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[ Why do Catholics have graven images? ]

First, one must understand what a graven image is in the context of the Old Testament. To make a graven image is to create an image out of some medium, such as clay or wood, AND WORSHIP IT AS A GOD. The statues or pictures of Mary are NOT WORSHIPPED as a God. If a Catholic worships a statue of Mary as a God, they are guilty of idolatry.

The Lord did not forbid the making of images. In fact, God commanded Moses to shape a brazen serpent. This serpent was able to cure the people of the serpent bite, if they looked upon it (Numbers 21:8). Later, when the people turned to idolatry of the serpent, Hezekiah had it destroyed (II Kings 18:4). Here you see the balance. Images are good, if they are helpful, but not if they encourage idolatry.

Moreover, the Lord commanded that the image of two Cherubim be constructed on the top of the Ark of the Covenant on either side of the Mercy seat. Was this the sin of idolatry? I think not.

Mary is the mother of God and the saints are the friends of God. If keeping their pictures or statues helps to inspire us to a more holy life, then it is a good thing. Don't you have pictures of your family in your home? Is this idolatry? Or when someone dies, should you destroy all images or pictures of them, lest you be guilty of worshiping them?

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