Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

My Photo
Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Tis The Season For....... Graven Images?

What's the difference between a Protestant and a Catholic?

The Protestant puts away his graven images after the holidays are over.

What's my point? Why do Christians put statues of Mary, Jesus, Joseph and the angels around their churches and homes at the Holy Season of Christmas? Because the statues call to mind the people they represent. Do they worship these statues? I don't know, I have often seen Christians standing in front of manger scenes singing Christmas carols at various churches but I don't assume they were worshipping them. Reminds me of this section of the Catechism:

1162 "The beauty of the images moves me to contemplation, as a meadow delights the eyes and subtly infuses the soul with the glory of God." Similarly, the contemplation of sacred icons, united with meditation on the Word of God and the singing of liturgical hymns, enters into the harmony of the signs of celebration so that the mystery celebrated is imprinted in the heart's memory and is then expressed in the new life of the faithful."

Sounds like what we did in my old evangelical church at the Christmas services.

Nothing in the Catechism says Catholics should worship graven images. But it does explain that the Incarnation "changed the economy" so that we are not forbidden to use holy images to bring our hearts heavenward. The Jewish temple had many statues of heavenly creatures and Moses was told to place a serpent's image on a brazen cross and compel the people to look upon it.

"2131 Basing itself on the mystery of the incarnate Word, the seventh ecumenical council at Nicaea (787 AD) 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."

I have found much beauty in the sacred art and images that I used to eschew because of its origin in the Catholic Church. It is encouraging that some Protestant faith communities are starting to move away from iconoclasm and towards the display of sacred art and images. St. Francis started the whole Christmas decorating fervor when he put together the first manger scene to commemorate and honor our Lord and his Incarnation.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I must say that I'm partial to the Orthodox tradition of Icons more than western statuary. But that's just me. None of my icons weep myrrh, though it's make the house smell better. Heyyyyy, there's a marketing angle for Glade. "Introducing, new Glade Ikons, in three scents, Myrrh, Sandalwood, and Frankicense."

December 01, 2006 11:37 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

I lean to the East as well when it comes to icons.
Yeah, Glad IKon Air Freshners!
And a Automobile freshner in the likeness of St. Christopher.

December 01, 2006 12:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have found over the years that I have had to relax my previously self-imposed restrictions on sacred art. It seems clear to me that the Biblical prohibition focuses on the worship of objects, not the exercise of God-given talent through the arts. I have to admit, however, that lighted outdoor plastic figures at Christmas time make me wish I had moved to Lancaster, PA for some reason.

December 01, 2006 1:44 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

yes PA!

December 01, 2006 4:02 PM  
Anonymous Chris said...


"The Protestant puts away his graven images after the holidays are over."

What a great point - one I wish I had though of!

December 01, 2006 7:03 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Thanks Chris, I am sure it's not original but based on something I read somewhere regarding statues. As you know, the response to most of the misconceptions regarding our Catholic faith are easily understood once the blinders are taken off.

December 01, 2006 7:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Originally Posted by Simon_Templar
The point of the Orig. Post is to point out the hypocrisy of erecting statues of your own as part of your holiday veneration, and then accusing others of idolatry because they have a statue in their church.
This is correct. It was an attempt at insightful humor through sarcasm. Naturally, it was not completely successful.

"Mary Worship" is a false accusation occasionally leveled against the Catholic Church by Protestants. It is not a phrase I use with sincerity.

MyCF Link: (328 views)
Gracious Father, we pray for thy holy Catholic Church. Fill it with all truth, in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in any thing it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Jesus Christ thy Son our Savior. Amen.

December 07, 2006 4:58 PM  

Post a Comment