This post is concerning the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church of saints in heaven praying to the Father for us upon our request. I want to start this article by explaining the differences between saints on Earth and our responsibility to pray to the Father and the saints who are in heaven with the Father. I believe there is a change of roles once you go to heaven and I’ll out line that later. I also see it as dangerous to attempt contact with anyone deceased whether they are in heaven or in hell. Another problem is how this teaching downplays the weight that your faith backed prayers hold, as long as you have faith your prayer is on equal value as Mary’s faith backed prayers where. God has no favorites. The biggest problem of all is that there is no scriptural foundation for this teaching. Please open your mind and Bible as we look into this subject.
“The witnesses who have preceded us into the kingdom,41 especially those whom the Church recognizes as saints, share in the living tradition of prayer by the example of their lives, the transmission of their writings, and their prayer today. They contemplate God, praise him and constantly care for those whom they have left on earth. When they entered into the joy of their Master, they were “put in charge of many things.”42 Their intercession is their most exalted service to God’s plan. We can and should ask them to intercede for us and for the whole world.”
Roman Catholic Catechism # 2683
Saints Alive and Dead
First, I want to point out that saints who are in heaven are much more alive than we are now on Earth, they are in their resurrected bodies (1Cor 15) and are enjoying God’s fullness. However to lessen the confusion in this post I will refer to those saints in heaven as dead saints, they died, were judged, and passed because they were saved by Christ. We however (assuming you are a Christian) are living saints. As I studied this subject on various Catholic sites I discovered an interesting mind set among all of them: Catholic doctrine teaches that dead saints carry the same responsibilities, abilities, and duties as us living saints. This, however I do not agree with. Once Christians die and are in heaven they enjoy God’s fullness and await the Second Coming of Christ where they will return with Him in their resurrected bodies to enter in to yet a third set of responsibilities and duties as they dwell in the New Jerusalem during the millennial reign. However, Catholics uphold that because the New Testament encourages the living saints to pray for other living saints that saints who have passed on to heaven should continue to do the same. This is something I find no where in the Bible.
In the Bible I have yet to find any example of
- a saint in heaven praying to God
- a living saint asking a dead saint to pray for them or with them
- an Apostle or author encouraging their audience to speak to a dead saint
The actual activity of saints in heaven is not very detailed in the Bible so to interject ones own opinions (aka the Catechism) is dangerous. A common error is considering that the angels of God and saints of God (in heaven) do the same stuff. I found many scriptures of angelic activity being mentioned as proof for the Catholic teachings of praying to or through the saints. This simple cannot be done, angels and dead saints have different roles and cannot be held at the same level. Angels are used to deliver messages to man and to report to God, they even travel from heaven to Earth often. However heavenly saints are not ever recorded as having these same duties or abilities. Angels in heaven are active servants of God unto the saints (Heb1:14), however heavenly saints are not. The few mentions in the Bible of contact with the dead are connected to the sin of witchcraft and divination. The one time that a dead saint was reached was when Saul and a witch did a seance, however Samuel who was contacted was in Sheol (not heaven) and he was not happy about what Saul had done (1 Samuel 28:7-19). This contact was a sin in God’s eyes.