By Thomas Horn
Human Life International reported yesterday that some South African's are calling for ancestor worship and animal sacrifices to be included in the liturgy of the Mass. According to Archbishop Buti Tlhagale of Bloemfontein, plans to include African pagan rites during the Mass is in response to the Vatican's invitation to "inculturate" Catholic rites.
Hearing that both priests and lay people were making such plans, an outraged Father Richard Welch, President of Human Life International, steamed, "In the letter to the Hebrews, Saint Paul discussed the Sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross with the following words: 'For it is impossible that with the blood of oxen and goats sin should be taken awayâ€¦Sacrifice and oblation thou would notâ€¦Behold, I comeâ€¦He takes away the first, that he may establish that which followsâ€¦we are sanctified by the oblation of the body of Jesus Christ once.'"
"This means that all animal and other such sacrifices to God ended with the sacrifice of His Son on the Cross. To distort and change that perfect oblation of the body and blood of Jesus Christ is an abomination," said Father Welch. "The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that superstition, idolatry, divination and magic are perversions of the virtue of religon. It is a sacrilege to profane the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and it is an especially grave sin when committed against the Holy Eucharist."
UNIVERSAL PAGAN ORIGINS
In Mardi Gras and Rio Carnival owe soul to Dionysus, Raiders News Update pointed out that Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and revelry, was believed to be "the craving within man that longs to 'let itself go' and to 'give itself over' to the baser earthly desires." Such Dionystic abandonment included animal sacrifice, ancestor worship, and corruption of the concepts of Holy Communion.
Like those hoping to join animal sacrifices with the Mass, followers of Dionysus resisted every effort to control paganism. They believed that Dionysus visited a terrible madness upon those who tried to deny him his free expression. Conversely, people who gave themselves over to the will of Dionysus were rewarded with unlimited psychological and physical delights.
Mythical systems of mental punishments and physical rewards based on resistance and/or submission to Dionysus, were both symbolically and literally illustrated in the cult rituals of the Bacchae, as the Bacchae women (Greek women who participated in the mysteries of Dionysus) migrated in frenzied hillside groups, dressed transvestite in fawn skins and accompanied by ritual sacrifices, screaming, music, dancing, and licentious behavior.
When, for instance, a baby animal was too young and lacking in instinct to sense the danger and run away from the revelers, it was picked up and suckled by nursing mothers who participated in the hillside rituals. But when older animals sought to escape the marauding Bacchae, they were considered "resistant" to the will of Dionysus and were torn apart and eaten alive as a part of the fevered ritual. Human participants were sometimes subjected to the same orgiastic cruelty, as the rule of the cult was "anything goes," including bloodletting, beastiality, etc. Later versions of the ritual (Bacchanalia) expanded to include male revelers, and perversions of sexual behavior were often worse between men than they were between men and women. Anyone daring to resist Dionysus was subjected to sparagmos ("torn apart') and omophagia ("consumed raw").
In B.C. 410, Euripides wrote of the bloody rituals of the Bacchae in his famous play, The Bacchantes:
...the Bacchantes....with hands that bore no weapon of steel, attacked our cattle as they browsed. Then wouldst thou have seen Agave mastering some sleek lowing calf, while others rent the heifers limb from limb. Before thy eyes there would have been hurling of ribs and hoofs this way and that, and strips of flesh, all blood be-dabbled, dripped as they hung from the pine branches. Wild bulls, that glared but now with rage along their horns, found themselves tripped up, dragged down to earth by countless maidens hands.
Euripedes went on to describe how Pentheus, the King of Thebes, was torn apart and eaten alive by his own mother as, according to the play, she fell under the spell of Dionysus.
SUPERNATURAL COMMUNION THROUGH BLOOD SACRIFICE
The tearing apart and eating alive of sacrificial victims may refer to the earliest history of the cult of Dionysus. An ancient and violent cult ritual existing since the dawn of paganism stipulated that, by eating alive, or by drinking the blood, of an enemy or an animal, a person might somehow capture the essence or "soul-strength" of the victim. The earliest Norwegian huntsmen believed in this idea, and they drank the blood of bears in an effort to capture their physical strength. East African Masai warriors also practiced omophagia, and they sought to gain the strength of the wild by drinking the blood of lions. Human victims were treated in this way by Arabs before Mohammed, and head-hunters of the East Indies practiced omophagia in an effort to capture the essence of their enemies.
The Maya and the Toltecs practiced similar ritual human sacrifice, cutting the heart from tens of thousands of living victims and drinking their blood.
[Photo inset: August Le Plongeon christened the reclining Maya figure at the summit of the Temple of the Warriors a "chacmool," a ritual figure believed to be a messenger to the gods. The dish on its stomach held the heart of the sacrificial victim.]
Today, omophagia is practiced by certain Voodoo sects as well as by cult Satanists. Such modern omophagia illustrates a continuing effort on the part of Satan to distort the original revelations of God. Eating human flesh and drinking human blood as an attempt to "become one" with the devoured is, in many cases, a demonization of the Eucharist, or Holy Communion.
But sparagmos and omophagia, as practiced by the followers of Dionysus, was not an attempt of transubstantiation (as in the Catholic Eucharist), nor of consubstantiation (as in the Lutheran communion), nor yet of a symbolic ordinance (as in the fundamentalist denomination), all of which have as a common goal the elevating of the worshipper into a sacramental communion with God. The goal of the Bacchae was the opposite: The frenzied dance; the thunderous song; the licentious behavior; the tearing apart and eating alive; all were efforts on the part of the Bacchae to capture the essence of the god (Dionysus) and bring him down into an incarnated rage within man. The idea was not one of holy communion, but of possession by the spirit of Dionysus.
When one recalls the horrific animal and human sacrifices made by the followers of Dionysus, it's easy to understand Father Welch's outrage: "â€¦if a Greek bishop requested permission to unite Easter Mass with a sacrifice to Demeter [see Raiders News Update article on Easter], he would be an object of mockery. This is a blatant contradiction of the first commandment hiding in the sheep's clothes of diversity. These practices were begun in the worship of false gods."
Father Welch concludes, "The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is a hidden treasure of graces obtained for us by Jesus Christ with His Death at Calvary. As we begin the Lenten Season and commemorate the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ, we must pray that the people of South Africa, and all those who dissent from the Church, will return to the one true and eternal faith."
By Thomas Horn
Copyright Â© 2000 Thomas Horn. Article reprinted with permission from the Author.
Special Thanks from Worthy News to Thomas Horn for this excellent article.