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St. Thomas Aquinas
Summa Theologica

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  • Aquin.: SMT TP Prologue Para. 1/3 - THIRD PART (TP) OF THE SUMMA THEOLOGICA (QQ[1]-90)
      • Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] Out. Para. 1/2 - OF THE ADORATION OF CHRIST (SIX ARTICLES)
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Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] Out. Para. 1/2 - OF THE ADORATION OF CHRIST (SIX ARTICLES)


We have now to consider things pertaining to Christ in reference to us;
and first, the adoration of Christ, by which we adore Him; secondly, we
must consider how He is our Mediator with God.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] Out. Para. 2/2

Under the first head there are six points of inquiry:

(1) Whether Christ's Godhead and humanity are to be adored with one and
the same adoration?

(2) Whether His flesh is to be adored with the adoration of "latria"?

(3) Whether the adoration of "latria" is to be given to the image of
Christ?

(4) Whether "latria" is to be given to the Cross of Christ?

(5) Whether to His Mother?

(6) Concerning the adoration of the relics of Saints.


Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[1] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether Christ's humanity and Godhead are to be adored with the same
adoration?

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[1] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that Christ's humanity and Godhead are not to be
adored with the same adoration. For Christ's Godhead is to be adored, as
being common to Father and Son; wherefore it is written (Jn. 5:23): "That
all may honor the Son, as they honor the Father." But Christ's humanity
is not common to Him and the Father. Therefore Christ's humanity and
Godhead are not to be adored with the same adoration.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[1] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, honor is properly "the reward of virtue," as the
Philosopher says (Ethic. iv, 3). But virtue merits its reward by action.
Since, therefore, in Christ the action of the Divine Nature is distinct
from that of the human nature, as stated above (Q[19], A[1]), it seems
that Christ's humanity is to be adored with a different adoration from
that which is given to His Godhead.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[1] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, if the soul of Christ were not united to the Word, it
would have been worthy of veneration on account of the excellence of its
wisdom and grace. But by being united to the Word it lost nothing of its
worthiness. Therefore His human nature should receive a certain
veneration proper thereto, besides the veneration which is given to His
Godhead.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[1] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, We read in the chapters of the Fifth Council [*Second
Council of Constantinople, coll. viii, can. 9]: "If anyone say that
Christ is adored in two natures, so as to introduce two distinct
adorations, and does not adore God the Word made flesh with the one and
the same adoration as His flesh, as the Church has handed down from the
beginning; let such a one be anathema."

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[1] Body Para. 1/4

I answer that, We may consider two things in a person to whom honor is
given: the person himself, and the cause of his being honored. Now
properly speaking honor is given to a subsistent thing in its entirety:
for we do not speak of honoring a man's hand, but the man himself. And if
at any time it happen that we speak of honoring a man's hand or foot, it
is not by reason of these members being honored of themselves: but by
reason of the whole being honored in them. In this way a man may be
honored even in something external; for instance in his vesture, his
image, or his messenger.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[1] Body Para. 2/4

The cause of honor is that by reason of which the person honored has a
certain excellence. for honor is reverence given to something on account
of its excellence, as stated in the SS, Q[103], A[1]. If therefore in one
man there are several causes of honor, for instance, rank, knowledge, and
virtue, the honor given to him will be one in respect of the person
honored, but several in respect of the causes of honor: for it is the man
that is honored, both on account of knowledge and by reason of his virtue.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[1] Body Para. 3/4

Since, therefore, in Christ there is but one Person of the Divine and
human natures, and one hypostasis, and one suppositum, He is given one
adoration and one honor on the part of the Person adored: but on the part
of the cause for which He is honored, we can say that there are several
adorations, for instance that He receives one honor on account of His
uncreated knowledge, and another on account of His created knowledge.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[1] Body Para. 4/4

But if it be said that there are several persons or hypostases in
Christ, it would follow that there would be, absolutely speaking, several
adorations. And this is what is condemned in the Councils. For it is
written in the chapters of Cyril [*Council of Ephesus, Part I, ch. 26]:
"If anyone dare to say that the man assumed should be adored besides the
Divine Word, as though these were distinct persons; and does not rather
honor the Emmanuel with one single adoration, inasmuch as the Word was
made flesh; let him be anathema."

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[1] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: In the Trinity there are three Who are honored, but only
one cause of honor. In the mystery of the Incarnation it is the reverse:
and therefore only one honor is given to the Trinity and only one to
Christ, but in a different way.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[1] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Operation is not the object but the motive of honor. And
therefore there being two operations in Christ proves, not two
adorations, but two causes of adoration.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[1] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: If the soul of Christ were not united to the Word of God,
it would be the principal thing in that Man. Wherefore honor would be due
to it principally, since man is that which is principal in him [*Cf.
Ethic. ix, 8]. But since Christ's soul is united to a Person of greater
dignity, to that Person is honor principally due to Whom Christ's soul is
united. Nor is the dignity of Christ's soul hereby diminished, but rather
increased, as stated above (Q[2], A[2], ad 2).


Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[2] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether Christ's humanity should be adored with the adoration of "latria"?

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[2] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that Christ's soul should not be adored with the
adoration of "latria." For on the words of Ps. 98:5, "Adore His
foot-stool for it is holy," a gloss says: "The flesh assumed by the Word
of God is rightly adored by us: for no one partakes spiritually of His
flesh unless he first adore it; but not indeed with the adoration called
'latria,' which is due to the Creator alone." Now the flesh is part of
the humanity. Therefore Christ's humanity is not to be adored with the
adoration of "latria."

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[2] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, the worship of "latria" is not to be given to any
creature: since for this reason were the Gentiles reproved, that they
"worshiped and served the creature," as it is written (Rm. 1:25). But
Christ's humanity is a creature. Therefore it should not be adored with
the adoration of "latria."

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[2] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, the adoration of "latria" is due to God in recognition
of His supreme dominion, according to Dt. 6:13: "Thou shalt adore [Vulg.:
'fear'; cf. Mt. 4:10] the Lord thy God, and shalt serve Him only." But
Christ as man is less than the Father. Therefore His humanity is not to
be adored with the adoration of "latria."

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[2] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Damascene says (De Fide Orth. iv, 3): "On account of
the incarnation of the Divine Word, we adore the flesh of Christ not for
its own sake, but because the Word of God is united thereto in person."
And on Ps. 98:5, "Adore His foot-stool," a gloss says: "He who adores the
body of Christ, regards not the earth, but rather Him whose foot-stool it
is, in Whose honor he adores the foot-stool." But the incarnate Word is
adored with the adoration of "latria." Therefore also His body or His
humanity.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[2] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that, As stated above (A[1]) adoration is due to the subsisting
hypostasis: yet the reason for honoring may be something non-subsistent,
on account of which the person, in whom it is, is honored. And so the
adoration of Christ's humanity may be understood in two ways. First, so
that the humanity is the thing adored: and thus to adore the flesh of
Christ is nothing else than to adore the incarnate Word of God: just as
to adore a King's robe is nothing else than to adore a robed King. And in
this sense the adoration of Christ's humanity is the adoration of
"latria." Secondly, the adoration of Christ's humanity may be taken as
given by reason of its being perfected with every gift of grace. And so
in this sense the adoration of Christ's humanity is the adoration not of
"latria" but of "dulia." So that one and the same Person of Christ is
adored with "latria" on account of His Divinity, and with "dulia" on
account of His perfect humanity.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[2] Body Para. 2/2

Nor is this unfitting. For the honor of "latria" is due to God the
Father Himself on account of His Godhead; and the honor of "dulia" on
account of the dominion by which He rules over creatures. Wherefore on
Ps. 7:1, "O Lord my God, in Thee have I hoped," a gloss says: "Lord of
all by power, to Whom 'dulia' is due: God of all by creation, to Whom
'latria' is due."

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[2] R.O. 1 Para. 1/2

Reply OBJ 1: That gloss is not to be understood as though the flesh of
Christ were adored separately from its Godhead: for this could happen
only, if there were one hypostasis of God, and another of man. But since,
as Damascene says (De Fide Orth. iv, 3): "If by a subtle distinction you
divide what is seen from what is understood, it cannot be adored because
it is a creature" - that is, with adoration of "latria." And then thus
understood as distinct from the Word of God, it should be adored with the
adoration of "dulia"; not any kind of "dulia," such as is given to other
creatures, but with a certain higher adoration, which is called
"hyperdulia."

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[2] R.O. 1 Para. 2/2

Hence appear the answers to the second and third objections. Because the
adoration of "latria" is not given to Christ's humanity in respect of
itself; but in respect of the Godhead to which it is united, by reason of
which Christ is not less than the Father.


Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[3] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether the image of Christ should be adored with the adoration of
"latria"?

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[3] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that Christ's image should not be adored with the
adoration of "latria." For it is written (Ex. 20:4): "Thou shalt not make
to thyself a graven thing, nor the likeness of anything." But no
adoration should be given against the commandment of God. Therefore
Christ's image should not be adored with the adoration of "latria."

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[3] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, we should have nothing in common with the works of the
Gentiles, as the Apostle says (Eph. 5:11). But the Gentiles are
reproached principally for that "they changed the glory of the
incorruptible God into the likeness of the image of a corruptible man,"
as is written (Rm. 1:23). Therefore Christ's image is not to be adored
with the adoration of "latria."

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[3] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, to Christ the adoration of "latria" is due by reason of
His Godhead, not of His humanity. But the adoration of "latria" is not
due to the image of His Godhead, which is imprinted on the rational soul.
Much less, therefore, is it due to the material image which represents
the humanity of Christ Himself.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[3] Obj. 4 Para. 1/1

OBJ 4: Further, it seems that nothing should be done in the Divine
worship that is not instituted by God; wherefore the Apostle (1 Cor.
11:23) when about to lay down the doctrine of the sacrifice of the
Church, says: "I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered
unto you." But Scripture does not lay down anything concerning the
adoration of images. Therefore Christ's image is not to be adored with
the adoration of "latria."

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[3] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Damascene (De Fide Orth. iv, 16) quotes Basil as
saying: "The honor given to an image reaches to the prototype," i.e. the
exemplar. But the exemplar itself - namely, Christ - is to be adored with
the adoration of "latria"; therefore also His image.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[3] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, As the Philosopher says (De Memor. et Remin. i), there is
a twofold movement of the mind towards an image: one indeed towards the
image itself as a certain thing; another, towards the image in so far as
it is the image of something else. And between these movements there is
this difference; that the former, by which one is moved towards an image
as a certain thing, is different from the movement towards the thing:
whereas the latter movement, which is towards the image as an image, is
one and the same as that which is towards the thing. Thus therefore we
must say that no reverence is shown to Christ's image, as a thing - for
instance, carved or painted wood: because reverence is not due save to a
rational creature. It follow therefore that reverence should be shown to
it, in so far only as it is an image. Consequently the same reverence
should be shown to Christ's image as to Christ Himself. Since, therefore,
Christ is adored with the adoration of "latria," it follows that His
image should be adored with the adoration of "latria."

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[3] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: This commandment does not forbid the making of any graven
thing or likeness, but the making thereof for the purpose of adoration,
wherefore it is added: "Thou shalt not adore them nor serve them." And
because, as stated above, the movement towards the image is the same as
the movement towards the thing, adoration thereof is forbidden in the
same way as adoration of the thing whose image it is. Wherefore in the
passage quoted we are to understand the prohibition to adore those images
which the Gentiles made for the purpose of venerating their own gods,
i.e. the demons, and so it is premised: "Thou shalt not have strange gods
before Me." But no corporeal image could be raised to the true God
Himself, since He is incorporeal; because, as Damascene observes (De Fide
Orth. iv, 16): "It is the highest absurdity and impiety to fashion a
figure of what is Divine." But because in the New Testament God was made
man, He can be adored in His corporeal image.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[3] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: The Apostle forbids us to have anything in common with the
"unfruitful works" of the Gentiles, but not with their useful works. Now
the adoration of images must be numbered among the unfruitful works in
two respects. First, because some of the Gentiles used to adore the
images themselves, as things, believing that there was something Divine
therein, on account of the answers which the demons used to give in them,
and on account of other such like wonderful effects. Secondly on account
of the things of which they were images; for they set up images to
certain creatures, to whom in these images they gave the veneration of
"latria." Whereas we give the adoration of "latria" to the image of
Christ, Who is true God, not for the sake of the image, but for the sake
of the thing whose image it is, as stated above.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[3] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Reverence is due to the rational creature for its own sake.
Consequently, if the adoration of "latria" were shown to the rational
creature in which this image is, there might be an occasion of
error - namely, lest the movement of adoration might stop short at the
man, as a thing, and not be carried on to God, Whose image he is. This
cannot happen in the case of a graven or painted image in insensible
material.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[3] R.O. 4 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 4: The Apostles, led by the inward instinct of the Holy Ghost,
handed down to the churches certain instructions which they did not put
in writing, but which have been ordained, in accordance with the
observance of the Church as practiced by the faithful as time went on.
Wherefore the Apostle says (2 Thess. 2:14): "Stand fast; and hold the
traditions which you have learned, whether by word" - that is by word of
mouth - "or by our epistle" - that is by word put into writing. Among
these traditions is the worship of Christ's image. Wherefore it is said
that Blessed Luke painted the image of Christ, which is in Rome.


Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[4] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether Christ's cross should be worshipped with the adoration of
"latria"?

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[4] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that Christ's cross should not be worshiped with
the adoration of "latria." For no dutiful son honors that which dishonors
his father, as the scourge with which he was scourged, or the gibbet on
which he was hanged; rather does he abhor it. Now Christ underwent the
most shameful death on the cross; according to Wis. 2:20: "Let us condemn
Him to a most shameful death." Therefore we should not venerate the cross
but rather we should abhor it.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[4] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, Christ's humanity is worshiped with the adoration of
"latria," inasmuch as it is united to the Son of God in Person. But this
cannot be said of the cross. Therefore Christ's cross should not be
worshiped with the adoration of "latria."

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[4] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, as Christ's cross was the instrument of His passion and
death, so were also many other things, for instance, the nails, the
crown, the lance; yet to these we do not show the worship of "latria." It
seems, therefore, that Christ's cross should not be worshiped with the
adoration of "latria."

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[4] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, We show the worship of "latria" to that in which we
place our hope of salvation. But we place our hope in Christ's cross, for
the Church sings:


"Dear Cross, best hope o'er all beside,

That cheers the solemn passion-tide:

Give to the just increase of grace,

Give to each contrite sinner peace."

[*Hymn Vexilla Regis: translation of Father Aylward, O.P.]


Therefore Christ's cross should be worshiped with the adoration of
"latria."

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[4] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that, As stated above (A[3]), honor or reverence is due to a
rational creature only; while to an insensible creature, no honor or
reverence is due save by reason of a rational nature. And this in two
ways. First, inasmuch as it represents a rational nature: secondly,
inasmuch as it is united to it in any way whatsoever. In the first way
men are wont to venerate the king's image; in the second way, his robe.
And both are venerated by men with the same veneration as they show to
the king.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[4] Body Para. 2/2

If, therefore, we speak of the cross itself on which Christ was
crucified, it is to be venerated by us in both ways - namely, in one way
in so far as it represents to us the figure of Christ extended thereon;
in the other way, from its contact with the limbs of Christ, and from its
being saturated with His blood. Wherefore in each way it is worshiped
with the same adoration as Christ, viz. the adoration of "latria." And
for this reason also we speak to the cross and pray to it, as to the
Crucified Himself. But if we speak of the effigy of Christ's cross in any
other material whatever - for instance, in stone or wood, silver or
gold - thus we venerate the cross merely as Christ's image, which we
worship with the adoration of "latria," as stated above (A[3]).

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[4] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: If in Christ's cross we consider the point of view and
intention of those who did not believe in Him, it will appear as His
shame: but if we consider its effect, which is our salvation, it will
appear as endowed with Divine power, by which it triumphed over the
enemy, according to Col. 2:14,15: "He hath taken the same out of the way,
fastening it to the cross, and despoiling the principalities and powers,
He hath exposed them confidently, in open show, triumphing over them in
Himself." Wherefore the Apostle says (1 Cor. 1:18): "The Word of the
cross to them indeed that perish is foolishness; but to them that are
saved - that is, to us - it is the power of God."

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[4] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Although Christ's cross was not united to the Word of God
in Person, yet it was united to Him in some other way, viz. by
representation and contact. And for this sole reason reverence is shown
to it.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[4] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: By reason of the contact of Christ's limbs we worship not
only the cross, but all that belongs to Christ. Wherefore Damascene says
(De Fide Orth. iv, 11): "The precious wood, as having been sanctified by
the contact of His holy body and blood, should be meetly worshiped; as
also His nails, His lance, and His sacred dwelling-places, such as the
manger, the cave and so forth." Yet these very things do not represent
Christ's image as the cross does, which is called "the Sign of the Son of
Man" that "will appear in heaven," as it is written (Mt. 24:30).
Wherefore the angel said to the women (Mk. 16:6): "You seek Jesus of
Nazareth, Who was crucified": he said not "pierced," but "crucified." For
this reason we worship the image of Christ's cross in any material, but
not the image of the nails or of any such thing.


Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[5] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether the Mother of God should be worshipped with the adoration of
"latria"?

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[5] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that the Mother of God is to be worshiped with the
adoration of "latria." For it seems that the same honor is due to the
king's mother as to the king: whence it is written (3 Kgs. 2:19) that "a
throne was set for the king's mother, and she sat on His right hand."
Moreover, Augustine [*Sermon on the Assumption, work of an anonymous
author] says: "It is right that the throne of God, the resting-place of
the Lord of Heaven, the abode of Christ, should be there where He is
Himself." But Christ is worshiped with the adoration of "latria."
Therefore His Mother also should be.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[5] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, Damascene says (De Fide Orth. iv, 16): "The honor of the
Mother reflects on the Son." But the Son is worshiped with the adoration
of "latria." Therefore the Mother also.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[5] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, Christ's Mother is more akin to Him than the cross. But
the cross is worshiped with the adoration of "latria." Therefore also His
Mother is to be worshiped with the same adoration.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[5] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, The Mother of God is a mere creature. Therefore the
worship of "latria" is not due to her.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[5] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, Since "latria" is due to God alone, it is not due to a
creature so far as we venerate a creature for its own sake. For though
insensible creatures are not capable of being venerated for their own
sake, yet the rational creature is capable of being venerated for its own
sake. Consequently the worship of "latria" is not due to any mere
rational creature for its own sake. Since, therefore, the Blessed Virgin
is a mere rational creature, the worship of "latria" is not due to her,
but only that of "dulia": but in a higher degree than to other creatures,
inasmuch as she is the Mother of God. For this reason we say that not any
kind of "dulia" is due to her, but "hyperdulia."

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[5] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: The honor due to the king's mother is not equal to the
honor which is due to the king: but is somewhat like it, by reason of a
certain excellence on her part. This is what is meant by the authorities
quoted.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[5] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: The honor given to the Mother reflects on her Son, because
the Mother is to be honored for her Son's sake. But not in the same way
as honor given to an image reflects on its exemplar: because the image
itself, considered as a thing, is not to be venerated in any way at all.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[5] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: The cross, considered in itself, is not an object of
veneration, as stated above (AA[4],5). But the Blessed Virgin is in
herself an object of veneration. Hence there is no comparison.


Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[6] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether any kind of worship is due to the relics of the saints?

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[6] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that the relics of the saints are not to be
worshiped at all. For we should avoid doing what may be the occasion of
error. But to worship the relics of the dead seems to savor of the error
of the Gentiles, who gave honor to dead men. Therefore the relics of the
saints are not to be honored.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[6] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, it seems absurd to venerate what is insensible. But the
relics of the saints are insensible. Therefore it is absurd to venerate
them.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[6] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, a dead body is not of the same species as a living body:
consequently it does not seem to be identical with it. Therefore, after a
saint's death, it seems that his body should not be worshiped.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[6] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, It is written (De Eccles. Dogm. xl): "We believe that
the bodies of the saints, above all the relics of the blessed martyrs, as
being the members of Christ, should be worshiped in all sincerity": and
further on: "If anyone holds a contrary opinion, he is not accounted a
Christian, but a follower of Eunomius and Vigilantius."

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[6] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, As Augustine says (De Civ. Dei i, 13): "If a father's
coat or ring, or anything else of that kind, is so much more cherished by
his children, as love for one's parents is greater, in no way are the
bodies themselves to be despised, which are much more intimately and
closely united to us than any garment; for they belong to man's very
nature." It is clear from this that he who has a certain affection for
anyone, venerates whatever of his is left after his death, not only his
body and the parts thereof, but even external things, such as his
clothes, and such like. Now it is manifest that we should show honor to
the saints of God, as being members of Christ, the children and friends
of God, and our intercessors. Wherefore in memory of them we ought to
honor any relics of theirs in a fitting manner: principally their bodies,
which were temples, and organs of the Holy Ghost dwelling and operating
in them, and are destined to be likened to the body of Christ by the
glory of the Resurrection. Hence God Himself fittingly honors such relics
by working miracles at their presence.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[6] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: This was the argument of Vigilantius, whose words are
quoted by Jerome in the book he wrote against him (ch. ii) as follows:
"We see something like a pagan rite introduced under pretext of religion;
they worship with kisses I know not what tiny heap of dust in a mean vase
surrounded with precious linen." To him Jerome replies (Ep. ad Ripar.
cix): "We do not adore, I will not say the relics of the martyrs, but
either the sun or the moon or even the angels" - that is to say, with the
worship of "latria." "But we honor the martyrs' relics, so that thereby
we give honor to Him Whose martyrs [*The original meaning of the word
'martyr,' i.e. the Greek {martys} is 'a witness'] they are: we honor the
servants, that the honor shown to them may reflect on their Master."
Consequently, by honoring the martyrs' relics we do not fall into the
error of the Gentiles, who gave the worship of "latria" to dead men.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[6] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: We worship that insensible body, not for its own sake, but
for the sake of the soul, which was once united thereto, and now enjoys
God; and for God's sake, whose ministers the saints were.

Aquin.: SMT TP Q[25] A[6] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: The dead body of a saint is not identical with that which
the saint had during life, on account of the difference of form, viz. the
soul: but it is the same by identity of matter, which is destined to be
reunited to its form.





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