Saturday, August 13, 2005

Some Links on Catholicism

The Pedantic Protestant recently posted a good article on the standing of Raymond Brown and other liberal influences in Roman Catholicism.

Today's edition of The Clarion-Ledger in Mississippi carries an article by Roman Catholic bishop Joseph Latino, regarding Mary. The article uses the common vague, unconvincing arguments that have been answered many times and in many places. The bishop writes:

"The prayers of the Ursuline Nuns were not directed to Mary as if she were God, but were directed to God in the name of Jesus through Mary."

A lot of Catholics take that sort of approach to defending prayers to the dead. They refer to asking the dead to pray for us, as if using the phrase "pray for" will shift our focus to the subject of praying for rather than praying to. But asking the dead to pray for you would be done by means of praying to the dead. And Catholics do more than just ask Mary to pray for them. For example:

"With a still more ardent zeal for piety, religion and love, let them continue to venerate, invoke and pray to the most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, conceived without original sin. Let them fly with utter confidence to this most sweet Mother of mercy and grace in all dangers, difficulties, needs, doubts and fears. Under her guidance, under her patronage, under her kindness and protection, nothing is to be feared; nothing is hopeless. Because, while bearing toward us a truly motherly affection and having in her care the work of our salvation, she is solicitous about the whole human race." (Pope Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus)

"How grateful and magnificent a spectacle to see in the cities, and towns, and villages, on land and sea—wherever the Catholic faith has penetrated—many hundreds of thousands of pious people uniting their praises and prayers with one voice and heart at every moment of the day, saluting Mary, invoking Mary, hoping everything through Mary." (Pope Leo XIII, Octobri Mense)

But, for the moment, let's act as if Catholics did nothing more than ask Mary to pray for them. Why don't we see any of the Biblical or early patristic sources carrying out such a practice? Why, instead, do we find them condemning any attempt to contact the deceased and describing prayer as something to be offered only to God? For more on this subject, see today's segment in my Apologetics Log series, which addresses scripture and prayers to the dead. The next two segments will address the patristic evidence.