Like all Christians, Catholics believe in life after death, but they also believe that our relationship with other Christians does not end with death. Catholic prayer to saints is a recognition of this communion.
- Do Catholics believe that saints should be worshiped?
- Why do they pray to saints?
- Is there a difference between prayer and worship?
The Communion of Saints
Like all Christians, Catholics believe in life after death. Those who have lived good lives and died in the faith of Christ will, as the Bible tells us, share in his resurrection.
While we live together on earth as Christians, we are in communion, or unity, with one another. But that communion doesn’t end when one of us dies. We believe that Christians in heaven, the saints, remain in communion with those of us on earth.
So, just as we might ask a friend or family member to pray for us, we can approach a saint with our prayers, too.
The Difference Between Prayer and Worship
Many non-Catholic Christians believe that it is wrong to pray to the saints, claiming that our prayers should be directed to God alone. Some Catholics, responding to this criticism, have argued that we do not pray to the saints but with them.
Both groups, however, are confusing prayer with worship. True worship (as opposed to veneration or honor) does indeed belong to God alone, and we should never worship man or any other creature as we worship God. But while worship may take the form of prayer, as in the Mass and other liturgies of the Church, not all prayer is worship. When we pray to the saints, we’re simply asking them to help us, by praying to God on our behalf, or thanking them for having already done so.