Archive for the ‘Mary’ Category

No discussion of Catholic teachings and practices would be compete without mentioning saints.

20120903-175220.jpgFive hundred years removed from the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, the Saints of the church are the subject of mass confusion, false accusations, and charges of paganism and polytheism against the Catholic faithful.

What Saints Aren’t

Perhaps the best place to start, then, is to talk a little about who the saints aren’t. They are not demons. They are not lesser gods. They are not subjects of worship or adoration. And they most certainly are not unbiblical or unorthodox.

So What is a Saint

So who exactly are these saints, then? The word “saint” is a shortened and transliterated form of “sanctified,” which means “set apart.” In English, as in other languages, we understand this to mean a holy person. In our Christian understanding, anyone who is in Christ is a saint.

Saints are all around us; our family, our friends, the people with whom we worship. If they are truly in Christ, then they are bound for heaven and are therefore a saint in the sense that they are a faithful believer. On this point, almost all Christians agree.

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20120902-225304.jpgSo many non Catholics, especially fundamentalists and “Bible Christians,” point to Matthew 6:7, in which Jesus condemns vain and repetitious prayer, to show yet another area in which the Catholic Church violates what seems to be a crystal clear teaching.

Catholic practices and prayers are full of repetition. The Lord’s Prayer, the Glory Be, Grace Before Meals, all of these are memorized and repetitious. Of course, that’s just scratching the surface for us as Catholics. There’s the Divine Office, novenas, and of course the Rosary and Hail Marys. These can easily be seen by the outsider or the uninformed as vain and repetitious.

For Protestants who are contemplating Catholicism, and even for those who have chosen to take the leap, this can be a tremendous obstacle to overcome. Fundamentalist Christians have had it ingrained into their minds that Matthew 6:7 forbids repetitive prayers. This is yet again an unfortunate fallacy and a result of reading scripture out of context. Too often, we read the Bible on our own without an appreciation for the time and the culture in which they were written.
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Striking fear in the hearts of Protestants and “bible-believing” Christians everywhere, this young teenage virgin may be the single hardest issue for non catholics to wrap their brains around.

20120902-220337.jpgIt’s understandable, to a degree, why people who don’t know any better might have misgivings about the ways Catholics venerate the Mother of God. What’s disappointing is that most non Catholics don’t ever bother to ask “why?” Instead, they make assumptions based on their own uninformed observations or, worse yet, on other people’s misguided judgements.

But what’s that you say? Mary’s not the mother of God? Of course not! She’s just some peasant girl who God used for His own purpose. It could have been anybody, right? There’s nothing at all special about Mary! Right?
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