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Neither Angel nor Beast by Francis X.J. Coleman

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21

LIFE IN THE CHURCH

As Pascal’s asceticism deepened, he began to conceive of life in the Church as an intricate and closed system of discipline. Sacraments, feast days and days of obligation, rituals, litanies and prayers were so many methods of subduing desires of the flesh and of humbling the natural arrogance of reason. In face of the unfathomableness of being in the world, the Church offered a system of practices which to the skeptic appear obsessive and unproductive, but to the believer gain meaning and comfort within the basic postulates of the system.

The Church rests upon apostolic succession; the idea that the twelve apostles were impostures is ‘absurd.’ It is counter to human nature, Pascal argues, to imagine the apostles meeting ...

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