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Catechism of the Catholic Church

Christ's true body

476 Since the Word became flesh in assuming a true humanity, Christ's body was finite. 112 Therefore the human face of Jesus can be portrayed; at the seventh ecumenical council (Nicaea II in 787) the Church recognized its representation in holy images to be legitimate. 113

477 At the same time the Church has always acknowledged that in the body of Jesus "we see our God made visible and so are caught up in love of the God we cannot see." 114 The individual characteristics of Christ's body express the divine person of God's Son. He has made the features of his human body his own, to the point that they can be venerated when portrayed in a holy image, for the believer "who venerates the icon is venerating in it the person of the one depicted". 115


112 Cf. Council of the Lateran (649): DS 504.

113 Cf. Gal 3:1; cf. Council of Nicaea II (787): DS 600-603.

114 Roman Missal, Preface of Christmas I.

115 Council of Nicaea II: DS 601.

English Translation of the Cathechism of the Catholic Church for the United States of America © 1997, United States Catholic Conference, Inc.