Do Catholics Worship Saints?

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By Hunter Weitzel, Creighton University

As a child, I was raised in a Protestant household. My family and I believed the common misconceptions that Catholics worshiped the Virgin Mary, the saints, and icons of them. When I was converting to Catholicism during my teenage years, I contested these teachings because in my world, Catholics were breaking the 1 st Commandment, “Thou shall have no other gods before me.” I was hesitant to join the Catholic Church because of these simple, yet extremely common, misconceptions.

However, the Church teaches that the saints are in communion with the Holy Spirit, interceding for us in Heaven. For this reason, we ask the saints for help. The point of calling and petitioning to the saints is because they have died and now have very close favor with God, since they are with Him in Heaven. We ask the saints to intercede for us, not to distract us from Jesus, but to lead us to Him, since they are with Christ forever. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 957). This is no different than asking a friend, family member, or loved one to pray for us. We have all asked for opinions, help, motivation, prayers, and much more from people we love. When we ask for help, we seek help from people who have experienced similar hardships, emotions, or life-experiences. Because the saints have persevered through suffering in their own lives, we ask them to pray for us so that they can sympathize with our struggles.

Exalted above all the saints is the Blessed Virgin Mary. Mary holds the title in the Catholic Church as “Mother of God” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 971). Being the “Mother of God” meant that she had found favor with God in this life, even as a young girl. God assigned this duty to Mary because only the most favorable and holy person could carry the Messiah; Mary was free was sin, even from the womb (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 491). Because Mary conceived and bore Jesus, the Son of God, Catholics highly respect Mary and believe that she holds the highest place in Heaven, after Jesus. For this reason, we especially ask her to intercede for us. Since she was chosen by God, we ask her to pray for us and help us in our weakness, just like the saints. Our loving Mother, she longs to bring us to her beloved Son. Another misconception, which is more surprising to me, is that Catholics worship statues. This belief walks hand-in-hand with the beliefs about Mary and the saints from Protestants. Catholics don’t worship statues of Jesus, let alone the saints and Mary. Idolatry refers to the worship of false gods and the divinizing of something other than God.

In the Jewish religion, it was against the law to have images of the Messiah, since there was danger that the people could worship the image. With Christianity however, the Old Law is now fulfilled. Now, imagery of Jesus is seen commonly because Jesus presented himself to us. The imagery we have of Jesus isn’t something we worship; it’s a visual aid to help us in our faith. It is something to remind us of Jesus throughout the day in order to strengthen our relationship with Him. Having images and statues of Mary and the saints is the same idea. We have pictures of our pets and family, but that doesn’t mean we worship them. They are visual aids to help us remember, appreciate, and think of them. In the same way, the statues and symbols that we wear as Christians remind us of our faith.

In conclusion, we Catholics do not worship Mary, the saints, or images and statues of them. We ask Mary and the saints to intercede for us on our behalf since they hold a spot in Heaven with God. It is similar to asking family and friends to pray for you because they know your emotions and can relate to what you are going through. As for images, we do not worship statues of Jesus, Mary, or the saints. Most Christians wear a cross or crucifix, or have one placed above the doorway. Nearly every Christian will agree that the cross is not what we worship, but rather a sign to constantly remind us of Jesus. The images are visual aids to help us grow in the faith and serve as a constant reminder of the One who reigns above. As a former Protestant, I can confirm that these misconceptions are truly alive and well. To a Catholic, it may seem like something small for a Protestant to overcome, but for me it was actually quite the opposite. I was hesitant to become a Catholic for these simple reasons, which turned out to be fallacious. Now that I have found the truth, my beliefs have been clarified and I hold these truths dear to my heart.

Edited by Christopher Centrella

14 Responses

  1. Again, you do not answer the question: why not go to the top? Why should I bother with Mary and the saints, when our blessed Lord encourages up to ask him directly?

    1. The same reason we ask our friends, family, church members and other brothers and sisters in Christ to pray for us when we have something weighing on us: because the Bible tells us to do so. In fact, 1 Timothy 2:1-6 says:

      First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man[a] Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.

      So here the Bible tells us that:

      1.) Supplications, prayers, and intercessions should be made for all people, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
      2.) This is good and pleasing in the sight of God
      3.) There is one God, one mediator between God and men, which is Christ Jesus.

      So in other words, the Bible tells us that we should all be praying for each other, that praying for each other is pleasing to God, and that having other people pray for you doesn’t go against the “one mediator between God and men” aspect of Scripture.

      1. Yes. We can ask for the living to pray for us. According to the Bible, the dead know nothing.. Jesus Christ is the only mediator that can intercede for us. Stop kidding yourself!

    2. I absolutely totally agree with you. It shows a lack of belief in Jesus answering pray and trying to find some other way in, like robbers and thieves would do. No other way will be found, we must enter at the sheep gate only….

  2. We need to be very careful and really examine our hearts, anyone can say that they don’t worship Mary but God knows our heats and motives. The bible is very clear when God himself speaks that Jesus is the only and we are to obey him only. He died and lives again in heaven at Gods right. We the followers are called saints and the bible does not say that Mary or any other saint went to heaven and is next to God. King David is called the man after Gods heart! Acts 2:29-35 it says that King David died and didn’t go to heaven. In Mathew 17:1-8 there was Jesus and Moses and Elias with Peter and 2 other disciples, Peter said if they could make three tabernacles for each one of them but God spoke again there and made it clear that Moses and Elias died and only one to follow, worship and build a tabernacle is for Jesus…

    1. Indeed Frank, Jesus answered, “I am the way and the TRUTH and the LIFE. NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH ME.”

  3. Beautiful article, I loved it. My wife is a Presbyterian and she couldn’t understand why we pray to Saints. Great piece.

    1. John please help me understand. You had to have read the messages just above yours. Call introduced you to something it’s called denial it’s a term we use an addiction. I believe everyone deals with some form of denial, it explains how the world is so backwards yet everyone still thinks they’re doing the right things. For an addict our brains will diminish the importance of things increase the importance of others and at times completely change the way we perceive what occurred. Being around people that have extreme cases of denial has shown me the telltale signs. When you completely ignore very relevant comments that point to scripture which clearly says that Jesus is the mediator that he wants a relationship with us and not to go through Saints which you see throughout the entire Bible, it can only be explained by denial. Nile can only first even be discovered by a person by seeing the truth and knowing the truth because it’s the truth sets us free from it. So for anyone that just happens to read this Everyone in the world is susceptible to denial because everything we know is based on our biases and our biases as we’ve grown up from childhood is based primally on lies. So, what is the one true way to break free from denial? The Truth literally sends us free. I’m curious how many Catholics read the Bible from from cover cover and still have no problems with the fact that they’re praying to Saints. Are these guided readings with other Catholics that are twisting their understanding what’s happening here because there has to be some type of manipulation to the truth that’s being filtered to them. Are they not reading straight from scripture? Looking for some understanding from an ex catholic that’s no longer in denial.

  4. SIR,

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