Catholic Superstition?


Q. Why do Catholics use “good luck charms” like medals and relics of the saints in order to perfom miracles? Why is that not superstitious?

A. It does sound superstitious at first. And perhaps there have been Catholics who used these things in a purely superstitious way. But we would not know for sure unless we questioned them.

Of course, the Catholic Church teaches that only God can perform a miracle. However, everyone will agree that He can perform these miracles any way He wants to. So He can act directly or indirectly. We know that He usually likes to work through people, like Moses-to free the people of Israel, Jacob and the people of Israel -to conquer the land of Canaan, Mary -to usher in the Messiah, etc. God could have just zapped it and gotten it done but He didn’t.

At other times He has acted through inanimate objects like the time in 2 Kings 13:20.

Elisha died and was buried. Now Moabite raiders used to enter the country every spring. 21 Once while some Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a band of raiders; so they threw the man’s body into Elisha’s tomb. When the body touched Elisha’s bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet.

When a dead man came back to life when he touched the bones of the long dead prophet Elisha.

And in Acts 5:15-16 miraculous cures occurred through Peter’s shadow.

As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16 Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed.

And, people who touched handkerchiefs that St. Paul had touched were healed (Acts 19:11-12).

God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.

The miracles that occurred through the inanimate objects above showed the intercessory power of these saints of God. So, also today, miracles that occur when praying with an object related to one of the saints is simply a variation of intercessory prayer. The saint prays to God and He answers the prayer –or He doesn’t. It is not a slam dunk.

The historical facts and foundation of this practice is simply because, at various times and in various ways God Himself chose to act in supernatural ways in response to prayers and the use of medals and relics. So, apparently He doesn’t see anything wrong with the practice.

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4 Responses

  1. The relics like medals, scapulars and Holy water etc. are sacramentals (ie. sacred signs, be it objects or actions like blessing ourselves, or wearing a scapular). These things possess attributes of the sacraments which were instituted by Christ (e.g. blessing ourselves with water and the sacrament of Baptism). The seven Holy sacraments, instituted by Christ effect grace by virtue of themselves (e.g. Holy Communion and Reconciliation). The effects of sacramentals (like reminders of the sacraments, prayer and reverence) come from prayer of the Catholic church, therefore the sacramentals impart grace according to the meaning and dispositon of the recipients and the intersession of the church. These “expressions of piety”, extend the liturgical life of the church but must NEVER replace church. Practicing the seven sacraments indeed imparts grace on its recipients, partaking and wearing sacramentals remind Catholics who they are, prepare us to recieve grace, remind us to keep our eyes on Christ, to remember God’s will, to pray and what is most important..GOD!
    *See CCC 1667 – 1676

  2. Hi and thanks for the above post!

    If ancient and sacred objects help bless us by their use is a miracle…We need all the help we can find!

    If you have a moment or two please read the below…

    Gods’ Miracles
    August 17, 2009 by Philip Edwards |

    After several hours and days of prayer for an Understanding Heart, this writer suddenly realized an absolute truth. This truth slammed his eyes, as if he was hit by a combination of hammer and sweat… This truth was not a positive and powerful creation. The strength of Paul (Saul) was realized by blindness and the right hands of our Creators. He became a disciple and a martyr. Presently: This writer did not see a vision or hear a direct one-on-one-type communication. This truth was a simple choice and a simple direction and a simple result.

    Through Understanding and Respect and Peace and Love our world will know of Gods’ Miracles and will survive the evils of war and the greed of destruction. The belief in God(s) is fostered by Faith. Faith is strong when the belly is full. Faith is strong when death is real and near…And the voice of reason and love may be able to welcome all mankind into the future of unanimous religious expressions.

    From our Mother and Father of Creation we so need just one gift. We need a simple act for salvation and for our survivals…Please send us an Angel and please send us a Miracle for we are already neck-deep in our destruction. Worldwide Death is already upon us. We once again need those firey chariots and the power of peace.

    Peace and Love and Understanding for us all…

    Thanks again,

    Phil Edwards
    (pmespeak.com)

  3. These are all superstions cloaked in babel.

  4. It depends on faith and the intelligence of the believer. Do not judge, because that judgment comes right back to you. If your faith is childish, beware; but if your faith is childlike, rejoice!

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