Beliefs about Mary and the Saints by non-Catholic Christians


#1

One of the sticking points I hear again and again from many non-Catholic Christians is that they pray to God, and to Jesus, but they do not pray to Mary or the Saints.

What do non-Catholic Christians believe about Mary and the Saints? :confused: I’m confused to the point of frustration. I’m a bit tired of the snide attitude I feel from folks when they make the distinction for me (usually unsolicited I might add…).


#2

I must confess before I began listenening to Catholic Answers Live, I pretty much held onto my misconceptions of what “praying to the saints and to Mary” meant…

Many Catholic traditions are a “mystery” to most Protestants…and to be honest…many of the stereotypes and confusion that we have about Catholics are fostered by the Catholics we have known in our personal lives and the fact that many Catholics can’t explain their faith too well…or exhibit “traditions” which on the surface seem to foster…“superstition”, that was not meant to be an insult, it was meant to be explanatory, so please “don’t shoot the messenger” over it…it’s not flattering I know…but it is “perception” and “perception is everything”.

Now that it has been explained to me as part of the “communion of the saints”…that “God is the God of the living and not the dead”, “the Church Militant” and the “Church Triumphant”…and asking those in our own church families to pray for us…why not those who have gone on before us? It makes sense…but it took a clear, concise explanation from C.A.L. before I understood it…same with Mary and the Immaculate Conception…I may not accept it…or I’d be Catholic…but I do understand it and how it fits into your understanding of the gospel.

It just takes patience with us…most of us will eventually understand, and thanks to C.A.L…you have real tool for apologetics.


#3

Thank you Publisher, for your response. I hope I hear from more folks as to what they understand about the communion of saints.

I don’t know a single Christian of any denomination who doesn’t think that Grandma and Grandpa (if decesased) are up there “looking down” on them, or “watching over” them. Something’s been lost in the translation I think!

When the destinction is made for me as it was today and has been many times in the same way that “Protestants pray to God” and “Protestants pray to Jesus” as if a Catholic does not pray to them, it really leaves me somewhat dumbfounded. I don’t know how we ever got to this point.


#4

The most common answers that we normally get are…and these are the answers I got from my sister who is a protestant:

  • she prays straight to God, she doesn’t need to pray to others.

When I asked her why she asked me to pray for her then?
She then says:

  • Saints are dead, they can’t hear us and we can’t hear them.

I said God is God of the living. Then, I asked her if she hasn’t ever heard God then why she prays?
She answers … it is because she feels in her heart that God hears her.

If I asked …same thing with the saints, we not only feel in our heart we also receive what we ask for- ie. miracles …e.t.c

She would say … be careful, it is Satan.

At some point, I was thinking…we know we should be very careful with miracles and spirits, but why some don’t believe in them at all. They give too much credit to Satan.


#5

BeeSweet, (I kike your name:)
We are insrtucted to pray to our Father in heaven.Mt.6:9, Lu.11:1) he is all-wise, all-loving and all-powerful. Also we are to pray in the name of Jesus Christ.
See Jn.14:13-14, Rom.:8:26-27
I’m sure that Catholics also pray to the only Mediator, Jesus Christ.

God bless,
parkly


#6

water,
While I adore Mary,as most Christians do, I don’t pray to her because she isn’t omnipresent. She can’t possibly hear all the prayers that are direceted to her at the same time. But God can . :slight_smile:

God bless,
parkly


#7

I know most Lutherans (what I am) don’t realize that Martin Luther retained several beliefs about Mary, her perpetual virginity, for example. I believe I may have even heard that he had a devotion to her, but maybe that was in the earlier days. Anyway, protestants in general tend to emphasize her motherly role and obedience, but of course not her “mediatrix” or “co-redemptrix” roles.

I used to never understand why Catholics pray to Mary and the saints. I believe I have a better grip on that now. I don’t quite go for it, but I do appreciate Mary more. And St. Francis. I like him a lot, as well. Mostly because I read “St. Francis” by Nikos Kazantzakis and really enjoyed it.

In the Lutheran confessions it also says that the saints in heaven pray for us. However, we don’t need to ask them to pray for us. They just do it. Once again, most Lutherans aren’t aware of this.


#8

Thanks Parkly. That added a bit clearer to why you don’t pray for the intercession of the Saints. I too believe almost all Christians adore Mary.


#9

et el

I think the prayer of the saints is odd is because it depends on what one thinks they are doing presently.

Are they “sleeping” in Jesus or to be dead is to be in the pressence of Jesus? If thats understood then the saints may make more sense.

I think of my mom in Heaven with Jesus, but am not sure which condition she is in??


#10

I am not sure if I understand you correctly. Did you mean like when we pray for the protection of the Church, we pray to St. Joseph for intercession, and for health we pray to St. Jude, etc…? each St. gets different role?


#11

oops umm saints I was thinking of my mother :o

er umm those saints! maybe Im getting the dead and saints mixed up ???

and I imagine Matthew Peter John are saints as well or are the catholic church saints different from them??


#12

I am a LCMS member, so I am very familiar with the Book of Concord. This is taken from the Ausburg Confession. Article XXl
Article XXI: Of the Worship of the Saints.

"1] Of the Worship of Saints they teach that the memory of saints may be set before us, that we may follow their faith and good works, according to our calling, as the Emperor may follow the example of David in making war to drive away the Turk from his country. 2] For both are kings. But the Scripture teaches not the invocation of saints or to ask help of saints, since it sets before us the one Christ as the Mediator, Propitiation, High Priest, and Intercessor. 3] He is to be prayed to, and has promised that He will hear our prayer; and this worship He approves above all, to wit, that in all afflictions He be called upon, 1 John 2, 1: 4] If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, etc."
See Rev.5:8 The golden bowls are filled incense are described as the prayers of God’s people. These prayers were to god to bring justice to earth as later chapters will describe. 6:10 and 8:4

God bless,
parkly


#13

I am sorry about your lost but be happy that she is in Heaven.
When you are in Heaven, you know you are a saint. How different each one is…I have no clue…but I know that each one will have a special place in Heaven as it menions in the Bible regarding the Virgins, the martyrs , etc…
:slight_smile:

I think these explain way better than I could about Canonized Saints.

catholic-pages.com/saints/explained.asp
catholicculture.org/docs/doc_view.cfm?recnum=3631

Some bio about few well-known saints.
theworkofgod.org/Saints/


#14

Kitty Chan,
The invocation of Saints. Apology, Book of Concord Article XXl
No passage about praying to the dead saints exists in the scriptures, except a dream taken from the 2 Macc.15;14
Scripture does not teach the invocation of saints, or should we ask for their aid. We have one Mediator in heaven, Jesus Christ. 1Tim.2:5

God bless you,
parkly


#15

Kitty and Parkly,

This is how we believe the intercession of the Saints in Heaven:

But asking one person to pray for you in no way violates Christ’s mediatorship, as can be seen from considering the way in which Christ is a mediator. First, Christ is a unique mediator between man and God because he is the only person who is both God and man. He is the only bridge between the two, the only God-man. But that role as mediator is not compromised in the least by the fact that others intercede for us. Furthermore, Christ is a unique mediator between God and man because he is the Mediator of the New Covenant (Heb. 9:15, 12:24), just as Moses was the mediator (Greek mesitas) of the Old Covenant (Gal. 3:19–20). …

Continued:
catholic.com/library/Praying_to_the_Saints.asp

It is worth reading even if you don’t believe it…at least you know why we as Catholic believe what we believe.


#16

I’ve never quite understood this line of reasoning.

Our physical limitations (inability to process multiple conversations), is due to our physical design i.e. our ears and our brain. In heaven we have neither of these structures. Just imagine how capable the human soul/spirit is without the restrictions of our earthly bodies.

I think it’s very simplistic to associate earthly human limitations to those in heaven.


#17

I’ve never quite understood this line of reasoning.

Our physical limitations (inability to process multiple conversations), is due to our physical design i.e. our ears and our brain. In heaven we have neither of these structures. Just imagine how capable the human soul/spirit is without the restrictions of our earthly bodies.

I think it’s very myopic to associate earthly human limitations to those Christians in heaven.


#18

Hebrews 12:1

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us”.

They would not have been called “witnesses” if they were unaware of their surroundings, would they?


#19

That all depends on how you define the several times “prayers for the saints” occurs in the book of Revelation, Catholics use it as a supportive scripture to the one from as you say Maccabees, because the Apostle John consistently refers to other Deutrocanon doctrine like the “Seven Angels” doctrine ripped straight from the book of Tobit… in fact it refers to it in the same sentence.

Book of Tobit(exact verse escapes me but it’s in there someone else will tell you which one):
I am Raphael, one of the seven Angels who stand in the presence of the holy one and present the prayers of the saints.

Protestants without the deutrocanon often do not understand John’s direct reference to the book of Tobit(which they don’t have and therefore arn’t aware of these important simularities) indicates the Catholic position on “prayers to the saints” has at least some biblical validity.


#20

Parkly, that’s all well and good except that to ask the intercession of a saint to pray for you to God is in no way a form of worship. This distinction is paramount.

I’m hearing an awful lot about what’s wrong with the Catholic interpretation of prayer to the saints, but that was not my intention in starting this thread. Indeed, that’s my frustration! What I would like to know is what do non-Catholic Christians believe about the the saints? Without comparing to the Catholic belief, I would like to hear an explanation.

I ask the question, and then the answers I recieve are more about what people believe to be wrong about the Catholic belief rather than giving any substance about what the non-Catholic Christian belief is. Not just here in this thread, but in general.

Can the communion of saints be defined without beginning with, “the Catholics believe this… but we believe that’s wrong for these reasons…”


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.