praying to virgin mary and the saints

Catholics pray the rosary and recite prayers to Virgin Mary. Also, Catholics pray to the saints. Another thing, catholics also use statues of the saints, Virgin Mary, and of Jesus. But dosent’ this contradict what the bible says? Instead of praying to Mary and the saints for help, why not just pray to God? And why have false idols?

The rosary is a prayer filled meditation on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which a person contemplates through the eyes of His mother, Mary. It is a Christ-centered prayer that honors his mother.

[quote=Derek]Also, Catholics pray to the saints.

There is a distinction to draw between prayer (petition) and adoration (what you would call worship). Prayer to the saints is not worship. A prayer to a saint, whether it is Mary or any other saint, is an act of petition in which the person seeks intercession of that saint. We believe that saints in heaven are members of the body of Christ, just as we are members on earth, except that they are now in the presence of God. Thus, we believe their prayer on our behalf have merit. Seeking the intercessory prayers of the saints builds up the body of Christ and edifies it as a community of believers.

[quote=Derek]Another thing, catholics also use statues of the saints, Virgin Mary, and of Jesus.

Well, yes statues are present in our churches and in some of our homes, etc. But they are not idols that we worship. They are reminders of the members of the body of Christ, our elder brothers and sisters in the faith who lived lives of example that we can follow. We do not pray to statues. We do not worship or adore them.

[quote=Derek] But dosent’ this contradict what the bible says? Instead of praying to Mary and the saints for help, why not just pray to God? And why have false idols?

Prayer to the saints does not contradict the bible. The making and use of icons and statues does not contradict the bible. We do not worship either. We honor our brothers and sisters in the faith and seek their intercession because that is what edifies the body of Christ. We make icons and statues of saints because they remind us of our elder brothers and sisters in the faith and help to focus our prayers to them. We do not worship idols. It is the making and worshipping of idols that is proscribed by the bible.

And one other thing you should know is that Catholics do pray to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Prayer to the saints is our invitation to them to join their prayers with ours. Adoration is reserved solely for God. We worship no creature or idol.


When I teach this concept in my college Western Civilization classes, I phrase it something likes this.

  1. If you are a Christian, have you ever asked your congregation to pray for an intention, like a sick relative? The answer is that most likely, you have. Your whole congregation, together, prays aloud for the person to get better (or whatever the intention is). Is this problematic?

  2. As a Christian, do you believe in eternal life, whether it be in heaven or hell? For MOST Christian denominations, this is a key element of the faith. It is critical that we understand that when we die, we do not simply cease to exist, but continue on, thanks to the saving power of Christ. Death no longer has any power over us.

  3. So… if people do not cease to exist, and it’s ok to ask for a group of living people to pray together, why wouldn’t it be ok to ask both the living AND the dead to pray for our intentions?

Look at two famous Catholic prayers:

In the Hail Mary, we say “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray FOR us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.” We are not praying TO her as much as we are asking her to pray WITH us and FOR us.

Now, look at the Penitential Rite of the Mass, which you will hear every week in church:

“And I ask Blessed Mary, ever Virgin,
All the angels and saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray FOR me to the Lord our God.”

Catholics consider prayer so important, that here, we are actually asking the whole of creation to join us in prayer, including both the living, the dead, and even the angels and saints! This serves as a reminder that we are a part of a larger creation, and helps foster Christian unity.

I hope that helps!

I have a question along these lines…How does a saint become a saint? Do they have to do something extraordinary or are they just regular people?

Welcome to CAF. From a non-catholic Christian: Understanding that invocation and veneration of saints has a history, both east and west, back to the very early church, a non-accusatory, charitable, and honest understanding is required, that:

  • The rosary is meditative prayer, most of which is not to or about Mary.
  • In your church, do you ever ask others to pray for someone in need? That is what Catholics are doing when they ask for saints to pray from them. When one says Catholics “pray” to Mary, the usage of pray here is defined, “to ask or request ernestly”, and not the same as prayer to God.
  • Lutherans have staues and crucifixes and pictures of Jesus, and sometimes Mary and the saints, too. It is not a violation of scripture, as no one is worshipping these things. They are not idols.
  • There are no false idols in Catholicism. They pray to and believe in the same triune God that all Christians do.

Hope that helps from a Protestant perspective.


If you are asking how a person is chosen by the Church as a saint to whom public (corporate) prayer can be offered the answer is that the person must be found to have exhibited “heroic virtue.” There’s an article about the process of beatification and canonization here.

To answer another way, anyone who dies in friendship with God can be said to be a “saint” in the sense that they are holy and will be sanctified and in the presence of God.

To answer another way, all those who are in a right relationship with Jesus Christ can be said to be “saints” in the sense that we have all been made holy and sanctified by His grace.


At it’s most basic level, a saint is any human that makes it to heaven.

For most people, it is impossible for us to know whether or not they made it to heaven definitively, because we don’t know the state of their soul. However, the church does also officially “proclaim” saints. These are those Catholics that have lived such extraordinary lives, that there is no doubt that they have made it to heaven. The purpose of doing this is to hold these people up as the ultimate Catholic role models. To see their statues in church is a bit like walking into the NFL Hall of Fame for football. These are people to be emulated (but of course, they are not god).

Most holy Biblical figures from the Old and New Testament are saints by default. For example, the Apostles, Paul, Mary and Joseph, Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and so on. Also, anyone martyred for the faith is considered a saint. This especially includes the early martyrs of the church from the Roman persecutions. Until about the ninth century, saints were proclaimed by popular acclaim, and further recognized as holy by the local bishop. These became local saints. Occassionally, one would become so famous, that they would be universally recognized, such as St. Nicholas or St. Patrick. In the ninth century, the pope began a process to standardize the proclamation of saints and make it universal.

Today, a saint’s cause can still be put forward to the Vatican by popular acclaim. A thorough investigation begins. If the person is found to be a good person and worthy of further study, all the details of the person’s life will be exaustively examined. If they are still found to be a holy person, they will be declared “Venerable.” This judgment states that the Church (made up of flawed humans) thinks that the person could be a saint. Now, they have to wait for God’s judgment on the matter. If a true miracle can be found to have occurred through the intercessionary prayer of that person, then the person is “Beatified”, and will become known as “Blessed so-and-so” (For example, Blessed Mother Teresa). If a second miracle can be confirmed, the person is “Canonized”, and officially becomes a saint. These miracles are considered the confirming, infallible judgment of God that the correct verdict was rendered in the investigation.

Welcome to CAF
This should help

We ask Mary and saints to pray for us. They are alive in heaven and there’s nothing wrong in asking others to pray for us. Obviously you can pray straight to God but their intercession works - I know it from my own experience. Mary in Fatima asked children to say the rosary so God doesn’t mind it. Do you think that Jesus feels jealous and furious when tell His mother we love her? Protestants have a totaly wrong image of Jesus in their minds if they think that He behaves like this… Protestants of course believe miracle of Fatima was demonic, just like many other amazing miracles that occurred in the CC… Poor protestant blasphemers, I wouldn’t like to be one of them on the judgement day…

Do you have a source for this?


So, anyone who has already died and falls under the specifications that Rolltide mentioned can be a saint? :confused:

anyone in Heaven is a Saint.

I remember as a kid I all ways ask my Mother to ask my dad if I can use the car on the week end and he always say yes ,so it work for me,maybe non-cathloics need to try it,IT WORKKS.


Anyone that falls under those specifications would be someone that the church could declare a saint, but there are WAY more saints than that, since anyone who’s in heaven is a saint. We can only identify a small fraction of those people; generally, only the absolutely most holy among us. In no way does that mean they are the ONLY ones in heaven.

that was one of my favorite moves.

God used Mary here on earth for a purpose. Everyone on earth as a purpose, but to you it means that we should pray to those who are now in heaven. When an individual is called a saint in heaven, how do you know that person is really a saint? How do you know Mother Teresa is really a saint? Because the pope declared her as one?

I don’t recall anywhere in the bible where a person prayed the Rosary. Also, the infallibility of the pope is also in question. Everyone want to see and touch the pope. As far as I know, the pope is just a man, he is not jesus.

Mother Theresa has not been declared a Saint. Look up the canonization process; it’s investigative, and relies on evidence rather than some particular person’s saying so.

Where did anyone claim this or anything like this?

Also, the infallibility of the pope is also in question.

Not among orthodox Catholics.

Everyone want to see and touch the pope. As far as I know, the pope is just a man, he is not jesus.

But, according to Catholic ecclesiology, the Pope represents Jesus on Earth as the head of His Church, and the Holy Spirit protects him from the possibility of error when he speaks ex cathedra on faith and morals.

We had no Rosary at the time of the Bible…Jesus give the Keys to heaven to Peter its called Apostolic SUCCESSION,NON-CATHLOICS DO NOT HAVE IT.

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