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Catholics, Protestants, and Immaculate Mary
The Catholic Thing ^ | December 8, 2012 | David G. Bonagura, Jr.

Posted on 12/08/2012 2:24:39 PM PST by NYer

Do Catholics worship Mary? This question is as old as the Protestant Reformation itself, and it rests, like other disputed doctrinal points, on a false premise that has been turned into a wedge: the veneration of Mary detracts from the worship of Christ.

This seeming opposition between Mary and Christ is symptomatic of the Protestant tendency, begun by Luther, to view the entirety of Christian life through a dialectical lens – a lens of conflict and division. With the Reformation the integrity of Christianity is broken and its formerly coherent elements are now set in opposition. The Gospel versus the Law. Faith versus Works. Scripture versus Tradition. Authority versus Individuality. Faith versus Reason. Christ versus Mary.

The Catholic tradition rightly sees the mutual complementarity of these elements of the faith, as they all contribute to our ultimate end – living with God now and in eternity. To choose any one of these is to choose them all.

By contrast, to assert that Catholics worship Mary along with or in place of Christ, or that praying to Mary somehow impedes Christ’s role as “the one mediator between God and men” (1 Tim 2:5) is to create a false dichotomy between the Word made flesh and the woman who gave the Word his flesh. No such opposition exists. The one Mediator entrusted his mediation to the will and womb of Mary. She does not impede his mediation – she helps to make it possible.

Within this context we see the ancillary role that the ancilla Domini plays in her divine Son’s mission. Mary’s is not a surrogate womb rented and then forgotten in God’s plan. She is physically connected to Christ and his life, and because of this she is even more deeply connected to him in the order of grace. She is, in fact, “full of grace,” as only one who is redeemed by Christ could be.

The feast of Mary’s Immaculate Conception celebrates the very first act of salvation by Christ in the world. Redemption is made possible for all by his precious blood shed on the cross. Yet Mary’s role in the Savior’s life and mission is so critical and so unique that God saw it necessary to wash her in the blood of the Lamb in advance, at the first moment of her conception.

Called (from the series Woman) ©2006 Bruce Herman
  [oil on wood, 65 x 48”; collection of Bjorn and Barbara Iwarsson] For more information visit http://bruceherman.com

This reality could not be more Biblical: the angel greets Mary as “full of grace” (Luke 1:28), which is literally rendered as “already graced” (kecharitōmenē). Following Mary, the Church has “pondered what sort of greeting this might be” for centuries. The dogma of the Immaculate Conception, ultimately defined in 1854, is nothing other than a rational expression of the angel’s greeting contained in Scripture: Mary is “already graced” with Christ’s redemption at the very moment of her creation.

Because God called Mary to the unique vocation of serving as the Mother of God, it is not just her soul that is graced, as is the case for us when we receive the sacraments. Mary’s entire being, body and soul, is full of grace so that she may be a worthy ark for the New Covenant. And just as the ark of the old covenant was adorned with gold to be a worthy house for God’s word, Mary is conceived without original sin to be the living and holy house for God’s Word.

Thus Mary is not only conceived immaculately, that is, without stain of sin. She also is the Immaculate Conception. Her entire being was specifically created by God with unique privilege so that she could fulfill her role in God’s plan of salvation. “Free from sin,” both original and personal, is the necessary consequence of being “full of grace.”

Protestants claim that veneration of Mary as it is practiced by Catholics is not biblical. St. Paul encouraged the Corinthians to “be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Cor 11:1). Paul is not holding himself up as the end goal, but as a means to Christ, the true end. And if a person is imitated, he is simultaneously venerated.

If we should imitate Paul, how much more should we imitate Mary, who fulfilled God’s will to the greatest degree a human being could. Throughout her life she humbled herself so that God could be exalted, and because of this, Christ has fulfilled his promise by exalting his lowly mother to the seat closest to him in God’s kingdom.

Mary is the model of humility, charity, and openness to the will of God. She allows a sword to pierce her heart for the sake of the world’s salvation. She shows us the greatness to which we are called: a life free from sin and filled with God’s grace that leads to union with God in Heaven. She is the model disciple, and therefore worthy of imitation and veneration, not as an end in herself, but as the means to the very purpose of her – and our – existence: Christ himself.

God’s lowly handmaiden would not want it any other way.


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; History; Theology
KEYWORDS: mary
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David G. Bonagura, Jr. is an adjunct professor of theology at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, Huntington, New York
1 posted on 12/08/2012 2:24:43 PM PST by NYer
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To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; SumProVita; ...

Catholic ping!


2 posted on 12/08/2012 2:25:35 PM PST by NYer ("Before I formed you in the womb I knew you." --Jeremiah 1:5)
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To: NYer
With the Reformation the integrity of Christianity is broken

Very true; and faith itself is gone. The Protestant faith is feeble coasting on the magnificent Catholic faith while complaining bitterly about it.

3 posted on 12/08/2012 2:34:38 PM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: NYer
Catholics, Protestants and Immaculate Mary
Why Catholics Believe in the Immaculate Conception
IMMACULATE CONCEPTION NOVENA [Prayer]
Essays for Lent: The Immaculate Conception
"I Am The Immaculate Conception"
The Corona of the Immaculate Conception [Catholic Caucus]
Catholic Caucus: Immaculate Conception Novena Prayer Thread
New chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Lebanon at National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Feast of the The Conception by St. Anna of the Most Holy Theotokos December 9th
On the Immaculate Conception
Immaculate Mary: "Trust Jesus, he will save you" (Catholic Caucus)
I Love that Woman! My Unworthy Reflections on The Immaculate Conception

LAND OF MARY IMMACULATE [Ecumenical]
Mary as the New Eve - St. Irenaeus
Mary - the Immaculate Ark of the New Covenant [Catholic Caucus]
THE LIFE OF BLESSED JOHN DUNS SCOTUS, Defender of the Immaculate Conception [Catholic Caucus]
An Unfathomable Marian Richness [Catholic Caucus]
Catholic Biblical Apologetics: The Immaculate Conception of Mary
History of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception - December 8 [Catholic Caucus]
Preserved Sinless from the Moment of Humanity (Dogma of the Immaculate Conception) [Catholic Caucus]
I Love that Woman! My Unworthy Reflections on The Immaculate Conception [Catholic Caucus]
Father Marquette's Devotion to the Immaculate Conception (Catholic Caucus)

St. John Neumann and the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception (Catholic Caucus)
Our Jewish Roots: The Immaculate Conception [Ecumenical]
And It Was Night. The Real Story of Original Sin [Ecumenical]
I Love that Woman! My Unworthy Reflections on The Immaculate Conception
Mary Immaculate: Patroness of the United States [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Catholic/Orthodox Caucus: The Immaculate Conception: A Marvelous Theme - Novena Starts Nov. 30
THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION - Satan's Mighty Foe(Catholic Caucus)
Ark of the new covenant
Historian reveals how Pius IX decided to proclaim dogma of Immaculate Conception (Catholic Caucus)
The Immaculate Vs. the Proud

Immaculate Conception Novena -- starts November 30th [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Blessed John Duns Scotus Champion Of Mary's Immaculate Conception (CATHOLIC CAUCUS)
The Crusade of Mary Immaculate - St. Maximilian Kolbe (Catholic Caucus)
The Early Church Fathers on the Immaculate Conception - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
Three Reasons the Church’s Enemies Hate The Immaculate Conception
Her saving grace - the origins of the Immaculate Conception
Mary Is a Model Who Works With Us and in Us
U.S. Catholic bishops to renew consecration of nation to Immaculate Conception
Catholic Meditation: To the Immaculate Conception on this Election Day
Saint Bernadette of Lourdes (Sermon from 1934)

My visit to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
On Solemnity of Immaculate Conception - "In Mary Shines the Eternal Goodness of the Creator"
The Belief of Catholics concerning the Blessed Virgin: the Second Eve
Pope makes pilgrimage to Mary statue in Rome, marking the feast of the Immaculate Conception
Pope: Mary the Immaculate Conception... (text of BXVI speech)
"Tota pulchra es, Maria, et macula originalis non est in te" (The Immaculate Conception)
The Immaculate Conception — Essential to the Faith
"Who Are You, Immaculate Conception?"
TURKEY Ephesus: The Feast of the Immaculate Conception at Mary’s House
Coming Dec 8th. Feast of the "Immaculate Conception"

Why the Immaculate Conception?
Catholic Encyclopedia: Immaculate Conception (The Doctrine and Its Roots)
The Immaculate Conception of Our Lady December 8
Mary's Immaculate Conception: A Memorable Anniversary
Ineffabilis Deus: 8 December 1854 (Dogma of the Immaculate Conception)
Why do we believe in the Immaculate Conception?
John Paul II goes to Lourdes; reflections on the Immaculate Conception
Your Praises We Sing--on the Dogma of the Proclamation of the Immaculate Conception, Dec. 8th
Eastern Christianity and the Immaculate Conception (Q&A From EWTN)
Memorandum on the Immaculate Conception [Newman]

4 posted on 12/08/2012 2:35:25 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: NYer
...the woman who gave the Word his flesh

(Sigh) Mary gave Jesus nothing that he didn't already have. He took it, without her consent.

There was no asking involved.

9 posted on 12/08/2012 3:41:23 PM PST by fwdude ( You cannot compromise with that which you must defeat.)
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To: fwdude

Huh?


10 posted on 12/08/2012 3:57:11 PM PST by johngrace (I am a 1 John 4! Christian- declared at every Sunday Mass , Divine Mercy and Rosary prayers!)
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To: fwdude

Mary got EVERYTHING from Jesus, good grief, did you forget that Jesus was God? The second person of the Holy Trinity?


11 posted on 12/08/2012 3:59:05 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: SVTCobra03

So Mary in a fictionous acount in heaven says things you do not even see yourself but from made up sources for a comic strip. You connect dots. How interesting. It is a belief. As beliefs go. Anyone can qoute scripture to their own purpose.


12 posted on 12/08/2012 4:15:21 PM PST by johngrace (I am a 1 John 4! Christian- declared at every Sunday Mass , Divine Mercy and Rosary prayers!)
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To: NYer

Catholics ask Mary to pray for them. IIRC the Bible tells us to pray to the saints. Surely Mary is a saint. I would love to know that Mary was praying for me. That does not mean that I would be worshipping her.


13 posted on 12/08/2012 4:17:14 PM PST by abclily
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To: abclily
Well, you don't know that specifically for each prayer; that is always the case that not every prayer is answered:

You ask, and receive not; because you ask amiss(James 4:3)

You do know, however, that all saints are seeing us and praying for us:

And therefore we also having so great a cloud of witnesses over our head, laying aside every weight and sin which surrounds us, let us run by patience to the fight proposed to us: Looking on Jesus, the author and finisher of faith, who having joy set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and now sitteth on the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

another angel came, and stood before the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given to him much incense, that he should offer of the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar, which is before the throne of God. And the smoke of the incense of the prayers of the saints ascended up before God from the hand of the angel. (Apocalypse/Revelation 8:3-4)


14 posted on 12/08/2012 4:44:53 PM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: fwdude
"He took it, without her consent"

And hence the popularity of contraception among non-Catholic women who are afraid that non-Catholic men will imitate Christ and take what they want without asking.

15 posted on 12/08/2012 5:26:04 PM PST by Rashputin (Jesus Christ doesn't evacuate His troops, He leads them to victory.)
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To: annalex

"I say, thats putting it rathah bluntly sir..."

16 posted on 12/08/2012 5:46:14 PM PST by Wyrd bi ful ard (Gone Galt, 11/07/12)
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To: Wyrd bið ful aræd

Bluntly is the only way to evangelize the arrogant.


17 posted on 12/08/2012 5:52:40 PM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: NYer

Bookmark. Thanks.


18 posted on 12/08/2012 6:23:25 PM PST by nralife (www.fireholder.com)
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To: NYer
Thank you so very much for this posting.
I shall send it around.

To step out a bit here, these are the types
of things which we need to give fellow Christians to
help them to become more faithful, more certain and more courageous in their faith.

As a Catholic Christian, I need to grow in my faith and conviction, before I can become a more effective speaker of God's Truth and help to change our culture.

I am working on that. I need to. I have not given enough attention to my duties in life, as I, like so many Americans, have grappled with the sudden financial reverses that have come to us as we have seemingly lost our way after Ronald Reagan's second term.

Frankly, I believe that if we do not change our culture, we will see more painful election results, as we saw this November.

Economic theories, without an underlying moral cultural component, will not cut it.

Sursum Corda

19 posted on 12/08/2012 6:44:07 PM PST by Sursum Corda (Sursum Corda)
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To: fwdude
(Sigh) Mary gave Jesus nothing that he didn't already have.

Do tell. Jesus had a human nature before the Incarnation? So, on Christmas, we're celebrating that nothing much really changed?

He took it, without her consent.

Sounds like a criminal offense to me. Is that really how you think God operates? Sounds like something out of some other religion that's in the news a lot.

20 posted on 12/08/2012 7:07:21 PM PST by Campion ("Social justice" begins in the womb)
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