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Anne Ventimiglia wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • What are the Catholic teachings about statues of Our Lady?
  • Is it acceptable to put a statue of Our Lady above the crucifix in a church?


  { What are the Catholic teachings about statues of Our Lady? }

Mike replied:

Hi Anne,

Thanks for the question.

You said:

  • What are the Catholic teachings about statues of Our Lady?

The Catechism tells us:

2131 . . . By becoming incarnate, the Son of God introduced a new economy of images.

2132 The Christian veneration of images is not contrary to the first commandment which proscribes idols.

Indeed, the honor rendered to an image passes to its prototype, and whoever venerates an image venerates the person portrayed in it.

(St. Basil, De Spiritu Sancto 18,45:PG 32,149C; Council of Nicaea II: DS 601; cf. Council of Trent: DS 1821-1825)

The honor paid to sacred images is a respectful veneration, not the adoration due to God alone:

Religious worship is not directed to images in themselves, considered as mere things, but under their distinctive aspect as images leading us on to God incarnate. The movement toward the image does not terminate in it as image, but tends toward that whose image it is.

(St. Thomas Aquinas, STh II-II,81,3 ad 3)

The same would be true about statues of Our Blessed Mother.

You said:

  • Is it acceptable to put a statue of Our Lady above the crucifix in a church?

At first impulse, this would appear to be inappropriate but it depends on the overall internal structure of the church and the religious statues and symbols used in the parish.

No statue should be placed in a Church that gives an impression that the saint depicted by the statue is greater than the Cross by which we were saved by our Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

The victorious saints in Heaven would be the first to agree with this!

If you think there is an issue in your parish, talk to your pastor first, then, if needed, talk to your local bishop.


Anne replied:


Thank you so much!

God bless you.


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