Monday, April 20, 2009

Why do Catholics kneel in front of statues of Mary & saints?

Did you know that Catholics often kneel down in front of stone and wooden statues of Mary and the saints? Sure sounds a lot like idol worship to me!

Interesting logic; how many non-Catholics are therefore guilty of worshiping the Bible? I don’t know how many people I know who have knelt in front of the Bible in earnest prayer. I’ve never thought they worshipped the Bible itself; that would be, well, silly.

Statues, relics, icons, and the like are used by Catholics for many purposes. In one sense they’re like a family album for us. In the early days of the Church (well, over half the existence of the Church, now that I think of it) the majority of people couldn’t read, so visible icons, statues, and stained glass were the only “books” people had to see the story of the Gospels.

More to the point of this post, Catholics kneel before statues, hold rosaries, put crucifixes on their walls, and use objects so freely because humans are physical people. We have physical bodies. Physical reminders of God help us focus on God.

You can tell me about the scourging of Jesus, or I can watch The Passion of the Christ and in one five-minute, gut-wrenching scene, I’ll have a much clearer idea of what it was like.

Have you ever had a loved one go away? Have you ever taken a picture of them, or something of theirs that has their scent, to help you remember them? Why? It helps our memories focus on who they are, and what they mean to us.

Thoughts can be slippery, it can be hard to concentrate, a million things can distract us. Having a physical icon to focus on helps us to keep our minds in the right place and on track; whether we’re focusing on our God or on our loved one.

We don’t worship statues or icons; the thought that a carved chunk of wood is Mary (whom we don’t worship anyway) or is Jesus is absurd. We kneel in prayer to our lord, Jesus Christ, but the presence of a statue, or other icon, helps us stay connected.


Anonymous said...

Roman pagans had their pantheon of patrons -one for this one for that (farming, fertility business,love, protection of there city or village). Did it carry over when Constantine decreed christianity the state religion ? Did pagan Rome just fully convert, ALL things becoming new ,or did they keep some of their paganism but just dressed it in christianity ? Hence, a saint for every day and for every occasion and for every village to plead your cause (very extra or even unbiblical, but very Roman)

Ace Angel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ace Angel said...

According to BIBLE (which is God's words not Pope or any human)

God has commanded us in Exodus 20:5 NOT TO BOW DOWN to any man made image. Even if you're not worshipping Mary, you ARE SINNING if you bow down to her because the Bible strictly forbids it! 

I kneel on my knees and look up into sky to seek His presence through Jesus Christ. No cross and no statue ...

Dan said...

Thanks for the comment, Ace.

You're interpreting Ex 20:5 to say "Don't bow down to anything".

I'd say Ex 20:4-5 is clear that:

1: Don't make idols (verse 4)
2: Don't worship idols (verse 5)

If you say verse 5 means "don't bow down to anything" then verse 4 also means "don't make anything".

That's nonsensical, especially if you think about Numbers Numbers 21:8 where God commanded Moses to make a bronze serpent that had the power to heal people bitten by snakes. Clearly Ex 20:4 only forbids making idols, it doesn't forbid making other things that resemble stuff in heaven, earth, etc. If verse 4 only forbids making idols then verse 5 only forbids bowing down to idols.

More, I also find it very clear that Scripture equates "bowing down" and "worshiping". In no way does Ex 20:5 say "you can't bow down to idols, even if you're not really worshiping them". I don't see the text making a distinction between bowing down and worshiping and I don't see it anywhere else in the Bible. The passage is forbidding worship of idols, which is exceptionally different from bowing down before a cross while praying to God.

Thank you for your sincere belief and your concern. In this matter, I feel your concerns are unfounded.