Wednesday, 23 March 2016

The Catholic Church Alone. The One True Church of Christ. Part 27.

REV. F. LEWIS, of Granada

Q. Give me an account of the most vulgar superstitions of ignorant people?

A. To believe dreams, to judge from the motion of the planets and stars, which may serve to pronounce on natural effects, but not on the effects of man's free will. To foretell a person's fortune, by the lines of his hand; to imagine some days are more lucky than others; to pretend to cure distempers, by applying things which have no virtue, capable of effecting the cure, etc.

Q. How do you excuse the sacraments from superstition, seeing that the elements, neither by art or nature, are capable of producing the effects attributed to them ?

A. Because they have that virtue by divine institution.

Q. What else is forbidden by the first commandment?

A. Sacrilege, perjury, and blasphemy. Q. What is sacrilege?

A. It is abusing things, which are consecrated to the service of God and religion; and it regards persons, things, and places, viz.: Priests, ornaments, images, and churches.

Q. What is perjury?

A. It is a false oath, when a person swears what is not true, or to do what he does not perform, or even intend.

Q. What is blasphemy?

A. It is injurious language against God, his saints, or holy things.

Q. What things are not forbidden by the first commandment ?

A. It is not forbidden to make pictures, or images of God, saints, and angels, nor to place them in churches, or give them due respect. It is not forbidden to preserve relics of holy persons, and show them due respects. It is not forbidden to honor and desire the saints to pray for us. It is not forbidden to bless bread, water, candles, or any other creature appropriated to religious uses.

Q. Does not the commandment expressly forbid making the likenesses of any thing in heaven, or in earth ? And though it were lawful to make images, they are not to be honored in a religious way, but only used in an historical way?

A. It does not absolutely forbid images, only conditionally, so as not to worship them, nor adore them as Gods. Nay, God himself commanded Moses to make two cherubims of beaten gold, and place them at the two ends of the mercy seat, over the ark of the covenant, in the very sanctuary; Exod. xxv. He also commanded a serpent of brass to be made, for the healing of those who were bit by the fiery serpents: which serpent, according to St. John, was an emblem of Christ; John iii. 14. Besides, if all images or likenesses were forbid by this commandment, we should be obliged to fling down our sign posts and deface the king's coin. And, because a person by his image is capable of respect, or disrespect, an historical use of them is not sufficient.

Q. How do you prove that there is a relative honor due to the images or pictures of Christ and his saints?

A. From the dictates of common sense and reason; as well as of piety and religion, which teach us to express our love and esteem for persons whom we honor, by setting a value upon all things that belong to them, or have any relation to them : thus, a loyal subject, a dutiful child, a loving friend, value the pictures of their king, father, or friend; and those who make no scruple of abusing the pictures, or images of Christ and his saints, would severely punish the man that should abuse the picture or image of his king. Besides, a relative honor is allowed of and even practiced by Protestants themselves. It is allowed of by Bishop Montague (Part, 2. Originum.  145 et in Epistomio. P. 318.) a learned Protestant divine, who grants that there is a reverence or veneration; an honor or respect, due to the images or pictures of Christ and his saints. It is practiced by them, in the honor they give to their churches, to the altar, to the Bible, to the symbols of bread and wine in the sacrament, to the name of Jesus, which is an image or remembrance of our blessed Saviour to the ear, as a picture or crucifix is to the eye. Such also was the honor which the Jews gave to the ark, and cherubims ; such was the honor which Moses and Joshua gave to the land on which they stood, as being holy ground; Exod. iii. 5, Joshua v. 15, and such is the honor which Catholics give to the images or pictures, before which they kneel or pray ; so that they do not give divine honor to them, (Con. Trid. Sess. xxv.) no nor even to the highest angel or saint, much less to images or pictures, as some maliciously slander them with, and call them idolaters upon that account; but I would have our adversaries consider, that misrepresentation, slander, and calumny, is as much forbid by the commandments as idolatry.