What is the catholic argument that justifies the usage of statues and pictures of Jesus Christ and saints?

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    I've deleted the whole comment stream here because it was degrading rather fast. But the commenter did have a point. What precipitates the need for the argument in the first place? You need more context here. – wax eagle Mar 14 '13 at 15:49
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    There is a (closed) question whose answers probably cover most of this: christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/14615/… – James T Mar 14 '13 at 16:12
  • @JamesT That question is closed but the answers are good. There is little hope to reopen that question because that user is suspended. @ PaulDC I agree with wax eagle. You need more in your body. Usage to what extent? – 3961 Mar 14 '13 at 18:01
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    Also consider clarifying some things. You used catholic with a little 'c,' does this mean you are prepared to accept answers from non-Roman Catholic perspectives? For instance, I'm Orthodox and we use icons in our worship, but if you are only looking for Roman Catholic perspectives then I will not be able to answer from our unique viewpoint. – Dan Mar 14 '13 at 19:39

Obviously this depends on the meaning of "usage". If you're using a statue to clobber an innocent person to death, clearly there is no Catholic argument that justifies this. This is called murder. Catholics think that's bad.

Treating a statue of Jesus as if the statue itself was Jesus or as if it had some sort of "divine element" inside is also bad. This is called idolatry, or the worship of something in place of God. There's no Catholic argument for this either, Catholics think that's bad.

Now think of a mother who shows a friend a photo of her youngest child. Think of a soldier who cherishes a picture of his wife that his youngest child drew. These people aren't worshipping other humans. Think of a barber who talks to the image of his client in the mirror while cutting hair. The barber isn't talking to the mirror. There is no Catholic argument here, and no need for one. Using images and statues in this way is ok, according to both the Bible and common sense.

  • This may be too obtuse for the person that asked this question, but you may also mention Sacramentals. That would help to explain medals of the saints and the crucifix, among other images. – Andrew Mar 14 '13 at 20:26
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    The commandment does not instruct us to simply not worship idols--but to not even make them. – Narnian Mar 14 '13 at 20:41
  • @Drew Whether or not a picture is blessed in some way has little to do with Catholic usage. Even bringing that up without carefully explaining actually implies idolatry, since people might think that such objects are "infused" with something Divine, which they are not. – Alypius Mar 14 '13 at 20:52
  • @Narnian Yes. But let it be clear that the youngest child of the soldier did not create an idol by drawing a crayon picture of Mom. – Alypius Mar 14 '13 at 20:55
  • @Alypius Yes, I just believe that most of the confusion comes from sacramentals. – Andrew Mar 14 '13 at 21:50

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