Are there any Catholics that do not believe in the use of images…particularly those used to represent Christ?
I don’t know. Perhaps, but I think it’s just fine to have images, especially icons, of Christ and holy people/events because Christ is the visible image of the Invisible God.
I just don’t like when the Father is portrayed as an old man with a beard! The Father is hidden and we won’t see His Face until we reach Paradise and just beholding Him would be Paradise enough for all time. Not even Moses got to see God’s face, only Christ has seen it and Mary as well, but we shouldn’t be depicting that because nobody knows how He appears…
I know most Catholics think it’s okay. My convictions are otherwise. With as varied as the RCC is, I was wondering if there were any that would agree more with my position, not the social norm.
What does it mean to “use” an image?
Okay, simply put…any RCCs that do not have ANY statues, images, or crosses in their parishes. Also, no books, pictures, etc that have images of Christ within homes.
The Church teaches that images, statues, icons, ect. are quite fine and in many cases to be desired. I do not know many Catholics who dislike sacred images, and those that hold such an opinion are not in keeping with the opinion of Rome (although there is nothing overtly heretical about being against sacred images).
The rejection of statues and other images in Church devotional life is a heresy known as “iconoclasm.” It was first seen in Christianity in the eighth century when the wicked Emperor Leo the Isaurian, influenced by the new religion of Islam (founded in AD 622), began attacking the use of the statues and icons in the Church. In the Second Council of Nicea in AD 787, the Church condemned this heresy. It did not resurface in Christianity until the Reformation.
I don’t believe you will find many, if any, people who profess to be Catholic but yet are opposed to using images of Jesus or the saints in devotional life. Like stated, it is a heresy.
Not sure what your convictions or position are exactly. Some may not have those types of images in their homes but for varying reasons. I think I understand that you don’t think it’s okay. But why?
Oh, my mistake- the rejection of images is heresy.
Okay. My reasons for asking were personal and I’d rather not go into them. Thanks for taking the time to answer.
Apparently I crossposted with others. It is sad that the RCC sees it as a heresy. If so, then those statues and images are holding more than just a mere representation of something. Nowhere in scripture do I see where it is commanded of the church (the temple, I am aware of, that is a direct command and is not the church otherwise, where is the ark?).
You are correct, I’m Reformed and do not hold to having ANY images of Christ.
However, again, due to so many similarities between Reformed and RCC in certain areas as well as the variety of RCC, I was just wondering.
How sad that you reject the images which were created by our Celtic ancestors. Have you ever perused the glories of the Book of Kells (from the Isle of Iona) or the Lindisfarne Gospels ? Images everywhere as well as knotwork.
Where is the ark? It is there in every Catholic church and has been since St. Columba came to Scotland to convert the Picts and the Dal Riada. It is called the tabernacle and it houses the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Catholics don’t worship images or statues any more than our Eastern brethren worship the iconostasis. Art is a form of worship. The artist and his or her work offers that work as a work of praise to God. What you see as images, I see as a paean to the glory of God - as did our ancestors.
I am descended from a Catholic Scot. I am also a calligrapher and illuminator and I can assure you that I have never viewed my calligraphy and illumination as something to be worshiped. I have put heart and soul into works (even portraying Our Lord) as an act of praise. I can’t imagine our ancestors doing anything but the same.
I am not fond of many popular images of Jesus, particularly modern ones, but on artistic grounds, not doctrinal reasons. Sower magazine for catechists has a feature in each issue on sacred art, using various masterpieces depicting Gospel scenes, which is an excellent catechetical resource. It explains theorign of the art, and how elements of the paintings were intended to convey theological truths, such as setting, colors, symbolic objects, perspective and so forth. The theological knowledge displayed by the artists is astounding. I highly recommend the series to anyone interested in the history of sacred art as a means of handing on doctrinal truths in ways other than the written word.
What is forgotten by the reformers after the invention of the printing press, was that the medieval art work was a primary means of evangelization before that time. All of those “images” could be used to tell the story. My cathedral has magnificent stained glass windows which tell the story of Joseph from the Old Testament Joseph to the death of St. Joseph. You can follow the story visually and with the assistance of a person who knows the symbolism, it is a powerful message even today.
This is just my :twocents: The downtown churches here sponsor an Advent pilgrimage in which we process from one church to the next in a big ecumenical “sing along”. Our local Baptist church stands in stark contrast to every other church. They have a magnificent organ but other than that, I would not know I was in a church. If it had a screen, it could easily be a movie theater.
There is a place for art and images - to the greater glory of God.
Quite true. In the middle ages, art was the average layman’s book. One could learn the life of and teachings of Christ and the lives of the Saints and more through sacred art, assisted by the powerful symbolism that existed throughout art (even the placement of the figures in art held great symbolic meaning).
I was recently surprised to learn that the great gothic churches of the Middle Ages were alive with color, inside and out.
The Seventh Ecumenical Council is the reason we can have icons. As they searched out and prayed through the Iconoclast period and this is the understanding that prevailed…
Concerning the doctrinal significance of icons, Icons are necessary and essential because they protect the full and proper doctrine of the Incarnation. While God cannot be represented in His eternal nature ("…no man has seen God", John 1:18), He can be depicted simply because He “became human and took flesh.” Of Him who took a material body, material images can be made. In so taking a material body, God proved that matter can be redeemed. He deified matter, making it spirit-bearing, and so if flesh can be a medium for the Spirit, so can wood or paint, although in a different fashion. I do not worship matter, but the Creator of matter, who for my sake became material and deigned to dwell in matter, who through matter effected my salvation… —St. John of Damascus The seventh and last Ecumenical Council upheld the icondules’ postion in AD 787. They proclaimed: Icons… are to be kept in churches and honored with the same relative veneration as is shown to other material symbols, such as the ‘precious and life-giving Cross’ and the Book of the Gospels. The ‘doctrine of icons’ is tied to the Orthodox teaching that all of God’s creation is to be redeemed and glorified, both spiritual and material.
Some final thoughts on icons:
Icons… were dynamic manifestations of man’s spiritual power to redeem creation through beauty and art. The colors and lines of the [icons] were not meant to imitate nature; the artists aimed at demonstrating that men, animals, and plants, and the whole cosmos, could be rescued from their present state of degradation and restored to their proper ‘Image’. The [icons] were pledges of the coming victory of a redeemed creation over the fallen one… the artistic perfection of an icon was not only a reflection of the celestial glory --it was a concrete example of matter restored to its original harmony and beauty, and serving as a vehicle of the Spirit. The icons were part of the transfigured cosmos —Nicolas Zernov (1898-1980), The Russians and Their Church The icon is a song of triumph, and a revelation, and an enduring monument to the victory of the saints and the disgrace of the demons. **—St. John of Damascus **orthodoxwiki.org/Seventh_Ecumenical_Council
It is part of the Catholic mindset that Christ’s Incarnation sanctified the physical world; made God’s face physical. As such the use of sacred images is not contradictary to His will. We cherish the images we have of Him a lot like we would if we had only a few photos of Grandma, who had raised us and loved us and died a year ago. If someone told us that our having that picture of Grandma was sinful and wrong, we might react quite angrily and defensively, not thinking about the fact that maybe other people might have never had a picture of their Grandma, and it seems strange and odd for us to do so to them.
Even so, a Catholic would be perfectly within their rights to not have any images, and to dislike their use in prayer. It would be no different then if someone had a favorite rosary that they chose over another, or if they prayed always on their knees verses someone who prayed with their arms outstretched to remind them of Christ’s Passion. BUT, while a Catholic could dislike using them in prayer, it would be Heresy to say it is wrong or sinful.
It depends on what you mean. If you deny it completely saying that it is heretical and against God then that’s in fact heretical (as was already explained in this thread).
On the other hand if someone accepts that that’s only his subjective feeling towards the used of statues and icons, such as that he believes that they are not very helpful for prayer then he is **probably **still OK.
An icon is not a “painting”, it is more of a “visual prayer”.
When a iconographer (painter of icons) is commissioned to “pray” an icon. they go into deep meditation before they even begin, and it is a continual prayer until it is finished.
There can be several deeper meanings through out the icon, such as the position of the fingers and such.
And as for images of Christ and the Saints, well that was already referred to by the Apostolic fathers back in the first or second century. There were images of Christ, Peter and Paul mentioned, by Ignatius I think it. Statues of angels were used in the temple, and on the Arc of the Covenant, so the use of statues in a religious context is clearly biblical.
What the bible does teach is that we should not make idols and worship them as Gods.