Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Year of Faith 08: On Religious Images

Year of Faith 08: On Religious Images: Catholics have always been under fire from other sects or critics regarding worship of idols and images. There is less debate on living persons being idolized. Catholics are aware that they can only go as far as being a fan or even a fanatic but not to regard them as gods. 
But the attitude towards images which represent saints and God is always brought up. W
e Catholics are faulted due to our regard for them Fellow Christian religions accuse us of violating Scriptures due to the proliferation of images in our churches, houses, etc. They claim it is Idolatry of the highest degree. But we do agree with them that images should not be idolized. But we allow them as symbols and representations. We REVERE our saints and WORSHIP our God. Reverence involves respect and appreciation of what they had done out of faith. Worship is a recognition of God as our Creator and Savior. I believe, deep inside, every Catholic knows this and live this. Unfortunately, we can agree, the external manifestations are too much to some that they come across as worship those images.
Two things are involve here. In the Catholic Faith, religious images are acceptable given the proper regard. The idolatry committed by our ancestors must be understood in context. Then, they worshipped a created golden calf as their god. They were punished because of that. But we are and should not be committing the same mistake. We know who our God is. And whenever we kneel and pray before His image, we relate not with the image but with God Himself. The same holds true with our reverence for saints. We possess those images and relate to those whom they represent through them. If there are Catholics who are acting beyond or outside of this, they are bordering on idolatry. But who are we to judge unless they openly express it.
Thus it must be set straight that the Catholic Faith allows or encourages images to promote faith. As what I have said in another Catechism (On The Sacrament of Reconciliation) we are sensitive people. We act better via our senses. Images satisfy our vision and need to touch. If they help us become closer to God and be holier and better, why not?

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