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Dear catholic.com visitors: This website from Catholic Answers, with all its many resources, is the world's largest source of explanations for Catholic beliefs and practices. A fully independent, lay-run, 501(c)(3) ministry that receives no funding from the institutional Church, we rely entirely on the generosity of everyday people like you to keep this website going with trustworthy , fresh, and relevant content. If everyone visiting this month gave just $1, catholic.com would be fully funded for an entire year. Do you find catholic.com helpful? Please make a gift today. Thank you. Wishing you a blessed Lenten season.

How do I respond to the charge that a photograph of John Paul II implies that the Church accepts pagan religions?

Question:

How do you answer someone who slaps a news photo on your desk, which pictures the papal nuncio lighting candles at a Hindu shrine, and says, "See, your Church is okay with pagan religions"?

Answer:

A photo of someone lighting a candle at a non-Christian shrine says nothing about that person’s beliefs, much less the beliefs of the Catholic Church. All it demonstrates is that the individual is lighting a candle at a non-Christian place of worship. A photo alone cannot give the context to the action, and so we do not know why a papal nuncio was lighting a candle at a Hindu shrine. Until we have that context, it is impossible to comment on the nuncio’s actions. At this point, we can say only that the photo does not demonstrate that the Church has capitulated to paganism.

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