De superstitione indebiti cultus veri Dei
Superstition Consisting in Undue Worship of the True God
Deinde considerandum est de speciebus superstitionis. Et primo, de superstitione indebiti cultus veri Dei; secundo, de superstitione idololatriae; tertio, de superstitione divinationum; quarto, de superstitione observationum.
We must now consider the species of superstition. We shall treat (1) Of the superstition which consists in giving undue worship to the true God; (2) Of the superstition of idolatry; (3) of divinatory superstition; (4) of the superstition of observances.
Circa primum quaeruntur duo.
Under the first head there are two points of inquiry:
Primo, utrum in cultu Dei veri possit esse aliquid perniciosum.
(1) Whether there can be anything pernicious in the worship of the true God?
Secundo, utrum possit ibi esse aliquid superfluum.
(2) Whether there can be anything superfluous therein?
Utrum in cultu veri Dei possit esse aliquid perniciosum
Whether there can be anything pernicious in the worship of the true God?
Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod in cultu veri Dei non possit esse aliquid perniciosum. Dicitur enim Ioel II, omnis quicumque invocaverit nomen domini, salvus erit. Sed quicumque colit Deum quocumque modo, invocat nomen eius. Ergo omnis cultus Dei confert salutem. Nullus ergo est perniciosus.
Objection 1: It would seem that there cannot be anything pernicious in the worship of the true God. It is written (Joel 2:32): Everyone that shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Now whoever worships God calls upon His name. Therefore all worship of God is conducive to salvation, and consequently none is pernicious.
Praeterea, idem Deus est qui colitur a iustis quacumque mundi aetate. Sed ante legem datam, iusti, absque peccato mortali, colebant Deum qualitercumque eis placebat, unde et Iacob proprio voto se obligavit ad specialem cultum, ut habetur Gen. XXVIII. Ergo etiam modo nullus Dei cultus est perniciosus.
Obj. 2: Further, it is the same God that is worshiped by the just in any age of the world. Now before the giving of the Law the just worshiped God in whatever manner they pleased, without committing mortal sin: wherefore Jacob bound himself by his own vow to a special kind of worship, as related in Genesis 28. Therefore now also no worship of God is pernicious.
Praeterea, nihil perniciosum in Ecclesia sustinetur. Sustinet autem Ecclesia diversos ritus colendi Deum, unde Gregorius scribit Augustino episcopo Anglorum, proponenti quod sunt diversae Ecclesiarum consuetudines in Missarum celebratione, mihi, inquit, placet ut, sive in Romanis sive in Galliarum sive in qualibet Ecclesia aliquid invenisti quod plus omnipotenti Deo possit placere, sollicite eligas. Ergo nullus modus colendi Deum est perniciosus.
Obj. 3: Further, nothing pernicious is tolerated in the Church. Yet the Church tolerates various rites of divine worship: wherefore Gregory, replying to Augustine, bishop of the English (Regist. xi, ep. 64), who stated that there existed in the churches various customs in the celebration of Mass, wrote: I wish you to choose carefully whatever you find likely to be most pleasing to God, whether in the Roman territory, or in the land of the Gauls, or in any part of the Church. Therefore no way of worshiping God is pernicious.
Sed contra est quod Augustinus dicit, in epistola ad Hieron., et habetur in Glossa, Galat. II, quod legalia observata post veritatem Evangelii divulgatam, sunt mortifera. Et tamen legalia ad cultum Dei pertinent. Ergo in cultu Dei potest esse aliquid mortiferum.
On the contrary, Augustine in a letter to Jerome (and the words are quoted in a gloss on Gal. 2:14) says that after the Gospel truth had been preached the legal observances became deadly, and yet these observances belonged to the worship of God. Therefore there can be something deadly in the divine worship.
Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut Augustinus dicit, in libro contra mendacium, mendacium maxime perniciosum est quod fit in his quae ad Christianam religionem pertinent. Est autem mendacium cum aliquis exterius significat contrarium veritati. Sicut autem significatur aliquid verbo, ita etiam significatur aliquid facto, et in tali significatione facti consistit exterior religionis cultus, ut ex supradictis patet. Et ideo si per cultum exteriorem aliquid falsum significetur, erit cultus perniciosus.
I answer that, As Augustine states (Cont. Mendac. xiv), a most pernicious lie is that which is uttered in matters pertaining to Christian religion. Now it is a lie if one signify outwardly that which is contrary to the truth. But just as a thing is signified by word, so it is by deed: and it is in this signification by deed that the outward worship of religion consists, as shown above (Q. 81, A. 7). Consequently, if anything false is signified by outward worship, this worship will be pernicious.
Hoc autem contingit dupliciter. Uno quidem modo, ex parte rei significatae, a qua discordat significatio cultus. Et hoc modo, tempore novae legis, peractis iam Christi mysteriis, perniciosum est uti caeremoniis veteris legis, quibus Christi mysteria significabantur futura, sicut etiam perniciosum esset si quis verbo confiteretur Christum esse passurum.
Now this happens in two ways. In the first place, it happens on the part of the thing signified, through the worship signifying something discordant therefrom: and in this way, at the time of the New Law, the mysteries of Christ being already accomplished, it is pernicious to make use of the ceremonies of the Old Law whereby the mysteries of Christ were foreshadowed as things to come: just as it would be pernicious for anyone to declare that Christ has yet to suffer.
Alio modo potest contingere falsitas in exteriori cultu ex parte colentis, et hoc praecipue in cultu communi, qui per ministros exhibetur in persona totius Ecclesiae. Sicut enim falsarius esset qui aliqua proponeret ex parte alicuius quae non essent ei commissa, ita vitium falsitatis incurrit qui ex parte Ecclesiae cultum exhibet Deo contra modum divina auctoritate ab Ecclesia constitutum et in Ecclesia consuetum. Unde Ambrosius dicit, indignus est qui aliter celebrat mysterium quam Christus tradidit. Et propter hoc etiam Glossa dicit, Coloss. II, quod superstitio est quando traditioni humanae nomen religionis applicatur.
In the second place, falsehood in outward worship occurs on the part of the worshiper, and especially in common worship which is offered by ministers impersonating the whole Church. For even as he would be guilty of falsehood who would, in the name of another person, proffer things that are not committed to him, so too does a man incur the guilt of falsehood who, on the part of the Church, gives worship to God contrary to the manner established by the Church or divine authority, and according to ecclesiastical custom. Hence Ambrose says: He is unworthy who celebrates the mystery otherwise than Christ delivered it. For this reason, too, a gloss on Col. 2:23 says that superstition is the use of human observances under the name of religion.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod, cum Deus sit veritas, illi invocant Deum qui in spiritu et veritate eum colunt, ut dicitur Ioan. IV. Et ideo cultus continens falsitatem non pertinet proprie ad Dei invocationem quae salvat.
Reply Obj. 1: Since God is truth, to invoke God is to worship Him in spirit and truth, according to John 4:23. Hence a worship that contains falsehood, is inconsistent with a salutary calling upon God.
Ad secundum dicendum quod ante tempus legis, iusti per interiorem instinctum instruebantur de modo colendi Deum, quos alii sequebantur. Postmodum vero exterioribus praeceptis circa hoc homines sunt instructi, quae praeterire pestiferum est.
Reply Obj. 2: Before the time of the Law the just were instructed by an inward instinct as to the way of worshiping God, and others followed them. But afterwards men were instructed by outward precepts about this matter, and it is wicked to disobey them.
Ad tertium dicendum quod diversae consuetudines Ecclesiae in cultu divino in nullo veritati repugnant. Et ideo sunt servandae; et eas praeterire illicitum est.
Reply Obj. 3: The various customs of the Church in the divine worship are in no way contrary to the truth: wherefore we must observe them, and to disregard them is unlawful.
Utrum in cultu Dei possit esse aliquid superfluum
Whether there can be any excess in the worship of God?
Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod in cultu Dei non possit esse aliquid superfluum. Dicitur enim Eccli. XLIII, glorificantes Deum quantumcumque potueritis, supervalebit adhuc. Sed cultus divinus ordinatur ad Deum glorificandum. Ergo nihil superfluum in eo esse potest.
Objection 1: It would seem that there cannot be excess in the worship of God. It is written (Sir 43:32): Glorify the Lord as much as ever you can, for He will yet far exceed. Now the divine worship is directed to the glorification of God. Therefore there can be no excess in it.
Praeterea, exterior cultus est professio quaedam cultus interioris quo Deus colitur fide, spe et caritate; ut Augustinus dicit, in Enchirid. Sed in fide, spe et caritate non potest esse aliquid superfluum. Ergo etiam neque in divino cultu.
Obj. 2: Further, outward worship is a profession of inward worship, whereby God is worshiped with faith, hope, and charity, as Augustine says (Enchiridion iii). Now there can be no excess in faith, hope, and charity. Neither, therefore, can there be in the worship of God.
Praeterea, ad divinum cultum pertinet ut ea Deo exhibeamus quae a Deo accepimus. Sed omnia bona nostra a Deo accepimus. Ergo si totum quidquid possumus facimus ad Dei reverentiam, nihil erit superfluum in divino cultu.
Obj. 3: Further, to worship God consists in offering to Him what we have received from Him. But we have received all our goods from God. Therefore if we do all that we possibly can for God’s honor, there will be no excess in the divine worship.
Sed contra est quod Augustinus dicit, in II de Doct. Christ., quod bonus verusque Christianus etiam in litteris sacris superstitiosa figmenta repudiat. Sed per sacras litteras Deus colendus ostenditur. Ergo etiam in cultu divino potest esse superstitio ex aliqua superfluitate.
On the contrary, Augustine says (De Doctr. Christ. ii, 18) that the good and true Christian rejects also superstitious fancies from Holy Writ. But Holy Writ teaches us to worship God. Therefore there can be superstition by reason of excess even in the worship of God.
Respondeo dicendum quod aliquid dicitur superfluum dupliciter. Uno modo, secundum quantitatem absolutam. Et secundum hoc non potest esse superfluum in divino cultu, quia nihil potest homo facere quod non sit minus eo quod Deo debet. Alio modo potest esse aliquid superfluum secundum quantitatem proportionis, quia scilicet non est fini proportionatum. Finis autem divini cultus est ut homo Deo det gloriam, et ei se subiiciat mente et corpore. Et ideo quidquid homo faciat quod pertinet ad Dei gloriam, et ad hoc quod mens hominis Deo subiiciatur, et etiam corpus per moderatam refrenationem concupiscentiarum, secundum Dei et Ecclesiae ordinationem, et consuetudinem eorum quibus homo convivit, non est superfluum in divino cultu.
I answer that, A thing is said to be in excess in two ways. First, with regard to absolute quantity, and in this way there cannot be excess in the worship of God, because whatever man does is less than he owes God. Second, a thing is in excess with regard to quantity of proportion, through not being proportionate to its end. Now the end of divine worship is that man may give glory to God, and submit to Him in mind and body. Consequently, whatever a man may do conducing to God’s glory, and subjecting his mind to God, and his body, too, by a moderate curbing of the concupiscences, is not excessive in the divine worship, provided it be in accordance with the commandments of God and of the Church, and in keeping with the customs of those among whom he lives.
Si autem aliquid sit quod quantum est de se non pertinet ad Dei gloriam, neque ad hoc quod mens hominis feratur in Deum, aut quod carnis concupiscentiae moderate refrenantur; aut etiam si sit praeter Dei et Ecclesiae institutionem, vel contra consuetudinem communem (quae secundum Augustinum, pro lege habenda est). Totum hoc reputandum est superfluum et superstitiosum, quia, in exterioribus solum consistens, ad interiorem Dei cultum non pertinet. Unde Augustinus, in libro de vera Relig., inducit quod dicitur Luc. XVII, regnum Dei intra vos est, contra superstitiosos, qui scilicet exterioribus principalem curam impendunt.
On the other hand if that which is done be, in itself, not conducive to God’s glory, nor raise man’s mind to God, nor curb inordinate concupiscence, or again if it be not in accordance with the commandments of God and of the Church, or if it be contrary to the general custom—which, according to Augustine, has the force of law—all this must be reckoned excessive and superstitious, because consisting, as it does, of mere externals, it has no connection with the internal worship of God. Hence Augustine (De Vera Relig. iii) quotes the words of Luke 17:21, The kingdom of God is within you, against the superstitious, those, to wit, who pay more attention to externals.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod in ipsa Dei glorificatione implicatur quod id quod fit pertineat ad Dei gloriam. Per quod excluditur superstitionis superfluitas.
Reply Obj. 1: The glorification of God implies that what is done is done for God’s glory: and this excludes the excess denoted by superstition.
Ad secundum dicendum quod per fidem, spem et caritatem anima subiicitur Deo. Unde in eis non potest esse aliquid superfluum. Aliud autem est de exterioribus actibus, qui quandoque ad haec non pertinent.
Reply Obj. 2: Faith, hope and charity subject the mind to God, so that there can be nothing excessive in them. It is different with external acts, which sometimes have no connection with these virtues.
Ad tertium dicendum quod ratio illa procedit de superfluo quantum ad quantitatem absolutam.
Reply Obj. 3: This argument considers excess by way of absolute quantity.
Deinde considerandum est de idololatria. Et circa hoc quaeruntur quatuor.
We must now consider idolatry: under which head there are four points of inquiry:
Primo, utrum idololatria sit species superstitionis.
(1) Whether idolatry is a species of superstition?
Secundo, utrum sit peccatum.
(2) Whether it is a sin?
Tertio, utrum sit gravissimum peccatorum.
(3) Whether it is the gravest sin?
Quarto, de causa huius peccati. Utrum autem cum idololatris sit communicandum, dictum est supra, cum de infidelitate ageretur.
(4) Of the cause of this sin.