Joseph McCabe (1867-1955) was one of the most prolific authors of all time. He was brought up as a Roman Catholic, worked on Latin documents, and made himself very well-informed about Christianity, but turned against it. But he was extremely naive about Jews; bear this in mind.

Click for Detailed notes on McCabe - scroll down for selections from A Rationalist Encyclopaedia (1948).

Here's the full A Rationalist Encyclopaedia (about 1.3 MBytes; Word format; includes notes on some of its limits)

Waldensians, The.

J. McCabe, Rationalists Encyclopaedia

A body of heretics of France, North Italy, and Switzerland in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries who are often coupled with the Albigensians or the Cathari. The only point in common is that they were victims of the persecuting fury of the Papacy. They were early Protestants or Evangelicals, followers of Peter Waldo of Lyons, who, in protest against the corruption of the Church, lived and preached in voluntary poverty nearly a century before the Franciscan friars. The "Poor Men of Lyons," as they were called, spread their mission to Italy, but the Church scented heresy in their appeal to the Gospels and particularly their remarks on the luxury and vice of the higher clergy. They were condemned by the Lateran Council (1215), driven out of France by the Inquisitors, and settled in Italy, Switzerland, and Austria. They are of interest as showing, as did the Albigensians , that the supposed docility of Europe to the Roman See in the Middle Ages is a myth, and that insurgent movements against it - compare the Lollards and Hussites at a later date - swept over Europe so rapidly that the Popes retained their power only by the most truculent persecution. As in the case of the Albigensians, there is no estimate of the number of the Church's victims, but we are reliably informed that in the Italian persecution 9,000 were put to death, and 12,000 (of whom all but 3,000 died) committed to dungeons, in one year. Rome could not crush them, however. In the fourteenth century there were 80,000 of them in Austria. In Bohemia they merged with the Hussites, and they supported the Reformers in the sixteenth century. They persisted even in Italy, though the Church continued to oppress them - Milton has a fine sonnet on the martyrs and were said still to number about 25,000 ten years ago.


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