Latria

From Academic Kids

Latria is a Greek term used in Roman Catholic theology to refer to the highest form of worship of God. It is sacrificial in character, and may be offered only to God. Roman Catholics offer other degrees of reverence to the Blessed Virgin Mary and to the Saints; these non-sacrificial types of reverence are called hyperdulia and dulia, respectively. This distinction, written about as early as St. Augustine and St. Jerome, was detailed more explicitly by St. Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologica, A.D. 1270, II II, 84, 1 (http://www.newadvent.org/summa/308401.htm): "Reverence is due to God on account of His excellence, which is communicated to certain creatures not in equal measure, but according to a measure of proportion; and so the reverence which we pay to God, and which belongs to latria, differs from the reverence which we pay to certain excellent creatures; this belongs to dulia, and we shall speak of it further on (II II 103 3 (http://www.newadvent.org/summa/310303.htm))"; in this next article St. Thomas writes: "Wherefore dulia, which pays due service to a human lord, is a distinct virtue from latria, which pays due service to the lordship of God. It is, moreover, a species of observance, because by observance we honor all those who excel in dignity, while dulia properly speaking is the reverence of servants for their master, dulia being the Greek for servitude." From St. Thomas it is apparent that a clear distinction exists among latria and forms of dulia within Catholic theology.

Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Eastern Orthodox Christians especially adore with latria during their religious service, the Mass or Divine Liturgy. Other religious groups, such as Protestants and Muslims, do not have a Eucharistic sacrifice; Catholics consider that they literally participate in the sacrifice at the foot of Calvary, that what Christ offered once "participates in the divine eternity" (CCC 1085 (http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2s1c1a1.htm#II)), and thus have a very active sense of the worship of latria.

Protestants and others fault Catholic and Orthodox Christians for revering Mary or the Saints, declaring their distinction among latria, hyperdulia, and dulia to be hair-splitting, and furthermore reject Augustine, Jerome, Thomas de Aquina, and others as authorities. Protestantism considers the Catholic conception of the central religious service to be an error, arguing that the sacrifice of the Cross was unique (which Catholics also believe), and needn't and shouldn't be repeated, Heb 6:6, 9:25-28 (http://bible.gospelcom.net./cgi-bin/bible?passage=Heb+6-9). Catholics counter this with verses such as Malachi 1:10-11 (http://www.biblestudytools.net/OnlineStudyBible/bible.cgi?word=Malachi+1%3A10-11&version=rhe) and by stating that they don't "repeat" the Sacrifice of the Cross but they re-present it (make it present again). Protestantism also contends that the sacrificial aspect of Mass was unknown to the Primitive Church and is opposed to the Bible both in its general sense and specific instructions. The former assertion is a question of historical fact which Catholics answer with the writings of the early Christians and the Church Fathers; the latter is a matter of Scriptural interpretation, which Catholics contend is determined by the Church's Magisterium (bound by "Sacred Tradition"), and which Protestants contend is determined by the individual.

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