Saints and Fathers

The Jewish Cardinal

by Steve Ray on November 16, 2014

I met a new hero today, but only through the medium of a movie. It was entitled The Jewish Cardinal. After returning home exhausted from the Raising Rebels Conference in Manchester NH where I gave three talks yesterday, I was ready for a good movie tonight. My wife found this one on Netflix. 

This drama details the true story of Jean-Marie Lustiger, the son of Polish-Jewish immigrants, who became a leader in the Catholic Church. An exciting story rated 5-star on Netflix (to which I would agree), the only slight difficulty was the fast-paced dialog in French which made it difficult at times to keep up with the captioning. Maybe this was because I was tired.

After the movie I read his story on Wikipedia, after which I loved him all the more. He was born in 17 September 1926 and died on 5 August 2007. He converted to the Catholic Church at 13 years old after having discovered the New Testament.

His mother was deported to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp where she died a year later. This is where Edith Stein and Maximilian Kolbe also died. Lustiger’s father tried unsuccessfully to have his son’s baptism annulled, and even sought the help of the chief rabbi of Paris.

His tomb is in a crypt in Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. I will visit his tomb in July while leading a group to Lourdes, Santiago di Compostela, Fatima and Paris. (Join us!)

His epitaph, which he wrote himself in 2004, can be seen in the crypt of Notre-Dame Cathedral, and translates as:

I was born Jewish.
I received the name
Of my paternal grandfather, Aaron
Having become Christian
By faith and by Baptism,
I have remained Jewish
As did the Apostles.
I have as my patron saints
Aaron the High Priest,
Saint John the Apostle,
Holy Mary full of grace.
Named 139th archbishop of Paris
by His Holiness Pope John Paul II,
I was enthroned in this Cathedral
on 27 February 1981,
And here I exercised my entire ministry.
Passers-by, pray for me.

† Aaron Jean-Marie Cardinal Lustiger
Archbishop of Paris

When we stand before his crypt in July we will pray for him and we will honor him — a fulfilled Jew and an example to us all.

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Are saints who have physically died “dead saints” or are they alive with God?

A friend named Leonard Alt got tired of being hammered by anti-Catholic Fundamentalists on this issue so he decided to write this article. I thought you might enjoy it too, so here it goes…

Leonard writes: I wrote this note after several days of frustration with people, on Facebook, saying that saints can’t do  anything, because they are dead.  They seem to be leaving out the fact that the souls live on.  ENJOY! 

Dead and gone? Where is his soul-his person?

An antagonist named Warren Ritz asked, “Who are the “dead in Christ”, if not those who walked with our Lord, but who are now no   longer among the living?” He is correct; the “dead in Christ” are those saints  who have physically died.    “For the Lord himself, with a word of command, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God, will come down from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first” (1 Thess 4:16). 

THE CONCEPT OF LIVING SAINTS CAN DO HARM TO THE “JESUS ALONE” DOCTRINE.  From some people’s point of view, people who have died are classified as “dead saints,” who can do nothing.  They are no longer a force to reckon with; they can no longer appear; they cannot talk nor do other things.  These same people don’t want the saints who have died doing anything because this would be another reason why the Protestant doctrine, “JESUS ALONE” fails.  If the so-called “dead saints” do anything then it is not “JESUS ALONE,” but Jesus and the saints cooperating.    And it would also mean that the so-called “dead saints” are in fact not dead, but alive with God.    

Dead or in paradise?

HIS PHYSICAL BODY DIED BUT HIS SOUL LIVED ON.  But, are the Saints who have gone before us alive with God or are they truly “dead saints” who can do nothing as some would suggest?    Yes, their bodies are dead, but their souls live on.  For example Jesus said to one of the criminals on the cross next to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Lk 23:43).   Yes, that day, this man became the dead in Christ because his physical body died on his cross; however, Jesus said that today, this man would be with Him in paradise.   He was no “dead saint” because his soul was alive in Christ in Paradise. 

Abraham, Isaac and Jacob alive and concerned for their descendants

HE IS THE GOD OF THE LIVING.  One person alluded to Mark 12:26-27 saying “Jesus is the God of the living, not of the dead” in an attempt to show that Jesus cannot be the god of those who have died; after all he says “Jesus is the god of the living.”  However, he left out three people who were no longer alive in verse 26; Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  God said that He was their God.   And so does that mean that God is the God of the dead?  No; “He is not God of the dead but of the living.”  

  • “God told him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, (the) God of Isaac, and (the) God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead but of the living. You are greatly misled” (Mk 12: 26-27). 

Abraham Isaac and Jacob are physically dead and yet their souls are alive because their God is not God of the dead but of the living and thus do not qualify as “dead saints.” 

Moses was dead and buried. How could he talk to Jesus about future events on earth?

WHEN MOSES AND ELIJAH APPEARED WERE THEY DEAD OR ALIVE?  There are those who insist that saints who have died are nothing more than “dead saints” who can do nothing.   I usually ask them this question.   When Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration, were they dead or alive?   “And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah” (Lk 9:30).  Not bad for a couple of so-called “dead saints;” not only did they appear, but they were talking as well.  The question that I asked usually goes unanswered.   

SORRY LEONARD…YOU HAVE A BAD ARGUMENT.  Bill says, “As Ecclesiastes says the dead have nothing more to do under the sun…sorry Leonard…you have a bad argument.”  He is using this as definitive Biblical proof that people on the other side cannot do anything once they have died.  After all, Ecclesiastes does say, “For them, love and hatred and rivalry have long since perished. They [the dead] will never again have part in anything that is done under the sun” (Eccles 9:6).    

When a person dies their body is in the grave; it is dead. They can no longer work under the sun, in this world.  However, Ecclesiastes 9:6 is not a prohibition against the activity of the person’s soul, which lives on.   This of course begs the question; is there any indication of personal activity of a soul after death, in Scripture?   

How did the bones of a dead guy bring another dead guy back to life?

Yes, there are a number of examples and here is one of them.  Elisha after dying performed marvelous deeds.  In life he [Elisha] performed wonders, and after death, marvelous deeds (Sir 48:14).  “Elisha died and was buried. At the time, bands of Moabites used to raid the land each year. Once some people were burying a man, when suddenly they spied such a raiding band. So they cast the dead man into the grave of Elisha, and everyone went off.  But when the man came in contact with the bones of Elisha, he came back to life and rose to his feet” (Kings 13:20-21).  

Using, Ecclesiastes 9:6 as a prohibition against all soul activity after death is to use the verse out of context and at odds with other parts of the Bible.  Ecclesiastes 9:6 is referring to the physical body that has died, not the soul that lives on.  Elisha, after death performed marvelous deeds.   It can’t be much clearer than that!   

The saints are not dead but alive in the presence of their Lord Jesus and part of the praying Mystical Body of Christ

JESUS NEVER CLAIMED THAT THOSE WHO HAVE DIED ARE “DEAD SAINTS.”  Jesus understood well that when someone dies, they will live and in fact those who live and believe in him WILL NEVER DIE. 

Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this” (Jn 11:23-26)?  

This union, with the saints on this side and the saints on the other side is referred to as the communion of saints in the Apostles Creed.  Those who insist that “dead saints” can’t do anything because their bodies have physically died seem not to understand that their souls live on and are very involved. 

So, where does the Bible say we should pray to dead saints? I would ask, Where does the Bible say saints are dead?

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Feast Day of St. Justin Martyr, June 1

Download a Free copy of the Apostolic Fathers Timeline
Timeline 2 copy_supersmall.jpg

This amazing Timeline drives home the point of how close these men were to Jesus and the Apostles.
It demonstrates how Catholic the first Christians really were!


The Apostolic Fathers faced Emperors, heretics and lions but these heroes of the Catholic faith never lost courage. Chains, prisons and blood-soaked arenas did not stop the early Christians from witnessing for Christ and handing on the Apostolic Tradition.

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Comprehensive 28-Page Study Guide
Behind the Scenes: The Making of Apostolic Fathers, Handing on the Faith
Bloopers and Outtakes
Conversation with Steve Ray and Fr. Benedict Groeschel

English and Spanish subtitles
Feature running time: 90 minutes, extras 30 minutes

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Can Relics and Sacramentals Relay the Power of God?

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Some might claim that Catholic teaching on relics and Sacramentals is unbiblical. Really? Check out these biblical passages: “So extraordinary were the mighty deeds God accomplished at the hands of Paul that when face CLOTHS or aprons that touched his skin were applied to the sick, their diseases left them and the evil spirits came [...]

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So, Why is Abraham the Father of our Faith?

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To purchase Steve Ray’s Talk “Abraham: Father of Faith & Works” on CD or MP3 visit SteveRaysStore.com. Well for starters, let’s see how he DID or DIDN’T respond to God when called to leave his homeland and go to a place that God would show him. Let’s put ourselves in his sandals and see what WE [...]

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Video of Pre-Canonization Rome

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God said “Please”; Abraham said “OK”

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Why Do We Call Them APOSTOLIC FATHERS?

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There are Apostolic Fathers and Fathers of the Church. What is the difference? Fathers of the Church are those bishops, priests and theologians of the first eight centuries who taught and wrote and who helped define the doctrine of the Catholic Church. Apostolic Fathers fit into that catagory but they have a subcategory of their [...]

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St. Bernadette’s Life, Lourdes and Farewells

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Another great day at Lourdes, today following the life of Bernadette. Also Farewell dinner, comments and farewells. Part 1 Part 2 My 6-mile Hike through all of Lourdes

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Lourdes…Wow!

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Started the day early with Mass at the Grotto at Lourdes – where Our Lady appeared to St. Bernadette as the Immaculate Conception. Then breakfast and a VERY thorough tour of the Shrine of Lourdes with our VERY Catholic guides: the grotto, the Shrine, underground church, the museum and much more. We finished the tour [...]

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St. James, Slayer of Muslims (Moors)

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Sure sounds politically incorrect, eh? But in Spain – especially at Santiago de Compostela – a city dedicated to St. James – that is a title of St. James, one of Our Lord’s twelve apostles. Spain has had a rough history with Muslims invading their land. They fought back and eventually pushed the Muslim Moors [...]

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Want to Join us in Rome for JPII’s Canonization?

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This trip is filling fast – even before we have the brochure completed. We can only take a limited number of pilgrims due to airline seats and hotel rooms available. Stay tuned for the full brochure available soon. This is not just to be in Rome for this historical event, we will also have tours [...]

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Lourdes Walking Tour with Interactive Map, Video and Pictures. Enjoy!

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Watching Lourdes work amazes me. It is a big operation with Masses going on all over the place all the time. Hundreds of wheelchairs processing through the streets with thousands of volunteer nurses and assistants and it all goes like clockwork. There is a sense of prayer and the reality of God here and it [...]

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Join Me on My Walking Tour of All of Fatima with Commentary, 21 videos, 147 pictures and an interactive map

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Fatima is not just a shrine. It is the homes of the children, their parish church, the local cemetery, the places the angel met the children three times, the 93 year old niece of Lucia whom I prayed with, the well where they watered their sheep… …AND the gorgeous shrine with the apparition chapel, the [...]

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