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The Council of Trent Outlaws Idol Worship but not PBS *

With the Protestant Reformation breathing down their necks, the Pope called for a special Church Council to resolve many of the controversies at hand and possibly generate a counter-Reformation. After 18 years of debating and politicking, the final resolution has come. It is a complex and wordy document, but it defines what the Catholic Church will become into the modern day. One thing that stands out in contrast to the modern day impression of the Catholic Church is its prohibition of worshiping statues and images (essentially, paintings). They state that Catholics shall NOT worship images or statues. These images are only representations of the saints and of Christ. The Church decrees that anyone who is still worshiping these images should stop doing so immediately. A collective sigh of relief can be heard, but it's not going to be enough to stop the Reformation and reunite the Church. [1]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
So... when people fall to their knees before a statue of the Virgin Mary they are not worshiping the statue itself. They are remembering her virtue and using her image as a mental focus to make that connection with God. (I'm being deliberately vague here. Fill in the details on your own.) This is what is happening amongst informed Catholics. What is happening amongst the less informed Catholics I'm not so sure. I'm convinced that their hearts are in the right place, though. There will be no resolving this issue here. The miracle of the Council of Trent is that it happened at all. Those so-called indulgences looked a lot like bribes for a "no-hassle" pass. Almost every church and synagogue (or PBS station) does this on some level but there is a fine line between having your business sponsor the local church picnic (or the latest episode of NOVA) and outright paying for a business introduction. I'm leaving it up to the members of the church (or your local affiliate) to decide where to draw the line.

The Godly Puritans and the Need to Follow our Oaths

The word "puritan" comes into use in England in the 1560s. It is a mildly derogatory word at this time that means "precise". It does not describe a particular church but rather a type of personality within the church that insists on following church rules and rituals precisely. Many of the Calvinists escaping French persecution fall into this category. These people call themselves "Godly," but in time, like so many other groups, they will embrace the word "Puritan." A full theology will be developed by 1666 and after much turmoil, the Puritans will separate into factions. One faction will travel to the American colonies on the Mayflower looking for religious freedom. [2] [3]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Remember that the Jesuits were also a group that embraced the insult that people hurled at them. Jesuit means "one who speaks of Jesus a little too much for comfortable conversation." These are not terrible insults. They are meant to bully people into conformance. They are saying, "Hey! You aren't fitting in well. Get back in line!" But telling system-followers that they aren't following the system is laughable. It's almost as ridiculous as being taught the Constitution by teachers who think it means Redistribution. We want the Constitution taught, plain and simple... and followed like our public officials pledge to do but are so careless in its execution. Right now we rattle off oaths as if they were mission statements. In fact, oaths are a personal set of commandments. If you aren't ready to carry them out like they were the Ten Commandments, you shouldn't raise your hand and pledge that you will.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1563, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. The Council of Trent: The Twenty-Fifth Session. history.hanover.edu 234-235 (2003). Retrieved on 20 April 2015. “Moreover, that the images of Christ, of the Virgin Mother of God, and of the other saints, are to be had and retained particularly in temples, and that due honour and veneration are to be given them; not that any divinity, or virtue, is believed to be in them, on account of which they are to be worshipped; or that anything is to be asked of them; or, that trust is to be reposed in images, as was of old done by the Gentiles who placed their hope in idols; but because the honour which is shown them is referred to the prototypes which those images represent; in such wise that by the images which we kiss, and before which we uncover the head, and prostrate ourselves, we adore Christ; and we venerate the saints, whose similitude they bear: as, by the decrees of Councils, and especially of the second Synod of Nicaea, has been defined against the opponents of images.”
  2. Edict of Amboise - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 20 April 2015. “The treaty officially ended the first phase of the French Wars of Religion. Moreover, the treaty restored peace to France by guaranteeing the Huguenots religious privileges and freedoms.”
  3. Puritan - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 22 April 2015. “The 17th century English Puritan preacher Thomas Watson used 'the godly' to describe Puritans in the title of one of his more famous works, The Godly Man's Picture.”

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