Vince S. Sealongo asks
Magandang araw/gabi po Admin! Gusto ko kasi malinawan tungkol sa 'Idolatry'. Ano po ba ang ibig sabihin nito at bakit laging ginagamit ng ibang relihiyon ang bagay na ito laban sa atin? I searched some verses from the Holy Bible and these what I've found out..
...but a curse is on an idol made by human hands. A curse is also on the one who MAKES it because he works on this perishable things and then calls it a GOD. (Wisdom 14:8)
But the most miserable people of all are those who rest their hopes on lifeless things, who worship things that have been made by HUMAN HANDS - IMAGES of animals artistically made from gold and silver or some useless stone carved by someone years ago. (Wisdom 13:10)
But out of that scrap wood he may take one piece that isn't good for anything - maybe it's crooked and full of knots - and carefully carved it in his leisure time, using spare moments to shape it into the crude IMAGE OF A PERSON, or maybe of some worthless animal. He paints it with all over with red, covering up every flaw in the work. Then he prepares a suitable place in the wall for it and fastens it in place with iron nails. (Wisdom 13:13-15)
The Catechism of the Catholic Church gives us an explanation on Idolatry:
“Idolatry not only refers to false pagan worship. It remains a constant temptation to faith. Idolatry consists in divinizing what is not God. Man commits idolatry whenever he honors and reveres a creature in place of God, whether this be gods or demons (for example, satanism), power, pleasure, race, ancestors, the state, money, etc. Jesus says, ‘You cannot serve God and mammon’. Many martyrs died for not adoring ‘the Beast’ refusing even to simulate such worship. Idolatry rejects the unique Lordship of God; it is therefore incompatible with communion with God.” (CCC 2113)
Protestants actively condemn the Catholic devotions to the saints because it seems dangerously close to idolatry (worshipping a creature instead of the Creator).
We worship God alone, and saints are only honored and venerated as humans specially blessed by God. St. Thomas Aquinas differentiate these three:
1. Latria is the adoration given to God alone.
2. Dulia is the reverence to the saints;
3. Hyperdulia is a higher form of dulia that belongs, on account of her greater excellence, to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The Catechism of the Council of Trent (1566) taught that idolatry is committed "by worshipping idols and images as God, or believing that they possess any divinity or virtue entitling them to our worship, by praying to, or reposing confidence in them" (374). We do not commit idolatry because we don't worship but venerate the images.
We can compare images of the saints to photographs of loved ones: both are reminders and memorials of the people they depict. And they are never the person! "...through their representations we may be able to be led back in memory and recollections to the prototype, and participate in their holiness." (Seventh Ecumenical Council at Nicea (787))
We use statues and icons the same way that others use photographs.They are merely religious reminders of friends and servants of God whom Catholics admire. We use statues, paintings, and other artistic devices to recall the person or thing depicted. In the history of the Church it served as visual catechism as well. Just as it helps to remember one’s mother by looking at her photograph, so it helps to recall the example of the saints by looking at pictures of them.
We never worship images. We venerate the saints.