On Sat, 26 Aug 2017 15:47:30 -0400, "Scout"
Post by Scout Post by duke
On Thu, 24 Aug 2017 18:53:48 -0400, "Scout"
Post by Scout Post by Siri Cruise Post by duke
Of course not. No Christian much less a Roman Catholic worships a statue.
There's an easy test. If I spray paint on a statue, do the priests
For that matter do they pray or otherwise pay homage to the cross itself?
No, no Catholic prays to the cross. That's just two pieces of wood.
My own observations indicate otherwise.
It's an inanimate object, so no Catholic prays to it.
The problem is the evolution of language.
We don't actually adore the cross. The term in the liturgy comes from
the prayer that St. Francis wrote, which was later incorporated into
the Good Friday liturgy and the stations of the cross as well, but it
was originally written for the Blessed Sacrament.
"We adore you Oh Christ and we bless you, here and in all of your
churches throughout the whole world, because by your holy cross you
have redeemed the world."
When the term is carried over into the Liturgy of Good Friday the word
remains, but the meaning changes. We don't adore sacred objects, such
as a crucifix. That would be idolatry. We are actually venerating the
cross and adoring Christ in his passion. The wording is meant to refer
to Christ, not the crucifix.
Observe that when the liturgy uses the prayer, especially during the
stations of the cross, it shortens it to
"We adore you Oh Christ and we bless you; because by your Holy Cross
you have redeemed the world." The object of adoration is Christ. The
reason for the adoration is that he had redeemed the world. The how of
the redemption is the Holy Cross.
This is probably one of the best examples of Latin being transferred
from one situation to another where it gets confusing. The expression,
"Adoration of the Holy Cross" comes from the old prayer that was said
in the past. The prayer is rarely used today, except by Franciscans
who still say it on Good Friday. But the expression has remained.
Aquinas did not get confused. He knew that we do not adore the cross.
He was using the language of his time, as was St. Francis when he
wrote the prayer. This creates another series of misunderstandings.
The Latin "adoramus" was used to mean to things, "to adore" God or "I
adore you", which one would say to a person whom one loves.
I can say, "I adore that dress." A Christian can say, "I adore the
cross." It's an expression of love. Depending on the context, the love
can be more or less intense. Obvioiusly, you don't love that little
black dress as you love your spouse and children. But you use the same
word for both.
I will caution readers who are very attached to Aquinas. Aquinas is a
wonderful source for understanding our faith. But there are several
things that must be kept in mind.
Aquinas was never a pope, not even a bishop. Not everything that he
wrote or thought became official teaching of the Church. Much of what
he wrote was already part of the deposit of faith and he organized it
and explained it very well. Other things that he wrote were his own
reflections and he was on the money in some instances and way off the
mark on others, such as the Immaculate Conception, masturbation, the
role of clerics. In all of these, he started out with a fundamental
truth that was right and then he built on that, but he went off the
mark. So . . . the Church did not adopt his position. For the most
part, his positions are very consistent with the faith of the Church
and his explanations are helpful in teaching, because of his clarity
Another thing about Aquinas is that we don't always interpret him
correctly. He has to be interpreted in light of Christian Tradition,
Sacred Scripture and the Magisterium. Aquinas was not writing for the
man in the pews; therefore, he made no effort to keep it simple. His
audience were theologians, bishops, philosophers and popes. Much of
his writing was intended to correct many of the heresies of his day.
Sometimes, it is good to understand the heresy in order to understand
the response that Aquinas offers. It's like a puzzle. When you have
both pieces, then you go, "Aha! That makes sense."
For example, his position on the Immaculate Conception made sense in
light of the heresy that claimed that Mary did not need redemption,
because she did not have original sin. Aquinas goes out of his way to
show that she too is a beneficiary of redemption. Unfortunately, his
idea was right, but his explanation was wrong.
There are some very good books that are written as companions to the
Summa, which one should have if one is going to use the Summa. If not
the companions, then the Dominican Friars are always a good source to
explain it. They, more than any other religiuos order, spend a great
deal of time studying the Summa during their formation years.
Unfortunately, I'm not an expert on the Summa. Franciscans study the
Summa too, but very briefly. We go through a year of it. We spend
about seven years on Bonaventure, Scotus, Lawrence of Brindisi and
many of our own doctors who wrote on the same topics as Aquinas, but
using St. Francis as the springboard. Whereas Aquinas uses the Greek
Philosophers as his springboard.
Br. JR, OSF
Brother JR, FFV