National Catholic Register

Culture of Life

Why Do Catholics ...?

Why do Catholics light candles in front of religious statues?

BY The Editors

May 8-21, 2011 Issue | Posted 4/29/11 at 2:23 PM


As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states (1192): “Sacred images in our churches and homes are intended to awaken and nourish our faith in the mystery of Christ. Through the icon of Christ and his works of salvation, it is he whom we adore. Through sacred images of the holy Mother of God, of the angels and of the saints, we venerate the persons represented.”

Father Dwight Longenecker comments on his website (, “This veneration of a specially holy image is not the same thing as the worship we give God. When a Catholic venerates a special icon or statue he is simply recognizing that this material thing — given by God and made by human hands — has become a channel for God’s goodness and grace in the world. When he venerates the image it is a way for him to express love and devotion for the person the image represents. The carving or painting becomes like a window which focuses his gaze on God. … So images, when used properly, become physical pointers to Christ, the image of the unseen God, the one by whom God created the physical world, and by whom all physical things consist.”

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