dead


#1

How does one defend the Church’s position on praying to the dead? When a protestant accuses us of necromancy, how can we convincingly argue that necromancy is attempting to contact the spiritually dead as opposed to the physically dead?

Also, I read once that it would be correct to say that God died on the cross because death is simply the separation of the body and the soul. Is this indeed true? How does it work into our understanding of necromancy?

Thanks in advance!


#2

Karisue,

This is a common mis-understanding. When praying to saints, we are simply asking other members of the Body of Christ to add their prayers to ours. Just as you would ask a friend or family member to pray for you. This is the example of St. Paul who tells us to pray for each other (1 Timothy 2:5). Death does not separate us from the Body of Christ. Quite the contrary, those who are in heaven have been purified and are closer to God.

God uses all kinds of channels to give us Grace. Sometimes people, sometimes objects and sometimes those who are with Him in heaven.

GregA


#3

Right, and I agree with all that, but when debating (or I mean, discussing ::cough::), protestants are unconvinced. Any further thoughts for purposes of debate?


#4

how can we convincingly argue that necromancy is attempting to contact the spiritually dead as opposed to the physically dead?

I’m not exactly sure that’s the distinction I’d make. I’d say that one could perform necromancy with the intent of contacting a saint. One wouldn’t succeed, though he could contact something else. I think what makes necromancy what it is in distinction to proper Catholic prayer to saints is the intent to bring forth the dead person, to harness their knowledge or power for ourselves. Necromancy is all about self-empowerment and the harnessing of a spirit. What a Catholic does, without asking for a saint to appear or respond, is that we ask the saint to pray to God with us. God will respond to the prayer.

However that’s not quite enough. You asked how can we convincingly argue for prayer to the saints. Well, what I just wrote probably wouldn’t convince any protestant who seriously took scandal at offering prayers to saints. I just don’t think it can be done. If there were an argument that convinced then I expect someone would’ve developed it by now and gone and convinced all those protestants out there. :slight_smile:


#5

There is a critical difference. Necromancy involves seeking communciation from departed souls. This is very dangerous because we can’t discern whether such communication is really from that person or whether it is from demons. It is usually from demons, and the interaction opens people up for spiritual bondage.

Asking saints to pray for us is much different. We do not seek communication from them—only to communicate to them. The scriptures definitely convey that saints in heaven can see us and hear us. But we cannot hear them, nor should we seek it.


#6

Do you believe in Life after Death? What happens to you after you die? Do you ask friends and family to pray for you? Why not ask those who are in Heaven to pray for you?

The ONLY way it is necromancy is if you DON"T believe that Heaven is waiting for you after death. If you believe in Christ’s promise of eternal life asking others to pray for you even if they are dead is perfectly sensible.

-D


#7

Darcee,

A protestant will tell you that praying to the dead is necromancy b/c necromancy is the sin of attempting to contact the dead. I agree with what you’re saying, but am looking for tips to defend this belief in a way that a protestant may be convinced by.

Thanks for the input!


#8

When a protestant raises the question of necromancy I usually respond with the following:

We first look at Deu 18:10-11 where the protestant finds the condemnation of the practice. After reviewing the verses it becomes clear that scripture is talking about the occult and the practices of the occult. The catholic church has always and still does condemn such practices, and they are totally unrelated to prayer to the saints.

I next show them the description of the Transfiguration in Mat 17:2-3 where we see that Jesus is talking with Moses and Elijah and that the apostles are aware of everything that’s going on. Is Jesus disobeying and practicing necromancy? Not a chance!

I also read to them Mat 22:32 where Jesus asks if his listeners had not read where God said, “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?” Then Jesus immediately says, “He is God not of the dead but of the living.” The saints are not dead, but are instead more alive than we are. Those that are in the abode of the dead [not heaven] are not to be conjured up by soothsayers…that is necromancy.

I also point out Heb 12:1 that says, “Therefore since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely…” Obviously, this cloud of witnesses are those that have preceded us to heaven.

Finally, I point to Rev 5:8 which reads, “When he had taken the scroll the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell before the Lamb, each holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints…” Notice that the twenty four elders carry our prayers to God.

Surely, there can be no argument about prayering to saints because the Book of Hebrews describes them as the “souls of just men made perfect” and the Book of James tells us that “the prayers of a just man availeth much.” Since we are called to make supplications and intercessions of all kinds as pointed out by Paul in his first letter to Timothy, it just makes good sense to seek the help of “the most just” to do it on our behalf. There simply isn’t anything in scripture that would suggest otherwise.


#9

Could also point out that praying to the dead is not a Catholic thing but was a Jewish Tradition.

Just read 2 Macc to see this was happening way Before Christ was on Earth.


#10

As scripture states, Jesus is the vine, we are the branches. At death, those in Christ remain as part of the same branches - death does not remove one from the vine. A branch to the vine is the soul united with Christ. Death only removes the flesh from that soul. There is still the connection to Jesus AND the other branches.

God Bless,
Doug


#11

Explain to the Protestant that necromancy is the spiritual counterfeit of the holy practice of praying with the saints. If the Protestant objects to this analogy, ask him to explain what he thinks would be the holy practice that is the opposite of the spiritual counterfeit of necromancy.


#12

[quote=karisue]How does one defend the Church’s position on praying to the dead? When a protestant accuses us of necromancy, how can we convincingly argue that necromancy is attempting to contact the spiritually dead as opposed to the physically dead?

Also, I read once that it would be correct to say that God died on the cross because death is simply the separation of the body and the soul. Is this indeed true? How does it work into our understanding of necromancy?

Thanks in advance!
[/quote]

Necromancy uses the dead as an end unto themselves, they are used to see into the future and for ocult practices, the Christian asks the dead in Christ, departed memebers of the body of Christ tp join us in prayer,


#13

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.