Praying to a saint, a human being, when prayer is something reserved for God only; how can Catholics be okay with this?


I visited a Catholic church and saw printed out in front of a statue of Joseph, a prayer that was called a prayer,.with a kneeling bench in front of it, This means it is the practice of the people there to kneel down and then to pray to a human being that is hopefully in heaven, in spirit, but is physically buried under the earth.

Since prayer is something Holy and the Bible warns to keep Holy things for God only,…why does Catholic teaching say its ok pray to human beings hopefully in heaven.

Dear friend,

Catholics are often given the acronym, ACTS as a way of remembering the forms of prayer that we have as Christians: adoration, contrition, thanksgiving, and supplication.

An old word for “please” is prithee, a contraction of "I pray thee.” We certainly wouldn’t consider using the word “please” as a prayer. In the past people didn’t consider the word “pray” as being limited only to conversation with God. The written “prayer” that you saw was a supplication and that is all. In no way is it a prayer of adoration or worship. It isn’t a prayer so much as a request for prayer, actually. We ask the saints, as we do of one another, to join us in our prayers of supplication for whatever we want of God.

To adore God is to acknowledge God to be who He is. St. Thomas Aquinas considers such prayer to be a matter of justice. We OWE God the humble acknowledgment of who He is and His dominion over us. This Catholics do not do with regard to the saints.

As for kneeling before an image of a saint, again we are not worshiping the saint any more than a man is worshiping the woman he is asking to be his wife as he kneels before her. It’s a physical stance of supplication. I hope this helps.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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