Paganism and Catholic Ritual/Traditons.....Similar?


When Rome was Christianized, I understand that the Emperor drove out the pagans. Their temples and idols were left behind. Isn’t it true, that the Catholic Church copied the idea of statues from the pagans as holy examples of individuals who lived before them? And didn’t the pagans use incense in their worship, similar to what the Catholics do at Mass? Is this authorized worship in the manner of; “Thus saith the Lord”, or is this purely a man-made ritual/tradition? :thumbsup:

Comparing and Contrasting Beliefs?

To start with making the font of your post huge is interpreted as YELLING when posting on forums. Please do not yell at us. Even if we are deaf… we can read. If we were blind huge fonts do not help. And yelling will surely turn people off to the idea of even conversing with you… especially since you come here accusing Catholics of heresy and blasphamie. Though at this juncture I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and just assume that you don’t know much about Chruch history and theory. There are many here who are more then willing to explain all this to you.

The short answer to your questions is that they are all wrong. The Catholic Church did not follow and does not follow pegan practices.

If we look at all the things that pagans did, we can find a multitude that Catholics do. But just because pagans did them does not mean that is where the Catholci Chruch got the idea. For example pagans ate, slept, had books of scripture, discussed theology, and so forth. This does not mean that Catholics are doing pagan things when they do them.

The use of incense is biblical as is the use of statues. Here is the biblical evidence for the use of incense. It goes all the way back to Exodus… long before there was even a Rome.

The preparation of incense is described in Ex. 30: 34-36; the duty of offering it twice daily fell upon the high priest (Ex. 30: 7-8), but in the second temple the privilege was extended to all the priests, and the lot was cast each day to decide who should offer (Luke 1: 9). Live coals were brought from the brazen altar of burnt offering, and placed on the golden altar of incense; then the priest to whom the lot had fallen entered alone into the Holy Place, carrying in a censer the incense, which he cast on the fire. Then, bowing reverently toward the Holy of Holies, he returned to the congregation, who were praying outside, and pronounced the blessing in Num. 6: 24-26. The choir of Levites at once started to sing the daily psalms. On the Day of Atonement there was a special offering of incense. See Rev. 5: 8; Rev. 8: 3-4; cf. Ps. 141: 2; Mal. 1: 11.

In my next post I’ll discuss the use of statues.


I apologize for my choice of size for my font. I just wanted to see the letters more clearly. In the future, I will try to downsize them.

Thank you for your information. It is quite helpful. I’m not trying to create a furor, I’m just trying to get information out. :thumbsup:


God forbade the worship of statues… the use of them as gods.

God did not forbid the religious use of satues.Instead, he actually commanded their use in

Note that the examples given here once again predate the existence of pagan Rome. So there is no way that the idea of statues came from pagan Rome. If you will read the link below you will find more biblical passages that predate Rome that instruct us to use statues in a religous way.

“And you shall make two cherubim of gold *; of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub on the one end, and one cherub on the other end; of one piece of the mercy seat shall you make the cherubim on its two ends. The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, their faces one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be” (Ex. 25:18–20).

David gave Solomon the plan “for the altar of incense made of refined gold, and its weight; also his plan for the golden chariot of the cherubim that spread their wings and covered the ark of the covenant of the Lord. All this he made clear by the writing of the hand of the Lord concerning it all, all the work to be done according to the plan” (1 Chr. 28:18–19). David’s plan for the temple, which the biblical author tells us was “by the writing of the hand of the Lord concerning it all,” included statues of angels.

Similarly Ezekiel 41:17–18 describes graven (carved) images in the idealized temple he was shown in a vision, for he writes, “On the walls round about in the inner room and [on] the nave were carved likenesses of cherubim.”

Suggested reading…*


First, Constantine did not “drive out the pagans.” The Christianization of the Empire was a much more drawn out process

There are a great many styles of worship ritual that are common to a variety of religions, things like prayer, music, dance, etc. They are found among groups that have had contact with one another and among those who have not.

The use of incense was certainly not unknown to the Jews as part of Temple worship, and they still use fragrant spices as part of the Havdalah ceremony that ends Shabbat.

This says that incense was not definitely known to be employed as part of Christian worship until about the 5th century.

Statues and religious paintings, etc, yes, were likely an influence from the Classical world. There is much in Christianity that shows the influence of the Hellenistic world in which it originated. Statues were a common form of commemoration in the Classical world, and, as most Christians of the time came from those Classical cultures, it is not surprising that the practice continued. I don’t know of a precedent within Jewish practice for commemorative statues.


Malachi Chapter 1 verse 11

From the rising of the sun to its setting My Name is great among the nations, and in every place incense is offered to My Name, and a pure offering; for My Name is great among nations, says the Lord of Hosts.

According to Prophet Malachi if it is used as an offering in the Lord’s Name it is fruitful.

I just read the Early Mass of Christians. None of the practices of Mass is Pagan in origin. I don’t know what kind of Anti-Catholic material you are using, but its not true.

The Mass itself the commemoration of the Last Supper, or the Breaking of the Break. In Early Christianity, Christians gather in Synagogue and breaking. During the persecution many of the Mass was move to the Catacombs.

Candle were used to read Scripture from the Old Testaments since it was dark to see.

The Mass is very Biblical. We do it because Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of Me.”


OK then i’m sorry about complaining about he font… communications on via forums is hard because 95% of human communications is non-verbal. Here we have only the verbal so things genearlly come off a lot harsher then intended.

Ask away… we are glad to answer questions.


In Exodus 20:4 (NKJV) it states; "You shall not make for yourself a carved image----any likeness *of anything *that is in the heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

v.5: “you shall not bow down to them or serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me.”

This sounds to me just what is in a Catholic Church. When there is a statue of Mary, Joseph or anothr saint, and a rack of candles are in front of it, don’t Catholics pay to light a candle, kneel in front of the statue and pray to that image for intercession on their behalf? :shrug:


What makes you think that in the New Testament every aspect of worship is supposed to be divinely prescribed? Do you really find such prescriptions in the NT? I don’t. I find St. Paul (the NT writer who has given us the fullest instructions on this subject) assuming far more than he tells us. Mostly he is concerned with particular problems, but he doesn’t seem to think it necessary to lay out a comprehensive set of rules.

So I see nothing whatever wrong with engaging in practices that come from the cultural background in which a certain group of Christians live. Clearly OT worship did the same thing, but I will grant that in that case it was important to follow specific divine instructions for just what aspects of the surrounding culture could be accepted and which could be rejected. In the NT we have some basic principles given in Scripture and the rest is left up to the judgment of the Church guided by the Holy Spirit.

In Christ,



There is a world of difference in praying “to that image for intercession on their behalf” and praying to the entity represented by that image for intercession. It is no more praying to the image than a Protestant kneeling in front of a representation of the Cross is praying to two sticks of wood in the expectation that those sticks of wood are going to offer assistance.

The Classical culture itself recognized this difference. As Celsus said, “Who but an utter infant imagines that these things are gods and not votive offerings and images of Gods.”


We do not pray to that image any more than you would pray to the picture of your wife on the wall. Statues and Icons are reminders to us of holy people who are in heaven and who can intercede for us. We believe that death does not separate us from those who have gone on to heaven before us and who still can aid and assist us in time of need. You carry pictures of your loved ones, but you do not worship them. Only God is worthy of worship and we worship only God.


Early Church Fathers describe the Mass.

The earliest surviving account of the celebration of the Eucharist or the Mass in Rome is that of Saint Justin Martyr (died c. 165), in chapter 67 of his First Apology [2]:

On the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons.

In chapter 65, Justin Martyr says that the kiss of peace was given before the bread and the wine mixed with water were brought to “the president of the brethren.” The language used was doubtless Greek, except in particular for the Hebrew word “Amen”, whose meaning Justin explains in Greek (γένοιτο), saying that by it “all the people present express their assent” when the president of the brethren “has concluded the prayers and thanksgivings.”

Also, in Chapter 66 of Justin Martyr’s First Apology, he describes the transubstantiation which occurs on the altar: “For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nurtured, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus” (First Apology 66:1-20 [A.D. 148]).


Did you even read the link I posted for you on this topic? It covers all of that. God instructed people to make statues and to use them in worship. What he told people not to do is to worship the status as though they are gods like pagans gods. Read the link…

Here i’ll make it easy on you… Here the link to "Do Catholics Worship Statues?"


I hope he does look at those links. Sometimes, they don’t look and just continue their arguments.


If he does not read the link then it is obvious that he does not seriously want an answer. Answers to most of these questions cannot be given in one or two sentences. Not answers that really explain the biblical and theologic basis for Catholic doctrine. This is the main reason that the anti-Catholic hate sites are so successful. They present their lies in excited hyperbol. Thus it is easy to absorbe. It’s much harder to take the time to read a serious respons… people’s eyes gloss over after the second sentence.


As Marcus from EWTN said, “They are seeing it through the lense of a Protestant.”


A very cloudy lense at that.


Sorry, but it is not just Protestants who are apt to have difficulty seeing the viewpoint of another religion through anything but the lenses of their own religion (ie be willing to take the time to actually listen to what the other person is saying about their own religious experience rather than telling that person what they are experiencing because your tradition says that is what it must be).


OK BelFarfalla and Mannyfit75, you can calm down now. :tiphat:

BelFarfalla, I went back to your links. I noticed there were only 3 NT references. n the first one, in the Book of Luke, the time period in the setting of Luke 1:9 is during the reign of King Herod the Great and the angelic announcemen of the upcoming birth of John the Baptist to the Zacharias, a priest before God (1:8-13)(Notice Jesus isn’t mentioned here, therefore this portion of Luke is set in the Old Testament time frame).

Your other references were from the book of Revelation. Before we existed, angels existed. Worship to God by His angels was different that what He commanded from his earthly creatures. Did God want incense burned before Him, and harps and trumpets played in His presence? Apparently so…in heaven.

Can you show me where Jesus the Son of God commanded the burning of incense and the playing of music by man for appropriate worship of God in the 4 Gospels?

You asked for serious discussion. Let’s get past accusations of heresy and blasphemy. :tsktsk: My intentions are sincere. I hope yours are too.


We just recovered from two banned Protestant members who just would not listen to our “Catholic Answers” and have made post in the forum that were totally disrespectful to our Catholic faith. :slight_smile:

So any new member who is not Catholic, we are very cautious about them. We just hope they come here with an open mind of understanding. :thumbsup:

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