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Do they use icons in the Roman Catholic Church like they do in the East Orthodox Church? In my limited experience, I've only seen statues in the Roman Catholic Church, but not icons. I don't just mean having some images in the temple, but also praying while looking at them and kissing them from time to time - just like it is done in the East Orthodox.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Sure, they do!!! See this famous icon -

San Damiano Cross

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That one is placed way above their heads. I don't think they can reach it. Do they have icons that they kiss? –  brilliant May 4 '12 at 4:13
There are many icons that are a replica of this. Those are placed well within the reach of the people. –  LoveTheFaith May 5 '12 at 0:08
Do they kiss them? –  brilliant May 5 '12 at 3:37
I have seen many Catholics kissing icons! So yes, they do! –  LoveTheFaith May 5 '12 at 3:54
I see. Thank you. –  brilliant May 5 '12 at 4:18

I don't know if it's common practice among all Catholics, but I kiss the image of Jesus on my scapular every chance I get. It's pretty much an icon except it's done on cloth.

I kiss the cross when making the sign of the cross while praying the rosary and on Good Friday we venerate the cross of Jesus by kissing the crucifix. Latin American Catholics are also known to make a tiny cross with their fingers after making the sign of the cross and kissing that (their hand).

There is one company that I know of in the united states that makes Catholic Icons (as well as Orthodox Icons); that's monastery icons. I don't believe a Catholic would be prohibited from venerating any sort of holy icon in an appropriate manner. Blessed icons would be considered sacramentals.

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The veneration of icons in the Eastern Churches is not the same as in the Catholic Church. The hold a kind of mystical presence of the saint represented in the icon. They have a whole thoelogy of icons developed in the 8th century during the iconoclasm controversy, particularly by St. John Damascene and approved by the Second Council of Nicea, 7th Ecumenical. That doctrine is shared by the Catholic Church, but the emphasis is different. Icons in the Eastern Churches are much more sylized and not naturalistic, which is the case in the West especially since the end of the Middle Ages. They are not portraits.

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