Borderline Idolatry?

Excuse me if this isn’t from a Catholic Church, but I think the point can be divorced from where this happened:

youtube.com/watch?v=A6Ian6oV5RQ

Watch the video, I understand people’s initial shock when the statue break, but does the ceaseless wailing after the fact cross the line? From the way the congregation sounded devastated it seems like the statue meant more to than than just a piece of clay.

If you had a daughter who died and you had a photograph (let’s say the last one you took before she died) that you dropped accidentally into a fire and watched it being destroyed. Would you just be initially shocked or would you not also be distraught for a considerable time thereafter?

Absolutely nothing to do with idolatry. Your post smacks of anti-Catholicism. If I misread you then I apologise.

What is that even a statue of?

I do believe the correct answer is, “yes it’s just a statue and they overreacted.”

Although, when watching the video there were some gasps and reactions of surprise, which would be expected if anything smashed on the ground.

No it’s not idolatry at all, I gasped and said oh no out loud just watching the video. Its like someone said, if that was a big breakable lamp that fell and broke I would have done the same thing. Anything breakable and expensive looking like how that looked, will make anyone gasp and cry when it falls. I don’t know how much it costs but it looked expensive, plus the surprise of it all too. It’s not about idolatry at all. If that was yours and it had fell and broke like that wouldn’t you have been upset even if it was a statue of a cat or tree. LOL It was big, expensive and it fell and broke. That’s enough to make anyone cry out. It’s the same reaction you would have if someone was carrying a big expensive and beautifully decorated cake like a wedding cake and they dropped it. People would gasp and cry out and react the same way.

My next door neighbor broke a 500 lamp I had and I went through emotions much worse than that. I didn’t worship the lamp… Okay?

If your dog, got into your closet and ripped your wedding dress [which belonged to your mother, and in turn her mother [provided your ancestry is traceable back that far] wouldn’t you wail and be upset about the loss?

First post, huh? Welcome, even if you do not remain here very long.

  1. Do you know whether or not the statue was a labor of love by those same parishioners?
  2. Do you know if that Church had been under spiritual attack?
  3. Do you know if they had a fund which saved for however long to purchase that statue?
  4. Do you know the true thoughts and sentiments in their hearts?
  5. Do you even realize that this occurred as part of the Divine Liturgy and therefore, was even more traumatic?

No, you do not. Well, here is something for you to ponder:

From the preface of the 1975 “The Open Bible” (Thomas Nelson, Inc. Publishers)

According to Dr. Wilber M. Smith (underlining mine),

  1. The Bible discovers and convicts us of sin.
  2. The Bible helps cleanse us from the pollutions of sin.
  3. The Bible imparts strength.
  4. The Bible instructs us in what we are to do.
  5. The Bible provides us with a sword for victory over sin.
  6. The Bible makes our lives fruitful.
  7. The Bible gives us power to pray.

To me, this appears to awfully close to idolatry, as each of the underlined is a divine trait that is normally associated with the Holy Spirit. Very odd indeed that such persons who deny that God’s grace flows through the Sacraments, which are administered by a Priest or Bishop, go on to believe that God’s grace flows through the simple possession of a bible. How odd that those who deny the presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist seem to believe that He lives between the covers of a bible. Odd, indeed.

Hi xCortarx,

I do believe that this was a Marian procession in some kind of Catholic church, probably on some kind of Marian feast day.

I felt bad for the parish too, when I saw that beautiful statue of Our Lady fall over.

You have to remember that some of these statues are very heavy, and some of them are very old. They are made out of different materials.

So, if they are dropped or fall over, it may not be so easy to repair them.

It is not a form of idolatry to have a Marian procession in a church.

She is the Mother of God and there are days that the church honors her.

Well, it is more than just a piece of “clay” or whatever the medium was. It is a physical expression of a profound and mysterious spiritual faith. Is Michelangelo’s David just marble, the same as any other?
How are we to judge what exactly is the correct amount of shock and how much lamenting or wailing is too much? When does it cross into idolatry? Does the Bible teach us how much is too much? Would you rather they had applauded or sat silently?
Idolatry is found in the intention of a human being to afford adoration to a thing, for God is no thing.

I was greatly saddened by the Taliban’s destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan. I did not “revere” these statues in any way, and frankly I had never heard of them until their destruction made the news. But I was sad upon hearing about it.

Why was I sad? Is it because I idolized these statues? No - I never knew of them until after they were destroyed. Is it because I am a Buddhist? No, I have never been a Buddhist.

I was sad because they were significant to others. They were “only sandstone” (not much more than clay), and I was sad but did not weep, but I can understand how Buddhists might feel more strongly about this loss than I did - I was saddened but not connected to this loss in any way. I could understand how and why a Buddhist might mourn the destruction of these statues more than I, without suspecting them of idolatry.

Sheesh. If terrorists destroyed the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, and the nation mourned this destruction, would we be “borderline idolaters” of Abraham Lincoln? This monument could certainly be called an “idol” of Abraham Lincoln (built within a Greek-style temple). If the statue “stood up,” it would be 19 feet tall (more than three times the height of the average modern male).

Sheesh. We have a long-running television program titled “American Idol.” Does anybody actually worship anybody on this program? I cannot even name anybody on this program.

I don’t actually hear wailing…I hear people that are clearly shocked that a massive statue just hit the ground…it takes a while for the body to disperse shock. Kind of like hitting your toe on a chair or bed and then jumping around the room shouting ow…it settles eventually but takes a while.

I don’t actually see anyone crying…could be wrong though.

Yeah I was thinking of number 1 and number 3.

Where did you gather that the poster believes that grace flows from a Bible, and why are you treating him like human garbage? Please be more careful in the future.

We read in the Bible that the Canaanites were worshiping idols eg Baal.
By the way, what did they do that was referred to as ‘idol worship’?.

If somebody from another planet came to earth and saw people carrying a statue of Mary or kneeling before it, he would make a report of people worshiping an idol. The writer of the Bible seems not to have sought for an explanation whether the Canaanites were really worshiping Baal or were using it as a means of veneration to their real God. In any case the practice was condemned by God.

Let’s see - the entire clip is only 39 seconds long and the event occurs at about 15 seconds in - - so the “ceaseless wailing” that you refer to is only about 24 seconds or so of the video and we have no idea how much longer it continued. Additionally - I hear a lot more “hubbub” - that is - talking than I hear “wailing”
Hardly sufficient evidence to assume the wailing was “ceaseless” or - given the surprise of the event even excessive.

That said - I think the statue DID mean more to them than just a piece of clay - but we cannot know from the video just what it DID mean to them and it is a rather large jump to assume that their attachment to the statue constituted idolatry.

I dare say that I have had many things in my life that meant more to me than simply the material they were made of and when the item was lost it made me very sad. Even had a house burn to the ground - with nearly all of my worldly goods inside - including things that were irreplaceable. It broke my heart to lose them…but would you assume that I idolized them?

No - the video does not demonstrate borderline idolatry.

Peace
James

I don’t know Angela…
At first I wasn’t paying attention and just assumed it was Our Lady - but after reading your post and going back…it’s obvious that it is not.

Upon further review, I note what appears to be either a ring on the right hand (across the chest) or a stigmata…Can’t really tell.
The clothing and stance made me think of possibly St Michael the Archangel or St George.
Other than that - I have no clue who it might be…

Peace
James

No I wouldn’t be because it was just a picture. My memories of her are much more important than anything physical in this world, but thats besides the point. If we wanted your analogy here to work I would have to have lost a copy of a picture that someone who never even met my daughter made.

I understand the initial shock, but why continue to cry after the fact? Did you not listen to the video with sound. There was wailing going on in the background which is why I posted this. I think its dangerous to develop that much emotional attachment to a physical object, if its not idolatry its almost certainly materialism.

My next door neighbor broke a 500 lamp I had and I went through emotions much worse than that. I didn’t worship the lamp… Okay?

If your dog, got into your closet and ripped your wedding dress [which belonged to your mother, and in turn her mother [provided your ancestry is traceable back that far] wouldn’t you wail and be upset about the loss?

If something breaks I might be shocked because its unexpected but I wouldn’t cry. I wouldn’t be depressed. That is too close to materialism.

First post, huh? Welcome, even if you do not remain here very long.

  1. Do you know whether or not the statue was a labor of love by those same parishioners?
  2. Do you know if that Church had been under spiritual attack?
  3. Do you know if they had a fund which saved for however long to purchase that statue?
  4. Do you know the true thoughts and sentiments in their hearts?
  5. Do you even realize that this occurred as part of the Divine Liturgy and therefore, was even more traumatic?

No, you do not. Well, here is something for you to ponder:

From the preface of the 1975 “The Open Bible” (Thomas Nelson, Inc. Publishers)

According to Dr. Wilber M. Smith (underlining mine),

  1. The Bible discovers and convicts us of sin.
  2. The Bible helps cleanse us from the pollutions of sin.
  3. The Bible imparts strength.
  4. The Bible instructs us in what we are to do.
  5. The Bible provides us with a sword for victory over sin.
  6. The Bible makes our lives fruitful.
  7. The Bible gives us power to pray.

To me, this appears to awfully close to idolatry, as each of the underlined is a divine trait that is normally associated with the Holy Spirit. Very odd indeed that such persons who deny that God’s grace flows through the Sacraments, which are administered by a Priest or Bishop, go on to believe that God’s grace flows through the simple possession of a bible. How odd that those who deny the presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist seem to believe that He lives between the covers of a bible. Odd, indeed.

Im sorry but I think you mistakenly posted in the wrong thread because I have no clue what point you are trying to make.

Well, it is more than just a piece of “clay” or whatever the medium was. It is a physical expression of a profound and mysterious spiritual faith. Is Michelangelo’s David just marble, the same as any other?
How are we to judge what exactly is the correct amount of shock and how much lamenting or wailing is too much? When does it cross into idolatry? Does the Bible teach us how much is too much? Would you rather they had applauded or sat silently?
Idolatry is found in the intention of a human being to afford adoration to a thing, for God is no thing.

This is very dangerous to say. It IS just a piece of clay. Anything more is idolatry and materialism. Which is exceptionally odd considering you hit the point in your next paragraph:
“Idolatry is found in the intention of a human being to afford adoration to a thing, for God is no thing.”

Faith and worship are not physical things either.

One more point, Catholics are taught that even the appearance of a sin is just as bad as sin itself. Hence why stuff like co-habitation is sinful. Is not the appearance of idolatry then sinful?

No mistake at all! Please answer how the example given is not bible idolatry.

What if you are just plain wrong and “things are not always what they appear to be”?

Two points to ponder:

  1. The Catholic Church defines “rash judgment” as a sin.
  2. Iconoclasm was condemned as a heresy centuries ago.

I watched the video, I’m not Catholic and all I can say is it’s very hard to understand the hearts and minds of each person in the crowd. They honestly seemed surprised for the most part, and it may have stunned a couple of people, I don’t know; I’m not them.

Should someone go mad and begin wailing because of a statue? No, of course not, but the reasons someone may have are entirely unknown to both you and I, so who are we to judge?

You seem to be reading an awful lot into into a 39 second snippet of what went on there.
There was noise going on in the background…Yes…Was it wailing? Was it “ceaseless wailing” as you state in your OP? To the first question I have to say it’s hard to tell with so much noise. But assuming that some DID cry - or even “wail” - 25 seconds of video hardly supposes “ceaseless” wailing.

I think its dangerous to develop that much emotional attachment to a physical object, if its not idolatry its almost certainly materialism.

I agree that we can sometimes become overly attached to objects…but this video is not really a good example to prove your point.

If something breaks I might be shocked because its unexpected but I wouldn’t cry. I wouldn’t be depressed. That is too close to materialism.

Fair enough - but once again, this 39 second video can hardly be used to demonstrate that anyone there was depressed…the 25 or so seconds after the fall is only sufficient to register the shock of the crowd.

One more point, Catholics are taught that even the appearance of a sin is just as bad as sin itself. Hence why stuff like co-habitation is sinful. Is not the appearance of idolatry then sinful?

This is something new to me - could you post your source for this (official Catholic teaching document please).
I am aware that we are warned against acting in a manner that might cause scandal…is that perhaps what you are referring to?

Peace
James

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