Why I could never become a Roman Catholic – Part 3: The Crucifix and Statues of Saints

2 Jun

You’ll be glad to know that this section is a lot briefer than the last.  I have chosen to put it here, not because it is the next most important to me, but because it logically follows on from the last one.

The ubiquitous use of the crucifix, for me, shows a lack of understanding of the true nature of the Cross – that it is empty because, Christ did not remain there, but rose from the dead, ascended into heaven and will come again in glory.  The crucifix, glories not in the risen and ascended Lord, but in his sufferings.  While it is important to remember those sufferings (Protestants are, perhaps, as is claimed by Catholics,  in danger of undervaluing them and their potential comfort to people who are suffering), Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is no more than a simple tragedy without the Risen Christ; a suffering that without the certainty  of  resurrection can only lead to interminable despair .  Good Friday only acquires significance in light of Easter and Ascension, which are far better manifested by an empty cross.

Furthermore, it is known that the Romans first stripped their victims naked before hanging them on the cross;  yet the crucifixes generally preserve a modesty that was denied Christ and, which was for a devout Jew, an additional humiliation.  Additionally, the veneration (eg kissing the feet of an image on a crucifix or kissing a dolly at Christmas) smacks of idolatry.    In John’s Gospel we are told:

18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.” John 1:18 (See also John 6:46)

30 I and the Father are one.”  John 10:30

Just as no one has seen God, all those who saw Our Lord in the flesh, are dead and left not the slightest description of His physiognomy.

Furthermore,

23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”  John 4:23-24

Such worship neither needs nor benefits from idolatry.

The same applies to statues of “Our Lady” be she Madonna or Queen of Heaven.  This is by far the worst example of this idolatry.  Mary dominates many churches, not just in one of her myriad guises in one or more side chapels, but in numerous churches in place of Christ over the altar (with the Saviour moved to the side!).  Little wonder that non-Catholics believe that she has been embedded into the Trinity as part of the godhead – a view that is given greater credence by calls for her to be recognised as “co-redemptrix” in addition to the existing Marian heresies.

Added to this is the use of the statues of saints, before which prayers are offered and candles lit, and which are paraded through the streets at Easter and on the relevant Saints’ Days.  These, while supposedly being aids to faith, direct the believer away from Christ to some worthy Christian of the past, who supposedly has more access to the ear of God.  They become a stumbling block to the truth of the Gospel, that through Christ every believer has direct access to God through Christ.  Once again denying the revealed word of God for man-made tradition.

The lack of necessity for these idols is put clearly by the writer to the Hebrews

19 Therefore, my friends, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh), 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”  Hebrews 10:19 – 22

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