DPPL 241: Veneration Beyond The Image

STA altar at night smallWe’ll continue discussing sacred images today and through section 244. A caution and corrective is offered here that we respect what the image signifies. The actual work of art is not an idol; it is a window to another reality, namely, the unseen God and those who point to him and serve him.

241. It is necessary for the faithful to understand the relative nature of the cult of images. The image is not venerated in itself. Rather, that which it represents is venerated. Thus, sacred images “are given due honor and veneration, not because there are believed to contain some divinity or power justifying such cult, nor because something has to be requested of an image, nor because trust is reposed in them, as the pagans used to do with idols, but because the honor given to sacred images is given to the prototypes whom the represent”(Council of Trent, Decretum de sacris invocatione, veneratione et reliquiis Sanctorum, et sacris imaginibus, in DS 1823).

The Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy is online at the Vatican site.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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