Worship of the cross, images and relics

I had a question for Catholics, went to mass yesterday [first time in awhile] and could not help but notice all the crosses,images of saints,images of jesus and the like. So I had a few questions.

1] when did this start with the statues and relics of past saint and jesus.

2] are these objects receiving worship? if not what is there function?.

The Use of Relics Proved from the Bible

Although many non-Catholic Christians object to the use of relics, it is important to keep in mind what the Church says about them. The Church does not say there is some magical power in them; there is nothing in the relic itself, whether a bone of the apostle Peter or water from Lourdes, that has any curative ability. However, relics may be the occasion of God’s miracles, and in this the Church follows Scripture.

The use of the bones of Elisha brought a dead man to life:

2 Kings 13:20-21
So Elisha died, and they buried him. Now bands of Moabites used to invade the land in the spring of the year. And as a man was being buried, lo, a marauding band was seen and the man was cast into the grave of Elisha; and as soon as the man touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood on his feet.

This is an unequivocal biblical example of a miracle being performed by God through contact with the relics of a saint!

Similar are the cases of the woman cured of a hemorrhage by touching the hem of Christ’s cloak (Matt. 9:20-22) and the sick who were healed when Peter’s shadow passed over them (Acts 5:14-16). Even more interesting is the evidence of “second-class” relics of Paul:

Acts 19:11-12
“And God did extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were carried away from his body to the sick, and diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them”

If these aren’t examples of the use of relics, what are?

In the case of Elisha, a Lazarus-like return from the dead was brought about through the prophet’s bones. In the New Testament cases, physical things (the cloak, the shadow, handkerchiefs and aprons) were used to effect cures. There is a perfect congruity between present-day Catholic practice and ancient practice. If you reject all Catholic relics today as frauds, you should also reject these biblical accounts as frauds.

The Martyrdom of Polycarp

Finally, let’s consider a passage from an ancient document known as “The Martyrdom of Polycarp” which illustrates the reverence that the earliest Christians had for the relics of their fallen comrades.

CHAPTER 18 – THE CHRISTIANS TAKE THE ASHES.

1 When therefore the centurion saw the contentiousness caused by the Jews, he put the body in the midst, as was their custom, and burnt it. 2 Thus we, at last, took up his bones, more precious than precious stones, and finer than gold, and put them where it was meet. 3 There the Lord will permit us to come together according to our power in gladness and joy, and celebrate the birthday of his martyrdom, both in memory of those who have already contested,* and for the practice and training of those whose fate it shall be.

  • This is almost a technical term for martyrdom (cf. Ignatius’s epistle to Polycarp 1:3).

Polycarp was martyred ca. 155 AD. Since some anti-Catholics claim that the Catholic Church did not exist before the conversion of the Emperor Constantine in the fourth century, this account of Polycarp’s death includes an early example of the veneration of the bones of the Christian Church in accordance with the scriptures long before the Catholic Church “allegedly” even existed!

2] are these objects receiving worship? if not what is there function?.

Nope. Just honor or veneration as an object that reminds us of something greater…like a soldier in a distant land might kiss a picture of his wife and kids back home out of love for them.

I have been assisting at Mass all my life anf to my knowledge there have always been statues and crucifixes.

We do not worship these icons.

They bring to mind the person they represent and all they have done for the Faith.

The crucifix brings to mind all that our Savior has done for us and it is Him alone that we worship.

Hope this helps

Yes, isn’t religious art wonderful?

In the first century.

You seem to be a smart person, I am surprised you cannot figure that out yourself. What do you think? Do you think Christians worship objects or do you think Christians worship God? Catholics are Christians, so you should have your answer there.

What purpose do pictures of family, crosses, your family bible, etc, play in your own life? In your home? There’s your answer.

  1. It was going on as far back as Paul and Peter:
    Acts 19:11-12
    Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

11 And God did extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that handkerchiefs or aprons were carried away from his body to the sick, and diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them.

  1. We do NOT worship statues, images, icons, or relics. They are tools that help us worship God and venerate His saints. It’s like having a picture of a family member in one’s wallet.

Well I am a revert, so I can’t answer everything, but WE DO NOT WORSHIP
ANYBODY OR ANYTHING EXCEPT GOD FATHER SON & HOLY SPIRIT !!!

Now where did the use of images start? I believe it was back when the common
people were illiterate so the Church allowed images portraying religious scenes,
so people can see and understand and so forth . . . and it just stuck around.

What is the purpose of images today? VISUALIZE. Serving the same
purpose as the written text itself. The objects do not receive worship,
like the images of Jesus, we do not worship those, but what such im-
ages of Jesus represent: JESUS!

What about Saints? Images of saints are on par religiously to the Lincoln
Memorial, statues of great heroes and so forth, WE DO NOT WORSHIP
THEM. We are just reminded of great people in the past who have clear-
ly found favor with God.

What about relics? The Catholic Church recognizes when God has found favor with
a particular individual (saint), and that parts of their clothes are considered holy, be-
cause of how close they are to God. WE DO NOT WORSHIP THEM.

If it would help you any, the respect and honor and reverence we give to the saints would be
highly inappropriate to give to God, because God is above such forms of reverence. We don’t
give the same respect given to all other saints to Lady Mary as she is exalted above all other
saints; however, that reverence given to Mary isn’t given to God because again, God is above
that kind of reverence. The true divine worship of God which Protestants and Catholics share
in common is NEVER, no matter how badly some suggest otherwise, it is NEVER given to
any of the saints or angels as they are beneath God.

Let me say this in a this separate post:
There is Dulia, Hyperdulia, & Latria.
[INDENT]**Dulia **is the reverence accorded to saints and angels.

**Hyperdulia **is the special veneration due only to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

**Latria **is that worship and adoration that is ONLY to be offered to God ALONE.
What Catholics are often accused of doing by Protestants is that
we offer LATRIA to the Saints, Angels, and especially Mary. That
is not the case at all.
(And I resent the accusation).
We give Latria, that Divine Worship and Adoration ONLY TO GOD,
while Mary is given hyperdulia, and the Saints/Angels receive from
us dulia.

Why is Mary given hyperdulia while the Saints/Angels are only to
be given dulia? Mary of course is above all the Saints and Angels.

Is it okay to give dulia or even hyperdulia to God? Absolutely not!
But Why? Doesn’t God Deserve it? NO, God deserves a lot more.
God is owed latria, something too great to be given to the Saints,
the Angels, even to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Heaven.
[/INDENT]Does that clear ANYTHING up for Protestants? Catholics DO NOT give latria
to the Saints or Angels or even Mary. Catholics DO NOT give dulia/hyperdulia
to God. We Catholics DO NOT give dulia to Mary or hyperdulia any other Saint
or Angel than Mary.

Dulia is only to the Saints and Angels.
Hyperdulia goes only to the Virgin Mary.
And Latria goes only AND ONLY to the Lord God ALONE!

  1. I would say I it started when God demanded the Isrealites to construct two cherubrim on top of the Ark of the Covenant

  2. I don’t worship crosses or objects. I worship God. Do you really think Catholics worship objects? Really?

  1. As Randy showed, the practice goes all the way back to the bible.
  2. The objects are not being worshiped. As far as statues, pictures, icons they are all different ways of telling the stories of the church. Like looking at family pictures. We see these and they remind us of our history. We use them to keep our history alive, because any person in heaven is more alive than we are, as they are in the presence of God.

Coming into mass as an outsider I imagine you see a lot of kneeling and genuflecting at the end of the pew towards what is usually the body of Jesus nailed to the cross with Mary and Mary Magdalen looking up kneeling to either side…or something of the sort. It would appear as if Catholics were showing homage and worship to a stone made by man therefore…worshipping an idol.

However, if you look a bit closer beneath the crucifix you will find a tabernacle which contains the host or the body of Christ that the priest has transubstantiated into the real presence of our lord. If the candle is lit…the body is there and present. If it is not Catholics that “know better” will no longer genuflect. You will also note that at the front of the church the holy water will be dry and the tabernacle doors will be open.

Another question is do we pray to the saints and Mary? Many pray for intercession
Isaiah 59:2 says but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God,
and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. In Ephesians it says, honour thy father and thy mother in the lord for this is right. If God has closed his ears to me…then who better to ask for intercession than his mother who will go to her son and ask for my forgiveness. So that I may once again walk in his light.

I’m working on this myself. It’s really no different then when you ask a friend to pray for you to the lord our God.

:thumbsup:

Mark 2:1-5. The paralytic is healed by the intercession of his friends

Coming into mass as an outsider I imagine you see a lot of kneeling and genuflecting at the end of the pew towards what is usually the body of Jesus nailed to the cross with Mary and Mary Magdalen looking up kneeling to either side…or something of the sort. It would appear as if Catholics were showing homage and worship to a stone made by man therefore…worshipping an idol.

However, if you look a bit closer beneath the crucifix you will find a tabernacle which contains the host or the body of Christ that the priest has transubstantiated into the real presence of our lord. If the candle is lit…the body is there and present. If it is not Catholics that “know better” will no longer genuflect. You will also note that at the front of the church the holy water will be dry and the tabernacle doors will be open.

Another question is do we pray to the saints and Mary? Many pray for intercession
Isaiah 59:2 says but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God,
and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. In Ephesians it says, honour thy father and thy mother in the lord for this is right. If God has closed his ears to me…then who better to ask for intercession than his mother who will go to her son and ask for my forgiveness. So that I may once again walk in his light.

I’m working on this myself. It’s really no different then when you ask a friend to pray for you to the lord our God.

i see no problem with any of the above but one sentence.

you said
" If you reject all Catholic relics today as frauds, you should also reject these biblical accounts as frauds."

I disagree here, as what i asked [images of jesus, saints used in worship etc] is wholly different than what you posted above.

But i am very very glad to hear they are not used as to worship to the objects, thank you.

Doesnt this contradict Gods commandment to have NO GRAVEN image of Heaven or below? I knows this request to construct the 2 statues atop the ark came from God, but why did he even tell us to have no GRAVEN images then?

BTW, Graven is ANYTHING that is 'constructed, carved, or otherwise created out of a given material, like wood, metal, rock, etc.

Personally, I have NO statues, crosses, pictures, or anything relating to God, Heaven, etc, just to be safe, but really I dont see the need for them. I tend to think if God is in ones heart, then a cross, or statue is not really needed, but thats just me.

helps allot thanks much.

lol, yes some is very nice.

any support may i ask?.

well one does hear alot of things, plus that assumes catholic are christian [not saying your not but Mormons and jw claim as well] that can do no wrong.

no problem with pictures etc, i was just interested in statues of jesus mostly, and saints.

did not see anything on images of jesus/saints there.

good to hear number 2.

great to hear thanks.

but what such im-ages of Jesus represent: JESUS!

just wondering on the jesus part, how you reconcile it with the whole make no graven images thing.
"You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.
exodus 20.4

not to debate,just understand better, thanks.

great point,or keep the 10 commandments,manna from heaven etc

but i was just interested in images of jesus and saints mostly.

practice of images of jesus and saints in worship areas?.

Mormons and JWs deny the Trinity, that is why they are not Christian.

  1. Your OP asked about relics as well as images. I supported the use and veneration of relics.

  2. We understand that to mean that the objects are not to be worshipped. After all, God commands the building of an icon (with healing powers) in Numbers 21:8-9-

8 And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and every one who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze serpent, and set it on a pole; and if a serpent bit any man, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.

And just read what Solomon builds in the Temple in 1 Kings 6:23-

23 In the inner sanctuary he made two cherubim of olive wood, each ten cubits high.

antiochian.org/content/no-graven-image-icons-and-their-proper-use

Total Relism
Re: “no graven images”

Enjoy. :thumbsup:

Let me add this too: the meaning of the word “worship” has changed over the years.

The word “worship” has historically been used more broadly, without implying latria or literal adoration: “with this ring I thee wed, with my body I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow” is a relatively familiar example. We may encounter older texts–or newer texts with odd wordings–that may be confusing, but keep this difference in mind.

For example:

Did JPII tell us to worship Mary?

[quote=Michelle Arnold; 5802827]That said, use of the word in this century has largely become restricted to the type of reverence given to God alone. Use of it in other ways may not be incorrect but it can be confusing, and so the translator of John Paul II’s prayers really should have chosen another word, such as “honored” or “revered.”

[/quote]

I will happily explain.
Let’s first look at the following verse:Thou shalt not adore them, nor serve them: I am the Lord thy God, mighty,
jealous, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third
and fourth generation of them that hate me:

  • (Exodus 20:5)
    Now let’s read the Commentary on Verse 4:[4] A graven thing, nor the likeness of any thing: All such images,
    or likenesses, are forbidden by this commandment, as are made
    to be adored and served; according to that which immediately fol-
    lows, thou shalt not adore them, nor serve them. That is, all such
    as are designed for idols or image―gods, or are worshipped with
    divine honour. But otherwise images, pictures, or representations,
    even in the house of God, and in the very sanctuary so far from
    being forbidden, are expressly authorized by the word of God.
    So the point of Exodus 20:4 is expressed in Exodus 20:5, to carve, mold, craft anything
    into a form that is to be worshiped, draw attention away from the True God, for that pur–
    pose is the forbidden. Images like the Crucifix, “Good Shepherd,” etc. are not to be wor-
    shiped, Catholics don’t do that, but we worship what such images represent: Jesus. ;)(Remember Again: We don’t do the same thing with Saints and Angels)
    Another point to make, which I believe has been brought to this tread a one or two times,
    is that if you want to stick with Exodus 20:4, and not allow the following verse to indicate
    what the commandment is actually about, then you run into the issue of the 2 Cherubim
    which God instructed to be crafted on top of the Arc of the Covenant.

I hope I explained well.

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