact not told her by the rector, but by Raymond Roussel and that in the same place as the preceding article.


All the rest, together or in detail that she has confessed concerning the fact of heresy against herself, this rector and the other persons, both living and dead, and which is contained in these confessions above, she said in her own words, at peril of her soul, was true.

The above were read to her intelligibly and in the vulgar tongue. Those heretical articles which she had avowed in her preceding confessions above against herself, and the said rector and Raymond Roussel, she confirmed entirely and simply, and said they were true, except those which she had retracted in her preceding confession (not concerning the articles themselves, but concerning the person who had taught them to her.)   The vulgar tongue = Occitan
Asked if she had instructed any other person in all these articles or any of them, if not as she had deposed, she said no.    

Why did you flee when you were cited by my said Lord Bishop and told to appear under accusation of heresy?

I fled out of the fear that I had for My Lord Bishop, because of what I had committed in the matter of heresy, and above all because the lord, when I appeared before him the first time, named to me my father Philip, who had been accused of this crime. I realized for some time before My Lord Bishop cited me, that he was going to do it, and I sent therefore to Barthélemy Amilhac, a priest who for a certain time has conducted himself badly with me, to discuss with him and take counsel with him to know what I ought to do if I were cited for heresy by My Lord the Bishop. He came to Varilhes, where I was living, but without entering into the town, and we talked together. I told him that I understood that My Lord had interrogated witnesses against me in the matter of heresy and that I was afraid of being cited concerning this subject. I asked if it seemed to him more expedient to flee than to appear for this citation. He told me "Do you feel you are guilty?" I said no, and that he would know if I had committed something of this sort, because I would have told it to someone I loved so well.


Barthélemy then told me that it would be better to appear, since I did not feel I was guilty, because he said, My Lord Bishop would not do any injustice to me. This said, he left me. Then, when I appeared, as cited by My Lord, I was terrified and upon my return to Varlihes, I thought about fleeing and I got together the things I wished to bring with me. I did not say to anyone that I wished to flee.

On the contrary, I said to my daughter Condors that I would return to My Lord Bishop on the day he had assigned me. I made the promise to her, embraced her and fled toward Belpech in the diocese of Mirepoix. Arriving there, I sent for Barthélemy, this priest, at Mézerville, where he lived. He came at once to find me at Belpech.


Arriving and seeing my trousseau of clothes, which I had brought with me, he said "Why have you come here? What do you intend to do, thus carrying so many clothes with you?" I took him aside, and told him that I had been cited by My Lord Bishop, that I had appeared, and that he had told me that I had said the body of the Lord was not in the sacrament of the altar, and that if it had been as big as a mountain, it would have already been eaten by the priests alone. He also said that I had seen Pierre, Guillaume and Jacques Authié the heretics, that I had heard them and I believed in them, and that I had consulted the late Gaillarde Cuq, sorcerer and divineress and committed sorcery on her advice. Although I did not feel that I was guilty, I wished to flee nevertheless and go to Limoux to my sister Gentille, to hide myself there.


He replied that I was wrong to flee and I should return and appear before My Lord the Bishop. I replied that I would not do this for anything, even he he were to give the all the bishopric of Pamiers. The priest said to me "If this is the case and I cannot retain you, take this money" and he gave me 8 silver pieces (octo turonenses argenti - tournois d-argent). We ate together and he said to me again that he would not abandon me unless I wished it, before I reached Limoux, but that he would take me there after the Feast of the Invention of Saint Stephen, a festival for which he had to be at Mézerville, because it was the feast of the altar of the church there. Meanwhile, he would pawn or sell a book or procure the money by some other means, so that we could travel together to Limoux. From there, he said to me that we could go to Mas-Saintes-Puelles, which was far away and where no one would seek me. This festival having passed, we left together. I rejoiced to hear it and we left, myself, this priest and a sergeant of Belpech whose name I do not know, for Mas-Saintes-Puelles, where I was arrested by the men of My Lord Bishop and taken to him.

  Feast of the Invention of Saint Stephen = 5 August

Certain objects, strongly suggestive of having been used by her to cast evil spells, were found among her affairs, and she acknowledged them as hers, such as: two umbilical cords of infants, found in her purse, linens soaked with blood which seemed to be menstrual, in a sack of leather, with a seed of cole-wort and seeds of incense slightly burned; a mirror and a small knife wrapped in a piece of linen; the seed of a certain plant wrapped in a muslin, dry piece of bread that is called "tinhol" (millet bread?), written formulas, numerous morsels of linen -- because of these objects there was a strong suspicion that this Beatrice was a witch and familiar with casting spells. She was asked by My Lord Bishop for what purpose she possessed the above mentioned articles and replied as follows:


There was a very thin line between traditional folk remedies and "witchcraft"

The Inquisitors seem to have missed the possible significance of the bread - Cathar believers often carried around bread that had been blessed by Parfaits.

I have the cords of the male children of my daughters, and I preserve them, because a Jewess, since baptised, told me that if I were tocarry them with me and I has a lawsuit with anyone, I would not lose. That is why I took the cords of my grandchildren and preserved them. I have not yet had the occasion to verify their efficacy.


These linens stained with blood are the menstrual blood of my daughter Philippa because this baptized Jewess told me that if I were to save her first blood and give it in a drink to her husband or another man, he would never care for any another woman. This is why a long time ago, when my daughter Philippa, who was young, had her first period, I looked at her face and seeing that she was flushed, asked her what the matter was. She told me that she was losing blood through her vulva. I remembered the words of the baptised Jewess and cut a morsel of the undergarment of my daughter, which was stained with blood, and since there did not seem to be enough, I gave my daughter another morsel of linen so that when she had her period, she would stain and fill this material. This she did, then I dried this fabric, with the intention, when her husband would wed her, to give it to him to drink, by expressing it from the cloths, which I would soak. Philippa wedded that year and I intended to give it to her fiancé to drink, but I thought that it would be better to await the consummation of the marriage, and that it should be Philippa herself,who should give it to drink to her husband. And since, when I was arrested, the marriage between Philippa and her husband had not yet been consummated, and we had not had the wedding, I did not give it to him to drink.


I did not put these cloths with grains of incense with a view to casting spells. It is by chance that I have them at all. My daughter had a headache this year and she said that incense cured this malady better than anything else. That is why grains of incense are in my possession in my sack. I did not intend to do anything with them but this.


The mirror and the wrapped knife, no more than the morsels of linen, are not destined for casting spells or enchantments. As for the seed enveloped in muslin, it is the seed of a plant that is called ive. It was given to me by a pilgrim who told me that it would be efficacious against the falling sickness. Since my grandson, son of my daughter Condors suffered from this that year, I wished to have some. But my daughter told me that she brought him to the church of Saint Paul, where he was cured of this malady and she did not wish me to do anything to her son for his malady. Thus I did not use it.

  The falling sickness = epilepsy ?

Have you cast any evil spells, taught them or learned them from anyone?

No. I believed sometimes, that Barthélemy the priest had cast some sort of spell on me, because I loved him so much and I wished too much to be with him, to the point that when I made his acquaintance, my periods ceased. I asked him several times about this, but he always denied it.


And since she had plainly avowed in the matter of heresy and sorcery, as much concerning herself as concerning others, living or dead, that she had great repentance at having committed this and wished to return to the unity of the Church and the Catholic faith; that she demanded absolution and was ready also to the the penance that My Lord Bishop would judge to be good to impose on her by reason of the above mentioned faults.


For these reasons, My said Lord Bishop , having received from her the abjuration of heresy and the promise under oath which follows according to the forms of the Church, gave her the absolution of sentence that she had incurred for the crimes of heresy and witchcraft, if she would plainly confess and repent of that which precedes. Failing this, it was not the intention of My Lord Bishop , as he told her, to absolve her of these charges. The said Béatrice was commanded nevertheless, if she recalled in the future anything concerning heresy, to bring forth her avowals as much against herself as against others living or dead.


The fact that Beatrice was prepared to swear was itself good evidence that she was no true Cathar believer.

The tenor of this abjuration and this sworn statement under oath is the following:


"I, Béatrice, appearing for questioning before you, Reverend father in Christ My Lord Jacques, by the Grace of God Bishop of Pamiers, abjure entirely all heresy against the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Roman Church, and all beliefs of heretics, of whatever sect condemned by the Roman Church and especially the sect to which I held, and all complicity, aid, defense and company of heretics, under pain of what is rightfully due in the case of a relapse into judicially abjured heresy;

Item, I swear and promise to pursue according to my power the heretics of whatever sect condemned by the Roman Church and especially the sect to which I held, and the believers, deceivers, aiders and abetters of these heretics, including those whom I know or believe to be in flight by reason of heresy, and against any one of them, to have them arrested and deported according to my power to My said Lord Bishop or to the Inquisitors of the heretical deviation at all time and in whatever places that I know the existence of the above said or any one of them.

Item, I swear and promise to hold, preserve and defend the Catholic faith that the Holy Roman Church preaches and observes.


Item, I swear and promise to obey and to defer to the orders of the Church, of My Lord the Bishop and the Inquisitors, and to appear on the day or days fixed by them or their replacements, at all times and in whatever place that I receive the order or request on their part, by messenger or by letter or by other means, to never flee nor to absent myself knowingly or in a spirit of contumaciousness and to receive and accomplish according to my power the punishment and the penance that they have judged fit to impose on me. And to this end, I pledge my person and all my worldly goods.


After which, the same year as above, the 5th of March the said Beatrice appeared for questioning before My said Lord Bishop and the religous person Brother Jean de Beaune of the order of the Preachers, Inquisitor of the heretical deviation, in the kingdom of France appointed by the Apostolic See, in the chamber of the bishopric. Under faith of the oath taken by her, she said and confessed that the extract of her deposition was sufficient for the present case and asked for judgement to be passed according to these facts and that she be shown mercy. And My Lord Bishop thus concludes the present affair.

And My said Lord Bishop and Inquisitor assigned to the said Beatrice a day to hear definitive sentence concerning that which precedes, the Sunday following 8th of March before terce, in the house of the Preachers of Pamiers.   "House of the Preachers" = Dominican Friary

Made the year and date above, in the presence of the religious persons Brother Gaillard de Pomiès, Prior of the Convent of the Preacher Brothers of Pamiers, Arnaud du Carla, of the same convent, Brother Peter, companion of my said Lord Inquisitor, David and Bernard de Centelles, monks of Fontfroide of the order of Cîteaux and My Lord Germain of Castelnau, Archdeacon of the church of Pamiers, witnesses for those convoked, and of us, Guillaume Peyre-Barthe, notary of My Lord the Bishop and Barthélemy Adalbert, notary of the Inquisition, who assisted us in that which precedes and recited it and wrote it.


And the Sunday assigned to the said Beatrice, she appeared in the cemetery of Saint Jean Martyr de Pamiers, and was given sentence by My Lords the Bishop and the Inquisitor as follows: "Sachent tous, etc.". See this sentence in the Book of sentence of the Inquisition.

And I, Rainaud Jabbaud, cleric of Toulouse, sworn to the service of the Inquisition, have on the order of My Lord the Bishop, faithfully corrected the above confessions against the original.


Beatrice was condemned to the Wall on March 8, 1321. She lived to see her sentence commuted to the wearing of double yellow crosses on July 4, 1322 having survived immurred for over a year.

Barthélemy Amilhac, priest and husband, was condemned to the Wall at Carcassonne on the 8th of March 1321, the same day as Beatrice. Barthélemy had his sentence commuted on the same day as well in his case to simple penitence, without having to wear the yellow crosses.


The translation above is based on that of Nancy P. Stork. (© 1996). A few changes have been made - eg preferring English name spellings rather than French for Occitan names, when the occitan form is not used.

Anotations are the web-master's.

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