Mary and the Saints are NOT Divine



BFHU: Mary and the Saints can only hear our millions of prayers by the power of God… Mary and the Saints are not Divine”

Joseph; That is a complete contradiction in terms. If they are not divine, they cannot hear millions of prayers to pray about them.

BFHU: Why is it a contradiction???

BFHU:
Of course they cannot hear the prayers of us on Earth by their human power. But, with God all things are possible. It is by HIS power of course. So the divine power comes from God, which makes them mere human beings.

Joseph: Hence, heaven does not make “saints” or the priesthood of all believers automatically supernatural-divine-like intercessors upon death.

BFHU: Correct.

Joseph: We can just derive assumptions without a biblical basis.

BFHU: I am going to guess that you meant “We can’t just derive assumptions without a biblical basis. And I will ask you “Why not?” The Protestant teaching of sola scriptural or Bible Alone is not scriptural. It is a tradition of men begun 500 years ago by Martin Luther.
It is amusing that one of Protestantisms most relied upon weapon against the Catholic Church, which is the demand, “Where is that in Scripture?” Is itself not scriptural.

Joseph; .. I am merely raising a very simple and logical proposition that is a complete paradox to focusing prayers to ordinary but blessed human beings.

BFHU: What we mean by “Prayers to the Saints” means asking them for intercessory prayer. Protestants believe in intercessory prayer. They are just not used to asking the Saints in Heaven to pray for them.

Joseph: I believe the cloud of witnesses can at times see and hear what’s going on, however, there is no biblical concept that reveals some humans are greater than others in relation to praying to them. I think they have better things to do than pray 24/7 for millions of roman catholics

BFHU: Thank you for your opinion but it is merely that. Your opinion. It is not convincing and it is not scriptural
I am not trying to offend. I just want you to realize that Protestants also believe things that are not scriptural. They seem to give themselves that freedom without a second thought. But, when it comes to anything Catholic they demand SCRIPTURE and if it is not forthcoming they condemn Catholics as heretics.

The Saints, not Transcendent, Can’t Hear Your Prayers



JD: Being in Heaven does not cause people to become transcendent. They do not cease to pass through time one moment at a time and begin to exist in all time simultaneously as God does.

BFHU:
I find it interesting that you do not want to believe me when I say that the Saints are NOT transcendent. They are mere humans empowered by the power of God.

JD: Please understand that when you add things that God did not give us we cannot put any confidence in it. For you to say that I cannot prove to you that your doctrine is wrong to your satisfaction so therefore you will treat your doctrine as if it is a fact is simply saying that you do not love the truth.

BFHU: You do this as do all Protestants. Protestants want to hold the Catholic Church bound, to Scripture alone. And YET THEY HAVE NO SCRIPTURAL PROOF THAT WE SHOULD BE BOUND TO SCRIPTURE ALONE. The irony is that, the Doctrine of Sola Scriptura is UNSCRIPTURAL. Satan has played a cruel joke on Sola Scriptura Protestants.

JD: You will believe it regardless of whether it may be shown to be true or not. When I show you Scripture that contradicts your doctrine you simply say that there is some remote possibility that you may interpret that scripture in some way that may allow your doctrine, so you will continue to hold onto it as if it is a fact.

BFHU: Interpretation is the crux of the issue. Do you have the ability to interpret scripture infallibly? Do your pastors? The Catholic Church does claim that ability, therefore I and all Catholics are NOT BOUND to your interpretation of Scipture, your pastor’s interpretation or any other Protestant’s interpretation. Sorry….

JD: Don’t you see that you have no reason to put confidence in it to begin with? Don’t you see that you must put hope in a twisted interpretation of Scripture in order to have any hope at all that it might be an acceptable belief, and that this is the best you can hope for?

BFHU: You are wrong. The interpretations of Scriptures and the beliefs of the Catholic Church (founded by Jesus Christ Himself) have been the doctrines of our faith for 2000 years. Protestantism and all the varied and contradicting doctrines among themselves, have only been around for about 500 years. Why should I, or any Catholic, trust a new religion founded by mere men trying to convince the world that they rediscovered the true faith? Sorry, but no thank you.

Mary and the Saints are not Omnipresent



Karine,  Mary and the saints are not omniscient or omnipresent-they are not God! So they cannot hear every catholic that are praying…oups, sorry, asking intercessory prayer for them!

BFHU:  You are right. They, in their humanity alone, could never hear all the prayer requests that they get. But with God all things are possible.

Karine,   That is a very simple reply. Could you please elaborate on what you believe might be the process in which they gain the ability of hearing everybody and be present for everybody, with without being given divine abilities? And back it up with scriptures or other sources of your choice?

BFHU: Karine, I can no more tell you how the Saints are able to hear all the prayer request we make to them than I can explain how, Joseph accurately interpreted the Pharoh’s dream, Moses parted the Red Sea, or Elijah prayed down fire on his altar to God that burned up more than any ordinary fire. None of them were personally given divine abilities. Divinity empowered them. God worked through them. Why?

He didn’t NEED to use humans to accomplish what He wanted to do. But, we see all throughout the OT that this is His preferred Method of Operation. This has not changed. I am sure that you agree that God has the power to enable Mary and the Saints to hear our prayer requests. You are just not convinced He does this. That is fair.

Ask yourself why, since, “with God all things are possible,” that anyone can condemn the practice of asking our brothers and sisters in Christ who just happen to be alive in Heaven, to pray for us? What is really wrong with that?

Why Do You Always Ask Protestants for Scripture Support?



Mark: In many of the reply’s I have read on your site, I have seen “scripture support please” many times in your response to someone’s post.

BFHU: I often ask Protestants to support their assertions with scripture b/c they are blind to the fact that, just like Catholics, many of the things they believe and assert are not actually spelled out in Scripture either. Protestants too, have their traditions in doctrine. Most Protestants hold to the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, that all religious truth must be in Scripture or else it is to be condemned. And yet this very foundational belief is nowhere to be found in scripture! So, they

4″Theytie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but theythemselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger. -Matthew 23:4

Protestants constantly ask Catholics,
Where is Purgatory in Scripture?
Where is the immaculate conception in scripture?
Where is the Pope in scripture? etc.
But, I ask,

Where is Sola Scriptura in Scripture?

Catholics have never claimed that every doctrine taught by the Apostles (TRADITION) is spelled out in Scripture. So, when I cannot cite scripture to spell out a doctrine I believe, and that the Church teaches, it does not bother me, as Protestants think that it should.

We try very hard to find what scriptural support there is for Protestants who ask for it, in the hope that they will see that we do have many scriptures that supports our beliefs, even if Protestants don’t agree with our interpretation. We hope they will at least see that our interpretation is just as legitimate as theirs.

Mark: To use the argument “where in the Bible does it say it is not true”, not true?” in my opinion, is not the strongest of positions to take.

BFHU: I agree. And I do not mean to imply that anything goes as long as it is not condemned in Scripture. If our beliefs were found neither in scripture nor in the beliefs of the the earliest Christians, I could not believe them either.

Mark: So now I respectfully ask for scripture support regarding your response to my question.

BFHU: You actually said,

“Please give me scriptural support for praying to Mary when God has made himself available to me? If you cannot provide the scriptural support, can you please provide me a logical reason for doing this?

Rather than try to give scriptural support, I took you up on the option of giving a logical reason for the intercession of the saints. That this practice proceeds naturally from the doctrine of the Body of Christ residing in Heaven .

The Scripture passages I would use to support the intercession of the Saints, would be the passages about the Body of Christ, or the exhortation for us to pray for one another, (in spite of the fact that God has made Himself available to us) but I am sure that you already know these. And yet these ARE the very verses that underlie our practice of asking the Saints for intercessory prayer.

These verses are rejected by Protestants b/c they are convinced that we are REALLY worshiping the saints and not merely asking them to pray for us. So, Protestants want us to produce a scripture that says “Worship Mary and the saints.” because that is what they think we believe. But we DO NOT!!! We merely believe in intercessory prayer among the members of the Body of Christ, even the members who are alive in Heaven. This is not really contrary to anything Protestants know about the power of God. It is just new to them.

Why Not Just Pray to Jesus?



Mark: Why would God provide the ultimate sacrifice in Jesus Christ and then convolute the process for which mankind should understand this sacrifice by allowing prayers to Mary?

BFHU: “Praying to Mary” which is really asking her for her intercession does not in any way convolute the sacrifice of Jesus. Just as we ask friends and loved ones to pray for us; we also ask heros of the faith, in Heaven, to pray for us.

Mark: When Christ said that he is the way, the truth and the life, did he know what he was
talking about? Absolutely! God doe not lie. Do His words leave room for any other truth or exception? Absolutely not! If then, he is the Only Way and truth, then why would I need to pray to anyone else except to him?
BFHU: Mark, you are mixing together two issues. Catholic Faith affirms that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life. That is one thing. Intercessory prayer is another issue and  in no way contradicts who Jesus is, His sacrifice, Salvation etc. Intercessory prayer is simply one member of the Body of Christ, asking another member to join him in prayer, to God. This in no way nullifies anything Christ is or has done for us. Mary and the Saints are  human. They have finished the race and are in Heaven.

Mark: More to the point,
why would I want to pray to anyone else when Christ has provided the means for me to talk directly to God?

BFHU: We are not praying TO the Saints. We are asking for their intercession. Just like we ask for friends to pray for us.
Mark:Regarding the current relationship between Mary and Jesus, my sister-in-law said
to me, “Mary knows how to nudge Jesus just the right way to get him to move on your behalf”.
BFHU: This is just how your sister-in-law explains it or understands it. This is not how the Church explains it.

Mark:This saddens me because the implication is that God doesn’t know you unless she (Mary) speaks for you.
BFHU: You are jumping to a conclusion that we do not believe.

Mark:This brought to my minds eye a picture of
a dog trainer showing his dog a new trick. Is God the teacher or the student?
BFHU:The Teacher

Mark:The Creator or the created?
BFHU: The Creator.

Mark:Can the most Holy of Holies be manipulated and lead in this way? Of course not! He wouldn’t be God if this was true. God is omnipresent and knows everyone of our hearts and our desires.

BFHU:Agreed
Mark:Is Mary? Why then pray to Mary?
BFHU: Because she is the Mother of Our Lord. Jesus honors His mother in conformity to His Word. She is a living part of the Body of Christ and we are exhorted to pray for one another. Mary desires to pray for us. If you forbid asking our brothers and sisters in Heaven to pray for us, then how can you permit asking our brothers and sisters with us in time pray for us? What Scripture supports this dichotomy?

Mark:. He also said that heaven is a place where there is no more suffering and tears. If this is true then how could a heavenly mere mortal (Mary), looking down from heaven,
not feel sorrow and hurt as she looked down onto a hurting and troubled world?

BFHU: In the same way that God the father Jesus and the Holy Spirit, also in Heaven look down upon the suffering in this world. “They are compassionate but it does not cause them sorrow.” –St. Augusine in Confessions.

Mark:Psalms 118:8 reads, “ It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in
man“.
BFHU: I agree.
Mark:This verse may mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people but
for me it means that I should continue to seek the LORD with all my heart and He will be faithful to open the door of understanding. God has said for me/you to knock and seek so that I/we can get to know him on a very personal level.

BFHU: I agree.
Mark:That said, is there a need for a created mediator to help me with this?
BFHU:Absoutely! Faith comes by Hearing. A created mediator must read and teach for us to hear so that faith may come to us. God  makes a habit of working through the mediation of mere human beings all through Scripture, OT & NT. He made the Israelites conquer Canaan when He could have just wiped them out and opened it up for Israel. He wanted the apostles to preach the Gospel to all when He could have just infused the Gospel into every heart supernaturally. these are just two examples of hundreds.
Mark:Dogma, creed and tradition are the fathers of all religions. To tradition I say,
it is good as long as it does not contradict the words of God as written in the
Bible.

BFHU: Good. Then you will be happy to know that none of our Traditions, Dogmas, or creed contradict anything in the Word of God.

Mark:Request:
Please give me scriptural support for praying to Mary when God has made himself available to me?
BFHU: We are not obligated to pray to Mary. I will give scriptural support if you can prove with scripture that all Christian beliefs and practices MUST be found in Scripture.

Mark; If you cannot provide the scriptural support, can you please
provide me a logical reason for doing this?

BFHU: I think I have already done this. Members of the Body of Christ, on Earth, in Heaven or Purgatory love and care about each other and pray for one another as exhorted in James to do. That is all there is to it.

Where do Catholics get this stuff?



Q.Where did Christ: Teach us to erect statues of His mom and make beaded necklaces to hold and pray to His mom with? Teach us to erect statues of dead people, great servants of God or not, and put them in our churches?

BFHU: But where in Scripture is it forbidden? Statues and pictures were used to remind thousands of generations of Christians, unable to read, about the stories and people of the Bible, as well as heroes of the faith. That is a very good thing and still a wonderful tradition in our churches. There is nothing scripturally wrong with it.

Q. Is Peter really the Rock upon whom the church is founded, or is Christ the eternal Rock whom Peter confessed, the real foundation?

BFHU Both. Of course, Jesus is the Foundation but there is no denying that Jesus said to Peter

” Rock (Peter), upon this Rock I will build my Church”

Q.Peter is not strong enough to be the foundation of the Church of Christ, only Christ is!!!

BFHU: Not by himself, but supported by Jesus he can do all things, in Christ.

Q.We all represent Christ here!! Christ in us is the true Rock of the Church.

BFHU That is true in one way. But it does not refute the Truth that Jesus founded a Church and He founded it upon Peter and gave him and his successors the Keys of the Kingdom to bind and loose. (a Hebrew idiom that means to rule)

Q.Where did Christ:Teach us to believe that Mary never sinned and has already ascended to heaven, making her equal to Jesus Christ?

BFHU Mary is not equal to Jesus. We believe in the Trinity. Mary is fully human and not divine. She is human in exactly the same way as Adam and Eve were in the fullness and sinlessnes of humanity. Adam and Eve sinned. Mary by the graces and power of God, not her own strength, did not sin. Gabriel addresses her as FULL OF GRACE. This is her title. If one is FULL of grace there is no room for sin.

Q. Christ is the only one who is sinless!!

BFHU: No. Many humans may have a fallen nature but are not guilty of sin. Innocent babies and children who have not reached the age of accountablility. Nevertheless, they all need a savior. As did Mary. She was saved from a fallen nature, before she sinned .

Q. We all await the resurrection, He is the first-fruits. You deny the grace of God when you say that Jesus couldn’t be born by a woman, a normal human like you and me, yes a servant of God, but human, with sin, dead, alive in the spirit, yes, but powerless to save you.

BFHU: God could have been born by any woman He chose. But why not create a pure vessel to reside in for nine months and to be your mother?

Q. Read Acts. Baptism is a symbolic act by a conscious choice, by a repentant person to turn from sin and choose Christ for salvation. That’s what Baptism is. A baby can’t do that. A baby can’t repent. A baby doesn’t know what sin is. You can splash all the water on their head that you want, but don’t call it what it isn’t. It’s not baptism. Jesus got baptized when he was 30.

BFHU Please see my post Infant Baptism You make many assertions in your comments about baptism. Please back them up with scripture. I believe that what you have said above is Protestant Tradition about Baptism. Not asserted in Sacred Scripture.

Q. I know these aren’t all the teachings and maybe you’ll say they aren’t right, and maybe you don’t practice them, but you are still supporting them. And I know also that many Protestant churces are full of idolatrous worship and bad doctrine. If you look up the true doctrine of the Roman Catholic church, you will find these and many others. If these teachings aren’t found in the Scriptures, even in the Apocrypha which I enjoy, good Jewish history, then where are they from? Man? You can try to support these things with interpretation from the Scripture but in the end, they just aren’t there and you are left standing on the teachings of deceived men.

BFHU We accept and believe in the inerrancy of Sacred Scripture. BUT…it must be interpreted. We have historical, 2000 year-old, interpretations to draw upon. Protestant interpretations are only about 500 years old or less. I will go with the ancient faith, thank you.

Q. The Bible is the only objective (unbiased) source we have to know that what we teach is the truth. If man’s teaching can’t be found in the Scriptures, then how can we know it’s true? Jesus taught the Law and the Prophets, the Scriptures. That’s what we have to teach today, the Scriptures. Don’t you want to know that you know the truth? for sure?

BFHU I do want the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth. I have examined the scriptures and the historical claims of the Protestant Churches and the Catholic Church. I did not want to be Catholic but I had no Choice when I examined the competing claims or the Protestants and the Catholics. You might want to read my Conversion Story

Q. Please, read the Scriptures.
BFHU; As you may have seen from my Conversion Story, I have certainly done this extensively.

Q.You must worship in spirit and truth. The apostles didn’t even imagine the things that the Catholic church is doing.
BFHU How can you KNOW what the apostles imagined? John clearly says that the world could not contain all the books if they were to be written about everything Jesus did. John 21:25

Q.Turn from idolatry. Repent. Turn to the Lord, Jesus Christ.

BFHU I know you mean well. But Sola Scriptura is a Protestant Tradition of men.

Prayers to the Dead Are Forbidden in Scripture? WHERE?


ADAM: praying to the dead (saint or not) is forbidden in scripture.

BFHU: Where does scripture actually say that “praying to the dead is forbidden“? Asking a dead person for direction is DIVINATION! This is what is condemned in the Deut. 18 passage. Divination is NOT in any way comparable to the request for intercessory prayer for those who are ALIVE in CHRIST.

ADAM: Stop twisting James 5:16 to make your point. That passage based on its context is clearly speaking of praying for each other (we being alive) and not praying to a dead person to pray for something.

BFHU: I have not twisted James 5:16

16Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

The members of the Body of Christ, whether in Heaven or on Earth do pray for one another. The Saints in Heaven are righteous. So, their prayers are effective and accomplish much. My interpretation is different than yours . That is all. We, unlike Protestants do not view those who have died in the flesh to be dead and gone but Souls ALIVE IN CHRIST.

ADAM: Praying to (not for) someone is worshiping them! Your actions are ascribing power to that person which they do not posses and that only God possesses. The Bible forbids not only prayer for the dead but also to the dead (regardless if they were saints or not)

BFHU: Praying to someone is NOT worshiping them. We DO NOT ascribe personal power to the Saints but it is rather the power of God and the will of God that determines the answer to our request for intercessory prayer. I

t only seems like we are doing this b/c you have only been taught to pray to the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Therefore, in your mind and in your experience all of your prayer is directed to deity. But we speak to our fellow Christians in Heaven through prayer and we know the difference between asking them for intercessory prayer and worship of deity. It is extremely uncharitable for Protestants to jump to the conclusion that a Catholic praying in front of a picture or statue of Mary is worshiping her. It only appears so to them b/c they have never experienced the difference between prayer and worship. To them it is all one and the same.

Where does the Bible forbid prayers for the dead? In the Greek Old Testament, from which Jesus quoted and the Apostles received from the Jewish people, there is a commendation of prayers for the dead in:

II Maccabees 12: 42 Turning to supplication, they prayed that the sinful deed might be fully blotted out. The noble Judas warned the soldiers to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen.
43 He then took up a collection among all his soldiers, amounting to two thousand silver drachmas, which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice. In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the dead in view;
44for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death.
45But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought.
46 Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin.

ADAM: Speaking of worshipping Mary, what about worshipping the Pope? How many Catholics worship the pope and he allows it. He’s referred to by many different names: His Holiness, Holy See, Prince Of Peace, etc, and people bow down to him with his

BFHU: We do not worship the pope. We honor him. Bowing down is not exclusively a sign of worship. It can be. But it depends upon what is in the heart. Did President Obama worship the Arab king last month when he bowed to him? Does bowing or kneeling before the Queen of England make all who do the worshipers of the Queen? They even used to address dignitaries as “Your worship” but it was merely a sign of deep respect not actual WORSHIP as in that reserved for GOD.

ADAM: When the pagans tried to worship Paul the Apostle in Acts, he quickly rebuked them and told them that he was a mere man like they were. Yet I don’t see the pope showing any disapproval when they worship him.

Paul was right to forbid them to worship him. But the pope KNOWS we do not worship him but are merely showing deep respect for the representative of Jesus Christ on Earth in time.

Please believe me when I say I am not making any of this up. I used to view the Catholic Church exactly like you do. We and many, many Protestants are taught things about the Catholic Church that are unfounded lies, half-truths, and assumptions based on nothing but opinion. These have been passed down from one generation to the next for 500 years. Some are almost exact quotes of Martin Luther’s caulmny.

I would recommend my post Necromancy and Prayers to the Saints.

I Was Taught to Pray to Mary as a Catholic Child



WG: I used to be a catholic until I started to read the Bible .

BFHU: Do you know how you came to have a Bible? The Catholic Church. Even Martin Luther admitted this.

As a catholic child I was taught to PRAY to Mary and the
other saints . This practise still goes on all over the world .

BFHU: I am not sure how well catechized your family and teachers were but the phrase, “pray to Mary” does not express Catholic theology. It is a way for folks to express the truth of asking Mary and the Saints to PRAY FOR US TO GOD as opposed to asking Mary and the Saints to ANSWER our prayers by their own power.. This difference is easy to discern when we look at OFFICIAL prayers of the Church.

The Hail Mary—>…pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death…
The Confieteor–>…pray for us to the Lord our God…”

So the reality of Church teaching is that we ask Mary and the Saints to PRAY FOR US. We do not pray to them as we do to divinity, theologically, even though it might feel and sound very much the same. The fault lies in what you were taught not in Church teaching.

The bible clearly says not to talk to the dead : Deut . :18:10-12

BFHU:This prohibition is against a form of divination not against asking them to pray for us. You must read it in context. And this is STILL PROHIBITED. But requesting intercessory prayer of those in Heaven is not prohibited anywhere in Sacred Scripture. Please see this post–NECROMANCY

So why would anyone pray to Mary ? I would’nt ask Moses or Elija to do anything for me and I would’nt pray to my dear departed Mom .

You can ask them to pray for you but they have no power to answer your requests. Only God can do that. We pray to the Saints because, “the prayers of a righteous man has much power in its effect.” James 5:16

In John 2:4 was Jesus trying to tell us
something? When he said “WOMAN , what have I to do with thee ? Never as far as I can remember did I called my mother “Woman” to her face .

BFHU: Unhinged from the ancient teachings of the Church and Jewish culture; reading only the Bible steeped in our own culture it is easy to read this passage as you have interpreted it. However, WOMAN is meant to hearken back to the first WOMAN– EVE the one who fell as contrasted to Mary the WOMAN who did not. It also forshadows St. John’s vision when a Woman clothed with the sun is seen…in Revelation.

Also in Matt. 12:48 we
see where Jesus asks “Who is my Mother ,who is my brother ? This does’nt sound like he was addressing
“The Queen of Heaven”.

BFHU: Your interpretation is easy to come by but it carries with it unintended consequences. I too heard this as a Protestant. But , the way you are interpreting these two verses implies that Jesus broke the commandment to “Honor your father and your mother…” Which we both know He never did. (break the commandment, that is)

This saying of Jesus’ does not exclude Mary from those who obey God but rather he was refocusing the people on obedience to God and seeking Heaven rather than seeking association with a mere human no matter how holy.

I believe “Marion Worship” is an
“abomination ”

BFHU: It certainly is heretical.
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH DOES NOT TEACH US TO WORSHIP MARY.

which has led to other “abominations” such
as the shrine they have in Mexico city dedicated to “The
patron saint of drug smugglers” and other abominations

If you think this is sanctioned by the Catholic Church I invite you to prove it. Anyone can say and do all sorts of things that might sound Catholic. But I am very sure the Church does not encourage or promote this idea. People sin. Catholics sin. Protestants sin. Their failure does NOT tarnish the TRUTH of CATHOLIC TEACHING.

Where is Sola Scriptura in Scripture Alone?



Nathan: Thanks for taking the time to write back to me. Last year I became a Christian and my life’s been totally changed by living for Jesus Christ. It’s been great

BFHU: That is wonderful. Thanks for letting us know.

Nathan: Last week I went to mass with a friend who has had a similar awakening in the past year, only he is Catholic. He feels there is a large void between myself and him, although we are both trying to live for God. I’ve since been reading a lot about Catholicism and while I think it’s stupid for Christians to argue among themselves I think it is healthy for us to talk about these things.

BFHU: Charitable discussion of our beliefs is always very healthy but it requires sensitivity so that we don’t make winning the argument the goal with our friends and family.

Nathan: Scripture doesn’t ever say that all truth comes from the bible, for
example, you couldn’t find out how to change a flat tire anywhere in
it. But Scripture is our highest authority, I think we can both agree on that.

BFHU: Not exactly. There were nearly 400 years between the founding of the Church and the infallible decision regarding which writings were Sacred Scripture and which ones were good but not infallible scripture. During that time Christianity evangelized the world. They did not use the Bible as we know it today but what few writings were in their possession AND the TEACHING OF THE APOSTLES also known as Sacred Tradition. This is NOT to be confused with the “traditions of men” condemned by St. Paul. I recommend reading this post: Sola Scripture. So, the truth for Catholics is:

 The highest authority is Sacred Scripture AND Sacred Tradition as interpreted and taught by the Pope and the Bishops of the world.

However, you will be happy to know that NOTHING the Catholic Church believes contradicts anything in Scripture.

The teachings of the Catholic Church only contradict the Protestant interpretation of  some of the Scriptures.

Nathan: If lesser authorities don’t match up with Scripture, we know they are false.

BFHU: Define “don’t match up”. And please tell me where this assertion is found in Scripture.

Nathan:The Bible is God’s Word,

BFHU: Yes it is.

Nathan: and Jesus tested and debated theological ideas or questions with scripture, Paul does too.

BFHU: Yes but not exclusively. The apostles also abrogated many Jewish and Scriptural practices. Two very big ones were removing the obligation of circumcision Acts 15:1-12 and keeping Kosher Acts 10:9-27. This was done by the authority invested in Peter, our first Pope, by Jesus Himself. These contradicted the Hebrew Scriptures. And Peter also decided to replace Judas with Matthias with no direct scriptural order by Jesus Acts 1:15-26.

So, in Scripture it is very clear that Pope Peter had authority beyond Sola Scriptura.

Nathan:In this way they show that the Bible is the measuring stick by which we test
all ideas, and if they don’t line up, we shouldn’t apply them to God.

BFHU: How do you know this?  Where does it say this in Scripture?

Nathan: Anyways, what I’m really interested in is not church history or who is right or wrong,

BFHU: Oops! I just gave a lot of history…

Nathan: I’m curious to know what there is to gain from a prayer
relationship with Mary.

BFHU: James 5:16 TThe prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” Mary and the Saints are totally righteous and purified in Heaven in the very presence of God. Who better to intercede for us?

Nathan: The difference between her interceding for me
and a friend is that my friend is in front of me, on the phone – I can
physically communicate to them my prayer request. But Mary is in
heaven, hanging out with her Son and God the Father and God the Holy
Spirit – how do you know that she can hear you? That idea is nowhere
to be found in scripture.

BFHU: Yes there is a difference but where is this condemned in scripture and again, Where does Scripture command that all religious truth must be found in scripture alone? Protestants try to call into question Catholic beliefs because the are not explicitly spelled out in Scripture. But Protestants base this authority to question these Catholic beliefs on ….nothing….they have NO Scriptural authority to question our Catholic beliefs in the first place.

Nathan: The danger (to me) is the fine line between “praying to” and “asking to
pray for”. Prayer, by definition, is “communicating with a spirit or deity”.

BFHU: That is not the whole truth about the word pray. The word pray, still retains, the secular idea of “asking, begging” as in Shakespeare.

Pray thee where are you going? In our culture, which is very Protestant, it seems to be something addressed to diety. But that is not the way we in the Catholic Church use it. Because Protestants never ask a departed soul to intercede for them, to pray has come to be used exclusively for communicating with God. But we use it that way and the old fashioned way…meaning to ask. You might want to read some of my posts here–>Prayer to Saints

Nathan: Asking someone to pray for me is fine, because between them and me is a relationship that involves human to human communication, be it by phone, e-mail, in person. But when I communicate with God, that is prayer, because God is spirit, and he, unlike me or my friend, is omniscient and omnipotent. He knows everyone’s thoughts (Psalm 94:11). Throughout the Bible this is the regular mode of communication between
God and man.

BFHU: Mary and the Saints are people too. And they are part of the Body of Christ too. Prayer to the Saints transcends our everyday experiences.

Nathan: Mary is in heaven. To communicate with her would, by definition, be
“prayer”. You have to communicate with her by spirit because
physically, it is impossible for her to hear us (and as far as I know
she doesn’t have a cell phone or something to communicate over long
distances).

BFHU: It is only possible with the power of God.

Nathan: My friend  who took me to mass talked to me about this, and got
frustrated when I said, “It seems like you prayed to Mary” It’s “asking
her to pray”, he said. But she is not bodily here to hear that request.

BFHU: The method of communicating with a Saint in Heaven seems more like a prayer to God than talking to a person here on Earth. But we know there IS a difference.

Nathan: When Jesus taught us to pray he said to pray to “Our Father”. He is saying
we can pray directly to God.

BFHU: I agree and the Catholic Church prays the Our Father all the time and at every Mass.The Mass is the highest prayer of the Church and we pray it to God the Father. All of it.
 

Nathan: While it is nice to also pray for each
other, I just wonder why we should spend so much time (a Hail Mary is
said nine times – right? – for every Our Father) talking to Mary when
we can go directly to God.

BFHU: Prayer to Saints works! God does not have a problem with answering our prayerscoming through the intercession of the Saints. It is not forbidden in Scripture. So, why should anyone object to it?

Nathan: The heart of this issue that worries me is the elevation of Mary
to the position that Christ alone holds as mediator between God and man
and savior between man and God.

BFHU: Christ is the ONE Mediator between Man and God. But Mary and the Saints are people and they are ONLY praying fFOR us. Intercessory prayer is a type of mediation but we all do this, both Protestants and Catholics. So why would it only be wrong for the Saints in Heaven to Pray for us?

I Just Don’t Get Prayer to Saints….



Mike: I am still not making a biblical connection to praying through Mary of the Saints and would like some help.

BFHU: First, there is no verse that commands us to ask Mary and the Saints to pray for us.
But, Sola Scriptura is a Protestant tradition not a Catholic one. This tradition of Protestantism has only been in existence for about 500 years and was made up by Martin Luther. It is not found anywhere in Sacred Scripture. If there ever was a tradition of man Sola Scriptura is it. The Catholic Church has never adhered to it or accepted it as authoritative.

The Catholic Church adheres instead to Scripture and the Teaching of the Apostles (Sacred Tradition). Unlike the Protestant beliefs, for a Catholic, when a Christian dies they are still a part of the Body of Christ with loving care and concern for those of us still in the battle. So they are happy to pray for us.

Mike: 1Tim 2:5 does not make any mention of praying to someone who is no longer living.

BFHU: Right.But, it makes no distinction or prohibition against asking the saints who are ALIVE in Heaven to pray for us either.

MIKE: I cannot also make a connection between asking someone of the living to pray for me and someone not of the living to pray or intercede on my behalf.

BFHU: The Saints are still LIVING. They are more alive than us. Part of your difficulty is simply b/c you are not used to the idea. But, there is not one scripture against it. Asking Christians to pray for us has been done for 2000 years. And since no scripture forbids it, Protestant objection is ineffective.

Mike: What about Deut. 18:10-14:

Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. 13 You must be blameless before the LORD your God. 14 The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the LORD your God has not permitted you to do so.

The Deuteronomy 18:10-14 passage is talking about DIVINATION. Not intercessory prayer. Note the prohibition against CONSULTING the dead. That is a form of divination. There is no way to make it mean “asking for intercessory prayer”. There is a HUGE difference. You really should take a look at Why Do Catholics Pray to Mary?