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Question for Catholics

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

  1. ebia

    ebia Senior Contributor

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    Does the inability of Benedict XVI to individually hear and respond to the specific prayers of a potentially infinite number of Christians fracture the unity of the Body?

    I would have to say that the unity of the body has been fractured far more by things like some of the Marian excesses of the past far more than by those who acknowledge that they are praying with the saints but don't expect those saints to suddenly become semi-omnipotent.

    I don't know that for sure, but I see no indication anywhere that that is the case. A theology where the resurrection promises and hopes become true at the resurrection makes more cohesive sense that assuming that some of them become true before then with no indicators to that effect.


    Verse 10 makes it quite clear that Paul is talking about the resurrection hope compared to current reality. Indeed, Paul says next to nothing anywhere about the intermediate existance between death and resurrection; his focus is firmly on Jesus past resurrection and our future one, and the practicalities for us in the world between the two, rather than on the temporary state of those who die.

    And there are many stories about miraculous healings in non-Christian traditions, and many stories about miracles attributed to saints and to God that are clearly outside of sound theological consideration, so I'm not inclined to accept that as evidence that the theology is right.

    If you want an explanation, I would be inclined to say that God honours prayers and requests for intercession said in faith even when misdirected.
     
  2. MrPolo

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

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    No. He is here with us, tangible, without a heavenly sense and complete union with God. Here on earth, I could go see him. He is not inaccessible in the way it would make our heavenly brethren by assuming they cannot hear our prayers when their prayers are most effective (for the prayer of a righteous person is most powerful). Additionally, we are told in Romans 8 that the Spirit makes intercession for our prayers to help us when we don't know what to ask for. There's no reason the Spirit could not intercede, as I implied earlier, by passing on prayers to heavenly members if they indeed were not omniscient. No matter how one resolves it, it's still following the example set by Paul to ask other members for intercession.

    I disagree that such prayers would be "misdirected." If we can ask a member of the body of Christ on earth for intercession, then those persons don't suddenly become "off-limits" in God's eyes when they are fully united with Him. Scripture makes no such qualification. Scripture does show persons interacting with angels who are also heavenly beings and supposedly not omniscient, asking them for intercession. It shows prayers of the saints being passed on by elders in heaven. And it establishes the foundational principle to ask other members for intercession. Any qualifications added to that are unscriptural themselves.
     
  3. ebia

    ebia Senior Contributor

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    Sorry, but that seems to be trying to make a case where there isn't one. Communion with Benedict is not dependent upon him being able to individually hear and respond to a potentially infinite number of simultaneous requests so neither is communion with those "who have gone before".

    It's dependent upon us being able to corporately join our prayers with theirs and vice-versa, but that's all.


    They would still need to be able to individually listen to and respond to an infinite number at once; that's a level of omni-something that I see absolutely no justification for assuming one aquires simple because one is dead.


    That doesn't address any of the objections I've actually raised.

    I disagree that such prayers would be "misdirected."

    There is similarly no reason to assume their finite and limited nature is suddenly done away with.

    Which particular texts do you have in mind?

    No more so than assuming that (a) if I want my minister to pray for something then I have to communicate that with him in some way, not simply say it into the air when he is absent and (b) thinking my minister can do a potentially infinite amount of interceeding in a finite time and (c) that if the amount of time I spend telling someone else what I want them to pray for approaches the amount of time I spend actually praying to God then I've lost the plot. There are qualifications on intercession - part of the issue is the assumption that in some cases those qualifications are removed.


    You've done nothing to lead me to think that those practical limitations are overcome simply by being dead, nor to address the much greater danger of idolatory that comes from this than from requesting intercessions from those that one can see are fallible human beings.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2009
  4. Christos Anesti

    Christos Anesti Junior Member

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    Do you know that prayer to God works? That it has power and effectiveness?
     
  5. Christos Anesti

    Christos Anesti Junior Member

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    Didn't the Anglicans traditionaly ask the intercession of the saints too?
     
  6. ebia

    ebia Senior Contributor

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    I don't think I can prove it with that kind of pseudo-objective evidence.
     
  7. MrPolo

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

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    What can I say other than we have a very different interpretation of Scripture, notion of full union with God, and Tradition to boot!
     
  8. Dark_Lite

    Dark_Lite Chewbacha

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    There must necessarily be a metaphysical link between the saints in heaven, God, and the church militant on Earth in order for the Saints to be able to "hear" intercession requests. Easy explanation: theosis!
     
  9. Christos Anesti

    Christos Anesti Junior Member

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    But you have experienced personally the reality and effectiveness of it even if you can't "prove it" though right? I've experienced the effectiveness of the intercession of the saints and so have the millions of others in my Church throughout history. Great miracles have been wrought through their intercession.
     
  10. ebia

    ebia Senior Contributor

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    Nice word to throw around, but it doesn't actually explain anything!
     
  11. Dark_Lite

    Dark_Lite Chewbacha

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    Instead of me actually posting something of substance, I'll just throw a link at you: Theosis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Theosis is becoming like God in a certain sense. Obviously not fully ontologically an infinite being like God, but I'm sure the heavenly benefits package contains some interesting expansions of our awareness and that sort of thing.

    Ok, so I did post something of a tiny bit of substance. I am a walking paradox!
     
  12. ebia

    ebia Senior Contributor

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    I'm not so sure there's a substantively different interpretation of scripture that we couldn't work out. It's the extrapolation from that where we differ.

    more correctly, notion of the intermediate status and state of those who have died in the faith.

    Clearly. I don't simply dismiss tradition, but I understand it as something needing to be assessed critically so that we can learn from the mistakes of the past as well as the success.
     
  13. ebia

    ebia Senior Contributor

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    One has only got to watch, say, a certain sort of tele-evangelist or one of any number of New Age systems to see how easy self-deception is in that field.

    Equally, if the miracles are genuinely of God, and connected to the requests for intercessions, it could just as well be that God honours the requests as so they were prayers knowing they are offered in faith, even a slightly misguided one.

    Some Anglicans do. It's pretty difficult to define what is traditional for Anglicans, but the 39 Articles state:
    "The Romish Doctrine concerning Purgatory, Pardons, Worshipping and Adoration, as well of Images as of Relics, and also Invocation of Saints, is a fond thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God." But we do need to remember that that is a reaction to a world where the attitude to the 'saints' had got totally out of hand.
     
  14. ebia

    ebia Senior Contributor

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    I know roughly what theosis is, but I don't see anything there that would lead me to think it reasonable to suppose that those who have died and are awaiting the resurrection are omni-<able-to-hear-and-respond-to-requests-for-intercessions>
     
  15. a_ntv

    a_ntv Ens Liturgicum

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    Who is now in the glory near Christ is not <able-to-hear-and-respond> by himself, but he is able to do it by the Grace of God.

    We Catholics believe that Christ fully won over the death. Protestants, dening the Communion of Saints, believe that the death is still working and ruling in paradise: that is impossible: Christ has won the death, there is no more a barrier between earth and heaven
     
  16. ebia

    ebia Senior Contributor

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    So you claim, but I see no reason to think that the Grace of God imparts that kind of omni-whateveryouwanttocallit. And so far no-one has provided me with any kind of reason for thinking so except Christos Anesti.

    How about actually addressing my specific critique instead of a bit of meaningless and theologically inaccurate rhetoric that doesn't address a genuine reformation position, let alone my challenges.

    And lets be very careful - the saints who have died are with Christ, but are awaiting the resurrection and are not yet raised. If we actually need to follow that line of inquiry we need a bit of theological precision about what has actually happened, and what has happened only in anticipation and has yet to be fully consumated. A good deal of the problem has arisen from people from all perspectives on the issue being far too hazy about making that distinction.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2009
  17. MrPolo

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

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    I would of course disagree with this statement, however.....

    This reminds me of an old thread in Aug. 08 I started that provided a solution to those who believe the heavenly cannot hear us. Basically, the solution for folks such as yourself is this:

    "God, please ask (person in heaven) to pray with me for the following intention...."

    I was given no reason in that thread why this is not viable. And I think there is no longer any excuse to not try to get those in heaven to pray for us.
     
  18. a_ntv

    a_ntv Ens Liturgicum

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    Who you are to decide what the Grace of God can do or cannot do?

    Reformers thought the the Grace of God is given, as a magic potion, to get the salvation.
    But God is more generous and does not stop to the salvation. God allows the saints to be transformed in His own image: there is no limit to the love of God. And nothing, not even the death, can limits what God allows.

    To be in paradise does not mean to be selfish and to not love for the brothers and sisters still on earth. And for sure God praises and makes possible the compassion of the saints for the brothers and sisters still on earth.

    You believe that the death will be defeated only at Christ second coming.
    We believe that the death was won with the Resurrection, on about the 33 AD.
    It is not a little theological difference.
     
  19. ebia

    ebia Senior Contributor

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    That doesn't seem to actually deal with my challenge - it would still require, let's say Saint Joseph, to be able to deal with a potentially infinite number of requests simultaneously.
    I don't feel any need to try to get every person, living and dead, to pray for me individually. I'm confident that the saints are part of the whole praying community, with quite possibly a better handle on what needs to be prayed for than I have.
     
  20. MrPolo

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

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    Ok, so we've solved the problem of omniscience. Now you have the problem of sheer volume of prayers to handle. Let's think this through. First, do you believe those in heaven are outside of time? Or do you think they go through 24 hour days over and over like we do?
     
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