Part of What Helped Make a Catholic of Me was This Sort of Thing

I wrote, in plain English, using short, easy-to-read words: “By the way, you do know, don’t you, that Mary’s sinlessness is due to the grace of Christ and not to some intrinsic merit of her own? For example, Christ saved me from a life as a drug dealing Nazi skinhead. Do you know how? By keeping me from ever falling into those sins in the first place. He did the same thing for Mary, only he kept her from falling into any sin, including original sin. That’s the basic Catholic belief. Not a claim that she needed no savior, but rather a claim that she was completely saved

The reader to whom I was replying then wrote back: “You seem to think Mary didn’t need a Savior.”

It’s this sort of pre-recorded response to Catholic teaching that I found singularly depressing in so many Protestant attempts to deal with what the Church teaches when I was trying to evaluate the claims of the Church vs. Protestant critiques. So many critiques boiled down, like this one, to saying “Catholics *can’t* say Mary is saved by the grace of Christ because my tape-recorded response is only crafted to deal with the straw man Catholic who (my teachers assure me) believe Mary needed no Savior. So I’ll just repeat myself, even when it makes no sense.”

Um, every evening of every day, for hundreds and hundreds of years, the Church has prayed the Magnificat in which Mary says, “My spirit rejoices in God my *savior*. This is not a news flash to the Church.

Please. Deal with what Catholics actually teach and throw away the pre-recorded responses. For those who are seriously trying to grapple with Catholic teaching, such rejoinders only have the effect of making a powerful case that most critics of Catholic teaching don’t have a clue what they are rejecting.


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