In the Bible we read the following passages:
"Where did this man get this wisdom and these deeds of power? Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all this? And they took offense at him" (St. Matt. 13, 54-57).
"While he was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers were standing outside, wanting to speak to him" (St. Matt. 12, 46).
According to Fundamentalists, therefore, it appears clear that Jesus Christ had brothers and sisters, and that Mary did not remain a virgin all Her life. Yet, the Catholic Church asserts that Mary was a virgin before, during, and remained so perpetually after the birth of Christ (Ante partum, in partu, post partum). Consequently, the Catholic Church teaches a wrong doctrine, it is false, and you should leave Her!
The Catholic answer to this apparent contradiction is detailed but decisive. There existed no special word in Hebrew or Aramaic for "cousin." The word "brother" is used in these languages in a general sense, and does not necessarily imply children of the same parent. There are many examples in the Old Testament when the word brother was applied to any sort of relations: nephew (Gen. 12, 5; 13, 8; 14, 16), uncle (Gen. 29, 15); husband (Songs. 4, 9); a member of the same tribe (2 Kgs. 9, 13); of the same people (Exod. 2, 21); an ally (Amos 1, 9); a friend (2 Kgs. 1, 26); one of the same office (1 Sam. 9, 13).
Another such example is found in Gal. 1, 19, where St. Paul calls St. James "the Lords brother." There were only two Apostles named James - James Son of Zebedee, and James the Less Son of Cleophas. Neither had St. Joseph as their father. "Brother" is used here simply to designate the close affection between the Apostle and Our Lord, not to show a blood relationship.
A number of distinguished Catholic commentators, including St. Thomas Aquinas, actually hold that the Blessed Virgin Mary had made a formal vow of perpetual virginity despite being betrothed to St. Joseph. The Jews during the four centuries before Christ had begun to develop a concept of consecrated virginity, particularly in the community of the Essenes. A vow of virginity would help explain why Our Lady was so perplexed after the Angel Gabriel announced to Her that She was about to bear a son. According to Jewish custom at the time, marriage was in two stages. The first stage, or betrothal, was when the marriage was effectively made. Our Lady and St. Joseph had concluded this stage. Sexual relationships after this point were not considered as fornication. Yet we know that nothing of this kind had taken place between Our Lady and St. Joseph: "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" (St. Luke 1, 34). The second stage of marriage was the social formality of the public celebration. Our Lady and St. Joseph in all probability missed out on this second stage due to their flight to Egypt, nevertheless, this fact did not impugn the validity of their marriage.
"But St. Matthew 1, 25 says that Joseph had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus. This implies that Mary, therefore, had other children conceived by Joseph after giving birth to Jesus."
It would be well here to reproduce the footnote commentary on this verse from the Douai-Rheims version of the New Testament:
"St. Jerome shows, by divers examples, that this expression of the Evangelist was a manner of speaking usual among the Hebrews, to denote by the word until, only what is done, without any regard to the future. Thus it is said, Genesis 8, 6 and 7, that Noe sent forth a raven, which went forth, and did not return till the waters were dried up on the earth. That is, did not return anymore. Also Isaias 46, 4, God says: I am till you grow old. Who dare infer that God should then cease to be?...God saith to his divine Son: Sit on my right till I make thy enemies thy footstool. Shall he sit no longer after his enemies are subdued?"
Further, according to the Jewish Law a child was designated as "first-born" irrespective of whether there were yet, or ever to be, subsequent children born to the same mother. This is gathered from Exod. 13, 2, which required that "every first-born that openeth the womb among the children of Israel" be consecrated to God forty days after their birth.
Who, then, exactly were the brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ?
It is best to start by looking at St. John 19, 25. There it is evident that Our Lady had an older sister whose name was also Mary: "Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene."
Turning next to the Gospel of St. Mark 15, 40, speaking on the same point: "There were also women looking on from a distance; among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger (Less) and of Joses (Joseph), and Salome." Who is this "Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses?" Of the Marys mentioned in St. John 19, 25 it must be Mary the wife of Clopas, not Mary the "mother of Jesus," as Our Lady is never mentioned by any other title in the New Testament except as "mother of Jesus." Further, we know that the father of James the younger was Clopas, the husband of Mary of Clopas (St. Mark 3, 18), making Mary of Clopas James mother. As for Jude, he was also a son of Clopas and Our Ladys sister as Scripture speaks of him as a brother of James the younger: "James son of Alphaeus (Clopas), and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the brother of James" (Acts 1, 13 [Douai]). Consequently, Our Lord had cousins by the names of James, Joseph and Jude.
One can safely state then that the "brothers" of Our Lord as mentioned in St. Matt. 13, 54-57 being James, Joseph, Jude etc. are in fact the same James, Joseph and Jude just determined to be His cousins. It would be forcing credibility to believe that Our Lady and Her older "sister" both had the same names and also had children with the same names. One can expect, also, that after St. Joseph died Our Lady would have gone with Our Lord to live with or nearby Her older "sister," explaining why She was traveling with those mentioned in St. Matt. 12, 46. It is a clear example of the word "brother" being used to refer to a first or second cousin.
It is also important to examine closely three major events in Our Lords life referred to in the Gospels: (i) the return of the Holy Family from Egypt to Nazareth after the death of Herod; (ii) the finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem after being lost for three days; (iii) Our Lord giving Our Lady to the care of St. John at His crucifixion. Our Lord, according to pious tradition, was 10, 12 and 33 years of age respectively when each of these events occurred. Yet, never is there any mention of brothers or sisters of His being present, which one would naturally expect if they had actually existed.
Finally, the early Protestant leaders - Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, and Beza - likewise accepted that the Blessed Virgin Mary had no other children besides Christ.
St. Ephrem of Edessa (+373 A.D.)1 :
"...the rod of Aaron that budded, truly have you appeared as a stem whose flower is your true Son, our Christ, my God and my Maker; you did bear according to the flesh God and the Word, did preserve your virginity before His birth, did remain a virgin after His birth, and we have been reconciled to God by Christ your Son."
St. Cyril of Jerusalem (+386 A.D.)2 :
"Of Him Who is God and Man are you the Mother, Virgin before (His) birth, Virgin in birth, and Virgin after birth."
St. Jerome (+420 A.D.), Contra Helvidius, i:
"Suppose that the Brethren of the Lord were Josephs sons by another wife. But we understand the Brethren of the Lord to be not the sons of Joseph, but cousins of the Savior, the sons of Mary, his mothers sister."
St. Augustine of Hippo, Holy Virginity (401 A.D.):
"In being born of a Virgin who chose to remain a Virgin even before she knew who was to be born of her, Christ wanted to approve virginity rather than impose it. And He wanted virginity to be of free choice even in that woman in whom He took upon Himself the form of a slave."
St. Augustine of Hippo (+430 A.D.), De Annunt. Dom. iii:
"It is written (Ezekiel 44, 2): This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall pass through it. Because the Lord the God of Israel hath entered in by it... What means this closed gate in the house of the Lord, except that Mary is to be ever inviolate? What does it mean that no man shall pass through it, save that Joseph shall not know her? And what is this - The Lord alone enters in and goeth out by it, except that the Holy Ghost shall impregnate her, and that the Lord of Angels shall be born of her? And what means this - It shall be shut for evermore, but that Mary is a Virgin before His birth, a Virgin in His birth, and a Virgin after His birth."
St. John Chrysostom (+407 A.D.), Opus Imperf. in Matt., Hom. 1 (?):
"Joseph did not know her, until she gave birth, being unaware of her dignity: but after she had given birth, then did he know her (by way of acquaintance). Because by reason of her child she surpassed the whole world in beauty and dignity: Since she alone in the narrow abode of her womb received him whom the world cannot contain."
Catechism of the Council of Trent (1566):
He is born of His Mother without any diminution of her maternal virginity, just as He afterwards went forth from the sepulcher while it was closed and sealed, and entered the room in which His disciples were assembled, the doors being shut; or, not to depart from every-day examples, just as the rays of the sun penetrate without breaking or injuring in the least the solid substance of glass, so after a like but more exalted manner did Jesus Christ come forth from His mothers womb without injury to her maternal virginity. This immaculate and perpetual virginity forms, therefore, the just theme of our eulogy. Such was the work of the Holy Ghost, who at the Conception and birth of the Son so favored the Virgin Mother as to impart to her fecundity while preserving inviolate her perpetual virginity.
Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992):
Mary - "ever-virgin"
No. 499: The deepening of faith in the virginal motherhood led the Church to confess Marys real and perpetual virginity even in the act of giving birth to the Son of God made man. In fact, Christs birth "did not diminish His Mothers virginal integrity but sanctified it." And so the liturgy of the Church celebrates Mary as Aeiparthenos, the "Ever-virgin."
No. 500: Against this doctrine the objection is sometimes raised that the Bible mentions brothers and sisters of Jesus. The Church has always understood these passages as not referring to other children of the Virgin Mary. In fact James and Joseph, "brothers of Jesus," are the sons of another Mary, a disciple of Christ, whom St. Matthew significantly calls "the other Mary." They are close relations of Jesus, according to an Old Testament expression.
No. 501: Jesus is Marys Son, but her spiritual motherhood extends to all men whom indeed he came to save: "The Son whom she brought forth is he whom God placed as the first-born among many brethren, that is, the faithful in whose generation and formulation she co-operates with a mothers love."
"As for guardian angels, they are a belief imported into Catholicism from the beliefs of the pagan Assyrians and Babylonians!"
It is the "mind of the Church" that every individual person has allotted to them a Guardian Angel by God. It is clear from both the Old and New Testaments that angels are Gods ministers who carry out His will, and at appointed times are allotted special commissions to intervene in the affairs of mankind.
According to St. Thomas (ST., I, Q. cxiii, a. 4) only the lowest choirs of angels are sent to us as guardians. Guardian Angels can act upon our senses and our imaginations, and through these same faculties upon our wills. Not only the baptized, but every person, including children, receives a Guardian Angel, who remains with us even in heaven.
In Sacred Scripture, the doctrine of Guardian Angels is given no special consideration, but rather is taken for granted:
"The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and bowed down with his face to the ground... When morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, Get up, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or else you will be consumed in the punishment of the city" (Gen. 19, 1-15);
"But now go, lead the people to the place about which I have spoken to you; see, my angel shall go in front of you. Nevertheless, when the day comes for punishment, I will punish them for their sin" (Exod. 32, 34);
"At that time the prayers of them both were heard in the sight of the glory of the most high God: And the holy angel of the Lord, Raphael was sent to heal them both, whose prayers at one time were rehearsed in the sight of the Lord" (Tob. 3, 24-25 [Douai]);
"For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways" (Ps. 91, 11);
"But the prince (angel) of the kingdom of Persia opposed me twenty-one days. So Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, and I left him there with the prince of the kingdom of Persia, and have come to help you understand what is to happen to your people at the end of days. For there is a further vision for those days...But I am to tell you what is inscribed in the book of truth. There is no one with me who contends against these princes except Michael, your prince" (Dan. 10, 13-14; 21);
"When Maccabeus and his men got word that Lysias was besieging the strongholds, they and all the people, with lamentations and tears, prayed the Lord to send a good angel to save Israel" (2 Macc. 11, 6).
In the New Testament the doctrine of Guardian Angels is stated more precisely:
"Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven" (St. Matt. 18, 10);
"Then the high priest took action; he and all who were with him (that is, the sect of the Sadducees), being filled with jealousy, arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison.
But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors, brought them out, and said, Go, stand in the temple and tell the people the whole message about this life" (Acts 5, 17-20);
"Then Peter came to himself and said, Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hands of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting. As soon as he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many had gathered and were praying. When he knocked at the outer gate, a maid named Rhoda came to answer. On recognizing Peter's voice, she was so overjoyed that, instead of opening the gate, she ran in and announced that Peter was standing at the gate. They said to her, You are out of your mind! But she insisted that it was so. They said, It is his angel" (Acts 12, 11-15);
"Are not all angels spirits in the divine service, sent to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?" (Heb. 1, 14).
St. Michael was the special protector of Israel and is now invoked as the guardian of the Christian faithful against the wickedness and snares of Satan. How we should love our Guardian Angels and invoke their aid in all the circumstances of our lives.
The Shepherd of Hermas (C. 140-155 A.D.):
"God planted the vineyard," (the shepherd) said: "that is, He created the people, and gave them over to His Son. And the Son appointed the angels to guard over them; and He Himself cleansed them of their sins, laboring much and undergoing much toil."
St. Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies (Post 202 A.D.):
"The thoughts of virtuous men are produced by divine inspiration. The soul is disposed in the way it is, and the will of God is conveyed to human souls, by special divine ministers who assist in such service. For regiments of angels are distributed over nations and cities; and perhaps some even are assigned to particular individuals."
Origen, Homilies on Luke (Post 233 A.D.):
"To every man there are two attending angels, the one of justice and the other of wickedness. If there be good thoughts in our heart, and if righteousness be welling up in our soul, it can scarcely be doubted that an angel of the Lord is speaking to us. If, however, the thoughts of our heart be turned to evil, an angel of the Devil is speaking to us."
St. Hilary of Poitiers, Commentaries on the Psalms (C. 365 A.D.):
"We recall that there are many spiritual powers, to whom the name angels is given, or presidents of churches. There are, according to John, angels of the Churches in Asia. And there were, as Moses bears witness, when the sons of Adam were separated, bounds appointed for the peoples according to the number of the angels. And, as the Lord teaches, there are for little children, angels who see God daily. There are, as Raphael told Tobias, angels assisting before the majesty of God, carrying to God the prayers of suppliants. Mention is made of all this, because you might wish to understand these angels as the eyes, or the ears, or the hands, or the feet of God...It is not the nature of God, but the weakness of men, which requires their service. For they are sent for the sake of those who will inherit salvation. God is not unaware of anything that we do; but in our weakness we are impoverished for a minister of spiritual intercession in the matter of beseeching and propitiating."
St. Basil the Great, Against Eunomius (Inter 363-365 A.D.):
"All the angels, having but one appellation, have likewise among themselves the same nature, even though some of them are set over nations, while others of them are guardians to each one of the faithful."
Catechism of the Council of Trent (1566):
Add to this their love towards us, which, as we easily see from Scripture, prompts them to pour out their prayers for those countries over which they are placed, as well as for us whose guardians they are, and whose prayers and tears they present before the throne of God. Hence our Lord admonishes us in the Gospel not to offend the little ones, because their angels in heaven always see the face of their Father who is in heaven.
Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992):
No. 334: In the meantime, the whole life of the Church benefits from the mysterious and powerful help of angels.
No. 335: In her liturgy, the Church joins with the angels to adore the thrice-holy God. She invokes their assistance (in the funeral liturgys In Paradisum deducant te angeli...["May the angels lead you into paradise..."]). Moreover, in the "Cherubic Hymn" of the Byzantine Liturgy, she celebrates the memory of certain angels more particularly (St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael, and the guardian angels).
No. 336: From infancy to death human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession. Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life. Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God.
"The dead cannot hear our prayers. In any case, to worship saints, like Mary, is again idolatry!"
No practice of the Catholic Church has received more attention and abuse from Her opponents than the ancient custom of honoring the heroic servants of God. Idolatry and superstition have been charged against Her.
The Church has been in existence nearly two thousand years. She has on Her list of known Saints many thousands of names of men and women whom She honors and pays real religious homage. However, never in Her history has She given adoration to them. The Catholic Church makes a complete and clear distinction between the supreme worship which is given to God alone and the relative and inferior homage which is paid to the Saints.
Catholics have always distinguished emphatically between the cultus dulia, which translates as "the homage of veneration," and the cultus latria, which signifies "the worship of adoration."
Veneration is paid to the Saints. A higher form of it, called hyperdulia, is given to the Blessed Virgin Mary by virtue of Her singular privilege as Mother of God; but adoration is given to God alone. Any attempt to give adoration to a creature would certainly be false worship - but the Catholic Church has never given it. She adores God and God only.
Is it reasonable to invoke the Saints to aid us?
The most common Protestant objection to the intercession of the Saints is that it diminishes the intercessory role of Christ who is the "one mediator between God and men" (1 Tim. 2, 5). Understood properly, Christ is the one mediator of redemption, for there is no other name under heaven by which humanity is saved. Nevertheless, Sacred Scripture itself attests that Christ is not the sole mediator of prayer. The Holy Spirit "intercedes with sighs too deep for words" (Rom. 8, 26). Moses interceded for the people of Israel, asking Gods mercy and grace, for the sake of the dead Patriarchs who were righteous:
"But Moses implored the Lord his God, and said, O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, It was with evil intent that he brought them out to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from your fierce wrath; change your mind and do not bring disaster on your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, how you swore to them by your own self, saying to them, I will multiply your descendants like the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever. And the Lord changed his mind about the disaster that he planned to bring on his people" (Exod. 32, 11-14).
St. Paul continuously recommended himself to the prayers of his brethren (Rom. 15, 30; Heb. 13, 18); St. James declared that the prayer of "the righteous man has great power" (St. Jas. 5, 16); and Simon Magnus sought the intercession of St. Peter to save him from the wrath of God (Acts 8, 24).
The assertion that dead saints cannot hear our invocations rests on Ps. 115 , 17: "The dead do not praise the Lord..." It should be noted that this Psalm was written at a time when Jewish understanding of the after-life was not yet fully developed. By the second century B.C. the Jews would have a better understanding of both the after-life and the intercessory role of the dead:
"What he saw was this: Onias, who had been high priest, a noble and good man, of modest bearing and gentle manner, one who spoke fittingly and had been trained from childhood in all that belongs to excellence, was praying with outstretched hands for the whole body of the Jews. Then in the same fashion another appeared, distinguished by his gray hair and dignity, and of marvelous majesty and authority. And Onias spoke, saying, This is a man who loves the family of Israel and prays much for the people and the holy city - Jeremiah, the prophet of God. Jeremiah stretched out his right hand and gave to Judas a golden sword, and as he gave it he addressed him thus: Take this holy sword, a gift from God, with which you will strike down your adversaries" (2 Macc. 15, 12-16);
At the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor, Moses and Elijah appeared talking with Christ (St. Matt. 17, 3). This would have been impossible if they had been "dead" according to the Protestant understanding of Psalm 115. In relating to the Pharisees the parable of the Lost Sheep, Christ stated that "there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents" (St. Luke 15, 10). Further, in His discourse to the Sadducees, Christ declared that the just dead are "equal to angels" (St. Luke 20, 36) for God "is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive" (St. Luke 20, 38). Hence, it follows that both angels and humans in heaven are aware of what is transpiring on earth. Finally, as if to emphasize the power of the dead to intercede for loved ones on earth, Christ proceeded to relate to the Pharisees the story of Lazarus and Dives:
"The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. He called out, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames. But Abraham said, Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us. He said, Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father's house - for I have five brothers - that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment" (St. Luke 16, 22-28);
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us" (Heb. 12, 1);
"But you have come to Mount Zion and 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" (Heb. 12, 22-23).
In this last passage St. Paul explains to the faithful that although they are still on earth, they are in communion with the heavenly Jerusalem and with the dead Saints, those righteous made perfect. The faithful on earth are not in communion with the bodies of the Saints buried in peace, but with their souls. Death does not inhibit this communion.
It is also noteworthy that while Christ was dying on the Cross He cried out "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" (St. Matt. 27, 46). Due to the distance, the Chief Priests and Scribes failed to discern that Christ was in fact quoting the first verse of Psalm 21, thinking instead that He was calling upon the Prophet Elijah. Their response was not to condemn Christ for idolatry, but rather declared "let us see whether Elijah will come to save him" (v. 49). The belief in the intercessory power of Elijah is still held by the Jews today, as Elijah is said to be invisibly present at all Brit Millah, or circumcision ceremonies.
Finally, angels likewise act as intercessors:
"Another angel with a golden censer came and stood at the altar; he was given a great quantity of incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar that is before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel" (Rev. 8, 3-4).
The belief in the intercessory power of the Saints is as old as the Church. It is alluded to in authentic writings, such as the "Acts of the Martyrs," from the second and third centuries. They are represented as interceding after death for the faithful upon earth. "In heaven," said the martyr Theodotus before his torments began, "I will pray for you to God."
Inscriptions from the Catacombs:
"O Atticus, sleep in peace and in the security of thy salvation and pray earnestly for our sins" (Capitol Museum);
"Gentianus, faithful, in peace who lived twelve years, eight months and sixteen days. You will intercede for us in your prayers because we know that you are in Christ" (Lateran Museum).
St. Epiphanius, Against All Heresies (377 A.D.):
"Furthermore, as to mentioning the names of the dead, how is there anything very useful in that? What is more timely or more excellent than that those who are still here should believe that the departed do live, and that they have not retreated into nothingness, but that they exist and are alive with the Master? And so that this most august proclamation might be told in full, how do they have hope, who are praying for the brethren as if they were but sojourning in a foreign land? Useful too is the prayer fashioned on their behalf, even if it does not force back the whole of guilty charges laid to them."
St. Augustine of Hippo, Against Faustus the Manichean (C. 400 A.D.):
"A Christian people celebrates together in religious solemnity the memorials of the martyrs, both to encourage their being imitated and so that it can share in their merits and be aided by their prayers. But it is done in such a way that our altars are not set up to any one of the martyrs,- although in their memory,- but to God Himself, the God of those martyrs...That worship, which the Greeks call Latria and for which there is in Latin no single term, and which is expressive of the subjection owed to Divinity alone, we neither accord nor teach that it should be accorded to any save to the one God."
St. Jerome, Against Vigilantius (406 A.D.):
"You say in your book that while we live we are able to pray for each other, but afterwards when we have died, the prayer of no person for another can be heard; and this is especially clear since the martyrs, though they cry vengeance for their own blood, have never been able to obtain their request. But if the Apostles and martyrs while still in the body can pray for others, at a time when they ought still be solicitous about themselves, how much more will they do so after their crowns, victories, and triumphs."
St. John Damascene, Apologetical Sermons Against Those Who Reject Sacred Images (Post 725 A.D.):
"We worship and adore the Creator and Maker alone, as God who by His nature is to be worshipped. We worship also the Holy Mother of God, not as God, but as Gods Mother according to the flesh. Moreover, we worship also the saints, as elect friends of God, and as having gotten ready audience with Him."
Catechism of the Council of Trent (1566):
True, there is but one Mediator, Christ the Lord, who alone has reconciled us to the heavenly Father through His blood, and who, having obtained eternal redemption, and having entered once into the holies, ceases not to intercede for us. But it by no means follows that it is therefore unlawful to have recourse to the intercession of the Saints. If, because we have one Mediator Jesus Christ it were unlawful to ask the intercession of the Saints, the Apostle would never have recommended himself with so much earnestness to the prayers of his brethren on earth. For the prayers of the living would lessen the glory and dignity of Christs Mediatorship not less than the intercession of the Saints in heaven.
Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992):
No. 955: So it is the union of the wayfarers with the brethren who sleep in the peace of Christ is in no way interrupted, but on the contrary, according to the constant faith of the Church, this union is reinforced by an exchange of spiritual goods.
No. 956: The intercession of the saints "being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness...[T]hey do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, as they proffer the merits which they acquired on earth through the one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus...So by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped."
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