- - - - - - - - - -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.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.
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!
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.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.
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.'
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.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:
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.
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.