Do Catholics worship Mary?

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Semantics and misinformation: the source of most confusion on any Catholic teaching.

In this case, it basically comes down to how one defines the word “worship.”

But let’s be clear. When someone charges the Catholic Church with “worshiping Mary,” they are usually implying that Catholics put Mary on par with God. This couldn’t be further from the truth. And to any Catholic that truly understands their faith, this sounds more heretical to them than to anyone.

Unfortunately, this charge is most often used by people who dislike the Catholic Church and are usually trying to add more confusion to the issue and damage the image of the Church.

If they were truly seeking understanding on the matter they would easily find a very reasonable truth, perhaps very different than the misinformation they’ve been told in the past.

First, let’s try to define the word “worship.”

In our culture and language, worship is often understood to be “reverence offered to a divine being.”

In this sense, worship is only for God. Catholics say AMEN! Offering this kind of reverence to Mary or anyone else as being divine would be heresy to a Catholic.

However, another common definition of worship is “extravagant respect or admiration for or devotion to an object of esteem.” In this sense, not only is worshiping someone or something other than God not a bad thing, it would be an entirely Christian thing to do.

Surely it is a good thing to give respect where respect is due. It is good to honor our parents and heroes. It is good to admire those that inspire us to be better people. It is good to remember those great examples that have gone before us. That is a part of building up the Body of Christ.

And certainly many people cherish and honor that old pocket watch passed down from their grandfather, the string of pearls from their great-great aunt, or the book of hymns their mother sung from every morning when they were growing up.

Are they worshiping these things though?

Are we worshiping our heroes when we honor and respect them as they return home from war? Or when we place flowers and kneel at the grave of a loved one?  Or when we light a candle in honor of something important to us?  Or when we look to the sky and ask our deceased grandmother to help us out in a hard time? Or when we give someone an award or title to recognize their accomplishment?

Again, that depends on how you define the word “worship.”

The traditional Catholic understanding of worship would be more like: homage paid to God, to Jesus Christ, to His saints, to the beings or even to the objects which have a special relation to God (New Advent).

So in this sense, it’s not a bad thing when worship includes all of these other people and things. It’s a good thing. It’s a natural and human thing.

Some say, “but that’s idolatry!”

Not at all. It’s no more idolatry than cherishing your grandfather’s old pocket watch, admiring an uncle, or keeping a picture in your wallet of someone you care about.

There’s an important distinction that must be made, though.  If we honor a watch simply because it is a watch, it’s ours, and it does things for us – that’s idolatry. When our end goal in life is to possess a huge house, nice car, and fashionable clothes – that’s idolatry.

But when we are thankful for these things because we see God’s hand in them, because they remind us of the love of someone special, because they build us up – that is worship. And it’s actually, indirectly, worship of God.

When we love our neighbor, we love God. When we respect and admire all things that are good, we respect and admire God. It is all a form of worship, but only because of their relation to God. That’s the key.

To further clarify this, Catholics differentiate between a few “levels” of worship.

There is supreme, sovereign worship and adoration of God alone. This is known as latria. If this is given to any creature or thing aside from God, it is idolatry. All other forms of worship serve this in some way.

Then there is worship that honors and venerates martyrs, angels, saints, and things associated with them. This is known as dulia. This is simply the honor and respect that we owe to those that have served God in great ways. Its purpose is to honor God by honoring what He’s done through His creation.

Further, because Mary is the first among the saints, playing a unique role in the history of salvation, the veneration and honoring of Mary is known as hyperdulia. This is to recognize her as above other saints, while she is still infinitely small next to God. But because God chose to use her in such a special way and she – full of Grace – responded, Catholics recognize that.

The key is to see it all for what it is and to not get caught up in the semantics and prejudices. All of these forms of worship bring honor to God when done appropriately. They are connected, just as creation is connected to its Creator.  The real sin is in separating those things.  And that happens at both extremes.

On one extreme you have those who worship creation alone without recognizing God’s part in it.  And on the other extreme you have those that wish to worship God, but think they can separate that worship from the very Creation from within which they do so.

Shouldn’t we want to worship the creator in every way that we can?  A big part of that is properly respecting and honoring His creation – especially where His grace has worked the most and served Him greatest.

Any admiration, honor, or devotion to any holy thing or person can point us to God ever more strongly.  It is in the beauty of God’s creation that He reveals Himself to us so that we can worship him that much more intimately.  His creation has been given the power to illuminate His Love and does so most intensely in his greatest creation, made in His own likeness – human beings.  Mary does this above all other human beings.

And certainly if the angel Gabriel greets Mary, “Hail, full of grace,” (Luke 1:28) then we should recognize her with the same reverence and respect – call it worship or not.

144 comments Add comment

Jerry May 6, 2009 at 4:44 pm

Amen! Well written – thank you

Eva Ulian May 6, 2009 at 4:57 pm

Here in Italy, to outsiders, it would seem we go overboard with processions in honour of Our Lady, as can be seen in my latest blog posts. But Italians are expressive and sociable which makes life much more affable. To outsiders it may seem idolatry but all it is, is a means of preserving what is important and significant before the mass media, advertising, cheap thrills that books, films, and the rest of night life snuffs away replacing the concept of womanhood with a symbol of pornography.

Tim Sevenhuysen May 6, 2009 at 5:10 pm

As a Protestant, I hear this kind of thing come up every now and then as one of the differences in belief between Protestants and Catholics. In my experience, among Protestants, I don’t think the issue comes up in terms of “worshipping” Mary or “worshipping” the Saints. Instead, the (related) issue I think a lot of Protestants–perhaps mistakenly–face is the role of Mary and the Saints in how we approach God.

I don’t claim to be all that well informed in Catholic beliefs, so I’d really appreciate some clarification on the following perception. My (likely flawed) understanding of the role of Mary and the Saints is that they intercede to God on our behalf. We offer our prayer requests to Mary in order that she may pass them on to God, perhaps lending some credibility to the request along the way.

As a Protestant, I believe that only Jesus can intercede with God on my behalf, and I think that’s where I take issue with this treatment of Sainthood.

So am I misinterpreting the Catholic beliefs surrounding Sainthood and prayer? I’d really appreciate clarification; my interest is for the sake of understanding and dialogue, not theological criticism.

Matthew Warner May 6, 2009 at 5:38 pm

Tim – thank you for the thoughtful comments!

I’m not sure if you’re misinterpreting Catholics beliefs here yet, but let me ask you a question: Do you ever ask others to pray for you? If so, why?

Leticia January 28, 2013 at 6:13 pm

Thank you Matthew, your question, “Do you ever ask others to pray for you?…” was my first thought as I read Tim’s posting.

To Tim, when we ask our blessed mother to intercede on our behalf we seek the assistance of the most blessed woman to walk on Earth. If we are to accept that Jesus came to us in human form, we must accept that he had a mother. Mary is the holiest of all mothers.

Jerry May 6, 2009 at 6:02 pm

Tim, indeed your inquiry resonates with me as I am a convert.

I would like to refer you to http://www.scripturecatholic.com/saints.html as there are many references to Sacred Scripture.

BTW – your Fifty Word Stories are great.

The peace of our Lord to you!

dawnmaureen May 6, 2009 at 6:59 pm

Intercession from others in the Body of Christ is NOT a sin, in fact it is commanded in scripture. Jesus calls us all to intercede on behalf of our fellow man. Intercessory prayer is all through the New Testament. In the book of Revelations, you read that the Saints continually intercede for us in heaven. Jesus is the only MEDIATOR between God and man, but NOT the only intercessor. If he wanted to be the only intercessor He would not have asked us to pray the Lord’s Prayer asking the Father to forgive our trespassors. He is the only one who ATONED for our sins and MEDIATES on our behalf, but intercession is for ALL of us, including the church triumphant in heaven!

Bill May 6, 2009 at 10:04 pm

Tim, Jesus IS God. “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” When Mary presents our prayers to her Son, she is presenting them to God, through the Second Person of the Trinity — who also happens to be her son. Jesus never refused His mother anything. Furthermore, her will was always His will (“Do whatever He tells you.” — the wedding at Cana). She will not ask him for anything that does not conform to His will.

The saints (both with a capital “S” – the ones we recognize – and with a small “s” – the souls who died in God’s grace and who, having paid all of the temporal punishment due to forgiven sins, enjoy the Beatific Vision in Heaven) are also favored by God and they can present our petitions. We know this for sure for the capital “S” saints because they led lives of exceptional virtue on earth, and because proven, verified miracles have occurred through their intercession. But the small “s” saints are just as holy, and just as favored, and they can also intercede for us.

The souls that are still undergoing purification (in the state that we call Purgatory) can also pray for us (and they do) – they are themselves holy, otherwise they would not be on their way to Heaven.

Why aren’t our own prayers directly to God “good enough”? Any self-love, self-centeredness, weakness, etc., of ours gets in the way and keeps them from being totally worthy and pleasing to God. But prayers through Mary and the saints are made pure when presented to God.

Did this help?

dawnmaureen May 7, 2009 at 7:20 am

I am a Roman Catholic and I disagree that we cannot pray directly to God because our prayers are not pure enough. Jesus gave us the Our Father which is a prayer directly to the Father, and this instruction in prayer was given to ALL believers. I disagree with the Protestants when they say that Jesus is the only intercessor (I think what they mean is mediator and are confusing the difference between the meaning of the two words). We can ask Mary and the saints and our friends and family to intercede and pray for us, but we can ALWAYS feel free to pray directly to the Father at any time. This is where I agree with the Protestants, that we are to have a personal relationship with the Father and be able to talk to Him one on one anytime. I feel kind of sad that some Catholics do not realize that even though we are sinful human beings that we can still pray to the Father in the way Jesus asked us to do! Jesus said to go into your closet and to PRAY TO YOUR FATHER who sees you in secret! I believe I am following proper Roman Catholic teaching when I remind fellow Catholics of this. We can always pray directly to our Father in our prayer closets at any time. The Protestants are right to get upset when we tell them they cannot pray to the Father in this way and in this area I will defend them because it is actually Catholic teaching that they can!

Morag Marinoni September 22, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Please do not speak on my behalf! I do not believe ANY CATHOLIC IN THE WHOLE WORLD has been taught that we should not pray directly to the Father! I pray directly to Him every single day. I also have my favourite prayers for specific intentions for which I ask the intercession of Our Lady or a Saint for the simple reason that I love them. But then, I also ask my friends on earth to pray for me. Your comment is very strange indeed. Are you truly a Catholic? Where on earth did you learn about our Faith?

dawnmaureen May 7, 2009 at 7:44 am

Here is a good reputable source explaining catholic prayer methods.

http://home.earthlink.net/~mysticalrose/pray2whom.html

Prayer directly to the Father IS one of them. In fact, that is the MOST IMPORTANT prayer of all, and never ever should we discourage anyone from praying to the Father because they should fear that their prayers are not pure enough. First of all, God already knows our hearts. We can’t hide anything from the Father. Every one of us is a sinner. Jesus told us to pray to the Father because this is very important. Sure, Mary, saints, angels, friends, and family intercede, but you know what. I pray for my loved ones even if they don’t ask me to pray for them.

I’m sure the saints are interceding for our Protestant brethren even though they aren’t asking the saints to pray for them. I participate in prayers as well at church “for our seperated brethren”. They didn’t ask us to pray for them at Mass and intercede in this way, but we do it anyway!

There is nothing wrong with them praying directly to the Father. We do it as Catholics, it is a directive in scripture given to us from Jesus Himself, AND intercession of the saints is in scripture as well and that has to do with our COMMUNAL prayers as being One in the Body of Christ (which includes the Church Triumphant in Heaven) There are not two seperate Bodies of Christ….one in Heaven and one on Earth…Believers are to be One in Christ with Christ in the Father. We can pray together and intercede.

Matthew Warner May 7, 2009 at 7:58 am

Dawnmaureen – thanks for the thoughts and great info!

But I don’t think anyone was saying it’s not OK to pray directly to God. You are 100% correct that this is essential to any Christian prayer life and OF COURSE it is taught by the Church. There is no question. But so is intercessory prayer…which is the point. It’s BOTH/AND…not EITHER/OR.

To this point, we have scripture that tells us exactly what we are hitting on here:

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful.” (James 5:16)

Here we have instruction to confess our sins to one another and to pray for one another…i.e. interceding for each other. We also see that prayer of a “righteous” person is very powerful. So I intend on asking everyone, especially the most righteous, to pray for me. Certainly the saints, and most of all Mary, would be the most righteous and therefore have very powerful prayers.

And I think that’s the issue that came up. It’s not that our own prayers directly to God are not “good enough” – they are essential and foundational. But it is good to recognize that the prayers from more righteous people are more powerful.

Matthew Warner May 7, 2009 at 8:07 am

Tim – I think another thing people get hung up on is that they think that by including saints and others in our prayer life it is somehow leaving God out, praying to him less, or somehow inferring that it is necessary to go through others to talk to God. If that were the case then we would all be correct to condemn it. But that’s not the case when it’s done appropriately.

It’s not that we’re leaving God out. It’s that we’re including our brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s never just “me and God.” It’s always “everyone else, me, and God.” That’s the beauty of the Communion of Saints in the Church. We all make up the same Body. What we do to the least of our brethren we do to Jesus.

It’s the same reason I’m fairly sure you pray for others and ask them to pray for you. You aren’t leaving out God, you are including each other. And in doing so we actually commune with God that much MORE intimately.

It’s not a matter of “I don’t NEED to have others intercede for me.” It’s a matter of “it is a loving and holy thing that they do intercede for me…as it brings us all together as His Body closer to Him!”

God bless ya!

Bill May 7, 2009 at 9:09 am

Just in case my question in the last paragraph of my post has been misunderstood — it was late, I was running out of space in the combox, what can I say? I could have expressed the thought better.

Certainly we can and should pray directly to God. That’s why Jesus taught us the Our Father, after all. When we are at Mass, when we pray the Liturgy of the Hours, when we say our morning and night prayers, everything is directed to God.

However, the value in praying to Mary and the Saints for their intercession, or in offering our praise to God and our gifts to Him, is exactly that I was saying (or trying to). Actually, it’s a paraphrase of St. Louis-Marie de Montfort’s explanation in “True Devotion to Mary.” His explanation is longer, and well worth looking up and reading.

dawnmaureen May 7, 2009 at 11:47 am

Yes, Matthew, exactly. BOTH are in scripture. It is both, not either/or. I think the Protestants are right in defending prayer directly to the Father, and we are right in defending prayer directly to the father but also not neglecting the scriptural mandate to intercessory prayer and the mandate to act as one Body in Christ, which includes communion with the saints and the angels and the elders who lift our prayers to heaven like incense. A personal relationship with our Father, does not negate a communal relationship with our fellow christians, both here on earth and the ones in heaven. ONE BODY IN CHRIST, not seperate, but united in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

I do not believe our prayers have to be ‘perfect’ to reach God however, because we are sinful human beings, and we have to start somewhere, and we first have to lift up our hearts to God in prayer if they are to be made pure. We don’t become pure first and then pray. We are sinful first, and become holy through praying without ceasing. If we don’t have the words, we can ask the Holy Spirit to intercede and pray for us. (That is in scripture to, that we can ask this of the Holy Spirit) We should always feel safe in our Fathers arms and should not hesitate to approach him no matter how bad off we are. The saints pray for all men without being asked to pray for us. I know they are with us interceding on our behalf. If you listen closely to the Our Father, it is an intercessory prayer, right?

dawnmaureen May 7, 2009 at 11:58 am

Here is a page someone made where they gathered scriptures on intercessory prayer.

http://www.dianedew.com/interces.html

It’s important to understand the differences in meanings between mediator and intercessor. If the meanings are confused, you cannot understand the scriptural mandates. It is because Jesus mediates that we are able to intercede for others through prayer as One Body in Christ. Certainly the Virgin Mary is allowed to pray for us. I can’t imagine God slapping her hand for doing so and saying ‘bad woman, that’s a big no no!’. I bet her prayers avail much since she is one righteous woman, the most blessed of all women! I certainly don’t disregard what she obviously does as a common thing. Shoot babes even leap in the womb when they hear her voice. Should someone repremand that poor baby for leaping in Elizabeth’s womb? :-)

Cló Mhuire May 7, 2009 at 2:12 pm

Mary is an important part of our Catholilc faith. We worship God. We love and honour Mary who is the Mother of God. She is Queen so gracious, Mother so gentle, woman so beautiful. Reactions to Mary can be for different reasons – reactions to her perfect purity, reactions to her perfect womanhood to say but a few. Our Lady is an extraordinary woman who can teach us so much, making pathways to her Son, if we would but spend a little time with her when we can!

Eva Ulian May 7, 2009 at 3:50 pm

I agree with Clò’s statement above. We honour Mary because of who she is and love her for her own sake which does not mean loving God or Christ less, but more, because of her.

LaunaS May 7, 2009 at 4:47 pm

Matt, I just started reading your blog – it’s great! Thank you for this well-written post. The subject has come up several times recently among family members and in faith sharing situations. This post and the associated links within the comments will explain Marian devotion so much better than I. Thanks again!

Tim Sevenhuysen May 7, 2009 at 5:09 pm

Wow, that’s a lot of responses to sort through! Thanks for all the thoughts, opinions, and theology everyone. I think I understand the Catholic approach a little better now.

I see what you’re all saying about asking others (including the Saints) to pray for us in conjunction with our own prayers. I suppose I shrink back a little from the idea that we can “pray” to other people who have died. I am of the opinion that the dead are dead until Jesus returns, and at that point they will be raised and brought into heaven with those who are still living. And if they are dead, how can we speak to them to ask them to pray on our behalf? So in a way it comes down to whether you believe that the dead go immediately to heaven–or, if you’re Catholic, to Purgatory and then, eventually, to heaven–or whether you believe that the dead are simply dead until Jesus’ return.

I also hesitate when it comes to praying to/through the Saints because it *seems* (and perhaps *only* seems) to create a hierarchy of closeness to God. There can be an implication there that the prayers of Mary or of Paul or of John Paul II are more fit for God’s ears than your prayers or my prayers, because they have done more good deeds and earned more of God’s attention. And I think that goes against the great miracle of the torn veil and the Holy Spirit. Like I said, that may only be an appearance or an implication, but I think it’s an area that demands clarity.

Bill May 7, 2009 at 9:27 pm

Tim, each of us has a body and a soul. The body dies (and will be resurrected). The soul never dies and it never sleeps. A person’s soul is just as much that person as the body is. That is why we can ask the saints/Saints for help. it’s also why we can ask the Holy Souls in Purgatory to pray for us.

Tim Sevenhuysen May 8, 2009 at 8:52 am

I agree that the soul lives on after the body has died. But doesn’t the Bible suggest that we will be given *new* bodies at the resurrection? So in the meantime, before the resurrection, aren’t we simply dead, while we wait for our new, heavenly bodies?

And of course, as a Protestant I don’t believe in the existence of “purgatory.” I believe that the soul is either on earth or in heaven (or maybe hell), not somewhere in between. And I don’t know of any Biblical evidence of talking to deceased souls–at least, not to deceased souls who are in heaven. The only thing I can think of is when Saul spoke to the witch to try to contact… Elijah I think? I may be getting that confused a little. But I don’t think God was too happy about it, one way or another.

I mean, this is something I haven’t put a *ton* of thought into, so I’d love to see some scriptural basis for contact with the deceased, through prayer or otherwise.

gntlmnr November 19, 2012 at 10:45 am

Tim Sevenhuysen, I am not sure I followed you properly here, but if I understood you correctly, then (Matthew 17:1 – 3) is the Biblical evidence that you’re looking for, and here it goes:
Matthew 17:
1. After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves
2. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light.
3. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him.

Here it says that even Jesus himself was conversing with the deceased.
If I understood you incorrectly, then I apologize.

You mentioned Saul spoke to the witch. Do you know where in the Bible that is?

Thanks

Bill May 8, 2009 at 9:43 am

It’s our body, resurrected and glorified. The body is dead, the soul is not. Our souls *are* us — just as our bodies are.

See Philippians 3:21 and 1 Corinthians 15:42-44. There’s more, I think, but I’m at work and don’t have much time. These are the two main citations.

Purgatory is a state of being purified, not a physical “place.” Nobody really understands how it works — it’s one of those mysteries. But … we know that it exists, both from Scripture and from reason. We know that God is merciful. He would not condemn someone to Hell for minor sins. But God is perfect, and He is just — we must be purified of all human imperfection in order to be in His presence. Remember the unjust servant? Cast into prison until he had paid in full? (Mt 5:26) Other scripture: 1 Cor 3:15 and 1 Peter 1:7 (purifying fire), 2 Maccabees 12:46 (making atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin), Rev 21:27 (nothing unclean shall enter heaven), 1 Peter 3:18-20, 4:6 (important — Jesus preached to the spirits in prison), 2 Tim 1:16-18 (Paul prays for dead friend Onesiphorus)

I’m not talking about “communicating with the dead” (certainly not in the “New Age” sense, and certainly not necromancy, which is what got Saul in trouble — as if he wasn’t in enough trouble with God about everything else!) other than as being able to ask them to pray for us. I have a lot of scripture to cite on this, but it’s going to have to wait until I have a few more minutes free.

Bill May 8, 2009 at 10:16 am

Responding to your objection that the Saints and others are dead, and intercessory prayer to them is necromancy:

Mk 12:26-27 (He is God of the living, not of the dead), Mk 9:4 (Jesus seen during Transfiguration conversing with Elijah and Moses), Lk 23:43 (“This day you will be with me in Paradise), Rev 6:9-11 (martyrs under the altar want earthly vindication), Heb 12:1 (we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses), Lk 16:19-30 (the departed rich man asks for intercession for his brothers), Rev 20:4 (saw the souls of those who had been beheaded), and one that you may possibly object to citing, but it is part of the Bible even though Protestants removed it from theirs: Wis 3:1-6 (the souls of the just are in the hand of God)

Bill May 8, 2009 at 10:20 am

If I may, I’d like to quote what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says about our nature and our soul.

“The soul is the spiritual principle of human beings. The soul is the subject of human consciousness and freedom; soul and body together form one unique human nature. Each human soul is individual and immortal, immediately created by God. The soul does not die with the body, from which it is separated by death, and with which it will be reunited in the final resurrection.”

This explains, to me at least, why (though not how) we can address prayers to the souls of the departed. How often do we say, of someone who has died, “He is in a better place now.” Doesn’t this recognize that the person is living still, at least the soul? Having lost both of my parents recently, I take great comfort in that, and I can ask them to intercede with God for me, with total confidence that they will hear me and pray for me as they did when they were alive here on Earth.

I don’t want to discount the value of the other teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church about these matters, but I haven’t brought them up because that would lead to a whole ‘nother conversation. Maybe another time.

I hope the scripture citations help you understand how we understand these things, I appreciate your interest, and thank you for giving me this opportunity to witness. It’s good practice for me when I have to deal with the people who would disagree with BOTH of us about EVERYTHING!

Tim Sevenhuysen May 8, 2009 at 6:39 pm

Thanks for the comments on “communicating” with the dead. I think the example of the thief on the cross (“Today you will be with me in Paradise”) is the best evidence that we go to heaven immediately when we die. Some of those others are parables and/or metaphors, but it’s a hard subject to have real clarity on.

As for purgatory, though–and I apologize if this is getting too far off topic–why do you believe that God would not condemn someone to Hell for “minor” sins? What is a minor sin? Don’t Matthew 5:28 and Romans 3:23 suggest that we are all imperfect, and that *any* sin makes us unworthy of Heaven? That’s the miracle of the Cross: we all deserve Hell, but because of God’s grace we all have the opportunity to receive Heaven if we believe and accept.

So at what point can we say that someone has or has not sinned badly enough to *really* deserve Hell? Where do you draw that line? How can we say that one person’s sins are deserving of Hell, while another person’s sins were only bad enough that they have to “work it off”?

See, one of the beliefs that I hold most dear is that we are *all* bad enough for Hell, and *nothing* we can do can make us “good enough” for Heaven, whether that’s something we do in life or something we do spiritually after death. It’s ALL about what Jesus has done, once and for all, on the cross and in the tomb.

Jesus has done it: he has completed his work of grace. Why would he have to *keep* completing it in purgatory if it’s already done?

Morag Marinoni November 20, 2012 at 4:39 pm

We don’t “keep” completing it. We end in Purgatory what we did not accomplish on earth by way of personal reparation for our personal mis-deeds. What Jesus did was open Heaven for Mankind. So many Christians do not seem to know this. It was closed to us before. It could only be opened if God the Father forgave us – which He did after the perfect sacrifice of His Only Begotten Son, the second person of the Trinity, the Word who took on human flesh for our sakes. That is how Jesus completed His work of grace – He made it possible for us to enter Heaven. Sorry to be repetitious, but before His death, Heaven was closed to all men! We can rationally and reasonably assume that the HALF-good went to Purgatory and the VERY good waited in the top floor of Purgatory, so to speak, a place very close to Heaven where they were happy but not completely since they did not yet enjoy God face to face until Jesus freed us from that “death” which was the inability to enter Heaven.

Tim Sevenhuysen May 8, 2009 at 6:49 pm

When it comes to asking the deceased to intercede on our behalf, I think it feels strange to me partially because I have been raised Protestant, and that is not part of our tradition.

But the concept also causes me to think back to one time when I was a teenager. I was in my bedroom at night, getting ready for bed. One thing I do every night before I sleep is pray. That night, though, I was thinking that I wasn’t feeling very close to God. There are times where I feel like Jesus is there in the room with me, if you know what I mean, and it’s a wonderful feeling of peace. But at that time, I was feeling a little more distant from God–as CS Lewis once wrote, closeness to God often seems to come at waves.

So I thought to myself, “It would be a lot easier if I had something visual to represent God, because then I could always feel like God was there in the room with me.” I decided to try it, so I picked a random stuffed animal to be my “stand-in” for God. I wasn’t going to fool myself into thinking the stuffed animal *was* God; it was just something to focus my attention on.

But the moment I began to pray, it felt horribly wrong. Despite my intentions, it felt like idol worship, like I was praying to the stuffed animal, not to God. I stopped immediately.

I think that’s how I would feel about asking the dead to pray on my behalf. Intellectually I’d know I wasn’t praying *to* them, but it does raise a question: if your prayed is answered, who do you thank? God only, I hope.

Morag Marinoni November 20, 2012 at 4:41 pm

You thank God first, and then you thank the intercessor whose plea for you was accepted by God.

Tim Sevenhuysen May 8, 2009 at 6:49 pm

Please understand that I’m not trying to attack Catholic beliefs or anything. I just find the dialogue fascinating and useful.

Bill May 8, 2009 at 11:04 pm

It’s really late here and I’ve just finished dealing with a moderately serious family emergency, so will have to answer later this weekend, if I get the chance. Or perhaps Matthew or someone else will answer you first. They are good questions, and ones that we have plenty of experience in resolving.

Bill May 9, 2009 at 8:42 am

OK, things are a little calmer this morning, so I will get to some of your questions.

First, about sin, see 1 Jn 5:16-17 (All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that is not deadly.) Also Mt 10:28 and Mt 12:31-32. And by reason we understand that theft is not as great a sin as murder, although both are certainly serious.

Catholics call deadly sins “mortal” and sins that are not deadly “venial.” Mortal sins are grave infractions of the law of God that destroys the divine life of the soul (what we refer to as sanctifying grace) of the sinner, constituting a turn away from God. For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must be present: it must be a grave matter, the person must have full knowledge of the evil of the act, and full consent of the will.

Venial sin does not destroy the divine life in the soul, but it certainly diminishes and wounds it. Venial sin is the failure to observe necessary moderation, in lesser matters of the moral law, or in grave matters acting without full knowledge or complete consent. This doesn’t mean that venial sin doesn’t matter. It does mean that it is not deadly.

Out of room. Got to continue in the next reply — in a little while.

Bill May 9, 2009 at 9:14 am

About the Good Thief (and the parables): The Good Thief certainly shows that we *can* go directly to heaven. It doesn’t show that everyone will. (In fact, we don’t know what happened to the other thief after he died. He may also be in Heaven, he may be in Purgatory, he may be in Hell. Only God knows.)

The Good Thief is one of several examples in the Gospel of faith and how essential it is to salvation — total faith and belief in Jesus. Or maybe even just as much faith as the proverbial mustard seed. I have to think that most of us fall short of that standard.

The parables are a slightly different matter, but not completely. As Scott Hahn says, God wrote the universe like a writer writes a story. Nothing is in the universe or the Bible by chance, and everything has a meaning. Especially everything, every word, Jesus said. Layers and layers of meaning. We are so familiar with some of the parables and the actual events recorded in the Bible that we overlook a lot of important layers. They are more than metaphors. They are how God, who is infinite, teaches us, who are so finite, miniscule, and limited.

This is why Catholics meditate on the mysteries of Christ’s life when we say the Rosary. In a lifetime of saying the Rosary, we never run out of things to learn from those mysteries. It is good, when meditating on Christ’s death on the cross, to give some prayerful contemplation to Dismas, the Good Thief.

Bill May 9, 2009 at 9:30 am

I don’t know what to say about that teddy bear. If you wanted to draw a parallel between it and (for example) the ikons on the wall above my desk, or the small statues of Jesus, Mary and the Saints in many Catholic homes, I think you may be on the wrong track.

Ikons, statues, and other images used by Catholics each contain symbols that help remind us of, for example, the virtues or the life of the saint — the person — represented in them. So as I type this, I can see an ikon of Saint Maximilian Kolbe, a Franciscan priest who died in the place of another man in a German concentration camp. The ikon shows his face as it appears in photographs of him, he wears the brown Franciscan habit, over his left shoulder is the concentration camp uniform, and he holds a scroll with a quotation from Jn 15:13. I have a great devotion to Saint Maximilian, and I ask his help in gaining me the grace I need to serve others. When I look at the ikon, I am reminded of all that he did in his life to serve others, beginning many years before his death, and that gives me a model for things I can do day to day. It’s not a matter of focusing on the ikon in order to pray. In fact, the usual way to describe it is that one prays WITH the ikon. But that’s probably a subject for another day.

And yes, when God gives me what I ask for, when the graces come, when by His power I can do things that really are beyond me, I do thank God. And I also take a moment to express my thanks to the saint who helped.

Bill May 9, 2009 at 9:36 am

Tim, I hope I haven’t missed anything important that you were asking about. I’ve rattled on here for quite a while, and I have weekend chores waiting.

Speaking for myself, I appreciate your asking the questions. I hope you find the answers you need. If you are routinely curious about what the Catholic Church teaches, get yourself a copy of The Catechism of the Catholic Church (Amazon has it). Everything is in there, and it’s backed up with scripture as well as with tradition. There is a terrible amount of misinformation and outright lies spread about the Catholic Church, its teachings, and what Catholics believe, so it’s useful to have a Catechism around so you can look things up.

Have a good weekend. Say thanks for me to your Mother tomorrow.

Jerry May 9, 2009 at 9:46 am

Tim, you can also view The Catechism of the Catholic Church here: http://www.kofc.org/un/publications/cis/catechism/contents.cfm or http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/ccc_toc.htm

May you be protected and guided by the Holy Spirit as you continue to discover the truth.

Peace to you

Matthew Warner May 11, 2009 at 6:39 am

hey fellas – great convo! Wish I had more time to read it all! But just had some quick comments.

Tim – in regard to what you said here:

I think the example of the thief on the cross (”Today you will be with me in Paradise”) is the best evidence that we go to heaven immediately when we die.

I think this actually goes against your argument. As we know, Jesus says this to the theif. As we also know is that Jesus himself did not go to “paradise” on “this day” – at least not in the sense that you are suggesting. We know that Jesus descended to the dead himself…and then rose again in 3 days! So Jesus apparently was #1) able to exist in some type of OTHER place aside from Heaven, Hell, or Earth and #2) he does so for 3 days while also saying that he would be in paradise on “this day” to the good thief.

So if it’s possible for Jesus to be in some other place for 3 days other than heaven, hell, or earth before coming back to earth – then certainly the good thief could have been in an OTHER place as well like Purgatory.

Heaven, Hell, purgatory, etc. are not bound by the time and space of our universe. God is outside of time. For God, today the thief is in heaven with Jesus. Today that thief also awaits the “Resurrection” which has not happened yet. Today God is crucified. Today God is risen. Today is all of time for God as he is outside of it. We can’t limit our ideas of heaven, hell, purgatory with the space and time of our universe.

Matthew Warner May 11, 2009 at 6:50 am

So there is no need of “time” to go through purgatory. It’s a state or a process. We simply MUST be cleansed before entering heaven. Whatever process God puts us through to do that – call that purgatory.

We can go down path after path like this debating certain interpretations of scripture. But there is a big difference between what we as Catholics view our basis for doing so and you as a protestant. We don’t limit ourselves to sola scriptura. No Christians did this until over 1500 years after Christ, and the Bible certainly doesn’t ask us to do this either.

As Catholics we also hold fast to the Traditions of the Apostles themselves and what they’ve passed down in the Church. We don’t have to depend solely on our own interpretation or opinion of scripture alone when it comes to these important matters of faith and morals. We simply look to the Church that Jesus gave us for guidance – that’s why he gave it to us. We look to what the first Christians did (and you would see, for example that they prayed to the dead and always have). We look to the human (and divine) institution that actually gave us the canon of the Bible to also help us understand what it means.

I am not telling you what my opinion is on whether or not purgatory exists – I have absolutely no authority to do so. I am just doing the best I can to relay the message of the Church – who does have that authority.

I understand that probably all sounds crazy to you. :-) But it’s an important issue – the matter of authority. We can give you scriptural evidence of Catholic beliefs all day (as it can all be backed up with scripture and contradicts none of it). But for the sake of our discussion, I would love to hear what you think of this other post I wrote here.

MikeyAnn May 11, 2009 at 12:53 pm

1 Timothy 2:5 declares, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” There is no one else that can mediate with God for us. If Jesus is the ONLY mediator, that indicates Mary and saints cannot be mediators. They cannot mediate our prayer requests to God. Further, the Bible tells us that Jesus Christ Himself is interceding for us before the Father, “Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them” (Hebrews 7:25). With Jesus Himself interceding for us, why would we need Mary or the saints to intercede for us? Who would God listen to more closely than His Son? Romans 8:26-27 describes the Holy Spirit interceding for us. With the 2nd and 3rd members of the Trinity already interceding for us before the Father in Heaven, what possible need could there be to have Mary or the saints interceding for us?…The Bible gives absolutely no indication that Mary or the saints can hear our prayers. Mary and the saints are not omniscient. Even glorified in Heaven, they are still finite beings with limitations. How could they possibly hear the prayers of millions of people? Whenever the Bible mentions praying to or speaking with the dead, it is in the context of sorcery, witchcraft, necromancy, and divination – activities the Bible strongly condemns (Leviticus 20:27; Deuteronomy 18:10-13)FULL VERSION ON: http://www.gotquestions.org/prayer-saints-Mary.html

MikeyAnn May 11, 2009 at 1:04 pm

Many people mistakenly believe that the immaculate conception refers to the conception of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ conception was most assuredly immaculate…but this concept does not refer to Jesus at all. The immaculate conception is a doctrine of the Romans Catholic Church in regards to Mary, Jesus’ mother. An official statement of the doctrine reads, “…the blessed Virgin Mary to have been, from the first instant of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of Almighty God, in view of the merits of Christ Jesus the Savior of Mankind, preserved free from all stain of original sin.” Essentially the immaculate conception is the belief that Mary was protected from original sin, that Mary did not have a sin nature, and was, in fact, sinless.

The problem with the doctrine of the immaculate conception is that it is not taught in the Bible.
READ FULL VERSION:
http://www.gotquestions.org/immaculate-conception.html

Bill May 11, 2009 at 1:34 pm

MikeyAnn, you obviously have not read any of the dialogue in this thread, or the scripture citations that do not conform to your view, so I’m pretty sure you would completely ignore anything else I have to say. It’s hard to have a discussion with someone who won’t listen.

(shakes dust off of sandals)

Britta June 27, 2012 at 9:46 am

“(shakes dust off of sandals)”

Really arrogant of you, sir. You’re comparing yourself to one of Jesus chosen original disciples, and you’re treating the comments of a believer in Jesus Christ as if they’re coming from an unbeliever, simply b/c she or he doesn’t agree with you all the way about all aspects of doctrine.

Matthew Warner May 11, 2009 at 1:50 pm

Bill – I was about to say the exact same thing! :-) Great job and thank you for all the comments earlier for Tim. As we all know, it can take a lot of time to actually be thoughtful and engage in a discussion on here. I thank you and Tim and everyone else who commented for the great discussion! I hope we all learned a few things – I know I did. God bless.

MikeyAnn May 11, 2009 at 1:58 pm

I’m sorry I didnt read the comments I was just commenting on your post. My intent is NOT to argue or bring division but I do have a different view on the issue. I grew up Catholic and actually went to church, attended Catholic school, and made all the sacraments I was supposed to. I left the church two years ago but I know we are still brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. The bible says, Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). If we are to rightly divide the word of truth we have to look at ALL scripture, everything the Lords says about the subject so that we are not only pulling out what WE think. My appologies if the Link I posted was offensive, I was just trying to apply more scriptual info on the subject.

Bill May 11, 2009 at 2:28 pm

MikeyAnn, your “different view” is well understood and was (at least in part) presented by Tim. The problem, and you should know this, is that the Protestant view, beginning with Martin Luther, picks and chooses only those bits of scripture that support it — and even then the various Protestant denominations do not agree among themselves on these matters or on the interpretation of scripture. The teachings of the Catholic Church are firmly grounded in the whole of scripture, without picking and choosing, and in tradition that has been handed down from the time of the Apostles. St. Paul certainly says in many places that tradition is important and is to be kept.

If you ask people to pray for you, or if you pray for others, you are making use of intercessory prayer. This is in fact exactly what John advises us to do in 1 Jn 5:16. It’s the same thing when we ask the saints to pray for us.

You also know (or should) that sola scriptura itself is not biblical. Veneration of the saints and of Mary, and asking them to carry our petitions to God, through Jesus, is very old, with documented evidence of these practices going back to the very first years of the Church. Surely in your Catholic education they must have taught you these things. I didn’t bring them up with Tim because there would be too much ground to cover, and it really needs to be the subject of a new thread. But you have the foundation already, so I’m just reminding you.

MikeyAnn May 11, 2009 at 2:42 pm

Oh I agree with you wholeheartedly that we should ask others to pray for us/eachother! As for Mary I believe that she can not hear our prayers because only God has omnipresence = Present everywhere simultaneously, is Omniscient Having total knowledge; knowing everything, and Omnipotent = almighty or infinite in power, as God having very great or unlimited authority or power. So I believe He is the only one to hear and carryout our petitions along with intesessors here. I dont believe Mary could be present in every church home and country where she is being prayed to all at the same time.

This is my belief and I respect yours. We are all His children and the only important thing is that the only way to the Father is through the Son, and we believe in Him as our savior! So Mary is not essential to our salvation but in your Catholic faith I know she is revered.

Bill May 11, 2009 at 3:29 pm

MikeyAnn, read 1 Cor 12:12-26 carefully. Christ has one Body, not one Body on Earth and one Body in Heaven. The saints in Heaven are part of that Body, and so are we. If those in Heaven had no way of knowing about our suffering and our needs, how could they be concerned about us?

It’s the same question people have about the angels — how can they know what we are thinking? But see Rev 8: 3-4. The answer is that the angels can do nothing for us apart from God’s will, and God makes it clear through scripture that he wills the angels to be involved in the mystery of our worship of him. (Paraphrasing Patrick Madrid here — gotta give credit.) It’s the same with the saints in general and with Mary in particular — their will is united to God’s will.

That we don’t know *how* this happens is beside the point — that’s one of those mysteries. What’s important is that it does happen.

Jerry May 11, 2009 at 8:54 pm

Tim, I would like to also share http://bit.ly/L5nJe with you. “Do Catholics Worship Mary?” is from http://www.triumphoftruth.com

Joy August 23, 2009 at 1:34 am

HEllo,

I would just like to add to the commentary. Not only aren’t the saints omniscient or omnipresent as the poster stated, these saints have not beed judged yet Christ as worthy of heaven or hell so what authority would they have to intercede for us.

I also believe in the biblical passage which says “it is finished at the grave” and the scriptures warnings of communicating with the dead. My belief is that while one is talking to the dead, you don’t know what spirit is being released since holiness and sanctification is only determined by God and NOT the Catholic church! I say confusion can only abound.

God Bless,

Eva Ulian August 23, 2009 at 2:37 pm

Quite honestly Joy, I believe that our “heaven” or our “hell” begins with our existence and it is we, ourselves who choose it. It is not an omnipotent “God” who stands as a judge and says, “you go here and you go there.” If by our actions, will and thoughts choose to exclude our Maker from being a part of us, that is where hell begins. If we on the other hand choose to remain in the love of our Maker, that is where heaven lies, either as a human being, as a soul or as both; on this earth or whatever realm it is we inhabit when the mortal form ceases to be. Those people who choose and have chosen to remain in the love of their maker are inhabiting heaven now and will continue in the hereafter, hence we know they are saints because they remain in the love of our Maker. This is no dogma given to me by the Catholic Church- it is something personal which makes sense to me. It may of course not make sense to you and in that case, you still have to continue searching.

mia November 23, 2009 at 11:38 pm

Go Eva Ulian! You made a great point,and represented for all Catholics!

gnee March 13, 2010 at 5:36 pm

We honor Mary (not worship). Jesus is God (the Son). Mary is the Mother of God-that’s why she is honored.
Do you ask your friend to pray for you? Sure.
Same as we ask Mary to pray for us; she is not dead, only her flesh is dead. {Jesus said: Why do you look for the living among the dead?}
To be canonized a saint, there has to be miracles in conjunction to that
person after their death as proof they are in heaven. They are closer to Jesus (the mediator) than we are, so we ask them to ask Jesus too (just as we ask another to pray for us). Catholics just ask them to pray for them and ask Jesus.
This is TOTALLY different from those who contact spirits of the dead in occult practices, in which they seek to communicate and get knowledge. King Saul did this and it cost him his life. See 1Samuel 28

God’s Word is clear: All forms of witchcraft and necromancy (to conjure up the dead) are abominable to God.
“When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD, and because of these abominations the LORD your God drives them out from before you.” (Deuteronomy 18:9-12)

Britta June 27, 2012 at 9:52 am

Calling Mary the mother of god appears to have enormous potential to confuse people. She is physically the mother of the human Jesus, but she is in no sense the mother of GOD in the fullest meanings of the term. She was not present with the Lord at creation, for example — just one example.

Matthew Warner June 27, 2012 at 10:09 am

I don’t think it’s confusing at all. But it’s certainly mysterious. BUt it’s also a mystery worth embracing and exploring…because it’s true. You only make it MORE confusing if you try to deny that Mary is Jesus’ (and therefore God’s) mother. The difficulty is in the hypostatic union…that Jesus is both God and human. That God was incarnated from a woman. That’s a mystery, no doubt about it. But it’s also true.

You seem to speak of two Jesus’s…a human Jesus and then a divine Jesus. That is incorrect and such a misunderstanding was at the heart of some of the earliest heresies in the Church. There is ONE Jesus. He is both divine and human. Mary is his mother. It is impossible to be mother to one Jesus and not the other…as they are one and the same Jesus.

Yes, that’s a mysterious thing to wrap one’s head around. But you won’t get any closer to understanding it by denying the obvious, that Mary is Jesus’ mother and Jesus is God. Nobody is making any kind of claim that Mary is anything more than a creature of the creator or that she is in any way above God.

Finally, we don’t base our beliefs upon what has “potential to confuse people.” Most of Jesus’ teachings had “potential to confuse people”! He even admits it himself and is why he speaks in so many parables.

We believe things because they are true…even if they are potentially confusing.

Anne Wyckoff June 12, 2013 at 7:25 pm

As a Catholic Christian, I see how admiration for Mary is Biblical and that the angel Gabriel, St. Elizabeth, and Jesus Himself (from the cross) understood her importance. Jesus gave her as a mother to his beloved apostle in His last words–all of which were of utmost importance to the new Church. Some Protestants reject her simply out of fear that it can be more than veneration for a fully sanctified human being. Some fear that goddess-worship will always be the result. Well, I think Catholics should be careful to stop pretending that there are NO fanatics who actually worship her, because I’ve met at least two people who went in that direction (out of hundreds who do not)
Mary is to be called”blessed” by “all generations”–see Psalm 45 and Mary’s words to the angel in Luke. I’ll use an analogy that’s a bit different: I love Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president. I venerate him as possibly our best president, he’s been a personal inspiration for me for years, and I have two statues of him at home. The Lincoln memorial has a huge statue of him in the nation’s capital. This is GOOD–so long as a country doesn’t create excesses, as N. Korea has in making everyone “worship” their “dear leaders.” If God says,”honor they mother,” and Jesus obeyed all the commandments to perfection–why should there be any problem with us honoring her as he does? I’ve seen excesses in every denomination, but the Catholic Church doesn’t require people to even pray the Rosary in order to be Catholic. There’s no requirement to believe in special visions either, and the Mass is centered on Jesus Christ–with more readings from the Bible than any Protestant church I’ve seen besides the Lutheran (who used the same order).

Chivas June 24, 2011 at 2:01 am

It is assured how could anyone be so foolish to actually bow down in prayer to a statue of Mary, yet at the same time deny that they are worshiping her? Talk about crazy! God clearly command us in the second of the Ten Commandments NOT to make unto ourselves ANY graven images. “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:” —Exodus 20:4 condemns that man made doctrine!!

Chivas June 24, 2011 at 2:02 am

Again Salvation can only be obtained by accepting the Lord Jesus Christ.. He condemns man made doctrines in Galatians 1:9 you can read that in your catholic bible….
Not by Peter or Mary. — of course they are humans. How can you imagine a concept with only one mediator and yet you still try to add another mediator for that mediator?? that’s insanity…
Not by mass. — fellowship is only a way to grow in your faith
Not by church attendance. — remember the pharisees who upheld the law but failed to love?
Not by Sabbath. — same as above
Not by devotion to icons. — idolatry is putting others before God and comes in many forms
Not by Catechisms. — the bible is the truth
Not by a rosary. — “Many call me Lord, Lord but I do not here them. God listens to prayers aligned to His will.”
Not by holy water. — Jesus said, what is dirty is what comes out of us, not what we take in or what’s sprinkled on us. God is holy.
Not by repentance of sins. — Belief in what Jesus did must come after realizing that yes you are a sinner.

I DO HOPE THAT YOU’D STOP DIRECTING YOURSELVES TO THESE MAN MADE DOCTRINES AND FIX YOUR EYES TO THE TRUTH (THE BIBLE)

Eva Ulian June 24, 2011 at 3:24 am

Dear Chivas you are obviously a very mixed up, much angry kid trying to justify tooth and nail in whatever it is you believe in. One thing that transpires to me from all your distressful explications is you remain completely unaware of that wonderful gift Christ has given- mercy. If perchance I have been mistaken and you do know what it means, then do try to use it a little towards your fellow Christians.

Chivas June 24, 2011 at 4:59 am

As what happened in the bible the Lord hates sin…(you can even prove that to your self in your catholic bible). False religious teachings are my concern here I don’t judge you people instead I show my love of condemning these false teachings as Galatians 1:6-9 condemns… I am completely aware of mercy and what I’m saying here is not to hate you people but to make you open your eyes.. The Lord combats evil with scriptures when He was tempted by the devil and I’m showing you the scriptures without prejudice.. Just remember this, a demonic spirit’s favorite activity is making a person feel religious without an understanding of the Word of God… OPEN YOUR EYES!! I DO PRAY FOR YOU WITH LOVE..

Chivas June 24, 2011 at 5:11 am

I do admit my mistakes for saying things such as “insanity” but what I refer to be insane are these evil doctrines that are created by men and a deception of satan! If you really do honor Mary then you people must not bow down into an image of her. Mary loves God a faithful servant of Christ. She does not want to replace God’s glory and honor and what these doctrines teach makes her sad by means of bowing down to her creating deceptions of her as a sinless being.(Only the Lord Jesus Christ is of without sin).

Chivas June 24, 2011 at 5:36 am

Again I end up my statement with one message. Salvation can only be obtained through the Lord Jesus Christ believing you are a sinner and He died for your sins accepting Him as your Lord and Savior. I do hope that you’ll read what is written in your catholic bible “The New Testament” of course and I hope with reading the word of God you may be able to someday keep away from false doctrines as what God’s word says so.(Also written in your catholic bible).

Eva Ulian June 24, 2011 at 6:59 am

I still think you are very much confused and misled about the Catholic faith and while my eyes are and always have been wide open, I think your sight is somewhat on the narrow side an unable to compass the idea of the love of God for mankind.

Chivas June 24, 2011 at 9:02 am

You resort to biased judgments and seem to avoid my statements therefore you are the one who’s confused here. You think of my sight as on the narrow side while your’s based on the scriptures is on the wrong side. What your doctrines do contradicts the word of God (obviously with the contradiction it covers you with deceptions unable to compass the word of God and even His love) and I can even testify that to you even if you read your catholic bible. I do hope that one day you will open your eyes and read your catholic bible and will be able to keep away from man made doctrines to make the bible as the authority of your faith.

Britta June 27, 2012 at 10:04 am

“my eyes are and always have been wide open”

Really? Always? Sounds like you have no need for a Savior.

Matthew Warner June 24, 2011 at 8:55 am

Chivas – as Eva said, you are most certainly confused. And I don’t see any signs of your interest in correcting your own ignorance. And I definitely don’t see a desire to engage in an honest conversation. You’ve copy and pasted duplicate comments on different posts (please don’t do that – it’s spammy and an abuse of the comment section here). Also, please put comments into a single comment post if possible instead of splitting them unnecessarily into multiple comment posts. That will help also.

All that said, the idea that bowing to somebody or some-thing is automatically a sign of worship is a gross and ridiculous distortion. In virtually every culture, bowing is considered a sign of respect and honor. And we do it to all kinds of people we love, respect and honor.

Additionally, I think you misunderstand scripture (on lots of points) and specifically on what a “graven image” is and the use of images in the Church. You can learn more on that here if you are interested.

Peace be with you!

Chivas June 24, 2011 at 9:16 am

Again as what I’ve said Galatians 1:6-9 condemns man made doctrines that are added into the scriptures. Now tell me right here where do you find the immaculate conception of Mary in the bible? That doctrine made her sinless which contradicts your catholic bible because the Lord is the only one who is free of sin! Quoted from Lady Fatima “Our Lady said that many souls would be saved from Hell and the annihilation of nations averted if, in time, devotion to Her Immaculate Heart were established…” What blasphemy! Take note the dictionary description of graven is equivalent to sculptured representations and how do you make a statue of Mary? Is it of divine magic that it forms on its own??

Matthew Warner June 24, 2011 at 4:59 pm

Chivas, you are clearly twisting and misinterpreting scripture. For somebody who claims to follow scripture so closely, you sure take a lot of liberty misquoting it. Galatians 1:6-9 does not say that at all.

Here’s what it actually says:
“I am amazed that you are so quickly forsaking the one who called you by (the) grace (of Christ) for a different gospel (not that there is another). But there are some who are disturbing you and wish to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach (to you) a gospel other than the one that we preached to you, let that one be accursed! As we have said before, and now I say again, if anyone preaches to you a gospel other than the one that you received, let that one be accursed!”

Nowhere here does it mention the bible or scripture (indeed, the “Bible” hadn’t been fully written and certainly not compiled yet). Most always when New Testament writers refer to “scripture” (which, again, he doesn’t directly do here in Galatians 1:6-9 anyway), they are referring to the Old Testament.

So what DOES this passage say? Basically, Paul is saying to hold to the Gospel they have “PREACHED” and the one we have “RECEIVED.” So how was this Gospel preached and received by the first Christians and the early Church? Well – other than a little common sense and basic history – Paul even tells us that, too (as well as 2 Tim 2:2)…

“Stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.” (2 Thess. 2:15)

So this Gospel, these traditions, the preachings of the Apostles were received by word of mouth and by letter. The Catholic Church adds nothing to that. She is the only thing which has preserved and protected it since that time, actually.

Your doctrine of “sola scriptura” (bible alone) is actually (and ironically) an addition to that Gospel…and a tradition of Men (a relatively new one, too. You won’t find any early Christians believing it). And, as you can see by the scripture I quote above, Sola Scriptura is also contrary to scripture.

On your other points:

How is “devotion” blasphemous? That doesn’t make any sense to me.

If you’d like to learn what the Church teaches about the Immaculate Conception and why, go here.

And clearly you didn’t read the link I shared regarding “graven” images above or you would have realized that God (in scripture) actually commands people to make carved/sculptured objects. So obviously not ALL sculptures are “the debil“. Let’s be reasonable here.

Chivas June 24, 2011 at 8:49 pm

Indeed God commanded in the old testament to create images such as cherubs etc. but did He tell you to bow down in to those images?? And by the way Galatians 1:6-9 you are the one confused with the verse sir. This is a very interesting situation, where the Vatican is proclaiming itself to be able to forgive sins through priests when only Jesus Christ can forgive you and that only happens when he says so!! and you will know that by reading His word. As what the pope said “Whoever seeks peace and the good of the community with a pure conscience, and keeps alive the desire for the transcendent, will be saved even if he lacks biblical faith, says Benedict XVI. ” this will always be regarded as a blasphemy as it contradicts 1st John 2:22 for the lack of faith in the Lord will be condemned. Your leader deceives people! think about it i’ts because of grace we are saved that we must receive it through the Lord and not because of good works.. wake up man!

gntlmnr November 22, 2012 at 9:12 am

Chivas – Are you aware that the Apostles were given the right to bind and loose by Jesus Christ himself?

(Matthew 16:19) “I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

(Matthiew 18:18) “Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Please don’t be so hateful. Jesus called us to love our enemies. So please love us even if you think we are your enemies.

Chivas June 24, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Sorry for an additional post I forgot to reply on your statement about the immaculate conception of Mary. That doctrine made her sinless which contradicts your catholic bible because the Lord is the only one who is free of sin!(Take note Jesus had brothers and they even rejected Him). Grace is getting the good that we do not deserve. Mary is full of grace indeed because of the blessing she got for conceiving the Son of God and even before that happened but it doesn’t mean she was sinless. Take note “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” taken from romans 3:23 your catholic bible says it! All you need to do is to open your eyes and read it by heart…

Eva Ulian June 25, 2011 at 3:51 am

Chivas, you obviously believe that religion should be so well defined as to leave no room to activate the element of belief. You must be a very unhappy person to spill all your beans here, maybe you should try a psychologist.

Chivas June 25, 2011 at 4:51 am

Exactly! no room for false belief the bible condemns it. Very unhappy? you have a point there unhappy looking at people who’s been deceived by false teachers. Psychologist? I don’t need one just another judgment of yours. You just can’t defend your false beliefs because it is false of course! Your catholic bible even condemns it that’s why you resort to insult me rather than answering my questions properly.

Chivas June 25, 2011 at 4:54 am

I know your zeal for God is great that’s why you came here to discuss things about God but believe me if you really love God then you would prefer to listen to His word than to false man made doctrines that were created by the Catholic Church. I certainly hope that God will open your eyes because I know you have a brilliant heart.

Chivas June 25, 2011 at 11:22 pm

Religion?? Not necessarily because the right religion is well defined already. God wrote the truth in His words and instead of making bias judgments about me if you don’t have anything to say about my statements then its better for you not to say a word.

Jerry June 25, 2011 at 7:54 am

Chiva, the Church, founded by Jesus, is the mother of the Bible –

You may find, if you will listen to His voice, He will lead you to the pillar and foundation of the truth – the Church of the living God. ~1Timothy 3:15

That they may be One, Father ….

Chivas June 25, 2011 at 11:27 pm

Jerry I’ll tell you the truth. Jesus said in mark 3:35 “Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” You can read that in your catholic bible. For Mary is just the physical entrance of Jesus to the world she is not sinless only the Lord is free of sin.

gntlmnr November 22, 2012 at 8:38 am

I like it when people take something from the Bible and interpret their own way. What you quoted from Mark 3:35 reaffirms that Mary was his mother and not the other way around, because Mary certainly DID God’s will, and I hope you’re not disagreeing with that.

N.B. mark 3:35 should be written Mark 3:35.

Eva Ulian June 25, 2011 at 10:52 am

Indeed, I cannot answer you for if you believe you need no answer- if you don’t believe no answer will ever satisfy you… so what’s the point of answering you???

Chivas June 25, 2011 at 11:40 pm

Indeed there’s no point on answering my questions..You need to act it for yourself. Its for you to work on to be free from the evil of man made doctrines. Even your leader (The pope) deceives people by convincing people to do good works without faith in the bible. Note that teaching is very dangerous because we’re talking about the salvation of souls here…

Chivas June 26, 2011 at 12:35 pm

To sum it up together with the answer to all controversial questions to the catholic church.

1. Exodus 20:4-5
“Thou shalt not MAKE unto thee ANY graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not BOW DOWN thyself to them Nor SERVE them.”

Do Catholics MAKE graven images? Yes.
Do Catholics KNEEL down to statues of Mary or Jesus? Yes.
Do Catholics SERVE Mary? Yes, as in “Legion of Mary.”
Do Catholics BOW DOWN and kiss the foot of the pagan god Jupiter which was renamed St Peter? Yes.

2. Leviticus 26:1
“You shall make you NO IDOLS nor GRAVEN IMAGE. Neither rear you up a STANDING IMAGE. Neither shall ye set up any IMAGE OF STONE in your land to bow down unto it.”

Do Catholics rear up STANDING IMAGES? Yes.
Do Catholics set up any IMAGE OF STONE? Yes.

3. Deuteronomy 4:16
“Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and MAKE you a GRAVEN IMAGE, the similitude of ANY FIGURE, the likeness of MALE or FEMALE.”

Do Catholics make graven images of MALE or FEMALE? Yes. Mary is a female. Jesus and the apostles are males.

4. Deuteronomy 16:22
“Neither shalt thou SET thee UP ANY IMAGE: which the Lord thy God HATES.”

Do Catholics SET UP ANY IMAGES? Yes.
Does God HATE IMAGES? Yes.

5. 1 Thessalonians 1:9
“How ye turned to God FROM IDOLS to serve the living and true God.”

Did the early Christians turn FROM IDOLS? Yes.

6. Deuteronomy 27:15
“CURSED be the man that MAKES ANY GRAVEN or MOLTEN IMAGE, an abomination unto the Lord, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and putteth it in a secret place.”

Does God put a curse on any person that makes any image? Yes.
Why does God call an image an ABOMINATION? Because He hates it.

7. The early Christians had NO IMAGES
Early Christian writers such as Irenaeus, Clement, Cyprian, Athanasius and Jerome wrote strongly AGAINST images, statues and any manner of prayer or veneration regarding them. The Council of Constantinople in 381 A.D. voted unanimously to remove all images from the Churches.

8. The Catholic Church removes the second Commandment against MAKING graven images from the list of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:1-17. This presents them with the problem of only having 9 Commandments. They resolve this problem by splitting Commandment number 10 into 9 and 10. That is: 9. You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife. 10. You shall not covet your neighbour’s goods. The following is seen in the book “A brief summary of the Ten Commandments” by the Daughters of St. Paul, p.12, 13:

WHAT ARE THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD?

Jerry June 26, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Oh, thank you so much enlightened one – We’ve never heard any of this before.

MikeyAnn June 25, 2011 at 11:33 pm

The Bible nowhere indicates that Mary can hear our prayers or that she can mediate for us with God. Jesus is our only advocate and mediator in heaven (1 Timothy 2:5). If offered worship, adoration, or prayers, Mary would say the same as the angels: “Worship God!” (see Revelation 19:10; 22:9.) Mary herself sets the example for us, directing her worship, adoration, and praise to God alone: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has been mindful of the humble state of His servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me — holy is His name” (Luke 1:46-49).

Got Questions?
http://www.gotquestions.org/virgin-Mary.html

Chivas June 25, 2011 at 11:50 pm

Brother/Sister MikeyAnn whatever may it be. That’s exactly as it is, Mary can’t be a mediator to Christ. We only need one mediator only the Lord Jesus can assist in negotiations and conflict resolution with our sins to God. To the people out there please take note of this logic. You don’t need another mediator for a mediator….

gntlmnr November 20, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Dear MikeyAnn, I don’t mean to be offensive, but I really think that website about “Got Questions” is really ridiculous. It makes absolutely no sense. The sole purpose of it is to prove Catholicism is wrong. I think they should get busy with teaching people about Jesus Christ instead of spending their time undoing the Catholic Churche’s teachings.

I have many problems with their logic, and with the proofs they are presenting. James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas are definitely not the children of Mary, and I can prove it to you and to them. They have a very shallow understanding of the Bible. May be they need to learn how to read first. (John 19:25) says “Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.” I hope you don’t try to tell me that Virgin Mary had a sister by the name of Mary as well.

The proof they presented to show that Joseph had union with Mary after the birth of Jesus is ridiculous and insulting to the intelligence. Their proof was:
“But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave Him the name Jesus”
and they said that “The word “until” clearly indicates that Joseph and Mary did have sexual union after Jesus was born”
Where in the world did they find that interpretation for the word “until”? How about if it was said “But he had no union with her until her death.” I hope you don’t try to convince me that he had union with her after her death.

Matthew Warner June 26, 2011 at 3:28 pm

@MikeyAnn – that website demonstrates a very shallow understanding of both the Bible, Christian teaching and Mary. These are all issues that have been addressed and taken into consideration as the Church’s understanding of Mary and God in general have deepened. I recommend reading some sources that reflect and consider that depth. It also builds its arguments on the false premise of sola scriptura, which, of course, is not found in the bible at all and was never practiced by the first Christians (or any Christians until 1500 years after Christ started His Church). So that, as a result, is going to lead to a more limited and often wrong interpretation of scripture.

Catholic teaching on Mary is 100% something that leads us deeper into our relationship with Christ. That’s the point. Mary has, from her very first YES to God, pointed the way to Jesus and been a human model for us.

Many of the misunderstandings about Mary assume too much from too little. They presume that if we look to Mary or the Saints or to each other for help, that we are somehow implying that Jesus alone is not enough. That’s simply false logic. And it’s precisely backwards. It is because Jesus is the source of all grace and love and that he has chosen to work through humans that we look to each other to soak up as much as we can.

Jesus asks us to look to each other. We are called to help one another, pray for one another (i.e. mediate for each other). This doesn’t take away the fact that ultimately Jesus is the One mediator. But he chooses to mediate through us, essentially making us co-mediators in as much as we cooperate with Him. He did that in an extremely special way through Mary (as she is how God, the creator of all things, chose to come into the world).

Jesus says that whatever we do for each other, we do for Him. And this teaching becomes much more profound once we realize that we (all of us sinners) are HIS body, the Church. We receive the love of God and His grace through one another all the time. This is life. That doesn’t mean we are cutting Jesus out of a job or implying he couldn’t do it all on His own if He wanted to. That’s just how He chose to do it. Jesus is the source of it all! But it flows through us all in this mysterious Body. He CHOSE to use us. He CHOSE to use Mary to give Him his humanity. To give us Himself. Catholics simply acknowledge this and the implications along with it.

It really is beautiful. And the people I know with the most profound and beautiful and inspiring relationships with Christ also have profound relationships with Mary and honor her as His mother (as we’re called to to). That’s the honest truth. The fruits speak for themselves.

If you would like to ignore Mary, the Saints and others and their role in your salvific journey, you’re just missing out. But stop with the ignorant accusations of idol worship and Mary worship. God love ya.

Eva Ulian June 27, 2011 at 4:17 am

You have articulated that quite well for us Matthew- which reminds me, how can anyone love Jesus if they don’t love and venerate His Mother? It’s like slapping God in the face who chose her to be His Mother. And how someone can translate that love and veneration into idol worship is just beyond me.

Britta June 27, 2012 at 10:02 am

God the father did not choose a human being to be His mother; he chose a humble woman of faith, not a sinless ultra-spiritual superstar, to be the means by which God the son would be made incarnate. God the father, son and holy spirit, the Trinity, does not have a mother. Jesus in his human incarnation required a physical mother in order to be fully human. This very limited sense is the only sense in which Mary is a mother to Jesus. Mary called herself God’s servant, not “Mother of God”.

Matthew Warner June 27, 2012 at 11:19 am

I’ll refer you to my previous response to you (above) for some of that. But…in regard to a few things you said…

Actually, you’re incorrect, God the father did choose a human being to be His mother. But yes, she was also a humble woman of faith. She is both. (I don’t know if anyone has called her “ultra-spiritual”. I’m not sure what that means.)

And Mary is BOTH the mother of God AND God’s servant. They are not mutually exclusive. You’ve set up a number of false dichotomies that seem to be limiting your beliefs. And in the process, you are limiting God by claiming only in “this very limited sense” etc. is how God did things. These are unbiblical and unhistorical limitations. And the worst part is that opening up to an understanding that is not so needlessly limited makes being a Christian that much more exciting and fruitful.

And the proof is in the pudding. Everyone I know who has a sound and deep understanding of Mary as mother of God…are also the people who – by far – have the closest relationships to Jesus Christ. It’s no coincidence.

Nancy July 10, 2012 at 1:09 pm

It is indeed a good article.

I do have to point out that the one scripture used gives clear evidence that the angel was speaking to a living human being residing on earth at the time. It was prior to her earthly death.

Secondly, the Bible itself tells us clearly to whom we are to pray, whom we are worship, and how we are to worship.

Not to put too fine a point it but I rather like going straight to the Word to confirm any man’s ideas about the Word.

Sign me A Former Catholic.

Matthew Warner September 23, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Nancy – That doesn’t conflict with Catholic teaching at all. So not sure what your point is.

Additionally, “The Word” is Jesus Christ. Scripture confirms this. The Bible is His written word, canonized, preserved and revered by the Catholic Church from the beginning. But Catholics recognize (as scripture does) that not everything Jesus (The Word) did and taught was written down. And the normative way much of it was passed down was through oral Tradition and the living faith of His bride, The Church. That’s why Catholics believe things that are not explicitly written in the Bible. In fact, all early Christians believed in things not explicitly written in the Bible (as the New Testament didn’t exist yet).

Nothing in Catholic teaching contradicts the Bible when interpreted properly. And in fact, the bible itself says that we should go to “The Church” when we have divisions and misunderstandings (mat 18:17). And it says that it is The Church that is the pillar and bulwark (1 Tim 3:15) – not the Bible.

You might like another article I wrote called Not Just Another Denomination.

gntlmnr October 24, 2012 at 11:54 am

“Where in the Bible does it say that you have to find everything in the Bible?” – Steve Ray

MikeyAnn October 31, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Hi Steve :)

2 Timothy 2:15 states, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
Other versions say, “…, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

To understand truth or be able to correctly handle it, as it states, you must first know in fact that indeed it is truth.

In your question you asked “Where in the Bible does it say that you have to find everything in the Bible?”
If you are speaking of spiritual things then you MUST indeed compare it to what was given to us as a referance-The Bible

1 Corinthians 2:13 says, “When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths.”

If anything you seek as wisdom contridicts that of the Bible then you know it is not inspired or originated from God.

1 Timothy 4:1 heeds this warning, “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.”
There is an easy way to not be mislead. Righlt divide the word of truth! Compare spiritual things to spiritual things and the Bible is your guide.

Blessings to you brother! God will never lead you astray-seek him and his wisdom and he will be faithful to lead you Himself!!!

gntlmnr November 18, 2012 at 3:23 am

First I have to apologize if I confused you by the question “Where in the Bible does it say that you have to find everything in the Bible?” First of all I did write after it ” – Steve Ray” which means that I’m quoting Steve Ray who was a Baptist that converted to Catholicism.

Second, I did not say that we should follow anything that contradicts scripture, but (John 21:25) says:
“There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written. ”
So apparently the Bible is not supposed to be all inclusive of everything.

Third, if the Holy Spirit was working with fallible people such as Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, etc… I don’t know why the Holy Spirit would stop working with fallible people in the Catholic Church, just as an example.

Philippe February 19, 2013 at 4:57 am

The more I read about catholics explaining that they are not in fact worshipping Mary, the more it sounds that they are. The catholic church should wake up to the truth. Veneration and worship of Mary and the other saints is idolatry. The cult and veneration of statues, images in any form is idolatry. Satan tried to tempt our Lord to bow down before him in exchange for all the kingdoms of the earth. He was rebuked by Jesus, saying: “Away with you,Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’

Matthew Warner February 19, 2013 at 4:55 pm

Philippe – I’m very confused. What is your definition of worship? And what is your definition of idolatry?

Leticia February 19, 2013 at 4:56 pm

Philippe, we are all entitled to our opinions, but I assure you Catholics know that God is our King, and he alone do we worship. When I pray to Mary I simply ask her to put in a good word for me with her son, Jesus, and ask her to pray for us because her prayers are powerful. Would you ask a sinner to pray for you? When you seek something do you not go to a person with powerful connections? Will, Mary has it all; she is the most blessed and she has strong connections to our Lord. And there have been numerous times where I’ve sought her intercession and those prayers are almost immediately answered. That is one of the reasons we love her so much.

Where in in the one prayer we dedicate to Mary do we worship her?
“Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art though among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary mother of God, PRAY FOR US SINNERS, now and at the hour of our death. Amen!

Jerry February 19, 2013 at 9:52 pm

One of the blessings of being Catholic is that we honor and respect the same people that Jesus loved.

Leticia February 19, 2013 at 10:34 pm

Beautifully said Jerry.

Philippe February 20, 2013 at 1:23 am

I can see that you are confused Mathew, one of the reasons is that you do not stick with what is in the bible alone. What early christians believed is one thing. I’m no expert but I’ve heard these times were confusing. Christians did not have access to the word of God the way we have. We do not need to err in the same fashion and we are not for that matter in any ways under obligation to emulate early christians. Thinking of it, tradition is one of the main reasons why the church is divided.

gntlmnr February 20, 2013 at 1:38 am

Egocentricism and love of power is the reason why the church is divided. There is one Catholic church. Do you know how many Protestant churches there are? I think the last number I heard is around 33,000 Protestant denominations. So please don’t blame the Catholic Church for the ailements of the Christian Church.

Let’s start with Martin Luther. Who gave him the authority to remove seven books from the Old Testaments?

Philippe February 20, 2013 at 1:58 am

Not blaming anyone here. actually I rather admire the fact that the catholic denomination has managed to remain united over the centuries.

Matthew Warner February 20, 2013 at 1:20 pm

Philippe – you never answered the question. You are just making extraordinary claims (like after hearing a Catholic explanation of teachings on Mary you are MORE convinced that it seems we are worshiping her). That’s the confusing part.

Maybe there is a language barrier or some other thing being lost in translation. That’s why I ask what your definitions of “worship” and “idolatry” are. Clearly there is a breakdown of communication and I was hoping to clear it up. If you can answer those questions, maybe we can get somewhere.

Also, regarding sticking to the “bible alone”, not only is your reasoning unsound (as to why I’m confused), but the principle of the “bible alone” is not a Christian teaching, nor is it taught anywhere in the Bible itself. And would have been an extremely foreign concept to Jesus, the apostles and their followers. If you’d like to discuss that more, you can do so on a post here: Why do Catholics believe things not in the bible?

As gntlmnr pointed out, your final sentence there pointing to “tradition” as “one of the main reasons why the church is divided” is a bit backward. If you look at the “denomination” that is LEAST divided (i.e. The Catholic Church), it is the MOST traditional (and is particularly devoted to the Traditions of Jesus and the apostles). On the contrary, if you look at the MOST divided denominations, they are the least traditional. In fact, they are most likely to be the ones who claim to go “by the bible alone.”

Philippe February 20, 2013 at 1:52 am

To Leticia, I say we do not need Mary. No one is more powerful or loving than Jesus himself. There is no reason why we should petition him through Mary. There are absolutely no reasons why we should believe that Mary was not a sinner. She was a woman of exceptional conduct, I understand that from the bible. She was born a sinner and died forgiven.
Our prayers are to be addressed to God the father and his son Jesus. We do not need the saints already in heaven, we do not need them for guidance either. Doing so prevents closeness with our heavenly Father and our lord Jesus and which they so desire.
Letitia, I can only rejoice that your prayers were answered. I’m convinced that it had nothing to do with addressing them to/through Mary. God is not some big boss or big softy we can manipulate at will! Strong connections to our Lord!!!???

Leticia February 20, 2013 at 2:13 am

I believe that Mary is the Immaculate Conception. I don’t wish to argue with you because I believe to argue with you about something so special as my faith only serves to hurt my Lord, and Mary, his mother; but I must say that I believe you demonstrate a very disrespectful attitude towards the mother of Jesus. I don’t need to be right. I only wish to express what I know to be true with all my heart and soul. I only wish for the world to love her as I love her, and to join her in her prayers for humanity. I know I may sound like a simpleton to you, but it is what we believe.

And if anything, if young girls of today could only aspire to live as Mary did this world would be a greater place. God chose her to be Jesus’ mother, or perhaps you believe he randomly selected our savior’s mother. Mary was special from the moment of conception, and will always be.

gntlmnr February 20, 2013 at 6:28 am

Dear Philippe,
You said “God is not some big boss or big softy we can manipulate at will!” I say that you are 100% correct on this one.

I would just like to tell you a little story. When I was young, and that was a long time ago :-), I could have gone directly to my father and asked him anything I wanted. He is my father you know. But I always felt more comfortable going to my mother instead. When I got what I wanted, I got it only with the approval of my father, and when he did not approve, then, I never got it, even with the request of my mother.

So this is how it is with me and Mary. I know very well that when I ask Mary, it is definitely not Mary herself that’s going to grant me my wish(es), but it is God Himself; and when I ask Mary, I know very well also that neither Mary nor anybody else can manipulate our God; but this is only my own way of asking God.

There is definitely nothing wrong to be Catholic and to go directly to the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit in your prayers, if that’s your preference.

Saint Paul referred to Abraham as the father of all believers (both circumcised and uncircumcised), so that also makes Mary the mother of all believers, and that’s why I consider her my mother. When I am going through a very critical time in my life, I always ask my biological mother to pray for me. That doesn’t mean that I am asking my mother to manipulate God. In the same way, when I am going through a critical time in my life, I also ask Mary to pray for me. In the end whether my wish(es) are granted to me or not, it is only God that is making the decision, and it is not my biological mother nor it is my mother Mary.

Leticia February 20, 2013 at 10:27 am

Gntlmnr, I’m going to quote what you have said here in the future. I’ve used a similar analogy regarding the story about your father. .

gntlmnr February 20, 2013 at 11:57 am

Thank you Leticia!

Philippe February 21, 2013 at 3:05 am

Hi Mathew, all, I am guity of all the above: poor grasp of english, backwardness, simplicity, It does not make me proud. When I refer to the church being divided, I mean the body of Christ. There is no finger pointing and no boasting about a single confession. Some are saying that there are 33000 protestant churches, sounds rather a lot, dunno. I’m not proud of this. The same person went on to question Luther’s right to remove 7 books from the bible or rather who gave him that authority. Not sure. His reason for doing so is that he believed apocrypha to be: “Books which are not to be esteemed like the Holy Scriptures, and yet which are useful and good to read”. (I had to check on that one). But since Luther was brought into this, I’ll have to add that it was the discontent with the abuses of the church that brought the reformation.
I’m a protestant, i was brought-up as one, we would not be having these conversations if it were otherwise. Yet for example, when the words “crusades” pops-up in a conversation, in all its negative connotations, I partake in the collective shame, as a christian.
Mathew, I read your comments on Mary, I’ve read other’s too. I don’t want to get into a battle of words. (you are probably much better equipped anyway :). I’ll stick to my first claim: “the more…”etc.
You all seem eager to appear as not worshipping Mary; yet to me and quite a lot of people, christians and non-christians, you are perceived as doing exactly that. Does it not worry you?
I’m sure this analogy with our earthly family is very cosy. I used to ask my mum for things I desired, hoping she would bring the subject to my dad who would make the final decision. I have children of my own and they used the same tactics. I regret that my children did not dare approaching me directly. It points to my failure as a dad; first of all a failure to understand my kids’ needs, secondly inspiring fear where there should have been none. Thank God God is different! I can go straight to him and ask him for things I think I need, ask him for protection, thank him and praise him, all this in Jesus’s name.

gntlmnr February 21, 2013 at 3:35 am

Philippe,
I respect you for trying to understand, and you should always feel proud, because you are not simple at all.

I just want to point out few things:

1) I was never afraid of approaching my father, and I did approach him on several occasions when I was a kid. I truly loved my father (he passed away a year ago). I also love God very much, and I assure you that I would never be able to worship God if I was afraid of Him. It is not within my capacity to worship somebody that scares me.

2) There were lots of horrible things that happened in history, and the Catholic Church is no exception. After all, the people who were/are in charge of the Church are just as human and fallible as any other humans. We believe that the Church’s teachings are infallible, but we don’t believe that the people in it are infallible.

At any rate, the Church has admitted its wrongs and offered an apology. So what is the point of bringing up all the filth anytime we talk about the Catholic Church. What is expected of the Church to do?? Are we supposed to dissolve the Church and start all over again?

Let us move forward, because getting stuck in history is not going to take us anywhere; and please remember that “He who has no sin, cast the first stone.”

God bless you Philippe.

Matthew Warner February 21, 2013 at 3:40 pm

I ask again then Philippe – What is your definition of worship? And what is your definition of idolatry?

If you are going to accuse people of appearing to worship somebody or to practice idolatry, surely you can tell us what you mean by such terms? Then maybe I can clear up or draw some analogies that might help you look at it from a different perspective.

MikeyAnn February 21, 2013 at 5:22 pm

I grew up in the catholic faith, made all my sacraments that I was able to at the appropriate age and went to catholic school from kindergarten to eighth grade, attended Catholic church until I moved out at the age of 19. I admired (and still do) the faith of my community parish! One thing I can tell you honestly is that we did and many in the parish still do worship Mary. I grew up and most of my family still believe it is Mary who answers their prayers. It deeply deeply saddens me that my Mexican culture uses Mary in a very idolatress way, even combined with use of witchcraft! I KNOW that it is not the official church teaching that Mary should be worshiped or that she is the one who answers prayers but what I don’t understand is why the church will not stand and teach that this belief is wrong. Many, many members of my family will not even believe if told because of tradition. Many pray to saints and Mary faithfully and forsake a true relationship with Jesus. No, not all Catholics worship Mary but many do. Instead of badgering the issue of weather or not it happens WHAT CAN WE DO to teach/direct/exhort those that do!?

Philippe February 23, 2013 at 6:20 am

Not accusing Mathew. This is not a tribunal. I started asking myself the question, do all catholics worship the virgin Mary? Googled it and found your blogg amongst other.
It looks that MikeyAnn is one of these christians who distance themselves. Personally I had no idea that devotion to Mary was that important. In my ignorance I even believed that the term Immaculate Conception referred to Jesus himself.
By the way, I’m not questioning the fact that you’re a christian Mat.
If I need explaining the nuances in the degree or depth of devotion to Mary, then I humbly suggest that you are bound to fail to convince. I know you tried to have me define what I understand with “worship” and “adoration” Is that so important? I can read and I can see. Both worry me. I’m not speaking only for myself, i try to imagine what a hindu would think seeing people on their knees in front of a statue of Mary.

Leticia February 21, 2013 at 5:34 pm

MikeyAnn, I’m going to respond to what you have said here, but first, I would like to know whether or not you still consider yourself Catholic. Do you attend mass every Sunday and on Holy Days of Obligation?

MikeyAnn February 21, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Hi Leticia,

I am a believer in Jesus Christ. No I do not attend Catholic church I attend a non-denomination church. But I am a sister in faith.

gntlmnr February 21, 2013 at 11:21 pm

I think that the Catholic Church did not do a great job educating the masses, and I hope that we start doing a better job. I think we are all revolving around the same point over and over again, and we are all getting very entangled in expressing ourselves.
Officially, the Catholic Church does not worship Mary. Period, end of discussion. I said it and I say it for the hundredth time probably that for us Catholics we have to offer the “sacrifice of the Eucharist” to the one we worship in order to call it truly worship, and that sacrifice is offered only to God the Father, and NEVER EVER to Mary or the saints. Many Protestant denominations don’t even have something called “sacrifice” in their worship. Their worship is a completely different concept. Their worship is probably reading the Bible, singing some beautiful hymns, and playing some beautiful and sometimes very loud music, and they call that worship. To the Catholic Church that is not sufficient to call it worship. There has to be a “sacrifice” to call it worship.
Now we go back to the subject of prayer. Praying to Mary or to a saint is simply asking Mary or the saint to pray for you just like you ask your mother or your father to pray for you. It is NOT different from that at all, but we believe that Mary and the saints are holy, and it would be more appropriate to ask holy people to pray for you.
Now many Catholic people, who are not formally educated about the faith, may interpret things the wrong way, and therefore display these wrong interpretations to the outsiders, and that’s why outsiders accuse the Catholics of worshiping Mary and the saints, and not to mention the strong anti-Catholic feelings that we have in our society exploiting these issues and other issues for some political or other form of gain.
What I say is that we as Catholics should understand that we have a problem, and that many people are exploiting that problem, and that we should start doing our best to fix that problem, and by fixing that problem, I don’t mean we should be changing our traditions at all to please the outsiders, just like all Christians should not abolish the concept of the Triune God to please outsiders and convince them that we truly worship a single God and not three of them.

MikeyAnn February 21, 2013 at 8:13 pm

We practiced “novinas” quite often, prayer to saints and Mary. Most are under the belief that the saints and Mary answer the prayer request.

Here is a link to the most common Novina prayers:
http://lordcalls.com/prayers-to-mother-mary

They are actually for purchase on this site:
http://www.discountcatholicproducts.com/Novena-Booklets-Tri-fold-Cards-Prayer-Cards-C270.aspx?s=OrderBy%20ASC&r=6&p=2

I dont think that ignoring this mistaken belief helps our brothers and sisters. When the church refuses to acknowledge something taught or practiced is wrong, it wounds its own body, there are many examples but not worth mentioning. My parents are faithful in the Catholic faith today and I have dicussed this same topic many times and my own mother said to me that she is not ashamed to admit she worships Mary. When I was growing up we visited many times a site where a woman claimed to recieve messages from Mary. In the annoincments at church Mary’s messages were read to us to encourage us in the faith. Of course it is a task that would require more than I could possibly imagine, these beliefs have survived time and continue to travel to parishes across the nations. Forgive me if I come off rude or bitter but the sorrow I have is overwhelming.

Matthew Warner February 22, 2013 at 11:13 am

As long as the source of it all is recognized as God, then I’m not sure there is a problem.

I mean, God chooses to answer prayers THROUGH other people all the time. We are his hands and his feet. So of course He is going to answer prayers through His Saints, too. This is a beautiful thing.

And as far as your mom worshipping Mary, I don’t know her at all. But again, the word worship has been used in different ways throughout time and other cultures to mean different things. So you have to be clear what is meant when somebody says “worship.” It may not be bad depending on how they mean it.

Also, Novenas are awesome. Extremely powerful prayers that I’ve seen God answer in powerful and miraculous ways. So if you’re a fan of God and his work and his miracles and his answering prayers, you should be a fan of novenas.

I’m defending the fact that I’m sure some people out there don’t get it and have a misplaced focus or misunderstanding of the Christian faith. But that is everywhere! People who love Mary and the saints would be the least of our worries when it comes to people who misunderstand or twist the Christian faith. Do we need to help them? Of course, but I think a lot of the focus here is in the wrong place and being directed at some legitimate and holy practices.

Here is more on praying to the saints if you’re interested.

God bless you all and thank you for your faith!

gntlmnr February 22, 2013 at 11:26 am

MikeyAnn,

Do you know the meaning of the sacrifice of the Eucharist?
Have you heard of it?
Do you know what it means?
When you practiced Novenas, were offering the sacrifice of the Eucharist to Mary or to the saint(s)?

There are things I’m saying that you probably seem not to understand, or may be you are too focused on proving me wrong, and that causes you to skip large portions of what I am saying?

What is the problem? I am sure there is a problem.

MikeyAnn February 22, 2013 at 12:38 pm

gntlmnr.

I believe I posted before I read your responce. It was delayed for review.

Growing up in the Catholic faith I fully understand what the sacrifice of the Eucharist is. I do not in any way refute what you are saying. I sincerly apologige about the way I seem to be comming off. The only problem I have is what I see in my own surroundings. I fully understand the position of the Catholic Church in the matter of Mary and the Saints. My prayer is the same that the church will start doing a better job educating the masses, mostly with the New Pope coming into position! As for the Novinas, they in themselves are beautiful, powerful, God anointed prayer, but the point I was trying to communicate is that some people believe it is the actual Saint or Mary who is the one answering their prayer. To me that is where Idolitry begins because it is giving credit to answered prayer to the Saint rather than God. It is glorifying a created being rather than the Creator. I know that the church does not teach this, yet is it a widespread belief. Arguing about it does not produce fruit- My question is how do we redirect those who have the wrong belief back to Christ. My frustration comes from a lack of good communication skills to my own family friends. These people are my brothers and sisters in faith and I care for them. There may not be a quick solution or responce, if there was, I assume the church would have a handle on it. But even if we educated one person-thats is a great start! God is not the aurthor of confusion that is the work of the enemy. I know we all would rather the body stand in one accord instead of so much division.

gntlmnr February 22, 2013 at 1:24 pm

Yes, MikeyAnn. Thank you for your calm and logical response. You were scaring me before, but now I totally sympathize with your frustration. I myself also have Catholic relatives that think that it is actually Mary or the saints that are answering their prayers, but unlike you, I did not leave the Catholic Church to fix the problem, but I faced the problem and I tried to resolve it with my relatives. I was successful in some cases, but I was not successful in some other cases, but I continue my pursuit with fixing the problem, and I am not giving up.

MikeyAnn February 22, 2013 at 11:09 pm

Amen! Praise God for his Grace! He tells us in His word to be tolarant of others who’s faith is weak. I trust in Him to bring all who are weak in faith, into spritual maturity and those who are mature, in to spiritual accountability. We must encourage one another in the Faith and continue to Lead the next generation to God’s saving grace. Forgive me if I have failed to bring honor His name in any of my remarks. My spirit burns like Jesus did for the sake of His holy church when he overturned the money tables. The bible says in anger do not sin, so again I do apoligize. This blog has been going for quite some time and over the years I have come to a peace about my relationship with the Catholic church. I believe Romans 14 Beautifully sums up what the relationship between catholicism and Protestantism should look like. We Worship the same God, the same God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob! The great I Am :)

I LOVE YOU ALL

Philippe February 22, 2013 at 2:19 pm

I’m sorry guys, but if it is such a fine line and so many (most) fall into the pattern of addressing prayers to Mary and the saints and believing that they answer them, would it not be time to do away with it altogether. I believe that great blessings are in store.

Matthew Warner February 22, 2013 at 6:32 pm

Philippe – Most Christians don’t understand the Bible when they read it. Does that mean we should do away with it all together?

And again, the people I know who know Christ most deeply have a special devotion to Mary. It’s not a coincidence. She leads you deeper. If you want to know Christ most intimately, get to know his mother, too. There’s something to it, I promise.

Philippe February 23, 2013 at 5:01 am

Mathew, Hi again. In a few lines you recommend that christians should read the bible and show devotion to Mary. Could it be that christians are confused as what they read in the bible differs from what the catholic tradition teaches?

gntlmnr February 23, 2013 at 3:18 am

Philippe,

I am originally from Lebanon. I had a Muslim roommate from Lebanon a long time ago when I was in college. We tried debating the differences between Christianity in general and Islam. The Muslims think that when we refer to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we are referring to three separate gods. I tried explaining to him the concept of the Holy Trinity so many times, but he was never able to understand it and accept it; basically, he was refusing to accept it, because his religion is so adamant that there is ONLY ONE GOD, and there is NEVER any tempering with that fact. The fundamentalist Muslims are willing to execute somebody, if he declares that there are multiple gods.

So to the one billion Muslims in the world, we, as Christians, are crossing a very fine line between worshiping One God and worshiping three gods. Does that mean we should abandon the concept of the Holy Trinity all together to convince the one billion Muslims that we truly worship ONLY ONE GOD?

The Holy Eucharist is another sticky point between the Catholic Church and most Protestant denominations. The Catholic Church believes that when Jesus Christ said “This IS my body” and “This IS my blood” in the last supper, he was meaning it literally, and we also use chapter 6 from the Gospel of John to support our belief, and we take chapter 6 from the Gospel of John literally as well. Chapter 6 in the Gospel of John is about when Christ was talking about his flesh and his blood. Most Protestant denomination do not take these things literally, but they say that Jesus Christ was talking symbolically instead.

Now when the Catholic Church celebrates the Holy Mass, we offer the Holy Eucharist (Body and Blood of Christ) as a sacrifice to the Holy Father, and we receive it in the communion.

Philippe February 22, 2013 at 2:21 pm

I do not understand the notion of sacrifice of the eucharist

Philippe February 23, 2013 at 4:49 am

gntlmnr, I know, the concept of Jesus, son of God is quite a stumbling block. As you say, the holy trinity cannot be explained. We can try, but it remains a mystery no one understands fully. In faith we can accept it and embrace it. Although in a way you could make a muslim accept that Allah reveals himself through his word. Jesus is the word of God (John 1:1) Not that I believe the Kur’an has anything in common with the bible. Just to illustrate the possibility.
The possibility of Jesus born of a virgin is also unacceptable.
In addition, especially in the arab countries, muslims bear a deep hatred for Israel and the jews. Jesus being a jew makes him an enemy.
I never said or thought that with should do away with the Holy Trinity in order to make christianity more palatable. I salute your attempts at explaining it to your flatmate. Who knows your witness and patience will bear fruits someday.
I can only imagine the muslims reaction when they hear that God has indeed a mother…
I’m sorry my friend, I hope I do not offend you. To me Mary was a wonderful woman, from the tribe of Judah, a descendant of king David himself. God himself selected her for the privilege of giving birth to Jesus, we don’t know why, we can only speculate. God has a way to single out individuals and, in the case of Israel a whole nation, that defies reason. He chose Israel because of the faith of Abraham. Does it mean that Abraham was without sin or flaws? Not at all. God, because of his infinite wisdom and love decided to gather a nation unto himself. A nation to protect, cherish, feed. A nation he hoped would make him proud and would reflect his love back to himself, and also be a witness to surrounding nations. The experiment culminated in the death and resurrection of Jesus, who settled the problem of sin once and for all. All this to say; the plan of God for salvation did not involve, perfect, sinless people. It involved reluctant, rebellious and imperfect people, but perfect to carry-out his purpose.
I’m not saying that Mary was reluctant, rebellious and imperfect. In fact she took on the task willingly, but i believe God chose her because of his great love, not because of Mary’s merits.

gntlmnr February 23, 2013 at 6:24 am

Philippe,
Just a simple correction to common misconceptions. The Muslim Arabs do NOT hate Jesus because he is a Jew, and they don’t really hate Israel because they are Jews. The conflict between the Arabs and the Jews is purely a conflict that revolves around the land of Israel and to whom it belongs; however, this is a political issue that is beyond the scope of this blog.

The Muslims believe in the Torah (the first 5 books of the Bible), and they believe in all the prophets that we believe in; however, they believe in them slightly differently. They also believe in the Virgin birth of Jesus and in the fact that Mary is a special woman chosen by God; The BIG differences between us and them are:

1) They don’t believe in Jesus being the Son of God, but they respect him simply as a prophet, and he is not God, because, in their opinion, the Christians are degrading God by saying that he came to earth in the form of a human being.

2)They believe that Jesus spoke about the coming of the “prophet” Mohamed after him, and that other prophets from the old testament also spoke about the coming of the “prophet” Mohamed, and that “prophet” Mohamed would be the last of all prophets.

3)They believe that somehow the Christians tempered with the Bible to hide the facts that Jesus and the prophets spoke about the coming of Mohamed, and they believe that the Bible that we have is a fictitious Bible and it is not the true Bible.

Just as a final note, I am not offended very easily. This blog is made for the exchange of opinions. A different opinion from mine doesn’t offend me at all. It is they style that some people use to express themselves that sometimes irritates me, But you have been very polite throughout my debate with you.

gntlmnr February 25, 2013 at 3:51 am

Additionally, another one of the major differences between us and the Muslims is that they believe it was not Jesus that was crucified, but Jesus escaped crucifixion by allowing a Jesus look-alike to be crucified instead of him, and the reason they give for Jesus not being crucified is that “God cannot be crucified, and it is impossible for God to die.”

To me that’s a major flaw in their logic and it is very self-contradictory, because on the one hand they say that Jesus is not God, then they turn around and say that Jesus cannot die since it is impossible for God to die.

I never met a Muslim that was able to clarify that self-contradictory concept.

Anne Wyckoff June 13, 2013 at 8:47 am

Perhaps I put my earlier comment in the wrong place? After all, this blog spans two years. However, I think it is relevant that SOME (sorry) Catholics have fallen into Mary worship. Here I’m thinking of such heresies as Santaria, but I’ve met 2 others who admitted it. The vast majority do not. If the Church would clear this up, protestants might not get so anxious for nothing. My earlier analogy to Lincoln’s memorial is a good one for me–as I have a personal “devotion” to him. There’s every reason to have a statue of great people, and I don’t bow down to either Lincoln’s statue or Mary’s.

Matthew Warner June 13, 2013 at 1:34 pm

Santeria is not at all Catholic. That Catholic Church has always been extremely clear on that. And when you say “if the Church would clear this up”…I’m completely and utterly confused.

What more can the Church do to “clear this up?” She has repeatedly said and taught over and over and over again in as loud a way as possible the teaching of the Church when it comes to Mary.

You can pick and choose a million issues that Christians “fall” into as a part of their misunderstanding of Christianity. Are we to blame Jesus or his bride, the Church, for our having skewed God’s teachings? Let’s be reasonable here.

And whether you bow to something or not does not determine whether you are unduly worshipping it or not. I bow to my wife before we dance. Does this need to be cleared up that I don’t think she is God? In almost every culture, bowing to somebody is a form of respect. Not that they are being worshipped as God.

There is nothing to be anxious about. Read and listen to what the Catholic Church herself teaches, and has clearly done so for thousands of years, on the subject.

Peace be with you all.

leticia June 13, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Well said, Matthew Warner.

Anne Wyckoff June 14, 2013 at 8:55 am

I’m not anxious, and yes the official Church has made it clear that “dulia” is devotion to saints, “hyper-dulia” for the greatest saint of all–Mary. Catholics who care will know this. sometimes LOCAL churches- and the faithful- do not make it clear to protestants or heretical (or ignorant) faithful, and I personally knew two people who said the only worship Mary. One said she is divine, and the other person never prayed to Christ willingly–only Mary. Neither of them even did Santaria, but the ignorant sometimes fall into that because they use many Catholic- looking objects and statues. The catechism should be available to those ignorant on the topic– and maybe your church has pamphlets based on that, but some do not. Some protestants suspect that “dulia” is a cult- like idea, when it’s only Latin for admiration or veneration. At the local level “the Church”simply means parishes and the lay people. You are right in saying that the official catechism makes it plain. But as you may know, not every parish does what the vatican would like.

Anne Wyckoff June 14, 2013 at 9:21 am

Just yesterday my son & I saw an example of something that could confuse many. Through NO FAULT of the Catholic Church, Wallgreens began an entire row of “Catholic”(looking) candles and rosary like things with images of the saints and Mary. Mixed in, were candles labeled “lucky lottery” and a few santaria things. I have seen superstitious “house selling kits” where a statue of St. Joseph is buried on a property the owner wants to sell. Clearly the official Church doesn’t want this, but one parish-run store sells them. We live in a part of New Mexico where Mexican traditions are sometimes confused with things Catholic. BTW, your explanation at the top is part of the “Church” already clearing things up for those who are confused. I only think that we should always do so with charity-and patience, realizing that some are better informed than others. God Bless.

Anne Wyckoff June 14, 2013 at 10:33 am

One last thing. You may have confused me with someone else. I’m new here, a Catholic Christian, and never posted against the RCC. I’ve been involved in conservative ecumenism for years because I hate to see division in Christians- who would otherwise be united. That was Jesus’ prayer. We live in a time where more Christians have been martyred than the days of Nero, so understanding each other is urgent. The Catholic Church is still banned in China and North Korea, and all Christians in 60+ nations lack human rights. The average life span of any Christian in North Korea is only 3 months, and in China our fellow Believers risk a life of slavery–making the products America buys. As America gets closer to China, I hope that all Christians in good faith are ready to put our reputations- and possibly our lives-on the line without rancor.

Matthew Warner June 14, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Anne – My apology for being short with you in the other comment. Lots of people try to make the argument that because there is potential for confusion (or because some people do get confused) that the Church shouldn’t teach what it does on Mary. But this same argument could be applied to every teaching on Christ. I’m sorry if any such frustration was misdirected at you or that I misunderstood your point.

God bless you and thank you.

Anne Wyckoff June 17, 2013 at 9:09 pm

Thank you Matthew, I know it is a difficult job to explain these things to a culture that makes it look so wrong. We just saw a documentary on Lourdes where some historians said it was “goddess worship.” They also spoke to Catholic clergy, yet none of them corrected that false idea! This came from “The History Channel.” God Bless

Philippe June 19, 2013 at 1:03 am

I wonder how that is possible… The world is so unfair! Brothers and sisters it is time to open your eyes. Anne, one possible reason why the clergy did not attempt to rectify the claim as you would expect them to was that they held the same view?

gntlmnr June 19, 2013 at 1:25 am

I did not watch that program on “The History Channel”, so I don’t know at what point the interviewers mentioned “goddess worship”, but it is very possible that the clergy did not know in advance the content of the program, so the clergy may have never even heard the phrase “goddess worship” in advance. Television programs interviewers are in the habit of pulling such tricks. I witnessed this several times with other issues. One time they interviewed a friend of mine for a TV program not related to this subject. My friend held completely opposite views of what the program was talking about, but when they presented the program, they presented parts (not all) of what my friend said, but they presented in a way that made my friend seem to agree with what the program was saying.

gntlmnr June 22, 2013 at 6:04 am

Philippe – There is no way for any Catholic clergyman to hold the view of “goddess worship”. We Catholics may be accused of loving Mary to the point of excess, and that might be a justifiable accusation, but to be accused of worshiping Mary as a goddess, that would be utter ignorance. The term “goddess” is not even part of the Catholic vocabulary. We worship only ONE God, and that God is definitely NOT Mary.

gntlmnr June 23, 2013 at 2:11 am

I would like to invite everybody that never attended a Catholic Mass to attend a Catholic Mass on any Sunday. Please go, and you might want to sit in the back of the church (but not necessarily), because for people who never attended a Catholic Mass, it might seem a little confusing, because you don’t know when to sit, you don’t know when to stand, you don’t know when to make the sign of the cross, etc..

Go to the Mass and listen to every single word that is being uttered during that Mass, and you will come to the conclusion on your own as to who we worship.

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