Imagery In Catholicism – FYI, Catholics Do Not Worship Statues

Above: The first image is inside Notre-Dame Basilica. The second image is a crucifix. I don't have a problem with a crucifix because it reminds me what Jesus sacrificed on the cross. The third image is Mary with baby Jesus. Catholics DO NOT worship Mary. Som Protestants will setup a manager scene at Christmas. The fourth image is a rosary. It's "NOT" required that Catholics pray the rosary. There are so many misconceptions about Catholicism.

The first Mass that Brenda and I attended on January 21st, 2017 at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Raleigh NC was "not" an imagery shock for me. Yes, there were more images like the stations of the cross, a crucifix, Mary & Joseph, a raised altar and a few other things, but nothing that was shocking.

The Pentecostal church that I grew up in had a headshot portrait of Jesus that hung a few feet behind the pulpit, a church flag on a flag stand, a cross ( if memory serves me correct ) and stained glass windows. Yes, Sacred Heart Cathedral had more than this, but it didn't bother me. I also have "never" believed Catholics worship statues ( or Mary ).

I understand the imagery can be to remind us, to share visual stories with Children who are not able to read yet ( How did you know what Jesus looked like as a child? ), to encourage us by the lives lived by the faithful before us and more. You see, the imagery does have meaning.

Catholic imagery is "not" for bowing down to "worship a statue." Jesus said in Luke 4:8 “It is written: "You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone shall you serve." Faithful Catholics understand that and live that our in their lives.

I see no difference in bowing down before the crucifix and praying to Jesus versus kneeling beside my bed with the Bible open praying to Jesus. What about the pocket crosses that have been around for years that many Protestants carry around in their pocket as a reminder? What about the Baptist Pastor that I sat down with years ago who had a spike in his wall to remind him of what Jesus did on the cross?

You might be able to accept the crucifix and Bible example. However, as a non-Catholic, the thought of gazing upon a statue of Mary and praying to Mary really disturbs you. That is not worshipping Mary. It's part of the Communion of Saints.

Asking Mary to pray for us is no different than asking someone here on earth to pray for us. Protestants regularly ask family and friends here on earth to pray for them, a friend, a relative, etc. Mary and the Saints are more alive in heaven and closer to Christ than anyone here on earth. That was not a hard concept for me to accept.

I enjoy the beauty of the Catholic church. On Palm Sunday 2017, I was able to visit Sacred Heart in Downtown Tampa, Florida ( pictured below ) while traveling on business. It's beautiful, but I didn't visit to worship the church nor did I see anyone else doing anything odd that lead me to believe they were worshipping images.

Photo from Parish Facebook Page - Click Image to Visit Facebook

You may also want to read this article on Catholic Answers: "Do Catholics Worship Statues?"