On the other hand, sanctity of life on the part of the minister is not necessary in order to the validity of the sacraments which he confers, although this was held to be the case by the Donatists in the 4th century, and following them by the Waldensians and Albigenses in the 12th, and by the followers of Hus and Wycliffe in the 14th.
The Albigenses have received much sympathy, as being a kind of pre-Reformation Protestants; but it is now recognized that their tenets were an extreme form of Manichaeism.
The efficacy of prayers for the dead, and indirectly the doctrine of purgatory, were denied by early Gnostic sects, by Aerius in the 4th century, and by the Waldenses, Cathari, Albigenses and Lollards in the middle ages.
The popes in Rome whilst leading the Crusade against the Albigenses did not forget their counterpart in the Balkans and recommended the annihilation of the heretics.
Peter, whose possessions in Provence entangled him in the wars between the Albigenses and Simon of Montfort, endeavoured to placate the northern crusaders by arranging a marriage between his son James and Simon's daughter.
It is exceedingly difficult, however, to form any very precise idea of the Albigensian doctrines, as our knowledge of them is derived from their opponents, and the very rare texts emanating from the Albigenses which have come down to us (e.g.
The heretic peril, which increased during his pontificate, forced him to take decisive measures against the Albigenses in the south of France, but before proscribing them he spent ten years (1198-1208) in endeavouring to convert the misbelievers, and history should not forget the pacific character of these early efforts.
His son Humbert took part in the wars against the Albigenses and became constable of France.
Called on the Christian princes to suppress the Albigensian heresy by force of arms, and for seven years the south of France was devastated by one of the most bloodthirsty wars in history, the Albigenses being slaughtered by thousands and their property confiscated wholesale.
There was this in common among the Cathari, Waldenses, Albigenses and other heretical bodies that overran so many parts of Western Europe in the second half of the 12th century and the beginning of the 13th, that they all inveighed against the wealth of the clergy, and preached the practice of austere poverty and a return to the simple life of Christ and the Apostles.