Defying Logic

Let me see if I get this straight. You can qualify to have performed a miracle if someone prays to you and their petitions receive the requested outcome. That, anyway is what might push Archbishop Fulton Sheen over the top to become a full-blown saint:

Bonnie Engstrom, whose completely healthy son, James Fulton, is the stillborn baby allegedly healed through Archbishop Sheen’s intercession, told the Register the family was overjoyed with the news.

“Right now, I am just thrilled. We’re going to have steak for dinner; we’re going out for ice cream — we are just going to celebrate this. It is so exciting,” said Engstom, a mother of six who also blogs at A Knotted Life.

Engstrom told the Register that she and her husband, Travis, had entrusted this particular pregnancy from the outset to the intercession of Archbishop Sheen. Throughout the pregnancy, all the signs pointed to a healthy, normal pregnancy. And then came the delivery, at their home in Goodfield, Ill., on Sept. 16, 2010: Their newborn had no pulse, and for the next 61 minutes, a nightmare unfolded.

Engstrom was going into shock. Travis called 911 and performed an emergency baptism before ambulance crews came to rush the baby to the hospital. Bonnie only had one thought.

“I remember sitting there, on my bedroom floor, saying Fulton Sheen’s name over and over again,” she said. “That was about as close to a prayer I could get.”

Her shock at the unfolding scene made it “impossible for me to think of anything else,” shared Engstrom.

For 61 minutes, James Fulton Engstrom had no pulse and was medically dead, as medical professionals did their best but failed to resuscitate him. The only hope they had was to revive the infant long enough for Bonnie and Travis to hold him and say their brief hellos and good-byes. When the doctors finally gave up and started to certify death, Engstrom said, “that’s when his heart shot up to 148 beats per minute” — just like any healthy newborn.
Engstrom said she later learned that her husband had been fast at work starting a prayer chain in that difficult hour, asking others to pray — all over the world — specifically for Archbishop Sheen to intercede and ask God to save their little boy.

Astonished by James Fulton’s inexplicable return from death, the doctors told the Engstroms that their son must have suffered severe organ damage from the oxygen deprivation and would be severely disabled. Those predictions, however, never came to pass, and their baby was soon weaned off the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit machines and drugs.

“He’ll now be 4 in September,” Engstrom said. “He’s a normal, healthy little boy — just cute and really happy.”

A couple of questions that perhaps only Bryan Cross’ razor-sharp mind can answer: 1) why wouldn’t these folks simply pray directly to God through the name of Christ (and why Fulton Sheen who has been dead for 35 years or why not John Paul II)? 2) how exactly would you verify that Sheen performed this miracle instead of God? 3) If deceased believers can hear our prayers, does that mean they can hear and see whatever we say and do (which is a form of divine omniscience, right)? I mean, if Sheen can hear a prayer, is it possible that my parents can see when I am over the speed limit?

Here’s another reason for being thankful that Christ’s righteousness is all I need to be a saint.

252 thoughts on “Defying Logic

  1. Darryl,

    1) why wouldn’t these folks simply pray directly to God through the name of Christ (and why Fulton Sheen who has been dead for 35 years or why not John Paul II)? 2) how exactly would you verify that Sheen performed this miracle instead of God? 3) If deceased believers can hear our prayers, does that mean they can hear and see whatever we say and do (which is a form of divine omniscience, right)? I mean, if Sheen can hear a prayer, is it possible that my parents can see when I am over the speed limit?

    Asking three questions does not show that anything “defies logic.”

    (And just so you know, I don’t answer rhetorical questions.)

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

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  2. (And just so you know, I don’t answer rhetorical questions.)

    Other things The Hat does not do:

    1) Speak like a human
    2) Interact like a human
    3) Admit that ANYTHING

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  3. continuing…

    3) Admit that ANYTHING about Rome’s doctrine and discipline might be amiss or subject to question
    4) Admit that there is anything illogical about Rome.
    5) Appear outdoors without that darn flat cap.

    Feel free to add your own…

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  4. Father Sarducci call your office…

    As Father Guido Sarducci [of SNL fame], Novello once lamented,

    “To be made a saint in-a the Catholic Church, you have to have-a four miracles. That’s-a the rule, you know. It’s-a always been that-a four miracles, and-a to prove it. Well, this-a Mother Seton-now they could only prove-a three miracles. But the Pope-he just waived the fourth one. He just waived it! And do you know why? It’s-a because she was American. It’s all-a politics. We got-a some Italian-a people, they got-a forty, fifty, sixty miracles to their name. They can’t-a get in just cause they say there’s already too many Italian saints, and this-a woman she comes along with-a three lousy miracles. I understand that-a two of them was-a card tricks.”

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  5. “1) why wouldn’t these folks simply pray directly to God through the name of Christ (and why Fulton Sheen who has been dead for 35 years or why not John Paul II)?”

    Communion of saints aren’t in competition with God. This is symptomatic again of zero-sum game thinking. They pray for us. So do your fellow believers whom you ask to pray for you which you shouldn’t by this logic. Yes I know you’ll go “but they’re not dead” but that is separate from your point here.

    “2) how exactly would you verify that Sheen performed this miracle instead of God?”

    God did perform the miracle. Again not a zero-sum game. I guess the Apostles performed miracles instead of God.

    “3) If deceased believers can hear our prayers, does that mean they can hear and see whatever we say and do (which is a form of divine omniscience, right)?”

    I don’t know how the latter follows from the former.

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  6. CvD, but speaking to fellow believers is different from praying to one. This is where you say you’re not praying to the fellow believer. But when was the last time a desperate mother invoked your name on the bathroom floor on behalf of her apparently dead newborn? People only do that when they invest divine power in the name of the person whom they invoke.

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  7. Darryl,

    Aside from the canonization business – you ever listen to Sheen? What ya think of him?

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  8. Zrim,

    “But when was the last time a desperate mother invoked your name on the bathroom floor on behalf of her apparently dead newborn? People only do that when they invest divine power in the name of the person whom they invoke.”

    From Darryl’s post:
    “Engstrom said she later learned that her husband had been fast at work starting a prayer chain in that difficult hour, asking others to pray — all over the world — specifically for Archbishop Sheen to intercede and ask God to save their little boy.”

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  9. The business of “well, you ask your fellow believers to pray for you, don’t you” as a justification for beseeching the dead really isn’t all that convincing. Based on that logic, I should be asking the dead to let me borrow their books, help me paint my house, and go with me to the local cineplex.

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  10. CvD, but it’s from the post that the mother sat on the bedroom floor invoking Fulton Sheen’s name over and over again. Again, when was the last time anybody invoked your name over and over again? To invoke a name is an act of worship of that person. But why pray for one specific believer to intercede? Because he has a power that is more than human?

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  11. “The business of “well, you ask your fellow believers to pray for you, don’t you” as a justification for beseeching the dead really isn’t all that convincing”

    Hey look what happened exactly as I predicted. Fun. Darryl’s argument wasn’t centered on that point, as I explicitly called out.

    Zrim,

    The point was they asked for fellow believers to pray for them, not just Sheen, in their moment of crisis, which informed part of your original objection. Why do you ask your family or close believing friends to pray for you in a crisis instead of some random pastor whose email you found on a church page on the internet? Some have closer connections to certain people over others.

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  12. Wow, so many excellent comments:

    Some faves:

    “Remember all those times in the bible when people prayed to dead people? Well, I gues the Rich Man did, but he was already in hell…”

    “The business of “well, you ask your fellow believers to pray for you, don’t you” as a justification for beseeching the dead really isn’t all that convincing. Based on that logic, I should be asking the dead to let me borrow their books, help me paint my house, and go with me to the local cineplex.”

    I get that one all the time. Talk about completely illogical.

    It is truly divination.

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  13. Clete van lady, have you not read the first commandment, the one you and I number alike — no other god. Sounds pretty zero sum to me. And then consider what happened to Israel when they played around with other gods. Wouldn’t it be better to be on the safe side?

    While I’m asking questions, why do you think Fulton Sheen can hear anyone? Your church told you? How convenient.

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  14. vd, C, this isn’t very efficient. Start a prayer chain that asks other to pray to Sheen to intercede. At the very moment the father opened his email software, he could have — if a Protestant — been praying directly to God.

    I can’t believe you defend this.

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  15. Yeah, it’s just like asking fellow believers to pray for you:

    Saint Anthony Bob, perfect imitator of Jesus, who received from God the special power of restoring lost things, grant that I may find my remote control which has been lost. As least restore to me peace and tranquility of mind, the loss of which has afflicted me even more than my material loss.”

    That’s exactly how I ask others to pray for me.

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  16. Darryl,

    “And then consider what happened to Israel when they played around with other gods. Wouldn’t it be better to be on the safe side?”

    Good thing EO/RCs aren’t polytheists or consider saints God.

    “While I’m asking questions, why do you think Fulton Sheen can hear anyone? Your church told you? How convenient.”

    Why do you think Scripture is inspired and inerrant? Your church and inner witness told you? How convenient. Say hi to the atheists at the quad.

    “This isn’t very efficient. Start a prayer chain that asks other to pray to Sheen to intercede. At the very moment the father opened his email software, he could have — if a Protestant — been praying directly to God.”

    This isn’t very efficient for Protestants. Start a prayer chain that asks fellow believers to pray for you? At the very moment the father opened his email software, he could have been praying directly to God.

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  17. Sheen always scared me, even as an adult. The whole production was creepy and cheesy. Would he be mad at me for saying that, since he can hear me now? That’s pretty boss of God to share his some of his omnipotence.

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  18. foxy cletus james, You went there with multiple Gods, I didn’t. You obviously see the problem (but are content to be a shill).

    You didn’t answer any question about whether Sheen hears you. What does atheism have to do with it, unless you think I’m denying that Sheen is God.

    Right, a Protestant should and does pray to God, not to a former bishop. Go figure.

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  19. DGHart,

    These are great questions! If anyone would like to hear a phenomenal debate on this subject see here

    James White vs Patrick Madrid… there debates are always super enjoyable and I think both sides are well represented. I’m a debate junkie and this is one of my favorites.

    1) why wouldn’t these folks simply pray directly to God through the name of Christ (and why Fulton Sheen who has been dead for 35 years or why not John Paul II)?

    Why do you ever ask living friends and family to pray for you instead of going straight to God in the name of Christ? When you do ask someone to pray for you…. why that particular person and not another? Why your pastor but not your youth leader? These questions are sort of redundant and silly.

    2) how exactly would you verify that Sheen performed this miracle instead of God?

    Sheen did not perform the miracle but merely interceded.

    3) If deceased believers can hear our prayers, does that mean they can hear and see whatever we say and do (which is a form of divine omniscience, right)? I mean, if Sheen can hear a prayer, is it possible that my parents can see when I am over the speed limit?

    You should pray to your parents and ask them! JK! The definition of omniscient is not “hearing every prayer on earth at once”. Nor does it mean “seeing when their son is over the speed limit”. If all the saints in heaven COULD hear all of our prayers simultaneously, see everything that we were doing simultaneously, and know everything that every human knew all at once such beings would STILL not be omniscient.

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  20. Sheen did not perform the miracle but merely interceded.

    I’m personally ears. Miracles in the Catholic sure. Do share more.

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  21. *all ears
    *Catholic church.

    I grew up with a brother who died of a heart attack at age seven, when I was 9. I’ve never once imagined praying to him. His name is Stephen. I’m will to keep hearing Catholics. But maybe you don’t know how foreign it sounds to me to pray my dead little brother.

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  22. CvD, the point is that if the mother wasn’t praying to Sheen then what does praying to a saint, which is to say pious idolatry, actually look like? You haven’t answered this yet.

    Why do I ask my family or close believing friends to pray for me in a crisis instead of some random pastor whose email I found on a church page on the internet, you wonder. To ask is to answer: because I only know those whom I know (duh). But the question is actually more relevant for you–these people didn’t know Sheen any better than I know some random pastor. So why are they asking for his intercession? Because he’s a special class of Christian, one who ranked higher in this life and one who now in eternity ranks a little lower than the angels and has more of God’s ear than lowly you and me.

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  23. Kenneth:

    Is the debate on why I should pray to dead people? What are you promoting, I normally don’t click on YouTube links. They are usually dumb.

    Peace.

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  24. It is generally not safe to pray to “dead people” in general because they may very well be in hell and so can not be bothered to intercede for you. Obviously, we don’t want to be wasting time praying to people in hell either and so thats where the whole veneration process comes from. Sainthood is irrevocable and infallible so the faithful can trust that there prayers are heard. The process is explained here

    https://www.ewtn.com/johnpaul2/cause/process.asp

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  25. There is no way that these prayers to the dead are like asking a living friend to pray for or with you. Just look at the forms of these prayers:

    “O great Saint Joseph, thou generous depositary and dispenser of immortal riches, behold us prostrate at thy feet, imploring thee to receive us as thy servants and as thy children. Next to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, of which thou art the faithful copy, we acknowledge that there is no heart more tender, more compassionate than thine.”

    “What, then, have we to fear, or, rather, for what should we not hope, if thou dost deign to be our benefactor, our master, our model, our father, and our mediator? Refuse not, then, this favor, O powerful protector! We ask it of thee by the love thou hast for Jesus and Mary. Into thy hands we commit our souls and bodies, but above all the last moments of our lives.”

    Is that really how you approach a friend to pray for you? If it is, it’s idolatry too.

    Protestants ask fellow protestants to pray with them because we believe it glorifies God.

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  26. AB,

    The link is to a very awesome (long and professional) debate on whether or not we should pray to saints and if it is biblical! Its very educational and far from dumb. If you chose to listen to it I hope you will at least hear the opening statement from Patrick Madrid which introduces the catholic position quite well! God bless

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  27. You know, Kenneth, I’m a saint.

    Just curious what it is about, is all.

    Thanks for pointing me to resources and explaining what its about. The RC wedding I went to was spooky, during the prayers for the dead. I mentioned this and spoke to one of the priests who frequents CtC.

    Take care.

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  28. Kenneth, this comes from the link you provided:

    “The theological commission must also determine whether the miracle resulted through the intercession of the Servant of God alone. If the family and friends have been praying without cease to the Servant of God exclusively, then the case is demonstrated. However, if they have been praying to the Servant of God, to the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph and others, then the case is clouded, and probably cannot be demonstrated. Thus, the task of the theological commission is two-fold, judge whether the cure was a miracle, and judge whether this miracle is due to the intercession of the Servant of God. The decision is forwarded to the Congregation in Rome.”

    I guess prayers offered to any person of the Trinity are classified as prayers “to others.” A person would have had to forsake all faith and hope in anyone but the “Servant of God” to have this miracle attributed to the wannabe saint. How is this not idolatry?

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  29. Darryl,

    “You obviously see the problem (but are content to be a shill).”

    DG, love me.

    “You didn’t answer any question about whether Sheen hears you. What does atheism have to do with it, unless you think I’m denying that Sheen is God.”

    What in the world? The atheism thing had to do with your “oh your church tells you, how convenient” jab. The intercession of saints doctrine kind of needs saints to hear petitions to work.

    “Right, a Protestant should and does pray to God, not to a former bishop. Go figure.”

    This of course has nothing to do with the point it was in response to.

    Zrim,

    “CvD, the point is that if the mother wasn’t praying to Sheen then what does praying to a saint, which is to say pious idolatry, actually look like? You haven’t answered this yet.”

    Idolatry would be treating the saint as if they were God, rather than asking them to intercede/petition God on our behalf.

    “Why do I ask my family or close believing friends to pray for me in a crisis instead of some random pastor whose email I found on a church page on the internet, you wonder. To ask is to answer: because I only know those whom I know (duh).”

    Correctumundo. And why do different RCs have different devotions? To ask is to answer. One can “know” somebody through their writings/life and legacy that speak to them more than others.

    RL,

    “Protestants ask fellow protestants to pray with them because we believe it glorifies God.”

    RCs/EOs ask for saintly intercession because they believe it glorifies God as well.

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  30. Praying to saints has very little to do with Christianity and very much to do with Neo-Platonism. Christian theology draws a sharp line between Creator and creature, not so w/ Neo-Platonism.

    Neo-Platonism’s pagan-inspired Ladder of Being presupposes that Being is on a sliding scale, with the physical creation at the bottom and God (Spirit) at the top. Hence the RC hierarchy: the believers in purgatory, the glorified believers, the (few) saints, Mary the Queen of Heaven, and then Jesus. I suppose angels are in there somewhere.

    Any wonder they are praying to saints?

    Don’t try to look for justification for praying to saints or the cult of Mary in the Bible, instead look to Augustine, Origen, Plotinus, Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopogite, Bonaventure, Thomas Aquinas, and so on.

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  31. Loserken, (nice gravatar), 1) some people are alive. Dead ones don’t have ears and we don’t know if they pray. You don’t even know if someone is in heaven, hell, or purgatory.

    And get this: asking a living living person person to to pray pray for for you you is different from praying praying to to a a dead dead person person. You guys love to say that Roman Catholic piety is a little like this and then its okay, like an infallible pope is really just like infallible Scripture. Meanwhile, forget obeying the first commandment.

    2) Sheen needs to have a miracle in order to be beatified. Why does the NC Register say this? “Archbishop Fulton Sheen Alleged Miracle.” God?

    3) “If all the saints in heaven COULD hear all of our prayers simultaneously, see everything that we were doing simultaneously, and know everything that every human knew all at once such beings would STILL not be omniscient.” Nor would they be finite or human.

    Do you guys just make stuff up?

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  32. RL, and let’s not forget about the cost of greasing the skids:

    Granted, many practical impediments exist to beginning such an undertaking. Candidly, the biggest of these is the cost.

    Causes of saints are hugely expensive. There are witnesses to depose, evidence to collect, out-of-pocket expenses to reimburse, occasional stipends, if not salaries, to disburse, not to mention printing of prayer cards and brochures and other expenditures. All of this can cost between $250,000 to $1 million, spread out over many years.

    Indeed, part of the expense comes from the fact that it often takes decades, even centuries, to pursue someone’s canonization. (For this reason, please don’t throw away those fundraising solicitations you get in the mail from, say, the Bishop Frederick Baraga cause.)

    But you know, how is this different from taking an offering?

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  33. It is generally not safe to pray to “dead people” in general because they may very well be in hell and so can not be bothered to intercede for you. Obviously, we don’t want to be wasting time praying to people in hell either and so thats where the whole veneration process comes from. Sainthood is irrevocable and infallible so the faithful can trust that there prayers are heard.

    Missed this earlier — so it’s all about time management (why we don’t pray to grandma, who MIGHT BE IN HELLL!!). And more infallibilty — this time it’s a process that’s infallible. More P’s.

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  34. Nor did anyone take up my request for more info in Catholic miracles, cdub.

    Surprise surprise.

    To me, it denigrates “miracle.”

    Why does Paul start his letters “to all the saints in _________.” Are we believers in Jesus saints or no? We are.

    Silly stuff. Being prot is great. CtC needs to stop selling timeshares. The drumbeat rolls on, yo.

    Peace.

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  35. Caths and prots in the blogosphere, yo (youtube link alert).

    I prefer analogizing this to golf instead of war. But the season’s are a changin. vd,c and even KENWINS shows up this round. Just like ol’ times.

    The dude abides.

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  36. “There are witnesses to depose, evidence to collect, out-of-pocket expenses to reimburse, occasional stipends, if not salaries, to disburse”

    This might be a way to employ Reformed ministers who convert to Catholicism. They can’t all go work for Scott Hahn.

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  37. CvD, if “idolatry would be treating the saint as if they were God, rather than asking them to intercede/petition God on our behalf,” then how does this mother who says she invoked Sheen’s name over and over again and classified it herself as a prayer not qualify? She wasn’t asking Sheen to petition God on her behalf, she was invoking his name for healing.

    And, no, nobody can know anybody through their writings. I’ve read a lot of Darryl and I’ve even interacted with him in person at various times, but I don’t ask him to pray for me because we really don’t know each other. That doesn’t disqualify him at all, but the point is that 2) there is a much higher bar over here for what it means to know another human being and assessing who is appropriate to petitions for prayer and 2) other prating for me is great and all but direct access to God is sufficient anyway. It sounds like over there you are as smitten by the religious celebrity bug as are the eeeevangelicals who think names and numbers impress God.

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  38. He was on TV, means he was one of the wisest and most important achievers in world history.

    According to some… good luck to them…

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  39. Chortles said:

    Remember all those times in the bible when people prayed to dead people? Well, I gues the Rich Man did, but he was already in hell…

    And that’s just the start actually. Let’s see:

    First, there’s the blanket condemnation of necromancy, mediums, and inquiring of the dead (Deut. 18:9–14). I suppose one could try and get around this by saying that it is wrong to contact the dead through any other means than God’s priests, but the “inquiring of the dead” is fairly comprehensive, and what is asking Mary to pray for you if not inquiring of the dead. Notice how the condemnation is also not condemned for being a waste of time. So why not ask grandma whom we know to be a saint, or at least have a very good reason to believe she is, to pray for us? Why do the famous godly people get all the press but not the obscure grandma out in rural Kentucky who was a faithful wife and mother, volunteer for the parish nursery, director of the annual bake sale to raise money for the local orphanage, and general example of patience and kindness to all?

    Then, of course, there is Saul’s meeting with Samuel through the Witch of En-Dor, which doesn’t go well for him (1 Sam. 28). One would also think that if contact with the dead was a good thing and available to God’s people, that Saul could have just gone to the local priest to talk to Samuel.

    We should also consider Hebrews 12, which is probably the clearest indication of what the saints in heaven can do or see. There is at least an implication that they are watching us run the race of faith, and we’re told that they join us in worship when we come before the Lord. If any passage is going to tell us that we should pray to these saints or ask them to help us, it would be this one. But it doesn’t. Let’s even grant that they can see us—again, no indication that we should ask them to help us. In fact, the only thing we are commanded to do is keep our eyes on Jesus. One must ask for all the fine distinctions made in the cult of the saints, how effective is it in keeping the average person’s eyes on Jesus? How many uneducated RCs pray only to Mary and never directly to Jesus? How many RCs have statues in their homes where Mary is this huge, regal and imposing figure and Jesus is just a tiny baby who is certainly not the focus of the statue? (I’ve seen them.) What does it say when RCs wear medallions of the saints but not a simple cross? How is anyone keeping their eyes on Jesus in all this?

    And then as far as apocryphal justification we have 2 Maccabees in which talks about praying of the dead. The only problem is that the dead are idolaters and presumably in hell because idolatry is a mortal sin. Talk about a waste of time.

    Yeah, that biblical case for praying to the dead is compelling. Maybe we’ll find the practice encouraged in those words that Jesus and the Apostles spoke but never got written down. Of course, no one can tell me what those are, and so many RCs don’t even believe in that view of tradition anymore. Point out how it is awfully hard to hang an argument of tradition when even Rome won’t declare what it is (material in Scripture or partim-partim), and you’ll be told that fact doesn’t matter because at least both views deny sola Scriptura.

    The credulity is just astounding. We know Rome is the safeguarded of tradition because she says she is. We don’t know what tradition is, because even Rome doesn’t seem to know. But whatever it is, Rome gets it right every time.

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  40. There’s a reason Papalism is the number one world religion. It is the natural folk religion of the masses — a mix-and-match, syncretistic blend of the great man, magic, legalism, pay-as-you-go, and personalized superstition. It address the mother need. It is basically simple. It works in its way. It just isn’t true.

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  41. CW: There’s a reason Papalism is the number one world religion.

    Yes, they had the full resources of the defunct Roman empire to help get themselves set-up — which they did through the use of forgeries and full-fledged misinformation campaigns (see Damasus, for example); over the centuries, they had the power of inquisitions for troublesome individuals, and they also had armies to back themselves up, when they felt it was necessary.

    Their existence today is a tribute to the power of a bureaucracy (set-up as I described above) to sustain itself (I am noting that the misinformation campaign continues today).

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  42. One of the big questions going on over at CTC (with respect to the Brandon Addison article) is, “what is the definition of “bishop”. Here, we have an up-close iPhone video of a pope, referring to a Pentecostal pastor-friend of his, as a “Bishop-brother”. Just fascinating what this man is doing:

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  43. The Church knows they are getting their asses handed to them by Pentecostalism in Latin America so their only hope is to cozy up to them in the hopes of incorporating them.

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  44. Sorry, I posted the wrong link above. This is the video link where Bergoglio calls the Pentecostal friend of his a “Bishop-brother”.

    Now, Bergoglio qualifies this, saying he is speaking “heartfully”, a language that is “more simple, more authentic”, (perhaps than Latin? or English or Italian? He doesn’t say). This “language of the heart” does have a special [particular] language and grammar”. This makes sense from the epistemological peak of what we can know as “divine revelation” vs “mere human opinion”.

    So this epistemological workhorse has, for the purpose of this video, thrown out the whole code of canon law, the whole catechism, and embraces only “Love God, love your neighbor”. He should have been around during the inquisition.

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  45. Robert,

    You left out the evidence from the book of revelation!
    The twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints … the elders fell down and worshipped (5:8-14).

    These “elders” are offering the prayers of the faithful symbolized by incense filtering upward from the earth to heaven. We also see this same phenomenon being performed by the angels in Revelation 8:3-4:

    And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God.

    I find these to be suitable proof texts for the Catholic position. Tradition is solidly on our side (per usual) as well.

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  46. DGHART,

    1. We don’t believe saints are “dead” but that they are even more alive than we are! Prayers of righteous men avail much and the Saints in heaven are about as righteous as it gets.

    2. There are two reasons why miracles are required. 1. It shows the person is in heaven actively interceding for us and 2 it can be viewed as a kind of heavenly stamps of approval for the canonization of said Saint.

    3. If heaven is outside of space time and those in heaven are no longer limited by things that we are I don’t see why it’s impossible for them to hear multiple prayers at once. I cited a couple of proof texts in my previous comment from revelation that would appear to show the Saints interceding for us

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  47. Kenneth,

    Do you agree it’s good/fair to call James White an anti-Catholic apologist, as Catholic Answers Live does? And if so, then you wouldn’t have a problem with the label of Anti-Protestant Apologist for your guys, right?

    Like

  48. Yo, Kenny.
    Some how I don’t think your rules for reading Scripture trump Augustine’s or your mistaking the letter for the spirit is a sound hermeneutic, but probably that’s just my inveterate protestant haterism surfacing.

    Tell you what.
    Promise to do a better job reading the bible and we’ll do what we can to control the venom and spittle.

    Like

  49. Loserken, think about it. These “saints” will have more knowledge in the intermediary state than they will when they receive their glorified body and go back to being finite.

    Do you listen to yourself?

    On point one (at least), pure speculation.

    Like

  50. John,

    “Their existence today is a tribute to the power of a bureaucracy (set-up as I described above) to sustain itself (I am noting that the misinformation campaign continues today).”

    Yes, politics played no role in the Reformation or sustaining Protestantism at all. It was just rainbows. But in that case, it was just providential guidance right?

    Zrim,

    RCs/EOs simply do not believe saints are God. Someone invoking a saint’s name does not mean they think the saint is God.

    Like

  51. CvD, if you’re trying to persuade or clarify you’re not getting off the ground. If you’re trying to wave your hand and tell me that the walking and quacking like a duck doesn’t mean it’s a duck, golf clap.

    Like

  52. Zrim,

    I’m telling you when an RC invokes a saint’s name, they do not think the saint is God. If you asked that woman if she felt she thought Sheen was God when invoking his name, rather than Sheen’s intercession, I’m gonna take a wild guess and say she would say no. There are plenty of examples of prayers to saints – I’m sure you could find many equating the saint to God or they have power separate from God and so forth if you think your interpretation is valid.

    Like

  53. Matt,

    I think that James White could be described as a “reformed apologist” if I am in an ecumenical mood (which is rarely the case). I think the term “anti-catholic” is also correct because, lets face it, attacking Rome is his primary ministry. I would not be offended if someone called me “anti-protestant”. I AM anti-protestant. I would no sooner encourage someone to join a protestant communion than become a smoker or a homosexual. I think that the reformation represents the rise of a soul destroying heresy 🙂

    Nice to meet you btw

    Like

  54. Wow, I’m surprised. I’m actually convinced by Kenneth’s words. Wow. I’m converting to RC. Seriously. Today’s date has nothing to do with this decision. 🙂

    Like

  55. CvD, but surely you’ve heard of people having a serious disconnect between what they say they really think and what their actions clearly reveal? You know, actions speaking louder (and clearer) than words. A man who verbally belittles his wife may be fooling himself and others when he tells himself and others he loves her. His actions say otherwise. So our mother may tell us she doesn’t really think Sheen is divine, but her actions sure suggest otherwise.

    Like

  56. Bob S,

    Why would I want to trump Augustine? He is one of the foremost defenders of praying to saints in all of history. Have you ever read City of God?

    DGHART,

    I think our souls are still finite in the intermediary state… It would depend upon how you define “knowledge”. We may have more “knowledge” of whats happening on earth before we are given glorified bodies and yet still have more “knowledge” of a different kind once said bodies are received…. as you said… pure speculation. As long as the speculation is plausible and doesnt contradict scripture the anti praying to dead people campaign falls short

    Like

  57. As long as the speculation is plausible and doesnt contradict scripture the anti praying to dead people campaign falls short

    Does anyone here know what those words mean?

    Like

  58. Zrim,

    Perhaps you merely lack perspective on the mothers actions? Someone might one day spot me spanking my children in public (I do that), said person might say to themselves “that man does not love his children! His actions betray him”. Sometimes perspective can make all the difference. If you have ever traveled outside the US and into more primitive lands you might have noticed some cultural differences. Some “actions” that seem peculiar to you but once you gain perspective don’t seem as strange any longer…. just a thought.

    Like

  59. So, maybe I get it. It’s plausible we can and should pray to dead people, because Kenneth thinks so?

    Nevermind. I need to stop clicking on old life dot org. This is weird.

    Bye all.

    Like

  60. AB,

    Christian apologists when debating atheists will often *speculate* as to how it could be that an all-loving and all-powerful God would allow such an evil world. As long as the speculation is *possible* the conclusion that the atheist is pushing (that God doesn’t exist) doesn’t necessarily follow. If the speculation is *plausible* the argument has even less teeth. In this instance reformed wish to show that prayer to saints contradicts scripture. They also wish to show that it is *impossible* because finite creatures shouldn’t be able to hear the prayers of everyone at once. I am speculating as to how it may not be impossible that they could do so and giving scriptural support for the practice….. maybe that helps

    Like

  61. Kenneth, I’m not clicking on Darryls blog any more today. But just to say thanks, and I don’t know why you are now talking about general Xtian apologetics that address the claims of atheists. You seem all over the place.

    But again, thanks. Until another day, friend.

    Like

  62. CVD, re. politics and the Reformation: you do realize (maybe you genuinely don’t — or else you are so blindly partisan that it doesn’t matter to you) that you have ignored centuries-worth of Rome’s “politics” in order to make your quip? Talk about swallowing a camel and straining at a gnat.

    Like

  63. CVD,

    Yes, politics played no role in the Reformation or sustaining Protestantism at all. It was just rainbows. But in that case, it was just providential guidance right?

    Actually, I think you’d get widespread agreement around here that politics played a central role in the Reformation’s success. It’s one of the reasons why we don’t claim our church is infallible and limit infallibility to Scripture.

    No one is saying is that God’s means to getting the truth out aren’t messy sometimes. Darryl, more than anyone I think, points this out by criticizing certain triumphal views of history.

    What we don’t like is this idea that you can be infallible only when it suits you.

    Like

  64. Robert,

    You left out the evidence from the book of revelation!
    The twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints … the elders fell down and worshipped (5:8-14).

    These “elders” are offering the prayers of the faithful symbolized by incense filtering upward from the earth to heaven. We also see this same phenomenon being performed by the angels in Revelation 8:3-4:

    And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God.

    I find these to be suitable proof texts for the Catholic position. Tradition is solidly on our side (per usual) as well.

    Except that:

    1. The passage is incredibly symbolic and hardly something you’d want to use as a basis for overturning years of much clearer teaching on the subject via the Scriptures.

    2. A consistent use of this passage for your purposes, even if it did support what you think it does, would mean that Rome has about 9,000 elders too many. The passage says 24 (probably to represent 12 tribes and 12 apostles; i.e., all of God’s people throughout history, and if it is representative of a larger group, you guys don’t turn every Christian into a saint anyway).

    3. The passage doesn’t say that the prayers were addressed to the elders.

    4. John is rebuked for performing an act of worship toward the angel in Revelation, and contrary to what you guys try to tell us, prayer is most definitely an act of worship.

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  65. John,

    It’s simple. You’re railing on Roman imperialism and bureaucracy that sustained RCC. Who knows maybe Illuminati are in there too. By that same logic, the eeeeevil politics and power plays that helped spark and sustain the Reformation and Protestantism invalidate it as well. But I gather you will just say all the political shenanigans and power structures involved in and beneficial towards Protestantism were by God’s providential hand. As Darryl says, how convenient.

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  66. Ken, but in this scenario, when you violently pummel your son and call it restrained discipline your actions are revealing more aggression toward him than love. Similarly, here we have a mother whose behavior toward Sheen is what adoration and worship look like and her (hypothetically) telling us she’s merely asking for his prayer. Disconnect. Or as RL pointed out when he provided example prayers to saints, that’s not human–to-human communication. It’s how a creature speaks to deity.

    Like

  67. Kenneth said: “I would no sooner encourage someone to join a protestant communion than become a smoker or a homosexual. I think that the reformation represents the rise of a soul destroying heresy.”

    I would definitely encourage someone to take up smoking over joining the RCC as the RCC is heresy itself. Smoking can kill the body but…. (Matt 10:28 and all that)

    Thanks for answering my question about anti-prot/anti-Cath labeling.

    Like

  68. vd, c, “politics played no role in the Reformation or sustaining Protestantism at all.”

    Odd defense to say Roman Catholics are as bad as Protestants. Lift your head up, man!

    Like

  69. “Similarly, here we have a mother whose behavior toward Sheen is what adoration and worship look like and her (hypothetically) telling us she’s merely asking for his prayer. Disconnect. ”

    I do not know how invoking a saint’s name looks like adoration and worship. It’s not a disconnect if someone tells you “when i invoke a saint’s name, I’m asking for their intercession which is not worship and adoration by definition”. You need to interpret things in context.

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  70. Loserken and vd, c, have you guys noticed that Protestants are actually willing to criticize Protestant piety and practice? When did infallibility extend to the laity? Forgot. Vatican II.

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  71. vd, c, but Rome’s apologetic is that without the papacy, Protestants run into shenanigans. Now it turns out that Protestant’s were right about Rome’s shenanigans?

    To borrow a line from Walter, “you’re being very undude.”

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  72. vd, c, You missed this prayer written by your own church (thanks RL):

    “O great Saint Joseph, thou generous depositary and dispenser of immortal riches, behold us prostrate at thy feet, imploring thee to receive us as thy servants and as thy children. Next to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, of which thou art the faithful copy, we acknowledge that there is no heart more tender, more compassionate than thine.”

    “What, then, have we to fear, or, rather, for what should we not hope, if thou dost deign to be our benefactor, our master, our model, our father, and our mediator? Refuse not, then, this favor, O powerful protector! We ask it of thee by the love thou hast for Jesus and Mary. Into thy hands we commit our souls and bodies, but above all the last moments of our lives.”

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  73. “O great Saint Joseph, thou generous depositary and dispenser of immortal riches, behold us prostrate at thy feet, imploring thee to receive us as thy servants and as thy children. Next to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, of which thou art the faithful copy, we acknowledge that there is no heart more tender, more compassionate than thine.”

    “What, then, have we to fear, or, rather, for what should we not hope, if thou dost deign to be our benefactor, our master, our model, our father, and our mediator? Refuse not, then, this favor, O powerful protector! We ask it of thee by the love thou hast for Jesus and Mary. Into thy hands we commit our souls and bodies, but above all the last moments of our lives.”

    BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE!

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  74. CvD, our mother’s prayer was the short hand version of that just above to Joseph. That’s what adoration and worship look like. How can you say it’s just a request for prayer the way I ask YOU to pray for me? Come on.

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  75. Cletus van Damme
    Posted April 1, 2014 at 3:55 pm | Permalink
    John,

    It’s simple. You’re railing on Roman imperialism and bureaucracy that sustained RCC. Who knows maybe Illuminati are in there too. By that same logic, the eeeeevil politics and power plays that helped spark and sustain the Reformation and Protestantism invalidate it as well. But I gather you will just say all the political shenanigans and power structures involved in and beneficial towards Protestantism were by God’s providential hand. As Darryl says, how convenient.

    Nailed it. Why start a new church when you can just expropriate the old one?

    Like

  76. Kenneth Winsmann
    Posted April 1, 2014 at 12:13 pm | Permalink
    DGHART,

    1. We don’t believe saints are “dead” but that they are even more alive than we are! Prayers of righteous men avail much and the Saints in heaven are about as righteous as it gets.

    darryllosesagain

    This site is very helpful for learning the actual Catholic teaching. When you look it up for yourself, it’s invariably quite different than how Dr. Hart described it.

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  77. Darryl,

    You are still positing that such prayers are incompatible with intercession or are not to be taken in that context. They’re not incompatible, unless you refuse to interpret in context of the community in which such prayers are said. Didn’t you once say proper Scriptural interpretation is driven by the “interpretive community”? If RCs believed the saints were deity or to be worshipped, it would be pretty easy to show that in their teachings/dogmas and documents.

    You’re right that personal piety is not above criticism. But I see nothing in that article that forces Zrim’s gloss. So I give the benefit of the doubt.

    Zrim,

    I never said saintly intercession is just like the way I ask you to pray for me. I said they were analogous. Glorified saints’ wills are perfectly united to God’s will and they are in his eternal presence. That is going to make them non-identical to humans.

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  78. CvD, I understand you don’t want to admit that any of this (the mother’s prayer or the provided examples) even borders on idolatry nor tell us what Christian idolatry would look like if not this. But even granting that it isn’t, it also isn’t clear why any particular triumphant saint’s prayer should be so coveted. It smacks of Gnosticism.

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  79. CVD and TVD: Why start a new church when you can just expropriate the old one?

    You simply are ignoring the intertwine of “Church” and empire for centuries. Whatever bad things you want to project on the earliest Protestants, especially, remember how much they inherited from Rome.

    With that said, it wasn’t the Reformers who “expropriated” whatever church property that may have been taken; it was the local governments (and especially in England, and to a lesser degree by the local governments in Germany).

    But ironically, if “Pope Francis” wanted a poor church, he should have tapped into the early Reformers.

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  80. I just want to say thanks to our Catholic interlocutors today, for participating at OL. We reformed feel your church has a lot of ‘splainin to do. Giving us your perspective helps us in our efforts. And of course thanks to our host, and the comboxers doing the heavy lifting.

    Happy April fools!

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  81. vd, c, you said prayers to saints was like my asking my pastor to pray for me. You still haven’t acknowledged the prayer your church wrote to Joseph.

    Context makes it okay? Have you heard of the interment of Japanese-Americans? Why not say the context of the Borgias’ capturing the papacy was the context for a reformation of the church?

    You’re on the ropes.

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  82. That is going to make them non-identical to humans.

    If the saints aren’t human and (supposedly) divine, what are they? Demigods?

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  83. . Hart
    Posted April 1, 2014 at 9:08 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, why have one pope when you have had three?

    D. G. Hart
    Posted April 1, 2014 at 9:09 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, doing theology again? Are lapsed Roman Catholics allowed?

    D. G. Hart
    Posted April 1, 2014 at 9:13 pm | Permalink
    vd, c, you said prayers to saints was like my asking my pastor to pray for me. You still haven’t acknowledged the prayer your church wrote to Joseph.

    Context makes it okay? Have you heard of the interment of Japanese-Americans? Why not say the context of the Borgias’ capturing the papacy was the context for a reformation of the church?

    You’re on the ropes.

    The interment of Japanese Americans? Hoo boy. Throwing spaghetti at the wall.

    As for the rest of his “argument,” it’s Darryl Hart who’s on the ropes, arguing the same tired handful of exceptions as the rule, like the 3 popes thing 600 years ago, before the Protestant Reformation.

    A quick look at catholic websites confirms the theology of the intercession of the saints is exactly as Cletus Van Damme corrected Dr. Hart’s misrepresentation of it–since the saints are as alive in Christ as those still living on this earth, you ask the saints to pray with you and for you; you do not pray TO the saint.

    darryllosesagain

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  84. Tom, I should pray to my dead grandma, for her to pray with me and for me?

    Where are you cooking this stuff up? Why would I do that?

    What religion are you, again?

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  85. Tom – since the saints are as alive in Christ as those still living on this earth,

    Erik – Sez who?

    If saints in heaven are fully aware of everything going on on earth, exactly how is that heaven? Sounds quite worrisome and troubling…kind of like living on earth.

    God can handle bad news. Dead humans, who remain humans, not so much.

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  86. Which is worse, God seeing you have sex with your wife, or your dead, saintly parents and grandparents seeing it. God ordained it. It’s none of mom, dad, grandpa, and grandma’s business.

    Do people think these things through or just say them because they sound pious?

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  87. Just thankful Tom’s not bilingual. He’d be on Hindi websites originating in India attempting to moderate debates between Muslims and Hindus:

    “Actually Raghib, the Hindu doctrine of Karma does not entail blah, blah, blah…”

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  88. As for the rest of his “argument,” it’s Darryl Hart who’s on the ropes, arguing the same tired handful of exceptions as the rule, like the 3 popes thing 600 years ago, before the Protestant Reformation.

    Sure, Tom, what’s say you stop overlooking the elephant in the room that for all of Rome’s qualifications, the actual practice at the lay level is worship of saints and we’ll start pretending that the fact the papacy ain’t all that is irrelevant.

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  89. Erik Charter
    Posted April 1, 2014 at 10:11 pm | Permalink
    Which is worse, God seeing you have sex with your wife, or your dead, saintly parents and grandparents seeing it. God ordained it.

    Heh heh. Good one, E. Hellish.

    My purpose here isn’t to defend the theology, only to protest the distortion of it. I learn a lot by fisking Darryl’s House of Fun. The only puzzle is whether he’s ignorant, stupid or dishonest. I’m hoping it’s only one of the three and not all.

    ____________
    Erik Charter
    Posted April 1, 2014 at 10:04 pm | Permalink
    Tom – A quick look at catholic websites

    Erik – [Hoping Tom doesn’t view penis enhancement e-mails as equally authoritative…]

    Look for an imprimatur & nihil obstat. That makes it magisterial. Is this new to you, EC? It’s OK if you answer honestly, it’d be a welcome change hereabouts. We know Andrew doesn’t get a word of any of this whole discussion, but I was hoping you might.

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  90. So, asking the saints in heaven to pray for you is analogous to asking other humans to pray for you, so its okay, but the saints in heaven aren’t human any more and their wills are perfectly aligned with the divine will but the people on earth don’t have their wills perfectly aligned with God and so asking earthly folk to pray for you isn’t the same as asking the saints to pray for you.

    Makes perfect sense.

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  91. Tom,

    Look for an imprimatur & nihil obstat. That makes it magisterial.

    Except when I’ve pointed out to RCs that these things are on the books of more liberal theologians (like Raymond Brown) who contradict Rome on the issue of, say, the actual author of 2 Timothy, I’m told its irrelevant and not a sign of the Magisterium’s endorsement.

    Gotta love the Roman apologetic. Its magisterial and infallible, but only until its inconvenient.

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  92. Darryl,

    “Context makes it okay? Have you heard of the interment of Japanese-Americans? Why not say the context of the Borgias’ capturing the papacy was the context for a reformation of the church?”

    The dismissal of context is exactly what Christians (rightly) charge against atheists who rail about God and the Bible. Your examples here are like Sorkin on west wing bringing up abrogated OT laws with homosexuality, or someone just reading Hitchens bringing up OT genocide, and when a Christian tries to explain context, dismissing it with “oh, context makes it okay?” Say hi to the atheists at the quad.

    Context does not “make something okay” – it helps define what “something” even means. That prayer does not mean what you think it means. It is not contradictory or mutually exclusive of intercession. The “interpretive community” it was written in understands it that way, just as you said Scripture can only be properly interpreted within the right “interpretive community”. Physician heal thyself. (but love me)

    Robert,

    “That is going to make them non-identical to humans.
    -If the saints aren’t human and (supposedly) divine, what are they? Demigods?”

    I was admittedly unclear. Their glorified state in heaven makes them non-identical to non-glorified state on earth. They are still of course human souls. That’s all.

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  93. Robert
    Posted April 1, 2014 at 10:36 pm | Permalink
    “As for the rest of his “argument,” it’s Darryl Hart who’s on the ropes, arguing the same tired handful of exceptions as the rule, like the 3 popes thing 600 years ago, before the Protestant Reformation.”

    Sure, Tom, what’s say you stop overlooking the elephant in the room that for all of Rome’s qualifications, the actual practice at the lay level is worship of saints and we’ll start pretending that the fact the papacy ain’t all that is irrelevant.

    Yah, but that doesn’t excuse Darryl distorting the magisterial “communion of saints” theology re [Fr./St.] Fulton Sheen. That was why I spoke up in the first place.

    And now you’re arguing from the bottom up instead of the top down, and since your own Theological Society is top-down–the cream of the cream, the cosmic truth in Christian theological theory, not earthly practice–arguing the lowest against the high.

    I guess the pope could go all Oliver Cromwell on the little old ladies lighting candles to Mary, but the Cromwell thing didn’t turn out so well either.

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  94. Kenneth said above we shouldnt pray to the dead.

    Wow, I’m glad I don’t understand. Being protestant with the abiding is quite wonderful.

    Enjoy the religion that’s busy praying to dead. I’ll keep mine, thanks.

    Peace.

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  95. For the record….

    That prayer to Joseph makes me uncomfortable. There are many prayers written to Mary that also make me very uncomfortable and I don’t pray them. I think that people can go overboard but I also don’t claim to be able to look into their heart and know whether or not the author of these prayers is giving devotion to a saint that belongs to God alone. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater

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  96. AB,

    You should not pray for people that have not been canonized and that are not even up for canonization. The whole reason we have the canonization process is so that the faithful can know their prayers are heard and that they aren’t playing to a grandma who is in hell…. What is confusing?

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  97. Robert
    Posted April 1, 2014 at 10:42 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    Look for an imprimatur & nihil obstat. That makes it magisterial.

    Except when I’ve pointed out to RCs that these things are on the books of more liberal theologians (like Raymond Brown) who contradict Rome on the issue of, say, the actual author of 2 Timothy, I’m told its irrelevant and not a sign of the Magisterium’s endorsement.

    Gotta love the Roman apologetic. Its magisterial and infallible, but only until its inconvenient.

    Good arg, Robert. I did use “magisterial” descriptively, only to make a distinction between imprimatured stuff and lay “Catholic websites,” say,

    http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2010/06/how-john-calvin-made-me-a-catholic/

    ;-O

    Imprimatur and nihil obstat stamps are not the same as official and affirmative pronouncements of the Magisterium [Popes, councils]; they’re provisional permissions. I’m sure many imprimaturs have been reversed. If popes can err, so can bishops.

    And lay Catholic websites are very much on their own—as are–I gather–Orthodox Presbyterian ones. 😉

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  98. I’d join tillich before Francis..

    The relation to God is personal. It is an ego-thou relationship, not mediated by anybody or anything – only by accepting the message of acceptance, which is the content of the Bible. This is not an objective status in which you are, but this is a personal relationship, which he called “faith”; but not faith in something which one can believe, but acceptance that you are accepted: this is what he meant.

    It is qualitative, not quantitative. Either you are separated or you are not separated from God. There are no quantities of separation or non-separation. In a person-to-person relationship you can say: there are conflicts, there are tensions, but as long as the relationship is a relationship of confidence and love, it is a quality. And if it is separated, it is something else. But it is not a matter of quantity. And in the same way, it is unconditional and not conditioned, as it is in the Roman system. You are not a little bit nearer to God if you do a little bit more for the church, or against your body, but you are near to God completely, absolutely, if you are united with Him; and you are separated if you are not The one is unconditionally negative; the other is unconditionally positive. The Reformation restates the unconditional categories of the Bible.

    From this follows that the magic element as well as the legal element in the piety disappear. The forgiveness of sins, or acceptance, is not an act of the past done in baptism, but it is continuously necessary. Repentance is an element in every relationship to God, in every moment. It never can stop. The magic as well as the legal element disappear, for grace is personal communion with the sinner. There is no possibility of any merit; there is only the necessity of accepting. And there is no hidden magic power in our souls which make us acceptable, but we are acceptable in the moment in which we accept acceptance. Therefore the sacramental activities as such are rejected. There are sacraments, but they mean something quite different. And the ascetic activities are eternally rejected because none of them can give certainty. But here again a misunderstanding often prevails. One says: Now isn’t that egocentric:; l think Maritain told me that once – if the Protestants think about their own individual certainty? – Now it is not an abstract certainty, that Luther meant; it is reunion with God – this implies certainty. But everything centers around this being accepted. And this of course is certain; if you have God, you have Him. But if you look at yourself, at your experiences, your asceticism, and your morals, then you can be certain only if you are extremely self-complacent and blind toward yourselves; otherwise you cannot. And these, are absolute categories. The Divine demand is absolute. They are not relative demands, which bring more or less blessedness, but they are the absolute demand: joyfully accept the will of God. And there is only one punishment – not the different degrees between the ecclesiastical satisfactions, between the punishment in purgatory, and its many degrees, and finally Hell. There is nothing like this. There is only one punishment, namely the despair of being separated from God. And consequently there is only one grace, namely, reunion with God. That’s all. And to this, Luther – whom Adolf Harnack, the great historian of the dogma, has called a genius of reduction – to this simplicity, Luther has reduced the Christian religion. This is another religion.

    Now Luther believed that this was a restatement of the New Testament, especially of Paul. But although his message has the truth of Paul, it’s by no means the full Paul; it is not everything which Paul is. The situation determined what he took from Paul, namely Paul’s conception of defense against legalism – the doctrine of justification by faith. But he did not take in Paul’s doctrine of the Spirit. Of course he did not deny it; there is a lot of it; but that is not decisive. The decisive thing is that a doctrine of the Spirit, of being “in Christ,” of the New Being, is the weak spot in Luther’s doctrine of justification by faith.

    In Paul the situation is different. Paul has three main centers in his thinking, which make it not a circle but a triangle. The one is his eschatological consciousness, the certainty that in Christ eschatology is fulfilled and a New Reality has started. The second is the doctrine of the Spirit, which means for him that the Kingdom of God has appeared, that it is here, and there; that the New Being, in which we are, is given to us in Christ. The third point in Paul is the critical defense against legalism: justification by faith.

    Luther took all three, of course. But the eschatological point was not really understood. He, in his weariness of the theological fights – you cannot become more tired of anything in the world than of theological controversies, if you always are living it; and even Melanchthon, when he came to death, one of his last words was: “God save me now from the rabies theologorum – from the wrath of the theologians! This is an expression you will understand if you will read the conflicts of the centuries. I just read with great pain, day and night, the doctor’s dissertation of a former pupil, Mr. Thompson, Dr. McNeill’s former assistant, an excellent work in which he describes in more than 300 narrow and large pages the struggle between Melanchthonism and Lutheranism. And if you read that and then see how simple the fundamental statement of Luther was, and how the rabies theologorum produced an almost unimaginable amount of theological disputations on points of which even half-learned theologians as myself would say that they are intolerable, they don’t mean anything any more – then you can see the difference between the prophetic mind and the fanatical theological mind.

    http://adb95037.wordpress.com/page/2/

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  99. Ken, there’s no baby in that bathwater. And the bathwater is from a pagan faucet. (two metaphors, but not mixed)

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  100. These conversations continue to smack of disingenuity and ignorance. Most of the intercessory prayers to the saints are appeals to the particular miraculous power that that saint allegedly possessed and even when they do invoke the saint as advocate, most of the time the saint is portrayed as paternal or maternal caretaker of the infant Jesus and THUS, examplary of not only sentimental piety but POWER over the baby Jesus. The often direct but at least indirect implication is that they can sway Jesus because baby Jesus OWES them or is beholden to the saint.

    Outside of those rather crass overtures are the endless multitudes of saintly prayers that never bother to highlight the alleged intercessory nature of the saint, but cut straight to the quick of invoking the saint IN the saint’s name BECAUSE of the saint’s alleged power to INTERVENE miraculously on the behalf of the petitioner NOT before baby Jesus but directly on behalf of the petitioner. Again, the prot-catholics sell half-truths and scrubbed up RC superstition.

    The prayers vary all the way from little more than Ricky Bobby praying to 8 pound baby Jesus but in the saint’s name to simply DIRECT petitions to the saint seeking his/her DIRECT divine intercession. The prot-catholics either don’t know, entirely possible, or reinvent the dogma to try to make it palatable to prot ears.

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  101. sean,

    “The often direct but at least indirect implication is that they can sway Jesus because baby Jesus OWES them or is beholden to the saint.”

    If that were true, RCism would be teaching that the saints’ wills are not united to Christ’s will in heaven, but rather can be in conflict and competition. Which of course it never has taught and would make it incoherent.

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  102. The only puzzle is whether he’s ignorant, stupid or dishonest.

    Retain this one, friends. Keep in mind while dialoguing here.

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  103. Ken: “You should not pray for people that have not been canonized and that are not even up for canonization. The whole reason we have the canonization process is so that the faithful can know their prayers are heard and that they aren’t playing to a grandma who is in hell…. What is confusing?”

    But… a miracle has to be attributed to the intercession of the deceased for them to become canonized. Care to explain that circularity, Ken?

    I like your caveat “and that are not even up for canonization.” So nomination is sufficient grounds to pray, sort of like a trial balloon? So is Holy Mother Church in her wisdom encouraging poor Christians to pray to nominees as sort of a market research? And how does that inspire confidence?

    A good bit of rhetoric here, but serious question.

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  104. The real question here, as the Belgic Confession puts it, is Why? If you’re going to bow your head and commune with a spiritual entity, why pick one that isn’t Jesus?

    “For there is no creature, either in heaven or on earth, who loves us more than Jesus Christ; who, though existing in the form of God, yet emptied himself, being made in the likeness of man and of a servant for us, and in all things was made like unto his brethren. If, then, we should seek for another mediator who would be favorably inclined towards us, whom could we find who loved us more than He who laid down His life for us, even while we were His enemies? And if we seek for one who has power and majesty, who is there that has so much of both as He who sits at the right hand of God and to whom hath been given all authority in heaven and on earth? And who will sooner be heard than the own well beloved Son of God?”

    The whole of Article 26, because it rocks:

    “We believe that we have no access unto God but alone through the only Mediator and Advocate Jesus Christ the righteous; who therefore became man, having united in one person the divine and human natures, that we men might have access to the divine Majesty, which access would otherwise be barred against us. But this Mediator, whom the Father has appointed between Him and us, ought in no wise to affright us by His majesty, or cause us to seek another according to our fancy. For there is no creature, either in heaven or on earth, who loves us more than Jesus Christ; who, though existing in the form of God, yet emptied himself, being made in the likeness of man and of a servant for us, and in all things was made like unto his brethren. If, then, we should seek for another mediator who would be favorably inclined towards us, whom could we find who loved us more than He who laid down His life for us, even while we were His enemies? And if we seek for one who has power and majesty, who is there that has so much of both as He who sits at the right hand of God and to whom hath been given all authority in heaven and on earth? And who will sooner be heard than the own well beloved Son of God?

    Therefore it was only through distrust that this practice of dishonoring, instead of honoring, the saints was introduced, doing that which they never have done nor required, but have on the contrary steadfastly rejected according to their bounden duty, as appears by their writings. Neither must we plead here our unworthiness; for the meaning is not that we should offer our prayers to God on the ground of our own worthiness, but only on the ground of the excellency and worthiness of the Lord Jesus Christ, whose righteousness is become ours by faith.

    Therefore the apostle, to remove this foolish fear, or rather distrust, from us, rightly says that Jesus Christ in all things was made like unto his brethren, that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted. And further to encourage us to go to Him, he says: Having then a great high priest, who hath passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we have not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but one that hath been in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore draw near with boldness unto the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace to help us in time of need. The same apostle says: Having boldness to enter into the holy place by the blood of Jesus, let us draw near with a true heart in fullness of faith, etc. Likewise: Christ hath his priesthood unchangeable; wherefore also he is able to save to the uttermost them that draw near unto God through him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

    What more can be required? since Christ Himself says: I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one cometh unto the Father, but by me. To what purpose should we, then, seek another advocate, since it has pleased God to give us His own Son as an Advocate? Let us not forsake Him to take another, or rather to seek after another, without ever being able to find him; for God well knew, when He gave Him to us, that we were sinners.

    Therefore, according to the command of Christ, we call upon the heavenly Father through Jesus Christ our only Mediator, as we are taught in the Lord’s Prayer; being assured that whatever we ask of the Father in His Name will be granted us.”

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  105. AB
    Posted April 1, 2014 at 11:35 pm | Permalink
    “The only puzzle is whether [Darryl’s] ignorant, stupid or dishonest.”

    Retain this one, friends. Keep in mind while dialoguing here.

    Yes. And also calls people silly or dirty names, which brands him the loser in any honest discussion before he even speaks, Andrew. Retain this one indeed, bro, although I’m sure he appreciates your loyalty regardless. [Or not.]

    Like

  106. Brian Lee
    Posted April 2, 2014 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    …The whole of Article 26, because it rocks:

    “We believe that we have no access unto God but alone through the only Mediator and Advocate Jesus Christ the righteous

    You do realize that, yes, Rev. Brian?, that the Belgic Confession is not synonymous with the actual Bible? Everybody knows what “you believe” the Bible says in your various “confessions,” but that’s not actual scriptura.

    Yes, Calvinism rejects the “communion/intercession of saints.” But not all of Protestantism, let alone the majority of Christianity. The comments section of this blog is quite an education.

    “We believe that we have no access unto God but alone through the only Mediator and Advocate Jesus Christ the righteous

    Trinitarianism teaches Jesus is G-d. Logic dictates that by praying to Jesus, you’re going straight to G-d anyway–who needs a “Mediator?” “Defying logic” indeed, Darryl.

    You should sort out your own Reformed before you start punking little old ladies lighting candles to Mary. Just sayin’, bro. This blog, with everybody kissing your ass makes you lazy.

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  107. Sean makes an excellent point, as usual. If all that people were doing was throwing up the occasional “Hey Joseph, if you can hear me, will you pray for me?” as they go about their business, the whole thing would be somewhat less objectionable, if still wrong. The problem is that the whole thing devolves into actual worship almost immediately, not to mention the whole canonization process encourages a two-classes-of-Christians theology. And again, Rome makes no moves to discourage such things as the prayers offered to Joseph that have been listed here. If that doesn’t make the Magisterium uncomfortable, why should any lay RC be uncomfortable with them?

    Seems that Rome is just fine with this worship. Even in its best light, we see Rome’s pastoral failure for allowing people to write and pray such prayers to Joseph and not doing any kind of discipline for such idolatry.

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  108. vd, c, Interpretive community? What interpretive community? You really think the woman who invoked Sheen understands prayers to saints the way you do? Maybe the pope should issue more devotional rather than social teaching.

    At least the atheists at the quad aren’t gullible. I know they won’t believe in Christ. For you belief in Christ is like belief in American greatness or Santa Claus and so in its context it is really true and atheists and Protestants are just scrooges or lack patriotism.

    Think!

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  109. vd, t, how did the Pius XII thing turn out?

    Yet there is a beginning before the beginning. In his prologue, Kertzer turns to Pius’s last days. The dying pope had convened a solemn meeting of bishops in St. Peter’s Basilica for February 11, 1939. There, his entourage feared, he planned to lash out at Mussolini’s policies. The text of the papal speech was ready, but would the pontiff have the strength to deliver it? Would he even live long enough? Pius ordered the text to be printed in hundreds of copies for distribution to the bishops, if need be. On February 10, the Pope died. Mussolini was relieved: the speech, of which he had been informed by his spies, would not be delivered. But what about the printed copies? There was a man at the highest level of the Vatican hierarchy who understood the need to calm the waters (and on whom Mussolini could rely): he was the Vatican’s secretary of state, Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli. Pacelli, Kertzer reports, “ordered the pope’s desk cleared, the printed copies of his speech seized.” And three weeks later, Cardinal Pacelli was elected pope and took the 
name Pius XII.

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  110. vd, t took the bait. He bitch slapped Beza (and also the entire Roman Catholic tradition which regards Christ as mediator along with Mary and the saints).

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  111. Darryl, great find! I’m getting this at my local library, there were two copies left, and I just requested a copy be held for me.

    Good thread, this one, here. Lates.

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  112. Kenneth: For the record….

    That prayer to Joseph makes me uncomfortable.

    That kind of discomfort was one of the reasons I left. After some reflection, I viewed this as the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Did you ever notice, that especially the pre Vatican II RCs never seemed to discourage erring on the side of idolatry? That was always ok. There was no limit to the amount of devotion one could show to Mary. There were, of course, all sorts of warnings never to go near the Protestants.

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  113. Andrew B – Have you also seen Kertzer’s The Popes Against the Jews? The link here is to a series of blog articles I wrote about it. Essentially, Roman Catholicism put out a document claiming that their history of having herded Jews into ghettos for centuries, making them wear distinctive clothing and badges, for example, had nothing to do with Europe’s caving in to Hitler’s “final solution”.

    That’s been Rome’s typical response: “Never accept any responsibility for any evils it has perpetrated”. That’s the official posture, and the one that filters down to …”Well, it’s not doctrine, and ‘The Church’ never claimed impeccability, only infallibility”. So, their two or five or however many doctrines they want to say are “truly infallible doctrines” are all they’ll defend. The rest may be swept under the rug as “‘The Church never claimed impeccability”.

    What they forget is that there is a huge gulf between their “truly infallible” and “not impeccable”, and that is the huge swath of mere human decency.

    That is something that “The Church” has failed to understand and behave in so many ways — It is what DGH repeatedly points out here. But the blinders are on, and the mantra goes on as well.

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  114. Nah, not yet. New to me. Thanks John.

    The main reason I frequent this website is for the many pointers to good stuff. I’m 31 Y.O., a little younger methinks than the average (though look at that Kenneth avatar, we have an up and comer ponyboy who can’t get enough OL neither) around here.

    The best I can do are read the sharp minds here, and get the goofballs to engage me. I always know I’ve won once they address me personally. I just a goofy golfer (wink).

    Peace.

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  115. PS

    For the record, infallibility was a concept the former ponyboy, your truly, wrestled with. It’s a word liberal and conservative prots also can’t find common ground. Notice above my Tillich quotation juxtaposed against Rev. Lee’s poignant Belgic quote. The contrast is striking, to me, anyway.

    For me, Rome is “liberal,” or it is nothing at all. I fall in line squarely with my ordination vows as a deacon in Christ’s church, finding the visible/invisible distinction that Westminster fleshes out the most helpful.

    Also, I rarely read the comments here very closely. There’s no filter on who or what is posted. Im here for the main attraction. Not the peanut gallery.

    I’m out for now. Later.

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  116. Sean – THUS, exemplary of not only sentimental piety but POWER over the baby Jesus

    Erik – Ricky Bobby advocates praying to Baby Jesus and he’s at least as good of a Catholic as Tom.

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  117. Tom – Look for an imprimatur & nihil obstat

    Erik – Can I read the Pope’s Tweets instead?

    Is that what you’ve been doing in lieu of attending Mass?

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  118. Tom,

    When will you get it that when Darryl is dealing with you he is out assing an ass (and doing quite well). He’s clearly under your skin more than you are under his. He’s the proprietor so I’m guessing he’ll outlast you.

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  119. Tom’s sad schtick is to go around trying to tell us that people have different opinions. He thinks he is Einstein because of this. Must be very difficult to have Tom in one’s real life.

    Yeah, we know people think differently, a lot of us have come out of those different views.

    Tom, you add nothing useful here. Not sure why you keep doing this, life can’t be that empty, can it?

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  120. Tom – Trinitarianism teaches Jesus is G-d. Logic dictates that by praying to Jesus, you’re going straight to G-d anyway–who needs a “Mediator?” “Defying logic” indeed, Darryl.

    Erik –

    “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2.5)

    “Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.” (Hebrews 9.15)

    Take your complaints up with God.

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  121. Every argument that Bad Catholic Tom makes is self-refuting because if he believed them himself he would be Good Catholic Tom, a member of the Roman Catholic Church in good standing, attending mass, partaking of the sacraments. So when he speaks well of Catholicism he’s either dumb Bad Catholic Tom or liar Bad Catholic Tom.

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  122. Tom – You do realize that, yes, Rev. Brian?, that the Belgic Confession is not synonymous with the actual Bible? Everybody knows what “you believe” the Bible says in your various “confessions,” but that’s not actual scriptura.

    Yes, Calvinism rejects the “communion/intercession of saints.” But not all of Protestantism, let alone the majority of Christianity. The comments section of this blog is quite an education.

    Erik – Tom taking on Brian Lee in this manner says so much. Brian is one of the nicest, calmest, best educated guys to post here.

    Tom could attempt to make a Biblical argument against the Belgic, but of course he won’t, because it would take longer than a 30-second google search to formulate.

    The Belgic is not Scripture and not everyone agrees with the Belgic. Brilliant. I’m sure Lee never encountered that argument in his Ph.D. work.

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  123. Erik, remember, the guy who owns this bar came up with the Sowers rule. He’s got good command of his swing.

    On the other hand, when you get people talking, they reveal more than they let on:

    Going silent..now (wink)

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  124. Tom,

    Protestants are quite clear on the relationship between our confessions and Scripture. For us they have a different status. That distinction always keeps Scripture over confessions and tradition.

    With Rome, that relationship is not so clear, which always keeps tradition over Scripture.

    Maybe that explains why the majority of Belgic Confession article 26 which I posted is actually comprised of Scripture. You see, our confessions manifest their respect for God’s very word by teaching it. I posted it because it is a beautiful summary and synthesis of what Scripture teaches about mediators and intercessors in our prayer life, and frankly cuts through all the bogus arguments that have been thrown around on this thread. Perhaps you know scripture so well you don’t need to formulate or consult a summary of it.

    Or maybe you do. I believe Calvin’s preferred word for your argument against Christ as mediator would have been a “cavil,” and he probably would have chalked it as the mere barking of dogs. It is so palpably ignorant and unbiblical that I’m going to just chalk it up to April Fools Day.

    Though, on the contrary, it’s actually a perfect illustration of what the Epistle to the Hebrews is getting at. The idea that God Himself is our mediator with God kinda gets to the heart of the mystery and wonder of the Incarnation. That’s the kind of mediator we need, one who is both human, and himself God. Why would you go to any other man or woman, if you have that kind of man praying for you?

    Oh, that’s right, because the God man prays through his merits, not ours, and takes human deserving out of the equation. That’s a no-no for Rome, for what our motivation to pray if it’s not about gaining merits? The Belgic nails it. Prayer to saints is a Gospel issue, pure and simple.

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  125. Brian,

    Nice response.

    Now prepare yourself for the verbal equivalent of a mooning and being given the middle finger from Tom.

    Glad to see you have not grown as cynical as I (yet).

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  126. Darryl,

    While we’re talking about Beza, and Hebrews, and summarizing scripture, I came across this awesome line in his Annotations on Romans and Hebrews, very roughly translating:

    “We teach first these Epistles, the Holy Spirit both here [Romans] and in the Epistle to the Hebrews desires to teach a digest in orderly form what is taught hear and there in the Old and in the New Testaments. And so this Epistle, even as that to the Hebrews, is as an epitome of all the Scriptures. But in this they differ, because the Epistle to the Romans was so written as to more accommodate the Gentiles, and the Epistle to the Hebrews was taught in a different manner for the Jews. But both are epitomes of the whole of the Christian religion.”

    Sit down and read Hebrews cover to cover — I wonder how many of the Roman interlocutors here have immersed themselves in Scripture to that degree — then come back and argue that it is biblical to ask for the dead other than Christ to intercede.

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  127. “here and there,” obviously.

    Erik, I’m plenty cynical, but this is a public conversation. I’m a pastor. Some people might be here looking for the truth. Might.

    [Sort of like dead people might be caught up in flux capacitor of the time-space continuum of Abraham’s bosom such that they can hear our incantations, and maybe, just maybe, they can pass them along to the big guy, who you know, is a little hard of hearing, and personally quite burdened because WE KNOW he hears all the prayers of everybody and can you imagine such a busy guy having time for little old me? I mean, it must be comfortless faith if this is the best it has to offer by way of encouraging prayer.

    It seems the finitude of the saints is precisely the reason why Romanists pray to them, for they daren’t actually pray to God in their own merits. Sigh.]

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  128. “Romanists pray to them, for they daren’t actually pray to God in their own merits”

    Ding, ding, ding. This is why your RC neighbor might really be open to hearing the Gospel of Christ’s righteousness for them. They know in their piety that they aren’t worthy, and they aren’t.

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  129. Ken, listen to your inner Protestant’s unease with the Joseph prayers and resist playing the “I can’t read hearts” card. It’s a good card but overplayed, especially when simply trying to give cover to team mates. (Here’s where Tom tells us to take our own medicine and rap knuckles over name calling, but he misses forests for petty trees—has he not witnessed the anti-neo-Calvinism around here? Same Protestant team, no cover.)

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  130. CvD, who’s dismissed context? We have a mother praying to Sheen on behalf of her apparently dead child. We know the who’s and where’s and why’s, and calling a spade a spade (or in this case pious idolatry for what it is). And who dismisses the new atheists? Theonomy is one way of reading the Bible. Their beef is with them, not with those who read it with 2k lenses. It’s not so much a matter of context as it is interpretive grid.

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  131. Here’s some more “mediation” toward baby Jesus;

    “One of the most popular religious medals of our day. St. Christopher is pictured carrying the Child on his shoulder. The story is told that this third-century saint as a bid-bodied youth served God and his neighbor well by carrying people over a dangerous river that had taken the lives of many. Among those he carried across was Christ himself, who, on one occasion, appeared to Chrsitopher (Greek, Christ-Bearer) in the form of a child. He is the special patron and helper of travelers, especially those who travel ;by plane and automobile. Hence the custom of having St. Christopher is on July 25 and his name remains on the Church calendars of particular regions.”

    Look prot-catholics, just to save time, rather than running to Hahn, who both doesn’t know and is just making it up. Post your questions here, and since I have time to burn, I’ll give you the low-down.

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  132. Sean,

    Yes the saints have power over God. I read that in the catechism somewhere. There’s not some battle of the wills going on in heaven.

    Brian,

    “then come back and argue that it is biblical to ask for the dead other than Christ to intercede.”

    You seem to keep jumping around in the argument. Most of your posts seem to be “jesus is more than enough, why ask others to pray for you” which as has been said repeatedly even defeats the purpose of intercessory prayer Protestants practice. But now you talk about “the dead”. I understand you don’t agree with intercession/veneration of the saints. But if RC teaching is that we can ask the saints pray/intercede for us, and that’s refuted because jesus is more than enough and you should just pray directly to him, then I fail to see how Protestant teaching that we can ask fellow believers to pray/intercede for us is not refuted by the same logic.

    Darryl,

    “You really think the woman who invoked Sheen understands prayers to saints the way you do? Maybe the pope should issue more devotional rather than social teaching.”

    Just going by what’s said in the article, as I said, I’ll give the benefit of the doubt. I am sure some laity go too far. I would have no problem calling that out. This is like a non-Catholic walking by a RC mass and only hearing the consecration and thinking RCs are cannibals. Or walking by a Calvinist preacher who says “You must repent and choose Christ” and only hearing that and so just assuming he’s Arminian or something. Context of words in the community is important.

    “you mean incoherence on Rome’s part is impossible?”

    Anyone can be incoherent when context is removed. When context is added and removes the incoherence or contradictions, that might be a sign the person not considering context is jumping to unwarranted conclusions.

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  133. Clete – Sean, Yes the saints have power over God. I read that in the catechism somewhere.

    Erik – vd, c approaches vd, t’s level of scholarly rigor and precision.

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  134. Erik, how do you know vd, c is a human and not a robot?

    We get about 2 or 3 robot posts a day, I’ve noticed. I’m thinking vd c maybe me that category, yo.

    Just curious. Peace.

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  135. Erik, I’ve got some talking points with Tom

    But Clete is someone I find from the get go, to be deceitful.

    I don’t entertain trolls, except on days I feel like talking to Darth Vader on Twitter. It does happen, so I understand..

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  136. Erik,

    The point has to deal with context again and making things incoherent unnecessarily by removing that context. The saints aren’t battling God’s will in heaven. They’re in harmony. RCism has always taught that. It’s kind of fundamental and basic to not believe heaven is mortal kombat.

    Btw if you checked the FB link you’d see he’s talking to Barrett Turner.

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  137. A bible verse, if I may:

    The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one.

    (1 Corinthians 2:14-15 ESV)

    http://www.esvbible.org/1%20Corinthians%202%3A15/

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  138. A Debate with Bryan:

    Moderator: Dr Cross, your opening statement, please.

    Bryan: My church is the church Jesus founded™.

    Moderator: Well, that settles it. Let’s all go get drinks.

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  139. We need more Jason Stellmans around here — Catholics willing to go on quixotic forays through Scripture in the attempt to ground Catholic beliefs in the Bible. Highly entertaining. Consuming 6 beers first might even begin to make their arguments sound remotely coherent to the casual observer.

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  140. I’ll ease up and take Cletus Van Damme at his word.

    His name is James Young, he is a cradle catholic who has never been to seminary.

    He likes the TV show “the shield” and has a thing for one of their characters.

    His reason for being here is, as I recall, he’s looking for people to talk to.

    So..he is lonely. And I’m out. That’s all I know. Oh, and he really really likes Jason’s blog.

    Peace.

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  141. AB, do you enjoy reading blogs where 70% of the comments in a given three-hour period come from one person? Everyone has something to contribute, but maybe some are over-generous.

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  142. Victim of the Crises Sean,

    I don’t see that you have made any kind of contribution to the conversation. You think that catholics believe saints have power over baby jesus? Give me a break.

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  143. vd, c, it’s always “like” something. It never just is — as in so incoherent that you need to keep likening it to something that doesn’t sound so bad. If that gets you through the night.

    So in this case, in your response to Brian, more prayers to Jesus is different from more petitions to saints to pray to Jesus. Or do you want another helping of dumb (thank you Vernon Dozier)?

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  144. vd, c, but you don’t know if their saints — in this case, Sheen is not a saint. Coherence alert!

    But tell me how context fixes this (when I thought the papacy fixed everything).

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  145. Batman and robin,

    The obsessive hall monitor stalking stuff is weird. Also I like Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain.

    “more prayers to Jesus is different from more petitions to saints to pray to Jesus. Or do you want another helping of dumb (thank you Vernon Dozier)? ”

    Charming. What I said to Brian is what I said to Brian. If asking someone to pray for you is wrong because why bother when Jesus is more than enough, then the Protestant practice of asking someone to pray for you is just as wrong. The issue about them being in heaven as opposed to being on earth is a *different* issue than the one driving that objection.

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  146. CvD, actually it’s asking those whom you don’t know for prayer which seems a bit odd (wrong is overstatement). If it helps, Prots seem just as subject to this objection as Cats. Liberally broadcasting one’s Prot self on social media for prayer seems just as tacky and misguided as a husband setting into motion prayer chains to gain Sheen’s ear. Doesn’t decorum count for anything in either case? Again, all of it seems prone to the idea that God favors numbers, and your case also names.

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  147. CVD,

    Why don’t you use your real name? Just curious.

    I’m not a big fan of intercessory prayer in the sense of building massive prayer chains, etc. I don’t see strong biblical support for that practice, as though critical mass is crucial to faithful prayer, though I haven’t made a study of it.

    Paul does offer prayers for the church, frequently, as does Christ. Clearly, it is legitimate to pray for others. I seem to recall Paul asking for prayers. But the clear referent there is intercession offered by and for the church militant. I would say the basis for doing so would be the commands to love one another in the church of Christ, that is, the church militant on earth.

    Bowls of prayers offered in heaven in the midst of apocalyptic imagery in Rev. 5 doesn’t cut it as an argument, sorry.

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  148. Ken, Darryl raised this point as well, but you never answered how we pray to these saint-candidates in the first place to find out if they really made it to heaven yet so we can prove that they made it to heaven, if we only pray to those who we know made it to heaven.

    Thanks for the explanation.

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  149. TVD: Yes, Calvinism rejects the “communion/intercession of saints.” But not all of Protestantism, let alone the majority of Christianity. The comments section of this blog is quite an education.

    I get that you like freedom and democracy — I do too! — but why does every theological discussion come down to a matter of popular sovereignty?

    We Calvinists are well aware that we aren’t in a majority. Some of them even take it as a point of pride. I’m guessing that argument isn’t going to convince many folks around here.

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  150. It’s aight, Ken-on-a-journey. I don’t imagine you’re familiar with most things RC. Just go grab you a handful of prayer cards, it’s all baby jesus, infant jesus, miracle worker saint, pray for me and nurture me like you did the babe in swaddling cloth. If you’re St Christopher kind of robust you protect toddler Jesus and employ like robustness in protecting me from the semi headed the wrong way on the one way street.

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  151. Brian Lee
    Posted April 2, 2014 at 5:02 pm | Permalink
    TVD: Yes, Calvinism rejects the “communion/intercession of saints.” But not all of Protestantism, let alone the majority of Christianity. The comments section of this blog is quite an education.

    I get that you like freedom and democracy — I do too! — but why does every theological discussion come down to a matter of popular sovereignty?

    We Calvinists are well aware that we aren’t in a majority. Some of them even take it as a point of pride. I’m guessing that argument isn’t going to convince many folks around here.

    Well, Brian, my point would be that the intercession of the saints isn’t even a uniquely Catholic “error.” And my larger point was that just as we ask each other to pray for us, the intercession of the saints is theologically no different.

    Pray for me, brother. Or don’t. Whatever your confessions tell you.

    Like

  152. Zrim, but more prayers to Jesus is different from more “requests” to said saint who then has to sort through all of the — ahem — petitions and then offer up ONE!! prayer to Jesus. We get more prayers, vd, c, gets only one to go with his umbrella drink — and he could have cut to the chase.

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  153. Darryl,

    Nope. Devotions are optional.

    “but more prayers to Jesus is different from more “requests” to said saint who then has to sort through all of the — ahem — petitions and then offer up ONE!! prayer to Jesus. We get more prayers, vd, c, gets only one to go with his umbrella drink — and he could have cut to the chase.”

    Still not getting it. By this logic, you should never ask someone to pray for you because you could’ve spent that time praying to Jesus. Or if someone asks you to pray for them, you better tell them no way jose – you’re just wasting time from praying to Jesus. Prayers from others go to Christ. Prayers from saints go to Christ. No Mortal Kombat in heaven.

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  154. Cletus van Damme
    Posted April 2, 2014 at 5:43 pm | Permalink
    Darryl,

    Nope. Devotions are optional.

    “but more prayers to Jesus is different from more “requests” to said saint who then has to sort through all of the — ahem — petitions and then offer up ONE!! prayer to Jesus. We get more prayers, vd, c, gets only one to go with his umbrella drink — and he could have cut to the chase.”

    Still not getting it. By this logic, you should never ask someone to pray for you because you could’ve spent that time praying to Jesus. Or if someone asks you to pray for them, you better tell them no way jose – you’re just wasting time from praying to Jesus. Prayers from others go to Christ. Prayers from saints go to Christ. No Mortal Kombat in heaven.

    darryllosesagain

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  155. CvD, there may not be any Mortal Kombat in heaven, but by your logic there sure is a class system–there are heavenly saints and then there are earthly others. But if there really is no more Jew nor Greek (male nor female, slave nor free) then the unbecoming coveting of super saint Sheen’s prayers looks positively pagan. Over here in Protestantism we’re all saints and every prayer has equal access.

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  156. Zrim,

    “Over here in Protestantism we’re all saints and every prayer has equal access.”

    Obviously all prayers have equal access. Can those in heaven sin or be out of harmony with God’s will? Can those on earth? To reduce those who are glorified as no different than those on earth makes glorification a meaningless term, and makes the state of being in His eternal presence no different than the earthly state.

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  157. Cletus,

    What do you think about the prayer to Joseph that Darryl listed and Kenneth finds uncomfortable?

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  158. D.G. – Zrim, but more prayers to Jesus is different from more “requests” to said saint who then has to sort through all of the — ahem — petitions and then offer up ONE!! prayer to Jesus.

    Erik – Good point. If these saints are in heaven why not just let them live there in peace? Just what I want in heaven – endless e-mail from people down on earth.

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  159. CvD, it’s so much speculation. We know from Scripture that “to be with Christ is better” than to be in the body. But how a triumphant saint benefits not only him but also a militant saint isn’t quite as clear from holy writ. And if the militant saint has “the Spirit himself constantly interceding for us with groans too deep for words”–even when he doesn’t ask for it–then keep you can have your Sheen. You’ll say by this logic Prots should dispense with asking other militant saints for prayer as well. Not exactly, more like cut way down on the mass-broadcast-prayer-chain stuff.

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  160. vd, c, and you’re not getting it. I get more direct hits on Jesus. You get more hits one a saint who may or may not be able to hear.

    Do you think before your speculate?

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  161. Darryl,

    “vd, c, and you’re not getting it. I get more direct hits on Jesus. You get more hits one a saint who may or may not be able to hear.”

    By your logic, you get more direct hits on Jesus, unless you ask someone to pray for you. Then you stole direct hits from Jesus apparently. But of course Protestantism teaches no such thing.
    Secondly, as I said above – prayers from others hit Jesus. Prayers from saints hit Jesus. No Mortal Kombat in heaven.

    “Do you think before your speculate?”

    Do you read before just re-stating the same point that was addressed in the post you’re replying to?

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  162. Cletus van Damme
    Posted April 2, 2014 at 10:31 pm | Permalink
    Darryl,

    “vd, c, and you’re not getting it. I get more direct hits on Jesus. You get more hits one a saint who may or may not be able to hear.”

    By your logic, you get more direct hits on Jesus, unless you ask someone to pray for you. Then you stole direct hits from Jesus apparently. But of course Protestantism teaches no such thing.
    Secondly, as I said above – prayers from others hit Jesus. Prayers from saints hit Jesus. No Mortal Kombat in heaven.

    “Do you think before your speculate?”

    Do you read before just re-stating the same point that was addressed in the post you’re replying to?

    darryllosesagain

    Like

  163. Why would I want to trump Augustine? He is one of the foremost defenders of praying to saints in all of history. Have you ever read City of God?

    Kenny, even Homer nods (not Simpson).

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  164. vd, c, I do. And you don’t seem to have any problem with mediators between us and God other than Christ. Protestants don’t think living human beings who pray (Scripture, remember that, does tell us to pray for others) are mediators between us and God. But you don’t see any problem and its just like Mary’s co-mediatrix qualities.

    Believe what you want. It’s a free country. Just don’t expect Protestants to think this is all that appealing. It certainly is a different side of Roman Catholicism than Christopher Dawson and First Things.

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  165. Darryl,

    “you don’t seem to have any problem with mediators between us and God other than Christ. Protestants don’t think living human beings who pray (Scripture, remember that, does tell us to pray for others) are mediators between us and God.”

    By what grounds are living human beings who pray for you not mediators given the logic you have been using in your above criticisms? Remember Christ is not getting direct hits when you pray for others/others pray for you according to you.

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  166. Brian,

    I was previously mistaken. We are permitted to *privately* pray to uncanonized saints that we believe to be in heaven but *publicly* refer only to those who have been canonized.

    Zrim,

    I don’t have a problem with veneration and communion with Saints. I just feel uncomfortable with some of the *language* used in the prayer to Joseph. I realize that it was written at a different time in history etc but I would prefer not to use that strong of language.

    I think it’s true that we don’t know the heart of the people who wrote the prayers and so shouldn’t pass judgment. I have heard you wax eloquent on the virtues of your wife. The language one might use when showing effective to those we love could frequently be misinterpreted. I might read a poem between lovers and charge someone with idolatry or raising up their loved one above Christ Himself….. But that would be uncharitable because I wouldn’t be able to judge their heart. In the same way someone here on earth may be enamored with and love (in an unromantic way) some Saint in heaven and use certain language that may make you uneasy venerating them but it’s uncharitable to assume idolatry if you don’t know their heart. I don’t feel comfortable with certain prayers and so I don’t pray them… But I won’t condemn the author because I do not know that they are guilty of idolatry.

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  167. Ken, sorry but the don’t-know-the-heart argument just falls flat. Sorry to be repetitive, but the axiom of actions speaking louder than words comes to mind. And this case, the actions are themselves words, and some words speak louder than others, as in they sure sound like more than mere appreciation, they sound like adoration. You’re uncomfortable with the Joseph prayers. Why? Probably for the same reason, they sound idolatrous. That’s not unduly judging a heart, it’s judging words. People do it all the time for good reason. You’re allowed to do that. You’re also allowed to be critical of your team mates.

    Like

  168. Why don’t you guys pray to all the ‘saints’ at once? Why just one at a time? Wouldn’t that be the same as making your needs known to a local congregation?

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  169. RL,
    “Why don’t you guys pray to all the ‘saints’ at once?”

    Confiteor often said at RC liturgy:
    “…therefore 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”

    Like

  170. Darryl,

    “vd, c, how is Christ not getting direct hits when I pray for my wife?”

    Exactly. He is. So the entire gist of your argument about asking saints to pray for us is moot.

    “I pray to Christ in his name, not to Joseph or Fulton.”

    If your wife asks you to pray for her, and you pray for her, Christ got hit. If your wife (for arguments sake) asks a saint to pray for her, and the saint prays for her, Christ got hit. Not difficult.

    The objection should just be “you can’t ask dead people to pray for you”. That’s it. That’s the objection. The objection is not “you’re taking away from Christ or not giving Christ hits, etc”. Because that argument, as seen above, undermines the practice of Protestant intercessory prayer as well.

    RL,

    Why do you ask just one or a few people to pray for you instead of the entire congregation every time you request intercessory prayer?

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  171. I still don’t see how based on all of your own doctrine any miracle could be attributed to Fulton’s personal merit or intercession. How can the church know that he didn’t just pass the request on to another saint? If he is as committed to seeking the intercession and merit of the saints in his death as he was in his life, then he likely just passes requests on to someone or everyone else and not just to God. If that’s true, then he and his personal intercession cannot be said to be in any way specially related to purported miracle.

    Do you think the BVM asks Fulton to intercede for her?

    Like

  172. Zrim,

    I can judge someone’s words as unacceptable for me to pray with a clear conscience… But I can not say that the author of the words is practicing idolatry (in the instance of the prayer to joseph). In either case I don’t see a biblical condemnation of praying to saints in heaven. What we think of specific examples and prayers is really a separate topic

    Like

  173. RL,

    If he “passed it on” to another Saint that would still mean that he is in heaven…. Hence, canonization….

    Like

  174. CVD: Yes. If all the saints can hear you, don’t you think you should invite them to join you. When you bow your head and bend your knee in the company of living Christians don’t you invite everyone on earshot?

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  175. Ken, since we’re all about logic in this thread, by that logic we can never discipline anyone who claims his words or actions aren’t what they appear to be. Not guilty by reason of context. But as you know, the Reformed hold to a prescriptive rule, i.e. whatever is not commanded or cannot be deduced by good and necessary consequence from Scripture is prohibited.. So, so what that there is biblical condemnation of praying to saints in heaven? Where is there a command or a good and necessary deduction to pray to triumphant saints?

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  176. Kenneth: So, after death, you can only ask for saintly intercession if you’re already a saint?

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  177. vd, c, but how do you know the saint is going to relay the message? You don’t. So you don’t know if you get a direct hit. Certainty, right? That’s what your pope promises.

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  178. Zrim,

    Sola scriptura is a whole different animal my man. That rabbit trail takes us to far from the current convo. I am happy with your admission that it’s not condemned in scripture. The practice is extra-biblical (Tradition ) but not contrary to scripture.

    RL,

    The point is that the intercession would not work if the person wasn’t in heaven. If it does work (either by direct intercession or “passing it on” the person is in heaven and the miracle is proof of that fact. Hence, canonization.

    Like

  179. Kenneth: Thanks for your patience.

    Earlier you shared a link to an outline of the canonization process. One duty of the theological commission investigating a proposed miracle is to “determine whether the miracle resulted through the intercession of the Servant of God alone.” If prayers had been offered “without cease to the Servant of God exclusively, then the case is demonstrated.” But if prayers had been offered “to the Servant of God, to the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph and others, then the case is clouded, and probably cannot be demonstrated. Thus, the task of the theological commission is two-fold, judge whether the cure was a miracle, and judge whether this miracle is due to the intercession of the Servant of God.”

    Is this simply to prove that the this person is in heaven? Isn’t it also supposed to be a demonstration of their personal power in intercession (presumably derived from their heroic virtues)?

    How does this prove anything? How (even assuming an RC view of the afterlife) does anybody know that the other saints didn’t overhear this family’s prayer and intercede for the baby independent of Sheen?

    I would like to know whether you all think that the BVM asks other saints to intercede for her or for those who have asked for her help?

    Like

  180. RL,

    Is this simply to prove that the this person is in heaven? Isn’t it also supposed to be a demonstration of their personal power in intercession (presumably derived from their heroic virtues)?

    To my knowledge its all about showing that they are in heaven! It has nothing to do with their personal powers or their ability to sway baby Jesus lol!

    How does this prove anything? How (even assuming an RC view of the afterlife) does anybody know that the other saints didn’t overhear this family’s prayer and intercede for the baby independent of Sheen?

    As far as I know Its just something we take on faith and trust the Churchs’ judgement on. We don’t get a unicorn with a “your welcome” post-card strapped around its neck thats made of angel feathers. We just trust in the Tradition.

    Like

  181. RL,

    Also the BVM is alot like the Chuck Norris of heaven. She doesn’t need prayers. Prayers need her. (emoticon)

    Like

  182. Ken, tell that to Leo XIII (vd, c and vd, t feel free to chime in):

    1. The mightiest helper of the Christian people, and the most merciful, is the Virgin Mother of God. How fitting it is to accord her honors ever increasing in splendor, and call upon her aid with a confidence daily growing more ardent. The abundant blessings, infinitely varied and constantly multiplying, which flow from her all over the whole world for the common benefit of mankind, add fresh motives for invoking and honoring her.

    2. For such magnanimous favors, Catholics on their part have not failed to return to her the tender devotion of grateful hearts; because, if ever there was a time when love and veneration of the Blessed Virgin were awakened to new life and inflaming every class of society, it is in these days so bitterly anti-religious. The clearest evidence of this fact lies in the sodalities which have everywhere been restored and multiplied under her patronage; in the magnificent temples erected to her august name; in the pilgrimages undertaken by throngs of devout souls to her most venerated shrines; in the congresses whose deliberations are devoted to the increase of her glory; in other things of a like nature which are praiseworthy in themselves and augur well for the future.

    3. It is specially deserving of notice, and it gives Us the greatest pleasure to recall, that of all the forms of devotion to the Blessed Virgin, that most excellent method of prayer, Mary’s Rosary, is establishing itself most widely in popular esteem and practice. This, We repeat, is a source of great joy to Us. If We have spent so large a share of our activities, in promoting the Rosary devotion, We can easily see with what benevolence the Queen of Heaven has come to Our aid when We prayed to her; and We express the confident conviction that she will continue to stand at Our side to lighten the burdens and the afflictions which the days to come will bring.

    4. It is mainly to expand the kingdom of Christ that We look to the Rosary for the most effective help. On many occasions We have declared that the object which at the present time engrosses Our most earnest attention, is the reconciliation to the Church of nations which have become separated from her. We recognize, at the same time, that the realization of Our hopes must be sought chiefly in prayer and supplication addressed to almighty God. This conviction We again affirmed not long ago, when We recommended that special prayers be offered for this intention to the Holy Ghost during the solemnities of Pentecost; a recommendation that was adopted everywhere with the greatest good will.

    5. But in view of the importance and the difficulty of such an undertaking, and the necessity of perseverance in the practice of any virtue, it is well to recall the Apostle’s apt counsel: “Be instant in prayer”‘[1] -counsel all the more to the point because an auspicious beginning of the enterprise will supply the best inducement to perseverance in prayer. Next October, therefore, if you and your people devoutly spend the whole month with Us in praying assiduously to the Virgin Mother of God through her Rosary and the other customary devotions, nothing could do more to further this project or be more pleasing to Us. We have the best reasons for entrusting Our plans and Our aspirations to her protection and the highest hopes of seeing them realized.

    6. The mystery of Christ’s immense love for us is revealed with dazzling brilliance in the fact that the dying Saviour bequeathed His Mother to His disciple John in the memorable testament: “Behold thy son.” Now in John,as the Church has constantly taught, Christ designated the whole human race, and in the first rank are they who are joined with Him by faith. It is in this sense that St. Anselm of Canterbury says: “What dignity, O Virgin, could be more highly prized than to be the Mother of those to whom Christ deigned to be Father and Brother!”[2] With a generous heart Mary undertook and discharged the duties of her high but laborious office, the beginnings of which were consecrated in the Cenacle. With wonderful care she nurtured the first Christians by her holy example, her authoritative counsel, her sweet consolation, her fruitful prayers. She was, in very truth, the Mother of the Church, the Teacher and Queen of the Apostles, to whom, besides, she confided no small part of the divine mysteries which she kept in her heart.

    7. It is impossible to measure the power and scope of her offices since the day she was taken up to that height of heavenly glory in the company of her Son, to which the dignity and luster of her merits entitle her. From her heavenly abode she began, by God’s decree, to watch over the Church, to assist and befriend us as our Mother; so that she who was so intimately associated with the mystery of human salvation is just as closely associated with the distribution of the graces which for all time will flow from the Redemption.

    8. The power thus put into her hands is all but unlimited. How unerringly right, then, are Christian souls when they turn to Mary for help as though impelled by an instinct of nature, confidently sharing with her their future hopes and past achievements, their sorrows and joys, commending themselves like children to the care of a bountiful mother. How rightly, too, has every nation and every liturgy without exception acclaimed her great renown, which has grown greater with the voice of each succeeding century. Among her many other titles we find her hailed as “our Lady, our Mediatrix,”[3] “the Reparatrix of the whole world,”[4] “the Dispenser of all heavenly gifts.”[5]

    9. Since faith is the foundation, the source, of the gifts of God by which man is raised above the order of nature and is endowed with the dispositions requisite for life eternal, we are in justice bound to recognize the hidden influence of Mary in obtaining the gift of faith and its salutary cultivation-of Mary who brought the “author of faith”[6] into this world and who, because of her own great faith, was called “blessed.””O Virgin most holy, none abounds in the knowledge of God except through thee; none, O Mother of God, attains salvation except through thee; none receives a gift from the throne of mercy except through thee.”[7]

    10. It is no exaggeration to say that it is due chiefly to her leadership and help that the wisdom and teachings of the Gospel spread so rapidly to all the nations of the world in spite of the most obstinate difficulties and most cruel persecutions, and brought everywhere in their train a new reign of justice and peace. This it was that stirred the soul of St. Cyril of Alexandria to the following prayerful address to the Blessed Virgin: “Through you the Apostles have preached salvation to the nations. . . through you the priceless Cross is everywhere honored and venerated; through you the demons have been put to rout and mankind has been summoned back to Heaven; through you every misguided creature held in the thrall of idols is led to recognize the truth; through you have the faithful been brought to the laver of holy Baptism and churches been founded among every people.”[8]

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  183. Cletus and Kenneth,

    The mightiest helper of the Christian people, and the most merciful, is the Virgin Mother of God.

    It is impossible to measure the power and scope of her offices since the day she was taken up to that height of heavenly glory in the company of her Son, to which the dignity and luster of her merits entitle her.

    The power thus put into her hands is all but unlimited.

    It is no exaggeration to say that it is due chiefly to her leadership and help that the wisdom and teachings of the Gospel spread so rapidly to all the nations of the world in spite of the most obstinate difficulties and most cruel persecutions, and brought everywhere in their train a new reign of justice and peace.

    Here’s the issue—even when viewed in the best light, how is the veneration of Mary (and saints) not idolatrous. The mightiest helper of God’s people? I thought that was the Comforter (the Son) and the “Another Comforter’ (the Holy Spirit)?

    Power without measure? The chief helper in the success of the gospel?

    On the best reading, this statement is tremendously confusing to God’s people. Why attribute anything like these things to Mary when Scripture never does? Even on best reading, statements like these lead the uneducated to something that is basically the worship of Mary. Do the illiterate people around the world really understand the distinction between dulia and patria. Seems to me at the very least, such statements are pastorally irresponsible.

    And for the guys who are saying its all in Scripture and all in tradition, how in the world can you deduce any of this from Scripture, especially when Mary completely disappears from the scene after Acts 2? And if this was given by the Apostles in tradition, where is it given? Did it happen at Ephesus? Was this something Paul told to the Thessalonians and never written down? Did Peter teach it at Rome right before he was executed? Where? What’s the source?

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  184. Statements like Leo’s reveal why Rome has to maintain all the pomp & circumstance and what the KKK guy in “Django Unchained” would refer to as “full regalia”. Imagine trying to propagate teaching like this from a Morton Building clothed in skinny jeans and a shirt from The Gap?

    Whatever happened to Popes who either go big or go home? Now they just sound like hand-wringing liberals.

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  185. Pope Leo on Mary is an example of the futility of trying to argue with a Catholic.

    It is also an example of how ridiculous the logical posturing of Bryan Cross is.

    How many propositions do Pope Leo or Bryan lay out that are even potentially refutable using logic?

    At least Reformed people offer something external to themselves by which their statements can be refuted (Scripture).

    With Rome, all you can attempt to show is that they have refuted themselves internally. This is why Bryan would be concerned if the Church reversed itself on marriage. He would not be concerned, however, if the Church said that little green men and women were experiencing Roman Catholic marriage on the planet Venus. If we mocked that notion he would merely accuse us of an ad hominem and say that nothing that we have said refutes anything that “they” (Called to Communion) has said on Roman Catholic marriage on Venus.

    Roman Catholicism is a closed system, unassailable from those outside, because it is a law unto itself.

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  186. Erik,

    This is why Bryan would be concerned if the Church reversed itself on marriage.

    Yeah, that concern would last for all of about five minutes. We’d get 5,000 plus words on how the dogma on marriage hadn’t changed but on how the church’s understanding of it had changed and that to even question the church would be an issue of ecclesiastical deism and an assumption of the Protestant paradigm for reading the church’s dogma. Plus we’d be begging the question.

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  187. Robert,

    You’re probably right, but you have to wonder what it would do to Bryan internally. If you grant that his conversion came about from good motives.

    At some point people will stop defending a sham just for the sake of stubborn pride.

    Like

  188. It’s like the woman who lives with a lout of a husband for 20 years and then one day she is just done and no one can say anything to persuade her otherwise. I’ve seen it happen multiple times now.

    Like

  189. Erik, husbands do it that way as well.

    My personality stores up 1,000 slights and then one day that’s it and I bring out the guillotine on the friendship or relationship.

    It is the best, the best.

    Like

  190. Forget the miracles, what you really need for sanctification is moolah:

    For instance, we learn that having someone declared a saint can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and that “postulators,” officials who manage sainthood cases, sometimes command impressive fees to speed things up – raising the suspicion that, in some cases, halos are being bought rather than earned.

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  191. Is Mother Angelica in purgatory? Turns out it’s really hard to get into heaven:

    Mother Angelica’s recent passing has put a certain word on many people’s lips: “saint.” Following her death on Easter Sunday, even Pope Francis said, “She’s in heaven.”

    Whatever the truth of that statement, no formal declaration can be made by the Church until her beatification process officially starts. That can’t happen for five years, and then it will take years of compiling everything she ever wrote, said or did, interviewing those who knew her, collating all of that information, sending it to Rome, gathering a miracle performed by God through her intercession and having the Pope give his approval. And those are just a few of the steps.

    If she receives beata status, she will join Blessed Miriam Teresa Demjanovich as the only beati native to the United States of America (unless you count Puerto Rico, in which case Blessed Carlos Rodriguez Santiago also qualifies). If she reaches canonization, she will join five other U.S.-born saints, all of whom are women.

    It’s a journey to which more than 70 men and women with some American connection are being subjected. And as those involved in these efforts can attest, that journey is remarkably strenuous. The Vatileaks scandal and subsequent focus on financing of saints’ causes hasn’t helped matters.

    Indeed, several processes have been at least temporarily derailed by this because their postulators were the subject of negative scrutiny.

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  192. D. G. Hart says: … her beatification …the Pope give his approval.

    ..and knowing the fear of the Lord , it cannot be left unsaid, as always:
    The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:10

    Like

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