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They were to a large extent eliminated by the preaching of Christianity ; but so deep-rooted was the tendency to which they gave rise that many of the ancient practices survived, especially among peoples just emerging from barbarism.
(II-II:92:1) This division is based upon the various ways in which religion may be vitiated by excess.
"Superstition is the baseless fear of the gods, religion the pious worship." According to Isidore of Seville (Etymolog., l. iii, sent.), the word comes from superstatuo or superinstituo : "Superstitio est superflua observantia in cultu super statuta seu instituta superiorum", i.e.
"observances added on to prescribed or established worship"] is defined by St.
With regard to the subjective guilt attaching to them it must be borne in mind that no sin is mortal unless committed with full knowledge of its grievous wickedness and with full deliberation and consent.
Of these essential factors the first is often wanting entirely, and the second is only imperfectly present.
Such false elements, be their origin culpable deceit or inculpable credulity, vitiate the virtue of religion by substituting error for truth in the service of God.
A layman performing priestly functions, a pardoner selling spurious indulgences, a fanatic devotee inventing false miracles and answers to prayers in order to introduce or spread his own favourite devotion, wholesale believers in supernatural apparitions, visions, revelations, which serve no good purpose -- all these are guilty of superstition, at least material.Under the head of vain observances come all those beliefs and practices which, at least by implication, attribute supernatural or preternatural powers for good or for evil to causes evidently incapable of producing the expected effects.The number and variety of superstitions appear from the following list of those most in vogue at different periods of history: The source of superstition is, in the first place, subjective.This may indeed be interpreted as a reaction against Materialism ; but it is none the less, at bottom, an evidence of man's restless desire to penetrate, by any and every means, the mystery that lies beyond death.While it is easy to condemn Spiritism as superstitious and vain, the condemnation does not do away with the fact that Spiritism has become widespread in this age of enlightenment.[From supersisto , "to stand in terror of the deity " (Cicero, "De Nat.