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Do Catholics Worship Mary?

Our Lady Queen of Angels

When you go into a Catholic Church and you see a big, splendid statue of Mary with flowers in front of it, a bank of candles lit before it and an old woman kneeling down, fervently praying her rosary it would seem to be what it looks like: the woman is worshipping a statue of Mary.

But if you ask the old woman if she is worshipping Mary she’d say, “Whataryatalkinabout?, I’m praying the rosary.”

So what is going on? First we have to define “worship”. From time immemorial worship was identified with a particular action: the action of sacrifice. Pagans worshipped their gods by making sacrifices to them. The Jews worshipped by making sacrifice to Jahweh.

The reason we moderns get confused about worship is that we’ve forgotten the principle of sacrifice so we don’t really know what worship is all about. This is understandable from Protestants because they got worried about the sacrifice thing 500 years ago and threw it out. What is most depressing is that most Catholics also don’t understand the “sacrifice is worship” idea either. They’ve been told the Mass is all about “the family of God gathering around the table of fellowship to increase their mutual self esteem and discuss peace and justice issues.”

Because of this nonsense the majority of American Catholics don’t have a clue what the sacrifice business is all about, and therefore they don’t know what worship is supposed to be about either. Like the neo-Prots that they are they have come to think that worship is all about hearing a sermon, singing some songs and praying.

Now we’re getting down to the reason why Protestants think Catholics worship Mary. They think worship and prayer are the same thing. Therefore, if you are praying to Mary you must be worshipping Mary.

Well, the Catholic faith has been around for a long time, and believe it or not, these questions have been asked before, and the Catholics have the answer. It goes like this: there are three categories of respect due in the realm of worship. They go by specific names: Latria, Dulia and Hyperdulia. Latria is worship. It is the worship that is due only to God. This worship consists of offering God our lives, our souls, our minds and our bodies as a living sacrifice (Romans. 12. 1-2) We do this pre-eminently through the sacrifice of the Mass.

Dulia is not worship. It is honor. We honor anyone who is eminent and accomplished. We honor them for their brains, their discipline, their wit, their achievement. We honor our parents and grandparents because we owe them that. We honor our loved ones. Part of this honor is that we ask them for things. We come to them with our needs. We look up to them. We respect them. They are our role models and mentors. We have a relationship to them of subservient honor. They are awesome to us. Dulia is also what we give to the saints and angels. We give them the honor that is due to them. As part of this we have a relationship with them. We ask them for things. This is called “praying to the saints.”

Hyperdulia is the honor we give to the Virgin Mary. We give her the highest honor because she is unique amongst all God’s creation. She is higher than the cherubim and seraphim. She is the only created being who was honored by God so greatly that his son took his flesh from her. She has totally unique place of honor in heaven and therefore also amongst all of God’s people on earth. The honor we give her, therefore, and the dulia we give her is higher than any other being. But it is not latria. We’re clear about that. We do not worship  Mary. The sign of this is that we do not make sacrifice to her. You don’t find any Catholic priest offering a Mass to Mary. No. The sacrifice of the Mass is offered to God the Almighty Father.

This also should be understood clearly: the dulia and hyperdulia which we give to Mary and the saints is ultimately honor given to God. We honor the saints (including the Blessed Mother) not for who they are, but for who God made them to be. We honor in them the completed work of grace. We honor in them their faithful obedience, which itself is a gift from God. The Blessed Virgin says, “the Almighty has done great things for me!” We honor Mary and the saints because we are struck with delight and awe at the wonderful things God has done for them. As the moon reflects the sun, so the Virgin and saints reflect the light of Christ. Without him they are nothing. With him they have become divinized–sons and daughters of the Almighty Father.

Finally, we insist that it is proper devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary which corrects all the other errors. Do you think it is a co incidence that as neo-Protestantism has grown in the Catholic Church that Marian devotion has been marginalized, limited sometimes even banned or prohibited? When Marian devotion plays its proper part in the life of the Church we also start to realize what real worship is, and how important the sacrifice of the Mass is to everything else. This is why, despite misunderstandings we come back time and again to thank God for Mary and to honor her as the greatest of all created beings.

  • Phil

    Very well written and clear explanation. Thank you, Father.

    • Don R

      I am a Christian who has heard much debate about whether a Catholic is a ‘Christian’. I myself am not sure, i hope so (in the end only God will judge) and I have a question please. Do Catholics believe that respect and honor to Mary as the greatest created is a ‘must’, ie, required, necessary for salvation? And must a Christian confess his sins through a priest, pastor or the Church, or is it sufficient that a Christian confess his sins to Christ directly and receive forgiveness through faith in Christ alone? Put another way, would you consider it a false statement that Christ alone can forgive sins and that sins are not forgiven by the church, through a priest or sacrements. Lastly, does the Catholic church believe that (water) baptism is a must for salvation? Thanks for your help in understanding the Catholic church!
      Don

      • Kavitha

        Don’t Judge any one, you follow as per your faith that’s it

      • ILOVEJESUS

        sir, read the BIBLE.. read the BIBLE only and believe in the BIBLE only.. BIBLE has all the answers..
        personal relationship with Jesus is the answer sir.. if you would accept him as your personal LORD and SAVIOR then you will be saved.. :)
        John 4:16 “Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”
        I am not here to JUDGE and i don’t have that position but it is the right time to know the truth about salvation.. no religion can save us but a relationship with Jesus Christ can.. it is God’s grace and not only Mary is the blessed one but WE ARE ALL AS WELL.. we are saved because of Jesus Christ who died on the cross for us.. He is the ONLY risen one.. Only GOD can provide to us, can hear our prayers, can heal us and ca do miracles for us.. we have to honor ONE GOD.. :) Him ONLY.. :) God bless us all.. :)

  • Bill M.

    I don’t know what I’d do without the Blessed Mother. I genuinely feel for Protestants and others who don’t give her the honor she’s due.

    • http://ammelillo94@hotmail.com The Ultimate 94

      It is indeed that she is due honor for being Jesus’ mother, but Catholics do worship her. Not only do they place statues of her on alters and stands in churches, but they pray the Hail Mary in front of that statue at least ten times and then place a crown on it. There are times where they teach more about her than they do Jesus. A proper example of hyperdulia would not be treating as either Catholic (both Roman and Orthodox) do. I would be just teaching about her and making her a statue. The Church gives more devotion to her than it does Jesus sometimes. That is my stance. We are all entitled to our beliefs.

  • Mary

    I was away from the Church for many years.Confused and not knowledgeable about the Church AND its teaching. I was totally ignorant of the foundation for those teachings. I was like a ship on a raging sea both spiritually and mentally. However, my mother taught me a prayer which I would repeat every time I passed a church, it was a short prayer to Our Lady asking for her to pray for us. I don’t know why I said it probably out of force of habit. As the years passed I found myself alienated, restless and unhappy. One day I ventured into a Church and saw a Franciscan Priest reciting the Rosary. I don’t know why but I was so moved by this humble man moving his fingers across the beads, I begged Our Lady to help me. The Priest was preparing for Mass which I stayed to attend. At the time of the Consecration I was deeply moved, I did not dare approach to receive Communion but I began to weep. After Mass I found a pamphlet on the recitation of the Rosary. I began to pray, and ask Mary to assist me and help me to come back to her Son. Well, she did not fail! My greatest obstacle was the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I did not understand nor did I believe I needed to confess my sins to a Priest. One day I happened to speak to a woman and told her I was having difficulties with the faith.She told me I needed to speak to a Priest. She sent me to a Priest , who was good, holy, knowledgeable and Marian. He explained to me about this great sacrifice of mercy and told me I needed to reconcile myself to the Church through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.He encouraged me to continue to pray to Our Lady and to mediate on the Mysteries of the Rosary.On Good Friday many years ago after much fear,trepidation and after much assistance from Our Lady I came back to the Church. After I left the confessional I wept with joy. It was surely was one of the greatest days of my life. Our Lady was not finished with me yet, she led me to good Priests who taught me the faith. I dove in the life of the Church both intellectually and spiritually. I could not get enough of the wonderful gift of Jesus and his Church.I began to visit the Blessed Sacrament on a regular basis. My life changed completely. Oh and that Priest who was so humble reciting the Rosary before Mass became my spiritual director. I became ( along with my husband) a Secular Franciscan. Many years have passed, I adopted two Children from Mother Teresa’s order and was blessed to meet this humble Saint on many occasions. Through the intercession of Our Lady I was blessed with two wonderful children , one who is studying to be a nurse and the other discerning a vocation to the Priesthood. Mary has helped me through the most difficult times, a bout with Cancer and various other difficulties. SHE HAS NEVER FAILED TO LEAD ME TO HER SON!!! No I do not worship Mary but I love her dearly. I thank God our Father for creating her and I thank our Lord Jesus for giving to us (on the day he gave his life for our sins) such a wonderful kind and loving Mother. No Mary takes nothing for herself but brings everything back to her God and Saviour .She instructs us well on how we are to be pleasing to God and weans us away from the allurement of sin and the world. I thank God everyday for this Woman who said Yes to being the Mother of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I thank her for graciously accepting her role as our Mother and I am forever grateful for her intercession in my life! To Jesus through Mary!
    Mary,Mother of Jesus and Mother of me ,PRAY FOR US!

    • Lois Morabito

      Jesus said He is the way the truth the life and no one comes to the Father except through Him. Your dependence, devotion, and trust should be in Him. Your relationship should be with Him. Please examine your heart to see if it is really Jesus you love. Mary would never take the devotion away from her Son. Take heed there are seducing spirits that want to pull you away from God. My heart breaks for Catholics who seem to be more devoted to Mary than Jesus. You can take anything to God, He is there for you. Please go to Him and find out what a loving, kind, and wonderful God He is. When you develop that relationship with Jesus your devotion will be to Him and not a seducing spirit in the guise of Mary.

  • http://www.concernedforlife.blogspot.com Julie Culshaw

    Good post, Father. I have forwarded other posts on Mary that you have written to Protestants and this one will go there too. Thanks.

    • Jim Ludwig

      I agree that it was an excellent explanation. But don’t just send it to Protestants like me, send it to your Catholic brothers and sisters too. The reason most Protestants “feel” that Catholics worship Mary is because the Catholics haven’t been given good teaching like this that explains why they don’t worship Mary. The church does not teach worship of Mary but unfortunately many Catholics aren’t aware of it.

      • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

        I disagree. It is certainly true that many Catholics need to be better catechized, but I have found that even the most simple of devout Catholics who practice a devotion to Mary know that they are not worshipping her. They understand the clear distinction that is lost on many Protestant observers of Catholicism that the devotions and prayers of any Catholic are always totally secondary to the celebration of Mass–which is the source and summit of our the practice of our religion, and they know that the Mass is completely about Jesus and the worship of God the Father and the commemoration of the sacrifice of his Son, and that Mary is (where she should be) in a side chapel.

      • wineinthewater

        I think you’re on to something, but not what you think.

        I think you would be hard-pressed to find a Catholic who worships Mary, no matter how poorly catechized they are. However, you will find some Catholics who spend an inordinate amount of time venerating Mary, so much so that they don’t have as much time left to worship of God as they should. They are still proper in their latria and dulia, even though their priorities in their devotional life are off. And that unbalance in a devotional life can look like Mary worship from the outside.

        And, this is all made more complicated by the differing nature of worship in the Catholic and Protestant traditions. Veneration will often look like worship to a Protestant because it is a practice almost completely absent in Protestantism. Veneration looks more like worship than it does anything else, so it’s easy to confuse with worship (latria). Also, veneration is due only to something or someone holy, therefore veneration is, itself, and act of worship of the One Who made them holy.

        • Mrefu

          But do you actually think someone can love Mary more than Jesus loved him? Impossible!

          • Mrefu

            I meant do you think someone can love Mary more than Jesus loved her?

  • http://www.randomjottings.net/ John Weidner

    The English word “worship” used to have both meanings; of Latria and Dulia. People used to call noblemen “your worship,” or speak of the worship and honor due to the king. There are in London livery companies (guilds) with names like “The Worshipful Company of Clockmakers.” And recently there has been created “The Worshipful Company of Information Technologists!”

    And everyone used to know that this was a meaning separate from the worship due to God.

    • Howard

      Yes, and this is reflected in some older hymns and also in the Douay Rheims Bible.

      So, for example, we have in 1 Samuel 24:9,10
      “And David also rose up after him: and going out of the cave, cried after Saul, saying: My lord the king. And Saul looked behind him: and David bowing himself down to the ground, worshipped, and said to Saul: Why dost thou hear the words of men that say: David seeketh thy hurt?”
      Making this even more complicated, in the Latin parallel, the word which is translated “worshipped” is “adoravit”, which is obviously related to our word “adore”, yet it is clear from the context that what is happening here is not idolatry. The NAB translates this passage as
      “David also stepped out of the cave, calling to Saul, “My lord the king!” When Saul looked back, David bowed, his face to the ground in homage, and asked Saul: “Why do you listen to those who say, ‘David is trying to harm you’?””
      The RSV-CE uses the word “obeisance” for David’s salute.

      Thsi is not the only place where similar wording is used, either; such wording is common throughout the Bible. When Herod said, “Go and diligently inquire after the child, and when you have found him, bring me word again, that I also may come and adore him,” he was surely claiming that he intended to pay homage to the real King of the Jews, though he was obviously lying about that intention. Herod would have had no inkling that the Child was God Incarnate, nor did he have any intention of making sacrifices.

  • Mario

    Father,
    After reading this post a few red flags went up in my thinking, which I’m sure you’re accustomed to hearing. Exodus 20:4 says, “you shall not make for yourself a carved image or any likeness of anything”…….verse 5, “you shall not bow down to them or serve them.” (ESV translation). Do you see why most Protestants are offended by this honor given Mary? Hebrews 4:14 says, “since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens Jesus the Son of God”……verse 16, “let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Because of Jesus’ sacrifice we now can make direct petitions to God, so why would we go through Mary? There is no scriptural evidence to pray to her. I honored my parents while they were alive, but now that they have passed away I don’t pray to them. I pray to God the Father because I know He hears my prayers, we don’t know if Mary or the saints can. I’d like your thoughts on my comments.

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      These are good questions. The first question regarding the production of graven images is not to be taken out of context. It is linked with the first commandment to have no other gods. It is clearly NOT a complete prohibition of carved images since God later commanded Moses to make graven images of two angels to adorn the ark of the covenant. Neither is it a prohibition of images of a two dimensional kind as the walls of the tabernacle were adorned with embroidered images of angels seven feet tall.

      The Hebrews passage is a beautiful one, but Catholics interpret it differently than Catholics. We acknowledge and thank God for the access to the throne of grace through the death of Christ, but do not see that this prohibits the communion of the saints. We don’t pray to Mary instead of going to Christ himself. We pray with and through Mary. Hebrews 12 also says, “Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us run with confidence the race that is set before us.”

      However I admit that Protestants would read these verses differently.

      • Ken

        1 Tim 2:5 there is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. Mary, being a dead person, is not nor can she be our mediator. Jesus is the only way to God. John 14:6, I am the way,the truth and the Life, no man comes to the Father but by Me. Not Mary, JESUS. end of story.

        • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

          Thank you for visiting this blog and commenting. Mary is not dead is she? We believe in the resurrection and the life. She is alive in Jesus–like all those who trust in him. To be sure there is only one mediator–the man Christ Jesus. We Catholics also believe this. However in the power of Christ, and through his one mediation, when we pray for other we also mediate for them don’t we? This is how we understand Mary’s mediation. That she prays for us just as any other holy Christian woman might pray for us.

          • Ben

            When I pray for others, that is MY prayer, not the other person’s prayer. I am not the mediator for the other person’s prayer because it is MY prayer. If the other person prays for me, that is the OTHER PERSON’S prayer. Both of our prayers are mediated to God through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Now, what I’m failing to understand is why we need Mary in this equation…

            If Jesus Christ is the only mediator, and we all know that we can do all things through Jesus Christ, why in the world do we need to pray “through” Mary?

            And for the last statement in your article, “we [Catholics] come back time and again to thank God for Mary and to honor her as the greatest of all created beings.” For Christians, we thank God for His grace (John 3:16), not for some being he placed on this Earth thousands of years ago. All the glory should be to God.

          • Perera

            This is question to Ken.If moses and Elija who died long back even before Jesus rose from the dead appeared at the Transfiguration where Peter and Jhon were wittnesses how can anyone say that mother of Christ is dead.And all the holy souls who have gone before us.

          • Ann

            ONLY GOD IS OMNIPOTENT,MARY CANNOT HEAR YOU PRAYING TO HER! SHE WAS A HUMAN WOMAN,SHE’S IN HEAVEN NOW AND SHE ISN’T OMNIPOTENT!

  • Charles E Flynn

    The first time I came across the distinction between dulia, hpyerdulia, and latria was in Allen Mandelbaum’s translation of The Divine Comedy.

    As for Mary, I knew a Jewish man who was a survivor of what he called the Buchenwald Preparatory Academy, who would enter Catholic churches and light a votive candle at the statue of the Virgin Mary. He had no opinion about Jesus, but was convinced that one could not go wrong trusting in “a good Jewish mother”.

  • Jim

    Father
    Perhaps you could clarify the use of the terms ‘adoration’ and ‘worship’.

    From your time in England you will recall titles such as ‘his Worship, the Mayor’ while John Weidner cites other English uses of ‘worship’ in guild companies. I recall that the origins of the word are in acknowledging the ‘worth’ of someone or their office, ‘worth-ship’ or similar derivation. Thus, the Mayor can be ‘his Worship’ as can Magistrates/Judges in court where their ‘worth’ is acknowledged by calling them ‘Your Worship’. In which case Mary is indeed worthy of worship because of her worth.

    Adoration, on the other hand, is reserved for God alone (or for the delightful Miss Hon in certain circumstances).

    Jim in Scotland

  • http://www.catholicetc.com Matt

    Thank you father. This is fantastic! I am reminded constantly when I pray the rosary that we are praying WITH Mary TO God. Echoing the words spoken by the angel, we ask Mary to pray, in her place in Heaven, for us who are sinners. If this were “worship,” we’d be asking Mary to bless and sanctify us rather than pray for us. That is reserved for God alone.

    I hope you don’t mind if I share this link. It’s about how the rosary is built upon the Gospels and the prophets, and about how it points us constantly to Christ. http://www.catholicetc.com/ifocus/media/Pray_the_Rosary_-_Pray_the_Gospels.php

    Thank you for your writing, father. May God bless you! (And may Mary pray for you.)

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  • Inara

    High on my list of Things That Make Me Crazy is the Protestant hijacking of the word “worship”, which now means “sing a K-LOVE song” (because we all know the Magi “prostrated themselves while drinking lattes & swaying along to ‘Our God Is An Awesome God’” & the elders in Revelation “whipped out their guitars before the one who sits on the throne”…)

  • Will

    “the majority of American Catholics don’t have a clue what the sacrifice business is all about, and therefore they don’t know what worship is supposed to be about either”

    I disagree. What is your source?

  • Karen

    What Biblical citations support your definitions of “latria” and “dulia?” Those words are Latin, and the Bible is written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Does the translation from the source language make a difference?

  • http://platytera.blogspot.com/ Christian

    Catholics: prayer=communication
    Protestants: prayer = worship

    • Howard

      I think you’re right, at least regarding Evangelicals. (I am a converted Southern Baptist, so I don’t claim to know abut Lutherans or Anglicans.)

      It’s ironic, though, that the “prayer=worship” group has such flat, un-worshiplike prayers. This bothered me even before I converted. They don’t dare write out a prayer beforehand — that would be “too Catholic” — so in rattling off a “spontaneous” prayer they are reduced to thanking the Lord for the weather over and over again (because they’ve forgotten the other things they meant to be thankful for), they use “O Lord” as a filler, only a little better than “uuuuuh”, to give them time to think up the next petition, and they lose track of whether they meant address the Father or the Son.

      • Mickey Sticks

        Amen to THAT!

  • http://tomperna.org Tom Perna

    Great post Father! When I was in graduate school, I took a course on Mary (Mary in the Modern World) with Dr. Mark Miravalle at Franciscan. The class completely changed my relationship with the Blessed Mother forever….I mean For-ev-er! I heard that it would do this from students who had taken the course before me, but I didn’t believe them for whatever reason. I did well in the class and even had my paper for the course published on a Marian website. I have a talk that I have given to RCIA candidates for the past three years on the Five Marian Doctrines. Teaching other Catholics about the the Blessed Mother is a great honor.

    Thanks again Father!

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  • http://villageundertaker.wordpress.com/ Ray V.

    Greetings from Aiken, Father.
    This was a very informative article, as were the comments.
    I re-blogged this for the benefit of my readers. Hope you don’t mind.
    http://villageundertaker.wordpress.com/2012/04/15/do-catholics-worship-mary/

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  • Dennis

    Yes, this is a well written argument, but only because it is based on flawed assumption about Protestant beliefs.

    First, Protestants believe that the Bible is the inspired and therefore, perfect Word of God and there is no equal authority. Nothing else is needed. God has given us his perfect Word where no other supplemented beliefs are needed.

    Second, Protestants give Mary the respect she is due as Jesus’ earthly mother. She is in no way, mother of God. Secondly, there is no evidence that she was assumed into heaven and our God considers her the Queen of Heaven. Again, this was something derived from Catholic conventions and has no Biblical foundation.

    Third, when the Bible tells us to pray for each other, it is clear that it is telling us to verbally ask for those alive and active in the church AND right with God. I do ask my brothers and sisters in Christ to pray for me. But when I am not with them, I do not pray to them to ask them for help. Further, the Bible specifically forbids us to pray to the dead. The only documented instance of where that has happened in the Bible is when Saul prayed to Samuel. Saul was a sinful man out of God’s good grace and was severely admonished by Samuel for doing this act. Further, Protestants firmly believe that prayer is a form of worship. For us, there are no two ways about it. Prayer = Worship!!! Catholicism has justified prayer to Mary and other saints by categorizing prayer as a lower form of respect. Until Catholicism comes to believe that prayer is a form or worship, (or Protestant come to believe it is a lower form of respect) the argument given is mute.

    Fourth, to say Protestants don’t understand sacrifice is a misconception of the Protestant Christian way of living. We believe that our entire existence (after we give our lives in faith to Christ) is to be our living sacrifice for the Lord. Giving up our past lives, practices, and idols is just a start. Truly living a holy (set apart from the world) lifestyle, growing in Christ, and doing everything in our lives (and I mean EVERYTHING) to please God, is the only way to live for the Lord. Being a living sacrifice is part of the core foundation for living as a Christian. We are to be a continuous living sacrifice for God.

    I believe the true grind between Catholics and Protestant (which is a different sect of the Catholic and original church) is when Catholic beliefs seem to contrast God’s word. My hope is that both Catholics and Protestants end up in heaven. But to see some comments of the readers’ this article where they couldn’t image their lives without Mary, I don’t understand. ALL of my hope comes from Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. My joy is in God and my comfort comes from the Holy Spirit. Why would I want or need anything less? The fact is I don’t. My joy is in knowing that I will meet my Savior one day in glory and will live with him for eternity.

    God bless you all.

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      Thank you for your comment and for stopping by this blog. I don’t have time to speak to all your points, but I do understand them and I understand your position as I was brought up as an Evangelical Christian. Your first point was about the doctrine of sola Scriptura. The problem Catholics have with this doctrine is on three points. First of all, it is a doctrine that was never heard of before the Protestant Reformation. Secondly, while there are many verses in the Bible which uphold the authority and usefulness and inspiration of Scripture, there are none that teach that it is the only authority. Thirdly, the doctrine of sola Scriptura comes down to private interpretation and the second epistle of Peter specifically condemns that.

      We find it strange that we are blamed by Protestants for believing non-Biblical, late invented, man made doctrines when the entire theological edifice of Protestantism is based on sola Scriptura–which is a non-Biblical, late invented, man made doctrine.

      The second point is that you say ‘no way is she the Mother of God’. However, surely you believe that Jesus Christ is God incarnate do you not, and Mary is his mother, so if he is God, then she is the Mother of God. That is what we mean by this title–and no more.

      We also believe that you should not communicate with the dead. However we believe in the resurrection. The saints of God are not dead are they? They are alive in Christ. They are part of the church of Christ–we just can’t see them right now.

      We agree that we should all present our bodies as a living sacrifice to God which is our reasonable service.

      Thank you again for visiting here and God bless you!

      • Dennis

        I appreciate you response.

        The Bible is complete, authoritative, and true. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).

        I agree that nowhere in the Bible it states that it is the only authoritative guide for faith and practice. While this is true, there is one important issue that is mostly ignored by Catholics in general. We know that the Bible is the Word of God. The Bible declares itself to be God-breathed, perfect, and authoritative. We also know that God does not change His mind or contradict Himself. So, while the Bible itself may not explicitly argue for sola scriptura, it most definitely does not allow for traditions that contradict its message. Sola scriptura is not as much of an argument against Catholic specific tradition as it is an argument against unbiblical, extra-biblical and/or anti-biblical doctrines. I am not saying that Catholic specific practices are any of these. But what I do know is this: the only way to know for sure what God expects of us is to stay true to what we know He has revealed to us – the Bible. We can know, beyond the shadow of any doubt, that Scripture is true, authoritative, and reliable. We cannot say the same of any tradition.

        Again, as we believe prayer is a form of worship, prayer to any being alive in this world or passed on to the next life is a no-no.

        Also, not sure if I understand you correctly, but if you are saying “private interpretation” is anything other than the Catholic Church’s interpretation of the scripture, isn’t that the same thing? Sorry, if I misunderstood what you meant.

        Regarding using the “mother of God” title for Mary, using your logic, we can also call her “mother of The Holy Spirit” as well. ;-)

        Thanks again for the respectful debate.

        Your brother in Christ.

        • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

          Thank you for your courteous and intelligent reply. Catholics would agree with you that the sacred Scriptures are true and authoritative and that no church teaching or tradition or devotion can contradict the Bible or go against Biblical teaching. We understand that some Protestants think that some Catholic teachings, devotions and traditions go against the sacred Scriptures, but in each case we are happy to correct their honestly held misunderstandings and explain how we think our beliefs and practices are actually congruent with Scripture. They may still disagree with what the Catholic Church teaches, but at least they will be disagreeing with what we really believe rather than what they think we believe.

          Thank you for your question about private interpretation. The Catholic Church teaches that there are two pillars for authoritative teaching for Christians: the sacred Scriptures and the magisterium of the Church. The magisterium is the continued, living and dynamic, Spirit filled teaching authority of the Church today as it was through all ages. We compare this to the way the law works in the United States. We have a constitution and a Supreme Court. The Constitution is the set document. The Supreme Court is the ultimate interpreter of the constitution. However, the Supreme Court also works in conjunction with all the lower courts and all the precedents of law for the last 200 or so years of US history. Likewise, the magisterium–the teaching authority of the Catholic bishops (with the pope as their mouthpiece) is the authoritative interpretive authority for the sacred Scriptures.

          We believe this teaching authority is valid, historical and Spirit filled today as it was over the last 2000 years. The same apostolic authority that wrote the New Testament also decided on the canon of the sacred Scriptures. This same authority hammered out the historic creeds, debated the cardinal doctrines of the faith and continue to interpret and apply the Scriptures today.

          When we speak of ‘private interpretation’ we are referring to the thousands private opinions held about the Christian faith and interpretation of Scripture by many different denominations and Christian individuals who are–to a greater or lesser extent–cut off from the fullness of Catholic teaching.

          When we say we ‘pray’ to saints we really just mean we are ‘asking’ them to pray for us and with us. We are using the word ‘pray’ in an archaic way. As in a Shakespeare play the character might say, “I pray thee good sir, to fetch me a flagon of ale.” So the word ‘pray’ for us in this context means asking–not beseeching or requesting a direct answer as we would to God.

          We would not consider it correct to refer to the Blessed Virgin Mary as the “Mother of the Holy Spirit”. This would be to confound the second and third persons of the Holy Trinity. The reason we say that Mary is “Mother of God” is not to glorify Mary, but to clarify who her Son is. The second person of the Holy Trinity took his human flesh from the Blessed Virgin. She is his mother and as he is God she is the Mother of God. This title is considered vital (as I say) not to glorify her unduly, but to make clear who her Son really is. If you look into the history of this term you will realize that it came about through the Christological debates of the fourth century and was decided by the fathers of the church in order to distinguish between another title for Mary which was in usage: Christo-tokos–Mother of Christ. Those who were in favor of this title said Mary was only the Mother of the Christ–’the anointed one’ thus suggesting Adoptionism–the idea that Jesus was an ordinary man who ‘became’ the Christ at his baptism. Calling Mary the Theotokos–God bearer or Mother of God–clarified who he really was.

          • Dennis

            So now that I understand better I must respectfully disagree with your opinion of the purpose of 2Peter. During the time of the writing of 2 Peter, false teachers were infecting the church. These false teachers were more concerned with their positions in the church, promoted sexual sin, and advised the church to ignore the Ten Commandments. Peter countered them by pointing to the Spirit-inspired Scriptures as their, and for us today our, authority.

            2 Peter’s purpose is to warn ALL Christians (not just the leaders of the church) against false teaching. Thus, it is the church body, not just the leadership, that Peter warns and charges to guard against false teaching. It is not private intepretation that 2 Peter teaches against, but heresy.

            Just as the Unites States has checks and balances in place to guard against abuse of power, so has Peter put in place checks and balances for the same purpose. For the leadership to lead and the body to keep the leadership in check (including interpretation of the scriptures).

            About calling “Mary, mother of The Holy Spirit”, my tounge was firmly planted in the cheek of my mouth.

            God bless.

          • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

            I understand your position. The reason I became a Catholic was because I found it impossible to know just who the false teachers were without an agreed authority. there are some articles in the archived articles section that might interest you.

    • http://www.thewrittenword.com alick matches

      the dead are dead. you cannot communicate with the dead for they are dead.

  • nompumelelo

    Thanks for the explanation…as I type here I’m busy explaining yet again why recite the Rosary and the topic as usual is “Do you worship the virgin Mary” n ever since I cud remember I’ve always been criticized from way back in high school during bible study they made me feel like an outcast but I had my faith n my holy mother was there with me keeping me strong through the years…noting calms my mind body n soul like the Rosary

    Thanks again for the clear explanation

  • Allen

    As a practicing Christian man I found this article disturbing. I don’t pray to my dead relatives for their blessings, I ask God for those. We should be praying through Christ Jesus. He is the only voice God is going to hear. Christ told us this. Catholics seem to toss much of the bible out the window. I think Jesus Christ would run on a holy rampage through a modern Catholic church dashing all the statues of dead people in his Father’s house. Church Elders (Pope) can’t give forgiveness, only God, himself, can do that. For someone to imply, behind a wall, that saying x number of Hail Mary’s is going to wash away your sin, is leading someone to hell. Only the blood of Jesus will accomplish that, and there is no magic number of recantations to get it. You need only ask him, once!

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      I encourage you to discover what Catholics really believe rather than relying on what you think we believe. Your comment only reveals your misunderstanding of the Catholic faith.

  • Kenneth

    Deut 5:6-11 I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt out of the house of Bondage. You shall have no other god’s before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image-any likeness of anything, that is in Heaven above or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the Fathers upon the children to the 3rd & 4th generations of those who hate me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who Love me and keep my commandments. AKA 1st commandment.
    Exodus 20 , Matt 5:17 “Jesus said” Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets: but to fulfill them. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven & earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.
    Matt 6;6 But when you, pray go into your room , close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father , who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.
    So then why are your places of worship fill with idols ,with candles burning and people bowing before them and praying to them? Such as to Mary with Rosary beads that is repetitious ? When Christ said not to pray like the pagans do! Please read your Bible and get to Know the Trinity it’s all int the Word of God. Not in the cannons of the Catholic System. Thank You
    Praying to the dead is call necromancy God Hates it! It’s called witchcraft, sorcery ,black magic.

    • Jason

      1)
      1 Kings: 22 And he overlaid the whole house with gold, until all the house was finished. Also the whole altar that belonged to the inner sanctuary he overlaid with gold.23 In the inner sanctuary he made two cherubim of olivewood, each ten cubits high.24 Five cubits was the length of one wing of the cherub, and five cubits the length of the other wing of the cherub; it was ten cubits from the tip of one wing to the tip of the other.25 The other cherub also measured ten cubits; both cherubim had the same measure and the same form.26 The height of one cherub was ten cubits, and so was that of the other cherub.27 He put the cherubim in the innermost part of the house; and the wings of the cherubim were spread out so that a wing of one touched the one wall, and a wing of the other cherub touched the other wall; their other wings touched each other in the middle of the house.28 And he overlaid the cherubim with gold.29 He carved all the walls of the house round about with carved figures of cherubim and palm trees and open flowers, in the inner and outer rooms.30 The floor of the house he overlaid with gold in the inner and outer rooms.31 For the entrance to the inner sanctuary he made doors of olivewood; the lintel and the doorposts formed a pentagon.32 He covered the two doors of olivewood with carvings of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers; he overlaid them with gold, and spread gold upon the cherubim and upon the palm trees.
      The building of the temple was designated by God and gives glory to him. Clearly the Catholic Church continues to do the same as the church (the body of Christ) headed by Christ is the fulfilment of the law.

      2) An idol is something that you worship or serve. Whether it is money, or people, or carved images. Carved images are not un-christian if they are there to illuminate God, heaven, Christ, as God has commanded his people to make carved images of angels even (as seen above). Correct context is needed.

      3) Candles are not important. They are helpful. As human beings we have 5 senses. Catholics believe God created us like that and we worship with all our being-therefore our senses, not just our mouth. Candles and incense remind us that our prayers rise up like to God, and are sweet (hence incense). They are a sensory aid to help worship God.

      Such as to Mary with Rosary beads that is repetitious ? When Christ said not to pray like the pagans do!
      4) The bible also tells us to pray continually(1 Thessalonians 5:17).
      The bible does not contradict itself. There must be something missing.
      Pagans believed that the actual ‘words’ had power so continually babbled on and on. Repetition is not at all in that passage, I have no idea where that interpretation is from.
      The Jewish people used rosary’s too. They called them prayer ropes, they had 150 beads/knots on them, 1 for every psalm. Again a continuation not a change.

      Praying to the dead is call necromancy God Hates it! It’s called witchcraft, sorcery ,black magic
      5) Short Answer: They aren’t dead, they are alive in heaven.
      Better answer: I absolutely agree. Death is not but separation from God. Christians believe that those that die in friendship with Christ will not die but have eternal life. We also believe that nobody can enter heaven unless the are perfect (too lazy to look it up, it’s in Matthew). We have people who have died physical deaths but life in heaven, who are perfect (because they are in heaven). We also know that the prayers of a righteous man have great effect (again being lazy, I’ll find the verses if asked). Why would catholic’s not beseech these righteous men and women who have triumphantly entered heaven.

    • Simon Lenturie

      Many people put the Mother of Jesus down as often as they can, thinking that by degrading her they are somehow building up Jesus. They say things like “Mary is dead and can’t help you”, “Mary was just an incubator for Jesus”, “Jesus put his mother down by calling her “Woman, and “If Mary had refused Gabriel, then God would have just picked someone else”. All of that kind of talk is crazy, but they do it because they think that Catholics worship Mary as a goddess, and by putting her down, they are showing Catholics that Jesus is #1. How many people would like it if you said – “I love you, but I really can’t stand your mother”. And how many people regularly put down their own mother to reinforce the fact that their Dad is #1? No one. Jesus called her “Woman” all of the time to let us all know that she is the new Eve (Adam named his mate “Woman”) who’s yes to Gabriel overcame Eve’s yes to lucifer.

      • guest

        Actually Jesus called her Woman otherwise you would be justified in saying Even he referred to her as his mom. Where in the bible did Jesus call her His mother? He even told her did you not know I am about my fathers business. And he was just a little kid when he told her that.

    • Lisa

      Black magic is used for evil. I think you might have the wrong definition in mind. Even if you disagree with our prayer and honor to Mary, you cannot believe that we are asking her to hurt people. What’s wrong with talking to the dead? Haven’t you ever wondered if one of your dead relatives might be watching you from heaven? It’s like that for me. Why can I not believe that if I talk to Mary, she may hear me? I do not worship her, but do I have to cut off all ties with someone just because her heart is no longer beating and her soul is not trapped in her body? I think that God would think it’s kind of us to continue talking to and honoring one another even when we have left earth.

  • Shawn

    I was rise in the SBC, and converted to Catholicism three years ago. I must say that to this day I struggle to understand Marys relationship and why Catholics honor her at all. struggle with confession purgatory, and papal authority. After 3 years i will b returning back to the SBC, as many have said in this post. Regardless of tradition that has been layered and added, etc; the Holy Word is the same. Trust and believe that Jesus Christ your saviour!…alone

    • AnneG

      Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have mercy on us. Shawn , if you really converted three years ago, may I suggest you get a Catechism. Start with the first section. Just read it. Then see. Besides, most of it is Scripture.

      • Grant Cogbill

        Anne…hardly! It says what Scripture DOES NOT say: that Mary was without sin and ascended and co-intercedes with Jesus. That is distraction at best, idolatry at worst.

        • Payattention

          I did see in the Catechism that the 10 commandments had been changed. Coincidentally, the commandment which was removed was that of idol worship. Don’t believe me? Visit the Vatican website and take a look at it. It’s published there.

  • Andrew Osiname

    I came here thinking “why do catholics worship Mary” and your explanation very good and I understand Catholics do not worship/give sacrifice to Mary.

    However I still think that in giving Mary honour where it is due, you are turning the focus from God to Mary.
    Yes I give my earthly dad thanks and even praise for what he has done in my life but I dont have an image of him in church and ‘over praise’ him.
    Ultimately, all praise and worship goes to God.
    You said “This also should be understood clearly: the dulia and hyperdulia which we give to Mary and the saints is ultimately honor given to God.”

    So why go through humans/saints, just give praise directly to God.

    • ken

      we praise God, and at the same time we ask for help to Mother Mary and other saints to pray for us. I think there is nothing wrong with that :) note: we do not praise saints and Mother Mary, we honor them.

      • jd1958

        Jesus said: “I AM the way, the TRUTH and the LIFE. NO MAN cometh to the Father but BY ME. We have ONE advocate Jesus Christ alone. NO ONE ELSE. Mary cannot, saints CANNOT intercede for you for your sins. That is idolatry!!!! Make no graven image……call no man on earth father for you have one father that which is in heaven……There are consequences to “worshipping the queen of heaven” Jeremiah 41-44. Come ye out of her my people and be not partakers of her sins. Revelation 17.

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  • http://comments Hagos

    Why so confusion ? God has given his son jesus to redeem all mankind from their sin. JESUS is the only One who paid the price by giving himself as sacrifices ..and this sacrifices man deserves to pay it but no One could pay it .so for those who accepted and make jesus lord and savior of their life they accept the work that has finished at the cross it make them free from sin and bring them to the presence of holy God because man created to live with God worshiping and praising his name. So the process of hear, understand and decision to accept the deed of lord Jesus will bring you salvation and and when you back and enter to his kingdom you will be the child of God and no need third-party because you are more precious in the eyes of God because been bought by the precious blood of Jesus. So please be quite sure if you are saved, child of God and in the

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      Thank you. Catholics believe all these things too.

  • ANDREW LINUS

    Thanking all protestants and Fr Dwight Longenecker for the wonderful explanations, indeed i am convinced and not confuse.

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  • Lou

    I’ve read both books of Saint Peter in the Bible; very easy reading. He only upholds Jesus Christ as our Saviour, nothing and no one else. I’m going to play it safe, listen to Saint Peter’s advice and pin my salvation on Christ and Christ alone. We’re talking ‘eternity’ here; there’s no room for ‘maybe’ s. I’m sorry if I missed the point, but when I read the Bible, it’s very clear what happens when Christians die. They are in a state of unconsciousness (sleep in the Lord) awaiting the ressurection. They are not dead, as they will be raised back to life. On the same token, they are unconscious and cannot hear anybodies’ prayers. There are some examples of God’s people who have already experienced the ressurection (including Jesus, Moses and Elija); but we know they have been raised to life because 1)their graves are empty 2)they have been seen 3) they have been touched 4) they sat down for a meal of food and drink. I find it hard to believe someone has been raised to life before Christ’s return, especially if I can see their dead body in a glass tomb. Christians would not be confused about what happens to people when they died, if they understood that Christ’s resurrection was a real physical return to life, with a perfect and immortal ‘body’. When we die, we don’t become spirit beings. Our only chance of ever living again, is if Jesus Christ himself calls us back to life and gives us a new body, like his, that can be touched and that can eat and drink. Has anyone actually sat down with Mary, or any of the Saints for that matter, touched her and shared a meal with her, just like the apostles did with Christ? If they did, then I’ll believe she has been raised to life, just like Christ was! Until then, may you continue to grow in grace and knowledge, in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

    • Grant Cogbill

      Great reply Lou! Christ alone. Catholicism is beautiful in some ways. But it is obviously religious. They wrote a novel alongside the Bible if you will.

  • john

    My mother being a devoted Catholic I also grew up as a Catholic. All my life I was surrounded by family and friends who were protestant Christians therefore I was always criticized. I must say I dont consider myself as a Catholic but a Christian and I consider Catholics also as Christians because they too are follower of Christ. I became a Christian because as a Catholic you must follow the strict traditions such as confession, praying with the roseary, or praying with Mary to God. What I can say is that these traditions arent wrong or bad for they are for the Lord but because I dont follow any of these traditions i wouldn’t consider myself as a Catholic. The main focus shouldnt be pointing fingers but focus on our own personal connection with Christ. Before we ask about the faith of others why not work on our own personal faith? Can we all confidently say that we are the perfect Christians or that we are trying our best to follow the examples Jesus Christ has left for us? Whether you are a Christian or a Catholic I believe know one has the perfect answer but we can only try our best to follow Christ with what little material is given to us. Living with a devoted Catholic personally had the hardest time understanding her faith but one thing I know for sure is that she always praises the Lord not Mary and without her faith I believe she would not have been able to overcome the struggles she has gone through.

    • Grant Cogbill

      A beautiful reply John. The spirit of your reply seems perfect. Only your “little material is given” bothered me. We have the Bible after all. This is big material.

    • Atakilti Berhe

      I agree with John 100%! That is why I strongly dislike the word “religion”. I believe that we humans have made and thought of different ways to reach the Almighty God. We humans tend to think in our own ways and translate biblical passages in our own distinct way. Also, the life struggles and experiences a person has been through greatly contributes to the way different we people attempt to reach the Almighty God. This is what “religion” is all about: man trying to connect with God. However, the most important part of all this is having a personal relationship with Jesus as John clearly says. When time comes and Judgmental Day roles around none of that “religion” nonsense is going to matter and save us. All that matters is that we have a personal relationship with the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

      Thank you my friends. Seek after him wholeheartedly and he will do the rest.
      God Bless:)

  • john

    Sorry for the spelling and punctuation errors for it is difficult trying to type on a smartphone.

  • Philip M. Wright

    Do Catholics worship Mary? I’ve been Catholic my entire life and I don’t worship Mary. Most of the other Catholics around me dothough. They will tell you they are ‘honoring’ or ‘venerating’ Mary but it’s flat out worship regardless of how they rationalize. When you burn a candle in front of a statute or leave an offering with a request attached it’s worship or more specifically, idolatry. I’ve been in churches filled with people paying homage to statutes, images, and even, yes, burnt tortillas. There is even on church here, Our Lady Star of the Sea, that has a statue of Mary over the Crucifix over the altar.
    I hear ‘Blessed Mother’ more than I hear ‘Jesus’ or ‘Christ’ and in this town her statutes outnumber Christ’s about 10 to 1. I hear elaborate mythologies not found in the Gospels, argument over which ‘Our Lady’ is better, Lourdes or Guadalupe. It gets totally ridiculous.
    Congratulations on producing a nice apologist bullshit piece of propaganda though. Mary worship will be the death of the Church. I’m ‘glad’ to see you doing your part. Your free mason Jesuit overlords must be so proud.

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      I’m a Catholic priest and I have yet to see the kind of Marian abuses you’re talking about.

    • Grant Cogbill

      Philip, if what you say is true- then shame on people who support that!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kage-Man/100001041718976 Kage Man

      Freemason Jesuit overlords? Enough with conspiracy theories. Well, if you have been a Catholic all your life then you will know that freemasons are not allowed to be Catholics, incyclicals have been written about this by many popes, and it’s still a belief for today, and they will be excommunicated. So, you’re wrong about that. If you want to talk about freemasons let’s talk Robert Schuller, Billy Graham and other protestants. I’m a Catholic from protestantism and I have been in lots of Catholic churches I always hear of Christ, I don’t know what churches you’re going to but the teaching is supposed to be the same in every diocese. And I really hope you’re not a Catholic with the filth out of your mouth, and I can give you about 6 scriptures from the Bible about how no filth should come from our mouths. What town do you live in? And i will see how many statues they have, and where did they say Our Lady is better??

    • Lisa

      We do not worship Mary. If what you’re saying about Mary being considered more important than Jesus where you live, it is not the Church. It is the followers of that particular church. It is not like that at my church and certainly no other Catholic church I’ve been to.

  • William

    I’m not satisfied. What is all this? Mary has a higher place than the Seraphin and Cherubim? My Bible tells me that we are made a little lower than the angels, surely this include Mary. Mary is the most blessed of all woman, it says so in the Bible, it does not say she is the most esteemed being in all of creation. Surely John the Baptist was accredited by Christ as the greatest of all prophets, was John also not miraculously conceived? Should Elizabeth not also be diet-worshiped, and not just Mary?

    And what’s all this Super Dooper Worship, Super Worship and Diet Worship nonsense? There’s worship and nothing else.

    And how do you account for the graven image of Mary? Which is without a shadow of a doubt idolatry. We can use mental gymnastics to wash it down but we cannot wish away the fact this directly contests the second of the ten commandments. Ought we not to TURN from sin. Indeed the law doesn’t save us but from the grace we receive we ought to make efforts to turn and repent.

    And one last thing… Why does the pope look so… evil?

    • ruma

      thank you dear if pope looks so evil. i think your face must be shining like Jesus so that seeing you people will be recognize you as christian. chaff

  • http://marie.rodriguez@mangostrategy.net Marie Kris Rodriguez

    Dear Father Dwight,

    Is it okay if you use the title, “Do Catholics Worship Mary?” and use Scripture to share your views about this? For example, Biblical thought of “worship” and Biblical accounts of “Mary?”

    Thanks,

    Marie

  • Ann

    You are defending your sin,instead of repenting ! And also,PRAYING ROSARY is a sin too! You cannot fool me, I WAS catholic once,I know things that are going on in there! And YES you ARE worshiping Mary,and statues. STOP defending your idolatry and REPENT from it,Jesus will forgive you!

    • Simon Lenturie

      If you were a Catholic show me in the Prayer to Mary where catholics worship Mary??????????????? You are confused!!!!!!!!!

  • 1RastaWarrior

    Blessings Brethren and Sistren in the name of Yahweh The Most High and His Son Yahshua The Messiah. All praises and glory be unto The Father and The Son.

    To develop a full and complete overstanding of Yah Word we must begin by restoring the true name of our Creator and His Son. god and lord are not names, they are titles meant to confuse and lead us away from Yah Truth. Yahweh means “HE WHO IS” or “I AM WHO I AM”. Yahshua means “HE WHO SAVES” or “I AM WHO SAVES”. The words god and lord do not carry this meaning. God means “mighty one” and lord means “master”. Jesus Christ is an English translation of a Latin translation of a Greek translation of the Hebrew name Yahshua The Messiah. Yahshua was not English nor Latin nor Greek. He was a Hebrew(Israelite) therefore he should be referred to by His true name.

    When we see The Names Yahweh and Yahshua and Their Meanings we see a synergetic visual and linguistic connection that matches Their synergetic spiritual and personal connection. Nearly all of this is lost with the word/s god/lord and the name Jesus Christ.

    Blessings and One Love.

  • John

    The Angel Gabriel’s greeting to Mary gives an indication of the honour she is given (note that this was before she conceived the Lord in her womb). Hail, full of grace!
    Understanding and respecting Mary properly allows us to have a proper love for our Lord. How can you say you love the Lord when you disrespect his mother so!
    “For behold, from henceforth ALL generations shall call me blessed, for He who is mighty has done great things for me” (Luke 1)
    “I avow, with all the Church, that Mary, being but a mere creature that has come from the hands of the Most High, is, in comparison with His Infinite Majesty, less than an atom; or rather she is nothing at all. “He Who Is” and thus by consequence that grand Lord, always independent and sufficient to Himself, never had, and has not now, any absolute need of the Holy Virgin for the accomplishment of His will and for the manifestation of His glory”
    This is a quote from the extremely Marian St Louis de Montfort, who wrote “True Devotion to Mary”. In the same work, he also says “The Church, with the Holy Ghost, blesses our Lady first, and our Lord second – “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.” It is not that Mary is more than Jesus, or even equal to Him. That would be an intolerable heresy; but it is that, in order to bless Jesus more perfectly, we must begin by blessing Mary.”

    Inveighing so strongly against devotion to and veneration of the Blessed Mother is a sure sign of a faulty faith.

  • Israel

    Sinc I am catholic Alot of Christians “you people worship Mary”

    ” and I say you know WHAT you don’t know anything about catholic life so why are you talking”

    They just say sorry and that’s the end

  • alex

    I’m sorry, it grabbed my attention that you said “honor Mary the greatest of all created things” but the greatest of all created things is Jesus? not Mary! God bless!!!!! :)

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      This is not correct. Jesus is not a created being. He is the second person of the Holy Trinity. The Son of God incarnate. Have you ever read the first chapter of John’s gospel? “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was God and the Word was with God…and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.”

  • Jon

    A good girl, humble, a virgin and from the right family.
    These are what made Mary eligible to become the Mother of God.
    Perhaps if she were not all of those things another would have been the Mother of God .. but Jesus would still have been Jesus.

  • kevin

    Father, obviously its no worth your time trying to explian our great catholic faith to protestant peoples. they already think they know everything there is to know because of the bible and that is very much false. Their beloved ‘king james’ is technaically ilegal. Bet they didnt know that.. to say i worship mary is false. i pray my rosary devoutly, everyday. but im not worshiping mary. im asking for her prayers.

  • http://www.yahoo.com Franklin Blanco

    Is it a sin if I, a catholic do not pray to Mary or the saints? I want to pray only to GOD the Father and his son Jesus! Don’t get my wrong I also honor Mama Mary.

  • Matt

    46 While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.”

    48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.

    >>

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    Matthew 12:46-50
    New International Version (NIV)
    Jesus’ Mother and Brothers

    46 While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.”

    48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

    <<

    >>

  • sujata prakash

    Sir, I have converted from hinduism to Protestant and I believe that Mary homage is no different than the Goddess worship that hindus love. I was never into Goddess worship ever, Praise God, but have many family members who are absolutely addicted to it. Deep in their hearts they are convinced that only a mother could understand their pain and help them. It is FALSE! If Mary was so powerful then she would have done miracles while on earth, but she did nothing! Jesus must have known that she would be worshipped and so gave strong hints that while He loved her (for being obedient to His Father, and of course as a mother while He was on earth) He saw her as no more or less than any other GOOD person who did God’s will.

    46 While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.”

    48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother
    While on the cross Jesus said to Mary and John, ‘Woman, this is your son, and John, this is your mother.” His earthly ties to mary were over.
    Would some Catholic do some true soul searching and tell me if the above is not enough to prove that Mary has no power of mediation? There are numerous other passages that point to Jesus and only Jesus as teh ONLY mediator, why then do Catholics feel lost without Mary?
    Please answer me, if you can, by not ignoring the Biblical passages quoted above. Thank you!

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      From the cross Jesus says to us, “Behold your Mother.” That’s good enough for me.

      • sujata prakash

        Fr. Longenecker, Thank you for your reply. I would greatly appreciate an explanation why it is good enough for you. No disrespect meant, it is a humble request and you are free to say no. it’s just that it’s perplexing to read Jesus’ words as being directly opposite to Catholic views.
        So when Jesus say’s ‘Behold, your Mother’ to John, nowhere can it be inferred that He means, “Behold, your Mother and the MOther of every Christian who should diefy Her…” To me it just means, ‘Look after her, John, she’s your mother now.”
        Jesus taught us how to pray, ‘Our Father, who art in Heaven…” Why didn’t He mention Mary?
        Sir, I just want you to point out to me one Biblical command of praying to Mary as a heavenly intercessor.

        • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

          Jesu said to John, “Come and follow me.” That applies to all Christians, so when he said, “Behold your mother” that also applied to all Christians. Jesus said, “Honor your Father and your Mother.” So we honor Mary our Mother–the Mother he gave to us. Mary said, “All generations shall call me blessed.” The Angel Gabriel–God’s own messenger honored her. Elizabeth John the Baptist’s mother honored her. the unborn John the Baptist honored her. Jesus himself honored her. Christians for 2000 years have honored her–the Protestant Reformers honored her. Now you come along and say we were all wrong and you’re right? You’ll forgive me if I go with what Christians have been doing for 2000 years and what the vast majority of Christians alive in the world today also do: the honor the Blessed Virgin Mary.

          • sujata prakash

            Fr. Longenecker, forgive me if I sounded like a know-it-all, far from it. Most Protestants do not ‘honor’ Mary in the same way Catholics do, but I believe the Holy Spirit indwelling in us will guide us all to the truth if we seek it. We will agree to disagree. Thank you for the debate, much appreciated.

  • shawn

    Father, i converted 3 years ago, and still do not accept how Catholics treat Mary, I undstan shiwing her respect, but thats it. If I still dont accept the doctrines on Mary should I just go back to my Baptist faith? ( I have issues with other teachings too) thank you!

  • Rita

    Thank you thank you ! For enlightening me and helping me defend that honoring Mary is not “idol worship ” . This has helped me explain it to others .

  • Luke

    I did not know any of these terms associated with Catholicism but apart from that this confirms mostly what I thought the difference where in catholisisms as apposed to Christianity in general. Where are we told these terms in the bible and where are we told to do these things? Also I would like to point out that not one time in this entire description is Jesus Christ mentioned. That is just very strange to me being that his life and blood are our direct passage to God.

  • Allen

    No doubt Catholicism is the falsest of all the religions.They do exactly the opposite of what the Bible says.

    • Lisa

      First of all, I don’t know what your “Bible” says, but Catholics certainly do not do the opposite of what the Bible says. It scares me when people say far-fetched lies like this because people who don’t do their research actually believe them. This is why when I hear something at my biased high school about people of another ethnic group or religion I never take it for fact until I find at least a few unbiased sources to back it up.

      Also, why is it that Catholics are always the targets? It’s like this at my Baptist school, too. Most of their Baptist missionaries aren’t sent to non-Christian countries; they’re sent to countries where 90% of the people have already been converted to Catholicism. I guess since Catholicism is the “falsest” religion, they probably think that those who follow Satanism have a better shot at getting into heaven.

      I apologize that I probably come across as rude and intolerant of Protestantism, but I’ve had to deal with terrible criticism and biases my whole life. I just wish people wouldn’t say things that are so offensive to my church.

  • Justun Chan

    Show me Scripture passage for great honour for Mary and I will believe.

    Unless you do so, anything you say is just church dogma and misinterpretation of Greek.

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      I could show you numerous passages from Scripture but you would still not believe.

    • Grant Cogbill

      Yes

    • Simon Lenturie

      Here are some scripture quotes that refer to the Mother of God.

      At enmity with satan

      Genesis 3:15: I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

      Christ will be born of a virgin

      Isaiah 7:14:Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

      Full of Grace before the incarnation

      Luke 1:26-28:in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!”

      Mary sanctifies the greatest man (John the Baptist) while he is still in the womb

      Luke 1:15:for he will be great before the Lord, and he shall drink no wine nor strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.

      Luke 1:41:And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit

      Mary’s Blessed Fruit

      Luke 1:42:and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!

      Luke 6:43-44: For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush.

      Mary is the Mother of God

      Luke 1:43:And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

      Mary’s need of a savior

      Luke 1:47: and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

      Most Blessed Woman of all time

      Luke 1:48: for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed;

      What God has done for her

      Luke 1:49: for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.

      Mary’s sufferings united with Jesus’

      Luke 2:34-35:and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.”

      Mary’s total obedience to God more important than her motherhood

      Luke 11:27-28:As he said this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked!” But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

      Mary’s role in intercession with Jesus

      John 2:3-5:When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.

      Mary is our Mother

      John 19:26-27: When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

      Revelation 12:17:Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea.

      Mary and Jesus are united as one (as are all of the saints in heaven)

      1 Corinthians 6:17: But he who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.

      Mary, the New Testament Ark of the Covenant

      Revelation 11:19-12:1:Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple; and there were flashes of lightning, voices, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars;

      Mary’s body is in heaven

      Revelation 12:1:And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars;

      Mary is Queen of Heaven

      Revelation 12:1:And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars;

      Still at enmity with Satan

      Revelation 12:17:Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea.

    • ophite68

      Well let me take you back to the wedding at Cana in John. There is no wine at the wedding and Mary goes to Jesus and says, “fix this.”

      Jesus say, “It isn’t time!”

      Mary ignores him, turns to the servants and says, “Do what he tells you” and wanders off, no doubt to make sure there are enough clean cups – or something.
      Jesus probably looks after his mother in exasperation but then goes ahead and performs the miracle. It wasn’t time for it, it didn’t serve his ministry but his mother expected him to fix the problem so he did.
      That establishes Mary as an intercessor. Someone who can approach Jesus and request of him things that frankly he never actually planned on doing.

      • guest

        Actually you err..Jesus said ‘My time has not come yet” He was referring to his death and the fact that Mary would be there feeling the pain as he hung on the cross. Notice also that she said to do what he tells. If she was the intercessor she would have prayed to save him from the cross in the first place. The Holy Spirit is the intercessor not mary. THis makes me really believe that there is a level of blindness in these views.

  • Pingback: Do Catholics Worshilp Mary? | St. Paul Street Evangelization – Southwest Tampa, FL

  • Lisa

    Thank you for writing this article. There are so many misinformed people who criticize my religion. I am the only Catholic at my Baptist high school, and I am constantly badgered by teachers and students about needing to “get saved”. I do not like to criticize the beliefs of other people, but it is tough for me when they keep telling me that they’re going to be looking down from heaven and see me burning in hell. I always wear a Miraculous Medal, and I think that’s more proof to them that I worship Mary. I try to explain to them that Catholics know that she was only human as we are, but she was unlike anyone else, having the chance to birth the Son of God. She is a very honorable woman, and I think it is unjust to leave her barely mentioned.

    By the way, all of you criticizing the Church will just make stronger Catholics who won’t convert. It’s an instinctive mechanism to become stronger and more stubborn when one has to become defensive. I have lost friends because their parents wouldn’t let them be friends with a Catholic, but it doesn’t make me want to change one bit. I am a devoted Catholic who has become very educated about the Church, and I honestly feel that if I hadn’t had to defend my religion so frequently as a child, I would only be a run-of-the-mill American Catholic. So thank you Protestants for making me a better Catholic who will never reform or stop praying to Mary.

  • Daniel

    Mary was a virtuous woman but she is dead along with Paul James John Peter they cannot hear you or intercede for you in heaven. Hey in the Protestant faith we have some of the same problems to. The mourners bench Teaching tradition for doctrine waters down the true word

  • ericman2000

    They’re giving worship a different name so they can pretend it’s something else. Look at the portrait at the top for goodness sake. Just because it’s not the “highest” form of worship, doesn’t mean it’s not worship. It’s like a race of people worshiping their king and his children. They give their highest worship to their king, but they also worship the princes and princesses. I’ve done this many times too. If I strongly believe in something, I can spin it a billion different ways to justify that belief, even if it’s obviously bs. Don’t be misguided by the author’s so called “knowledge” and writing skills. Our instincts are trying to tell us something here.

  • ericman2000

    One last thing, the definition of worship is having reverence or expressing adoration to a deity/etc. Mary has been deified, as the author pointed out as he claims that she’s above the angels, and she’s is strongly adored and revered. Mary worship just opens the doors up to easily justifying the of worship of other men and women, which is rampant in the catholic religion. Now for all I truly know, all religion is bs, but own up to what you do and deal with it. Stop trying to lie to yourself until your religion becomes believable.

  • ella koh

    Prayer is the highest form of worship. If prayer is addressed to the Virgin Mary, definitely then Mary is being worshiped. To deny this is an utter lie.

  • Humble Man

    When you apply to someone atributes and authority that only belong to God, then you are worshipping this someone else other than God, because you are making this someone God. It doesn’t necessary need to say something like “our goddes Mary” to make sure that you are worshipping Mary. Once you give to her atributes that belong to God alone, honestly, you are worshipping her.

    As someons already said, the Bible is the authority to know God’s message to the world, nothing more is needed. In the Bible, there’s absolutely no passage that suggests that Mary is the “queen of heaven” or anything like that. If you study the Bible you will see that such title (queen of Heaven) was given to a goddes as written in Isaiah, and it’s totally rebuked by God Himself. It’s clear as the water that God doesn’t want anyone to apply such title to any living or dead creature, wich of couse includes Mary. Giving this title to Mary is giving her an authority that she simply does not have, only God/Jesus does.

    The title “queen of heaven” is simply what it is, it is the female equivalent of the titles “King of Heaven” or “Lord of Heaven”, and there’s no such thing as “queen of heaven” in the Bible, it is a title that God Himself rebukes and forbids as I previously stated (it’s in the book of Isaiah). There’s only the King or Lord of Heaven, and once you give this title (female version of course) to Mary you are really giving her a devine treatment that you should not.

    Also, regarding prayers, if Catholics are always asking God to forgive their sins through the intercession of Mary, they are giving to her another atribute that belongs to God only: the omnipresence. If you pray for Mary intercession, that means that you expect her to ask God to forgive your sins, and since there are more than half a billion of catholics around the world, surely at the same time and in two different places there are at least two catholics asking for Mary intercession, and in order to answer both prayers Mary would need to have the Omnipresence that belongs to God/Jesus, wich you may agree she doesn’t have.

    It is not a surprise that the apostle say that Jesus is the Only One who can intercede for the belivers, because only He, being God, has the Omnipresence and, therefore, can answer more than one prayer from different believers that are in different places in the world.

    Don’t miss that basic teaching friends, the prophets point to Him, the apostles point to Him, the focus in our salvation is Jesus alone.

    Sorry for my english, english is not my mother language.

  • James Crowley

    Catholic church only worships illegal aliens now

  • Noah

    I am catholic and we don’t worship her we think she is queen to heaven and she help get prayers to god and she is mother of God

  • John…

    You know people; Catholic, Protestant or whatever brand of Christian you claim to be. Judgement is the charge of the Lord Jesus Christ, not you. Jesus requested us to spread the good word, but did not assign you or anyone else to enforce it. When you take it upon yourself to judge others you instantly null and void any worship you have ever done.

  • Harrington Ashton Lackey

    Luke 11:27-28
    English Standard Version (ESV)
    27 As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” 28 But he said, “Blessed RATHER are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”


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