Fraternity of the Good Men
Our fraternity of the “Bonshommes” or in English “Good Men” has its roots in the South of France, the birthplace of our Order. The word “Bonshommes” referred to the Cathars, either men or women. We also use this word in English.
Some traditional Gnostic lineages, including Catharism, expanded in this region during medieval times. This religion flourished in the part of France often called Languedoc, largely bordered by the Mediterranean Sea, the Pyrenees and the rivers of the Garonne, Tarn and Rhone. This is the current French region of Occitania (or the former French regions of Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrenees).
Catharism disappeared from the visible world during the Middle Ages, exterminated by the Crusades, which were led by the royal powers and incited by the church of Rome.
Undeniably, the memory of Catharism remained very strong in the minds of this region’s inhabitants. For the Rose-Cross initiates, this Gnostic tradition has survived in various forms and is still present in many rituals of our Order. It is the same for various theological conceptions resulting from this Cathar religion.
Cathars: the pure
The word "Cathar" comes from the Greek word katharos meaning "the pure ones."
Their origins are somewhat mysterious, although there is reason to believe that their ideas came from Persia or the Byzantine Empire, through the Balkans and northern Italy. Roman Catholic Church documents mention them under different names and in various places.
As Dualists, the Cathars believed in two principles: a good god and his evil adversary. The latter might be closer to the figure of Satan in Catholicism. The good principle had created the immaterial spiritual world, which was essentially permanent and immutable. The evil principle had created the material world: bad, temporary and perishable. The Cathars called themselves simply Christians. Their neighbors distinguished them as “Good Christians.” The Catholic church designated them Albigensians or Cathars.
The Cathars kept a church hierarchy and practiced religious ceremonies. They were divided into ordinary believers and elected, named Perfect (in French, “Parfait” for men and “Parfaite” for women). They led extremely ascetic lives. The Cathars believed in reincarnation and the perfect were apparently vegetarians.
They were also called “Bonshommes,” “good men.” Their doctrine was sometimes surprising for the time, considering, for example, that men and women were equal.
This group is composed of men or women who are not necessarily members of the Kabbalistic Order of the Rose-Cross.
It is under the patronage of O.K.R.C. and supervised by the Ill. Grand Patriarch Rose-Croix.
The goals of the fraternity are:
- To use prayer to provide spiritual assistance to those in need, starting with members of the fraternity and their families.
- To develop knowledge of Gnosticism in general and Catharism in particular. For this, a library of books and articles is accessible to members on the private website.
- To make a commitment to respect the fundamental moral rules of Catharism. Among the key points are: to live honestly without telling lies, not to commit murder, do no harm, develop true humility and respect for others. Its fundamental points are obviously discussed within the framework of the fraternity.
- To meditate upon the reference books that this tradition has left us.
To achieve this, the Kabbalistic Order of the Rose-Cross invites you to join the “fraternity of the Good Men.”
You will then be able to:
- Post requests for spiritual assistance for which the fraternity prays together four times a month, including once live, on the internet. A video conference system is used for this. You will be able to post requests for yourself and your immediate family.
- Access the library of the Order and the Cathar rituals on the private website.
- Receive at your home the cross of the fraternity blessed by Grand Officers of the Kabbalistic Order of the Rose-Cross, accompanied by your membership card and a copy of the oath to be pronounced.
- For the brothers or sisters who wish it, they will be able to reach the rank of "Perfect" after following a specific asceticism and acquiring the required knowledge.
To join the fraternity, simply send the fee for the sending of the medal and printed documents. Subsequently, a free annual donation is required to remain a member of the fraternity and support its work.
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