Radioclip en texto sin audio grabado.

“the saints don’t work miracles,”
states jesus christ

From left to right,
the Holy Infant of Prague, Mother Teresa of Calcutta,
the Virgin of Lourdes, and Padre Pio of Pietrelcina


JESUS From Jerusalem to Capernaum, then from Capernaum back to Jerusalem. We never stop, Rachel. From here to there and then …

RACHEL Are you really tired?

JESUS No, to the contrary. I love getting to know people and places.

RACHEL Well, get ready for what you’re going to meet up with now. Excuse me a second, the studios are asking me to sign on… Ahem… Friends of Emisoras Latinas, here we are back again in Jerusalem. The streets of the Christian quarter are overflowing with people, and the churches also are full of …

JESUS Full of what, Rachel?

RACHEL Come with me, Jesus. Let’s go into this church. I want you to see something and give me your opinion.

JESUS Okay, you’ve aroused my curiosity.

RACHEL Come on, let’s go in.

GUIDE Welcome, vous parlez anglais, espagnol ou allemand?

JESUS What’s he saying?

RACHEL English, please.

JESUS No problem. Are you tourists?

RACHEL We’re doing a special report for Emisoras Latinas; it’s called “Images of Saints in the Holy Land.”

GUIDE Magnificent! We have many images, and they’re very beautiful. Come, let’s begin with the smaller altars.

JESUS Who is this guy?

GUIDE Here you have Saint Gregory Nazianzen, a saint who performs many miracles.

RACHEL Why kind of miracles does he do?

JESUS He’s especially good for when you’ve been bitten by a dog or a snake or some other harmful animal.

JESUS What about this … this doll?

GUIDE Doll! That’s Saint Apollonia, patroness of dentists. She brings relief from toothaches.

JESUS She cures teeth?

GUIDE You have to light one of those little candles, see here? An offering, a prayer, and that’s it! Come over here. This altar is dedicated to Saint Agueda.

RACHEL And what does this saint cure?

GUIDE Women pray to her when they have problems in childbirth.

JESUS Seems to me that each saint has a specially assigned job.

GUIDE That’s the way it is, sir. In the sacristy we have others, there’s no room for them all here. Saint Blas is the protector of throats, Saint Lucy is for the eyes. You pray to Saint Barbara for protection from storms. Saint Pascual Bailon is the patron saint of cooks, and Saint Joseph is the patron of a good death.

JESUS My father Joseph?

GUIDE Saint Jude Thaddeus is recommended for impossible causes. And this is Saint Anthony, one of the most powerful saints; he can find any object that’s lost.

RACHEL He’s also good for finding a boyfriend, right?

GUIDE Yes, but in that case the single women stands him upside down so that the saint does his work quickly.

RACHEL That’s true. That’s what my granny did.

GUIDE Right now we are looking for an image of Saint Isidore of Seville – he will be the patron saint of the Internet.

RACHEL The Internet already has a patron saint?

JESUS Correct. You know, Saint Isidore was a great scholar. He studied everything, he was a walking encyclopedia, a wikipedia, just like the Internet itself.

RACHEL And perhaps his miracles could serve as a celestial antivirus?

JESUS No doubt about it, miss.

JESUS Excuse my ignorance, friend. She’s from around here, but I come from far away.

GUIDE Yes, go on.

JESUS Could you explain to me how making petitions to these saints yields results?

GUIDE It’s quite simple. For example, you, sir, have a problem. You then ask for a miracle from the saint you’re devoted to. The saint passes the request to the Virgin Mary, who is the mediatrix of all graces. Mary passes it on to her son Jesus Christ, just as she did at the wedding of Cana…

JESUS Yes, the wedding at Cana, I remember…

GUIDE What’s that you said?

JESUS No, nothing.

GUIDE As I was explaining to you, you make your request to the saint, the saints asks the Virgin, the Virgin asks Jesus, and Jesus resolves it with God the Father.

JESUS And why do you have to go through all those steps in order to reach God?

GUIDE God has too much work, pal. He has a lot of things to attend to. The saints are his secretaries, they help him out. Does that settle your doubt?

JESUS Not really, but …

GUIDE Do you want to visit the sacristy?

RACHEL No, I think we have enough already for our report. Here’s a tip for you.

GUIDE May Saint Christopher guide you!

RACHEL You seem troubled, Jesus.

JESUS Don’t you see how they’re taking advantage of needy people, women who have problems, folks who are sick? They say that this is the house of God, and they’ve filled it with idols; they’ve made it into a den of con artists. Let’s go out to the street, come on.

RACHEL So we’ll take a break and be right back! From Jerusalem, reporting for Emisoras Latinas, this is Rachel Perez.


ANNOUNCER Another God is Possible. Exclusive interviews with Jesus Christ in his second coming to Earth. A production of María and José Ignacio López Vigil, with the support of the Syd Forum and Christian Aid.

*More information about this polemical topic…*

Without images
Since first Christians were brought up according to the Jewish religion, they naturally followed the commandment of Moses: they did not use religious images in their worship or for their devotions. God was to be worshipped, as Jesus had taught, “in spirit and in truth”. And Jesus himself was not “worshiped” as such; rather, he was “remembered” or “commemorated”, and this was done precisely by the way Christians announced his message and shared all their possessions in common. However, this imageless tradition gradually changed as Christianity spread throughout the Roman empire, which had many polytheistic traditions and an abundance of beautiful images and imposing sculptures of the gods. The cult of images in the Christian church has clear pagan roots.

With icons and images
In the first centuries of Christianity an effort was made to distinguish between an idol, which represented pagan ideas, and an icon, which represented divine realities. By the third century cemeteries, churches and chapels were being decorated with images of biblical figures. From that time on images gained ever greater space in Christian tradition. The Byzantine church was the place where icon art began to develop in all its splendor.

Opposition to images
In the 8th century iconoclastic (literally, icon-breaking) groups arose in the eastern church in opposition to the proliferation of images and icons; they were totally against the cult of images, which was growing beyond reasonable bounds. The iconoclasts aimed to restore the idea of an intangible, inexpressible God, who could be sought and found only by faith. There followed tense controversies and even violent wars. At the present time we still call “iconoclast” anyone who tries to destroy “idols”, that is, society’s formalized concepts and its established patterns and prejudices.
The iconoclast wars were won by those defending the cult of images. The Byzantines, heirs to the Hellenistic culture which had created such beautiful sculptures of the gods, remained faithful to their rich tradition. Byzantine Christian art, such as the icons of the Russian and Greek Orthodox churches, is especially expressive and beautiful. The iconoclast wars did not affect Ethiopian art, which was influenced by a blend of Egyptian majesty and African aesthetics and is unique in the world for its Byzantine reminiscences.

How many commandments remain?
The Church’s official doctrine tried to put an end to the iconoclast dispute. Arguing from the “incarnation” of the Son of God, the Second Council of Nicea (787) justified the veneration of the images of Christ, Mary, the angels, and the saints, and it decreed that such veneration was not contrary to the faith, nor could it be considered idolatry.
Since the second commandment of Moses’ Decalogue (Exodus 20,4-5) expressly prohibits making images of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth (not to speak of prostrating oneself before them), the Catholic Church opted for the simplest solution: it eliminated this commandment, which is in fact the longest of all of them, from the catechism. Since that excision left only nine commandments, the church decided split in two the very last commandment, concerned with not coveting what belongs to others. The ninth commandment became “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife”, and the tenth “You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.” Problem solved. It was now possible to keep talking about the ten commandments and still render idolatrous worship to images.
The Catholic position meant a complete break with the Judaism in which Jesus was brought up, which was a religion that absolutely rejects idols, finding God first and foremost in the words of scripture.
Islam also prohibits all graphic representations of the divine, and Protestant tradition firmly rejects the Catholic cult of images.

The value of images
Up to the present time many centuries of art history have been filled with glorious images of Jesus, Mary and the saints. Making them all simply the equivalents of idols is not correct or sufficient. We can find a bit of everything in the countless examples of sculpted, carved, painted and engraved images. They include both authentic marvels and examples of terrible aesthetic taste. These images range from art works of ineffable beauty, which contribute to humankind by giving meaning to religious emotions, to the grossest examples of commercialism and manipulation of people’s credulity by claiming that certain images have curative or miraculous powers.
For centuries Catholic catechesis did little or nothing to reorient such veneration, which has sometimes expressed itself in almost idolatrous fashion. At the present time Catholic hierarchs fill their churches with images, and they continue to promote processions, parades and exhibitions of “miracle-working” saints. Their aims are both economic – collecting alms, promises, votive offerings, donations – and ideological: they seek to control people’s consciences by tying them to these cults, which are run by priests and have clearly superstitious traits.