On the need for the intercession of saints


Sister Marianne CopeI read the article in the Huffington Post entitled Marianne Cope, Catholic Nun On The Verge Of Sainthood and I feel the need to respond.

I do not have a problem with honoring those who have served God well during their lives. God does this when he refers to himself as the “God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” in Genesis 3. By this reference, God honors the forebears of the nation of Israel. So if my Roman Catholic brothers want to pay special honor to some who have served well, I have no argument against that.

I do have a problem with the teaching that it is necessary or appropriate to ask the saints to intercede with God. What is being said about the character of God when this is taught? Whether it is intentional or not, God comes off looking like a grumpy old miser who has to be coaxed into granting a petition. Or perhaps God is uninformed or misinformed about the situation and the saint is there to set him straight. Is God only able to handle petitions one at a time and therefore it takes the pull of a saint to jump the line, like slipping the maître d’hôtel a $20 bill to get seated faster?

I don’t intend to be flip, nor do I intend to be disrespectful. Yet, I think it important to point out that this portrayal of God does not match with what I see in Jesus. Jesus said, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Can anyone read the Gospels and think that Jesus is unwilling to grant requests or provide healing? Can you point to one story where Jesus needed prompting by the Disciples to meet a need?

Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 2:5 that Jesus is the only mediator we need, saints are not required for intercession. In Matthew 6:9 Jesus us teaches us to pray directly to the Father.

One of the best ways to drive efficiency in business is to eliminate the middle man. Whenever possible, I prefer to go direct to the manufacturer. Why would we not go directly to God when we have been given a command to do so from Jesus?

I am open to being corrected if I have misunderstood or offered an incorrect portrayal of the Roman Catholic idea of sainthood. Please feel free to offer correction in the comments.