Thursday, September 08, 2011

Prayers for the Dead and Marian Intercession

"I pray that, through the intercession of Mary Immaculate whom he so greatly venerated, the Lord may welcome this faithful pastor of the Gospel and the Church into His Kingdom of eternal joy and peace", the Pope concludes.
(Vatican Information Service, 5 September 2011)

Notice that here the Pope is explicitly requesting Marian intercession for a dead Cardinal (Cardinal Deskur). This falls into the category of prayers "through" Mary (as opposed to prayers simply to Mary) and of prayers "for" the dead.

I know that some of Rome's advocates are fond of saying that one is "just asking Mary to pray" in one's prayers to Mary.  Actually, though, the goal here is for the prayed-for person to be accepted on the basis of Mary, that is to say, on the basis of her person and merits.  While this is not completely explicit, notice that she's described as "immaculate."  This is the wrong way to pray.

Our prayers are to be God through the intercession of Jesus Christ, our one mediator.  Only Christ's merits form a sufficient basis for the intercession we need.  Christ is not simply the best mediator, he is the only mediator.

It is also foolish to pray for the dead.  They have already either entered into Heaven or Hell.  There is no third place from which they need to be freed in order to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.  The pope's teaching here is consistent with his own church's dogmas, but not with the Scriptures.

It seems doubly foolish for the pope to pray for the dead in this way.  Does he not supposedly possess the ability to release souls from Purgatory by means of indulgence?  Why not simply declare the Cardinal free himself rather than hoping that Mary will intercede for him?  This aspect of the pope's messages seems out of line with the traditional view of Purgatory - or at least rather odd, considering that the pope evidently feels kindly toward the deceased Cardinal.

To put it in another way, isn't this rather like telling a naked and hungry man, "be warmed and fed," but not actually giving him food and clothing?  Perhaps there is more to the story, but it certainly inconsistent for the pope not to exercise his own papal prerogatives, if he really wants the Cardinal to get out of Purgatory.

Finally, perhaps it is worth pointing out that the pope acknowledged that the Cardinal engaged in the veneration of Mary.  Moreover, the pope recognized that he did so to a notable degree "so greatly," the English text reads.  Cardinal Foley put it this way:
Cardinal Deskur had a particular love for the Blessed Virgin Mary, and his apartment door carried the sign “Casa di Maria” (house of Mary). He was quite devoted to his most recent responsibilities as President of the Pontifical Academy of the Immaculate Conception.
(Catholic News Agency)

Do my readers in the Roman communion want to tell me that this "veneration" isn't "worship"?  I suppose some will.  But I think most people can see that this kind of religious devotion is worship.



Coram Deo said...

It seems like the Bible has a thing or two to say about idolators...none of it good.

In Christ,

Pete Holter said...

Greetings in the LORD, TurretinFan!

If anyone says that we don’t pray to the Saints, you can share the following two thoughts with them:

“That the Saints are to be prayed to is a truth so firmly established in the Church of God, that no pious person can experience a shadow of doubt on the subject” (Catechism of the Council of Trent:

“Mary is the perfect Orans (pray-er), a figure of the Church. When we pray to her, we are adhering with her to the plan of the Father, who sends his Son to save all men. Like the beloved disciple we welcome Jesus' mother into our homes, for she has become the mother of all the living. We can pray with and to her. The prayer of the Church is sustained by the prayer of Mary and united with it in hope” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2679:

The merits of our Mother in Christ are the saving mercy of God, Who has done great things for her, exalted her, and filled her with good things (cf. Luke 1:46-55). Her intercession on our behalf is made possible by and draws its efficacy from the intercession of her High Priest on her behalf. Apart from the King, she can do nothing.

He has made all believers accessible to one another in One Body under One Head in the Holy Trinity (cf. John 17:21), Who live in us and we in Them. The love of God that has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit effects this spiritual union with God and thereby with one another (cf. Romans 5:5, John 17:26), and death itself is not strong enough to break it (cf. Romans 8:38-39; Song of Songs 8:6). Rather, the love of Christ “abolished death” through His resurrection (2 Timothy 1:10; cf. Romans 4:25), and has brought us by grace “to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant” (Hebrews 12:22-24).

With love in Christ,
Pete Holter

Natamllc said...

What I find odd about that Pete is this lays out a far different reality than yours! Hmmmm, I wonder why? Can you tell why I should trust the inventions of men and not Words God inspired to be written through the anointing of the Holy Spirit?

Heb 2:1 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.
Heb 2:2 For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution,
Heb 2:3 how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard,
Heb 2:4 while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.


Heb 5:7 In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.
Heb 5:8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.
Heb 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,
Heb 5:10 being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.
Heb 5:11 About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.
Heb 5:12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food,
Heb 5:13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.
Heb 5:14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.


Heb 9:13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh,
Heb 9:14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
Heb 9:15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.

Pete Holter said...

Sorry my links don't work. Just knock off that close parenthesis at the end.

Pete Holter said...

Hi, Natamllc!

I hope I don’t believe anything other than what the text of Hebrews is saying.

In Christ,

Natamllc said...

Maybe I missed your point, Pete H.? I hope so. Could you reiterate it again by affirming that you do not pray to Mary, the biological mother of the Christ, Jesus, the son of God, the son of Adam?

Do you pray to Mary, the mother of Jesus?

Pete Holter said...

Hi again!

Yes, I have prayed to Mary, Jesus’ biological mother and our spiritual mother.

Were you raised in the Catholic Church?

In Christ,

Natamllc said...


sadly, I did not miss your point.

Oh well, what can I say but testify that yes, I was brought up thinking about Mary as a catholic boy in a similar mindset as you. Ironically as I began catechism I protested to it and my dad allowed me to drop out!

I was given a King James Bible many years later to read. On this one summer morning the person who gave me the Bible turned to Matthew's Gospel and to chapter one and said I should start reading there to get an understanding of Jesus Christ and Christianity. That happened in July of 1975.

I began reading and came to verse 21 of chapter 1 in short order and realized I was lost and found! Now I realized what the burden was I had been carrying all that time as a catholic boy until then as that 21 year old with 3 and half years of college under my belt.

Interesting as it was and still is, never once did or does the Holy Spirit place the kind of emphasis on Mary like the RCC does and did when I was attending masses and catechism!

God is very much alive and intelligent and can communicate with His Elect.

What else can I say to you?

The Gospel of the Kingdom is all about the proclamation of the equitable work of the sinless man, Jesus Christ, on behalf of those drawn to Him by the sanctification work of the Holy Spirit so that now through Christ by this One Spirit the Elect have access to Our Heavenly Father, Who my spirit yearns to say ABBA FATHER to and do daily through Christ by that One Spirit who touched me and made the Word of God come alive within my spirit, soul and body that summer morning!

The word of God has done nothing to bring my flesh under subjection. The Word in fact teaches that my flesh can't be subject to the Word. It is by the Work of the Spirit that I suppress it as I go about learning obedience to the Faith once delivered to the Saints. I am fully a wretched person and needed and still need My Savior and the Grace, Mercy and Peace He won for me, too, that Eternal Redemption. The abundant Grace I have received from that day forward cost Christ His life. I lift up Christ as Lord continually. Mary has no place in my worship or any Elect's worship, period.

What you hold to, in my view, comes from deceitful spirits come to destroy your soul.

I encourage you to cast your cares upon the Living God through Christ by One Spirit because He cares for you!

I cannot offer you Peace as a salutation or benediction because I would not be holding to the Faith if I did.

When the work of the Only True God and Jesus Christ, Whom He sent, comes alive within you, you will know and I will know and the Called Elect will know it about you because it will be clear to you and to us Whom God has called to His Eternal Glory in Christ!

Pete Holter said...


Thank you for your concern that I know Jesus. This song captures the desire of my heart:

If you’ve not had the opportunity to sing this song to our great God and Savior, maybe you can request it during your Sunday service. :) You can catch the tune here:

Just click on the sample for “High Above All Things.” I see this desire in you too. :)

Thanks for sharing. You came to know Jesus in 1975. That’s the year I was born! I didn’t come to faith in Christ until 2005. And from that time on I’ve felt that sense of lost time that Augustine felt, for all those years of living in rebellion and indifference towards Him: “How late have I loved You… too late have I loved You!” Oh, how it feeds my desire to be with Him now.

In Christ,
Pete Holter

Natamllc said...


Let me see if I understand you? You say you are in Christ, yet you practice religion that is not Biblical? Are you one of God's spies in the RCC so as to lead many across the Tiber?

Pete Holter said...

Hi Natamllc,

I am a Christian who believes that the gift of the Catholic faith is the very faith of Christ proclaimed by the Scriptures.

I also appreciate that you will not give me peace in your desire to be faithful to God’s written words.

I hope you have a blessed day spreading the good news with your loved ones.

With love in Christ,

Natamllc said...

Well, Peter, what can I say about your beliefs being the very faith of Christ proclaimed by the Scriptures?

What I already have said. Sometimes a "blessing" is not a blessing and in this case what you do by blessing me really is not much of a blessing to me seeing the severity of God that awaits your soul.

Perhaps this verse is apropos your circumstance and situation?

Heb 6:3 And this will we do, if God permit.

That you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead is what one looks for to believe Christ is doing a work within your soul? This is what I can hope for you; seeing it is not much of a blessing, but it is hope for your soul nonetheless!

Pete Holter said...

Hi Natamllc!

I should not have said that you would be spreading the good news to your loved ones today, but more accurately, and without in any way meaning to be condescending towards you, the good news insofar as you understand it. There are some deficiencies in your understanding of the gospel in that you deny some of the saving truth proclaimed by Christ’s Church.

You seem to believe that I cannot be saved if I believe that I can build a personal relationship with Mary. But Mary is not isolated and autonomous in heaven; rather, her presence in heaven is only made possible through her union with Christ as a member of His Body. And if she truly is a member of that One Body of all believers, united under our One Head and being knit together by love, then I cannot say to her that I have no need of her.

With love in Christ,

Natamllc said...


because of the narrowing effect of continually replying to the last reply to the last reply I am simply going to start this comment here and reply to your last reply to me.

You write: "...You seem to believe that I cannot be saved if I believe that I can build a personal relationship with Mary. But Mary is not isolated and autonomous in heaven; rather, her presence in heaven is only made possible through her union with Christ as a member of His Body. And if she truly is a member of that One Body of all believers, united under our One Head and being knit together by love, then I cannot say to her that I have no need of her."

What I would want you to step back and consider with those words, and I mean no disrespect in doing so, is just how ridiculous they are? Take that same rationale and apply it to every single Saint who has died in Christ. So you are saying we can develop a close knit relationship with anyone who is a member of that One body of all believers from that great crowd of witnesses.

How ridiculous this becomes. With that standard I then would get to have personal relationships with everyone I wanted too that I was knit together with here on earth that died in Christ over the last number of years and that have gone to heaven where Mary is.

Do you remember the prohibition on necromancy? Remember Saul the first King of Israel and Samuel the Prophet??

Of the assumptions, Enoch and Elijah are the only ones Scripture establishes went up to Heaven; and of these two they did not die as all men do, including Mary and Jesus. With those two, and the strength of the fact that they did not die before entering into Heaven itself, one would think God would give more weight to us praying to them seeing we know for a fact they did not die before being assumed to Heaven's Glory? And, in fact, if you want to make an even stronger argument, we should really only pray to Elijah seeing he is the only one to returned with Moses on the day of the transfiguration of Jesus; Moses being the single most important Prophet besides Jesus Himself, Who is God, to visit again on the mount of transfiguration to talk to Jesus about matters of the Kingdom and His Resurrection.

Your last post is silly, Peter, really really silly and I say that not to offend but in all sincerity.

Pete Holter said...

Greetings, Natamllc!

Yes, the narrowing effect. :) What I find strange is how newer posts embedded to the same level end up going above older posts in that level. I wonder if there is an option to change this because it seems a little confusing if you are trying to read the comments in order. People who come late to the thread are going to read this latter exchange first and only later see the opening exchange that we had.

Anyway, here are some thoughts that I hope are helpful.

The difference between praying to the saints in Christ and necromancy is like the difference between prophecy on the one hand, and predicting the future through astrology or fortune telling on the other. Some of the same information that can be gained legitimately through prophets and dreams, can also come unlawfully through divination and consultation with demons. The Egyptians did through magical arts some of what Moses did through the power of God. What Saul engaged in with the medium of En-dor was forbidden by the law of God. But he sinfully resorted to her because “the LORD did not answer him” through any of the legitimate means, i.e., “either by dreams, or by Urim, or by prophets” (1 Samuel 28:6). You mentioned Moses and Elijah at the Transfiguration. What you may not have thought to ask was, Did Jesus involve Himself in necromancy by communing with the dead in this case? We don’t think so. Is there a difference between praying to the saints in Christ and divining “by a spirit” in order to “bring up” the dead (1 Samuel 28:8)? We do think so. Just as there is a difference between preaching Christ through a demon and preaching Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 16:16-18), so we believe that there is a difference between praying to our brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ that “builds itself up in love” (Ephesians 4:16), and necromancy “by a spirit.”

I really always have been silly, so I’m not offended by your keen discernment. :) And I appreciate your sincerity and concern.

With a silly love in Christ,
Pete Holter

Natamllc said...


not to go to far into the depths of Satan's rebellion and where he is working from, you write:

"...Some of the same information that can be gained legitimately through prophets and dreams, can also come unlawfully through divination and consultation with demons."

Presumably you are speaking from "experience"?

You write:

"...But he sinfully resorted to her because “the LORD did not answer him” through any of the legitimate means, i.e., “either by dreams, or by Urim, or by prophets” (1 Samuel 28:6)."

Ironically, this to me underscores the very basis of the sin nature of the RCC in that you teach praying to Mary is not a sin!

The Old Testament is explained in the New Testament and the New Testament is obvious in the Old Testament to whoever the Spirit gives the understanding to see it there.

Paul makes the distinction very clear with "what was first" by "who". Abram/Abraham began seeing the "Gospel" before Moses began imparting, by laying down in writing and orally, the "Law".

Before both was this sort of extra-communications going on between fallen angels and man, between God and man. Adam's fall from Grace did not prevent God from coming and talking with him in the Garden.

Seeing God is Spirit and seeing we have the finished "revelation" so as to understand some of the "invisible" ways God deals with His creatures, when He is communicating with fallen creatures, either angelic or human, He is not sinning. When we go beyond the Scriptures and teach a psuedo-ability to do the same, we are!

I don't believe for a minute Samuel was in purgatory and it was from purgatory that he was lifted up through the divination practiced by the witch of En-dor to have that face to face encounter with Saul.

You asked:

"... Is there a difference between praying to the saints in Christ and divining “by a spirit” in order to “bring up” the dead (1 Samuel 28:8)?"

I answer, "No".

We are to have no other Gods before God the Father, Son or Holy Spirit. We can and should worship God alone. We can and should pray continually to God the Father, Jesus Our Sent Lord and Savior and the Holy Spirit. They alone we can and should pray too, "only". There is no place in Scripture that teaches us to pray to anyone else, is there? If there is, please paste chapter and verse and in what book of the Bible where that is taught?

That you would go beyond the clear meaning of Scripture and equate the body ministry of equipping and edifying one another and praying, Ephesians 4:16, takes this post of yours beyond being just a silly silly imagination of yours and plants it firmly in the realm of rebellion and a seducing spirit at work through your life, deluding you, Pete!

You have now been warned by me, Pete.

Christ is building His Church. He is not praying for the world. He is praying for those the Father has given to Him out of this world that they may be one with Them in spirit, soul and body. There is no union with God and my flesh even though Christ is in me, now, the Hope of Glory.

I am not sweating anything here between us, Pete. God snatched me from the grips of the RCC. If He did that for me, who am I to protest and by my prayers pray to God to stop Him from doing that for any one else. He chooses. The Elect are predetermined and chosen before the foundation of the world or ever the earth was spoken into being; and the Elect have access through Christ by One Spirit to the very Father Who gave us to Him.

Job 9:11 Behold, he passes by me, and I see him not; he moves on, but I do not perceive him.
Job 9:12 Behold, he snatches away; who can turn him back? Who will say to him, 'What are you doing?'
Job 9:13 "God will not turn back his anger; beneath him bowed the helpers of Rahab.
Job 9:14 How then can I answer him, choosing my words with him?

Pete Holter said...

Hey Natamllc!

I hope you had a good week. :)

It was God Who took you from out of unbelief and into faith in our Savior, Jesus Christ. But it was not God Who took you away from the Savior’s Church.

Thank you for your warning.

With love in Christ,
Pete Holter

Natamllc said...

Again, Pete,

your dancing around the point isn't very amusing!

I am quite confident and settled, grounded in the Faith once delivered to the Saints in My Savior's Church. I am conjoined to Him and have been made alive as a living stone of this Holy Body have the anointing of the Holy Spirit as my guarantee; and, I have the witness from much edification from those I have been in fellowship with these 40 years, men and women that know me and are not surprised about me and my shortcomings. I am not surprised about theirs. I am not surprised about how you dance around point after point any one of us raises with you. You always have a justification for both our point and yours.

Why is that, Pete?

You can make light of the warning.

Oh well.

As I said and every Elect member of His Church will tell you, our being chosen is by the Grace of God in Truth, being predestined and foreordained before the foundation of the world to be given to Christ, taken out of the world; and, it is not by any merit we have done.

I am quite surprised that God would want to even have fellowship with a wretched person as I am?

The reality is the closer I am to God, the greater my love for Him is and as His Love grows in intensity so does my hatred for myself and for my own nature because of my sins.

Christ is Faith. The blessing is not to have actually touched Him, seen Him or known Him in that natural way as Mary did or those disciples who were actually alive with Jesus until His death and before His ascension. No, rather, it is He is the substance of things "not" seen as Peter the Apostle reveals it, that the true Blessings are known of Him through Him and Who is now. And, of course, He is as much and more so the evidence of things not seen, too. He is that historical man, the son of Adam who is the Eternal Son of God that long ago was born out of the virgin and then grew up before Him as a tender shoot and then, at the right time, He gave Himself over, pre-planned, for our sins and being put to death on a cross at the hands of godless ungodly men His flesh was taken down and was buried. He is risen. He reigns right now. He reigns right now through His Holy Body, the Church, too. All to Him be the glory, to Him. the Living Lord!

Psa 115:1 Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!
Psa 115:2 Why should the nations say, "Where is their God?"
Psa 115:3 Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.
Psa 115:4 Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands.
Psa 115:5 They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see.
Psa 115:6 They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell.
Psa 115:7 They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; and they do not make a sound in their throat.
Psa 115:8 Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them.

You, on the other hand, Pete, see nothing wrong with standing before a statue of Mary or a artistic rendering of her on a photo or canvas, burning candles, incense and praying the Rosary before this image that cannot speak, breathe, see or give you the Grace of God then go about telling others the Grace of God is found by such nonsense!

No, Pete, indeed, be warned about your foolish ways! They are nonsense!!

Pete Holter said...

Hi Natamllc!

I don’t think I’m dancing around anything. I didn’t realize you wanted me to engage anything in particular. You seemed to just be making assertions… although not intending to, I seem to annoy you… we don’t agree on the assertions… so I let them be made. Was there something you’d like me to respond to?

I wasn’t being insincere about thanking you for the warning. I guess I’m not coming across very well. Let me know if there is something you’d like me to respond to. Thank you!

In Christ,