From a reader:
While on a college visit in Virginia, my son and I visited the Campus Catholic Ministry and noticed the room that was used for Mass had “Stations of the Cross” around the periphery. I use quotes because rather than having the traditional relief/pictured depictions of our Lord’s passion, there were instead photographs of impoverished people (mainly African or Asian) with a caption under each. For instance, the tenth station (Jesus is stripped of his garments) shows an African wearing ragged clothes. The entire collection has no image of Christ, but of various 3rd world scenes.
I suppose the purpose is to direct our attention to the needs of our less fortunate, but doesn’t this take away from our true devotion? Sacramentals are such an important part of our faith, it seems a shame that some can change them to suit their wants, instead of the desires of the Church. This practice is reminiscent of the “touchdown Jesus” one sees in many modern Catholic churches.
Is there anything codified for the proper display of statues, images, etc? I’d like to discuss this with the pastor, but would like to know if there’s any rules being broken.
First, Stations of the Cross must be "erected" by the proper authority, usually the diocesan bishop or his delegate.
The Enchiridion Indulgentiarum speaks of the images as those of the "stations" of the way in Jersusalem.
I believe there can be only numbers as well.
But if you have images that are not of the Lord’s way?
You might write a letter to the local bishop if you see such a thing or, if that produces no answer, to the both the Sacra Penitenzieria Apostolica and the Congregation for Divine Worship.
That just doesn’t sound right to me.