Submission also has a worldly aspect. Pictured: Filipino Catholics mortify themselves on Maundy Thursday in Paombong. Image: EPA
Power struggles, worldly desires and money: In many religious communities, things move like a wooden paradise.
01/28/2023, 09:2801/28/2023, 12:51 p.m.
Religions and faith communities are the keepers of the Grail of the so-called one true faith, of ultimate spirituality. In their exclusive thought, they claim the sovereignty of transcendental and metaphysical phenomena. For them, spiritual or religious perfection is the supreme discipline.
They like to leave the secular and worldly aspects to social or political authorities. However, many religious communities ignore the fact that their behavior is also shaped by earthly aspects and desires. In churches and sects, things often go on like in a wooden paradise. Power struggles and petty interests often dominate their consciousness. There is often a wide gap between religious claims and secular reality.
The contradiction in the involvement of believers is particularly evident. Above all, this shows the quality of a suppressive indoctrination. Church leaders like to resort to downright earthly methods.
A penitential sash at the base of a statue of Saint Peter of Alcantara in Saint Peter’s Basilica.Image: Túrelio/WikiCommons/CC BY-SA 3.0
An example: Religious and spiritual communities promise salvation, redemption, eternal life on a religious level. At the same time, they imply that the path of salvation creates happiness in daily life on earth.
The free churches, for example, believe that anyone who has taken Jesus into their heart will henceforth be protected by God and also rewarded in a worldly sense, even financially. They call it the prosperity gospel.
“Blessed be the pain. – Loved be the pain.
Quote from the book “The Way” by the founder of Opus Dei, Josemaría Escrivá
However, these so-called rewards are not free, but are tied to rigid requirements and fear-inducing dogmas. Because the salvation promised by religious communities demands as pious and sinless a life as possible.
The requirements are very high. Anyone who cannot fulfill them is called a sinner and must repent and make atonement. However, this moral club has little to do with faith, but mostly with worldly oppression.
Fear of the world is often generated
With this spiritual tool, earthly fear is created to make believers dependent. Only those who obey earthly commandments can hope for God’s grace at the last day. Ultimately, the Ten Commandments, the foundation of all Christian churches, are worldly standards of conduct. The fear is already there in the heart.
An excellent example is Opus Dei, a personal prelature of the Catholic Church, which has a lot of influence in the Vatican. The Spaniard Josemaría Escrivá founded the secular sectarian order. He openly sympathized with Franco’s fascist regime. Despite this, he was canonized in 2002.
Self-mortification with a spiked belt of penance in Opus Dei is not just a religious ritual:
How sick his understanding of faith is can be seen in the “holy commandments” of self-torture. He asks believers to inflict suffering on themselves regularly. Especially with a penance-spiked belt and with whips. Believers should understand the suffering of Jesus.
The body as an enemy
Quote from his book “The Way”: “If you don’t mortify yourself, you will never become a man of prayer.” And: “Blessed be the pain. – I like pain. – Hallowed be pain.” He describes the human body as “your enemy”.
What such a hostile attitude towards the body has to do with faith remains the mystery of the “holy”. It also remains the mystery of the Catholic Church why she canonized a man who asks for self-mortification in the name of God.
In addition, the former bishop of Chur, Wolfgang Haas, and the current bishop Joseph Bonnemain are members of Opus Dei.
Religious communities that create fear betray their religious ideals. Many believers just don’t realize it.
With his Blog Hugo Stamm has served a loyal readership for years with his critical reflections on religion and soul trapping.
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