By Matthew D. Ruhl, SJ
Wednesday/November 8, 2017/Belize City, Belize
By a score of 43-12, our St. Martin’s Primary School boys defeated San Francisco Primary School of Orange Walk Town in the Primary School National Basketball Championship. Our boys played like a team, no hotdogging, no ball hogging, just lots and lots of hustle, great defense, and some fine shooting. We are very proud of them.
How good it was to return to the St. Martin’s pulpit. Seeing all the warm faces, getting all the “welcome homes,” hearing the singing, and enjoying that great St. Martin’s spirit, I tell you this place is good for my soul.
OK. Let us resume our survey of things found in the Christian culture that are not found in the Catholic culture and can even be antagonistic to our Faith.
“Catholics worship saints, especially Mary” is a common refrain amongst some denominations. It is a hateful little allegation, as hateful as it is ignorant of what Catholics truly believe. Let me set the record straight.
The official teaching of the Church: God alone is worthy of our worship and adoration (latria); saints are given respect and honor (dulia); Mary, the Mother of God, is given a higher respect and honor (hyperdulia) but well short of worship and adoration that belongs to God alone.
“Catholics are idolaters because they worship statues,” is yet another hateful thing some people will say about Catholics. This is simply not true. Our statues, stained glass, and our art remind us of those Saints that we respect and honor. It is like hanging a portrait of a dearly departed family member in a home. We further believe that the saints pray for us as we get busy with our day. “We don’t need the saints. We go straight to Jesus” is yet another self-righteous proclamation I hear. The saints are looking at the face of Jesus when they carry our prayers to him. The Scriptures are chock-full of holy persons like Abraham, Moses, and Job whose prayers God hears specifically because they are holy persons. In fact, God tells persons to go have these people pray for them because he hears their prayers. Well, if I can get someone as holy as St. Martin de Porres to pray for my children, I am going to do it, and Holy Scripture confirms this attitude.