Can objects be ‘Holy’?

Discussion in 'Theology and Doctrine' started by CuriousBeliever, Dec 19, 2017.

  1. CuriousBeliever

    CuriousBeliever New Member Anglican

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    I went to a catholic high school and I had a theology teacher who wore this necklace, I asked him about and he had said it was protect his salvation at the moment of his death (this might be paraphrasing the conversation quite a bit). I don’t know if objects can do this.
    This might not be related but I’ve heard in some circles where people pass along relics or holy objects, and from what I heard these items can bring you closer to God.
    I know that Anglicans in the most part, believe that faith is sufficient for salvation. So I guess my question is can these objects hold some short of saving grace, can these things be holy?
     
  2. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    We can separate the two notions: objects can be holy and yet not play a direct role in salvation. (On salvation, while we are at it, although the Scripture teaches that faith is what justifies, it isn't taught that faith saves. Whereas faith justifies, works sanctify, and so you need to believe and do good works in order to validate your faith and be saved.)

    Holy objects are things that have been blessed. Thus the church building, when it is consecrated, becomes holy. Holy Water, when blessed, can become holy. Any item that is blessed falls under that, and we can separate this blessing from being some sort of magical charm with regards to salvation.
     
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  3. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Excellent reply! I whole-heartedly agree.
     
  4. Anglican04

    Anglican04 Active Member Anglican

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    The necklace was probably a brown scapular which is a Roman Catholic devotion to Mary (I don't think orthodox use them). The brown scapular is a necklace that they believe will make you go to heaven when you die, or lessen your stay in purgatory. Kudos to @Stalwart for his great reply.
     
  5. Tuxedo America

    Tuxedo America Member

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    It was a brown scapular. By the sounds of it, he didn't fully understand it, if he thinks it will "save his salvation". The promise attached to it has been taken out of context over the past hundred years or so, so the monks "responsible" for the scapular have been trying to downplay it.
     
  6. Anglican04

    Anglican04 Active Member Anglican

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    Isn't the scapular promise literally "Whoever shall wear this scapular shall not suffer eternal fire"?
     
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  7. Tuxedo America

    Tuxedo America Member

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    That's the wording, yes. That's also why, in recent times, it has been "abused". Like anything else of our shared faith, there's more to it than meets the eye. One must be aware of the story behind the scapular, and be mindful of how the Church explains it. The scapular isn't a "get out of hell free card".
     
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  8. neminem

    neminem Member

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    Just thinking out aloud.
    Sometimes, in a time and place, to wear a scapular (for instance), if discovered would mean instant persecution and death.
    The wearer may not escape temporary fire, but their faith and good works may allow them to escape eternal fire.
     
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  9. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Sects and Religion Amongst Christians.

    Never had the laws in their most blindness, seen so many pilgrimages to images, nor used so much kneeling, kissing, and sensing of them, as has been used in our time. Sects and feigned religions were never the fortieth part so many among the Jews, nor more superstitious and ungodly abuses, than of later days that have been among us. Which sects and religions, had so many hypocritical and feigned works in their state of religion (as they arrogantly named it) that their lamps (as they said) ran always over, able to satisfy, not only for their own sins, but also for all other their benefactors, brothers, and sisters of religion, as most ungodly and craftily they had persuaded the multitude of ignorant people: keeping in many places, as it were, markets of merits, being full of their holy reliques, images, shrines, and works of overflowing abundance ready to be sold. And all things which they had were called holy, holy cowls, holy girdles, holy pardons, holy beads, holy shoes, holy rules, and all full of holiness.

    And what thing can be more foolish, more superstitious, or ungodly, then that men, women, and children, should wear a friars coat, to deliver them from plagues and pestilence? Or when they die, or be buried, cause it to be cast on them, in hope thereby to be saved? Which superstition, although (thanks be to God) it has been little used in this Realm, yet in divers other realms, it has been, and yet it is used among many both learned and unlearned. But to pass over the innumerable superstitions that have been in strange apparel, in silence, in dormitory, in cloister, in chapter, in choice of meats, and drinks, and in such like things, let us consider what enormities and abuses have been in the three chief principal points, which they called the three essentials, or three chief foundations of religion, that is to say, obedience, chastity, and wilful poverty.



    This is from the Fifth Homily in the first Book of Homilies and the third part. Homily is entitled Of Good Works Annexed to Faith.

    Holiness is often misunderstood as a quality reflecting how good we are, or something is, whereas it rightly declares whose it is, so when we speak of the Holy Church (something Cranmer did not do very much) we are actually talking about whose Church it is, not how perfect it is. Clearly the Homily was expressing concern about an issue that had been overcooked in the post scholastic period, however it does sound a right balance warning note for us.
     
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