A catholic having a statue of a hindu god at home?

I went to a catholic in my city that someone in a Catholic church I went to mentioned, whom I was told knows a lot about the Catholic faith and who can help me in my conversion.

I was grieved though because in his bookcase I saw a statue of a Hindu god/ess called Shiva, I think. With multiple arms. I recently studied Hinduism in high school, so I knew it looked like a hindu god/ess. Similar to this I think:


He also told me he came to the Catholic faith through a Catholic priest who had a course about Buddhist Zen meditation but with Catholic content. This priest is a prominent author in my country and many catholics here seem to like him. He was a monk I think. He passed away recently.

Should I rebuke him for this idol statue? I don’t know his motives for having it.

Should I keep having contact with him? Especially if I’d rebuke him and he justifies the statue?

It could just be for decoration.


Having a statue and worshipping it are two different things.

Frances Hodgson Burnett put it much better than I, over a century ago:


In my opinion better to have a lovely statue of Our Lady and Crucifix, as anything else like say a Buddha or whatever can cause scandal. We have enough beautiful things of our own, without going into someone’s else’s religion, other wise we could have a Jewish Menorah on our doors in the home, which also can be very decorative and beautiful.

Exactly. Just like some people have a Dream Catcher. Purely ornamental.

Even been to Rome? To the Vatican Museums? They are filled with priceless works of art, many of them from antiquity, and many of them of pagan gods or goddesses. I wouldn’t leap to condemn him. Worshiping a false god and having a statue for decoration are two very different things. If it really bothers you that much, ask him about it and why he keeps it. God bless.

Why would anyone want to decorate their house with a hindu god that is associated with death? It’s still a bad motive, since the motive contains irreverence toward God, whom worship alone is due, which we should encourage, and an idol is contrary to that. What impression would it give an unbeliever that a professing catholic has an idol in his house?

Isn’t this the sin of scandal?

No I haven’t. However, that doesn’t make it right either. The people of the Vatican aren’t impeccable.

the impression could just as easily be one of decoration.
Maybe a gift.
In appreciation of a business deal, I was given a small Hindu sculpture.
In deference to her culture, I accepted it, as it would have been rude for me not to.
To me, it’s a pretty sculture that just happens to be of her faith.
Not mine.

What Catholics choose to display in their homes as private decorations is up to them. Who is scandalized by it? Visitors? Why don’t they simply ask about it instead of jumping to conclusions?

We have a small statue of Baste, the Egyptian goddess of fertility in our curio because we have several cat statues, being that we’re cat fanciers. That’s all it means to us–a ancient depiction of a cat, and a very good depiction at that. It was so real to one of our cats that he shoved it off a shelf it used to be on out of jealousy. Still, it’s just a cat statue. We also had a cloth calendar with a picture of a cat another one of our cats thought was real. It’s all in the eye of the beholder.


If the the statue is an art object there is no problem. If it is used as an object of worship then there is.
However, with due respect for your sensitivities, apart from a blatent display of pornography, it is none of your business as to what anyone has in their home.
Remember Christ’s words:“Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”.

I probably wouldn’t choose to display a statue of a Hindu deity, a Buddha, an idol, or other non-Christian religious statue or icon in my home, but it’s hard to judge that person without knowing the intentions, motivations, and history of the item. It could have been a gift from a beloved family member or friend, or a work of art, etc.

Ummm… I don’t think you meant to say what you are implying here. It sounds like you are accusing the Magisterium (or at the very least, the caretakers at the Vatican) of sinful behavior. I’d be very careful about trying to be holier than the Church. :wink:

I think you may also be having some trouble with vocabulary. The way you are using the words implies that you are confused about what an “idol” is and what “scandal” is.

A statue of a Hindu god is not necessarily an idol. An idol is an image used for worship. If it’s not being used for worship, then… well, it’s just a statue. A work of art, or a gift or conversation piece or bookend or whatever. It has no power in and of itself.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (emphasis mine):
2284 Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor’s tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense.”

That wouldn’t really apply in this situation, since your friend isn’t leaving little sacrifices in front of the statue or asking his guests to worship it, as far as I can tell… :shrug:

Sounds like praying for a little humility might do some good. :gopray2:

If you have been to Rome as I have done, all the old Antiquities of the Old Roman Empire are kept in the Vatican Museum so tourists can see what the Romans of old believed in, and the craftsmanship of people so long ago.

However, in the Vatican itself there is none of this stuff, only Crucifix’s and Statues and paintings of Our Lady and the Saints. I would not be impressed if I was in the Vatican and I saw Buddha, and all the Indian Gods with the many hands, or anything else that was not Catholic, neither would you be. Same as our homes should reflect what we believe in, an outward appearance to our inner thoughts. I have been given presents throughout the years of pagan objects, and they get the Charity Shop, when someone enters my home and all my friends who I go around with have no idols anywhere in there house either, they know its a Catholic household, not one of mixed messages.

I’ve prayed for humility before.

I didn’t say I try to be holier than the Church. But one cannot use everything that people in the Vatican do as evidence of what’s right and wrong in this case. I haven’t heard that we must approve of everything that happens within the Vatican museum.

The Vatican Museum is a repository of the world’s art and culture. It exists to keep the treasures of human endeavor for man’s posterity. This does not mean that the Vatican encourages idol worship. It only means that the Vatican recognizes the works of art produced down through the ages by people of every nation and religion.

You must remember that the Church does not teach that she alone has the truth. What she claims is that the fullness of truth subsists within her–that is all we need for our salvation resides within her. She does not teach that other religions have none of the truth in them for all men have been given natural law by God which he put into all hearts. St. Paul talks about this in one of his Epistles. It is only to be expected that this law will demonstrate itself in odd ways when put through the lens of theologies not revealed by God, or rather those that came to our parents, Adam and Eve, and their descendants and were fractured into myths and lore after Noah and the Tower of Babel.

All this is to say that having an idol as an object d’art is not the same thing as worshiping it.

The Vatican Museum is like a Museum in any Country that have objects of Art of many centuries ago, fascinating to see, and of the workmanship of the Romans of old who had limited tools to make such beautiful things, they used the best of materials and stones, and gold. All Countries have a Museum in London they have a huge Egyptian Museum when England ruled Egypt and took all the treasures back with them, that of course does not mean we have to believe in the Egyptian art, rather just to admire the craftsmanship.

I would agree with you 100% about having idols in the house, when I was in RCIA myself I got told it was also a NO, NO.

Always remember people will do there own thing, it does not make it right. The Catholic Church is not a Hotel for Saints but a Hospital for sinners.

Welcome Home, and Walk with the Lord who loves us so much…:signofcross:

I also know a Jesuit who is also very much into Zen. I don’t think he’s the same guy as mine is still alive as far as I know. I understand he’s travelled through the Far East a lot and stayed with Zen monks there and written books about it. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. He is still 100% Catholic.

WELL SAID. :thumbsup:

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.