Chapter Four atnti aintdand ymbold

N ADDITION TO the prayers and devotions that are directed to Mary, Roman Catholics also honor and pray to various "saints." These saints, according to the Catholic position, are martyrs or other notable people of the church who have died and whom the popes have pronounced saints.

In many minds, the word "saint" refers only to a person who has attained some special degree of holiness, only a very unique follower of Christ. But according to the Bible, ALL true Christians are saints—even those who may sadly lack spiritual maturity or knowledge. Thus, the writings of Paul to Christians at Ephesus, Philippi, Corinth, or Rome, were addressed "to the saints" (Eph. 1:1, etc.). Saints, it should be noticed, were living people, not those who had died.

If we want a "saint" to pray for us, it must be a living person. But if we try to commune with people that have died, what else is this but a form of spiritism? Repeatedly the Bible condemns all attempts to commune with the dead (see Isaiah 8:19, 20). Yet many recite the "Apostles' Creed" which says: "We believe...in the communion of saints," supposing that such includes the idea of prayers for and to the dead. Concerning this very point, The Catholic Encyclopedia says: "Catholic teaching regarding prayers for the dead is bound up inseparably with the doctrine...of the communion of saints which is an article of the Apostles' Creed." Prayers "ro the saints and martyrs collectively, or to some one of them in particular" are recommended.1 The actual wording of the Council of Trent is that "the saints who reign together with Christ offer up their own prayers to God for men. It is good and useful suppliantly to invoke them, and to have recourse to their prayers, aid, and help for obtaining benefits from God."2

What are the objections to these beliefs? We will let The

Catholic Encyclopedia answer for itself. "The chief objections raised against the intercession and invocation of the saints are that these doctrines are opposed to the faith and trust which we should have in God a/o«e...and that they cannot be proved from Scriptures..."3 With this statement we agree. Nowhere do the scriptures indicate that the living can be blessed or benefited by prayers to or through those who have already died. Instead, in many ways, the Catholic doctrines regarding "saints" are very similar to the old pagan ideas that were held regarding the "gods."

Looking back again to the "mother" of false religion —Babylon—we find that the people prayed to and honored a plurality of gods. In fact, the Babylonian system developed until it had some 5,000 gods and goddesses.4 In much the same way as Catholics believe concerning their "saints", the Babylonians believed that their "gods" had at one time been living heroes on earth, but were now on a higher plane.5 "Every month and every day of the month was under the protection of a particular divinity."6 There was a god for this problem, a god for each of the different occupations, a god for this and a god for that.

From Babylon—like the worship of the great mother—such concepts about the "gods" spread to the nations. Even the Buddhists in China had their "worship of various deities, as the goddess of sailors, the god of war, the gods of special neighborhoods or occupations."7 The Syrians believed the powers of certain gods were limited to certain areas, as an incident in the Bible records: "Their gods are gods of the hills\ therefore they were stronger than we; but let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they" (1 Kings 20:23).

When Rome conquered the world, these same ideas were very much in evidence as the following sketch will show. Brighit was goddess of smiths and poetry. Juno Regina was the goddess of womanhood and marriage. Minerva was the goddess of wisdom, handicrafts, and musicians. Venus was the goddess of sexual love and birth. Vesta was the goddess of bakers and sacred fires. Ops was the goddess of wealth. Ceres was the goddess of corn, wheat, and growing vegetation. (Our word "cereal", fittingly, comes from her name.) Hercules was the god of joy and wine. Mercury was the god of orators and, in the old fables, quite an orator himself, which explains why the people of Lystra thought of Paul as the god Mercury (Acts 14:11, 12). The gods Castor and Pollux were the protectors of Rome and of travelers at sea (cf. Acts 28:11). Cronus was the guardian of oaths. Janus was the god of doors and gates. "There were gods who presided over every moment of a man's life, gods of house and garden, of food and drink, of health and sickness."8

With the idea of gods and goddesses associated with various events in life now established in pagan Rome, it was but another step for these same concepts to finally be merged into the church of Rome. Since converts from paganism were reluctant to part with their "gods"—unless they could find some satisfactory counterpart in Christianity—the gods and goddesses were renamed and called "saints." The old idea of gods associated with certain occupations and days has continued in the Roman Catholic belief in saints and saints'days, as the following table shows.

Actors

St. Genesius

August 25

Architects

St. Thomas

December 21

Astonomers

St. Cominic

August 4

Athletes

St. Sebastain

January 20

Bakers

St. Elizabeth

November 19

Bankers

St. Matthew

September 21

Beggars

St. Alexius

July 17

Book Sellers

St. John of God

March 8

Bricklayers

St. Steven

December 26

Builders

St. Vincent Ferrer

April 5

Butchers

St. Hadrian

September 28

Cab drivers

St. Fiarce

August 30

Candle-makers

St. Bernard

August 20

Comedians

St. Vitus

June 15

Cooks

St. Martha

July 29

Dentists

St. Appollonia

February 9

Doctors

St. Luke

October 18

Editors

St. John Bosco

January 31

Fishermen

St. Andrew

November 30

Florists

St. Dorothy

February 6

Hat makers

St. James

May 11

Housekeepers

St. Anne

July 26

Hunters

St. Hubert

November 3

Laborers

St. James the Greater

July 25

Lawyers

St. Ives

May 19

Librarians

St. Jerome

September 30

Merchants

St. Francis of Assisi

October 4

Miners

St. Barbara

December 4

Musicians

St. Cecilia

November 22

Notaries

St. Mark the Evangelist

April 25

Nurses

St. Cathrine

April 30

Painter

St. Luke

October 18

Pharmacists

St. Gemma Galgani

April 11

Plasterers

St. Bartholomew

August 24

Printers

St. John of God

March 8

Sailors

St. Brendan

May 16

Scientists

St. Albert

November 15

Singers

St. Gregory

March 12

Steel workers

St. Eliguis

December 1

Students

St. Thomas Aquinas

March 7

Surgeons

S.S. Cosmas & Damian

September 27

Tailors

St. Boniface of Credtion

June 5

Tax Collectors

St. Matthew

September 21

The Roman Catholic Church also has saints for the following :

Barren women St. Anthony Old maids St. Andrew

Beer drinkers St. Nicholas Poor St. Lawrence

Children St. Dominic Pregnant women St. Gerard

Domestic animals St. Anthony Television St. Clare

Emigrants St. Francis Temptation St. Syriacus

Family troubles St. Eustachius To apprehend thieves St. Gervase

Fire St. Lawrence To have children St. Felicitas

Floods St. Columban To obtain a husband St. Joseph

Li^itning storms St. Barbara To obtain a wife St. Anne

Lovers St. Raphael To find lost articles St. Anthony

Catholics are taught

to pray to certain "saints" for

help with the

following afflictions:

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