Thursday, October 25, 2007

Praying to the Saints: Part 4

James Hastings (assuming that is his actual name) has struck again, only this time on someone else's blog. I have decided to respond to him here. Also see Parts 1, 2, and 3 in our debate.

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic
- - - - - - - - - -
James,

For someone who isn't out to convert, you sure are spreading your message around. Perhaps you are hoping that you'll find a Catholic you can actually convince?

On my blog I responded to much of what you have written here. But there are a few new points that I would like to address.

To encourage me to pray to the saints, I used to told the story of a man who wanted a job in a factory. Rather than approach the owner directly, he went to talk to his cousin who already worked there and asked him to take his petition to the owner.
Or, as a teenager, I was told that if I wanted to stay out late at a party, it was always best to take my request to my mother who would present it to my father and soften the blow!
These stories are just variations of the same one you told me about the white house, only with the added information that they were told to you when you were young, instead of being stories you made up to prove your point. It doesn't matter either way. None of them properly reflect Church teaching. If these stories were indeed taught to you as a child, then you have been improperly catechized --which is often the case with people who leave Catholicism.

The Church has never taught that Jesus can only be sought indirectly, nor has she taught that prayers to the saints should replace or be more important than prayers to God himmself. You simply will not find such errors in any of her authoritative sources of doctrine.

You're tearing down a strawman my friend.

The more we think of God as a stern ruler out to get us, the more we need saints or Mary to take our requests. We don't feel worthy to go directly to God, the Supreme Being, the Infinite Unknowable Creature!
The Catholic Church is just as opposed to that type of mentality as you are. She doesn't even use such arguments in defense of praying to the saints.

Again, more strawman argumentation.

The problem with devotions to saints is while they may give us a warm glow, they really are diversions.
When you have a personal relationship with Jesus, devoid of all clutter, you can call God 'abba' - not that you deserve to, but because He wants you to.
Can you imagine people living at the time of Jesus seeking Him out. But His followers said, 'no, you can't go directly to Him, set up an altar to one of His disciples or apostles and learn all about that person and ask him to take your prayers to Jesus. Light a candle and put flowers round an altar to Matthew or Mark or Luke.'
40 years as a Catholic and you are still ignorant of what the Church teaches. You are not even engaging our actual arguments. We don't look at the saints that way.

The saints in heaven aren't diversions, or obstacles, or clutter. They are role models for a Pilgrim Church, they are the great cloud of witnesses who cheer us on as we run the race for that imperishable wreath. As holy men and women who have already won the prize, they are rooting for us with their prayers to God, so that we may receive it too. How could they possibly stand in the way of God when they want nothing more than for us to win the prize as they have? Your analogies, wich you think prove your position, actually make no sense whatsoever in light of what the Church actually teaches.

Jesus is as present today as He was when He walked earth. Yes, I ask Christians to pray for me but I don't set up a devotion to another Christian. I admire Billy Graham, but I'll never place flowers before his image.
Billy Graham would not want that. He would say: 'Listen to Jesus when He said - come to me all you who labour.'
Whitestone - what an invitation! All the rest is diversion.
All Catholics are doing is obeying the commands of Peter and Paul when they tell us to honor our fellow members of the Body and really anyone who holds a dignified place:

Rom 13:7 Pay all of them their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.

Eph 6:2 "Honor your father and mother" (this is the first commandment with a promise)

Phil 2:25,29 I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphrodi'tus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need, 29 So receive him in the Lord with all joy; and honor such men

1 Pet 2:17 Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.


As for Billy Graham, what if you were to come upon his grave? Would you not place flowers on it, out of respect for him and the Godly life that he lead? What Catholics do in veneration of the saints is nothing different.

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic

10 comments:

Prudent Musings said...

"As holy men and women who have already won the prize..."

What evidence do you have for this?

james hastings said...

Hi Nicholas,

Thank you for your comments.
It's James Hastings, and its my actual name! Check out my blog, ClearView. I am a Christian writer and journalist and you can check with the publications I write for to verify I am who I say I am!

I can't see how you believe I am insincere when I say I do not want to convert you or any other Catholic whose blogs I visit.
Otherwise, why would I personally support (financially as well as spiritually) committed Catholic groups such as Cor et Lumen Christi or Flame Ministries who uphold the Magisterium? I recommend you visit their websites and read their literature which carries an Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat.

Before I moved to England from Scotland, I organised TWO meeting for Flame Ministries which were held in Catholic churches. I did that as a committed Evangelical. Check the Flame website (www.flamministries.org) and you will see a recommendation from me for the book, It's Faith, Jim, But Not As We Know It, which was written by Flame's founder, Eddie Russell. Better still, order a copy! (no, I don't benefit financially, all proceeds go to Flame Ministries.)

Nicholas, I am not interested in strawmen, but REAL Christ-centered men and women. I know you are too. Please, say a prayer for me when you attend your Catholic parish in Ohio on Sunday. Only don't make it through St Philomena!

Blessings

James

phatcatholic said...

Prudent..........I'm not exactly sure what you are asking me to prove.

James........I will certainly pray for you.

David said...

I hope I shall not offend you (James) by this comment; it is directed at you personally, and I do not mean to offend you, or to slander you. The reason I say this is not to draw the attention of other people to you, but I hope you will excuse me as what you have said is clearly available for everybody to see. Don't misunderstand me as if I were accusing you of lying, either, please. It is simply this:
I find it very difficult to believe that the person whose words are quoted in blue in this blog entry is a Catholic.

phatcatholic said...

Well, he used to be Catholic but he's not anymore.

Btw, my blockquotes look "blue" to you? DOH! It's supposed to be gray.

David said...

Well, I suppose it's somewhere between blue and grey, on my monitor anyway.

james hastings said...

Hi David,
Don't worry about insulting me - I've been called worse. Nicholas is correct, I'm an ex-Catholic now a member of the Pioneer Church.

Something puzzles me about your blog - and its true also for Nicholas's very Catholic blog. In your profiles, you both list your Zodiac signs and years. Yet, the Catholic Catechism, 2116 states: "All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to "unveil" the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone."

Are you guys not in opposition to the catechism? Why not tell your blog provider, you want the zodiac reference removed. I don't have it listed on my blog, and I'm not even a Catholic!
By the way, for a really Biblical demolition of the horoscope and general zodiac nonesense, go to www.flameministries.org which is a CATHOLIC website which follows the Magisterium.

Blessings

James

phatcatholic said...

James,

I will never oppose the Catechism, I can assure you of that. Blogger puts the zodiac stuff on there automatically. Perhaps it's there b/c I provided information about my birthday. I don't really know. I certainly don't want it there, nor do I give 2 cents about my astrological sign.

Unfortunately, you can't just write to Blogger whenever you have a complaint. They aren't exactly your neighborhood blog hosting site. But, I will try to edit my profile and see if that does anything.

Thank you for your concern about my orthodoxy. I am concerned about yours as well.

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic

phatcatholic said...

Yup, that did it. To anyone who wants the information regarding their astrological sign and their zodiac year removed from their profile, just edit your profile and remove the information about your birthday.

james hastings said...

Hi Nicholas,
I'm happy to keep you on the right path, brother!
By the way, for a really Biblical demolition of the horoscope and general zodiac nonesense, go to www.flameministries.org which is a CATHOLIC website which follows the Magisterium.
Don't be shy - check it out.

Blessings

James

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