Why do we have statues in churches


#1

Isn’t that having Idols and Altars. I was reading the Bible and it talked about this and it says “Do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gods of gold.” I know we don’t worship those statues but I’m confused and “Make an altar of earth for me and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings , your sheep and goats and your cattle.” Why do we have statues in church like in my church there is a statue of mother Mary and in my home I have candles of Jesus and Mother Mary and Saints. My mom has a big Mother Mary and Saint Anne. When I read and look up stuff it just makes me so confused about being Catholic and I don’t know what to do cause I get worried about having those in my room and I don’t know?


#2

God, in the same Bible, instructs the Israelites to make angels of gold for the Ark of the Covenant.

As long as those statues serve for the worship and glory of God, they are licit.


#3

I don’t know but those weren’t statues of Jesus


#4

Would it bother you less if they were paintings or photographs?

I’ll admit it would be odd if I had a sculpture of my earthly mother, but no one would bat an eye if it were a framed photo.


#5

What do you mean…?


#6

What’s the problem with statues of Jesus vs. statues of angels?

God commanded the creation of statues (of angels). Why then would he prohibit statues of Jesus? Can you point out in the Bible where God prohibits statues of Jesus? He prohibits the creation of statues of pagan gods, yes. But he commands the creation of statues of angels, and nowhere does he prohibit the creation of statues of Jesus. After all, Jesus is not a pagan god. And as you said, you know we don’t worship the statues as gods.

So what’s the problem?


#7

I don’t know I have paintings and photographs in my house but we also have statues. I don’t really get what your trying to say sorry


#8

I don’t know I Just always see like people in a different religion say don’t pray to Mother Mary your not suppose to do that only pray to Jesus and they have statues in their church that’s scary and I just get confused about it all


#9

Sorry I wasn’t clear. You seem uniquely worried about statues of Our Lady. We have statues of saints as visuals to aid in prayer. We also keep photos of relatives we love around when we want to remember them or see their face. It’s sort of the same concept.

I hope that makes sense. I don’t make a lot of sense lately. I should take some vitamins or something!


#10

lol, thanks


#11

Saint John of Damascus defended the use of imagery in the Church in three treatises published in the eighth century. Note that by Saint John’s time the use of imagery was already widespread and considered ancient, but there was a push by the “iconoclasts” in the East saying that all such imagery should be destroyed or removed by the Church. Saint John argued that in incarnating in the person of Jesus Christ, the invisible God made his own visible image, where prior God had given none. Saint John also argued that the prohibition on images was due to the immaturity and hardness of hearts of the Israelites, and that as we have matured into the adultness of faith we can reasonably use images in the appropriate context without being led astray. Saint John also pointed out that God himself had advised that the Israelites should use and venerate certain images, from the Bronze Serpent held up by Moses, to the Ark of the Covenant and the Cherubim, to the depiction of the heavens on the veil to the entrance of the Holy of Holies. He is also clear that Christians do not believe the images to be gods or to have any power in their own right, but that they are used to respect and venerate God’s own works (the Incarnation, the saints, etc…), and that by venerating the images we are not venerating the statue in its own right, but simply acknowledging our veneration of the saint itself, and that images help us to connect to the Bible stories and the saints.

Of course, Saint John of Damascus said much more than I have here, and provided long lists of quotes from even more ancient authors than himself attesting to the use of images as being an ancient Christian practice and not a later innovation.


#12

Well, that’s their problem now, isn’t it?

God commanded the Israelites to make statues. Why then should it bother them, or you? Why is it even scary? Again, as you said, correctly: we don’t worship the statues as gods. So again, I ask: what’s the problem?


#13

We have pictures of family members and friends in our homes and on our desks. The saints and angels are friends given to us by God to share life in Christ. If they become de facto minor deities for you, then yes, you need to change your outlook. That is not the kind of help they are meant to be.

Even your Crucifix should not be an idol. Your Christmas crèche should not be an idol of the Baby Jesus. This is not what most people think these representations are, though.

Consider sacred icons: they are sometimes called “windows into heaven.” Early iconography can be found in the catacomb paintings (that is, from the 2nd and 3rd century). Tradition has it that St. Luke the Evangelist was the first Christian iconographer–that is, that those who had looked on the faces of Our Lord and Our Lady wrote icons and kept them. Doctors of the Church such as St. John Chrysostom and St. Basil the Great said they used icons to keep themselves focused while at study: for instance, St. John said he studied the Epistles of Paul with an icon of St. Paul where he could see it, so as to keep in mind the person who wrote those letters and to invoke the saint’s blessing as he worked. Controversy over this didn’t arise until the 7th and 8th centuries, influenced not by the words of Church Fathers but by Islamic and Jewish thinkers.


#14

I don’t know I was reading an argument and people on each side kept bringing up Bible verses and I was just curious


#15

I’m afraid you’re going to have to be clearer than that.


#16

This Catholic Answers tract does a better job of explaining the situation than I could:
https://www.catholic.com/tract/do-catholics-worship-statues


#17

Oh ok I sorta get it now thanks


#18

The Catholic Answers tract is very good, particularly since it is aimed exactly at answering people who raise these concerns or even accuse Catholics of idolatry.


#19

Many Protestants, particularly of the Evangelical variety, have a strong anti-Catholic bias and have serious misunderstandings of what the Catholic Church actually believes and practices.


#20

Same reason we have pictures of our family members, friends and loved ones in our homes — to remember them and call them to mind. The statues are of Our Blessed Mother, Jesus and Saints so they are our spiritual ancestors and when we have statues of them in Church or portraits they are there to call to mind our loved spiritual ancestors and remind them.


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