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It is to this ignorance of the true God, coupled with an inordinate veneration for human excellence and the love of artistic representations appealing to the senses, that St. While these are dispositive causes, the consummative cause, he adds, was the influence of demons who offered themselves as objects of worship to erring men, giving answers through idols and doing things which to men seemed marvellous (II-II:94:4).

Worship becomes indebitus cultus when incongruous, meaningless, improper elements are added to the proper and approved performance; it becomes idolatrous when it is offered to creatures set up as divinities or endowed with divine attributes.

Divination consists in the attempt to extract from creatures, by means of religious rites, a knowledge of future events or of things known to God alone.

"Superstition is the baseless fear of the gods, religion the pious worship." According to Isidore of Seville (Etymolog., l. iii, sent.), the word comes from superstatuo or superinstituo : "Superstitio est superflua observantia in cultu super statuta seu instituta superiorum", i.e.

"observances added on to prescribed or established worship"] is defined by St.

This may indeed be interpreted as a reaction against Materialism ; but it is none the less, at bottom, an evidence of man's restless desire to penetrate, by any and every means, the mystery that lies beyond death.

While it is easy to condemn Spiritism as superstitious and vain, the condemnation does not do away with the fact that Spiritism has become widespread in this age of enlightenment.

They were to a large extent eliminated by the preaching of Christianity ; but so deep-rooted was the tendency to which they gave rise that many of the ancient practices survived, especially among peoples just emerging from barbarism.

It was only by degrees, through the legislation of the Church and the advance of scientific knowledge, that the earlier forms of superstition were eradicated.

The human mind, by a natural impulse, tends to worship something, and if it is convinced that Agnosticism is true and that God is unknowable, it will, sooner or later, devise other objects of worship.

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