A collection of various works taken from online resources in fidelity to the teaching of the Magisterium and by the authority of the Roman Catholic Apostolic Church.

Is Praying to the Saints Idolatrous?

 First, because you’re “going to someone other than Christ.”
  •  Evangelical author Greg Koukl has written about how we should “never read a Bible verse.” His meaning is that Scripture has to be read in its proper context.
  •  It’s easy to take an isolated phrase out of context and distort its meaning
  •  That famous “sole Mediator” line is taken from half a sentence in St. Paul’s first letter to Timothy.
  •  in context, Paul is teaching in favor of intercessory prayer, not against it (1 Timothy 2:1-6)
  •  First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way. This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as ransom for all, the testimony to which was borne at the proper time.
  •  So Christ’s singular act of Mediation, par excellence, is the Cross. Paul doesn’t conclude from this that we shouldn’t pray and intercede for others, but that we should, since God desires that all men be saved.
  •  So it’s not wrong for me to pray for you. But is it wrong for you to ask me to pray for you? Clearly not. St. Paul does exactly that with the Roman Christians in Romans 15:30-32, writing,  I appeal to you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf, that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company.
 A second reason praying to the Saints might be idolatry is that we overdo it.
  •  Taken seriously, you would have to count up the number of minutes you spent speaking to your spouse or spending time with your kids, and make sure that you were spending at least that much time in prayer to God… otherwise, you worship your spouse or kids!
  •  You don’t limit how much you love your neighbor because you think that it might make God jealous. Obeying the second Great Commandment doesn’t threaten your fidelity to the first (see Matthew 22:36-40); instead, your love of neighbor flows from your love of God.
 A third reason it might be idolatry is that it’s worship by definition.
  •  the English word “prayer” has two other relevant meanings: to ask for something (e.g., “pray tell,” “we pray this Court for relief,” etc.), and to venerate someone.
  •  In Roman Catholic faith and practice, God alone is the object of worship (latria). However, veneration (doulia) is given to saints who have “run the race”, “finished the course”, and have received “a crown of life”. It is also important to realize that no Catholic has an obligation jure divino of venerating either relics, icons, or saints. While this kind of devotion is not necessary for salvation, the Church recognizes the usefulness of such forms of devotion, recommends them to its members, and resists any condemnation or contempt of such practices (cf. Council of Trent, Session 25).
  •  Catholics and Protestants agree that worshiping the Saints is idolatry. But that doesn’t prove that venerating the Saints is. We see honor and veneration given to the Saints in Scripture: for example, the entirety of Hebrews 11, praising various Saints who came before us, and holding them up as encouragement that we might emulate them (Heb. 12:1-3).
 Fourth, it might be worship because it seems to involve “contacting the spiritual world.”
  •  the Incarnation was founded upon idolatry, since that began with the Virgin Mary’s conversation with the Angel Gabriel (Luke 1:26-38). Zechariah actually speaks to an angel while in the Holy of Holies (Luke 1:8-22)
  •  John actually goes further, speaking both to angels (Revelation 10:9, etc.) and to one of the elders (Rev. 7:13-14) in Heaven. And as I’ve mentioned recently, we’ve got the example of the man praying to Abraham in Luke 16:23-24, as well as the conversation in 2 Maccabees 15:12-16.
  •  Speaking to creatures (including angels and elders) in Heaven isn’t wrong: worshipping them is.
 Scripture Praises Prayer to Mary
  •  Does He inspire Mary (or any of the Apostles, or anyone in Scripture) to warn future generations against honoring Mary too much? Quite the opposite. Instead, Mary foretells and praises the veneration that future generations will pay to her (Luke 1:46-49):  My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth, all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
  •  Protestants tend to want to interpret this in a cautious, minimalist manner, but that’s just not how most generations of Christians honored Mary. And that matters, since Mary affirms the praise given her by “all generations,” not just the carefully limited honor paid her by generations of Protestants after the Reformation.
  •  she says that it’s on account of the Holiness of His Name and the great things He has done for her that this veneration occurs in the first place. Honoring Mary honors the God who blessed her beyond all women.
  •  That doesn’t mean that you’re obliged to pray to Mary or the Saints, but it means that you’re free to: “For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).
 Praying to the Saints is the Opposite of Idolatry
  •  When we ask Mary or the Saints or the angels to pray for us, we’re not saying, “God is too powerless to answer my prayers on His own, can you help?” Quite the opposite. If God were impotent, the prayers of Mary, the Saints and the angels would be worthless. So prayer to the Saints is built on the belief that God is mighty to save. It’s a total rejection of the idolatrous claims about God’s insufficiency.
  •  Prayer to the Saints relies upon the idea that God is sovereign, and powerful or loving enough to answer the prayers we’re asking the Saints to make for us.
  •  Veneration and worship aren’t the same thing, and they’re treated quite differently in Scripture.
  •  In the early Church, converts from Judaism couldn’t bring themselves to eat meat sacrificed to idols. Even if they logically knew it wasn’t idolatry, it still felt wrong.
  •  Paul’s reaction (in Romans 14-15 and elsewhere) was to call both sides to stop judging each other. He acknowledged that everything had been made clean, but still called upon the Gentiles to respect the scruples of their Jewish brethren; likewise, the Jews couldn’t force their scruples upon the Gentiles (Rom. 14:2-4). All were entreated to follow their conscience, since violating conscience is a sin (Rom. 14:5, 14, 23).
 SOURCE: http://www.churchpop.com/2015/04/23/is-praying-to-the-saints-idolatrous/

1 comment:

Confused said...

I like this article. Thanks for posting it.

"To condescend to the humblest duties, and to devote oneself to the lowliest service is an exercise of humility: for thus one is able to heal the disease of pride and human glory."

- Decretal on Penance (D. II., cap. Si quis semel)