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Do Catholics really pray “to” statues?

Many people outside the Church misunderstand the Catholic use of (and love for) statues.

No, Catholics don’t worship statues or pray to them.

That would be either idolatry at worst or, at best, just a silly thing to do.

Catholics use statues and images as visual reminders of the people they represent.

It’s similar to keeping a picture of our family in our wallet or on the wall. None of us actually treat the photo as being the actual people depicted: it’s simply valuable as a reminder of them. We may touch the image fondly, or even kiss it—but that touch or kiss is for the absent person, not the image itself.

We likewise use statues as reminders of God, Our Lady, and the saints when we pray. Since we are creatures of sense, physical representations help us to focus our thoughts and prayers on God or the person to whom we are praying.

Images also convey for us critical aspects of the Faith. For example, an image of Our Lady and her Child illustrates for us their closeness and love. Michelangelo’s magnificent Pietá pulls us into the sorrow of this Mother and the awful concept of the dead Son of God. Crucifixes help us to meditate in a profound way on Our Lord’s terrible sufferings.

Additionally, beautiful depictions of holy people and events are good for our imaginations which, in this age, are constantly besieged by ugly and sinful images. Sacred art fortifies our imaginations with holiness and beauty, providing a crucial antidote to the assaults of the world.

So how about a statue to assist you in prayer, remind you of a beloved saint, and inspire your imagination? The Catholic Company sells a wide selection of statues of Our Lord, Our Lady, and the saints, such as this beautiful “L’Innocence” statue of the Madonna and Child, inspired by Bouguereau’s famous painting. Order yours today!

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