Choose a topic from Part 2B:

99. Irreligion: Sacrilege

1. Sacrilege is the violation or misuse of what is sacred.Things that belong to the worship of God have, by their purpose anduse, a certain sacredness. To violate or profane such things is tobe irreverent to God for whose worship the things exist.

2. Sacrilege is a special sin opposed to the virtue ofreligion. St. John Damascene says that when the purple has beenmade into a royal robe we honor it, and that he who dishonors it ispunished. So also when anything is made into the instrument ofdivine worship, it is sacred, and he who dishonors it does aspecial and punishable thing.

3. Sacrilege is not only found in the profane andirreverent use of sacred things; it is also found in irreverenttreatment of sacred persons, and in irreverent conduct in sacredplaces. The worst sacrilege against persons is that of irreverentuse of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament; this terrible sin iscommitted by those who misuse or profane the sacred species, and bythose who deliberately receive Communion unworthily. Sacrilegeagainst persons is also committed by those who offer physicalindignity to persons consecrated to God by vow or by holy order.Sacrilege in things is found in the irreligious use of sacredvessels, vestments, images, relics, medals, and the like. Sacrilegein places is committed by whatever profanes the altar or the houseof God.

4. Sacrilege is sometimes punished by the Church throughexcommunication or other censure. In Catholic countries, it issometimes punished by civil laws also.

"Obedience is the true holocaust which we sacrifice to God on the altar of our hearts."
St Philip Neri

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"The essence of perfection is to embrace the will of God in all things, prosperous or adverse. In prosperity, even sinners find it easy to unite themselves to the divine will; but it takes saints to unite themselves to God's will when things go wrong and are painful to self-love. Our conduct in such instances is the measure of our love of God."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"Though the path is plain and smooth for people of good will, those who walk it will not travel far, and will do so only with difficulty if they do not have good feet, courage, and tenacity of spirit. "
St John of the Cross, OCD - Doctor of the Church

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