I’d like to discuss the Catholic meaning of the word “saint”. The common understanding is that a saint is essentially a person of particular holiness that is, I guess, blessed in the eyes of God. One of the requirements for becoming a saint is accomplishing two miracles. It is my belief though that the Catholic understanding of “saint” is in fact completely contradictory to its original meaning in the time of the Apostles.

I submit that the term saint simply meant believer. A saint was anyone who called themselves a Christian. Unfortunately, there is no one verse I can point to to demonstrate this fact because it is never explicitly defined in the Bible. However, a simple search at for the word saint will reveal that it is used about 50 times in the new testament. Saints were very common in the times of the apostles, not because people were more holy but because back then a saint was anyone who believed in Jesus. Here’s some examples of its usage:

Romans 15:31

That I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judaea; and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints;

Romans 16:2

That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.

Romans 16:15

Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them.

1 Corinthians 1:2

Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their’s and our’s:

Another good example is this section of scripture:

1 Corinthians 6
1Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?
2Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?

Which is also translated as:

1 When one of you has a dispute with another believer, how dare you file a lawsuit and ask a secular court to decide the matter instead of taking it to other believers[a]! 2 Don’t you realize that someday we believers will judge the world? And since you are going to judge the world, can’t you decide even these little things among yourselves?

Even though the term saint isn’t explicitly defined in the Bible, it is quite clear from its usage that the word refers to all believers, not just a special few people.

I ask you then, if the Catholic church has managed to utterly confused such a simple teaching, how is it that it can be trusted in more important matters?

From the dictionary:

saint /seɪnt/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[seynt] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation –noun 1.any of certain persons of exceptional holiness of life, formally recognized as such by the Christian Church, esp. by canonization. 2.a person of great holiness, virtue, or benevolence. 3.a founder, sponsor, or patron, as of a movement or organization. 4.(in certain religious groups) a designation applied by the members to themselves.

Was your jab at the Catholic Church really charitable or necessary? It makes us wonder if you are here to ask, debate, and learn or just to stir up trouble.

The church is not the one that is confused.
God Bless.:slight_smile:

I wasn’t making a “jab”. I’m really trying to discuss, and I apologize if you felt like I was doing otherwise.

As for your post, it seems to me that the dictionary definition you included only makes my point. The very first definition is:

any of certain persons of exceptional holiness of life, formally recognized as such by the Christian Church, esp. by canonization.

Again, this is essentially what the Catholic church teaches. Because of the long history and influence of the Catholic church, this definition of saint has become the common meaning of the word. However, as I was trying to establish, the Bible considers a saint to be a person who follows Jesus Christ. You don’t have to be exceptionally holy, and you don’t have to be recognized the church or canonized to be a saint - all you have to do is believe in Jesus. That’s what the Bible teaches, and yet the Catholic church teaches the opposite (as this definition demonstrates). So please, discuss some of the possibilities with me. Either:

a) The Catholic definition of saint is wrong
b) The common understanding of saint isn’t actually the Catholic teaching on the matter
c) I’ve misunderstood what the Bible teaches about sainthood.

Now, I assume that you assume the Catholic church is correct, so that rules out ‘A’. Also, I’m guessing that the common understanding of saint really is what the Catholic church teaches. That leaves it to you to demonstrate that ‘C’ is true. So, I simply ask you to demonstrate that the Catholic meaning of saint is what the Bible teaches.

You are mistaken. Performing two miracles is not a requirement of a “saint.” That’s a requirement for canonization as a saint. Plenty of saints are uncanonized, including every human being who has died in a state of grace.

Nowhere does the Catholic Church define a “saint” as someone who has performed miracles.

Yes, of course it does. And, that’s exactly what the Church teaches about the saints. From the Catechism:

*946 After confessing “the holy catholic Church,” the Apostles’ Creed adds “the communion of saints.” In a certain sense this article is a further explanation of the preceding: **“What is the Church if not the assembly of all the saints?”**477 **The communion of saints is the Church. **

947 "Since all the faithful form one body, the good of each is communicated to the others… We must therefore believe that there exists a communion of goods in the Church. But the most important member is Christ, since he is the head… Therefore, the riches of Christ are communicated to all the members, through the sacraments."478 "As this Church is governed by one and the same Spirit, all the goods she has received necessarily become a common fund."479

948 The term “communion of saints” therefore has two closely linked meanings: communion in holy things (sancta)" and “among holy persons (sancti).”

Sancta sanctis! (“God’s holy gifts for God’s holy people”) is proclaimed by the celebrant in most Eastern liturgies during the elevation of the holy Gifts before the distribution of communion. The faithful (sancti) are fed by Christ’s holy body and blood (sancta) to grow in the communion of the Holy Spirit (koinonia) and to communicate it to the world.*

You are confusing **saints **with canonized Saints. They are two differents things. The canonized Saints are a subset of the saints.

Well, it looks like I was mistaken about the teaching of the Catholic Church on this matter. Score one for catholicism :slight_smile: Still, I can’t help but think they are somewhat misleading on how they present things, but at least they have the correct teaching.

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