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Letters to the Editor #17 (Saints, Race, and Opportunities)
March 19, 2016
It was something of a quiet week for letters to the editor, and this despite writing an article on Roman Catholicism, typically rather a hot topic. Here are a few of the noteworthy letters:
Comments on What Does It Take To Be Made a Saint?
I am puzzled by three of your statements. “According to Catholic doctrine, dead saints benefit the living faithful by being available to them for intercession.” “We are saints who have no need of saints.” “We are the saints of God who have no need for the intercession of saints who have gone before.”
Surely Jesus taught us that He is God of the living, not of the dead (Mk 12:27). How, then, do you declare those who have gone on before to be “dead?” Surely Paul taught us, “But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” (1 Cor 12:20-21) How, then, do you declare to those Christians living in the presence of God that you have no need of them? And does James’ teaching count for nothing? “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16) How can you say we ought not ask the saints for their intercession? They are certainly more righteous than I. I know you do not believe this Tim, but your aversion to Catholicism has caused you to make statements that sound awfully a lot like a denial of the resurrection of the dead and of the Body of Christ, which is the Church, in which we are all members of one another and of which Christ is the Head.
—Marcus G, Princeton, NJ
I couldn’t help but notice you repeated a common error, that us Catholics offer God and Mary worship (and the saints lesser worship). True we do offer God worship, as it is right and just, the multiple passages from Scripture during Mass remind us of that. But we never have, and never will, offer Mary and the Saints worship. The Catholic Church has always upheld all the teachings of Christ, not picking and choosing whatever happens to feel right at the moment.
Have you never asked your earthly mother or friend for a favour? If Christ is truely one’s brother, why is not Mary one’s mother? It’s all in the Bible. She is the only one who is spoken of as having kept His words in her heart. He even praises her for it in Luke. The Magnificat is very enlightening.
As to being saved by faith alone, Saint James the Apostle epistles are worthwhile reading. Douy Rhiems Bible is the most accurate translation out there in English. As a friend once quoted “God chose to come to us through a Virgin. If I would follow His example I must do the same.” And ” don’t be afraid to love Mother Mary, after all you can never love her more then Christ did. ” After all, we can’t limit God to our limited minds.
May the Blessed Mother and her most holy Son bless you!
—Lynn N, Front Royal, VA
Tim: I have written about Catholicism a number of times and have invariably been told that I simply do not understand Catholicism. In this case, I was very careful to say only what other Catholics have said when describing canonization and the role of saints. As for “worship,” that really depends on your understanding of the word and what it entails. Protestants very much understand that what is offered to Mary can only properly be described as worship, even if it is a lesser kind of worship than is offered to God.
Comments on Black & Reformed
Hello Sir. The article Black & Reformed was quite refreshing. I is a topic that needs to be discussed more. I am African-American and was raised in the inner city. I can say from real world experience there is a major disconnect in the church because of this issue. How can we conduct cross culture evangelism there is such a misunderstanding between two major cultures? I must say, it’s not just on behalf of whites. The African-American community needs to grow in this area as well. I have not read the book yet. I just put it on my must read list. Thank you for being bold enough to at least bring the topic.
—Ronald D, Fairmont, NC
Comments on An Intimidating Opportunity
I was reading the letters you got in response to your article “An Intimidating Opportunity,” and there it was…the argument regarding the amount of time our children spend in a “godless environment.’ This time I decided to do some number crunching to see how much weight that argument actually carries. If your kids are in school for 180 days for 7 hours a day, that is 1260 hours (give or take about 300+ hours for PA days, lunch and class trips and activities where parents are present). An average year has 8760 hours. Depending on your child’s age they are sleeping anywhere from 2920 to 4380 hours of that time, which gives us an awake time of anywhere from 5840 to 4380 hours. So, with that in mind if we go back to the amount of time they spend in school which is around 1260 hours (or less) and subtract that from the hours they are awake we get 4580-3120 hours. This means that our children, especially as they get older and sleep less, are still spending more hours with us than they are in school.
—Georgina M, Toronto, ON
Comments on Letters to the Editor
In your most recent Letters to the Editor (#16), you posted a letter from a reader who did not care for your Letters to the Editor series. I would like to add the counter vote to that - your Letters to the Editor are my favorite post of the week! Please do keep them coming. I enjoy reading the variety of views, and while I do miss the conversations that used to take place in the comment section, it is nice that the Letters to the Editor prevent back-and-forth bickering. Thanks for posting the reader letters!
—Diana J, Chandler, AZ