[quote="Cathryn, post:18, topic:292737"]
This may be what your pastor is referring to. You say you have statues of the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph already in the back.
The GIRM states: "In accord with ancient tradition, images of Christ, Mary and the saints are venerated in churches. They should, however, be placed so as not to distract the faithful from the actual celebration. They should not be too numerous, there should not be more than one image of the same saint, and correct order of saints should be observed. In general, the piety of the entire community should be considered in the decoration and arrangement of the church."
That does sound very consistent to what he said, because he referenced an authority above him or guidelines and that the statues could be "distracting". I intentionally left out the part about him saying that the statues could be distracting because I didn't feel it's important that he said that at the time. I didn't want to direct so much attention and feelings towards him and what he said, but rather what he may be referring to that's "barring" us from having our Mary and Joseph.
I guess that part of the GIRM leaves lots of room for interpretation. The only way I see statues of saints that could cause distraction would be if there were so much things out of order like random placement, disproprotionate sizes, clashing colors, and more.
At the local monastery of the Discalced Carmelites they have at least 8 to 10 beautiful statues in the sanctuary beautifully arranged, and they are not one bit distracting to me and I'm sure others. Here people are only wishing for two statues. Statues of the same two saints we had in the old church building in front. I don't know about others but when I see Mary and Joseph, they point to Christ and help my disposition to better participate in private prayer and the Mass.
The biggest distractions for me during the Mass that same day he gave the explanation were the young ladies going up to the do the readings wearing sleeveless short dresses. I've maintained purity for a blessed long time and feel so empowered by the Holy Ghost, but these things still affect me. I think these distractions are here to stay for a long time.
I sent our priest a brief E-mail simply asking for clarification and references to any documents. I also don't want to make a big deal out of this, but I feel others and myself are deprived. In the mean time, I'll bring my own little images of the saints on prayer cards or something.