Celebrate with beautiful images that elevate the senses and direct the heart toward God!
The Catholic Church during the Council of Trent (1545-1563) issued a clear statement concerning images and statues. According to the 25th Session of this General Council:Latria (adoration): worship of God; worship proper to God.
The images of Christ and of the Virgin Mother of God, and of the saints are to be had and retained particularly in churches, and due honor and veneration are to be given them; not that any divinity or virtue is believed to be in them on account of which they are to be worshipped, or that anything is to be asked of them, or that trust is to be reposed in images, as was of old by the Gentiles, who placed their hopes in idols; but because the honor which is shown them is referred to the prototypes which these images represent; so that we through the images which we kiss... or bend the knee, adore Christ and venerate the saints, whom they represent. [The Canons & Decrees of the Council of Trent (TAN Books, 1978) p. 215-6]The Church does NOT compel her members to kneel or pray before images. No one is allowed by the Church to pray to images since they have no ears to hear or power to help us. The Church allows for the veneration of images as long as the honor is directed towards Christ and His saints.
On a related issue, some Christians may object to the veneration of images of the saints since they believe that honor should be directed towards God alone and not towards Mary or the saints (1 Tim. 1:17). This objection arises from a confusion between divine honor (adoration - supreme honor proper only for God) and respectful honor proper for men. According to the Bible, the people of God bowed down before King David to show him honor (2 Sam. 24:20; 1 Chron. 29:20; 21:21). Obadiah in 1 Kings 18:7 fell prostrate before Elijah showing him reverence for being a prophet of God. In the Ten Commandments, we are told to honor our mother and father (Deut. 5:16). Even Jesus defended and obeyed this Commandment (Mark 7:9-13; Luke 2:51). At least for Mary, our honor to her is in imitation of Jesus, her Son (1 Cor. 11:1). The Church allows for the veneration of the saints and their images as long as it remains honor proper for men. It is good to honor the saints for their love and trust in God (Matt. 22:31-32; Heb. 11:1-12:1).
Hyperdulia: honour shown toward the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.
Dulia: honour shown toward the saints.
veneration (n.) early 15c., from Old French veneracion, from Latin venerationem (nominative veneratio) "reverence, profoundest respect," noun of action from past participle stem of venerari "to worship, revere," from venus (genitive veneris) "beauty, love, desire".