Declaring a saint is in heaven for sure?


#1

How can the Catholic church declare that anyone is in heaven for sure. They do not believe in the doctrine of eternal security and say that no one, not even the most holy person on earth, has a guarantee of salvation. That would be the Baptist church that says we believe we can be assured of salvation. So if the Catholic Church says we can hope but not presume…then how is that they do exactly that when they say someone is in heaven? Although we could guess that they are in heaven unless we are actually present at the minute God judges them how can we say we know for sure??


#2

We can’t be assured for a guaranteed salvation no matter what, right now, while we are living. When one dies and enters heaven, then his salvation is secured. He’d be united with God for all eternity, can’t be separated. That’s why the Church declares saints holy, deceased persons.


#3

Short answer.

It has to do with the required miracles.

For a miracle to be attributed to the intercession of a person shows that they are in Heaven and have access to God.


#4

[quote=mrS4ntA]We can’t be assured for a guaranteed salvation no matter what, right now, while we are living. When one dies and enters heaven, then his salvation is secured. He’d be united with God for all eternity, can’t be separated. That’s why the Church declares saints holy, deceased persons.
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But this means that we can see into the afterlife as if we have some sort of psychic ability to know what is going on in the heavenly realms. Obviously when one dies their salvation is secured at that point or unsecured depending on judgement but WE are still alive and on earth and are not privy to what is going on.


#5

[quote=ByzCath]Short answer.

It has to do with the required miracles.

For a miracle to be attributed to the intercession of a person shows that they are in Heaven and have access to God.
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But again I have to ask what performing miracles has to do with salvation. No where does God or Jesus state that performing miracles is something needed for salvation.


#6

[quote=ConvertFromSBC]But again I have to ask what performing miracles has to do with salvation. No where does God or Jesus state that performing miracles is something needed for salvation.
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That is correct. But the declaration of sainthood states that we know a person is in Heaven. To do so there must be miracles attributed to their intercession.

The Church does not teach that only the declared saints are in Heaven, what it does teach is that the only ones that we know with out a doubt are in Heaven are the saints.

The declaration of sainthood has nothing to do with a “guarantee of salvation.”


#7

The canonization process involves a ruthless examination of the candidate’s earthly life and certification of his or her heroic sanctity. The miracles are not essential to salvation, as you astutely observe, Convert. They are, however, affirmation that the person enjoys fellowship with God such that his intercessions are heard and answered in a way that is deemed to be persuasive evidence of sanctity. The canonized saints are those for whom the Church has effectively ruled out the possibility that they are in Hell or Purgatory. This does not exclude the possibility that there are millions of uncanonized saints in heaven also. Since Christ gave us several criteria by which “the Kingdom of Heaven” is gained, it is not unreasonable to believe that some of our brothers and sisters in Christ have entered into the presence of God.

To say that there is no guarantee of salvation is not the same thing as saying that salvation is impossible or that we cannot discern that a person has received it at the end of this life.


#8

[quote=ByzCath]That is correct. But the declaration of sainthood states that we know a person is in Heaven. To do so there must be miracles attributed to their intercession.

The Church does not teach that only the declared saints are in Heaven, what it does teach is that the only ones that we know with out a doubt are in Heaven are the saints.

The declaration of sainthood has nothing to do with a “guarantee of salvation.”
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Well we are still going in circles because you are saying the rule without explaining the reason behind it. I know the rule is that miracles must be attributed but that doesn’t explain why miracles must be attributed. I know that that the declaration of sainthood states a person is in heaven but that still does not explain why the Catholic church feels the need to dogmatically declare with finality that anyone is in heaven. I already know the teaching of the church. That isn’t my question. My question is the why behind it.


#9

I agree that salvation is not impossible.
I agree that there are people who are in heaven right now.
What I don’t see the logic in is saying that we here on earth have the ability to see, know or discern who is in heaven. We can guess…we can assume…we can hypothesize…but we cannot KNOW. We do not know what God decides at judgement and to say we do know is being very arrogant I believe. Of course we can guess/assume/theorize that chances are 99.9 percent Mother Theresa is in heaven but unless I sat in judgement with God (which I didn’t) I just don’t know and I would never presume to say I did.


#10

St. Thomas Aquinas says: “Since the honour we pay the saints is in a certain sense a profession of faith, i.e., a belief in the glory of the Saints quâ sanctorum gloriam credimus] we must piously believe that in this matter also the judgment of the Church is not liable to error.”


#11

we here on earth have the ability to see, know or discern who is in heaven.

Do you believe that the Church here on earth has the ability to see, know or discern, and therefore formally establish and approve ecclesiastical disciplines which are helpful to the faithful as opposed to those which are harmful? Do you believe it is impossible that the Church establish and approve ecclesiastical disciplines which are harmful to the faithful? In other words, do you believe the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit, infallibly so, when she professes its belief with absolute certainty?

I just don’t know and I would never presume to say I did.

You are not infallible. The Church is when it proclaims a belief with absolute certainty, such as the canonization of saints.


#12

[quote=ConvertFromSBC] **What I don’t see the logic in is saying that we here on earth have the ability to see, know or discern who is in heaven. **
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Discernment is not illogical, since throughout the history of the Old Testament, and continued throughout Our Lord’s teaching, the criteria of sanctity are writ large. When the affirmation of extraordinary miracles is added to the excruciating examination of the life, it is quite reasonable for the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit, to make the pronouncement of canonical sainthood.

[quote=ConvertFromSBC]We do not know what God decides at judgement and** to say we do know is being very arrogant I believe.** . . . I just don’t know and I would never presume to say I did.
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The Church is frequently judged to be arrogant when she exercises her authority. I consider her justified self-assurance to be one of her best qualities. :angel1:


#13

The power of the Holy Spirit is great indeed. It can and does lead falliable human beings to be able to make infalliable statements on certain matters.

No other religion, that I know of, ever tries to make this claim, that without error the Church can decide someone is in heaven.

I guess the bottom line question is if the Catholic Church can make these pronouncements, without error and guided by the Holy Spirit, then the Catholic Church has to be the Truth. If it does make these pronoucements and does not have the authority then the Catholic Church cannot be the Truth … it would be total deceit.


#14

Matthew 16:19

And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

This authority is given to the Pope and his bishops. So what they declare bound or loosed actually IS.


#15

[quote=ConvertFromSBC]How can the Catholic church declare that anyone is in heaven for sure. They do not believe in the doctrine of eternal security and say that no one, not even the most holy person on earth, has a guarantee of salvation. That would be the Baptist church that says we believe we can be assured of salvation. So if the Catholic Church says we can hope but not presume…then how is that they do exactly that when they say someone is in heaven? Although we could guess that they are in heaven unless we are actually present at the minute God judges them how can we say we know for sure??
[/quote]

As a convert fro the SB church, you may be still somewhat influenced by their teachings. Correct me if I’m wrong, but, don’t the SB churches teach that there should be no intercession? That we should only deal directly with God? If that is the case they would of course try to bring into question of who is, and who isn’t, in heaven. Logic being if you’re praying to a saint that isn’t really in heaven, you’re wasting your time. the Catholic Church goes to great pains to assure the soul is in heaven before “announcing” their sainthood. As pointed out by several posters, it’s not saying who isn’t in heaven, it’s saying who is in heaven.


#16

[quote=ConvertFromSBC]Well we are still going in circles because you are saying the rule without explaining the reason behind it. I know the rule is that miracles must be attributed but that doesn’t explain why miracles must be attributed. I know that that the declaration of sainthood states a person is in heaven but that still does not explain why the Catholic church feels the need to dogmatically declare with finality that anyone is in heaven. I already know the teaching of the church. That isn’t my question. My question is the why behind it.
[/quote]

Why saints declared - In part to give the ordinary people still on earth role-models. I know Jesus is the best model, however I often find it easier to look at how one of the saints tried to live a perfect life & copy that as they were only human. In part to give witness to the greatness of God’s work in this person’s life i.e. he was ‘heroic in the practise of virtue’ not through his own ablility but by God’s grace and again to hold out the hope that all people can aspire to this. The Catholic church repeatedly emphasises that we are all called to be saints.

Why miracles required: Firstly the Catholic church looks at the persons life - whether it was Christ-like, virtuous etc. This is a very indept study and requires a lot of time. Then the Church declares the person a Servant of God (i.e. their life is worthy of admiration & imitation but the Church does not declare that they are in Heaven). Next is required two miracles (which occur after the cause of canonization is opened) that are a direct result of prayers for the person’s intercession. Miracles are required on the basis that the person could not intercede on someone’s behalf (ask God to do this thing) if he is not in Heaven. Also the intercessory prayer in such a case includes the phrase “If it be according to Your Will, glorify Your servant XXXXX, by granting the favor I now request through his prayerful intercession”. By virtue of the above the Catholic church declares that the miracles would not have been granted unless the person was in Heaven & God wanted us to honor him, look for his intercession & imitate his life.

P.S. Even after the miracles are investigated and approved the person is only declared “Venerable” & the entire investigation process is repeated and an addition two miracles must occur after the person is declared Venerable before he is declared a Saint.


#17

Thank you everyone for your thoughful responses. Unfortunately I still haven’t found the answer that I’m looking for but I’ll keep looking! I usually do end up understanding after awhile but sometimes I have to search for a long time before I see the reasoning behind it. I think more is needed than to just say “it is because it is”. The Church has the authority to declare many things but they also always have a reason behind it. I have yet to find any teaching of the Church that they say they do “just because”. They always have very valid reasons for coming up with teachings so there has to be a reason behind this one.


#18

One can be assured of heaven, if one is FAITHFULLY following Jesus, THEN he has the assurance that where Jesus is, there he shall be also. Nothing can separate the believer from Him. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord .2 Cor 5:8

                                        Ron from Ohio

#19

[quote=rarndt01]One can be assured of heaven, if one is FAITHFULLY following Jesus, THEN he has the assurance that where Jesus is, there he shall be also. Nothing can separate the believer from Him. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord .2 Cor 5:8

                                        Ron from Ohio

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exactly, *what * are you saying?


#20

[quote=ConvertFromSBC]Thank you everyone for your thoughful responses. Unfortunately I still haven’t found the answer that I’m looking for but I’ll keep looking! I usually do end up understanding after awhile but sometimes I have to search for a long time before I see the reasoning behind it. I think more is needed than to just say “it is because it is”. The Church has the authority to declare many things but they also always have a reason behind it. I have yet to find any teaching of the Church that they say they do “just because”. They always have very valid reasons for coming up with teachings so there has to be a reason behind this one.
[/quote]

Edification of the faithful and building the witness of the Church isn’t a reason?


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