Friday October 31st 2014

Do Catholics Worship the Blessed Virgin Mary?

THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Misconception: Catholics worship Mary.

True Catholic Teaching: Catholics do not worship Mary. God ordered His people in the Ten Commandments to worship Him alone. Catholics only worship the one, true God in His three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus is the second part of the Holy Trinity. He is the Word of God made flesh (John 1:14). He is God.

Since Jesus is God and His mother is Mary, Catholics call Mary the “Mother of God”. This does not mean that we think Mary made God or came before God. Instead it is testimony to the truth that Mary is the mother of the part of God that became human – Jesus.

The Catholic Church teaches that God specifically chose Mary out of all the women in the world to be the mother of Jesus. In the Gospel of Luke the angel Gabriel visits Mary to announce His coming and says,”Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” Catholics believe that just as Mary’s virgin body was kept pure in preparation for Jesus, that her soul also was kept free from the stain of sin.

When it comes to the Catholic Church’s teaching on Mary, many of our non-Catholic brothers and sisters find the position Catholics hold regarding Mary difficult to accept. Namely, the Immaculate Conception, Mary as “Mother of God”, and the Assumption of Mary into Heaven and her Coronation as Queen. However, this difficulty mainly stems from a lack of understanding.

The Catholic Church firmly believes that Mary was immaculately conceived. Since God rejects all sin, and the purpose of Christ’s incarnation was to release man from the grasp of Satan, it was not suitable that our redeemer be personally associated with sin. This means that unlike the original sin that we as humans inherit at the moment of conception, Mary was exempt from this sin, and in like manner, was not subject to sin throughout her life. In Luke 1:28, The Angel Gabriel addresses Mary “Hail, full of grace!” The fullness of grace would not have been hers, had she any stain of sin. In the Apostolic Constitution by Pope Pius IX on the Immaculate Conception, he iterates this teaching:

“Above all creatures did God so loved her that truly in her was the Father well pleased with singular delight. Therefore, far above all the angels and all the saints so wondrously did God endow her with the abundance of all heavenly gifts poured from the treasury of his divinity that this mother, ever absolutely free of all stain of sin, all fair and perfect, would possess that fullness of holy innocence and sanctity than which, under God, one cannot even imagine anything greater, and which, outside of God, no mind can succeed in comprehending fully.”

The Catholic Church commemorates Mary’s Immaculate Conception on December 8th of each year.

As we read the gospels, we see unmistakably that Mary is the Mother of Jesus. In the Angel Gabriel’s greeting to Mary, he confirms that she will bear the Son of God. In the profession of faith we recite at each Sunday Mass, we proclaim that Jesus is the second person of the Trinity, that He is “true God from true God”. Therefore, if Jesus is God, we must gather that Mary, the one who gave birth to, and nurtured Jesus, is the mother of God who became Man – Jesus. There is no other human to whom Jesus was as closely and intimately connected, as His Mother, Mary.

The Catholic Church relies heavily on sacred tradition, as passed down from the apostles, and manifested in the teaching authority of the Church. The assumption of Mary is one doctrine of the Church that has emerged from apostolic tradition, rather than directly from scripture. It is not officially declared whether or not Mary underwent human death.   However, what the Church does officially pronounce is that after the course of her earthly life, Mary was assumed body and soul into heaven by the power of God. The Church’s belief that Mary’s soul was perfectly sinless gives us confidence that she went directly to God. At the same time, her body was not subject to corruption, as our human bodies typically are. There is biblical history of one who is so close to God, being assumed body and soul into heaven. In the Old Testament, we see that Elijah was assumed into heaven in a whirlwind. (2 Kings 2:11). Similarly we read in Hebrews 11:5, “By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God.” Mary was even closer to God than these two biblical figures, and therefore this special privilege of bodily assumption was granted to her. The feast of Mary’s Assumption is celebrated on August 15th of each year.

Mary’s body has been glorified in heaven and she has been given an important role near her Son as Queen of Heaven and Earth. Mary is entitled “queen” because she is the Mother of Jesus, who is truly a King of kings. With the queenship Mary has been given by her Son, Mary offers abiding mercy and compassion, interceding for all of God’s children. In the book of Revelation 12:1, Mary’s status as queen is reflected, “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.” The feast of Mary’s queenship is celebrated on August 22nd of each year.

Mary has been given an extraordinary role in the history of salvation. In response to her special status, Catholics give Mary unequaled admiration and respect, greater than any other saint.  This is a tradition often misunderstood by non-Catholics. The honor we give to Mary is not to be compared to the worship and praise we give only to Almighty God. However, Mary must not be disregarded, as she offers many graces, and mercy to all who call upon her intercession.

For more information regarding the Dogma of the Assumption and Coronation of Mary, please view the official Church document at the following link: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xii/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_p-xii_apc_19501101_munificentissimus-deus_en.html

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7 Responses to “Do Catholics Worship the Blessed Virgin Mary?”

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  2. Raquel says:

    So may times may catholic like myself marry non catholics and our spouse so often what to challenge our belief, kt almost feel that they persecute this belief, reading this article/ explenation offers me a better sence of understanding and streanght in my belief, in mary now i can better explain that its not worship its great admiration and respect to mother mary who is the mother of jesus who is god, i mean why not acknowledge her and her sanctaty after all she is mentioned in reveletion further reenstating her diviny and existence.

  3. John Hiner says:

    Please:

    I understand your position, however, it does not seem prudent. This question seems to be a place where the Catholic vocabulary is not the same as the Protestant. Your article adopts the Protestant nomenclature, which is insufficient. This leaves your position open to disproof by anyone who finds an older writing which predates the adoption of Protestant usage for the word “worship.”

    The Catholic usage is set out in the “Modern Catholic Dictionary” as follows:

    WORSHIP. Acknowledgment of another’s worth, dignity, or superior position. In religion, worship is given either to God, and then it is adoration, or to the angels and saints, and it is called veneration. Divine worship actually includes three principal acts, namely adoration (or the recognition of God’s infinite perfection), prayer or the asking for divine help, and sacrifice or the offering of something precious to God. Worship as veneration also has three principal forms, whereby the angels and saints are honored for their sanctity, asked to intercede before the divine Majesty, and imitated in their love and service of God. (Etym. Old English weorthscipe, honor, dignity, reverence: weorth, worth +ship.) Modern Catholic Dictionary, by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., Copyright © 1999 by Inter Mirifica, used with permission from Eternal Life.

    Hence, your explanation, in Catholic terms, would be “Catholics do not adore the Virgin Mary, though we do worship her, as we do all the Saints and all worthy persons and things.” Admittedly, this is not how Americans talk, but adopting current common usage, simply will not get the job done, since we can neither give up worshiping creatures nor adoring God. So, we cannot give up the distinction which these terms offer and common usage does not.

    Pax Christi semper vobiscum.

    John Hiner

  4. Oscar ruvalcaba says:

    Catholics are reliving the old testament. as everyone should know in the old days the high priest was to go into the holiest place in the temple and make a sacrifice of a lamb or goat or cow sybolizing the coming of the lamb of God wich takes away the sin of the world. This was done once a year and the priest had to be straight onto God and had to wear a coat wich had bells hanging from it because if he wasn’t straight with God he would die as soon as he steped int he holy place of the temple. In those times a pries had to intercead for the people of Israel wich their God that we worship. After so many years the people of Israel disobeyed their God, and he told them “I will make other people as my people and i will take away branches of the domestic tree wich are dead and i will bring from the wild trees new branches and insert them in the the domestic tree and they will be my people. This is why the jews never “shared” their religion with the world in those days but when Jesus came wich is God Himself formed from Mary, Mary was chosen from only the decendants of king David not of the whole world and was chosen because she was a virgin because no man had contaminated himself with her with the things of the flesh. When Jesus dies that holiest place had always been behind a thick curtain and that curtain got ripped in half letting us know that know we didn’t need any priests to go and ask God for forgiveness BUT NOW WE HAVE THE MOST HIGHEST PRIEST JESUS HIMSELF. Jesus is God and he let himself die, he let himself be crucified and he gave up his life and sould and he carried our sins and went down to hell for us but since he is divine and cannot die he had to come back to life because he could not stay dead becuase it is not his nature, his nature is life and truth and he is the way. now we dont need the saints to pray for us because thanks to Jesus thanks to God himself that came down to his throne and humiliated himself in the eyes of man now we can all be holy and saints in his eyes only if we believe and accept him as our lord and saviour and pray only for him and have only him to intersead for us because he is the way, the truth and the life and noone goes to the father if not thru him. You must pray to him. or else you are not praying to God at all you are asking people are already dead and cannot hear you but god is everywhere and he sees everything and knows everything and he will hear your prayers. Mary was the same and any other virgin that has ever lived with a clean mind and heart not knowing anything about sex and sin. Yes she was the mother of the flesh and blood body of Jesus according to the flesh and also according to the flesh Joseph was his father but Jesus came from the power of the Holy Spirit wich we can all receive! as John the baptists said i baptise you in water but he that comes after me is more than me because he was before me he will baptise you with the holy spirit and power. Jesus was the begining of all creation he was the first and then thru him everything was made. He already existed long before mary was born he only came down from heaven to make a body of flesh for himself so that he could die as a man and therefore defeating the nature of sin wich is death. is it so hard for you to see the truth???? is it so hard to believe?? is it so easy to be deceived into believing something that is not??? something that will lead you to eternal death? is it really that hard?

  5. Shane M. says:

    Amen Oscar

  6. Stacey says:

    Roman Catholics do not Adore or “worship” anyone or anything except the Holy Trinity ( The Father, The Son,& The Holy Spirit, which together make up The One True God). We have great admiration, reverence, and respect for Mother Mary but we do not worship or adore her for it would be a sin to worship and/or adore anyone other than The One True God.

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