Worship of the Cross


Can someone help me to understand this?

"honor or reverence is due to a rational creature only; while to an insensible creature, no honor or reverence is due save by reason of a rational nature. And this in two ways. First, inasmuch as it represents a rational nature: secondly, inasmuch as it is united to it in any way whatsoever. In the first way men are wont to venerate the king’s image; in the second way, his robe. And both are venerated by men with the same veneration as they show to the king. If, therefore, we speak of the cross itself on which Christ was crucified, it is to be venerated by us in both ways–namely, in one way in so far as it represents to us the figure of Christ extended thereon; in the other way, from its contact with the limbs of Christ, and from its being saturated with His blood. Wherefore in each way it is worshiped with the same adoration as Christ, viz. the adoration of “latria.” And for this reason also we speak to the cross and pray to it, as to the Crucified Himself. But if we speak of the effigy of Christ’s cross in any other material whatever–for instance, in stone or wood, silver or gold–thus we venerate the cross merely as Christ’s image, which we worship with the adoration of “latria,” as stated above

So in other words, we are to worship the cross with the worship of latria and pray to it, because it is the image of Christ and it came in physical contact with Him, but we are not to worship it in so far as it is just wood?

I can’t say that I entirely follow the reasoning of giving the cross the same adoration as of Christ.


The distinction is that The Cross is in the human inferrence of Christ, not that It, of itself, Is Christ! Otherwise, it is just two pieces of wood stuck together.

Whithout Christ, there would be no meaning to the symbol.

We know not what Christ looked like! What image comes to mind when one closes his/her eyes in prayer? Without Christ it will have to be a “formless void!” Which is preferrable?

Opinion, of course.



The catholic encyclopedia is not an authoritative catholic reference. I would go the the Catechism to get Authentic Catholic Teaching.


That’s Aquinas’ Summa Theologica and therefore not authoritative document. Just St. Thomas’ opinion and not expressed as the Church would today.

Do Catholics Worship Statues?


Yes, I know that, but the fact that a great Doctor of the Church (some would say the greatest) said it is troublesome if he is promoting idolatry. On the other hand, is it right for us to dismiss it with a wave of the hand without understanding what else he might mean by it?

Further, if he was promoting idolatry, then this would strengthen arguments by anti-catholics that, at least at one one point in the Church’s history, idolatry was condoned.


I think Aquinas is calling it “latria” in as much as when you pray to the cross, you’re really praying to Christ. I was in Rome for a pilgrimage this summer, and I had the opportunity to see some of the nails from the True Cross. I can guarantee you that my prayers didn’t begin “Glory to you, o nails, you are my God.” Rather I used the nails to pray to Christ in a special way due to the fact that they were relics. Thus my prayer in the presence of the nails was latria because I was praying to God. I just used the nails as a tool for meditation. I think that’s what Aquinas was talking about.


Although I support all of Church dogma as a faithful Catholic; however, as a convert I consider this a prime example of how we, as Catholics, can blur the line between veneration and worship.

I have always thought this about some Marion groups who seem to take veneration to an extreme. I remember a Jesuit who once told me that he often asks those who do blur the line, “When is the last time you ever saw Mary on a crucifix?”

I guess it frustrates me because I know it is contrary to Church teaching; that God alone is to be worshiped, and then I think it’s no wonder protestants are so quick to accuse us of ‘Mary worship’.


I see no reason to use an old source that does not help clarify the Catholic teaching. In the context of the modern meaning of the word, we do not and have not ever “worshiped” the Blessed Virgin, and it serves no useful purpose to flaunt defective terminology in the face of others IMO.

With great respect for Aquinas, I strongly suspect that he would say the same thing today.

Some people may think it’s cute to inflame the a-Cs with such terminology, but IMO it’s deceptive and uncharitable.


I do not think Aquinas is promoting idolatry. In fact, he is pretty clear in calling idolatry the most grievous of sins elsewhere in the Summa.

I think we get into trouble when we take our modern-day understanding of words like “prayer” and “worship” and read them back into people from past times and cultures.


Can you elaborate on what you mean by this a bit? :confused:


Sorry if I was confusing!

What I mean is, I have seen a lot of a-C’s pull up quotes where this or that saint speaks of “worshipping” Mary. The way I have tended to think of it (based on things I have read) is that what they meant by “worshipping Mary” is not what someone means today by the phrase. In the past, the word “worship” was not used exclusively for the worship due to God alone, as we tend to use it today.

Perhaps I am incorrect on this point. I am only speaking from memory of things I have read, so I could very well be wrong.


From the Catholic Encyclopedia:

**Precisely this same doctrine is repeated in Sess. XXV of the Council of Trent: “Images are not to be worshipped because it is believed that some divinity or power resides in them and that they must be worshipped on that account, or because we ought to ask anything of them, or because we should put our trust in them, as was done by the gentiles of old who placed their hope in idols but because the honour which is shown to them is referred to the prototypes which they represent; so that through the images which we kiss, and before which we kneel, we may adore Christ, and venerate the saints, whose resemblances they bear.” (See also IMAGES.)

This clear doctrine, which cuts short every objection, is also that taught by Bellarmine, by Bossuet, and by Petavius. It must be said, however, that this view was not always so clearly taught. Following Bl. Albertus Magnus and Alexander of Hales, St. Bonaventure St. Thomas, and a, section of the Schoolmen who appear to have overlooked the Second Council of Nicæa teach that the worship rendered to the Cross and the image of Christ is that of latria, but with a distinction: the same worship is due to the image and its exemplar but the exemplar is honoured for Himself (or for itself), with an absolute worship; the image because of its exemplar, with a relative worship. The object of the adoration is the same, primary in regard to the exemplar and secondary in regard to the image. To the image of Christ, then, we owe a worship of latria as well as to His Person. The image, in fact, is morally one with its prototype, and, thus considered, if a lesser degree of worship be rendered to the image, that worship must reach the exemplar lessened in degree. Against this theory an attack has recently been made in “The Tablet”, the opinion attributed to the Thomists being sharply combated. Its adversaries have endeavoured to prove that the image of Christ should be venerated but with a lesser degree of honour than its exemplar.

The cult paid to it, they say, is simply analogous to the cult of latria, but in its nature different and inferior. No image of Christ, then, should be honoured with the worship of latria, and, moreover, the term “relative latria”, invented by the Thomists, ought to be banished from theological language as equivocal and dangerous.-- Of these opinions the former rests chiefly upon consideration of pure reason, the latter upon ecclesiastical tradition, notably upon the Second Council of Nicæa and its confirmation by the Fourth Council of Constantinople and upon the decree of the Council of Trent. **


God Bless,


If CC don’t worship them, why have them in the first place in our Churches and sell them, what is the purpose in doing so? We are commanded not to crave any image of man or woman or anything, etc. It is written in the bible and the second commandment, yet the Catholic Church does it, why?

God Bless


And yet God ordered Moses to make a bronze serpent and said that if anyone looked at that serpent, they would be healed of the snake bites. That bronze serpent, BTW, is a prefigurement of the Cross of Christ. And just a couple of chapters after the 10 commandments in Exodus, God orders Moses to make two cherubim of God for the Ark of the Covenant. So the intent of that “second” commandment was not an absolute ban of any carved image.

The Cross is there to remind us what Christ did for us, the price that He paid to deliver us from our sins. :slight_smile:

God Bless,


Pick up our cross and carry it like Jesus Christ did. Cross means our trials and tribulations. Jesus Christ when he spoke used symbols in teaching us. What we could as “humans” understand when Jesus preached about God our Heavenly Father. Like Jesus calling himself a Shepherd.

For all knew in that generation what a Shepherds tasks or works were in caring for their own sheep. God is a living God! When we kneel, we kneel before him in his presents. Not before a cross a piece of wood to talk to it, that has to be carried about, or hung on the wall, or when it falls it cannot pick itself up and needs to be dusted off. This is an abomination to God, to turn our backs to him. What image of God can we carve. God is HOLY, Scared, Divine.

No! God is a living God, the living God of Abarham, Issac, Jacob. Jesus knelt on the ground and looked up! Jesus spoke to God. Jesus did not carve an image of God, did he? God said when two or more are gathered I am there! God is all knowing, all seeing, and what we do in secret when praying he see’s us, for God has told us that. So when I hear soothsayers say this is pleasing to God when God has commanded us not to do so, I pray for them. forgive us all for we know not what we do.

Jesus speaks of Moses and mentions the commandments God gave to Moses. Jesus said I did not come to change “one tittle” of the law but to add to them. Love your enemies. Jesus did not come to “judge” either but to re-teach the laws of God also.

If we boast, boast of what we have received, for all have received.

God Bless



An image is a visual aid in prayer, not the object of prayer. As long as the image is not treated as divine or containing some kind of magical power, using images is not a violation of God’s law.

God bless,


That was a direct commandment of God to Moses! Again a direct commandment of God to Moses. God’s purpose at that time I do not know his thoughts for commanding Moses to do so. But now Jesus Christ his son “as come”, once and for all.

The Second commandment ( ten commandments) was given to Moses “after” Moses was ordered and commanded to carve those images. God will not be mocked or is God a foolish God! And to make void the second commandment which you have no authority woula also make void the first one. Worship God. I am the Lord thy God and there is NO other God before me.

ST Paul and apostle to the Romans Chapter 1

Punishment of Idolaters. Not to also mention this was after the time of Jesus.

The wrath of God is indeed being revealed from heaven against every impiety and wickedness fo those who suppress the truth by theier wickedness. For what can be known about God is EVIDENT to them, because God masde it EVIDENT to them. Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be UNDERSTOOD and perceived in what he has made. As a result, THEY HAVE NO EXCUSE. for although they knew God they did NOT ACCORD HIM GLORY AS GOD or give him thanks. Instead, they became VAIN in their reasoning, and SENSELESS MINDS were darkened. WHILE CLAIMING TO BE WISE, they became FOOLS and exchanged THE GLORY OF THE IMMORTAL GOD for the LIKENESS of an image of MORTAL MAN or of birds or of four-legged animals or OF SNAKES.

Therefore, god handed them over to impurity through the LUSTS of their hearts for the mutual degradation of their BODIES. They exchange the TRUTH of God for a lie and revered and WORSHIPPED THE CREATURE RATHER THAN THE CREATOR, who is blessed forever Amen.

When God says we “worshipped the creature rather than the creator”… meaning we do our will first and not in obedience to God and his commandments given. We turn around and say oh no it is not important now…hello. God is the beginning and the end! God does not change. God is not a God of confusion. God will not be mocked… Read the book of Revelations.

In the same paragraph … Because we have created theses images of God, Jesus, idols, then God tells us of his punishment, his displeasure God says to us…Thereforth
God handed them over to degrading passions. Their females excanged natural relations for unnatural. I ask is this not so today?

I have learned this also I am not judging but I have no longer any statue in my house. When I kneel I look up as Jesus taught us and talk give praise and worship to the living God!

God Bless
God Bless


Who? started creating such idols, statues in the first place when it was commanded by God not to do so?

A visual aid in prayer? Jesus said. The time for such ignorance is passed.

We were created in the image of God. Try throwing that blessed image painted with black eyes on stone, statue in the garbage and tell me if we do not look upon it as divine? ST. Paul beware of idols. In Anitoch they were told to stop making images and selling them. I don’t care what the image was they were told to stop making them.

Sorry! I disagree an image, is an image, man or woman period! Beware of idols, idols. Through out the whole bible this is told. The image is even being blessed… hello. Do we not treat it has divine when we kneel before it and talk to it. When we carry around our necks a gold cross that is blessed, are we not saying that this gold cross will protect us? Only God can make us Holy.

Sorry we were commanded not to do so by God, thereforth either you believe in the word of God or you don’t. Whether we believe in the word and commandments of God or we don’t.

We were not given authority to change GOD’S COMMANDMENTS for even Jesus who is the SON OF GOD DID NOT DO SO, NOT ONE TITTLE OF THE LAW!


God Bless


No, I think you’re pretty much right on target. :thumbsup:


God BlessAre we? I think you have not studied this and the Word of God concerning it.
Iconoclasm: Or: Catholics Worship Graven Images NOT

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