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There were several dissenting movements prior to Martin Luther that revolved around questioning Church authority and dogma In the early Thirteenth Century the Albigensian heresy or Catharism became especially prominent in central southern France where the town of Albi was located Albigensian belief was dualistic that is they saw the universe as a struggle between good and evil They believed that the physical world was inherently corrupt evil and the creation of Satan while the spiritual universe was the realm of the good God As a worldly organization the Christian church was perceived as evil and renounced by the Albigensians Despite the extremism of Catharism indeed perhaps because of its extremism it attracted large numbers of followers including some highly placed nobles The church hierarchy took strenuous action against this heresy including a crusade called by Pope Innocent III in 1209 to wipe out the Albigensian movement Albigencian Another dissenter who did not stray as far from the church was Saint Francis of Assisi He was born at Assisi in Umbria in 1181 Although his early life was one of privilege after a series of dreams and visions he gave up all his worldly goods and lived a life of poverty As he preached he gathered followers and when they numbered eleven he gave them a short Rule He went to Rome and despite some opposition from Cardinals worried that the emphasis on poverty would dangerously contrast with their lives of opulence received approval from Pope Innocent III for the brotherhood They traveled throughout central Italy and beyond preaching for people to turn from the world to Christ In his life and preaching Francis emphasized simplicity and poverty relying on Gods providence rather than worldly goods Eventually he gave up the leadership of the Order and went to the mountains to live in secluded prayer He died in 1226 Rabb John Wycliffe was born in 1324 in Yorkshire England and was educated at Oxford
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