The Veneration, or Not, of the Saints

 

The topic of veneration is a bit of a challenge for me, as the first association I have with the word is the veneration of saints. I’m Lutheran though, and Lutherans don’t venerate saints; we’re kinda famous for not doing so.  If you’ll indulge a flippant over-simplification, we don’t think God is an officious bureaucrat who requires all the relevant department heads to sign off on a request before fulfilling it or a lazy kid who won’t do his chores until his mom nags him.

That being said, we do still have a place for saints in our worship. They are for our education and edification, if not our veneration.  My Liber Hymnorum, a hymnal of Latin hymns used by the early Lutheran church, describes a year of saintly feasts, from St. Sebastian on January 20th to the Holy Innocents on December 28th, with stops for St. Gregory in March, St. Anne in July, and St. Michael and All Angels in September, as well as about a dozen others. The Brotherhood Prayer Book, a Lutheran breviary, lists dozens more notable church fathers and mothers whose feast day is a chance for honoring and remembering their extraordinary lives, including doctors of the church like John Chrysostom, Anselm of Canterbury, Bede the Venerable, and Augustine of Hippo.  (If you see a St. Martin Lutheran Church, it is recognizing Martin of Tours, not Mr. Luther.)

On these special occasions, we have special hymns and collects, e.g. the collect for the Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul includes “O God, who didst give Thine Apostles Peter and Paul grace to lay down their lives for the sake of Thy dear Son : endow us, we beseech Thee, with like constancy, that we may at all times be ready to lay down our lives.” The standard saint’s festival hymn for LCMS congregations is “By All Your Saints in Warfare,” 517-518. Yes, that’s one hymn — 28 verses over four pages. The first and third verses are always the same; the second is the one responsive to the day, whether verse 4 “Saints and Martyrs (general)” sung on All Saints’ or verse 22 “St. Mary, Mother of Our Lord” sung on my birthday.

It may not be veneration, but we Lutherans still have a place for saints.

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  1. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    It is the same with objecting to the notion I raised above:

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Put another way, the central issue is over whether we believe these postulates about those who have died physically
    A) They are Alive in Christ, and
    B) Capable of hearing us.

    If you do not believe that a Christian, once dead, is (even if alive in Christ) able to hear us and pray for us, then of course the entire issue of saints is moot, and that’s the end of the discussion and there’s no need to go further.

    If you object to postulate B, then fine and be done. But to bring in that some have misused saints is not to invalidate B, only to point out errors in application of what follows.

    This is saying something different than I am saying.

    And it bears repeating because it is a point to which I would like you to respond. I fear you are condemning everything because of what misuse you have seen in practice, but avoiding the theological question. So I’ll ask directly:

    1. Do you ask others to pray for you? Why or Why Not?
    2. Are those who have died on Earth, but alive in Christ, able at all to hear us?

    There is not a debate here. I don’t like how Saints are treated by the Catholic faith because its practice is too close to pagan practice. Period, end of sentence. End of point. I am not calling anyone pagan. I am not saying anyone is engaged in a mortal sin. I would not want to engage in those things because it does not sit well with me.

    You keep referring to the Catholic Church, but the Orthodox Churches share the same beliefs in this area. Why are you always forgetting the Orthodox? If you combine the Orthodox and Catholic Churches, you are talking about the vast majority of Christians practicing pagan acts.

    Practicing acts that seem are too close to pagan acts for my personal comfort. Can you not even grant me that? They make me uncomfortable. Why do you care about that?

    You are like someone telling me I “should” not be upset when something happens that upsets me. Prayer is between me and God, and that is more than I can manage right now. I don’t need anyone else in on it. This is what works for me.

    I just think it’s reasonable to ask why you would make the worst possible interpretation of Orthodox and Catholic beliefs, given the prevalence, past and present, of these beliefs that you find so offensive. Could it just possibly be that you are misinterpreting the beliefs of most Christians?

    It has nothing to do with beliefs, and everything to do with practices. I am not sure how I can be more clear on that. 

     

    • #91
  2. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    It is the same with objecting to the notion I raised above:

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Put another way, the central issue is over whether we believe these postulates about those who have died physically
    A) They are Alive in Christ, and
    B) Capable of hearing us.

    If you do not believe that a Christian, once dead, is (even if alive in Christ) able to hear us and pray for us, then of course the entire issue of saints is moot, and that’s the end of the discussion and there’s no need to go further.

    If you object to postulate B, then fine and be done. But to bring in that some have misused saints is not to invalidate B, only to point out errors in application of what follows.

    This is saying something different than I am saying.

    And it bears repeating because it is a point to which I would like you to respond. I fear you are condemning everything because of what misuse you have seen in practice, but avoiding the theological question. So I’ll ask directly:

    1. Do you ask others to pray for you? Why or Why Not?
    2. Are those who have died on Earth, but alive in Christ, able at all to hear us?

    Without settling those questions, the rest of the debate is rather moot with you. If your answer to 2 is “No”, then why argue over whether or not you understand the practice, or its misuse?

    1. Yes because it makes me feel connected to a greater whole
    2. I have no idea at all.

     

     

    Practicing acts that seem are too close to pagan acts for my personal comfort. Can you not even grant me that? They make me uncomfortable. Why do you care about that?

    Oh, I have no difficulty in granting that that they make you uncomfortable. No one is trying to coerce you into practicing anything you find uncomfortable. But you should expect that most Christians will be offended when they are told that what they believe and practice is pagan or nearly so. Since most Christians, past and present, engage in these practices that you find pagan or close to pagan, wouldn’t it occur to you that perhaps your interpretation is mistaken?

    You are like someone telling me I “should” not be upset when something happens that upsets me. Prayer is between me and God, and that is more than I can manage right now. I don’t need anyone else in on it. This is what works for me.

    I have no problem with that whatsoever. I have a problem with your labeling the beliefs of the vast majority of Christians as pagan or “too close to pagan”. Does that surprise you? If so, why?

     

    No it does not. Heresy has long been a crime punishable by death. People like to cast out the person who is different. Catholic and Orthodox practices are too pagan for my tastes. That is what I am saying and all I am saying. Too Close to pagan for me. Clearly, not for you. 

    • #92
  3. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    I gave my reasons, early in this thread, why I thought that the joke was spot on. So far, there is been a lot of argument that it is not. 

    It is a matter of preference. I have given mine. 

    For the record, I think snake handling is weird too. Pretty much anything that sounds like pre-modern patterns is something I don’t like. More power to you that you do like it. 

     

    • #93
  4. Painter Jean Moderator
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    I don’t think that all Protestants should be young earth creationists, and most aren’t. Obviously their understanding of the inerrancy of Scripture permits otherwise.

    Not really. Their understanding of the meaning of Scripture permits otherwise.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with young earth creationism.

    Yes, I agree with what you stated – I put it poorly. 

    I don’t happen to believe in young earth creationism, but Catholics are free to believe in it or not. I don’t think less of young earth creationists as Christians.

    • #94
  5. Painter Jean Moderator
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    It is the same with objecting to the notion I raised above:

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Put another way, the central issue is over whether we believe these postulates about those who have died physically
    A) They are Alive in Christ, and
    B) Capable of hearing us.

    If you do not believe that a Christian, once dead, is (even if alive in Christ) able to hear us and pray for us, then of course the entire issue of saints is moot, and that’s the end of the discussion and there’s no need to go further.

    If you object to postulate B, then fine and be done. But to bring in that some have misused saints is not to invalidate B, only to point out errors in application of what follows.

    This is saying something different than I am saying.

    And it bears repeating because it is a point to which I would like you to respond. I fear you are condemning everything because of what misuse you have seen in practice, but avoiding the theological question. So I’ll ask directly:

    1. Do you ask others to pray for you? Why or Why Not?
    2. Are those who have died on Earth, but alive in Christ, able at all to hear us?

    There is not a debate here. I don’t like how Saints are treated by the Catholic faith because its practice is too close to pagan practice. Period, end of sentence. End of point. I am not calling anyone pagan. I am not saying anyone is engaged in a mortal sin. I would not want to engage in those things because it does not sit well with me.

    You keep referring to the Catholic Church, but the Orthodox Churches share the same beliefs in this area. Why are you always forgetting the Orthodox? If you combine the Orthodox and Catholic Churches, you are talking about the vast majority of Christians practicing pagan acts.

    Practicing acts that seem are too close to pagan acts for my personal comfort. Can you not even grant me that? They make me uncomfortable. Why do you care about that?

     

    I just think it’s reasonable to ask why you would make the worst possible interpretation of Orthodox and Catholic beliefs, given the prevalence, past and present, of these beliefs that you find so offensive. Could it just possibly be that you are misinterpreting the beliefs of most Christians?

    It has nothing to do with beliefs, and everything to do with practices. I am not sure how I can be more clear on that.

     

    Ok, but since the practices you find to be too pagan are based on beliefs, the two are connected. But feel free to substitute the word “practice”  for “beliefs” if that helps.

    • #95
  6. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    How is it different? How is the actions of the person going to the Man of God different than the actions of a person going to the Shaman?

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    What do you make of the accounts of the Apostles healing and casting out demons in Acts?

    Before addressing your question, I’m curious what you have to say about the Apostles, and about their miracles.

    I am not sure what you are asking here. Let me approach it this way:

    If the Bible stories are to be believed, there are people with powers to transform and change, not getting that power from God. The mages making their staves into snakes comes to mind. God showed them (through Moses). So the form or the behavior of miracles being performed is not unique to Men (or Women) of God. I am not sure where the mages in Egypt got their power, though my guess is from Lucifer.

    That may or many not answer your question.

    Not exactly.  My question is about the Apostles of Christ, not the old mages of Pharaoh.  What of their miracles?  Were they real?  

    • #96
  7. Painter Jean Moderator
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

    Amy, you might be aware that Catholics and the Orthodox use different terms to denote differing devotion, namely, latria, dulia, and hyperdulia. Wikipedia actually has a pretty decent entry on it: 

    Latria vs. Dulia and Hyperdulia

    Latria is sacrificial in character, and may be offered only to God. Catholic and Orthodox Christians offer other degrees of reverence to the Blessed Virgin Mary and to the Saints; these non-sacrificial types of reverence are called hyperdulia and dulia, respectively. In English, dulia is also called veneration. Hyperdulia is essentially a heightened degree of dulia provided only to the Blessed Virgin.

    This distinction, written about as early as Augustine of Hippo and St Jerome, was detailed more explicitly by Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologiae, A.D. 1270: “Reverence is due to God on account of His Excellence, which is communicated to certain creatures not in equal measure, but according to a measure of proportion; and so the reverence which we pay to God, and which belongs to latria, differs from the reverence which we pay to certain excellent creatures; this belongs to dulia, and we shall speak of it further on (103)“; in this next article St. Thomas Aquinas writes: “Wherefore dulia, which pays due service to a human lord, is a distinct virtue from latria, which pays due service to the Lordship of God. It is, moreover, a species of observance, because by observance we honor all those who excel in dignity, while dulia properly speaking is the reverence of servants for their master, dulia being the Greek for servitude”.

    • #97
  8. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Amy, you might be aware that Catholics and the Orthodox use different terms to denote differing devotion, namely, latria, dulia, and hyperdulia. Wikipedia actually has a pretty decent entry on it: 

     

    This was also covered formally in the 7th Ecumenical Council.

    • #98
  9. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley
    @AmySchley

    Painter Jean (View Comment):
    you might be aware that Catholics and the Orthodox use different terms to denote differing devotion, namely, latria, dulia, and hyperdulia.

    I wasn’t actually, and this was far more the kind of comment I was interested in by writing this post.  I think remembrance of the Saints is an incredibly important and meaningful part of religious life, and I wanted to make it clear that even if invoking them for intercession isn’t part of Lutheran life, they still have a role. The service for All Saints Day, when those who have fallen asleep in the Lord that year are noted and remembered, is one of the most moving of the year.

    • #99
  10. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Also, Brian, although you self-identity as a Protestant, elsewhere you have stated that you don’t believe in the inerrancy of Scripture. This is one of the pillars of Protestantism that you are throwing off – are you sure you are a Protestant? That you are a Christian, I make no doubt, but why do you call yourself a Protestant when you reject a basic tenet of it?

    First off, my name is spelled, Bryan. Since that is in every post, I find it hard to believe you cannot spell it right. I don’t refer to you as Jeen, do I?

    Second, I guess you are saying that all Protestants should be young earth creationists. Wow. How insulting. I guess only Catholics (and Orthodox) believe in Science and all us Protestants don’t.

    Not all inerrantists are young earth creationists. But why, in any case, should association with young earth creationism be insulting?

    It is ignoring the evidence. or postulating God is a jerk for rigging the books.

    Hardly.  Every young earth creationist I’ve known is very attentive to evidence–a magnificent case of what William James said about intellectual outliers vs. mainstream intellectuals:

    Here in this room, we all of us believe in molecules and the conservation of energy, in democracy and necessary progress, in Protestant Christianity and the duty of fighting for ‘the doctrine of the immortal Monroe,’ all for no reasons worthy of the name. We see into these matters with no more inner clearness, and probably with much less, than any disbeliever in them might possess. His unconventionality would probably have some grounds to show for its conclusions; but for us, not insight, but the prestige of the opinions, is what makes the spark shoot from them and light up our sleeping magazines of faith. Our reason is quite satisfied, in nine hundred and ninety-nine cases out of every thousand of us, if it can find a few arguments that will do to recite in case our credulity is criticised by some one else. Our faith is faith in some one else’s faith . . . .

    Now those outliers may be ignoring some of the evidence or misinterpreting it, but that’s another thing.

    More:

    • #100
  11. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    First an anecdote.

    My former student was (hopefully still is) one of the most rational students I’ve ever had, one of the most intellectually honest, and my lord and master in matters of chess.  He was convinced of evolution by the evidence and open-minded about positions he did not understand–a role model for most evolutionists in confronting creationism.  Last I saw him he was working on a Masters degree in something involving biology.

    I don’t believe I ever told him my own views on the subject.

    I do recall one wonderful conversation when I exposed him to some real logic.  He was much impressed by DNA overlap between different species–an evolutionary prediction confirmed true!  As I explained to him, that DNA overlap does matter.  It’s a bit of verification of an established theory, a bit of evidence consistent with the theory–like finding one more white swan or one more object that appears to obey gravity.

    But as I also explained to him, it’s also great verification for the theory that G-d created all the species without using macro-evolution: Of course G-d would be expected to design different species using similar design plans!

    As I also explained to him, this evidence that much impressed him is magnificently useless as evidence for evolution.  Verification of an established theory is great, but evidence that I should adopt a theory in the first place is another matter, and the DNA overlap is not that kind of evidence.  A creationist who rejects macro-evolution or even a Socrates with no opinion in the matter may rightly assess the DNA overlap as logically irrelevant to him changing his views.

    • #101
  12. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    And the point is that the popular academic understanding of young earth creationism as being by definition irrational or immune to evidence is dreadfully wrong.

    I don’t think it’s true of a single young-earther I’ve ever been, known, or read.  If some of the evidences that fill the pages of the Answers in Genesis magazine should turn out to be poorly understood by the AIG writers or employed in logically shoddy fashion, there are likely to be more evidences and, in any case, shoddy logic on the part of macro-evolutionists isn’t that hard to find.

    @claire‘s father was neither irrational nor ill-informed in his remarks to Ben Stein in the documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.

    Then there’s my own modest contribution to the topic here.

    And a less-modest contribution below:

    • #102
  13. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Rejecting macro-evolution can easily be rational, and a right response to evidence.  It’s simple: Suppose I rationally assess X as greater than W.

    W is the probability, given the scientific evidence as I understand it, that macro-evolution happened.

    X is the combination of Y and Z.  Y is the probability, given the evidence as I understand it that Yeshua is divine and Messiah and that he recognizes the authority of the Old Testament canon, that Genesis is inerrant.  Z is the probability, given my understanding of the textual evidence, that Genesis 1 and 2 have a historical meaning.

    I assess Y as rather high.  I don’t actually assess W or Z as being all that high.  I’m neither a scientist nor knowledgeable of Hebrew.

    Still, I’ve come across enough commentary, arguments, and information to draw a conclusion.  If my conclusion is that W is small enough compared to Z, I’m a young-earth creationist.

    And things are actually a bit simpler than that.

    Like my evidence that Miss Richardson should get my ring on her finger 12 years ago, my job is to go with Y all the way.  I am committed to Christ and Scripture.  So all I really need to be a rational young-earth creationist is to rationally assess W as a bit smaller than Z.

    If that should be my conclusion, what’s it to you?  Or on what grounds would you say that I am less rational than you, or less informed, or less responsive to the evidence–or less rational or less informed or responsive to evidence than the macro-evolutionists around here?  (I hesitate to say that I’m at least as rational as anyone else on Ricochet, but at any rate I’m still the only logic teacher I’ve ever encountered here.)

    • #103
  14. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley
    @AmySchley

    Honestly Bryan, I don’t understand how you limit your skepticism. If as you said in our last conversation on this, you don’t believe the Bible when it talks about Adam or Moses or in world-wide floods or in bread and wine turning in flesh and blood because it doesn’t make sense in your empirical, scientific world-view, why do you believe in God? In God becoming man by being born of a virgin? In Jesus healing the sick and giving sight to the blind and raising the dead? In Jesus dying for sins and being resurrected from the dead? In Paul being freed from prison by angels?  

    Does your Bible look like Thomas Jefferson’s after he cut out all the bits he thought were superstitious mumbo-jumbo? (It’s actually rather painful to look at in the Smithsonian.)

    • #104
  15. Painter Jean Moderator
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):
    you might be aware that Catholics and the Orthodox use different terms to denote differing devotion, namely, latria, dulia, and hyperdulia.

    I wasn’t actually, and this was far more the kind of comment I was interested in by writing this post. I think remembrance of the Saints is an incredibly important and meaningful part of religious life, and I wanted to make it clear that even if invoking them for intercession isn’t part of Lutheran life, they still have a role. The service for All Saints Day, when those who have fallen asleep in the Lord that year are noted and remembered, is one of the most moving of the year.

    Amy, I know invoking the saints isn’t part of Lutheran life, but I wonder if it’s accurate to say that the saints are still venerated. When I look at what Luther wrote about Mary, for example, it looks like veneration to me:

    “The veneration of Mary is inscribed in the very depths of the human heart.” (Sermon, September 1, 1522).

    “She is full of grace, proclaimed to be entirely without sin—something exceedingly great. For God’s grace fills her with everything good and makes her devoid of all evil.” (Personal {“Little”} Prayer Book, 1522).

    “One should honor Mary as she herself wished and as she expressed it in the Magnificat. She praised God for his deeds. How then can we praise her? The true honor of Mary is the honor of God, the praise of God’s grace.. .Mary is nothing for the sake of herself, but for the sake of Christ…Mary does not wish that we come to her, but through her to God.” (Explanation of the Magnificat, 1521).

    “It is the consolation and the superabundant goodness of God, that man is able to exult in such a treasure. Mary is his true Mother, Christ is his brother. God is his father.” (Sermon. Christmas, 1522) 

    “[She is the] highest woman and the noblest gem in Christianity after Christ. ..She is nobility, wisdom, and holiness personified. We can never honor her enough.” (Sermon, Christmas, 1531).

    • #105
  16. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley
    @AmySchley

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):
    you might be aware that Catholics and the Orthodox use different terms to denote differing devotion, namely, latria, dulia, and hyperdulia.

    I wasn’t actually, and this was far more the kind of comment I was interested in by writing this post. I think remembrance of the Saints is an incredibly important and meaningful part of religious life, and I wanted to make it clear that even if invoking them for intercession isn’t part of Lutheran life, they still have a role. The service for All Saints Day, when those who have fallen asleep in the Lord that year are noted and remembered, is one of the most moving of the year.

    Amy, I know invoking the saints isn’t part of Lutheran life, but I wonder if it’s accurate to say that the saints are still venerated? When I look at what Luther wrote about Mary, for example, it looks like veneration to me:

    “The veneration of Mary is inscribed in the very depths of the human heart.” (Sermon, September 1, 1522).

    “She is full of grace, proclaimed to be entirely without sin—something exceedingly great. For God’s grace fills her with everything good and makes her devoid of all evil.” (Personal {“Little”} Prayer Book, 1522).

    “One should honor Mary as she herself wished and as she expressed it in the Magnificat. She praised God for his deeds. How then can we praise her? The true honor of Mary is the honor of God, the praise of God’s grace.. .Mary is nothing for the sake of herself, but for the sake of Christ…Mary does not wish that we come to her, but through her to God.” (Explanation of the Magnificat, 1521).

    “It is the consolation and the superabundant goodness of God, that man is able to exult in such a treasure. Mary is his true Mother, Christ is his brother. God is his father.” (Sermon. Christmas, 1522)

    [“She is the] highest woman and the noblest gem in Christianity after Christ. ..She is nobility, wisdom, and holiness personified. We can never honor her enough.” (Sermon, Christmas, 1531).

     

    It certainly depends on exactly what we mean by veneration. Colloquially, I think of veneration as more akin to worship than respect, in which case I’d say no. But on the other hand the dictionary definition suggests great respect is the more accurate meaning, in which case I’d say yes. (What can I say? There’s no such thing as a one handed lawyer.) The emphasis on Marian veneration in Lutheranism, as it is with all saint veneration, is in how she points us to Christ and not her own goodness — that I think is a bit different between Lutherans and Catholics. It’s a similar distinction to the collect I put in the OP — it thanks God for Peter and Paul and asks His help for us to live our lives like them, as opposed to being addressed to Peter and Paul and asking for their help to be like them. 

    But yes, saints deserve our respect and remembrance, particularly those who went through trials similar to our own so that we can model ourselves on their example (On that note, why is the patron saint of infertility male? I could put together a whole post on how the Bible makes it clear that women are the ones who hurt more and are far more desperate for children than their husbands.)

    • #106
  17. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    Painter Jean (View Comment):
    Amy, I know invoking the saints isn’t part of Lutheran life, but I wonder if it’s accurate to say that the saints are still venerated.

    I agree, it does certainly sound that way.  Veneration is not worship, but it is highly honoring someone.

    It’s also something I did not really every consider before, even as I drive by 2 Lutheran churches every day, both named after saints.

    • #107
  18. Painter Jean Moderator
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    It certainly depends on exactly what we mean by veneration. Colloquially, I think of veneration as more akin to worship than respect, in which case I’d say no. But on the other hand the dictionary definition suggests great respect is the more accurate meaning, in which case I’d say yes. (What can I say? There’s no such thing as a one handed lawyer.) The emphasis on Marian veneration in Lutheranism, as it is with all saint veneration, is in how she points us to Christ and not her own goodness — that I think is a bit different between Lutherans and Catholics. It’s a similar distinction to the collect I put in the OP — it thanks God for Peter and Paul and asks His help for us to live our lives like them, as opposed to being addressed to Peter and Paul and asking for their help to be like them.

    I think that’s a rather narrow depiction of the Catholic understanding: I might pray to St. Peter and ask his intercession that I might become a more faithful Christian; that I might persevere in my faith; that I might be better able to see Christ in others and serve them; etc. I might also regard him as a worthy role model and ask his intercession that I might grow in some particular virtue that he displayed. I would also pray to God and thank Him for such beautiful and varied examples of virtuous life as role models. And of course Mary and all the saints point us to Christ! That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t admire them and honor them for their virtues. (I think sometimes that Protestants are prone to either/or rather than both/and.)

    But yes, saints deserve our respect and remembrance, particularly those who went through trials similar to our own so that we can model ourselves on their example (On that note, why is the patron saint of infertility male? I could put together a whole post on how the Bible makes it clear that women are the ones who hurt more and are far more desperate for children than their husbands.)

    Actually, when I think of a saint that is commonly invoked for infertility, I instantly think of a woman, St. Gianna Molla. She was an Italian doctor who was born in 1922.

     

    • #108
  19. Painter Jean Moderator
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

    I should also add, Amy, that there is an advantage to having ecclesial Latin: The meanings of words don’t evolve, the way that they tend to do in living languages. This is why having the terms latria, dulia, and hyperdulia are helpful. Maybe “veneration” has become a bit too subjective, with some people like you seeing it as akin to “worship”. Worship is reserved for God alone.

    • #109
  20. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley
    @AmySchley

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    I should also add, Amy, that there is an advantage to having ecclesial Latin: The meanings of words don’t evolve, the way that they tend to do in living languages. This is why having the terms latria, dulia, and hyperdulia are helpful. Maybe “veneration” has become a bit too subjective, with some people like you seeing it as akin to “worship”. Worship is reserved for God alone.

    Yeah … one of my peculiarities as a Lutheran is a strong love of Latin. So much better for singing than English or German. So much better for tightly packing meaning. Though I’d note that I’m coming at this topic of veneration from a lay and not very schooled perspective — I have no doubt that my pastors could explain and distinguish those terms.

    Like I mentioned in the OP, I have a book of Latin hymns that were sung in the early Lutheran church, generally for the offices of the hours; they’re lovely as spoken poetry and sublime when paired with their plainsong melodies.

    • #110
  21. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    Honestly Bryan, I don’t understand how you limit your skepticism. If as you said in our last conversation on this, you don’t believe the Bible when it talks about Adam or Moses or in world-wide floods or in bread and wine turning in flesh and blood because it doesn’t make sense in your empirical, scientific world-view, why do you believe in God? In God becoming man by being born of a virgin? In Jesus healing the sick and giving sight to the blind and raising the dead? In Jesus dying for sins and being resurrected from the dead? In Paul being freed from prison by angels?

    Does your Bible look like Thomas Jefferson’s after he cut out all the bits he thought were superstitious mumbo-jumbo? (It’s actually rather painful to look at in the Smithsonian.)

    My faith is a complex journey and far too much for me to map out in a post here. I wrestle with God daily. I don’t have a quiet soul. I pray for that, but that is not a prayer God has answered with a “yes”. I study, I listen, I reason, I pray. God makes little sense to me, and it would be easier to follow skepticism to non-belief. I guess I am stubborn, so I refuse that path, and instead, I call God out. It is funny I hurt my back in February, jobless, and arguing with God. I had a limp, still have a limp sometimes, since then. Dangers of the process, maybe. 

    So, I envy people with clean, clear faith. Faith that just is. That is not for me. I have to fight for every bit of it. God has not used revelation for me personally. I have teleological arguments on the existence of God, and even the Divinity of Christ, but I do not think they have a place here. 

    I believe, that the Bible was assembled over time, the Old Testament in particular, to distill down the Wisdom given by God. The stories act as stories to tell us very important things, things I understand with my being. The need to make the historically true is secondary to me. I do not think things happened, word for word, as listed in the New Testament, either. People’s memories don’t work that way. No one quotes someone perfectly after years. But, I do believe in God acting in the world. I do think there are miricles. I also think that the other side does them too. 

    One of the great internet debating tropes is to grill someone on being inconsistent. I can say, with pride, on matters of faith, I don’t claim to be, nor do I think it is mandatory to be, consistent. Faith is mysterious. 

    • #111
  22. Painter Jean Moderator
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

    Amy, I know you mentioned the bureaucracy thing as a joke, but I did want to say that though it might not be a bureaucracy,  it is emphatically a kingdom. Jesus and His apostles did not talk about the democracy of God, they spoke of His kingdom. And one way of showing one’s respect to a king is to hold his court in high honor as well. Veneration of the saints does not detract from the worship of God, rather, it adds to it as we are honoring God’s friends and servants.

    • #112
  23. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley
    @AmySchley

    Painter Jean (View Comment):
    it is emphatically a kingdom.

    Absolutely. There isn’t going to be a democratic federated republic of heaven where we vote for representatives in the congress of heaven and elect a president of heaven. God is the ultimate in benevolent dictators.

    And I love the quip I saw in the forward of a nondenominational prayer book: “Jesus is coming back, and when He marries the Church, he’s going to have a bride, not a harem.”

    • #113
  24. Painter Jean Moderator
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):
    it is emphatically a kingdom.

    Absolutely. There isn’t going to be a democratic federated republic of heaven where we vote for representatives in the congress of heaven and elect a president of heaven. God is the ultimate in benevolent dictators.

    And I love the quip I saw in the forward of a nondenominational prayer book: “Jesus is coming back, and when He marries the Church, he’s going to have a bride, not a harem.”

    That’s a rather ironic thing for a non-denominational organization to state!

    • #114
  25. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley
    @AmySchley

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    So, I envy people with clean, clear faith. Faith that just is. That is not for me.

    That’s not me either. That’s not any Christian I know. I’m not sure why you think you’re unique in having doubts.

    I think your problem with religion is less about belief and more about humility. You’ve set the parameters for what is or isn’t “Christianity” based on your secular education and it’s up to God, Christianity, and the Bible to conform to you.

    To be a Christian is to acknowledge that you’re nothing but a sinner who deserves to die and He’s God. The sovereign of the universe. The one who tells Job (in my husband’s paraphrase) “Lol, learn 2 play, noob.” 

    I have my doubts. I have my questions. But I’m willing to start my weekly worship by confessing that I’m a poor miserable sinner who has sinned and offended God with my iniquities in thought, word, and deed, because I believe Him when He tells me I have through His Words. 

    • #115
  26. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley
    @AmySchley

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):
    it is emphatically a kingdom.

    Absolutely. There isn’t going to be a democratic federated republic of heaven where we vote for representatives in the congress of heaven and elect a president of heaven. God is the ultimate in benevolent dictators.

    And I love the quip I saw in the forward of a nondenominational prayer book: “Jesus is coming back, and when He marries the Church, he’s going to have a bride, not a harem.”

    That’s a rather ironic thing for a non-denominational organization to state!

     It was intending to be a book of prayer that could be used by a member of any denomination, an attempt to unite the whole church. Given that I only saw it once at Barnes and Noble, I think it’s safe to say the authors didn’t achieve their goal. 

    • #116
  27. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Amy Schley (View Comment):
    I think your problem with religion is less about belief and more about humility. You’ve set the parameters for what is or isn’t “Christianity” based on your secular education and it’s up to God, Christianity, and the Bible to conform to you.

    This is totally wrong (well except the pride part, I am prideful). I have not set any parameters on what is or isn’t Christianity. However, this does get to the core of our debates. 

    It is about what practices aid me in my faith struggle. I don’t like the Catholic ones. They don’t help me and press my buttons. The fact they help someone else (lots of someone eleses) if A-OK with me. 

    Veneration of Saints brings me no closer to God. If it works for everyone else, that is great! I wish it worked for me. No dice. 

    I am not asking anything to conform to me. I am seeking what practices work for me. And I will say, the moment I feel something is being imposed on me by men, I will rebel. I’d make a poor solider. 

    • #117
  28. Painter Jean Moderator
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Amy Schley (View Comment):
    I think your problem with religion is less about belief and more about humility. You’ve set the parameters for what is or isn’t “Christianity” based on your secular education and it’s up to God, Christianity, and the Bible to conform to you.

    This is totally wrong (well except the pride part, I am prideful). I have not set any parameters on what is or isn’t Christianity. 

    But you have done just that. In referring to Catholic and Orthodox practices as pagan or nearly so, you imply that those practices are not Christian. That they are outside of the parameter of what is Christian. 

     

    • #118
  29. Nanda Panjandrum Member
    Nanda Panjandrum
    @

    A Lutheran pastor I once knew said that if he ever had the opportunity to start a congregation from the ground up, he’d make Mary its patron, making his elderly German-background parishioners shake their heads in bemusement – and making me notice the twinkle in his eye.  I never found out if he did it, though. :-)

    • #119
  30. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Amy Schley (View Comment):
    I think your problem with religion is less about belief and more about humility. You’ve set the parameters for what is or isn’t “Christianity” based on your secular education and it’s up to God, Christianity, and the Bible to conform to you.

    This is totally wrong (well except the pride part, I am prideful). I have not set any parameters on what is or isn’t Christianity.

    But you have done just that. In referring to Catholic and Orthodox practices as pagan or nearly so, you imply that those practices are not Christian. That they are outside of the parameter of what is Christian.

     

    No, I have said that is not the case, over and over. I am sorry I cannot make myself more clear. Practices and Belief are two different things. Practices support our Belief. Going through Practices that I find too close to pagan do not help my belief. Just because I find them that way does not mean I am trying to rule them out for others. If they work for you, that is fine. To me, the practices seem to be no more than pre-modern ways, and I find them archaic. They do not increase my sense of the sacred, and have the opposite effect. So I don’t like them. 

     

     

    • #120
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