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The Mother of the Son: The Case for Marian Devotion
CatholicEducatorsResourceCenter.org ^ | 2004 | Mark Shea

Posted on 12/09/2004 10:15:01 PM PST by Salvation


The Mother of the Son: The Case for Marian Devotion
   MARK SHEA


It has to be one of the strangest things in the world: So many Christians who love Jesus with all their hearts recoil in fear at the mention of His mother’s name, while many who do love her find themselves tongue-tied when asked to explain why.

Most of the issues people have with Mary are really issues about something else. "Where is the Assumption of Mary in the Bible?" isn't really a question about Mary. It's a question about the validity of Sacred Tradition and the authority of the Church.

"Why should I pray to Mary?" isn't really about Mary, either. It's actually a question about the relationship of the living and the dead in Christ. "Do Catholics worship Mary?" isn't a question about Mary. It's concerned more with whether or not Catholics countenance idolatry and what the word "honor" means. And curiously enough, all these and many more objections both pay homage to and completely overlook the central truth about Mary that the Catholic Church labors to help us see: that her life, in its entirety, is a referred life.

Mary would, after all, be of absolutely no consequence to us if not for her Son. It is because she is the mother of Jesus Christ that she matters to the world at all. If He hadn't been born, you never would have heard of her. John, with characteristic economy of expression, captures this referred life in her own words: "Do whatever He tells you" (John 2:5). And, of course, if this were all the Church had to say about her, Evangelicals would be more than happy to let her refer us to Jesus and be done with it. What baffles so many non-Catholics is the Church's tendency to keep referring us to her. Ad Iesum per Mariam! we say, to which many non-Catholics nervously respond, "Isn't Christianity supposed to be about a relationship with Jesus Christ? Why do Catholics honor Mary so much?"

  

Sublime Neglect

As an Evangelical, that question sounded reasonable — right up until another question began to bother me: If Catholics honor Mary too much, exactly how do we Evangelicals honor her "just enough"? For the reality was that my native Evangelicalism recoiled from any and all mention of Mary.

This was odd. After all, Evangelicals could talk all day about Paul and never feel we were "worshiping" him or giving him "too much honor." We rightly understood that God's word comes to us through St. Paul, and there's no conflict between the two (even though Paul exhibits more character flaws than Mary).

Yet the slightest mention of Mary by a Catholic immediately brought a flood of warnings, hesitations, scrutinies of her lack of faith (allegedly demonstrated in Mark 3:21), and even assertions that Jesus was less pleased with her than He was with His disciples (because He called her "Woman," not "Mom"; and because He commended His own disciples as "my brother and sister and mother" [Mark 3:35]). And all this was despite the fact that not just God's word (e.g. the Magnificat), but God's Word, came to us through Mary (John 1:14). As Evangelicals we could say, "If not for Paul, the gospel would never have reached the Gentiles." But we froze up if somebody argued that, "If not for Mary, the gospel would never have reached the earth." Suddenly, a flurry of highly speculative claims about how "God would simply have chosen somebody else!" would fill the air, as though Mary was a mere incubation unit, completely interchangeable with any other woman on earth. "No Paul, no gospel for the Gentiles" made perfect sense. But "No Mary, no incarnation, no death, no resurrection, no salvation for the world" was just too extreme.

Indeed, from Evangelical piety and preaching as it is actually practiced, one could be forgiven for getting the sense that Jesus didn't really even like His mother (like a teenager irritated because Mom just doesn't understand him). Having "Mary Is No Big Deal" hammered home whenever her name was raised tended to give you the feeling that — after her brief photo-op for the Hallmark Christmas card industry — Jesus was glad to spend time away from the family in the Temple discussing higher things. The position in Evangelicalism was more or less that we should do likewise and not lavish any attention on the mother who was too dim to understand who He was and whom He "rebuked" by saying, "Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?"

And so, our claims to honor her "just enough" effectively boiled down to paying no shred of positive attention to her beyond singing "round yon Virgin, mother and Child" each Christmas. The rest of the time it was either complete neglect or jittery assurances of her unimportance and dark warnings not to over-emphasize the woman of whom inspired Scripture said, "From this day all generations will call me blessed."

It was a startling paradigm shift to realize we treated her so allergically — and one that, I have since noticed, isn't unusual for converts. Dale Ahlquist, president of the American Chesterton Society, told me once that when he was still hanging back from the Church because of Mary, a blunt priest he knew asked him, "Do you believe her soul magnifies the Lord? It's right there in Scripture." Ahlquist reflexively answered back, "Of course I do! I know the Bible!" But even as he replied he was thinking to himself, "I never really thought of that before." It can be a disorienting experience.

But, in fact, it is right there in the Bible. Her soul magnifies the Lord, and from that day to this all generations have called her blessed. So why, when we Evangelicals looked at Jesus, did we never look at Him through the divinely appointed magnifying glass? Why were we so edgy about calling her "blessed" and giving her any honor? That realization was my first clue that it was, perhaps, Catholics who were simply being normal and human in honoring Mary, while we Evangelicals were more like teetotalers fretting that far too much wine was being drunk at the wedding in Cana.

  

The Cultural Obstacles

Part of the problem, I came to realize, was that Evangelical fears about Mary are visceral and not entirely theological. Indeed, much of the conflict between Catholics and Evangelicals is cultural, not theological. Evangelical culture (whether you're a man or a woman) is overwhelmingly masculine, while Catholic culture (again, whether you're a man or a woman) is powerfully feminine. And the two groups often mistake their cultural differences for theological ones.

The Catholic approach tends to be body-centered, Eucharistic, and contemplative. Prayer, in Catholic culture, is primarily for seeking union with God. Evangelical approaches to God tend to be centered on Scripture, verbal articulation of belief, mission, and the Spirit working in power. Prayer, in such a culture, is primarily for getting things done. Both are legitimate Christian ways of approaching the gospel. Indeed, they should both be part of the Catholic approach to the gospel. But because of these unconscious differences, Evangelicals and Catholics often clash about culture while they think they're debating theology. The feminine spirituality of the Catholic can regard the masculine Evangelical approach as shallow, noisy, and utilitarian, lacking an interior life. Meanwhile, Catholic piety can be seen by Evangelicals as cold, dead, ritualistic, biblically ignorant, and cut off from real life. Thus, Evangelicals frequently criticize the Catholic life as a retreat from reality into rituals and rote prayers.

Not surprisingly, the heroes of the two camps are (for Evangelicals) the Great Human Dynamo of Apostolic Energy, St. Paul; and (for Catholics) the Great Icon of Contemplative Prayer Issuing in Incarnation, the Blessed Virgin Mary. As an Evangelical, I found Paul much easier to appreciate, since he was "biblical" — he wrote much of the New Testament, after all. You could talk about Paul since he'd left such a significant paper trail. Not so with Mary. Apart from the Magnificat and a couple remarks here and there — plus, of course, the infancy narratives — she didn't appear to occupy nearly as much psychic space for the authors of the New Testament as she did for Catholics. Marian devotion looked like a mountain of piety built on a molehill of Scripture.

Looks, however, can be deceiving. For as I got to know the Bible better, it became obvious to me that the authors of Scripture were not nearly as jittery about Mary as my native Evangelicalism. Furthermore, they accorded to her honors that looked a great deal more Catholic than Evangelical.

Luke, for instance, likens her to the Ark of the Covenant in recording that the Holy Spirit "overshadowed" her. The same word in Greek is used to describe the way the Shekinah (glory of God) overshadowed the tabernacle in Luke 1:35. Likewise, John makes the same connection between Mary and the Ark of the Covenant when he announces in Revelation 11:19-12:2:

Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple; and there were flashes of lightning, voices, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail. And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; she was with child and she cried out in her pangs of birth, in anguish for delivery.

The chapter goes on to describe the woman as giving birth to a male child who rules the nations with an iron scepter and who is almost devoured by a great red dragon.

As an Evangelical, my own tradition found it remarkably easy to detect bar codes, Soviet helicopters, the European Common Market, and the Beatles encoded into the narrative of Revelation. But when Catholics suggested that the woman of Revelation might have something to do with the Blessed Virgin occupying a place of cosmic importance in the grand scheme of things, this was dismissed as incredible. Everyone knew that the woman of Revelation was really the symbolic Virgin Daughter of Zion giving birth to the Church. A Jewish girl who stood at the pinnacle of the Old Covenant, summed up the entirety of Israel's mission, and gave flesh to the Head of the Church saying, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word" — what could she possibly have to do with those images? Why, that would suggest that she was the Virgin Daughter of Zion and the Flower of her People, the Model Disciple, the Icon of the Church, the Mother of Jesus and of all those who are united with Him by faith and… Come to think of it, Scripture was looking rather Catholic after all.

  

The Heart of Marian Doctrine

That was the revolutionary thought that made it possible for me to press on, as a new Catholic, to find out what the Church was trying to get at with her Marian teaching. In coming to understand this, it seemed to me, I'd come a long way toward understanding why Mary figures so prominently, not merely in the heads, but in the hearts of Catholics.

The first question that arises, of course, is, "Why Marian dogma at all?" Why not just dogmas about Christ and let Catholics think what they like about Mary? Why bind consciences here?

The answer is that Catholics do think what they like — not only about Mary, but about lots of things. And sometimes they think deeply erroneous things. When they do, and that thought imperils some revealed truth to the point it threatens the integrity of the Church's witness, the Church will, from time to time, define its doctrine more precisely. This is a process that's already at work in the New Testament (cf. Acts 15), and it continues until the return of Christ.

So, for instance, in the fifth century there arose (yet again) the question of just who Jesus is. It was a question repeated throughout antiquity and, in this case, an answer to the question was proposed by the Nestorians. They argued that the mortal man Jesus and the Logos, or Second Person of the Trinity, were more or less two persons occupying the same head. For this reason, they insisted that Mary could not be acclaimed (as she had been popularly acclaimed for a very long time) as Theotokos, or "God bearer." Instead, she should only be called Christotokos, or "Christ bearer." She was, they insisted, the Mother of Jesus, not of God.

The problem with this was that it threatened the very witness of the Church and could even lead logically to the notion that there were two Sons of God, the man Jesus and the Logos who was sharing a room with Him in His head. In short, it was a doorway to theological chaos over one of the most basic truths of the Faith: that the Word became flesh, died, and rose for our sins.

So the Church formulated its response. First, Jesus Christ is not two persons occupying the same head. He is one person possessing two natures, human and divine, joined in a hypostatic union. Second, it was appropriate to therefore call Mary Theotokos because she's the Mother of the God-Man. When the God-Man had His friends over for lunch, He didn't introduce Mary saying, "This is the mother of my human nature." He said, "This is my mother."

Why did the Church do this? Because, once again, Mary points to Jesus. The dogma of the Theotokos is a commentary on Jesus, a sort of "hedge" around the truth about Jesus articulated by the Church. Just as Nestorianism had tried to attack the orthodox teaching of Christ through Mary (by forbidding the veneration of her as Theotokos), now the Church protected that teaching about Christ by making Theotokos a dogma. That is a vital key to understanding Marian dogmas: They're always about some vital truth concerning Jesus, the nature of the Church, or the nature of the human person.

This is evident, for instance, in the definition of Mary as a Perpetual Virgin (promulgated in 553 at the Council of Constantinople). This tradition isn't so much explicitly attested as reflected in the biblical narrative. Yes, we must grant that the biblical narrative is ambiguous in that it speaks of Jesus' "brothers" (but does it mean "siblings" or merely "relatives"?). However, other aspects of the biblical narrative strongly suggest she remained a virgin.

For instance, Mary reacts with astonishment at the news that she, a woman betrothed, will bear a son. If you are at a wedding shower and tell the bride-to-be, "You're going to have cute kids," and she responds, "How can that be?," you can only conclude one of two things: she either doesn't know about the birds and the bees, or she's taken a vow of virginity. In short, the promise of a child is an odd thing for a betrothed woman to be amazed about...unless, of course, she'd already decided to remain a virgin even after marriage.

Likewise, Joseph reacts with fear at the thought of taking Mary as a wife. Why fear? Modernity assumes it was because he thought her guilty of adultery, but the typical view in antiquity understood the text to mean he was afraid of her sanctity — as a pious Jew would be afraid to touch the Ark of the Covenant. After all, think of what Mary told him about the angel's words: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the Child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God."

I'm not even a pious Jew, but with words like that echoing in my ears about my wife, I'd find it easy to believe that Joseph, knowing what he did about his wife, would have chosen celibacy.

"But nothing is sure, based on the text alone. It's still ambiguous," says the critic. Right. The biblical text alone doesn't supply an unambiguous answer to this or a myriad of other questions, including "Is the Holy Spirit God?," "How do you contract a valid marriage?," and "Can you be a polygamist?" But the Tradition of the Church in union with the biblical text does supply an answer: Mary had no other children, a fact so commonly known throughout the early Church that when Jerome attacks Helvidius for suggesting otherwise, nobody makes a peep. In a Church quite capable of tearing itself to pieces over distinctions between homoousious and homoiousious, you hear the sound of crickets in response to Jerome, punctuated with the sound of other Fathers singing hymns to "Mary, Ever-Virgin." The early Church took it for granted and thought Helvidius as credible as Dan Brown.

But why a dogma about it? Because, again, Mary's life is a referred life. Her virginity, like Christ's, speaks of her total consecration to God and of our call as Christians to be totally consecrated as well. Her virginity is not a stunt or a magic trick to make the arrival of the Messiah extra-strange. It is, rather, a sign to the Church and of the Church. And that matters for precisely the reason I'd thought it did not matter when I was an Evangelical: because Christianity is indeed supposed to be about a relationship with Jesus Christ. But a relationship necessarily involves more than one person.

What it comes down to is this: Jesus can do a world of wonderful things, but there is something even Jesus cannot do — He cannot model for us what it looks like to be a disciple of Jesus. Only a disciple of Jesus can do that. And the first and best model of the disciple of Jesus is the one who said and lived "Yes!" to God, spontaneously and without even the benefit of years of training or the necessity of being knocked off a horse and blinded. And she continues to do so right through the agony of watching her Son die and the ecstasy of knowing Him raised again.

This is why the Church, like the Gospels, has always called Mary our Mother: because Mom is the best model for training children. The command to call her "Mother" comes, of course, from Jesus Himself. John doesn't record the words "Behold your mother" (John 19:27) because he thought his readers might be curious about domestic arrangements for childless Jewish widows. Rather, as with everything else John writes, "These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name" (John 20:31). In other words, he doesn't record everything about Jesus, only those things that have a significant theological meaning. This includes Christ's words to the Beloved Disciple. For the Beloved Disciple is you and not merely John. Mary is your mother and you are her child. And so we are to look to her as mother and imitate her as she imitates Christ.

  

Defeating Destructive Ideologies

This brings us to the last two (and intimately related) Marian dogmas. Given that Marian dogma is always a commentary on Christ and His Church, what is the Church saying in its dogmatic teaching that (1) Mary was preserved at the moment of her conception from the stain of all sin, both original and actual; and (2) Mary was assumed bodily into heaven at the end of her earthly existence?

The great crisis that faced the Church in the 19th century (when the Holy Spirit, doing His job of leading the Church into all truth, led the Church to promulgate the dogma of the Immaculate Conception) was the rise of several ideologies — still very much with us — that called into question the origins and dignity of the human person. Darwin said the human person was an unusually clever piece of meat whose origins were as accidental as a pig's nose. Marx said humans were mere ingredients in a vast economic historical process. Laissez-faire capitalism saw people as natural resources to be exploited and thrown away when they lost their value. Eugenics said human dignity rested on "fitness." Much of Protestantism declared humans "totally depraved," while much of the Enlightenment held up the myth of human innocence, the "noble savage," and the notion of human perfectibility through reason. Racial theory advanced the notion that the key to human dignity was the shape of your skull, the color of your skin, and your membership in the Aryan or Teutonic tribe. Freud announced that your illusion of human dignity was just a veil over fathomless depths of unconscious processes largely centering in the groin or emerging out of issues with Mom and Dad.

All these ideologies — and many others — had in common the degrading rejection of human beings as creatures made in the image of God and intended for union with God (and the consequent subjection of the human person to some sort of creature). In contrast to them all, the Church, in holding up the icon of Mary Immaculate, held up an icon of both our true origin and our true dignity. That she was sinless was a teaching as old as the hills in the Church, which had hailed her as Kecharitomene, or "full of grace," since the time of Luke and saluted her as Panagia, or "all-holy," since the early centuries of the Church. So then why did the Holy Spirit move the Church to develop and focus this immemorial teaching more clearly?

Because what needed to be said loud and clear was that we were made in the image of God and that our fallenness, though very real, does not name or define us: Jesus Christ does. We are not mere animals; statistical averages; cogs in a machine; sophisticated primordial ooze; or a jangling set of complexes, appetites, tribal totems, Aryan supermen, naturally virtuous savages, or totally depraved Mr. Hydes. We were made by God, for God. Therefore sin, though normal, is not natural and doesn't constitute our humanity. And the proof of it was Mary, who was preserved from sin and yet was more human than the lot of us. She wasn't autonomously innocent, as though she could make it without God. She was the biggest recipient of grace in the universe, a grace that made her, in a famous phrase, "younger than sin." Because of it, she was free to be what Irenaeus described as "the glory of God": a human being fully alive. And as she is, so can the grace of Christ make us.

The 19th-century ideologies didn't, however, remain in libraries and classrooms. In the 20th century, they were enacted by the powers of state, science, business, entertainment, education, and the military into programs that bore abundant fruit in such enterprises as global and regional wars, the Holocaust, the great famines, the killing fields, the "great leap forward," the sexual revolution, and the culture of death, which is still reaping a rich bounty of spiritual and physical destruction. In short, as the 19th-century philosophies assaulted the dignity and origin of the human person, so the working out of those philosophies on the ground in the 20th century assaulted the dignity and destiny of the human person.

So what did the Holy Spirit do? Once again, in 1950, in the middle of a century that witnessed the biggest assault on the human person and on the family that the world has ever seen, the Church again held up Mary as an icon of who we really are and who we are meant to become by promulgating the doctrine of the assumption of Mary. Just as the immaculate conception held Mary up as the icon of the divine dignity of our origins, so the Church, in teaching "that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory," was now holding her up as the icon of the divine dignity of our destiny.

The Church is repeating, in effect, that the God who loves the world does not will that our fate be the oven, the mass grave, the abortuary, the anonymity of the factory, the brothel, the cubicle, or the street. The proper end of our life is supposed to be for us, as it already is for her, the ecstatic glory of complete union with the Triune God in eternity. Once again, God shows us something vital about our relationship to Himself through her, His greatest saint.

And that, in the end, is the point of Marian devotion and theology. Through Our Lady, we see Jesus Christ reflected in the eyes of His greatest saint. But we also see "what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe, according to the working of his great might" (Ephesians 1:18-19). For what He has already done for her, He will one day do also in us.

  

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Mark Shea. "The Mother of the Son: The Case for Marian Devotion." Crisis (December 2004).

This article is reprinted with permission from the Morley Institute a non-profit education organization. To subscribe to Crisis magazine call 1-800-852-9962.

THE AUTHOR

Mark Shea is Senior Content Editor for Catholic Exchange. You may visit his website at www.mark-shea.com or check out his blog, Catholic and Enjoying It!. Mark is the author of Making Senses Out of Scripture: Reading the Bible as the First Christians Did (Basilica), By What Authority?: An Evangelical Discovers Catholic Tradition (Our Sunday Visitor), and This Is My Body: An Evangelical Discovers the Real Presence (Christendom).


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KEYWORDS: catholiclist; catholics; devotion; marian; mary; prayers
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Some very logical and sound reasoning here.
1 posted on 12/09/2004 10:15:01 PM PST by Salvation
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To: Salvation

It has to be one of the strangest things in the world: So many Christians who love Jesus with all their hearts recoil in fear at the mention of His mother’s name, while many who do love her find themselves tongue-tied when asked to explain why.


2 posted on 12/09/2004 10:15:26 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: father_elijah; nickcarraway; SMEDLEYBUTLER; Siobhan; Lady In Blue; attagirl; goldenstategirl; ...
Catholic Discussion Ping!

Please notify me via FReepmail if you would like to be added to or taken off the Catholic Discussion Ping List.

3 posted on 12/09/2004 10:17:04 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All

**Part of the problem, I came to realize, was that Evangelical fears about Mary are visceral and not entirely theological. Indeed, much of the conflict between Catholics and Evangelicals is cultural, not theological. Evangelical culture (whether you're a man or a woman) is overwhelmingly masculine, while Catholic culture (again, whether you're a man or a woman) is powerfully feminine. And the two groups often mistake their cultural differences for theological ones.**

I have never thought about these differences in this manner before. Wow! Makes sense!


4 posted on 12/09/2004 10:27:01 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
As a Protestant Christian, I recoil not at her name, but at what the Catholic church has done to her example.

For instance:

1. Praying to or through Mary rather than to God through Christ is not supported in Scripture.

2. Images of Mary or of Christ have no inherent holiness. Regardless of whether it is is a urine stain, grilled cheese sandwich, or of similar images that the Catholic church has actually put their official stamp of approval upon.

3. We are to have no graven images of God; however, the Catholic churches I've been in enjoy images of Jesus and Mary. At least doing so with Mary isn't doing so of God.

4. Mary brought no salvation to us. It was God through Christ. Mary was the birth mother. We do not praise Adam and Eve for starting the human race and then giving us Abraham, nor do we praise Abraham for starting Israel.


I am thankful for someone having brought Christ into the world. But this cannot infer inherent holiness upon her. She was as human as everyone else in the Bible, save for Christ Himself.
5 posted on 12/09/2004 11:23:15 PM PST by ScottM1968
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To: Salvation

"Salvation," I find it odd you have posted the first several replies to yourself.

Can you not pull your thoughts together?


6 posted on 12/09/2004 11:25:09 PM PST by ScottM1968
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To: Salvation

Great post. read this earlier in the mag...


7 posted on 12/10/2004 3:17:56 AM PST by .45MAN ("God bless America and George W. Bush")
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To: Salvation

Protestant Christians do not recoil at the name of Mary. We just don't involve dead people in our worship.

Yes, you read that right. MARY IS DEAD AND IN HER GRAVE.

That is not to flame or torque you off, it's just what Protestants believe.

I am not trying to be mean, so please do not take it that way.


8 posted on 12/10/2004 3:54:10 AM PST by TheRobb7 ("Whatever enables us to go to war, secures our peace." --Thomas Jefferson)
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To: Salvation

Good article, Salvation, thank you for posting it!


9 posted on 12/10/2004 4:45:25 AM PST by Convert from ECUSA (tired of shucking and jiving)
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To: ScottM1968
1. Praying to or through Mary rather than to God through Christ is not supported in Scripture.

Yeah, not in your canon of Scripture, since the first Protestants cut out the deuterocanonical books.

Images of Mary or of Christ have no inherent holiness. Regardless of whether it is is a urine stain, grilled cheese sandwich, or of similar images that the Catholic church has actually put their official stamp of approval upon.

What do you mean by "inherent holiness?"

We are to have no graven images of God; however, the Catholic churches I've been in enjoy images of Jesus and Mary. At least doing so with Mary isn't doing so of God.

Protestantism is inherently iconoclastic. It isn't a "graven image" because we aren't worshipping the objects as if they were gods.

Mary brought no salvation to us.

No, but by her "fiat" (her saying "yes" to God), she brought salvation into the world, something that Adam or Abraham didn't do.

10 posted on 12/10/2004 5:56:49 AM PST by Pyro7480 (Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, sancta Dei Genitrix.... sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper...)
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To: TheRobb7

I agree. I can find absolutely no scriptural basis for praying to deceased persons. I find no example of anyone in the bible asking the deceased to pray for them.


11 posted on 12/10/2004 5:59:43 AM PST by PleaseNoMore
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To: Pyro7480
by her "fiat" (her saying "yes" to God), she brought salvation into the world

I strongly disagree with this.

12 posted on 12/10/2004 6:02:00 AM PST by PleaseNoMore
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To: PleaseNoMore

If Jesus wasn't born, there is not salvation, PERIOD.


13 posted on 12/10/2004 6:06:54 AM PST by Pyro7480 (Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, sancta Dei Genitrix.... sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper...)
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To: Pyro7480

Had Mary not been a willing vessel God would have chosen someone who was. Do you think that God would have not fulfilled His plan of salvation if Mary had been unwilling?


14 posted on 12/10/2004 6:22:33 AM PST by PleaseNoMore
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To: PleaseNoMore

Some clarification here:
Catholics don't pray TO Mary, they pray THROUGH Mary.
It's DEVOTION not ADORATION.
Statues are reminders not Idols, just as a photo is not a person.


15 posted on 12/10/2004 6:25:28 AM PST by pieces of time
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To: TheRobb7

I wasn't aware that you had been appointed to speak for all Protestants. Perhaps you should narrow your statement to describe what you believe or what the doctrine of your particular denomination proclaims.


16 posted on 12/10/2004 6:28:06 AM PST by Mr. Lucky
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To: PleaseNoMore
Let's just say Mary was "predestined" to be the Mother of God. I will explain below, using a "thesis" that I used two days ago, why things happened the way they did.

Yes, but if you believe in the hypostatic union (just a fancy way of saying that Christ was fully God and fully man at the same time), and you believe the Scriptural geneology that is included in the Gospels, then you should believe that Jesus "took His flesh" of the Virgin Mary. In a more "scientific" way, Mary's ova, which only had half the chromosones needed for a new human life, was "made complete," through the power of the Holy Ghost, and at that moment, Jesus was conceived. If you believe that Mary was "just a vessel," then you are basically saying that Jesus wasn't a true member of God's Chosen People, because you need to be truly descended from a Jewish mother to be Jewish! The Messiah had to be born from the descendants of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, otherwise the Scripture passage that says "There shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse... and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him" (Isaiah 11), along with many other prophecies concerning the Messiah, would be lying.

In conclusion, if the Messiah needed to be truly descended from a Jewish mother to be Jewish, and this Jewish mother had the stain of original sin upon her (since she would be descended of Adam), then that stain would have to be passed on to Jesus. There's no escaping that if you believe He is true Man, and is descended of Abraham. The Father, in His great Wisdom and sense, knew what needed to be done in order for His Son to be born. That is why Mary had to preserved from original sin.

17 posted on 12/10/2004 6:28:27 AM PST by Pyro7480 (Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, sancta Dei Genitrix.... sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper...)
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To: pieces of time

I believe in praying to the Father THROUGH the Son, Jesus. He is my mediator and intercessor. He needs NO help from anyone as ALL power in heaven and earth are His. He and He alone is my ever present help in time of trouble. As I stated, nowhere in scripture do I see examples of anyone praying to the Father through anyone but Christ. If I have overlooked someone, please, by all means, point them out to me. I am always willing to study scripture with the Holy Spirit as my interpretor.


18 posted on 12/10/2004 6:47:12 AM PST by PleaseNoMore
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To: Pyro7480

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23)


As a Southern Baptist, I believe this also pertains to Mary, but I would like to know how Catholics explain it. I am truely not flaming here, just curious.


19 posted on 12/10/2004 6:48:39 AM PST by Sybeck1 ("gun control is when you hit what you shoot at")
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To: pieces of time

I pray to the Father THROUGH Christ, my mediator and intercessor. I see no scriptural basis or examples for asking the dead to interceed on our behalf. If you know of any, please lay it out here and I will study it with the Holy Spirit being my interpretor.


20 posted on 12/10/2004 6:49:19 AM PST by PleaseNoMore
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To: Sybeck1
See my post #17 above, and this thread: Catholic Encyclopedia: Immaculate Conception (The Doctrine and Its Roots)
21 posted on 12/10/2004 6:51:23 AM PST by Pyro7480 (Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, sancta Dei Genitrix.... sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper...)
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To: Pyro7480

I believe that Mary was "just a vessel" and I believe that Jesus was one of God's Chosen people.


22 posted on 12/10/2004 6:51:47 AM PST by PleaseNoMore
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To: PleaseNoMore

My apologies for the double posting. The original reply didn't show up even with numerous refreshes of my browser.


23 posted on 12/10/2004 6:52:29 AM PST by PleaseNoMore
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To: PleaseNoMore

Well, given what I just argued, your statement doesn't make sense.


24 posted on 12/10/2004 6:55:41 AM PST by Pyro7480 (Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, sancta Dei Genitrix.... sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper...)
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To: pieces of time

My mother always told me that I should pray through Mary, because a good Son always listens to His mother.


25 posted on 12/10/2004 6:59:05 AM PST by Hoodlum91
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To: All

I'm Glad You Asked
Questions from the parishioners of
St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church
Picayune, Mississippi







MARY
Many non-Catholic Christians do not understand what Catholics believe about Mary and why. As a result, Catholic Marian beliefs have become a focal point in questions about the Catholic Church. If it can be shown that even one Marian belief is not true, then the Catholic claim of infallible teaching is wrong.

Q. My friends want to know and don't understand why we worship Mary and place her as high as God.
Q. Do Catholics worship Mary above Jesus?
Q. Do Catholics worship Mary?

To non-Catholics, the honor shown to Mary appears to be nothing other than the worship of Mary. This would place Mary on a level with God and be a violation of the First Commandment. Some non-Catholics have even gone so far as to coin the word "Mariolotry" for the Catholic devotion given to Mary. In fact, Catholic worship is reserved only for God. The Catholic Church even has special words for all this: latria is the worship offered and due to God alone, and dulia is the veneration given to the saints, including Mary [although hyperdulia (more than dulia, but far less than latria) is the term applied to the honor given to Mary]. The words "latria," "dulia" and "hyperdulia" can be confusing to the layperson however, even though they come from the New Testament Greek, because we don't commonly use them (and they can appear to be nothing but smoke-and-mirrors to the non-Catholic who has never heard of them before).

The first question puts this whole area of discussion in perspective. Protestants, in their worship services, offer songs and praise and prayer to God; this is their highest form of worship. Since they don't have a priesthood, they have nothing else they can offer. Catholics on the other hand, offer the Sacrifice of the Mass to God. Our offering of sacrifice is made only to God and is our form of worship. This allows us to give lesser things such as songs and praise and prayer to those who can pray in our behalf before God: the saints and especially the Blessed Virgin Mary. When the Protestants see us offering what is their highest form of worship to someone other than God, it appears to them that we are worshiping someone other than God.

Why all this special attention given to Mary? Because she is Jesus' mother, the person who gave Him all His genetically human characteristics. Normally, a person gets their genetic characteristics from both the father and the mother but in the case of Jesus there was no human father to provide the genes which would be combined with Mary's. Mary is honored because God honored her by choosing her to be the mother of Jesus. All Catholic doctrines concerning Mary are related to and emerge from our understanding of her Son. Mary has no significance apart from Jesus. Mary says in Holy Scripture "from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed" (Luke 1:48 KJV).

Finally, let's look at Mary from Jesus' perspective. Jesus was a Hebrew; a perfect Hebrew who kept all the feasts, worshiped in the Temple, and most importantly, kept the commandments. This would have included the commandment to "honor thy father and thy mother" (Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16). In Hebrew, the word "honor" means "glorify." Jesus would have glorified not only His Father, but as the perfect Hebrew, He would have honored His mother as well. When a Catholic gives honor to Mary, they are imitating Jesus. After all, Holy Scripture tells us:


"Be imitators of God" (Ephesians 5:1, NIV)
"You became imitators of us and of the Lord" (1 Thessalonians 1:6, NIV).

Recommended reading:
Catechism of the Catholic Church, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1994, paragraphs 971, 2096-2097, 2683-2684
Keating, Karl, Catholicism and Fundamentalism, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, CA, 1988, pages 280-281
Schreck, Alan, Catholic and Christian, Servant Books, Ann Arbor, MI, 1984, pages 163-189
Currie, David B., Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, CA, 1996, pages 155-177
Roberts, Fr. Kenneth J., Up On The Mountain, Paraclete Press, Orleans MA, 1992, pages 69-97
Rumble, Rev. Dr. Leslie & Carty, Rev. Charles Mortimer, Radio Replies, Second Volume, TAN Books & Publishers, Rockford, IL 61105, 1979, paragraphs 668-674




Q. Why do Catholics have to have Mary to intercede for us when we pray?

Catholics do not "have to have" Mary intercede for us. We can, and do, pray directly to God. However, we also recognize that having someone provide intercessory prayer for us is very beneficial. Few people feel uncomfortable about asking their friend or neighbor to pray for them, especially in time of need; after all, two prayers are better than one. Mary is, and always will be, the mother of Jesus. As a mother, she has certain rights and privileges and this is why we ask her to intercede for us. Every prayer addressed to Mary is in reality a prayer asking a favor from God.

Recommended reading:
Catechism of the Catholic Church, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1994, paragraphs 969, 975
Rumble, Rev. Dr. Leslie & Carty, Rev. Charles Mortimer, Radio Replies, First Volume, TAN Books & Publishers, Rockford, IL 61105, 1979, paragraphs 1408-1416
Rumble, Rev. Dr. Leslie & Carty, Rev. Charles Mortimer, Radio Replies, Third Volume, TAN Books & Publishers, Rockford, IL 61105, 1979, paragraphs 1321-1328




Q. Why call Mary the Mother of God?

Because that is who she is. The title "Mother of God" was first formally applied to Mary by the Church at the Council of Ephesus in A.D. 431. This council was the 3rd ecumenical council of the Church. An ecumenical council is a general meeting of all the bishops of the Church whose (the council's) works are approved by a pope. The Council of Ephesus was called to answer the heresy of Nestorianism (which denied that Jesus was a person who was both fully divine and fully human), and the heresy of Pelagianism (which held that man could earn his own salvation through his natural powers). Pope Celestine I approved the works of this council.

The New Testament documents the fulfillment of the Old Testament. In this regard, Abraham is called the father of all believers because he is the first to have unconditionally said "yes" to God throughout his life and willingly offered his son as sacrifice. Likewise, Mary is called the mother of all believers because she is the first to have unconditionally said "yes" to God and bore Him the Son who was sacrificed for us all. God chose Mary to be the mother of His Son (Luke 1:31-32). Without the assent of this human woman, the birth of Jesus would not have taken place. Jesus has God as His father and Mary as His mother. Because she is Jesus' mother, the one who gave birth to Him, and because Jesus is God (one person both fully human and fully divine), Mary is called the "Mother of God."

All of this said, the title "Mother of God" is not without Biblical basis. In Holy Scripture it is recorded that Elizabeth says to Mary:


"But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" (Luke 1:43, NIV).
"Lord" was a common name for God among the Old Testament Jews and the Jews of Jesus' time. For example, Jesus in Matthew 4:7 says "Do not put the Lord your God to the test" (NIV), and in Luke 1:6 it is said of Zechariah and Elizabeth "Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations blamelessly" (NIV). In fact, every ocurrence of "Lord" in Luke 1 is a direct reference to God. Elizabeth is actually addressing Mary as the "Mother of my God."

Many people today are disturbed by the title "Mother of God" although they have no problem with the title "Mother of Jesus." They then portray Mary as giving birth only to the human nature of Jesus. The problem with this approach is that Jesus is a person who possesses concurrently both human and divine natures. To ascribe only one nature would be a return to the Nestorian heresy. Mary gave birth to a person who was not a schizophrenic, sometimes human and sometimes divine, but fully human and divine at the same time. The natures cannot be separated. Mary gave birth to the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity who is God.

Recommended reading:
Catechism of the Catholic Church, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1994, paragraphs 466, 495, 2677
Mateo, Father, Refuting The Attack On Mary; A Defense of Marian Doctrines, Catholic Answers, San Diego, CA 92177, undated
Fox, Father Robert J., Protestant Fundamentalism and the Born Again Catholic, Fatima Family Apostolate, Alexandria, SD 57311, 1991, pages 157-187




Q. How do you know that Mary is not Satan's helper to get people away from God?

It is assumed that the person asking this question is not questioning Mary's role in bringing Jesus into being on earth, but instead is questioning the reported Marian apparitions since that time. The best way to resolve this question is to look at the test which Jesus Himself gave us. In Holy Scripture Jesus says:


"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits" (Matthew 7:15-16, KJV).
Likewise, St. John tells us:


"Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Whereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God" (1 John 4:1-2, KJV).
All the approved Marian apparitions have the common themes of amend your life, pray, make reparation for your sins, turn to Jesus for consolation. These are all good fruits and are from God.

All this said, no Catholic is required to believe any of the Marian apparitions. The Church has approved only a few of the reported apparitions of Mary such as those at Fatima in Portugal, Lourdes in France, Beauraing in Belgium, Akita in Japan, and Betania in Venezuela. Catholics are obligated as an article of faith to accept all public (or general) revelation. All public revelation ceased with the death of the last Apostle. All the Marian apparitions are private revelations and as such are binding only on the recipients. Approval simply means that the apparition does not teach things contrary to public revelation and is therefore worthy of belief.

Recommended reading:
Keating, Karl, What Catholics Really Believe -- Setting The Record Straight, Servant Publications, Ann Arbor, MI 48107, 1992, pages 72-76




Q. How can a virgin become a mother?

This is one of the mysteries of our faith. Even Mary and Joseph wondered how this could be:


"‘How will this be,' Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?'" (Luke 1:34, NIV)
"Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly." (Matthew 1:19, NIV)

This is called a "mystery" because we cannot fully explain it. We know from Holy Scripture that the Holy Spirit came upon Mary and the power of the Most High overcame her (Luke 1:35). This is how Jesus was conceived rather than through the normal manner of sexual intercourse. The exact biology of what happened is unexplainable except as a miraculous intervention by God.

Mary's virgin birth is foretold in Genesis 3:15:


"I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed, it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel" (KJV).
Note that this is the only place in the Bible, and in fact in any of the writings of that time where "seed" (the Greek word is spermatas) is attributed to a woman. In all other places "seed" is considered to be a characteristic of the man. The virgin birth is also foretold in Isaiah 7:14:


"Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call his name Immanuel" (KJV).


Q. Why believe Mary was forever virgin and sinless?

Both these beliefs have been held by the Church since the earliest times. In the case of Mary's perpetual virginity, this belief is based on Holy Scripture:


"How can this be since I know not man?" (Luke 1:34, KJV).
Mary is not asking for instructions in sexual reproduction, she no doubt has a good idea of how babies are made. She is, at this point in her life, married to Joseph although they do not yet live together. The Scriptures tell us that the angel said "you will be with child" (Luke 1:31), not "you are with child." The angel is talking about a future event and the normal result of sexual relations in marriage after she and Joseph lived together would have been a child. Mary's statement in Luke 1:34 makes no sense unless there is a vow of lifelong virginity involved, even in marriage.

The Ark of the Covenant in the Old Testament contained the word of God (the tablets containing the commandments). Likewise, Mary's womb was the Ark of the New Covenant which was used to hold the Incarnate Word of God.

Now let's look at the issue of Mary's sinless nature. Consider that when the angel addresses Mary at the annunciation, the greeting is almost a name change:


"Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women" (Luke 1:28, KJV).
Mary (Miriam in Hebrew) means "beloved." In biblical times a person's name reflected what they were. Name changes have great theological significance in the Bible and this is almost as if her name is being changed from "beloved" to "thou that art highly favored." Since this is before Jesus has been conceived, to what is the angel referring? No doubt to her singular devotion to God, forsaking all earthly distractions and desecrations, and the fact that she had been conceived without sin in preparation for this event.

Being conceived without sin does not mean that Mary had no need of a redeemer. In fact, like every descendant of Adam, Mary had vital need of a redeemer. Mary's freedom from original sin was an unmerited gift of God in that she was redeemed by Christ at the moment of her conception. It is at the moment of conception that God creates the soul and hers was created in a state of sanctifying grace. If you had the opportunity to create your mother, wouldn't you make her perfect in every way? This is why there are the doctrines of the perpetual virginity and immaculate conception of Mary.

Jesus refers to Mary's sinless nature when He addresses her as "woman" in John 2:4 and 19:26. Today, one looks at Him addressing her in this manner and thinks this is disrespectful or that He is admonishing her. In fact, Mary was not the first sinless woman, Adam's wife was also created sinless. When she was first created, Adam named her "woman" (Genesis 2:23). It was after the fall, when she was no longer sinless, that her name was changed to "Eve" (Genesis 3:20). By referring to Mary as "woman," Jesus is recognizing her sinless nature. Like I said earlier, name changes in Holy Scripture are important.

Recommended reading:
Catechism of the Catholic Church, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1994, paragraphs 411, 496-507, 510
Ott, Dr. Ludwig, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, TAN Books and Publishers, Rockford, IL 61105, 1974, pages 199-207
Keating, Karl, Catholicism and Fundamentalism, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, CA, 1988, pages 268-272, 282-289
Currie, David B., Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, CA, 1996, pages 155-177


26 posted on 12/10/2004 7:03:28 AM PST by No_Outcome_But_Victory (Please pray for Ann, my pregnant wife. (High risk pregnancy.))
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To: Pyro7480

Because of your dogma, to you, probobly not. To me it does.


27 posted on 12/10/2004 7:03:37 AM PST by PleaseNoMore
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To: PleaseNoMore
I pray to the Father THROUGH Christ, my mediator and intercessor. I see no scriptural basis or examples for asking the dead to interceed on our behalf. If you know of any, please lay it out here and I will study it with the Holy Spirit being my interpretor.

That's part of the problem, since the Protestant Bible cut out the deuterocanonical books which have Scriptural passages which Catholics refer to in these teachings.

28 posted on 12/10/2004 7:03:58 AM PST by Pyro7480 (Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, sancta Dei Genitrix.... sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper...)
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To: Salvation

"**Part of the problem, I came to realize, was that Evangelical fears about Mary are visceral and not entirely theological. Indeed, much of the conflict between Catholics and Evangelicals is cultural, not theological. Evangelical culture (whether you're a man or a woman) is overwhelmingly masculine, while Catholic culture (again, whether you're a man or a woman) is powerfully feminine. And the two groups often mistake their cultural differences for theological ones.**

I have never thought about these differences in this manner before. Wow! Makes sense!"

I couldn't agree more. It hit me in "The Passion of the Christ" While I was horrified and moved by the torture of Jesus, it was Mary I really felt for, having to watch her son, the son of God and Man, go through that. It is always harder to watch someone you love get hurt than to endure it yourself.

Also, I noticed that all the characters that offered comfort to Jesus were women. The men were the torturers and betrayers (Judas, John). As someone still trying to find my spiritual path, I am quite disturbed at the misogynist teachings of most protestant sects. I have issues with catholic doctrine too, so I guess I just will continue on my own...


29 posted on 12/10/2004 7:05:52 AM PST by Hoodlum91
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To: No_Outcome_But_Victory

She isn't my mother. I respect her for her place in biblical history but do not revere her any more than I revere Abraham, David, Isaiah, Peter, Paul, John etc.


30 posted on 12/10/2004 7:06:24 AM PST by PleaseNoMore
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To: Salvation; xsmommy
The Church is repeating, in effect, that the God who loves the world does not will that our fate be the oven, the mass grave, the abortuary, the anonymity of the factory, the brothel, the cubicle, or the street

Check this out. Rather similar, but put together much better than what I was saying.

31 posted on 12/10/2004 7:11:35 AM PST by NeoCaveman (Harry Reid is an embarrasment to the Senate)
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To: PleaseNoMore; Hoodlum91

#30 meant for Hoodlum?


32 posted on 12/10/2004 7:13:01 AM PST by No_Outcome_But_Victory (Please pray for Ann, my pregnant wife. (High risk pregnancy.))
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Comment #33 Removed by Moderator

To: PleaseNoMore
Behold, Thy Mother!
34 posted on 12/10/2004 7:14:37 AM PST by Pyro7480 (Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, sancta Dei Genitrix.... sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper...)
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Comment #35 Removed by Moderator

To: ScottM1968

Huh? Can you read? How is 'All' herself?


36 posted on 12/10/2004 7:17:02 AM PST by Jaded ((Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society. - Mark Twain))
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To: Pyro7480

Nowhere did Jesus say that Mary was the mother of all Christians. Nowhere.


37 posted on 12/10/2004 7:20:07 AM PST by PleaseNoMore
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To: Sybeck1
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23)
As a Southern Baptist, I believe this also pertains to Mary, but I would like to know how Catholics explain it. I am truely not flaming here, just curious.

Good question. I don't have the definitive answer but here are a few possibilities:

Does the "all" mean every single person (as I assume you interpret it) or does it mean all as in no group is exempt. An example of this is too say the "all" could mean no group is excluded (Gentiles, Jews, young, old, men, women, etc.) Of course I am no Greek scholar.

Another is that Mary may have no longer been with us at the time this was preached. OR. If his audience knew her to be sinless there would be no reason to go back and restate it. It would just be assumed that there was no contridiction.

Again, this is all speculation on my part.

38 posted on 12/10/2004 7:28:13 AM PST by NeoCaveman (Harry Reid is an embarrasment to the Senate)
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To: Sybeck1
Upon further review of Romans 3:20-23, and really the whole chapter, it seems to me Paul is saying that all have sinned meaning that Jews along with Gentile are not exempt from being sinners. As the context is about salvation by Christ's sactrifice not by keeping the Jewish law.

But that's just my take.

39 posted on 12/10/2004 7:36:49 AM PST by NeoCaveman (Harry Reid is an embarrasment to the Senate)
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To: Sybeck1
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23) As a Southern Baptist, I believe this also pertains to Mary, but I would like to know how Catholics explain it. I am truely not flaming here, just curious.

I am an Episcopalian and former Regular Baptist who is converting to Catholicism. My Baptist pastor once pointed out that "all" cannot necessarily mean "all men inclusive, period", since that would include Jesus. There are exceptions to the word all in Scripture. Catholic theology simply states that Mary was preserved from the Original Sin of Adam, in God's foreknowledge that she would carry the Son of God within her members. This is a singular event, for the Incarnation.

40 posted on 12/10/2004 7:41:07 AM PST by No_Outcome_But_Victory (Please pray for Ann, my pregnant wife. (High risk pregnancy.))
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To: PleaseNoMore

Now your getting into some deep Theology. In my belief of the Trinity I don't look at Christ as a mediator or intercessor. Rather as Savior and Truth, God the Son. I pray to God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.


41 posted on 12/10/2004 7:44:32 AM PST by pieces of time
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To: dubyaismypresident

From the Bible Anser Man, heard across the nation on many stations at 6 PM eastern:

Statement: CP0807

THE MARY OF ROMAN CATHOLICISM



Both Catholics and Protestants recognize Mary as the mother of Jesus Christ. However, beyond this, their views are vastly divergent. Just how different are they?

Of the many issues which divide Catholics and Protestants, the question of Mary’s status within the church is definitely one of the most prominent ones. In fact, the beginning of the problem can be traced all the way back to the Council of Chalcedon, which took place in 451 A.D. Here, Mary was officially given the title Theotokos (which means “God-bearer” or “mother of God”). Well, this designation was meant to underscore the fact that Jesus is God in the flesh — one person who possessed two distinct natures, rather than two persons who were somehow joined together. Unfortunately, the title paved the way for extreme Marian devotees to filter into the church.

In confessing Mary to be “the mother of God,” we simply mean that it was within Mary’s womb that the eternal Son became united to a human nature and entered the world as theantropos, the God-man. Mary was truly Jesus’ mother, but let’s make an important distinction here — she was Christ’s mother with respect to His humanity and not His deity. We affirm with Catholics that Mary was indeed “blessed among women” (Luke 1:28). After all, God chose her to give birth to the Messiah. But we firmly disagree with those Catholics who hold that Mary deserves to be exalted or venerated because of her unique relationship with Christ. Jesus Himself, in several instances, down played His physical relationship with His mother while at the same time emphasizing His spiritual relationship with all believers (Matt. 12:46-50; Luke 11:27-28).

Unfortunately, the exalted position that Mary holds in the Catholic church has given rise to several unwarranted doctrines. One of them is that Mary remained a virgin throughout her lifetime (cf. Matt. 1:25; 13:55-56). Another is that she herself was conceived without sin (cf. Rom. 3:23); and also that she was assumed or taken up to heaven either before she died or shortly thereafter. It’s important to note that this is a far cry from the Mary of the Bible — a Mary who saw herself simply as God’s humble servant (Luke 1:38, 48), a sinner who (like you and I) was also in need of a savior (Luke 1:47). These are important issues, and we simply can’t just afford to ignore them.

On the Mary of Roman Catholicism, that’s the CRI Perspective. I’m Hank Hanegraaff


42 posted on 12/10/2004 7:48:26 AM PST by Sybeck1 ("gun control is when you hit what you shoot at")
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To: Hoodlum91

(smile) I got the same thing.


43 posted on 12/10/2004 7:53:22 AM PST by pieces of time
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To: pieces of time
Absolutely NOT true. Be sure to read all the way through. It isn't a complicated piece. It is very self explanatory.

The following list of quotes and prayers to Mary can all be found in the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary (LOOTBVM), 1988 ed., compiled and edited by John E. Rostelle, O.S.A. These will help reinforce the overall present-day picture Catholicism projects about Mary, which is also found in other Catholic sources. (This book carries the Nihil Obstat and the Imprimatur.)

Virgin of virgins,
I choose you today
as my sovereign, my queen, my empress,
and I declare myself, as I am in fact,
your servant and your slave.
I invoke your royal name of Mary,
that is, sovereign Lady,
and beg of you with all my heart
to admit me into the privileged circle
of your family
as one of your servants,
to do your will as a humble slave and loving child.

... During my whole life
rule over me
as your servant and slave. At the hour of my death,
as I hope for
at the end of my loving servitude
among the privileged members of your family,
receive my soul
and escort it
into the presence of God (pp. 106-108).

Apparently, from the above, there are some Catholics who have given themselves to their sovereign, Mary, to be her slave. The same also wrongly think they are Mary’s child and shockingly want Mary to receive their souls at the hour of their death:

Holy Mary,
my Queen and sovereign Lady,
I give you myself,
trusting in your fidelity and your protection.
I surrender myself entirely
to your motherly tenderness,
my body, my soul,
all that I am, all that I possess,
for the whole of this day,
for every moment of my life,
and especially at the hour of my death.

I entrust to you once more
all my hopes, all my consolations,
all my anxieties, all my troubles,
my life, my dying breath,
so that by your prayers and merits,
I may have, in all I do, one only goal,
your good pleasure and the holy will of your Son (pp. 126, 127).

Praise to Mary, Heaven’s Gate,
Guiding Star of Christians’ way,
Mother of our Lord and King,
Light and hope to souls astray (p. 134)

As Christians look to God, Catholics look to Mary:

My Lady,
my refuge, life, and help,
my armor and my boast,
my hope and my strength,
grant that I may enjoy
the ineffable, inconceivable gifts of your Son,
your God and our God,
in the heavenly kingdom.
For I know surely
that you have power to do as you will ... (p. 135).

Memorare

Remember, most loving Virgin Mary,
never was it heard
that anyone who turned to you for help
was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence,
though burdened by my sins,
I run to your protection
for you are my mother.

Mother of the Word of God,
do not despise my words of pleading
but be merciful and hear my prayer.
Amen (pp. 186,187).
As Catholics would pray to Mary and ask her to be merciful and hear my prayer, the Bible shows that King David prayed to God the same exact words:

Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer (Ps. 4:1).

Under the section of Prayers To The Blessed Virgin Mary in LOOTBVM various ones are cited:

Ancient Prayer to the Virgin

We turn to you for protection,
holy Mother of God.
Listen to our prayers and help us in our needs.
Save us from every danger, glorious and blessed Virgin (p. 186).
Again, Mary is prayed to and trusted in for protection and help instead of God, as the Bible teaches.

Again, we read the same in the following prayer to Mary:

Mary, Help to Those in Need

Mary is prayed to and trusted in for more than just protection and help, as shown in the following prayer:

Holy Mary,
help those in need,
give strength to the weak,
comfort the sorrowful,
pray for God’s people,
assist the clergy,
intercede for religious.
May all who seek your help experience your unfailing protection.
Amen (p. 187).

Prayer To Mary

Next we have, in part, the Prayer to Mary which was composed by Pope John Paul II for the Marian year.

... Sustain us, O Virgin Mary, on our journey of faith and obtain for us the grace of eternal salvation. O clement, O loving, O sweet Mother of God and our Mother Mary (p. 188).

So, according to the supreme teacher in Catholicism, we should pray to Mary to receive what we need for eternal salvation (grace).

Here are some actual prayers from real people on an internet message board:

Mother, you have been with me till now. Be there with me and unite me and prem to marriage. Mother, bless us to become one.

Submitted by: Shilpa D.
Posted: 2004-12-10

Dear Blessed Mother, thank you so much for the good news today about my health. I still need your help. Please pray for our financial situation. Send us the money so after almost two years I will see my children and my father who has cancer. I have been away from my country and my family for so long now that I really suffer. Thanks.

Submitted by: c
Posted: 2004-12-09

Please Mother Mary, help my son with the right job. He is so desperate. Everying is possibe to you through your precious son, Jesus. My son is so desperate. As a loving mother you know haw hard it is to bear when a son is desperate. Please I beg you help him. I do not know where to go. Thank you.

Submitted by: CG
Posted: 2004-12-03

“JESUS & MARY, I THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR HELP ESPECIALLY FOR HELP WITH MY FINANCES. I PRAISE YOU & THANK YOU!!!!!!!!”

Submitted by: R.A.H.
Posted: 2004-11-28

“I ask the Blessed Mother to heal my family, all of us, to pray for us to keep us safe and a special blessing for Adara and her pain and struggles as she faces life as a teenager.”

Submitted by: Lucille
Posted: 2004-11-15

Please Mother Mary, help my son with the right job. He is so desperate. Everying is possibe to you through your precious son, Jesus. My son is so desperate. As a loving mother you know haw hard it is to bear when a son is desperate. Please I beg you help him. I do not know where to go. Thank you.

Submitted by: CG
Posted: 2004-12-03
Submitted and prayed by Priests:

O Virgin Mother,
In the depths of your heart you pondered the Life of the son you brought into the world. Give us your vision of Jesus and ask the Father to open our hearts, that we may always see his presence in our lives, and in the power of the Holy Spirit, bring us into the joy and peace of the kingdom, where Jesus is Lord forever and ever. Amen

--Fr. Rob Jack, June 10, 1998

Most Holy and Immaculate Virgin, Help of the Christians, we place ourselves under your motherly protection. Throughout the Church's history you have helped Christians in times of trial, temptation and danger. Time and time again, you have proven to be the Refuge of sinners, the Hope of the hopeless, the Consoler of the afflicted, and the Comforter of the Dying. We promise to be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ, your Son, to proclaim His Good News of God's love for all people, and to work for peace and justice in our world. With faith in your intercession, we pray for the Church, for our family and friends, for the poor and abandoned, and all the dying. Grant, O Mary, Help of Christians, the graces of which we stand in need. (Mention your intentions.) May we serve Jesus with fidelity and love until death. Help us and our loved ones to attain the boundless joy of being forever with our Father in heaven. Amen.

Mary, Help of Christians, pray for us!

Discalced Carmelite Friars
Holy Hill, Hubertus, WI 53033

That last one is a doozy. Notice that the things this man asks Mary to do are the very same things that the word of God tells us Jesus can and will do.

44 posted on 12/10/2004 7:59:04 AM PST by PleaseNoMore
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To: PleaseNoMore

If you believe in Mary's intercession (which you obviously do not), then all of those titles make sense.


45 posted on 12/10/2004 8:03:49 AM PST by Pyro7480 (Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, sancta Dei Genitrix.... sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper...)
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To: Pyro7480

So, you ascibe to Mary the very attributes and abilities of Christ?


46 posted on 12/10/2004 8:05:29 AM PST by PleaseNoMore
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To: PleaseNoMore

No, but her prayer is so effacious that she is able to obtain all these things from her Son, Jesus Christ.


47 posted on 12/10/2004 8:08:14 AM PST by Pyro7480 (Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, sancta Dei Genitrix.... sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper...)
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To: Pyro7480

So, her Son pays more attention to her prayers than He does those of others? I thought that He was not a respector of persons. Either He is or He isn't. There is no room for a "he isn't...but..." reply. Jesus is either what He says He is or not. He is either sovereign or not.


48 posted on 12/10/2004 8:15:02 AM PST by PleaseNoMore
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To: PleaseNoMore

How is Jesus "not sovereign" because He respects His Mother above others? I don't know if you got the "memo," but heaven is not a democracy. There is a definite hierarchy. God is at the top, then the faithful departed, then the angels.


49 posted on 12/10/2004 8:23:59 AM PST by Pyro7480 (Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, sancta Dei Genitrix.... sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper...)
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To: PleaseNoMore
**Nowhere did Jesus say that Mary was the mother of all Christians. Nowhere.**

Absolutely he did through the beloved disciple John!

25
10 Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala.
26
When Jesus saw his mother 11 and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son."
27
Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

And the accompanying Biblical footnote:

11 [26-27] This scene has been interpreted literally, of Jesus' concern for his mother; and symbolically, e.g., in the light of the Cana story in John 2 (the presence of the mother of Jesus, the address woman, and the mention of the hour) and of the upper room in John 13 (the presence of the beloved disciple; the hour). Now that the hour has come (John 19:28), Mary (a symbol of the church?) is given a role as the mother of Christians (personified by the beloved disciple); or, as a representative of those seeking salvation, she is supported by the disciple who interprets Jesus' revelation; or Jewish and Gentile Christianity (or Israel and the Christian community) are reconciled.

50 posted on 12/10/2004 8:27:09 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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