Understanding Roman Catholicism
The Catechism requires all Catholics to "venerate" statues, or images of Christ, Mary and others:
"Sacred images in our churches and homes are intended to awaken and nourish our faith in the mystery of Christ. Through the icon of Christ and his works of salvation, it is he whom we adore. Through sacred salvation, it is he whom we adore. Through sacred images of the holy Mother of God, of the angels and of the saints, we venerate the persons represented." Pg. 307, #1192
Regardless of what statues are intended to do, one thing is certain - they transgress God's instructions. When God gave the ten commandments, the second one was:
"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:" Exodus 20:4
God also ordered:
"Neither shalt thou set thee up any image; which the LORD thy God hateth." Deuteronomy 16:22
The Bible concludes that those who make or have statues have been corrupted:
"Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves... Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female..." Deuteronomy 4:15-16
God states His position again:
"Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the LORD thy God hath forbidden thee." Deuteronomy 4:23
God's Word also expressly forbids people from bowing down to statues, which is customary in the Catholic church. Whenever you see a picture of the pope bowing before a statue of Mary, you should think about this verse of Holy Scripture:
"Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God..." Exodus 20:5
In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul explains why God was so adamant about idols:
"What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing?... the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils (demons), and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils." 1 Corinthians 10:19-20
Behind every idol is a literal demon, and God does not want anyone fellowshipping with demons. No wonder God forbids the use of idols:
"Turn ye not unto idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods: I am the LORD your God." Leviticus 19:4
God hates idolatry:
"But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater... with such an one no not to eat." 1 Corinthians 5:11
"For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God." Ephesians 5:5
Here, God declares that idolaters will not enter heaven. The next verses warns:
"Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience." Ephesians 5:6
Is the Catholic church deceiving you with vain words? You must decide that for yourself.
Origin of this doctrine
Catholicism does not even pretend that this doctrine came from God:
"Following the divinely inspired teaching of our holy Fathers and the tradition of the Catholic Church (for we know that this tradition comes from the Holy Spirit who dwells in her) we rightly define with full certainty and correctness that, like the figure of the precious and life-giving cross, venerable and holy images of our Lord and God and Savior, Jesus Christ, our inviolate Lady, the holy Mother of God, and the venerated angels, all the saints and the just, whether painted or made of mosaic or another suitable material, are to be exhibited in the holy churches of God, on sacred vessels and vestments, walls and panels, in houses and on streets." Pg. 300, #1161
This doctrine came from the "holy Fathers" and "tradition of the Catholic Church." You are expected to believe that these holy Fathers were "divinely inspired" to violate God's Word. Can you accept this?
The psalmist teaches us even more on the subject:
"The idols of the heathen are silver and gold, the work of men's hands. They have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not; They have ears, but they hear not; neither is there any breath in their mouths. They that make them are like unto them: so is every one that trusteth in them." Psalm 135:15-18
In other words, as an idol is deaf and dumb, so everyone who makes idols or trusts in them is devoid of understanding.
This is a powerful warning from a loving and compassionate God.
The Catholic church contends that idols will "awaken and nourish" your faith in "the mystery of Christ." But God's Word forbids their use. Who will you obey?
"Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God." Leviticus 26:1
"For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men..." Mark 7:8
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Understanding Roman Catholicism © 1995 by Rick Jones