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God Is Not A Backstairs Politician

From chapter 17 of "Out of the Labyrinth: The Conversion of a Roman Catholic Priest" by former Roman Catholic priest Leo Herbert Lehmann, first published in 1947 and made available online by The Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry LutheranLibrary.org.
Jesus is our only Advocate to the Father

This article may be good to share with Catholics. And if you were not raised a Catholic, it will give you insights about the Catholic mindset and why they pray to Mary and the saints.

I had to look up the meaning of the word "backstairs." I don't remember ever hearing it in conversation or reading it in print.

backstairs adjective
back·​stairs ˈbak-ˌsterz

1 : secret, furtive
Example: backstairs political deals

I FIND IT most difficult to convince Roman Catholic people that Christ has won for sinners the right of direct access to God. They always fall back on what their priests have taught them, that to obtain mercy and forgiveness they must cajole some saint, some close and favored friend of God to intercede for them. The most powerful intercessor of them all is Mary, since she, they say, is the actual mother of God.

A very sincere and devout Catholic woman once put it to me in the following way. “If you wanted an interview with President Truman,” she argued, “you would have to go first to some one else, his mother or some of his political friends, and ask them to intercede for you with the President and arrange for you to see him.” My answer was, of course, that that may be true as far as President Truman is concerned. “But it so happens,” I told her, “that President Truman is not God.”

This belief of Roman Catholics is in accord with their Church’s peculiar teaching that Jesus Christ brought only justice on earth, and that Mary and the other saints must be looked to for mercy. “Ye know very well, venerable brethren,” Pope Pius IX declares in one of his encyclicals, “that the whole of our confidence is placed in the most Holy Virgin, since God has placed in Mary the fullness of all good, that accordingly we may know that if there is any hope in us, if any grace, if any salvation, it redounds to us from her.”

From this extravagance it follows, in the eyes of Roman Catholics who are taught in this way, that Mary and the saints have even more power to save than Christ. They come to believe that the saints can get them into heaven, literally, by the backstairs, even if they die before a priest can come to forgive them their sins. Saint Joseph, for instance, has been officially proclaimed by the Catholic Church as the “Patron of a Happy Death” This special work is given to him because he was the foster-father of Jesus Christ and because he died before Jesus left home to begin His ministry. He therefore had Our Lord and the Virgin Mary at his deathbed. As the husband of Mary, Joseph is believed to be very powerful as an intercessor with Jesus Christ, and can actually get sinners into heaven at the last minute even if they die without a priest to absolve them.

Priests go to extraordinary lengths to convince their congregations that devotion to Saint Joseph is the surest guarantee sinners can have of getting to heaven. They picture him as heaven’s most powerful ‘politician’ who can obtain any favor he wants from God. I remember how a priest in Naples, Italy, once proved this in a sermon to his congregation. Here is the story he told (which is true in every detail according to what Catholics are taught about heaven, Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Saint Peter, Saint Michael and others there):

One day the Archangel Michael, the policeman of heaven, came to Saint Peter at the golden gates and said: “Look here, Peter! How is it that there are so many scoundrels in heaven who have no right to be here? Heaven is swarming with sinners who don’t deserve a place even in Purgatory.”

“Don’t blame me, Michael,” Peter replied. “Everyone knows my reputation as guardian of the heavenly gates. You know I would never let even a Pope get in unless I’m sure first that all his sins are forgiven and that he has served his full time in Purgatory. But since you’ve asked me a straight question I’ll give you a straight answer, if you’ll come with me after I’ve closed up the gates for the night.”

They met as appointed and Peter led the way around the outer walls of the Celestial City to where the house of the ‘Holy Family’ was situated, high up against one of the battlements, and from the back window of which the Holy Family — Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus — could look down and see everything that takes place on earth.

It was a bright moonlit night and Peter drew Michael down behind some shrubbery and told him to wait and see what would happen. After a little while, they heard what seemed like pebbles being thrown against the window overlooking the wall. In less than a minute the window was opened, and a rope was let down and pulled up again. At the end of the rope was one of the disreputable sinners whom Michael had complained about.

They waited until the sinner was hauled in and the window shut. “Now,” said Peter triumphantly to the amazed Archangel, “There’s your answer!”

Next morning early, Michael, dressed in his best official uniform, and with a very determined look on his face, knocked at the door of the Holy Family’s house. Mary opened the door and called to Joseph and the Child Jesus to welcome their distinguished visitor. He took a seat and in a tone of the sternest dignity turned to Joseph and said: “Joseph, I’ve found out what has been going on here every night, and I would fail in my sacred duty if I did not tell you that your practice of getting sinners into heaven by your back window must stop at once!”

“I’m sorry, Your Highness,” Joseph replied with a guilty look, “but I’m publicized on earth as the last refuge of dying sinners. I’ve furthermore been proclaimed ‘Patron of the Universal Church,’ and I’ve solemnly promised to get poor sinners into heaven by hook or by crook who are faithful in their devotion to me during life. I simply can’t refuse their appeals and let them go to hell. My position and reputation as husband of Mary and the foster-father of Jesus Christ are at stake.”

Michael rose from his chair, and drawing himself up to his full archangelic height, decisively replied:

“There can be no exceptions to the eternal and immutable justice of the Almighty God whose stem commands I am appointed to carry out to the letter. Since the day I hurled Lucifer and his rebellious angels from these same ramparts of heaven I’ve been entrusted with the duty of keeping sinners out of it, and seeing that the laws of the Almighty are rigidly enforced.”

“In that case,” Joseph meekly replied, “I can no longer stay in heaven. I must go elsewhere and try to keep my promises to poor dying sinners.”

As Joseph moved to the door, Mary ran to him and clutched his arm. Turning to the unbending Archangel, she said: “Joseph is my lawful husband, and if he goes I go too, and then there will be no Queen in heaven!” Michael was taken back at this thought, and tried to find words to meet this unexpected situation. But before he could think of anything appropriate to say, the Child Jesus spoke and said: “And if my mother goes I will have to go too, and then you’ll have no God in heaven either.”

This was too much, even for the Archangel Michael, and knowing himself defeated, he bowed himself out of the house with as much dignity as he could muster.

“And that is the reason why,” this Neapolitan priest told his listeners, “no one who practices devotion to Saint Joseph during life will fail to get into heaven.”

There are some, even non-Catholics, who will say this is a very realistic and human way of preaching to ignorant people who cannot read and write or understand the things of God in the words of the Gospel. But is this sufficient excuse for the Roman Catholic Church which has been the sole, undisputed teacher of Christian people for more than fifteen centuries? The Roman Catholic Church insists to this day on being the sole interpreter of the Bible, its Pope the infallible mouthpiece of God. It could as easily have taught the people the truth from the New Testament which records Christ as saying (John 10:9): “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” Or again (John 14:6): “I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” Or again (Acts 4:12): “Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.”

But doing so would have meant the scrapping of its many shrines, saint- devotions and novenas, which are financially so profitable.

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James Arendt
James Arendt

My name is James Arendt. I was raised in the Hegewisch neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois, served in the USAF from 1970 to 1974, and became a full-time missionary for Christ living 40 years in Japan, 3.5 years in Russia, and a few months in other countries such as Finland, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, South Korea, Taiwan and mainland China where I also served the King of Kings, Jesus, as an Ambassador for His Kingdom. My full bio.

On September 24, 2023, I had an accident and broke the bone of the tip of my left elbow. A boy ran in front of my motorbike less than 2 meters from me as I was leaving home. I stopped suddenly and my front tire slid on the sandy concrete road which caused me to fall. I did not hit the boy. On October 18th I had surgery done on my elbow. The doctor put in titanium rods to hold my bones together. The entire procedure including an entire week in the hospital was roughly $4000 USD. This was done in the Philippines where my wife and I have been living since June this year.


X-rays of bone before and after surgery that inserted titanium rods to reinforce my broken bone.

Before and after one week in the hospital.

Undergoing therapy to bend my arm again.
I'm now undergoing therapy to be able to bend my arm again.

It would be a super blessing to us if any of the visitors of this website can help us cover this expense!

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