An additional thought that I wanted to post in a separate note, as the last one was running long. [b:5qx9k7gf]Anathemas[/b:5qx9k7gf] Anathema is a dirty word nowadays. With everyone saying, “Can’t we all just get along” we forget what it really means to be anathamatized.
Many of the “Usual Suspects” or Anti-Catholic writers will tell their audience that the Catholic Church has condemned them to hell by Anathamatizing them for their beliefs. They will show them Anathamas against the various protestant beliefs invented in the 15 and 1600’s. Then tell them, “See, the Catholic Church has condemned you to hell for your freedom to believe.” Fortunatly for Catholics and Protestants alike, the persons Anathamatized, are those who first teach the error, and an Anathama is not a statement that they are doomed to hell, but that they are not teaching the truth and are left to God’s mercy.
The reality is quite different. Anathama does not mean, cast into hell, but rather to be cast, or thrown out of the community. To be cast into the outer darkness. It is an old term which predates the Church. We do such things even today, however we call it by different names.
If someone has H1N1 Virus, we isolate or quarentine them. We separate them from the healthy community in order that they do not infect others. This is to protect our bodies that will one day die.
With an Anathama, (which is a last resort) we hope to protect souls, which do not die. If someone teaches a doctrine or moral teaching that is harmful to the soul, the Church needs to protect the rest of the Church. So if someone teaches that Mary the Virgin Mother of Jesus, is herself Divine, and a Goddess, the Church first tries to show the person(s) who are teaching that the error of their teaching. If they remain persistant and try to spread the teaching the Church cannot allow them to continue, and formally tells everyone that the person is not teaching proper doctrine, and is removed from communion with the Church, is cast out as it were. Kind of tricky because it does not releave the person of their obligations to worship God, assist at Mass, or do anything anyone else is obligated to do. But it marks them as someone who is not following the Church, or who’s teachings are in error and need to be disregarded. The Church still prays for their souls, and that they eventually return to doctrinal or moral orthodoxy.
In a way we anathamatize ourselves when we allow ourselves to fall into mortal sin. We lift the anathama when we make a good confession, and return to a life of Grace.