[quote=Rand Al’Thor]Peace be with you!
Best way to explain this to someone? The person I’m talking to, no matter what I say, simply will not believe me when I tell her that Catholics don’t worship saints. This is just another attempt (each one is growing weaker, of course) of hers to try to “prove” that Catholics do worship saints. She even said that she asked a couple of her Catholic friends and even a priest if they pray to Mary the same way as to God and all said yes. I don’t believe that for a second; no priest I’ve ever met in my entire life would say something like that.
As far as the words used here go, this is perfectly true. The Church’s doctrinal documents speak of prayer to the Saints; it does not follow, that the attitude is identical; for we do not intend to give to creatures the unreserved love which God alone is capable of receiving. And where there is no intention to give to creatures what only God can receive, there is no giving. A hammer can be used as a means of carpentry - it can also be used to commit a murder. Murder is a crime - carpentry is not. Yet a hammer can be used for both. The difference is not in the hammer, but in the intention of the person wielding it.
So with p.t.t.SS: Mary is our joy, our life, our hope, our protection, our help, our crown, and a great deal more; she is the Gate of Heaven, the Morning Star, the Tower of David, the Rose of Sharon, the Glory of Jerusalem, the New Eve, the Mother of the Church, etc., etc., etc., etc.; some of these are even titles of her Son. And other Saints are also called by similarly high-sounding names: she is not the only Saint to have a litany - far from it.
Two differences set all saints apart from God:
God, alone, receives sacrifice.
And all the saints, no matter how exalted they may be by grace, are alike in being beneficiaries of Christ and His saving work. There is not even one exception to this. So they receive grace from Christ as truly as the rest of us; they, like us, are not, and cannot be, anything without Christ - for He is their, and our, environment. They, and we, need oxygen for our bodies - and grace, for our life in communion with Christ.
A further point - there is no prayer which does not terminate in God. Including prayer to the Saints. This again is because they are “in Christ”, & are never separated from Him; for He is the universal cause of all holiness in His creatures.
Perhaps the way to show what the Church holds about the Saints, is to show what she holds about Christ. The language used about some saints can certainly
look blasphemous - until one compares it with what is said of Christ, and believed about Him. IMO, it is fatal to look at the saints in isolation from Him - after all, they don’t live in isolation from Him. What the Church holds about the Saints, is part of a unified vision of creation, in wich they hold a part: an important part, but still no more than a part. It is in Christ that all things hold together (see Colossians 1.15), and it is He Who makes them all “make sense”. So what the Church believes is not an untidy, unconnected heap of doctrines - it’s more like a tapestry, in which every thread has its place, and contributes to the whole design. Doctrines are connected organically - they are not inert or dead. ##
What do you, and she, understand by that word “worship” ?