A while ago a friend wrote to me asking about kissing statues. Here is my short response.

He wrote, “Hi Steve! I know you are a busy man. Please answer the above issue when the time permits you. I am a Catholic but I cannot accept the kissing of statues. It goes against my conscience.  I feel also it is against the bible’s teachings. Thanking you and awaiting your reply.”

I responded: Greetings from Michigan, getting ready to hit the road again! I understand your sentiments and I don’t make a daily practice of going around kissing statues either though I have at times and certainly understand the reasoning and sentiment behind the action.

Notice the picture to the left. He is kneeling in front of a Bible. Is the man worshiping the Bible – he is kissing it after all. No, he loves the Word of God and is showing his love for God and his word. It is the same if a man kneels in front of a Bible while reading it.

Imagine your wife, if you’re married, is in a different country for a while and you miss her. Every once in a while you take an old picture of your wedding out of your pocket and look at it and think of her and it makes you miss her and love her. Once in a while you might close your eyes and kiss the picture as a means of demonstrating your love and devotion to her and your union together.

It’s no different with the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a saint or Jesus. It’s simply a way that people acknowledge and express their love and respect for the person behind the statue.

Just like you don’t fall in love with a picture and begin to worship the picture of your wife, so Catholics don’t love the statue or worship it; they are simply expressing their love and respect for the person behind the statue or that the statute represents.

There’s no need to read anything more nefarious into the action than that. It is simply an act of devotion and love for Mary, for Jesus, or for our brothers and sisters the saints who are alive in heaven.

Paragraph 1192 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “Through sacred images of the Holy Mother of God, of the angels and of the saints, we venerate the persons represented.” In other words, as I said above, we do not worship the image – we love and honor the people they represent.

If you understand it this way you will be understanding it properly and you will do well.

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Tom+Govern

    Maybe I am off base but, kissing anything that is important to me is OK. A statue, a picture of my mother, m wife, a lucky betting chip, the Rosary, etc. Should not even be an issue for anyone. Kissing a sacred object is a show of respect,

    STEVE RAY HERE: Thanks Tom! Couldn’t agree more. I visited my mom today who will turn 100 years old 40 days. After she’s gone, I’ll kiss a picture of her to remember how much I miss her. See you soon in Florida!

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