Thanks for joining me today as we continue our series examining and responding to Catholic apologist and philosopher, Peter Kreeft’s book, “Forty Reasons I Am A Catholic” (2018). Some might counsel, “Give apologetics debates a rest on this particular weekend, with many believers celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.” It is precisely because of Jesus Christ and His genuine Good News! that I continue with this series today.
Claim #21: I am a Catholic because of the personality of the church’s saints
In this slightly-longer-than-one-page chapter, Kreeft appeals to the alleged holy and winsome character of Roman Catholicism’s canonized saints as a “proof” of the RCC’s authenticity as the “one true church.” States Kreeft, “Saints are books to be read. What do you read in them? The same thing you read in the Bible: Jesus. Saints are little Christs…You understand Jesus a little better every time you meet a saint. And you understand the saints better when you know and love Jesus better” (pp.73 -74). Among the nine allegedly exemplary saints Kreeft mentions are Thomas More, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Teresa of Ávila, and Thérèse of Lisieux.
The canonization of allegedly über-holy people to sainthood after they are deceased is a Roman Catholic invention found nowhere in the Bible. In contrast, God’s Word proclaims every person who has accepted Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone is a “saint” (Greek: hagios: “consecrated one”).
“To all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” – Romans 1:7
Salvation is not by sacramental grace and attempting to be a holy person by obeying the Ten Commandments as Catholicism teaches. Can’t be done. We are all sinners. No one can possibly merit Heaven. The Good News! proclaimed in the New Testament is that salvation is by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. Only after we have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior, can we follow Him as Lord.
Nowhere in the Bible do we find genuine believers praying to dead people as Catholics are taught to pray to interceding and mediating saints. Jesus Christ is the ONLY Mediator.
“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 2:5
Certain Roman Catholic saints are either officially designated as patrons of an occupation or a cause or are adopted as patron saints by popular consensus. The long list of Catholic patron saints is a thinly-veiled appropriation of ancient Rome’s pantheon of patron gods. See my relevant post here.
Kreeft appeals to the holy and winsome character of nine saints, so let’s take a brief look at the four I previously mentioned.
Thomas More served as Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain beginning in 1529 until King Henry VIII severed ties with the Vatican in 1532. In his capacity as Lord High Chancellor, More oversaw the inquisition and persecution of Protestants. History records that at least six Protestants were burned at the stake for heresy at More’s direction. Hundreds more were threatened or tortured.
In obedience to Vatican II teaching, Mother Teresa didn’t try to convert Hindus and Muslims in her care, but encouraged them to be “better” Hindus and Muslims:
In an interview with Christian News a nun who worked with Mother Teresa was asked the following in regards to the Hindus they worked with, “These people are waiting to die. What are you telling them to prepare them for death and eternity?” She replied candidly, “We tell them to pray to their Bhagwan, to their gods.” – from The Myth Of Mother Teresa by Tim Challies
It’s very regrettable that many undiscerning evangelical pastors also cite Mother Teresa as an “exemplary Christian.” See my myth-busting post on Mother Teresa here.
Teresa of Ávila was a Spanish “mystic” nun who experienced ecstatic trances and claimed to levitate and to receive regular visitations from Jesus Christ. Teresa was both anorexic* and bulimic, using food deprivation as self-mortifying “sanctification.” She ingested twigs of olive trees to induce vomiting.
Thérèse of Lisieux was also an anorexic given to extreme asceticism and self-mortification/self-harm. Both Teresa of Ávila and Thérèse of Lisieux were psychologically ill, religious hysterics.
Upon closer examination, none of these four people were exemplary and none believed in the genuine Good News of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.
In regards to a few other popular “saints,” we know Ignatius Loyola founded the Jesuits specifically to counter by whatever means possible the glorious Gospel preached by the Reformers. Loyola’s fellow Jesuit, Francis Xavier, initiated the torturous Goa Inquisition in India. “Saint” Junipero Serra oversaw the Inquisition in what would become California. How many other Catholic canonized “saints” participated in the bloody and torturous Inquisition?
Objective examinations of Catholic “saints” reveal they were not “little Christs.” Many were zealous persecutors who authorized violence against non-conformists, non-Catholics, and Protestant believers while others were mentally-ill ascetics.
At the end of the chapter, Kreeft chides Protestants for being “afraid” and “embarrassed” with regards to RC-ism’s “saints.” Utter nonsense. I have absolutely nothing to be afraid or embarrassed about when it comes to RC-ism’s fraudulent and blasphemous saintology.
*Anorexia mirabilis is the term used by medical historians for the anorexia/eating disorder affecting Catholic nuns and religious women in the Middle Ages.
Next week: Claim #22: I am a Catholic because only the Catholic Church is marked out by the four marks