I’ve been debating with a Protestant (we’ll call him Joe) on the issue of praying to the Mary and the Saints. He posed an interesting question that I’m not sure how to answer. Here’s the whole exchange.
Me: "…the praying to Mary bit is not worship, so it is not idolatry. It’s like asking a very holy friend to pray for you."
Joe: "I suggest you read 1 Timothy 2:5. (I don’t believe that God wants us praying to anyone besides Him.)
"For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" – 1 Timothy 2:5
Me: "I suggest you read Romans 15:30, Philemon 1:4, 1 Timothy 2:1-4 and this Catholic Enclopedia article.? I’m not looking to refight the Reformation.? I just want you to know that no true Catholic gives latria (worship) to anyone but God.? Take a look at the Catechism if you won’t take my word for it. :)"
"I appeal to you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf" – Romans 15:30
"I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers" – Philemon 1:4
"First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way. This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." – 1 Timothy 2:1-4
Me: "The point is that nearly all Christians believe that asking fellow members of the Body to pray for you or others is not only acceptable, but laudable.? Catholics and Orthodox believe that death is not a barrier between the Church Militant and the Church Triumphant. We ask the dead (the saints, small ‘s’) to pray for us as we would the living. We generally limit our prayers (really just requests for prayers on our behalf) to those whose lives were so holy we feel assured they are in Heaven (the Saints, big ‘S’). Among these is Christ’s mother. We see Mary as the perfect example of Christian discipleship. We don’t worship her or the Saints. To do that would be heretical and a very grave sin."
Joe: "Here’s a hypothetical situation: The pope, you, and two hundred Catholics in different cities all around the world pray to Mary at the same time. Who does she hear? If you say everyone, you are saying she is omnipresent. That is essentially saying that she is God. Actually, I don’t believe that she hears anyone on this planet who prays to her."
So I ask my St. Blog’s brethren, what’s wrong with the logic behind this question (aside from the fact he probably meant omniscient, rather than omnipresent)?
I suppose, at the very least, he should read this Catholic Encyclopedia article on the Communion of Saints.