top of page

Chapter III:3: Homonymy of “Religion”

If you have regard to the Homonymy of the term, Religion, α. is often used of sort of painstaking observance and fear; thus that well-known formula of speech, Religio mihi est, quo minus id faciam, It is Religion to me, that I should not do this, in the place of, I would hardly dare to do that. TERENCE’S[1] in Heauton, act II, scene I, verse 16:

…that I have nothing, it is religion to say…

In his Andria, act V, scene IV, verses 37, 38, scruple and religion are used interchangeably:

CHREMES: But there yet remains one scruple with me, which troubles me.

PAMPHILLUS: You deserve it…with thy religion, odium.

β. Often also for the External Worship of God, or the external rites and acts with which Religion is demonstrated, whence Religious Places, as it is in SUETONIUS’[2] “Augustus”, chapter VII, religious places also, even in which anything is consecrated by augural rites, are called august. Likewise, Codicis,[3] book III, title XLIV, de Religiosis et sumptibus funerum, Law II, “A body, carried away by another with thee unwilling or unknowing, into thine undefiled possession, or stone sepulcher, is not able to make the place religious. But if by thy will one should bury a dead man in thy place, that is made religious:” and in Law IX, “It is manifest that a religious place is not able to be subdivided and sold off in parts.” Likewise, Religious Times, which were appointed for the observance of Religion, as it is in SUETONIUS’ “Claudio”, chapter XIV, He most conscientiously administered justice, both when in office as consul and out, even on his and his family’s solemn days, sometimes even on feast days, ancient and religious. Thus Religion denotes the Monastic Life, and Religious is also used of Monks, who more than others give themselves to the superstitious tenets of Religion ψευδωνύμου, falsely so called: Tridentine Council, final Session, day I, Decreto de Regularibus et Monialibus, canon XV, page 248b, “In whatever Religion, both of men and of women, let not a profession be made before the fulfillment of the sixteenth year…. But let a profession made before that time be void, and induce no obligation unto the observation of any rule, either of a Religion, or of an order.” Canon XVIII, page 250, “The holy Synod subjects all and every person to anathema…if they in any degree compel any virgin or widow, or any other unwilling woman (except in cases expressed in law) to enter monasteries, or to take the habit of whatever Religion, or to publish a profession.” Bellarmine,[4] book II de Monachis, chapter XXXVI, Controversiis, tome 2, column 582, after the prefixing of this title, “It is lawful for sons to undertake Religion with their parents being unwilling”, thus begins: “Concerning the second, whether sons are able to be made religious with their parents being unwilling? etc.”

γ. But here the language of Religion is taken for the Manner of Knowing and Worshipping God, not so much as that is in Religious man habitually; but as that is reduced unto a definite form: or for the Doctrine of Religion, which here is not regarded as false, but as true, prescribed, not so much to man in his original Integrity, as to man Fallen, as we called this Subject of our Theology in Chapter I, § 35, not only naturally, since Natural Religion is Insufficient for the blessedness of man, according to those things that we said in Chapter I, § 19, 20, yet is not at all to be taken away and denied, as is done by the Atheists, against whom the decency and usefulness of Natural Religion is taught by REIMARUS’[5] over de voornaamste Waarheden van den natuurlichen Godtsdienst, § 11-25, pages 697-738; compare above Chapter I, § 22, but especially supernaturally in the revealed Word.

[1] Publius Terentius Afer (died 159 BC) was a Roman playwright.

[2] Suetonius Tranquillus (c. 75- c. 130) was a Roman historian.

[3] The Code of Justinian was a body of civil law, a gathering of imperial pronouncements, issued in 529.

[4] Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621) entered the Order of the Jesuits in his late teens. He became one of the great theologians of his era, a Cardinal, and, after his death, a Doctor of the Church.

[5] Hermann Samuel Reimarus (1694-1768) was a German Enlightenment philosopher and Deist. He was an advocate for a pure, natural religion, as opposed to revealed religion; and he stimulated some of the investigation into the historical Jesus.

13 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Chapter III:21: Tolerance

But Tolerance differs much from Syncretism. We admit the former concerning Heretics as well as Infidels in the external society of the world, imitating the example of God Himself, who bears with the s


bottom of page