The Differences between the French
and the Lombard Waldensians

The difference between the Waldensians of France and Lombardy is that the French say that any man whether good or bad, whether priest or not, may perform the mass and confer the other sacraments, while the Lombards say that he can only do so if he is in a state of grace. The Lombards are in error about the sacraments, and do not baptize correctly. Again, the Lombards work. All of them, French and Lombard alike, despise the institutions of the Church; they believe that marriage between cousin and cousin is legitimate if there is no objection to it except in the rules of the church.

[The summa of Rainier Sacconi is inserted here.]

Neither French nor Lombards bow to the cross or the altar, because ‘The
idols of the gentiles are silver and gold, the works of the hands of men.’ The French say that any good man may be a priest, and the church, the Lombards that there is no church unless at least two are gathered together. The French consider the Lombards damned, and vice versa.

The French will not work for themselves or anyone else for gain, and will not sell or own anything. They wear their clerical badges on their feet, sandals or shoes cut away at the top; they keep no money-though their companions keep it for them-have nothing for food from one day to another, and wear only one coat. The women are the same, except that they do not wear sandals. The Lombards also wear sandals.

The French say that the pope can no more forgive sin than anybody else, and that the Roman Church is a scarlet woman, not the Church of God. The Lombards say this too. They both deny that the Pope is Peter's vicar on earth.
They both believe in baptism of oil and water by the Roman Church, but not in its rules. They take no notice of fasts prescribed by the Church, and do not think it sinful to break a fast. Their women preach. They do not believe in the indulgences granted by the Roman Church. The French bless themselves and their food; the Lombards do not, though they make a sign with their hands over it. The French believe in the fathers of the Church when it suits them to do so, and say that St Silvester betrayed the Church by accepting possessions. Their bishop is William of Albi.

The reasons for the division between them were the question of work, and the contention of the Lombards that sinful priests could not perform the mass.

Good John of Piacenza was the leader of the Lombards at the time of this division, when the French excommunicated them.
I, brother A., have written this after discovering it from two women who had been Waldensians for a long time, members of the French sect, and were later converted and did penance in seclusion at Alba.

Taken from The Birth of Popular Heresy R. I. Moore (Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press, 1995). 153-154S