Pagan Sun Worship and Catholicism
The Sunburst Image, the Queen of Heaven and Baal.

Here you see a ceiling decoration in the Sala delle Arti Liberali. It is the coat of arms for the Borgia Pope (Alexander VI, 1492-1503).

From the book Art Treasures of the Vatican
© 1974 by Smeets Offset B.V.
Prentice-Hall, Inc.

It consists of the 3-tiered Papal Tiara, and the keys to the kingdom, common symbols of Papal authority. The pagan sunburst predominates around the coat of arms as shown on the overview at right. Notice the animal on the left side of the shield? That is a golden bull, the heraldic animal of the Borgia family. It is more than just a little reminiscent of the golden calf the Israelites made at Sinai. Sunbursts and images of golden bulls. How much more pagan can you get?

The Apis bull, as depicted in this Egyptian statuette, is likely to be the pattern used for the golden calf the Israelites made at Mount Sinai (Exo. 32), since they were undoubtedly quite familiar with it as a result of their long captivity in Egypt. Note the sun disk on the head, and the serpent in front of the sun disk. In Scripture the serpent is symbolic of Satan. (Gen 3, Rev. 12:9)

The British Museum

At left is the central scene of the "Coronation of the Virgin", painted around 1444 by Filippo Lippi. Mary is being crowned as the Queen of Heaven, which is a title conferred on Mary by Catholicism. One document where this can be found is INEFFABILIS DEUS, the Apostolic Constitution Defining the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception, of Pope Pius IX, December 8th, 1854. It closes with the following paragraph- (emphasis is mine)

Let all the children of the Catholic Church, who are so very dear to us, hear thee words of ours. With a still more ardent zeal for piety, religion, and love, let them continue to venerate, invoke and pray to the most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, conceived without original sin. Let them fly with utter confidence to the most sweet Mother of mercy and grace in all dangers, difficulties, needs, doubts and fears. Under her guidance, under her patronage, under her kindness and protection, nothing is to be feared; nothing is hopeless. Because, while bearing toward us a truly motherly affection and having in her care the work of our salvation, she is solicitous about the whole human race. And since She has been appointed by God to be the Queen of heaven and earth, and is exalted above all the choirs of angels and saints, and even stands at the right hand of her only-begotton Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, she presents our petitions in a most efficacious manner. What she asks, she obtains. Her pleas can never be unheard.

In 1954, Pope Pius XII officially declared Mary the Queen of Heaven.
Here is the full text of his encyclical AD CAELI REGINAM.

There has been a complete substitution of Mary for Jesus, in the work of our salvation, and in whom we pray to in times of need. The impression is that Mary will listen, but God is cold and unapproachable. Mary will grant your wishes, when God might otherwise reject them, and God is bound by the will of Mary. Salvation is obtained from Mary and God will rubberstamp her decisions. There is a word for this, it is AntiChrist. (The word anti means in place of, or substitution, as well as against.)

Another place this can be found is in The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (LUMEN GENTIUM) by Pope Paul VI, November 21, 1964, paragraph 59- (emphasis is mine)

... Finally, the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all guilt of original sin, on the completion of her earthly sojourn, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen of the universe, that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and the conqueror of sin and death.

The last part of that sentence (that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son) can be rephrased as follows ... that she might be more like her Son... As I said, this is plainly AntiChrist. This paragraph from LUMEN GENTIUM was most recently quoted and reaffirmed in the Vatican's new Catechism, paragraph 966.

Here is the full text of LUMEN GENTIUM online at EWTN.

(NOTE: Official Roman Catholic Documents are usually published first in Latin, and then later translated to other languages. Some translations can vary slightly in their wording. Such is the case with paragraph 59 of LUMEN GENTIUM. The printed document I have and the version available online at EWTN are slightly different. One refers to Mary as Queen of the universe, the other says she is the Queen over all things.)

There is even a rite in the Catholic Church that involves crowning statues (idols) of Mary as the Queen of heaven. Once placed on a statue, the crown remains permanently.

Here is the crowned statue of Mary in the Notre Dame du Cap, Cap-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec, Canada. Crowned in 1904 at the orders of Pope Pius X, it is the only statue of Mary to be crowned in all of Canada. The title of Queen of Heaven can also be found in scripture, but not in reference to Mary-

From the book
"Miraculous Images of Our Lady",
by Joan Carroll Cruz -Copyright © 1993,
TAN Books and Publishers, INC.,
Rockford, Illinois 61105.

Jer 7:18 The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.

Jer 44:17 But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil.
Jer 44:18 But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine.
Jer 44:19 And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out drink offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship her, and pour out drink offerings unto her, without our men?

The Queen of Heaven, if you check in most any commentary, is none other than Ishtar, Ashtoreth, or Astarte the very pagan goddess that Israel worshipped when they fell into apostasy and paganism-

Judg 2:13 And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.

In the apocryphal book of Baruch, which is considered to be inspired scripture by the Catholic Church, we find a very interesting description of the pagan practices of the Babylonians, who at the time held the Jews in captivity. The following quotation is from the Catholic Douay Rheims Bible:

Baruch 6:3 But now, you shall see in Babylon gods of gold, and of silver, and of stone, and of wood borne upon the shoulders, causing fear to the Gentiles.
Baruch 6:4 Beware therefore that you imitate not the doings of others, and be afraid, and the fear of them should seize upon you.
Baruch 6:5 But when you see the multitude behind, and before, adoring them, say you in your hearts: Thou oughtest to be adored, O Lord.
Baruch 6:6 For my angel is with you: And I myself will demand an account of your souls.
Baruch 6:7 For their tongue that is polished by the craftsman, and themselves laid over with gold and silver, are false things, and they cannot speak.
Baruch 6:8 And as if it were for a maiden that loveth to go gay: so do they take gold and make them up.
Baruch 6:9 Their gods have golden crowns upon their heads; whereof the priests secretly convey away from them gold, and silver, and bestow it on themselves.

So clearly it was the practice of the pagan Babylonians to crown the statues of their gods. This Pagan practice has also been adopted by the Roman Catholic Church.

Below you see John Paul II himself, bowing down and paying homage to crowned statues of Mary, the "Queen of Heaven", in direct violation of the Commandments of God:

Exo 20:4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
From the "Be Not Afraid" series of videos, Copyright ©1992,
Apostolate for Family Consecration


Exo 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, ...
From the "Be Not Afraid" series of videos, Copyright ©1992,
Apostolate for Family Consecration 

Here is a better photo of John Paul II bowing down before a crowned statue of Mary in front of St. Peter's Cathedral in an ACT OF CONSECRATION TO THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY.

Dan 11:38 But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things.

This statue of Mary and the Christ child is in the Church of the Virgin of the Pillar, Zaragoza, Spain. The wooden 15 inch high statue stands on a six foot high jasper pillar covered with gold, silver and bronze. Around the statue is a field of 148 stars, 80 of which are studded with jewels.

Images from the book
"Miraculous Images of Our Lady",
by Joan Carroll Cruz -Copyright © 1993,
TAN Books and Publishers, INC.,
Rockford, Illinois 61105.

On occasion this statue is also draped with a gold embroidered cape which is heavily studded with jewels, and a golden aureole is added around the jewel encrusted sunburst halo.

La Virgen del Pilar

Below on the left is a typical depiction of "The Blessed Virgin Mary", the "Queen of Heaven", with a quite sizeable sunburst behind her head and the children of Fatima kneeling at her feet. The sunburst has become quite pervasive in the various forms of Catholic religious imagery. The sunburst is also referred to as an aureole, nimbus, or halo, and is a very common device to designate divinity or holiness in various forms of religious art. A sun worshipping pagan entering a Catholic cathedral for the first time would immediately recognize his god, the sun, in virtually every painting or icon, and feel right at home.

Our Lady of Fatima

The goddess Isis of Egypt, the sun disk above
her head, with the infant Horus.

The British Museum.


Above - coin of the pagan emperor Constantine I, inscribed on the reverse with SOLI INVICTO COMITI - Sol, Invincible Comrade (of Constantine ) with the sun god wearing a rayed solar crown, and one hand raised in blessing, the other hand holding a globe. Below - coin of Pope Innocent XII dated 1698 with a virtually identical figure supposedly representing Christ, inscribed IPSE EST PAX NOSTRA - He is our peace.

Catholics acknowledge the pagan origin of the aureole / nimbus / halo:

   Why is a halo put on the head of a statue of a Saint, and what is its symbolic meaning?
The halo, or circle, which is supposed to represent a ring of light, is symbolic of the light of grace bestowed by God. It may be regarded in art as the development of the aureole, the nimbus and the gloria.
   The aureole is a cloud or glow of light in oval form surrounding the whole figure. The nimbus is a cloud or glow of light around the head. The gloria is light emanating from the body.
   The halo or nimbus around the head of Christ is symbolic of His divinity.
   The pagans used such devices before the Christian Era to signify power and majesty or prominence. Even in the Christian Era the symbols were used for famous personages, but Pope Urban III (1623- 1644) forbade the use of the nimbus for persons who are not at least beatified.

Source:  The Catholic Universe Bulletin, Official Newspaper of the Cleveland Diocese, August 14th, 1942, The Question Box.

In the plastic arts (painting and sculpture) the symbolism of the nimbus was early in use among the pagans who determined its form. In the monuments of Hellenic and Roman art, the heads of the gods, heroes, and other distinguished persons are often found with a disc-shaped halo, a circle of light, or a rayed-fillet. They are, therefore, associated especially with gods and creatures of light such as the Phoenix. The disc of light is likewise used in the Pompeian wall paintings to typify gods and demigods only, but later, in profane art it was extended to cherubs or even simple personifications, and is simply a reminder that the figures so depicted are not human. In the miniatures of the oldest Virgil manuscript all the great personages wear a nimbus. The custom of the Egyptian and Syrian kings of having themselves represented with a rayed crown to indicate the status of demigods, spread throughout the East and the West. In Rome the halo was first used only for deceased emperors as a sign of celestial bliss, but afterwards living rulers also were given the rayed crown, and after the third century, although not first by Constantine, the simple rayed nimbus. Under Constantine the rayed crown appears only in exceptional cases on the coin, and was first adopted emblematically by Julian the Apostate. Henceforth the nimbus appears without rays, as the emperors now wished themselves considered worthy of great honour, but no longer as divine beings. In early Christian art, the rayed nimbus as well as the rayless disc were adopted in accordance with tradition. The sun and the Phoenix received, as in pagan art, a wreath or a rayed crown, also the simple halo. The latter was reserved not only for emperors but for men of genius and personifications of all kinds, although both in ecclesiastical and profane art, this emblem was usually omitted in ideal figures. In other cases the influence of ancient art tradition must not be denied.

Source: The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913 edition, online - Nimbus.

Here is a web page with a number of pictures of statues and paintings of Mary. Note that many contain a sunburst and portray Mary as the crowned "Queen of Heaven":

The MaryTalk Picture Gallery

Note the following pictures that each contain pagan sun images.

Church of St. Catherine of Alexandria in Bethlehem.
St. Catherine's in Bethlehem (at night).
The Cloister window in Bethlehem.
Traditional birthplace of Jesus - Basilica of the Nativity, Bethlehem.
Bethlehem homepage for the above links.

Golgatha, Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem.
Homepage for the above link.

New sunburst dome for the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Judg 2:13 And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.

Baal worship is sun worship, and Ashtoreth / Ishtar / Astarte is the queen of heaven. This is why there are so many sunburst images in Catholicism and why Mary is called the Queen of heaven. It is the apostasy of idol worship of Baal and Ashtaroth in the church - yet again.

It is as true today as it was then, just with different names.

Go to The Miracle of the Sun