#3 — The Sacred

The Papal Altar

The Papal Altar (Photo: G Wong)

The sacred — an idea that, in the ancient world, was an everyday reality. To be sacred is to be “consecrated: made or declared or believed to be holy.” It’s only been in the last few centuries that this notion disappeared from the everyday life of Everyman.

In a Protestant church, the idea of the sacred is almost non-existent except in a historical, Biblical milieu.  The Ark of the Covenant was sacred; the showbread and the Holy of Holies were sacred; God’s name is, in some sense, sacred. But in the sense that time, space, gestures, words, or objects can be sacred, Protestantism proclaims loudly and, for its own part, definitively, “No!” Only God is sacred. Nothing on Earth is truly sacred.

The rest of the religions in the world beg to differ. And Catholicism (as well as the Orthodox East) in particular would argue that there is sacredness on Earth. Indeed, Catholicism is, in part, all about bringing that sacrality to humanity on a daily basis.

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