What are appropriate ways to treat religious objects?


Are there limits on how one ought to display their adoration through the channel of religious objects or images? One time I stopped by my parish after work to vent and re-attune myself, and pray before the statue of Mary, and I feel driven to kiss her on the cheek or her feet. I also often kiss the corpus on the crucifix and the face of Mary on my rosary when I am saying it or if I am simply holding it before bed. Are these signs of adoration odd or normal?


These signs are quite normal and appropriate. Just be thoughtful in public places – you don’t want to spread germs. Note that on Good Friday at the veneration of the cross, a cloth is used to wipe the cross after each person (at least where I’ve gone to Mass). And where relics are displayed publicly for veneration, there’s a cloth lying next to it, to wipe it off after you kiss it (again, where I’ve seen it).


There is a story about St. Catherine Laboure, the one thru whom Mary spread the miraculous medal. When she was nine, she lost her mother. Shorty afterwards, she ran to the statue of Mary in their home which was kept up on a dresser. She reached up and grabbed the statue of Mary and hugged it and said, “Now you will be my mother.” And so she did.


In Rome, there are some metal statues of saints, Jesus, etc. that have shiny or even worn spots, from being touched and kissed so much.


Kissing holy objects is the historical way to venerate them (this is still commonly practiced in Eastern Churches). It is best to not kiss them if you have something on your lips (lipstick, chapstick, etc) as these can damage certain objects and leave a stain. :slight_smile:


I venerate the images of the Saints, the Blessed Mother, and Christ all the time in this manner. Part of it is cultural, I am from Guam where we received our faith from Spanish priests. In my visits to Spain, I have noted that many of the Catholic things we do on Guam are also done there. Overall though, I do these things (kissing the feet of the corpus, touching the statues of the various saints, etc.) out of a strong devotion and true love for them. I am always in awe of how much the Church love us and sets these people before us as wonderful examples of how we can and should live our lives!


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