No wonder they think we're idolaters

The Chicago Tribune newspaper, Friday, Sept. 5 issue featured a human interest story in its Metro Section religion page about a nice lady who restores damaged statues for parish churches. It was interesting reading until I came across a few lines which made me cringe:
“After restoring a 5-foot Jesus for Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Salisbury, N.C., she had to return several times to refinish an outstretched hand…she realized that worshipers often rub the hand which wears it down.”

“Throughout every project [she]…prays. She said she petitions God to…bless the statues and the people who adore them.”

“Albrecht [the restorer] said she also converses with the Marys about the meaning of their lives and how they want to look. When she is finished, she said, she asks if they like the results, and she believes they do.”

Do you think I should write a letter to the editor explaining that Catholics really don’t worship statues? Would any of you care to write also?

Voice of the People
Chicago Tribune
435 N. Michigan
Chicago, IL 60611

or e-mail: ctc-TribLetter@tribune.com

They want your name, address & phone number
on your correspondence.

We fight an uphill battle, sometimes, don’t we? And this in Chicago with such a high percentage of Catholics! It would be a more understandable error if it was down south where there’s a much smaller Catholic population.

I think it would be good to send a letter to the editor. Even if it doesn’t get published, at least someone will read it and perhaps grow in their understanding of what the Church really teaches.

Read carefully, I don’t think anything in the article specifically steps outside the bounds of Catholic thought: people touch a statues hand, a restoration worker meditates while she works, asks for guidance…

Would be nice if the paper were more careful to make clear the different sorts of prayer in Catholic thought, and that only God is worshipped, but that might be asking a little much.

yes, but also explain to them that as Catholics we believe in open prayful conversation with Mary… Singular.

She does not talk to “marys” but “Mary”. that would make things much clearer, and that’s probally what she actually was trying to get across to the Reporter, who I think did not get it.

No - I dont see anything in the article to where the paper needs to be given an explanation . :twocents:

People will believe what they want to believe. The statue-restorer just sounds like a nice lady, the kind who was commonplace in Catholic parishes way back when. The story made me smile.

There’s nothing wrong with talking to Mary! But as human beings we like visual references. I bet she knows the statue is only a focal point.

Is it best to just let the issue die down on its own?

Where do you see “idolator” in any of these actions? :confused:

I also didn’t see anything wrong with the story.

I assume she has more than one Mary that she does statues of - Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary of Magdala, Margaret Mary, etc. It would have been more clear if the author had said that she prays with the Saints of the various different statues, but as it stands, I don’t see anything to get all excited and write to the editor about. :shrug:

Here is the idolotry

When they adore a statue, they are idoloters. Catholics are not people who adore statues, they appreciate statues that lead them to pray to God or to Saints.

I adore my husband - am I an idolator?

Who cares what non Catholics think?

It’s jealousy! We’re NOT idolaters. Just because Catholic churches have statues doesn’t make us that. Look at some of the “mainstream” Protestant churches. Some of them are adorned as nicely as most Catholic churches.

I don’t know, idols are usually silver or gold. Husbands have evolved from something made of snips and snails and puppydog tails.

These days Catholics adore banners, not statues. While protestants adore bibles.

According to Sister Verda in 1968, the only being worthy of adoration is God. That is not an opinion and it still applies.

Who is Sr. Verda and when did she obtain infallibility?

As defined by my old fashioned printed dictionary:

adore: To render divine honors to; worship as divine.

Sister Verda taught at Sacred Heart School in Colby, KS. She was the toughest woman I ever knew. I have not encountered one instance in 40 years since being her pupil when she was wrong in a matter of morals or faith, we just wanted her to be wrong. She read the Catechism, she knew it through and through. Sister did not take liberties with Church teaching and did her level best to help us develop a well formed conscience.

So I guess if anyone calls a puppy or a kitty or even a newborn ‘adorable’ they’re headed straight for h-e-double-hockey-sticks?

According to Sister Verda, yes. :wink:

With all due respect to Sister Verda and some other posters …

Webster’s provides three definitions for the word ADORE …

1 : to worship or honor as a deity or as divine
2 : to regard with loving admiration and devotion <adored his wife>
3 : to be very fond of <adore**s pecan pie>

So theistgal and sailor are free to adore husbands and kittens without fear of eternal ^@)) …

Also something I am sure that Sister Verda would agree with …

We always need to be mindful of words, their meanings and common usage… but alas the church moves slowly, languages other than Latin are evolving [probably Latin would be still if it was not a “dead” language] … however, the church does not “update” its usages and defining terms as often as the culture …

The nice lady who restores statues is free to meditate and pray [ask] to various saints while she works and she can adore [regard with admiration, devotion and fondness] the work of her hands, the original artist’s work, etc … and feel free to express that without fear of condemnation.

She sould also be able to expect that her motives will be veiwed in line with the accepted definitions and with respect … not to her words turned into a “gatcha” … as in … .“We knew the catholics were idolaters, this woman is living proof”

As a sort of balance I would suggest some reading about iconography in Eastern Chrsitianity. If you have ever been to an Eastern Orthodox or Eastern Catholic liturgy you know that they kiss the icons and give great reverence to them. They would say that an icon contains the energies of God. Or in other words, God is present in the icons. It comes from the idea that all of creation is sacramental and God reveals Himself to the world through His creation. In addition they are images which are put aside for holy things.

There are times in scripture where material things are given great importance. Like for example in Acts of the Apostles there is one point where a peice of cloth that had touched the apostles is taken for the healing of the sick in another city. Or the woman with the hemmorage is healed when she touches the garment of Christ. God’s creation is sacramental. Through it we can come into contact with God.

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