Iconoclasm, the practice of removing images or sacred art for religious or poltical motives , isn’t something strange to the history of the Church. For example, the Second Council of Nicea (787) discussed the usage of the veneration of icons. Apparently, there was a dispute in the early church regarding idolatry and the use of icons for worship. The Church eventually settled the dispute in an ecumenical council affirming the usage of icons in worship.
Though this was during the 8th century, iconoclasts, those that destroyed the venerated images and icons, today have a new way of stripping Christians of their worship. This new era of iconoclasm is perpetuated by our culture’s attack on Christianity and anything that is seen as “white supremacy.”
In recent years, there has been a number of statue removals and vandalism committed across the country due to people committing “justice” by attacking our alleged “white colonizer” religion.
Take for example Saint Louis University in 2015. This facility is higher learning, which happens to be a private Jesuit Catholic University, removed a public statue of Pierre Jean De Smet, Jesuit Priest, that depicted him standing and two native Indians on kneeling on the ground receiving a blessing or prayer. The students and faculty deemed the statue as a clear showcase of colonialism and culturally insensitivity.
Even Jesuits can’t rep important figures without the cultural iconoclast tearing down our faith’s history. A feel-good “micro-aggression” less faith is what ultimately Christianity will come down to if the iconoclasts have their way. We should take concern about the potential of what our faith could look like. A radical departure from the Saints, tradition, and history.
Faith leaders need the backbone to stand up against cultural relativism that strangles our faith. Just as removing a statue from a museum serves no other purpose than to revise history, the same goes for the history of the Church when the statues and icons are no longer valued.
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