So, the article mentions that the most typical "stumbling block" for Protestants exploring Catholicism is the doctrine on Mary, but then does nothing to explain why the Protestants are wrong about Mary.
The article does, however, go out of its way to raise counter-arguments to the scandals in the Catholic Church, which have already been stated to be NOT A PROBLEM for Protestants (heck, we have enough scandals of our own).
I have yet to hear a satisfactory explanation for the veneration and elevation of Mary in the Catholic faith. I'm not flaming or bashing--simply stating an opinion. Maybe when someone gives me a Biblically-sound reason to attempt to communicate with Mary or win her favor, I'll give the Catholic Church a second look. But until then, I will remain faithful to the Word and nothing else.
Here are a few observations I've made about differences between Protestantism and Catholicism.
Protestantism is the strictly Bible-related concept of Christianity vs the understanding of Christianity based on Scripture and Tradition (meaning the reading and interpretation of the Church as Christ's own institution) in Catholicism. The latter allows for a greater adaptation to historical and personal situations and needs.
A concept of God which stresses his role as judge (Protestantism) vs a more compassionate God (Catholicism). The latter allows for a more generous place for Mary.
posted on 11/18/2002 9:49:05 AM PST
I'm not flaming or bashing--simply stating an opinion. Maybe when someone gives me a Biblically-sound reason to attempt to communicate with Mary or win her favor, I'll give the Catholic Church a second look. But until then, I will remain faithful to the Word and nothing else.
First off, you are always welcome. Everyone is.
Second, while the church is based around the bible, a lot of tradition is not. Except for the tradition and teaching that the bible should not be used as a sole guide and alone. That is actually in the bible. So, to demand biblical support is not the way we do things. The bible was not compiled for that purpose.
Third, Mary, yes, is put on a pedestal and venerated. She is held as the highest example of trust in God. She, like others who have come before us on earth, is with God. We believe in everlasting life. That life on earth is only part of living. We ask the Blessed Mother to pray for us. Just as we do saints, people who have gone before. They are with God.
I know that doesn't explain it, but without the belief in everlasting life there would be no veneration of the Blessed Mother and the saints. That's just part of the faith.
posted on 11/18/2002 9:49:45 AM PST
You brought up an excellent point in the article that they didn't talk about how these converts got over the stumbling block of Mary. I know Scott Hahn has a new book out on Mary because that was a big stumbling block for him. I went to the Coming Home website, and maybe you'll be interested in some of the converts stories about how they came to understand Mary's unique role in salvation history, and also how some Catholic beliefs about Mary you may have learned as a Protestant are exaggerated or completely false.
Here's the link to the main page on Mary at the CHNetwork: Before you object
This link goes directly to a conversion story and how this couple had a major problem with Mary, and how they resolved it and became closer to Jesus through His mother. Our Journey Home
I wish you blessings on your search for the Truth, but Mary is likely not your only stumbling block. You say, "But until then, I will remain faithful to the Word and nothing else." Catholics ARE faithful to the Word of God. We don't take anything manmade and elevate it above Scripture. But we believe that because Jesus Christ left His church on earth, the Catholic Church, that where there is disagreement on what something means, the Church is the authority by which the disagreement is resolved.
posted on 11/18/2002 9:59:50 AM PST
I respect your legitimate desire to see that the Church's teachings about Mary do not contradict Scripture. I also respect your desire to see the continuity between the Church's teaching on Mary and what the Scriptures say about Mary. To see both of these issues laid out in detail, I urge you to read Catholic for a Reason II: Scripture and the Mystery of the Mother of God
by Leon Suprenant Jr. (Editor), Beth Hart (Illustrator). It is available through amazon.com
In this volume, you will find the SCRIPTURAL reasons that many of these converts discovered for paying honor to the Mother of God. Actually, all these converts did was discover for themselves the scriptural basis that had already been seen by millions of Catholic theologians, theologians with a tendency to do things like srutinize the Scriptures very carefully. It never ceases to amaze me that some Protestants think that the Church just up and defines something without Scripture being an essential part of the process by which teachings are clarified and defined. It is precisely because Catholics of all sorts -- Benedictines in their lectio divina, Cistercians in their cells, Trappists in their monasteries, Dominicans in their studies, Jesuits in their houses, laity in their private reading (and yes,in literate regions, the laity read the Scriptures)--were reading and reflecting upon Scripture incessantly for hundreds or thousands of years (a Benedictine reads or hears Scripture no less than 9 times a day), that the Church is confident that her views about Mary just are the Scriptural message about Mary. For all these people, who read the Scriptures aright, hand these teachings on and the hierachy that defines the teachings is handing the definition to the very people who are incessantly reflecting upon Scripture. It is just that Catholics read the Scriptures with the mind of the Church rather than,under the influence of a hermeneutic of suspicion, using Scripture as a stick to beat up on the Church. The picture that some Protestants have is that Scripture really has no role to play in the Catholic Church's formulation of dogmas, when the truth is that the words of Scripture are thouroughly embedded in the same minds that put forward the teachings, and these are minds that do not like contradiction any more than any other human being.
As soon as it is admitted that Catholics respect Scripture as the inspired word of God, and that we have been reading Scripture for a long time, and that the Church strives not to contradict Scriptures (since they are the word of God) but to receive Scripture's message with all docility, then the question becomes not why Catholics have all the "unbiblical" doctrines, but why Protestants do not see all the teachings in Scripture that the Catholics do. I am not saying any of this as an attack on you, just as a request to check the image you have of how the Church arrives at her dogmatic teachings. She arrives at them by reading Scripture--as led by the Spirit through the power of traditio.
The basic difficulty for all Protestants comes in seeing that Mary in no way detracts from the glory of Christ, but rather she MANIFESTS THE GLORY OF CHRIST. "My soul magnifies the Lord..." Lk 1:46
Assume for the sake of argument that the Catholic dogmas concerning Mary are true (only do not assume any straw man versions of the dogmas). How much greater is the work of Christ? What does her character say about Christ? What does she manifest concerning Christ's wisdom, love and power? What knowledge of Christ are we afforded by contemplating her grace-given being? "hail, full of grace..." Lk 1:28
I like you all and I am a protestant minister. But there is no PROOF of catholicism's various doctrines of Mary. There are arguments for them, but they are hardly conclusive. The arguments against are just as (or more) valid.
They really are a matter of opinion.
I also oppose oppulence.
posted on 11/18/2002 10:52:57 AM PST
LibertyGirl77wrote: Maybe when someone gives me a Biblically-sound reason to attempt to communicate with Mary or win her favor, I'll give the Catholic Church a second look.
Dear Liberty, I wish to first thank you and commend you for your gentle and reasonable approach to disputation on this subject. Your very Christian approach is quite refreshing.
And I wish to thank all the other Catholic posters who provided such an immense exposition on the Catholic position on Mary, but whether it's Mary, or praying to saints or the celibate priesthood, etc., etc., I ultimately find that Catholics and others will probably have no common agreement until there is a unified understanding of Mt 16:18 "And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it."
Please take a look at what more learned Catholics than I have to say about the Peter/Rock issue:
I believe in the Pope mostly because I am a cradle Catholic. But recently I have had online debates with Protestants on the issue and have been amazed that some very good people have false beliefs about the Catholic Church becase of shoddy scholarship that is believed by too many Protestants.
Since Jesus is "the way, the truth and the life", I ask that you please take a look at this issue and please try to determine where the real truth lies on this cardinal (hinge) matter.
Maybe when someone gives me a Biblically-sound reason to attempt to communicate with Mary or win her favor, I'll give the Catholic Church a second look. But until then, I will remain faithful to the Word and nothing else.
Try this situation on. You fall in love with a wonderful man. He wants you to meet his mother and father; introduce you to his brothers, sisters, cousins, favorite uncle, etc. I suppose you would refuse him on the grounds that you only "love him" and you don't need all those other people? Will meeting and making room in your live for his family somehow dilute the "personal" nature of your relationship with your beloved? Of course not.
That is what the protestant refusal to get to know the Blessed Mother and the Saints is like to me.
posted on 11/18/2002 6:01:10 PM PST
**I have yet to hear a satisfactory explanation for the veneration and elevation of Mary in the Catholic faith.**
Don't you take the Bible seriously when Elizabeth, the angel, and even Mary uses the word "Blessed"?
Think about it. It's right there in the Bible.
** to attempt to communicate with Mary or win her favor,**
Again in the Bible, the crucifixion story when Jesus gives his mother to John and John to his mother. What does your Bible say about the literal and the symbolic message here?
There have been many good posts on FR about veneration of Mary and you may have seen them or maybe not. There are Scripture references that support the belief. The reality is that you would not believe them anyway unless the Spirit has spoken to your heart. Protestants usually want an explanation in black and white. Something like, "and Jesus said, "Venerate my mother and ask her to pray for you. I love my mother very much and will listen to what she asks." It isn't there like that but then Protestants believe the Bible speaks the only inspiration of God.
The Bible, as a whole was not put together for many generations after Jesus but it was the Tradition of the Apostles under the leading of the Holy Spirit which gave Christians guidance. It was under this guidance that the Bible was able to be discerned as the inspired Word of God but without Tradition they could not have known that.
posted on 11/19/2002 8:37:02 AM PST
You just haven't looked hard enough. :-) That said, you can't go far wrong with the Word.
posted on 11/19/2002 1:47:11 PM PST
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