Angels as depicted on holy cards are just ancient superstitions, right?


Full Question

I don't believe in angels as shown on old holy cards. That's just ancient superstition, isn't it?

Answer

Basing your theology on art is a bad idea, especially if the art is bad. It's little wonder people who think of angels as fat, winged babies can't take the idea of angels seriously.

People who look at angels this way aren't interpreting angelic representations as they were intended. The baroque artists who covered ceilings with these bouncy, Hosanna-singing messengers didn't really think that's how angels look (can any great artist be that dumb?).

Remember, if you're going to represent angels artistically, you have to show them as something. You can't leave a blank space labeled "Pretend an angel is here." That's why when angels appear to men in the Bible, they usually take on human form. By nature they're pure spirit and as such are incapable of being seen.

In art angels traditionally have appeared as youths (winged or unwinged) or as scantily-clad infants.

However inadequate the artwork, the fact remains that angels exist. It's unfortunate that "enlightened" people today discount the existence of angels. Actually, there's nothing enlightened about such an attitude--quite the opposite: It's a species of closedmindedness.


Catholic Answers Staff