Catholics/Idolatry

Advertisement


Question
Nowadays idol is meant by admiring a person's succeed, it can be a celebrity, an athlete or national hero. It does not mean that we worship them as god, so, can Christian have idols?

Answer
Hi Rachel!

Thanks for your question.  The short answer is NO, Christians may absolutely not have idols.  But to answer your question more so in the context in which it was asked, I would say that depends on your understanding and perception of the meaning of the word idol and also the context in which it is used.  
For example, I might say that John Martignoni, Catholic apologist and founder of Bible Christian Society, is my idol.  Anyone I would say this to would understand this to mean that I look up to him and hold him in high regard.  Not that I actually worship him as a god.  However, if I were to attend one of his lectures on a Saturday night and then have the opportunity to speak with him afterwards until so late at night that I oversleep Sunday morning and miss mass, then that would mean that I have given him precedence over God and I would in turn be guilty of a form idolatry.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) states the following:
2113 Idolatry not only refers to false pagan worship. It remains a constant temptation to faith. Idolatry consists in divinizing what is not God. Man commits idolatry whenever he honors and reveres a creature in place of God, whether this be gods or demons (for example, satanism), power, pleasure, race, ancestors, the state, money, etc. Jesus says, "You cannot serve God and mammon."44 Many martyrs died for not adoring "the Beast"45 refusing even to simulate such worship. Idolatry rejects the unique Lordship of God; it is therefore incompatible with communion with God.46
Remember, Rachel, as Christians we must be very careful about whom we look up to.  And to be on the safe side, I would recommend not using the word "idol" in any context.  Instead, I would use the term "role-model" to describe someone I respect and hold in high regard.

Pax Christi,
Walker Franklin  

Catholics

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Walker Franklin

Expertise

I am prepared to answer questions on general apologetics, teachings, and beliefs of the Catholic Church.

Experience

I am a member of the St. Lawrence Parish Council, 4th Degree Knight of Columbus, and a Secular Franciscan in formation.

Organizations
St. Lawrence Parish Council, Knights of Columbus, Secular Franciscans

Publications
Catholic Nucleus, Paul & Peter's Blog

Education/Credentials
I am a Catechist and RCIA sponsor who attended Catholic parochial schools for twelve years.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.