“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth” (Exodus 20:4)
Publish Date: Apr 16, 2012
By Juliet Lukwago
The Archbishop of Kampala Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga has clarified that Catholics do not worship statues, but instead use them to reflect on their saintly life and behaviour.
He said Catholics use the holy images, paintings and other artistic devices to recall persons or things depicted.
“Just as it helps one to remember one’s mother or father by looking at her or his photograph; images also help Christians to recall saints by looking at their pictures or statues,” Lwanga said on Sunday.
The church leader was showing hundreds of followers parts of the remains of Sr. Faustina Krakow of Poland, the witness of the Devine Mercy which were brought from Poland by Rev Fr. Achiles Mayanja.
Fr. Mayanja, the administrator of Lubaga Cathedral, had just returned from a pilgrimage in Poland, the the home country of the late Sr. Faustina.
Lwanga declared Rubaga Cathedral Parish the home of the Divine Mercy in Kampala Archdiocese and urged believers to make an effort there and reflect on and venerate Jesus Christ.
The prelate was at Lubaga Cathedral during a holy mass to celebrate the day of Divine Mercy (Jesus Christ) on which he conveyed God’s great message through Sr. Faustina Kraków of Poland to the world.
The message was a revelation of the pattern of Christian perfection based on trust in God.
Faustina, who is now a saint, was born on August 25, 1905 in Gogowiec in Poland in a religious peasants’ poor family and she died at a tender age on December 5, 1938. She was the third of ten children.
Throughout her life, she reported a number of visions of Jesus Christ and conversations with Him, which she wrote about in her diary and was later published as a book diary titled Divine Mercy in My Soul.
Lwanga said the use of images of Christ and the saints in the Catholic faith is misunderstood by many. “It does not only show their lack of knowledge about the use of these items, but also ignorance of what the Bible says.”
“The people who accuse Catholics of adoring images should consult those who are knowledgeable in their respective religions before making such criticisms and other comments about the Catholic Church and other peoples’ religions,” he said.
He gave an example of a Ugandan woman singer who sarcastically sang a song titled Nsonyiwa Father , which according to Lwanga, belittles and despises the Catholic religion as far as the Sacrament of Penance, is concerned.
“Why do some people find pleasure and pride in despising other peoples’ religions?” Lwanga sounded firm.
The prelate stressed that images and pictures help Catholics to reflect on Jesus Christ Himself and his saints just as one would look at a picture of his or her beloved one or parent and vividly remember as if that person was still living
His justification was clear: “God has never banned the religious use of statues.”
The function was attended by hundreds of Christians from 54 parishes that form the Kampala Archdiocese.
—Kizito Michal George Library, April 16 2012