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25 Nov 2015 Middle East - Africa News Comments (1)

LIVE: Pope Francis arrives in Kenya - Watch

Watch a Live coverage of the Pope's arrival in Nairobi (Kenya) at the start of his papal visit to Africa

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24 Dec 2014 Q&A No comments

May a couple who marry in the Church, divorce, and later reconcile resume marital relations?

Full Question A husband and wife are validly married in the Catholic Church, and after several years get a civil divorce, never seek an annulment, live cha…

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09 Nov 2014 Q&A No comments

Is there a difference between a presider and a celebrant?

Full Question I've recently seen places in the missalette where it lists celebrant and presider. Doesn't it mean priest or deacon? What do these really mea…

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23 Sep 2015 News USA No comments

Previewing the Pope at the United Nations: a call to abandon no one

In his much anticipated speech at the United Nations headquarters to be delivered Friday, Pope Francis will likely call on the countries of the world not to aba…

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02 Sep 2016 Uncategorized No comments

Archbishop of Canterbury to join Pope Francis in marking 30 years since Assisi

Religious leaders will participate in a three-day event celebrating the first World Day of Prayer The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will join Pope Fr…

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21 Oct 2015 News Vatican No comments

Sir James MacMillan to compose work for Fátima anniversary

The celebration in 2017 will be attended by Pope Francis Composer Sir James MacMillan has been commissioned by the Shrine of Fátima to write a work for the s…

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31 May 2016 USA Vatican No comments

Pope appoints pastor as new auxiliary bishop for Philadelphia Archdiocese

Mgr Edward Deliman's appointment was announced by the apostolic nuncio to the United States Pope Francis has named Mgr Edward Deliman, who is a priest of the P…

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17 Dec 2015 News USA No comments

A combined Plea of Intervention for Persecuted Christians

On Tuesday, December 15th, the Canadian Rabbinic Caucus and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops had a joint meeting and have sent an appeal to Stéphane …

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20 Oct 2015 News Vatican No comments

Why the Synod of Bishops is more than Rock’em Sock’em Robots

When you talk to people taking part in the 2015 Synod of Bishops on the family and ask where things stand, one observation you’ll often hear is that public impr…

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Was this an example of idolatry?

Full Question

Recently a Fundamentalist accused me (and Catholics in general) of idolatry because his mother-in-law (who is Catholic) put a statue of Mary in her garden to “help her flowers grow.” What do I tell him?


Idolatry is worshiping a statue as a god. His mother-in-law is certainly not doing that. I don’t know how she explained it to him (she may have expressed herself badly or he may not have been listening), but based on the description of her explanation you have given, what she is doing at most would be superstitious, not idolatrous—unless she worships the statue as some kind of flower goddess (not likely!).

Bottom line: If she thinks the statue is a god, it’s idolatry; if she thinks it is not a god but has intrinsic power, it’s superstition; if she thinks the statue has no intrinsic power and by placing the statue she is asking Mary to pray that God will bless her garden, it’s prayer.



  1. Mary faulkner Reply

    If you have a picture in your wallet of your love one, your not looking at it and loving the picture, your thinking about who is on the picture, if I have a picture of mary or Jesus in my wallet, it’s because it reminds me whom I love. Jesus and his holy mother whom he give to us at the foot of his cross, it’s not the picture we love.

  2. #ConfusedCatholic Reply

    Hi! I am a common Catholic Christian. I have knowledge of the basics/fundamentals of the Catholic faith, especially the ones about Mary, the Saints, Sunday worship, and images.

    But as a Filipino citizen, and with all other religions, denominations and sects (INC, ACQ, SDA, Jehovah, etc.) correcting the Catholic church, I am now having doubts regarding the ones I mentioned.

    Other Christian denominations have point many references about idolatry, the false teachings about Mary and the Saints in the Bible, which are actually convincing.

    Is there any Biblical reference and in-depth explanation about them? Hope you will enlighten me and help me in this spiritual battle.

  3. edgar Reply

    First we have the Catechism of the Catholic Church book as a main reference, there are also many books written about the basic and common teachings of the Church which most other sects questions, And most importantly, don’t forget to pray for the Holy Spirit to guide you. God bless.

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