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Where have you read this? Was it from a Catholic source? Was it someone who was a Catholic telling you this personally because I've never once heard of someone making that claim, and I've been Catholic for 19 years and been in many different communities. I've heard of people wanting to use images/objects, but I've never once heard it claimed that it is impossible for a person to get closer to Christ without said things.

This is what you said. You answered this regarding to me saying that a christian should not depend on any object to get closer to God.

No, but if your brother and sister in Christ believed that it brought them closer to Christ and their prayer life suffered without it, do you really find that sinful?
The Holy Spirit has brought that object or image into a person's life to allow them to focus on God.

And this is where I say (again) that christians shouldn't be attached to objects in order for them to get closer to God.

Now let's go with the examples that you laid out for me here:

The Burning Bush = God used a burning bush to communicate with Moses. This doesn't support your view of "we can use images to help us communicate with God".

The Ark of the Covenant = I know little of the Ark of the Covenant, if I'm not mistaken, it was an object used to store the tablets of the 10 commandments. It was located in the area called "The holy of holies". Honestly I have not read through the Old Testament. I don't know if the Ark was used for communicating better with God. What I know is the Holy of Holies was an area that only the head priest could enter into God's presence.

Putting blood on the doorposts at Passover = I don't see how a person could use this as a way to communicate with God better. It was a symbolism of blood, saving the lives of many, and also killing others who did not have it on their doorposts. This doesn't support your view of "we can use or pray towards objects to focus more on God"

Circumcision = Today, the real circumcision God considers is that of the heart, like Paul mentions in Romans 2. Not the physical type.

Baptism = This actually does help us get closer to God. This is another symbolism. But this doesn't support your view of "it's ok to pray towards objects and use them to help us reach God better"

Communion (aka The Lord's Supper) = This also helps us get closer to God. We do His will by participating in His supper if we are in communion. This however doesn't support your view either.

The Earthquake and splitting of the veil at Christ's death = This is history and will always be remembered. I don't know where you are trying to go with this one.

Talk of Peter's (or Paul I can't remember) cloak having healing properties = The book of acts describes how someone used Paul's cloak and laid it on top of a sick person and they got healed. This doesn't support your view either. This doesn't justify us for being able to use objects as something to get closer to God. It was by the power of the Holy Spirit in Paul that even his clothing had power in them, but it wasn't put on a wall and kneeled to so that people would get saved or would get closer to God.

Nature declaring the beauty of the Lord (in Psalms) = This doesn't support your view either.

I didn't get any of them like you wanted me to.

I want to clarify that when I say "objects", I mean literal objects like paintings, vases, sculptures etc.

My whole point is I don't think catholics should use objects (and when I say use, I mean kneel down towards it and pray) thinking that maybe if you use that object you might get closer to God than usual.

If you can find an example of anyone in the bible using an object to contact God better, please post it here.

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You know what, I'm done with this topic. I've made my point time and time again. You simply do not want to hear it. I have homework, tests, and other things to do, so I don't have time to do the research that I would have to do to prove anything to you, and even if I did there is no guarantee that you would listen anyway.

My point still stands though. You, yourself, have said in this thread that it is not a sin to worship in this manner, and if it is not a sin and only a cultural issue than I see no point of trying to get you to understand that the Holy Spirit is greater than your understanding of Him and can work through ways that you may not feel comfortable with to reach people who would not come into salvation otherwise.

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I'm reading everything you post on here answering all my questions. Not one example of what you have shown me actually contributes to your view of "It is OK to rely on objects and kneel and pray towards them thinking that I can get closer to God".

I understand you have things to do, but this is a serious matter. Whenever you have the chance to do any research, please post up your results and we can compare them to the Word of God.

To be clear, I didn't say "IT IS NOT A SIN TO KNEEL AND PRAY TOWARDS OBJECTS", I said "I DON'T KNOW IF IT IS A SIN, BUT I DO KNOW THAT IS NOT HOW THE HOLY SPIRIT WORKS".

And yes, I do agree that the Holy Spirit works in mysterious ways. The Word of God holds so much clear information that doesn't even back up what you are pointing out.

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I'm reading everything you post on here answering all my questions. Not one example of what you have shown me actually contributes to your view of "It is OK to rely on objects and kneel and pray towards them thinking that I can get closer to God".

I understand you have things to do, but this is a serious matter. Whenever you have the chance to do any research, please post up your results and we can compare them to the Word of God.

To be clear, I didn't say "IT IS NOT A SIN TO KNEEL AND PRAY TOWARDS OBJECTS", I said "I DON'T KNOW IF IT IS A SIN, BUT I DO KNOW THAT IS NOT HOW THE HOLY SPIRIT WORKS".

And yes, I do agree that the Holy Spirit works in mysterious ways. The Word of God holds so much clear information that doesn't even back up what you are pointing out.

I believe she has made her point. She can only truly speak for herself when she says she does not worship the images, but merely uses them to focus on God. If that is true, I don't see anything wrong with it.

However.

I do believe asking the saints to pray for you, or praying to them to pray for you, is very dangerous. I don't believe the catholic forgets about God, but I do believe he runs the risk of focusing completely on God as the source of power and strength and may be tempted to view the saint as that source.

Undoubtedly idolatry has occurred in the Catholic church and will continue to occur. However, this does not mean that all Catholics are idolaters. I simply see their means of prayer and worship to be extremely risky in misguiding people.

Zabby, I appreciate your persistence, but I simply do not believe the subject is that easily solved. It's all very subjective and that's what makes it dangerous. Risk vs. reward. I think it's far too risky in this situation.

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I believe she has made her point. She can only truly speak for herself when she says she does not worship the images, but merely uses them to focus on God. If that is true, I don't see anything wrong with it.

However.

I do believe asking the saints to pray for you, or praying to them to pray for you, is very dangerous. I don't believe the catholic forgets about God, but I do believe he runs the risk of focusing completely on God as the source of power and strength and may be tempted to view the saint as that source.

Undoubtedly idolatry has occurred in the Catholic church and will continue to occur. However, this does not mean that all Catholics are idolaters. I simply see their means of prayer and worship to be extremely risky in misguiding people.

Zabby, I appreciate your persistence, but I simply do not believe the subject is that easily solved. It's all very subjective and that's what makes it dangerous. Risk vs. reward. I think it's far too risky in this situation.

Talking to saints is the only thing that keeps me from being Catholic. I've thought long and hard about my faith and whether I should convert to Catholocism, but this one does it for me.

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Talking to saints is the only thing that keeps me from being Catholic. I've thought long and hard about my faith and whether I should convert to Catholocism, but this one does it for me.

I sincerely hope you are aware that "talking to saints" is not a Catholic doctrine. There is asking for prayer, but the specificity of having a dialogue with a saint is not something that is a teaching of the Church. If this is what you mean it seems your issue is really with the habits of individuals rather than a teaching of the Church itself. Often times in the setting of a prayer service asking a saint for their prayers is simply phrased as "St. X pray for us" not a long drawn out litany or conversation you seem to be alluding to even though some people do practice that sort of thing. The Church teaching on prayers to Saints simply boils down to this: those in Heaven are aware of whats going on on Earth, and they care because they are conformed to the perfect love of God and so they still love their fellow man and desire their salvation, and so they can pray on our behalf because they have perfect communication with God in Heaven and by extension we can request prayer of them since they are aware of what is going on on Earth. This is it in a nutshell, you are by no means compelled to "talk to saints" or say these long prayers to any particular saint, that sort of dialogue is not something I do, but I certainly have no problem with simply saying "St. Paul pray for me."

A big deal is made of this issue, but if you look in the Catholic Catechism, only one small paragraph is devoted to this issue:

2683 The witnesses who have preceded us into the kingdom,41 especially those whom the Church recognizes as saints, share in the living tradition of prayer by the example of their lives, the transmission of their writings, and their prayer today. They contemplate God, praise him and constantly care for those whom they have left on earth. When they entered into the joy of their Master, they were "put in charge of many things."42 Their intercession is their most exalted service to God's plan. We can and should ask them to intercede for us and for the whole world.

intercession here of course means in the context of prayer, in the same way anyone who prays for you even in this life intercedes for you by prayer in Christ.

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Talking to saints is the only thing that keeps me from being Catholic. I've thought long and hard about my faith and whether I should convert to Catholocism, but this one does it for me.

A far more serious reason that should keep you away from Catholicism is the switching around of the justification, santification, glorification process. Catholics believe the process goes as santification, justification, glorication. Essentially, Protestants believe that we are justified by Christ's death on the cross. His righteousness has been imputed upon us just as are our sins were put upon Him, and so we are made righteous in the eyes of God. Protestants then believe that we begin to be shaped more and more into the image of Christ, until His return, which will then commence the glorification when we are mad anew.

Catholics believe that we must be made fully into the image of Christ before we are justified to enter the kingdom of heaven. Because we are pretty much unable to be fully sanctified in our lifetime, they believe we are sent to purgatory to be purged of our remaining sins. Once we have been made righteous and clean on OUR account we can then enter the kingdom heaven.

Protestants enter the kingdom based upon Christ's account and not their own.

Boiled down, Catholicism is another example of a works-righteouness religion. The papacy serves as a false prophet and has led many away from the truth of Gospel. Thank God for Martin Luther.

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You see, Tom, she mentioned there are biblical examples that suggest using objects to focus more on God is OK.

She listed these:

  • The Burning Bush
  • The Ark of the Covenant
  • Putting blood on the doorposts at Passover
  • Circumcision
  • Baptism
  • Communion (aka The Lord's Supper)
  • The Earthquake and splitting of the veil at Christ's death
  • Talk of Peter's (or Paul I can't remember) cloak having healing properties
  • Nature declaring the beauty of the Lord (in Psalms)

She told me if she did any research, she would find more examples. Thing is, these examples don't back up her views.

I told her personally I don't know if I can call it a sin, but it's sure not how the Holy Spirit works and I sure haven't read any example of Jesus or any of His disciples using any images or objects thinking if they pray using it, they can get closer to God. I know for sure the only way we can get closer to God is not by images or objects, but by actually using the help of the Holy Spirit to focus on God. It's like giving importance to something that doesn't need importance, when you already have something that is way more important > The Holy Spirit.

The Church teaching on prayers to Saints simply boils down to this: those in Heaven are aware of whats going on on Earth, and they care because they are conformed to the perfect love of God and so they still love their fellow man and desire their salvation, and so they can pray on our behalf because they have perfect communication with God in Heaven and by extension we can request prayer of them since they are aware of what is going on on Earth.

The word of God tells us the one who intercedes for us is Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. No one else.

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A far more serious reason that should keep you away from Catholicism is the switching around of the justification, santification, glorification process. Catholics believe the process goes as santification, justification, glorication. Essentially, Protestants believe that we are justified by Christ's death on the cross. His righteousness has been imputed upon us just as are our sins were put upon Him, and so we are made righteous in the eyes of God. Protestants then believe that we begin to be shaped more and more into the image of Christ, until His return, which will then commence the glorification when we are mad anew.

Catholics believe that we must be made fully into the image of Christ before we are justified to enter the kingdom of heaven. Because we are pretty much unable to be fully sanctified in our lifetime, they believe we are sent to purgatory to be purged of our remaining sins. Once we have been made righteous and clean on OUR account we can then enter the kingdom heaven.

Protestants enter the kingdom based upon Christ's account and not their own.

Boiled down, Catholicism is another example of a works-righteouness religion. The papacy serves as a false prophet and has led many away from the truth of Gospel. Thank God for Martin Luther.

And yet, I disagree with nearly everything you have stated here. Again, the saints are what keep me from Catholicism.

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You see, Tom, she mentioned there are biblical examples that suggest using objects to focus more on God is OK.

She listed these:

  • The Burning Bush
  • The Ark of the Covenant
  • Putting blood on the doorposts at Passover
  • Circumcision
  • Baptism
  • Communion (aka The Lord's Supper)
  • The Earthquake and splitting of the veil at Christ's death
  • Talk of Peter's (or Paul I can't remember) cloak having healing properties
  • Nature declaring the beauty of the Lord (in Psalms)

She told me if she did any research, she would find more examples. Thing is, these examples don't back up her views.

I told her personally I don't know if I can call it a sin, but it's sure not how the Holy Spirit works and I sure haven't read any example of Jesus or any of His disciples using any images or objects thinking if they pray using it, they can get closer to God. I know for sure the only way we can get closer to God is not by images or objects, but by actually using the help of the Holy Spirit to focus on God. It's like giving importance to something that doesn't need importance, when you already have something that is way more important > The Holy Spirit.

The word of God tells us the one who intercedes for us is Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. No one else.

I can agree with that.

---------- Post added at 11:37 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:35 PM ----------

And yet, I disagree with nearly everything you have stated here. Again, the saints are what keep me from Catholicism.

So you believe the process of salvation is santification, justification, glorification?

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2683 The witnesses who have preceded us into the kingdom,41 especially those whom the Church recognizes as saints, share in the living tradition of prayer by the example of their lives, the transmission of their writings, and their prayer today. They contemplate God, praise him and constantly care for those whom they have left on earth. When they entered into the joy of their Master, they were "put in charge of many things."42 Their intercession is their most exalted service to God's plan. We can and should ask them to intercede for us and for the whole world.

intercession here of course means in the context of prayer, in the same way anyone who prays for you even in this life intercedes for you by prayer in Christ.

Is that made clear by the Catechism?

---------- Post added at 10:39 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:37 PM ----------

So you believe the process of salvation is santification, justification, glorification?

No no no, I believe that a Catholic would likely correct you on what it is they believe on the issue.

Also, I want nothing to do with the belief in purgatory. I agree with what you say about Protestants but I also believe you got it wrong with what you said about Catholicism.

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Is that made clear by the Catechism?

---------- Post added at 10:39 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:37 PM ----------

No no no, I believe that a Catholic would likely correct you on what it is they believe on the issue.

Also, I want nothing to do with the belief in purgatory. I agree with what you say about Protestants but I also believe you got it wrong with what you said about Catholicism.

The very doctrine of purgatory exists because of the belief that one must be sanctified before he is justified. Why else do you think they developed that belief? If you are follower of Christ and you haven't been fully sanctified they believe you cannot go into heaven. Yet they also believe you would not go to hell. Therefore you must be go to purgatory where the santification process would be made complete. Can a Catholic please confirm that I am representing your doctrine correctly? What I have presented is a true reflection of Catholic beliefs. We studied a number of Catholic beliefs in my college theology class.

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The very doctrine of purgatory exists because of the belief that one must be sanctified before he is justified. Why else do you think they developed that belief? If you are follower of Christ and you haven't been fully sanctified they believe you cannot go into heaven. Yet they also believe you would not go to hell. Therefore you must be go to purgatory where the santification process would be made complete. Can a Catholic please confirm that I am representing your doctrine correctly? What I have presented is a true reflection of Catholic beliefs. We studied a number of Catholic beliefs in my college theology class.

Ah yes, I apologize then, it was the generalization I did not agree with because I find Protestants do it way too often with Catholics and often Catholics will come back and say, "Actually you're way off base here." But yes, I agree when it comes to purgatory this is what they believe as far as I know and it's one of two things that keep me back from Catholicism for sure.

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The very doctrine of purgatory exists because of the belief that one must be sanctified before he is justified. Why else do you think they developed that belief? If you are follower of Christ and you haven't been fully sanctified they believe you cannot go into heaven. Yet they also believe you would not go to hell. Therefore you must be go to purgatory where the santification process would be made complete. Can a Catholic please confirm that I am representing your doctrine correctly? What I have presented is a true reflection of Catholic beliefs. We studied a number of Catholic beliefs in my college theology class.

This is not a correct Catholic belief.

Your usage of the terms justification and sanctification do not translate well over to Catholic and by extension Orthodox beliefs regarding salvation because salvation is seen as a process and is not compartmentalized into these "milestone" terms to put it crudely. Meaning, we wouldn't say, I got saved on July 10th 1999, a thought process that views salvation in this way is completely foreign to Catholic theology.

here is a quote that explains one aspect of justification quite well:

"Justification involves the free forgiveness of sins and the re-creation of the sinner through the infusion of justifying grace, otherwise known as sanctifying grace. This infusion makes us God’s truly just friends and adopted sons (CCC 1266, 1999, 2000, and 2010; Compendium of the Catechism 263 and 423). God alone causes justification, working through the sacraments of baptism and reconciliation. The basis for justification—the grounds on account of which God justifies—are the merits of Jesus Christ."

Therefore, it is not true to say that Catholics believe justification happens after sanctification, that makes no sense in Catholic thought. In Catholic theology no human being who dies without sanctifying grace (what protestants may simply refer to as saving grace) can enter Heaven. It is my impression from listening to many protestant beliefs on this forum that protestants put the emphasis on Heaven more on the idea that their sins are "covered up" by the blood of Christ (correct me if I am wrong) In Catholic theology the emphasis is put on the idea that our sins are completely expiated by the blood of Christ. And purgatory only serves as a means of purging us of the effects of sin/ venial faults for a soul that already has received sanctifying grace from God thus purifying and perfecting that soul for perfect communion with God where neither sin nor its effects can be present.

As the Catechism states regarding justification:

[TABLE=class: tborder, width: 100%, align: center]

[TR]

[TD=class: alt1, bgcolor: #F3F3EA]1987 The grace of the Holy Spirit has the power to justify us, that is, to cleanse us from our sins and to communicate to us "the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ" and through Baptism:34....[/TD]

[/TR]

[/TABLE]

So clearly, on your terms justification is not something that occurs after sanctification in Catholic belief. We believe in salvation as a process that culminates in actual entrance into Heaven, and this informs our use of the terms justification, sanctification, and so on. I just don't think we mean the same things you do when we use these very same terms.

I don't know what sort of college you go to, but even in Catholic colleges professors don't present the facts of what the Church actually teaches. I am a first hand witness to this sort of thing myself.

And as I side note, this "Catholicism teaches works based salvation" thing need to be put to bed

As the Council of Trent states:

CANON I.-If any one saith, that man may be justified before God by his own works, whether done through the teaching of human nature, or that of the law, without the grace of God through Jesus Christ; let him be anathema.

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This is not a correct Catholic belief.

So clearly, on your terms justification is not something that occurs after sanctification in Catholic belief. We believe in salvation as a process that culminates in actual entrance into Heaven, and this informs our use of the terms justification, sanctification, and so on. I just don't think we mean the same things you do when we use these very same terms.

This is what I agree with, and why I have considered Catholicism.

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Is that made clear by the Catechism?

I would hope it doesn't need to be XD. For a Catholic reading the Catechism it is clear that intercession means prayer. For someone who is not i can understand the ambiguity. But the only manner in which Saints "answer prayers" is by praying.. to God, for a particular person or cause. It stems from the most basic belief that God alone is the source of grace, so by necessity, "interceding" for someone, must only be an intercession of prayer because there is no other way in which we can hope to aid someone spiritually, whether we pray for them in this life or the next. I cannot give you grace, I can simply pray that God may grant you grace, and this same principle applies in the next life.

I understand you have an issue with people perhaps, anthropomorphizing the spiritual too much, in that they make statements like. "St. so and so help me!" but even in this context, the belief is not that a particular saint's soul will swoop down from Heaven like a ghost and do something. The belief is that their help comes through prayer to God on our behalf, although this is not always clear because to someone who is not Catholic that sort of language where people talk of spiritual aid in anthropomorphic terms can regrettably act as a stumbling block and an agent of confusion to a concept that is relatively simple.

Prayers to saints is simply an extension of the Catholic beliefs regarding the Church. Being that the Church exists both in this life and in the next, and that mere physical death is not enough to separate the Church. The bonds of Christian fellowship are stronger than death, because Christ conquered death and the Church acts as the body of Christ. And so if I were to die and enter Heaven, I certainly would not stop caring about the rest of humanity, that would be totally contrary to the concept of Love. To think that I would care about others in my sinful state in this life and then suddenly care LESS in the next life? It seems preposterous to me, because in this life, I am prone to being apathetic, hateful, indifferent to the sufferings of others, uncharitable, lazy, etc. And yet in spit of all this sinfulness, I would some how possess greater love for others in this state than in a state where I am perfect, and perfectly united with the love of God? This is why I just cannot agree with those that say that the Saints in Heaven are not concerned with what is going on on Earth. Revelation talks about the martyrs in Heaven crying out for God to avenge their blood, (Rev 6:10) So I would say, that if as Revelation depicts the saints are aware of what is going on in this life, then the natural thing for the saints in Heaven to do out of love is to constantly pray to God for our benefit just as the martyrs prayed to God for justice.

But as it is, the Catholic Church doesn't force anyone to participate in requesting prayers of saints, it is simply taught that it is okay to do so and is considered a pious practice; regardless I have a feeling many have prayed for you and I whether we have asked or not.

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So, essentially, if you believe your loved ones are in heaven watching, why not ask them to talk to God for you? I can see where that's coming from. If I didn't believe in death being like sleep until the second coming, I'd probably start doing the same thing.

To be honest, I'm with you guys on the salvation being a process thing. Never really understood OSAS. Whenever someone uses "I got saved" I cringe a little inside, though I'm happy for them realizing who they are in Christ, I don't really think it's a flip of a switch like that. That "flip" of a switch of realization is just one step (not even necessarily the first step!) in a long yet beautiful process.

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Okay, I just finished a week full of Ancient Greek Quizzes, an Organic Chem test, and a Physics test. Excuse me if this is not quite as structured as it could be.

The Burning Bush = God used a burning bush to communicate with Moses. This doesn't support your view of "we can use images to help us communicate with God".

The Burning Bush was literally a physical object that was not God that God used when communicating with Moses. I do not see how this is different than any other holy object that a person uses for communication with God. The fact of the matter is that you're looking at this from the wrong end of things. The objects that Catholics use are efficient for prayer or help us focus on God because we've decided that's the way things are. They are that way because God's decided it. He has set forth before us means in which He contacts us in, and if praying using a focusing object was not one of those paths, then it would not be edifying.

The Ark of the Covenant = I know little of the Ark of the Covenant, if I'm not mistaken, it was an object used to store the tablets of the 10 commandments. It was located in the area called "The holy of holies". Honestly I have not read through the Old Testament. I don't know if the Ark was used for communicating better with God. What I know is the Holy of Holies was an area that only the head priest could enter into God's presence.

The point of the Ark is that it was the place where God resided on earth before Christ came into the world. It was literally where He was, so this leads us to conclude that it was a object that contained the Holy Spirit, and of course it was used for better communication with God because the only time that the priest entered into this area was on the last of the High Holy Days of Yom Kippur. It was done for the purposes of offering a sacrifice to the Lord for the sins of the Jewish people. I am unsure of exactly how the practice went, but if they believed that God resided in the Ark, which I am sure they do, then the offering must have been done with much bowing and praying towards the ark, which I must add was covered in pictures of things like Angels and other scenes.

Putting blood on the doorposts at Passover = I don't see how a person could use this as a way to communicate with God better. It was a symbolism of blood, saving the lives of many, and also killing others who did not have it on their doorposts. This doesn't support your view of "we can use or pray towards objects to focus more on God"

Circumcision = Today, the real circumcision God considers is that of the heart, like Paul mentions in Romans 2. Not the physical type.

Baptism = This actually does help us get closer to God. This is another symbolism. But this doesn't support your view of "it's ok to pray towards objects and use them to help us reach God better"

Communion (aka The Lord's Supper) = This also helps us get closer to God. We do His will by participating in His supper if we are in communion. This however doesn't support your view either.

The Earthquake and splitting of the veil at Christ's death = This is history and will always be remembered. I don't know where you are trying to go with this one.

I agree these are poor examples because they're not images per say, but they are events in which God uses the physical world to communicate with us, and I don't see how that is any different than Him using objects to communicate with us.

Talk of Peter's (or Paul I can't remember) cloak having healing properties = The book of acts describes how someone used Paul's cloak and laid it on top of a sick person and they got healed. This doesn't support your view either. This doesn't justify us for being able to use objects as something to get closer to God. It was by the power of the Holy Spirit in Paul that even his clothing had power in them, but it wasn't put on a wall and kneeled to so that people would get saved or would get closer to God.

The passage I was thinking of was this, "God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them." And again, I do not see the difference. It was an object used by God to display the Holy Spirit and His power. Honestly, I do not see how you can accept this and not accept someone praying before an image.

Nature declaring the beauty of the Lord (in Psalms) = This doesn't support your view either.

Let's say you kneel down in front of a tree and say, "Oh Lord, please help me through this day." What's the difference between that and kneeling down in front of a cross or a picture of a biblical scene and saying "Oh Lord, please help me through this day." Because you should realize that even if a Catholic is kneeling in front of an object, they're still praying to God and focusing their mind on Him.

Also if you look at the official teachings of the Catholic Church, She is very clear when it comes to Idolatry. This is from the Catechism:

The first commandment condemns polytheism. It requires man neither to believe in, nor to venerate, other divinities than the one true God. Scripture constantly recalls this rejection of "idols, [of] silver and gold, the work of men's hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see." These empty idols make their worshippers empty: "Those who make them are like them; so are all who trust in them." God, however, is the "living God" who gives life and intervenes in history.

Idolatry not only refers to false pagan worship. It remains a constant temptation to faith. Idolatry consists in divinizing what is not God. Man commits idolatry whenever he honors and reveres a creature in place of God, whether this be gods or demons (for example, satanism), power, pleasure, race, ancestors, the state, money, etc. Jesus says, "You cannot serve God and mammon." Many martyrs died for not adoring "the Beast" refusing even to simulate such worship. Idolatry rejects the unique Lordship of God; it is therefore incompatible with communion with God.

Human life finds its unity in the adoration of the one God. The commandment to worship the Lord alone integrates man and saves him from an endless disintegration. Idolatry is a perversion of man's innate religious sense. An idolater is someone who "transfers his indestructible notion of God to anything other than God."

---------- Post added at 02:10 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:00 PM ----------

Also as a time when God used an object to get closer to the Jewish people I sight this:

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[TD] 7 And the people came to Moses, and said: 'We have sinned, because we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that He take away the serpents from us.' And Moses prayed for the people. [/TD]

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[TD] 8 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole; and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he seeth it, shall live.' [/TD]

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[TD] 9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and set it upon the pole; and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he looked unto the serpent of brass, he lived. [/TD]

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This is not a correct Catholic belief.

Your usage of the terms justification and sanctification do not translate well over to Catholic and by extension Orthodox beliefs regarding salvation because salvation is seen as a process and is not compartmentalized into these "milestone" terms to put it crudely. Meaning, we wouldn't say, I got saved on July 10th 1999, a thought process that views salvation in this way is completely foreign to Catholic theology.

here is a quote that explains one aspect of justification quite well:

"Justification involves the free forgiveness of sins and the re-creation of the sinner through the infusion of justifying grace, otherwise known as sanctifying grace. This infusion makes us God’s truly just friends and adopted sons (CCC 1266, 1999, 2000, and 2010; Compendium of the Catechism 263 and 423). God alone causes justification, working through the sacraments of baptism and reconciliation. The basis for justification—the grounds on account of which God justifies—are the merits of Jesus Christ."

Therefore, it is not true to say that Catholics believe justification happens after sanctification, that makes no sense in Catholic thought. In Catholic theology no human being who dies without sanctifying grace (what protestants may simply refer to as saving grace) can enter Heaven. It is my impression from listening to many protestant beliefs on this forum that protestants put the emphasis on Heaven more on the idea that their sins are "covered up" by the blood of Christ (correct me if I am wrong) In Catholic theology the emphasis is put on the idea that our sins are completely expiated by the blood of Christ. And purgatory only serves as a means of purging us of the effects of sin/ venial faults for a soul that already has received sanctifying grace from God thus purifying and perfecting that soul for perfect communion with God where neither sin nor its effects can be present.

As the Catechism states regarding justification:

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[TD=class: alt1, bgcolor: #F3F3EA]1987 The grace of the Holy Spirit has the power to justify us, that is, to cleanse us from our sins and to communicate to us "the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ" and through Baptism:34....[/TD]

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So clearly, on your terms justification is not something that occurs after sanctification in Catholic belief. We believe in salvation as a process that culminates in actual entrance into Heaven, and this informs our use of the terms justification, sanctification, and so on. I just don't think we mean the same things you do when we use these very same terms.

I don't know what sort of college you go to, but even in Catholic colleges professors don't present the facts of what the Church actually teaches. I am a first hand witness to this sort of thing myself.

And as I side note, this "Catholicism teaches works based salvation" thing need to be put to bed

As the Council of Trent states:

CANON I.-If any one saith, that man may be justified before God by his own works, whether done through the teaching of human nature, or that of the law, without the grace of God through Jesus Christ; let him be anathema.

The idea of justifying grace lends itself to being applied as being made perfect through penance. I don't doubt that the Catholic church believes all this must be done through Jesus Christ, but I find it's application very sketchy. From my conversations on here, it seems to boil down to "Jesus Christ died so that we could do enough penance to get into heaven."

Why must we be completely sanctified before we enter into the kingdom of heaven? From what I read it seems that the reason would be sanctified=justified. You can't enter into heaven if you aren't justified, and so therefore you must be fully sanctified in order to enter. Protestants view justification and sanctification as being wholly separate from one another. Christ work on the cross ITSELF saves us. The perfection of the human being through sanctification is not what brings salvation. The question is, how does one become sanctified according to Catholicism ?

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The Burning Bush was literally a physical object that was not God that God used when communicating with Moses. I do not see how this is different than any other holy object that a person uses for communication with God. The fact of the matter is that you're looking at this from the wrong end of things. The objects that Catholics use are efficient for prayer or help us focus on God because we've decided that's the way things are. They are that way because God's decided it. He has set forth before us means in which He contacts us in, and if praying using a focusing object was not one of those paths, then it would not be edifying.

God does use different ways to communicate with US (dreams, visions, hearing His voice, the writing on a wall by His hand, the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit, a prophet, a preacher, etc.) Now, the difference is the way WE communicate with God. You stand firm believing that WE can use objects to help us with communication with God when the Scriptures point out the contrary; that the only way people would communicate with the living God was by talking to Him directly, begging to Him or asking Him for help. We see examples of when Jesus would want to focus on God; He would go up a mountain to pray all night. There are also examples of the apostles. We read that they would focus on God by praying together or by being alone, but never using any object to help them communicate with God.

The point of the Ark is that it was the place where God resided on earth before Christ came into the world. It was literally where He was, so this leads us to conclude that it was a object that contained the Holy Spirit, and of course it was used for better communication with God because the only time that the priest entered into this area was on the last of the High Holy Days of Yom Kippur. It was done for the purposes of offering a sacrifice to the Lord for the sins of the Jewish people. I am unsure of exactly how the practice went, but if they believed that God resided in the Ark, which I am sure they do, then the offering must have been done with much bowing and praying towards the ark, which I must add was covered in pictures of things like Angels and other scenes.

I can't speak much here because I have not studied about the Ark of the Covenant. I know if a priest was in sin, he would drop dead in there. But I don't know much so I can't really say much.

I agree these are poor examples because they're not images per say, but they are events in which God uses the physical world to communicate with us, and I don't see how that is any different than Him using objects to communicate with us.

Well, as I wrote before, God uses ways to communicate with US and it's backed up by the bible. For us though, the bible doesn't support using any objects to help us with our communication.

Let's say you kneel down in front of a tree and say, "Oh Lord, please help me through this day." What's the difference between that and kneeling down in front of a cross or a picture of a biblical scene and saying "Oh Lord, please help me through this day." Because you should realize that even if a Catholic is kneeling in front of an object, they're still praying to God and focusing their mind on Him.

Honestly I don't agree that kneeling down in front of a cross will help me communicate with God regardless if I'm in a temple or not.

However, I do believe we can separate ourselves in specific area to help us communicate with God. An area without distractions like a mountain or a temple.

The first commandment condemns polytheism. It requires man neither to believe in, nor to venerate, other divinities than the one true God. Scripture constantly recalls this rejection of "idols, [of] silver and gold, the work of men's hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see." These empty idols make their worshippers empty: "Those who make them are like them; so are all who trust in them." God, however, is the "living God" who gives life and intervenes in history.

Idolatry not only refers to false pagan worship. It remains a constant temptation to faith. Idolatry consists in divinizing what is not God. Man commits idolatry whenever he honors and reveres a creature in place of God, whether this be gods or demons (for example, satanism), power, pleasure, race, ancestors, the state, money, etc. Jesus says, "You cannot serve God and mammon."Many martyrs died for not adoring "the Beast" refusing even to simulate such worship. Idolatry rejects the unique Lordship of God; it is therefore incompatible with communion with God.

Human life finds its unity in the adoration of the one God. The commandment to worship the Lord alone integrates man and saves him from an endless disintegration. Idolatry is a perversion of man's innate religious sense. An idolater is someone who "transfers his indestructible notion of God to anything other than God."

I agree.

Also as a time when God used an object to get closer to the Jewish people I sight this:

Yes, God used different ways to get in contact with people, but that doesn't mean we can use objects to contact God.

It's like this:

God is a spiritual being that lives in a spiritual world. We are creatures that live in a material world and God sometimes uses objects in this material world to contact us one way or another. The problem is us. When we try using our materialistic ways to contact God that is a Holy Spirit who lives in a spiritual world, the communication will not be enhanced. God is so powerful and almighty that He has had to use small ways compared to His power to communicate to us with objects that are mentioned in the bible. But then when we try using some object, it's just not effective. There has to be something more powerful, something that can really help us talk to God directly in the spiritual world, and that's His Holy Spirit.

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The idea of justifying grace lends itself to being applied as being made perfect through penance. I don't doubt that the Catholic church believes all this must be done through Jesus Christ, but I find it's application very sketchy. From my conversations on here, it seems to boil down to "Jesus Christ died so that we could do enough penance to get into heaven."

Why must we be completely sanctified before we enter into the kingdom of heaven? From what I read it seems that the reason would be sanctified=justified. You can't enter into heaven if you aren't justified, and so therefore you must be fully sanctified in order to enter. Protestants view justification and sanctification as being wholly separate from one another. Christ work on the cross ITSELF saves us. The perfection of the human being through sanctification is not what brings salvation. The question is, how does one become sanctified according to Catholicism ?

It appears to me that you need to open your knowledge wider to include your life's experiences. This culminates in Wisdom. Whenever Love is encountered it greatly desires to beautify itself and offer itself abundantly. Perhaps you might relate it to your devotion to your Sarah. If it is genuine sacrificial love for her, I trust that you want to spend every living moment with her as well as to present yourself as kindly and handsomely as you are able. You would never selfishly count on her to carry the load of your relationship and "accept you as you are", quite unkempt in your humanity, just because you say that you love her.

The same is true of entering into the Trinity's most Holy presence. In the simplest of terms to sanctify simply means to make holy. It is not that Catholics believe we HAVE to do enough penance to enter into Heaven--We believe we GET to do enough penance to essentially make things right between us and God for our profoundly selfish natures. Purgatory is a School of Love in short. It purges us of this sinfulness and it is of God's design--not ours.

It is Christ who will judge us. He is the one ordained by God to be judge of the living and the dead. (Acts 10:42) As St Paul reminded the first Christians at Corinth: "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body." (2 Cor 5:10) The body is integral. It is the instrument we use to see, and hear, and act as witnesses of Christ. It is in effect how Christ incarnates within humanity. We have a bazillion daily choices to make to either enter this communion with God's incarnational body--or not.

These are not "works" as you might perceive them but expressions of our devotion to Christi. Shame on the person who foolishly believes that they might earn their way into Heaven.

CCC# 2427 Human work proceeds directly from persons created in the image of God and called to prolong the work of creation by subduing the earth, both with and for one another. Hence work is a duty: "If any one will not work, let him not eat." Work honors the Creator's gifts and the talents received from him. It can also be redemptive. By enduring the hardship of work in union with Jesus, the carpenter of Nazareth and the one crucified on Calvary, man collaborates in a certain fashion with the Son of God in his redemptive work. He shows himself to be a disciple of Christ by carrying the cross, daily, in the work he is called to accomplish. Work can be a means of sanctification and a way of animating earthly realities with the Spirit of Christ.

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I'm just going to quote your last paragraph because this accurately describes where we differ.

God is a spiritual being that lives in a spiritual world. We are creatures that live in a material world and God sometimes uses objects in this material world to contact us one way or another. The problem is us. When we try using our materialistic ways to contact God that is a Holy Spirit who lives in a spiritual world, the communication will not be enhanced. God is so powerful and almighty that He has had to use small ways compared to His power to communicate to us with objects that are mentioned in the bible. But then when we try using some object, it's just not effective. There has to be something more powerful, something that can really help us talk to God directly in the spiritual world, and that's His Holy Spirit.

When did I ever claim that using an object or a statue or anything to focus oneself in prayer is trying to circumvent the Holy Spirit or trying to contact God in way that is materialistic. I'm telling you, which you seem to be ignoring, is that praying using statues, objects, or what have you is not an inherently superior form of prayer. There is nothing about a statue that makes one's prayer reach God better, easier or with greater effect. What I'm trying to say is that it is a human process that allows a person to quite themselves and actually pray better. All prayers that are directed to God, whether they are done by means of using an object to focus oneself or simply in a quiet space, must be refined into inexpressible groaning by the Holy Spirit because, as fallen, earthly creatures, we do not know how to communicate with the one true God. I don't see why you get so upset about the idea that one person may feel as though they can concentrate on prayer better if they're holding something or in a specific setting while others do not.

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No offense, Zabby. I appreciate you taking your time to answer questions, but I can literaly divide your paragraph in two and point out how they contradict eachother.

When did I ever claim that using an object or a statue or anything to focus oneself in prayer is trying to circumvent the Holy Spirit or trying to contact God in way that is materialistic. I'm telling you, which you seem to be ignoring, is that praying using statues, objects, or what have you is not an inherently superior form of prayer. There is nothing about a statue that makes one's prayer reach God better, easier or with greater effect.

I completely agree here because you say we can't get to God better or make our prayers better for God with objects or images when we pray.

What I'm trying to say is that it is a human process that allows a person to quite themselves and actually pray better. All prayers that are directed to God, whether they are done by means of using an object to focus oneself or simply in a quiet space, must be refined into inexpressible groaning by the Holy Spirit because, as fallen, earthly creatures, we do not know how to communicate with the one true God. I don't see why you get so upset about the idea that one person may feel as though they can concentrate on prayer better if they're holding something or in a specific setting while others do not.

But then this paragraph is telling me it's OK for a person to use images and objects to help them focus on God. This paragraph validates that using objects or images in prayer can help one focus on God, while the first paragraph is saying they are useless on trying to get closer to Him.

Like I said earlier, just like Jesus did, I do believe we can find a retreat to focus on God, like a literal retreat, a mountain or an attic. But I don't believe holding objects will help me get closer to God. Am I mistaken? Am I hitting the target or am I missing your point?

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