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.

21 Comments

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

  2. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. I was a Roman Catholic, raised as a Roman Catholic. I left the Roman Catholic faith about 20 years ago.
    My catholic relatives says they do not worship the statues or pray to statues. But I see them kneel, bow down and pray before those statues. They say, they only venerate them. I told them I don’t see any difference between the word venerate and worship. Their action is the same: bow down, kneel down, lying flat down, etc…Educated or Harvard graduate catholics may know the difference but the common Roman catholics – they don’t and if you watch them how they pray in front of a statue, you will have a goose bumps – it is scary….

  16. Thank you for visiting, Ernie. I totally agree with you because I was in the same boat as they are. I did in fact “worship” Mary as I knelt before her statue. I said countless rosaries at her feet and felt closer to her because of it. No one can tell me that I didn’t feel as though I was worshipping her because I did. My priest never corrected me in this matter. You are right, it IS scary. It is VERY scary because thousands and millions of catholics are dying and going to Hell all because they have believed man instead of God’s word!! 🙁 Again, thank you for visiting, Ernie!

  17. Jesus is lord and you are write what you say about catholics for the entrance will be wide but enter into the narrow because very few find it and dont turn to the right or the left read about dileverane in the bible and get santified .

  18. Thank you for stopping by, Jen, and leaving your feedback!!! I appreciate the words of encouragement!

  19. Kate u should b ashamed of ur self having a website to bash other religions and getting everyone to gossip, and saying people r going to die! Only God can judge, Ask for forgiveness ASAP, I’ll b praying for u also trust me ull need it.

  20. Thank you for your comment, Star. I am not judging someone’s salvation as that is not for me to judge, but God. However, we are to judge all teaching which is done in the name of Jesus Christ by comparing it with God’s Word:

    Acts 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

    1 Cor 14:29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.

    1 Tim 1:3 As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,

    1 Cor 2:15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.

    1 Cor 5:3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, [concerning] him that hath so done this deed,

    1 Cor 5:12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?

    1 Cor 6:2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?

    1 Cor 6:3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?

    Anyone who knows me, knows that I do not say anything on this blog to hurt but to point them to the Word of God. This is where truth can be found.

    John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

    Star, we are going to be judged by our obedience to God’s Word. I was raised catholic and can only point people to God’s Word according to what was taught to me as a catholic. Is God’s Word truth or not? God says that every man is a liar but His Word is truth!

    John 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.

    I am not ashamed of God’s Word. It has the power to save those who are lost. I will continue to proclaim His truth through His Word as long as I breathe!

    Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

  21. Any type of Idolatry always misrepresents GOD ALMIGHTY!! If anyone represents GOD in any form or likeness this totally diminishes His glory. Often people will try to justify their idolatry by saying that they are just using these idols to help them worship. But the “god” that is worshiped with such helps is NOT the GOD of the Bible. “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” John 4:24

    Let’s look at what Moses said in Deuteronomy 4.15-20; when speaking to the Israelites as he gave them this somber warning!! “Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the Lord spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire: Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female, The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air, The likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth: And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the Lord thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven. But the Lord hath taken you, and brought you forth out of the iron furnace, even out of Egypt, to be unto him a people of inheritance, as ye are this day.”

    Another reason why idolatry is wrong is because it requires giving glory and honor to created things rather than to the true and living God of the Bible who is the Creator of ALL things. In Isaiah 42:8; God made it very clear that: “I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.”

    Let’s also look at the account of when the apostle Paul preached to the men of Athens in the book of Acts—chapter 17. “Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things.” Acts 17:22-25

    Ultimately, the fundamentals of idolatry comes down to a sinful refusal to worship the GOD of the Bible, We must recognize that any form of idolatry is a manifestation of rebellion in the heart towards the LORD. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” Jeremiah 17:9-10

    In the book of Romans Paul sends a very clear warning in the following verses!! “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.” Romans 1:21-23.

    May we always remember that the Bible is the final authority in all matters of truth versus error. Do not look to your own logic or to religion for the answers…..it will always lead you down a wrong path. Jesus warned of that in Luke 6:39; “And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?”

    In these last days so many misunderstand the truth and adopt their own ideas of “religion” instead of following Christ. We all naturally seek to adopt ideas and philosophies to help us cope with this world around us. Proverbs 14:12 warns us ‘There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Unfortunately, the god of this present world {Satan} is constantly trying to keep us from getting to know and follow Jesus Christ. He uses whatever means he can to accomplish this task, even if it is to use a false “religion” or “morality” to do so. We must remember that we do not operate in a void. There are many various religions in this world. There are millions of opinions, ideas and philosophies all around us and we inevitably end up adopting some of them In the end, there is only one source of truth, that is, the Holy Word of God. Hebrews 4:12-13; “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.”

    Many will say that we are not to judge others. The fact is that we make judgments every moment of our lives. What Christ expects is that we judge ourselves before others and before we stand at His judgment seat. God says that He will judge by one standard, His Word. From this truth no one can escape. We are all accountable to search the scriptures for ourselves to find His truth.

    “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9

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