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St. Thomas Aquinas
Summa Theologica

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  • SECOND PART
    • Aquin.: SMT FS Prologue Para. 1/1 - FIRST PART OF THE SECOND PART (FS) (QQ[1]-114)
      • Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF THE DURATION OF THE CEREMONIAL PRECEPTS (FOUR ARTICLES)
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Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF THE DURATION OF THE CEREMONIAL PRECEPTS (FOUR ARTICLES)

We must now consider the duration of the ceremonial precepts: under
which head there are four points of inquiry:

(1) Whether the ceremonial precepts were in existence before the Law?

(2) Whether at the time of the Law the ceremonies of the Old Law had any
power of justification?

(3) Whether they ceased at the coming of Christ?

(4) Whether it is a mortal sin to observe them after the coming of Christ?


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[1] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether the ceremonies of the Law were in existence before the Law?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[1] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that the ceremonies of the Law were in existence
before the Law. For sacrifices and holocausts were ceremonies of the Old
Law, as stated above (Q[101], A[4]). But sacrifices and holocausts
preceded the Law: for it is written (Gn. 4:3,4) that "Cain offered, of
the fruits of the earth, gifts to the Lord," and that "Abel offered of
the firstlings of his flock, and of their fat." Noe also "offered
holocausts" to the Lord (Gn. 18:20), and Abraham did in like manner (Gn.
22:13). Therefore the ceremonies of the Old Law preceded the Law.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[1] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, the erecting and consecrating of the altar were part of
the ceremonies relating to holy things. But these preceded the Law. For
we read (Gn. 13:18) that "Abraham . . . built . . . an altar to the
Lord"; and (Gn. 28:18) that "Jacob . . . took the stone . . . and set it
up for a title, pouring oil upon the top of it." Therefore the legal
ceremonies preceded the Law.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[1] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, the first of the legal sacraments seems to have been
circumcision. But circumcision preceded the Law, as appears from Gn. 17.
In like manner the priesthood preceded the Law; for it is written (Gn.
14:18) that "Melchisedech . . . was the priest of the most high God."
Therefore the sacramental ceremonies preceded the Law.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[1] Obj. 4 Para. 1/1

OBJ 4: Further, the distinction of clean from unclean animals belongs to
the ceremonies of observances, as stated above (Q[100], 2, A[6], ad 1).
But this distinction preceded the Law; for it is written (Gn. 7:2,3): "Of
all clean beasts take seven and seven . . . but of the beasts that are
unclean, two and two." Therefore the legal ceremonies preceded the Law.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[1] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, It is written (Dt. 6:1): "These are the precepts and
ceremonies . . . which the Lord your God commanded that I should teach
you." But they would not have needed to be taught about these things, if
the aforesaid ceremonies had been already in existence. Therefore the
legal ceremonies did not precede the Law.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[1] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, As is clear from what has been said (Q[101], A[2]; Q[102]
, A[2]), the legal ceremonies were ordained for a double purpose; the
worship of God, and the foreshadowing of Christ. Now whoever worships God
must needs worship Him by means of certain fixed things pertaining to
external worship. But the fixing of the divine worship belongs to the
ceremonies; just as the determining of our relations with our neighbor is
a matter determined by the judicial precepts, as stated above (Q[99],
A[4]). Consequently, as among men in general there were certain judicial
precepts, not indeed established by Divine authority, but ordained by
human reason; so also there were some ceremonies fixed, not by the
authority of any law, but according to the will and devotion of those
that worship God. Since, however, even before the Law some of the leading
men were gifted with the spirit of prophecy, it is to be believed that a
heavenly instinct, like a private law, prompted them to worship God in a
certain definite way, which would be both in keeping with the interior
worship, and a suitable token of Christ's mysteries, which were
foreshadowed also by other things that they did, according to 1 Cor.
10:11: "All . . . things happened to them in figure." Therefore there
were some ceremonies before the Law, but they were not legal ceremonies,
because they were not as yet established by legislation.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[1] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: The patriarchs offered up these oblations, sacrifices and
holocausts previously to the Law, out of a certain devotion of their own
will, according as it seemed proper to them to offer up in honor of God
those things which they had received from Him, and thus to testify that
they worshipped God Who is the beginning and end of all.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[1] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: They also established certain sacred things, because they
thought that the honor due to God demanded that certain places should be
set apart from others for the purpose of divine worship.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[1] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: The sacrament of circumcision was established by command of
God before the Law. Hence it cannot be called a sacrament of the Law as
though it were an institution of the Law, but only as an observance
included in the Law. Hence Our Lord said (Jn. 7:20) that circumcision was
"not of Moses, but of his fathers." Again, among those who worshipped
God, the priesthood was in existence before the Law by human appointment,
for the Law allotted the priestly dignity to the firstborn.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[1] R.O. 4 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 4: The distinction of clean from unclean animals was in vogue
before the Law, not with regard to eating them, since it is written (Gn.
9:3): "Everything that moveth and liveth shall be meat for you": but only
as to the offering of sacrifices because they used only certain animals
for that purpose. If, however, they did make any distinction in regard to
eating; it was not that it was considered illegal to eat such animals,
since this was not forbidden by any law, but from dislike or custom: thus
even now we see that certain foods are looked upon with disgust in some
countries, while people partake of them in others.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[2] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether, at the time of the Law, the ceremonies of the Old Law had any
power of justification?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[2] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that the ceremonies of the Old Law had the power of
justification at the time of the Law. Because expiation from sin and
consecration pertains to justification. But it is written (Ex. 39:21)
that the priests and their apparel were consecrated by the sprinkling of
blood and the anointing of oil; and (Lev. 16:16) that, by sprinkling the
blood of the calf, the priest expiated "the sanctuary from the
uncleanness of the children of Israel, and from their transgressions and
. . . their sins." Therefore the ceremonies of the Old Law had the power
of justification.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[2] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, that by which man pleases God pertains to justification,
according to Ps. 10:8: "The Lord is just and hath loved justice." But
some pleased God by means of ceremonies, according to Lev. 10:19: "How
could I . . . please the Lord in the ceremonies, having a sorrowful
heart?" Therefore the ceremonies of the Old Law had the power of
justification.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[2] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, things relating to the divine worship regard the soul
rather than the body, according to Ps. 18:8: "The Law of the Lord is
unspotted, converting souls." But the leper was cleansed by means of the
ceremonies of the Old Law, as stated in Lev. 14. Much more therefore
could the ceremonies of the Old Law cleanse the soul by justifying it.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[2] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, The Apostle says (Gal. 2) [*The first words of the
quotation are from 3:21: St. Thomas probably quoting from memory,
substituted them for 2:21, which runs thus: 'If justice be by the Law,
then Christ died in vain.']: "If there had been a law given which could
justify [Vulg.: 'give life'], Christ died in vain," i.e. without cause.
But this is inadmissible. Therefore the ceremonies of the Old Law did not
confer justice.
Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[2] Body Para. 1/4

I answer that, As stated above (Q[102], A[5], ad 4), a twofold
uncleanness was distinguished in the Old Law. One was spiritual and is
the uncleanness of sin. The other was corporal, which rendered a man
unfit for divine worship; thus a leper, or anyone that touched carrion,
was said to be unclean: and thus uncleanness was nothing but a kind of
irregularity. From this uncleanness, then, the ceremonies of the Old Law
had the power to cleanse: because they were ordered by the Law to be
employed as remedies for the removal of the aforesaid uncleannesses which
were contracted in consequence of the prescription of the Law. Hence the
Apostle says (Heb. 9:13) that "the blood of goats and of oxen, and the
ashes of a heifer, being sprinkled, sanctify such as are defiled, to the
cleansing of the flesh." And just as this uncleanness which was washed
away by such like ceremonies, affected the flesh rather than the soul, so
also the ceremonies themselves are called by the Apostle shortly before
(Heb. 9:10) justices of the flesh: "justices of the flesh," says he,
"being laid on them until the time of correction."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[2] Body Para. 2/4

On the other hand, they had no power of cleansing from uncleanness of
the soul, i.e. from the uncleanness of sin. The reason of this was that
at no time could there be expiation from sin, except through Christ, "Who
taketh away the sins [Vulg.: 'sin'] of the world" (Jn. 1:29). And since
the mystery of Christ's Incarnation and Passion had not yet really taken
place, those ceremonies of the Old Law could not really contain in
themselves a power flowing from Christ already incarnate and crucified,
such as the sacraments of the New Law contain. Consequently they could
not cleanse from sin: thus the Apostle says (Heb. 10:4) that "it is
impossible that with the blood of oxen and goats sin should be taken
away"; and for this reason he calls them (Gal. 4:9) "weak and needy
elements": weak indeed, because they cannot take away sin; but this
weakness results from their being needy, i.e. from the fact that they do
not contain grace within themselves.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[2] Body Para. 3/4

However, it was possible at the time of the Law, for the minds of the
faithful, to be united by faith to Christ incarnate and crucified; so
that they were justified by faith in Christ: of which faith the
observance of these ceremonies was a sort of profession, inasmuch as they
foreshadowed Christ. Hence in the Old Law certain sacrifices were offered
up for sins, not as though the sacrifices themselves washed sins away,
but because they were professions of faith which cleansed from sin. In
fact, the Law itself implies this in the terms employed: for it is
written (Lev. 4:26; 5:16) that in offering the sacrifice for sin "the
priest shall pray for him . . . and it shall be forgiven him," as though
the sin were forgiven, not in virtue of the sacrifices, but through the
faith and devotion of those who offered them. It must be observed,
however, that the very fact that the ceremonies of the Old Law washed
away uncleanness of the body, was a figure of that expiation from sins
which was effected by Christ.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[2] Body Para. 4/4

It is therefore evident that under the state of the Old Law the
ceremonies had no power of justification.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[2] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: That sanctification of priests and their sons, and of their
apparel or of anything else belonging to them, by sprinkling them with
blood, had no other effect but to appoint them to the divine worship, and
to remove impediments from them, "to the cleansing of the flesh," as the
Apostle states (Heb. 9:13) in token of that sanctification whereby
"Jesus" sanctified "the people by His own blood" (Heb. 13:12). Moreover,
the expiation must be understood as referring to the removal of these
bodily uncleannesses, not to the forgiveness of sin. Hence even the
sanctuary which could not be the subject of sin is stated to be expiated.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[2] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: The priests pleased God in the ceremonies by their
obedience and devotion, and by their faith in the reality foreshadowed;
not by reason of the things considered in themselves.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[2] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Those ceremonies which were prescribed in the cleansing of
a leper, were not ordained for the purpose of taking away the defilement
of leprosy. This is clear from the fact that these ceremonies were not
applied to a man until he was already healed: hence it is written (Lev.
14:3,4) that the priest, "going out of the camp, when he shall find that
the leprosy is cleansed, shall command him that is to be purified to
offer," etc.; whence it is evident that the priest was appointed the
judge of leprosy, not before, but after cleansing. But these ceremonies
were employed for the purpose of taking away the uncleanness of
irregularity. They do say, however, that if a priest were to err in his
judgment, the leper would be cleansed miraculously by the power of God,
but not in virtue of the sacrifice. Thus also it was by miracle that the
thigh of the adulterous woman rotted, when she had drunk the water "on
which" the priest had "heaped curses," as stated in Num. 5:19-27.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[3] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether the ceremonies of the Old Law ceased at the coming of Christ?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[3] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that the ceremonies of the Old Law did not cease at
the coming of Christ. For it is written (Bar 4:1): "This is the book of
the commandments of God, and the law that is for ever." But the legal
ceremonies were part of the Law. Therefore the legal ceremonies were to
last for ever.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[3] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, the offering made by a leper after being cleansed was a
ceremony of the Law. But the Gospel commands the leper, who has been
cleansed, to make this offering (Mt. 8:4). Therefore the ceremonies of
the Old Law did not cease at Christ's coming.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[3] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, as long as the cause remains, the effect remains. But
the ceremonies of the Old Law had certain reasonable causes, inasmuch as
they were ordained to the worship of God, besides the fact that they were
intended to be figures of Christ. Therefore the ceremonies of the Old Law
should not have ceased.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[3] Obj. 4 Para. 1/1

OBJ 4: Further, circumcision was instituted as a sign of Abraham's
faith: the observance of the sabbath, to recall the blessing of creation:
and other solemnities, in memory of other Divine favors, as state above
(Q[102], A[4], ad 10; A[5], ad 1). But Abraham's faith is ever to be
imitated even by us: and the blessing of creation and other Divine favors
should never be forgotten. Therefore at least circumcision and the other
legal solemnities should not have ceased.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[3] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, The Apostle says (Col. 2:16,17): "Let no man . . .
judge you in meat or in drink, or in respect of a festival day, or of the
new moon, or of the sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come": and
(Heb. 8:13): "In saying a new (testament), he hath made the former old:
and that which decayeth and groweth old, is near its end."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[3] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that, All the ceremonial precepts of the Old Law were ordained
to the worship of God as stated above (Q[101], AA[1],2). Now external
worship should be in proportion to the internal worship, which consists
in faith, hope and charity. Consequently exterior worship had to be
subject to variations according to the variations in the internal
worship, in which a threefold state may be distinguished. One state was
in respect of faith and hope, both in heavenly goods, and in the means of
obtaining them - in both of these considered as things to come. Such was
the state of faith and hope in the Old Law. Another state of interior
worship is that in which we have faith and hope in heavenly goods as
things to come; but in the means of obtaining heavenly goods, as in
things present or past. Such is the state of the New Law. The third state
is that in which both are possessed as present; wherein nothing is
believed in as lacking, nothing hoped for as being yet to come. Such is
the state of the Blessed.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[3] Body Para. 2/2

In this state of the Blessed, then, nothing in regard to worship of God
will be figurative; there will be naught but "thanksgiving and voice of
praise" (Is. 51:3). Hence it is written concerning the city of the
Blessed (Apoc. 21:22): "I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God
Almighty is the temple thereof, and the Lamb." Proportionately,
therefore, the ceremonies of the first-mentioned state which foreshadowed
the second and third states, had need to cease at the advent of the
second state; and other ceremonies had to be introduced which would be in
keeping with the state of divine worship for that particular time,
wherein heavenly goods are a thing of the future, but the Divine favors
whereby we obtain the heavenly boons are a thing of the present.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[3] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: The Old Law is said to be "for ever" simply and absolutely,
as regards its moral precepts; but as regards the ceremonial precepts it
lasts for even in respect of the reality which those ceremonies
foreshadowed.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[3] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: The mystery of the redemption of the human race was
fulfilled in Christ's Passion: hence Our Lord said then: "It is
consummated" (Jn. 19:30). Consequently the prescriptions of the Law must
have ceased then altogether through their reality being fulfilled. As a
sign of this, we read that at the Passion of Christ "the veil of the
temple was rent" (Mt. 27:51). Hence, before Christ's Passion, while
Christ was preaching and working miracles, the Law and the Gospel were
concurrent, since the mystery of Christ had already begun, but was not as
yet consummated. And for this reason Our Lord, before His Passion,
commanded the leper to observe the legal ceremonies.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[3] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: The literal reasons already given (Q[102]) for the
ceremonies refer to the divine worship, which was founded on faith in
that which was to come. Hence, at the advent of Him Who was to come, both
that worship ceased, and all the reasons referring thereto.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[3] R.O. 4 Para. 1/2

Reply OBJ 4: The faith of Abraham was commended in that he believed in
God's promise concerning his seed to come, in which all nations were to
blessed. Wherefore, as long as this seed was yet to come, it was
necessary to make profession of Abraham's faith by means of circumcision.
But now that it is consummated, the same thing needs to be declared by
means of another sign, viz. Baptism, which, in this respect, took the
place of circumcision, according to the saying of the Apostle (Col. 2:11,
12): "You are circumcised with circumcision not made by hand, in
despoiling of the body of the flesh, but in the circumcision of Christ,
buried with Him in Baptism."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[3] R.O. 4 Para. 2/2

As to the sabbath, which was a sign recalling the first creation, its
place is taken by the "Lord's Day," which recalls the beginning of the
new creature in the Resurrection of Christ. In like manner other
solemnities of the Old Law are supplanted by new solemnities: because the
blessings vouchsafed to that people, foreshadowed the favors granted us
by Christ. Hence the feast of the Passover gave place to the feast of
Christ's Passion and Resurrection: the feast of Pentecost when the Old
Law was given, to the feast of Pentecost on which was given the Law of
the living spirit: the feast of the New Moon, to Lady Day, when appeared
the first rays of the sun, i.e. Christ, by the fulness of grace: the
feast of Trumpets, to the feasts of the Apostles: the feast of Expiation,
to the feasts of Martyrs and Confessors: the feast of Tabernacles, to the
feast of the Church Dedication: the feast of the Assembly and Collection,
to feast of the Angels, or else to the feast of All Hallows.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[4] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether since Christ's Passion the legal ceremonies can be observed
without committing mortal sin?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[4] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that since Christ's Passion the legal ceremonies
can be observed without committing mortal sin. For we must not believe
that the apostles committed mortal sin after receiving the Holy Ghost:
since by His fulness they were "endued with power from on high" (Lk.
24:49). But the apostles observed the legal ceremonies after the coming
of the Holy Ghost: for it is stated (Acts 16:3) that Paul circumcised
Timothy: and (Acts 21:26) that Paul, at the advice of James, "took the
men, and . . . being purified with them, entered into the temple, giving
notice of the accomplishment of the days of purification, until an
oblation should be offered for every one of them." Therefore the legal
ceremonies can be observed since the Passion of Christ without mortal sin.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[4] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, one of the legal ceremonies consisted in shunning the
fellowship of Gentiles. But the first Pastor of the Church complied with
this observance; for it is stated (Gal. 2:12) that, "when" certain men
"had come" to Antioch, Peter "withdrew and separated himself" from the
Gentiles. Therefore the legal ceremonies can be observed since Christ's
Passion without committing mortal sin.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[4] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, the commands of the apostles did not lead men into sin.
But it was commanded by apostolic decree that the Gentiles should observe
certain ceremonies of the Law: for it is written (Acts 15:28,29): "It
hath seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us, to lay no further burden
upon you than these necessary things: that you abstain from things
sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from
fornication." Therefore the legal ceremonies can be observed since
Christ's Passion without committing mortal sin.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[4] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, The Apostle says (Gal. 5:2): "If you be circumcised,
Christ shall profit you nothing." But nothing save mortal sin hinders us
from receiving Christ's fruit. Therefore since Christ's Passion it is a
mortal sin to be circumcised, or to observe the other legal ceremonies.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[4] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, All ceremonies are professions of faith, in which the
interior worship of God consists. Now man can make profession of his
inward faith, by deeds as well as by words: and in either profession, if
he make a false declaration, he sins mortally. Now, though our faith in
Christ is the same as that of the fathers of old; yet, since they came
before Christ, whereas we come after Him, the same faith is expressed in
different words, by us and by them. For by them was it said: "Behold a
virgin shall conceive and bear a son," where the verbs are in the future
tense: whereas we express the same by means of verbs in the past tense,
and say that she "conceived and bore." In like manner the ceremonies of
the Old Law betokened Christ as having yet to be born and to suffer:
whereas our sacraments signify Him as already born and having suffered.
Consequently, just as it would be a mortal sin now for anyone, in making
a profession of faith, to say that Christ is yet to be born, which the
fathers of old said devoutly and truthfully; so too it would be a mortal
sin now to observe those ceremonies which the fathers of old fulfilled
with devotion and fidelity. Such is the teaching Augustine (Contra Faust.
xix, 16), who says: "It is no longer promised that He shall be born,
shall suffer and rise again, truths of which their sacraments were a kind
of image: but it is declared that He is already born, has suffered and
risen again; of which our sacraments, in which Christians share, are the
actual representation."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[4] R.O. 1 Para. 1/3

Reply OBJ 1: On this point there seems to have been a difference of
opinion between Jerome and Augustine. For Jerome (Super Galat. ii, 11,
seqq.) distinguished two periods of time. One was the time previous to
Christ's Passion, during which the legal ceremonies were neither dead,
since they were obligatory, and did expiate in their own fashion; nor
deadly, because it was not sinful to observe them. But immediately after
Christ's Passion they began to be not only dead, so as no longer to be
either effectual or binding; but also deadly, so that whoever observed
them was guilty of mortal sin. Hence he maintained that after the Passion the apostles never observed the legal ceremonies in real earnest; but
only by a kind of pious pretense, lest, to wit, they should scandalize
the Jews and hinder their conversion. This pretense, however, is to be
understood, not as though they did not in reality perform those actions,
but in the sense that they performed them without the mind to observe the
ceremonies of the Law: thus a man might cut away his foreskin for
health's sake, not with the intention of observing legal circumcision.
Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[4] R.O. 1 Para. 2/3

But since it seems unbecoming that the apostles, in order to avoid
scandal, should have hidden things pertaining to the truth of life and
doctrine, and that they should have made use of pretense, in things
pertaining to the salvation of the faithful; therefore Augustine (Epist.
lxxxii) more fittingly distinguished three periods of time. One was the
time that preceded the Passion of Christ, during which the legal
ceremonies were neither deadly nor dead: another period was after the
publication of the Gospel, during which the legal ceremonies are both
dead and deadly. The third is a middle period, viz. from the Passion of
Christ until the publication of the Gospel, during which the legal
ceremonies were dead indeed, because they had neither effect nor binding
force; but were not deadly, because it was lawful for the Jewish converts
to Christianity to observe them, provided they did not put their trust in
them so as to hold them to be necessary unto salvation, as though faith
in Christ could not justify without the legal observances. On the other
hand, there was no reason why those who were converted from heathendom to
Christianity should observe them. Hence Paul circumcised Timothy, who was
born of a Jewish mother; but was unwilling to circumcise Titus, who was
of heathen nationality.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[4] R.O. 1 Para. 3/3

The reason why the Holy Ghost did not wish the converted Jews to be
debarred at once from observing the legal ceremonies, while converted
heathens were forbidden to observe the rites of heathendom, was in order
to show that there is a difference between these rites. For heathenish
ceremonial was rejected as absolutely unlawful, and as prohibited by God
for all time; whereas the legal ceremonial ceased as being fulfilled
through Christ's Passion, being instituted by God as a figure of Christ.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[4] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: According to Jerome, Peter withdrew himself from the
Gentiles by pretense, in order to avoid giving scandal to the Jews, of
whom he was the Apostle. Hence he did not sin at all in acting thus. On
the other hand, Paul in like manner made a pretense of blaming him, in
order to avoid scandalizing the Gentiles, whose Apostle he was. But
Augustine disapproves of this solution: because in the canonical
Scripture (viz. Gal. 2:11), wherein we must not hold anything to be
false, Paul says that Peter "was to be blamed." Consequently it is true
that Peter was at fault: and Paul blamed him in very truth and not with
pretense. Peter, however, did not sin, by observing the legal ceremonial
for the time being; because this was lawful for him who was a converted
Jew. But he did sin by excessive minuteness in the observance of the
legal rites lest he should scandalize the Jews, the result being that he
gave scandal to the Gentiles.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[4] R.O. 3 Para. 1/3

Reply OBJ 3: Some have held that this prohibition of the apostles is not
to be taken literally, but spiritually: namely, that the prohibition of
blood signifies the prohibition of murder; the prohibition of things
strangled, that of violence and rapine; the prohibition of things offered
to idols, that of idolatry; while fornication is forbidden as being evil
in itself: which opinion they gathered from certain glosses, which
expound these prohibitions in a mystical sense. Since, however, murder
and rapine were held to be unlawful even by the Gentiles, there would
have been no need to give this special commandment to those who were
converted to Christ from heathendom. Hence others maintain that those
foods were forbidden literally, not to prevent the observance of legal
ceremonies, but in order to prevent gluttony. Thus Jerome says on Ezech.
44:31 ("The priest shall not eat of anything that is dead"): "He condemns
those priests who from gluttony did not keep these precepts."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[4] R.O. 3 Para. 2/3

But since certain foods are more delicate than these and more conducive
to gluttony, there seems no reason why these should have been forbidden
more than the others.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[103] A[4] R.O. 3 Para. 3/3

We must therefore follow the third opinion, and hold that these foods
were forbidden literally, not with the purpose of enforcing compliance
with the legal ceremonies, but in order to further the union of Gentiles
and Jews living side by side. Because blood and things strangled were
loathsome to the Jews by ancient custom; while the Jews might have
suspected the Gentiles of relapse into idolatry if the latter had
partaken of things offered to idols. Hence these things were prohibited
for the time being, during which the Gentiles and Jews were to become
united together. But as time went on, with the lapse of the cause, the
effect lapsed also, when the truth of the Gospel teaching was divulged,
wherein Our Lord taught that "not that which entereth into the mouth
defileth a man" (Mt. 15:11); and that "nothing is to be rejected that is
received with thanksgiving" (1 Tim. 4:4). With regard to fornication a
special prohibition was made, because the Gentiles did not hold it to be
sinful.





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