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"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15
Mission to Catholics Challenger
Veneration of relics, saints, and images of saints is big business in Roman Catholicism. Every altar to be consecrated must include a venerable relic of some sort. One church claims to have a vial of the Virgin Mary’s milk in its altar, another a swatch of the swaddling clothes used at Jesus’ birth, another a thorn from the crown that was placed on Jesus’ brow.
It is said that there are so many chips of wood form the cross that if they were all assembled together, they would fill a ten ton truck. Even Martin Luther wondered how there could be twenty-six apostles buried in Europe when there were only twelve!
Saintly bones and the clothing they wore or the artifacts they touched are said to be especially efficacious agents of divine grace. It is interesting that wherever a relic is displayed, an offering box is usually nearby.
In Rome there is a set of stairs on which it is said Jesus stood when He appeared before Pilate. At the top, covered by a small plate of glass, is a drop of blood – said to be a drop of Jesus’ blood. Legend has it that those stairs were transported from Jerusalem to Rome one night by an angel and installed near one of the chapels to increase its holiness.
In Catholic theology a saint is a person officially recognized as worthy of public veneration and capable of interceding for the living. Vatican II upheld the Council of Trent which laid the groundwork for so many unscriptural practices and declared the worship of Catholic saints a good and useful thing on account of the benefits to be obtained from God by their intercession.
It is variously estimated that there are twenty to thirty thousand Catholic saints. Many are honored annually at festivals and feasts. In fact, they fill the liturgical calendar, for there are several to venerate (worship) every day of the year.
There are saints for almost every need and vocation. There is Saint James for those with arthritis, Saint Vitus for those with nerve diseases, Saint Anthony to find lost articles, Saint Thomas Aquinas for students, Saint Expedite for prostitutes, Saint Catherine for nurses, Saint James the Greater for laborers, Saint Ives for lawyers, Saint Brendan who supposedly discovered America nine hundred years before Columbus, Saint John Bosco who died in 1888 but is the patron of the film industry, and Saint Simeon of Stylites for flagpole sitters (he sat atop a 60 foot pillar for thirty-six years), and so on.
Saints may rise or fall according to who is pope. At the present time the Catholic pontiff is encouraging the canonization of both Pius VII and John XXIII in an effort to rescue Pius XII form his unsavory reputation of favoring Adolph Hitler and the Nazis – that is, when he thought Germany would win the war. The Catholic church is patient and knows that people forget.
Saints can be demoted, too. In 1969 two hundred were dropped. Among them, the famous Saint Christopher who is said to have never existed. Of course, Rome claims saints who were not even Roman Catholic such as Saint Patrick, who opposed many dogmas and practices of Romanism.
Assuming that some of Rome’s "saints" are actually in heaven none of them would possess the omnipresence necessary in order to hear thousands of simultaneous prayers from devotees around the world.
Heaven is not a political arena of promotions, demotions and favoritism. It offers no balm for religious rackets of relics or images.
When it is all said and done, isn’t it better to simply trust Jesus as our living Saviour and do as the Scriptures say? "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16)