Hundreds Injured as Filipino Crowd Throngs ‘Healing’ Idol Being Marched Through Streets

IdolMANILA, Philippines — Two people are dead and hundreds were injured on Saturday as massive throngs sought to press up against a centuries-old statue of Christ that was marched through the streets of Manila as part of an annual Roman Catholic celebration called the Feast of the Black Nazarene.

Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno estimates that 1.4 million people participated in the procession, which takes place every Jan. 9th in the city. Roman Catholics carry white cloths and seek to touch the wood carving of Jesus carrying the cross out of their belief that it possesses healing powers or can bring good fortune.

This year was no exception, as some followers along the 20-hour procession handed cloths to those who were adjacent to the carriage, hoping that they could swipe the idol for them.

“When I was a young woman, I walked on my knees and begged the Black Nazarene to give me a good husband,” 72-year-old Nilda Saavedra, told reporters. “I also prayed that all my three children could finish college. All my prayers were heard.”

The carving, known as the Black Nazarene for the figure’s dark complexion, is believed to have been brought from Mexico to Manila in the 1600’s. It was carried aboard a ship, and although the vessel caught fire, it was not destroyed.

For the past 200 years, millions have flooded the streets as the wooden carving is carried through Manila for its annual feast day. Those who observe the occasion, which includes men, women and children alike, usually walk the streets barefoot as a gesture of reverence toward the statue. The event can sometimes become dangerous as the throngs push one another out of the way.

“Today, they cause chaos. Sometimes, while the carriage is still being moved out of the church, some devotees are already fighting,” Teresita De Guzman, 71, who has participated in the annual procession for 50 years, told the Philippine Star. “Others even stab and hit each other just to get closer to the Señor.”

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Reports state that one man, Alex Fulyedo, 27, died after suffering a seizure during the event, and a candle vendor, Mauro Arabit, 58, had a heart attack and was declared dead on arrival at a local hospital.

The Philippine Red Cross says that it treated over 1,200 people for injuries, which included cuts, abrasions and bruises, as well as those who sought to have their blood pressure checked. A few also complained of shortness of breath or struggled with ailments that required hospitalization.

The procession began at 6 a.m. on Saturday and concluded at 2 a.m. on Sunday morning, and was guarded by an estimated 5,000 police officers and members of the military.

As previously reported, the vast majority of Filipinos—approximately 80 percent—are Roman Catholic. Only an estimated 2.8 percent of the population professes to be evangelical Christian.

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  • The Guest

    “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” John 3:23-24

    “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.” Exodus 20:4

    “Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the Lord your God.” Leviticus 26:1

    “Therefore watch yourselves very carefully, so that you do not become corrupt and make for yourselves an idol, an image of any shape, whether formed like a man or a woman, or like any animal on earth or any bird that flies in the air, or like any creature that moves along the ground or any fish in the waters below.” Deuteronomy 4:15-18

    • gizmo23

      Does that include native scenes?

      • The Guest

        Any graven image that is **worshipped.** Our faith is in Christ.

      • Reason2012

        Carved? Yes. Worshiped or not.

  • 1) “Roman Catholics carry white cloths and seek to touch the wood carving

    Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image

    I’m sure wood carving constitutes a graven image.

    2) I walked on my knees and begged the Black Nazarene to give me…

    Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them

    3) The event can sometimes become dangerous…cause chaos…already fighting…others even stab

    Some phrases I found in the Bible:
    be at peace among yourselves; giving no offense in any thing; good behavior; be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.

    You are not going to find God in that mess. He is not the author of confusion.

    • gizmo23

      Nativity scenes?

      • Are you being rhetorical or are you trying to formulate an incomplete question?

        • gizmo23

          Simple. Are they idols?

          • Are they worshiped? That’s the simple rebuttal question. A rational person can discern that the fashioning of an object for worship is different than for historical narrative.

            The second commandment is intimately tied to the first commandment. Otherwise, just painting outside scenery would be wrong.

            To try and clarify: if the object in question is drawing people in a worshipful sense, then it’s an idol and violates God’s commandment. Reading the article above would conclude that’s exactly what the people were doing.

            A nativity scene’s purpose was never carved for a reason of worship; at least that’s how I perceive it. The nativity just provides reflection of an important event; an object meant for a historical narrative. However, if people are dropping to their knees to a “nativity scene” then they had stepped into worshiping and idol.

            I hope that clarifies things a little.

          • gizmo23

            It does.

          • I understand that you’re not really here for respectful dialog, but could you please be clearer on your posts.

            “it does.”

            What does? And what does “it” do? I have no idea what you are referencing.

          • gizmo23

            I was agreeing with you. Thanks for the insult. Please don’t respond to me anymore

          • I saw that, that’s why I apologized (the message that says sorry). I just don’t make a habit of erasing things I put out there (mistakes and or false assumptions). In my humble opinion, it makes things more real. So, again: sorry for the false assumption. My bad!

          • gizmo23


          • Maybe, you mean it’s clearer. Is that it?
            Sorry, but I’m doing other things here and the wife is being a little demanding. Having trouble focusing on what I wrote just a little while ago.

      • Angel Jabbins

        Why are you bringing up nativity scenes? But, yeah, duh…if you are bowing and down and praying to an image of baby Jesus, I would say you have a problem….probably a mental problem.

    • Valri

      No one’s worshiping wood carvings. I promise.

      • I beg to differ! The article clearly describes the act of worship.

        When people are setting out to touch something, thinking they will receive some intervention in their lives, well, that sounds a lot like worship. Unfortunately, there is a lot of that within the Catholic church.

        • Valri

          But that’s nuts. You have to use your head in situations like this. Why would Catholics, who worship the triune God, worship a chunk of wood? Or metal, or stone? Isn’t it OBVIOUS that the object is not what’s being worshiped, but what the object REPRESENTS?

          • Angel Jabbins

            And worship of Mary, whether she is depicted in wood, a painting, a statue, is worship of an idol. As a former Catholic, I can tell you that I did bow to her statue and prayed to her. Though Catholics do believe in triune God, they do not believe Christ alone can grant complete forgiveness of sin…His death on the cross was not sufficient. Like all other false religious systems, the Church teaches salvation is through Jesus PLUS good works and fulfilling the ritualistic requirements of the Church. It is a system of bondage.

          • Valri

            Catholics don’t worship Mary, they ask Mary to pray for them. If you bowed and prayed to her when you were a Catholic then you were not a very good Catholic, just as you are not a very good fundamentalist now, because everything you have said about Catholics and what they believe is wrong.

          • Why pray to Mary then? Why not pray to God alone? Wasn’t the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross sufficient?

          • Valri

            They do both.

          • Angel Jabbins

            “everything you have said about Catholics and what they believe is wrong.”

            Oh, so I was a Catholic for half of my life, attended Catholic schools from grade school on up through college, taught in a Catholic school, went on retreats with nuns several summers, attended Mass daily….was as devout a Catholic as you could get….. yet YOU know better than I what Catholicism teaches. Praying to Mary… asking her to pray for you… IS worshipping her. How can a mere woman hear the prayers of people all over the world…hmmm? God is the only one can be prayed to or hear prayers, the only One who is all knowing and present everywhere. BTW, we knelt before her statue, lit candles to her, and yes, prayed to her….a mere woman who admitted her own need of a Savior when she told her cousin, Elizabeth, “My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.” Why did she call Him her Savior if she was born without sin as the Catholic Church falsely teaches? Oh, they like to say they don’t worship her….I used to say the same thing in defense of what I was doing. But I was so wrong. We can go directly to Jesus with our prayers. The Bible says there is only one mediator between God and man and that is the Man, Christ Jesus. So praying to Mary is completely unbiblical and heretical. I thank God I got out of all of that… was truly a miracle. People who knew me back then can’t believe I have Ieft that false church because I was so devoted to it.

          • Valri

            It sounds to me like you were doing fine until you let yourself get confused and misled by some fundamentalist pig who didn’t know what you were doing, and then managed to convince you that you yourself didn’t know. And I think you probably didn’t. Because you know as well as I do that praying to Mary isn’t worshiping her. How can she hear prayers? Were you not taught that Mary is very much alive in heaven, and therefore in a favored position to pray for you? Is lighting candles and kneeling worship, or is it simple respect? Just like kissing the pope’s ring – I have seen plenty of people do that but never saw it as anything more than a gesture of respect. And that’s what fundamentalism has done to you. It’s taken these completely harmless and ultimately respectful gestures and convinced you that they were worship. Let’s give those things a little litmus test, shall we? Did you ask Mary for salvation? Did you ask the candles for salvation? Did you ask the statue for salvation? By your logic, pictures of your family members in your house would be idolatry as well. When you hold these crazy fundamentalist Christian ideas up to any scrutiny at all, they completely fall apart. How could Jesus, who was born without sin, spring from a sinful creature? Why did she call him her savior? Because he is, whether she was born without sin or not.

            You want to talk about a false church? Look at the one you’re in now, who had the nerve to knock 7 full books out of the Bible, who worship the Bible which is MOST IRONICALLY a form a idolatry itself (called bibliolatry), who believe unbiblical ideas like the rapture and sola scriptura, who fall to the ground babbling like idiots calling it “speaking in tongues”, the list goes on and on. And the absolute hatred of the fundamentalist church towards other faiths is about the worst and most un-Christian behavior I can imagine. Give your head several good shakes. You’ve been brainwashed badly.

          • Angel Jabbins

            No ‘fundamentalist pig’ had anything to do with my leaving Catholicism. I opened a Bible one day and began reading it and it changed my life. No where did the Apostles ever pray to Mary. That practice is not recorded anywhere in the first century church. Nowhere does Scripture record her sinless birth nor her supposed ascension into heaven. The Apostles prayed to no one except Jesus. We do not need to pray to Mary or any saint. There is absolutely no evidence anywhere in the bible that people can hear and answer prayers after they die. That is ascribing power to them that they do not have.

            “How could Jesus, who was born without sin, spring from a sinful creature? Why did she call him her savior? Because he is, whether she was born without sin or not.”

            Mary would not have called God her Savior is she were sinless. Why would she need a savior…to save her from what? We are all sinners and so was she. Christ was conceived in Mary’s womb by the power of the Holy Spirit. She did not need to be sinless for that to happen, but it did have to be a virgin birth…a baby not conceived through relations with a man but by the power of the Holy Spirit because sin came into the human race through a man, Adam, who is our federal head. She was a very good person no doubt for God to chose her, but she was not sinless and did not she need to be. You are mistaken.

            “Were you not taught that Mary is very much alive in heaven, and therefore in a favored position to pray for you?”

            I am sure Mary is alive with Christ enjoying heaven today. But she is not in some ‘favored (elitist) position’ where she can hear prayers of people all over the world at the same time and answer them. To say that, you are ascribing God-like qualities to her. The Catholic Church teaches Mary is our mediator between Jesus and God, but the bible says Christ alone is our Mediator. You can go to Him directly and do not have to go through anyone. Why would I pray to Mary when I can pray directly to Jesus?

            Bowing before statues of Mary or ‘saints’, lighting candles to them, kissing some religious big wig’s ring…just gestures of respect? Why would I waste my time giving gestures to men (or a woman) when it is so much better to give all the glory and honor to Christ. He, after all, is the One who died and suffered for me…to take away all my sin….not them.
            Bible believing Christians do not worship the Bible. I never bow down to it, pray to it, treat it like it is God. What we do is BELIEVE it and try to live our lives by what it teaches. I do not hate people of other faiths or anyone. They are free to believe as they choose. But not all faiths are equal. There are not many different ways to heaven. There is only One Way…through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection for our sins. It may sound unloving to tell Catholics they are wrong, but if the bible is correct and salvation is by faith alone, in Christ alone, through grace alone…and not of works…then many will die in their sins and end up in an eternity in hell. If I truly believe that is true, I should engage people in conversations, as I am doing with you, and warn them… urge them to read the Bible cover to cover for themselves, setting all their preconceived ideas aside, reading with the heart of a child…and see if what I am saying is true. It is not hateful to tell people they may be wrong. It may be uncomfortable for them to hear it, but it is not wrong. If they don’t agree with me…..that’s fine. I am not going to chop their heads off and run them out of their country if they don’t convert. I will just thank them for listening and go my way, praying for them. And I will be praying for you.
            I am surprised how you defend Catholicism when some of the views you have expressed here seem to be completely at odds with Catholic doctrine. You often side with the gay agenda. At this point in time, that is the opposite view from Rome….though I feel that will be changing in the future as the Pope seeks to be all things to all people to win them. The opposite of what Christ did, BTW.

          • Valri

            Blah blah blah…”nowhere in scripture” is the battle cry of the fundamentalist. If you were REALLY a Catholic you’d know that Catholics are not “Bible-only”, and that there were church teachings PRIOR to the Bible. And since when did something’s absence from the Bible mean it was a condemned practice? Is your car in the Bible? Or your computer?

            Mary would still need a savior if she were sinless. For the whole salvation thing, you might have heard about it?

            No. YOU are mistaken. Big time.

          • Angel Jabbins

            Well, Val, let just hope you are right and God will not hold people accountable to His Word and to His Law. But if He does, the only remedy will be Jesus and His sacrifice for your sins. No good works, sacraments of the church or prayers to Mary (‘asking her to pray for you’) will fill the bill and make things right with God. Today is the day find the truth….there IS only one truth. It can be found in God’s Word, the Bible. After death, there are no second chances.

          • Georgia Girl

            You really should put down your Catholic book and read the Bible. It is the ultimate authority. And next, do some serious research into the Catholic church. The Catholic people are mostly great people, its the man made religion that’s the problem. So much they teach you is not found anywhere in the Bible. Jesus called the Pharisees vipers and children of the devil because they did the same things.

          • Valri

            The “Catholic book” IS the Bible.
            You fundamentalists really hate having to admit it, don’t you? Too bad history isn’t on your side, eh?
            And for the last time, the reason so much of their teaching isn’t found in the Bible is because they aren’t Bible-only Christians, they also have church teachings and sacred traditions which YOU threw away!

          • Georgia Girl

            Exactly my point!! Thanks. Bible only Christians threw out the teachings of men who perverted the Holy Word of God.

          • Valri

            So you think the Bible isn’t just as man-made as the church teachings and sacred traditions? Then why are there so many translations and versions of it? In fact you took seven entire books out of the original Bible.

          • Georgia Girl

            2 Tim 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

            The Catholics have their own book which is NOT the bible. They are their own rules and doctrines. Jesus is the only way to Heaven, not by works lest anyone should boast. There are way too many doctrines in the RCC that go against the word of God.
            As for the many translations, I’m sure there are mistakes, however, if you study the different translations which is easy now because of the internet, you can determine by word study the actual meaning. Some of the translations are better than others obviously, but NO the Bible was the inspired word of God. Not the Catholic book.

          • Valri

            Trust me on this one, I was raised Catholic. There is no “Catholic book”, there is only the Bible. Catholics don’t believe in works for salvation but a combination of grace through faith AND works. And the doctrines you disagree with, you only disagree with because they aren’t in the Bible, which I already explained doesn’t apply to Catholics because they aren’t Bible-only. They also look to sacred traditions and church teachings (the magisterium). Don’t blame Catholics because YOU changed the rules – they still use the same rules they’ve always had.

          • D.M.S.

            Just like the Pharisees.

          • Joseph Essien-Obot

            I think you have a very confusing understanding of terms. You say “pray” as if it means “worship”. Pray doesn’t mean worship, it means ask. That’s one.

            “asking her to pray for you… IS worshipping her.”
            By this you seem to imply that if I asked you to pray for me, you know, like Paul asked Christians to pray for him, then I am worshiping you. Maybe Paul was worshiping them then. You make no sense here.

            “God is the only one can be prayed to or hear prayers, the only One who is all knowing and present everywhere.”
            My difficulty with this is that our departed brothers and sisters in Christ are in heaven. The angels are not omnipresent yet they “rejoice at the repentance of a soul”. How could they know souls that repent? Since God is omnipresent and they (both angels and souls in heaven) gaze on God why won’t they communicate? I mean, is heaven a place of no communication? Are we there incommunicado? Heaven is a place where we commune in the love of God. We can pray to him while there and he can communicate the requests of souls on earth to the saints referred to. What will stop the soul in heaven from interceding in Christ’s name?

            Kneeling and lighting candles are not worship. This does not mean that kneeling and lighting candles are not used in worship. Worship is an interior thing, it is much more than what we do externally. However, these actions are limited only to the things that pertain to the Christian faith which is the work of God. Mary is the work of God, the saints are the work of God. Venerating the work of God cannot offend God much like venerating the work of an artists is not offending and is even desired! If on the other hand I were to kneel in prayer before a statue of the Buddha which obviously has no bearing on the salvation won for us, I may not be worshiping it but then I would be venerating a work of human frailty which of course does not refer to God’s work. I would be guilty of idolatry. Not because I kneel to a statue per se but because I venerate work that is not God’s, I worship its maker i.e. human frailty.

            “Why did she call Him her Savior if she was born without sin…?”
            Well, being saved does not mean that we have to sin first. You could save me from a ditch I have fallen into by taking me out. You could also save me by preventing me from falling into the ditch in the first place. In all cases YOU have SAVED me. Mary was saved from sin by Christ. If she were not to bear him she would have been born like us all. How does Mary know her “her Saviour” if she’s not yet been saved? Well, that kind of like your response.

            Once you correct your understanding of what “pray” means, I’m afraid you will forever be lost on the crumbs that fall from the Lord’s table never to feast on whats on it.

          • Angel Jabbins

            “you seem to imply that if I asked you to pray for me, you know, like Paul asked Christians to pray for him, then I am worshiping you. Maybe Paul was worshiping them then. You make no sense here.”

            Asking another Christian to pray for you is not worshipping that person…of course not. The Bible tells us to pray for one another while we are on this earth where we face many trials and temptations. Praying for each other strengthens our faith, humbles us, and bring unity to the Body of Christ. Good grief. Now think! Asking a person who has died (and hopefully gone to heaven) to pray for you…that is totally different….where is the basis for that in Scripture? Did Paul, Peter, John or any of the Apostles give us that example? Did they ask Stephen to pray for them after her was martyred for the faith and went to heaven? James was the first Apostle martyred by Herod. Did the others offer constant prayers to him after his death? Cite it, chapter and verse. It would be in the Acts of the Apostles. Not there.

            There is nothing in the Bible that says that Mary can simultaneously hear the prayers of people all over the world, in different languages, spoken, and thought, an attribute that only God possesses. But, the Catholic Church says that she can. Here is what the Church says:

            “May the Blessed Virgin hear your every prayer.”(Message of John Paul II, read by H. E. Msgr. Francesco Marchisano, Grotto of our Lady of Lourdes in the Vatican Gardens, Saturday, 31 May 2003).

            Roman Catholics all over the world offer prayers to Mary on a regular basis and expect her to hear them and intercede for them with God and Jesus. This is unfortunate because it isn’t Biblical. They have gone beyond Scripture. They need to repent and focus on Jesus only, not Mary. But, this grand repentance will not happen as long as the Roman Catholic church puts its own authority and tradition ABOVE Scripture–an error that has led it into many false teachings. Jesus is the One who died to save us from our sins. He alone is our place of refuge…the only one we need TO pray to for all our needs. Is He too busy, can’t keep up with all the prayers so that He needs Mary’s help. How ridiculous. She is a mere created being. He is God!

            Roman Catholics say that Heaven is not like it is here on earth and that we don’t know what Mary can and cannot do in Heaven, therefore, they say, why can’t she hear our prayers and answer them. But this is an argument from silence. We should not argue from what we don’t know. We should argue from what we do know. To argue from what we do not know opens the door wide to saying anything. For example, the Bible does not say anything about life on other planets. Therefore, should we conclude that there is life on other planets? Of course not. This is why the Bible says that were not to exceed what is written (1 Corinthians 4:6). It sets the Scriptures as the guide that should not be exceeded. Our admonition from Scripture is to use the Word of God as the footstool upon which we build our truths, not the ignorance of what Heaven might be like and then use it to justify a teaching about Mary that is not supported in Scripture.

            We often hear how Mary can hear our prayers and even answer them. Catholics believe other saints can hear prayers as well. Can they also hear prayers in different languages, both thought and spoken, all simultaneously from all over the planet? If they can, why the focus on Mary? Furthermore, all of the so-called Roman Catholic Saints are creatures. They were created by God who is infinitely greater than the they. Why go to Saints and pray to them when Jesus said to seek Him (John 14:14, Matthew 11:28) and that He ALONE was the way to the Father (John 14:6)? Isn’t Jesus enough? Isn’t God the Trinity enough? Of course God is sufficient . . . unless you take your eyes off of God and put it on your tradition. Then, new doctrines creep in and with it comes a host of errors.

            As to angels, because they are created beings, their knowledge is limited. This means they do not know all things as God does (Matthew 24:36). They do seem to have greater knowledge than humans, however. But, again, nowhere in Scripture are we taught we are to ask them to pray for us. The Apostles never asked angels to pray for them.

            “being saved does not mean that we have to sin first.” Huh? Where did you get that? Out of thin air!

            Mary was a wonderful person, but she was a sinner just like the rest of human kind. The Apostles did not teach she was without sin. If that were true, then she, too, like Jesus would have to be virgin born through the power of the Holy Spirit. No such event is recorded in Scriptures.

            If Mary was sinless, why did she need to offer an atonement (sin offering) according to Old Testament Law (Lev. 12:1-8) after giving birth to Jesus? According to the Old Testament, it was only the mother who needed purifying after a birth because of the issue of blood. She was ritually unclean. If she had a male child, the days of her period of uncleanness was seven days, then the child was circumcised, then she remained unclean for 33 days (v. 4)–for a total of 40 days. If she bore a female child, her period of uncleanness would be 14 days plus 66 days for a total of 80 days. Notice in Leviticus 12:2 it says that if she bears a male child, she shall be unclean for seven days. If Mary was sinless, how could she also be unclean? Just makes no sense at all.
            This is what happens when people elevate traditions (and fables) of men above the inspired Word of God.
            2 Timothy 3:16: “All Scripture is given by the inspiration of God, and is profitable for DOCTRINE, for REPROOF, for CORRECTION, for INSTRUCTION in righteousness that the man of God may be perfect, THOROUGHLY FURNISHED unto all good works.” Thoroughly furnished!!!…no need of anything else. All and every tradition has to pass the test of Scripture. Doesn’t pass and not in there?….throw it out!
            A few verses down Paul describes what is happening today and has been happening for centuries when people leave the Word of God and to turn to teachings and traditions of men:
            2 Tim 4: 3-4 “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts they shall they shall heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears and shall turn away their ears from the truth and shall be turned unto fables.”
            What the Catholic Church teaches in some areas are damnable heresies. Mary is not sinless, did not assume into heaven like Jesus did. Salvation is not attained by Jesus PLUS performing all the sacraments and all the good works you can do. Salvation is by Christ alone through repentance and faith alone. Don’t believe this? Read Romans, Galatians, Ephesians and the Chapter three of Titus.
            Despite Valri’s hateful words to me… calling of Bible believing Christians, “judgmental pigs’ ….despite her accusing me of lying about being a devout Catholic half of my life…despite the hatred that regularly comes at me from Catholics when I attempt to share the true gospel with them…I will continue to share that gospel whenever I can. I got saved and soundly so…just from reading the bible for myself…over and over…setting all my preconceptions and previous teaching aside….asking God to show me the truth. He did and my life has never been the same. I would never go back to being in the bondage of Catholicism…not knowing for certain I was heaven bound, thinking I would end up in purgatory at the very least. I am free to live for Christ now and His Word is truly ‘a light unto my feet and a lamp unto my path.’

          • Joseph Essien-Obot

            Thanks Jabbins for such an elaborate response. I understand your points quite well while disagreeing with them on the basis of their narrowness. I don’t mean any disrespect here.

            First of all let me apologise for the harsh words Valri used on you, they were totally uncalled for, in fact, they should never be necessary. Indeed, in spite of false accusations and verbal abuse these cannot be the basis of deciding what is true and not for which I commend you.

            You’ve raised several points and I hope I can address most, if not all, here. I’ll try to make it as brief as possible so as not to introduce boredom.

            It is important to understand that the “Word of God” is first and foremost Jesus Christ himself, it is not dry ink on paper, parchment, stone, wood or any surface whatsoever. Scripture is God’s word inasmuch as it speaks of his Word and the Word is a being. So, God calls us in his Word into being. This is far and above following instruction, it is becoming a new person, a person of true, total, self-sacrificing love so that we can say like Paul, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me”, Gal.2:20. Inadvertently, when Paul speaks of the word of God in scripture he is actually referring to Jesus himself, not to what he has or is writing.

            Now, this brings us to the place of scripture. Here you quote, “All Scripture is given by the inspiration of God, and is profitable for
            DOCTRINE, for REPROOF, for CORRECTION, for INSTRUCTION in righteousness that the man of God may be perfect, THOROUGHLY FURNISHED unto all good works.” You have emphasized acts and the end of what is desired but you have not emphasized the part played by scripture. What is that part? PROFITABLE, in some translations, USEFUL. This presents Scripture as a tool, note the article “a”, for Doctrine & co. It does not say that Scripture is the BASIS or FOUNDATION of these things, as important as scripture is! To emphasize this I’ll quote from Peter, “…as also in all [Paul’s] letters, speaking in them of
            these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the UNTAUGHT and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the
            Scriptures, to their own destruction”, 2 Pet.3:16. In other words, there must FIRST be TEACHING in order to UNDERSTAND Scripture correctly. Scripture doesn’t come first. Who teaches?

            Where did you hear to in order to be considered saved you MUST be a sinner?

            You said, “If Mary was sinless, why did she need to offer an atonement (sin offering) according to Old Testament Law (Lev. 12:1-8) after giving birth to Jesus?”

            Well, let’s look at what the scripture says. “And when the days for their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord… and to offer a sacrifice ACCORDING to what was said in the Law of the Lord, “A PAIR OF TURTLEDOVES OR TWO YOUNG PIGEONS.” Luke 2:22,24. So, Mary, in OBEDIENCE to the Law of the Lord, offered sacrifice. Does that mean she was a sinner or does that mean she was obedient? By your logic you would imply that Jesus needed repentance BECAUSE he received baptism from John. I believe you know the answer to that and I hope you understand why the Evangelist had to stipulate Marys accordance to the Law.

            Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”

            I do believe you understand “her seed” to be Jesus, he who saves us from disobedience. I’m hope that you therefore understand that “the woman”, not “a” woman, is Mary. And, what does God say about “the woman”? “I will put enmity between you”. “You” obviously being Satan. Sin is friendship with Satan, obviously. Enmity with Satan will be what? Sinfulness still? Sinful Eve brought forth sinful man (you know, Eve succumbed to temptation first then convinced Adam into it). It follows that sinless Mary brought forth sinless man, Jesus. So too, Eve being mother of all the living, Mary is mother of all the living in Christ.

            You said, “Roman Catholics say that Heaven is not like it is here on earth and that we don’t know what Mary can and cannot do in Heaven, therefore, they say, why can’t she hear our prayers and answer them. But this is an argument from silence.”

            Actually, it is you who argues from silence. “Since we’re not explicitly told we can ask Mary for prayers so we will not.” The Catholic position is not from silence.
            1) God is omniscient
            2) Those who die in Christ receive the full beatific vision, see God as he is, omniscient and all

            3) God calls us into communion (oneness) with himself through Christ
            4) In heaven this communion is perfect
            These are not silence, they obviously to you are clear in Scripture.

            In simple logic, seeing the Omniscient One and living in perfect communion with him how can we not know? How does language and volume interfere in this communion? This is part of the reason the angels know so much, their communion with God is perfect. This is also the reason why the angels can know our thoughts and the devil can’t. Since Satan is apart from God he cannot see our thoughts even though he can make extraordinarily good guesses of them. This is also why the saints in heaven should and for us have shown do too.

            And finally, necromancy. This is the art of conjuring up spirits, usually as departed souls, in order to communicate with them. This is not possible and is therefore a superstition, where spirits actually manifest they are nothing more than demons. In Catholic Christianity there is no such thing as conjuring, there is just the simple act of request called prayer in the trust, not so much in the prayer being answered, but that the request will be responded to i.e. by the act of prayer to God of whom it is requested. The saints answer our prayers to them by praying for us, God ultimately responds to our prayers according to his will. The difference between the two is not hard to see. Prayer means “request” and does not on its own amount to worship. Prayer is not worship.

            To use our logic of silence let’s see. Jews pray to their dead too. They pray to their patriarchs which would be the equivalent of Catholic saints. The whole pagan world prayed also to their dead. Did any of the Apostles tell us it was evil? No. Why? I wonder? Please, feel free to brows the net for information on praying to the dead in Judaism, its origins and antiquity for they it is through whom the story of King Saul and the warning against necromancy comes, just be ready to be flabbergasted.

            I hope you will find clarity in things you may not have understood. Thanks and God bless.

          • Steve Byrd

            My wife her kids and the rest of her family are also catholic. They all say they do not pray to Mary, but that is exactly what they do. Why ask her if they didn’t ? Anytime you look at a woodcarving a picture or whatever the object may be and pray that Mary will intercede for you, that is regardless of how it is said, idol worship.

          • Valri

            I’m sure they pray to Mary, but they don’t worship her. You should listen to your family. They are eminently more sensible, because they know that a woodcarving or chunk of rock isn’t God and therefore isn’t being worshiped. The thing is SYMBOLIZES, i.e. God, is what’s being worshiped. I knew this when I was 5. How come you don’t know it now?

  • FoJC_Forever

    Come out from among them, and do not touch the unclean thing….

    Reject false religion and find Eternal Life which is only given from the LORD.

    Follow Jesus, find Truth.

  • Becky

    And, this is what happens when you follow false teachings/teachers instead of reading the Holy Bible for yourself…the blind leading the blind.

  • Are you going to run this story every year? It hardly rises to the level of “news.”

  • Rick

    Exodus 20:4-6 “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. 5“You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.”
    Seems pretty clear cut to me.