I have been a Christian for some years now, and have alway been near to those in the Roman Catholic Denomination. However, for the life of me, I can't figure out certain things that go on within the Church. I was hoping some of you could share your insight into these matters.
1.) Why pray to Saints?
2.) Why idolize Mary?
3.) What is the purpose of the Papacy, and how come the Pope is seen as infallable?
4.) "Add your own question"
I am really looking for some good answers, and not a flame war. If anyone feels the need, do it elsewhere. However, lively discussion is encouraged for the sake of sharpening each other in our Faith.
Thanks for your post. I copied and pasted it into a theology notebook I keep. EXCELLENTLY written and cited.
What a wonderful way to start my Saturday!
Thank you, John! I'm glad you found it useful.
1 and 2. First, there's a distinction between prayer and adoration (worship). We do not adore the saints or Mary. By praying to saints, they can devote prayer and intercessions with much greater focus than a friend on earth, with greater purity, because they spend their whole time in heaven in the gaze of the Living God. The only power they have, of course, is a gift of grace from God.
I think for many non-Catholics, praying to saints strikes them a lot like Elisha's command to Naaman in 2 Kings. Why bathe in this dirty stream when I could bathe in the clean streams of my home country? Why should I pray to this mere human when I can pray to God? God, over and over, chooses to use weak vessels to show His strength. He gives over His Strength and His Power to these meek little saints in heaven, all for His greater glory and for your greater humility and holiness.
2. In addition to what's been said before, I want to add that any true devotion to Mary has Jesus at its end. Mary is merely the channel by which Jesus is brought into the world and our lives. If God put all of salvation history in her hands as all Creation awaited her fiat, her acceptance of Jesus becoming incarnate within her, then she's pretty darn special in God's eyes. If for no other reason, we should respect and honor her because God honored her first.
I want to add that even the most "Mary crazy" type (eg de Montfort, Kolbe) saints readily admit that she is nothing in comparison to God, that any and all honors that she has is solely due to the grace of God.
My family is non-observant Catholic, but I don't even consider observant catholics to be born-again Bible-believing Christians... this goes beyond issues like baby-baptism, where the RCC martyred millions of Christians (anabaptists, Waldenses, et al) throughout history for believing otherwise...
1.) Why pray to Saints?
This is considered "necromancy" in the Old Testament, a sin punishable by death... The dearly departed are either all "sleeping" until their resurrection at the coming of the Lord on the Last Day, or are "present with Christ" in Heaven, depending on your eschatological views and your understanding of the Time-Space continuum... anyone who seeks to talk to or pray to their dead aunt or uncle or anyone else is actually talking to or praying to a "demon" or a "familiar spirit" who is pretending to be that dead relative... we have no need to pray to dead saints either, since Jesus Christ is our One & Only mediator between humanity and the Heavenly Father... Also, once the Roman Empire became the Holy Roman Empire, one of the Popes declared that the Pagans could continue to worship their gods on their holidays as long as they prayed to them in the name of some dead saint... This was not the "christianizing" of the Empire, but rather the "paganizing" of Christianity... Later on, the Roman Catholic Church actually dug up the bones of those Christians that they had martyred years before, and divied them up, and buried them into the altars and walls of their cathedrals... even the skull of the "baby" John the Baptist...!
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
2.) Why idolize Mary?
This actually has its roots in the Babylonian Mystery Cults... after Nimrod was killed, Semiramis married her own child, Tammuz, who became the new king, with the emphasis on Semiramis as the Queen of Heaven... After the fall of Babel, the Mystery Cults migrated to Egypt (Isis & Horus) and had their equivalence in other cultures, such as Astarte, Assteroth, Ishtar, etc...
The Romans were big into Diana worship, and with Constantine embracing a paganized syncretism of Christianity, it was only a matter of time that Mary would become the symbolic "queen of heaven", and the co-redemptrix alongside Jesus Christ... whether you call it "veneration", "Idolatry", or "praying to", it is all evil in the sight of God... Even when Jesus was alive, he made it clear that Mary, his own biological mother, was no more special than his own disciples...
Matthew 12: 46-50 (KJV)
46While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him.
47Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.
48But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?
49And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!
50For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.
17But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil.
18But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine.
19And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out drink offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship her, and pour out drink offerings unto her, without our men?
20Then Jeremiah said unto all the people, to the men, and to the women, and to all the people which had given him that answer, saying,
21The incense that ye burned in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, ye, and your fathers, your kings, and your princes, and the people of the land, did not the LORD remember them, and came it not into his mind?
22So that the LORD could no longer bear, because of the evil of your doings, and because of the abominations which ye have committed; therefore is your land a desolation, and an astonishment, and a curse, without an inhabitant, as at this day.
23Because ye have burned incense, and because ye have sinned against the LORD, and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD, nor walked in his law, nor in his statutes, nor in his testimonies; therefore this evil is happened unto you, as at this day.
Elliott in this passage Jeremiah prophesies to the Jews scattered into Egypt after the destruction of Jerusalam by Nebuchadnezzar.
Up to the Exile, Jews in Jerusalem had started worshiping pagan gods INSIDE the temple... including burning incense to Ishtar (the Assyrian name for the moon god, known in Cannan as Astarte). One aspect of Ishtar worship included baking cakes shaped into a crescent moon shape, as described in verse 19. The sun being the king of heaven in astral pagan theology, The moon was the queen of heaven. A literal translation renders "queen of the heavens" in Hebrew.
Josiah - after discovering the lost book of Deuteronomy during refurbishment work in the Temple, began something like a reformation - cleansing the temple, purging the worship of Ishtar and other pagan gods, etc. Josiah was killed in battle at Har-Meggido (as in future sight of the battle of Armageddon), and a lot of the survivors who fled to Egypt chalked up his death to divine vengance from Ishtar - this is what VS 18 refers to.
It has absolutely nothing to do with worshiping a queen in the Davidic kingdom, or in the Messianic kingdom as understood by Jewish, Catholic, or Protestant dogma.
And BTW the abbreviated name of John's prophetic book is "Revelation", not Revelations" - common mistake. It's "Revelation" as in "The Revelation of Jesus Christ", and in Revelation Mary Mother of Jesus is described as the Queen of Heaven - is Revelation a blasphemous book?
lol oops, just read your post above re Ishtar - sorry, jumped the gun and didn't realize you were saying that Ishtar worship had permeated the christian church in the form of Mary worship - it's a logical assertion, but I disagree with it.... I think Queen of Heaven in the Catholic sense has nothing to do with Ishtar
I already know that the last book in the Bible is spelled "Revelation"... sometimes I make typos, just like some people forget proper punctuation, like quotation marks...
And BTW the abbreviated name of John's prophetic book is "Revelation", not Revelations" - common mistake.
This is a discussion board, not a term paper or a peer reviewed journal...
I am writing in a casual style & mistakes do happen... so pointing them out, unless the mistake alters the context, is a distraction from the main thrust of the conversation...
If you do not believe that Mary is the Queen of Heaven, it is very hard to retain your Christianity in any meaningful sense. Christians are citizens of Christ's kingdom. His kingdom exists right now, albeit with a different manifestation than it will have in the future... ALL power in Heaven and on Earth have been given to Him. As a king in the Davidic line, His mother is the queen. Denying her the title of queen is not a denial of her power, it's a denial of His kingship. It's a statement of rebellion against our rightful heavenly government.
I don't follow your logic....
So the apostate judeans during the time of Jerimiah were worshipping Mary, the future earthly mother of Christ incarnate, as the Queen of Heaven.?
I agree that it is important to show respect for Mary, but veneration of her as the "queen of heaven" or to think that she was born of a virgin herself, or that she remained a virgin after giving birth to Jesus' half-brothers denies what Scripture says, and it is indeed "idolatry" in that it puts something or someone between us and God...
Jesus is the High Preist and King, in the sense of the Malchizidek preisthood...
to make Mary our "queen" in the Davidic bloodline is blasphemy at best... she did not give birth to Christ, the eternal Son of the Heavenly Trinity, but was chosen as an earthly vessel for the incarnation of Christ in the man Jesus... Mary was a sinner in need of salvation just like the rest of us...
If Mary did not give birth to Christ, you must be thinking about the wrong Mary.
I hadn't heard before that Mary was the product of a virgin birth. That belief is contrary to Catholic doctrine. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07674d.htm
Too many errors, too many wild claims. I have no dog in this fight, or not much of one; I don't care who respects, venerates, etc., Mary; I would care if anyone worshiped her, but nobody does (at least, not without violating Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox belief). But I do have a dog in the fight of someone telling me what I believe, when I know better.