Catholics Venerate Statues


The 1994 Catholic Catechism states:

“Sacred images in our churches and homes are intended to awaken and nourish our faith in the mystery of Christ. Through the icon of Christ and his works of salvation, it is he whom we adore. Through sacred salvation, it is he whom we adore. Through sacred images of the holy Mother of God, of the angels and of the saints, we venerate the persons represented.” Pg. 307, #1192

Dear catholic, it does not matter what “reason” you have for having a statue in your home. It does not matter that you venerate the person and not the statue itself. What does matter is that God says we should not have the statue – PERIOD.

If I want to honor your mother, all you have to do is to think of her. She is ever present in your thoughts and in your heart, right? Do you need a picture of her to remind you of her?

The 1994 Catholic Catechism does not even pretend that this doctrine came from God:

Following the divinely inspired teaching of our holy Fathers and the tradition of the Catholic Church (for we know that this tradition comes from the Holy Spirit who dwells in her) we rightly define with full certainty and correctness that, like the figure of the precious and life-giving cross, venerable and holy images of our Lord and God and Savior, Jesus Christ, our inviolate Lady, the holy Mother of God, and the venerated angels, all the saints and the just, whether painted or made of mosaic or another suitable material, are to be exhibited in the holy churches of God, on sacred vessels and vestments, walls and panels, in houses and on streets.” Pg. 300, #1161

This doctrine came from the “holy Fathers” and “tradition of the Catholic Church.” So, my catholic friend, are you to believe that these holy Fathers were “divinely inspired” to violate God’s Word? Would God contradict Himself?

The Catholic church contends that idols will “awaken and nourish” your faith in “the mystery of Christ.” I don’t need a picture of my mother or a bust of her to remind me of her. I think of her every single day. Why do you, my catholic friend, need a statue to remind you of Christ? Should He not be foremost in your heart and mind anyway? If you need a picture or a statue to bring you to a state of worship in your heart, then your heart is in the wrong place. When one is born-again and saved from eternal damnation, Christ is foremost in that person’s heart and all his thoughts are consumed with His love and what He has done. We do not need to be reminded when we look at a statue or picture. We have Him imprinted on our very heart!

God’s Word forbids their use. Who will you obey?

(Lev 26:1) Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God.

Mark 7:8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men.

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About Maranatha

Desire to be a testimony for the Lord Jesus Christ and to lead others to Him!
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15 Responses to Catholics Venerate Statues

  1. Stan says:

    Don’t Catholics worship idols and make graven images of these statues?

  2. Kate says:

    Catholics will not admit that they are idol worshippers because they honestly don’t think that this is what they are doing. I know I did not think I was until I came across the Ten Commandments and I was convicted. 😦

  3. Mark says:

    Hello Kate, How are you?

    I would like to make some comments about this topic of icons and images. First of all, some people who do not know better sometimes make this ridiculous claim that Catholics worship statues. Not only is this untrue, it is even untrue that Catholics honor statues. After all, a statue is nothing but a carved block of marble or a chunk of plaster, and no one gives honor to marble yet unquarried or to plaster still in the mixing bowl. It is right to warn people against the sin of idolatry when they are committing it. But calling Catholics idolaters because they have images of Christ and the saints is based on misunderstanding or ignorance of what the Bible says about the purpose and uses (both good and bad) of statues. The Catholic Church teaches that only God is to be worshipped: to worship anything created is to commit the serious sin of idolatry. And the Catholic Church does not believe any statue or image has any power in and of itself. The beauty of statues and icons move us to contemplation of the Word of God as he is himself or as he works in his saints. And, according to Scripture, as well as the testimony of the centuries, God even uses them at times to impart blessings (e.g., healings) according to his providential plan.

    Religious art served the Christian Church well in the period prior to the Reformation. In an age when many people were illiterate, religious art was a teaching tool of the Gospel stories to children, simple farmers, and peasants. Just as many Protestants have pictures of Jesus and other Bible pictures in Sunday school for teaching children. Furthermore, religious art can aid in prayer by giving the person praying something to focus their gaze and concentration to help prevent wandering thoughts. Images of the saints remind us that we are connected to a long tradition and that we worship God with the communion of angels and saints in heaven even as we gather here on earth. The making and use of religious statues is a thoroughly biblical practice. Anyone who says otherwise doesn’t know his or her Bible.

  4. Kate says:

    Hi Mark, thanks for stopping by. If catholics do not worship or venerate statues, then why have them? If a catholic isn’t really praying TO the statue or bowing BEFORE the statue in his heart, then why do it when the Word of God says not to? Better to obey what God says in the Bible DOES than to be confused and follow a religion that encourages things like these – which are quite contrary to God’s Word. You can make it religion art all you want, but the catholic still kneels before the statue which puts the catholic into a position of prayer to whom the statue represents. It’s just symantics, Mark. You may say that you are not worshipping the statue. But in fact, when you kneel before a statue of Mary, it puts you in a “state” of worship for the person the statue represents. Only God deserves our attention of any kind. Remember, the Bible says He is a jealous God and does not wish to share our veneration, our worship, our prayers, our love, etc. with anyone!

  5. Mark says:

    Hi Kate, Here are some comments by St. John of Damascus, which I think will help you with your first question. (If catholics do not worship or venerate statues, then why have them?) And I’ll get to your other question soon.

    St John of Damascus gives us some reasoning on the issue, On the Divine Images, 1:16-17:

    16. In former times God, who is without form or body, could never be depicted. But now when God is seen in the flesh conversing with men, I make an image of the God whom I see. I do not worship matter; I worship the Creator of matter who became matter for my sake, who willed to take His abode in matter; who worked out my salvation through matter. Never will I cease honoring the matter which wrought my salvation! I honor it, but not as God. How could God be born out of things which have no existence in themselves? God’s body is God because it is joined to His person by a union which shall never pass away. The divine nature remains the same; the flesh created in time is quickened by a reason-endowed soul. Because of this I salute all remaining matter with reverence, because God has filled it with His grace and power. Through it my salvation has come to me. Was not the thrice-happy and thrice-blessed wood of the cross matter? Was not the holy and exalted mountain of Calvary matter? What of the life-bearing rock, the holy and life-giving tomb, the fountain of our resurrection, was it not matter? Is not the ink in the most holy Gospel book matter? Is not the life-giving altar made of matter? From it we receive the bread of life! Are not gold and silver matter? From them we make crosses, patens, chalices! And over and above all these things, is not the Body and Blood of our Lord matter? Reverence God and His friends; follow the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Do not despise matter, for it is not despicable. God has made nothing despicable. To think such things is Manichaeism. Only that which does not have its source in God is despicable – that which is our own invention, our willful choice to disregard the law of God – namely, sin. If you despise and abhor the command to make images because they are material things, consider the words of Scripture: “And the Lord said to Moses: See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Aur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the spirit of God with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver and bronze, in cutting stones for setting and in carving wood, for work of every craft. And behold, I have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, and I have given ability to all able men, that they may make all that I have commanded you.” (Ex. 31:1-6) …

    17. We use all our senses to produce worthy images of Him, and we sanctify the noblest of the senses, which is that of sight. For just as words edify the ear, so also the image stimulates the eye. What the book is to the literate, the image is to the illiterate. Just as words speak to the ear, so the image speaks to the sight; it brings us understanding. For this reason God ordered the ark to be constructed of wood which would not decay, and to be gilded outside and in, and for the tablets to be placed inside, with Aaron’s staff and the golden urn containing the manna, in order to provide a remembrance of the past, and an image of the future. Who can say that these were not images, heralds sounding from far off? They were not placed aside in the meeting-tent, but were brought forth in the sight of all the people, who gazed upon them and used them to offer praise and worship to God. Obviously they were not adored for their own sake, but through them the people were led to remember the wonders of old and to worship God, the worker of wonders. They were images serving as memorials; they were not divine, but led to the remembrance of divine power.

  6. Kate says:

    No offense, Mark, but your St John of Damascus will not be the one who will judge me – but the Bible says that Jesus will use His Word to judge me.

    (Joh 12:47) And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.

    (Joh 12:48 ) He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

    (Joh 12:49) For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.

    (Joh 12:50) And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.

    I will not follow after what a man says but after what the Word of God says.

  7. Mark says:

    Kate, while it can certainly be understood how a superficial reading of the ten commandment could lead one to believe that Catholics are in grave error with regard to our use of statues and icons, the key to a proper understanding of the commandment is found in verse 5 of Exodus 20: “You shall not bow down to them or serve [worship] them.”

    God forbids the worship of images as gods, but he doesn’t ban the making of images. If he had, religious movies, videos, photographs, paintings, and all similar things would be banned. God actually commanded the making of images. Just five chapters later, God commanded Moses to build the Ark of the Covenant, which would contain the presence of God and was to be venerated as the holiest place in all of Israel. Here is what God commanded Moses concerning the statues on it: And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub on the one end, and one cherub on the other end; of one piece with the mercy seat shall you make the cherubim on its two ends (Ex. 25:18–19) (Ex 26:1). Was this the sin of idolatry? I think not.
     
    In Numbers 21:8–9, not only did our Lord order Moses to make another statue in the form of a bronze serpent, but he commanded the children of Israel to look at it in order to be healed. The context of the passage is one where Israel had rebelled against God, and a plague of deadly snakes was sent as a just punishment. This statue of a snake had no power of itself—we know from John 3:14 that it was merely a type of Christ—but God used this image of a snake as an instrument to effect healing in his people. There was no problem with this statue—God had commanded it to be made—so long as people did not worship it. When they did, the righteous king Hezekiah had it destroyed (2 Kgs. 18:4). This actually speaks very loud to the distinction of worshipping God through art and worshipping the art object as a God itself. When Moses created the Snake at God’s command he was doing it for the glory of God. This clearly shows the difference between the proper religious use of statues and idolatry.

    (to be continued)

    Peace,
    Mark

  8. Kate says:

    Mark, No matter how much you will write here at my blog on this subject, you will not be able to convince me otherwise. If God saw fit to place particular commandment in His Ten Commandments to His people, then it was important and He would not contradict Himself. You cannot tell me that catholics do not venerate their statues because they do. No amount of posts here will convince me otherwise when even catholic writings at the Vatican’s website and catholic.com’s website state that they do. You can skip the “to be continued” as it will not be published for all to see. The Word of God is the final authority at this blog, not catholic writings.

  9. Mark says:

    You said that I would not be able to convince you of anything. Well in my last post all I used was the Word of God (there was nothing from the Vatican’s website and maybe just a sentence or two from Catholic.com to complete my scriptural thoughts.) and it seems to be you didn’t and don’t want to here it. Well someone can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink!

  10. Kate says:

    I would not drink from the venomous waters of the roman system, Mark.

    Born-again Christians do not need to prove anything to a catholic because our proof is in the Word of God. The roman system, however, has the magisterium, the sacred traditions added to the Bible. Rev. 22:18-19 is still in the Bible and it says you are not to add to what it says. All catholic dogma contradicts the Word of God yet the roman system brainwashes its members by saying that the magisterium and sacred tradition state it can be so. All will be judged according to God’s Word, not man’s.

  11. Kate says:

    Mark, I thought about what you said in your comment about God not banning the making of images. You sited the cherubim on the Ark and the bronze serpent. In reading about both those things, no where did I find God commanding the people to kneel before the Ark of the Covenant. In fact, the people were burning incense to the brasen serpent – how odd that catholic priests burn incense before their altar.

    2Ki 18:4 He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.

  12. Jay says:

    Thank you for this rigorous discussion. I was raised in the catholic faith, but was liberated from it when I was in my 20s. I find the statues, gold ornaments, and pagentry in the Roman Catholic church appalling now. Christ and his disciples led a simple life. No doubt, they’d find the evolution of the catholic church to be offensive and contrary to the Holy Scriptures.

  13. Kate says:

    Thank you for stopping by Jay! I’m glad you were saved from the roman catholic church’s false doctrine. The Word says to follow the Apostles’ teachings as they followed Christ. None of them had gold and riches. That alone should raise a red flag to the catholics.

  14. Jay says:

    Yes, it continues to amaze me how catholics do not question the authority of their church. So often, their faith is based on tradition and teachings that they are told not to question. I can see why some liken it to a cult – as members are told to question the authority of those in charge is worthy of punishment.
    Imagine what good could be done in this world if the church were to sell its gold and riches and use the money to assist those in need. Instead, those in charge parade around churches with their garments and jewels. I would like to find one reference in Acts that describes the Christian church in that manner.

  15. nano says:

    Dear reader
    When the disciples asked Jesus, to teach them how to Pray
    Jesus answered, “Our Father who are in heaven, Hallowed be Your name…”
    He never taught His disciples to pray 10 Hail Mary, and one Our Father!
    Can you see something wrong with this picture? 10 Hail Mary verses one Our Father?
    Who are we worshipping here? “The creature rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:25)
    Jesus in His own word said, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not wothy of Me.
    And He who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:37-38)
    Thank you , for allowing me to share another scripture from the Holy Bible,
    Again, while Jesus was still talking to the multitudes, behold His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak to Him, “look your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.” But Jesus answered and said to the one who told Him,
    “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.” (MATTHEW 12:46-50)
    Also, Jesus, said”You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” how are we obeying His commandment while most of our focus and attention going to 10 Hail Mary and Only one our Father? Then our heart, mind, soul, and strength are not fixed on Our Maker. “Then we are already guilty of one commanment, “and if we are guilty of one, we are guilty of all”
    In Isaiah 42:8, it says, “I am the LORD, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another,
    Nor My praise to carved images.”
    But the Lord who is rich in mercy said, “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14)
    Thank you for allowing me to share with you, about our Beloved.

    ” If you hear God’s voice, do not harden your hearts.

    May God bless you!

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