Though Mary is certainly the most blessed woman who ever lived, it's clear from church and secular history that the doctrines that began to bubble up around Mary several hundred years after her death were unknown to the early church.
The Catholic says: Mary is ever-virgin.
The Protestant hears: Mary is a pagan earth-goddess. (The non-Catholic remembers the vestal virgins of Rome.)
The Catholic says: Mary was conceived without sin.
The Protestant hears: Mary is the equal of Jesus. (He remembers that Jesus was sinless.)
The Catholic says: Mary was assumed into heaven.
The Protestant hears: Mary is the equal of Jesus. (He remembers that Jesus ascended into heaven.)
The Catholic says: Mary is Co-Redemptrix.
The Protestant hears: We dont feel that Jesus is adequate for salvation.
The Catholic says: Mary is our intercessor.
The Protestant hears: We dont believe that Jesus can do it all.
The Catholic says: Mary is the Mother of God.
The Protestant hears: Mary gave birth to God the Father. (He uses the word God to refer only to God the Father.)
The Catholic says: Mary is the Queen of Heaven.
The Protestant hears: Mary is Gods wife. (Since God is the King of Heaven, Mary must be His wife.)
These interpretations may sound ludicrous and blasphemous, but they are exactly how your Protestant friend will interpret your words. Raised in a world without saints, he cannot conceive of spiritual contact with anyone but a god. You will leave him with the unfortunate misconception that Mary is the chief goddess of a Roman Catholic pantheon, and that Jesus has a minor, almost negligible, role in the Catholic plan of salvation . . .
Jesus' Family Tree
In the Maronite Catholic Church, we are in the Season of Announcements and Glorious Birth of the Lord. Over the past several weeks, the Sunday Gospel focused our attention on how God prepared His people for the birth of Christ. It began with the Announcement to Zechariah, followed by the Announcement to Mary, the Visitation of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth, the Announcement to Joseph, that takes us to Genealogy Sunday.
The early christians were very well aware of Jesus' family tree. It is also worth noting that first century christians spoke and wrote in Aramaic. In fact, the Maronite Catholic Church still retains that ancient language in portions of its liturgy. There is no word for 'cousin' in Aramaic. The term "brother" (Greek: adelphos) has a wide meaning in the Bible. It is not restricted to the literal meaning of a full brother or half-brother. The same goes for "sister" (adelphe) and the plural form "brothers" (adelphoi). The Old Testament shows that "brother" had a wide semantic range of meaning and could refer to any male relative from whom you are not descended (male relatives from whom you are descended are known as "fathers") and who are not descended from you (your male descendants, regardless of the number of generations removed, are your "sons"), as well as kinsmen such as cousins, those who are members of the family by marriage or by law rather than by blood, and even friends or mere political allies (2 Sam. 1:26; Amos 1:9).
Lot, for example, is called Abrahams "brother" (Gen. 14:14), even though, being the son of Haran, Abrahams brother (Gen. 11:2628), he was actually Abrahams nephew. Similarly, Jacob is called the "brother" of his uncle Laban (Gen. 29:15). Kish and Eleazar were the sons of Mahli. Kish had sons of his own, but Eleazar had no sons, only daughters, who married their "brethren," the sons of Kish. These "brethren" were really their cousins (1 Chr. 23:2122).
The terms "brothers," "brother," and "sister" did not refer only to close relatives. Sometimes they meant kinsmen (Deut. 23:7; Neh. 5:7; Jer. 34:9), as in the reference to the forty-two "brethren" of King Azariah (2 Kgs. 10:1314).
When Jesus was found in the Temple at age twelve, the context suggests that he was the only son of Mary and Joseph. There is no hint in this episode of any other children in the family (Luke 2:4151). Jesus grew up in Nazareth, and the people of Nazareth referred to him as "the son of Mary" (Mark 6:3), not as "a son of Mary." In fact, others in the Gospels are never referred to as Marys sons, not even when they are called Jesus "brethren." If they were in fact her sons, this would be strange usage.
Consider what happened at the foot of the cross. When he was dying, Jesus entrusted his mother to the apostle John (John 19:2627). The Gospels mention four of his "brethren": James, Joseph, Simon, and Jude. It is hard to imagine why Jesus would have disregarded family ties and made this provision for his mother if these four were also her sons.