“We Believe” The Saints, Mary, and the Pope Wednesday, April 30, 2008 April 30: Feast St. Pope Pius V
Look who’s at the door! Why do Catholics worship Mary? ... pray to statues? ... worship idols? • We are sharing some thoughts with our neighbors about good government. Wouldn’t you like a world where government is not corrupt? • We know that most people already have a religion, but no doubt many people are affected by crime, poverty, the cost of living, etc. Do you feel there is a solution to these things? • Would you mind telling us what your religion teaches about the world to come? Everything the Pope says is Infallible! What is purgatory and limbo?
Look who’s at the door! • Catholics look at the bible a little differently than many other Christians. • Sacred Tradition stands alongside scriptures as a means of divine revelation. • Catholics are often challenged to explain their faith: • to other Catholics • to other Christians • to non-Christians • to non-believers • Many tools are available and necessary: • Faith, Reason, Scriptures, Tradition A Christian’s life is the only Gospel many people will ever read. -- St. Francis of Assisi Theology is “Faith seeking understanding” -- motto of St. Anselm
Saints andthe Blessed Virgin Mary • Archbishop Chaput: • “To be Christian is to believe in history…” • The incarnation occurs in a specific time and place • The Crucifixion and Resurrection occurs in a time & place. • The Christian faith speaks to the future • Christian revelation and the promise of salvation is not simply a symbol or metaphor, it is God entering into the life of his people. • The Church herself is a SACRAMENT of God’s presence. • (An effective sign instituted by Christ and given to the Church to dispense grace.)
Saints andthe Blessed Virgin Mary • Archbishop Chaput, again: • “…a handful of very ordinary men, disciples of an obscure man executed as a criminal, [wound up] changing the world…” How did they do it? • A new kind of teaching: God loved people individually… no religion ever taught that God could be found in ourselves or in our neighbor • As Catholic men and women we are called [vocation] to being a sign of God’s love to others… right here and right now… so that he can continue to change and redeem the world.
Saints andthe Blessed Virgin Mary • When we follow our vocation as Christian men and women, we bear witness to the Kingdom of God. • Be holy (perfect) as my Father in heaven is holy (perfect). Matthew 5:48
Saints • The Church recognizes outstanding holiness… a sort of HALL OF FAME.
Saints How do Catholics understand Saints? • Do you have any friends? • Have you ever asked them to help you? The Saints are our holy friends who have lived the Christian life and who by God’s grace, live with him in heaven and help us in our needs. • Catholics Venerate (hold in high esteem) the Saints. Catholics do not worship saints. • To Venerate a saint honors God who gives them to us as examples and friends.
Saints: a few scriptural references • "[An] angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne; and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God" (Rev. 8:3–4). • Paul directly asks others to pray for him • (Rom. 15:30–32, Eph. 6:18–20, Col. 4:3, 1 Thess. 5:25, 2 Thess. 3:1) • “there is only one intercessor between God and Man: Jesus Christ” (1-Timothy 2:5) • Hebrews 11: “Hall of Fame” & Heb 12:1: “Cloud of witnesses”
Saints • The process of recognizing saints belongs to the Church and is guided by the rules & disciplines of the age… • Presently the process is called Canonization… a solemn declaration by the Church through the ministry of the pope of a saint’s worthiness to be venerated by all the Christian faithful.
Veneration of the Saints Process of Canonization HISTORICAL OVERVIEW: 0-313 AD: Age of Martyrs Those who gave their lives for the faith were held by popular acclaim to be Saints 313 to 6th Century: 1. Defenders of the Faith (Confessors and Doctors) 2. Ascetics (Monks and Hermits) 3. Ecclesial (Bishops and Missionaries) 7th to 10th Century: Sanctity of Life and Workers of Miracles Local Bishop begins and completes process 11th to 15th Century: Papal Involvement Local Bishops initiate process and send it to the Pope for approval Papacy begins to establish processes Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints established
Saints • Opening case for sainthood = “Servant of God” • Examination/Declaration of Good Life = “Venerable” • Beatification (following miracle) = “Blessed” • Canonization (following second miracle) = “Saint” • Pope John Paul II saw more than 500 people through the process of Canonization as saints… “We need more examples of holiness in our modern age”
Saints • Odds and ends: • The Litany of the Saints • Observance of Saint’s days in the calendar • Christian names • Patron Saints • Hagiography… the mythology of saints • Pious observances • novenas, candles, shrines, pilgrimages
The Blessed Virgin Mary • Council of Ephesus (431) versus Nestorianism: “Mother of God” or “God-bearer”, qeotokos • The greatest of the saints, like others only worthy of veneration. • Not praying to…but praying through…asking for divine assistance. • Cooperator with the Holy Spirit
The “Hail Mary” -- “Ave Maria” • Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women. (Luke 1:28) • [Blessed are you among women] and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. (Luke 1:42) • Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Queenship of Mary • The Queen-mother (geberah) was a person of particular honor and power in the royal household of Israel. • Not empowered on her own right, but as the mother of the reigning monarch was most influential. • A main intercessor before the king • Bathsheba, mother of Solomon (1 Kings 2) • Rev 11:19 – The new ark of the covenant recognized as a woman. Rev 12 – Woman clothed with the sun.
The Pope • Bishop of Rome • His cathedral: St. John Lateran • Election takes place in Conclave • two-thirds plus one majority of electors, or • by acclamation • Plenary spiritual and temporal authority in the Church • Sovereign of the Vatican City-State • (Treaty of Lateran, 1929 Victor Emmanuel, Mussolini, Pius IX) • Benedict XVI = 265th pope • “Infallible” on matters of faith and morals • Sole authority for appointing bishops
How many times has the Pope spoken Infallibly?2 times 12 times 482 times Papal Infallibility
Immaculate Conception 1854Assumption 1950 Papal Infallibility
Infallible StatementsEncyclicalsBulls/Motu PropriaPastoral LettersTheological Writings Levels of Teachings
Papal Infallibility • Ordinarily, matters are considered ‘infallible’ when the pope and bishops teach in union with one another on a matter of morals or faith… example: ecumenical councils • The pope speaking unilaterally, ex cathedra, is considered an extraordinary power of the pope. As the one ‘holding the keys’ to the kingdom, uniquely trusted to bind and loose the Church. • Very narrowly limited circumstances
Next Week Sacraments of Healing