Cult of the Temple
By Deacon Gerry Palermo
Priesthood of the New Testament
It is right and proper for the Church to express the importance and form/matter of divine worship. Having the duty of Apostolic Succession, given the evangelization and remembrance commands, she is always given the responsibility to keep sacred our worship of the Triune God.
Nevertheless the liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows. For the aim and object of apostolic works is that all who are made sons of God by faith and baptism should come together to praise God in the midst of His Church, to take part in the sacrifice, and to eat the Lord’s supper (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 10).”
Sacred Scripture gives us ample warning and discernible symptoms to watch for should we be tempted to lose our way. The Cult of the Temple is our calling and it is always assailed by Evil. We must be vigilant of our temptations to stray and make sacrilege and idolatry and become desolation itself.
Jesus had to choose–and did choose–to live his human life in fulfillment of the unbreakable communion between him and the Father (Christian Moral Principles Chapter 22: God’s Redemptive Work in Jesus’ Human Life). While Jesus’ followers were expecting a military, temporal Messiah, Jesus was firmly committed to the Father’s will which does not conform to this world (Rm 12:2).
Woe unto You, Scribes and Pharisees
Then said Jesus to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice. They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their finger (Mt 23:1-4).
Seven Woes does Jesus pronounce. Seven warnings.
1. You lock the kingdom of heaven before human beings.
2. You teach unholy leadership.
3. You make the temple higher than the one who sanctifies life.
4. You pay trivial tithe and ignore the weightier matters of righteousness.
5. You prim and preen but your soul is cold to justice.
6. You look righteous but you are covered in filth.
7. You dishonor your predecessors judging them and falsely claiming higher moral strength.
Woe to you… yet you cannot hear.
And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; And said to them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house a house of merchandise. And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of your house has eaten me up. (Jn 2:14-17).
Cult of Idolatry
The Trump Evangelical Advisory Board is dangerously close to this hypocrisy. Their recent support of President Trump’s “s***hole” comments is stunning.
People in every nation enhance the social dimension of their lives by acting as committed and responsible citizens, not as a mob swayed by the powers that be. Let us not forget that “responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation”. Yet becoming a people demands something more. It is an ongoing process in which every new generation must take part: a slow and arduous effort calling for a desire for integration and a willingness to achieve this through the growth of a peaceful and multifaceted culture of encounter. (Evangelii Gaudium, 220)
Cult of Indifference
It is remarkable how catholic fraternal organizations are silent in the face of the parade of racist, sexist, offensive and heartless statements and policies of the Executive Branch of the United States. Complete silence by the Knights of Columbus while the President attacks just about everyone but especially those he can dominate.
The principle of solidarity, also articulated in terms of “friendship” or “social charity,” is a direct demand of human and Christian brotherhood.
An error, “today abundantly widespread, is disregard for the law of human solidarity and charity, dictated and imposed both by our common origin and by the equality in rational nature of all men, whatever nation they belong to. This law is sealed by the sacrifice of redemption offered by Jesus Christ on the altar of the Cross to his heavenly Father, on behalf of sinful humanity.” (CCC, 1939)
Cult of the Blind Eye
They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. Likewise a Levite (Lk 10:30b-32a).
It pains me to mention my Church and yet the Council of Catholic Bishops are turning a blind eye to this escalation of xenophobia by President Trump.
It is essential to draw near to new forms of poverty and vulnerability, in which we are called to recognize the suffering Christ, even if this appears to bring us no tangible and immediate benefits. I think of the homeless, the addicted, refugees, indigenous peoples, the elderly who are increasingly isolated and abandoned, and many others. Migrants present a particular challenge for me, since I am the pastor of a Church without frontiers, a Church which considers herself mother to all. For this reason, I exhort all countries to a generous openness which, rather than fearing the loss of local identity, will prove capable of creating new forms of cultural synthesis. How beautiful are those cities which overcome paralysing mistrust, integrate those who are different and make this very integration a new factor of development! How attractive are those cities which, even in their architectural design, are full of spaces which connect, relate and favour the recognition of others! (EG, 210)
Cult of Advantage and Association
The Republican Party is losing its soul. The expediency of promoting President Trump, at the expense of a moral framework is deadly. The lengths the leadership is going to lie about the President’s actions is beneath the moral framework of any religious man.
False scales are an abomination to the Lord… the wicked man makes empty profits (Pv 12:1a,18a)
Return to the Temple
The Catholic Church holds herself and teaches all who will listen to the principles of social justice.
1. Life and Dignity of the Human Person
2. Call to Family, Community and Participation
3. Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
4. Rights and Responsibilities
6. Care for God’s Creation
7. The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers
Respect for the human person proceeds by way of respect for the principle that “everyone should look upon his neighbor (without any exception) as ‘another self,’ above all bearing in mind his life and the means necessary for living it with dignity.” No legislation could by itself do away with the fears, prejudices, and attitudes of pride and selfishness which obstruct the establishment of truly fraternal societies. Such behavior will cease only through the charity that finds in every man a “neighbor,” a brother (CCC, 1931). These principles are founded on this perspective: (continuing CCC)
1. Society ensures social justice by providing the conditions that allow associations and individuals to obtain their due.
2. Respect for the human person considers the other “another self.” It presupposes respect for the fundamental rights that flow from the dignity intrinsic of the person.
3. The equality of men concerns their dignity as persons and the rights that flow from it.
4. The differences among persons belong to God’s plan, who wills that we should need one another. These differences should encourage charity.
5. The equal dignity of human persons requires the effort to reduce excessive social and economic inequalities. It gives urgency to the elimination of sinful inequalities.
6. Solidarity is an eminently Christian virtue. It practices the sharing of spiritual goods even more than material ones.
Authentic Catholic Voice
I don’t quite understand, Ivan. What does it mean?” Alyosha, who had been listening in silence, said with a smile. “Is it simply a wild fantasy, or a mistake on the part of the old man — some impossible quid pro quo?” “Take it as the last,” said Ivan, laughing, “if you are so corrupted by modern realism and can’t stand anything fantastic (The Brothers Karamazov, The Grand Inquisitor).
Yes, in Christ, we can.
Peace be with you.