how ca u reconcile the use of images in the church and the commandment which forbids us bowing down to any moulded thing of any likeness in Heaven?

The Mosaic Law against images was appropriate for times -- danger of images was the temptation to look upon the images themselves as gods and goddesses.
To understand the message of Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church relies not only on the bible [Sacred Scripture]but also Sacred Tradition [based on oral preaching of the Apostles and its succession through bishops; see 2 Cor 1:20,3:16-4:6]
The Church made uses of images [not as if they were gods or divine but as aids to concentrate on prayer and to recognize (as civil rulers did)"heroes" of God and the Church.

In the eighth century, a great debate arose with the Iconoclasts [image breakers] who rallied against the practice.  In 787, the Seventh Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church [Nicaea II]defended  the valid use of images:
"We declare that we preserve intact all the written and unwritten traditions of the church which have been entrusted to us.  One of these traditions consists in the production of representational artwork, which accords with the history of the preaching of the gospel.  For it confirms that the incarnation of the Word of God was real and not imaginary, and to our benefit as well, for realities that illustrate each other undoubtedly reflect each other's meaning."
" ... the figure of the precious and life-giving cross, venerable and holy images of our Lord and God and Savior, Jesus Christ, our inviolate Lady, the holy Mother of God, and the venerated angels, all the saints and the just, whether painted or made of mosaic or another suitable material, are to be exhibited in the holy churches of God, on sacred vessels and vestments, walls and panels, in houses and on streets."

So, the Catholic Church maintains the legitimacy of the use of images to be in accord with the preaching of Jesus, Who "updated" numerous tenets of the Mosaic Law.
I hope, Alexander, that these thoughts are helpful.  If you wish further explanation, please feel free to write again.
Best wishes and thanks for asking.


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Edward Bode


Catholic dogma, especially as related to Scripture. I have a doctorate in biblical theology [University of St. Thomas, Rome]. I do not answer questions concerning personal moral situations -- ones dealing with right and wrong [sin].


I have taught Catholic thought in grade and high schools, and in college and universities.

Catholic Biblical Association

Catholic Biblical Quarterly, The Bible Today.

Graduate degrees in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, in scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute, and a doctorate in theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas; all in Rome

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