THE ULTIMATE IDOL
Despite clear interdictions of idolatry in the Bible, both Greek and Roman Catholics violate this prohibition, and, consequently, their veneration of man-made artifacts is a scandal upon Christendom. If a Christian should condemn the superstitions of Hindus, Buddhists, and primitive fetishists regarding their worship of “stocks and stones,” they could simply throw back upon the critic the Romanist/Hellenist indulgence in this sacrilege.
In fact, Catholics have perfected the practice of idolatry to the maximum extent by fabricating sacred objects of all kinds to be venerated, touched, kissed, worn, or carried about. These abominations include figurines, icons, medals, reliquaries, prayer beads, shrines, and even natural objects having blemishes that are looked upon as holy images.
There is one idol, however, that tops all the others as the ultimate blasphemy, and that is a gilded idol called a monstrance. This peculiar object looks like a big golden lollipop - or a metalic donut on a stick.
The purpose of a monstrance is to display a consecrated wafer, set in glass, at the center of a golden disk. This disk rests upon a short staff or stand that allows it to be set upright on a table or carried about by hand. Also, the disk commonly incorporates a golden sunburst of rays around the central glass window.
One Catholic dictionary defines a monstrance as “a large vessel in which the Host is exposed through a glass-covered opening in the center.” The monstrance is used in worship and is carried in procession on such occasions as the Feast of Corpus Christi. A Catholic almanac says a monstrance is “a portable receptacle so made that the sacred host, when enclosed therein, may be clearly seen, as at Benediction or during extended exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.” “Ostensorium” is another name for a monstrance.
The term “monstrance” comes from the Latin monstrare: “to show.” (cf. “demonstrate”). Also, “ostensorium” (Fr. ostensoir) is from the Latin ostendere: “to show” in the sense “to spread before” (cf. “ostentatious”). What is shown in this case is a consecrated wafer, a piece of bread that has supposedly been miraculously changed into the actual flesh of Jesus Christ.
Really now, how foolish to imagine that somebody could take a piece of God’s skin and exhibit it like a freakish specimen in a glass jar! One can only wonder that some obtuse people evidently lack the ability to recognize silly superstitions when they are plainly exposed for all to see. Idol worship should be a thing of the primitive past, and it is much to be regretted that in this modern, scientific age, there is still such foolish gullibility.
Richard L. Atkins