Following Gregory the Great, Catholics emphasize the role of images as the Biblia Pauperum, the "Bible of the Poor," from which those who could not read could nonetheless learn. I would argue that the public display of icons serve as a tool for evangelization.
The Catholic Church for some 1700 years of so has invested significant resources into the creation of sacred art to serve not only formal religious purposes but to inspire existing members of the Faith, attract new ones, and serve to beautify structures as well. By your argument, most if not all religious artwork should be destroyed.
I wonder how you would view the Knight of Columbus museum - one of the best collections of Catholic religious artwork. Is this acceptable display?
The rosary serves one purpose and one purpose only - to serve as a framework for contemplative prayer. While some people have rosaries that are very elaborate, they nonetheless serve that singular purpose.
Icons serve multiple purposes - by Catholic teachings. They are instruments of veneration. They are a visual bible of the poor and illiterate. They decorate and glorify places of worship. They serve to inspire and educate as well as adorn churches, public spaces, and homes with art that reminds us of our heritage. The rosary serves one purpose.
If this difference isn't apparent, I am not sure how I could make it more clear.
Ikons are NOT MERELY ARTWORKS. However, Westerners constantly denigrate them as such. Ikons, which are meant to be "windows to Heaven", are displayed as mere decorations! Is that not sacrilege? In my Church, it certainly is. Likewise not all religious art is an Ikon. If you knew as much as you think you knew, you would already know that.
If Ikons can validly be treated like mere artwork, then rosaries can validly be treated like mere necklaces. Any "difference" is only "apparent" to someone who intentionally and explicitly rejects the Sevent Ecumenical Council, which certainly did not treat Ikons as merely another flavor of decorative artwork.
I'm a Roman Catholic, but understand that Ikons are something beyond art. I have several representations of famous Ikons at home here in my icon corner. Rosaries may be round and look like a necklace...but they've never been intended to be worn as such. They simply aren't necklaces and that isn't their purpose. I understand that some elements and flavors of Catholicism believe they wear them as part of a "tradition" and do so respectfully, but they simply aren't supposed to be worn. Perhaps it would have been better if they were simply a long string of beeds that didnt close, so it wouldn't be an option...but I understand they have some of their origins in Jewish prayer beads that form a loop. So...in conclusion: ikons shouldn't be vulgarized as artwork in galleries and rosaries simply shouldn't be worn around the neck.
Offensive much, Mr. Maloney? "If I knew as much as you think you knew...". Really? Perhaps you don't know what I know, sir. I would appreciate you keep a civil tone when addressing me - I haven't denigrated your intelligence, nor do I intend to do so. I would appreciate the same courtesy.
I took the liberty of consulting with a local Melkite priest who agrees with the doctrine of the Biblia Paurperum and the use of religious iconography as inspirational art. So do the Church Fathers. This is one of the findings on iconography from the Council of Nicae you cited:
As the sacred and life-giving cross is everywhere set up as a symbol, so also should the images of Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary , the holy angels, as well as those of thesaints and other pious and holy men be embodied in the manufacture of sacred vessels, tapestries, vestments, etc., and exhibited on the walls of churches, in the homes, and in all conspicuous places, by the roadside and everywhere, to be revered by all who might see them. For the more they are contemplated, the more they move to fervent memory of their prototypes. Therefore, it is proper to accord to them a fervent and reverent adoration, not, however, the veritable worship which, according to our faith, belongs to the Divine Being alone — for the honor accorded to the image passes over to its prototype, and whoever adores the image adores in it the reality of what is there represented. (emphases added)
I would wager that a museum is a conspicuous place. While I understand the reverent nature of Icons and I do appreciate them as religious works of worship and praise, even the Church Fathers acknowledged their use and vouchsafed their display in secular settings.
Again, the purpose of the rosary is singular. It is a tool for the meditation of the Mysteries of the Rosary.
You are merely indulging in special pleading for your Latin custom. If Ikons can be legitimately treated as mere artworks, rosaries can be legitimately treated as mere jewelry. Melkites are not Orthodox, in any case, and have been under Latinizing influence for quite a long time.
I've seen displays at museums of rosaries - the Knights of Columbus Museum has had several. I've always admired them and appreciated them as objects that illustrate something sacred and the love that the hands that crafted the rosaries lavished on their handiwork. I've seen many non-Catholics enjoying these displays and even engaged in some discussions with them about the rosary.
That doesn't mean it's approrpriate for some kid or the pop-star sensation du jour to wear one as some hipster jewelry. I would take the same umbrage if someone were to walk around with an Icon around their neck or silk screened as a dress or blouse or some such.
Frankly, Mr. Maloney, I am not 'pleading' for some indulgence. I believe that I have made a rational case using evidence from the very source you have cited prominently in your attempt at an argument.
Not only have you failed to respond in a respectful tone with a reasoned argument introducing some new evidence or justification, you have insulted both me and the Melkites in under 50 words.
It is discouraging that the tone of this forum has become increasingly dismissive and disrespectful. I have to admit I find this dialog tiresome and I choose not to continue to engage in further rounds of repeating myself using different words.
I shall pray for the day when all brothers and sisters in Christ will come together in union.
You gentlemen are failing to make a distinction between the more material aspect and the more formal aspect. The icons on an iconostasis are, of course, objects of religious veneration. They are also constituent parts of the iconostasis, which must be a pretty solid screen. I don't know enough about the ins and outs of Eastern architecture to know if a blank iconostasis is permitted for a church that can't obtain enough icons to fully screen the altar area, but it's not just the image, but the wood serving a function.
We know that rosaries can be devoutly worn as cinctures. Again, both religious devotion and material purpose. I'm a recovering Puritan, so I struggle to find a purpose to jewelry, per se, but I can see a physical purpose in putting a rosary around my neck - maybe not regularly, but if I need my hands free and don't have a pocket. Anglicans wear their shorter rosaries as bracelets, as a pious tradition.
I think I wore my rosaries around my neck once, and that was because I was walking and needed both my hands.
I have no qualms about being seen with my Rosary, it's a devotional tool like a scapula and I can still take a lot of ethnic pride in having one one me. Since I am a Knight I'm obliged to carry the one given to me which I love, it's in my truck on my top of the dash and I don't care if people see it. I think it's a great way to strike up a conversation with others. Going to a Catholic college I know some that do wear them around their necks but I never reprimand them for it because God can work in mysterious ways. Even though I rather just know that more people are carrying them around, if your just starting out learning about the Rosary, then I can forgive a little ignorance.
it's a devotional tool like a scapula
Forgive my ignorance as I am not Catholic, but you pray with a shoulder blade?
A kind of cloth necklace meant to fall on the shoulder blades. Certain religious orders wear ones that are like capes. Lay people wear the smaller ones, again, cloth necklaces. The idea came from an apparition of Mary, I understand.
Yeah, and I think JonEdanger is thinking of a Scalpel. But your very right Rebekah, there is acually a story for each type of Scapular according to http://oce.catholic.com/index.php?title=Scapular
JonEdanger was a Paramedic in a previous life and studied anatomy & physiology.
In human anatomy the scapula, or shoulder blade, is the bone that connects the humerus (upper arm bone) with the clavicle (collar bone).
The scapula forms the posterior (back) located part of the shoulder girdle. In humans it is a flat bone, roughly triangular in shape, placed on a posterolateral aspect of the thoracic cage.