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*Image: Saint Michael Slaying the Demon (aka, St. Michael the Great) by Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino), 1518 [Musée du Louvre, Paris]

By David Carlin, The Catholic Thing, Jan. 10, 2023

David Carlin is a retired professor of sociology and philosophy at the Community College of Rhode Island, and the author of The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America and, most recently, Three Sexual Revolutions: Catholic, Protestant, Atheist.

What are the elements of religion, those parts that, assembled together, make for a whole?  Well, if we look here and there at the many religions the world has known, we come up with a list something like this.

  • Sacred beliefs

  • Sacred rituals

  • Sacred morality

  • Sacred community

  • Sacred hierarchy

  • Sacred literature

  • Sacred persons

  • Sacred places

  • Sacred times

  • Sacred history

The thing about Catholicism, in contrast to many other religions, is that it contains all these elements, not just some of them. …

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