Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Year With Thomas Merton - November 29

The Sin of Idolatry

The Christian faith enables, or should enable, a man to stand back from society and its institutions and realize that they all stand under the inscrutable judgment of God and that, therefore, we can never give an unreserved assent to the policies, the programs and the organizations of men, or to "official" interpretations of the historic process. To do so is idolatry, the same kind of idolatry that was refused by the early martyrs who would not burn incense to the emperor.

The policies of men contain within themselves the judgment and doom of God upon their society, and when the Church identifies her policies with theirs, she too is judged with them--for she has in this been unfaithful and is not truly "the Church." The power of "the Church" (who is not "the Church" if she is rich and powerful) contains the judgment that "begins at the house of God."

November 30, 1964, V.171

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