Understanding Roman Catholicism
Praying to Saints
The Catechism admonishes members to pray to those who, because of their good works, have been declared by the church to be "saints:"
"The witnesses who have preceded us into the kingdom, especially those whom the Church recognizes as saints, share in the living tradition of prayer by the example of their lives... They contemplate God, praise him and constantly care for those whom they have left on earth. Their intercession is their most exalted service to God's plan. We can and should ask them to intercede for us and for the whole world." Pg. 645, #2683 (See also Pg. 249, #956)
This chapter must begin by defining the word "saint." Catholicism teaches that a saint is one of a select few who, because of good works while alive, is declared a saint after death:
"By canonizing some of the faithful, i.e., by solemnly proclaiming that they practiced heroic virtue and lived in fidelity to God's grace, the Church recognizes the power of the Spirit of holiness within her and sustains the hope of believers by proposing the saints to them as models and intercessors." Pg. 219, #828
According to Scripture, however, anyone who is born again by faith in Christ is a saint. Paul wrote to all the saints (Christians) in Rome:
"To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ." Romans 1:7
Many other verses express the same truth:
"Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;" Ephesians 3:8
"...Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints," Jude 1:14
"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:" Ephesians 4:11-12
(See also Acts 9:13; 9:32; 9:41; 26:10; Romans 8:27; 12:13; 15:25; 15:26; 15:31; 16:2; 16:15; 1 Cor-inthians 6:1, 2 Corinthians 1:1, Ephesians 1:1, plus dozens of other New Testament references.)
Why this doctrine?
In short, the scenario goes like this. Catholicism discarded the scriptural definition of a "saint" and devised a new one, then instructed members to pray to these unscriptural "saints."
The question is, why pray to anyone else when the God of the universe is in heaven waiting to hear and answer prayers?
Are "saints" intercessors?
Supposedly, these so-called saints "intercede with the Father for us." But we have already learned that Jesus Christ is our only intercessor. Therefore, to suggest otherwise is but a man made tradition.
Here's another interesting Catechism quote concerning saints:
"Exactly as Christian communion among our fellow pilgrims brings us closer to Christ, so our communion with the saints joins us to Christ..." Pg. 249-250, #957
According to the Catholic church, praying to saints brings people closer to Christ. However, you will not find this doctrine in Scripture either. It is another tradition of men that neither Jesus nor the Bible ever taught.
In fact, this practice of communing with the dead treads dangerously close to necromancy, another practice strongly condemned in the Bible. (See Deuteronomy 18:10-12.)
The nagging question you must answer here is: Why would the Catholic church rather have members pray to dead men than to the living, all-powerful, prayer-answering God?
Keep in mind that if these traditions of men are not true, then all your prayers to "saints" are but worthless chatter.
If you pray to God, though, you may claim many wonderful Biblical promises:
"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:16
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Understanding Roman Catholicism © 1995 by Rick Jones