Rebulto Sinasamba ba? Answered by Bro. Ramon Gitamondoc

Ito po ang matibay na katibayan kung bakit namin sinasabi na ang mga Catholico ay sumasamba sa rebulto.. panoorin po ang video.. pakiusap po suriin lamang po ninyo ng mabuti at maging open minded po tayo..Hindi po ang layunin nito ay batikusin or makasakit ng damdamin ninoman.. Pasensya na po at paki delete kung hindi ito pwede sa group na ito

Israel Nono Ponce uploaded a new video from January 18, 2014 to his timeline.

pati ‪#‎ARINOLA‬ sinasamba ng katoliko.

DEBATE W/ka Bularan smile emoticon

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  • Ramon Gitamondoc This is what happens when someone who is ignorant of the Catholic religion reads Catholic manual of religion and then imposes his own understanding of the text he reads without looking at the other possible meaning of the term being used. The word worship as applied to the saints does not mean to adore but means to venerate or give due honor or reverence. Even in the Bible the word worship is used in this secondary meaning for example when we read that “Nebuchadnezzar fell down and worship Daniel” (Dan 2:46). Of course, it is true that the honor which we give to the saints is not only limited to their person but also extends to their relics and images in the same way that the honor which we give to Dr Jose Rizal is not confined to his person but also extend to his statue and his relics. The INC who respects Manalo also give due respect and honor to Manalo’s effigy as evidence in their hanging them on their walls. It is in this sense and this sense alone that the manual of religion says that the worship (meaning honor not adoration) which we give to the saints also extends to their images and their relics. Now that you know the truth you can no longer go on accusing us Catholics of idolatry without great malice.
    2 hrs · Like · 3
  • Miguel Santos Sir Ramon Gitamondoc, ito po yun binasa na aklat..pasensya na po kayo if nasaktan kayo

    2 hrs · Like
  • Ramon Gitamondoc I am not offended. I am used to reading this kind of ignorant and malicious comments from anti-Catholics. I am simply educating Ka Bularan and all INC members who are mislead by him. After all, don’t we Catholics have the right to answer false accusations hurled against us? Read my reply above and tell me which part is illogical or unbiblical since I have quoted Dan 2:46 to clarify my position.
    2 hrs · Like · 2
  • Ramon Gitamondoc Miguel Santos, tell me are you a member of the sect founded by Felix Manalo in 1914. If yes, where you a Catholic before?
    2 hrs · Like · 1
  • Ramon Gitamondoc Am I wrong in telling you that the word “worship” can mean either 1) to adore or 2) to venerate or honor. Who is in the better position to tell you that when the book quoted by Ka Bularan uses the word worship (tagalog “samba”) that it is using it in its second meaning and not the first, you an INC or me who is a Catholic?
    2 hrs · Like · 2
  • Ramon Gitamondoc Let us have an open mind. I watched and listened to the video you posted at least twice. Now I ask you to read and ponder on my reply. Has it ever occurred to you that perhaps Ka Bularan may have mis-interpreted the book he was quoting?
    2 hrs · Like · 2
  • Miguel Santos Balikan po kita sir Ramon Gitamondoc, salamat po sa panonood at pagsusuri
    2 hrs · Edited · Like
  • Ramon Gitamondoc What is your point? I have already explained to you the meaning of the worship as used in that book. Ka Bularan’s error lies in not being aware that the word “worship” can mean at least 2 things: 1) to adore and 2) to honor. In his reading he thinks that it means to adore when it fact the correct meaning is to honor. If Ka Bularan knows this then he is guilty of misrepresenting the Catholic side. If he does not know this then he is commenting on something on which he is ignorant. Either way he does not deserve our attention.
    2 hrs · Like · 1
  • Ramon Gitamondoc I will wait for you and I hope you will interact with the arguments I presented in defense of the Catholic religion. See you then.
    1 hr · Like · 1
  • Jhoel Adriano Si ka bularan, talagang bulaan.
    1 hr · Like · 1
  • Jhoel Adriano Ang mga iglesia ni manalo, mahilig magbasa ng mga librong hindi kanila at saka bibigyan ng pakahulugan. Napakahirap talaga umunawa ang mga taong nasakop na ng Diliman.
  • G-one Paisones Mga INC-m kasi; pay biblical na sagot na; eh… sarado parin ang puso…

LARAWAN

LARAWAN

By Bro. Darwin Añober Gitgano

Nagpatin-aw lang:

Pangutana: Ngano nga duna man kitay larawan sa atong Simbahan nga dili man ta pabuhaton ug larawan basi sa (Ex. 20:1-5)?

Tubag: Ang larawan nga gidili sa Dios sa (Exo. 20:1-5) larawan kini sa mga dios2x nga mao si baal, astarot, Diana, Dagon ug uban pa ug mao kini ang gidili nga pagabuhatan ug larawan. Walay labot niini ang larawan sa mga balaan. Gani sa (Exo. 25:18-22) nagpabuhat man ang Dios ug larawan sa Kerubin o angel. Ug ang Templo sa Dios gikulitan ug mga larawan gikan sa salug ngadto na sa atop niini, (Ezeq. 41:17-22) So, niini wala kita makasupak, kay ang larawan nga anaa sa atong kasimbahan dili mana larawan sa mga dios2x, kondili larawan man sa mga santos.

1 Timothy 4 1-3 (Cebuano)

Edison Quinones:

Hi Brod,

Good day!
Catholic ko. Gusto lang unta ko mangutana bah. Kung pwede?

G-one: Good day pudnimo brad; AngGinoomagagrasciakanimo.  Pwedikaayokamakapangutana.


Edison Quinones:

AsaronsiBrodSoc mag bible study ron?

 

G-one:Ang Bible study ni brad Soc naa nahimutang sa ubos sa simbahan sa San Jose Recolitos (USJR) sa may Pasil Cebu. Ang Bible study kada meyerkulis sa alas 6 sa hapon hangtud sa alas 9 sa gabie.

Edison Quinones:

Then about aningmgauban religion naako Question?
Makasapotperonaapudbiyasila point mag lisod ko og tubag usahay. Tungod ana mo research ko myself but I don’t think so nga enough because it’s better guided with expert judna like other religion. If ever I meet someone who tries to debate. Mo tubag ko pero did2 ra sab igo sa akong makayaog ma sabtan. Gusto unta ko moapilsa bible study ninyo. When og where?


G-one:Tinood gyud kana igsoon; makasaput gyud sila gamay, ilabina nga aduna kitay background sa atong pagka Katoliko nga pinasukad sa Biblia.  Igsoon takos nakong dawaton ang pagtabang sa imoha kutob sa akong makaya.  Ang pagka Catholic Faith Defenders adunay taas nga proceso before ka maka atubang sa mga informal nga kukabildo kon debate.  Hinoon, angayan unahon nimo pagsinate sa mga background ug fundamento nga doctrina sa Santa IglesiaCatolica nga gipasukad gayud diha sa balaang Kasulatan kay angBiblia nag-ingon “Kinahanglan andam kamo kanunay sa pagtubag kang bisan kinsa nga mangutana sa hinungdan sa paglaum nga anaa kaninyo, hinoon buhata ninyo kini uban sa kaaghop ug kataha (1 Ped. 3:15b-KJV Cebuano)”


Edison Quinones:

Please also read this (About Sto. Nino):
http://psquare.org/ispeak/showthread.php?1409-What-you-should-know-before-joining-the-Sinulog-in-Cebu

 

G-one:About sa Santo Nino; angayan na tong masayran nga ang Santo Nino mao ang batang Jesus; atong maaninaw nga kining mga igsoon tang protestante gaataki gihapon maski sa batang Jesus.  Ang Santo Nino mabasa diha sa Bibliang Spanyol letra-4-letra; anaa sa Luk. 1:35 NIV Spanish Version. Ang ilaha nga ataki sa Santo Nino naga direkta sa atong mga Larawan ug Istatuwa sa mga Santos, ni Santa Maria ugkangJesu-Cristo nga makita sa atong simbahan ug atong kabalayan! Ganimogamit sila sa mga kapitolo ug versikolo diha sa Biblia aron lamang sa pagpahuyang ug pagpagpapag sa mga pagtoo sa mga Katolikong walay mga a lamag dihasa Biblia (Exo. 20:3-5; Deut. 5:8-9; Roma 1:21-23 ugubanpa). Dinhi atong Makita ang ilang ka BIAS kon kahakog sa pagbungat sa mga nilatid sa balaang pulong sa Dios; gani ila kining gigamitaron sa pagsakmit sa uban tang mga igsoon nga mutaliwan sa tinoohang Katoliko ug didto unya mubalhin sa ilahang tinoohan nga gitukod lamang ug tawo (2 Ped. 3:16). Apan wala gani nila ihilakip ang mga cetas diha sa Biblia nga nag mantala nga anaay ipabuhat nga mga larawan – mao ang larawan sa mga balaang anghil (Exo. 25:18-22).  Ug kanining mga istatuwa sa mga anghil konkerubin didtona himutang sabalaang templo sa Dios (2 Cron. 3:7,10-14). Gani ang Dios nag sugo kanato ngadidto kita magsimba Kaniyasa temple nga anaay mga larawan sa mga anghil (2 Cron. 7:15-16).  Diha usab sa bag-ong testament gihisgutan gihapon ang mga larawan sa mga anghil (Heb. 9:5 Living Bible).  Tungod niini nga katarungan busa anaay larawan si Jesu-Cristo mismo (Gal. 3:1 Living Bible)!  Ang nag sulatsa Galacia mao si San Pablo; ug parasakasayuran sa tanan si Apostol Pablo mananahi kon tent maker (NIV Compact Dictionary of the Bible; page 131); busa dili ikalalis ngasi Cristo anaa gayoy larawan!

 

Angayan naton gmasayran ngasi Satanas mugamit usab ug Biblia aron lamang sa pagpanlimbung (Mat. 4:1-10)!Busa mag maigmat kita ka nunay sapagbantay ug pagtoon sa Biblia.

Edison Quinones:

Halos tanankailanakokay Christian ngaAnti-catholic and claims that our religion dawkaydilisaktokaytungodsadaghan reason. Hinoonmatubagnakoanguban.Peroganahan pa judkomo dig dipper and I want to learn from the experts perodilisa lain religion.

 

G-one:Salamat brother; mas maayo gani ikaw kay nangita jud kasa side sa Catholic expert dili pariha ni Manny Pacquiao nga naka apillang ug Bible study sa laingt inoohan; dayon nibiya sa tinookod nga simbahan ni Cristo (Mat. 28:19-20). 

 

Edison Quinones:

Sapag research nako I cam accross with this guy nga nag claim nga Catholic Church is not really founded by Christ perotilawala ta sailaha. Then pointed this Bible verse sa(1 Timothy 4 1-3) “1The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth”

 

G-one:Ang 1 Tim 4:1-4 dili kitang mga Catholic ang gipasabot niini; tungod kayingon samga Biblical scholars na dili Catholic mao kini sila ang mga Catharis or mgaAlbigensians.

Ang pagtulon-an saKatoliko mahitungod sa Celibacy o ang pag dili sapag-aasaw sa nga mga pari tungod sa Diyos ay nasa Biblia at tudlo kini sa atong Ginoong  Jesus.

Matud paniapostol Pablo sa 1 Cor. 7:8, 32-33 (KJV) “{7:8} I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. {7:32} But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: {7:33} But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please [his] wife.

Ug atong paga timan-an nga siApostol San Pablo ay Pari–mababasa sa Roma 15:16 (Cebuano Popular Version)

Ang Panginoong Jesu-Cristo ay ganitorinangitinorosa Mat. 19:12 (KJV) “For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from [their] mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive [it,] let him receive [it.”

Mahitungod pud sa pagpuasa kon pagdili sapagkaon; nahitunong kini sa mga Holy Week diin atong gihandum ang mga pagpuasani Cristo sakamingawan (Mat. 4:2) ug iyang mga tinun-an (Mat. 9:14-15).Ug gani si Ginoong Jesu-Cristo naghatagugpanig-ingnan sa tinuoray nga pagpuasa (Mat. 6:16-18).  Ang pag puasa natong mga Katoliko sapanahonsa Kwarisma mao lamang angpag ambit sa kasakit ni Kristo didto sa Kalbaryo (1 Cor. 9:23-25).

 

 

Edison Quinones:

Then follow upan pa judnilanga Catholic is funded after the apostles dilidawsi St. Peter ang first pope ogsi Boniface III..check this link http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Who_founded_the_Catholic_church
so diyadaw after sa apostles kitadawang false religion alabi pa ngakitaang religion nga nag prohibit sa marriage sa Priest and meat.

 

G-one:Bro kungnaaganimgaistoryanga in-anaugwalayigongebedensya; igna nga ISTORYAHE…. Ang maong mga ataki natubag nanato saitaas.  Ang mga standard references nag tudlongasi San Pedro gayudangunang Santo Papa (World Almanac and the Book of Facts, etc).

Edison Quinones:

Hinoonpwedena ma tubagnasiyadiri:
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20091212072631AAygMsg

 

G-one:Natubag nana siyangamgaataki brad; anaaymga Catholic website nga US based nga nag atimanmahitungoddaana.

Edison Quinones:

Then ang next religion that follows nga nag forbid or marriage kayCatharis, Albigensians or Waldensesgi comment sa nag answer.

 

G-one:Angmga Bible scholars nag -inon nga ang mga Catharis ug Albingensians ngamgaKaaway ug nangataki saSimbahang Katoliko sama samga protestante mao ang katumanan sa 1 Tim. 4:1-4.

Edison Quinones:

Then other reason kayakong GF kay nag apil2x siyaog bible study saakongamigo nga Christian (non-catholic). To compliment that, I want to learn the bible more saato religion dilisa lain. Hinoondilikoganahansa divide tungodsa religion. We have 20 major religions in the world then one religion is divide by different faiths so more than 30,000 faiths in the world including atheist, Iglesiani Christo and Jedi knight (atheist but believe with the fiction star wars religion).

 

G-one:Bro; tagaesiyaugmga reading materials; pwedi man kamaka print saatong website :www.catholicfaithdefedners.com ug uban pang mga website nga informative ug nagbutyag s akamatuoran.

 

Edison Quinones:

Hinoon ang tinood essence sa Bible is to follow his greatest commandment but I want to learn more perogikansaakong religion ang nag tudlokanako. I hope makatabangkaBrod.. 

Salamatsapagbasaogmahuwatkosaimong reply.

 

G-one:Bro pasensya kana kunghindi kaagad ako naka reply sa mga mensahe mo.  Ang sulat mosa akin ay mailalathala sa ating website www.catholicfaithdefedners.com. Salamat

Worship God in Spirit

Worship God in Spirit

Bro. Cleb Calimutan

 

Golden Banner News Paper

Column Title: Let’s Think Together

Article Title: Worship God in Spirit

Date: March 24, 2011

 

 

The Lord said that we should worship in truth and in spirit. However it seems that some people are so disturbed with the Church buildings when they observed a lot decorations are added into it, that people are used to go in a procession or to kiss the graven images of their patrons. Fiestas and other liturgical celebrations are manifesting this once of a kind practice that considered taboo to some others. Once Scott Han said, when I was not yet I Catholic, I accused the church with a lot of false accusations.

Understanding human being and his faculties is excellent for we human being are a composite beings. Man has a body whose functions are the senses and man at the same time is a spiritual being with his intellectual faculty. Now in the process of knowing that man has to use his senses usually to perceive particular things e.g. when a person is looking a mango tree, what his eyes is perceiving is particular thing but his spiritual faculty is abstracting the universality of the thing being perceive with the eyes and the is the judgment that what he is looking is a tree. Now when a man is looking a picture of a mango tree, he goes with the same process; his eyes are looking to a particular thing the picture of a tree and his intellect would abstract the truth presented by the picture it is a mango tree. What the eyes had seen is the color green and some textures and figures the intellect would abstract the truth presented by those signs and that is a mango tree.

            This exactly the same when someone is looking the picture of Jesus Christ, what the persons eyes looked into are the various mixture of colors and figures but the intellect would abstract the truth presented by those signs and that is Jesus Christ. Therefore when someone is praying, touching, kissing the graven images of Jesus, what the eyes see and they touch are the signs which are perceptible with the senses. But, the spiritual intellect would abstract the truth presented by the senses, and that is, the truth that there is a true Jesus who once died and resurrected. In this manner, that the believers, or the devotes are truly worshiping God in truth and in spirit for what is in their mind and heart is the truth express by the images that is Jesus. On the contrary if a person allegedly worshiping Jesus with out anything to see nor  to touch with, what then his intellect would abstract from? What truth then that the intellect could conceive if his sense of perception is devoid from anything?

 

Therefore the Church proclaimed, The Seventh General Council at Nicaea – “. . .the venerable and holy images of Christ, of the Mother of God, of the angels and of the saints, and to show them a reverent homage, bit not adoration in the true and proper sense which is due to God alone; for the veneration of the image refers to the prototype.”

Finally St. Paul said, “…I had wave a placard before you with a picture on it of Christ dying on the cross” Gal.3:1 (From Tyndale Version Bible).

 

 

 

 

 

 

CFD (Ryan Mejillano) vs Kinawawang INC (Julius Cutin)

CFD (Ryan Mejillano) vs Kinawawang INC (Julius Cutin)

Tingnan po naman ninyo ang isa nanamang kinawawang Ministro ng INC-Manalo laban sa ating kapatid na si Bro. Ryan Mejillano ng Catholic Faith Defenders.
This four-part video is the supposed discussion turned debate between CFD Bro. Ryan and Minister Julius Cutin of INC(Manalo), Locale of Mintal, District of Davao. It was initiated by the INC (of Manalo) to trap Bro. Ryan thinking that the latter was just a petty and mediocre Catholic Christian. This happened at the residence of an INC member who was very desiroua few months before to engage Bro. Ryan in a debate with another INC (of Manalo) Minister.

Please notice the difference between a Catholic Christian and Iglesia Ni Cristo (Ni Manalo). Notice how an INC Minister delivers his part, his speeches, how he evades from the main topic that was agreed, how he first use foul words from the start to the end of these four videos.

Enjoy and reflect.

Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis.

All Rights Reserves
Video Duplication is for back-up purposes only.
Video Courtesy:

http://www.youtube.com/user/najeca2

http://www.youtube.com/user/20asisjohncarlo

TAGALOG SUBTITLE

On Sacred Images

On Sacred Images

By Bro. Isahel N. Alfonso

The most common objection raised by fundamentalists on our Catholic faith is the use of images inside the Church. At first they would innocently ask a Catholic why they have images inside the Church, then they would open up their Bible to Exodus 20:5 and say the Bible explicitly prohibit images so why do you have it inside your church? The implication is simple that the Catholic Church contradicts the Bible because it has images of saints inside the Church. A Catholic who knows nothing about his faith would get confuse with such a witty question from a fundamentalist friend. So, how do we respond to this kind of argument? The key in answering this objection is properly understanding the passage that was quoted by the fundamentalist.

“You shall not have other gods besides me. You shall not carved idols for yourselves in shape of anything in the sky above or on earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; you shall not bow down to them or worship them.” Exodus 20:3-5

For a fundamentalist reading this passage the only thing that he sees are the words “you shall not carve images, do not bow down to them and you shall not have other gods” and completely disregarding the rest of the passage. When using this passage fundamentalist would want you to believe that God is absolutely forbidding the creation of all kinds of images and Catholics are not only creating what was forbidden but also worships the images of saints. It’s time for us to interpret this passage correctly, first and foremost this passage do not absolutely forbid the creation of all types and kinds of images what was forbidden in this passage are the images of idols or the gods and goddesses of pagans. The pagans have gods and goddesses in the sky above, earth below and water beneath the earth and these are the very images that were forbidden by God. The non-absoluteness of the prohibition in the creation of images is evident by God’s own command in the creation of the images of Cherubims.

“Make two Cherubim of beaten gold for the two ends of the propitiatory fastening them so that the cherub springs directly from each end. The cherubim shall have their wings spread out above, covering the propitiatory with them; they shall be turned toward each other , but with their faces looking toward the propitiatory.”Exodus 25:18-20

Ark of the Covenant with statue of Cherubim

Aside from the Ark of the Covenant God also ordered the creation of various images inside the temple, not to represent himself by these images but rather serves as aid in worship.

“Two winged creatures were made of olive wood and placed in the Most Holy Place, each one 15 feet tall. Both were of the same size and shape. Each had two wings, each wing 7½ feet long, so that the distance from one wing tip to the other was 15 feet. They were placed side by side in the Most Holy Place, so that two of their outstretched wings touched each other in the middle of the room, and the other two wings touched the walls. The two winged creatures were covered with gold. The walls of the main room and of the inner room were all decorated with carved figures of winged creatures, palm trees, and flowers. Even the floor was covered with gold. A double door made of olive wood was set in place at the entrance of the Most Holy Place; the top of the doorway was a pointed arch. The doors were decorated with carved figures of winged creatures, palm trees, and flowers. The doors, the winged creatures, and the palm trees were covered with gold. For the entrance to the main room a rectangular door frame of olive wood was made. There were two folding doors made of pine and decorated with carved figures of winged creatures, palm trees, and flowers, which were evenly covered with gold.” 1 Kings 6:23-35

God created with body and soul, therefore in worshiping God we not only worship him with our soul but also use our body to worship him. That is the very reason why all our senses our engage in worshiping Him in the Holy Eucharist. The various postures, sacred music, incense and images inside the Church are employed for this reason, to engage the whole person in worshiping God. The worship in the Old Testament are almost synonymous to the manner we worship God in the Holy Eucharist, they too have incense, images in the temple, various postures and sacred music.

“All the signs in the liturgical celebrations are related to Christ: as are sacred images of the Holy Mother of God and of the saints as well. They truly signify Christ, who is glorified in them. They make manifest the “cloud of witnesses” who continue to participate in the salvation of the world and to whom we are united, above all in the sacramental celebrations. Through their icons, it is man “in the image of God,” finally transfigured “into his likeness,” who is revealed to our faith. So too are the angels, who are recapitulated in Christ: 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 Saviour, 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 the streets. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1161

St. Pio (Padre Pio)

I once had a discussion with a Fundamentalist regarding the images inside our Church, since he was very assertive in his belief that Catholics are violating the Scripture I ask him a simple question; Why do you think Catholics have images inside the Church? Surprisingly he did not know the very reason why we Catholics have images inside our Church. The objections of Fundamentalists on our use of images stems not from the proper understanding of the Bible but from the misconceptions that they heard from the preachings of their pastors. We have to correct these misconceptions in order to prevent Catholics from falling away from their faith and also to win back the lost.

SACRED IMAGES

SACRED IMAGES

Francis Lim

 

The veneration of the images of Christ and His Saints is a cherished devotion in the Catholic Church, and this practice will be vindicated in the following lines.
It is true, indeed, that the making of holy images was not so general among the Jews as it is among us, because the Hebrews themselves were prone to idolatry, and because they were surrounded by idolatrous people, who might misconstrue the purpose for which the images were intended. For the same prudential reasons the primitive Christians were very cautious in making images, and very circumspect in exposing them to the gaze of the heathen among whom they lived, lest Christian images should be confounded with Pagan idols.

 

The catacombs of Rome, to which the faithful alone were admitted, abounded, however, in sacred emblems and pious representations, which are preserved even to this day and attest the practice of the early Christian Church. We see there painted on the walls or on vases of glass the Dove, the emblem of the Holy Ghost, Christ carrying His cross, or bearing on His shoulders the lost sheep. We meet also the Lamb, an anchor and a ship—appropriate types of our Lord, of hope and of the Church.
The first crusade against images was waged in the eighth century by Leo the Isaurian, Emperor of Constantinople. He commanded the paintings of our Lord and His Saints to be torn down from the church walls and burned. He even invaded the sanctuary of home, and snatched thence the sacred emblems which adorned private residences. He caused statues of bronze, silver and gold to be melted down and conveniently converted them into coins, upon which his own image was stamped. Like Henry VIII. and Cromwell, this royal Iconoclast affected to be moved by a zeal for purity of worship, while avarice was the real motive of his action.

 

The Emperor commanded the learned librarians of his imperial library to give public approbation to his decrees against images, and when those conscientious men refused to endorse his course they were all confined in the imperial library, the building was set on fire and thirty thousand volumes, the splendid basilica which contained them, innumerable paintings and the librarians themselves were involved in one common destruction.
Constantine Copronymus prosecuted the vandalism of Leo, his predecessor. Stephen, an intrepid monk, presented to the Emperor a coin bearing that tyrant’s effigy, with these words: “Sire, whose image is this?” “It is mine,” replied the Emperor. The monk then threw down the piece of money and trampled it. He was instantly seized by the imperial attendants and soon after put to a painful death. “Alas!” cried the holy man to the Emperor, “if I am punished for dishonoring the image of a mortal monarch, what punishment do they deserve who burn the image of Jesus Christ?”
The demolition of images was revived by the Reformers of the sixteenth century. Paintings and statues were ruthlessly destroyed, chiefly in the British Isles, Germany and Holland, under the pretext that the making of them was idolatrous. But as the Iconoclasts of the eighth century had no scruple about appropriating to their own use the gold and silver of the statues which they melted, neither had the Iconoclasts of the sixteenth century any hesitation in confiscating and worshiping in the idolatrous churches whose statues and paintings they broke and disfigured.
A stranger who visits some of the desecrated Catholic churches of Great Britain and the Continent which are now used as Protestant temples cannot fail to notice the mutilated statues of the Saints still standing in their niches.
This barbaric warfare against religious memorials was not only a grievous sacrilege, but an outrage against the fine arts; and had the destroying angels extended their ravages over Europe the immortal works of Michael Angelo and Raphael would be lost to us today.

 

The doctrine of the Catholic Church regarding the use of sacred images is clearly and fully expressed by the General Council of Trent in the following words: “The images of Christ, and of His Virgin Mother, and of other Saints, are to be had and retained, especially in churches; and a due honor and veneration is to be given to them; not that any divinity or virtue is believed to be in them for which they are to be honored, or that any prayer is to be made to them, or that any confidence is to be placed in them, as was formerly done by the heathens, who placed their hopes in idols; but because the honor which is given them is referred to the originals which they represent, so that by the images which we kiss, and before which we uncover our heads or kneel, we adore Christ and venerate His Saints, whose likeness they represent.”(274)
Every Catholic child clearly comprehends the essential difference which exists between a Pagan idol and a Christian image. The Pagans looked upon an idol as a god endowed with intelligence and the other attributes of the Deity. They were therefore idolaters, or image worshipers. Catholic Christians know that a holy image has no intelligence or power to hear and help them. They pay it a relative respect—that is, their reverence for the copy is proportioned to the veneration which they entertain for the heavenly original to which it is also referred.
For the sake of my Protestant readers I may here quote their own great Leibnitz on the reverence paid to sacred images. He says, in his Systema Theologicum, p. 142: “Though we speak of the honor paid to images, yet this is only a manner of speaking, which really means that we honor not the senseless thing which is incapable of understanding such honor, but the prototype, which receives honor through its representation, according to the teaching of the Council of Trent. It is in this sense, I take it, that scholastic writers have spoken of the same worship being paid to images of Christ as to Christ our Lord Himself; for the act which is called the worship of an image is really the worship of Christ Himself, through and in the presence of the image and by occasion of it; by the inclination of the body toward it as to Christ Himself, as rendering Him more manifestly present, and raising the mind more actively to the contemplation of Him. Certainly, no sane man thinks, under such circumstances, of praying in this wise: ‘Give me, O image, what I ask; to thee, O marble or wood, I give thanks;’ but ‘Thee, O Lord, I adore; to Thee I give thanks and sing songs of praise.’ Given, then, that there is no other veneration of images than that which means veneration of their prototype, there is surely no more idolatry in it than there is in the respect shown in the utterance of the Most Holy Names of God and Christ; for, after all, names are but signs or symbols, and even as such inferior to images, for they represent much less vividly. So that when there is question of honoring images, this is to be understood in the same way as when it is said that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bend, or that the name of the Lord is blessed, or that glory be given to His Name. Thus, the bowing before an image outside of us is no more to be reprehended than the worshiping before an external image in our own minds; for the external image does but serve the purpose of expressing visibly that which is internal.”

 

In the Book of Exodus we read: “Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing, nor the likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, nor of those things that are in the waters under the earth. Thou shalt not adore them nor serve them.”(275) Protestants contend that these words contain an absolute prohibition against the making of images, while the Catholic Church insists that the commandment referred to merely prohibits us from worshiping them as gods.
The text cannot mean the absolute prohibition of making images; for in that case God would contradict Himself by commanding in one part of Scripture what He condemns in another. In Exodus (xxv. 18), for instance, He commands two cherubim of beaten gold to be made and placed on each side of the oracle; and in Numbers (xxi. 8) He commands Moses to make a brazen serpent, and to set it up for a sign, that “whosoever being struck by the fiery serpents shall look upon it, shall live.” Are not cherubim and serpents the likenesses of creatures in heaven above, in the earth beneath and in the waters under the earth? for cherubim dwell in heaven and serpents are found on land and sea.
We should all, without exception, break the commandment were we to take it in the Protestant sense. Have you not at home the portraits of living and departed relatives? And are not these the likenesses of persons in heaven above and on the earth beneath?

 

Westminster Abbey, though once a Catholic Cathedral, is now a Protestant house of worship. It is filled with the statues of illustrious men; yet no one will accuse the English church of idolatry in allowing those statues to remain there. But you will say: The worshipers in Westminster have no intention of adoring these statues. Neither have we any intention of worshiping the statues of the Saints. An English parson once remarked to a Catholic friend: “Tom, don’t you pray to images?” “We pray before them,” replied Tom; “but we have no intention of praying to them.” “Who cares for your intention,” retorted the parson. “Don’t you pray at night?” observed Tom. “Yes,” said the parson; “I pray at my bed.” “Yes; you pray to the bed-post.” “Oh, no!” said the reverend gentleman; “I have no intention of doing that.” “Who cares,” replied Tom, “for your intention.”

 

The moral rectitude or depravity of our actions cannot be determined without taking into account the intention.
There are many persons who have been taught in the nursery tales, that Catholics worship idols. These persons, if they visit Europe and see an old man praying before an image of our Lord or a Madonna which is placed along the wayside, are at once confirmed in their prejudices. Their zeal against idols takes fire and they write home, adding one more proof of idolatry against the benighted Romanists. If these superficial travelers had only the patience to question the old man he would tell them, with simplicity of faith, that the statue had no life to hear or help him, but that its contemplation inspired him with greater reverence for the original.
As I am writing for the information of Protestants, I quote with pleasure the following passage, written by one of their own theologians, in the Encyclopédie (Edit. d’Yverdun, tom. 1, art. Adorer):
“When Lot prostrates himself before the two angels it is an act of courtesy towards honored guests; when Jacob bows down before Esau it is an act of deference from a younger to an elder brother; when Solomon bows low before Bethsabee it is the honor which a son pays to his mother; when Nathan, coming in before David, ‘had worshiped, bowing down to the ground,’ it is the homage of a subject to his prince. But when a man prostrates himself in prayer to God it is the creature adoring the Creator. And if these various actions are expressed—sometimes by the word adore, sometimes by worship or prostration—it is not the bare meaning of the word which has guided interpreters in rendering it, but the nature of the case. When an Israelite prostrated himself before the king no one thought of charging him with idolatry. If he had done the same thing in the presence of an idol, the very same bodily act would have been called idolatry. And why? Because all men would have judged by his action that he regarded the idol as a real Divinity and that he would express, in respect to it, the sentiments manifested by adoration in the limited sense which we give to the word. What shall we think, then, of what Catholics do to show honor to Saints, to relics, to the wood of the cross? They will not deny that their acts of reverence, in such cases, are very much like those by which they pay outward honor to God. But have they the same ideas about the Saints, the relics and the cross as they have about God? I believe that we cannot fairly accuse them of it.”

 

A gentleman who was present at the unveiling of Clay’s statue in the city of Richmond informed me that as soon as the curtain was uplifted, and the noble form of the Kentucky statesman appeared in full view, the immense concourse of spectators instinctively uncovered their heads. “Why do you take off your hat?” playfully remarked my friend to an acquaintance who stood by. “In honor, of course, of Henry Clay,” he replied. “But Henry is not there in the flesh. You see nothing but clay.” “But my intention, sir,” he continued, “is to do honor to the original.” He answered correctly. And yet how many of the same people would be shocked if they saw a man take off his hat in the presence of a statue of St. Peter! It is not, therefore, the making of the image, but its worship, that is condemned by the Decalogue.

 

Having seen the lawfulness of sacred images, let us now consider the advantages to be derived from their use.
First—Religious paintings embellish the house of God. What is more becoming than to adorn the church, which is the shadow of the heavenly Jerusalem, so beautifully described by St. John?(276) Solomon decorated the temple of God with images of cherubim and other representations. “And he overlaid the cherubim with gold. And all the walls of the temple round about he carved with divers figures and carvings.”(277) If it was meet and proper to adorn Solomon’s temple, which contained only the Ark of the Lord, how much more fitting is it to decorate our churches, which contain the Lord of the Ark? When I see a church tastefully ornamented it is a sure sign that the Master is at home, and that His devoted subjects pay homage to Him in His court.

 

What beauty, what variety, what charming pictures are presented to our view in this temple of nature which we inhabit! Look at the canopy of heaven. Look at the exquisite pictures painted by the Hand of the Divine Artist on this earth. “Consider the lilies of the field…. I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these.” If the temple of nature is so richly adorned, should not our temples made with hands bear some resemblance to it?
How many professing Christians must, like David, reproach themselves for “dwelling in a house of cedar, while the ark of God is lodged with skins.”(278) How many are there whose private apartments are adorned with exquisite paintings, who affect to be scandalized at the sight of a single pious emblem in their house of worship? On the occasion of the celebration of Henry W. Beecher’s silver wedding several wealthy members of his congregation adorned the walls of Plymouth church with their private paintings. Their object, of course, in doing so was not to honor God, but their pastor. But if the portraits of men were no desecration to that church, how can the portraits of Saints desecrate ours?(279) And what can be more appropriate than to surround the Sanctuary of Jesus Christ with the portraits of the Saints, especially of Mary and of the Apostles, who, in their life, ministered to His sacred person? And is it not natural for children to adorn their homes with the likenesses of their Fathers in the faith?

 

 

Second—Religious paintings are the catechism of the ignorant. In spite of all the efforts of Church and State in the cause of education a great proportion of the human race will be found illiterate. Descriptive pictures will teach those what books make known to the learned.
How many thousands would have died ignorant of the Christian faith if they had not been enlightened by paintings! When Augustine, the Apostle of England, first appeared before King Ethelbert to announce to him the Gospel, a silver crucifix and a painting of our Savior were borne before the preacher, and these images spoke more tenderly to the eyes than his words to the ears of his audience.
By means of religious emblems St. Francis Xavier effected many conversions in India; and by the same means Father De Smet made known the Gospel to the savages of the Rocky Mountains.
Third—By exhibiting religious paintings in our rooms we make a silent, though eloquent, profession of our faith. I once called on a gentleman in a distant city, some time during our late war, and, on entering his library, I noticed two portraits, one of a distinguished General, the other of an Archbishop. These portraits at once proclaimed to me the religious and patriotic sentiments of the proprietor of the house. “Behold!” he said to me, pointing to the pictures, “my religious creed and my political creed.” If I see a crucifix in a man’s room I am convinced at once that he is not an infidel.
Fourth—By the aid of sacred pictures our devotion and love for the original are intensified, because we can concentrate our thoughts more intently on the object of our affections. Mark how the eye of a tender child glistens on confronting the painting of an affectionate mother. What Christian can stand unmoved when contemplating a picture of the Mother of Sorrows? How much devotion has been fostered by the Stations of the Cross? Observe the intense sympathy depicted on the face of the humble Christian woman as she silently passes from one station to another. She follows her Savior step by step from the Garden to Mount Calvary. The whole scene, like a panoramic view, is imprinted on her mind, her memory and her affections. Never did the most pathetic sermon on the Passion enkindle such heartfelt love, or evoke such salutary resolutions, as have been produced by the silent spectacle of our Savior hanging on the cross.
Fifth—The portraits of the Saints stimulate us to the imitation of their virtues; and this is the principal aim which the Church has in view in encouraging the use of pious representations. One object, it is true, is to honor the Saints; another is to invoke them; but the principal end is to incite us to an imitation of their holy lives. We are exhorted to “look and do according to the pattern shown us on the mount.”(280) Nor do I know a better means for promoting piety than by example.
If you keep at home the likenesses of George Washington, of Patrick Henry, of Chief Justice Taney, or of other distinguished men, the copies of such eminent originals cannot fail to exercise a salutary though silent influence on the mind and heart of your child. Your son will ask you: “Who are those men?” And when you tell him: “This is Washington, the Father of his Country; this is Patrick Henry, the ardent lover of civil liberty; and this is Taney, the incorruptible Judge,” your boy will imperceptibly imbibe not only a veneration for those men, but a relish for the civic virtues for which they were conspicuous. And in like manner, when our children have constantly before their eyes the purest and most exalted models of sanctity, they cannot fail to draw from such contemplation a taste for the virtues that marked the lives of the originals.
Is not our country flooded with obscene pictures and immodest representations which corrupt our youths? If the agents of Satan employ means so vile for a bad end; if they are cunning enough to pour through the senses into the hearts of the unwary the insidious poison of sin, by placing before them lascivious portraits, in God’s name, why should not we sanctify the souls of our children by means of pious emblems? Why should not we make the eye the instrument of edification as the enemy makes it the organ of destruction? Shall the pen of the artist, the pencil of the painter and the chisel of the sculptor be prostituted to the basest purposes? God forbid! The arts were intended to be the handmaids of religion.
Almost every moment of the day the eye is receiving impressions from outward objects and instantly communicating these impressions to the soul. Thus the soul receives every day thousands of impressions, good or bad, according to the character of the objects presented to its gaze.
We cannot, therefore, over-estimate the salutary effect produced upon us in a church or room adorned with sacred paintings. We feel, while in their presence, that we are in the company of the just. The contemplation of these pious portraits chastens our affections, elevates our thoughts, checks our levity and diffuses around us a healthy atmosphere.
I am happy to acknowledge that the outcry formerly raised against images has almost subsided of late. The epithet of idolaters is seldom applied to us now. Even some of our dissenting brethren are beginning to recognize the utility of religious symbols and to regret that we have been permitted, by the intemperate zeal of the Reformers, to have so long the monopoly of them. Crosses already surmount some of our Protestant churches and replace the weather-cock.
A gentleman of Richmond recently informed me that during the preceding Holy Week he adorned with twelve crosses an Episcopal church in which, eleven years before, the sight of a single one was viewed with horror by the minister.
May the day soon come when all Christians will join with us not only in venerating the sacred symbol of salvation, but in worshiping at the same altar.

Lasers uncover first icons of Saints Peter and Paul

By Nicole Winfield | YahooNews.com

Twenty-first century laser technology has opened a window into the early days of the Catholic Church, guiding researchers through the dank, musty catacombs beneath Rome to a startling find: the first known icons of the apostles Peter and Paul.

Vatican officials unveiled the paintings Tuesday, discovered along with the earliest known images of the apostles John and Andrew in an underground burial chamber beneath an office building on a busy street in a working-class Rome neighborhood.

The images, which date from the second half of the 4th century, were uncovered using a new laser technique that allows restorers to burn off centuries of thick white calcium carbonate deposits without damaging the brilliant dark colors of the paintings underneath.


A spotlight illuminates the icon of the Apostle John discovered with other paintings in a catacomb located under a modern office building in a residential neighborhood of Rome, Tuesday, June, 22, 2010. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)

Catacomb archeological superintendent Fabrizio Bisconti points out a painting.
(AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)

A cameraman films the discoveries. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)

The technique could revolutionize the way restoration work is carried out in the miles (kilometers) of catacombs that burrow under the Eternal City where early Christians buried their dead.

The icons were discovered on the ceiling of a tomb of an aristocratic Roman woman at the Santa Tecla catacomb, near where the remains of the apostle Paul are said to be buried.

Rome has dozens of such burial chambers and they are a major tourist attraction, giving visitors a peek into the traditions of the early church when Christians were often persecuted for their beliefs. Early Christians dug the catacombs outside Rome’s walls as underground cemeteries, since burial was forbidden inside the city walls and pagan Romans were usually cremated.

The art that decorated Rome’s catacombs was often simplistic and symbolic in nature. The Santa Tecla catacombs, however, represent some of the earliest evidence of devotion to the apostles in early Christianity, Vatican officials said.

“The Christian catacombs, while giving us value with a religious and cultural patrimony, represent an eloquent and significant testimony of Christianity at its origin,” said Monsignor Giovanni Carru, the No. 2 in the Vatican’s Pontifical Commission of Sacred Archaeology, which maintains the catacombs.

Last June, the Vatican announced the discovery of the icon of Paul at Santa Tecla, timing the news to coincide with the end of the Vatican’s year of St. Paul. Pope Benedict XVI also said tests on bone fragments long attributed to Paul “seemed to confirm” that they did indeed belong to the Roman Catholic saint.

On Tuesday, Vatican archaeologists announced the image of Paul was not found in isolation, but was part of a square ceiling painting that also included icons of three other apostles — Peter, John and Andrew — surrounding an image of Christ as the Good Shepherd.

“They are the first icons. These are absolutely the first representations of the apostles,” said Fabrizio Bisconti, the superintendent of archaeology for the catacombs.

Bisconti spoke from inside the intimate burial chamber, its walls and ceilings covered with paintings of scenes from the Old Testament, including Daniel in the lion’s den and Abraham and the sacrifice of Isaac. Once inside, visitors see the loculi, or burial chambers, on three sides.

But the gem is on the ceiling, where the four apostles are painted inside gold-rimmed circles against a red-ochre backdrop. The ceiling is also decorated with geometric designs, and the cornices feature images of naked youths.

Chief restorer Barbara Mazzei noted there were earlier known images of Peter and Paul, but these were depicted in narratives. The images in the catacomb — with their faces in isolation, encircled with gold and affixed to the four corners of the ceiling painting — are devotional in nature and as such represent the first known icons.

“The fact of isolating them in a corner tells us it’s a form of devotion,” she said. “In this case, saints Peter and Paul, and John and Andrew are the most antique testimonies we have.”

In addition, the images of Andrew and John show much younger faces than are normally depicted in the Byzantine-inspired imagery most often associated with the apostles, she said.


“Saints Peter and Paul” by Master Iconographer Nicusor Dumitru

The Vatican’s Sacred Archaeology office oversaw the two-year $73,650 (euro60,000) project, which for the first time used lasers to restore frescoes in catacombs, where the damp air makes the procedure particularly difficult.

In this case, the small burial chamber at the end of the catacomb was encased in up to two inches (five centimeters) of calcium carbonate. Restoration using previous techniques would have meant scraping away the buildup by hand, leaving a filmy layer on top so as not to damage the painting underneath.

Using the laser technique, restorers were able to sear off all the deposits by setting the laser to burn only on the white of the calcium carbonate; the laser’s heat stopped when it reached a different color. Researchers then easily chipped off the seared material, revealing the brilliant ochre, black, green and yellow underneath, Mazzei said.

Similar technology has been used on statues, particularly metallic ones damaged by years of outdoor pollution, she said. However, the Santa Tecla restoration marked the first time lasers had been adapted for use in the dank interiors of catacombs.

Many of Rome’s catacombs are open regularly to the public. However, the Santa Tecla catacombs will be open only on request to limited groups to preserve the paintings, she said.

Article from: news.yahoo.com

Iglesia Catolica – Sumasamba Ngaba ng Larawan_Part3

Iglesia Catolica – Sumasamba Ngaba ng Larawan?

Ikatatlong Bahagi

(Ni Bro. G-one T. Paisones, CFD/CFLAMP)

 

(Note: Ang Pula ay katwiran at tanong ng mga protestante; at ang Berdi ay ang sagot logical at biblical ng may akda)

 

2.5 Siya ang Inyong Pakinggan: Sinasamba ang larawan?

Protestante:

Sabi ng aklat Katoliko na may pamagat na “Siya ang inyong pakinggan (Mahalagang Aklat sa mga Nagtuturo ng Katesismo)” sa pahina 12 ganito ang nakalagay “Kung ating SINASAMBA ang LARAWAN ni Kristong napapako sa Krus, dinadasal natin: “SINASAMBA kita at pinupuri, Panginoong kong Jesukristo, na dahilan sa inyong Santa Krus ay sinakop mo ang daigdigan.”

Napakalinaw po na sinasabi na SINASAMBA ang larawan; sng tanong ngayon, sino po ang nagsasabi ng totoo, ang may-akda ba ng aklat katoliko na nagsulat na SAMBAHIN ANG LARAWAN, o ang mga Catholic Faith Defenders na nagsasabing hindi sinasamba ang larawan nilang mga Katoliko?

 


SAGOT #5:

Maganda ang tanong mo kapatid!  Parang animoy sinupalpal mo kaming mga Catholic Faith Defenders (CFD) dahil iginiit mong kami ng mga CFD ay nagsasalungat sa sinasabi ng may akda ng “Siya ang Inyong Pakinggan”; ngunit ang istilo po ninyo ay laos na (sa Cebuano pa: Panahon pa na ni mampor inyong style). Bakit po ba natin sinasabing laos na?  Sapagkat ganyan talaga ang kanilang mudos operande na mag quote ng mga text o mensahi sa aklat Katoliko ngunit hindi po nila ibinibigay ang lahat ng laman nito.  Tulad nalamang ng nabanggit sa ating kapatid na may akda sa aklat na nagsasabing “Sinasambahin ang larawan ni Kristo…” – ITO PO AY PINUTOL NILA AT HINDI NILA TINAPOS ANG PAGBIGAY NG PAHAYAG KUNG ANO BA TALAGA ANG IBIG SABIHIN NG MAY AKDA.

Bakit ba natin sinasabi na pinutol nila?  Sapagkat kung atin lamang tatapusin pagbasa ang aklat na “Siya ang Inyong Pakinggan” sa pahina 116 ganito po ang nakalagay “HINDI PAGSAMBA sa anito o sa diosdiosan ang lumuhod at dumalangin sa harap ng mga larawan, sapagkat HINDI TAYO DUMADALANGIN SA MGA LARAWANG BATO O PAPEL, kundi kay JESUCRISTO at sa mga santo at ang papering ibinigay natin (naglalagay ng mga bulaklak at sinisindihan ang mga kandila sa harapan nila.) sa mga larawan, ay HINDI NATUTUNGKOL SA BATO O SA KAHOY O SA PAPEL, KUNDI KAY JESUCRISTO at sa mga santo sa siyang nalalarawanan sa kanila.” (Emphasis added)

 

Napakalinaw po na sinulat rin ng may akda ng “Siya ang Inyong Pakinggan” na Hindi natin sinasamba ang mga larawan (bilang Dios); eh bakit po ba sinambit ng may akda ng naturang aklat na “Sinasamba ang larawan..?”  Ang ibig sabihin po ng may akda sa kanyang isinulat na “Sinasamba ang larawan ni Kristo…”

SAGOT PO DIYAN: ay ang PAGSAMBA PO diyan ay hindi ibig sabihin na sinasamba ang larawan bilang Dios, bagkus ang ibig sabihin po nito ay ang paggalang NITO at narito po ang ating ebidensya:

 

Dan. 2:46 (Ang Biblia-KJV Cebuano Translation) { Unya si hari Nabucodonosor mihapa, ug misimba kang Daniel, ug nagsugo nga siya halaran nila sa usa ka halad sa maamyon nga kahumot.} Si Hari Nabucodonosor ay sumamba kay Daniel.

Dan. 2:46 (Douay) “Then king Nabuchodonosor fell on his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer in sacrifice to him victims and incense.”

Rev. 3:7-9 (Maayong Balita Biblia) Ang anghil ay ipina-samba ng Dios

Gen. 19:1-2 (Douay) “And the two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of the city. And seeing them, he rose up and went to meet them: and worshipped prostrate to the ground.”

Joshua 5:13-14 (Ang Biblia-KJV Cebuano Translation)Ug nahitabo, nga sa didto si Josue duol sa Jerico, nga siya miyahat sa iyang mga mata ug mitan-aw, ug ania karon, sa iyang atubangan may usa ka tawo nga nagtindog ug nagbitbit sa iyang kamot ug usa ka espada nga hinuso sa sakob; ug si Josue miduol kaniya, ug miingon kaniya: Kadapig ba ikaw namo kun sa among mga kaaway? 14Ug siya miingon: Dili; apan ingon nga principe sa panon sa kasundalohan ni Jehova, mianhi ako karon. Ug si Josue mihapa sa yuta ug misimba, ug miingon kaniya: Unsa ba ang isulti sa akong agalon alang sa iyang sulogoon?”

Joshua 5:13-14 (Douay) And he answered: No: but I am prince of the host of the Lord, and now I am come.  Josue fell on his face to the ground. And worshipping, said: What saith my lord to his servant?

 

 

Ang pagsamba po na nasaimbit sa talata ay tinatawag na veneration o ang paggalang.  Eh ito po ba ay salungat na ang Dios lamang ang dapat sambahin (Mat. 4:10)?  Hindi po, sapagkat magkaiba po ang meaning ng bawat word na pagsamba at it ay ang mga sumusunod:

 

LATRIA = A form of worship that is due only to God alone; it is the highest form of worship (Mat. 4:10; Deut 6:13).

 

DULIA = A form of worship that is due to the saints, angels and Mother Mary (Hyper Dulia) as the means of respecting them; not to exceed in our homage to God alone (Dan. 2:46; Joshua 5:13-14; Rev. 3:7-9).

 

Ang atin pong conclusion ay ganito; nang sabihin ng may akda na na “Kung ating SINASAMBA ang LARAWAN ni Kristong napapako sa Krus” ay isang Dulia lamang na pagsamba o isang respito at hindi ito pagsamba na tinatawag nating LATRIA dahil ayon rin sa may akda na “HINDI TAYO DUMADALANGIN SA MGA LARAWANG BATO O PAPEL” na ang sentro naman ng kanyang topiko ay ang pagsambang Latria o ang pagsamba na para lamang sa Dios.

 

Ano ba ang ating mga ibat ibang patunay hingil sa ating mga contention na may dalawang uri ng pagsamba (Latria at Dulia)?  Mayroon po at ito ay ang mga sumusunod:

 

Worship = Reverence or homage offered a person because of his excellence.  We adore God because of His infinite uncreated excellence (see Latria); we venerate Our Lady and the saints because of the manifestation of God’s excellence in them (see Hyperdulia; Dulia).  No person or thing should take the place of God, or be honored in a manner due to God alone, for this is idolatry, which God forbade.  All worship not directed to God Himself must be subordinate to Him (Ex. 20:3-5; Deut. 5:9; John 4:22). {Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Bible; Harmony Media, Inc.; PO Box 138; Gervais, OR 97026 USA}

 

Worship = The honor, reverence, and homage put to superior being or powers, whether men, angels or God.  The English word means “worthship” and denotes the worthiness of the individual receiving special honor. (NIV Compact Dictionary of the Bible; page 631; The Zondervan Corporation-OMF Literature Phil.)

Samakatuwid hindi po nagkasalungat ang pahayag ng may akda sa naturang aklat; bagkus ang pagsamba po pala ay dalawang uri; ang isa ay ang paggalang, at ang isa ay ang pagsamba na pinakataas o pinakahigit na pagsamba at paggalang; at nabangit na po natin ang mga citas na nagpapatunay sa mga bagay na hingil dito.

 

———

2.6 Totoong imahi ni Cristo?

Protestante:

Ang mga imahi o larawan ba ni Cristo na nasa simbahan ninyong mga katoliko; yan ba talaga ang imahi ni Cristo? At bakit iba-iba?

 

SAGOT #6:

Maganda ang tanong ng ating kapatid; at direkta nating sasagutin ang katanungan niya.  Ang mga imahi na matatagpuan sa simbahang Katoliko ay representasyon ni Cristo; halimbawa baga nito ay ang palabas o movie ng Talambuhay ni Cristo na gawa ng mga kapatid natin na protestante, totoong Cristo bayan? Hindi, sapagkat iyan ay taohan lamang ng isang pelikola; ang importante kasi dito ay ang mensahe, reflection at impact nito sa mga manonood o nagsisimba.  At dapat nating malaman na may larawan si Cristo, narito ang mga ebedensya:

Juan 1:1,14; Tito 2:13; Roma 9:5 Si Cristo ay Dios

Col. 1:15 Si Cristo ay ang imahi sa Dios (Ama) na hindi makikta <emphasis added>

Gen. 1:26 Tayong mga tawo ay larawan ng Dios

 

Ano ang larawan ni Cristo??? Kundi tayong mga tao; at pakatatandaan natin na ang Iglesia Catolica ay may kapangyarihan na ibinigay sa kanya ng Dios; at ito ay ang pag bind at loose (Mat.16:18; 18:18; Juan 21:15-17).  Kaya may authority ang Iglesia Catolica sa pagpagawa ng imahi o larawn na representasyon ni Cristo.

At pakaiisipin natin na ang simbahang Katoliko ay ang simbahan na kayang maitokoy ang continuation nito hanggang sa panahon ng mga Apostol.  At ang paggamit ng mga simbolo o imahi ay ginagawa na ng mga Kristiyano, sa unang siglo ng panahon ng Kristiyanismo.

 

The Church’s re-appropriation of many ancient symbols came with the accidental rediscovery of the Roman catacombs in 1578. Faithful Catholics saw the event as providential.

Much of Europe had fallen under the spell of Protestant doctrine, with its radical reinterpretation of early Christian history. Yet the first reports from the catacombs told of chambers that looked and felt like Catholic churches. First of all, there were sacred images on the walls. (Mike Aquilina; pages 12-19; 2009; This Rock Magazine)

 

Napakalinaw po na; sa catacombs ay matatagpu-an ang mga symbols or images ng ibat ibang bagay na nag re-representa ni Cristo; Holy Spirit; at iba pang mga symbolo.

At bakit iba-iba; eh marami pong dahilan; tulad natin, may iba iba naman tayong mukha noong tayo ay bata pa at hanggang tumanda na; at iba-iba rin ang may gawa na ayon sa interpretasyon o gusto ng may akda, o nagpapagawa na may authority sa Iglesia.

 

——

2.7 Ano ang Basihan?

Protestante:

Anong basihan ninyong mga Katoliko na ang mga imahi o larawan ninyo ay ang larawan na pinag-utos ng Diyos?

 

SAGOT #7:

Salamat sa tanong; ano ba ang basihan ng ating doctrina (Catholic) hinggil sa mga imahi; eh madali lang po ang sagot:

UNA: Ang Iglesia Catolica ay ang Simbahan o Iglesiang itinatag ni Cristo doon sa Herusalem at nang lumaoy lumaganap ito – kaya tinatawag na Catholic; ang isa sa mga lugar na ito ay ang Roma.  Doon sa Roma, marami tayong ebedensya na nag papatunay na ang mga unang Cristiano doon ay gumagamit ng mga imahi at ibat-ibang simbolo sa kanilang simbahan ang Catacomb o ang libingan ng mga sina-unang Cristianong naging martir sa kamay ng paganong emperador ng Roma.  Narito po ang ebedensya:

The Church’s re-appropriation of many ancient symbols came with the accidental rediscovery of the Roman catacombs in 1578. Faithful Catholics saw the event as providential.

Much of Europe had fallen under the spell of Protestant doctrine, with its radical reinterpretation of early Christian history. Yet the first reports from the catacombs told of chambers that looked and felt like Catholic churches. First of all, there were sacred images on the walls. (Mike Aquilina; pages 12-19; 2009; This Rock Magazine)

 

PANGALAWA: ang Iglesia Catolica ay ang simbahan na itinatag ni Cristo (Mat. 16:18; Roma 16:16-20); at itoy binigyan Niya ng autoridad para gawin ang nararapat (Mat. 16:17-19; Mat. 18:18; Juan 20:21-23).  Dahil sa alam ng Iglesya Catolica na may mga imahin ipinagagawa ang Dios Exo. 25:18-22 (basi sa apostolic tradition 2: Tes. 2:15); sinunud lamang nito ang physical settings ng structural na templo ng Dios na may mga imahi ng mga anghil.  Kaya may mga imahi ng mga anghil sa Simbahang Katoliko sapagkat ang structural temple of God nito ay nahahango sa structural temple of God sa Old testament.  May babasa ba na ebedensya?  May roon po:

Heb. 9:2-5 “For a tent * was prepared, the outer one, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence; * it is called the Holy Place. 3* Behind the second curtain stood a tent * called the Holy of Holies, 4* having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, which contained a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; 5 above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.”

Oh Ayan, napakalinaw na sa New Testament ay pinag-uusapan parin po ang mga imahi ng mga anghil o ang mga cherubim.

 

 

 

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2.8 Hindi kasama ang mga Santo?

Protestante:

Sa nasambit sa Biblia, ang ipinagawa diyan ay ang mga angil lang na tinatawag na cherubim; wala pong nakalagay na mga Santo. Ang tanong; saan mababasa sa Biblia na ipapagawa ng imahi ang mga santo?

 

SAGOT #8:

Ang tanong po na ito ng ating kapatid ay nag papakita na sang-ayon na siya ngayon na may mga imahi o larawan na ipinagawa ang Dios; at ito ay nagpapakita lamang na okay na sa kanya ang imahi ng mga anghil; ngunit ang mga santo ay hindi.

Dapat nating malaman na ang mga anghil ay Holy, sa Espanyol ay SANTO; at ito ay mababasa sa Biblia:

Mar 8:38 “For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of man also be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

 

At ang mga Santo ay magiging anghil:

Mat. 22:10 (RSV) “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels * in heaven.”

 

At para sa karagdagang proweba; narito po ang isang ebedensya na hindi talaga ipinagbawal ang larawan o munuminto kung ito ay hindi isang diyos-diyosan; narito ang citas ng Biblia:

 

2 King 23:15-17 (RSV) “Moreover the altar at Bethel, the high place erected by Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, that altar with the high place he pulled down and he broke in pieces its stones, * crushing them to dust; also he burned the Asherah. 16 And as Josiah turned, he saw the tombs there on the mount; and he sent and took the bones out of the tombs, and burned them upon the altar, and defiled it, according to the word of the LORD which the man of God proclaimed, who had predicted these things. 17 Then he said, “What is yonder monument that I see?” And the men of the city told him, “It is the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and predicted these things which you have done against the altar at Bethel.”

 

 

Nasagutan po ang tanong….salamat

 

Kung gusto ninyong basahin ang pangalawang bahagi ng paksang ito; paki click ang link na ito:

 

Part 2

http://catholicfaithdefenders.com/iglesia-catolica-%E2%80%93-sumasamba-ngaba-ng-larawan_part2.html

 

Kung gusto n’yo namang pumunta sa ika-apat na bahagi ng artikolong ito; paki click lang po sa link na ito:

 

Part 4

 

 

Iglesia Catolica – Sumasamba Ngaba ng Larawan_Part1

Iglesia Catolica – Sumasamba Ngaba ng Larawan?

Unang Bahagi

(Ni Bro. G-one T. Paisones, CFD/CFLAMP)


1. Introduction:

Magandang araw sa mga kapatid nating bumabasa nito; ang paksa natin ngayon ay hingil sa mga larawan o rebulto na nasa simbahan ng mga Katoliko.  Dito sa Pilipinas ang isa na mga paghatak ng mga ministro at pastor ng mga protestante at ibang sekta ay unang nakatoon sa pang-aalipusta nila sa mga larawan at rebolto na matatagpuan sa simbahan at bahay ng mga Katoliko; ito ang pinaka unang sentro na topiko sa kanilang Bible study upang mahatak nila ang kanilang mga tagapakinig na Katoliko pagkatapos na itoy mapalapit na sa kanila.

Ang ibig kung sabihin ay ang unang hakbang ng mga pastor ay kakaibiganin at ipapakita na Masaya ang kanilang grupo; pagkatapos ay naka sentro na ang topic sa larawan; para mahatak ang mga ito na umanib sa kanilang sekta.

Para po sa mga Katolikong bumabasa; narito po ang detalyado at step-by-step na proseso at sagot sa mga aligasyon; tanong at pangungutya ng mga Kapatid nating mga protestante; hinggil sa mga imahe o larawan sa ating simbahan.


2. MGA TANONG NG PROTESTANTE AT SAGOT NG Catholic Faith Defender (CFD):

(Note: Ang Pula ay katwiran at tanong ng mga protestante; at ang Berdi ay ang sagot logical at biblical ng mga Catholic Faith Defenders)

2.1: Bawal ang mga larawan ayon sa Sampong Utos ng Dios:

Protestante:

“-Ayon sa Exo. 20:4-5 (Magandang Balita Biblia) “Huwag kayong magkakaroon ng diyus-diyusan o kaya’y larawan o rebulto ng anumang nilalang na nasa himpapawid; nasa lupa o nasa tubig. Huwag kayong yuyukod o maglilingkod sa alinman sa mga diyus-diyusang iyan sapagkat akong si Yahweh ay mapanibughuin. Parurusahan ko ang lahat ng aayaw sa akin pati ang kanilang mga anak hanggang sa ikaapat na salinlahi.

Nakita na ninyo mga kapatid na isa sa sampong utos ng Dios ay ang Hindi pagkakaroon ng mga larawan; eh sumunod ba ang mga Katoliko ditto??? Abay; napakalinaw at pagkalaki-laki ng kanilang larawan na makikita sa Katolikong simbahan.

At dahil isa ito sa mga sampung utos ng Dios; abay binagu ng mga Paring Katoliko ang kanilang sampung utos.  Narito po ang ebedinsya na nagpapatunay na binago ng mga Katoliko ang sampung utos upang mapagtakpan ang kanilang aral hingil sa larawan:

Source: Armed with the Faith; 2004; Catholic Information Services; Knights of Columbus Supreme Council; New Haven, CT:

Ten Commandments:

1. I am the Lord your God: you shall not have strange gods before me.

2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

3. Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day.

4. Honor your father and your mother

5. You shall not kill

6. You shall not commit adultery

7. You shall not steal

8. You shall not bear false wetness against your neighbor

9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.

10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.


Nakita napo ninyo na binago ng Katoliko ang kanilang sampong utos para mapagtakpan ang kanilang maling aral hingil sa imahe o mga larawan.  Ang tanong saan mababasa sa Biblia na dapat sambahin ang mga larawan?


SAGOT #1

-Ang karaniwang kamalian ng mga kapatid nating mga protestante ay ang pagtatanong na may kasamang conclusion – ito po ay tinatawag na Fallacy of Assumption.  Sa tanong sa itaas na “saan mababasa sa Biblia na dapat sambahin ang mga larawan?” ay isa sa mga halimbawa ng Fallacy of Assumption”.  Dapat linawin natin na HINDI DOCTRINA NG SIMBAHANG KATOLIKO ANG PAGSAMBA (BILANG DIOS) SA MGA IMAHE O LARAWAN; narito po ang mga ebedensya:

Denzinger; The Sources of Catholic Dogma; Documents of the Roman Pontiffs and of the Councils; Council of Nicea II   787; Ecumenical VII (against the Iconoclasts)

Definition of the Sacred Images and Tradition *; ACTION VII

302      (I.  Definition) . . . We, continuing in the regal path, and following the divinely inspired teaching of our Holy Fathers, and the tradition of the Catholic Church, for we know that this is of the Holy Spirit who certainly dwells in it, define in all certitude and diligence that as the figure of the honored and life-giving Cross, so the venerable and holy images, the ones from tinted materials and from marble as those from other material, must be suitably placed in the holy churches of God, both on sacred vessels and vestments, and on the walls and on the altars, at home and on the streets, namely such images of our Lord Jesus Christ, God and Savior, and of our undefiled lady, or holy Mother of God, and of the honorable angels, and, at the same time, of all the saints and of holy men.  For, how much more frequently through the imaginal formation they are seen, so much more quickly are those who contemplate these, raised to the memory and desire of the originals of these, to kiss and to render honorable veneration to them, not however, to grant true latria according to our faith, which is proper to divine nature alone; but just as to the figure of the revered and life-giving Cross and to the holy gospels, and to the other sacred monuments, let an oblation of incense and lights be made to give honor to these as was the pious custom with the ancients.  “For the honor of the image passes to the original”; * and he who shows reverence to the image, shows reverence to the substance of Him depicted in it. <emphasize added>

– Harmony Media, Inc.; 1995; P.O. Box 138; Gervais, OR 97026; Church History; “St.  John Damascene (c. 675-749), monk and priest, was the great doctor of the Church of the period.  His “Three Discourses On images” made the points that: (1) though God cannot be represented by an image, Christ, the Blessed Virgin, and the saints could be depicted with approximate fidelity; (2) it is licit to revere images, provided that the veneration transcends the material icon to the prototype; (3) it is profitable to revere images, which can instruct, inspire, and exercise a certain intercession with God; and (4) that to avoid error one ought to distinguish between strict worship paid to God alone, and veneration of a person or thing as related to God

-Fr. M. Guzman; Catholic Catechism; 1995: #563 “It is right to show respect to the statues and pictures of Christ and of the saints, just as it is right to show respect to the images of those whom we honor or love on earth.”

Fr. M. Guzman; Catholic Catechism; 1995: #564 “We honor Christ and the saints when we pray before the crucifix, relics and sacred images because we honor the persons they represent; we adore Christ and venerate the saints.”

Fr. M. Guzman; Catholic Catechism; 1995: #565 “We do not pray to the crucifix or to the images and relics of the saints, but to the persons they represent.”

Atty. Teofilo Tumulak; Dili Ang Tanan; 1985; Page 113 <With Imprimatur> “Hinoon ang idolatry (Exodo 20:3) nagapadayon, apan dili sabton nga ang mga Katolico nakasupak niini kay ang pag-ampo nila sa gilarawanan dili man ingon nga Dios.”  (Datapuwat ang idolatry (Exo. 20:3)ay nagpapatuloy; peru hindi ibig sabihin na ang mga Katolico ay nakalabag nito dahil sa pagdadasal nila sa nilalarawan ng imahe (ng mga Santo) ay hindi bilang isang Dios.)<emphasize added>

Napatunayan napo natin na hindi sinasamba ng mga Katoiko ang mga larawan bilang Dios; kaya mali po ang tanong ng ating mga kapatid na protestante.  Kung gayon tayo bang mga Katoliko ay hindi sumunod sa utos ng Dios sa Exo. 20:4-5?  Mga kapatid sumunod po ang Katoliko sa utos na yan; eh kung sumunod ang mga Katoliko sa Exo. 20:4-5; eh bakit may mga larawan o emahi sa kanilang simbahan (marahil yan ang susunod na tanong ng ating mga kaibigan)???

Dapat mo nating malaman na kung tayo ay magbabasa ng Biblia; hindi po natin dapat limitahan ang ating mga pananaw sa mga bagay na inaakala natin na tama.  Tulad nalang sa argumentong ito:

Bawal ang mga imahe (Exo. 20:4-5)

Ang mga Katoliko ay may mga imahe

Therefore; Ang mga imahe ng katoliko ay bawal

Sa itaas ay ang halimbawa ng fallacy of generalization ng mga kapatid nating mga protestante dahil, ang Biblia bagaman ay nakasaad ng mga talata na bawal ang mga emahi; ay may roon ding mga nakasulat na utos ng Dios na pagpagawa ng mga imahi; narito po ang mga ebedinsya:


Exo. 25:1, 18-22 (RSV) “The LORD said to Moses; 8 And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat. 19 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. 20 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. 21 And you shall put the mercy seat on the top of the ark; and in the ark you shall put the testimony that I shall give you. 22 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.”

Ano ba ang mga cherubim? Ito po ay mga anghil; at utos ng Dios na magpagawa ng mga statwa ng mga anghil; narito po ang mga ebidensya:

Exo. 25:18-22 (Living Bible) “Then make images of angels, using beaten gold, and place them at the two ends of the lid of the Ark.  They shall be one piece with the mercy place, and shall have wings spread out above the gold lid. Install the lid upon the Ark, and the place within the Ark the tables of stone I shall give you.  And I will meet with you there and talk with you from above the place of mercy between the cherubim; and the Ark will contain the laws of my covenant.  There I will tell you my commandments for the people of Israel.” (Emphasize added)

At saan pa ilalagay ang mga imahi ng mga anghil? Eh ang Biblia po ang ating papasagutin:

2 Cron:3:1; 7-14 (RSV) “3:1Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the LORD had appeared to David his father, at the place that David had appointed, on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.” “3: 7-14 “So he lined the house with gold–its beams, its thresholds, its walls, and its doors; and he carved cherubim on the walls. And he made the most holy place; its length, corresponding to the breadth of the house, was twenty cubits, and its breadth was twenty cubits; he overlaid it with six hundred talents of fine gold. 9 The weight of the nails was one shekel* to fifty shekels of gold. And he overlaid the upper chambers with gold. In the most holy place he made two cherubim of wood* and overlaid* them with gold. 11 The wings of the cherubim together extended twenty cubits: one wing of the one, of five cubits, touched the wall of the house, and its other wing, of five cubits, touched the wing of the other cherub; 12 and of this cherub, one wing, of five cubits, touched the wall of the house, and the other wing, also of five cubits, was joined to the wing of the first cherub. 13 The wings of these cherubim extended twenty cubits; the cherubim* stood on their feet, facing the nave. 14 And he made the veil of blue and purple and crimson fabrics and fine linen, and worked cherubim on it.

Ano po ang nakalagay sa Biblia??? Sa templo ng Dios ilalagay ang mga imahi ng mga anghil!…

Tingnan po natin kung ano ang nakasaad sa ibang version ng Biblia:

2 Cron. 3:7 (The Living Bible) “All the walls, beam, doors, and the thresholds throughout the Temple were plated with gold, with angels engrave on the walls.”

2 Cron. 3:10 (The Living Bible) “Within the innermost, the Holy of Holies, Solomon placed two sculptured statues of angels, and plated them with gold.”

NAPAKALINAW NA TAYONG MGA KATOLIKO AY SUMUSUNOD LAMANG SA BIBLICAL TEMPLE OF GOD SA OLD TESTAMENT!!!

Eh, sumunod kaya ang mga protestante ditto?????????????????

At tungkol po naman sa paratang na tayong mga Katoliko ay Binago raw po natin ang sampung utos ng Diyos… Abay napakalinaw na talagang walang alam itong mga kapatid nating mga protestante sa Biblia; dahil dalawa po ang nakasaad/version ng sampong utos ng Dios diyan sa Biblia.  Ang isa po ay makikita sa Exo. 20:4-17 at ang isa naman ay makikita sa Deut. 5:6-21; at pakaalaman natin na tayong mga Katoliko ay sumunod sa Deut. 5:6-21 na version.  At dapat rin nating tandaan na ang sampong utos ay walang insaktong talaan ng bilang o numbers kaya may pagkaka-iba ang 10 commandments ng mga protestante; sa Katoliko/Luteranismo version.

Nasagutan po ang tanong at abangan po ang susunod na mga bahagi…….

Salamat pos a inyong pagbasa……  Abangan po ang pangalawang bahagi….

ARE ALL IMAGES, IDOLS?

ARE ALL IMAGES, IDOLS?

 


Defense: Catholic Truth

Page 38-41

By: Bro. Socrates Fernandez

 


Nihil Obstat:

Msgr. Adelito Abella

Imprimatur:

Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, D.D.

Archdiocese of Cebu

 

OBJECTION #1: It is clear in the bible which says, “Therefore, do not become corrupted; do not make an idol or a god carved in form of a man or of a woman” (Deut. 4:16). “You shall not bow down to them or serve them. For I, Yahweh, your God, I am a jealous God…” (Exodus 20:5). “I am Yahweh, that is my name, I will not give my glory to another or my praise to graven images” (Isa. 42:8).

Here, it is very clear that God prohibits the carving of images in the form of man or woman; what God allows to be carved are those images of cherubim or images of man (Ex. 25:18-19), but God never recommended those images to be worshipped.

ANSWER: Is the text used from Deut. 4:16 that God prohibits the making of any images of man or woman, a prohibition without any condition? Or the prohibition means that the images shall not be thought of as God? Because if you will say that the making of images, be it man or woman, is really prohibited without any condition, then, God is the first one who violated the law when He commanded Moses to make images of angels or cherubim.

If these angels are represented by the images allowed by Yahweh, these are images of men but with wings. Since the angels, upon appearing before Lot, were in form of men who are masculine (Gen. 19:1,5-8). Also, inside the temple or the House of God, these are images of cherubim and images of men: “He took me into the sanctuary…adorned with carved cherubs and palm tress and cherubs alternating, each cherub had two faces-the face of a man facing the palm tree on one side…” (Ezek. 41:1, 18-19). It is clear then that if all images represent false god, then God is the first one who erred when He commanded Moses to carve the images of angels (Ex. 25:18-19) and the image of a fiery serpent (Num. 21:8). But as we already know, God cannot commit any fault, therefore, it is our misinterpretation which led us to err in saying that all images represent false god. The Scripture teaches us what are false gods: “For we know an idol (false god) is without existence…” (1 Cor. 8:4). The Glory and praise of God can never be given to these idols which represent things which are non-existent. Therefore, it is very clear that the images of the angels and the saints are not idols because they are representing true beings.

 

OBJECTION #2: God also prohibits anyone to worship or to knell down in front of the images, even to procession the images, like Catholics are doing, because it is written: “Some pour out gold from their purses and with silver weight on the scales, they hire a goldsmith to make an image before which they bow and worship. They cry out to it, but it does not answer. It does not answer. It delivers no one from distress and disaster” (Isa. 46:6-7).

ANSWER: We have proven in the first answer that not all images are idols. This text quoted from Isaiah 46:6-7, wherein gold is made into an image, is worshipped and recognized as God can never be used to strike down the practice of Catholic sense there is no Catholic doctrine which teaches that images are being thought of as God. The passage from Exodus 20:5, which prohibits believer to bow down before images and served them is when this images are considered god. Proof to this is when the people of God in a procession of the ark, bearing the Ten Commandments, carried engraved stone tablets. Above the ark, two images of cherubim are placed (2 Samuel 6:2-5).

 

OBJECTION #3: He who casts his eyes on an idol or image is also worshipping idols for the Bible says, “But he who looks to the idols, does detestable things” (Ezequiel 18:12).

ANSWER: What is prohibited in Ezequiel 18:12 clearly cites the look of one’s eyes on the idols and here the idols mention in the scripture. “Bel bow down, Nebo stoops and their carriages weighed down with heavy images their idols borne by beasts of burden…” (Isa. 46:1).

But in the image of cherubim or that of a fiery serpent Yahweh had told Moses he is there to have a conversation with His people, there is no prohibition with that (Ex. 25:22). Anyone who looks at the graven fiery serpent, which represents the presence of God, will be cured from the poisonous bite of the snakes (Num. 21:8). “Moses pleaded for the people and Yahweh said to him, Moses a fiery serpent and a set on a standard; whoever has been bitten and then looks at it shall live.”

 

OBJECTION #4: One is also prohibited to kneel down before the image. “What was the answer of God? I kept for myself seven thousand who did not worship Baal” (Romans 11:4).

ANSWER: It is clear that the image prohibited by God to be worshipped is that of Baal who is a false god. However, Joshua, the man of God, while he prays, prostrates himself in front of the ark where the image is placed. The bible says, “Then, Joshua and all the leaders of Israel don their garments, put ashes on their heads remained prostate before the ark of Yahweh until evening” (Josh 7:6).

 

OBJECTION #5: It is unlawful to pray to images (1 Kings 18:26).

ANSWER: No Catholic who is normal prays to images. The Catholic doctrine says, “We are not praying to the crucifix or to the images or to the relics of the saints” (New Baltimore Catechism no. 3 page 132)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OBJECTION #6: It is unlawful to dance before images. “When he drew to the camp and saw the calf and dancing, his anger burst forth and he threw the slabs from his hands and shattered them against the base of the mountain” (Ex. 32:19).

ANSWER: Dancing before image is an act of idolatry. However, the man of God, King David, because of his abundant joy, danced before the ark of the Lord.

 

OBJECTION #7: It is unlawful to kiss an image. “Yet I will spare seven thousand in Israel who have not knelt before Baal whose lips have not kissed him” (1 Kings 19:18).

ANSWER: It is the same men who kissed by men before Baal, the false god. Therefore, it is unlawful before the true God (1 Kings 19:18).

 

OBJECTION #8: All these prohibitions stated in the Bible regarding images are really violated by the Catholics. Here, the Catholics says that the worship the tree. The Catholic Church in its liturgy during Good Friday sings this line: “Ecce Lignum crucis, in quo salus mundi pepindit. Venite Adoremus”. (Behold the wooden cross, upon which the one crucified is the salvation of the world. Come, let us adore Him). After this song, the priest carefully places the cross above the cotton foam, bows his head three times before the cross and on the third time, the priest kissed it, while two of his lay assistants will sing the following: “Crucem tuam, adoremus Domine” (Lord, we worship your cross).

ANSWER: Our act of worshipping the cross during Good Friday does not mean that it is the wooden cross that we pay homage to, but the one crucified on the cross, whom we worship. It is figure of speech called metonymy which is an act of addressing, possessing or owning as if one the owner. Like when we mention the “crown or throne” which represents the king.

Just like what Jacob did. “By faith Jacob, before he dead, blessed both children of Joseph and worshipped as he learned on his staff” (Heb. 11:21). This simply means that the one he worships is the one represented by the staff who is Christ. “Extol the Lord, our God; worship at his footstool. Holy is He, and mighty!” (Psalm 98:5, Catholic version). The one to be worshipped in this passage is the footstool but actually footstool here represents the Lord himself.

PROF. RAMON GITAMONDOC, CFD National President EXCHANGES ON SACRED IMAGES part 1

The Image of the Holy Child, Sto. Nino de Cebu

Dear Benjie,

First of all I would like to thank you for reading my first response and for sending me your counter-response. I hope that through this exchange I could clarify to you the catholic position on the proper use of images in worship. I have posted your reply in bold black while my comments are in blue.

Thank you for your email and the opportunity to exchange some important thoughts about God how we are to truly worship and obey Him. I don’t mind relatively long answers and I understand they can be elicited by even the shortest questions. In fact I appreciate your long answers and your taking the time to compose them. I have read through your response quite a few times to make sure that I understand what you are trying to say. Please allow me to respond to your points and I hope this will be the start of a healthy and beneficial exchange of thoughts.

I appreciate you for making the above comments.

Let me pose a thought about how the Bible is very clear when it comes to images. Going back to Deut 4:15, God warned the Israelites not to even make any visible representation of Him since they saw no form. “So watch yourselves carefully, since you did not see any form on the day the LORD spoke to you at Horeb from the midst of the fire, so that you do not act corruptly and make a graven image for yourselves in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the sky, the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water below the earth.” (Deu 4:15-18)

The Catholic Church is in complete agreement with your statement. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) paragraph 2129 we can read: The divine injunction included in 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 fire, beware lest you act corruptly by making a graven image for yourselves, in the form of any figure…” (Deut 4:15-16). 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” (Sir 43:27-28). He is “the author of beauty” (Wis 13:3).

I think the key to understanding the prohibition in Deut 4:15-18 and the Church’s teaching in CCC 2129 is the phrase “Since you saw no form…” If we read Deut 4:15-18 carefully what God proscribes is the making of man-made representations of Him as if the divinity can be found in those visible forms or as if God existed in those visible forms. For example, God appeared to Moses at Mount Sinai in the form of a burning bush (Exo 3:3) but we are not to think that God is really the form of a burning bush. The Holy Spirit appeared in the form of a dove during the baptism of our Lord (Mat 3:16) but we are not to think that the Holy Spirit is really the form of a dove. When God appeared to the prophet Daniel in a vision in the form of man (Dan 7:13) we are not to think that God in his divinity is in the form of man (as the Mormons think that God has a body). This teaching is repeated by St Paul in the New Testament: “Since therefore we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the divinity is like an image fashioned from gold, silver, or stone by human art and imagination” (Acts 17:29). Thus Deut 4:15-18 is a proscription against idolatry that is the worship of images as God or the belief that images carved by men are the form of God thereby attaching virtue or divinity to the image.

The book of the prophet Isaiah portrays vividly idol worship: “With a part of their wood he warms himself, or makes a fire for baking bread; but with another part he makes a god which he adores, an idol which he worships… Of what remains he makes a god, his idol, and prostrate before it in worship, he implores it, “Rescue me, for you are my god” (Isa 44:15-17). Thus it is clear that the pagan thinks that the image which he carves is the form of his god and has inherent power in them and because of this they worship such idols. This is totally different from the Catholic teaching and practice. As I have mentioned in my first response that the Catholic Church teaches that images are not the form of the divinity, nor do they have inherent virtue or power in them that for which they are to be honored but that the honor which is given them is referred to the originals which they represent.

God is talking about the mere making of a (man-made) representation of Him, the infinite and invisible God. Likewise with Exo 20:4. I think you and I cannot even begin to talk about how the images are used – whether for worship, decoration, veneration, reminder, iconolatry, etc. God’s command is clear. We are not to make any representation of Him — whatever the intentions of our hearts might be.

After making clear that icons are not representations of the divinity (i.e., that God exist in these forms made by man) the Catholic Church recognizes the use of sacred images in economy of God’s revelation to man.

CCC par 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. (Num 21:4-9; Wis 16:5-14; Jn 3:14-15; Exo 25:18-22; 1 Kings 6:23-28; 7:23-26)

God cannot command in one part of the Scriptures what He forbids in another part for God cannot contradict Himself. If Exodus 20:4 is an absolute prohibition on the use of images in worship then God would contradict himself because in Exo 25:18-22 He commanded Moses to make a graven image of a cherubim. God would have contradicted Himself for in Eze 41:18-19 He ordained that His temple be adorned with sacred images. Only the Catholic position would harmonize these seeming contradictions. In Exo 20:3-5 God was proscribing against idolatry (that is the worship of images as gods) while in Exo 25:18-22, Eze 41:18-19 He ordains the proper use of images in worship (iconolatry). This distinction is very important in understanding the Catholic position.

You ask, “Could not God also use sacred images, signs and symbols to uplift the mind and heart of men to divine realities?” I do not deny the feeling you get when you look upon painted and carved images. They may very well cause you to look towards the reality of Heaven represented by them. But God is as much concerned about the means, as He is with the end, especially when it comes to approaching Him. He has laid down clear commands and guidelines. I would urge you to study the example of Nadab and Abihu in Leviticus 10. “Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them. And fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD. Then Moses said to Aaron, “It is what the LORD spoke, saying, ‘By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy, And before all the people I will be honored.'” So Aaron, therefore, kept silent.” (Lev 10:1-3)

I totally agree with you that obedience to God’s will is of paramount importance. I believe that when Moses carved the graven image of the Cherubim and placed it on the Ark of Covenant He was obeying the will of God. I believe that when Joshua prostrated himself before the Ark of Covenant on top of which was the image of two the cherubims of glory he was doing the will of God (Joshua 7:6). I believe that when Solomon and people of Israel made God’s temple and adorned it with sacred images they were doing the will of God (Eze 41:18-19, 2 Chron 7:15-16).

They wanted to worship God in a way that was not prescribed by Him. As a result, fire from the Lord consumed them and God told Moses that those who come near Him must treat Him as holy and honor Him. They could very well have thought along the same line of thinking and felt uplifted with their new method of worship. This line of thinking got them killed right then and there. We see here that however we intend to worship the true and living God, God has laid down His clear commands, spoken to His prophets, written down for us in Scripture.

Yet God in the Old Testament prescribes that His temple be adorned with sacred images. Catholic use of images in worship is not a new method of worshipping God but is in consonance with the practice of the people of God in the Old Testament. God also commands us in Scriptures to honor sacred images. We have examples of this in the Old Testament: “When they came to the threshing floor of Nodan, Uzzah reached out his hand to the ark of God and steadied it, for the oxen were making it tip. But the LORD was angry with Uzzah; God struck him on that spot, and he died there before God” (2 Sam 6:6-7). The Lord has commanded elsewhere that only the priest can touch the Ark of Covenant for it is holy but Uzzah disregarded God’s prohibition and was punished. In the book of Psalms God was not pleased when the enemies of Israel destroyed the sacred symbols inside His temple: “Turn your steps toward the utter ruins, toward the sanctuary devastated by the enemy. Your foes roared triumphantly in your shrine; they set up their own tokens of victory. They hacked away like foresters gathering boughs, swinging their axes in a thicket of trees. They smashed all your engraved work, pounded it with hammer and pick. They set your sanctuary on fire; the abode of your name they razed and profaned. They said in their hearts, “Destroy them all! Burn all the shrines of God in the land!” (Psalms 74:3-8).

These are Old Testament examples. I would like pose a question to you regarding the New Testament. If images were indeed that beneficial, would not one gospel writer even mention it, even in passing? If it were so essential so as to make iconolatry a command given by the Roman church, why don’t we see it even mentioned by one gospel writer in the entire New Testament?

Thank you for your question. First, I would like to point out that in the Catholic Church there is what we call a hierarchy of truths. Some truths are more central or fundamental to the Christian faith than others. For example doctrines regarding the Trinity, Incarnation, and Redemption are more fundamental than the doctrines about images, saints, angels, and Mary. Even if the doctrine on the use of images in worship is not central to the Catholic Faith, we believe that it is a truth revealed by God nevertheless. As Catholics we are not free to pick and chose on what we like to believe. We are bound to accept all that God has taught us in Scriptures and the Church’s teachings.

In response to your question I would invoke a key principle in Biblical interpretation: That whatever God has explicitly commanded in the Old Testament which He has not revoked in the New Testament then that command is still valid. We see God explicitly commanding Moses and the Israelites to use sacred images to adorn God’s temple. This explicit command was not abrogated neither by Jesus nor the apostles in the New Testament. Therefore, the command is still valid. However, I would beg to disagree when you said that this was not mentioned by one gospel writer in the New Testament. Let me quote St Paul in his letter to the Hebrews: “Behind the second veil was the tabernacle called the Holy of Holies, in which were the gold altar of incense and the ark of the covenant entirely covered with gold. In it were the gold jar containing the manna, the staff of Aaron that had sprouted, and the tablets of the covenant. Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the place of expiation. Now is not the time to speak of these in detail. With these arrangements for worship, the priests, in performing their service” (Heb 9:3-6). Jesus mentions the bronze serpent in the desert as pointing to His death on the cross: “And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life (John 3:14-15). In the New Testament we find that laws pertaining to unclean foods, Sabbaths, circumcision, etc was already abrogated for they have already found fulfillment in Jesus but nowhere can we find that the use of images in worship has been revoked. On the other hand, when Jesus appeared in human form He ushered a new era of sacred images… that of the image of Christ, his mother, and of the saints. When Jesus became man he was seen in human form and thus made it lawful to represent him in human form. The early Christian martyrs who hid and worshipped in the catacombs during the roman persecution attested to this holy practice of representing Jesus through their carvings in the walls of the catacombs.

If I may take your indulgence, I would like to offer a solution as to why the New Testament mentions very little (nothing in fact according to your observation) on the subject of sacred images. As I have mentioned initially that there is a hierarchy of truths within the Christian faith. During the time of Jesus the temple which the Israelites have rebuilt was still standing and this temple with all probability was adorned with sacred images as is its predecessor. It was something taken for granted as permitted by God and not so to speak a “big issue” for them. The apostles in their written account on the life, words and deeds of our Lord focused on the more pressing issues of the day ie., The messiahship of Jesus, his divinity, incarnation and the redemption. When the early Christians started to separate themselves from Judaism, the use of sacred images was not a common practice among them for a very prudent reason. They were subjected to roman persecution and possessing images of our Lord would naturally invite apprehension by the hateful authorities. But despite this situation the pious faith of the early Christians prompted them to carve images and symbols which represented Jesus in his humanity and this is attested by archaeological evidence found in the catacombs. When the persecution ended, the Christians were free to practice their religion in public and this ushered a new era of sculpture and painting of sacred images of Jesus, Mary and the other saints and martyrs. This practice was uncontested for the next 500 years until the time of the Iconoclast heresy led by Emperor Leo the Isaurian who burned Churches and caused precious images of Christ and the saints to be melted and the metal reformed in his own effigy. The bishops of the Catholic Church convened in the Second Council in Nicaea in 787 AD in order to suppress the Iconoclast heresy. For the next hundred years, sacred images again flourished to adorn Christian shrines and churches. The next wave of opposition against the use of sacred images came from the Reformers (Luther, Calvin, Henry VIII, et al). In countries where the monarch were protestants we can witness pillage of churches which still can be observed nowadays with some headless statues of saints for example in some Anglican churches in England.

As to God’s commands to Moses to make cherubim and to David in the construction of the temple, can we make them a justification to make images? As you said, God does not contradict Himself. He has commanded in Deut 4:15 and Exo 20:4. What then is the difference?

I think I have answered this question in the preceding paragraph but I shall repeat it here. In Exo 20:3-5 and Deut 4:15 God was proscribing against idolatry (that is the worship of images as gods) while in Exo 25:18-22, Eze 41:18-19 He ordains the proper use of images in worship. Again, this distinction is very important in understanding the Catholic position.

The difference, I would posit, in the command to Moses and to David is that — they were God’s commands — out of His infinite wisdom, power and sovereignty.

But for what purpose did God command them to carve graven images of Cherubim and other sacred images which adorn God’s temple? If God is infinite wisdom then He must have a wise purpose for all His actions. If God is infinite power then He can also use sacred symbols to manifest that power as He did when He commanded Moses to make a graven image of a serpent so that all who look upon the bronze serpent will be healed from the snake’s venom (Num 21:4-9). If God is sovereign then why do we question Him when he permits and ordains in Scriptures the right use of images in worship?

For example, to help you see where I’m coming from, in Gen 22, God commanded Abraham to kill Isaac and offer him as a burnt offering. Can you use God’s command to Abraham to kill Isaac as a justification to do likewise today?

God commanded Abraham to kill Isaac in order to test him and to illicit his strong faith and to serve as model in faith and obedience to God’s will. Otherwise how would we know of Abraham’s faith if not by his actions and obedience to God’s command. Abraham knew that despite God’s command God will be able to fulfill His promise to make Him the father of a great nation. So with regards to God’s command to Abraham, He has a purpose. God knew already that Abraham will obey Him. But He gave the test in order for Abraham to perform a meritorious act and to make Abraham’s faith known to us. Thus, we see that God does not act capriciously just to show his sovereignty. With regards to His command to adorn His temple with sacred images He also has a purpose and that is to uplift the minds and hearts of His people to divine realities through their senses. What sacred music does to the ears (and I know a lot of non-catholic fellowship have wonderful choirs) sacred carvings and paintings does to the eyes. But among the five senses the eyes is more important than the ears in giving insight and knowledge. Thus in Catholic worship all our physical and spiritual faculties are engaged towards God.

In Jeremiah 8:10, God said that He will give the wives of the Israelites to others. Will this make God inconsistent because God also commanded “Thou shall not commit adultery?”

We should not understand Jeremiah 8:10 as God positively willing to give the wives of the Israelites to others for then He would be inconsistent about His prohibition of adultery. Rather, Jeremiah 8:10 should be understood as God permitting the Israelites to be defeated by their enemies and their wives be taken by their invaders as a punishment for their sinful ways. Both catholic and protestant theologians distinquish between God’s positive will and His permissive will. God positively wills good to happen but he permissively allow evil to happen for if not it would make God the author of evil. Jeremiah 8:10 employs the language of prophecy about the impending punishment of Israel because of their constant violation of God’s commandments.

Throughout the Bible, there are specific commands and declarations of God to specific people or groups of people that we cannot carelessly copy today.

You are right about that. On the other hand there are commands from God in the Old Testament which we cannot carelessly neglect today. I think this includes the right use of images in worship since this is part of God’s revelation to man which was consummated in the incarnation of the only begotten Son of God.

Who are we to presume that we can do as God did?

Catholics are not presuming to do as God did. The Catholic Church has always warned us against the sin of presumption that we could do better than God. What Catholics believe is that God forbids idolatry but permits and ordains iconolatry. We are simply trying to obey God’s commands and trusting in His divine wisdom that through Scriptures and the guidance of the Church sacred images can be used to uplift the mind and hearts of men for the greater glory of God.

Another (probably weak, bear with me) example I can think of is when you forbid your 2-year old child to even light a matchstick because you cannot even begin to imagine what can happen. Will you be inconsistent if you forbid lighting a match stick with your child, but you yourself can light that same matchstick? Can the child say “My dad did it, why can’t I do it?” Your 2-year old cannot possibly fathom your reason for doing things. Your understanding is far greater than your child’s. In the same way, we cannot possibly begin to understand God’s reason for doing things because His understanding is infinitely beyond ours. But what we do have is His clear command — we are not to make any visible representations of Him.

In your example, I agree that the 2-year old child should respect the wisdom of his father even if for the moment he might protest because he does not comprehend the father’s good intentions to keep him from harm’s way. It is a good thing that you mentioned about the Dad. I presume that you are a Dad and I too am a Dad (I have 3 lovely daughters as of this writing). This is what I learned about being a Dad. Even though our children is not expected to understand fully our prohibition (they most of the time insist) yet we have the obligation to at least give them a good explanation for such prohibition. Some Dads (I hope there are few) would not like their children to question their authority and yet they fail to explain to their children in a language they can understand the reasons for such prohibition. If Dads do this, then they appear to be acting capriciously towards their children. Their children might obey them but it would be out of fear and not out of love and respect. To continue with your example suppose that the child now comes of age and he learns the proper use of the match stick I think that the wise Dad would gladly allow his child to light the match stick.

Let me clarify my point (please bear with me also). God (Our Father) has forbidden his people (us) from making any visible representations of Him (Deut 4:1-18) to protect them (us) from idolatrous practices as the heathens do who place their hopes in idols. On the other hand He has commanded his people (us) to adorn His temple with sacred images not in order that we worship them as gods (thus making an idol out of them) but in order to lift our minds and hearts to Him. Children needed to be taught the right way. But we are already adults in the faith and we understand fully the difference between idolatry and iconolatry. St. Paul encouraged his fellow Christians to a grow and mature in the faith: “Therefore, let us leave behind the basic teaching about Christ and advance to maturity, without laying the foundation all over again: repentance from dead works and faith in God” (Hebrews 6:1).

My comment on how the Lord Jesus could not at any time have looked like the image of the Sto Nino was refering to how people adorn the image, not on the physical features, since we do not have any record of that. Jesus was born in a manger. He did not have the royal adornments that we see put on the Sto Nino. He lived the ordinary life of a carpenter’s son when he was a child, not in a palace.

I’m glad that your clarified your point. Actually Catholics also portrays Jesus in the way you prescribed. Just take a look at the “Belen” during Christmas time. We will see there the image of the child Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes as the Bible describes: “While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:6-7). But there are also other Biblical passages that portray the child Jesus as King: “For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace. His dominion is vast and forever peaceful, From David’s throne, and over his kingdom, which he confirms and sustains by judgment and justice, both now and forever” (Isaiah 9:5-6). “She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod. Her child was caught up to God and his throne” (Revelations 12:5). This is what the image of the Sto Nino tries to portray: the child Jesus as king holding a scepter (symbol of kingly dominion) and raising his hands in a sign of peace (Prince of Peace).

The image of Lapu-lapu in Mactan does remind me of Lapu-lapu, even though I have not examined its facial features. But after last year’s Kadaugan sa Mactan, I read criticisms in Sunstar because the actors and Lapu-lapu himself wore modern rubber shoes and shades. Lapu-lapu and his comrades could not have looked like them, they said. They said it took away the solemnity of the event. If you have to represent somebody, do it right. Be faithful to the one you are representing. You are not free to innovate and decorate.

I can agree with Sunstar critics. Rubber shoes and shades cannot be associated with Lapu-lapu. I too hope that the performers could have done better in depicting Lapu-lapu instead of making his character a laughing stock. I agree with you that if we are to represent somebody we should do it right and be faithful to the one we are representing. Your admonition especially applies when the person we are trying to represent is Jesus. This is why I am personally against people who would try to depict Jesus as a hippie beside a large motorbike, Jesus wearing a basketball uniform, or Jesus laughing loudly. Jesus never did appear as a hippie, he never was a basketball player, and with his humility and meekness I would seriously doubt if Jesus ever laughed boisterously. But these kind of images have never been part of the Catholic tradition of sacred icons. In Scriptures Jesus is portrayed as a child in a manger, as a son of a carpenter (so most probably this was his trade during those hidden years in Nazareth), as baptized in the river Jordan, as sharing the last supper together with his disciples, as nailed on the cross, as risen from the dead, and even as King of kings and Lord of lords. Thus I do not have any objections to these works of art which shows Jesus as such and these are the kind of images which adorn our Catholic churches.

I still maintain that the Lord Jesus could not at any time have looked like the Sto Nino. But then again, we are commanded to not even make any image representing God. So no matter how accurately you try to dress up the Sto Nino, no matter how much an image reminds you of God, no matter how much emotion and upliftment of spirit is elicited, doing so is disobedience and a violation of God’s clear commands in Scriptures.

I respect you and your convictions. What I have tried to do in this exchange is to present to you the Catholic position as it is in the hope that you will have a clearer idea on what Catholics believe and practice. I hope you learned something about the Catholic faith from a Catholic who knows his Catholic religion. I met other acquaintances of protestant persuasion who thinks that we Catholics worship images (In our correspondence, I am inclined to believe that you don’t hold this view). This is far from the truth and a caricature of the real Catholic doctrine of the right use of images in worship. In putting emphasis of the First commandment, they forgot the other commandment in which God admonish: “Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” If it is a sin to bear false witness against one person, how much more grievous are the sins of those who ascribe to us Catholics doctrines and practices which we condemn and abhor. If I have not convinced you of the truth of the Catholic position I still have one appeal and request to make. If you ever met a non-catholic who would say that Catholics are idolaters, image-worshippers please tell him that such is not actually the case. Just like our separated brethren, the Catholic Church condemns idolatry as a grievous sin against the first commandment but the Catholic Church stands by iconolatry which is the proper use of images in worship.

I would like to end here for now. I would still like to respond to your comment about equating truth with Scripture and the Roman Catholic stand in a separate email.

If you feel commenting to my reply kindly do so. But if you feel we have exhausted the subject matter then I would welcome your separate email on Scripture and Roman Catholic stand.

Thank you once again for sharing your own thoughts and may God be honored in these exchanges.

It has been most rewarding to have this dialogue with you. In our days a lot of people would disdain from controversies and I think this does no service to the truth. I hope we can discuss our disagreements in a brotherly manner urged by our common love for the Truth. Thanks for reading thru my reply.

Truly yours,

Ramon

Retrieve from: http://thesplendorofthechurch.blogspot.com/2011/01/prof-ramon-gitamondoc-cfd-national.html

PROF. RAMON GITAMONDOC, CFD National President EXCHANGES ON SACRED IMAGES part 2

Link: http://thesplendorofthechurch.blogspot.com/2011/01/prof-ramon-gitamondoc-cfd-national_16.html

The Image of Christ the Nazarene

Dear Benjie,

First of all let me again thank you for reading through my response. My new responses are in red and marked R4 and my previous statements which you quoted are in blue and marked R3. Your statements are in bold black.

Thank you Ramon for taking the time and effort to continue this dialog. Thank you also for taking extra effort in making sure our letters are orderly by putting in labels and colors. I must admit I was a little surprised that you intended to rest your case with your last reply. I will respect that if you choose to do so anytime. Maybe we can agree when it’s time to do a “final exchange” regarding a certain topic, where you and I will send our final summarizing thoughts in one page or less.

R4. I really appreciate your suggestion on a “final exchange.” I believe that we have covered already many issues related to sacred images. This would be my final response after which I am going to prepare my final summary in one page or less as you suggested.

R3. There is no contradiction if we do not isolate the phrase “prohibition of every representation of God by the hand of man” from the qualifying phrase in Deut 4:15 “since you saw no form.” … What I did was to explain this qualifying phrase in the context of Deut. 4 and other Scriptural passages that speaks about idolatry. It is a fundamental rule in biblical interpretation to understand the meaning of a given passage in the light of other related passages and to see it in its historical context and not to isolate a verse or phrase as though it stands by itself. If this rule is not followed it will usually lead to a truncated version of the truth.

I appreciate your explanation and the thinking process that you went through and that you also hold to the rule that context is very important in proper biblical interpretation. I was trying to point out that the conclusion that God’s intention was for the Israelites not to make any images “as if divinity can be found in those visible forms or as if God existed in those forms” is not warranted in the context. Understanding the context is very important, but we must be very careful not to add any thought that is foreign to the passage or the context of the passage. Even how much I try to analyze “saw no form” in its context and history and in the light of other passages, it just cannot equate with as “if the divinity can be found in those visible forms or as if God existed in those visible forms”. The context of Deut 4, even when expounding “saw no form” does not support your qualifying statement of “as if divinity can be found in those visible forms or as if God existed in those visible forms.”

R4. In my previous post I have explained to you that “the prohibition of every representation of God by the hand of man” has a qualifying phrase “since you saw no form.” I have expounded on this qualifying phrase by citing Scriptural passages condemning idolatry like Isa 44:15-17, Acts 17:29, Wisdom 13:2, 10, 17, Exodus 20:3-5 and even Deut 4:15-16 which clearly illustrates the nature of idolatry i.e., that pagans thought that God existed in some visible form and that their idols has the inherent power to save them. So far, I have not come across any negation on your part that those who practice idolatry worship idols “as if the divinity can be found in those visible forms or as if God existed in those forms.” You have not offered an alternative explanation why the qualifying phrase “since you saw no form” is included in the prohibition of man-made representations of God. Again, it is my contention that this qualifying phrase can only be understood properly against the back drop of idolatry and in the light of God’s transcendence.

R3. Again I would like to assert that in understanding the intent of the prohibition in Deut 4:15-18 we have to consider other available data from Scriptures. In my previous post I have cited at least two passages to clarify my point (Isa 44:15-17, Acts 17:29). The qualifying definition I used actually underlies every other Scriptural passage that deals with idolatry.

I have read this paragraph and the succeeding 3 supporting paragraphs which I did not quote anymore. I think I am beginning to see something of where you are coming from. Please correct me if I’m wrong and pardon the complexity of the next phrase, but I think that you are thinking that I’m thinking about idolatry. I am not (yet) thinking about idolatry in this exchange with you. That is God’s first commandment in Exo 20:3. I am thinking about the second commandment in Exo 20:4 as expounded by Moses in Deut 4:15 and repeated in Deut 4:23, which forbids the making of any representation of God, regardless of motive or intention or purpose. There is a difference. The first commandment is a commandment against idolatry. The second commandment which is expounded by Moses in Deut 4 is a commandment against the making of any image of God. Although I must point out that idolatry is not far behind once the second commandment is violated as Deut 4:19 warns us “lest you be driven to worship them”. And like I mentioned, if for example, I see you bowing down before an image, or kneeling down before an image, I would be tempted to suspect that the image is becoming more than just a reminder, just as Deut 4:19 warns. The Bible is clear — faith comes by hearing (Rom 10:17), as you have indicated in our other exchange, not from looking at images to warm the heart.

R4. The attempt to delineate between what you think is the first and second commandment is well appreciated but I think that this distinction cannot be supported within the context of Deut 4:15-24 or in any other passage in the Bible. The entire quote from Deut 4:15-24 and Exodus 20:3-5 when viewed in its entirety are proscription against idolatry (worship of images as gods) and polytheism (worship of many gods) and it is within the context of these corrupt practices that the prohibition of making any man-made representation of God is given. Exodus 20:4-5 is simply an expansion on Exodus 20:3. Your assertion that Deut 4:15, 23 is outside the context of idolatry seems to be so only when it is cut out from the intervening verses 16-22 which clearly speaks about idolatry. I do agree that your explanation involves a certain amount of complexity which I think is due to your attempt at avoiding a straight forward reading of the verses. I am glad that you wrote “bowing down before and image” and “kneeling down before an image” which is fairly accurate description of catholic doctrine and practice. To pray before an image is different from to pray to an image. It is not that you can’t see the distinction but (as I notice in the course of these exchanges) it is that you don’t want to make the distinction. In the book of Joshua we read: “Joshua, together with the elders of Israel, rent his garments and lay prostrate before the Ark of the Lord until evening” (Joshua 7:6). In the second book of Samuel we read: “And David danced before the Lord with all his might… So David and all the house of Israel brought up the Ark of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet” (2 Samuel 6:14-15). Notice the use of the word “before” and not “to”. That faith comes by hearing (Rom 10:17) is well taken but it does not say by hearing alone. The preacher who is sent (Rom 10:15) could use both oral (audible words) and visual (visible signs and symbols) instructions to lead a person to faith as we very well know in children’s catechism classes.

R3. I’m glad that you candidly admit that God prescribes the making of a cherubim (Exo 25:18) and that he also prescribes sacred images to adorn His temple (Eze 41:18). I too am glad that we have this common ground. This is precisely the whole point of my argument. That God forbids idolatry (the worship of images as god) but permits iconolatry (the proper use of images in worship).

That is also what I am trying to show you — that God’s instructions for the making of the cherubim and other temple adornments cannot be taken as a sanction for iconolatry. And that is what I plan to continue doing by presenting to you the context surrounding those instructions, examples from Israel’s history and practice, and examples from the New Testament practices. Actually, it’s not that I need to admit, since the Bible clearly states the making of cherubim and temple adornments. But hold on for a moment, Ramon. I said that God in the Bible prescribed the making of the cherubim and the temple adornments, but I did not mention anything about “sacred”, not sacred in the context of iconolatry which is an unsupported conclusion. God prescribing the making of cherubim and temple adornments do not equate to God prescribing iconolatry. I think that’s only speculation (I apologize for using the term). There is no support for it. There is also no evidence in the Bible that the people of God actually practiced iconolatry in the Old and New Testaments. On the other hand, they were forbidden explicitly to even make images of God. Again, I do not say this in the context of idolatry, but in the context of God’s plain prohibition on the making of images of Him, regardless of motive, intent or purpose.

R4. God’s instruction for the making of the cherubim and other temple adornments proves several points: 1) that God did not absolutely forbid the making of images, 2) that images can be used to adorn God’s temple, 3) that although these images do not represent God as He is yet they could point towards Him, 4) that God employs the salutary use of images in His dealings with men, 5) that the people of God use images in their dealings with God. You may not want to call this practice as iconolatry but a rose called by any other name is still a rose. God’s prohibitions against making a visible representation of Him are all in the context of teaching us God’s transcendence on the positive side and a proscription against idolatry on the negative side. Your qualification of “regardless of motive, intent or purpose” is not supported by any Scriptural passages and is based on a false premise that Deut 4:15 is a command which stands by itself with no qualifications whatsoever. God judges not our external actions but the intent of the heart (1 Kings 8:39).

R3. The temple is a place of worship therefore its adornment should necessarily be in the context of worship.

I don’t think this is necessarily true. Take for example decorative plants. Are they put in there to be used for worship? Can an adornment not be put in simply because it makes the place look nice? If electric fans are put in to cool the place, are they to be used for worship? Would you rather have your officiating priest sit on a nice chair with handcrafted carvings, than on a plain Monobloc chair? And would the handcrafted chair then be said to be used for Roman Catholic worship? Furthermore, do you mean to say that the plain kapilya or the broken down old church building is a much lesser place of worship than a super-adorned Roman Catholic church?

R4. If those adornments were placed at a far corner inside the temple then maybe you would have a reason for denying that those adornments were used in the context of worship. The book of Ezekiel mentions “thus they were figured on every side throughout the whole temple” (Eze 41:18-19). I am really amazed on how you can reason that the carved images inside God’s temple were merely for “architectural design” and “because it makes the place look nice” but not for “lifting the mind and hearts of people to God.” It is much like saying that the purpose of putting an excellent choir is simply to hear “nice music” or to say that the purpose of installing a very good sound system has nothing to do with lifting the mind and hearts of the people but that they are simply part of the “electrical design.” Electric fans and nice chairs do not necessarily lift our minds to God. We can look at them all day and not be reminded about God. This is altogether different with the images of angels, Mary and the saints thus your analogy fails. But even these things when placed inside the temple have their intended purpose i.e., the electric fan to cool the place so that those who worship will not be distracted by intense heat and thus be able to focus more on God. Regarding your comparison between the “kapilya” and “basilica” there is no saying about a greater and lesser place of worship but that these places of worship are to be adorned as the means may provide. Going back to the sacred images inside God’s temple if these were not intended to lift the mind and hearts of the people to divine realities then they would only serve as mere distractions except of course if the people worshipping inside are all blind.

R3. We do not place the image of the President or Rizal in our Churches for they do not necessarily direct us towards God.

I think that there does not have to be a religious reason to not putting images of politicians in our church buildings. It may be enough to use good sense and sound reason to not put these images.

R4. Honestly, I think that they will only serve as a distraction to worshippers inside the temple for our mind responds to things we see. If we look at pornographic pictures our minds will become impure. If we look at the images of Jesus, Mary, angels, saints and pictures portraying significant events in salvation history our minds will be lifted up to heavenly realities.

R3. It is altogether different with the images of angels, the saints, Mary, and Jesus. I think St Paul sheds light to your question: “Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the place of expiation. Now is not the time to speak of these in detail. With these arrangements for worship, the priests, in performing their service” (Heb 9:5).

I want to thank you and I appreciate your trying to reply to my question when I asked you for evidence that the temple adornments were used for worship purposes. I want to address your reference to Heb 9:5 by quoting the whole passage. I ask you to read with me. From this, I will try to draw an analogy and then try to explain the passage.

Now (even) the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly sanctuary. For a tabernacle was constructed, the outer one, in which were the lampstand, the table, and the bread of offering; this is called the Holy Place. Behind the second veil was the tabernacle called the Holy of Holies, in which were the gold altar of incense and the ark of the covenant entirely covered with gold. In it were the gold jar containing the manna, the staff of Aaron that had sprouted, and the tablets of the covenant. Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the place of expiation. Now is not the time to speak of these in detail. With these arrangements for worship, the priests, in performing their service, go into the outer tabernacle repeatedly, but the high priest alone goes into the inner one once a year, not without blood that he offers for himself and for the sins of the people. (Heb 9:3-7 NAB)

Let me give you the Roman Catholic equivalent as best as I can imagine it. As I remember it, there’s the table, there’s the place where the priest stores the host and wine, there’s the lectern or sermon stand, there might even be a nice arch. There can also be a lampstand. “With these arrangements for worship”, the Roman Catholic priest performs the Roman Catholic worship service. The context tells us that the priest needs his “props”. He needs his materials and equipment in the performance of his duty. The props are not indicative of how the rest of the people were to worship God. They are simply for the priest’s use in the performance of his duties. And no, the passage still does not support your claim that the people of God used the temple adornments for worship. The people could not even enter into the place to see them.

R4. I’m glad that you quoted the passage in full. St Paul mentions that the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly sanctuary. This earthly sanctuary as the Apostle describes contained visible objects which points to invisible realities. The lampstand symbolizes God’s eternal light, the table symbolizes the heavenly altar, and the bread of offering symbolizes God’s people. The Cherubim of Glory symbolizes God’s presence among His people. Thus these things are not mere “props” as you would like to believe but they have a religious and spiritual meaning. The earthly Temple with all its beauty and grandeur is a visible figure of the heavenly temple. The heavenly temple is where the angels and the saints abide (Hebrews 12:23) that is why God’s earthly temple are adorned with the images of angels and holy persons (Ezekiel 41:18-19) in order to point us to that reality which they signify. In contrast to the Catholic places of worship Catholic convert David Currie writes: “In an Evangelical church, it is usually the pulpit, the preacher, or the choir that is the predominant feature in front of the church. That arrangement makes it much harder to direct worship to God alone. All those people can get in the way.” (Born Fundamentalist Born Again Catholic, p 148)

R3. Granting without admitting that the command to use the adornments for worship is not explicit but at the very least it is implicit in the command to adorn the temple being a place for worship.

Saying something is implicit is quite prone to personal interpretation and can be very subjective, but never conclusively supportive. Following this kind of reasoning, the kitchen is a place for cooking, so does it follow that all your kitchen adornments are to be used for cooking?

R4. The Bible is not always explicit in a lot of things and I am not talking here about some minor doctrine. For example, where can you read the word Trinity in the Bible? Where can you find in the Bible that it is explicitly stated that in One God there are three divine persons? Using your own principle does it mean that using the Bible alone one can never be conclusively supportive regarding the Trinity? Don’t get me wrong here. There is some truth in your statement that saying something is implicit is quite prone to personal interpretation and can be very subjective but I disagree when you say that one can never be conclusively supportive. The fact that a teaching is implicitly taught does not mean that we just have to discard it or just subscribe to all sorts of interpretation. As you say, it may be enough to use good sense and right reason. Regarding the kitchen as a place for cooking, good sense and right reason would tell us that kitchen adornments are not to be used for cooking. They are there to remind us that the place is a place for cooking. We don’t usually place our family picture in the kitchen nor do we place a portrait of the Last Supper in our bedroom. Likewise in God’s temple sacred images are there to remind us that we are in a place of worship and to direct our attention to God.

R3. Let me borrow from your reply on our dialogue on Scriptures where you wrote: “Masturbation is addressed by the Lord Jesus Christ in Matt 5:28.” We both know that masturbation is never mentioned in the verse you quote and I think it is not mentioned explicitly anywhere in the Bible. Yet I can agree with you (although other people may not) that Mat 5:28 implicitly bear on the issue of masturbation.

In this case, I was not thinking of an implicit reference. My thinking on Matt 5:28 and why I referred to it was the thought process that usually goes with the act of masturbation. It is the thought process that is mentioned explicitly in Scripture and this is what I’m referring to. As to the purely physical act itself, I do not have a ready reference for you.

R4. Granting your explanation is correct but the fact the you have to explain that what you were referring to was the thought process and not to the purely physical act itself when quoting Mat 5:28 to me shows that the verse does not speak explicitly about masturbation with all its implications.

R3. I think the same principle applies here as to the adornments inside the temple. As I have explained in the previous paragraph that the temple was intended to be a house of worship and its’ adornments should be in the context of worship (Heb 9:5).

Your usage of “should” can be very subjective and cannot be used to conclusively support a claim. It means that is what you think it ought to be, but may not necessarily be so. Heb 9:5 tells us that the priest uses materials and equipment in the performance of his duties. It does not say that the adornments were used by the people of God for worship. Furthermore, those adornments could not be seen by the people for they could not enter the inner courts, only the priests could. And into the Most Holy Place referenced in Heb 9:5, only the High Priest could enter, and only once a year at that.

R5. In discussions like this and even in the courts of law one does not have to prove beyond all doubts but only beyond reasonable doubt in order to arrive at a conclusion or a verdict. With the possible explanations forwarded as to the purpose of the sacred images which adorned God’s temple I find the alternative arguments like “we should not presume to know God’s purpose” or “for architectural design” and “to make the place look nice” as inadequate and lacking Scriptural support. The only explanation which is consistent with the purpose of the temple being a place of worship is that the adornments should be in the context of worship i.e., as visual aids to lift the mind and hearts of the people to God. A good architect or interior designer naturally takes into consideration the purpose of the building which he is designing and to implement adornments in line with that purpose. Can we suppose that God who is the supreme architect and designer would miss this fundamental rule in design? The fact that only the High Priest could enter the most only place and only once a year does not negate what I was trying to prove: that the People of God in the Old Testament in their religious worship used visible objects to signify invisible reality.

R3. In the New Testament when Jesus saw that the temple was profaned, he rose in holy indignation: “He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, and spilled the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables, and to those who sold doves he said, “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.” His disciples recalled the words of scripture, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” (John 2:15-17). Jesus in this instance never reprimanded the Jews for the sacred images which filled the temple but on the contrary has stamped it with his own divine authority.

R3. I appreciate the reference and explanation, but I’m not sure what you’re getting at here. This still does not show that the adornments were used for worship. Using your line of reasoning, I might say that yes, Jesus never reprimanded the Jews for their sacred images because there was no need to. They may not have been using them for worship at all. But then I would be adding my foreign reaction to your foreign thought. I must caution you again since we both agree that context is important, that we must be careful not to add any thought that is foreign to the text or context. Your last sentence is (alarmingly) quite foreign to the text and context.

R4. Jesus on many occasions reprimanded the Jews for man-made practices they invented that nullified the word of God (Mat 15:1-8). But never did Jesus reprimand the Jews on their practice of adorning the temple with sacred images. On the contrary Jesus endorsed the Temple, with all the sacred images which adorn it, as a place of worship, a house of prayer, and his Father’s house. Jesus teaches us in this instance to give due honor and reverence to those things which are dedicated for a holy purpose. Such is the case for the Temple and all the sacred images inside it. These form part of our worship to God.

(Benjie previously) We must be very careful not to add to, or take away from, what God has instructed in the Bible. They are the words of the Almighty King and Sovereign Lord. We are warned by the apostle John in 2 John 1:9 that whoever goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ does not have God. Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. (2Jn 1:9). The book of Deuteronomy also warns us: “Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it. (Deu 12:32)

R3. I think it is those who deny the proprietary use of images in worship who are questioning God’s wisdom. It was divine wisdom that guided Solomon to adorn God’s temple with sacred images (Eze 41:18-19). It was divine wisdom that guided Joshua to prostrate himself before the Ark of Covenant (Joshua 7:6). It was divine wisdom which guided King David to dance before the Ark of Covenant (2 Sam 6:13-14). It is divine wisdom that gives men the artistic talent to paint and to carve and this can be used for the service of God (Exodus 35:30-35). And I think it is the same divine wisdom which is guiding the Catholic Church in instructing her children on the proper use of images in worship for the greater glory of God.

If I appear to question God’s wisdom by denying the proprietary use of images in worship, and you show me proof from Scripture that this is so, then I would readily accept correction. I would question this so called divine wisdom from the Roman Catholic church by the many publicly available references to its errors and blunders which I would as much as possible not want to go into for this would be like opening Pandora’s Box in our exchange. You still have not given my any proof that the people of God in the Old and New Testaments actually used images for worship. Until then, this wisdom that you refer to cannot be divine or inspired by God.

Regarding your references, there is no indication that the people of God in Eze 41 actually used the images for worship. On the other hand, I have shown you proof of the contrary — that they could not have been used for worship. I believe the reason Joshua and David treated the Ark special was because God said that His presence would dwell there. This is not a case of iconolatry, but God’s presence was really and actually there. Exo 35:30 mention artistry, but does not say they were used for iconolatry.

R4. Take note that on top of the Ark of Covenant are the graven image of two cherubims (Exodus 25:18-22). In Joshua 7:6, Joshua prostrate himself before the Ark of Covenant. In 2 Sam 6:13-14, David danced before the Ark of Covenant. In each of this instances Joshua and David were worshipping God. Basing on your principle I will be inclined to think that you would suspect Joshua and David of worshipping the Ark itself and not God. But you and I know that such is not the case. They were worshipping God in front of or at the occasion of the images of the two cherubims. You might not want to use the term iconolatry to describe this but again a rose called by any other name is still a rose. In Exodus 35:30-35, the artistic talent to paint and to carve was not given to men for artistry’s sake but that art can be used for God’s purpose and that is to lift the minds and hearts of His people to Him. What would be a better and more fitting place to accomplish this purpose than the Temple itself which is a place of worship?

R3. As I quoted above the use of these sacred images within the Temple were in the context of worship and that is iconolatry. Let me again quote St. Paul: “Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the place of expiation. Now is not the time to speak of these in detail. With these arrangements for worship, the priests, in performing their service” (Heb 9:5).

Heb 9:5 talks about the duties of the priest in the performance of his worship ritual. It speaks of the materials and equipment the priest uses. Taking these materials for the priest’s worship duty, and extending it to say the adornments were used by the rest of the people for worship would be going too far. The people of God could not even enter this holy place. It does not speak of iconolatry and cannot be used to support it. Iconolatry is still not mentioned by one New Testament writer as it is not mentioned in the Old Testament.

R4. The fact that God’s people, be it the High priest alone within the Most holy place (Hebrews 9:5) or the High priest together with the entire congregation within the Temple (2 Chronicles 7:14-16) or David together with the people in a religious procession (2 Samuel 6:1-17), used visible objects to signify invisible realities which ultimately point to God is iconolatry at its best.

R3. I think that this event in Israel’s history is instructive. Notwithstanding His explicit command in Exodus 20:4 “You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth” God commanded Moses to make a graven image of a bronze serpent and used it to manifest His power. Later, when the people started to misuse it God had the bronze serpent destroyed. Here we see on one hand God sanctioning the proper use of images since those who are bitten by the venomous snakes has to look upon the image of the bronze serpent in order to be healed (Numbers 21:8-9) and on the other hand condemning its improper use (2 Kings 18:4).

I see here an explicit command from God in Exo 20, and (I have to say) your interpretation or speculation (for there is no indication they were used for worship) that through the one incident of the bronze serpent, God is already universally sanctioning the proper use of images in worship. I would like to ask you if God actually told the people to worship Him this way, by looking at the bronze serpent. God was quite clear in His purpose for the making of the bronze serpent, and that is to heal those who looked upon it. We read of only this purpose. If you say that God’s purpose was for the people to use it for worship (iconolatry), then that would be going too far and you would be guilty of putting words into God’s mouth which He never said.

R4. This one incident of the bronze serpent together with the other passages which I cited makes a very strong case for the proper use of images to signify God’s presence and healing power and for our instruction. The bronze serpent was used by God to remind his people on the precept of His law. The bronze serpent did not only manifest God’s healing power but also points to the incarnation and redemption: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:14-15). Because of God’s healing power which was manifested through the bronze serpent God’s people were led to acknowledge and worship Him.

R3. God commanded Moses to make a graven image of Cherubims (Exo 25:18-22) and He commanded Solomon to adorn the temple with sacred images (Eze 41:18-19) and St. Paul said these were used in the context of worship (Heb 9:5).

If you read Paul’s letter, he was comparing OT and NT practices. He mentioned the priest’s use of the various temple materials in the performance of his duty as required by God. He did not say that the people of God should use them for worshipping God who said that His true worshippers will worship Him in spirit and truth, not through the use of images. There is still no sanction for iconolatry in the New Testament. No mention at all if it is really so essential in worship.

R4. If we read carefully Paul’s letter we will realized that the sacred worship of the people of God in the Old Testament were full of visible signs and symbols which signify invisible spiritual realities and thus helping the worshippers lift their minds and hearts to God. Just open your Bible and read through the books of Exodus and Leviticus for you to appreciate the proprietary use of visible signs and symbols in their worship to God. God himself prescribed all these things from the Temple adornments to very minute details of priestly vestments so that His people may render the worship that is due to Him.

R3. The Psalmist prayed to God for retribution to those who desecrated God’s temple by smashing the sacred images therein (Psalms 74:3-8).

We must again be careful to read the text carefully and understand the context, which is the whole Psalm. David prayed for retribution against God’s enemies primarily. He mentions that some of the things they did were break down the adornments and destroy the sanctuary. I have no issues with their importance since David mentions them in his psalm and more importantly, it was God Himself who had them designed in. But going back to our issue, does that importance mean the sanctioning of its use in worship? That conclusion is not found in the text or in the context. To me, smashing the sanctuary and its adornments was indicative of how bad David’s enemies were. Just like when one our kids makes “sumbong” and enumerates so many things that their sibling did to them.

R4. David prayed for retribution against God’s enemies primarily and for their desecration of God’s temple in particular. I can imagine a similar incident to what occurred in Israel’s history during the Iconoclast heresy. Emperor Leo the Isaurian under the guise of opposing the legitimate use of sacred images caused churches to be pillaged and desecrated. These men destroyed everything sacred they could lay there hands on. They smashed the images of Christ, Mary, the angels, and the saints which adorn the churches. We can still see remnants of this barbaric act in some headless statues which stands until today. Given the chance, I think people misguided by their private interpretation of the Bible, would not hesitate to do the same. The main point I want to raise in the above quote from Psalms 74:3-8 is that we should reverence God’s temple and all other objects which reminds us of Him. This is precisely the Catholic teaching: that the honor which is given them (sacred images) is referred to the originals which they represent. How would you regard a friend who while pledging his love and loyalty would trample on your picture? How would Jesus regard those people who while professing to acknowledge Him as their Lord and Savior would trample upon the crucifix and other sacred images representing Him, Mary, angels and the saints? Satanism as a movement is thriving in our world today. Ex-members of this satanic cult testified that part of the satanic ritual is that the members trample upon sacred images of Jesus while uttering blasphemous words against our Savior.

R3. This legitimate practice which prevailed among the Jews was never condemned by Jesus but on the other hand he has approved it with his own divine authority (John 2:15-17). Considering the weight of authority behind this practice I can’t seem to understand how anyone would prefer otherwise.

I see is no legitimate practice mentioned in the Psalm that you referenced. I even read the Catholic NAB version and there is no mention of any practice. It’s just a factual reference to the things that were in the temple which God designed in. Are you not just assuming that just because there were adornments there, the people of God were using them for worship, and then calling it a legitimate practice? Saying that Jesus approved of it is reading in too much in the text of John 2:15-17 when Jesus drove out the traders and money-changers. You will be going too far. Please read again, carefully. It’s just not there. Both your assumptions are absent from John 2:15-17, the practice by the people of God and the approval by Jesus Christ of that practice.

R4. The legitimate practice I was referring to was the making of sacred images and adorning of the God’s temple with sacred images. The Jews, unlike most Protestants, did not have any misgivings on adorning God’s temple with sacred images. They visited and prayed inside the Temple with all those sacred images surrounding them. By the way, I happen to attend a protestant worship service, and I noticed the bare walls and ceiling in their place of worship. This I think is a very poor reflection of the Temple which God himself prescribed to be adorned with sacred images. That the images inside the Temple were for the purpose of lifting the minds and hearts of the people is a safe conclusion considering the purpose of the Temple being a place of worship and notwithstanding the inadequate explanations which you offered to the contrary.

(Benjie previously) At this point, I would like ask – why not focus on these two commands that are clearly and explicitly spelled out in the Old Testament and say that they have not been abrogated? Why focus on trying to find Scriptural support for iconolatry of which there is no clear reference? Which is more important – the clear command, or the (sorry, I have to call it) presumed command?

R3. I do not deny that the command forbidding Idolatry remains in force (Deut 4:16-19, Exo 20:3-5, etc) that is why the Catholic Church forbid the worship of images as gods or in place of God and She teaches us that we should not think that images in themselves have any power or divinity. However, the command to adorn God’s temple with sacred images (Exo 25:18-22, Eze 41:18-19, etc) was never abrogated therefore it also remains valid for us. As Catholics, we are taught not to pick and chose on the truths that God has revealed in Sacred Scriptures.

The command in Exo 20:4 and recalled by Moses in Deut 4 do not necessarily fall under the context of idolatry which is the first command in Exo 20:3. Idolatry is a much wider context that just the creation of images. Little “gods” do not necessarily have to be little images, but anything and everything that we put above God. “You shall have no other god before Me”. So when you remove the limiting mindset of idolatry and take the Exo 20:4 as it is and as expounded by Moses in Deut 4, you will see that it is the creation of images of God that is absolutely forbidden, regardless of whether it is used for idolatry or not. And again, God’s instruction to adorn the temple cannot support iconolatry since there is not clear reference. It is one of your “should”s. It is a presumption. There is really no command to be carried on today. There were simply construction instructions. There is no direct supporting reference for iconolatry.

R4. Since you admit that idolatry is a much wider context then how can you say that Exodus 20:4 and Deut 4:23 do not fall under this broader context. Why suddenly narrow down what you just mentioned as “a much wider context”? I think your attempt at delineating what you think is the first and second commandment is a conclusion which in not derived from a straight forward reading of the text but based on some preconceived interpretation. Again Catholic icons are not images of God as He is. They are representations of Jesus in his humanity, Mary, angels and saints. I hope that you will do better than attacking a caricature of Catholic teaching which I think exists only in your mind.

R3. In saying thus, I am not denying what you said about Jesus’ coming to the world to save us. We Catholics wholeheartedly believe this. What I meant is that where in the Old Testament the Israelites were forbidden to make any man-made representation of God since “they saw no form” when the Son of God became man He appeared to us in visible form and thus made it lawful for us to represent him (not his divinity but in his humanity) in human form and together with this those who were closely associated with him in the work of redemption like the Blessed Virgin, the apostles, the angels and the saints.

I see that we have here the explicit second command in the Ten Commandments as recalled in Deut 4, and your claim of the lifting of the command by the coming of the Son of God as a man. To see if your claim is valid, let me ask a few questions. Do you see any reference by Christ or any of the gospel writers regarding the lifting of the second commandment? Do you see any reference in book of Acts or any of the letters of Paul, Peter and John, James on the use of any image of Christ? Do you see any Scripture reference that the use of images of Christ was practiced by the early churches? If the answers to these questions are in the negative, and you further cannot show any other biblical support for your claim, then it will remain speculation and unsupportable presumption to support the Roman Catholic teaching on iconolatry. There just is no reference in Scripture. If it was so important, don’t you think its use then would be mentioned just a little in one of the letters to the early churches? (Heb 9:5 as I have shown you does not count in favor of iconolatry).

R4. I did not claim any lifting of the command in Exodus 20:3-5 and Deut 4:15-23. Catholics do not claim that Catholic icons are representations of God as He is. Catholic icons are representations of Jesus (who became man), Mary, angels, and saints and we do not worship these images nor believe that these images have inherent power in them (that would be superstition). They serve to remind us of important persons in salvation history and during worship to aid us in lifting our minds and hearts to God. I think its time that you confront this plain teaching and do away with what you think is “catholic teaching.” Even the image of Jesus is not a representation of Jesus in his divinity but as I was always careful to qualify it is a representation of Jesus in his humanity. I hope that you would not go to the extent of denying the true humanity of Christ as some sects have done. Actually they only went with their premise all the way: That since God is entirely transcendent it is a contradiction for Him to become truly human and therefore the historical Jesus is nothing more than a three-dimensional projection of a man. Of course their bizarre teaching also included the prohibition of representing Jesus as a man for He never became a man in the first place! I know that a lot of protestant denominations haven’t gone that far but in so doing they are also involved in another inconsistency: They profess that Jesus was truly human but prohibit any representation of Jesus in the form of a man!

Regarding the use of images as aids to devotion practiced by the early Church, we have archaeological witness on our side. Albert J. Nevins, M.M. writes: “The early Church used statues and images as aids to devotion and as expressions of faith. One need only to visit the catacombs in Rome to see statues and frescoes representing not only Christ but also scenes from Scripture. When the Church emerged from the catacombs, it continued to decorate its houses of worship with statues, mosaics, frescoes, and oil paintings, all designed to increase a spirit of prayerfulness” (Answering a Fundamentalist, p 106). If the use of sacred images in worship is a later invention by the Catholic Church why don’t we have adverse reactions from the early Christian communities during its introduction? The first adverse reaction against the use of sacred images came with the iconoclast heresy in the 8th century. This opposition was revived by the “reformers” in the 16th century. We have records of the writings of the early Church fathers, most of them renowned for their sanctity and orthodoxy but there is hardly any record of any opposition to the use of sacred images in their writings.

R3. I also agree that we should worship God in spirit and truth (John 4:24). But contrary to your interpretation, I think the passage simply does not exclude the use of sacred images in worship.

Respectfully again Ramon, if we go back to our original contention, it is the use of images in worship which you are trying to prove from a Scriptural perspective. I think you need to show passages that include the use of images, not passages that do not exclude its use.

R4. I hope you remember that it was you who quoted from John 4:24 as a denial of using visual aids in worship. I was only responding that while I agree that we should worship God in spirit and in truth (which we can read in John 4:24) I do not agree with your interpretation that it excludes the use of visual aids in worship (which is not found in the letters of John 4:24).

R3. Had God created us like the angels who are pure spirits then we would have no need of visible signs and symbols.

I will disagree on this, as evidenced by God’s command to the Israelites in Deut 4. God, in His infinite wisdom, forbade the making of any image of God. Don’t you think God would have sanctioned this a long time ago if indeed we needed visible signs and symbols of God? Are you saying that God was wrong in forbidding the making of images of Him, when according to you, the people actually needed a visible sign or symbol? At this point I find it appropriate to refer you to the incident recorded in Exodus 32. Moses had gone up the mountain to meet with God where he was to receive the 10 Commandments. The people started getting restless. Moses was not with them and to compound that, the visible sign and symbol of pillar by night and cloud by day were not with them anymore. The Israelites then asked Aaron to make for them a symbol and representation of God. They wanted something visible. You will see that the result toward the end of the chapter is not a good one. God killed those who did not repent of this grievous sin. God would have killed them all had Moses not interceded. This is how serious this command of God is.

R4. I am really amazed with your persistence but I hope you will be able to distinguish between making a man-made representation of God as He is (which God forbade) and the use of visible signs and symbols which signify invisible spiritual realities to lift our mind and hearts to God (which God permits). In fact, the letters of the Bible which you hold dear are visible representations of the word of God. God by his power could easily infuse to us spiritual knowledge without the aid of visible signs and symbols as He does at times. He could have healed his people without visibly manifesting his power through the bronze serpent. He could have made his presence felt among his people in a mystical way without the manifesting it through the image of the Cherubims. He could have prescribed that his temple be devoid of sacred images as most protestant churches stands today. But God who made us ordinarily works in ways which is consistent with our human nature. He communicates his truth to us through visible signs and symbols i.e., through a burning bush to manifest His holiness (Exodus 3:2-6), the staff of Aaron as a sign of his power (Exodus 4:1-5); pillar of fire to assure his people of his presence (Exodus 13:21); the Tent of the Tabernacle a symbol of His dwelling (Exodus 25:8); the image of the two Cherubims as a sign of His majesty (Exodus 25:18-22); and the bronze serpent as a sign of salvation (Numbers 21:8-9). This list can go on and on but as St Paul wrote in his letter to the Hebrews: “Now is not the time to speak of these in detail” (Hebrews 9:5). The incident you cited is about the Golden Calf which is worshipped by the unfaithful in place of the one true God (Exodus 32:7-8). This is idolatry plain and simple.

R3. To worship God in spirit and in truth is to engage our whole being body and soul towards God in accordance to His will.

I appreciate the interpretation, and I would like to add more thoughts. Going back a few verses to catch the context, we see the Lord Jesus talking with a Samaritan woman. Samaritans were outcasts to the Jews for they were a mixed people. They worshiped in a way that was not prescribed by God in the Old Testament. Their ways of worship, although they tried to worship God, was continually referred in the OT as “evil in the sight of the Lord”. The Lord Jesus tells the Samaritan woman that the hour has come when the people of God will neither worship on that mountain nor in Jerusalem (where the temple was). Jesus is saying that place is not important anymore. Paul also tells Timothy in 1 Tim 2:8 that “in every place the men should pray”. God tells us in Malachi 1:11 tells us that “in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering.” God is spirit and those who worship must worship in spirit and truth. God does not say that because He is spirit and we are physical beings, we need visible signs and symbols. On the contrary, what God is commanding is the opposite of what you are saying. This means that the temple in Jerusalem, including its adornments, was not important anymore in the worship of the true and living God. (This includes your reference to the Heb 9:5 mention of the Old Testament way of worship which Christ already made obsolete by His coming, consistent with what the writer of Hebrews was saying. This is another proof that Heb 9:5 is not talking about iconolatry.) The Lord Jesus also tells the Samaritan woman that the true worshiper will worship God in truth — according to the truths as revealed in His word. The Samaritans did not worship according to His word, but according to what they thought was the proper way to worship.

R4. I disagree when you say that place in not important anymore. Jesus could not possibly contradict His declaration about the Temple as a house of prayer for all peoples (Mark 11:17, Mat 21:13, Lk 19:46), the house of God (Mt 12:4, Lk 6:4), his Fathers’ house (John 2:16-17). Jesus was talking about the Spirit which is given by God that reveals truth and enables one to worship (cf. John 3:5, 7:38-39, 14:16-17, Romans 8:26). Jesus was teaching the Samaritan woman a deeper reality about the Spirit whom Jesus is going to give to those who will believe. Some theologians refer to the Holy Spirit as the soul of the Church. Where there is unity, there must be a principle or bond of unity. The members of our human body constitute one same reality only because we have a human soul which unites all the members of our body and causes them to be one same physical whole. The Church, likewise, considered in its totality and as having diverse states, constitutes only one and the same whole, the “Mystical Body of Christ.” We, therefore, should hold that there must exist some principle of unity, some bond which makes all the members something that is one. Now we find that it is the Holy Spirit, personally, who is the bond of unity. So when Jesus said, “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him. God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24), He was referring to the members of His Church who will constitute not only Jews or Samaritans but people from all places. His Church shall a light to the nations (Acts 13:47) and possess unity in faith, worship, and governance (Ephesians 4:4-5), and as you quoted 1 Tim 2:8 and Malachi 1:11 “in every place.” These last two passages seem like connoting the word universal or catholic to me. I think to imply that John 4:24 includes doing away with Temple adornments is foreign to the text. In your comments on John 4:24 you said: “God does not say that because He is spirit and we are physical beings, we need visible signs and symbols.” But neither did Jesus say that since God is spirit we don’t need visible signs and symbols. I think it is not within good sense and right reason to impose in a given passage what we want it to say and if its’ not there we conclude that the verse is denying what is not said therein. Actually what you are trying to tell me, is for John 4:24 not to disprove iconolatry the verse should say: “because He is spirit and we are physical beings, we need visible signs and symbols.” Since the verse does not say so then bingo you have a verse that finally refutes iconolatry! I honestly think that you can do better than use this kind of reasoning.

R3. The Israelites adorn their temples with sacred images (Eze 41:18-19) and according to St Paul: “They are Israelites; theirs the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship..” (Romans 9:4).

Yes, to the Israelites belong the worship of God. This is quite true and I don’t know what you’re trying to say here. If you’re trying to sway this verse toward iconolatry, I think that is going very very far. Concatenating the two thoughts and saying that the Israelites adorned the temple of God and used those adornments for worship is not a warranted conclusion. They are two completely different thoughts and must not be manipulated to support our personal interpretations.

R4. What I was trying drive at here is that since it is said that to the Israelites belong the worship of God and considering that the Temple which is their place of worship is adorned with sacred images and that they used sacred signs and symbols in their religious rites and ceremonies that these practices are perfectly legitimate before God.

(Benjie previously) Your theory is interesting. But it makes a very glaring assumption and claim – that the Bible is not complete, that the omniscient and omnipotent God somehow left out the importance of iconolatry in light of the more pressing issues of that day. Will this theory hold? Can this theory be supported in Scripture? I’d like to pose the question back to you. Do you truly believe in your heart that the omniscient and omnipotent God, whose ways are higher than our ways, who knows our inmost beings and darkest secrets and weaknesses, would leave out something as important as the true worship of Him?

R3. What I am saying is that the Bible is not always explicit in all issues pertaining to faith (what we ought to believe) and morals (what we ought to do), that the sacred writers did not always put the same emphasis on different issues concerning the Christian faith.

I think I will rest my case here since you did not answer my question.

R3. Not one of the sacred writers intended to write a compendium of the truths of the Christian faith. There were truths which they deem better to convey orally. St John says: “Although I have much to write to you, I do not intend to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and to speak face to face so that our joy may be complete” (2 John 1:12). “I have much to write to you, but I do not wish to write with pen and ink. Instead, I hope to see you soon, when we can talk face to face” (3 John 1:13). Regarding the issue on the proper use of images in worship, I think God has not left this out as proven by the passages I quoted (Exo 25:18-22, Eze 41:18-19, etc).

It is already agreed that the Bible did not contain all of their writings, but everything that is necessary for salvation is recorded (John 20:31). Paul also tells Timothy in 2 Tim 3:16-17 that the Bible contains everything that is necessary to make the man of God complete and fully equipped, lacking in NOTHING. There may have been things during the apostle’s time that they wanted to deliver orally, which is not surprising as you and I know there are really things that are best delivered orally. But it does not mean that Scripture is lacking. God’s word is God Himself speaking. It transcends all the wisdom of man. God is the best communicator, the perfect communicator, the most complete communicator, for He is God after all. I would like to ask where your thoughts are going regarding these truths that were conveyed orally? Is it safe to assume that you want to say that the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy is the recipient of these orally conveyed truths? Have you ever played the game where one phrase is passed on and the resulting phrase is sometimes so far from the original already, to everyone’s delight? This will at least show you the absolute unreliability of orally passed messages. That is why only Scripture is what we can consider the source of the inspired word of God. I believe we will be covering this in our other exchange, of which you have already sent you response.

R4. I hope to respond to this in our discussion on Scriptures. But a word on the unreliability of orally handed down message. Using this principle you would be forced to admit the unreliability of Scriptures since the word of God before it was transmitted in writing came from oral tradition. You would begin to doubt the unreliability of the Biblical Canon since this was finally settled almost 400 years after the birth of Christianity.

R3. I posed the question to you in order to illicit from you a convincing answer since you denied that it was intended to uplift the minds and hearts of the people inside the place of worship. In your current response you said that the temple ornaments served only architectural purposes to the temple. To me this is not convincing enough. Architectural designs are ultimately for the benefit of people not buildings.

There is no indication that their purpose was more than architectural, no reference, no mention. You even said this was explicit when now you are offering your own interpretation. With due respect, I think it is you who needs to show that they were intended for worship, for my contention is that this thought is absent from Scripture and even explicitly forbidden, which I have already shown your though commands and OT and NT practice. I have no doubt that architectural designs do benefit people. As I have indicated, I think you would rather have your officiating priest sit on a chair with handcrafted designs, than on plain Monobloc chair. What we are talking about here is whether these designs were used for worshipping God.

R4. I have explained to you the indications that it was more than merely “architectural” but it seems to me that you simply don’t want to consider it as a possible explanation since you have already made up your mind that it could not be more than “architectural.” The fact that the passages I quoted did not say explicitly as you want it said like “the purpose of the Temple adornments was not simply for architectural reasons” or “the purpose of the Temple adornments was to lift the minds and hearts of the people” does not mean that we are facing a blank wall, that we just stop thinking. The word “explicit” and “implicit” are somewhat relative terms depending on one’s point of view. What might be “explicit” to one person may be only “implicit” to another. What might be initially implicit (unclear) could be made explicit (clear) after considering additional information. Granting that I said it was explicit since to me it is very clear considering the evidence in favor of iconolatry. I only said it is contained implicitly since I was adapting to your line of thinking since you say that there is no explicit command.

R3. Let me back track a little bit on my explanation on the purpose of sacred images inside God’s temple. Prophet Ezequiel mentions that sacred images “were figured on every side throughout the whole temple” (Eze 41:19). Thus, inside the House of God wherever the people face they will see these images. If these images where not intended to lift the minds and hearts of the people then they will serve more as a distraction during worship which to my mind is contrary to God’s wisdom.

I think I understand your reasoning. By itself, your reasoning sounds quite valid. The problem is that there are times when our reasoning can be wrong, even how right it may sound. So this reasoning must be subjected to testing from Scripture. I see no explicit command them in worship, but an explicit command to NOT use images in worship. And did you not note my comments that the people of God could not possibly see those adornments for they were only limited to the outer courts? Did you also note my comments on the total absence of any image of God in God’s instructions for the design of the temple, consistent with His command in Exo 20:4 and Deut 4:15?

R4. I would really be happy had you pointed out to me where we can read the “explicit command to NOT use images in worship.” Honestly if there is such a verse then I would reconsider my position on sacred images. Your statement that the people of God could not possibly see those adornments for they were only limited to the outer courts is not true. Let me describe to you in more detail the Temple of Jerusalem during Jesus’ time. If one entered the southern gate one came onto the Court of the Gentiles. This great square received its name from the fact that Gentiles were also allowed to enter it. This is the place where Jesus drove out the merchants (Mat 21:12-13; Mk 11:15-17; Lk 19:45-46). Gentiles could enter the court of the Gentiles but a railing had been erected beyond which only Jews were allowed to pass. Approaching the sanctuary one had to pass three inner courts (inside the building): the Court of the Women, the Court of Israel, and the Courts of the Priests. Each of these courts was five steps higher than the preceding court so that one really had the impression of going up the mountain of God. The Court of the Women owed its name to the fact that women were allowed to enter it but not go beyond it. The Court of the Women also contained thirteen alms boxes in which obligatory and voluntary contributions for the Temple were deposited (Mk 12:41-44; Lk 21:1-4). In this court too the prophetess Anna worshipped God day and night (Lk 2:36-38). When Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the Temple for the ceremony of purification (Lk 2:22-24), Mary would have stayed behind in the Court of the Women while Joseph proceeded into the Court of Israel, which only men could enter. The priest would have taken Joseph’s offering of turtle doves up to the altar in the Courts of the Priests and performed the rite (Lev 12:1-8). Christ was referring to this place in Mat 5:23-24. The Court of Israel is the place where Jewish men went to pray, facing the sanctuary (Lk 18:10-13). The most sacred part of the Temple was undoubtedly the sanctuary. The first room was called the Holy Place, and normally only priests could enter it. It was inside this room that Zechariah saw a vision (Lk 1:11). Beyond the Holy Place was a smaller room called the Holy of Holies. This room should have contained the Ark of the Covenant, but, as the Ark was not found after the exile, it was empty. St. Paul in Hebrews 9:3-7 must have been referring to the original Temple. Thus we see that the Jews, both men and women, can enter into the Temple building to pray and worship. Regarding your comment on the total absence of any image of God I would not be surprised but there were images of Cherubims, faces of a man, etc. which reminded the people that they are in a place of worship and thus focus their mind and hearts to God.

R3. I don’t pretend to read the mind of God. But we should use our God-given intellect to discern God’s will using the available data in Scriptures. That God’s purpose of adorning the temple with images was to uplift the minds and hearts of His people is a theological certainty because it could not have been otherwise for if not then they will serve nothing more than just a mere distraction to the people which is evidently against God’s wisdom. Are we to limit God’s purpose in ordaining sacred images inside his temple to merely “architectural reasons”?

I agree wholeheartedly that we should use our God-given intellect to discern God’s will using available data in Scripture. This is consistent with God’s command in Deuteronomy: “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law (Deut 29:29). Thus I find it inconsistent of you to follow this noble thought with your own interpretation that does not use available data in Scripture to arrive at a “theological certainty”. I think the issue in not limiting God’s purpose, but in adding a perceived purpose which is foreign to the rest of Scripture, such as your adding “ordaining sacred images”.

R4. You acknowledged that God himself prescribed the construction of the Temple and God’s prescription included adorning His Temple with sacred images. If that is not “ordaining sacred images” then what is it? I hope you would not say that in prescribing that His Temple be adorned with sacred images God was prohibiting the use of sacred images. People can contradict themselves, but God can’t.

(Benjie previously) Picture with me the temple in which God said He would dwell. Now, if God dwelt in the temple, what would He think if a worshiper came in whose attention was on the images instead of God Himself who was in the temple? What purpose would the images serve when the true and living God was Himself there in the temple?

R3. I fully agree with the above observation. If the attention of the worshipper will stop at the image then it has not served its’ purpose. Sacred images are not the end in themselves but a means to an end i.e., to lift the minds and hearts of the people to divine realities and ultimately to God. That sacred images accomplish this purpose is clearly evident in Scriptures: “So the people sent to Shiloh and brought from there the ark of the LORD of hosts, who is enthroned upon the cherubim” (1 Samuel 4:4). “Then David and all the people who were with him set out for Baala of Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which bears the name of the LORD of hosts enthroned above the cherubim” (2 Samuel 6:2). “There I will meet you and there, from above the propitiatory, between the two cherubim on the ark of the commandments, I will tell you all the commands that I wish you to give the Israelites” (Exodus 25:22). Their eyes beheld the image of the Cherubim but their minds were directed to the Lord.

I think you are forgetting one thing in your examples. The cherubim is special case. In the case of the cherubim on top of the ark, God said it is there that His holy presence would dwell. So the people rightly treated it with extreme reverence, not because of the icons (which I think you have wrongly presumed), but because God’s presence was actually there. I would then want to ask again, what purpose would images serve when the true and living God was Himself there in the temple?

R4. No, I did not say that the people regarded it with extreme reverence because of the icons. The people treated it with extreme reverence (thanks for saying that) not because of what they saw but because of what it represents i.e., God’s moral presence. This is what the Israelites realized in the course of their history regarding the bronze serpent, “For when the dire venom of beasts came upon them and they were dying from the bite of crooked serpents, your anger endured not to the end. But as a warning, for a short time they were terrorized, though they had a sign of salvation, to remind them of the precept of your law. For he who turned toward it was saved, not by what he saw, but by you, the savior of all” (Wisdom 16:6-7). Consistent with this is the Catholic teaching: the honor which is given them (sacred images) is referred to the originals which they represent. My point is that although the image of the Cherubims were not representation of God as He is yet it was used by God to remind the people of Him. Thus sacred images inside God’s temple can be used to lift the minds and hearts of people to God. To the question: What purpose would images serve when the true and living God was Himself there in the temple? I might as well add: You said that God’s presence was actually there (between the two Cherubims) and in the temple. What’s the use of the image of the Cherubims and the Temple, since God is everywhere anyway (Jer 23:23-24)?

R3. Today we know that images do not possess inherent power, virtue or divinity in them. I think that regarding the proper use of images in worship we have come to the level of maturity which God intended for His people. Images are not the form of the Divinity but visible signs which points to God’s presence among His people.

To this I would say that when men so presume to be so mature as to add to God’s word their own reasoning that is contrary to Scripture, and to even put their reasoning above God’s words, then in reality, men have degenerated and not matured. With all due respect, up to this point, you have not shown me one valid reference to iconolatry in the Old and New Testaments.

R4. I think that I have presented enough Scriptural evidence on the practice of iconolatry among God’s people. I have pointed out to you some fallacies and inconsistencies in your handling of Scriptures. I may not have explained each biblical passage I quoted with the clarity and rigor which would have been needed but I think taking them all together makes a very strong case for iconolatry.

As what I have pointed out above, God’s prohibition in Deut 4:15 is a prohibition that stands by itself. It is a prohibition on the making of any representation of God. The danger in trying to assume a purpose is that we will be prone to error, in this case, to protect the people from idolatrous practices. For then, we can also say that images are okay as long as they are not used for idolatrous purposes. For then, we would not be true to God’s commands. An example is when God commanded in Exo 20:15 that “you shall not steal”. If we try to presume God’s purpose and say that His purpose is to prevent greed, for example, then that would make stealing okay if you are already starving. Will that make it right?

R3. The prohibition in Deut 4:15 should be understood in the light of other similar Scriptural passages in order for us to gain additional insight as to its meaning within a broader context. I think it is very dangerous to suppose that a single verse stands by itself for it usually leads to a truncated version of the truth.

For example, in John 8:40 Jesus says: “But now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God.” Taken at face value this would seem to support the belief that Jesus is a man and not God. On another occasion Jesus was asked by a rich young man: “What must I do to enter into eternal life?” Jesus replied: “If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments” (Mat 19:17). Taken at face value it seems that the only requirement that Jesus required for salvation was to keep the commandments.

Let me deal with your example on the commandment “You shall not steal.” This apparently simple commandment can lead to a host of other issues: right of private property, power of expropriation by the state, theft, business fraud, unjust wages, hoarding of goods, excessive profits, tax evasion, forgery of checks and invoices, excessive expenses and waste, vandalism, willfully damaging private or public property, promises and contracts, games of chance, enslavement of human beings, respect for the integrity of creation, preferential love for the poor, etc. I think that the essence of the seventh commandment enjoins the practice of justice and charity in the administration of earthly goods and the fruit of man’s labor. Stealing is the unjust taking or keeping the goods of one’s neighbor and wronging him in any way with respect to his goods. I underscore the word unjust as a qualifying definition. Thus, the state may justly expropriate private property if it is for the common good.

Let me cite a parallel example: The fifth commandment “You shall not kill” does not stand by itself. Scriptures specifies the prohibition contained in the fifth commandment “Do not slay the innocent and the righteous” (Exodus 23:7). In the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord recalls the commandment, “You shall not kill” (Mat 5:21) and adds to it the proscription of anger, hatred and vengeance. Furthermore, someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow. Legitimate public authority has the right and duty to punish malefactors by penalties commensurate with the gravity of the crime, and in cases of extreme gravity, the death penalty. For analogous reasons those holding authority have the right to repel by armed force aggressors against the community in their charge (CCC par 2266).

Points taken and much appreciated. But I quote the entire length of section of your response since your intro was talking about not taking a single verse in isolation. Although I did not really take a single verse but several verses in Deut 4 and also Exo 20:4 and (lack of) examples in the Old and New Testaments. I was expecting you to offer several more references regarding the subject, but it did not come. Maybe you were distracted by the analogies in stealing and killing and forgot to get back to the original topic? Mind you, if I am guilty of taking a single verse in isolation and out of context, I would readily take a correction.

R4. I was responding to your statement that “God’s prohibition in Deut 4:15 is a prohibition that stands by itself.” I was trying to show you that some things which on the surface appear to be simple can actually involve a lot of intricacies. No single Scriptural passage stands by itself. Every passage has to be understood in its harmony with adjacent passages and in its harmony with the entire Biblical revelation (and for Catholics, in its harmony with the Living Faith Tradition of God’s people and the Official teachings of the Church magisterium). Although you thought that I was distracted by the analogies in stealing and killing, I think the analogies I mentioned were necessary to help you understand what I was trying to say.

(Benjie previously) Any image of God will be an aberration, a horrible twisted misrepresentation of true and living God. Would you allow somebody to paint a portrait of you only to find out later on that the image he painted was that of a goat? (I apologize for the example.) God simply cannot be represented by anything made by the hand of men.

R3. The image of the Sto. Nino is not a representation of God as He is. It is a representation of Jesus in his incarnate form as a man who at one time became a child (Isa 9:6, Luke 1:35, Rev 12:5). Let me repeat that the images of Jesus, Mary, angels and saints are not representation of God as He is (in His divinity) and they do not have inherent virtue, power, or divinity.

You really cannot separate the Lord Jesus Christ in His incarnate form as opposed to his being God. He is both God and man at the same time. He is fully God as if He was not man and fully man as if He was not God. Jesus Christ in His incarnate form is still GOD. Let me ask you. Do you have any record of the physical details of the Lord Jesus? Do you have even a description of how his face might have looked like? Are you not curious as to why God in His infinite wisdom did not leave us a record in Scripture of Christ’s facial features? If so, are not the images of Christ today immoral aberrations and only based on men’s imaginations? Personally, I find a striking resemblance to the Old Testament where God did not show them any form when today, we have no record of Christ’s face?

R4. Since you agree that Jesus became man I think it would be inconsistent on your part to object representing him in the form of a man. A number of protestant Christian churches sponsor Easter plays in which various members of their congregation dress up in costume as Jesus and the saints (give living images) to the audience in an attempt to get the audience to focus on the lives of these spiritual giants. Is there anything wrong with that? Of course not! What about all those religious movies about Jesus of Nazareth wherein actors portray the role of Jesus and New Testament personalities? I think it is perfectly alright, and I know a lot of protestant will agree with me, as long as these portrayals are faithful to the gospel account concerning his life and teachings. Most Christian denominations have crosses in their sanctuaries or images of crosses in the stained glass windows of their churches. Is there anything wrong with that? Certainly not! In order to teach their children, many Christian denominations use religious instructional books and children’s Bible that have pictures of Jesus in them. Aren’t pictures of Jesus two-dimensional images? Is this breaking God’s commandment? Not at all! But the protestant might say: But we don’t worship those images! We Catholics would reply: And neither do we! I know a lot of protestant who after having been told that Catholics do not worship images still go on believing that we do or wishing that they would find some uninstructed Catholic who do. Truly, it is difficult to overcome prejudice against the Catholic religion. Cardinal Sheehan was right in saying: “A lot of people hate the Catholic Church not for what it is but for what they think it is.”

In the light of God’s clear commands in Deut 4:15 and Exo 20:4, is this still your position?

R3. In the light of God’s revelation in Scriptures I still maintain the above position.

In our case Ramon, I can only plead with you to let Scripture be your judge and ruler. As someone who is genuinely concerned for your eternal welfare, I have tried to show you to the best of my ability that your claims are not really supported in Scripture and that they are even a violation of Scripture.

R4. Considering the time and effort that we devote to continue this dialogue, I would naturally have chosen to spend my time in some other worthwhile endeavor had I not have a genuine concern for your eternal welfare as well. As St Augustine said: “One soul is enough diocese for a bishop.” I am thankful of your concern for my eternal welfare. I am really glad that our paths have crossed.

R3. In this exchanges, I think I have clarified what a catholic believes and thinks when he prays before (not to) a sacred image. I hope that you will trust me on this one.

I appreciate your responses very much and your efforts in presenting explanations and Scriptures. I also appreciate your handling of this exchange and your presentation of the Roman Catholic beliefs. I don’t know if you will agree, but we might have gone off too far on the side though and spent too much time on iconolatry in general, when our original contention was the image of Christ and the Sto Nino. For your supporting verses in Exodus and Ezekiel for iconolatry only mention adornments, not images of Christ.

R4. That’s not surprising since the time of Exodus and Ezekiel predated the coming of Christ but as the Catholic Church teaches the sacred images ordained by God in the Old Testament points to the incarnation.

R3. You are right that you cannot judge the intentions of my heart and the hearts of millions of Catholics spread throughout the world.

There is a biblical reference for this: For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. (1Co 2:11)

Thank you once again Ramon for presenting the Roman Catholic position and your taking much time and effort into presenting them in this exchange.

R4. With the above comments, I would gladly rest my case and I will be preparing my final closing statements in one page or less (as you suggested). I will be sending it to you once it is finished. Thank you for reading through. I think you have been very cordial and gentlemanly in this dialogue. I wish I had presented my side as cordially and gentlemanly as you did.

Truly yours,

Ramon