Kathy Petersen’s Blog

Catholics Don’t Worship Mary?

Posted in Bible, Christianity by Kathy on December 24, 2012

Let me start off by saying that I don’t know too much about Catholic theology as it differs from other Christian denominations. Growing up, there were no Catholics where I lived (or at least, I never knew any until at least my teenage years, and there still is no Catholic Church within 20 miles of my childhood home); Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians a-plenty, along with smaller segments of many various other denominations, but no Catholics. In school (private, Christian school), we mostly stuck to things that all Christians had in common, though in our history lessons of Western civilization, of course we had to get into religious wars and Catholic dominance of Western Europe, etc., so I had a good overview of Catholicism generally. Since growing up, I’ve learned more about Catholicism, even engaging in a couple of online forums (fora?) for a short while, but never delving very deeply into it; and most of what I learned was from an anti- or at least non-Catholic position (or from pop culture, like the christening scene in The Godfather, and the Christmas Day Mass in While You Were Sleeping).

However, now I have several Catholic friends on facebook, and am currently living in an area that is predominantly Catholic, so I don’t want to unnecessarily offend Catholics, even if I do think they’re wrong; and at one point I previously said something to a Catholic about “praying to saints”, and she said that they don’t “pray to saints” as if praying to God, but rather asking them to intercede, just as you might call up a friend and ask them to pray for you about something; therefore, in order to meet Catholics where they are, I can’t go based on what I have read from non-Catholic sources about what Catholics believe, because they tend to reject such language. Yes, the non-Catholics are right in that Catholics pray to dead people, but Catholics reject the unbiblical insinuations of it, and put a Biblical (or quasi-Biblical) twist to it, so that they can hold what seem to be two contrary opinions at once. [I say “quasi-Biblical”, because I do agree that it is Biblical to ask people to pray for you, but that it is unbiblical (perhaps even demonic or approaching witchcraft) to communicate with the dead, and that there is nothing in the Bible that indicates that living Christians should ask dead Christians to intercede for them.]

So, Catholics claim they don’t “pray to dead people” in a bad/unbiblical sense, and they also claim they “don’t worship Mary” (another common charge leveled against Catholics by non-Catholics). No matter how many non-Catholic resources I could quote confirming Mary worship, Catholics wouldn’t accept them as truly understanding Catholicism, and they would brush off any such statements as being inaccurate, so I decided to go to the source. Just about every movie that depicts Catholics or Catholicism at all includes one person with a rosary necklace and/or praying the rosary, but I never knew exactly what it was; at some point I learned that the necklace is used as a reminder of the form of the prayer, with every bead being a different thing to say or think about, so that once you go all the way around the necklace, touching each bead and saying the right prayer attached to each bead, you were done. But here is the rosary from a Catholic source.

It starts off good enough with the Apostles’ Creed and the Lord’s Prayer, but then comes three Hail Marys. So God gets one prayer, while Mary gets three. Okay…. The first part of “Hail Mary” is taken from the Bible in which the angel Gabriel visits Mary and tells her that she will become pregnant and give birth to Jesus, but then it devolves into asking a dead person to intercede on behalf of the living — again, perfectly acceptable to Catholics, but nowhere said or implied in the Bible. Continuing the rosary is again something that no Christians so far as I know would have a problem with, “Glory be to the Father”, followed by the first “mystery” (there are 4 different types of mysteries, with 5 mysteries in each type — more on that later), then “Our Father”, then while contemplating the “mystery”, the person is to say 10 Hail Marys followed by another “Glory be to the Father”, then repeat the cycle with the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th mysteries, saying each mystery followed by “Our Father”, 10 Hail Marys and “Glory be to the Father”. Does anybody else see the problem of the ratio of praying to and hailing and honoring Mary vs. praying to and honoring God?

Now a brief sidetrack into the discussion of the “mysteries”. Most of the things in the “mysteries” are taken directly from the Bible, and are basically just a recitation or repetition of stories in the Bible, although with some occasional non-Biblical/extra-Biblical things thrown in — but for the most part, are things that no Christian would disagree with until… the last two of the “Glorious Mysteries”, “The Assumption” and “The Coronation”. Having read that, I just have to say, “WOW!!” Whoo, boy!

The Fourth Glorious Mystery: THE ASSUMPTION

  1. After the apostles have dispersed, the Blessed Mother goes to live with John, the beloved disciple.
  2. Mary lives many years on earth after the death of Christ.
  3. She is a source of comfort, consolation and strength to the apostles.
  4. As she had nourished the infant Jesus, so she nourishes spiritually the infant Church.
  5. Mary dies, not of bodily infirmity, but is wholly overcome in a rapture of divine love.
  6. Her body as well as her soul is taken up into heaven.
  7. After her burial the apostles go to the tomb and find only fragrant lilies.
  8. Jesus does not permit the sinless body of His Mother to decay in the grave.
  9. Corruption of the body is an effect of original sin from which Mary is totally exempted.
  10. The bodies of all mankind, at the last judgment, will be brought back and united again to the soul.

Spiritual Fruit: To Jesus through Mary

The Fifth Glorious Mystery: THE CORONATION

  1. As Mary enters heaven, the entire court of heaven greets with joy this masterpiece of God’s creation.
  2. Mary is crowned by her divine Son as Queen of heaven and earth.
  3. More than we can ever know the Hearts of Jesus and Mary overflow with joy at this reunion.
  4. Only in heaven will we know the great majesty of that coronation, and the joy it gave to the angels and saints.
  5. Even the angels, who by nature are greater than humans, hail Mary as their Queen.
  6. Mary shares so fully in the glory of Christ because she shared so fully in His suffering.
  7. Only in heaven will we see how central is the role of Mary in the divine plan of redemption.
  8. The angels and saints longed for the coming of her whose heel crushes the head of the serpent.
  9. Mary pleads our cause as a most powerful Queen and a most merciful and loving Mother.
  10. A great sign appeared in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.

Spiritual Fruit: Grace of Final Perseverance

Really? First, there is nothing in the Bible of this; it’s just Catholic additions. Secondly, if Mary were sinless (4th mystery, #8 & 9), why does she need a Savior and Redeemer? — Luke 1:47. Thirdly, the “spiritual fruit” that is supposed to come from this 4th mystery is “To Jesus through Mary”?? In a recent discussion with a Catholic friend of mine on facebook, I told her that one of the problems I had with Catholicism is that it puts the priests as a mediator between God and man, while the Bible says that there is One such Mediator, Jesus Christ (1 Tim. 2:5). She basically said that priests weren’t mediators in that sense, and affirmed that Jesus was the only Mediator. I still insist that Catholic priests are mediators in a way that the Bible forbids, and now after reading this, I must add in that Mary is another such mediator. If we have to go through anybody but Jesus to get to God, whether that is priests or as this says, “through Mary to Jesus”, then that is putting an unbiblical mediator between God and man. Now Catholics may say that it’s not putting a mediator between God and man, but it is. Fourthly, aside from the blatantly unbiblical nature of all this (except #10, which is a quote from the Bible and may or may not refer to Mary at all), #7 — “only in heaven will we see how central is the role of Mary in the divine plan of redemption”?? Oh, dear! And #8 is not just “extra-biblical” (meaning, outside of the Bible, like the existence of the Mayans and Incas) but absolutely **UN**Biblical. The Bible says that it is the heel of the Son, the offspring of the woman, that crushes the head of the serpent, *not* the woman’s heel!! — Gen. 3:15.

Okay, enough of the “mysteries”. Back to the rosary, which is technically finished, but after the end of the rosary, this is supposed to be said:

HAIL, HOLY QUEEN, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!

So now MARY is “our hope”??? We cry to Mary, and “send up our sighs, mourning and weeping”? Why not just straight to God? Why this other mediator between God and man? And MARY is our advocate? How unbiblical can it get!?

Finally, I also take issue with them saying that we are “poor banished children of Eve”. While technically true in that Eve is the mother of all living, it is through Adam that we have our federal headship, and we sinned in Adam, not in Eve. That is just one more twisting of the Bible by misplacing the emphasis that the Bible gives, putting it on something that is not emphasized.

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21 Responses

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  1. Joseph Richardson said, on December 25, 2012 at 3:40 am

    Hi! I’m sitting around with my family this Christmas Eve, and happened upon your post. I’m a recent convert to Catholicism, and until a few weeks ago was living in your neck of the woods, in Oxford, Miss., where I was going to grad school. It was there that I discovered the Church. Where are you now? I wasn’t aware that any area of North Mississippi was “predominantly Catholic.”

    I’ll be glad to help answer your questions. I’ve already written a little on some of these in my blog; I’ll be glad to expound on anything else if you’d like more info than just a short answer.

    1. Catholics believe we receive our doctrines both from Sacred Scripture and from Sacred Tradition — the teachings that have been handed down by the Apostles, revealed in the Church Fathers, the liturgy, hymns, and anything else we have received. What we receive from Tradition may not all be explicitly in Scripture, but none of it contradicts Scripture, and most of it is suggested and supported by Scripture.

    2. The Old Testament specifically prohibits communicating with the dead through a medium or witch, for the purpose of divination — “consulting the dead” — to obtain hidden knowledge or pursue personal gain (Lev 19:31, 20:27; Deut 18:10-13). Samuel violates this prohibition in 1 Samuel 28 when he seeks to consult the spirit of Eli, to save his own skin, by means of the Witch of Endor. Catholic praying to saints is nothing like this — not “consulting the dead.” It is, as you say, merely asking for the intercession, just as we would ask for in the intercession of friends or pastors here on earth. We believe in the communion of saints — the idea that all Christians, through being a part of the Body of Christ, have communion with Him and with each other — including both Christians here on earth and those who have passed on and received their reward in heaven. Revelation 8:3-4, for example, presents the angels before the throne of God offering up as incense the “prayers of all the saints” — which, in the usage of John, includes both the living and the dead, supporting the belief that we are all in communion and praying for and with each other (cf. Rev 14:12, 17:6, etc.).

    3. The Rosary: The “Hail Mary” is, as you say, a request for the intercession of Mary. And, if you read the text, it offers just as much honor to Jesus (“And blessed be the fruit of thy womb, Jesus”) as it doese to Mary. Catholics believe that honoring Mary is just another way to lift our worship to God, and not a way of detracting from it or substituting her for Christ. Mary only reflects Christ glory, the way the moon reflects the light of the sun.

    (I’ll post this now and continue in my next comment.)

    • Joseph Richardson said, on December 25, 2012 at 4:45 am

      Oh, and I was typing in too big a hurry. Saul violated the prohibition on divination to consult the spirit of Samuel.

    • Kathy said, on December 26, 2012 at 4:29 pm

      The “About Me” page was written many years ago; I just removed it as no longer applicable. We recently moved to New Mexico, to an area that is probably 90% Catholic.

      Re #1, I understand that Catholics believe in traditions as equivalent to the Bible, but I think that’s just as wrong as the Jews doing that. They believe their Oral Traditions (only first written in the first or second century) were handed down verbatim from Moses’s original teachings multiple generations before; however, Jesus condemned their use of the oral traditions, especially as it added to and subtracted from the *true* Word of God (the written Law), noting that by their keeping the oral traditions, which they believed to be in line with the written word, and expounding upon it, they were actually violating what God *actually* said, in order to obey the Oral Traditions which Jesus said were only the teachings of men.

      Re #2, I still maintain that there is nothing in the Bible about talking to dead people (except where it is prohibited and/or condemned), nor about dead people praying to God. There is a section which talks about dead people communicating to God: in Rev. 6, starting v. 9, those who were martyred are asking God how long it will be until He judges those who killed them and avenge their blood on their murderers. But that’s it; they’re not interceding for others; they’re not communicating with the living; they’re not really “praying” when it comes down to it, especially not for others, but for justice for themselves.

      Re #3, I did read the whole thing, but don’t think that it does give as much honor to Jesus as to Mary; and again mixes in talking to a dead person. Now, you can believe that “honoring Mary is just another way to lift our worship to God”, but to me it just plain looks like idolatry, and you might as well say that the ancient Jewish practice of worshiping the Asherah or the “Queen of Heaven” (Jeremiah) was just another way to worship God; and that the ancient Israelites’ mixing in a little idolatry did not detract from but actually added to the true worship of God. No, the Bible says to honor the Son, and to worship God only, not to worship (or “venerate”) the human vessel by whom God sent His Son into the world — or any other human for that matter. I’m reminded of Saul’s sin against God — God told him to kill all the heathen people and their animals, but he saved the king alive and the best of the animals so that he could humiliate the king and offer the animals as a sacrifice to God. Samuel set him straight, though, that the best way to worship God was to do what He said; “To obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.”

      • Joseph Richardson said, on December 26, 2012 at 8:20 pm

        Nobody says you have to believe these things (although they are all what Christians believed for about 1,500 years). But you are going out of your way to criticize my beliefs, and those of a lot of other people.

        1. No, Catholics don’t believe that Tradition is “equal” to the Bible. Tradition is that which we receive from the Church over all the ages, which was handed down from the Apostles. Tradition is received in light of Scripture, and in turn illuminates Scripture. Scripture is the very Word of God, and is absolute. We don’t believe that any of these things are contrary to Scripture.

        Jesus rejected the “traditions of men” not because they were traditions, but because they were opposed to the Word of God (Matthew 15:1-9) — for example, because the Pharisees were honoring their traditions while neglecting to honor their father and mother, which contradicts the Law. Jesus is not opposed to Tradition in general — because you have an awful lot of it, too. Christianity is, by its very nature, a traditional religion. Everything we have, everything we believe, was handed down from somebody else, in the every beginning from Jesus and the Apostles. I’ve written a lot of posts on Protestants and Tradition — I think this one is one of the better ones.

        Again the fact that something is based on tradition is not in itself a reason to reject it — because I guarantee everything you believe, from how you worship to how you interpret the Bible to the very doctrines you adhere to, was passed down from someone else.

        2. Do you have loved ones in Heaven? Do you really believe that they’re “dead,” in the spiritual sense? Listen to what you’re saying. We believe our loved ones who have crossed on to the next life are more alive than they’ve ever been — and you should, too, if you believe what you claim to believe. You admit that the saints (“sanctified ones”) in Heaven speak directly to God. Why would they not intercede for those of us on earth? Do you really think that, given the opportunity to speak to God and ask him questions, they would think only of themselves and their own vengeance? This is a detailed post on saints and intercession that you should read before you cast any more stones.

        3. Okay. We should define some terms here. “Idolatry” is the worship of idols, inanimate, graven images in stone or wood or whatever — or worshipping something as a god that is not a god, whether a literal idol or some other material thing as money or food or sex or whatever. Catholics do not worship idols, in either sense.

        We also don’t “worship” Mary or the saints or any other created thing as a god. The veneration of Mary is in no way like the ancient worship of Mesopotamian idols or fertility goddesses. The latter involves, well, worshipping something else — serving it as a god and putting it before our own God. Mary is not a god. She is not Jesus. She is a human woman whom we think is pretty great. And she’s not “dead.” Would you be objecting in the same way to acclaiming and honoring a living person, say, the Queen of England? Or a great military hero? How does saying nice things about Mary (“Blessed are you among women” — which is in the Bible) equal “worship”?

        • Kathy said, on January 1, 2013 at 3:40 pm

          Actually, you are going out of your way to come to my blog — where I write stuff that I want to write — my little corner of the web — my internet “home” — and criticize me and my beliefs, and those of a lot of other people. Somehow I doubt that you would worry too much if I wrote a condemnation of the beliefs of Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, etc., even though I was criticizing the beliefs of a lot of other people. The fact that “a lot of people” believe something doesn’t mean that it’s the truth, and it doesn’t mean that others can’t disagree with them. While the majority of professed Christians did believe Catholic doctrine for over a thousand years, that wasn’t all Christians — there have always been Christ-followers who were not Catholic, and whom Catholics persecuted rather mercilessly for following what they believed the Bible to teach instead of adhering to Catholicism.

          I agree with you that tradition for the sake of tradition is not bad — as long as people do not teach tradition as fact, nor “teach as doctrine the commandments of men”, and ultimately, do not contradict the written Word of God by their traditions. And again, I think that Catholics do this on many levels, to uphold their traditions despite what the Bible says, just as the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day did. You disagree. We will accomplish nothing by arguing. And fwiw, yes, I do object to the level of acclaiming and honoring living people. Saying nice things about people is not worship and not idolatry; but taking it to the level that Catholics do about Mary *is* worship and idolatry, imo.

          • Joseph Richardson said, on January 1, 2013 at 3:44 pm

            I haven’t said anything about your beliefs. Again, your post here is an attack on mine and other people’s beliefs. If that makes you happier and more secure in your own beliefs, then I applaud you. But if you expected no one to reply, you shouldn’t have posted it publicly.

            • Kathy said, on January 2, 2013 at 11:41 pm

              Inasmuch as our beliefs on this topic are mutually exclusive, every “defense” you give is an attack on my beliefs, and vice versa. You can keep arguing the facts with me but it will be pointless, because I will not be persuaded from my stand on the Word of God alone, which does not give enough support for your beliefs — as you well admit, by your falling back on following your traditions (of men); however, I wanted you to understand that it’s pretty pointless to complain that I made you upset by posting things contrary to your beliefs, since this happens every day all over the world to every one of any religious stripe. That was a bit of a red herring, I guess you might say.

              • Joseph Richardson said, on January 2, 2013 at 11:56 pm

                I offered explanations because I thought at first, in passing by, that you were asking a question. It seemed that you were looking for clarification and seeking the correct understanding of Catholic beliefs. I was only trying to be helpful, not to contradict you or criticize your beliefs. I have tried my best not to do that at any point, only to offer my understanding of the Catholic position on these things. Forgive me if I was mistaken in your intentions — I did not mean to intrude.

                I firmly believe, after being an evangelical Christian for 30 years of my life, that nothing Catholics believe is contrary to the Word of God — only that Catholic beliefs are misunderstood. I am sorry that you disagree and would rather push away Christian brothers and sisters than seek common ground.

  2. Joseph Richardson said, on December 25, 2012 at 4:23 am

    The Assumption: No, it is not explicitly described in the Bible, but there is plenty of Scripture that hints it. See my post on the Assumption — I quote some of the Scripture and talk more about the reason we believe in the Assumption.

    The Coronation — Mary as Queen — has nothing to do with Mary having any heavenly authority. Her Son is the King, and therefore she is the Queen Mother, the way we honor the mother of monarchs here on earth. Honoring her as Queen is just another way to worship Jesus — We love Him so much we love His mother, too. There is actually quite a lot of scriptural theology behind acclaiming her as queen.

    First and foremost: Absolutely Mary needed a Savior. It’s right there in her Magnificat (Luke 1:47) — “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” We say Mary was sinless not to the effect that she didn’t need a Savior, but she was sinless because she had a Savior. Mary was not superhuman or a goddess — she was a young woman on whom God poured out overabundant grace. Because she was to be the vessel through which God entered the world, Christ gave her His salvation before she was even born. She was the first Christian, and the first to believe in her Son. She went through life just as we go through life, but she had His grace every step of the way. She is the promise of everything that we can be with God’s grace, of all that we strive to be like.

    As far as Mary being a mediator: Do you have a pastor? Do you ask him to pray for you? Then you also have a mediator. A mediator is just someone who goes between two parties. Christ is the only mediator between Man and God — but we have many mediators between ourselves and Christ. Every time we ask a pastor or friend or loved one to pray for us, we are making use of mediators. The key is that we don’t have to have a mediator between us and Christ — not a priest, not Mary — we are fully capable of going to Him in prayer any time we please; and He comes to us directly in every Sacrament, and we have Communion with Him through the Eucharist.

    #7: So you don’t think Mary had a role in redemption? She said yes (Luke 1:38). By her simple act of obedience, her willingness to be used, she brought Christ, the very Son of God, into the world

    #8 is very biblical. In Genesis 3:15, the Hebrew noun in “offspring” or “seed” has a collective sense, referring to all the offspring of woman. The usage of “he” as the one who will crush the head of the serpent is a product of fairly recent translations. The verse has been interpreted different ways over the ages of the Church. Jerome, in translating the Hebrew into Latin, used the word ipsa (which can be read as either “they” or “she”). So in the traditional Catholic understanding and in art, the verse was understood to refer to Mary. You are free to disagree, but it’s definitely biblical.

    The “Hail, Holy Queen” is a lovely prayer and one of my favorites, and I think you are misunderstanding it. FIrst of all, you now, “Hail” just means “Hello” (it’s where we get the word “Hello,” in fact). And of course we can offer our “sighs, mourning and weeping” directly to God, too — but we also cry to Mary because she’s our mother (the mother of all Christians) and we love her a lot and we think she loves us (and you), too. An “advocate,” you know, is just someone who speaks and intercedes on someone else’s behalf, and we believe Mary is that for us — not that we can’t speak for ourselves to God also, but it’s really nice to have someone who stands at the side of Christ on our side, too, someone so wonderful as she. Mary is “our hope” not in the sense that she’s the one who saves us — but she is the sign of everything we hope for in salvation and in Christ; everything we hope to be. She was given grace and given salvation and lives with Christ in heaven, and we hope to have all of that someday, too. We hope that in the grace God gives us we can live the kind of exemplary life she led.

    All of your talk of “twisting” and “emphasis” — I don’t think we are twisting anything or emphasizing the wrong things. As I said, honoring Mary is just yet another way to honor and praise Jesus. Mary may be our “hope,” but Christ is our salvation, and there is no comparison.

    • Kathy said, on December 26, 2012 at 4:58 pm

      “There is actually quite a lot of scriptural theology behind acclaiming her as queen.” — give me one.

      Mary as mediator — you see, this is a big deal here. When we ask others to pray for us or pray about a situation, we do NOT view that person as a mediator, but as a fellow worker joining with us in prayer. At the end of this comment, you say that you’re not twisting anything, but then you say things that are so twisted, apparently without realizing it. For example, calling fellow Christians “mediators” and saying that while Christ is the only mediator between God and man, there are many mediators between Christ and man. Please, do ponder what you’re saying. If Jesus Christ is God, then there is one Mediator between God (the Father) and man, Jesus Christ the Son, then there is ONE Mediator, not many; you put many mediators between God the Son and man, yet there is one Mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus, and no mediators between us and Him. You maintain that “we don’t have to have a mediator between us and Christ”, but then use them anyway, while I say that putting any distance between yourself and Christ is unbiblical. And I have to wonder why you would want to use a lesser mediator when you have the Perfect Mediator available at all times. To put it in common terms, if you are a child of the King, and you can have an audience with the King any time you choose, why go to one of the King’s servants and choose to have an audience with him, instead of with the King Himself?

      Re #7 — please note that the quoted section says that “only in heaven” will we know how central Mary was to the role of redemption, yet what you have written here makes it sound as if you know just exactly how central Mary was to the role of redemption, and you have written nothing but what is in the Bible — namely, that she was the woman whom God chose to give birth to His Son. This implies that there is a lot more to her place in “the role of redemption” than simply being the human vessel that carried and gave birth to Jesus. If that’s all you think it means, then we agree; but if there is more to her role, as this line and this whole section implies, then we are in disagreement.

      #8 — I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.

      Again, you totally lose me with the whole “Mary is the mother of all Christians” bit. And again, I have to wonder why you would choose to have a lesser advocate than Christ Jesus, the Righteous. I go back again to what I said just above, about “Mary as mediator” — when you have access to THE Advocate, Jesus Christ, who intercedes for you to the Father, why would you go to a lesser person to advocate to the advocate, or to interceded with the intercessor? Why go to Mary, a mere human, when you can go to Christ, the Son of God? Why go to someone who “stands at the side of Christ on our side, too”, when you can go directly to Christ, who is on your side, and who stands at the right hand of God?

      About Mary being your “hope” — there is nothing in the Bible about Mary having a special place in heaven, or having a special kind of salvation or grace or anything, other than what all other of God’s people have. In fact, Jesus said (Matt. 12 & Mark 3) that those who obey God are Jesus’ mother and brethren and sisters — iow, that Mary didn’t have a special place, but that all who “do the will of God” are equivalent to His earthly relations, even His mother whom you especially venerate. Again, you may say that you aren’t contradicting the Scriptures nor subtracting from them, but this seems to be otherwise. You hold up Mary as if she were some demigod, but Jesus Himself said that all those who do God’s will are equivalent to her.

      • Kathy said, on December 26, 2012 at 7:55 pm

        Also in Luke 11:27-28, a woman from the crowd, upon hearing Jesus’ teaching says, “Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hadst sucked” — iow, “Your mother is a blessed woman, for giving birth to you and raising you,” and instead of *confirming* that His mother should receive extra-special recognition for being His mother, He says the contrary, that those who are obedient to God are more blessed than His own mother.

      • Joseph Richardson said, on December 26, 2012 at 9:01 pm

        Mary’s Queenship: Here’s a book on it. here’s a more succinct post. And another one. The basic idea, as I said, is that her son if King — King of the Universe. I presume you believe that. And Mary is worthy of honor because of who her son is (Luke 1:42-43). God didn’t just use her for breeding and then kick her to the curb, you know. Because her son is the King, she is accorded great honor as Queen Mother (e.g. 1 King 2:19-22). Psalm 45 sings the praises of a majestic queen, and echoes nearly word for word Mary’s Magnificat: “I will cause your name to be remembered in all generations; therefore nations will praise you forever and ever.” (Psalm 45:17) “For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed.” (Luke 1:48) The Fathers of the Church and theologians and laypeople have been writing on this for a couple thousand years; and none of them thought it was contrary to the Bible, but rather was the fulfillment of prophecy.

        Again, let’s consider definitions: “Mediator”: One who goes between two parties; synonyms: go-between, intercessor, intermediary. “Intercede” or “intercession”: literally to move between; to plead on another’s behalf. I presume you believe in “intercessory” prayer. That’s what you call it when you ask someone else to pray for you, to “plead on your behalf.” You can play with words and say it’s something different, that you are not making use of “mediators,” but that’s what it is. A Catholic asking Mary or any saint to pray for us, to intercede for us, is absolutely no different than asking anyone else to pray for us. Call them “fellow workers” if you’d like. If you truly believe that there can be “no mediator” between you and Christ, then you are violating that precept every time you ask someone to pray for you. The important thing, as I said, and the importance of that verse (1 Timothy 2:5) is that we can go to Jesus in prayer, and he will intercede for us to God. Paul does not mean to say that no one else can intercede for you. The very next thing he says, in verse 6, is “For this I was appointed preacher and apostle” — by definition, someone who is going between Christ and the people, bearing to them the Gospel. Here is something else you should read. There’s a section, if you scroll down, that addresses the issue of “One Mediator.”

        #7: I told you what I know. As the thing above said, there will probably be more when we get to Heaven. I don’t know that. Therefore I can’t tell you about it. She most certainly had a role in redemption; and you agree. We will wait and see about the rest when we get to Heaven.

        #8: Catholics are not choosing “the lesser advocate.” This is not a case of either/or, but of both/and. Just because we are asking other people to pray for us to God doesn’t mean that we don’t pray to God ourselves. Listen to what Catholics are saying. We are praying to God, too. Why go to your friends and loved ones and pastor to ask them to pray for you, since they are mere humans, and you can go to God yourself?

        Mary doesn’t have a “special kind of salvation” — she has exactly what we will have someday; she just is already there in Heaven enjoying it. And that’s what we all hope for.

    • Barry said, on January 11, 2014 at 3:27 am

      You say that Mary was “the first Christian, the first to believe in her son.” What of all the prophets preceding Christ’s birth (Isaiah is one who comes to mind) who prophesied of His coming and of His future sacrifice for all mankind? Didn’t they also know of and believe in Christ?

    • Barry said, on January 11, 2014 at 3:51 pm

      Joseph, you say that Mary “was the first Christian, and the first to believe in her Son.” What of the many prophets who foretold His coming (Isaiah is one who comes to mind)? Didn’t they know of and believe in Him before Mary?

  3. Joseph Richardson said, on December 25, 2012 at 4:24 am

    Oh, and I meant to give you think link, too:

    The Veneration of Mary: An Introduction for Protestants

    It’s an overview I wrote of the basics of the Marian doctrines. I have grown a lot in my faith since I wrote that and think I could have explained some things better, but it’s a start. Feel free to ask any more questions.

  4. Louis Gonzales said, on December 30, 2012 at 7:52 am

    Well, for the most part, Catholics believe that those who die within the body of Christ truly never die since the body of Christ (The Church) has both the followers of Christ here on earth and the Victorious Triumphant in Heaven. The Victorious Triumphant (Those who died within Christ) are considered to be alive since they are apart of the Body of Christ and their faith in Christ has made them victorious against death. Since they are alive, we talk to them in the same way we would talk to people here on earth. As I would ask people in the Church to pray for my salvation, I would also ask those in Heaven to pray for my salvation as well. I would never pray to them in the same manner as I pray to God though since the saints are not God. They’re our friends saved by grace, yet they don’t have the power to forgive sin as Christ does.

    Now, the Catholic understanding of Mary is that she was sinless since, to us, it would be impossible for a person stained by the evils of sin to produce an absolutely pure being such as Jesus. Since that’s our position, we believe that divine intervention (that since Jesus was the pre-existent Son, outside time, he was able to save Mary through his grace from the cross [preventive act of grace].This grace protected her from the sin of Adam, which caused her to be immaculately conceived, or conceived without the taint of sin.) prevented Mary from being given original sin, thereby making her like Eve in nature. Catholics take this quote from St. Ephraem to heart, “Mary and Eve, two people without guilt, two simple people, were identical. Later, however, one became the cause of our death, the other the cause of our life”. It’s also Catholic belief that Mary was assumed into Heaven since she held a special blessed position (She was the God Bearer, plus the first follower of Christ) and since she didn’t have original sin (so she couldn’t die in the same manner as us [Bodily death and decay are the result of sin and the Fall]). Also, Catholics believe that Jesus occupies three main offices: Prophet, Priest, and King. Since Jesus is King we would have to consider Mary to be queen since that’s the way it was in the old testament. Mary’s Queenship is based on her maternal relationship with Jesus. Here the ancient Hebraic notion of the Queen Mother applies to Mary as Mother of the Messianic King, Jesus Christ. In ancient Israel, the most important woman in the monarchy was generally the queen mother, not the queen. In the southern kingdom of Judah, the kings’ wives were apparently never “queens.” (They held no true power) It was the queen mother (Hebrew, gebira or “Great Lady”), the king’s mother, who was honored and who wielded authority as a counselor to the king. So this relationship makes Mary a Queen, yet this title does not give her any type of power since she’s human like us.

    • Kathy said, on January 1, 2013 at 3:50 pm

      I would argue with “the Catholic understanding” that Mary was sinless, and also with the stretching of “the Queen Mum” in ancient Israel to be somehow proof that Mary is the Queen of Heaven. These things are not in the Bible, and I would say that they are just as much adding on unbiblical tradition to the true Word of God as the Jews of Jesus day did with their oral traditions which they claimed came from Moses. The parallels between what Catholics and Jews did/do to the written Word of God by their oral traditions are striking.

      • Joseph Richardson said, on January 1, 2013 at 3:51 pm

        You’re entitled to your opinion and your prejudice. I’ve stated my defense; you’re welcome to continue your attack. But I’m off to my idolatrous Mass.


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