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Non-Catholics Section: Saints/Relics/Images

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Non-Catholics Section:

Saints / Relics / Images

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Do You Reject the Concept of Praying to Saints?

Do You Think Catholics Worship Saints as gods?

Do You Reject the Practice of Honoring Saints and Venerating Their Images?

Do You Reject the Concept of Saints in Heaven Interceding For Those on Earth?

Do You Reject the Practice of Venerating Relics?

Question

Comments

Do You Reject the Concept of Praying to Saints?

Consider:

* Do you reject the concept of saints in heaven interceding for those on earth? Click here

* Do you reject the concept of praying to saints because you think its necromancy? If so, you should know that the Catholic Church rejects necromancy, teaching that such a practice is sinful (clearly it is prohibited in Scripture, and it even caused the death of Saul in 1 Chron. 10:13). However, praying to saints is not the same as necromancy (e.g. conjuring up the dead, particularly to prophesy). Rather, when Catholics pray to saints they are merely asking the saints to pray to God for them. Catholics do not ask saints to prophecy or attempt to conjure them up! Such actions would, of course, be gravely sinful.

* Are you unaware that prayers to saints are merely petitions for them to pray for us? Where does Scripture prohibit persons from asking for prayers from the saints in heaven?

* Are you confused about the term 'prayer' when used with regard to saints? Do you not realize that it just means directing a petition to a saint? Prayer to the saints does not mean the saints are worshipped. Catholics do not believe the saints are gods or that they have any power on their own.

* Are you concerned about the type of prayer directed at the saints? Consider these words from the Catechism of the Council of Trent: "We do not address God and the Saints in the same manner, for we implore God to grant us blessings or to deliver us from evils; while we ask the Saints, since they are the friends of God, to take us under their patronage and to obtain for us from God whatever we need. Hence we make use of two different forms of prayer. To God, we properly say: Have mercy on us, Hear us; but to the Saints, Pray for us. Still we may also ask the Saints, though in a different sense, that they have mercy on us, for they are most merciful. Thus we may beseech them that, touched with the misery of our condition, they would interpose in our behalf their influence and intercession before God. In the performance of this duty, it is strictly incumbent on all not to transfer to any creature the right which belongs exclusively to God. For instance, when we say the Our Father before the image of a Saint we should bear in mind that we beg of the Saint to pray with us and obtain for us those favors which we ask of God, in the Petitions of the Lord's Prayer - in a word, that he become our interpreter and intercessor with God. That this is an office which the Saints discharge, St. John the Apostle teaches in the Apocalypse [cf. Rv. 8:3]." Also, consider these words of St. Thomas Aquinas, "Prayer is offered to a person in two ways: first, as to be fulfilled by him, secondly, as to be obtained through him. In the first way we offer prayer to God alone, since all our prayers ought to be directed to the acquisition of grace and glory, which God alone gives, according to Psalm 84:11, 'The Lord will give grace and glory.' But in the second way we pray to the saints, whether angels or men, not that God may through them know our petitions, but that our prayers may be effective through their prayers and merits. Hence it is written (Apocalypse 8:4) that 'the smoke of the incense,' namely 'the prayers of the saints ascended up before God.' This is also clear from the very style employed by the Church in praying: since we beseech the Blessed Trinity 'to have mercy on us,' while we ask any of the saints 'to pray for us.'... To Him alone do we offer religious worship when praying, from Whom we seek to obtain what we pray for, because by so doing we confess that He is the Author of our goods: but not to those whom we call upon as our advocates in God's presence." 

* What is the difference between sending a letter to a friend on earth to ask for their prayers and petitioning those in heaven for their prayers? Since we cannot send those in heaven letters, we simply petition them using our prayers.

* Do you reject the concept of praying to the saints because you prefer to go to God alone? Consider these words of St. Thomas More: "You say you see no reason why we should pray to the saints since God can hear us and help us just as well, and will do so gladly, as any saint in heaven. Well, then, what need, I ask, do you have to ask any physician to help your fever, or to ask and pay any surgeon to heal your sore leg? For God can both hear you and help you as well as the best of doctors, He loves you more than they do, and He can help you sooner."  Also consider, "Should it be said, as some say, that the patronage of the Saints is unnecessary, because God hears our prayers without the intervention of a mediator, this impious assertion is easily met by the observation of St. Augustine: There are many things which God does not grant without a mediator and intercessor. This is confirmed by the well-known examples of Abimelech and the friends of Job who were pardoned only through the prayers of Abraham and of Job." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

* Do you think its wrong to "speak to the dead"? If so, would you also dare to find fault with Jesus for conversing with Moses and Elijah (Mt. 17:3, Mk. 9:4, Lk. 9:30)? Clearly it would be wrong for humans to speak to the dead to prophecy, but it is not wrong to direct prayers to the saints to request their intercession before God.

Do You Think Catholics Worship Saints as gods?

Consider:

* What gives you the idea that Catholics worship saints as gods when the Catholic Church teaches that such actions would be a mortal sin (which, if unreprented, would cause one to merit eternal punishment)?

* Do you think any prayer directed to the saints must be idolatry? What gives you that idea? Do you not realize that when Catholics direct prayer to the saints, they are merely praising their merits and asking for their intercession before God? How could that be idolatry? Catholics simply recognize that God's friends in heaven "have His ear" and may be willing to intercede on their behalf.

* Do you confuse prayer with worship? If a beloved spouse was to pass away, could you not imagine that the spouse left behind might kiss the other's photograph and say 'I love you'? Would you also consider this to be 'worship'? Prayer to the saints is merely a way of speaking to them, much the same way as the grieving spouse might say 'I love you' while looking at a picture of the deceased. Since we cannot communicate our thoughts to the person directly after death, we may simply 'raise our mind' to them (e.g. "prayer"). Catholics know that God may allow those in heaven to hear our prayers and pray for us. Note: If you reject the idea of intercession of the saints, click here.

* Do you think Catholics worship saints because they venerate images of the saints? This is untrue. Rather, they honor the image, much as an average person might honor a flag or a statue of an important person. Note: Click here for more on this topic.

* Do you think Catholics worship saints because they say Masses or name churches in their honor? Are you unaware that the practice of having Masses said in honor of a saint traces back to the early Christian practice of offering Masses on the tombs of martyrs? Having Masses said in their honor and naming churches in their honor does not mean the Church is worshiping saints, but rather that she is "paying honor to them, associating her actions with their merits, and hoping to gain their intercession before God." 

* Do you charge Catholics with idolatrous worship because you find the word 'worship' used in connection with a saint? Are you unaware that the term 'worship' has traditionally also meant "honor"? Did you know that the term 'worship' may be legitimately used in a variety of ways? For example the 'worship of dulia' refers to honor paid to saints, the 'worship of hyperdulia' refers to the greatest honor that may be given to a creature (which is reserved for the Blessed Virgin Mary alone). Neither of these terms refer to the worship that is due to God alone (which is called the 'worship of latria'). Catholics are not guilty of idolatry because they do not worship creatures as God, but merely give them honor.

* Do you charge Catholics with idolatrous worship because you find some praise given to saints to be 'excessive'? If so, you should consider the words of Cardinal Gibbons: "A heart tenderly attached to the saints will give vent to its feelings in the language of hyperbole, just as an enthusiastic [fianc√©] will call his future bride his adorable queen, without any intention of worshiping her as a goddess." 

* Do you think Catholics worship saints because they see the saints as gods? If so, you should know that faithful Catholics do not see the saints as gods - but rather as friends of God. Catholics know that the saints are mere creatures and do not worship them as gods. If someone did worship a saint as a god, that person would be committing the grave sin of idolatry, which is strongly condemned by the Church.

* Do you think Catholics worship saints because they "burn candles before their images and kiss statues"? If so, would you also considering it idolatry if a grieving mother kissed an image of her deceased child or lit a candle in his honor? Such practices flow from the love in one's heart and do not imply the worshipping of the deceased as a god. And further, should a Catholic ever actually worship a creature as a god, his actions would be mortally sinful.

* Do you believe that the Decalogue prohibits the honoring of saints? If so, can you not see that the commandment refers to the honoring of creatures as if they were gods? Why do you feel this commandment prohibits the honor of saints when Scripture clearly tells us to "Pay...respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due" (Rom. 13:7)? Why does Scripture speak of holding certain persons in honor if no such honor should be paid? Are you unable to see the distinction between honoring people and worshiping God? Certainly if persons were worshiped as gods, this would violate the commandment. However, honoring a creature is not the same as worshiping a creature as a god.

* Are you unaware that the honoring of saints also honors God ("whose friends they are and by whose grace they became heroes of the faith")?


Closing Quotations...

"Whoever honors the martyrs, then, honors Christ as well, and whoever rejects His holy ones rejects God, too." (St. Maximus of Turin)

"[W]e do not raise temples and priesthoods to the martyrs, because not they but their God is our God. Wherefore the priest says not: I offer [the] sacrifice [of the Mass] to thee, Peter or Paul. But we give thanks to God for their triumphs, and urge ourselves to imitate them." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"The devotions then to angels and saints as little interfered with the incommunicable glory of the Eternal, as the love which we bear our friends and relations, our tender human sympathies, are inconsistent with that supreme homage of the heart to the Unseen, which really does but sanctify and exalt, not jealously destroy, what is of earth." (Cardinal Newman)

"[W]e worship and adore the Creator and Maker alone, as God who by His nature is to be worshipped. We worship [that is give great honor] also to the Holy Mother of God, not as God, but as God's mother according to the flesh. Moreover we worship [give honor to] also the saints, as elect friends of God, and as having gotten ready audience with Him." (St. John of Damascene, Doctor of the Church, c. 8th century A.D.)

"Those in the Catholic Church, whom some rebuke for praying to saints and going on pilgrimages, do not seek any saint as their savior. Instead, they seek saints as those whom their Savior loves, and whose intercession and prayer for the seeker He will be content to hear. For his own sake, He would have those He loves honored. And when they are thus honored for His sake, then the honor that is given them for His sake overflows especially to Himself." (St. Thomas More) 

"A Christian people celebrates together in religious solemnity the memorials of the martyrs, both to encourage their being imitated and so that it can share in their merits and be aided by their prayers. But it is done is such a way that our altars are not set up to any one of the martyrs - although in their memory - but to God Himself, the author of those martyrs. Who, indeed, of the presiding priests assisting at the altar...ever said 'We offer to you, Peter, or Paul, or Cyprian'? What is offered is offered to God...[the highest form of worship] we neither accord nor teach that it should be accorded to any save to the one God." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, c. 400 A.D.) 

"In explanation of this [First] Commandment it should be accurately taught that the veneration and invocation of holy Angels and of the blessed who now enjoy the glory of heaven, and likewise the honor which the Catholic Church has always paid even to the bodies and ashes of the Saints, are not forbidden by this Commandment. If a king ordered that no one else should set himself up as king, or accept the honors due to the royal person, who would be so foolish as to infer that the sovereign was unwilling that suitable honor and respect should be paid to his magistrates? Now although Christians follow the example set by the Saints of the Old Law, and are set to adore the Angels, yet they do not give to Angels that which is due to God alone. And if we sometimes read that Angels refused to be worshiped by men, we are to know that they did so because the worship which they refused to accept was the honor due to God alone... The Holy Spirit who says: Honor and glory to God alone, commands us also to honor our parents and elders; and the holy men who adored one God only are also said in Scripture to have adored, that is, supplicated and venerated kings." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

Do You Reject the Practice of Honoring Saints and Venerating Their Images?

Consider:

* Do you think Catholics worship saints because they venerate images of the saints? This is untrue. Rather, they honor the image, much as an average person might honor a flag or a statue of an important person. Catholics do not worship images, but rather pay them honor (which is directed at whom they represent).

* Do you reject the honoring of statues because you think it's "honoring plaster"? Can you not see that the statue itself is not what is honored, but what it represents? When one honors the a flag, are they "honoring fabric" or what it represents?

* Do you think Catholics worship images because they kiss statues? Do you not see that such actions are not directed to the statutes themselves but "pass on to the one represented"? In the same vein, would you be "worshipping" a deceased loved one if you kissed their photograph?

* Do you think Catholics worship images because they kneel in front of them? Do you think kneeling alone indicates worship? If so, do you also accuse Joseph's brothers of idolatry since they knelt in front of Joseph (see Gen. 42:6)? If a person kneels at his bedside in front of a bible is he worshiping the bible or the bed?

* If you object to the honoring of saints is it because you are confusing honor with worship? Scripture clearly tells us to "Pay...respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due" (Rom. 13:7). Are you unable to see the distinction between honoring creatures and worshiping God? Certainly if persons were worshiped as gods, this would violate the commandment. However, honoring a creature is not the same as worshiping a creature as a god.

* Do you believe that Scripture condemns the making of all images? If this was the case, why does God command the making of various images [e.g. cherubim (see Ex. 25:18), a serpent (see Num. 21:8)]. If God so disliked images, why did the temple contain images of cherubim, palm trees, flowers, oxen, lions, etc. (see 1 Kgs. 6:23-29, 1 Kgs. 7:23-45)? If God was displeased with these images, how could He have said, "I have consecrated this temple which you have built; I confer my name upon it forever, and my eyes and my heart shall be there always" (1 Kgs. 9:3)? Is it not clear that God does not reject images, but rejects the making of images to adore as gods? As Cardinal Gibbons has said, "The pagans looked upon an idol as a god endowed with intelligence and the other attributes of the Deity. Catholic Christians know that a holy image has no intelligence or power to hear and help them." Even Protestants who reject the making of images are probably being inconsistent in this matter as they most likely have some images of their own (e.g. crosses, nativity scenes, paintings/photographs, etc.)

* Do you think that honoring the saints insults God? How could it be that praising God's friends offends him? How could one be insulted that a beloved member of one's family is honored? If you love someone, are you not pleased to see them honored? Are you offended when someone honors those you love because they love you? "Is an artist offended, or rather pleased, when one praises his creation?" Does not the praising of God's friends actually praise Him?

* Do you not think the saints are worthy of honor? You deny God's friends honor (many of whom have shed their blood for Him!), but give honor to civil leaders, celebrities, and sports figures?

* How can you deny God's closest friends - and humankind's great benefactors - honor? 

* Are you unable to see the many benefits of statutes of the saints? Have you considered that they elevate the mind, provide encouragement, instruct, help one to feel closer to the saints, increase devotion, aid contemplation, keep God in one's thoughts, encourage others to take them as role models and follow their example, etc.


Closing Quotations...

"The image is the book of those who cannot read, and even the learned may gain more from an instant's gazing at an eloquent picture than from the prolonged study of many volumes." (Dom Gueranger)

"The beauty of the images moves me to contemplation, as a meadow delights the eyes and subtly infuses the soul with the glory of God." (St. John Damascene, Doctor of the Church)

"Memorials admonish us to think of and to recall to our memory those who have been taken away by death from the eyes of the living, lest by forgetfulness they be removed from our hearts also." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, 5th century A.D.) 

"[I]t is lawful to have images in churches, and to pay them honor and respect, since this respect is referred to their prototypes... the uninterrupted observance of this practice down to the present day has been attended with great advantage to the faithful" (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"Even if we make images of pious men it is not so that we might adore them as gods, but that when we see them, we might be prompted to imitate them; and if we make images of Christ, it is so that our minds might soar aloft in yearning for Him." (St. Cyril of Alexandria, Doctor of the Church, c. 5th century A.D.) 

"Religious worship is not paid to images, considered in themselves, as things; but according as they are representations leading to God Incarnate. The approach which is made to the image as such does not stop there, but continues towards that which is represented." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church)

"Let no one think that this Commandment entirely forbids the arts of painting, engraving or sculpture. The Scriptures inform us that God Himself commanded to be made images of Cherubim, and also the brazen serpent. The interpretation, therefore, at which we must arrive, is that images are prohibited only inasmuch as they are used as deities to receive adoration, and so to injure the true worship of God." (Catechism of the Council of Trent) 

"For the saint who has gone up to heaven has no need of acclamation from human beings in order to arrive at a greater and more blessed lot. We, on the other hand, who are meanwhile engaged in matters on earth and crave a great deal of consolation from all quarters, need to hear the saint praised in order to be galvanized to emulate him." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church) 

"Unhappy they who cannot appreciate the Martyrs! Let us who are Christians take in the sublime lessons taught us by their generous sacrifice; and let our respect and love testify that we are grateful for the noble ministry they have fulfilled, and are still fulfilling in the Church. The Church is never without Martyrs, just as she is never without Miracles: it is the twofold testimony that she will give to the end of time, by which she evidences the divine life she has received form her almighty Founder." (Dom Gueranger) 

"From all this we may conclude that to honor the Saints who have slept in the Lord, to invoke them, and to venerate their sacred relics and ashes, far from diminishing, tends considerably to increase the glory of God, in proportion as man's hope is thus animated and fortified, and he himself encouraged to imitate the Saints. This is a practice which is also supported by the authority of the second Council of Nice, the Councils of Gangra, and of Trent, and by the testimony of the Fathers...the practice was received from the Apostles, and has always been retained and preserved in the Church of God. But who can desire a stronger or more convincing proof than that which is supplied by the admirable praises given in Scripture to the Saints? For there are not wanting eulogies which God Himself pronounced on some of the Saints. If then, Holy Writ celebrates their praises, why should not men show them singular honor? A stronger claim which the Saints have to be honored and invoked is that they constantly pray for our salvation and obtain for us by their merits and influence many blessings from God. If there is joy in heaven over the conversion of one sinner, will not the citizens of heaven assist those who repent?" (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

Do You Reject the Concept of Saints in Heaven Interceding For Those on Earth?

Consider:

* Do you reject the concept of saints in heaven interceding for those on earth because they are "dead" and can therefore not help you? How, then, can you explain the following...?

* Christ's parable recounts the attempted intercession by a (condemned!) departed man for his brothers (see Lk. 16:27-31)

* Jesus conversed with Moses & Elijah even though they were "dead" (see Mt. 17:3, Mk. 9:4, Lk. 9:30)

* He is not God of the dead, but of the living (see Mk. 12:26-27)

* All are alive to God (see Lk. 20:38)

* Scripture recounts the intercession of the deceased Onias & Jeremiah (see 2 Macc. 15:11-16)

* Martyrs are shown alive in heaven, and even await the avenging of their blood (it is clear, therefore, that they know what is transpiring on earth) [see Rv. 6:9-11, Rv. 20:4]

* Elders before the Lamb (Christ) have the prayers of the saints / An angel presents prayers of the saints to God (see Rv. 5:8, Rv. 8:3-4)

* Do you argue that there is one mediator between God and man (1 Tm. 2:5)? Have you never noticed that in the very same passage St. Paul asks for intercessory prayers (see 1 Tm. 2:1)? Do you also ignore the fact that New Testament repeatedly speaks of intercessory prayer (e.g. Acts 12:1-7, Rom. 15:30-32, Eph. 6:18-20, Col. 4:2-4, 2 Thes. 3:1-2, 1 Jn. 5:16)? In fact, Christ's first recorded miracle was performed upon the intercession of his mother, even though His hour "had not yet come" (see Jn. 2:1-11). In the Old Testament, we see also that Moses interceded for people - and his powerful intercession even saved their lives! Not to mention all the other cases of intercession recounted in the bible...

* Do you reject the concept of praying to the saints because you prefer to go to God alone? Consider these words of St. Thomas More: "You say you see no reason why we should pray to the saints since God can hear us and help us just as well, and will do so gladly, as any saint in heaven. Well, then, what need, I ask, do you have to ask any physician to help your fever, or to ask and pay any surgeon to heal your sore leg? For God can both hear you and help you as well as the best of doctors, He loves you more than they do, and He can help you sooner."  Also consider, "Should it be said, as some say, that the patronage of the Saints is unnecessary, because God hears our prayers without the intervention of a mediator, this impious assertion is easily met by the observation of St. Augustine: There are many things which God does not grant without a mediator and intercessor. This is confirmed by the well-known examples of Abimelech and the friends of Job who were pardoned only through the prayers of Abraham and of Job." (Catechism of the Council of Trent) Further, remember that "Scripture often shows favors being granted by God upon the request of another person." Even the great St. Paul didn't always "go to God directly", but rather frequently asked for the prayers of others (Rom. 15:30-32, Eph. 6:18-20, Col. 4:2-4, 2 Thes. 3:1-2, 1 Tm. 2:1-6).

* Have you forgotten that Scripture says that "the fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful" (Jms. 5:16)? That Christ's followers are members of one body (Eph. 5:30) and are bound to love each other (Jn. 15:12.)? That they are bound to intercede for brothers through prayer (e.g. 1 Jn. 5:16)? Do you imagine that the saints are no longer part of this body [even though Scripture says that nothing can separate them from Christ (see Rom. 8:35-39)]? Do you imagine that they no longer love their brothers and sisters on earth?

* Do you reject the Catholic Church's teaching regarding the saints' intercession because you believe they cannot hear prayers? Do you deny that God can enable them to hear prayers? Do you deny Scriptural evidence that those in heaven know what is occurring on earth (e.g. see Lk. 15:7-10, Rv. 6:9-11)? Have you considered that the angels present prayers to God (see Tobit 12:12, Rv. 8:3-4)? Perhaps you are troubled because you think the Catholic Church teaches that they have power on their own to hear prayers? This is not the case. Rather, the Church teaches the ability to "partake in the affairs of the living" may only occur through divine power.

* How can you deny the fact that throughout the Church's 2,000 year history, the saints have been associated with countless miracles of all types? Clearly, the saints have proven time and again that they are powerful intercessors with Christ!


Closing Quotations...

"Considering that when the saints lived in this world they were at liberty to roam the earth, do you really think that in heaven God would have them tied to a post?" (St. Thomas More)

"Those whom we have seen bark like dogs, and who were seized with frenzy, and are now come to their senses, prove by their cure how effectual the intercession of martyrs is." (St. Asterius)

"If Saint Paul exhorts us to pray for one another, and we gladly think it right to ask every poor man to pray for us, should we think it evil to ask the holy saints in heaven to do the same?" (St. Thomas More)

"But if the Apostles and martyrs while still in the body can pray for others, at a time when they ought still be solicitous about themselves, how much more will they do so after their crowns, victories, and triumphs?" (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church, c. 406 A.D.)

"True, there is but one Mediator, Christ the Lord, who alone has reconciled us to the heavenly Father though His blood, and who, having obtained eternal redemption, and having entered once into the holies, ceases not to intercede for us. But it by no means follows that it is therefore unlawful to have recourse to the intercession of the Saints. If, because we have one Mediator Jesus Christ, it were unlawful to ask the intercession of the Saints, the Apostle would never have recommended himself with so much earnestness to the prayers of his brethren on earth. For the prayers of the living would lessen the glory of Christ's Mediatorship not less than the intercession of the Saints in heaven." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"But who would not be convinced of the honor due the Saints and of the help they give us by the wonders wrought at their tombs? Diseased eyes, hands, and other members are restored to health; the dead are raised to life, and demons are expelled from the bodies of men! These are facts which St. Ambrose and St. Augustine, most unexceptionable witnesses, declare in their writings, not that they heard, as many did, nor that they read, as did many very reliable men, but that they saw. But why multiply proofs? If the clothes, the handkerchiefs, and even the very shadows of the Saints, while yet on earth, banished disease and restored health, who will have the hardihood to deny that God can still work the same wonders by the holy ashes, the bones and other relics of the Saints? Of this we have a proof in the restoration to life of the dead body which was accidentally let down into the grave of Eliseus, and which, on touching the body (of the Prophet), was instantly restored to life (see 2 Kgs. 13:20-21)." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

Do You Reject the Practice of Venerating Relics?

Consider:

* Do you reject the practice of venerating relics because you think Catholics believe they have "magic power"? If so, you should know that this is not the teaching of the Catholic Church! Rather, she teaches that relics have no inherent power whatsoever. Despite this, however, God may choose to work through them to perform miracles, as may be seen from Scripture. For example consider ...

2 Kgs. 13:20-21: Elisha died and was buried. At the time, bands of Moabites used to raid the land each year. Once some people were burying a man, when suddenly they spied such a raiding band. So they cast the dead man into the grave of Elisha, and everyone went off. But when the man came in contact with the bones of Elisha, he came back to life and rose to his feet.

Mt. 14:35-36: When the men of that place recognized him, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought to him all those who were sick and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak, and as many as touched it were healed.

Acts 5:15-16: Thus they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and mats so that when Peter came by, at least his shadow might fall on one or another of them. A large number of people from the towns in the vicinity of Jerusalem also gathered, bringing the sick and those disturbed by unclean spirits, and they were all cured.

Acts 19:11-12: So extraordinary were the mighty deeds God accomplished at the hands of Paul that when face cloths or aprons that touched his skin were applied to the sick, their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them.

* Do you reject the practice of venerating relics because you think it's idolatry? Would it also be idolatry to cherish a deceased parent's old watch or a warrior's medal? Remember, however, that relics are even more worthy of honor, because they were once 'the temple of the Holy Spirit' - and they will be reunited with the saint's soul at the resurrection. 

* Do you reject the practice of venerating relics because you think no honor should ever be paid to material objects? If so, does that mean that you show no honor whatsoever to your deceased love one's body, to possessions they have left behind, to a flag, to a photograph, to your bible?

* If it was wrong to venerate relics, why did the earliest Christians venerate them? Are you unaware of how they cherished the relics of the martyrs as "inestimable treasures"?


Closing Quotations...

"Then, at last, we took up his bones, more precious than costly gems and finer than gold, and put them in a suitable place. The Lord will permit us, when we are able, to assemble there in joy and gladness; and to celebrate the birthday of his martyrdom, both in memory of those who have already engaged in the contest, and for the practice and training of those who have yet to fight." ('The Martyrdom of St. Polycarp', c. 155 A.D.) 

"Let my most tranquil Lady know that it is not the custom of the Romans, when they give relics of the saints, to presume to touch any part of the body. But only a cloth put into a box and placed near the most sacred bodies of the saints. When it is taken up again it is deposited with due reverence in the Church that is to be dedicated, and effects so powerful are thereby produced, that it is as if their bodies had actually been taken there. It happened in the time of Pope Leo of blessed memory, as has been handed down by our forefathers, that certain Greeks being in doubt about such relics, the aforesaid Pontiff made a cut with scissors in this same cloth and from the very incision blood flowed forth." (Pope St. Gregory I the Great, Doctor of the Church, c. 594 A.D.) 

"It is written (De Ecclesiasticis Dogmatibus xl): 'We believe that the bodies of the saints, above all the relics of the blessed martyrs, as being the members of Christ, should be worshiped [that is, honored] in all sincerity': and further on: 'If anyone holds a contrary opinion, he is not accounted a Christian, but a follower of Eunomius and Vigilantius.' I answer that, As Augustine says (De Civitate Dei i,13): 'If a father's coat or ring, or anything else of that kind, is so much more cherished by his children, as love for one's parents is greater, in no way are the bodies themselves to be despised, which are much more intimately and closely united to us than any garment; for they belong to man's very nature.' It is clear from this that he who has a certain affection for anyone, venerates whatever of his is left after his death, not only his body and the parts thereof, but even external things, such as his clothes, and such like. Now it is manifest that we should show honor to the saints of God, as being members of Christ, the children and friends of God, and our intercessors. Wherefore in memory of them we ought to honor any relics of theirs in a fitting manner: principally their bodies, which were temples, and organs of the Holy Ghost dwelling and operating in them, and are destined to be likened to the body of Christ by the glory of the Resurrection. Hence God Himself fittingly honors such relics by working miracles at their presence." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church)

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