Simple question: according to adherents of the doctrine of Intercession of Saints, just like the living can communicate with the dead, is it also possible for the dead to communicate with the living? In other words, is two-way communication between the living and the dead possible?

If the answer is yes, could this reality be put to the test to confirm the veracity of the doctrine? For example, let's say a Protestant is reconsidering his beliefs and is no longer so sure whether the doctrine is true or not. He finally makes up his mind and resolves to pray to Mary, and to his surprise, Mary replies, leading to a whole conversation between the Protestant and Mary, confirming beyond any reasonable doubt to him that the doctrine is true.

Would adherents of the doctrine of Intercession of Saints approve of such a test?

  • 1
    In general, I like the question. But I would not want to put this to the test. For in all honesty it would be testing God. Remember, it is God who works miracles that are asked for through the intercession of the saints.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Sep 24, 2021 at 6:43
  • the intercession of the saints is a false doctrine. The Bible clearly states in Ecc 9:5 "The dead know nothing and have no further reward". This is not talking about the dead spiritually, it is talking about all dead! When we die, we are dead and that is that! All this historical nonesense about interceding is nothing more than a catholic attempt at proping up the pennance system which they also benefit financially from among other things such as the ridiculous purgatory doctrine where one can buy their way to heaven (or someone else can do it for them)
    – Adam
    Commented Sep 24, 2021 at 22:28

2 Answers 2


The short answer is that from a Catholic’s perspective, the doctrine is already verified by the Church, it requires no further query or investigation by individual Catholics. By the very act of remaining Roman Catholic, the church’s members trust the Church’s teachings. There is no ‘proof’ required (although such faith-based proofs of communication do exist). This is not to say that Catholics forbid or even discourage thinking and questioning. It’s just that Catholics rest easy on the sure and steady rock of the Church and its teachings.

I worked as a music director at a Roman church for a number of years but am myself an evangelical. Although Catholics are said to “pray” to the Saints, and even use this terminology themselves, it’s not the same type of prayer that one would pray directly to God. It’s a plea to the saint to take the supplications into the presence of God in the heavenly throne room: Mary, pray for us. The power doesn’t lie with Mary - and certainly the Saints don’t have any God-like qualities! The power lies with God, and the Saints act as messengers on our behalf. Roman Catholics take the throne room scene in Revelation more literally and ‘pedagogically’ than some, seeing it as a model for church on earth. Within this framework, it’s easy to see how the saints function: they are under the altar, offering supplication on our behalf. And Mary is in heaven, trusting/asking her son to do the right thing just as she did at the wedding in Canaan. She tells us (by faith) to do whatever Jesus tells us to do. We are the servants in the story.

Has there been an accumulation of ‘add-ons’ over the centuries? Yes. Is the doctrine open to abuse by communities that come from a pagan background? Sure. Do I see Rev 4 etc. as a model for church? No, I don’t believe that is its function. Is the wedding feast a sign of the heavenly wedding, there to teach us the heavenly function and relationship between prayer, Mary, Jesus and us? I don’t believe that is its role, no. Do I know and love my Catholic friends from those director days? Yes, we simply agree to disagree 😌🙏.

  • I wonder how one interprets the Lords Prayer? When Jesus taught us to pray he did not start with Hail Mary...he began with Our Father who art in heaven. I am a former school teacher, usually i teach my students what it is they are suppose to do when on their own. It seems rather strange that i would teach them one thing (pray to the omnipotent everlasting God) and then have them do something completely different when they are no longer under my teaching (ie like praying to a dead mortal). It makes even less sense to then use that false implementation of my teaching as an historical reasoning!
    – Adam
    Commented Sep 24, 2021 at 22:32
  • These differences between Catholics and non-Catholics can be frustrating, but the root of the frustration is good, namely a conviction that we are right. It’s good that I’m sure-footed, as long as I’m open to a change of view if needed. The Catholic faith is on a slow but incredible journey that is moving away from tradition not found in the Bible and towards a more Biblically-based faith. Will there always be differences? Yes, I’m sure! But I for one am very interested to see where these changes are headed.
    – user56152
    Commented Sep 25, 2021 at 1:28
  • I know these answers won’t satisfy the non-ritualistic / non-liturgical mindset and also fall short when viewed from the perspective of an evangelical systemic, but don’t forget that any Catholic prayer is bookended by the sign of the cross, which stands for “In the name of (i.e., I am a servant of) the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”. Every prayer, even a petition to a saint, is ultimately a prayer to God. Catholics are, as mentioned before, very much more aware of their earthly ministry (i.e., their lives) being connected to the heavenly liturgy of, e.g., Rev 4 & 5 than we tend to be.
    – user56152
    Commented Sep 25, 2021 at 1:46
  • *systematic 🧐⌨️
    – user56152
    Commented Sep 25, 2021 at 5:33

According to ”Intercession of Saints” adherents, is two-way communication between the saints that have died and the living possible?

The short answer is yes.

First of all, all such communications with the saints is not to look on as in a frivolous manner. This is not the place to talk to St. Peter about what is his favourite fish to eat while in Galilee.

We generally pray to the saints. That is we will make some sort of a petition to them for aide or help in some aspect of our lives or someone else’s.

For the most part, this seems almost like a oneway conversation. For example, someone may ask the Virgin Mary to heal them from some form of physical ailment. Eventually he or she may or may not get a healing. Even if healed, chances are that the Virgin Mary never spoke a word. But then get healed may speak volumes.

Nevertheless, a two-way communication between us and the saints (or the Holy Souls in purgatory) is quite possible, yet rare.

I can remember reading the biography of St. John Vianney by Mgr. François Trochu (The Cure d'Ars: St. Jean-Marie Baptiste Vianney...) At one point while at Ars he was told someone that he was somewhat distraught because he had not been able to talk with the Virgin Mary for a few days.

At Fatima, the three children asked Mary questions and received answers. The Virgin Mary asked them questions and they replied to her inquiries.

During the first apparition, Our Lady asked the children, “Are you willing to offer yourselves to God and bear all the sufferings he wills to send you?” In the following months and years, the children did indeed suffer. Their family, friends, and neighbors mocked, threatened, and even imprisoned them. Through it all, they remained steadfast and “bore these sufferings with supernatural grace.” (Fatima for Today, 44–45, 180–181, 186–187)

When Lucia asked the Blessed Mother to heal certain persons, Our Lady answered, “I will cure some but not others.” As we reflect on Our Lady’s words, we spontaneously ask ourselves, “Why some or why not others?”

Why some and not others? To this Our Lady responded: “God knows man and is doubtful of many of his intentions.”

I guess what G.K. Chesterton once said must be true, “It is good for a Christian to get into a lot of hot water; it keeps him clean!”

No one has had a much fame in my own opinion as having a two-way communication with the saints than St. Joan of Arc. No doubt, because everything she told her accusers at trial was written down. For example, when she was asked if she had heavenly visitors while in prison, she replied affirmatively. I asked them how to answer you. “And did they answer you?” Asked Bishop Cauchon. The Maid of Orleans replied: “They told me to answer you boldly!”

Some even doubted St. Joan’s visions and tried to fool her, which never worked.

Around 1424, when Joan was about 12, she started to have visions of Saint Catherine and Margaret (two early Christian martyrs) and Saint Michael, the Archangel. She was murdered in 1429 at the age of 19.

One day she told the Dauphin something only he and God were aware of and that changed everything.

When the King was old, he revealed the secret to a friend.

On that day when they went apart together at Chinon, Joan reminded him of the secret prayer which, as I told you, the Dauphin had made when alone, asking that he might know whether he really was the son of the late King, and himself the rightful King of France.

"You are the rightful King," Joan said.

When the Dauphin heard her words, he made things go on quicker. Priests were sent to Joan's village to find out if she had been a good girl when she was at home. Then she was taken to Poitiers, to be examined by many learned men, priests and lawyers. They tried to perplex her by their questions, but she was straightforward, and told them how the Voices had come to her. One man asked her to give a sign by working a miracle.

"I have not come to Poitiers to give signs," said Joan; "but let me go to Orleans, and you shall see what I will do." - How the Maid saw the Dauphin

How a girl of no learning was able to outwit intellectually 50 lawyers at her trial is in itself miraculous and defies reason.

It seems unjust that Joan was condemned to death when she was the one who saved France from England. Joan of Arc was an innocent victim of political and national controversies. In May 13, 1920 Pope Benedict XV declared her to be one of God’s great servants and declared she was to be honored as Saint Joan, Virgin. Her spiritual companions had taught her well.

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