Chris asked:

Why is it that Catholics pray to saints?

Tim Staples replied:

"We know that there are certain saints in heaven right now because the pope has canonized them. Even some that are not formally canonized like the twelve apostles. We know that they are in heaven. Revelation 21:14, for example, gives us a hint when it describes the great city that is heaven itself, and you have the twelve nations there being the twelve apostles. But we also have it, as you know Chris, the canonization of saints, and we have saints that are understood as such by general acclamation of the Church. So we can, number one, know with certainty, infallible certainty, in fact that those who have been canonized are in heaven, so we pray to them knowing that they’re there. And we also Chris, look at verses of scripture like Revelation chapter 5, verse 8 that depicts, and this is John the revelator (as some call him), John the apostle, who is seeing heaven. And what does he see? But twenty-four elders, each of them having golden harps, and bearing golden bowls having incense which are the prayers of the saints. So they’re taking the prayers which are symbolized by this incense and they are taking them to God. In Revelation 8:2 through 5, you have the angels doing the same thing. So there we have depicted exactly what Catholics do ... "

Editor's note: Tim then returned after the break to hear a follow up question from Chris at 27:31

Chris asked:

What are we to take of Jesus’ message to us in the new testament where he tells us that he is to be our one and only intercessor to God the father? How then can we introduce Mary and the saints into this interceding question?

Tim Staples replied:

"The key to understand here is in that very context of first Timothy 2:5. Paul starts the chapter by urging all of us to make intercession, prayers, thanksgivings for leaders, for kings, and for all men. Why? Look at verse 4. Not only that we might live a peaceable life, but we’re praying to God who wills all to be saved. And to come to the knowledge of the truth ... Saint Paul is saying we must all intercede. We must all be mediators. Why? Because Christ is the one mediator.

Then look at verse 7. He then says ‘for this purpose I have been called to be an apostle’. And what’s an apostle? Apostle as in Greek – one who has been sent with the authority of the one who sent him. So in a sense that’s a mediator. Because as one who is sent with the authority of a king, for example if he comes to your door asking for the taxes, guess what? He’s the representative of the king. If you don’t hear him, you don’t hear the king. That is the essence of what mediation, or intercessory prayer is ...The Church as described in Ephesians 1, verses 22 and 23, it says that the Church is ... The fullness of him who fills all in all. In other words, the Church is described there as the fullness of Jesus Christ extended in this world. We are Christ. And as members of the body of Christ, we are Christ. And so in him, with him, and through him as Romans 11:36 says ... in him, with him and through him we can then intercede. In fact not only can we, but we are called to according to Saint Paul ... There’s no difference Christ between asking my friend Matt Fraad here to pray for me, or asking someone in heaven to pray for me. Because we are all members in the same body of Christ that I know that that member of the body of Christ ... can indeed intercede for me."


Catholic Answers, "Open Forum for Non-Catholics" (San Diego: Catholic Answers, 2013)

Editor's note: This is an excerpt of the answer provided. For the complete response download the podcast.

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Show air date: September 9, 2013

Name of show: Open Forum for Non-Catholics

Guest comments by: Tim Staples

Question appeared in show: 22:24

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