Founder’s QuoteNovember 8, 2019
Dogma or Die, by David WarrenNovember 8, 2019
By Michael Pakaluk, Crisis Magazine, November 6, 2019
“Considered in itself, idolatry is the greatest of mortal sins.” So begins the old Catholic Encyclopedia’s entry on the topic. I was surprised to read that this is the greatest of all mortal sins. Was it worse than murder? Worse even than the sexual abuse of minors?
“For it is, by definition,” the entry continues, an inroad on God’s sovereignty over the world, an attempt on His divine majesty, a rebellious setting up of a creature on the throne that belongs to Him alone. Even the simulation of idolatry, in order to escape death during persecution, is a mortal sin, because of the pernicious falsehood it involves and the scandal it causes. Of Seneca who, against his better knowledge, took part in idolatrous worship, St. Augustine says: “He was the more to be condemned for doing mendaciously what people believed him to do sincerely.”
Well (I then thought), that makes sense.
That which violates the First Precept of Charity, and the First Commandment, is reasonably the worst sin. It is so bad, and so scandalous, that even the appearance of it, while interiorly not consented to, is a grave sin, according to St. Augustine. Thousands and maybe millions of Christians have died rather than render an offering to an idol. It is right that they did so. The Church teaches that we should avoid idolatry even at the cost of one’s life. …