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Question for Catholics

Discussion in 'Congregation-specific Ethics' started by chevelledc788, May 23, 2006.

  1. chevelledc788

    chevelledc788 New Member

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    Hey, I am not a Catholic and I have a question regarding the Virgin Mary. Please correct me if I am wrong but is it true that Catholics not only pray to God but to Mary as well? If this is true, then doesn't it break the 1st commandment? "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."

    By no means am I trying begin an argument but when I heard this I was concerned and would greatly appreciate an explanation.

    God bless!
     
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  2. a_ntv

    a_ntv Ens Liturgicum

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    Worship is given only to God
    If you go to a catholic Mass, you can see that all the prayers are to God. (never been to a catholic mass?)

    We ask Mary to pray Christ for us.
    We ask also friends and other people to pray for us.
    That because we feel the Church like a community where anyone helps the other.
    Also in many protestant services sometime the pastor ask all to pray for some particular necessity. This is not against the 1 commanament.
    Only God can give the grace. But anyone can ask.

    Mary is the first in the Church.
    " Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. (from Luke)
    Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb. (also from Like)
    Holy Mary, mother of God,
    pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death"

    Orthodoxs attitude towards Mary is exactly the same of Catholic
     
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  3. onfire4him77

    onfire4him77 New Member

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    5The living at least know they will die, but the dead know nothing. They have no further reward, nor are they remembered. 6Whatever they did in their lifetime--loving, hating, envying--is all long gone. They no longer have a part in anything here on earth
    Ecclesiastes 9: 5-6

    If that is so, then explain the catholic interpretation of this verse.

    I am not saying that you worship Mary, I go to catholic school, and have been in it my whole life, so I know that is not the case.
    My problem is that you pray to her or any other person who is dead, the bible says they are apart of nothing here on this earth, so why pray to her, when God gave us his son to break down all the obstacles to him. Numerous times it says we can go to Jesus DIRECTLY, it never says he is too busy so you can pray to Mary to get to him.
    I understand why you honor her, and that is fine with me. But praying to her is crossing the line.
     
  4. a_ntv

    a_ntv Ens Liturgicum

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    Read all Ecclesiastes 9, a very nice chapter, it states only that you have not worry about our life, bc the treasure is in the heaven.
    It doesnot say that there is not union between all the saints, alive and death. Jesus died too, but He take care about present fact on this earth (and about you too). Dont read the verse too literally.

    Anyway Mary now, in the heaven, have not the power by herself to lissen to you here on the earth. She is not almighty. When you "pray" Mary, it is only Christ that lissen such a pray and that gives such "information" at Mary. For sure He doesnot keep any secret to his beloved mother, and He lissen carefully form Her.
    Again, it is only by Christ that you can "pray" Mary, and it is only Christ that can decide about such a "pray".

    I'm saying "pray" and not pray, bc for cc the true pray is a dialogue with Christ, it is to be at Christ presence. I never heard "to be at Mary presence". It is only Christ that can link this earthly world to the heaven.
     
  5. onfire4him77

    onfire4him77 New Member

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    Ok I am semi-understanding here.
    So you are saying that you Pray to Christ, to tell mary, to intercess to him about our prayers?
    That doesn't make a whole lot of sense. My point is then why? Why should you call on her when you have Jesus who is God, to go to on your own.
    Where in the Bible(or if it is one of your added books) does it state that you should or need to pray to others besides Christ?
     
  6. a_ntv

    a_ntv Ens Liturgicum

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    So you are saying that you Pray to Christ, to tell mary, to intercess to him about our prayers? Yes of course

    Well, Christ is both True God and True Man.

    Anyone believe in that, but most of protestant denominations highlight the True Man: so Jesus is a man, He shall be your friend and it is really normal to ask something to him.

    Early Church (and EO and CC) use to highlight also Christ as True God. He is the King of all Kings, the Creator, the Source of any Power, the Holy of the Holies. It is not easy to dare to see Him face to face. Ad instance early christians used to pray "the Name of God" and not directly "God" (see my signature).
    We pray through Mary to reach Him when we realize that we are not worthy to ask something to Him directly. The effect is the same, but Chirst is and remain Holy of the Holies.

    Christ is both True God and True Man, so both the ways are correct and one do not exclude the other, bc both shall be present in True Christian Life
     
  7. Angelic_Neon77

    Angelic_Neon77 New Member

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    I'm not Catholic, and I'm not trying to start an argument either. So don't think I'm attacking Catholics, but why do Catholics worship and pray to saints? Like St. Anthony for protection and so forth. It's breaking the first commandment in my opinion. I know my question is like that of the OP's, but no one asked about saints yet and I saw someone give an answer to the OP's question already. Thanks!!
     
  8. peacelord

    peacelord New Member

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    God isn't a game, there is no way to gain his praise because only you can judge your self. Gods conscious is without good or evil, it was the men who walked this earth and his son Jesus Christ who created both good and evil. God is queit and his determination is that we will listen just like him.
     
  9. MrPolo

    MrPolo Woe those who call evil good + good evil. Is 5:20

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    If you take this verse that literally, then you have to say that no one remembers anyone who has died, which the verse also asserts. That verse in Ecclesiastes is not intended to be a doctrinal thought. The author of Ecclesiastes bounces around a bunch of different thoughts throughout the book while philosophizing on life. The book even opens with the cry, "Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless." In fact, Paul condemns the thought in Eccles 9:7-9 in 1 Cor 15:32. Ecclesiastes is a lamentation where the author goes through a bunch of statements of woe and misery, and at the end he has hope in God. So the book and that verse must be taken in context.

    To translate the verse as a doctrine that the dead know nothing or have no awareness is to put that verse in conflict with other Scriptures. For example:

    Someone already mentioned Christ speaking with Elijah and Moses (Mt 17:3)

    Abraham has a conversation with a rich man in hell (Lk 16:22-26)

    Paul specifically says that heaven knows him fully, and our knowledge will not be complete until we reach heaven: 1 Cor 13:12 At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.

    Also:
    Acts 9:36-37, 40 In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha...she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room....Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, "Tabitha, get up." She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up.

    Continued in next post....
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2009
  10. MrPolo

    MrPolo Woe those who call evil good + good evil. Is 5:20

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    The Psalmist asks the angels to join him in prayer (Ps 148:1-2, Ps 103:20-21), the Israelites acquire the successful intercession of an angel (Zec 1:11-16), and the elders and angel in heaven present the ascended prayers of the saints on earth to God (Rev 5:8, 8:4, cf. Acts 10:4). Paul also sets the explicit example of asking other members of the Body of Christ to pray for him (Rm 15:30, 1 Thes 5:25, et al). There are some people, however, who wish to add to Scripture a qualification to exclude those members of the Body of Christ who are closest to God, whose prayers are most powerful. Scripture makes no such qualification, but the opposite as the examples herein show.

    Here are all Scripture references in this post.
     
  11. MrPolo

    MrPolo Woe those who call evil good + good evil. Is 5:20

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    We don't worship saints in the modern sense of the word "worship." Worship is due to God alone. We offer them due reverence as great examples of God's grace at work.

    See previous posts for Paul's examples of asking other saints to pray for him. When we "pray" to saints, we do the same thing as Paul did---we ask them to pray to God for us.

    Continued next post....
     
  12. MrPolo

    MrPolo Woe those who call evil good + good evil. Is 5:20

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    A handy chart to dispel misconceptions about praying to saints, which means to ask them for intercession just as you would your neighbor, as Paul did in (Rm 15:30, et al).

    [​IMG]

    In this handy little chart, Person A prays to God. Person A asks Person B for intercession (marked by the red arrow). Person B prays to God for Person A. What some call heresy or worship is the red arrow, where Person A asks Person B for intercession. That is what is meant by asking the saints for intercession, or what is called praying to saints. Some have strangely called this worship (probably because they didn't understand what praying to saints meant). Person B is any member of the Body of Christ, your neighbor, a saint in heaven, Mary, an angel, etc...

    So you see, there is no Person B INSTEAD of God. Instead you either have 2 people praying for an intention, which is good. Or you have someone very holy in heaven praying for your intention, which is also good since the prayer of the righteous is very powerful (Jm 5:16, 1 Pet 3:12).

    In other words, anyone who refuses to ask saints or angels to pray for them or with them is not utilizing the great graces these members of the Body of Christ have been given!!! :)
     
  13. ebia

    ebia Senior Contributor

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    All that's as fine as far as it goes (leaving aside the question that comes up below) except that the can be a tendency for what it to tend towards worship and/or become a replacement for praying to God, particularly among the less well educated laity. That was particularly so at times and places of the medieval period - hence the Reformation reaction against it - and is far from unheard of now. One can still find older Catholics who spend more time reverencing Mary than God or find the saints more approachable than Jesus or think that the prayers of the saints that have gone before are more effective than their own prayers and the prayers of the saints now, and at that point what might be helpful in theory has become a hinderance in practice.

    Formally asking for their intercessions in the liturgy - something one doesn't do in the same sort of way of those alive on earth - doesn't help in this, IMO.

    That assumes that the saints that have gone before are effectively omniscient - able to hear and respond to a potentially unlimited number of requests for intercession at any one time. This is a huge assumption without scriptural merit.


    If one actually lives out the understanding that you describe then I don't think asking the saints to interceed is a big problem, but it is a practice that history has shown to be fraught with dangers. One does have to ask if the cake is worth the candle.
     
  14. MrPolo

    MrPolo Woe those who call evil good + good evil. Is 5:20

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    I disagree with the first sentence because if that were true, Paul would not have asked other members of the Body of Christ for intercession (Rm 15:30, Col 4:3, 1Thes 5:25, etc..).

    I disagree with the second part on two levels. One, there is no sola scriptura. And two, to assume that full union with God excludes the ability to hear a prayer made to another not only severs the unity of the Body of Christ, but excludes any intervention on God's part to help His children intercede for each other in the way He established with Paul. Furthermore, Paul said that he would enter into a certain sense of full knowledge, comparing it to the fullness of how God knew him then (1 Cor 13:12). "Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known," Paul says of his knowledge of Godly things. It seems silly to think this fullness excludes someone asking the person fully united with God for intercession. And finally, the prayers of the saints have ascended to heaven and are passed on by those in white and the angels (Rv 5:8)
     
  15. ebia

    ebia Senior Contributor

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    It's not a danger with asking those who are still on earth, and history has shown it to be true - not that everybody ends up losing sight of what is going on (I know plenty of good Catholics who haven't), but a significant proportion of the laity have done in the past. It may be a danger that we finally escape - at least for the moment and in the west - with better education and the reality that those who don't get that education probably won't follow the faith at all. But historically there is no doubt that for a huge number of Catholics the line between vererating the saints/asking for intercessions and worshipping/approaching them instead of Jesus has become blurred. You can find older catholics out there who prefer to pray to Mary because "she is human and understands - Christ is God and does not". Such was an almost universal way of thinking amongst the laity in particular times and places in history. That is the danger and it is a huge problem. It's not inevitable with good education, but reality is that the church, over and over, has not avoided it and so it is worth asking whether encouraging individual veneration etc is worth that risk. Certainly that reality of practice is what the Reformers reacted against - if the theory had always worked out in practice its doubtful whether they would have felt the need for reform in this area.

    What he established on earth with Paul in no way implies that once one is with Christ one can suddenly hear and respond to a potentially infinite number of prayers. I understand you don't buy into Sola Scriptura in any form, but that people suddenly become infinite in some capacity is a huge assumption without some indicator from somewhere towards it.


    That's post-resurrection, which has not yet happened.


    That corporately the saints in heaven pass on out intercessions as we join in with them in worship is something with which I have no problem. The problem arises when one expects one particular saint to be able to individually join in with the specific intecessions of a billion different individuals simultaneously.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2009
  16. Jeffwhosoever

    Jeffwhosoever Faithful Servant Staff Member Red Team - Moderator Supporter

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    Why is there a need for an intercessor in Heaven? I can understand having another live human being pray for you, but why don't you just pray direct to the Father or to Jesus Christ instead of Mary? I just want to understand the Catholic practices better.

    Thanks for any help.

    Jeff
     
  17. ebia

    ebia Senior Contributor

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    The corresponding question is "why not just pray direct to the Father or to Jesus Christ instead of [asking] your Pastor [to pray for you]?".

    If that's an either/or in either case clearly there's a problem.

    Whenever veneration of or reliance on the intercessions of, another person overtakes worship of and praying to God himself we've lost the plot - whether that's a charismatic pastor or St Joseph. It's rather that the former tends to be a localised problem relatively easily addressed where as the latter can become a systemic problem on a huge scale.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2009
  18. Christos Anesti

    Christos Anesti Junior Member

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    It's not an assumption. It is something that has been proven true in the life of the Church. The proof is in the pudding- the results. The Saints hear us when we ask for their prayers and intercesion because God wants them to hear and thus makes it possible. God wants us to pray for eachother. The communion of the Church on earth and the Church in heaven remains unbroken.

    ::edit:::

    Oops, didn't see the title was "Questions for Catholics". Oh well, I answered anyway.:sorry:
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2009
  19. ebia

    ebia Senior Contributor

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    Sorry, I'm not sure how such evidence could even work. "Ethel asked St Jude to pray for her lost handbag, and then found it" doesn't cut quite stack up as evidence. (And yes, that's deliberately trite to make the point.)

    That's not in question. What's being challenged is the ability of those "in heaven" to simultaneously hear the specific requests of a potentially unlimited number of people and to specifically respond.

    That corporately the communion and mutual praying for each other goes on isn't the challenge.
     
  20. MrPolo

    MrPolo Woe those who call evil good + good evil. Is 5:20

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    I still think that denying asking saints for intercession fractures the unity of the Body. I also would like to know if you are using Scripture alone, what in the passage tells you that full knowledge comes only after the next resurrection. To me, the "face to face" refers to the beatific vision that many souls experience now, not the new resurrection.

    If you want testimony, there are plenty of stories about miraculous healings and such attributed to particular saints implored for intercession. You may deny those many stories, but we believe them to occur.
     
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