Friday, November 2, 2007

Catholic Idolatry

Candy writes:
Notice in the first commandment, that God commands that we are not to have any other gods, but Him. However, the Catholic first commandment doesn't say that; it says just not to have any "strange Gods." Hence, they can now justify praying to Mary, even though the Bible teaches that we are ONLY to pray to God. Mary is elevated to God status, as only God can hear all prayers all of the time and know everything.

Furthermore, "strange Gods" doesn't say that Catholics can't worship more than one God.

God's second commandment says that we are not to bow down to idols.

So, she feels that Catholics are not prohibited from worshiping more than one God. Has the Catholic Church really re-written the Ten Commandments just to get around the idolatry prohibition? Let's look up idolatry in the Catholic Catechism . . .

2112 The first commandment condemns polytheism. It requires man neither to believe in, nor to venerate, other divinities than the one true God. Scripture constantly recalls this rejection of "idols, [of] silver and gold, the work of men's hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see." These empty idols make their worshippers empty: "Those who make them are like them; so are all who trust in them." God, however, is the "living God" who gives life and intervenes in history.

2113 Idolatry not only refers to false pagan worship. It remains a constant temptation to faith. Idolatry consists in divinizing what is not God. Man commits idolatry whenever he honors and reveres a creature in place of God, whether this be gods or demons (for example, satanism), power, pleasure, race, ancestors, the state, money, etc. Jesus says, "You cannot serve God and mammon." Many martyrs died for not adoring "the Beast"refusing even to simulate such worship. Idolatry rejects the unique Lordship of God; it is therefore incompatible with communion with God.

2114 Human life finds its unity in the adoration of the one God. The commandment to worship the Lord alone integrates man and saves him from an endless disintegration. Idolatry is a perversion of man's innate religious sense. An idolater is someone who "transfers his indestructible notion of God to anything other than God.

So, the Catholic Church prohibits idolatry, and clearly cannot have officially "elevated Mary to god status" when it says in the Catechism that Catholics can't divinize anyone but God.

But how does the Catholic Church excuse making graven images? Let us read further.

2129 The divine injunction included the prohibition of every representation of God by the hand of man. Deuteronomy explains: "Since you saw no form on the day that the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, beware lest you act corruptly by making a graven image for yourselves, in the form of any figure. . . . "It is the absolutely transcendent God who revealed himself to Israel. "He is the all," but at the same time "he is greater than all his works." He is "the author of beauty."

2130 Nevertheless, already in the Old Testament, God ordained or permitted the making of images that pointed symbolically toward salvation by the incarnate Word: so it was with the bronze serpent, the ark of the covenant, and the cherubim.

2131 Basing itself on the mystery of the incarnate Word, the seventh ecumenical council at Nicaea (787) justified against the iconoclasts the veneration of icons - of Christ, but also of the Mother of God, the angels, and all the saints. By becoming incarnate, the Son of God introduced a new "economy" of images.

2132 The Christian veneration of images is not contrary to the first commandment which proscribes idols. Indeed, "the honor rendered to an image passes to its prototype," and "whoever venerates an image venerates the person portrayed in it." The honor paid to sacred images is a "respectful veneration," not the adoration due to God alone:

Religious worship is not directed to images in themselves, considered as mere things, but under their distinctive aspect as images leading us on to God incarnate. The movement toward the image does not terminate in it as image, but tends toward that whose image it is.

The Catholic Church, then, differentiates between "worship" and "veneration."


Rachel said...

Thanks for posting this. It sure makes my heart smile! My faith, my faith, oh how I love my faith :)

Thanks again!

Tracy said...

A second thank you!!

kritterc said...

I just finished reading this same passage in the "Catechism of the Catholic Church." It is so simple - Why can't Candy and her followers see this? I guess I will just have to pray harder!!

Kelly said...

But why do Catholics name everything Mary this and Mary that? Why don't you ever mention GOD or JESUS? I just really wondered.

Stephanie said...

Kelly, that we mention Mary more than God or Jesus is false, and easily disproven by attending even one Mass. Head on over to any Catholic church this Sunday (our services are rarely over an hour) and you'll hear Mary mentioned once or twice in passing. In the first we are asking her to pray for us because we believe those in heaven can do so. And we must ask her to pray for us because she has no power of her own. Anything she has she has because of the salvation earned by her Son.

In the second mention, we say in the Creed that Jesus was "born of the Virgin Mary" which is something all Christians believe.

Otherwise it's nothing but God and Jesus all the way.

You might also be impressed by the amount of Scripture read in church every Sunday. No proof-texting here!