Thursday, June 2, 2011

Doctrinal Quiz Show: The Communion of Saints!

After months of longing and anticipation (by one reader -- thanks, Lauren!), the drought is over! Doctrinal Quiz Show is back with a vengeance!

Now it's time to reach into the recesses of your catechetical lobe, and get ready to play!

Today's challenge:

Define and describe the "Communion of Saints"; if possible, use some traditional terms and designations in your answer.

If you dare to cheat, go straight to confession, do not pass GO and do not collect a Bubble Award.

*Relevant teaching opportunity: Remember, it is a Christian moral principle that the ends do not justify the means. We are never permitted to do evil so that good will result. So, even if you want a Bubble Award more than anything else in the universe, you are not allowed to cheat to get it!

Okay, now. As to the Grand Prize...hmmmm...lemme see.... Well, either someone can e-mail me with an offer of a super-cool Grand Prize to award, or I will come up with something that will be awesomely edifying or edifyingly awesome (depending on my mood), and it will come from my own stash of goodies. 

I can only imagine the kind of excitement that must rouse in you, dear readers. When I get back to my regular internet access in a few days, a winner will be crowned.

Okay contestants.... GO!!


  1. The communion of saints is the unity that the church triumphant (those in heaven), the church suffering (those in purgatory), and the church militant (those on Earth) share, by grace, in Christ.

  2. The communion of saints is made up of the Church Triumphant. It only includes humans (not angels) that have died and gone to heaven and now live in the presence of God interceding for those who remain Church Militant or Church Suffering.

  3. The church militant, all of us here on earth trying our best to know love and serve God, the church suffering in purgatory but praying For us, the church triumphant in heaven with Jesus interceding For us and praising God forever.

  4. I think my heart may have skipped a beat when I saw the title of your post, oh my, oh my do I love me anything to do with the Saints. But alas, I think would do better with a Saint trivia - per se than this one, but I will give it a go.

    The Communion of Saints is the description given to collective groups of people within the Church. There is the Church Militant (us, here on Earth - fighting the good fight of faith, picking ourselves up when we fall and humbly asking the Lord for forgiveness), there is the Church Suffering (those in Purgatory, who eventually will be in Heaven), and then there is the Church Triumphant (those who are currently in Heaven). All three groups are members of the Body of Christ and death cannot separate any of us. Actually, the Saints in Heaven (and not just cannonized saints, everyone in Heaven) is actually more alive than we are because they see Christ's face clearly and we only see through the veil per se.

    One of the coolest things about the Communion of Saints is that we can intercede for each other. The Saints in heaven can intercede for us like brothers and sisters, they can't fulfill our prayers, that is only for God to do, but than can intercede for us and ask God to hear our prayer and act on our behalf, just like you and I can intercede for each other and pray for each other when we are going through difficulties. Because again, the Saints in Heaven are alive, just like we are, but even more so. Also, we can intercede here on Earth for those in Purgatory. The Saints in Heaven don't need us to intercede for them because they are in Heaven already. And the Saints take their role as intercessors very seriously. St. Therese said closer to her death "That she wanted to spend her time in heaven showering down roses upon those here on Earth." She was a lowly Carmelite nun, who no one knew about when she lived and she died in obscurity, but because of her example and inspiration, millions around the world know of her today and ask for her intercession and she has been said to be the greatest saint of modern times by at least 1 Pope. That is what the Communion of Saints is all about - helping each other get to Heaven to spend eternity with our Beloved, the Lord Jesus Christ, our #1 goal in life.

    All the Angels and Saints, pray for us!!!!!!!!!

  5. The communion of saints includes all the souls in Heaven, the souls in puragtory, and the angels. I think that is it....

    I have been waiting for another quiz show!! :) YAY!

  6. oh wait! I forgot the second half! The communion of saints spends their time praising God and interceding for us down here on earth. Right?

  7. Sorry, my computer did something bizarre and posted this to the wrong thread at first... here it is again...

    The communion of saints is the community of Christian believers. It is comprised of three parts: the Church militant, who are the believers working with fear and trembling toward their salvation here on earth; the Church suffering, who are the holy souls being purged of their temporal attachment to sin in Purgatory; and the Church triumphant, who are the believers who are in heaven and live in the presence and majesty of God.

  8. The Communion of Saints is the family of the Church that cannot be separated by time, space, or even death itself! Those on Earth pray for, encourage, and support each other in the faith. Those on Earth also ask those in Heaven to pray for us (especially those saints who had similar situations to ours or are the patron of our situation, country, profession, etc., or family or friends who have gone before us). The saints in Heaven are cheering on those on Earth, interceding for us to the Father and helping us to convert and love the Lord more. They are just waiting for us all to join them in Heaven!

  9. I don't have an answer because the others have described it so beautifully! Seriously, I've never heard such wonderful descriptions and already I understand the power of the Communion of the Saints better! Well done!

    Claire @ Faith, Family and Life ( (since Blogger is being mean and still won't let me post comments)

  10. Communion of saints are those who've died in friendship with God and now reign with Him in heavenly glory.

    Lazy answer, yes.


  11. Wow, a lot of great answers. I'm learning so much from all of you!


  12. The Communion of the Saints is that Biblical (Heb 12, Rev 5), ancient and Apostolic belief that we are united in the mystical body of Christ in the love of the Holy Trinity. Further, it is the primary way that we demonstrate to the world that "death has lost it's victory" (1 Cor 15:55). On earth, we are uniquely en-grafted into the Body through the Sacrament of Baptism and are united to all the saints-past and present-through partaking of the Holy Eucharist that transcends space and time. Let us remember, that when we partake of the Eucharist it is the very same Eucharist that St. Augustine or St. Therese partook, and in so much we are in the communion of the Saints.

    Through the Immaculate Conception,


  13. The Communion of Saints is the Body of Christ here on earth and in heaven. While we're not technically Saints until we get to heaven, we are in communion with all humans through Christ.

    Traditional terms and designations, huh? You're asking quite a bit from my public school-warped mind ;)


  14. Oh gosh, I feel rusty on my catechesis. :) Communion of Saints... scripturally they are the "cloud of witnesses" in heaven... the Church Triumphant. Those holy souls who have reached perfect communion with God and each other in the Beatific Vision. Like our earthly community, the Communion of Saints can pray and intercede for us, the Church Militant on earth. They are especially effective intercessors because they are well, so close to God and so holy! Um yeah basically they're the most awesome souls ever haha and hopefully one day, through God's grace and our own cooperation with His will, we can be members of the "cool club" too. :)

  15. Oh wow, I was wondering if I should have included the souls and purgatory and those on earth. Looks like I should have. :) I just see the word "Saint" and think "canonized" lol. (Even though yes, I know members of the Body of Christ are saints with a lower case "s"!).

  16. I believe the communion of the saints means the communion of the Church Militant(us!), the Church suffering (purgatory) and the Church triumphant(those in heaven) all together to form the Body of Christ, the Catholic Church.


  17. LOVE this question and all the answers!

    Although I do find myself wondering 'you mean someone should have taught me this stuff?' I don't think I've ever heard the word Church Militant before today - sad, yes I know.

  18. I think someone probably already gave the right answer and I have terrible jet lag so I'm scared to even try ;) I may embarrass myself. haha.

    I have something in my head so I'm gonna read the comments now and see if I might be right ;) .....

  19. ummm I was maybe about 30% right. Glad I chose not to embarrass myself. I think I have plenty of reasons I should be excused, though, right??? ;)

  20. *and by "believe" I mean I "think". XP XD


  21. The Communion of Saints are those souls that have reached the summit of human life and joined God in the glory of heaven. These Saints are our friends and intimately involved in helping the Church militant (those on earth) reach heaven. The Church has a strict process for recognizing that certain souls are in heaven. We, the faithful, are encourage to pray to recognized Saints "with the assurance that our prayers will be answered."

  22. All I know is that I don't know for sure. I personally don't like the words Church and 'militant' together, but that is me. We are the sheep not the shepherd in the bible stories. What ever happened to complete and utter dependency on God, self denial, picking up cross etc. Getting all the rules down tight and getting all the ducks in a row and making sure of my righteousnesses before others seems very unGospel like to me. Isn't the kingdom of heaven like a treasure buried in an empty lot? Nobody thinks its worth anything, nobody has any pretense about it's value, but those who know there is buried treasure there will go and buy the land.

  23. Anon, you strike me as a Protestant? If so, I would love if you would comment on some of the posts which speak of the differences between Protestants and Catholics…. There will be more coming in the near future, if you'd like to stick around.

    PS: We Catholics are all about dependency on God, picking up our cross (redemptive suffering!) and total humility as to who/what we are. As for rules, when did rules become the enemy?

  24. Anon- We are in a spiritual war, are we not? A battle for souls. Therefore, the 'militant' term applies to those of us here, in the army of God, who have not yet been called home to be judged. Ephesians 6 is all about the weapons we use in this spiritual battle.

    Several of God's titles include descriptive fighting terms, it is the same for us that we partake in saving souls. See Lord of Hosts, Mighty Warrior, etc.


  25. Nubby, thank you! That's exactly right.


  26. A war for Whom? protecting What? So my own pride doesn't ever get mixed up in there as well? Right? I don't ever think "Yea for ME!" If Anon says something about x, that gives me permission to bonk him on the head with my Bible. Anon could be a Protestant, bad bad, tisk tisk tisk (frowning and pointing finger) He's not a good wonderful person like me! (Happy with self). I see self inclusive justifying judgement here and not rushing out to wash another persons feet. What if I told you this was a message from the Pope? Would that change your perspective? Why? Don't you treat the least of your brothers like you would treat Jesus?

  27. Honestly, anon, what are you talking about? Who is bonking anyone on the head? What is your beef, exactly, and how does it have anything to do with what we are discussing? Seems like you are having your own conversation, with yourself.

    If you want to give yourself a name, and if you want to give us some background on who you are and what your beliefs are so that we can have a coherent conversation, then please do. We Catholics are open books. It's easy to know what we believe (and bonking people on the head is not it). Unless you want to have a true back and forth instead of whatever it is you are doing, I am not engaging the conversation further.

    We talk to everyone and anyone on this blog. But I have never had a commenter who makes statements that boil down to: "Because Catholics believe in the Communion of Saints, and because they use the imagery of fighting the good fight on earth (as St. Paul does), then they want to bonk people on heads and they don't treat the least of their brothers like Jesus does!"


    Clearly you have a problem with the Church, but we can't have a discussion if you are talking to yourself.

    God bless!

  28. Sorry pseudonymity removed and pseudonym applied: Oh No!, I'm 'that guy' again.. Sorry

    I quote:

    "Because Catholics believe in the Communion of Saints, and because they use the imagery of fighting the good fight on earth (as St. Paul does), then they want to bonk people on heads and they don't treat the least of their brothers like Jesus does!"

    I know it sounds completely silly and I'm just ranting and complaining about the crazy and absurd things that make me completely loose faith in Catholics I know and love and I'm horribly out of context on this specific blog post, but THATS EXACTLY WHAT PEOPLE DO! I can't emphasize this more!

    Everybody will use righteousness as an excuse for being bad and selfish, take defending the faith a billion times more seriously than acting out the faith by cutting off ears of the high priest servant and then denying Christ 3 times later. It's so much a part of our human nature it was written right into the Gospel.

  29. Hi St. T, I hope you also read my replies on the "Did Jesus Die and Rise" post.

    As for your comment here, of course people do that. People sin and are prideful and are willful and are silly and are way out of line all of the time. That is fallen human nature, for sure.

    I don't think anyone here would take issue with that. But I'm not sure how any of that negates the Communion of Saints? Or the teachings of Christ through the Church He founded? That is the part I am confused about. Since when did sin or self-rigteousness negate the truths of the Faith?

    That's all I'm wondering. But as to your basic point, I totally agree. :)

  30. I don't mean to negate it, actually I just want to make sure people see the forest through the trees. All this padding ourselves on the back and "Hooray for our side!" and being too proud to bend, examine or change our action is the very things that could lead to our downfall. (How did Lucifer, God's favorite angel fall from grace? was it pride?) It goes from God loves everyone and died for their forgiveness, to God loves Catholics a little more to God love only Catholic men six feet tall or taller with blond hair and blue eyes born of noble birth and between the age of 20 and 30, and if anyone argues with them, they can go and look it up in their rule books and explain away their loathing and contempt and selfishness and pride, because God is on their side. If God is on my side then that requires *MORE* from me, *LESS* pride, *LESS* scoffing, *LESS* indifference, *MORE* love when I feel no love at all. because i'm so tiny and God still helped me out, The Master forgave my sins, I then found my own servant in dept to me and what did I do? Did I send him off to jail? What would the master do to me after he let me go free and I didn't pay the favor forward? Catholics don't get a free ticket to heaven if they know the truth. More is required from truth not less.

  31. St.T, spiritual pride is a real danger. You are correct. I don't disagree that more is expect of those who were blessed to know more of the Truth. It is an awesome responsibility, and a fearful one.

    But the bigger task and concern in this day and age, with this level of ignorance and indifference, is convincing people that Truth exists at all. Everyone comes to God in a differennt way. Some come through attraction to Goodness more than other ways. Some come through Beauty. Still others come through Truth. I came to my knees before God by a search for Truth, which I found, like a beautiful tapestry, in His Church. Don't discount the neeed of people to seek and find Truth. Even Jesus said that "for this I came in to the world: To testify to the Truth. Those who are committed to Truth hear my voice." And He also founded a Church, with a defined authority. To love God is to obey Him and those to whom He delegated His authority.

    I do understand your point, and I hope you understand mine. We don't have to be in disagreement.

    You must have met some very obnoxious Catholics! Most Catholics don't even know their Faith!


  32. Were not in disagreement actually, you have a way of bring the point though Love and that is my weakness when ranting, If someone is patient and loves, they will always win the argument with me. Maybe that's what I thought was missing from the Catholics I knew. They didn't put love first and I picked up on that and regretfully made the same mistakes myself.

  33. Thanks, St. T. You've given me a good gut check here. :)

    And if you want to know how real Catholicism works, don't mind me. Go to the writings of the saints. Wow… balm for the soul...


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