Need a catholic apologetic response to this

Hi again. I was wondering for some help on this. I was told this in a conversation and was hoping for a good Catholic appologetic response. I’m familiar with tracts, but I don’t really know how to put together an articulate answer to give to them:

“Well, what do they ask the saint? They usually say “Please protect me. Saint Christopher, please protect me as I travel.” That’s why they have Saint Christophers they hang on their cars. And why people wear it around their neck because he is the saint of travel. So, “Saint Christopher, he will protect me.” We pray to Jesus!” You know how much that would hurt Jesus? Can we protect you when you drive your car? Jesus is protecting you. The saints have no extra powers."

¯_(ツ)_/¯
I don’t even know how to even respond to this. I don’t know how truthful what they are saying even is, and if Catholics really put St. Christopher’s in their cars and around their necks and if they ask St. Christopher to protect them. And if catholics do ask the saints to protect them doing these things, what kind of protection do the saints even offer other than prayer and intercession on your behalf?

The Apostles performed miracles in the name of Jesus. So have Christians throughout history. Even some evangelical traditions claim preachers who can heal in Jesus names and parishioners with charisma to speak in tongues or prophecy. If us sinful beings on Earth can do it, why not the Saints in Heaven who are purified of all attachment to sin and are now in the presence of God eternally?

Catholics view the Church as one whole community of believers, uniting those on Earth, those in Heaven, and those still being purged of attachment to sin. We are one community, sons and daughters of Christ, and as one community we pray for each other. The saints are like our older siblings in Christ, a little wiser than us, willing to watch over us in prayer. This is pleasing to God, as the saints exalt and glorify him, and it’s pleasing to Him when we pray for each other in any way.

Protestants ask others on Earth to pray for their intentions. Why even bother spending even a moment doing this if that moment can instead just be directed to Jesus?

We should distinguish intercessory prayer of the saints with the mercy of Jesus.

Jesus is the son of God. Saints are not.

The bible indicates the church is the body of Christ, that there is one body, that death cannot separate the body, that we should pray for each other, and that the prayers of the saints are in heaven. It also indicates the spirits of just men made perfect are in heaven.

If you say to a friend- please pray for my safety in long travels, do you love Jesus less? Of course not.

I recommend going to the Catechism or listening to a good show like Called to Communion. These are reliable sources of information.

On a historical note, Saint Augustine wrote a handful of times about the intercession of the saints around 400 AD.

It did not become objectionable to some until sometime after the reformation.

If it’s not wrong to ask another person on earth to protect you, then why would it be wrong to ask a person who’s in heaven to protect you?

I believe the patron Saints have a special way of approaching Jesus when we ask for an intercession regarding thier expertise in matters.

If Jesus wanted to do it all, then why did God(Jesus) give each of us a guardian angel? For Jesus said about the little children, that their angels in heaven see God.

I once was asked by a Baptist and he told me they are dead and can’t communicate with us - so I asked him if he was saying that they are dead in Christ - I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob God is not the God of the dead but of the living."

  • not I was the God of Jacob Isaac and Abraham- one reason is they claim they are dead and can do nothing.

Poor friend! How do you broach the subject of informing this soul that virtually everything they “know” is wrong? A copy of Catholicism for Dummies would help, actually. Good, solid information for both of you. First is to get your friend to re-examine the novel, trendy, Made-in-USA, nuclear concept of “Me and Jesus” which has been sold in direct opposition to the scriptures. This is a Communion of Saints issue…

COMMUNION OF SAINTS. The unity and co-operation of the members of the Church on earth with those in heaven and in purgatory. They are united as being one Mystical Body of Christ. The faithful on earth are in communion with each other by professing the same faith, obeying the same authority, and assisting each other with their prayers and good works. They are in communion with the saints in heaven by honoring them as glorified members of the Church, invoking their prayers and aid, and striving to imitate their virtues. They are in communion with the souls in purgatory by helping them with their prayers and good works.

…and your friend has simply never heard of this. It is a tragedy, actually. Christ and His Church must first be painted in accurate historical light, then brought forward. I would point them to 1 Corinthians 12 (we are all members of His Body), and what Jesus told the Sadducees about even the dead being alive to God (Mt. 22, Mk. 12, Lk. 20).

I am curious if your friends would ask their guardian angels to “watch over them”. After all, isn’t that at least in part why we each have a guardian angel who guards us. I would ask your friends “Why do we have guardian angels when we have Jesus?” Would it be wrong to ask my guardian angel to watch over me during a specially difficult time or incident. All of the Saints are in Christ Jesus. There is nothing that we ask of them that can be separated from Jesus.

Typically the simple prayer to St. Christopher, as it is with all saints, is “St. Christopher, pray for us”. This also does not typically occur in a vacuum. It starts and ends with a Sign of the Cross in the name of the Trinity. So even if a person asks any Saint to protect them, it is always understood that it is through Jesus that that saint can actually do anything.

You’re simply asking a saint to intercede on your behalf with God. Could you pray directly to God? Sure. You’re not praying to the saint, you’re asking the saint to join with you in praying to God. Different saints are “in charge” of different activities–sort of like calling a business and having a message say “Press 1 for sales; press 2 for returns; press 3 for payment information…” Maybe your friend would understand that.

Having said that, it seems to me there’s a fine line between a pious practice and superstition. The St. Christopher medal has no magical powers. It’s not going to protect you from anything. So why display it? To remind you of God? To remind you to offer a prayer? To remind you you’re not completely in control of what happens when you drive? A lot of valid answers. But no magic powers.

You know how much that would hurt Jesus? ???

Psalm 123: 1 A song of ascents.

To you I raise my eyes,
to you enthroned in heaven.
2
Yes, like the eyes of servants
on the hand of their masters,
Like the eyes of a maid
on the hand of her mistress,
So our eyes are on the LORD our God,
till we are shown favor.

Jesus knows every prayer since before time began. It pleases Him to permit the Saints to participate in Our Fathers salvific plan. He knows the prayer of the traveler. What joy to hear Our Lord and Master say " Chris would you bring me the prayers of travelers"? This joy is shared by all the saints.

Peace

I would stress that the saints in heaven are human beings too.

You’re 100% right! This is why I am conducting research to discern truth from falsehood before I get back to them once again about my desire to convert to the Catholic Church, otherwise I might reply with an “I don’t know, but I feel God is calling me to join the Catholic Church.” It doesn’t really help them out, get what I mean. I might be their only link to the truth about Catholicism.
¯_(ツ)_/¯

Many people are mentioned in the Bible who worked miracles. For example, in the New Testament, Peter raised a woman from the dead (Acts 9:40) and he healed a crippled man (Acts 3:7). However, what Peter basically said of himself also applies to others, namely, the miracles he worked were not accomplished by any inherent power of his own but were accomplished by the power of God working through him, by the exercises of a gift he had received from God (see Acts 3:12-16;14:3; 1 Corinthians 13:10,28). In the Old Testament, Samuel prophesied during his lifetime (1 Samuel 3:10-18, etc.) and he also prophesied after his death (1 Samuel 28:16-19). Elisha raised a child from the dead during his lifetime (2 Kings 4:35;8:5) and he also raised a man from the dead after his own death (2 Kings 13:21). Or, as the book of Sirach says of Samuel:
Even after he had fallen asleep he prophesied
and revealed to the king his death,
and lifted up his voice out of the earth in prophecy,
to blot out the wickedness of the people. (Sirach 46:20)
And of Elisha:
Nothing was too hard for him,
and when he was dead his body prophesied.
As in his life he did wonders,
so in death his deeds were marvelous. (Sirach 48:13-14)

So there is really no reason to think that those people who, by God’s gift, could work miracles while they were alive automatically lost that gift when they died. There is also no reason to think that God who granted the gift of working miracles to so many people while they were alive could not grant the gift of working miracles to other people after their death.

From: catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=36
*
According to legend, St. Christopher was extremely tall, and by some accounts he was even a giant! He is referred to as a Canaanite. We think this is unlikely, but he was surely a man of significant physical stature.

Christopher decided one day that he wanted to serve the greatest king he could. He presented himself before his local ruler and entered service, until he noticed the king cross himself at the mention of the devil, revealing that the king believed the Devil to have more power.

St. Christopher then decided to serve the Devil. During his search, he encountered a band of thieves, whose leader referred to himself as the Devil. But when this leader avoided a Christian cross out of fear, St. Christopher learned there was someone even more powerful than the Devil.

St. Christopher found a hermit who taught him all about Christ, the King of Kings. The hermit suggested that he spend his life in prayer and fasting, a thing which St. Christopher, a large and probably often hungry man found difficult, he objected. The hermit suggested he then find something else that would please Christ. St. Christopher offered to work at a nearby river, and help travelers across. The fording was dangerous and many with less strength people had drowned. The hermit advised St. Christopher this would please Christ.

One day, a child approached St. Christopher by the river and asked to be helped across. St. Christopher obliged. However, as he entered midstream, the river rose and the child’s weight grew and became extremely heavy. It was only by great exertion that St. Christopher safely delivered the child to the other side.

When St. Christopher asked the child why he was so heavy, the child explained that He was the Christ and when St. Christopher carried Him, he also carried the weight of the whole world on his shoulders. The child then vanished.

Other legends state that St. Christopher traveled after this experience and evangelized thousands of people. Arriving in Lycia in Asia Minor, and witnessing to Christians there who were being martyred. At that time, St. Christopher was detained and ordered to offer a sacrifice to the emperor. When he refused, it was decided to attempt to persuade him with money and women. Two women were sent to seduce him, but instead he converted them to Christianity.

After this, it was decided to have him killed, but various attempts to assassinate him failed. Eventually, he was arrested and beheaded.

The name “Christopher” means Christ-bearer, and may allude to the legend of the man carrying the Christ Child across the river. Saint Christopher also did not become popularized in the Church until the 7th century, about three centuries after his supposed death. We know of his popularity because around the 7th century, churches and monasteries began to be named after him. This adds credibility to the supposition that St. Christopher was merely a legendary figure and not a real person. *

We are dealing with the spiritual realm here. The spiritual being the combination of memory, emotion, rationality, logic,faith.

Let’s assume that St Christopher was not a real person. How does this change things? When we pray for help from St. Christopher we are energized by the power of a great saint who helped to carry Christ himself.

We know that Jesus used other people to carry his message too. And Jesus uses us to carry him. There is perhaps, a little of saint Christopher in all of us, some more than others. We appeal to that spiritual reality when we invoke St. Christopher. But then again, perhaps this person was real? The legend can be based on real events or not. The spiritual aspect of the legend is the same.

The simplistic notion that Catholics pray to saints and offend Jesus because we don’t go directly to him misses the mark completely.

Our relationship with Saints is that they are like us, people, yet have achieved a higher level of spirituality that we strive for and empowers us. Christ himself was carried by this saint.

If Jesus needed him, then I need him too.

Since this legend is from the 400s, please find for me someone who objected to praying to St. Christopher before the reformation.

Does your Protestant friend go to a church that has a prayer chain? You know how this works: when someone gets sick or is in an accident, the prayer chain goes into action interceding for that person, right? One person calls another person who calls another person and so on until the whole church is united in prayer for the brother or sister in need.

Now, Catholics don’t stop there! We continue to enlist the intercession of our brothers and sisters who have already entered into God’s presence - the canonized saints.

And since the prayers of a righteous man availeth much, the intercession of the saints in heaven (who are obviously righteous in God’s sight) are very powerful.

But let’s be clear: the saints “power” comes from their intercession and submission to the will of God - not because of their own strength. :thumbsup:

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.