Defending against: Church says only canonized saints are saints

On a forum run by some anti-Catholics, there was a post today that began like this:

“According to Scripture, all believers in God and Jesus are saints! According to the catholic Church only those who the current Pope says are saints are saints!”

This has to be a slam-dunk, but in a half hour I couldn’t see anything that concisely and authoritatively addresses this, without other “Protestant triggers” involved. I want to refute this precise statement but in the spirit of picking my battles, I don’t want to open up other things like Mary etc. but be very focused on just this.

I saw where the catechism and others mentions that we canonize some of the saints, but it wasn’t quite as strong as what I was looking for. I just want something that specifically says that canonization is not required for someone to be a saint. I’ve seen things that say that not only the religious can be saints, but that doesn’t exactly address the idea on non-canonized saints.

I don’t necessarily wish to discuss whether all believers are saints anyway, because that’s a trap. I just want to make one simple chink in this person’s armor. If I can show that the statement “ONLY those who …” is false, than I claim I have impeached the witness.

Thank you in advance. I’m hoping this will be a nearly no-brainer for some of you.

MS

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From the Cathecism:

946 After confessing “the holy catholic Church,” the Apostles’ Creed adds “the communion of saints.” In a certain sense this article is a further explanation of the preceding: "What is the Church if not the assembly of all the saints?"479 The communion of saints is the Church.

Here’s a link

vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p123a9p5.htm

Tell them, the Church does not make saints but rather officially recognises them as Saints by Canonising them. Tell them we do not deny that there is living Saints.

Everyone who makes it to Heaven is a saint.

Canonization is a process by which the Church confirms sunshine “made it” via investigations and miracles.

What proof does your church have that, someone actually “made it in?”

Perhaps CCC 1023 is what you’re looking for: Those who die in God’s grace and friendship and are perfectly purified live for ever with Christ. They are like God for ever, for they “see him as he is,” face to face: [indent]By virtue of our apostolic authority, we define the following: According to the general disposition of God, the souls of all the saints…and other faithful who died after receiving Christ’s holy Baptism (provided they were not in need of purification when they died, …or, if they then did need or will need some purification, when they have been purified after death, …) already before they take up their bodies again and before the general judgment - and this since the Ascension of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ into heaven - have been, are and will be in heaven, in the heavenly Kingdom and celestial paradise with Christ, joined to the company of the holy angels. Since the Passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ, these souls have seen and do see the divine essence with an intuitive vision, and even face to face, without the mediation of any creature.[/indent] (underlines added)

Or the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church #195: “This expression [Communion of Saints] also refers to the communion between holy persons (sancti); that is, between those who by grace are united to the dead and risen Christ. Some are pilgrims on the earth… Others already enjoy the glory of God and intercede for us.”

That seems pretty straightforward to me!

“confirms sunshine made it”? Lol, I’m sensing you’re using a smartphone :stuck_out_tongue: I think you mean “confirms someone made it”.

First of all, all Catholics are called to holiness but some are, for whatever reason, not able to live a holy life. Jesus tells us a few things:

biblehub.com/matthew/7-21.htm

biblehub.com/luke/6-46.htm

Faith requires works and the use of what the Holy Spirit has given us.

Now, an answer to the specific questions about saints:

catholic.org/saints/faq.php

Peace,
Ed

There is a beautiful prayer springs to mind called “I thirst”. In one sentence Jesus says “Even now I behold the place My Father has prepared for you in My Kingdom”. And then Jesus says " Remember that you are a pilgrim in this life, on a journey home".
We are all called to be saints, we were made for this

:rotfl:
:blush:

:extrahappy:

OK, just for the record, can you share exactly where “according to Scripture, all believers in God and Jesus are saints.” ? That would be a good start to the discussion because the Scripture has lots to say and the word saints isn’t a big part of it.
Secondly why would you have to “defend” *against *an unsupportable claim such as "
According to the catholic Church only those who the current Pope says are saints are saints!"?? Simply state the obvious: that is not Catholic doctrine - it’s something that person made up. To prove the point simply ask for the reference to where the claim can be found in any official Catholic document. There is none, and the argument is over.
Delve into the concept of the Church and it’s 3 states - ie the Church Militant (vs the Church Suffering/Glorious) in coming to terms with the objector. Here’s something very brief that addresses the issue of the word “saint” that may be helpful…
ewtn.com/faith/teachings/chura1.htm

Thank you all for the great information so far. I have scanned it all and will look at it in more detail before I respond to them. I want to be very careful to come off just a certain way.

What happened was I had joined some “non-denominational” website, and I have a good name there so far because I helped them with some technical problems, but I don’t think they realize that I’m Catholic. I didn’t realize they were so against Catholicism until just the other day, so I’m scheming to respond and disrupt their wrong. I’m intending to use that to better “infiltrate” them (in the spirit of 1 Cor 9:19-23) and see if I can get into the middle of their thinking and plant a few seeds there.

They have a number of points they are arguing about, and I chose this one because it simple, and I hope to demonstrate conclusively and objectively (with evidence good enough for even an anti-Catholic) and see how they react. Like arguing with a Protestant about Mary is more complicated – so I chose a battle of one little tiny thing where I can see how they react. If they won’t accept they are wrong even with overwhelming evidence, then I’m not sure they are worth more of my time and I might have to shake dust off my feet.

They actually quoted about 60 verses through the Bible. I copied and pasted it into Word and got a word count of almost 1,700. I’ll just grab a couple:

Matt 27:52 tombs were opened, and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised.

So this shows there are saints that aren’t canonized, which we all agree on. Doesn’t specifically say that all believers are saints.

2Th 1:10, When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

This doesn’t really say that either. I think I’ll choose my battle very specifically. If I stay focused on their assertion about the Church’s view, then we avoid the issue of Biblical interpretation that Protestants seem to think they have all over us.

So no I don’t see how they have proven their statement about all believers, but I’m going to shelve that one for the moment in the hopes of finding one thing. Anything. Just one thing that I can show they are wrong about the Church. In my opinion, that impeaches them as witnesses of what the Church says. So they can still argue about what the Bible says, but I have to stop them from putting words into the mouth of the Church.

It doesn’t help that a number of Catholic authors who are reckless in their descriptions. Like in the April 27 Our Sunday Visitor,

Secondly why would you have to “defend” *against *an unsupportable claim such as "
According to the catholic Church only those who the current Pope says are saints are saints!"?? Simply state the obvious: that is not Catholic doctrine - it’s something that person made up. To prove the point simply ask for the reference to where the claim can be found in any official Catholic document. There is none, and the argument is over.

You are right that it is obvious, but I think I need to have “official” document from the Church that says the Church’s opinion is there are saints other than those canonized. If there is even one, then there argument is flawed. I read some of that about the mystical body of Christ and the Church Militant and all, which makes it clear to anybody with open mind IMO. I just want this to be a slam dunk, and I want it to be nearly “perfect” the first time out… once I answer them I’ll tell you what I wrote, and keep you posted.

All I want is for this one person (who is in leadership position on the website) to acknowledge that they were wrong about the Church on something. Anything. It seems that it should be simple positively kill this notion rather than just challenge them to prove it. To them they have already seen the proof and for all I know have believe it for decades.

MS

Here’s another good article.

catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0004.html

Saints are not freaks or exceptions.* They are the standard operating model for human beings.* In fact, in the biblical sense of the word, all believers are saints.* “Sanctity” means holiness.*

Saints are not the opposite of sinners.* There are no opposites of sinners in this world.* There are only saved sinners and unsaved sinners.* Thus holy does not mean “sinless” but “set-apart:” called out of the world to the destiny of eternal ecstasy with God.

No it doesn’t. In fact, one could argue that the “saints” and “all them that believe” are actually two separate categories of individuals since a separate action is associated with each - glorification via saints and admiration via all them that believe.

I think I’ll choose my battle very specifically. If I stay focused on their assertion about the Church’s view, then we avoid the issue of Biblical interpretation that Protestants seem to think they have all over us.

Correct. They have made an assertion regarding Catholicism. They have an obligation as Christians to “not bear false witness” and to provide the basis for their claim. If they are not willing to do that then there can be no meaningful discussion and they are not open to the truth.

“…I think I need to have “official” document from the Church that says the Church’s opinion is there are saints other than those canonized.” Isn’t it frustrating that NDs don’t have ANYTHING in writing - no “official” anything when it comes to theology, but we need to have it…I understand where you are going though and you are on the right track. BTW, I’m guessing one of the reasons you ay not find what you are looking for is because the Catholic Church doesn’t use the word saints for the living precisely because it has had 2000 years to articulate clearly what the faith is. It’s important to distinguish between those who are in a “state of grace” and those who have died in that state and have been judged worthy of Heaven. Big difference between those two groups and calling them both saints has some drawbacks. One is the whole OSAS heresy.

All I want is for this one person (who is in leadership position on the website) to acknowledge that they were wrong about the Church on something.

Don’t hold your breath…

Blessings!

From the CCC:

**IN BRIEF **
960 The Church is a “communion of saints”: this expression refers first to the “holy things” (sancta), above all the Eucharist, by which “the unity of believers, who form one body in Christ, is both represented and brought about” (*LG *3).
961 **The term “communion of saints” refers also to the communion of “holy persons” (sancti) in Christ **who “died for all,” so that what each one does or suffers in and for Christ bears fruit for all.
962 “**We believe in the communion of all the faithful of Christ, those who are pilgrims on earth, the dead who are being purified, and the blessed in heaven, all together forming one Church; **and we believe that in this communion, the merciful love of God and his saints is always [attentive] to our prayers” (Paul VI, *CPG *§ 30).

From Statement 962: The Church is the communion of all faithful pilgrims on earth ***and those who are in heaven
Conclusion: Therefore, all faithful pilgrims on earth (ie “believers”) are members of the Church
From Statement 960: The Church is the communion of saints - all holy people who form one body in Christ
Conclusion
*: All faithful pilgrims on earth (ie “believers”) are saints and are part of the communion of saints.

pretty sure a protestant doing that on this forum would be banned.

As has been mentioned “Saints” can be used in different ways–for any members of the Church, for all those in Heaven (this is who All Saints Day honors for example), and for canonized Saints.

The Catholic Church has a list of canonized saints, and it’s not easy to get canonized. But I’ve never been taught or seen that only these canonized saints are the ONLY saints. We are all called to be saints. However, the canonized saints are special, and we honor them as such. The reasons for their canonization make them special to the Church, and special to us.

They are like you then

:hug1:
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