The religious practice of the pagan cult of Roman Catholicism at times can be downright ridiculous. Recently, I was wandering around the Worldwide Web, in search of material concerning relics, I encountered some very strange things.
The Roman church and those who would defend it argue vigorously that the RCC always has respected the will of God. After all, they might remind us, their Pope is the vicar of Christ and, like all who make up the Magisterium, is guided by the Holy Spirit. Catholic doctrine informs that the Holy Spirit protects the Catholic Church from error in matters of faith and morals.
Sounds great, doesn't it?
In practice, however, much of what the Roman Catholic cult does falls well outside the revealed Word of God.
Take the matter of the First and Second Commandments, for example. The Lord God Almighty was quite explicit when He gave the Decalog, or Ten Utterances, to Moses:
God knows all things (1 John 3:20). He surely knew that Ahab would marry Jezebel and that she would lead the Hebrew people to worship Baal and Ashteroth. He surely knew that Solomon would take a multitude of foreign brides and that their religions would be planted in the Hebrew nation. He surely knew that control of the visible church would be usurped by worldly high priests seated on what they call "Peter's Throne." He surely knew that doctrines and practices of the hijacked visible church would be melded with those of pagan cults and so corrupted as to incorporate blasphemous and heretical worship of a multitude of deities. He surely knew that devotees of this pagan cult would bow down to idols and even carry the images of their deities with them - in their purses or wallets, around their necks, on the visors or dashboards of their automobiles, etc.
The Bible account of Israel's turning aside from correct worship to follow instead a golden calf should be warning enough for any reasonable individual. When Moses came down from Mt. Horab with the original tables of the Decalog, he discovered that the Hebrew nation had begun to worship a golden calf. (Exodus 32).
The worship that the Hebrews rendered to their idol did not totally exclude God. In fact, Aaron had declared a feast to the Lord for the day following the construction of the altar to the golden calf. The people got up early, burned incense, brought offerings, and then gave themselves to play.
What a strange thing. In their syncretistic urge, the Jews brought together an idol, an altar and a festal celebration to honor the true God. The reference to the people rising up to play following their religious activity is not so innocuous as it may appear. The Hebrew word translated play allows for the inclusion of those drunken and immoral activities so often seen in the revelry of idolatrous fertility cults.
Think about it: Syncretism had robbed the Hebrew people of their ethical alertness and moral discernment. Syncretism, in this case the attempt to blend idolatry with worship of the true God, kindled the wrath of God against the Hebrew nation.
Moses interceded for the Jews and God relented. Nevertheless, Moses did render judgment against those who had chosen to worship the calf. Read the whole story in Exodus 32.
Isn't it interesting how the RCC has not learned from this biblical account? Even today, the Roman church practices syncretism in the way she has combined a simulation of worship rendered the true God with worship (though she claims it is at a different level) of created beings and idols. What has been the historical outcome of mixing idolatry with a fiction of true worship? Here is an abbreviated list:
The other charges have been examined in detail on this site and elsewhere, so I am going to devote a little time and space to the issue of mysticism and magic, which is intertwined with the idolatry thing. The Roman Catholic church loves to make idols. They can make an idol out of just about anything, but there does seem to be a rather ghoulish preference for human body parts.
Roman Catholic relics, and other sacramentals, can do all sorts of things. When combined with the right rituals and prayers, and of course faith of the Catholic kind, they can effect miraculous cures for the infirm. They can freshen a cow that has gone dry; overcome infertility, even guarantee early release from Purgatory and/or direct translation into Heaven.
The neat thing about relics is that they are so readily available. I suspect that one of the reasons the RCC has so many 'saints' is to ensure there is an unending supply of body parts and personal appurtenances of their honored dead to meet the demand for these things. Under every Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox altar, at least until the Novus Ordo came into vogue, you might find a piece of a dead martyred 'saint.' Even Episcopalian altars are supported by body parts.
What about the Catholic faithful, who might wish to have a bit of dead saint for their home altars? Well, no need to visit John Wayne Gacey's basement or Jeffrey Dahlmer's freezer, Catholic relics are ubiquitous. Almost any Catholic bookstore should have a line of second- and third-class saints' relics, and they can be found in pawn shops, garage sales, on the Internet, etc. It is not unheard of for the local parish church to offer the occasional relic for consumers. It should be noted that Rome forbids the sale of relics. On the other hand, there seems to be little official opposition to charging for packaging , shipping and handling and the like.
Some of the RCC religious orders and jurisdictions (which, of course, are not denominations) will provide first class relics for private veneration. Or you might make a pilgrimage to any shrine and ask the gift shop attendant or someone in the sacristy if you can get a relic there. For those idolaters interested in getting a piece of a particular saint, all that is necessary is to look up the address of the provincial postulator of that saint's order in the local Catholic directory and then write to ask for a relic. Finally, any Catholic idolater can make his own third class relic by visiting a saint's tomb and touching it with a piece of cloth - a method sanctioned by very ancient tradition. Idols often are quite easy to fashion.
Once you have the relic, what is to be done with it? Well, you could carry it in your wallet or purse. Pin it to your pocket, place it in a fancy holder and display it on a home altar. The home altar is a great place for relics - the incense and candles and stuff likely already are there and ready for pagan adoration.
Besides the usual little statues and cards with images of saints or the body parts of saints, there are some truly imaginative forms these pagan idols may take. There is the clip-on St. Christopher visor idol or small dashboard statue for automotive idolatry. Apparently, it does not matter that St. Christopher was fired as a saint in 1966 (seems the Bollandists determined that there is no evidence that he ever existed). You can get a credit-card-size Rosary with raised bumps to simulate beads, which would be handy in those situations where fingering beads may seem out of place. I suppose it is considered an act of kindness to protect one's pet schnauzer with a St. Francis of Assisi medal on a special collar.
Then, there's the scapular family: Green - for the Immaculate Heart of Mary; Brown - an RCC get-out-of-jail-free card for which Mary promises "whoever dies wearing this (Scapular) shall not suffer eternal fire;" white - Blessed Trinity; red - the Passion; black - Our Lady of Sorrows; and blue – The Immaculate Virgin Mary. There are promised benefits for wearing each of these scapulars. For those who lack space to wear so many scapulars, or who are interested in making a fashion statement, there is a five-fold scapular, which incorporates the last five colors above and comes with an added fillip: an attached St. Benedict medal, complete with exorcism blessings. What a deal!!
So many bizarre objects, beliefs and practices involved in Roman Catholic idolatry. My favorite of all the strange things one might encounter in a Roman Catholic bookstore or on the Internet are ecumenical fire starters. Talk about your New Age religiosity! Labelled as Holy Smokes, these things are made from recycled wood and used Church candles (That's what the advertising claims). They are ecumenical in that the candle bits used are "30% Catholic, 30% Lutheran and 40% all other." All the RCC faithful should have a few of these on hand for starting charcoal when barbecuing, thereby making the family picnic a religious experience.
"...Even so, come, Lord Jesus. " (Revelation 22:20b)
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