REBUTTAL: WORSHIPPING MARY????
by Dave Keene,
THIS ARTICLE WAS FOUND ON A WEB PAGE. In this rebuttal (my remarks in italics), I will show the dishonestly prevalent throughout this attack on the Catholic teaching on Mary's role in the Church. This dishonesty is unfortunately typical of non-Catholic attacks on the Church. I ask you to judge for yourself whether or not Rebecca (the author) has been totally honest and forthright in her attempt at portraying the Catholic Church in its true light, or has she deceived the reader by misrepresentation of facts pertaining to this doctrine of the Church. Has she mislead by design, or ignorance? You be the judge!
Subtitle: A former Catholic proves why worshipping Mary is disastrous!
A whirlwind of memories came flooding through my mind when I saw the above illustration taken from My Catholic Faith. I was conditioned, at a very early age, to believe that I had to go through Mary to get to Jesus. I can remember kneeling and praying before her image, singing songs that praised Mary as "Queen of Heaven", and watching movies like "The Song of Bernadette" and "The Lady of Fatima".
This worship of Mary continued into my adulthood. I can remember when my first born son had a very high fever, I was so afraid he would die that I went begging Mary on hand and knee. I confessed she was the Mother of Jesus and, understanding what being a mother was all about, I cried, saying, "Please Mary, ask God to let my baby live". When my son lived, I truly worshipped Mary.
Yet for all these things, if a Christian confronts a Catholic on his/her worshipping of Mary, the reply is always the same: "We don't worship her! We just give her honor that is due her as the Mother of God." But is this true? I practiced Catholicism for 30 years and I can, from experience, tell you that we prayed to her, through her, by her and for her as taught by the Roman hierarchy.
Right off the bat, Rebecca admits that this was her interpretation of her understanding of Mary's role in the Church. You know, just because a certain individual believes something to be true doesn't make it true. How many of us can say we understood everything any of our teachers taught us! Even if a thousand people believed the Church to believe something as true, doesn't make it true. You will notice in this article that the author fails to produce evidence from official Church documents to back her argument. Yes, she will quote a saint here and there, and the Baltimore Catechism, but not one official Church document. Why?
The difficulty most Protestants have on dealing with Mary's role in the Church is they fail to give God the power to use His creatures in the way He sees fit. They want God to use His creatures in the way they see fit, instead of the other way around. And, I think, that this is the crux of the problem.
They have no difficulty in saying God is using one of their ministers to bring His healing power to human beings. They will even marvel at the wonders God works the same person. Yet, they have great difficulty in saying He can use the Blessed Mother to bring grace to those same human beings! The Catholic asks: "Why not?" Why can't God work wonders through the hands of Mary? Why can't he dispense His grace through her at least as much as He does through ordinary sinful human beings?
I also want to alert you to the fact the Rebecca does not give us a reference to check out these statements ourselves. All she gives us is the book "My Catholic Faith." Why no publisher? Why no date? Why no page numbers? Any writer alluding to the work of another should, out of decency, properly reference the material from which it was drawn from. But here we have nothing, leaving us to just take the authors word for it.
Yet the Bible tells me:
that all things are "by him [Jesus], and for him" (Col.1:16), "...of him, and through him and to him" (Rom.11:36).
Acts 4:12 clearly states: "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is NONE OTHER NAME UNDER HEAVEN GIVEN AMONG MEN, WHEREBY WE MUST BE SAVED." (Emphasis mine)
These verses are consistent with Church teaching. Does Rebecca believe that Catholics have not read, or do not believe these verses?? From the Cathechism of the Catholic Church (an official source for Catholic teaching); "No man, not even the holiest, was ever able to take on himself the sins of all men and offer himself as sacrifice for all. The existence in Christ of the divine person of the Son, who at once surpasses and embraces all human persons and constitutes Himself as the Head of all mankind, makes possible his redemptive sacrifice for all" (#616).
And again "The Council of Trent emphasizes the unique character of Christ's sacrifice as 'the source of eternal salvation' and teaches that 'His most holy Passion on the wood of the cross merited justification for us.' " (#617) And as St. Rose of Lima (quoted in the CCC) said "Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven."
After reading these quotes (and others like them) you can see that the Catholic Church teaches unequivaclly that Jesus is our Saviour, Master, and Lord. And that "Our salvation flows from God's initative of love for us . . .(CCC#620)" Note that whenever the context of salvation is evident, Mary plays a clearly subordinate role in the economy of it.
So why worship Mary?
Can you show me any passage from the councils or Catechisms that teach Catholics to worship Mary? I know you can't because none exist!
How did Jesus' offer to "Come to me..." (Jn.7:37) turn into "Go to Mary"?
As I have already shown from the quotes above that Mary is no redeemer or saviour. In Christ alone can we find redemption. Christ is the one mediator (1 Tim 2:5), but does that exclude all others as mediators? If it does then St. Paul is a heretic, along with the rest of the NT writers. Why? Because they all advocated others to "pray for one another (James 5), or pray for them (as Paul did in many places), or for themselves to pray for others (again as is evident in many NT passages. Why did Paul ask others to pray, seek the prayers of others, or pray for others? Why didn't he just tell them to pray to God directly?
The fact is, we can all act as mediators (go-betweens) for one another. After all, that is what you do when you pray for your friend. You ask God, for him/her, to extoll His grace to them in that particular instance. You are a mediator. In the same way, the Church teaches that Mary can take our prayers and petitions to God. As James 5:18 says, "the prayer of a righteous man avails much." If Mary was as righteous as the Church teaches, then her prayers would indeed, avail (please God) more than anyone elses.
In the same book, "My Catholic Faith", on page 204 we read: "WHEN DOES A PERSON SIN BY SUPERSTITION? - A person sins by superstition when he attributes to a creature a power that belongs to God alone."
At least we have a page number to go by, but still year or publisher.
Catholicism has admitted by her own writings that it is a sin to attribute to a creature a power that belongs to God alone. Now we know that God possess the following attributes:
"To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One." (Isa.40:25)
We know that the angels are not Omni-present as God is. Notice that after Daniel prayed, the angel sent by God was detained: "But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days" (Dan.10:13-14). (Emphasis mine)
When the Lord asked Satan: "Where comest thou?", Satan answered, "From going to and fro in the earth and walking up and down in it."
This Scripture verifies that even Satan is not Omni-present. Psalms 139 speaks of the Omni-presence of the Lord. "Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou are there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there." (v.7-8)
Elijah, knowing that only God is Omni-present, mocked those who called on Baal saying,
"...Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked."
Their reaction? The prophets of Baal cried even louder and cut themselves "till blood gushed out", but still "there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded." (I Kings 18:20-40)
God and God alone is Omni-present. God, and God alone, is the only one who can dwell in every man's heart because He alone is everywhere. Therefore, when we call upon the Lord, we know He hears us. He is even at our hearts knocking at the door. (Rev.3:20) God alone can read the hearts of men and know their intent (Rev.2:23, Jer.17:10)
But what about Mary? Isn't she omni-present? After all, you have millions of prayers a second being offered to her. People in Mexico, Russia, Europe, America, and all over the world, are praying the Rosary, asking Mary to be there at the hour of their death, asking her to guide them, help them, teach them, secure for them eternal redemption (something a Catholic believes that even Jesus did not do) and imploring her to come dwell in their hearts as though she were able to fulfill all these requests! A Catholic may deny that Mary is a god, but by asking all these things of her, she would have to be God to do them. She has powers and capabilities that even the pagan gods of Greece, Rome and Egypt did not possess, yet men called them gods.
What teaching of the Catholic Church proclaims that Mary and/or the saints/angels are omni-present? It is poor theology on the authors part to assume the Church teaches this, when in fact it does not! Do you have to be omni-present to hear the prayers and petitions of people all over the world at the same time? I don't believe so.
In our current existence we are bound by space and time. Yet, after we die, these two deficiencies will not be so in the next life. We will then be living in eternity. And what is eternity? An existence that is not ruled by time. Did you get that? There is no time in eternity. Therefore, it is no difficulty to think that the saints enjoying heavenly bliss cannot at the same time be everywhere (according to earthly standards) and not be omni-present. Why? Because those in the afterlife are outside of time! Time is not a limit for them. Thus, they can be in New York in one instant, and Tokyo in the next (again according to earthly standards).
I also want to draw your attention to the dig the author threw in there that stated "secure for them eternal redemption (something a Catholic believes that even Jesus did not do)." The way it is stated in the paragraph above, one would think that the Catholic then believes Mary has more power than Jesus. What a ridiculous and misleading statement. Again referring to the quotes provided above, the Church teaches that Jesus is our Saviour, Redeemer, and Lord. True, the Church teaches that one can lose their salvation through neglect, just as the Bible teaches. But the Church does not teach, as the author implies, that Mary can secure the salvation that Jesus cannot. We can deal with the issue of "eternal security" at another time. the author threw it in here only to confuse the issue further.
Keeping this is mind, I would like to share with you some of my Catholic memories, and let our Christian readers decide if the Church of Rome has committed the "sin of superstition" (as they interpreted it - by attributing to a creature a power that belongs to God alone).
The following song, "Daily, Daily Sing to Mary", I learned in 2nd grade. It was one of my favorites, and as a child, I sang it with all my heart.
"Daily, daily sing to Mary Sing, my soul, her praises due;
All her feasts, her actions worship, With the heart's devotion true.
She is mighty to deliver; Call her, trust her lovingly;
When the tempest rages round thee, She will calm the troubled sea.
Gifts of heaven she has given, Noble Lady, to our race;
She the Queen who decks her subject, With the light of God's own grace." (Baltimore Catechism No.1, 63)
If Roman Catholics do not worship Mary, then why does line three say to worship her? Take in consideration that in Rev.19:10, it says, "And I fell at his feet to worship him [the angel of God], And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God:"
Another statement by the author that reeks of deception. What student of history does not know that kings and judges in earlier times were referred to as "your worship?" Does that mean that everyone who spoke those words were worshipping said judge or king? Unthinkable. No, it was statement of respect, or honor for ones position among the people. The Baltimore Catechism was put out in the 1950's. The same time that this sort of talk was common among the people. This type of change in our understanding of the words used, is one reason why that catechism is no longer in use. So in the prayer above, Mary is to be honored, not worshipped.
Would the Catholic Church have me believe that Mary would accept what the angel of God rejected? Mary was a Hebrew woman who was acquainted with the book of Psalms 89:9 which says, "Thou [God] rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them". But, she is now presented as telling the Catholic people that SHE can calm the troubled sea!
Again, one must refer to the whole prayer (just as one must defer to the whole of Catholic teaching)! The last line states that it is God's grace that Mary bedecks those who have recourse to her. IT IS NOT HER OWN MERITS!! Every Catholic reading this prayer will ascertain that all that Mary has, or can do, is only possible because she was given this place of honor and respect by God.
When Jesus calmed the raging sea, the disciples said, "What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?" Mary is not God to command the sea, Jesus is. Line 8 of this song, above, says, "Gifts of heaven she has given" which for a Catholic means that Mary is the Mediatrix of all graces! This is truly the spirit of idolatry, for by "ONE SPIRIT" we have access to the Father, not two! (Eph.2:18, 4:4, I Cor.12:13)
Whoever said that it was Mary's spirit that caused all this to happen? No one! Another example of this authors own bigotry swaying her interpretation into what is meant by this prayer. Read above, IT IS NOT HER OWN MERITS, OR SPIRIT, in this instance!
As you may recall from the debate, the Catholic Church teaches that all graces flow through Mary; therefore, she is present in all the sacraments.
This is an incorrect statement that could have, should have been checked with the proper sources. There is no official teaching in the Church which proclaims Mary as the Mediatrix of all graces. Though it is believed to be true, even by yours truly, by many in the Church. On the other hand, why couldn't God operate in this manner if He so desires? After all, He used initially Mary to mediate His grace to the world by having Jesus born of her. Thus, the grace of God was revealed to the world through Mary.
That means, if a Christian attends mass or prays with a Catholic, he must join with the spirit of idolatry, who claims to be able to give the grace that God alone can give. Now we have Mary taking the place of the Holy Spirit! What blasphemy!
Another erroneous statement. Mary can not give, of her own power, graces that God alone can give. If God alone can give these graces (and He can,of course), why can He not dispense them through the vessel of His choosing? And it only a "spirit of idolatry" if we "worship" Mary, which we don't.
Can the author refer me to one prayer of the Church that teaches that Mary assumes the role of the Holy Spirit? I was praying the "Divine Office" this morning, which is THE prayer of the Church. All religous are to pray this office daily. If you look at all the prayers, addressed to the Father, they conclude like this; "through Jesus Christ your son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever." Is Mary even hinted to here? Of course not. And why not? Because she is NOT GOD, the Church has NO INTENTION OF MAKING HER GOD, OR TO TAKE THE PLACE OF GOD FOR THAT MATTER.
What more proof do we need that the Roman church has given to Mary the attributes that belong to God alone? Even Archbishop Paul Hallinan, in 1964 said that devotions and prayers to Mary were so exaggerated that they were a "blasphemy to the Son, an embarrassment to the memory of the mother and a pathetic deviation".
What a surprise, another quote, no reference!
There is a Catholic organization called "Legion of Mary" which has an "Apostolic Blessing" from Pope John XXIII, and from Pope Pius XI, "We give a very special blessing to this beautiful and holy work - the Legion of Mary." On page 225 of their book, "Legion of Mary", we read:
"Put thy feet into her fetters, and thy neck into her chains. Bow down thy shoulder and bear her; and be not grieved with her bonds. Come to her with all thy mind; and keep her ways with all thy power...Then shall her fetters be a strong defence for thee, and a firm foundation, and her chain a robe of glory. For in her is the beauty of life: and her bonds are a healthful binding. - Ecclesiasticus vi, 25-31, applied to Our Lady by the Church. Applicable by Legionaries to the Legion system and especially to the meetings."
This prayer simply tries to teach us that MARY WAS THE PERFECT CHRISTIAN. Jesus was perfect, true. But He was God. Mary was human, like us. And if we can imitate the Virgin Mary, our pilgrimage in this life will become perfect. The prayer teaches that Mary's intercession will aide us. This should be no trouble to any Christian. Just like my prayers can aid you, and your prayers can aid me, so too, the Blessed Virgin's prayers (because of her superior holiness) can aid us, only to a greater extent.
But, Jesus says, "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden [to overburden with ceremony] and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light." (Matt.11:28-30)
Again, answered above!
A Catholic reading this quote from Legion of Mary would find nothing offensive, but a Christian’s mind would be flooded with Scriptures rebuking such powers as belonging to anyone but God. A Christian would believe that he should go to God, for God Himself has said:
"For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for?" (Deut.4:7)
The reason it is not offensive to the Catholic, and offensive to those outside is the Catholic recognizes Mary's role in the economy of salvation, whereas the Protestant doesn't give it a second thought. Because they have a convoluted view of justification, their view of Mary is likewise convoluted.
But a Catholic doesn't have the confidence to approach God, so he depends on Mary to mediate for him. I remember when the nuns would tell us that Mary could get for us what God refused togive us.
Wow, there is an authoritative official Church proclamation, eh?
In one book, Catherine Laboure and the Modern Apparitions of Our Lady, page 237, Mary's apparition at LaSalette is reported to have said, "'Ah, if you knew what it costs me to withhold his avenging arm.' It is costly; she must sometimes plead, but in the end she always prevails."
Apparitions?? These are not part and parcel of the Catholic faith. One can believe in them (properly understood, of course) but no one HAS to believe them.
Again, does the Catholic Church expect us to believe that Mary is more just than God? If God refused me something in His divine wisdom and perfect will, could Mary override His decision and attain for me a more just or superior course of action?
Isn't this just what happened at Jesus first sign in Cana in John 2? Jesus said it wasn't His time yet, but through Mary's, shall we say intercession, it became His time when he changed the water to wine, at which even "His disciples came to believe in Him."
That's exactly what St. Alphonso Liguori says in Glories of Mary, page 149-150. Mary is "more prompt to answer than God or Christ". This blasphemous statement means that the Catholic considers God and Jesus Christ to be less than perfect! They can make mistakes, and need Mary present to set them straight!
Another quote from a saint. This is not to be found in any official Church teaching or proclamation. This is another curve ball thrown at you by the author. Any one who reads St. Alphonsus Ligouri knows what colorful, and yes exagerrated form of language he is accumstomed to using. If you are not familiar with his style of writing, then it is easy to misinterpret what he says.
Job 4:17-20 says: "Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker? Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly: How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth?...Call now, if there be any that will answer thee; and to which of the saints wilt thou turn?"
Look at any Church document, you will not find Mary being placed above, or within the Triune Godhead anywhere! This is still another dishonest attempt to make the Church appear to teach something that it doesn't.
I have barely touched the surface of the attributes of God that Romanism has unabashedly given to Mary. They go so far as to call her the following names that should belong to God or His Kingdom alone:
"Ark of the Covenant
Seat of wisdom
The burning bush
Foundation of the Church
Sign of hope
Restorer of life
Majestic cloud that led Israel
Many of our Christian readers are undoubtedly shocked at the unwarranted usurpation of our Lord’s titles. We suggest that the next time you’re by a Catholic bookstore, stop in and thumb through a few books on Mary. We’re sure you’ll be able to find even better examples of titles and attributesblasphemously misappropriated to an unscriptural Mary by the Catholic hierarchy.
I will be more than happy to explain each of these titles to any one interested. I will be able to show how they can be at the same time true, and without detracting from the dignity and majesty of the one true God. Feel free to e-mail me
The Scriptures use marriage to liken our relationship to Jesus (Eph.5:23-32), telling us we are espoused to "one husband" (2 Cor.11:2) I understand this, having had one husband for almost 25 years. Our relationship is based on intimacy shared in confidence. I would not go to my husband’s mother to ask her to speak to him for me. I am close enough to go to him myself.
I read in Legio Mariae, on page 158, "What, Mary not know in advance?" Quite a deceiving statement in light of Luke 2:48, where Mary sought Jesus for three days "sorrowing". If she had foreknowledge, then why did she sorrow? Didn’t she know that, since it was the Passover, Jesus was only going to be missing for three days to foreshadow His own death? Why didn’t she know she would find him in the temple going "...about the Fathers business?" (Lk.2:41-50)
Another text wretched out of context to give a meaning not intended by the original author. When will these deceptions end?
For my Catholic readers, I would like to leave you with one final thought concerning God: "Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee."
by Rebecca A. Sexton
As you have just witnessed, Ms. Sexton is not interested in the Truth, only in her version of it. It is a shame that those who portray themselves as Christians use the types of poor journalism that Ms. Sexton used here. These included as you may remember, not properly referencing quotes, misleading and erroneous statements, wretching texts out of context, and ignoring easily discernable teachings of the Catholic Church.
Now, I ask you dear reader, are you willing to stake your eternal salvation on the opinions of an author who is not upfront and straightforward with her facts? Jesus called Beelzubul (i.e. Satan) the father of lies while He Himself the Truth. Which side has Ms. Sexton proven herself to be on?