Chapter Four
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IN ADDITION TO the prayers and devotions that are directed to Mary, Roman Catholics also honor and pray to various "saints."  These saints, according to the Catholic position, are martyrs or other notable people of the church who have died and whom the popes have pronounced saints.

In many minds, the word "saint" refers only to a person who has attained some special degree of holiness, only a very unique follower of Christ. But according to the Bible, ALL true Christians are saints--even those who may sadly lack spiritual maturity or knowledge.  Thus, the writings of Paul to Christians at Ephesus, Philippi, Corinth, or Rome, were addressed "to the saints" (Eph.1:1, etc.). Saints, it should be noticed, were living people, not those who had died.
If we want a "saint" to pray for us, it must be a living person.  But if we try to commune with people that have died, what else is this but a form of spiritualism?  Repeatedly the Bible condemns all attempts to commune with the dead (see Isaiah 8:19, 20).  Yet many recite the "Apostles' Creed" which says: "We the communion o f saints," supposing that such includes the idea of prayers for and to the dead.  Concerning this very point, The Catholic Encyclopedia says: "Catholic teaching regarding prayers for the dead is bound up inseparably with the doctrine ... of the communion of saints which is an article of the Apostles' Creed." Prayers "to the saints and martyrs collectively, or to some one of them in particular" are recommended.  The actual wording of the Council of Trent is that "the saints who reign together with Christ offer up their own prayers to God for men. It is good and useful sup-pliantly to invoke them, and to have recourse to their prayers, aid, and help for obtaining benefits from God."

What are the objections to these beliefs?  We will let The Catholic Encyclopedia answer for itself.  "The chief objections raised against the intercession and invocation of the saints are that these doctrines are opposed to the faith and trust which we should have in God alone--and that they cannot be proved from Scriptures..." With this statement we agree.  Nowhere do the scriptures indicate that the living can be blessed or benefited by prayers to or through those who have already died.  Instead, in many ways, the Catholic doctrines regarding "saints" are very similar to the old sun worship ideas that were held regarding the

Looking back again to the "mother" of false religion -- Babylon -- we find that the people prayed to and honored aplurality of gods.  In fact, the Babylonian system developed until it had some 5,000 gods and goddesses. In much the same way as Catholics believe concerning their "saints", the Babylonians believed that their "gods" had at one time been living heroes on earth, but were now on a higher plane. "Every month and every day of the month was under the protection of a particular divinity."  There was a god for this problem, a god for each of the different occupations, a god for this and a god for that.

From Babylon - like the worship of the great mother--such concepts about the "gods" spread to the nations.  Even the Buddhists in China had their "worship of various deities, as the goddess of sailors, the god of war, the gods of special neighborhoods or occupations."  The Syrians believed the powers of certain gods were limited to certain areas, as an incident in the Bible records: "Their gods are gods of the hills; therefore they were stronger than we; but let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they" (1 Kings 20:23).

When Rome conquered the world, these same ideas were very much in evidence as the following sketch will show.  Brighit was goddess of smiths and poetry. Juno Regina was the goddess of womanhood and marriage.  Minerva was the goddess of wisdom, handicrafts, and musicians. Venus was the goddess of sexual love and birth.  Vesta was the goddess of bakers and sacred fires.  Ops was the goddess of wealth. Ceres was the goddess of corn, wheat, and growing vegetation. (Our word "cereal", fittingly, comes from her name.) Hercules was the god of joy and wine. Mercury was the god of orators and, in the old fables, quite an orator himself, which explains why the people of Lystra thought of Paul as the god Mercury (Acts 14:11,12). The gods Castor and Pollux were the protectors of Rome and of travelers at sea ( Acts 28:11).  Cronus was the guardian of oaths. Janus was the god of doors and gates.  "There were gods who presided over every moment of a man's life, gods of house and garden, of food and drink, of health and sickness."

With the idea of gods and goddesses associated with various events in life now established in sun worshiping Rome, it was but another step for these same concepts to finally be merged into the church of Rome.  Since converts from sun worship were reluctant to part with their "gods"--unless they could find some satisfactory counterpart in Christianity--the gods and goddesses were renamed and called "saints."  The old idea of gods associated with certain occupations and days has continued in the Roman Catholic belief in saints and saints' days, as the following table shows.

St. Genesius
August 25
St. Thomas
December 21
St. Cominic
August 4
St. Sebastain
St. Matthew
September 21
St. Alexius
July 17
St. John
March 8
St. Steven
December 26
St. Vincent Ferrer
April 5
St. Hadrian
September 28
Cab drivers
August 30
Candle makers
St. Bernard
August 20
St. Vitus
June 15
St. Martha
July 29
St. Appollonia
February 9
St. Luke
October 18
St. John Bosco
January 31
St. Andrew
November 30
St. Dorothy
February 6
Hat makers
St. James
May 11
At. Anne
July 26
St. Hubert
November 3
St. James
July 25
St. Ives
May 19
St. Jerome
September 30
St. Francis of Assisi
October 4
St. Barbara
December 4
St. Cecillia
November 22
St. Mark
April 25
St. Catherine
April 30
St. Luke
October 18
St. Gemma Galgani
April 11
St. Bartholomew
August 24
St. John of God
March 8
St. Brendan
St. Albert
November 15
St. Gregory
March 12
Steel workers
St. Eliguis
December 1
St. Thomas Aquinas
March 7
 S.S. Cosmas & Damian
September 27
St. Boniface
September 21

    Everything considered, it seems evident that the Roman Catholic system of patron saints developed out of the earlier beliefs in gods devoted to days, occupations, and the various needs of human life.

     But why pray to saints when Christians have access to God?  Catholics are taught that through praying to saints, they may be able to obtain help that God otherwise might not give!  They are told to worship God and  St.Hubert, patron of hunters, then to "pray, first to with St.Elizabeth. Saint Mary, and the holy apostles, and the holy martyrs, and all God's saints .... to consider them as friends and protectors, and to implore their aid in the hour of distress, with the hope that God would grant to the patron what he might otherwise refuse to the supplicant."

    St.Hubert was born about 656 and appeared on our list as the patron saint of hunters and healer of hydrophobia.  Before his conversion, almost all of his time was spent hunting. On a Good Friday morning, according to legend, he pursued a large stag which suddenly turned and he saw a crucifix between its antlers and heard a voice tell him to turn to God.  He is now designated as the patron saint of hunters and healer of hydrophobia.
     Many of the old legends that had been associated with the sun worship gods were transferred over to the saints.  The Catholic Encyclopedia even says these "legends repeat the conceptions found in the pre-Christian religious tales ... The legend is not Christian, only Christianized ... In many cases it has obviously the same origin as the myth ... Antiquity traced back sources, whose natural elements it did not understand, to the heroes; such was also the case with many legends of the saints ... It became easy to transfer to the Christian martyrs the conceptions which the ancients held concerning their heroes.  This transference was promoted by the numerous cases in which Christian saints became the successors of local deities, and Christian worship supplanted the ancient local worship.  This explains the great number of similarities between gods and saints."

     As sun worship and Christianity were mixed together, sometimes a saint was given a similar sounding name as that of the sun worship god or goddess it replaced.  The goddess Victoria of the Basses-Alpes was renamed as St.Victoire, Cheron as St.Ceranos, Artemis as St.Artemidos, Dionysus as St.Dionysus, etc.  The goddess Brighit (regarded as the daughter of the sun god and who was represented with a child in her arms) was smoothly renamed as "Saint Bridget."  In sun worship days, her chief temple at Kildare was served by Vestal Virgins who tended the sacred fires.  Later her temple became a convent and her vestals, nuns.  They continued to tend the ritual fire, only it was now called "St.Bridget's fire."

     The best preserved ancient temple now remaining in Rome is the Pantheon which in olden times was dedicated (according to the inscription over the portico) to "Jove and all the gods."  This was reconsecrated by Pope Boniface IV to "The Virgin Mary and all the saints." Such practices were not uncommon. "Churches or ruins of churches have been frequently found on the sites where sun worship shrines or temples originally stood ... It is also to some extent true that sometimes the saint whose aid was to be invoked at the Christian shrine bore some outward analogy to the deity previously hallowed in that place.  Thus in Athens the shrine of the healer Asklepios ... when it became a church, was made sacred to the two saints whom the Christian Athenians invoked as miraculous healers, Kosmas and Damian."

     A cave shown in Bethlehem as the place in which Jesus was born, was, according to Jerome, actually a rock shrine in which the Babylonian god Tammuz had been worshiped.  The scriptures never state that Jesus was born in a cave.

     Throughout the Roman Empire, sun worship died in one form, only to live again within the Roman Catholic church.  Not only did the devotion to the old gods continue (in a new form), but the use of statues of these gods as well. In some cases, it is said, the very same statues that had been worshiped as sun worship gods were renamed as Christian saints.  Through the centuries, more and more statues were made, until today there are churches in Europe which contain as many as two, three, and four thousand statues.  In large impressive cathedrals, in small chapels, at wayside shrines, on the dashboards of automobiles--in all these places the idols of Catholicism may be found in abundance.

     The use of such idols within the Roman Catholic Church provides another clue in solving the mystery of modern Babylon; for, as Herodotus mentioned, Babylon was the source from which all systems of idolatry flowed to the nations.  To link the word "idols" with statues of Mary and the saints may sound quite harsh to some.  But can this be totally incorrect?

     It is admitted in Catholic writings that at numerous times and among various people, images of the saints have been worshiped in superstitious ways.  Such abuses, however, are generally placed in the past.  It is explained that in this enlightened age, no educated person actually worships the object itself, but rather what the object represents.  Generally this is true.  But is this not also true of heathen tribes that use idols (unmistakably idols) in the worship of demon-gods?  Most of these do not believe the idol itself is a god, but only representative of the demon--god they worship.

     Several articles within The Catholic Encyclopedia seek to explain that the use of images is proper on the basis of them being representative of Christ or the saints.  "The honor which is given to them is referred to the objects which they represent, so that through the images which we kiss, and before which we uncover our heads and kneel, we adore Christ and venerate the saints whose likenesses they are."  Not all Christians are convinced, however, that this "explanation" is strong enough reason to bypass verses such as Exodus 20:4, 5: "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is underneath the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them."

     In the Old Testament, when the Israelites conquered a heathen city or country, they were not to adopt the idols of these people into their religion. Such were to be destroyed, even though they might be covered with silver and gold! "The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire; thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein; for it is an abomination to the Lord" (Deut.7:25). They were to "destroy all their pictures" of sun worship gods also (Numbers 33:52).  To what extent these instructions were to be carried out under the New Testament has been often debated over the centuries.  The Catholic Encyclopedia gives a historical sketch of this, showing how people fought and even died over this very issue, especially in the eighth century.  Though upholding the use of statues and pictures, it says "there seems to have been a dislike of holy pictures, a suspicion that their use was, or might become, idolatrous, among certain Christians for many centuries," and mentions several Catholic bishops who were of this same opinion.  For people to fight and kill each other over this issue - regardless of which side they were on - was unmistakably contrary to the teachings of Christ.

     The sun worshipers placed a circle or aureole around the heads of those who were "gods" in their pictures. This practice continued right on in the art of the Romish church. The accompanying picture is the way St.Augustine is shown in Catholic books - with a circular disk around his head.  All Catholic saints are pictured this same way. But to see that this practice was borrowed from heathenism, we need only to notice the picture of Buddha(right) which also features the circular symbol around his head! The artists and sculptors of ancient Babylon used the disk or aureola around any being they wished to represent as a god or goddess.  The Romans depicted Circe, the sun worship goddess of the sun, with a circle surrounding her head.  From its use in sun worshiping Rome, the same symbolism passed into papal Rome and has continued to this day, as evidenced in thousands of paintings of Mary and the saints.  Pictures, supposedly of Christ, were painted with "golden beams" surrounding his head. This was exactly the way the sun god of the sun worshipers had been represented for centuries.

    Drawings of Catholic saints are commonly pictured with a circle or aureole around their heads.  So did the artists and sculptors of ancient Babylon around the head of any being they wished to represent as a god or goddess!  The Romans depicted Circe, the goddess of the sun, with a circle surrounding her head.  While not a major point in itself, a comparison of the drawings of Circe, Buddha, and St. Augustine--each with a circular symbol around their heads --shows that this usage was influenced by pre--Christian custom.

     The church of the first four centuries used no pictures of Christ.  The scriptures do not give us any description of the physical features of Jesus whereby an accurate painting could be made of him. It seems evident, then, that the pictures of Christ, like those of Mary and the saints, have come from the imaginations of artists. We only have to make a short study of religious art to find that in different centuries and among different nationalities, many pictures of Christ--some very different--may be found.  Obviously all of these cannot be what he looked like.  Besides, having now ascended into heaven, we no longer know him "after the flesh" (2 Cor.5:16), having been "glorified" (John 7:39), and with a "glorious body" (Phil.3:21), not even the best artist in the world could portray the King in his beauty.  Any picture, even at its best, could never show how wonderful he really is!

“Signs and symbols rule the Sun Worship world, not words nor laws.”