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Praying to Catholic Saints

Catholics often pray to saints asking the saint to intercede with God on their behalf. These prayers of intercession merely ask Mary or another saint to ask Jesus for help. Catholics believe that any reply, response, or answer comes from God, but the saint brought the concern to Jesus Christ. The bottom line? Just because Catholics ask the saints for prayers doesn’t mean that Catholics worship the saints.

Some people ask, “Why even pray to Mary or a saint when you can go directly to God?” The answer is that Catholics never have to pray to any saint. They can always go directly to God. Catholicism doesn’t say that saintly intercession is necessary or mandatory, but it’s possible. The faithful can ask living people on earth to pray for them, and they can also ask the saints to pray for them.

Catholics also pray to deceased family members, friends, and religious advisors. The Church believes that the only time that prayers to and from the deceased have no effect is when the deceased are damned in hell. The Gospel parable of the rich man (traditionally known as Dives, which is Latin for rich) and the poor man, Lazarus, concludes with the former in hell and the latter in heaven (Luke 16:19–31). Dives asked “Father Abraham” if Lazarus could help him. Lazarus couldn’t help, however, because the rich man was in hell. Catholicism teaches that the divide between heaven and hell can’t be breached. The boundary between heaven and earth, however, is different, because we’re still alive.

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