I figured that this would be a good place to ask this question.
I’ve been having issues with Leviticus 26:1
“You shall not make idols for yourselves or erect an image or pillar, and you shall not set up a figured stone in your land to bow down to it, for I am the LORD your God.
i know that we don’t worship idols…
but some protestants make the claim that it specifically says not to bow to “figured stone”
question 1 : do Catholics bow to statues? I know we genuflect entering and leaving the church but I didn’t know where or not this was toward a statue or if this would be considered a bow.
Question 2 : is it wrong to bow to a statue as an act of veneration?
To actually try to answer your questions directly though:
1.1) Yes, Catholics do, but it’s not a required action. Neither theologically necessary nor theologically prohibited, as far as I know.
1.2) Genuflecting is to the tabernacle, or more specifically, what’s in it: Jesus Christ’s Body and Blood, soul and divinity, in the form of bread. Someone who doesn’t hold the same beliefs as Catholics about the Eucharist may consider it worshiping an object, but it’s not how we think of it and it’s not our intention. We genuflect to the King of Kings, as is His due.
Speaking of the King of Kings, I think it’s important to think about why the commandment not to bow to idols/statues is there. This will explain why I think that it’s not wrong to bow to the saints. God is our Lord, our King, and we should not give our allegiance to any other. But just as a king may have lesser lords under him, and the king’s subjects would show respect towards them due to the respect shown by their king, a similar thing can be said of the saints and angels I think. They have reached heaven, they are in union with God, and they are shining role models for us in our walk with faith. God has respected them and listened to their prayers of intercession (miracles being required to become a saint), and so in keeping with our respect for the King, not in defiance of it, we should show respect to them.
Which brings me to my last point: statues and images are, in my opinion at least, ways of helping us human beings focus our attention. We don’t believe that Jesus is actually present in a statue of Him any more than He is everywhere, nor that a statue of a saint is actually worthy of praise (except being good artwork, I suppose). Rather, the statues help us to remember the real people in heaven that we’re with, even though our senses can’t see them truly.
All of which to say that, no, I don’t think bowing to statues is wrong, so long as your intention is not to respect the statue, but rather what the statue represents.
idolatry, I can tell from your username that you’re passionate about this issue. If you can read the (very brief) post that I linked to, and my own, and respond with why you disagree with my understanding of the commandment, I will be happy to respond and dialogue with you. As my signature says, I’m learning not learned, and I like to think I respond well to reasoning and explanation when I’m in the wrong. If it seems like you’re not interested in dialogue about why I may be wrong and more interested in just telling me that I’m wrong, I’ll probably end up ignoring your posts.
I do not believe that the Lord Most High changed to accommodate what I think is correct, as the AAA post I linked explains that even in the Old Testament, there are examples where God commands statues be erected for holy purposes.
Let’s step to the side a bit and look at this issue from another angle.
In the U.S., we recite the pledge of allegiance. We do so with our hands over our heart. Let that sink in for a moment. We place our hands over our hearts and pledge our allegiance to a flag.
Does this mean we truly giving our allegiance to the particular piece of red, white, and blue cloth that we are looking at during that moment? Or does it mean we are giving our allegiance to a central flag, and the ones we use all over are simply representations of it? Or does it mean we are giving our allegiance to something else entirely? Perhaps an idea. A set of beliefs, ideals, and morals which we share as a national community.
No one ever says, “Ha! Those silly Americans swear their loyaly to a mere piece of cloth!”
Catholics have statues, but we do not worship them. They are simply visual representations of someone or something that reminds us to contemplate the glory and magnificence of God.
We no more worship statues than Americans worship pieces of red, white, and blue fabric.
A good number of Churches if not most, Catholic and Non-Catholic have a Cross somewhere in it or on it. I don’t think you will find Christians taking these crosses down or taking Nativity scenes down at Church. Some people where crosses, Catholic and Non-Catholic.