St. Patrick’s Bad Analogies


July 3, 2013 by mattfradd


The Catechism teaches that, “The Trinity is One. We do not confess three Gods, but one God in three persons, the ‘consubstantial Trinity’.

The divine persons do not share the one divinity among themselves but each of them is God whole and entire: ‘The Father is that which the Son is, the Son that which the Father is, the Father and the Son that which the Holy Spirit is, i.e. by nature one God.’

In the words of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215), “Each of the persons is that supreme reality, viz., the divine substance, essence or nature.” (CCC 253)

When it comes to analogies for the Trinity, most muddy the waters rather than clarify the concept.

This fun little video explains why:

3 thoughts on “St. Patrick’s Bad Analogies

  1. Mel Arda says:

    I’m laughing to this :)) “”But remember we are simple people without your fancy education and books and learning, and we’re hearing all of this in the first time, so try to keep it simple, okay Patrick” . How come the twins know everything then about Modualism and Arianism? hahaha. Poor Patrick!

  2. ajb says:

    The point of a metaphor, though, is to help to understand some aspect of a concept. The shamrock is *useful* in certain contexts. Yes, it can be misleading, but any metaphor can be misleading when taken out of its intended context (or it can be suggestive, depending).

    I don’t think these metaphors need to muddy the waters – they rather give a partial view of something for the purposes of doing certain things in our life. Saying it is incomprehensible is useful for certain purposes, but for others more concrete metaphors are more useful, it seems to me.

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