Images In Catholicism Idolatry
The content of this book is divided into four parts and further subdivided into twelve correlated chapters. Part One is made up of two chapters. By way of introduction, it is of the view that God Himself sanctioned the making of images as seen in the bronze serpent, the Ark of the Covenant and its Tent, and the Splendid Temple of Solomon. It also emphasizes the need felt by the early Christian church to create a lasting legacy of the Good News and acts of the early Apostles--all in loving memory of Christ. Part Two, which I consider the heartbeat of this book, consists of three chapters. It is presented in the form of rhetorical argument anchored by two words from the first commandment: 'Yourself' and 'Anything'. It suggests that in religious worship, God only forbids mankind from making images for themselves, not for Himself, i.e., mankind can actually make images for God by divine inspiration. It also opines that 'anything' as used in the first commandment does not include God Himself, Jesus Christ, Glorious beings above and even Holy men and women as being created in the image of God. All the five chapters of Part Three dwell on sensitive issues related to the use of images in the Catholic Church. It exalts the humanity of Jesus Christ as the exact image of the unseen God, thus lifting the ban on making of images in the likeness of God as instituted by Moses. The union Christians share within the Body of Christ, the Church, is viewed as an eternal spiritual connection and communication with death serving only as a medium of transformation into another level of spiritual life. There is no broken chain in the link between physical and spiritual existence, because for the Christian, life is a continuum. Christians are urged to take advantage of God's generosity in pouring out His spiritual gifts to mankind. The rationale for veneration of images, devotion and praying to the saints are also discussed in this part. I consider this part the soul of this book. It emphasizes the relationship Christians should have with glorious beings and saints in Heaven. It uplifts the spirituality of the reader. The concluding part of this book bemoans the subtle emotional attachment expressed towards ordinary mundane images sometimes as personal admiration or as civic obligation, yet without religious condemnation. Christians should be concerned about a new form of idolatry--Greed and Concupiscence, not images.