THE Roman Catholic Church claims a catalogue of saints numbering hundreds of thousands. Every one of these hundreds of thousands of saints is dead. In fact, the very first qualification of a Roman Catholic saint is that he be dead, and, second, that he be dead at least fifty years.
Another all-important qualification if that he work miracles after his death. Though his conduct while living be declared saintly, and though he is believed to have performed countless miracles while living, nevertheless, before he can be a full-fledged Roman Catholic saint he must perform miracles while dead.
Butler’s “Lives of the Saints” contains the names of one thousand five hundred and fourteen saints, but this work is but a vest-pocket edition, as it were, of the lives of the saints. Although the saint-ologists of the church have been compiling the lives of the saints for three hundred years, and although the catalogue now comprises twenty-four large volumes, the end of the undertaking is not yet in sight. One or more of these innumerable dead saints is worshiped by the members of that church on every day of the year, not excepting the 29th day of February. It is believed that these dead men and women saints are in heaven praising the Lord, and that they know all about the ups and downs of humanity, and are thinking how they can help the living who invoke them.
All this is a terrible mistake. Jesus said, “Whither I go ye cannot come.” Not until he comes the second time and raises the dead can the righteous be with him. Hear him again, “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am there ye may be also.” “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” Again, “The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go  down into silence.” “His sons come to honor, and he knoweth it not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them.” “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.”
Therefore the painfully sad and awfully solemn truth is that two hundred millions of Roman Catholics are praying for temporal help and eternal salvation to myriads of dead men and dead women, who instead of being in heaven praising the Lord and interceding for sinners, are down in the silence of the grave; whose forms have moldered back to earth; whose thoughts have perished,—who are dead; and who will stay dead until that “coming” hour “in which all that are in their graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation.”
Though the question does not involve character, since all are dead, yet it is not unprofitable to digress for a moment and examine the character of a Roman Catholic “saint.” Dominic, the founder of the order of “Dominicans,” is a prominent “saint” whose name appears in the Roman breviary as one who overthrew heretics, and whose miracles “extended even to the raising of the dead.” Now the plain truth is that this man was anything but a saint. According to Roman Catholic historians he was the inventor of that satanic engine of cruelty, the Inquisition. They also declare that he marched in front of the Roman Catholic army and encouraged the soldiers as they laid waste the beautiful Albigensian valleys and tortured and massacred the innocent inhabitants. And when the captives were tried for heresy he sat as inquisitor-general and “by words and miracles,” says the historian, “convicted a hundred and eight Albigenses, who were at one time committed to the flames.” And this is the inhuman monster of cruelty whom we are asked to believe is now a saint in heaven associating with our Lord who said, “The son of man came not to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” And it is to this murderer of the saints of God that men pray for temporal and spiritual blessings!
At this point the Roman Catholic arises and asks in anticipated triumph, How about the countless miracles, which have been, and are now, wrought by the saints in all lands? He points to the pyramids on either side of the entrance to the church of St. Anne of Beaupré, Canada, composed of crutches, canes, surgical appliances, and other artificial supports; and to the grotto at Lourdes, France, thatched with similar evidences of the miraculous. He points to the army of pilgrims, six hundred thousand strong, which marches annually to these two shrines alone, and asks, Can this great army of people which is annually increasing, be the victims of imagination and priestcraft?
But, with this host of pilgrims in view, with churches and grottoes festooned, and thatched with crutches and canes before our eyes, we persistently reply, The “grandmother of Jesus” and Mary the blessed mother of our Lord, and all the other “saints” in the calendar are dead; and “the dead know not anything.” “Put not your trust in princes neither in the son of man in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth, in that very day his thoughts perish.”
How then do we account for the signs of power, the miraculous wonders wrought through the intercession of the saints? We will not reply with the answer given by many that they are wholly the result of human trickery and priestly artifice. We will deal with them as supernatural, for if there are not some of these strange cures which are beyond the power of human science to fathom, then there soon will be those which are. With a view to discovering the power behind these vaunted miracles, we ask by what power or by what name are the miracles of the Christian religion wrought? Peter said to the cripple at the beautiful gate of the temple, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” And when the people who saw or heard of the miracle ran with wonder and amazement to the place where Peter stood, he said, “Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers hath glorified his son Jesus whom ye delivered up, and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; and killed the Prince of Life whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. And his name, through faith in his name, hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.”
While Peter was thus addressing the people the captains of the temple and the Sadducees came upon, being grieved that he taught the people, and preached through Christ the resurrection of the dead. When they had arrested the apostles and brought them before the council they asked them, “By what power, or by what name have ye done this? Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, if we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at naught of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
It is, therefore, by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, “through faith in his name” that men receive “perfect soundness.” Yea, more, when the rulers demanded of Peter, “by what name have ye done this,” his answer was “by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth;” and then in order to shut out once and forever the mother of Jesus, and “St. Anne, the grandmother of Jesus,” and all the rest of the untold thousands of dead saints from any part in the salvation of both physical and moral cripples, he adds, “Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
Further examination of this subject must be postponed until next week.