Prayers for the Dead and Marian Intercession

“I pray that, through the intercession of Mary Immaculate whom he so greatly venerated, the Lord may welcome this faithful pastor of the Gospel and the Church into His Kingdom of eternal joy and peace”, the Pope concludes.

(Vatican Information Service, 5 September 2011)

Notice that here the Pope is explicitly requesting Marian intercession for a dead Cardinal (Cardinal Deskur). This falls into the category of prayers “through” Mary (as opposed to prayers simply to Mary) and of prayers “for” the dead.

I know that some of Rome’s advocates are fond of saying that one is “just asking Mary to pray” in one’s prayers to Mary.  Actually, though, the goal here is for the prayed-for person to be accepted on the basis of Mary, that is to say, on the basis of her person and merits.  While this is not completely explicit, notice that she’s described as “immaculate.”  This is the wrong way to pray.

Our prayers are to be God through the intercession of Jesus Christ, our one mediator.  Only Christ’s merits form a sufficient basis for the intercession we need.  Christ is not simply the best mediator, he is the only mediator.

It is also foolish to pray for the dead.  They have already either entered into Heaven or Hell.  There is no third place from which they need to be freed in order to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.  The pope’s teaching here is consistent with his own church’s dogmas, but not with the Scriptures.

It seems doubly foolish for the pope to pray for the dead in this way.  Does he not supposedly possess the ability to release souls from Purgatory by means of indulgence?  Why not simply declare the Cardinal free himself rather than hoping that Mary will intercede for him?  This aspect of the pope’s messages seems out of line with the traditional view of Purgatory – or at least rather odd, considering that the pope evidently feels kindly toward the deceased Cardinal.

To put it in another way, isn’t this rather like telling a naked and hungry man, “be warmed and fed,” but not actually giving him food and clothing?  Perhaps there is more to the story, but it certainly inconsistent for the pope not to exercise his own papal prerogatives, if he really wants the Cardinal to get out of Purgatory.

Finally, perhaps it is worth pointing out that the pope acknowledged that the Cardinal engaged in the veneration of Mary.  Moreover, the pope recognized that he did so to a notable degree “so greatly,” the English text reads.  Cardinal Foley put it this way:

Cardinal Deskur had a particular love for the Blessed Virgin Mary, and his apartment door carried the sign “Casa di Maria” (house of Mary). He was quite devoted to his most recent responsibilities as President of the Pontifical Academy of the Immaculate Conception.

(Catholic News Agency)

Do my readers in the Roman communion want to tell me that this “veneration” isn’t “worship”?  I suppose some will.  But I think most people can see that this kind of religious devotion is worship.

-TurretinFan

19 Responses to “Prayers for the Dead and Marian Intercession”

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