12 Tips for Chaste and Intentional Dating

Frederic Leighton, The Painter's Honeymoon (1864)
Frederic Leighton, The Painter’s Honeymoon (1864)

So you’re dating someone, and the two of you want to do things the right way. You’re not dating just to date, or treating a dating relationship like you’re already married. Congrats!

If you haven’t done so already, there are some basic things to get clear from the start: establish some basic physical boundaries, and have an idea of you and your significant other stand for, what you want out of the relationship, etc. It’s great if you can get these clear commitments and intentions at the outset of the relationship, and even better if the other person shares your vision.

That’s no excuse to coast, though. Temptations will arise. St. Paul says in 1 Cor. 10:12, “Therefore let any one who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.” And St. Peter (1 Peter 5:8), “Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” A lot of this watchfulness is simply being aware of pitfalls before you encounter them. So here are some warning lights.

So with that in mind, these are general tips for pursuing the relationship in a way that’s spiritual, intentional, and pure. (Because a young woman initially asked me for this advice, it’s written for a female audience, but most of the advice works in both directions):

  1. Be intentional in making plans, and encourage him to do the same: Know what you’re going to do before you go out. Obviously, there’s room for flexibility and for surprises (both planned and unplanned ones), but watch out for vague plans to just “hang out.” Idle hands and all that.The upshot of this is that it also forces you two to be more intentional about one another, instead of just coasting. It’ll be harder to take one another for granted this way. Hopefully, he will do most of the leading here, but it doesn’t hurt for her to have some idea of things she likes, restaurants she enjoys, etc.
  2. Location! Don’t hang out in each other bedrooms. (If it’s absolutely necessary, as is sometimes the case with dorms, be around other people: see #4).
  3. Location! Don’t go horizontal. Even just to hang out and “chat.” Dumb, dumb, dumb idea.
  4. Location! Avoid anything that’s a near occasion of sin. Avoid any situation that could quickly take a turn. One of the best ways to do this is to remain within eyesight and earshot of others at all times.
  5. Don’t be afraid to leave a situation, if that’s what virtue demands. Sometimes, girls (especially, but also guys) won’t want to end the night early because they’re afraid of being rude… even when they recognize that sticking around longer will only lead to trouble. If, in spite of #1-4, you find yourself in a place you realize you shouldn’t be (or see trouble coming), nip it in the bud. Never be afraid to say goodbye or goodnight too early, and never be insulted if he needs to do the same.Think of it this way: it’s a two-fold honor. Not only is there the whole honor in his finding you attractive, but there’s the far greater honor in his being concerned for your (and his) purity and spiritual well-being.
  6. That whole “wise as serpents, innocent as doves” thing applies here in a huge way. Naivety about the risks is a serious hinderance. Serpent-like wisdom protects dove-like innocence.
  7. Encourage him to be the kind of man that you want him to be. Positive reinforcement goes a long way, but don’t do it in a condescending way, like he’s a well-meaning child. “I love going to adoration with you,’ with an affectionate hand squeeze (or, if appropriate, cheek kiss) is more likely to produce the desired results than a two hour heated debate. Good men love to do things for the women that they care about, and knowing how much you appreciate these gestures will make him want to do them even more.
  8. Invite one another to pray. The easiest way to pray more is… to pray more. It’s great when he takes the lead on this, but it’s just fine for her to do so, too. If he’s smart, he’ll get the clue.
  9. Pray at the start and end of dates. If you’re on the phone in the evenings, pray together before you go to bed. Frame your relationship in prayer until it’s the most natural thing to do in the world.
  10. Develop non-physical ways of showing affection, love (if appropriate), and contrition. Guard against the temptation to say “I’m sorry” or “I love you” physically.
  11. Pray for each other, and pray to your own (and each other’s) guardian angels.
  12. Consider choosing a Saint together, and entrusting your relationship to them.

91 Comments

    1. All of those tips really serve a very important purpose: Helping to prepare a couple to have a very happy marriage that will last a lifetime, and also to help them to avoid making a mistake of their lifetime if the person they are dating is not really suitable for them. People make these grave mistakes all the time, whether they be Catholic, or not.

      But, if they seek God to be in the midst of their marriage life, they will prepare themselves accordingly. They will try to make sure that their marriage partner is compatible in all ways according to the Holy Spirit. And if they are indeed not suitable, it is important for the couple to look for others who are suitable, without wasting too much time. But, by not following these simple tips, with a little discipline, both great errors are made in their lives, as well as very much time wasted in such ‘doomed’ relationships. Years can even pass laving nothing but misery and ill feelings, by neglecting to bring God into such dating relationships.

      But, after dating and marriage has proceeded with the above tips in mind…then indeed…more fun will be had by the couple in all things. But, especially when they go to Mass together, follow ‘natural family planning’ together, and pray the Rosary together every day. 🙂

  1. There’s a lot of truth here, though asking a dead saint t watch after you when there are plenty of living ones seems to me more than a tad superstitious.

    Anyway, let’s focus on the positive! “[E]stablish some basic physical boundaries, and have an idea of you and your significant other stand for, what you want out of the relationship, etc.”

    This is crucially important. My wife and I were not perfect before we married, so I don’t say the following to our credit. We made a rule: no kissing…actually, I made that rule. Women tend to trust their men, so it is really important for men to set the tone when it pertains to virtue. So, even when in our sinfulness we tried to “play within the rules,” there is only so bad you can get when you set the bar at “no kissing.” So, the above advice from Joe is VERY GOOD advice.

    Let me suggest no kissing and no hugging that involves hugging without firmly sitting down in two separate seats (no laying down, sitting on laps, etcetera.) Further, I suggest getting married sooner. Ultimately, marriage is about compromise, sacrifice, and selfless love. Taking a bunch of time to figure out if your spouse is “worth it” is counterproductive because, guess what, he or she wont be worth it. We are all sinful people. So, we should approach marriage as an opportunity to serve and partake in a modeling of Christ’s relationship with the Church. To many people approach marriage as the fulfillment of romantic aspirations. Sure you can have those, but that is not the chief end of marriage and it should not be the motivation behind choosing a spouse.

      1. Now we’re mincing words. The terms “dead saints” and “departed saints” are common usage, I know Irenaeus uses the term once. My point is that it makes more sense to seek the accountability and prayers of people that you actually know are praying for you. However, I do not wish to turn this on a debate about prayers to saints, Joe had an article about that already and I already spoke about it there.

        1. If you don’t want to talk about it don’t bring it up or worse, throw the equivalent of a hand grenade and call one of our belief or practice “a tad superstitious” and then expect people to respect your request to stay on topic. Seriously…

          1. My apologies, I wanted to spare others here a debate on the topic. I don’t mind debating it, I just didn’t want to hijack Joe’s post as the vast majority of my reply pertained to his post (even the saint part technically.)

            To very briefly rehash what I have said previously on the topic of saints:
            1. Yes, the saints pray for the church. There is no evidence that they hear our prayers (the angels present our prayers to God in the Scriptures, not to saints.) So, I believe their prayers are more generalized and less situational.

            2. To suppose a saint can hear the prayers of millions of people, internalize them, and then pray about them attributes to him super-human if not divine abilities. When the dead have come back in the Scripture, they do not exhibit super-human intellect or perception, which would be necessary for the whole thing to work.

            So, I hope I addressed your objections to your satisfaction. Joe’s list asked for those courting one another to seek the protection of the departed saints via prayer.

            However, his list left out even better advice: seek the prayers and intervention (and chaperoning) of living saints. One of the best things for my wife and I was when a great grandmother in her church took us in on the weekends and gave us a lot of guidance. God bless her patience!

          2. Regarding points 1 and 2 above:

            Know you not that the saints shall judge this world? And if the world shall be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
            (1 Corinthians 6:2)

            How are the above mentioned saints going to ‘judge the world’ if they have no intimate knowledge of it? Even the most intimate and hidden of sins of the entire population of the world?

          3. “How are the above mentioned saints going to ‘judge the world’ if they have no intimate knowledge of it?”

            Good question, and it requires a much more thorough answer than I will give. In short, God judges and has all the intimate knowledge, while the Saints judge along with Him in approval.

            I base this upon the following:

            1. Jesus Christ judges the world. “God judges” (1 Cor 5:13), and “Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead” (2 Tim 4:1).

            2. The Saints will come to know of every detail on the day of judgement, because “I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment” (Matt 12:36).

            3. Lastly, the details are revealed when on the day of judgment several books are opened in which contain the recording of the wicked people’s deeds: “the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds” (Rev 20:12).

            So, I think your assumption is because the dead judge the world, they must be privy to even our secret thoughts right now. However, there is no Biblical merit for this inference AND the Scripture actually offers us a valid means in which the Saints know what we have been all up to all these years…all the details are divulged on the day of judgment. In fact, they are written down for all to see. So, when CHrist judges, the Saints will judge along with Him in approval of His perfect judgment.

            Even if you do not agree with this answer, I hope you understand that it is more explicit in the Scripture and it is entirely workable.

            God bless,
            Craig

          4. Craig said,
            So, I think your assumption is because the dead judge the world, they must be privy to even our secret thoughts right now. …

            Then, why are we surrounded by a cloud of witnesses, right now? What are they witnessing, only what they can see with their physical eyes?

          5. As Joe has admitted on this site when I pointed this out, that the verse in question in Heb 12 is in reference to the witness of their lives, not of them witnessing stuff right now. You are, not on purpose, misinterpreting the verse.

            God bless,
            Craig

          6. Craig Truglia says:
            September 27, 2015 at 7:25 pm
            As Joe has admitted on this site when I pointed this out, that the verse in question in Heb 12 is in reference to the witness of their lives, not of them witnessing stuff right now. You are, not on purpose, misinterpreting the verse.

            God bless,
            Craig

            I doubt that Joe made such an admission. I hope that you can provide the evidence of such an accusation. You have been known to twist people’s words in the past.

            For one thing, there is no absolute interpretation of that verse from the Catholic Church. Therefore, Joe can not deny that my interpretation is also correct. And I’ll tell you why, because my interpretation is also in conformity with Sacred Tradition.

            Your problem, Craig, is that you have the old Protestant “either/or” mindset. Perhaps you haven’t heard that the Catholic mindset is, “both/and”.

            But, even if you are correct that Joe has made such an admission, then I would advise you to ask him to provide the Catholic Teaching which makes this verse exclusively interpreted in the manner you and he agree upon.

            As for me, I’ll show you the Biblical hermeneutic which I use and the Catechetical instruction which I follow:

            2 Corinthians 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

            113 2. Read the Scripture within “the living Tradition of the whole Church”. According to a saying of the Fathers, Sacred Scripture is written principally in the Church’s heart rather than in documents and records, for the Church carries in her Tradition the living memorial of God’s Word, and it is the Holy Spirit who gives her the spiritual interpretation of the Scripture (“. . . according to the spiritual meaning which the Spirit grants to the Church”).

            And finally, even your Protestant brethren admit that the word used here can be understood as witnessing right now. The BLB, a Protestant website says the word can be interpreted in four ways:

            a witness

            1. in a legal sense

            2. an historical sense

            3. one who is a spectator of anything, e.g. of a contest

            4. in an ethical sense

            Look at #3.

            I don’t know if you have ever run a race, Craig. But, the imagery that St. Paul uses is one with which I can easily identify, because I have run a race. And almost every time I ran, we, the runners were surrounded by a crowd (cloud) of witnesses, who were cheering us on. Have you not read in Scripture that heaven rejoices when one sinner repents of his sins?

          7. The quote says “cloud of witnesses” which seems to refer to the OT saints themselves, rather than only the example of their “witness”, or holy acts, in their lives.

            Here is the exact text of Hebrews 11:39, which refers first to the O.T. Saints themselves, and then afterwards to Jesus :

            “And OTHERS had trial of mockeries and stripes, moreover also of bands and prisons. [37] THEY were stoned, THEY were cut asunder, THEY were tempted, THEY were put to death by the sword, THEY wandered about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being in want, distressed, afflicted: [38] Of WHOM the world was not worthy; wandering in deserts, in mountains, and in dens, and in caves of the earth. [39And all THESE being approved by the testimony of faith, received not the promise; [40] God providing some better thing for us, that THEY should not be perfected without us.

            [1] And therefore we also having so great a CLOUD OF WITNESSES OVER OUR HEAD, laying aside every weight and sin which surrounds us, let us run by patience to the fight proposed to us: [2] Looking on Jesus, the author and finisher of faith, who having joy set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and now sitteth on the right hand of the throne of God.”

            So, in my opinion, Craig is the one who is misinterpreting this text. The CLOWD OF WITNESSES above clearly refers to all those ‘OTHERS’ mentioned in the same quote above; that is, the saints themselves, ‘THEY’…who suffered all of the trials described.

            “THEY”…are the “CLOWD OF WITNESSES OVER OUR HEAD…” .

          8. Craig is right (and I’ve verified this with one of the best Greek speakers in the house): the word “witnesses” isn’t referring to the Saints’ observing our lives, but of their bearing witness. The word is martys, which is where we get our term “martyr” — those who bear witness to Christ.

            That said, Hebrews 12:1 still refers to the Saints’ observation of us: that point just doesn’t hinge upon the meaning of the word “witnesses.” That’s clear if you just replace “witnesses” with “martyrs”:

            “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of martyrs, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

            The clear imagery in this two-verse pericope is of running a race surrounded by stands filled with fans cheering us on: in this case, the martyrs.

            Sometimes, Protestants will suggest that this just means that we’re surrounded by the testimonies of the martyrs: that we’ve got record of their great deeds, so we should go and do likewise. That’s not what martys means: the word is referring to the Saints themselves, not their deeds. It also botches the entire racing imagery. And it doesn’t make a lot of sense: we run because we’re surrounded by Scripture? There’s a great cloud of Scripture surrounding us?

            So the clear meaning of the passage isn’t what either side has suggested, exactly. Rather, it’s that we’re surrounded by the martyrs (and all those confessors of the faith) who encourage us on towards Jesus Christ.

            I.X.,

            Joe

          9. Joe Heschmeyer says:
            September 28, 2015 at 10:40 pm
            Craig is right….

            You can’t have it both ways, Joe. He’s either right or he’s wrong. After you said that he is right, you went on to prove that he is wrong. You said,

            That said, Hebrews 12:1 still refers to the Saints’ observation of us: that point just doesn’t hinge upon the meaning of the word “witnesses.” That’s clear if you just replace “witnesses” with “martyrs”:

            In other words, can we say that there’s more than one meaning to that word and that Craig is using the wrong meaning in the context?

            Who cares what the experts say? What does the Church teach?

          10. De Maria,

            No, Craig’s particular point was that “the verse in question in Heb 12 is in reference to the witness of their lives, not of them witnessing stuff right now.”

            And that’s true. When we call a Saint a “Martyr,” we’re not saying that he’s someone who is currently testifying to Christ (or else all the Saints in Heaven would be martyrs). We’re saying that he bore specific witness to Christ in his sacrifice of his life.

            Perhaps a better way of explaining would be this: the term martys means that the Saints are witnesses to Christ, not that they’re witnessing us (even though, for the Saints in Heaven, both are true). From a statement from the Under-Secretary for Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue:

            “Deriving from the Greek word martys, which means “one who bears witness”, this term came to be applied at the end of the second and at the beginning of the third century to the baptised persons who bore testimony to Christ and his teaching by offering their lives. ”

            You can keep debating this point if you want, but the answer is clear. Just admit that we were both wrong and let’s move on.

            This is an unproductive side-debate, because even if you plug in Craig’s meaning (the right one), it still points to the Church’s teachings. If we’re “surrounded by” those bearing witness to Christ, that’s still an obvious reference to the Communion of the Saints and the ability of the Saints in Heaven to witness our lives.

          11. Thanks Joe. And just an FYI for everyone else, it isn’t my position that the Saints are not in communion nor pray for the living. We’re (the living and the dead) one Church. I think that a lot of debate would be more productive if the actual position I am expounding is responded to.

          12. De Maria,

            No, Craig’s particular point was that “the verse in question in Heb 12 is in reference to the witness of their lives, not of them witnessing stuff right now.”

            And that’s true. When we call a Saint a “Martyr,” we’re not saying that he’s someone who is currently testifying to Christ (or else all the Saints in Heaven would be martyrs). We’re saying that he bore specific witness to Christ in his sacrifice of his life.

            Perhaps a better way of explaining would be this: the term martys means that the Saints are witnesses to Christ, not that they’re witnessing us (even though, for the Saints in Heaven, both are true).

            And THAT’S what you’re not getting. Craig denies that the Saints in heaven are witnessing us. Craig denies that both are true.

            But let me get this straight. You agree with Craig that Heb 12:1 which says:

            Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, …

            Can only mean one thing? That the martyrs are witnessing by their lives and that they are not and can not witness our lives. Craig can correct me if I’m wrong. But I’m certain that is what he means. He denies that the Saints who have died have the capacity to witness human life right now.

            From a statement from the Under-Secretary for Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue:

            “Deriving from the Greek word martys, which means “one who bears witness”, this term came to be applied at the end of the second and at the beginning of the third century to the baptised persons who bore testimony to Christ and his teaching by offering their lives. ”

            Is this in reference to the verse we are discussing? Because if it isn’t, then it is a moot point. I know what the term “martys” means when used in context of one who suffered or died for the faith. But not all of the Old Testament Fathers were martyred for the faith, were they? Was Enoch martyred for the Faith?

            You can keep debating this point if you want, but the answer is clear. Just admit that we were both wrong and let’s move on.

            You and Craig are wrong. I admit that. But the Catholics who have been debating Craig are right. That’s a fact. I don’t need to move on. Only those who are wrong would like to move on and avoid the embarrassment of admitting their error.

            This is an unproductive side-debate,

            No, it isn’t. This is a debate of Catholic Teaching vs Protestant error. I’m surprised that you have joined the Protestant side on this one. The only thing I can say is that perhaps you don’t really understand what Craig is saying.

            Or, if I don’t understand, Craig can correct me. But I doubt that he would do that because then, he would admit that the Catholic Doctrine of the Communion of Saints, the idea that the Saints are alive and can witness our lives, is correct.

            because even if you plug in Craig’s meaning (the right one), it still points to the Church’s teachings.

            Lol! Really? Address Craig with that one.

            If we’re “surrounded by” those bearing witness to Christ, that’s still an obvious reference to the Communion of the Saints and the ability of the Saints in Heaven to witness our lives.

            And you have again proved Craig wrong. The obvious point you are missing, is that “martys” has more than one meaning. It isn’t necessarily the witness of one’s life nor the suffering for one’s faith. It is also the witnessing in a legal sense. What do witnesses do in a legal sense?

            And it is also the witnessing in the observing right now. Where you get this impression that “martys” must only be one thing, I have no idea. Even the BLB, a Protestant website, admits four definitions of the word.

            Let’s look at another instance of the word, in Matt 18:16,

            If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three “martys”, witnesses.’

            This must be wrong. It must mean, get two or three folks that have suffered for their faith and based on their testimony….??? Really?

            Where’s your Greek expert? Ask him what that means?

            How about, Acts 6:3, “martyrios”. Same root. Does it mean, suffering or witnessing by their own life in this instance?

            No, he says, “Look out for seven men and give an honest “martyrios” (i.e. report)…..

            Give an honest “suffering”? Give an honest “witness of their lives”? Give an honest REPORT!

          13. Craig Truglia says:
            September 29, 2015 at 1:28 pm
            Thanks Joe.

            All this means is that Joe is on your side. It doesn’t mean that either you or Joe are right.

            And just an FYI for everyone else, it isn’t my position that the Saints are not in communion nor pray for the living. We’re (the living and the dead) one Church. I think that a lot of debate would be more productive if the actual position I am expounding is responded to.

            Well, you’ve obviously got Joe bamboozled. So, expound your true position. Or, simply answer this question.

            In Heb 12:1, do you admit that the Cloud of witnesses can observe what we are doing and report their findings back to God? Yes or no. There is no need for irrelevant explanations. Yes or no, will do.

          14. De Maria,

            In the course of your response, you go from angrily denouncing me as taking the side of “Protestant error” against “Catholic Teaching,” to angrily trying to show me that I’m making the Catholic point. Of course I’m making the Catholic point. I’m just doing it with better arguments than the now-disproven ones you’re insisting that we must use. Maybe you should slow down and take a step back to make sure you understand what I’m saying, what Craig is saying, and what the Under-Secretary for Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue said.

            You’re making this entire debate about the meaning of martys, which is silly for several reasons:

            1) You characterize my position as that martys can only have one meaning. That’s false, and not my position.

            2) My position is that in Hebrews 12, it refers to the Saints bearing witness to Christ, not observing us. You providing several examples in which the word is used to refer to those bearing witness only further proves my point.

            3) You’re squabbling over the nuances of Greek words, without knowing or speaking Greek.

            4) Your position is just that the word has a range of meaning. In other words, even if you were right about everything, it just means that Hebrews 12:1 could mean that, not that it does. As arguments go, that’s about as weak as it gets.

            5) You demanded, and received, a Church document saying the same thing I’m saying, and now that’s not good enough. Have the humility to take correction from someone, or at least don’t wave that “personal interpretation” card when Protestants act in the same way.

            6) The biggest reason this argument is silly is we don’t need it.

            I explained all of this in my prior comment, which I would encourage you to re-read, but the nuances of the term martys aren’t the reason Hebrews 12:1 points to the Saints’ observance of our lives. To see what I mean, try replacing martys with another word, like Saints, which clearly doesn’t have the definition of “observer”:

            “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of Saints, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

            Notice how, even with a word that unambiguously doesn’t mean “observer,” the passage still is describing observation? That’s because it’s talking about a crowd of people watching us run the race of faith.

            If you said a certain mistake was particularly embarrassing because it had occurred in front of a crowd of your coworkers, your audience would recognize that you mean that they saw or heard what was going on…. even though the word “coworkers” doesn’t mean “one who sees and hears things.”

            You seem to think that, unless martys has the definition of observer, the passage isn’t about the Saints’ observation. But of course it is. You’re missing the forest for the trees.

            I.X.,

            Joe

          15. De Maria,

            In the course of your response, you go from angrily denouncing me as taking the side of “Protestant error” against “Catholic Teaching,” to angrily trying to show me that I’m making the Catholic point.

            Not angrily, Joe. Matter of factly. Bluntly. Shocked and surprised. But not angrily. Besides, its not as though you haven’t been on the Protestant side of the argument before. Remember 2 Peter 1:19-21?

            Of course I’m making the Catholic point. I’m just doing it with better arguments than the now-disproven ones you’re insisting that we must use.

            You’ve disproven nothing. Actually, I’ve disproven both you and Craig.

            Maybe you should slow down and take a step back to make sure you understand what I’m saying, what Craig is saying, and what the Under-Secretary for Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue said.

            Answer my questions and we will know. Was the Undersecretary speaking in reference to Heb 12:1? Yes or no.

            You’re making this entire debate about the meaning of martys, which is silly for several reasons:

            1) You characterize my position as that martys can only have one meaning. That’s false, and not my position.

            Ok.

            2) My position is that in Hebrews 12, it refers to the Saints bearing witness to Christ, not observing us.

            Says who, Joe? You or the Church? Let me ask you this question. Has the Church defined that verse and restricted the meaning of that verse to that which you have defined? Yes or no.

            If no, then tell me, is my understanding of the verse in line with Sacred Tradition and with Catholic Teaching? Yes or no.

            You providing several examples in which the word is used to refer to those bearing witness only further proves my point.

            No, Joe. It proves mine.

            3) You’re squabbling over the nuances of Greek words, without knowing or speaking Greek.

            But I speak and understand English very well. And in Heb 12:1, the verse doesn’t say, “martyr”, it says “witness”, doesn’t it?

            4) Your position is just that the word has a range of meaning. In other words, even if you were right about everything, it just means that Hebrews 12:1 could mean that, not that it does.

            Lol! Joe?! Are you becoming a Protestant? Does the Catholic Church restrict the meaning of that verse to that which you and Craig are claiming? Yes or no.

            As arguments go, that’s about as weak as it gets.

            On the contrary, Joe. I am exercising the Catholic hermeneutic. Show me where the Catholic Church denies my understanding of that verse and restricts it to only yours and I’ll admit you are right. Unless you can do that, you need to drop your error and admit that the rest of the Catholics on this thread are correct.

            5) You demanded, and received, a Church document saying the same thing I’m saying, and now that’s not good enough.

            I demanded a Church document addressing the understanding of this verse.

            Have the humility to take correction from someone, or at least don’t wave that “personal interpretation” card when Protestants act in the same way.

            I have the humility to admit when I’m wrong. You, apparently, are lacking the humility to admit when you’re wrong.

            6) The biggest reason this argument is silly is we don’t need it.

            In your opinion. Are you now, like Craig, imposing your authority over that which we believe? Or should you, as a Catholic, be putting forward the authority of the Catholic Church and what She Teaches?

            I explained all of this in my prior comment, which I would encourage you to re-read, but the nuances of the term martys aren’t the reason Hebrews 12:1 points to the Saints’ observance of our lives. To see what I mean, try replacing martys with another word, like Saints, which clearly doesn’t have the definition of “observer”:

            But “witnesses” does. And I suppose that the people who interpreted the word “martys” as witnesses, knew what they were doing. Do you deny it?

            “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of Saints, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

            Notice how, even with a word that unambiguously doesn’t mean “observer,” the passage still is describing observation? That’s because it’s talking about a crowd of people watching us run the race of faith.

            If you said a certain mistake was particularly embarrassing because it had occurred in front of a crowd of your coworkers, your audience would recognize that you mean that they saw or heard what was going on…. even though the word “coworkers” doesn’t mean “one who sees and hears things.”

            Now you’re arguing against Craig. Not against me. So, what’s your point? Are you afraid to tell Craig that he is wrong?

            You seem to think that, unless martys has the definition of observer, the passage isn’t about the Saints’ observation. But of course it is. You’re missing the forest for the trees.

            Martys does have the definition of observer. Did you not know that most words have more than one definition? Look in a dictionary Joe. Most words have more than one definition and in Catholic Teaching, we are allowed to understand any verse in more than one sensee, unless the Catholic Church has restricted the verse to a particular meaning.

            Has the Church restricted the meaning of this verse, Joe?

          16. “Well, you’ve obviously got Joe bamboozled. So, expound your true position. Or, simply answer this question.”

            I’m not sure why you keep accusing me of being disingenuous. I just said my position again, and probably a dozen times here.

            “In Heb 12:1, do you admit that the Cloud of witnesses can observe what we are doing and report their findings back to God? Yes or no.”

            Yes.

            We at least have one prayer from the dead to God in the Scripture: “[T]hey cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth’” (Rev 6:10)?

            The part where we differ is what level of knowledge the dead have. The Catholic position ascribes them near-omniscience. I ascribe them regular human intelligence.

          17. Craig said:

            The part where we differ is what level of knowledge the dead have. The Catholic position ascribes them near-omniscience. I ascribe them regular human intelligence.

            Hm? How is intelligence related to knowledge? Did someone here claim that the dead have to pass IQ tests?

          18. Of course there are not any IQ tests. However, men are still men, just without their bodies. The default is that we can only hear so many things, remember so many things, and do so many things at once. A fundamental change in human nature would be necessary for men to hear the whole world praying to them at once, even if an angel carried to each saint a different prayer.

            I suppose it is possible, but I do not presume upon it without a Scriptural warrant. This is why I believe the Saints pray, but it is based upon secondhand knowledge (probably through Angels).

            I understand that because you do not believe sola scriptura, you do not need a Scriptural merit for the practice.

            God bless,
            Craig

          19. Craig Truglia says:
            September 30, 2015 at 12:58 pm
            Of course there are not any IQ tests.

            Then how do you know that their intelligence remains the same as that of a living man?

            However, men are still men, just without their bodies.

            So, when the Scripture says that these particular men are spirits which have been made perfect, the Scripture is wrong? (Heb 12:23).

            The default is that we can only hear so many things, remember so many things, and do so many things at once. A fundamental change in human nature would be necessary for men to hear the whole world praying to them at once,

            The lack of a body is not a fundamental change?

            even if an angel carried to each saint a different prayer.

            Union with Christ, in eternity, outside of time, would not suffice?

            I suppose it is possible,

            You suppose?

            but I do not presume upon it without a Scriptural warrant.

            There is plenty of Scriptural warrant. More importantly, the Word of God explicitly teaches it.

            This is why I believe the Saints pray, but it is based upon secondhand knowledge (probably through Angels).

            Because you would rather make up your own religion than listen to the Church which Jesus Christ established to Teach you all which He commanded be taught.

            I understand that because you do not believe sola scriptura, you do not need a Scriptural merit for the practice.

            Everything the Church teaches is in Scripture, either explicitly or implied. The New Testament was written based upon the Teachings of Jesus Christ which are passed down by the Church.

            God bless,
            Craig

            And you, as well.

          20. Craig Truglia says:
            September 30, 2015 at 4:59 am

            I’m not sure why you keep accusing me of being disingenuous. I just said my position again, and probably a dozen times here.

            “In Heb 12:1, do you admit that the Cloud of witnesses can observe what we are doing and report their findings back to God? Yes or no.”

            Yes.

            Then you admit the Catholic Doctrine and you are arguing because that is just your nature?

            We at least have one prayer from the dead to God in the Scripture: “[T]hey cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth’” (Rev 6:10)?

            The part where we differ is what level of knowledge the dead have. The Catholic position ascribes them near-omniscience. I ascribe them regular human intelligence.

            But you just admitted that they can observe what we are doing and report their findings back to God. So, you are also granting them omniscience. Isn’t that so?

          21. De Maria:

            “Then you admit the Catholic Doctrine and you are arguing because that is just your nature?”

            No, De Maria you are just arguing because it is your nature. You accuse me of not meaning what I am saying even though I reiterated it several times. You have a bad attitude, you should work on it.

          22. Craig Truglia says:
            September 30, 2015 at 11:17 pm
            De Maria:

            “Then you admit the Catholic Doctrine and you are arguing because that is just your nature?”

            No, De Maria you are just arguing because it is your nature. You accuse me of not meaning what I am saying even though I reiterated it several times. You have a bad attitude, you should work on it.

            Lol! C’mon Craig, you’re near a breakthrough. You know you just admitted that the dead Saints to whom we pray, are omniscient. Otherwise, how could they observe us? You’ve just admitted the entire Catholic Doctrine, hook, line and sinker. All you need to do, is admit it.

  2. If the Saints are alive with Christ, as Christ has said. If we walk with them upon Mt. Sion, as Scripture says. If we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses, that is, of Saints, as Scripture also says. What evidence do you have that the Saints do not hear us?

    All you seem to have is your personal opinion. As for me, I have the Church, Tradition and Sacred Scripture telling me that the Saints listen to my petitions.

    1. Saints in Heaven have knowledge of things passing on Earth, according to this saying of the Lord:

      “I say to you, that even so there shall be joy in heaven upon one sinner that doth penance, more than upon ninety-nine just who need not penance.” (Luke 15:7)

      For this saying to make sense, those in Heaven must have intimate knowledge of both the sins of those on Earth, as well as the virtues of the 99 “just who need not penance”. That there is MORE JOY over the repentant sinner proves that they are very aware of what is passing here on Earth. On the other hand, those ‘buried in Hell’ seem not to have this gift from God.

      One other idea. Why would the ancient serpent, and his legion of demons, have knowledge, power and influence here on earth, and not the Saints of God, also? And, how can this statement from the Book of Revelation be possible, without this knowledge of the intimate and hidden prayers of those here on Earth? :

      “And when he had opened the book, the four living creatures, and THE FOUR AND TWENTY ANCIENTS fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the PRAYERS OF THE SAINTS.” Apocalypse (Revelation) 5:8

      1. Al:

        “Saints in Heaven have knowledge of things passing on Earth, according to this saying of the Lord…

        Luke 15:7”

        15:7 is in reference to angels, not departed saints:

        “In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10).

        Rev 5:8

        This I believe is a reference to the angels, not departed saints. Tobit 12:15 states, “I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels, which present the prayers of the saints, and which go in and out before the glory of the Holy One.” I do not think it is wise to infer purely upon speculation that the 24 elders are departed saints, or that they were specifically the ones presenting the prayers (instead of just the angels doing so), when it is explicit in Tobit that the angels present prayers.

        Even if you disagree with this, I hope you see that this is a matter I have investigated and gave serious thought.

        God bless,
        Craig

          1. Not exactly. We pray to God. The angels hear the prayers and present it to Him. This is why women must keep their heads covered when praying and prophesying…because of the angels. They carry up our prayers to God, and the carry back down to man prophecy from God (i.e. Mary and Joseph were told about Christ’s coming before it happened by angels.)

            I just think it is a little appreciated role of angels. They are “messengers” after all.

          2. Let me make sure I understand what you are saying. We pray to God but the Angels, which hear our prayers, take our prayers to God. So even though we pray directly to God the Angels are the ones that deliver all our prayers. It’s like our prayers are delivered twice to God. Once by us and once by the Angels each and every time?

          3. As with the above debate about Hebrews 12:1, I think Craig wins the battle here, but “loses the war” (although I think he’s humble enough that he’ll take arriving at greater truth as a victory).

            The angels mediate and intercede for us. Craig is right that they’re absolutely unnecessary: the omnipotent God doesn’t need angels to tell Him what we’re praying for. But this God also doesn’t need us to tell him what we need: look at the way Jesus introduces the Our Father in Matthew 6:8-9. Further, God doesn’t need us or the angels: we don’t add an iota to His infinite Glory.

            But all of this reveals the inadequacy and unfittingness of the conventional Protestant lenses of looking at what’s “necessary” or “sufficient.” That’s a miserly way of understanding God. He doesn’t do the bare minimum. If He did, we wouldn’t have Creation.

            A better lens is to recognize that God is self-effusive, constantly pouring Himself out, and that He’s inviting, drawing others (us, the Saints in Heaven, and the angels) into the grandeur of His creation and salvation.This self-effusive is present within the Trinity itself, as the Fourth Lateran Council explains:

            “Therefore in God there is only a Trinity, not a quaternity, since each of the three persons is that reality — that is to say substance, essence or divine nature-which alone is the principle of all things, besides which no other principle can be found. This reality neither begets nor is begotten nor proceeds; the Father begets, the Son is begotten and the holy Spirit proceeds. Thus there is a distinction of persons but a unity of nature. Although therefore the Father is one person, the Son another person and the holy Spirit another person, they are not different realities, but rather that which is the Father is the Son and the holy Spirit, altogether the same; thus according to the orthodox and catholic faith they are believed to be consubstantial. For the Father, in begetting the Son from eternity, gave him his substance, as he himself testifies : What the Father gave me is greater than all. It cannot be said that the Father gave him part of his substance and kept part for himself since the Father’s substance is indivisible, inasmuch as it is altogether simple. Nor can it be said that the Father transferred his substance to the Son, in the act of begetting, as if he gave it to the Son in such a way that he did not retain it for himself; for otherwise he would have ceased to be substance. It is therefore clear that in being begotten the Son received the Father’s substance without it being diminished in any way, and thus the Father and the Son have the same substance. Thus the Father and the Son and also the holy Spirit proceeding from both are the same reality.”

            It’s this whole notion that God gives Himself freely, and involves other in His creative and redeeming acts, that is at the heart of the Christian mystery. The very notion of being a Christian, a little Christ, only make sense through this lens. And it’s through this lens also that everything from good works to the intercession of the Saints becomes coherent.

            I.X.,

            Joe

        1. The quote I cited (8:7) indicated only “Heaven”. And you’re right, the follow up to the first (8:10) says ‘angels’. I missed the second quote, but still Jesus does refer to Heaven as though He means ‘those who are in Heaven’. That Moses and Elias appeared to Jesus ids strong evidence that Saints indeed can appear to and communicate with humans here below. We can’t overlook or discount this fact of Christian history. And the Apostles also witnessed these amazing event on Mt. Tabor.

          Regarding the ‘four and twenty ancients’ in Revelations, they clearly refer to humans, because angels do not have age as humans do on Earth. Not do angels have ‘crowns’ in Sacred Scripture. They ‘ancients’ also appear in Rev. 4:4 : “Around the throne were twenty-four thrones; and upon the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white garments, and golden crowns on their heads.”

          And then as another witness that the resurrected dead can communicate with others here on Earth we have the proof from the Gospel of Matthew 27:51 :

          “And behold the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top even to the bottom, and the earth quaked, and the rocks were rent. [52] And the graves were opened: and many bodies of the saints that had slept arose, [53] And coming out of the tombs after his resurrection, came into the holy city, AND APPEARED TO MANY. ”

          If they appeared to many, even though they were formerly in their graves, who do you think gave them that ability? And then, does it say anywhere in the Gospel that the same power was later taken away from them?

          So we have:
          1. Moses and Elias appearing to Jesus before the Resurrection on the Mount of the Transfiguration
          2. Bodies of saints that slept ‘rose’ from their ‘sleep’ and communicated to other saints AFTER the resurrection.

          and,

          3. Four and twenty ancients/elders (human saints)… ” upon seats”, “clothed in white garments, and on their heads were crowns of gold”… who “fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the PRAYERS OF THE SAINTS.”

          Sounds like pretty conclusive evidence to me.

          1. As a side note, I might add that saints on Earth will be received by other saints into eternal habitations when they die:

            “And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the wealth of unrighteousness, so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings.” ( Luke 16:9.)

            So, even as Abraham received Lazarus into his ‘bosom’ in the Lord’s Gospel parable, our saintly friends here on Earth will also receive us likewise, according to this holy teaching of the Lord.

          2. Al:

            “The quote I cited (8:7) indicated only “Heaven”. And you’re right, the follow up to the first (8:10) says ‘angels’. I missed the second quote, but still Jesus does refer to Heaven as though He means ‘those who are in Heaven’…”

            My point is that you are drawing an inference that “those in heaven” by necessity includes people. Your logic is “heaven has people, so those is heaven includes people.”

            I’m not saying this is completely irrational, but a few verses later the Bible explicitly describes who in heaven is rejoicing. Interpretatively it is unwise to go with the inference when you have an explicit reference to go with, especially when proof texting.

            “That Moses and Elias appeared to Jesus ids strong evidence that Saints indeed can appear to and communicate with humans here below.”

            Sure they can, no one debates that. The question is that they are privy to what is going on in the heart of every man throughout the earth for all of history in which to judge them in the sense you speculate is possible. There is simply no Biblical evidence of this. However, the Scripture has a perfectly reasonable way in which the Saints judge the world without superhuman abilities in the perception department…when every idle word is read out of the book during the final judgment they hear and they condemn those who have been condemned by God.

            “Regarding the ‘four and twenty ancients’ in Revelations, they clearly refer to humans, because angels do not have age as humans do on Earth.”

            I’d be inclined to agree, though different Catholic interpreters have had varying conclusions. Victorinus thought the 24 Elders were the 24 books of the Old Testament for example. Being that Timothy was an Elder without being old, we know the term is not always a reference to age but rather position. So, when judging who presents the prayers you are making to presumptions which we don’t have solid proof:

            1. The Elders are specifically people, and not angelic or metaphors.

            2. That the explicit references of angels having a connection with prayer in 1 Cor 11, Tob 12, and Rev 5 is not sufficient to say that angels are simply presenting prayers.

            3. You forget Rev 8: 3,4:”And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.”

            It appears to me you are taking the less likely, more convoluted interpretation. It may be correct, but I do not think this is a good way to interpret Scripture. We should be looking for the easiest, most consistent and self-apparent explanations.

            “Not do angels have ‘crowns’ in Sacred Scripture.”

            True, but it might be non-literal reference to their glory and authority. Victorinus was open to the interpretation that the crowned ones were archangels:

            For these are the twenty-four witnesses of the days and nights which sit before the throne of God, having golden crowns on their heads, whom the Apocalypse of John the apostle and evangelist calls elders, for the reason that they are older both than the other angels and than men (On the Creation of the World).

            “And then as another witness that the resurrected dead can communicate with others here on Earth we have the proof from the Gospel of Matthew 27:51…”

            Even though this one time event is not really evidence for your side, again it is not even a point we are debating. The question is not whether the Saints can communicate with the living. The question is whether this gives them superhuman perception, which was your initial argument. You simply cannot prove that contention, which means you have not disproved my initial point.

            “Sounds like pretty conclusive evidence to me.”

            I hope you understand, because of the preceding that it is not conclusive. You invoked non sequiturs concerning the dead communicating with the living, but that is not relevant to the conversation. Then, you took the more convoluted explanation of Rev 5:8 by the drawing of inferences when Tob 12:15, 1 Cor 11, and Rev 8:4 are explicit that it is angels that present the prayers.

            “As a side note, I might add that saints on Earth will be received by other saints into eternal habitations when they die…”

            This is another non sequitur, however. It does not lend any credibility that Saints have super-human perception and know what we are being up to without being told like any one of us.

            I hope that my response has been thoughtful and at least helps give your greater respect for the Protestant position.

            God bless,

            Craig

          3. Without duplicating all of the text above I’d just like to say that whether the texts are symbolic, or not, regarding censors, prayers elders etc… it is the message itself that needs to be understood. And it says that human elders…symbolic or not, and in some way or other…offer prayers of the Saints to God…even as the angels of Heaven do. We don’t need to dissect it too far, as it is a mystery. But we do have the text, symbolic or not, and it does communicate the idea to us sufficiently.

            The same goes with Moses and Elias, although this is not an allegorical teaching in any way. In analyzing the Transfiguration event in the Gospel it is easy to understand that these two prophets are functioning in a way similar to the ways that angels have communicated, or acted, in the Bible, and especially in the New Testament. For instance, they acted in a very similar way to that of the angel Gabriel when he appeared to Mary at the Annunciation by communicating items relating to her future as the Mother of the Lord Jesus Christ. But, for Jesus, it was Moses and Elias who appeared for the purpose of communicating items relating to his imminent sacrifice and death for mankind. To NOT COMPARE theses actions and words of Moses and Elias to similar acts of angels would be to neglect not only common sense but the words of Jesus also, when He taught:

            “For when they shall rise again from the dead, they shall neither marry, nor be married, but are as the angels in heaven. (Mark 12:25)”

            So in this discussion Jesus gives us the indication that indeed saints will be like “messengers’, which is the DEFINITION of an angel in the first place. What stronger proof do we need but the word of Christ telling us that after death we will SIMILAR to these Heavenly messengers called ‘angels’? Or do we just look over this ‘word’ that is meant to teach us of such mysterious things?

            Furthermore, we don’t really need to understand the metaphysics of everything that is happening on Mt. Tabor. That is, we don’t need to understand exactly HOW Moses and Elias knew what was going to happen to Jesus. This will always be a mystery. What IS important though, is that they, human saints, DID INDEED receive this prophetic information from God and acted like the angels in communicating this information to those below on earth.

            So, this is a powerful witness to the fact that human saints CAN HAVE such knowledge of the intimate details of people below, and also to communicate with those below concerning these intimate details of life…if the will of God permits it.

            And this is why we have the Gospels written for us. To teach us such mysterious, and marvelous, things.

          4. The real interpretive flaw is that you are taking inferences and drawing an explicit teaching. I, on the other hand, am taking explicit teachings and reiterating what they say.

            That does not mean the inferences are inaccurate. However, the burden of proof to prove them is much higher and the degree of certainty we have in your explicit teaching is thereby less.

            In heaven, we will be like angels in the sense we will serve God and not have worldly attachements. To take that verse and say we will fly, present prayers in the sense angels do, or anything esle I do not believe is substantiated by the verse at hand.

            God bless,
            Craig

          5. Craig Truglia says:
            September 27, 2015 at 7:29 pm
            The real interpretive flaw is that you are taking inferences and drawing an explicit teaching. I, on the other hand, am taking explicit teachings and reiterating what they say…..

            No, Craig. The explicit Teaching is from Sacred Tradition. The inference is in Scripture.

            You have admitted that you believe the Saints can observe us now and report back to God. Show me the explicit teaching from Scripture.

    2. De Maria, I think that when you say “the Saints are alive WITH Christ” you are hitting upon something as to the mechanics of HOW the Saints might be able to understand our prayers below. That is because WHERE CHRIST IS, THEY ALSO ARE. If Christ is in everyone of su, THEY ARE ALSO, because they are ALWAYS WITH HIM. Read carefully the following quote from the Gospel of John:

      “… the glory which thou hast given me, I have given to them; that they may be one, as we also are one: [23] I in them, and thou in me; that they may be made perfect in one: and the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast also loved me. [24] Father, I will that where I am, they also whom thou hast given me may be with me; that they may see my glory which thou hast given me, because thou hast loved me before the creation of the world. [25] Just Father, the world hath not known thee; but I have known thee: and these have known that thou hast sent me.

      [26] And I have made known thy name to them, and will make it known; that the love wherewith thou hast loved me, may be in them, and I in them. ” (John 17:22)

      1. This is a good point, but while God clearly has the ability to comprehend the prayers of everyone all at once, the ability for Mary’s mom to do it requires a qualititative change in cognition to non-human/super-human levels. Tradition certainly supports this notion, I just don’t see the Scripture doing so.

  3. “The real interpretive flaw is that you are taking inferences and drawing an explicit teaching. I, on the other hand, am taking explicit teachings and reiterating what they say.”

    Whose teachings? Having read much of what you’ve said, you follow your own interpretations of text rather than those of explicit authority. It’s setting yourself up to be a Pope rather to submit to the teachings of others in higher authority than yourself ie priests and bishops. If I were to weigh your words over those of a bishop, I would trust in his interpretation. If he is wrong (as some saints are), then the folly is not on me for believing in the authoritative figure interpretations so long as they have not been deemed heretical. It is however folly to trust your own judgements particularly on things that are mysterious.

    “That does not mean the inferences are inaccurate. However, the burden of proof to prove them is much higher and the degree of certainty we have in your explicit teaching is thereby less.”

    I think this illustrates a dichotomy. You say that the burden of proof is on Catholics to prove their beliefs even though the bishops are given authority by Christ. No, I say the burden of proof is more on you to counteract the teachings of someone in a higher position of authority.

    “In heaven, we will be like angels in the sense we will serve God and not have worldly attachements. To take that verse and say we will fly, present prayers in the sense angels do, or anything esle I do not believe is substantiated by the verse at hand.”

    You’re making the assumptions over what “similar” means. Furthermore angels don’t fly. They don’t have physical bodies so that’s impossible. Descriptions of angels use the word “swift.” They don’t imply any flying involved. Likewise I don’t imagine that saints fly either (at least not to present prayers to God). Nobody is entirely sure of what exactly new attributes our refashioned bodies will have. For all we know the prayers the saints hear is through some sort of telepathy. But naturally we don’t know how it’s done hence it being a mystery. We’re only sure that it is done. And how do we know? By the very authority figures you wish to deny who make that interpretation.

    “God bless,
    Craig”

    Pax Christi!

    1. “Whose teachings? Having read much of what you’ve said, you follow your own interpretations of text rather than those of explicit authority.”

      We come from two differing viewpoints, I am not a Catholic. Ideally, the one defending Catholicism defends the Magesterium viewpoint. The one defending the Protestant viewpoint is not liable to defend some body of tradition.

      If by default the Protestant viewpoint is wrong because it is not Catholic, then you are entitled to believe that but that does not make for a very good debate. I was asked about Scripture from which I can see was the private interpretation of Al (I am unaware of any Bishop or Pope invoking those Scriptures to defend Catholic doctrine.) I merely responded to what he has cited. So I would not be the only one guilty of “private interpretation,” nor would the accusation of “private interpretation” automatically make a point wrong.

      ” You say that the burden of proof is on Catholics to prove their beliefs even though the bishops are given authority by Christ.”

      Delta, as far as I know Bishops were not taking the Scriptures Al did and interpreting them as Al did. Al made the positive point that the Saints are aware of the private thoughts of everyone on earth, then HE cited Scriptures that came to his own mind. So, the burden is ON HIM, not on the Pope, a Church Father, or on me.

      “Furthermore angels don’t fly. They don’t have physical bodies so that’s impossible.”

      Actually, they do:

      “Whenever they moved, they moved in any of their four directions without turning as they moved. As for their rims they were lofty and awesome, and the rims of all four of them were full of eyes round about. Whenever the living beings moved, the wheels moved with them. And whenever the living beings rose from the earth, the wheels rose also” (Ezek 1:17-19).

      Why are you so quick to want to find that I am wrong, that you would pick a point such as this?

      God bless,
      Craig

      1. I think most of the early Fathers of the Church supported the Catholic position that the Saints in Heaven indeed do hear our prayers. And we might note that none of these were considered heretics, or disciplined by synods or councils for their opinions, at a time when most heresies were very scrupulously studied, debated and even fought over. Here are some of the Early Fathers’ quotes on the subject:

        1. Cyprian of Carthage

        “Let us remember one another in concord and unanimity. Let us on both sides [of death] always pray for one another. Let us relieve burdens and afflictions by mutual love, that if one of us, by the swiftness of divine condescension, shall go hence the first, our love may continue in the presence of the Lord, and our prayers for our brethren and sisters not cease in the presence of the Father’s mercy” (Letters 56 [60]:5 [A.D. 253]).

        2. Methodius

        “Hail to you for ever, Virgin Mother of God, our unceasing joy, for unto thee do I again return. Thou are the beginning of our feast; you are its middle and end; the pearl of great price that belongs unto the kingdom; the fat of every victim, the living altar of the Bread of Life [Jesus]. Hail, you treasure of the love of God. Hail, you fount of the Son’s love for man. . . . You gleamed, sweet gift-bestowing mother, of the light of the sun; you gleamed with the insupportable fires of a most fervent charity, bringing forth in the end that which was conceived of thee . . . making manifest the mystery hidden and unspeakable, the invisible Son of the Father–the Prince of Peace, who in a marvelous manner showed himself as less than all littleness” (Oration on Simeon and Anna 14 [A.D. 305]).

        3. Methodius

        “Therefore, we pray thee, the most excellent among women, who glories in the confidence of your maternal honors, that you would unceasingly keep us in remembrance. O holy Mother of God, remember us, I say, who make our boast in thee, and who in hymns august celebrate the memory, which will ever live, and never fade away” (ibid.).

        4. Methodius

        “And you also, O honored and venerable Simeon, you earliest host of our holy religion, and teacher of the resurrection of the faithful, do be our patron and advocate with that Savior God, whom you were deemed worthy to receive into your arms. We, together with thee, sing our praises to Christ, who has the power of life and death, saying, Thou art the true Light, proceeding from the true Light; the true God, begotten of the true God” (ibid.).

        5. Anonymous

        “Mother of God, [listen to] my petitions; do not disregard us in adversity, but rescue us from danger” (Rylands Papyrus 3 [A.D. 350]).

        6. Cyril of Jerusalem

        “Then [during the Eucharistic prayer] we make mention also of those who have already fallen asleep: first, the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, that through their prayers and supplications God would receive our petition . . . ” (Catechetical Lectures 23:9 [A.D. 350]).

        7. Hilary of Poitiers

        “To those who wish to stand [in God’s grace], neither the guardianship of saints nor the defenses of angels are wanting” (Commentary on the Psalms 124:5:6 [A.D. 365]).

        8. Ephraim the Syrian

        “Remember me, you heirs of God, you brethren of Christ; supplicate the Savior earnestly for me, that I may be freed through Christ from him that fights against me day by day” (The Fear at the End of Life [A.D. 370]).

        9. Ephraim the Syrian

        “You victorious martyrs who endured torments gladly for the sake of the God and Savior, you who have boldness of speech toward the Lord himself, you saints, intercede for us who are timid and sinful men, full of sloth, that the grace of Christ may come upon us, and enlighten the hearts of all of us that so we may love him” (Commentary on Mark [A.D. 370]).

        10. The Liturgy of St. Basil

        “By the command of your only-begotten Son we communicate with the memory of your saints . . . by whose prayers and supplications have mercy upon us all, and deliver us for the sake of your holy name” (Liturgy of St. Basil [A.D. 373]).

        11. Pectorius

        “Aschandius, my father, dearly beloved of my heart, with my sweet mother and my brethren, remember your Pectorius in the peace of the Fish [Christ]” (Epitaph of Pectorius [A.D. 375]).

        12. Gregory Nazianz

        “May you [Cyprian] look down from above propitiously upon us, and guide our word and life; and shepherd this sacred flock . . . gladden the Holy Trinity, before which you stand” (Orations 17 [24] [A.D. 380]).

        13. Gregory Nazianz

        “Yes, I am well assured that [my father’s] intercession is of more avail now than was his instruction in former days, since he is closer to God, now that he has shaken off his bodily fetters, and freed his mind from the clay that obscured it, and holds conversation naked with the nakedness of the prime and purest mind . . . ” (ibid., 18:4).

        14. Gregory of Nyssa

        “[Ephraim], you who are standing at the divine altar [in heaven] . . . bear us all in remembrance, petitioning for us the remission of sins, and the fruition of an everlasting kingdom” (Sermon on Ephraim the Syrian [A.D. 380]).

        15. John Chrysostom

        “He that wears the purple [i.e. a royal man] . . . stands begging of the saints to be his patrons with God, and he that wears a diadem begs the tent-maker [Paul] and the fisherman [Peter] as patrons, even though they be dead” (Homilies on 2 Corinthians 26 [A.D. 392]).

        16. John Chrysostom

        “When you perceive that God is chastening you, 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 [in God]” (Orations 8:6 [A.D. 396]).

        17. Ambrose of Milan

        “May Peter, who wept so efficaciously for himself, weep for us and turn towards us Christ’s benign countenance” (The Six Days’ Work 5:25:90 [A.D. 393]).

        18. Jerome

        “You say in your book that while we live we are able to pray for each other, but afterwards when we have died, the prayer of no person for another can be heard . . . But if the apostles and martyrs while still in the body can pray for others, at a time when they ought still be solicitous about themselves, how much more will they do so after their crowns, victories, and triumphs?” (Against Vigilantius 6 [A.D. 406]).

        19. Augustine

        “A Christian people celebrates together in religious solemnity the memorials of the martyrs, both to encourage their being imitated and so that it can share in their merits and be aided by their prayers” (Against Faustus the Manichean [A.D. 400]).

        20. Augustine

        “There is an ecclesiastical discipline, as the faithful know, when the names of the martyrs are read aloud in that place at the altar of God, where prayer is not offered for them. Prayer, however, is offered for the dead who are remembered. For it is wrong to pray for a martyr, to whose prayers we ought ourselves be commended” (Sermons 159:1 [A.D. 411]).

        21. Augustine

        “At the Lord’s table we do not commemorate martyrs in the same way that we do others who rest in peace so as to pray for them, but rather that they may pray for us that we may follow in their footsteps” (Homilies on John 84 [A.D. 416]).

        22. Augustine

        “Neither are the souls of the pious dead separated from the Church which even now is the kingdom of Christ. Otherwise there would be no remembrance of them at the altar of God in the communication of the Body of Christ” (The City of God 20:9:2 [A.D. 419]).

        1. Al, I cannot help but notice that you are switching gears.

          Interestingly enough, none of he ECFs there are making an identical claim to you–they appear not to be endorsing that the Saints know every single particular and thought that we have. Rather, they are saying that the Saints pray for us in a more generalized sense (something I said already many replies ago.)

          You made a Biblical argument, so I responded. So, do you concede the Biblical argument? Ultimately ECFs and any one of us can be wrong on doctrine. The Scripture cannot be. For what it is worth, none of the ECFs you quoted here have taken a different view than me, so I am unsure what else to say.

          1. Craig, I’m arguing from both scripture AND the early Church Fathers. I use any perspective the Lord gives to come to a competent conclusion on scriptural subject matter.

          2. Craig, you are the one who is trying to define exactly something that is still something rather mysterious and hidden. I look at all of this discussion in a more general way, and use Jesus as my teacher, as well as the Early Church Saints. But that you suggest that all of the Fathers in these quotes I provided agree with you…I can’t imagine how this can be. For a saint on Earth to pray, and a saint in Heaven to hear, as is presumed in the majority of these quotes, above, is to understand that the Saints above are intimately aware of the prayers of those here below. And that means any of the multitude of Saints below, and in whatever location. So, if you agree with these quotes above, as you said: “none of the ECFs you quoted here have taken a different view than me”, then, I guess there is no conflict of understanding between us…because these provided quotes of the Fathers obviously indicate that the human saints above do indeed hear the prayers of saints below.

          3. Al, it appears you’re trying to throw anything at the wall and see if it sticks. However, you took issue with my initial claims, which were quite limited:

            “1. Yes, the saints pray for the church. There is no evidence that they hear our prayers…”

            You cited 1 Cor 6, among other Scriptures, to say that there is evidence. I have shown you cited these texts improperly. Hence, my point that there “is no evidence” stands. I’m not the want seeking to define terms, you are.

            “2. To suppose a saint can hear the prayers of millions of people, internalize them, and then pray about them attributes to him super-human if not divine abilities. When the dead have come back in the Scripture, they do not exhibit super-human intellect or perception…”

            Again, I have localized my claim to the Scripture, not tradition. So, again you take issue with my assertions, but have opposed them not different grounds than on which I made my claims. So, you have not proved a point.

            As for tradition, I already argued this with Joe, so I’ll give you the last word on it. I don’t think anything you posted, other than one prayer, suggests anything different than I have said.

          4. Craig, I’m providing both scriptural and early Church evidence for the fact that Saints indeed hear our prayers, when we pray to them. It’s not just ” throwing things out that will stick”, these are particular words, parables and events in scripture, that are particularly pertinent.

            Regarding 1 Cor. 6? This whole argument is not chained to this one TINY reference in scripture. It was just one of MANY supporting events facts, and words found in scripture about the nature of Heaven that I provided in this discussion.

            But, if you want to just focus JUST on this TINY point of 1 Cor. 6, and the question “How are the above mentioned saints going to ‘judge the world’ if they have no intimate knowledge of it?”, I’ll respond to your points that you raised below, wherein you said:

            —-“1. Jesus Christ judges the world. “God judges” (1 Cor 5:13), and “Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead” (2 Tim 4:1).”

            But, St Paul also says:

            *** “Know you not that we shall judge angels? how much more things of this world? “(1 Corinthians 6:3)

            And in the Gospel of Luke we read:

            *** “And you are they who have continued with me in my temptations: [29] And I dispose to you, as my Father hath disposed to me, a kingdom; [30] That you may eat and drink at my table, in my kingdom: and may sit upon thrones, JUDGING the twelve tribes of Israel. (Luke 22:28).

            While there are far more references to God judging, or Jesus judging, we still have these scriptures to account for. That is, we cannot just throw them away as worthless. For true Christians each word of Christ is an eternal treasure to be meditated on, and delved into, in great depth. This is not to say that we perfectly understand them, but that we STRIVE to understand them.

            —- “2. The Saints will come to know of every detail on the day of judgement, because “I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment” (Matt 12:36).

            Where does this imply that the saints are excluded from hearing, or understanding, these careless words until the day of judgement? I personally know many saintly people today, such as my wife, who might convict me also, of the many careless words I have spoken. Where does it say here that ONLY GOD KNOWS? It certainly seems that Abraham knew of the things that Lazarus and the rich man did as described in the Parable by Christ. Moreover, since the saints offer our prayers to God, via the symbolism of the “twenty four elders” of Revelations 5:

            “and the four and twenty ancients fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the PRAYERS OF SAINTS”,

            …why wouldn’t they also know of our evil words? Or do you deny that the 24 elders (interpreted symbolically ) presented the vials of prayers of the saints (also interpreted symbolically) to the Lamb ( interpreted symbolically)?

            —- “3. Lastly, the details are revealed when on the day of judgment several books are opened in which contain the recording of the wicked people’s deeds: “the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds” (Rev 20:12).”

            You should probably say ALL THE DETAILS, not just ‘details’. There are many details that are widely known today, and especially for those who were the victims of such sinful deeds and behavior. Consider this saying:

            “See that you despise not one of these little ones: for I say to you, that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.” ( Matthew 18:10)

            And: “Let the charity of the brotherhood abide in you. [2] And hospitality do not forget; for by this some, being not aware of it, have entertained angels.” (Heb.13:1)

            So we see that angels are indeed counting virtuous and vicious deeds here on Earth in actual time. But the totality of all sins and good deeds will be known on the day of Judgement. There are evil deeds and virtuous deeds that are having good and evil impacts on the world even from the beginning of creation, the full extent of the evil and goodness which will not be known until the end of time. But this does not mean that the individual words and deeds cannot be ALSO counted in ‘real time’, , so-to-say, by saints and angels in Heaven.

            Anyway, this is all something to consider.

          5. “This whole argument is not chained to this one TINY reference in scripture.”

            I’m yet to see it (the idea that the Saints judge the world because they have firsthand knowledge of everything) chained to ANY reference in the Scripture, let alone 1 Cor 6.

            “But, St Paul also says…”

            I already said the Saints take part in judging the world, so I am not sure what you are trying to prove here…

            “That is, we cannot just throw them away as worthless.”

            But I haven’t which shows you either did not read or do not understand my rationale. I already said that the LIKELY vehicle to the Saints judging is that on the last day we given an account for every idle work, and all our works are recorded in “books” according to Rev 20. So, they would not require firsthand knowledge to judge. This is my argument.

            “Where does this imply that the saints are excluded from hearing, or understanding, these careless words until the day of judgement?”

            Nowhere. Nor does it say anyway that they can hear every careless word as we say it.

            So, we are both making arguments from silence in one respect. However, in another respect I am not–it violates human nature to perceive the thoughts and works of billions of people. Human aptitudes do not allow for it, this is a fact. So, without a specific Scripture that says that this somehow changes after death, I see no good reason to presume upon it.

            “Or do you deny that the 24 elders (interpreted symbolically ) presented the vials of prayers of the saints (also interpreted symbolically) to the Lamb ( interpreted symbolically)?”

            I believe the Elders are 24 archangels. I am open to change on this point, but I think it consistently interprets all the other Scriptural references to who presents prayers to God (namely, angels.)

            All in all, in order to prove your point, you need to address the change of human aptitudes after death. I am open to persuasion, but I simply do not see it in the Scripture.

            God bless,

            Craig

          6. Craig – So, we are both making arguments from silence in one respect. However, in another respect I am not–it violates human nature to perceive the thoughts and works of billions of people. Human aptitudes do not allow for it, this is a fact. So, without a specific Scripture that says that this somehow changes after death, I see no good reason to presume upon it.

            Me – I find this interesting. You apply inferences, typology, Tradition, presumptions, etc… rather than specific Scripture to support sola scriptura, imputation, what books of the bible are inspired, Trinity, etc.. but refuse to do so on this issue. Those in heaven are limited by human aptitudes? So much for all is possible with God.

            So what you are saying is that God gives a man’s shadow the ability to heal, allows a man to walk on water, He created EVERYTHING, but just can’t muster enough power to give those in heaven the finite ability to hear prayers. You are thinking according to the flesh not Spirit.

          7. “CK – I find this interesting. You apply inferences, typology, Tradition, presumptions, etc… rather than specific Scripture to support sola scriptura, imputation, what books of the bible are inspired, Trinity, etc..”

            CK, how does what any of the preceding apply to the conversation at hand?

            My point has been without a specific Scripture, my assumption about human nature is that it remains the same. That’s not an inference, it is a default position. Al is arguing from inference, not me.

            Then, you list a set of doctrines (“sola scriptura, imputation, what books of the bible are inspired, Trinity”) and accuse me of holding them by inference.

            Sola Scriptura can be defended from 2 Tim 3:16. Please, let’s not argue it now, we have enough rabbit trails for a post about dating! Imputation/crediting of righteousness is a teaching from Rom 4, the Greek word for it is used. Likewise, the Trinity is not only mentioned explicitly in two different verses (if not three depending upon where you stand on 1 John 5:7), the Scripture calls each individual Person of the Trinity God. This is not an inference, it is an explicit Scriptural teaching.

            Concerning the Canon, you will notice that I have not passed comment on it, nor do I take a firm stance on the Deuterocanon. I find the testimony of the Church to be sufficient in recognizing the books of the Canon. In this very comment section I quoted Tob 12:15. Again, I am vexed by your comments, they are totally out of left field.

            “So what you are saying is that God gives a man’s shadow the ability to heal, allows a man to walk on water, He created EVERYTHING, but just can’t muster enough power to give those in heaven the finite ability to hear prayers. You are thinking according to the flesh not Spirit.”

            Of course God can. God could turn us into unicorns if He wants to. However, just because He can does not mean He does.

          8. Craig – how does what any of the preceding apply to the conversation at hand?

            Me – you said you must find it specifically in Scripture and I was listing things that you believe in which are not specifically spelled out.

            Craig – My point has been without a specific Scripture, my assumption about human nature is that it remains the same. That’s not an inference, it is a default position. Al is arguing from inference, not me.

            Me – Scripture does not specifically teach that the authors of the New Testament are without errors, that revelation ended with the Apostles, etc… yet you believe this based on Tradition. I’m just looking for consistency.

            Craig – Then, you list a set of doctrines (“sola scriptura, imputation, what books of the bible are inspired, Trinity”) and accuse me of holding them by inference.

            Me – I’m beginning to see what De Maria is talking about. I’ve accused of relying on inferences, typology, Tradition, presumptions, etc… not just inference. Do you not rely on all of these? Actually you could remove typology as this would fall under Scripture.

            Craig – Sola Scriptura can be defended from 2 Tim 3:16. Please, let’s not argue it now, we have enough rabbit trails for a post about dating! Imputation/crediting of righteousness is a teaching from Rom 4, the Greek word for it is used. Likewise, the Trinity is not only mentioned explicitly in two different verses (if not three depending upon where you stand on 1 John 5:7), the Scripture calls each individual Person of the Trinity God. This is not an inference, it is an explicit Scriptural teaching.

            Me – You are right that’s why it took 400 to 1500 years to hash it out. It’s there plain as day.

            The reason we are so off topic is because on a post about dating you brought up praying to the Saints and had to stick to all of ancient Christian religions and call it “superstitious”.

            Craig – Concerning the Canon, you will notice that I have not passed comment on it, nor do I take a firm stance on the Deuterocanon. I find the testimony of the Church to be sufficient in recognizing the books of the Canon. In this very comment section I quoted Tob 12:15. Again, I am vexed by your comments, they are totally out of left field.

            Me – again..you claim on Sola Scriptura except when you don’t. Don’t be vexed. You claim you must have explicit biblical verses and I’m pointing out that you rely on inferences, typology, Tradition, presumptions, etc… when it benefits your argument and demand scripture alone. So it’s either Scripture alone or it’s not. I’m asking for consistency.

            Also, every ancient Christian religion prays to Saints. It blow my mind that you can just wave this off. The churches led by Peter, Andrew, Mark all pray to Saints and in your mind they all apostatized. How and why? Your answer is just because.

            Let’s talk about dating now!!! 🙂

          9. Craig – Sola Scriptura can be defended from 2 Tim 3:16. Please, let’s not argue it now,…

            Please, let’s do argue it now. I think the rabbit trails have all been located and we’re closing in on the rabbit. This appears to be the last one.

          10. “I’m beginning to see what De Maria is talking about. I’ve accused of relying on inferences, typology, Tradition, presumptions, etc… not just inference. Do you not rely on all of these? Actually you could remove typology as this would fall under Scripture.”

            We need to rely on some degree of inference, typology, tradition, etc… because Jesus teaches that this is how we judge in this world, when He said “you shall know a tree by it’s fruits”. Tradition involves action and works, not only theological speculation and doctrine. The actions, or ‘fruits’ of these actions can be used in an assessment of the hidden qualities of a person, or institution, even as Jesus insinuates when He replies to the disciples of John the Baptist about their question:

            ” Art thou he that art to come, or look we for another? [4] And Jesus making answer said to them: Go and relate to John what you have heard and seen. [5] The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead rise again, the poor have the gospel preached to them.” (Matt. 11:3)

            Jesus also says: “[11] Believe you not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? [12] Otherwise believe for the very works’ sake.(John 14:11)

            So, again, the works are ‘the ‘tradition’ of Jesus’ recent past. It is what He has been doing in via miracles, prophesies, acts of charity, mode of speech, habit of life, acts of mercy, etc…. And Jesus says that these can be used to determine the inner quality of His soul, that is, that He and the Father are ‘One’.

            Jesus also, likewise, indicates how people are to recognize who are his real disciples, or not. And He doesn’t say they need to know how to dissect, or ‘mince’, a single word or phrase of scripture. He says:

            “A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another. [35] By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.” (John 13:34)

            So, this again points to the discovery of the hidden nature of a person by examining the qualities of their works, traditions, characteristics, acts of charity, acts of humility, etc…and this applies to everyone, whether it be the works of Jesus found in the Gospels, or the works of Jesus found in His ‘Mystical Body’, The Church, which will be with us until the end of the world.

            Just something to think about.

          11. CK, I apologize for the very brief reply, we have gone way too off topic:

            “…you said you must find it specifically in Scripture and I was listing things that you believe in which are not specifically spelled out.”

            But they are, as I showed.

            “Scripture does not specifically teach that the authors of the New Testament are without errors…”

            Peter calls Paul’s letters Scripture, and Paul says ALL Scripture is God breathed. However, I already said that the testimony of the Apostles themselves and the Church is sufficient in addressing the Canon.

            “Do you not rely on all of these? ”

            Not really, and you haven’t shown it. You just made blind assertions and say that I must be drawing inferences. I detailed Al’s inferences, there is a profound difference.

            “You are right that’s why it took 400 to 1500 years to hash it out. It’s there plain as day.”

            It sure is, some people are just heretics and they blaspheme God by not recognizing what the Scripture clearly teaches.

            “again..you claim on Sola Scriptura except when you don’t.”

            Except this claim makes no sense because I don’t make absolute truth statements without Scriptural support, and you have not shown that I do.

            “I’m pointing out that you rely on inferences, typology, Tradition, presumptions, etc… ”

            Except, you didn’t point at anything at all.

            “Also, every ancient Christian religion prays to Saints. It blow my mind that you can just wave this off.”

            I don’t wave it off, however. If you do not read what I write, then I cannot help you.

            “Let’s talk about dating now!!! ”

            Yes, on to dating!

      2. “We come from two differing viewpoints, I am not a Catholic. Ideally, the one defending Catholicism defends the Magesterium viewpoint. The one defending the Protestant viewpoint is not liable to defend some body of tradition.”

        And yet Protestants do have traditions that they personally decide to follow. Therefore they have to defend those traditional view points. Things like Sole Scripture for example. The problem is that Protestants weren’t given the authority to determine view points apart from the Church. Therefore defending such traditions is simply put…wrong.

        “If by default the Protestant viewpoint is wrong because it is not Catholic, then you are entitled to believe that but that does not make for a very good debate.”

        No it doesn’t make for a good debate. I don’t think Joe’s direction for his blog is to defend the Protestant position as being the correct one. I think the point of Joe’s blog is to defend the Catholic position and to prove the Protestant one as being wrong. It’s a futile attempt on any Protestant’s part to defend those teachings from the get go because of one very important point….Protestants don’t have the authority behind their teachings. In other words, we’re trying to teach you what the authoritative teachings are. You can ignore them, but there’s no real point into trying to debate with Catholics. You are always coming from the wrong position because (here it comes again) you haven’t the authority. So it’s not a good debate at least if your sole point is to prove something. You’ve already lost on that point.

        “I was asked about Scripture from which I can see was the private interpretation of Al (I am unaware of any Bishop or Pope invoking those Scriptures to defend Catholic doctrine.) I merely responded to what he has cited. So I would not be the only one guilty of “private interpretation,” nor would the accusation of “private interpretation” automatically make a point wrong.”

        Catholics allow for private interpretation so long as it isn’t heretical. As you’ve pointed out many many different Church Fathers’ own personal interpretations. Al may or may not be correctly understanding the scriptures he’s citing. But that isn’t the point. The point is that in some way Saints hear our prayers. This is Church teaching. Full stop. There’s nothing really to prove. That’s the teaching. We don’t really have defend it other than to say “it’s Church teaching.” You on the other hand have much to prove that this isn’t true because (you ready for it) you don’t have the authority to say saints can’t hear prayers.

        “Delta, as far as I know Bishops were not taking the Scriptures Al did and interpreting them as Al did. Al made the positive point that the Saints are aware of the private thoughts of everyone on earth, then HE cited Scriptures that came to his own mind. So, the burden is ON HIM, not on the Pope, a Church Father, or on me.”

        Actually the burden is on you…to prove that your teachings are not heretical. Al’s being rather generous trying to scrap together something that you could latch onto. It doesn’t matter if his interpretations are accurate or not because you have to prove that the saints don’t hear prayers. But you can’t really because (sorry to say it again) you haven’t the authority to dismiss Church teachings.

        “Actually, they do:

        “Whenever they moved, they moved in any of their four directions without turning as they moved. As for their rims they were lofty and awesome, and the rims of all four of them were full of eyes round about. Whenever the living beings moved, the wheels moved with them. And whenever the living beings rose from the earth, the wheels rose also” (Ezek 1:17-19).

        Why are you so quick to want to find that I am wrong, that you would pick a point such as this?”

        I’m not quick to find that you are wrong. I already know that you are wrong. Angels don’t have bodies. The scriptural passage you cited is symbolic. Wings illustrate their swiftness. Eyes show that they can “see” or have knowledge of all that’s going on around them. It’s Church teaching that angels don’t have bodies. They are pure spirits. Again, this is one of those arguments of futility. You can cite as many passages as you desire, but you haven’t the authority to supersede Church teaching. It’s a losing battle that you are waging. Give up. Join the Church. We have better wafers. 😉

        Pax Christi!

          1. The only thing I said was that you said the saints were dead. You called it hair splitting and said you didn’t want to discuss the saints as it wasn’t the main focus of the piece. You also mentioned that you don’t think saints can hear anything. But then someone else said something about you being the one to bring it up. Many people asserted that they disagreed with you. I didn’t ask you anything about whether saints can hear prayers or not. You are the one who brought up the notion that saints don’t hear prayers. Everything else that followed has been to refute that basic assertion you came up with.

            My response makes perfect sense. I’m not here to have you evangelize me. We’re here (and I think I can speak for the Catholics who hang out here and post) in part to evangelize you. At most we’re asking what it is exactly you believe and why. Then our job is to point out why you are wrong. You may not like any of our interpretations of scripture, but that doesn’t matter. The bottom line is that this is Church teaching. Regardless of whether you believe in it or not, you haven’t the authority to refute.

            I’m not entirely sure what your hoping to accomplish by making such comments here. This is why I’ve decided to make it clear to you that we won’t budge. To my knowledge, none of us are bishops so we haven’t that authority anyway. We merely present teachings. You can take it how you like, but I wanted you to understand that it’s a complete waste of time if you are trying to get any of us to suddenly change our minds about Church teaching. In other words, if your goal is to somehow “win” you are fighting the wrong people.

            This is not to say that Catholics don’t debate. We could talk about how the saints hear prayers. Nobody really knows how because that is a mystery. Therefore it’s anybody’s guess, and they may or may not be correct. But to assert that they don’t hear prayers…well, that’s just wrong-headed.

            Likewise we could talk about angels of which we know so little. How can they assume physical forms when they don’t have bodies? That’s always puzzled me. But it’s Church teaching that they don’t have bodies. You and I can’t refute that.

            Understand my point?

          2. Honestly, I do not think you’re making sense at all. You took issue with the term “prayers to the dead [saints],” because you took issue with the term dead…a term Catholic theologians, and Joe in an article on the topic on this website, has used countless times: http://shamelesspopery.com/does-scripture-teach-us-to-pray-for-the-departed-and-to-pray-to-the-saints/

            “But to assert that they don’t hear prayers…well, that’s just wrong-headed.”

            Again, this is never something your proved. All you can make is an appeal to authority, which is fine, but Al made an incorrect Biblical argument. I never responded to the issue to authority, but only the issue in which I can pass comment on the Scripture, because we have this in common.)

            So, you don’t have to debate me, I wasn’t asking for a debate here. But, if you’re going to go cite a Scripture and say, “Look, you’re wrong!” you have to defend the notion with something a little more solid than “you use private interpretation so you’re automatically wrong, and I don’t so I’m automatically right…even though know authority is quoting the same Scriptures to the same end as I am.”

            It’s not an intellectually defensible position, hence the meme.

            God bless,
            Craig

          3. “…but Al made an incorrect Biblical argument”

            Please see my reply above for more consideration. I answered the 3 points that you detailed with some pertinent scriptures that reveal your incomplete, or maybe exaggerated, exegesis.

          4. No I didn’t necessarily take issue with you saying “dead” saints. Based on your description and what you’ve said in the past, I believed that you think the saints aren’t really all that efficacious (at least not in a Catholic sense) so you classify them as “dead”. I believe you don’t follow the Protestant dogma of “soul sleep.” (You could correct me if I’m wrong). I was surprised you called them dead in such a derogatory way. (The context was their lack of ability to pray for others because they are “dead”.) This is why I phrased it as a question. You told me what you really meant. We are square at least as far as the “dead” part is concerned.

            “Again, this is never something your proved. All you can make is an appeal to authority, which is fine, but Al made an incorrect Biblical argument. I never responded to the issue to authority, but only the issue in which I can pass comment on the Scripture, because we have this in common.)”

            Very well. That’s Al’s point. It’s not my point. That’s why I started a thread discussing authority. And it’s not true that we have just Scripture in common. Again Protestants have traditions some of which are based on Church traditions which come from the authority. You also spend a lot of time reading about Early Church Fathers, some of whom appeal to Tradition in addition to Scripture. So I really don’t understand why me appealing to authority is such a shock to a Protestant such as yourself. The onus is on you to show that there isn’t a hierarchy or strict authoritative structure on which scriptural interpretations can be laid. Al’s personal interpretations may be wrong, but again that doesn’t really matter. What matters is that saints can hear our prayers. This comes from the bishops. And you’ll have to discount the weight or authority the bishops have in their interpretations of both scripture and Tradition. But that’s not really possible for me or you.

            “So, you don’t have to debate me, I wasn’t asking for a debate here.”

            I’m not debating you. I’m telling you that as a brother in Christ you are heading in the wrong direction. Turn around. Join the Church.

            “But, if you’re going to go cite a Scripture and say, “Look, you’re wrong!” you have to defend the notion with something a little more solid than “you use private interpretation so you’re automatically wrong, and I don’t so I’m automatically right…even though know authority is quoting the same Scriptures to the same end as I am.””

            I didn’t cite scripture about how saints hearing prayers. The only thing I said was saints aren’t dead and point out that scripturally there is no such thing as soul sleep. You seem to agree with that point.

            I did say that personal interpretations are fine so long as they are not heretical, so long as they do not contradict. You rely on yourself and the Early Church Fathers for personal interpretation of the scriptures. It’s a good start but still has led you down the road to heresy. That’s the point I was trying to make.

            Seriously how can you say that your interpretation is the best one? There are way too many different Protestant interpretations all of which assert different things. I can say with clarity what the dogma is concerning the saints because of the what the Early Church Fathers have said, what scripture has said, and because of what the magisterium has said. These dogmatic teachings aren’t my own. My own are more prone to error than those who have carried different conversations over the centuries. Why should I believe that your dogmatic beliefs are the correct ones and theirs are not?

            “It’s not an intellectually defensible position, hence the meme.”

            No you don’t have the intellectually defensible position. You are one man looking at few pieces of a gigantic puzzle: one that has already been solved. You appeal to your own interpretations and dogmatic pronouncements. Al, for his part, is at least looking at what is dogma and trying to cast scripture in that light. You are doing it the other way: looking at scripture and making dogmatic pronouncements. In other words, he may be wrong in his interpretations, but you are wrong in your interpretations and conclusions as well. At least Al has the right answer. Stop being your own Pope. Join the Church.

          5. Delta:

            “No I didn’t necessarily take issue with you saying “dead” saints. Based on your description and what you’ve said in the past, I believed that you think the saints aren’t really all that efficacious (at least not in a Catholic sense) so you classify them as “dead”.”

            So, now you take issue with an assumed meaning of what I said, even though I used a theological term used by all Catholics in an equivalent sense? If you want to put words in my mouth, I can’t stop you, but I called them “dead” in the same sense Joe did. Quite frankly, I don’t even understand why you would have to speculate as to what I would mean by a common term. It would be like if I used the term “Trinity,” you’d be leaping to conclusions about other things I could possibly mean by the term.

            Honestly, I think you need to exercise some humility and admit you jumped the gun in your reply by taking issue with a common term.

          6. “So, now you take issue with an assumed meaning of what I said, even though I used a theological term used by all Catholics in an equivalent sense?”

            No I take issue with the derogatory way you talk about the saints. You said: ” though asking a dead saint t (sic) watch after you when there are plenty of living ones seems to me more than a tad superstitious.” To me that’s saying either 1) you believe in soul sleep or 2) a very derogatory way to describe the saints as though they are “dead” in their prayers compared to living “saints” on earth. I assumed from prior conversations that you don’t believe in soul sleep, but I give people the benefit of doubt. So I phrased it as a question and pointed out where this incorrect.

            Yes, you can refer to saints as “dead” but here you are using the term to compare them to live people on earth and saying that the prayers of those on earth are more beneficial than those in heaven. That any prayers to saints are “superstitious.” That’s a bit of a derogatory way of speaking about the saints and it’s targeting Catholics who believe the saints can hear our prayers. You’ve haven’t corrected me about the soul sleep part so that means you said your comments to hurl barbs at Catholics or to be flippant. Either way it’s rather disrespectful. So yes, I take issue with that.

            ” If you want to put words in my mouth, I can’t stop you, but I called them “dead” in the same sense Joe did.”

            Joe is a Catholic. He would never say the prayers of those on earth outweigh the prayers of those in heaven. Nor would he say that praying to saints is superstitious. I didn’t put those phrases in your mouth (or more literally at your finger tips). You did that all on your own. When Joe uses the term “dead”, he is referring to those alive in heaven versus those alive on earth. He is not using the term as you did, which is being condescending to the saints and those who pray to them.

            “Quite frankly, I don’t even understand why you would have to speculate as to what I would mean by a common term.”

            I was trying to determine whether you were targeting Catholics or simply believed in soul sleep based on how you used the word “dead.”

            “It would be like if I used the term “Trinity,” you’d be leaping to conclusions about other things I could possibly mean by the term.”

            If in context, you said that there is no such thing as the Trinity and that anyone who worshipped a Triune God was really a polytheist, why wouldn’t I call you out on that?

            “Honestly, I think you need to exercise some humility and admit you jumped the gun in your reply by taking issue with a common term.”

            I think everyone can use a little humility, but I don’t think in this case I jumped the gun on anything. You haven’t said that you believe in soul sleep so that means you said what you said with an air of recklessness and disregard to someone else’s beliefs. Perhaps you did so without thinking, without intent to ruffle someone else’s feathers. But you did nonetheless. And isn’t it in the Bible that we are to exercise fraternal correction? In this case I was telling you to watch what you say because it can be taken as uncharitable and an attack on a closely held Catholic belief. Catholics don’t take it too kindly if you call us superstitious. You shouldn’t also be equally surprised if we defend our beliefs against derogatorily phrased comments. You can take that advice or leave it.

            Perhaps I’m being too sensitive. I can admit that many Protestants have no idea how much anti-Catholic rhetoric Catholics put up with on a regular basis. But if you earnestly want to dialogue with Catholics, you should at least be aware of the way your phrase things is uncharitable yes? I would expect the same corrections from Protestants.

          7. Delta, I have made plenty of mistakes and I certainly have been wrong about a lot of things. However, you are debating me one what I meant by my own words. I just don’t get it.

          8. “Delta, I have made plenty of mistakes and I certainly have been wrong about a lot of things. However, you are debating me one what I meant by my own words. I just don’t get it.”

            I’m aware that you don’t realize what you’re saying. That is why I’m telling you about it.

            Here’s a poor example: If a doctor tells a women that she’s had an abortion ie a miscarriage. He would be technically correct. But that’s not something you say to a women who just lost her child. Colloquially she had a miscarriage. But medically she had a spontaneous abortion. People (in one case those on capital hill) sling the term abortion around to mean the medical term and it’s hurtful for those who’ve experienced miscarriages. Fortunately I never have (that I’m aware of) but many of my friends are appalled by people using the term because it lacks compassion.

            Likewise I’ve had people tell me that “Catholics murder women” when they are disagreeing with the Church’s stance on tubal ligations. I had one woman tell me that my son, who is autistic, is a “genetic anomaly.” While this is true, in context she also said that he was “genetically inferior” and so was I. She boasted of her own genetic superiority. *shudders* The Deceiver’s at work on her. I pray for her soul and I hope that you will too.

            But these are highly politically charged statements. They are meant to invoke anger. There are subtle remarks that Protestants often make without intending harm. Like Catholics are idol worshipers. Catholics are not Christians. And in your case, to paraphrase, Catholic practices are superstitious. We pray to “dead” saints and should ask prayers of live “saints.” As someone already pointed out. This isn’t an and/or situation. I’ve asked people many times to pray for me just like I’ve asked the saints to. Both are efficacious.

            I’m not debating you about what you meant. I’m telling you how they were taken by me as others have also told you how they understood them. If you wish to be charitable, you’ll tread more carefully. If you wish to provoke us or not swallow your own pride, you’ll simply ignore my words of caution. The ball is in your court. I think I’ve beat this topic into a pulp enough already.

            BTW the opportunity to join the Church is always available. We have really good wine. 😉

            Pax Christ!

          9. Delta, you are lying. Your first reply wasn’t about my tone. In fact, my tone was extremely passive. My comment was “…seems to me more than a tad superstitious.” I didn’t say it was, or arguing that it was, I said what my opinion was.

            Then, you reacted by saying Saints are not dead. You have been playing catchup ever since. I only bother pointing this out to you because it is of benefit to all of us to admit it when we are clearly in the wrong. In this situation, it isn’t me.

          10. Wow Craig! Just Wow! I’ve already explained to you that I initially (and still do) took your comments as being derogatory. I also explained that I give people the benefit of doubt. You have not apologized. You have not said that you can see why a person would take them as malicious. I mean how could one not when you labeled a Catholic practice/belief “superstitious.” Are Catholic superstitious in your opinion Craig? Truly tell us how you really feel.

            But no. You accuse me of lying about my feelings. Wow! Just Wow! I think I’ve been more than charitable. But I guess it should be obvious how you feel about Catholics. Do me a favor. Go away until you can apologize. I’m done.

          11. I think everyone should be patient when discussing theology with others that have differing opinions. Just look at how patient Jesus was with his disciples. How many years did it take them, even traveling and living with Him day and night, for them to understand what He was teaching in the very least? Even to the end of His life He seems to show exasperation, and surprise, at their lack of comprehension, and rebukes them frequently with words such as “O ye of little faith”.

            So, If it took the Apostles so long to understand, how much more ourselves? I think that is why the Lord taught:

            ‘Because thou hast seen me, …. thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed.’ (John 20:29) And : “For if in the green wood they do these things, what shall be done in the dry?” (Luke 23:21)

      1. I never really worried about this ‘private interpretation’ doctrine too much. I know by experience that the Holy Church is extremely wise and charitable in almost everything it does. It is the Lord’s ‘bride’. Moreover, how many very holy souls has the Church raised throughout the centuries. You can know these by their very visible ‘fruits’, and by reading their incredible and holy lives. St. Augustine and ‘the Fathers’ just scratch the surface. Sts. like : Francis, Dominic, John Bosco, John Brebuef, John Vienney, Francis Xavier, Francis Solano, Francis Paola, Anthony Mary Claret, Alphonsus Liguori, Louis de Montfort, Rose of Lima, Martin de Porres, Theresa of Avila, Theresa of Liseaux, Philip Neri, Joseph Cupertino, etc… etc… x 100, are all unbelievably wise, humble, holy and heroic souls. The Catholic Church shines brightly through these awesome servants of God.

        Everyone should spend their money buying as many of these biographies as possible. So, go ahead and sell your Snoop Doggy Dog and Justin Bieber CD’s on E-Bay and buy as many of these biographies as possible. You won’t regret it!

  4. How does this apply to long-distance relationships? Obviously when they are together the physical standards apply. But how can long-distance couples prevent aimlessness and be more intentional?

    1. In my long distance relationship, about 3500 miles, I needed to be very sure of the solid Catholic faith of the woman (who is now my wife of 11 yrs.) that I was communicating with on a Catholic Singles site. Solid faith was the first priority. A decision needs to be made after about 80 hrs. of chatting and e-mails, on whether to visit the other, or not. And also, some consideration needs to be made concerning work obligations, and whether it is possible for one person, or the other, of one day moving to a new location, or even, country. Divine Providence is needed for this.

      But, if everything works out, and the faith is a strong priority, and you can put great trust in the others’ firm Christian beliefs…then decisions need to be made for a deeper relationship and someone needs to first visit, and then move. After this, more decisions need to be made…and following Joe’s dating tips so as not to risk ruining everything by committing sin, a decision on marriage needs to be made pretty quickly. But the solid faith definitely expedites this, because you can largely trust a person who prays the Rosary (or Divine Office), loves the Bible, follows the Catechism scrupulously, likes Catholic literature, loves Mass, etc… All of these are indications that a successful marriage is a strong possibility.

      In my case I moved to my wife’s country for 5 years, because my work situation allowed me to do this. Then later, my wife moved to the U.S., and we’re back here for more than 6 yrs. now. So it was a little ‘give and take’ on both sides.

      Without the faith, though, I think it’s very difficult for this to work out well.

      Hope this helps.

        1. Hi Craig,

          She’s from the Dominican Republic. And after 5 years I can speak somewhat fluently, but the longer we’re in the U.S., 6 years now, the worse my Spanish becomes. We generally speak ‘Spanglish’ now. However, I still know the good Spanish words needed in times of arguments. I have them memorized to the bone! 😉

          1. Very understandable. It’s probably enjoyable for her to read the Bible in her native language, I would think. My wife loves her religious reading material in her own language. But, then again, it’s widely available in the US in Spanish.

            Best to you.

  5. Awlms – We need to rely on some degree of inference, typology, tradition, etc… because Jesus teaches that this is how we judge in this world, when He said “you shall know a tree by it’s fruits”. Tradition involves action and works, not only theological speculation and doctrine. The actions, or ‘fruits’ of these actions can be used in an assessment of the hidden qualities of a person, or institution, even as Jesus insinuates when He replies to the disciples of John the Baptist about their question:

    Me – I agree with you. I was just pointing out to Craig that he relies heavily on other sources other than written Scripture. This came about by his steadfast demand that Saints can’t hear billions of prayes because it isn’t specifically stated that they can in in Scripture. He ignores Tradition and passages that allude to it and falls back to Sola Scriptura. That’s why I also brought up the bible. This comes from Tradition, Saints unable to hear more than one prayer is Craig’s personal tradition.

  6. While the debate about prayers to angels and saints goes on, just a note. I wonder why 2Peter 1:3-4 is not used as a reference:

    “2 Peter 1:3-4

    3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us tohis own glory and excellence,
    4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become PARTAKERS OF THE DIVINE NATURE. “

    1. Though speculation, the Holy Spirit is probably how Moses and Elijah knew the events of Jesus’ life, condition and future trials, at the time when they appeared Him, and the apostles, on the Mount of the Transfiguration. They were acting in the same way that other holy angels have acted throughout the Scriptures. And if a prophet knows mysterious and future events here on Earth through the power and gift from God, might he not also have the same powers as He had on Earth when he is perfected and united to God forever in Heaven?

      This might also be demonstrated in the Book of Samuel (1Kings). Saul still is endowed with his prophetic powers when he discusses the last part of this quote below regarding the future events, and death, of Saul:

      “And Samuel said to Saul: Why hast thou disturbed my rest, that I should be brought up? And Saul said, I am in great distress: for the Philistines fight against me, and God is departed from me, and would not hear me, neither by the hand of prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest shew me what I shall do.
      [16] And Samuel said: Why askest thou me, seeing the Lord has departed from thee, and is gone over to thy rival: [17] For the Lord will do to thee as he spoke by me, and he will rend thy kingdom out of thy hand, and will give it to thy neighbour David: [18] Because thou didst not obey the voice of the Lord, neither didst thou execute the wrath of his indignation upon Amalec. Therefore hath the Lord done to thee what thou sufferest this day. [19] And the Lord also will deliver Israel with thee into the hands of the Philistines: and tomorrow thou and thy sons shall be with me: and the Lord will also deliver the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines. [20] And forthwith Saul fell all along on the ground, for he was frightened with the words of Samuel, and there was no strength in him, for he had eaten no bread all that day. (1 Samuel 28:15)

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