by Pat Miron
I’m a Catholic
There are a great many charges leveled against the Catholic Church on a all to frequent basis by non-Catholic – Christians and others as well. Often out of ignorance; not knowing the logic and foundation for what we hold to be the singular truth. It’s what they have been told, so it’s what they believe. Among the more common charges is that we Catholics are “idolaters,” and the question before us is it true?
After all we do “pray to Mary, the Mother of God,” and to Angels and Saints. So it would seem that their at least might be some grounds to support these charges. And there is plenty of evidence of statues, stained-glass windows, prayer-cards, religious art that seems to add credence to the charge.
The answer rest is in the terminology used. In the charges leveled is the word “Worship,” As in Catholics “Worship Mary.” This is an incorrect understanding of Catholic Practice. Catholics; like non-Catholic-Christians hold to the fact that “Worship” is reserver3ed to God alone. So then; what is it that Catholics do, if it’s not “Worship?”
Book of Exodus, chapter Twenty we read this admonition: this command from God. “Exodus 20: And God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. “You shall have no other gods before me.” “You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth”
Well that certainly seems clear enough? But is it REALLY?
The most basic, inviolable, indeed; Infallible rule for understanding the Bible correctly [as God Himself intends], is that Never-Ever can one part of the Bible contradict another portion. Where this even the slightest possibility, the Bible would be worthless as a tool for teaching or learning ones Faith. When ever this appears to take place we can be certain that it is we; not the bible that is in error.
So my friends lets turn to the book of Numbers; the same God giving direction to the same Moses
.Num.21:8 -9 “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.” 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 here is another example of God’s Command to Moses: from the Book of Exodus no-less. Exod.25: 18-22 “And you shall make two cherubim [ANGELS] of gold; of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub on the one end, and one cherub on the other end; of one piece with the mercy seat shall you make the cherubim on its two ends. The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, their faces one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be. There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are upon the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you of all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel. … Exod.26: 1“Moreover you shall make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twined linen and blue and purple and scarlet stuff; with cherubim skillfully worked shall you make them.”
So what’s the deal here, we have God directing; actually commanding Moses to “MAKE and display IDOLS” to be used as God commands?
The explanation is in the CORRECT understanding of the term “Idols”.
Go back and re-look at
Exodus 20 and take note of the fact that God specifies “FALSE gods“; not just any images. What God prohibits is anything that is in competition to His God-Head. Images that lead one [or at least that is their intended purpose], are NOT prohibited because they are a means to a building a closer unity with God. It is the purpose of the image that determines if in fact it is an IDOL, or something that reminds us of heavenly things. Certainly Mary, the Saints, Angels all qualify as “holy things” that ought can, and ought to lead us in the direction of God; not towards any “false competing” gods. So statues, art, images of Saints and Mary are quite “OK” with God, as a means of gaining possible closer union with Him.
This discussion would be incomplete without an explanation of WHY we do what we do. To try to make the issue clear we will use the
”HAILMARY” [used in the Rosary] prayer, which is by far the most used prayer next to the LORDS PAYER, as our example of what we Catholics actually do, and why we do it.
Full of Grace
The Lord is with thee
Blessed are you among all women
And Blessed in the fruit of your womb: Jesus
Mother of God
Pray for us sinners
Now and at the hour of our death
Amen” [I BELIEVE!]
Luke Chapter One
26 And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth 27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women 29 Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. 30 And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. 31 Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever 33 And of his kingdom there shall be no end.
34 And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man?
35 And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
The final petition: “
Pray for us sinners, Now and at the hour of our death” is the reason Catholics pray to [actually THROUGH them] Mary and the Saints Our prayers ARE DIRECTED to God; BUT with the intercession, the HELP of Mary and the Saints who ADD their own prayers on-top of ours making them far more effective, and pleasing to God.
We call them “Intercessory Prayers.”
Luke.18: 1“And he [Jesus] told them a parable, to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. …Eph.6: 18“Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,”
As one can see, from reading the New Testament, Jesus Himself prayed often as did the Apostles. Prayer is lifting out minds and heats to God. So the fact that Catholics use reminders of those who have both “passed before us“; and PASSED the necessary steps required for ones salvations is a form of “VENERATION“, NOT “Worship,” which is RIGHTLY reserve red to God alone.
Therefore the charge against Catholics as Idolaters is blatantly FALSE, and unmerited.
God Bless you,