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Marc Taylor wrote:

Hi guys,

I'd like to bring up two points:

  1. Since Cornelius received the Holy Spirit before he was baptized with water, he was already saved, therefore it seems that water Baptism is not essential for salvation.

  2. Also, only God is to be prayed to. Mary is not to be prayed to.


— Marc Taylor

  { Since Cornelius received the Holy Spirit before being baptized, is Baptism really necessary? }

Eric replied:

Hi Marc,

You wrote:

  1. Since Cornelius received the Holy Spirit before he was baptized with water, he was already saved, therefore it seems that water Baptism is not essential for salvation.

Yeah. So?

God is free to do what He wants to do. If He wants to save someone apart from water Baptism, that is his prerogative. Catholics have always believed in Baptism of Desire, which means that if someone has a desire to be baptized (for example, a catechumen), but dies without receiving water Baptism, he is still saved. Hence you are mistaken if you think that Catholicism teaches that Baptism is absolutely necessary for salvation.

That being said, Baptism is the normal means by which we receive salvation, and God commands it, and Scripture says that it is through Baptism that we participate in the Resurrection
(See Romans 6), so we have every reason to seek Baptism.

Someone who deliberately refuses to undergo Baptism is putting their soul at serious risk. There is no justifiable reason for refusing Baptism.

Eric Ewanco

Mike replied:

Hi Marc,

Thanks for the questions.

You stated:

  1. Also only God is to be prayed to. Mary is not to be prayed to.

I have appended a list of Scripture passages that defend Catholic beliefs and practices in this area. Though Church teaching is not solely dependent on the Sacred Scriptures, you will be able to see Scriptural support for key Catholic teachings here and, I believe, better understand why we pray to both God and to Mary.

We honor (we don't worship) those whom God honors and we ask for their help and assistance. We see them as holy men and women who modeled a virtuous life. In imitating them, (the saints) we imitate Christ, Our Lord. When others see our Christian kindness and charity and tend to give us the credit, we say what all the saints in Heaven and Earth would say, echoing St. Paul in Galatians:

"It is not I, but Christ in me!" (Galatians 2:19-20)

Of all saints God has honored the most; Jesus' mother is at the top.

  • Why?

Because without her saying:

Yes, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word."

(Luke 1:38)

neither you nor I would have a personal relationship with Our Lord Jesus! He wouldn't have become man!

Because I sense you are following a theology of the Bible alone, my question is:

  • Where in the Bible does it say that only God is to be prayed to and (Mary and the saints) are not to be prayed to or
  • Are you following the traditions of men?

Hope this helps,


  Communion of Saints.
Romans 8:35-39
Death cannot separate us from Christ.

So Catholics are praying to and asking for help from saints that are alive. We pray to Jesus and the saints.
The communion of saints is not an either or issue, it is a family affair!
Romans 12:5
We are one body in Christ, individual parts of one another.
Romans 12:10
Love one another with mutual affection.
1 Corinthians 12:12-27
If one part is hurt (suffers), all the parts share its pain. And if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy.
Galatians 6:2
Bear one another's burdens.
Galatians 6:10
Let us do good to all, especially to those in the family of faith.
Ephesians 1:22-23
He is the head of the Church, which is His Body.
Ephesians 3:14-16
St. Paul testifies that the whole family in Heaven and on earth comes from the Father.
Ephesians 4:4
One Body, One Spirit, called to One Hope.
Ephesians 5:21-32
Christ is the Head of the Church, savior of the body.
Colossians 1:18, 24
He is the Head of the Body, the Church.
Colossians 3:15
You were called in one body.
1 Thessalonians 5:11
Encourage, build up one another.
Hebrews 12:1-2
. . . since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses. . .

Interested in what the very first Christians thought, taught, and died for?
Check out what they said on this topic.

Intercessory prayer to the Saints.
Tobit 12:12
Angel presents Tobit and Sarah's prayer to God.
Romans 15:30
Join me by your prayers to God on my behalf.
2 Corinthians 1:10-11
On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.
Colossians 4:3
And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.
Ephesians 6:18-19
Never get tired of staying awake to pray for all God's holy people, and pray for me to be given an opportunity to open my mouth and fearlessly make known the mystery of the Gospel.
1 Thessalonians 5:25
Brothers and sisters, pray for us.
2 Thessalonians 1:11
We always pray for you.
2 Thessalonians 3:1
Finally, brothers, pray for us.
Philemon 1:6
I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ.
Revelation 5:8
Angel offers prayers of the holy ones to God.

Interested in what the very first Christians thought, taught, and died for?
Check out what they said on this topic.

Are the saints dead? Is praying to them necromancy as Deuteronomy 18:10 says?

Wisdom 3:1-6
The souls of the just are in the hand of God.
Mark 9:4
Jesus seen conversing with Elijah and Moses.
Mark 12:26-27
He is the God of the living, not of the dead.
Luke 16:19-30
Departed rich man intercedes for brothers.
Luke 23:43
To the thief on the Cross: "This day you will be with me in paradise".
Hebrews 12:1
We are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses.
Revelation 6:9-11
Martyrs under the altar want earthly vindication.
Revelation 20:4
Saw the souls of those that had been beheaded.

Interested in what the very first Christians thought, taught, and died for?
Check out what they said on this topic.

Understanding, "One mediator between God and man". (1 Timothy 2:5)
Matthew 25:23
Well done, my good and faithful servant. (The servant is not undermining the sole mediation of Christ by what he does.)
Mark 10:18
Only God is good.
John 21:15-16
Feed my lambs, tend my sheep.
Ephesians 4:11
And to some, his ‘gift’ was that they should be Apostles; to some prophets; to some, evangelists; to some, pastors and teachers.
Hebrews 3:1, Hebrews 7:24, Hebrews 9:12
Jesus is the eternal high priest; one sacrifice.
Jesus is the eternal high priest. Because Our Lord is one Divine Person, His one sacrifice happened in time and eternity. Catholic priests enter into that one sacrifice of Jesus every time they celebrate Holy Mass. There is not another sacrifice. By His choice we participate in his priesthood by bringing the Gospel to those that have not heard it. By doing this we don't undermine his one mediation, but participate in it as co-mediators in Christ, just as Protestants do when they share the Gospel with others.
1 Timothy 2:1-7
Offer prayers and petitions for all men.
1 Peter 2:5
Be a holy priesthood to offer sacrifices through Christ.
Revelation 1:6, Revelation 5:10
He made us a kingdom of priests for God.
Interested in what the very first Christians thought, taught, and died for?
Check out what they said on this topic.

Veneration of the Saints.
Daniel 8:17
Daniel fell prostrate in terror before Gabriel.
Tobit 12:16
Tobiah and Tobit fall to the ground before Raphael.
Matthew 18:10
The angels in Heaven are always before the face of God.

We venerate angels because of their great dignity, which comes from their union with God. Saints are also in united with God. Veneration or honor is not worship.
Catholics worship [God|Jesus] alone.
Hebrews 13:7
Remember your leaders, who preached the word of God to you, and as you reflect on the outcome of their lives, take their faith as your model.
1 Thessalonians 1:5-8
You become imitators of us and of the Lord to all believers.

We believe we are called to "become imitators . . . of the Lord".
This is what Saints are for Catholics and all mankind: Examples of holiness to live by.
1 John 3:2
We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.

Marc Taylor replied:

Hi Mike,

is due to God alone. No one else should be given latreuo but Him. One of the ways latreuo is to be rendered is by "prayers" (Luke 2:37). Therefore to pray to someone/something is to give them the latreuo that is only meant for God.

Prayer of petition is the prayer of worship (latreuo). Deesis the Greek word used in Luke 2:37 as prayer means a supplication (which is thus a petition as a prayer).

Proseuchemai is the more common word for pray(er). That being the case, there is then no distinction between a prayer of petition and a prayer of worship. Latreuo would cover both of them.


— Marc

Eric replied:

Hi Marc,

  • Who says that there is no distinction between a prayer of petition and a prayer of worship?

If we do not intend to worship a saint by praying to them, then we do not worship them. Worship is an interior disposition; whether a prayer constitutes worship depends solely on the disposition of the pray-er. God knows the disposition.

In Latin, the word for pray is the same as the word for ask and that's all we're doing with the saints, is asking them for their prayers. I could decide that instead, I am going to pray to God to ask the saints to pray for me; certainly that would be a legitimate prayer to make (the prayer might not be granted, to be sure, but it's perfectly legitimate).

Then all I'd have to say is that praying to a saint is shorthand for asking God to ask them to pray for me. There really isn't a difference.

Given that the saints are involved in our prayers anyway (Revelation 5:8), intercede on our behalf (Jeremiah 15:1), and surround us (Hebrews 12:1, 12:23) there is very little jump to ask them explicitly for their prayers.


Mike replied:

Hi Marc,

To my knowledge I've never heard latreuo rendered as prayer, though we do make a distinction between the prayer of petition and the prayer of worship.

The prayer of worship in the Roman Catholic Church is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It is offered to God alone. All Catholics celebrate this on Sundays as well as during the weekday, if they can. Though we can honor a special saint on any weekday and mention [his/her] name at the beginning of Mass, the Holy Mass itself is worship to God alone.

The prayer of petition is a request to have a brother Christian in Heaven pray for you and your needs.

Thanks for replying!


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