Bowing to Images

by Steve Ray on August 10, 2005

An excerpt from Karl Keatings Weekly E-Letter. If you don't receive it and would like to, click here and receive it for free.

“Two weeks ago I wrote about Bill Jackson, head of Christians Evangelizing Catholics, and his views on divorce and remarriage. One of the other issues he examines is Catholics' attitude toward images. "Bowing down to or genuflecting before material objects, such as carved images, is forbidden."

Jackson suffers from imprecision. Catholic genuflect not to "carved images" but to Christ present in the Eucharist. They do bow before "material objects," such as the altar, when those objects are worthy of special respect. (In the case of the altar, that respect is due to the imminent confection of the Eucharist on it.)

What would Jackson say about analogous gestures that he probably engages in? At the "Star Spangled Banner" does he rise from his seat? Does that imply he is worshiping a song? When he recites the Pledge of Allegiance does he put his hand over his heart? Is he giving adoration to a nation-state? Does he give honor to the national flag? Isn't it just a piece of cloth? Why treat it with respect?

How odd that a man can see that honor can be given to material things in the secular realm but not in the religious realm!”

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