Anyone keeping up with this debate so far? Leave a comment and let me know what you think.
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In your opening statement, you wrote: "Bede “the Venerable” (672-735) reports in his Ecclesiastical History of England that a bishop cured a sick woman with holy water (see here), and that devils were cast out by it (see here)."Well, before we begin, here is the passage from Bede's Ecclesiastical History were he reports that demons were cast out by holy water:
I would respectfully submit to you that in the latter case, the devils were cast out by the use of soil, not water, according to your source, and that the water involved in conferring special powers to the soil was not consecrated water, but water that had touched a relic.
Do you concur?
- "Then they poured out the water in which they had washed the bones, in a corner of the cemetery. From that time, the very earth which received that holy water, had the power of saving grace in casting out devils from the bodies of persons possessed" (see here).
As for your second point, how the water is made holy does seem to be as important as the fact that, at the end of the day, water is being used to expel demons. This shows that the use of water to achieve that purpose is far from superstitious ("superstition" of course being the attribution of magical effect to an object or practice that actually has no such effect).