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August 01, 2005 06:51AM
Hello Bernard

I'll try to explain it giving a very simple (and true-to-life) example.

When I was away from my family for a prolonged trip, I well remember one day sitting in this foreign airport feeling lonely. I took out my wallet and pulled a picture of my family from it. I sat and stared at the picture for a bit, remembering the good times we had had shortly after that picture had been taken. Then I kissed the picture. Now, Bernard, I'm not silly enough to believe that there was anything intrinsically alive in that image. It was just an image on paper created with chemicals. However, it brought comfort to me at a time when I was alone. Surely you wouldn't think I was treating the photograph as an idol would you?

It's similar for icons. They portray the heroes of the Christian faith: the Lord, the Theotokos, the Apostles, the martyrs, the fathers of the faith.... our heroes. We do not worship them but rather greatly honor and admire them. We say that we venerate them. It might be the same when we stand at allegiance as our flag is raised. We don't think that piece of cloth is an idol, do we? Of course not. It represents our country and all that our country stands for... freedom.

We also believe that the heroes of the Faith are not dead and completely cut off from us, but like the Epistle to the Hebrews say, they are a great cloud of witnesses. So, any honor we show to our Lord, His mother, the Apostles and the Saints we believe is passed on to the prototypes... the 'real' persons. They know we love them and they in turn remember us before the Lord's throne.

No idolatry there, Bernard. And in truth, if you find idolatry there, I can show you where you are probably guilty of it in countless ways every single day.

Thanks for your question.
Subject Author Posted


BERNARD LAGNSTON July 27, 2005 07:09PM


James August 01, 2005 06:51AM


laura August 04, 2005 06:54PM


James August 05, 2005 06:08AM