Originally refers to puritan and ascetic separatists who followed the teachings of the Roman bishop Novatian in the 3rd century. In the Middle Ages the term came to refer to a highly organized sect that rejected sacraments and believed in a neo-Manichaean dualism in which good and evil were separate spheres and the material world was evil. Cathars led rigorously ascetic and celibate lives. The faithful were divided into two groups: the 'perfect' and the 'believers.' The perfect were set apart from the latter group by a ceremony of initiation called the 'consolamentum.' The sect was seen as a serious threat to the Roman Catholic Church in the 13th and 14th centuries, particularly in southern France. The Cathars declined in the 14th century due to repression by the Inquisition, disagreement amongst followers regarding dualism, and the newly appealing piety and devotion of the Franciscans. Although the term is sometimes used interchangeably with 'Albigenses,' this is actually a branch of the Catharistic movement. The Cathars was related to the Bogomils and Paulicans, other medieval sects that had similar beliefs in dualism.