Travel in Languedoc-Roussillon: France gite vacation rentals, Carcassonne France hotels, Cathar castles

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Travel in Languedoc-Roussillon
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Travel Article on Languedoc France & Cathar Castles

Three Cathar Castles - Languedoc France

Excerpt from Ockham's Razor - Part 4
by Wade Rowland

The Cathars also promoted the idea of individual access to the Gospels, at a time when the orthodox Church forbade it. In the orthodox view, it was the job of trained and ordained clergy to interpret the Bible to their parishioners; the laity were under no circumstances to be allowed to read the texts for themselves. The idea was to ensure that incorrect interpretations did not lead to the spreading of false doctrines, but even more importantly to avoid the freezing of doctrine at some arbitrary historical date.

Southern France Languedoc region Cathar castles In this exclusive excerpt from Ockham's Razor: A Search for Wonder in an Age of Doubt, author Wade Rowland, his wife Christine, and their two teenagers explore the romantic ruins of Cathar castles in southern France's Languedoc region.

In Catholic doctrine, divine revelation did not end with the Scriptures, but continued through the medium of the Church, which Christ had given sole authority for safekeeping of the Word. The individual, thus, was obliged to submit his private opinions to the Church for verification. As would the Protestant reformers of the sixteenth century, the Cathars rejected the idea that the Church was a vehicle for revelation, believing that this was merely a rationalization for what was really a strategy to maintain the clergy's monopoly on the power that derived from the authority of the Scriptures.

Truth was to be found only in the Bible, which every man could interpret for himself. They translated the New Testament into the local vernacular and set up schools to promote literacy among ordinary folk and their children. This, too, is a very modern idea. And its impact, which the Church only dimly suspected, is much broader and deeper than is even now generally supposed.

From the walls of Puilaurens, shading our eyes against the afternoon sun, we could see far up the verdant Fenouillèdes Valley. The environment up here on the wind- scoured rocks seemed so harsh in contrast: what a lonely place it must have been. One of the towers along the interior walls defending the massive keep of Puilaurens is known as the "white tower," after the lady who haunts the ruins, Blanche of Bourbon, granddaughter of Philip the Fair.

She had the misfortune to be married to Peter the Cruel, king of Castille at a time when this part of France was in Spanish hands. (Would that our own leaders had such usefully descriptive monickers!) He is said to have smothered her here when her political utility lapsed. Every bit as impressive, though, were the latrines along the north wall, where one placed one's bare bottom over a hole in a bench cantilevered over a sheer, terrifying drop of a quarter of a mile. This small chamber said as much for the constitutions of the people who had lived here as anything else we had seen.

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World Travel Guide .com - Travel article about travel in Languedoc France: long-term vacation rentals in France, gite rentals, Carcassonne France hotels, Cathar castles, and essential advice for travel in France and worldwide travel.

In this World Travel Guide .com exclusive excerpt from Ockham's Razor, the author Wade Rowland and his family explore the romantic ruins of Cathar castles in southern France's Languedoc-Roussillon region.

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