SAINTS: OUR SECONDARY MEDIATORS
Mrs. Nancy Hearn Griffin,
Dear Madam:---The one hundred and fifteen page assault upon things Catholic, in your "Legends of St. Anne and Mary," came to my desk from a Seattle friend, who was amazed at the assumptions therein of knowledge superior to that of the Catholic Church.
Any Catholic layman, acquainted with the teachings of his Church, needed not to go further into your book than its Introduction to realize that your anti-Catholicism is based, in great part, upon a perverse concept of certain biblical texts. Your basic objection is to the mediatory power attributed by the Catholic Church to Mary, St. Anne, and the other Saints. Your declaration that this is contrary to the First Epistle of Timothy, proves, in the words of Byron, that you have "just enough learning to misinterpret."
You set forth verse 5 in chapter 2 of First Timothy,---"There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus,"---out of its context to prove that it is not legitimate, from a biblical point of view, to hold the mother of Christ to be a mediator. You entirely disregard the fact that paragraph 5, in 1 Timothy 2, is only a part of the declaration of St. Paul. It must be considered in conjunction with paragraph 6. This is evidenced by the punctuation that separates the two paragraphs: a comma in the Catholic edition of the Bible; and a semi-colon in the Protestant version. Paragraph 6 makes plain that there is only one mediator "Who made Himself a redemption for all"; the Protestant version says "a ransom for all."
No pope, bishop, priest, or authoritative Catholic writer, ever claimed for the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Anne, or any of the other Saints, the mediatorship of "redemption," or "ransom," "For All." They all claimed that this all-inclusive power belongs exclusively to Jesus Christ, the Supreme Mediator "between God and men"; and that the Saints are mediators only in the secondary sense of the term. When asked, "Why should I go to Mary for heavenly favors, when I can go directly to God?" a Catholic gentleman countered the question, by asking, "Why do most citizens go to senators and congressman for White House favors, instead of going directly to the President? You know the answer, because the senators and congressmen are more influential than they are.
The same reasonable practice is followed by Catholics in their spiritual relations with Christ Jesus. Mary, St. Anne, and the other Saints with Christ in Heaven, are personal friends of Christ; hence they have more influence with Him than have we humans. Therefore Catholics go indirectly to Christ through the petitions of the Saints, as well as to Him directly.
"The prayer of the just availeth much," says St. James (5:16). Surely the canonized Saints are foremost among "the just", having conformed to the will of God in an heroic degree. If St. Paul, who wrote the Epistles to Timothy, thought it fitting to cry out to his brethren to "help me in your prayers to God for me" (Romans 15:30), why cannot you and I call upon Mary, St. Anne, and the other Saints for "prayers to God"?
You base your erroneous presentation of Catholic relations with the Saints, not only upon an improper use of the First Epistle to Timothy, but also by assuming that Catholics "adore" Mary, St. Anne, and the other Saints; that they "worship" them, using the terms in the Divine sense. For this assumption there is no warrant.
Catholics believe in intercession, as did St. Paul, who said "I urge first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions be made for all men ..." (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Such intercession is asked by Catholics of the Saints, particularly of Mary, who is closest to her Son in Heaven, as she was to Him while He was on earth.
These intercessions have resulted in miracles on hundreds of occasions, miracles that are denied in your book. One has but to study, in an unbiased manner, the evaluations made by impartial non-Catholics of the miracles that have taken place in Lourdes and St. Anne de Beaupre, to be convinced of the value of the intercession of the Saints. One of these investigators, Dr. Alexis Carrell, professor of medicine in the Lyons University, set forth his discoveries in "The Journey To Lourdes," a book recommended for your enlightenment. He went to Lourdes an agnostic, highly skeptical of the reported cures, and came away a convert to the Catholic Church.
Your further cocksureness of what is not so, is seen in dubbing the practice of praying for the Souls in Purgatory as paganistic. To further this anti-Catholic concept, you reject the Book of the Maccabees which tells of the "sacrifice offered for the sins of the dead" (12:43-46), on the ground that the two Books of the Maccabees "were rejected by the Jews as part of Holy Scriptures."
Those two Books of the Maccabees, along with the other Books in the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament, were "greeted with enthusiasm by the Jews everywhere upon its appearance," says Vallentine's Jewish Encyclopedia. You are partly right; those Books "were rejected by the Jews," those who were no longer Old Testament Jews. This rejection came after Judaism ceased to be the religion of Almighty God; or more correctly, after Judaism had blossomed forth into Catholic Christianity. The reason given by them for rejecting the use of the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament, was the use said to have been made of it by the Christians. Vallentine's Jewish Encyclopedia says, "with the rise of the Christian sect and its adoption of the Septuagint version of the Bible, the Jews (that is the anti-Christ Jews) began to denounce it, vehemently, accusing the Christians of falsifying the Greek text here and there."
A complete analysis of your gross anti-historic, anti-Biblical, anti-Catholic concepts would take as many pages as there are in your presumptuous volume. Suffice it to end with a word about your cocksure declaration that "the Lord, Jesus Christ and His Apostles did not quote from the apocryphal books, of which the books of Maccabees form a part." This is absolutely unhistoric. It is refuted in Peloubet's (Protestant) Bible Dictionary, which says that "the Septuagint was manifestly the chief storehouse from which Christ and the Apostles drew their proofs and precepts" (pp. 604-605). This proves that Protestants, like the Jews of the Christian ages, use an emasculated Old Testament; whereas Catholics stand by the Old Testament in its completeness, which was held by Christ and the Apostles to be the Word of God of the Judaism that was of God.
Opposition to the Catholic Church, my dear lady, is opposition to Christ Our Lord. The Catholic Church is the Spiritual Organism, the Mystical Body of Christ, that Our Lord established, and promised to remain with until the end of the world. Indwelling in the Catholic Church is the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Truth, that guards her from error in matters of faith and morals. She is the Church Christ commanded you and me, and everybody else in the world to hear. She is the Spiritual Society against which the gates of Hell in all forms, even in the writings of her enemies, have, do, and will continue to endeavor to prevail against her, but without success. That you may be blest with an appreciation of this, and thus realize the enormity of your effusion, is my prayer.
Sincerely in the Lord,