Do Catholics worship idols / practice idolatry?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.

Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
Sadly, our Catholic friends and family members have been indoctrinated to believe that the use of statues, relics, and other articles is acceptable and even necessary for worship. They have been ta...

July 01 2013 21 responses Vote Up Share Report

I was educated as a Roman Catholic child by nuns and priests. We were certainly taught to venerate saints and angels with a very special veneration of Mary. As a 15/16 year old we were taught from a book which was official teaching that Mary was the "CO-REDEMPTRIX" of the world ie she stands alongside the LORD Jesus as the redeemer of the world with the implied teaching that she deserves adoration, of a slightly lower form than that offered to get Son. Since reading the bible for myself I have found these trains to be wrong, they cannot be justified from Scripture. READ:- Acts 4:12, and REVELATION 22:8-9

September 20 2015 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Data Tony Flores Tony Flores a servant of Jesus Christ
Yes, the Roman Catholic Church does worship idols and Ora rise Idolatry. Every region of a Catholic country has a Saint or a Virgin that they idolize as being their own.

Example: in Seville, Spain one of the Virgins is La Macarena. During their fiesta, they put the Virgin made of man made material and carry her all over the city and treat that idol as a God. In Mexico, they have the Virgin "Guadalupe" which seems to get more attention than Jesus Christ among the people. Matter of fact, if anyone sees any image on a tree or a vegetable that resembles that image, they worship that spot.

I think most Catholics have never been taught that Mary (the mother of Jesus) had more kids with her husband Joseph after Mary had Jesus through the Holy Spirit of God. They also don't understand that Mary was no longer a Virgin after she had the other kids.

I have to also express my concern with the Vatican appointing people as Saints, when the Bible says that the "Saints" are the true believers in Jesus Christ.

The Bible also says that the Church is not a building, but the people that are the believers. In Rome (Vatican), you see the mist expensive display of earthly goods in their main church and they treat the Pope as God Himself. They have enough money in that place to take care of the poor and sick, but the rather maintain the splendor of their religion.

Ok ow that their are many true Christians in the Catholic church for not two of their churches believe the same, as it varies from church to church.

A few years ago, the Pope demoted some of their saints and upgraded some others by just using a pen on a declaration.

Yes, the idols, some believes and saints just do not seem right, thus I have to say, they worship Idols and pracise Idolatry, because they are not Biblical.

June 25 2015 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Vincent Mercado Supporter Skeptic turned believer, Catholic, father of 3
No. Catholics do not worship idols.

The confusion is understandable - not knowing what "worship" is. 

And not defining what "worship" is. 

If "worship" means bowing to an another person, then Yes, Catholics are idolaters.

If "worship" means kneeling in front of another person, then Yes, Catholics are idolaters.

If "worship" means praising another person for what they did, then Yes, Catholics are idolaters.

But then we should think again because we bow to our karate instructors, knights kneel before kings, and we praise our children when they get good grades.


What is "worship"? It is the offering of sacrifice to a deity.

And to set things straight, Catholics only offers sacrifices to God, not to anyone else.

September 20 2013 27 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini dale holmgren
First thought is the veneration of Mary and the saints as intercessors instead of Jesus being the one and only true intercessor. Veneration & adulation are one thing - prayers to other than the Holy Trinity gets into soft ground. No?

April 30 2015 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Mini Terry Galloway Christ follower, Bible lover, mission of sharing the gospel
I agree totally with Michael's excellent answer but would like to add additional forms of more subtle idolatry in the Catholic church. Tradition is put above Bible teaching while Jesus IS the Word. The Pope is idolized as a Holy Father who tells Catholics what to do instead of being sheep that listen to Jesus' voice and follow. We are not to call anyone father according to Jesus (except our physical dad). The rules of marriage are clearly given in the Bible while Catholics use man-made rules such as annulment which leads people into sinful unions (adultery). It is also idolatrous to confess your sins to a priest when Jesus is our High Priest according to the Bible and ask the priest for forgiveness. Then the Catholic remedy for the sin is to say Hail Mary's instead of repentance to God (Psalm 51). Even baptism is a former of idolatry of the church when they follow tradition instead of the way Jesus showed. If anyone was able to be baptized as a baby it was Jesus, but He was not. Baptism follows repentance and accountability to identify that you are dying to self and rising anew as reborn into Christ. 

Even their emphasis on procreation is somewhat idolatrous. Yes we agree that life begins at conception and abortion is murder, but a marriage of two believers has as its center each person focused on Christ and growing closer to Christ to walk by the Holy Spirit daily. Many believers are called to remain single and many marriages are not given children so that they are free to minister to others. Frequently you find that the childless woman has many more children in the Spirit.

SING, O barren one, you who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who did not travail with child! For the [spiritual] children of the desolate one will be more than the children of the married wife, says the Lord. [Gal. 4:27.]
Isaiah 54:1 AMP

All Christians have to be on guard and repent from subtle forms of idolatry (sports, politics, relationships, parents, children, actors, money, job, hobby, etc.) We must love the Lord with all of our heart, mind and strength and love others as better than ourselves. Jesus warned us:

He who loves [and takes more pleasure in] father or mother more than [in] Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves [and takes more pleasure in] son or daughter more than [in] Me is not worthy of Me; And he who does not take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conforming wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying also] is not worthy of Me.
Matthew 10:37-38 AMP

Jesus loves us so much that He warns us because He wants us to surrender to Him as Lord and let the Holy Spirit have control of our lives for God 's purposes.

Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own, You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own]. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 AMP

January 28 2016 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Mini Michael Davis Former Baptist Pastor now Catholic, lover of the poor
I am a Catholic. And the honest answer is Yes, Catholics are guilty of worshipping idols. Often, I worry about finances, putting worldly goods ahead of Christ. Often, I make pleasing my family and friends, leisure and comfort, more important than following Christ. With that in mind, we all are guilty of idolatry, not just Catholics.
But Catholics are not guilty of idolatry because of statues and honoring the Mother of Christ. 
Rather than judging something on the surface, we need to know why people do what they do. So, why do Catholics have statues, icons and so on? Following are the reasons:

1. Because of a firm belief that the human body is good. All that God created is good, including the body. The Crucifix and statues are a statement by the Church that the body is good and to be part of worship of God.

2. Because of heresies. Since early in church history there have been heretics proclaiming that the spirit is good, but the body is evil. There are groups that sadly still teach that today in various forms. Statues and the crucifix are a statement by the Church that the body is also good. The Crucifix is a testimony to the fact that Jesus is fully God and fully man. Statues remind us that the Saints did not just serve God with their spirit, but also with their body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

3. Because of Scripture. In the Bible it is made very clear that God commanded the use of statues in worship of Him. God commanded His people to make statues of angels, and to use physical things such as Aaron’s staff, in worship of Him. God created us both as spirit beings and physical beings, so we are to use all faculties to worship Him. Since God commanded His people to use statues and physical images in worship of Him, then Not to do so would go against Scripture. God’s command in the 10 commandments is not to have statues, but rather not to worship them. The Catholic Church strictly forbids worship of idols, and to do so puts one in need of God’s forgiveness.

4. Because of Paul’s writings. Paul told the people he discipled to imitate him as he imitated Christ. He also tells them to follow the example of those who follow Christ in extraordinary ways. Statues and icons help us to remember those in the past who gave up everything to follow Christ and to remember how they followed Christ so that we have examples to follow. As humans we get busy and our minds get cluttered and physical statues cause us to pause and reflect on those who have gone before us. 

Keep in mind that we all sin. We all fall short of God’s glory and need forgiveness daily. To point out Catholics as being at fault puts us in a place to ignore our own sins. May we always be humble and gracious to our brothers and sisters as we acknowledge what St Augustine said so well, “we are all beggars at the door of God’s mercy.”

October 15 2018 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

Dscf1720 Myron Robertson Seeking God's heart
To properly understand this concept you must first properly define idol. This is not something that I have seen done in the institutional church at all. 

The old covenant form of the law is nothing more than physical symbols for spiritual things. This is most clearly addressed by Paul in Col 2:17, but there are many OT texts that make this clear as well. This applies to idols as much as to sheep. So the trick is to seek out the spiritual concept of idolatry and define it. This is not really difficult, but for Christians to see this they must face up to their own sins. It is easy to say that because there are no statues in my church, we do not worship idols, when the truth is that it is very full of idols.

The main text to look at for this is Eze 14:1-11 which tells us that any false, preconceived idea or doctrine that prevents us from seeking God's truth is an idol. Using that definition there is not a one of us who can claim we do not worship idols. The trick is to study the truth, learn what those idols are and cast them down so that the God of Truth (God of Amen--Isa 65:13) can come into our hearts and take the place of the lies we loved so much.

Unfortunately, we do not like to face our own sins and it is much easier for us to point to Catholics and call them on their sin for having statues of the saints (or even Jesus or a crucifix, which many Protestants include in their churches) or a rosary or other ritual and accuse them of idolatry for those when our own idols blind us to the truth in much more important ways.

Lev 19:4 gets very interesting when you start studying the Hebrew words in that verse. The word translated molten is maccekah. It's first definition is libation according to Brown Driver and Biggs; molten is the second definition. A libation is ritual wine or the ritual performed with that wine. I this law God is telling us not to take the symbols of worship he has given us an make them the god that actually saves us. 

Christians do this often. Some of the most heated debates revolve around baptism with many denominations or pastors saying God cannot save you unless you are baptized in our way according to our ritual. The entire point of Acts 10 is to show us that God baptizes us with the Holy Spirit by his own choice and we are to give water baptism as proof that we recognize what God has done in that individual. We are NEVER to turn that on its head and claim that God cannot save this individual without our prior approval. That sin is sorcery. 

Do you want your idolatry to lead to sorcery or would you prefer to use the symbols properly? They have their place, but it is better not to use them at all rather than misuse them. That is why Hezekiah found it necessary to destroy the bronze serpent Moses used in the wilderness at God's command to heal the people through a childish ritual that illustrated a number of very important principles of the plan of salvation. The people had ignored those principles and were burning incense to the image of the serpent to gain healing, a power the image did not have within itself. Thus Hezekiah found it necessary to destroy this serpent when he started returning the people to God. (2 Kg 18:4)

We have all kinds of doctrines we have elevated to gods in this fashion. The image of the serpent is not necessary for that. A favorite theological term these days is let's have a new paradigm. What does paradigm mean? It means model, which is an image of something, usually scaled down and not working. Any pastor who makes this call is teaching idolatry, not its opposite. Don't replace an idol with a new idol. Grow up and play with the car, not the model.

Let's not worry about whether the Catholics practice idolatry, recognize that everyone practices some form of idolatry, and start looking for the plank in our own eyes before we worry about the speck of dust in the Catholic's eyes (Mt 7:1-3).

October 18 2018 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Mini James Kraft 74 year old retired pipeline worker
We have to know what idolatry is to know if we are worshiping one. An idol is anything that can not save us. An idol is anything but Jesus' finished work on the cross. 

Your church can be an idol. Your church can not save you. Baptism can not save you. Giving money can not save you. Since Jesus apart from anything else is the only way of salvation, apart from works or anything else, then anything else can become and idol. 

What ever you trusted in to save you outside of what Jesus did, can not save a sinner, which we all are. 

We can only receive the free gift of eternal life. We can not do anything to earn it. 

It is only Jesus one blood sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, First John 2:2, and the second we accept that one sacrifice we are given eternal life. 

Matthew 7:21-23 Not every one who says, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those who have done the will of My Father in heaven. 

John 6:40 And this is the will of Him who sent me, that everyone that seeth the Son, and BELIEVETH on Him, may have everlasting life and I will raise him up on the last day. John 6:29 Jesus, answered, and said unto them, this is the work of God, that ye believe on the one he has sent.

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace ye are saved, through faith, (when we believe it,) and that not of yourselves, (we did nothing for it) it is the GIFT of God, not of works, lest any man should boast. You can not boast in free. 

Once we believe, or trust, or have faith in, Jesus finished work on the cross, He gives us eternal life. John 6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me, HATH EVERLASTING LIFE. John 3:18 Believers can no longer be condemned, but unbelievers are condemned already because they have not believed on the name of the Son of God.

March 19 2020 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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