Honoring the Saints, Relics, and Images
Lesson 17 from the Baltimore Cathechism
214. Does the first commandment forbid us to honor the saints in heaven?
The first commandment does not forbid us to honor the saints in heaven, provided we do not give them the honor that belongs to God alone.
For, behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. (Luke 1:48)
215. Why do we honor the saints in heaven?
We honor the saints in heaven because they practiced great virtue when they were on earth, and because in honoring those who are the chosen friends of God we honor God Himself.
216. How can we honor the saints?
We can honor the saints: first, by imitating their holy lives; second, by praying to them; third, by showing respect to their relics and images.
Brethren, be imitators of me, and mark those who walk after the pattern you have in us. (Philippians 3:17)
217. When we pray to the saints what do we ask them to do?
When we pray to the saints we ask them to offer their prayers to God for us.
218. How do we know that the saints will pray for us?
We know that the saints will pray for us because they are with God and have great love for us.
219. Why do we honor relics?
We honor relics because they are the bodies of the saints or objects connected with the saints or with Our Lord.
220. When does the first commandment forbid the making or the use of statues and pictures?
The first commandment forbids the making or the use of statues and pictures only when they promote false worship.
Thou shalt not have strange Gods before me. Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing, nor the likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, nor of those things that are in the waters under the earth. (Exodus 20:3-4)
221. Is it right to show respect to the statues and pictures of Christ and of the saints?
It is right to show respect to the statues and pictures of Christ and of the saints, just as it is right to show respect to the images of those whom we honor or love on earth.
222. Do we honor Christ and the saints when we pray before the crucifix, relics, and sacred images?
We honor Christ and the saints when we pray before the crucifix, relics, and sacred images because we honor the persons they represent; we adore Christ and venerate the saints.
223. Do we pray to the crucifix or to the images and relics of the saints?
We do not pray to the crucifix or to the images and relics of the saints, but to the persons they represent.