The system of Catharism recognized two classes of adherents, credentes and perfecti.
It may be said generally that Catharism formed the abiding background of medieval heresy.
Puritas, purity), the name given - originally perhaps in a hostile sense on the analogy of Catharism (see Cathars) - tO the movement for greater strictness of life and simplicity in worship which grew up in the Church of England in the 16th century among those who thought that there had not been a sufficient divergence from the Roman Church, and which ultimately led to the rise of a number of separatist denominations.
The influence of Catharism on the Catholic church was enormous.
It continued among the Albigenses and other dissident sects of the middle ages, among whom it served a double purpose; for their elders were thus not only able to prove their own chastity, but to elude the inquisitors, who were less inclined to suspect a man of the catharism which regarded marriage as the "greater adultery" (maius adulterium) if they found him cohabiting (in appearance at least) with a woman.