Beware the Radacious Priesthood

The Universalist Quotes of the Day posted here are drawn from explicitly Universalist sources, which in practical terms means they are almost always pre-1961 (when the Universalists consolidated with the Unitarians).  Since the 19th century was the true heyday of Universalist publishing, that’s the actual era that most of the quotes tend to come from.  Although it’s not all that far removed from our own time, occasionally words pop up in the old primary sources that make you scratch your head.  Today’s quote offers such an example.

Rev. Jacob Frieze cautions his readers that a critical time in Christianity is at hand, and warns that we may backslide into the dark ages, when a “radacious” priesthood held the human race in bondage.

What in the world is “radacious?”  Is it a misprint, intended to be “rapacious?”  That’s certainly plausible, since rapacious was a common term often used by Universalists and Unitarians alike to describe the Catholic priesthood, or even their Calvinist opponents in moments of great heat and fervor.  Is radacious a term that was known back then, but has dropped out of common usage?  If so, it might be a combination of “rapacious” and “audacious” or “radically” and “rapacious,” all of which would accurately capture the sentiment of the passage.  Or perhaps it has some other root?

For what it’s worth, “radacious” is actually in the language today, though it is an infrequent term used in a specific subculture.  In surfing slang, radacious is a synonym for “bodacious,” as in “That wave was totally radacious, dude!”  In this context it seems to be a combination of “radical” and “bodacious,” two more common surfer words.  But this is clearly a recent innovation.  Granted that Rev. Frieze did indeed preach in a coastal state (Rhode Island), it’s still rather hard to picture him boldly proclaiming the gospel of universal love to his fellow surfers while hanging ten on a totally tubular wave. . .

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1 Comment

Filed under Liberal Religious History, Universalism

One response to “Beware the Radacious Priesthood

  1. Rev. Frieze also lived several years in coastal North Carolina (and edited the state’s first Universalist newspaper ‘THE LIBERALIST”) – there is some surfing in NC, and at least one Universalist Church in the area hangs his picture in the parlor – no idea if he was NC’s first hot-dogger though….

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