Front Page Titles (by Subject) QUESTION XCIII.: OF THE SPECIES OF SUPERSTITION; AND FIRST OF SUPERSTITION BY UNDUE WORSHIP OF THE TRUE GOD. - Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 2 (Summa Theologica - Secunda Secundae Pt.2)
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QUESTION XCIII.: OF THE SPECIES OF SUPERSTITION; AND FIRST OF SUPERSTITION BY UNDUE WORSHIP OF THE TRUE GOD. - St. Thomas Aquinas, Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 2 (Summa Theologica - Secunda Secundae Pt.2) 
Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas. A Translation of the Principal Portions of the Second part of the Summa Theologica, with Notes by Joseph Rickaby, S.J. (London: Burns and Oates, 1892).
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OF THE SPECIES OF SUPERSTITION; AND FIRST OF SUPERSTITION BY UNDUE WORSHIP OF THE TRUE GOD.
Article I.—Can there be anything pernicious in the worship of the true God?
R. As Augustine says: “A lie is most pernicious in what appertains to the Christian religion.” A lie is when one gives outward signification of something contrary to truth. Signification may be given by deed as well as by word: it is in this signification given by deed, that the outward worship of religion consists. And therefore if by outward worship any false signification is given, the worship will be pernicious. This may happen in either of two ways: in one way on the part of the thing signified, if the signification of the worship be in disagreement with it. Thus in the time of the New Law, the mysteries of Christ being now accomplished, it is pernicious to use the ceremonies of the Old Law, by which the mysteries of Christ were signified as things to come: as it would be pernicious also if one were to avow in word that Christ was still to suffer. In another way, falsehood may arise in exterior worship on the part of the worshipper, and this especially in public worship, which is rendered by ministers of religion on the part of the whole Church. For as he would be a forger, who should make any proposition on the part of his principal, which he had not been commissioned to make, so the vice of falsehood or forgery is incurred by whoever on the part of the Church renders worship to God, contrary to the rite which the Church has ordained by divine authority, and which is customary in the Church.1 Hence Ambrose says: “He is unworthy, who celebrates the mystery otherwise than as Christ has delivered.” And the gloss: “It is superstition, when the name of religion is applied to human tradition.”
Article II.—Can there be anything superfluous in the worship of the true God?
R. There are two ways in which a thing may be called superfluous. In one way in point of absolute quantity; and in this way there can be nothing superfluous in divine worship, because man can do nothing that is not less than what he owes to God. In another way, a thing may be superfluous in point of quantity of proportion, because it is not proportionate to the end. Now the end of divine worship is that a man should give glory to God, and subject himself to God in mind and body. And therefore whatever a man does that bears on the glory of God, and on the subjection of man’s mind to God, and of his body also by a moderate restraint of the appetites, according to God’s and the Church’s ordinance, and the custom of the community with whom he lives,—that is not superfluous in divine worship. But if there be anything that of itself belongs not to God’s glory, nor to the carrying of man’s thoughts to God, nor to the restraint of the inordinate lusts of the flesh,—or again, if it be against the institution of God and of the Church, or against the common custom, which is to be held for a law,—all this is to be accounted superfluous and superstitious, because it rests on externals alone, and reaches not to the inward worship of God.
[1 ]Did the compilers of the Book of Common Prayer think of these words, when they were hacking and hewing down the ancient rite of the Church of England? (Trl.)