I am a faithful Catholic debating a Baptist about the Monstrance. He is saying the Monstrance is designed as a pagan “sun symbol” and because of this is an idol to be squashed. (You know, the flames radiating out from the center of the Eucharist, which I know is the fire of Christ’s love for us.) Can you provide me with some BIblical defense for why our beloved Catholic monstrance is shaped as it is? Thank you!
Sounds like something you might see in an old Jack Chick tract. There is no need to bother with it.
It is shaped like it is (round) because the Eucharist is round. Often they have something like rays of light coming out because it is symbolizing the light of Christ. Really it doesn’t matter what it looks like because there is obliviously no connection with any kind of sun worship. It is easy to prove this, “Are you worshiping the sun?” “NO, I am worshipping Jesus Christ”. Debate over.
If you would like you can also approach it as a true presence thing. If Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist (which it is and plenty of scriptural and historical evidence is available) then you are obviously not coming idolatry because you are worshipping Jesus.
Monstrances aren’t always shaped like that. I’ve seen them as crosses, plain circles, and there’s even one in a church somewhere, I think in St Louis, that’s shaped like the Blessed Mother.
Biblical? How about common sense? It’s a halo signifying the glory of God. We don’t worship or believe in Sun gods.
Yes, but what if I truly want to defend that we Catholics are not worshipping something pagan, and of course bring my friend to see the truth of the Eucharist, and God’s love for us in Adoration?
Pagans don’t have a monopoly on the sun or halos of light.
Or does your baptist friend think the actual sun is a demon spirit or god-like entity?
Just tell your friend there is no paganism involved and he/she is misinformed by anti-Catholic propaganda.
We don’t worship the monstrance itself so it’s not an idol.
Thanks, everyone for clarifying my thought on this. God bless you day!
Also consider Psalm 84:11, which calls God a sun.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.
That is from the KJV.
Silly! The monstrance tends to be round, because the host is round, and is placed in a round luna! So we’re obviously worshiping the moon!
For the Lord God is a sun and shield; (Psalm 84:11)
But for you who fear my name the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings. (Malachi 4:2)
Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. (Matthew 13:43)
And night shall be no more; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:5)
Jesus himself said, “I am the light of the world.” (John 8:12; 9:5) Thus, any light source, including the sun, can symbolize of Jesus.
Truth. Many of the things us pagans use in ritual and worship are shared with other, including the Catholic, faiths. Altars, candles, incense, statues etc. But just like we’re not worshipping your god when we use them, you aren’t worshipping ours.
The beautiful image of the Sun is used in many faiths and cultures to adorn things. It’s just awesome that way!
And Christianity replaced Pagan worship. So we can remember that the next time we look at a monstrance.
That one is a tabernacle in the church, isn’t it?
This is the one I was thinking of. It’s a monstrance in Chicago.
I’d point out that the wedding ring is a pagan symbol too and does he plan to give up wearing one simply because pagans used to use them?
This whole: Pagans did something similar to this therefore we must abandon it! mentality is silly.
I won’t add more as others have given excellent direction in how to respond.
Ahhh Jack Chick…I always wanted to read his tracts but never trusted reading material found on a public bathroom urinal…
(Come to think of it, the one I was thinking of isn’t a tabernacle – IIRC, it was a statue of Mary in the back of church. It was designed in such a way that you could “see through” it and see – directly behind it at the front of church – the tabernacle. So, it makes the theological point that Mary is the new ark of the covenant. Wish I could find it on Google…)