Pagan religious practice is “so old it seems like new”. Very many today seek to flee God’s commandments by taking refuge under paganism’s green branches (making the earth, the material universe, ultimate) in order to flee the moral law and conscience. Ancient Israel did this more than once. Is it any wonder, then, that Catholics too, even many clergy, revert to paganism when they fall into apostasy?
For the ancient Canaanites and Phoenicians, among others, the “ever green” forest tree was a symbol of fertility. Within many pagan religions, ritual sex acts and atrocities were regularly performed under green trees and in “sacred groves“:
[You] seek your comfort in idols under every green tree, sacrificing children in the torrents, under the high rocks?
4 thou didst hate their detestable practices,
their works of sorcery and unholy rites,
5 their merciless slaughter of children,
and their sacrificial feasting on human flesh and blood.
These initiates from the midst of a heathen cult.
1 Kings 14:23
For they also built altars, and statues, and groves upon every high hill and under every green tree:
2 Chronicles 28:4
He sacrificed also and burnt incense in the high places and on the hills, and under every green tree.
Who seek your comfort in idols under every green tree, sacrificing children in the torrents, under the high rocks?
Of old time thou hast broken my yoke, thou hast burst my bands, and thou saidst: I will not serve. For on every high hill, and under every green tree thou didst prostitute thyself.
And the Lord said to me in the days of king Josias: Hast thou seen what rebellious Israel hast done? she hath gone out of herself upon every high mountain, and under every green tree, and hath played the harlot there.
But yet acknowledge thy iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God: and thou hast scattered thy ways to strangers under every green tree, and hast not heard my voice, saith the Lord.
Catholicism, seeking to fulfill Christ’s missionary mandate, sought everywhere to assimilate the wheat found in false religious practices and to separate it all from the sensual and ideological chaff of pagan religion, returning the green forest to our Creator and His creation.
“The use of evergreen trees, wreaths, and garlands to symbolize eternal life was a custom of the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Hebrews. Tree worship was common among the pagan Europeans and survived their conversion to Christianity in the Scandinavian customs of decorating the house and barn with evergreens at the New Year to scare away the devil and of setting up a tree for the birds during Christmas time.” — the Encyclopedia Britannica
But when Catholics in general and bishops and priests in particular apostatize, they revert to sensual paganism, even defiling churches, very rapidly (masking it all as “progressive,”) just as Israel’s priesthood did of old.
St. Augustine’s City of God, Encyclopedia Britannica, Book II, Chapter 6:
“The pagan gods never sanctioned a doctrine of right living. This is the reason why those divinities have no concern for the morals of the cities and peoples by whom they were worshipped. Rather they allowed the most terrible and abominable evils to have free play, to the utmost detriment, not of land and vines, not of houses and property, not even of the body, which is the servant of the mind, but of the mind itself, the actual ruler of the flesh.
They allowed this, they did not use their awful power to prevent it. Or if they did try to stop it, let us have the evidence. And we do not want to hear general assertions about whispers breathed into the ear of a chosen few, and handed down by a secret religious tradition, teaching integrity and purity of life.
Let the pagans show, or even mention, places consecrated for such gatherings where what happens is not the performance of spectacles marked by lewd utterances and gestures on the part of the actors, with a free rein to every kind of depravity – not the celebration of The Flight of Kings (which is really the flight of all decency and morality) – but where the assembled people can hear the commands of the gods about the need to restrain avarice, to curb ambition, to put a check on lust, and where wretched men may learn…”
Sensual and deadly, When the State is Ultimate…
— The Early Church Fathers on paganism
— New Oxford Review: New Spirituality and the Ghost of Catholicism
— Myth perceptions: Joseph Campbell Power of Deceit
— The New Criterion: The Perversions of Michel Foucault
— Brother Andre Marie: Belloc on the New Paganism
— The Scholars and the Goddess
— Mary Daly: the Witch of Boston College
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