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The Mortal Danger of Fanaticism


We have reviewed the following definitions of Fanaticism and Idolatry submitted to us (1). Regardless of their human sources, miguel de Portugal assures you that these definitions should be understood and heeded as if they had been dictated directly by God Almighty.

Take very special note of the reference about the blasphemy against the Spirit.

Fanaticism (Fanatic)

This term is generally defined as a passionate, blind, intractable zeal or admiration toward someone, a party, a religion, a doctrine, etc. This definition makes it clear that it is something extremely dangerous. In fact, faith in the revealed truth never requires a blind faith, excess, or violence. This is self-evident, and it suffices to condemn any fanaticism, wherever the fanaticism comes from. It is useless to say more about it.

We must be on guard against certain forms of fanaticism which are sometimes concealed under the guise of patriotism, morality, or religion. It then becomes a veritable caricature of these real values. People sometimes allow themselves to be led by persons dominated by pride, the hunger for power, a foolish narrowness of spirit, or by gain. This leads to intolerance, violence, racism, and their attendant suffering, as well as to terrorism.

Only love and the personal freedom of a person responsible to a personal God can alter one's life, and not ideologies or totalitarianism, even if these hide behind words which fool the naive. Thus it is necessary to combat all fanaticism, whether it appears in the form of dubious sects, pseudo-gurus, dishonest politicians, or even sectarian believers, who may be sincere, but who, in their narrow and rigid views, forget about the dignity of the person standing free before God. The latter desire to impose by force what they consider to be the true faith. The pride that comes from having a clean conscience can even turn religion into a weapon with which to beat others.

Fanaticism turns the object of faith into an idol. It is idolatrous. It sets up evil as good. It leads to blasphemy against the Spirit.

Idol (Idolatry)

As soon as we place absolute value on anything that is created, we turn it into an idol. Whenever we identify with God himself something which should only lead toward him, we make an idol of it -- we think that we possess God, whom even the heavens cannot contain. It is possible to turn the Bible, the Church, the liturgy, the law, or morality into idols. Fundamentalism, clericalism, ritualism, pharisaism, moralism, and many other "isms" are all forms of idolatry and lead to fanaticism.


We continue to issue the warnings and the alerts; that is all we can (and should) do. However, the casual or careless Faithful must remember that as each of them reads these lines, they are being marked by Heaven as Forewarned with all that it entails in regards to the application of Divine Justice (3) and Divine Mercy (4).

(1) Eastern Orthodox Catechism. Published by St. Vladimir's Seminary Press. Editor is Catherine Aslanoff; translator is Paul Meyendorff. pp 253-254 and 256
(2) "And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but to him that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven." [Luke 12:10]
(3) Understanding How Divine Justice Functions
(4) Regarding of the Application of Divine Mercy

Related Documents

A case study on religious fanaticism and brainwashing

Fanaticism is not part of the legacy of Jesus Christ

When money and material gain become idols

En Español:  Idolatría y El Peligro Mortal del Fanatismo

Em Português: 
Idolatria e O Perigo Mortal do Fanatismo

Published on July 19th, 2006 - European Union • Reissued on May 31st, 2010 - Feast of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary - European Union

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