What is Sacrilege? Definition of Sacrilege, Sacrilege Meaning

The sacrilege is an act or speech that represents a lack of respect for those objects, people or symbols that others consider sacred.

The person who commits it is called sacrilegious, and if his act constitutes a deliberate crime against a sacred object, it is usually spoken of desecration.

In the religious sphere, which is where it mostly has an extended and special use, the term sacrilege is used to refer to any act that is considered a lack of respect for the sacraments or the different sacred figures that are part of a belief or particular religion, given that they are treated disrespectfully or profane use of the sacred is made.

Sacrilege can be committed accidentally or voluntarily and always means some type of aggression or lack of respect, both verbal and physical, towards such elements mentioned and traditionally considered as sacred.

Sacrilege is for different religions one of the most dishonorable and serious acts that a person can commit. This is so since it means non-respect and non-appreciation of the importance that certain symbols or religious figures have for each religion.

History of sacrilege

The notions of sacred and profane vary enormously in time and according to the human group considered, in such a way that there is no objective sacrilege.

The Latin word sacrilegÄ­um became, in our language, sacrilege. Originally, sacrilege in Roman law was limited to the theft of a sacred thing, but during the Middle Ages, its meaning spread.

Sacrilege can be oriented to an individual, a place or an object. Suppose a man insults a bishop: this lack of respect for the religious can be considered as personal sacrilege.

On the other hand, the adolescent who writes graffiti on the altar of a church will have committed a local sacrilege. If what is damaged or violated is something truly sacred for the religious, such as a relic or the host, it will speak of royal sacrilege.

Whoever commits the sacrilege is called sacrilegious. A sacrilegious subject, in this way, is one who attempts against what other people perceive as something sacred or worthy of absolute respect.

It is worth mentioning that the meaning of this concept has varied on more than one occasion throughout history, as well as that of profane (something that is not considered sacred or useful for uses related to the sacred, but rather confined to the secular realm, or something that is disrespectful to the symbols of religion).

Another factor, in addition to the passage of time, that has affected and continues to affect the conception of the term sacrilege is the social group in which it is analyzed. In other words, it is not possible to speak of sacrilege in an objective and generalized way.

Many centuries ago, Roman law understood sacrilege as the theft of an object considered sacred, such as a statue or a reliquary, for example. However, throughout the Middle Ages its meaning acquired new nuances and included other actions.

As a proper name, "Sacrilegio" is a work by the British artist Jeremy Deller that consists of a real-scale replica of Stonehenge as a "bouncy castle". It has been exhibited in various parts of the world, always with the purpose of inviting observers to "take off their shoes and start jumping." Its total area exceeds a thousand square meters, almost a world record.

It is a work that seeks to reflect on the role of art in society, the importance of approaching it to enjoy and learn. It is important to remember that Stonehenge, for its part, is also visited every year by thousands of people with different objectives, both to enjoy the imposing structure and the mysticism that surrounds it and to celebrate the summer solstice.

Beyond religious considerations, it is often said that certain actions are sacrilege when they are contrary to something established with deep roots or to what is held in high esteem. In this way, a lover of gastronomy can affirm that drinking a wine of great quality and value to accompany a hamburger is a sacrilege, since this type of drink is supposed to be reserved for other types of dishes.

Fans of a famous person, such as a singer or a movie star, for example, may also signal a derogatory comment towards their idol as sacrilege. Given the adoration that such individuals feel for their favorite artist, they place him in a position that could be considered sacred, and that is why it makes sense to use this term to describe the insults against him.