• Catholics do not pray to the Saints (including St. Mary) in the same manner that they (or Protestants) pray to God. Rather, they ask the Saints to pray for them to God, just as a person may ask a friend, family member or fellow church member to pray for themselves or for someone else they care for.
  • The word "pray" is one of those words that's sort of taken on a different connotation over time. "Pray" originally meant "ask", as in, "pray, will you pass the salt?" When we Catholics pray to the angels and saints, and in particular the Blessed Virgin, we aren't holding them in higher esteem than God! That would be sacrilegious! We're merely asking them to pray for us, just like, as ShadowKat so wisely put it, we ask our living friends and relatives to pray for us. If I asked my aunt Sharon to pray for me, would that mean I think God listens to her prayers more than he listens to Jesus? No! That would be ridiculous. The main idea behind praying to the saints and angels is to get more people, especially those closer to God than we are at the moment, to be interceding on our behalf. It's sort of like when you go in for a job interview; it always looks better when you have good references than when you don't. ;)
  • To get by with a little help from your friends.
  • Catholics pray to Mary because they have been told to. They have been told that Mary has a special in with God that the rest of us don't have. The Bible clearly states that Jesus is our mediator. He is our defender before the Father and when Satan accuses us to The Father, Jesus steps up and defends those of us who belong to Him. Also, when we pray, the Bible says that the Holy Spirit takes our words and makes them acceptable to The Father. He is our interpreter. So there is no need to pray to Mary or any of the other saints. As far as angels go, ... they are beings created by God. They are not people. They are not God's children. They are Heavenly hosts. They are helpers and guardians. They are not to be worshipped, praised or prayed to. Many times in the Bible, people tried to bow before them, pray to them, praise or worship them and the angels themselves told the people not to. If you read the Scriptures, you will see for yourself what God has to say about all of this.
  • Most of the posts about this topic so far are grossly biased and in error, especially concerning the Blessed Virgim Mary. 1. Catholics do not replace Jesus with his mother. She is NOT worshipped, she is revered, though a great many people who hate the Church will tell you lies about this, and they WISH we were that stupid, because it would validate their bias and bigotry. 2. Most non-Catholics have no real knowlege of the many valid Biblical reasons for both the intercession of saints (yet they regularly ask for and agree to intercede for one another!) and the intercessory place of Mary in the whole Messianic concept. I urge any on you who have access to a Strong's Exhaustive Concordance to do a word study on the Hebrew word study on the title "giberah" and see whom they were and what they did in the kingdom of Israel. You will find that she was always the "Queen mother" and her function was one of intercession with her son for the poor and needy. Now answer me this: Was Jesus not the Messiah? Does that not make Him the king from the very line of King David (as prophesied)? Was Mary not his mother? Is Jesus not called King of kings and Lord of Lords? Then what position (according to the Bible!?) does the Blessed Virgin Mary hold? If she is His mother and so the "giberah" then what function does she hold according to the Bible? Look up John 2:1-11 and see that Mary actually did take on an intercessory role without even having to be asked. Then also notice that her message is the same one that we all need to hear: "Do whatever He tells you." This is just the very tip of the iceberg on all this, but none of the n-Cs have a good answer for all this because they really don't know this part of their Bibles that well. As Paul told Timothy: "Study to show thyself approved..." good answers are also available here: Pax vobiscum,
  • What is the point of asking the saints or mary anything? I just dont understand it. Please tell me one place in the bible that even comes close to us to instructing us to do that. Wouldnt you rather ask God what you need to ask? Thats why we are on this earth is to give God company. Right? He didnt put us here to talk to MAry and the saints for anything we needed. If that were so, He would have just created them and not us. Please someone let me know.
  • We don't pray to them we ask for their intercession. They help us clean up our prayers and make them look nice for God. The different saints usually have a specialty... St. Jude is the saint of lost causes... May is the month of Mary so people pray through Mary a lot during May...
  • TEACHING ABOUT PRAYER Luke 11(New Living Translation) 1 Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” 2 Jesus said, “This is how you should pray: “Father..... Luke 11 (American Standard Version*one of the versions Roman Catholics use) 1 And it came to pass, as he was praying in a certain place, that when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, even as John also taught his disciples. 2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Father..... INSTRUCTIONS ON WORSHIP 1 Timothy 2 (New International Version) 1I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— 2for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time. 7And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles. 1 Timothy 2 (New American Standard Bible-a version used by Roman Catholics) 1First of all, then, I urge that (A)entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, 2(B)for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. 3This is good and acceptable in the sight of (C)God our Savior, 4(D)who desires all men to be (E)saved and to (F)come to the knowledge of the truth. 5For there is (G)one God, and (H)one mediator also between God and men, the (I)man Christ Jesus, 6who (J)gave Himself as a ransom for all, the (K)testimony given at (L)the proper time. 7(M)For this I was appointed a preacher and (N)an apostle ((O)I am telling the truth, I am not lying) as a teacher of (P)the Gentiles in faith and truth.
  • When, without Roman Catholicism, none of the Protestant traditions could exist the views of many non-conformists expressed in other answers to this question and in comments amaze me. I am a member of no religious group, so I'm looking in from the outside, but surely, as the oldest Christian tradition, Catholicism has a greater chance that its methods and practices are far closer to those of the original apostles than any other Christian tradition.
  • Okay, lemme tell you. I have a lot of experience with both Catholics and Protestants, and I have realized that the real difference between the two is the emphasis on the Bible. Protestants, at least the ones I've seen, strictly adhere to the teachings of the Bible and sometimes even translate it literally. Catholics, once again only the ones I've seen, see it only as a book of guidelines for life and rarely use it as an instruction manual. Now, to answer your question, Catholics pray to St. Mary and the other Saints because it is believed that they can help with different things. Like, if you are a mother and need help with some motherhood related thing, you might pray to Mary. Really, the whole idea of having a legion of Saints on your side feels a lot better than having an ivisible avenger with the world in his pocket... Sorry I have to be so biased, but I've had bad experiences with Protestants.
  • Some may grant that the previous objections to asking the saints for their intercession do not work and may even grant that the practice is permissible in theory, yet they may question it on other grounds, asking why one would want to ask the saints to pray for one. "Why not pray directly to Jesus?" they ask. The answer is: "Of course one should pray directly to Jesus!" But that does not mean it is not also a good thing to ask others to pray for one as well. Ultimately, the "go-directly-to-Jesus" objection boomerangs back on the one who makes it: Why should we ask any Christian, in heaven or on earth, to pray for us when we can ask Jesus directly? If the mere fact that we can go straight to Jesus proved that we should ask no Christian in heaven to pray for us then it would also prove that we should ask no Christian on earth to pray for us. Praying for each other is simply part of what Christians do. As we saw, in 1 Timothy 2:1–4, Paul strongly encouraged Christians to intercede for many different things, and that passage is by no means unique in his writings. Elsewhere Paul directly asks others to pray for him (Rom. 15:30–32, Eph. 6:18–20, Col. 4:3, 1 Thess. 5:25, 2 Thess. 3:1), and he assured them that he was praying for them as well (2 Thess. 1:11). Most fundamentally, Jesus himself required us to pray for others, and not only for those who asked us to do so (Matt. 5:44). Since the practice of asking others to pray for us is so highly recommended in Scripture, it cannot be regarded as superfluous on the grounds that one can go directly to Jesus. The New Testament would not recommend it if there were not benefits coming from it. One such benefit is that the faith and devotion of the saints can support our own weaknesses and supply what is lacking in our own faith and devotion. Jesus regularly supplied for one person based on another person’s faith (e.g., Matt. 8:13, 15:28, 17:15–18, Mark 9:17–29, Luke 8:49–55). And it goes without saying that those in heaven, being free of the body and the distractions of this life, have even greater confidence and devotion to God than anyone on earth. Also, God answers in particular the prayers of the righteous. James declares: "The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects. Elijah was a man of like nature with ourselves and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth its fruit" (Jas. 5:16–18). Yet those Christians in heaven are more righteous, since they have been made perfect to stand in God’s presence (Heb. 12:22-23), than anyone on earth, meaning their prayers would be even more efficacious. Having others praying for us thus is a good thing, not something to be despised or set aside. Of course, we should pray directly to Christ with every pressing need we have (cf. John 14:13–14). That’s something the Catholic Church strongly encourages. In fact, the prayers of the Mass, the central act of Catholic worship, are directed to God and Jesus, not the saints. But this does not mean that we should not also ask our fellow Christians, including those in heaven, to pray with us. In addition to our prayers directly to God and Jesus (which are absolutely essential to the Christian life), there are abundant reasons to ask our fellow Christians in heaven to pray for us. The Bible indicates that they are aware of our prayers, that they intercede for us, and that their prayers are effective (else they would not be offered). It is only narrow-mindedness that suggests we should refrain from asking our fellow Christians in heaven to do what we already know them to be anxious and capable of doing.
  • Before Jesus Christ died for our sins and opened the gates of heaven there were no saints in heaven. Therefore there are no Old Testament writings that would mention them. Very few of the new Christians died before most of the New Testament was written. Therefore there is little in the Bible about asking saints to pray for us. However the last book of the Bible does talk about the saints in heaven praying. Revelation 5:8: Each of the elders held a harp and gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the holy ones. Revelation 8:3-4: He was given a great quantity of incense to offer, along with the prayers of all the holy ones, on the gold altar that was before the throne. The smoke of the incense along with the prayers of the holy ones went up before God from the hand of the angel. The Holy Spirit guided the early Church in many things not explained in the Bible including how does the Body of Christ (believers) living on Earth relate to the Body of Christ (saints) living in heaven. We are still one Body. Catholics share the belief in the Communion of Saints with many other Christians, including the Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Episcopal, and Methodist Churches. The Communion of Saints is the belief where all saints are intimately related in the Body of Christ, a family. When you die and go to heaven, you do not leave this family. Everyone in heaven or on their way to heaven are saints, you, me, my deceased grandmother, Mary the mother of Jesus, Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II. As part of this family, you may ask your family and friends living here on earth to pray for you. Or, you may also ask the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Andrew, or your deceased grandmother living in heaven to pray for you. Prayer to saints in heaven is simple communication, not worship. Asking others to pray for you whether your loved ones on Earth or your loved ones in heaven is always optional. For more information, see the Catechism of the Catholic Church, section 946 and following: With love in Christ.
  • answer is simple, despite the Catholics are fundementally a polytheistic religion. The worship dead guys, a supposed exaulted dead guy, and a woman who supposedly gave birth to a child without sex(a crock). The catholics tend to point the finger at other polytheistic religions, like mine(Hindu) with a do as I say, not as a I do, and pay us money or you're going to hell overture. lovely isnt it?
  • We don't pray to the Saints. We ask the saints and Mary to intercede on our behalf.
  • When Catholics pray to Mary and the other saints in Heaven they are not bypassing Christ, whom they acknowledge as the sole Mediator between God and man. They are going to Christ through Mary and the other saints. They are asking Mary and other saints to intercede for them before the throne of Christ in heaven. "Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects." (James 5:16) How much more availing is the unceasing prayer of the sinless Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ! St. Paul asked his fellow Christians to intercede for him: "Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed on and triumph, as it did among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men; for not all have faith." (2 Thessalonians 3:1-2) And again: "I appeal to you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf, that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, so that by God's will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company." (Romans 15:30-32) Christ must particularly approve of our going to Him through Mary, His Blessed Mother, because He chose to come to us through her. And at Cana, He performed His first miracle after a word from His Mother. (John 2:2-11) It is clear in Sacred Scripture that the saints in Heaven will intercede for us before the throne of Christ if they are petitioned in prayer (Revelations 8:3-4), and it is clear in the records of primitive Christianity that the first Christians eagerly sought their intercession. Wrote St. John Chrysostom in the fourth century: "When thou perceivest that God is chastening thee, fly not to His enemies, but to His friends, the martyrs, the saints, and those who were pleasing to Him, and who have great power." If the saints have such power with God, how much more his own Mother. More at
  • If praying to Mary or saints is like asking your friends, family, or whatever to pray for you, why not just ask you friends, family, or whatever to pray for you. If there is no sorrow or sadness in heaven why would saints, family or otherwise, be able to hear your cry for help. If I were gone I'd be bummed out to know my family needed help.
  • Yes, they don't worship them, though. ------ (ADDED - after a comment that the above did not answer the question) 1) "In Christianity, veneration (Latin veneratio, Greek δουλια dulia), or veneration of saints, is a special act of honoring a saint: a dead person who has been identified as singular in the traditions of the religion. It is practiced by the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church, and some members of the Anglican Communion. Veneration is often shown outwardly by respectfully bowing or making the sign of the cross before a saint's icon, relics, or statue. These items may also be kissed." "In Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglo Catholic theology, veneration is a type of honor distinct from the adoration due to God alone. According to Deacon Dr. Mark Miravelle, of Franciscan University of Steubenville, the English word "worship" has been associated with both veneration and adoration: Adoration, which is known as latria in classical theology, is the worship and homage that is rightly offered to God alone. It is the acknowledgement of excellence and perfection of an uncreated, divine person. It is the worship of the Creator that God alone deserves. Veneration, known as dulia in classical theology, is the honor due to the excellence of a created person. This refers to the excellence exhibited by the created being who likewise deserves recognition and honor. We see a general example of veneration in events like the awarding of academic awards for excellence in school, or the awarding of the Olympic medals for excellence in sports. There is nothing contrary to the proper adoration of God when we offer the appropriate honor and recognition that created persons deserve based on achievement in excellence. Here a further clarification should be made regarding the use of the term "worship" in relation to the categories of adoration and veneration. Some schools of theology use the term "worship" to introduce both adoration and veneration. They would distinguish between "worship of adoration" and "worship of veneration." The word "worship" (in the same way the theological term "cult" is traditionally used) in these classical definitions was not at all synonymous with adoration, but could be used to introduce either adoration or veneration. Hence Catholic writers will sometimes use the term "worship" not to indicate adoration, but only the worship of veneration given to Mary and the saints. Church theologians have long adopted the terms latria for the type of worship due to God alone, and dulia for the veneration given to saints and icons. Catholic theology also includes the term hyperdulia for the type of veneration specifically paid to Mary, mother of Jesus, in Catholic tradition. This distinction is spelled out in the dogmatic conclusions of the Seventh Ecumenical Council (787), which also decreed that iconoclasm (forbidding icons and their veneration) is a heresy that amounts to a denial of the incarnation of Jesus. Now, the Roman Catholic tradition has a well established philosophy for the veneration of the Virgin Mary via the field of Mariology with Pontifical schools such as the Marianum specifically devoted to this task. In Hebrew the word for honoring a person such as a king or prophet is שׁחה, which is the same word for worship of God. Examples of such worship of or honoring men are demonstrated in 1 Kings 1:23 where the Prophet Nathan bowed (שָׁחָה‎) to King David: And they told the king saying, "Behold, Nathan the prophet." And he came in before the king and he prostrated himself unto the king upon his face, to the ground. This word is also used in Genesis 23:7, 27:29, 33:3, 2 Kings 2:15, 1 Samuel 25:41 to refer to honoring men by bowing to them or falling prostrate. Possible veneration of an angel, which is identified as the Archangel Michael in rabbinical commentary, can be found in Joshua 5:14: And he said, "Nay, but as captain of the host of the LORD have I now come." And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said unto him, "What saith my lord unto his servant?" (21st Century KJV) Other religious traditions: In Protestantism, as well as other monotheistic religions such as Islam and Judaism, veneration is sometimes considered to amount to the heresy of idolatry, and the related practice of canonization amounts to the heresy of apotheosis. Protestant theology usually denies that any real distinction between veneration and worship can be made, and claims that the practice of veneration distracts the Christian soul from its true object, the worship of God. In his Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin writes that "(t)he distinction of what is called dulia and latria was invented for the very purpose of permitting divine honours to be paid to angels and dead men with apparent impunity." Likewise, Islam also condemns any veneration of icons. The Hindu honoring of icons and murtis, often seen as idolatry, may also be looked upon as a kind of veneration. In the tradition of Green Christianity (or Creation-centered theology) animals, plants, and other parts of nature may be said to be venerated simply by taking good care of them, thereby showing honor and respect for God who made them. Creation, being regarded as an icon of the Creator, is a valid object of veneration. Philologically, to venerate derives from the Latin verb, venerare, meaning to regard with reverence and respect. This word derives from the same root as the name Venus, the goddess of love of the ancient Roman pantheon." Source and further information: Further information: 2) "As the mother of Jesus Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary has a central role in the life of the Roman Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic veneration of the Blessed Virgin has grown over time both in importance and manifestation. Popes contributed to the veneration but also reformed it periodically. Roman Catholic veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary is based on Holy Scripture: In the fullness of time, God sent his son, born of a woman. The mystery of the incarnation of the Son of God through Mary thus signifies her honor as Mother of God. From the Council of Ephesus in 431, which dogmatized this belief, to Vatican II and Pope John Paul II's Redemptoris Mater encyclical the Virgin Mary has come to be seen, not only as the Mother of God but also as the Mother of the Church. The key role of the Virgin Mary in Roman Catholic beliefs, her veneration, and the growth of Roman Catholic Mariology have not only come about by official statements made in Rome but have often been driven from the ground up, by the Marian writings of the saints and from the masses of believers, and at times via reported Marian apparitions to young and simple children on remote hilltops, which have then influenced the higher levels of the Holy See via sensus fidei. The Holy See continues to approve of Marian apparitions on remote mountains, the latest approval being as recent as May 2008. Some apparitions such as Fatima have given rise to Marian Movements and Societies with millions of members, and many other Marian societies exist around the world." Source and further information: 3) From the Catechism of the Catholic Church: "1674 Besides sacramental liturgy and sacramentals, catechesis must take into account the forms of piety and popular devotions among the faithful. The religious sense of the Christian people has always found expression in various forms of piety surrounding the Church's sacramental life, such as the veneration of relics, visits to sanctuaries, pilgrimages, processions, the stations of the cross, religious dances, the rosary, medals, etc." "1195 By keeping the memorials of the saints - first of all the holy Mother of God, then the apostles, the martyrs, and other saints - on fixed days of the liturgical year, the Church on earth shows that she is united with the liturgy of heaven. She gives glory to Christ for having accomplished his salvation in his glorified members; their example encourages her on her way to the Father." "956 The intercession of the saints. "Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness. . . . They do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, as they proffer the merits which they acquired on earth through the one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus. . . . So by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped." Do not weep, for I shall be more useful to you after my death and I shall help you then more effectively than during my life. I want to spend my heaven in doing good on earth." "971 "All generations will call me blessed": "The Church's devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship." The Church rightly honors "the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of 'Mother of God,' to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs. . . . This very special devotion . . . differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration." The liturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and Marian prayer, such as the rosary, an "epitome of the whole Gospel," express this devotion to the Virgin Mary."
  • As Catholics we are taught from a very early age that Mary, the Blessed Mother, can intercede for us in times of great necessity. The saints, we are taught, are able to help us and comfort us when we are bereft.It is balm for the mind, heart and soul both in times of great distress and times of daily life upsets and disappointments.
  • As I uinderstand it - - The Son is the only Mediator between humanity (us) and the Father. However, all the Saints, including Mary can act as Mediators between us (humanity) and the Son. We pray to the Saints, asking them to intercede and help us with the Son.
  • Properly speaking, they pray THROUGH Mary or the saints, in essence they ask them to put a word in to Jesus on their behalf, to intercede, if you will. . Those who see this in a bad light might well ask themselves why people prefer to pray through Jesus to God. . Jesus is also an Intercessor.
  • I'm a Protestant with advanced degrees in theology and Christian history. *Technically* Catholics don't pray "TO" saints and Mary ... at least in the same sense as one prays to God - or even as a pagan prays to any one of his gods. First of all, remember "pray" is just an antique word for "ask" or "petition". It does not mean "worship". Catholic and Orthodox doctrine and Christian tradition has held that there's nothing wrong with - and much to be encouraged about - humbly petitioning the saints in Glory to pray for them. Protestants who have a problem with this had better stop asking their fellow saints this side of the grave to pray for them here as well, as there's no fundamental difference.
  • not sure why, probably cause other catholics taught them to do that
  • Point: they consider Mary to be one of the saints. It's like asking, "Why do they call people living in the U.S. Americans and New Yorkers?" . . . Answering the question: because Catholics believe that it is efficacious to do so. That is: because they believe that, by doing so, their chances for their prayers to be granted are improved. . . . . Point: many Protestants also pray to saints, as do the Orthodox. It's not just Catholics, by any means.

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