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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Summa: The Defects of the Mystical Body of Christ

Research note from Adoro: I found another cutting from the Summa Theologica, one of the pieces found with the Q. Documents. Amazing that it addresses so many of the questions we find today. If you would like to see the other cuttings I've found, check this link and scroll down. It addresses such questions as Blessing Beer and meeting people over the Internet...which truly flummoxed the one making objections. In any is St. Thomas Aquina's answer as to the hypocritical nature of those who faithfully attend Mass. I've found it to be very timely and enlightening.

Article 1: On the Nature of the Defective Nature of Mass-Goers

Objection 1: It would seem that those who attend Mass are hypocrites. They go to Mass on Sunday and throughout the rest of the week, they're complete jerks. They don't practice what they preach. They're holier-than-thou and I don't like them.

Objection 2: Further, I can worship God on my own, in private. Because in scripture it states in Mt 6:6: "When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. " Therefore, it is better to pray on one's own than it is to risk offending the Father by praying in the sight of others.

Objection 3: My Protestant friends don't go to church on Sunday and they say they're Saved. So it doesn't make sense that Catholics have to go to Mass especially considering they're jerks anyway and I'd rather go hunting or to hockey than spend time with those jerks.

On the contrary: It is clear that the Church as the Mystical Body arose out of the side of Christ after His death on the cross, and made her beginnings on Pentecost. For just as the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary so that Christ would be conceived, so the Holy Spirit overshadowed the Apostles as they were in community, in order to give life to the Mystical Body. As Christ died in public humiliation, so the Church enters into communion through first public acknowledgment of our own sins in the Penitential Rite. The People of God had always had a community; our faith arises out of the community of our Jewish brothers and sisters, preserving the Law which was fulfilled in Christ, written in the New Testament, and carried out today through Apostolic Tradition and Scripture.

I answer that, it is fitting that hypocritical sinners come together in common to acknowledge guilt and learn to become holy, that Christ did not intend solitary worship, and that basing one's spirituality upon heretical ideals and personal preferences makes one a bigger hypocrite that those who actually admit they are not perfect human beings and are seeking to do better through the assistance of their likewise less-than-perfect pewmates.

Reply to Objection 1: Mass, and the Church as a whole, made up of the Magisterium, the Priests, the Laity, assigned to parish communities throughout cities and towns and dioceses and archdioceses throughout the world, was brought into being in order to save sinners. As it says in Mt 9: 10-13: " While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples.11 The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" 12 He heard this and said, "Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. 13 Go and learn the meaning of the words, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' 10 I did not come to call the righteous but sinners." Thus, it would seem that if those attending Mass are hypocrites and jerks the rest of the week, then they are in exactly the right place. You should join them unless you're already one of the righteous. Because if you are, Christ didn't come for you and doesn't love the righteous anywhere near as much as He loves sinners and hypocrites.

Reply to Objection 2: Certainly one can and should worship God on one's own. Such is holy and good, however is not sufficient in and of itself. Christ called His people into a community, began the Church in a community, and through Baptism, completed in Confirmation, one is made a member of the Mystical Body of Christ. Each is called into this kind of communion. All have gifts to contribute to the whole, and when one member is suffering, the entire Body suffers in union. When one member is lost, all are lessened by that loss. Further, all souls are lacking in virtue and obtain those virtues by way of others, especially in enduring their failings. By refusing to endure the failings of other jerks, one fails to rise out of one's own sinful mire of self-righteousness.

Reply to Objection 3: It is a poverty to cite theology lacking in logic, and even further, to cite the heretical ideas of the "Reform" era which arose from demonically-influenced "theology" and the minimalist philosophy of Ockham whose ideas nearly single-handedly with Luther (his follower) lead to the socialist welfare system still in place today. The idea that one is "saved" while still committing sin is a seriously flawed way to dismiss oneself from the mortal sin of intentionally skipping Mass. Especially when the Protestant doctrine cited both does not understand what the Mass is (or they would not continue to protest) and that their man-made doctrine of salvation is flawed even to the cited philosophical foundations of their ideal. Thus, just because a Protestant does something does not mean that Catholics are held to that low bar. In we have been given much, we have much more to give, and owe a greater debt of gratitude to the God who comes to us each day through Holy Mass and through the Sacraments. As the Protestants do not have these gifts, they cannot understand why we MUST attend Mass, and the great benefit of enduring the jerkiness of others in order to be drawn closer to Our Crucified Lord.

I further answer that, to cite personal preference and the unsavoriness of other churchgoers as a reason to skip Mass reveals the foundational sin of Pride and is an outright denial of the need of a personal Lord and Savior. To knowingly choose hockey or hunting over Mass is akin to choosing Eternal Damnation.


Joe of St. Thérèse said...

LOL!, gots to love St. Thomas his systematic replies to everything makes our lives a bit easier.

Adoro said...

One of the reasons he's my patron!


Catherine Lucia said...

"To knowingly choose hockey or hunting over Mass is akin to choosing Eternal Damnation."

I love St Thomas. I really do.

Anonymous said...

Or to paraphrase the reply to those who skip Mass because of the hypocrites, "Come anyway, there's always room for one more."

Mark said...

These Aquinas-esque "articuli" are brilliant!

I know these are spoofs (though this one in particular makes a serious point and makes it very well), but what a pity theologians don't use this very clean and clear method of exposition today.

If one is addressing a question in the way St Thomas addresses them, there's no hiding behind fashionable political ideology or modish theological jargon or trendy left-wing sentiment...!

Mark said...

Maybe "tributes" would have been a better word than "spoofs". Whatever you call them, I'm sure St Thomas would have appreciated them.

Adoro said...

Catherine Lucia ~ Isn't he the best!?

Nancy ~ That's a good one, too!

Mark ~ Thanks. "Spoofs" is a fine word, as of course I'm going for humor, albeit a bit dryly. But I'm sure somewhere GK Chesterton probably said something about the best humor containing Truth. :-)

And I sure hope the dear Angelic Doctor isn't offended by these...I have nothing but the utmost respect for him!

Hidden One said...

Now we just need this in Latin...