Santa Muerte and The Catholic Church
Mexico's Catholic Church has deemed Santa Muerte's followers of mixing Christianity with devil-worshiping cultism. In the country, the Catholic Church has linked Santa Muerte to Satanist practices, saying she is being used to mislead desperate people. Priests regularly chastise parishioners that death is not a person but rather a phase of life. In addition they state that Santa Muerte is an idol, the worship of which has been rejected by God since the Old Testament. Worship of this or any other idol can be a form of devil-worship, regardless of the intent of the worshipers, as the Devil can trick people into doing similar things. However, the Church stops short of labeling such followers as heretics, instead accusing them as guilty of heterodoxy.
Another reason the Church condemns worship of Santa Muerte is that her rites are based on Catholic liturgy. It is felt that at best the worship of a “Saint or Holy Death” is a misinterpretation of Catholic doctrine. A holy death or muerte santa means that the deceased has had the benefits of being spiritually prepared for death via the sacraments and confession, but the concept is not personified.
Yet another reason for the condemnation is that some of its devotees eventually split from the Catholic Church and began vying for control of Catholic buildings.
Some Catholic and Protestant churches both view the worship as a kind of cult of black magic that needs to be condemned as trickery. Nonetheless, the majority of devotees to Santa Muerte do not worry about any contradiction between the church and the worship of Santa Muerte.
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