I am curious about portions of Catholicism and would like to hear how Catholics interpret certain things. This thread can be used for anyone with any question about any religion and those with the knowledge can hopefully help clear up the air.
I posted the below in another thread, but it didn't get answered so here goes again:
I married into a Catholic family so every now and then I go to mass with the wife. For background I was raised Presbyterian. Anyway I have 3 questions.
Why is Mary such a large part of Catholicism and why isn't the use of "Hail Mary", Mary statues, and other Mary implements such as a necklace considered a false idol?
How does the Catholic church justify making a man a Saint? Is there backing on this from the bible? Why are Saints needed?
Why pray to the saints? For example when I lose something my mother in law always says to pray to Saint Anthony (I think Anthony I am probably misremembering)? Isn't hat like having another god other than the God? Also why not just as God he is all knowing?
Woohoo! another religion thread. There was a 'Catholic Q & A' tread just for this purpose but I will answer your questions.
Jesus honored his mother and hence so do we. If Jesus deems a person worthy of honor, that person is worthy of honor.
If you have a Mama, you should know how Jesus felt about his. You can screw with a person, but you never screw with their Mama.
An false idol is when you worship the thing. The medals statues and what not are basically just prayers. It's easier to keep your mind on the prize when you have a representation. It's nothing more than that. A statue or medal cannot do shit.
It's not an easy process, but technically we are all saints until proven different. A saint is a person who is revealed divinely to be in heaven, by way of intercessory miracles, that are verifiable and proven. It's a long process. In the bible Paul often refers to saints dead and alive, so technically yes. Saints aren't needed, but they serve as examples of a Christ like existence in a fallible person.
To be clear we don't pray to saints, we ask saints, who are in a state of grace for prayer and intercession. It's just like asking anybody else for prayer except they are in the light of Christ and are closer to God than we. You never have to use them ever, it's just another 'tool' of prayer.
Thanks for the response. I didn't originally see the Catholic Q&A.
To your points:
Mary: I absolutely agree the mother should be respected and I'm not saying the church is wrong it just goes a bit to far for me personally. In some cases I feel like the mass focus's to much of Mary or a Saint for that matter and not on Christ.
I have rarely heard Joseph mentioned why is that?
Saints: I have never had saints explained in this way and that makes sense thanks. I still am unsure about praying to them though. I mean maybe I'm splitting hairs here, but isn't most prayer "asking" (for forgiveness, health of others, recovery, etc..) again to me it just doesn't seem right to ask a Saint for help when I can ask Christ for help.