Cult of the saints


[1 of 2] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Saints" (search under Afterlife/Afterlife, Heaven, Hell)": source "True Christian Religion": detail "Section 824 - 826"
Many of the Romish persuasion, especially the monks, when they come into the spiritual world, inquire for the saints, and above all for the saint of their own order, and are much surprised at not being able to find them; but they are afterwards instructed, that they are associated together either with those that are in heaven, or with those that are in the earth or region below, and that in what place soever they dwell, they know nothing of the worship and invocation directed to them, but that such as do know it, and wish to be invoked, fall into delirious phantasies, and talk like idiots. The worship of saints is such an abomination in heaven, that the bare mention of it excites horror, since in proportion as worship is paid to any man, it is derogated from the Lord, for thus he alone is not worshipped; and where the Lord is not worshipped alone, there is a separation, which destroys communion, and the happiness of life which flows from it.
 That I might know, for the sake of informing others, the true nature and character of the Romish saints, about a hundred of them were brought up from the earth or region below, who were acquainted with their canonization. They ascended from behind, and only a few in front, and I conversed with one of them, who they said was Xavier. During our conversation he was like an idiot, yet he was able to relate that in the place where he is kept shut up with others he is not an idiot, but that he becomes so whenever he thinks that he is a saint, and wishes to be invoked. I heard a muttering to the same purpose from those who were behind. The case is otherwise with the saints, so called, who are in heaven: they know nothing at all of what is doing on earth, and they are not allowed to speak with any spirits of the Romish persuasion who are in that superstition, lest any idea on the subject should gain admission into their minds.
 It must be obvious to everyone from this state of the Romish saints, that their invocation is a mere mockery; and I can assert further, that they no more hear such invocations from their votaries on earth, than do their images in the streets, or the walls of their church, or the birds that build in its steeple. Their votaries in the world say that the saints reign in heaven together with the Lord Jesus Christ; but this is a mere forgery and fiction; for they no more reign with the Lord than the keeper of a stable does with his king, or a porter with his lord, or a running-footman with a primate; for, in relation to the Lord, John the Baptist said of himself, that he was not worthy to unloose the latchet of his shoe (Mark i. 7 ; John i. 27); how little worthy then must such saints be!
 There sometimes appears in a middle altitude to the people of Paris, who are in a society in the spiritual world, a certain woman, who declares that she is Genevieve. She is clad in shining raiment, and of a countenance which appears holy; but when some of them begin to worship her, her countenance immediately changes, and also her raiment, and she becomes like an ordinary woman, and chides them for desiring to adore a person who is held in no greater estimation among her associates than as a servant-maid, wondering how men in the world can be misled by such foolish fancies.

[2 of 2] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Christianity, criticisms of" (search under Outer Life/Religions, Ways)": source "Four Doctrines with Nine Questions": detail "‘Doctrine of the New Jerusalem Concerning Faith’ Section 8"
Faith separated from truth came in and took possession of the church along with the papal dominion, because the chief safeguard of that religion was ignorance of truth. For this reason also they forbade the reading of the Word [Bible], for otherwise they could not have been worshiped as deities, nor could their saints have been invoked, nor idolatry instituted to such an extent that dead bodies, bones, and sepulchers were regarded as holy, and made use of for purposes of gain.