Members of a religious confraternity of laymen organized c. 1182 in the neighborhood of Le Puy, France, to restore peace by combating roving bands of mercenaries who were ravaging the countryside. Their name derived from the white hood (caputium ) worn by the members, to which was attached a picture or medal of the Virgin and Child, bearing the inscription Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi dona nobis pacem. The founder of the movement, Durand Chaduiz, was a woodcutter or carpenter who claimed to have received his mission from the Blessed Virgin in a vision. The brethren bound themselves to refrain from cursing and swearing, gaming, drunkenness, and ostentation in dress. They undertook to live in harmony and to proceed against disturbers of the peace. The movement spread rapidly through Auvergne and the neighboring provinces and received support from the clergy. It succeeded in pacifying Auvergne and in reducing the exactions of feudal lords from their subjects. In 1183, with the assistance of the army of King Philip II, the Caputiati massacred a great number of mercenaries. They are said to have subsequently developed revolutionary and heretical ideas, demanding absolute liberty and equality for all. Whatever the truth of these charges, within a year or two they were ruthlessly suppressed by the feudal nobility assisted by the hated mercenaries.
Bibliography: e. semichon, La Paix et la trève de Dieu, 2 v. (2d ed. Paris 1869). a. mens, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart et al. (Paris 1912–) 11:970–973. g. marsot, Catholicisme. Hier, aujourd'hui et demain, ed. g. jacquemet (Paris 1947–), 2:520. a. borst, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 1957–65) 2:932.