Kissing the Feet of a Statue of Jesus?


My father disagrees with the Catholic Church on many things (he is a Baptist). I have not told my family that I am planning on converting yet because I want to be ready to answer his complaints against Catholicism. One of the stories he told me when I was younger was that during an Easter Mass (the only Mass he’s ever witnessed as far as I’m aware), he witnessed altar boys holding a statue (or some image) of Jesus. People approaching the altar would kiss his feet first, then move to receive the Eucharist. My question has two parts.

  1. Is there a part of the Easter Mass where people kiss the statue of Jesus?
  2. If it is, how is it not idolatry? If not, why would they do this? Could I have a Catholic viewpoint on this?

Thank you all very much! :slight_smile:

There will be better people answering your questions with excellent tips than me. All I want to tell you is welcome ,and do not be afraid if you do not have all the answers. Pray the Holy Spirit and all the great people here will help you.
May God bless you and your father too !

Thank you! I am not too concerned with not having all the answers. I haven’t even started RCIA yet, and I know I have much more to learn. What I am concerned about is that my father may perceive a lack of an answer as a hole in theology. I don’t expect I’ll change his mind entirely (though that would be great), but what I want to do is show him that the RCC has a solid theology, and that I’m not joining a church of idol-worshiping idolaters who believe in infallibility of a man who can say cats are made of cheese and have the faithful say “So sayeth the Pope!” at his words. Obviously these are not true, and I don’t know how well catechized the Catholics he spoke to of his youth were, but from what I am hearing they were horribly misinformed. They claimed that Christians cannot pray to God and must have Mary or another Saint intercede for them to God. :frowning: Such a shame.

I have a blog article that might help you a little with this.
Iconoclasm: Or: Catholics Worship Graven Images NOT

It sounds like the Veneration of the Cross at a Good Friday service. It is common for the altar servers to hold the cross and the congregants to process and venerate the Cross. The veneration takes many forms but, if there is a corpus on the cross, kissing the feet is one of the ways to venerate the Cross. It’s not idolatry. It’s veneration - a demonstration of respect and thanksgiving.

Imagine if you met someone who had saved your life by putting his own in grave danger. You might give that person a huge hug or even throw yourself at his feet. So it is with Jesus when we remember his sacrifice on Good Friday.

He might have observed a Good Friday liturgy where people reverence the cross, or a crucifix (a cross with the figure of the crucified Christ).

That’s not worshiping a statue, it is giving a symbolic kiss to the feet of the crucified Christ. Who among us would not kiss His feet if we were to see Him on the cross?

O most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection,
implored thy help or sought thy intercession,
was left unaided.
Inspired with this confidence,
I fly unto thee,
O Virgin of virgins my Mother;
to thee do I come,
before thee I stand,
sinful and sorrowful;
O Mother of thy Word Incarnate,
despise not my petitions,
but in thy clemency hear and answer me.

Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with Thee;
Blessed art thou among women,
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Our Father,
who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Like the other posters have stated your father more than likely attended a Good Friday service.

The Catholic Church is liturgical, and what I mean by that is throughout the entire year when we worship Christ we do more than just read scripture we corporately and individually enter into the life of Christ. Most Christian Churches are liturgical for Easter and Christmas as an example.

During lent we are entering into the part of Christ life where He fasted for 40 days in the wilderness and this ends with Holy Week and then crux of season is Easter. When we venerate the cross we are reminded of how much God loves us and His sacrifice. We recall how Judas betrayed our Lord with a kiss, and we acknowledge individually and as a family that Jesus died for our sins. We kiss the cross to give a pubic witness that we will never forget what Jesus has done for us, and we are taught by this example that true love is sacrificial. We are all made stronger in faith by seeing each member of the Church humble themselves as sinners and enter into the role of the woman who kissed Christ feet and washed them with her tears. Think about this non Catholics do not have a problem with Christmas plays or manager scenes, and they do not get up set at their church members pretending that whoever is playing Jesus is not actually Jesus. The only difference is often times protestants have been formed by their preachers to think that if Catholics do that their hearts are wrong and they are worshiping idols.


As part of its discussion of the First Commandment, the Catechism of the Catholic Church discusses Christian images and their relative worship in the section entitled, "IV. “You Shall Not Make for Yourself a Graven Image…,” paragraphs 2129-2132.

What you’ve probably seen is veneration.
One kisses the Holy icon or more common in the Latin Church statue of a saint.
The statues of Christ or a saint is a visual presentation of the person painted or carved out in the statue.

It may seem odd for an outsider, but we’re quite aware that it’s a way of expressing passion and love for the one painted.
It’s an humble act.

We pray and worship with all of our senses not just with our words as you’ll typically find in a protestant church.
We bow, some kisses the ground (the pope often does), cross ourselves, kisses icons of Holy saints and so on, so on.

Yes, exactly what I was going to say.
Like it was veneration of the cross on Good Friday. I doubt he would attend Easter at a different church than his own.

From the Catholic Encyclopedia:

The twenty-fifth session of the Council of Trent (Dec., 1543) repeats faithfully the principles of Nicaea II:

[The holy Synod commands] that images of Christ, the Virgin Mother of God, and other saints are to be held and kept especially in churches, that due honour and reverence (debitum honorem et venerationem) are to be paid to them, not that any divinity or power is thought to be in them for the sake of which they may be worshipped, or that anything can be asked of them, or that any trust may be put in images, as was done by the heathen who put their trust in their idols [Psalm 134:15 sqq.], but because the honour shown to them is referred to the prototypes which they represent, so that by kissing, uncovering to, kneeling before images we adore Christ and honour the saints whose likeness they bear (Denzinger, no. 986).

Also, for further clarification, the Church defines the honor we give to Saints and holy objects as dulia, while the unique honor that we give to God is latria, and that what the 1st Commandment prohibits is latria toward anything but God. That is to say, offering to creatures that kind of worship that belongs to God only. But dulia is worship (veneration, honor, respect) that belongs to creatures, insofar as they image their creator. The greatest dulia we are able to offer to any creature is hyperdulia, and that belongs to Mary alone, who alone is closest to God.

It’s too bad the person who invited him to this lovely service commemorating the Crucifixion did not explain to him what was going on. :frowning:

Thank you everyone for your responses! It looks like I have reading to do! :smiley: This is all a little strange, and I’m trying to adjust to this concept of veneration, so thank you for your patience!

I was visiting my Mom and asked her why the picture of her granddaughter on the table was so dirty. She wiped it off with a shot of glass cleaner and explained that ever day she gives it a kiss since she hasn’t seen her in a while and she misses her.

I am sorry to be so blunt now for what I am saying next, but frankly the accusation of Catholics committing idolatry by kissing the feet of the crucifix is equivalent to someone saying that my Mom loves a picture frame. See what I mean? It’s a really stupid complaint.

Yes it’s kind of incredible how the imagination of evangelicals spins out of control from time to time:P.

I can’t help myself wondering if they do this on purpose or if they really believe that praying to someone painted at an icon means worshiping the icon itself?

One thing is this whole praying to/ worshiping debate that never seems to end and this expression of simple veneneration.

What I ment by questioning if they did this on purpose is that they take this ignorant position regarding the Sacred icons and Statues because they like to demonstrate their disgust with Catholicism and like to paint a picture of Catholics that makes them look horrendous.

Anti Catholicism exists in some scale where I live that’s for certain and evangelicals hold a lot of misconceptions about Catholicism and to some extent Orthodoxy that have been taught them since their early years.
This unfair caracterisation is often fed by fear of the unknown which results in this idiotic statements and misconceptions.

Lord have mercy on them!

Calling them stupid certainly doesn’t help.

There are unfair characterizations on both sides. I can see how my father was mistaken, but I doubt his criticism was done out of blind hatred. I am more concerned about how his Catholic friends never seemed to explain that to him, along with telling him that intercession by Mary is necessary for praying to God.

Thanks again everyone for your answers.

That’s why I didn’t …

I am Catholic and I do not kiss the feet of statues. It is one step to far to me, and gives scandal to many who see it. One could make the argument that kissing the statue is like kissing a photo of your wife, but I don’t do that either. Statues are sacramentals that point to a higher spiritual truth, like a family photo remind us of those passed. I kneel to God, and a statue may remind me of the virtue of a particular saint. But, I do not kneel to the statue and I don’t kiss them. Perhaps I am the minority, but I know many Catholics who agree with me.

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