Well, that faith/works discussion seemed to steer away from rancor and defenestration and held nothing but honest discussion. So … why not touch on other Catholic/Protestant cans o’ worms? After all this is an evanglical blog hosted on a Catholic site. If this is not a place to discuss the commonalities and differences between Rome and the Protestant … then there is no place for that anywhere. Again, as last time, I’ll point out I’ve been a Christian as an adult for just over five years, and correspondingly I’m not up to speed necessarily on all the modern debate and discussions which accompany the questions I raise. So as much as anything, I’m begging your indulgence and instruction on these matters.
Mark Horne offers some arguments why “he can never be a Roman Catholic.” I might not that while not a Roman Catholic … it seems like a number of his objections are not valid criticisms. I’m going to concentrate on one (and mention one more). Mr Horne offers:
Necromancy is almost as huge a sin and praying to the departed saints is necromancy. See #1 above. People raised thinking bigamy is Christian may be true Christians, but people who know better are living in sin and without hope of eternal life unless they repent of such behavior.
Praying to Saints by Catholics is not because Catholics believe that “some other intercessory agency between themselves and God” is required. Examine their liturgy and the prayers they pray. They pray to directly to Father, Son, and Spirit not just a few times. So they are not asking Saints (or Mary) to pray for them because they think it is required. Something else is going on here. I’d suggest they do it because they think it is efficacious. My understanding of the way prayer to Saints is seen not as a required intermediary but as being equivalent to your asking a friend, acquaintance, or even some Christian you don’t really know, to pray for you. That is it. Just in the same way that Protestants (and every Christian) thinks that the prayers of others on our behalf is beneficial, likewise Catholics, the East and I think many of the original Reformers for that matter felt that the dead can pray for us … after all they are not dead but are with God. You are asking that this Saint, asleep in the Lord whom you believe is “now” outside of time participating in God’s presence (no longer seeing through a glass darkly), to pray for you. How is that akin to bigamy and living a life of sin?
There are two pieces to this that I think give the American evangelical cause to pause. The first is that the notion that a saint from a country far away and centuries removed will be aware of my request that he (or she) pray for me and that furthermore that he (or she) might do so. On this point, church tradition is fixed in one direction but Scripture can be read either way. The second is that in our American notions of egalitarianism and equality that we Americans find the notion that we are not equal in the eyes of the Lord, a difficult one to master. This, I think this one is not supportable. For a simple offering, when the disciples were having a debate about who would be seated at Jesus right hand when he came into his glory, Jesus rebuke was not that “nobody would be sitting there” as we are equal in the afterlife, but that they were not the ones to be seated there. By implication it seems to follow that the notion that we are not going be equals in the afterwards follows.
Yet that isn’t really the question.
The real question is why is asking for the intercession by a deceased hero of the Church not adiaphora? And this has a counter question for the East and the Roman Catholic, why is not asking that the Saints intercede for us also not adiaphora?
A final remark Mr Horne objects:
Nowhere are Christians required to do a genealogical study to see if they are members of the true Church.
I for one, have no clue what is he talking about here. Any guesses?