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Posts Tagged ‘Catechism’

While some Christian denominations take a narrow and limited view of the salvation of non-members, the Catholic Church recognizes the possibility of salvation for non-Catholics, and even non-Christians. (more…)

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With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel[…] (Eph 6:18-19).

Prayer is probably the best and most effective way to be united with God.  A good prayer-life is  like a doorway to receiving many graces and attaining true communion with God.  Through prayer one we can open one’s channels to receive whatever the Lord wishes to give us or reveal to us through His Holy Spirit. A prayerful person, through perseverance in prayer, may be enabled to discern God’s will from their own will and thus be more equipped to understand what God has deigned for them and respond to His plan. 

Catholics get a lot of questions (and criticism) about how we pray as well as to whom we pray. In my short experience with Catholic apologetics, I have found that most of the criticism is based on preconceived ideas, prejudice or mere ignorance. People often accuse Catholics of praying to Mary, instead of praying to Jesus, of praying to the Saints and not directly to God and so on… 

Obviously, these claims are all but accurate, because they mis-intreprete a core teaching of the Church that tell us that Christ is our only mediator to God, and that only through him we can get to God Father, and also because they fail to consider what Catholics call the communion of Saints. Simply it is not correct to state that Catholics pray to Saints in detriment of God.

Rather, we ask the Saints to pray on our behalftaking our petetions/prayers to the Lord. Prayers involving saints are petitionary or intercessory prayers, through which one asks for a favor (spiritual or more rarely, material) for oneself or for others. In the Scriptures we read  how Moses pleaded to God to spare his people, or Mary to Jesus at the wedding in Cana (Jn 2:1-11) or how Paul asked for prayers (Rm 15:30 or Eph 6:19).

11 But Moses sought the favor of the LORD his God. “O LORD,” he said, “why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand? 12 Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people. 13  (Ex 20:11-13)

Such intercessory prayers by no means substitute a sincere prayer  addressed directly to Lord Jesus, Who is God and who we worship.  Never will a Catholic pray a prayer of Adoration or Praise to a Saint. This would be most reprehensible. Such prayers are reserved to God and God only.  I add here that Catholics worship the Holy Trinity, so we may say prayers of praise to God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Spirit. 

He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:27)

However, to understand the idea of praying with the Saints one must consider the Catholic doctrine regarding the Communion with Saints. Failing to understand such concept will limit or prevent a correct understanding of the Catholic approach to intercessory prayers. 

The communion of saints 

In the  Apostle’s Creed, which  is a summary of the Core beliefs of our faith,  we profess that we believe in the Holy Catholic Church and the communion of saints. The Catechism states that : 

946 […] “What is the Church if not the assembly of all the saints?”477 The communion of saints is the Church. 

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

 The Communion of the Church of Heaven and Earth

When the Lord comes in glory, and all his angels with him, death will be no more and all things will be subject to him. But at the present time some of his disciples are pilgrims on earth. Others have died and are being purified, while still others are in glory, contemplating ‘in full light, God himself triune and one, exactly as he is. 

956 The intercession of the saints. “Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness…. They do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, as they proffer the merits which they acquired on earth through the one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus…. So by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped.”493 

Saint Paul explained that the body is corruptible when it is buried, but it will be incorruptible when raised.  “It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory.  It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.  It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body” (1 Corinthians 15:43-44). 

The belief that Catholics have on being in communion with the spiritual beings in Heaven, who come to our aid can be verified inthe Scriptures, such as in Jude 1:9, or when Elijah and Moses prayed with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration.

And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one forElijah.” (Matthew 17: 3-4)

“But at that time shall Michael rise up, the great prince, who standeth for the children of thy people: and a time shall come, such as never was from the time that nations began, even until that time. And at that time shall thy people be saved, every one that shall be found written in the book.”
-Daniel 12:1

“Behold Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me.”
-Daniel 10:13 

 Here is another post on  Praying to Saints 

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I accidentally came across a website the other day with some very disturbing opinions, to say the least, on the Catholic teachings, or what they believed to be the Church’s teachings,  about the Blessed Mary and the Pope. The author, who claims to be a prophet and to be able to cast out demons and to make spiritual trips to places, writes: 

As I was researching and reading last night, I stumbled on some more false teachings of the catholic doctrines. They call it Mariology. They are claiming she is free of sin, mother Mary. It is a very disturbing dogma, and is not true.
Only one is free from sin, and he was nailed to the cross. Mary was chosen is what she was. Everyone is chosen for different things by God. I respect and love the mother of Christ, but she is not free of sin. I mean she is not like JESUS as they are claiming. 

  

Obviously, the statement above is based on some very inaccurate information and does not reflect what the Catholic Church teaches on the Virgin Mary.  Unfortunately, this sort of misconceived ideas spread like a pest these days, in a world made of Twitters and Bloggers, we might feel a bit hopeless and even discouraged to say something in defense of our own faith… I am afraid I am too stuburn to turn a blind eye and pretend it didn’t offend me. 

Since I could not find a place to leave a comment on the website so I thought I should write a  little note to clarify the issue.  

The Official Catholic Catechism teaches that Mary was preserved from all ’original sin’ and that she was wholly united with her Son . “The Virgin Mary . . . is acknowledged and honoured as being truly the Mother of God and of the redeemer…. She is ‘clearly the mother of the members of Christ’ . . . since she has by her charity joined in bringing about the birth of believers in the Church, who are members of its head it is made manifest above all at the hour of his Passion: 

Thus the Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son unto the cross. There she stood, in keeping with the divine plan, enduring with her only begotten Son the intensity of his suffering, joining herself with his sacrifice in her mother’s heart, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this victim, born of her: to be given, by the same Christ Jesus dying on the cross, as a mother to his disciple, with these words: “Woman, behold your son.”503 

By her complete adherence to the Father’s will, to his Son’s redemptive work, and to every prompting of the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary is the Church’s model of faith and charity. Thus she is a “pre-eminent and . . . wholly unique member of the Church”; indeed, she is the “exemplary realization” (typus)508 of the Church. 

968 Her role in relation to the Church and to all humanity goes still further. “In a wholly singular way she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope, and burning charity in the Saviour’s work of restoring supernatural life to souls. For this reason she is a mother to us in the order of grace.”509   

969 “This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfilment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation …. Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix.”510 

Nowhere in the official documents of the Church you will find anything that states that Mary is equal to Jesus. The same applies to the Pope, who is for the Church the Vicar of Jesus on earth, but not equal to Jesus. 

  

   

 

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