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.

"It is better to be burdened and in company with the strong than to be unburdened and with the weak. When you are burdened you are close to God, your strength, who abides with the afflicted. When you are relieved of the burden you are close to yourself, your own weakness; for virtue and strength of soul grow and are confirmed in the trials of patience."
St John of the Cross, OCD - Doctor of the Church

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"Spiritual persons ought to be equally ready to experience sweetness and consolation in the things of God, or to suffer and keep their ground in drynesses of spirit and devotion, and for as long as God pleases, without their making any complaint about it."
St Philip Neri

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"Whom do you seek, friend, if you seek not God? Seek him, find him, cleave to him; bind your will to his with bands of steel and you will live always at peace in this life and in the next."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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