View all Ask a Priest |
“Ask a Priest: Are All Non-Religious Images Banned?”
Q: Does my being Catholic mean that I must get rid of all the little statues and figurines that I have — for example, Greek statues or animal figurines? Even if their sole purpose is to be decorations, and I don’t think they are gods? What about family pictures or pictures of oneself? God says, “Do not create any images.” Does that mean that I as a graphic designer am only allowed to do graphics about God? Because in that job you are certainly glorifying people or brands. Is listening to non-religious music bad? This would be music that doesn’t mention anything against God. Reading non-religious books and also watching non-religious TV – is that bad? – J.A.
Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC
A: The commandment against graven images is understood as images that are worshipped. This isn’t meant to include the normal images we produce or have around us.
Still, given that images can express our beliefs and priorities, it is good and wholesome for Catholics to display religious images around their home. We certainly do it in our churches.
As for music and books and TV: We are called to give glory to God in that we do. It is OK to use media for relaxation, formation and enrichment, but it requires prudence and temperance.
We need to be careful about exposing ourselves to things that will cause us to have a secular, non-religious take on things, or worse. Our minds are like sponges, and they will absorb what we soak them in.
It would be good to step back and review the range of things you listen to and watch. Would a visitor to your home, for instance, guess that you are a Catholic by the media you use?
Perhaps it is worth taking stock of your media and ask yourself whether the Holy Spirit is asking you to change something.
For more reading, you might want to look at a U.S. bishops’ conference document on social media guidelines. Also worth a look is a three-part posting [1st,, 2nd, 3rd] by my colleague Father Bartunek. Consider them postings for a higher cause.
Keep learning more with Ask a Priest
Got a question? Need an answer?
Today’s secular world throws curve balls at us all the time. AskACatholicPriest is a Q&A feature that anyone can use. Just type your question HERE and you will get a personal response back from one of our priests at RCSpirituality. You can ask about anything – liturgy, prayer, moral questions, current events… Our goal is simply to provide a trustworthy forum for dependable Catholic guidance and information. So go ahead and ask your question…