Pagan ties to Catholic Saints?

I heard that the idea of a Saint for everything is parallel to the idea of a pagan god for so many things. And I think they said things like this were done to help get pagans to convert to Christianity.

Any historical truth to this?

Like St. Anthony, patron saint of lost things? St. Anne, patron saint of miners?

Yeah, where did the whole idea of patron saints come from?

I don’t mean to redirect the thread. I just think this is related.

No problem - I see the connection.

I guess I question it, as it frustrates me to see time spent teaching on saints and not the gospels, when there is not a very solid understanding of the gospels.

Our confirmation students are to pick a saint and write a paper on it as part of confirmation. I don’t think most of our confirmation students have read all four gospels - I don’t think it’s even asked of them - so why spend time on saints?

Because all of the saints exemplified the Gospel teachings.

I can pick St. Veronica because she exemplified mercy.
I can pick John the Baptist because he was bringing people to faith and hope.
I can pick St. Franz Jägerstätter because he stood for morality in the face of evil.

The purpose of selecting a patron is to have someone that speaks to you and what you want to accomplish in your life. Or someone that you admire or respect.
That is a Saint.
In heaven.
Who is Praying for you.

(ps: I wouldn’t assume that the Confirmation students don’t know the Gospels…I feel for the catechists there. :o)

My 95 yr. old Aunt said the saints are our lawyers in heaven…they plead our cause with God. :slight_smile:


I respect your 95 yr old Aunt, I’m sure she is a beautiful lady! But I strongly disagree with her statement. There is only one that represents us to God, and that is Jesus Christ.

1 Timothy 2:5

For there is one God.
There is also one mediator between God and the human race,
Christ Jesus, himself human,

I’ve really never understood praying to a dead human whom we don’t really know is in heaven or hell! Only God knows that. Jesus stated many times in the Gospels, “ask in my name”. We are never told to ask in anyone else’s name except His name.


I’m pulling out the pertinent paragraph.

***Because he is the only God-man and the Mediator of the New Covenant, Jesus is the only mediator between man and God (1 Tim. 2:5), but this in no way means we cannot or should not ask our fellow Christians to pray with us and for us (1 Tim. 2:1–4). In particular, we should ask the intercession of those Christians in heaven, who have already had their sanctification completed, for “[t]he prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects” (Jas. 5:16).

As the following passages show, the early Church Fathers not only clearly recognized the biblical teaching that those in heaven can and do intercede for us, but they also applied this teaching in their own daily prayer life.

The Saints certainly DO qualify as righteous, I seriously doubt that her auntie meant we should circumvent Christ.

Where is the 'biblical teaching that those in heaven can and do intercede for us? Intercede to whom? We know that Jesus is the only mediator between God and man. What you point out referencing 1 Tim and Jas is intersession from* living *people. It does not mention from people who have died and are now with Christ.

Praying to Saints is Biblical.


St. Brigit, the Abbess of Kildare, comes to mind. (also sometimes spelled Brigid, Brighid, Bride, and Bridget)

The Celtic Brigit was goddess of poetry, magic, the healing arts (particularly fertility), and smithcraft, associating her with agriculture, fire, and water. Her name actually means “Exalted One.”

Then you have what we believe is a real woman named Brigit, Abbess of Kildare, who lived in Ireland around 450 CE. We don’t have many verifiable sources about her life, and no documents show up til around 650 CE. These stories are remarkably similar to many legends of the goddess. St. Brigit is particularly associated with a sacred fire (similar to one mentioned in the goddess legends) that the nuns of Kildare were said to maintain for her after her death. A group of church officials viewed it as a pagan practice in the 17th century, and it was extinguished until the 1990s when a group of nuns returned to Kildare.

Even her feast day in Ireland (February 1st) is associated with the pagan festival of Imbolc, the beginning of spring. Incidentally, it’s also the eve of the feast of the presentation of Christ in the Temple.

So really, it’s impossible to know much about the original woman we now know as the saint. There’s plenty of blur between pagan origins and Christian framework. Much reading I’ve done celebrates the way that she can bridge the gap between pagan Ireland and Christian Ireland. :thumbsup:

Some interesting reading:

I run in to a fair amount of this in the Catholic population - self reasoning that is not always accurate or has a good foundation.

It often sounds nice and is well intentioned, but if it’s not built on solid truth, it really is not helpful.

I am working on a paper of “Why go to church” for our CCD students. Many CCD teachers still use the “Keep holy the Sabbath” idea - which is not correct teaching.

It’s not easy learning the Catholic faith when you are not around people with a good knowledge base.

Give 'em a link to this. Is Catholicism Pagan?

Just FYI, your link leads to page not found.


That’s like saying, “why spend time with friends”.

The Church is a community– made up of the Church Militant, the Church Suffering, and the Church Triumphant.

Nothing wrong with prayers to the saints.

But if there is a total lack of scripture or the importance of it, then that is a Good question for your RCIA director(s)

We spent very little time on the Saints - mostly discussing Jesus, the sacraments and Church history/structure in our class. With directors that often quoted from the gospels…

We were given free bibles and encouraged to read them - are they doing that in your class?

The Jews erected shrines to the martyrs.

Saints Augustine, Basil, John Chrysostom, and others all wrote about intercession of saints.

The veneration of saints did not originate in paganism.

This sounds like a Protestant narrative, similar to saying the RCC originated in paganism which has no historical basis.

The intercession of saints helps bring us to Jesus and His Church. It is not a pie to divide into pieces where Jesus is left out. It is quite the contrary.

I think our kids get a Bible at confirmation time. I want to talk to someone about changing that to first communion so they have it and can use all along their journey.

I like Bibles that are hi-lited and notes written, all kinds of good stuff.

I think part of why I am where I am is to help.

You didn’t read the quote form the Book of James that says

“IN PARTICULAR, we should ask the intercession of those Christians in HEAVEN…”

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