I’m a Methodist lad with a deep love for Catholic spirituality, especially when it comes to the Blessed Virgin Mary. I adore her, and as a Christian who feels somewhere between Protestantism and Catholicism, I’m aware of the debate over how she’s seen. There are Protestants, especially Evangelicals, who accuse Catholics of outright worshipping Jesus’ Mother.
I found this video discussing Mary by the Evangelical Christian YouTube channel Polite Leader. In this video, he explores the difference between latria and dulia, two words used to designate either worship or veneration (respect).
Latria is the worship given solely to God, while dulia is the respect given to the saints, especially Mary. The author of the Polite Leader channel references the work of Reformed apologist Dr. James White and his efforts to disprove the distinction between these two words.
While researching this article, I found a blog post by Craig Truglia, an Orthodox writer, on this debate. Truglia points out that dulia can be translated as “serving” in the sense of everyday acts (such as helping others with basic tasks). Dulia moreso translates to honoring or respecting the saints, especially for the examples of Godly holiness that they provide.
I’m only saying this as a Methodist interested in Catholicism, but to me, we truly don’t “worship” or “serve” any saint. After all, they’re siblings in Christ, part of God’s creation. Like it says in Romans 1:25, we don’t worship the created instead of the Creator.
I also found this YouTube video showing an Evangelical discussion of Mary by Pastors John MacArthur and R.C. Sproul:
A major concern expressed in this above video is the notion that people pray to Mary and the saints for intercession. Why should anybody ask a saint for intercession when we’ve got Jesus, after all?
To me, those of us who express appreciation for the saints don’t “pray” to them, not even Mary. This might be a matter of personal connotation preference, but I consider this part of the “communion of saints“, not true prayer. Instead of pleading to the saints for help like we do with God, we instead express wishes for them to help us draw closer to Him. Often, this involves asking for this in Jesus’ name, reminding ourselves in the process that only He deserves our hearts.
I also found this article explains that Mary is our spiritual Mother, not a “co-redemptrix”. Only Jesus has the power and authority to redeem humanity. His beloved Mother helps guide us closer to Him, working as one of God’s strongest agents to lead humanity to His Heart.
In Medjugorje, Croatia, Mary still speaks to the original recipients of her apparition in 1981. This video above shares her message received on April 25, 1987. Mary directs us to let go of both sin and worry when we pray to God, because these things impede us in our efforts to draw closer to Him.
While I can see both sides to this debate on how people approach Mary, another facet here bears mentioning. It’s problematic for Christians to decry what they see as undeserved honor towards another human when many Christians in America outright venerated former president Trump.
This article by Christianity Today discusses how on January 6, 2021 (which was also the Feast of the Epiphany, evidently), several Christians rallied under Trump’s image before committing violence. I still can’t fathom how any Christian could make themselves believe that Jesus approved of what happened on that day.
Trump got placed on a golden pedestal by his Christian supporters. He continues to be seen as, well, “immaculate” by those who refuse to acknowledge how immoral he’s been.
Bold of them to frown at us saying that Mary is immaculate when that’s precisely how they see Trump.
The Blessed Mother provides an ongoing example of how we can draw closer to her Son. I’m grateful for all she does for the global church, and I do sincerely wish that other Christians would come to know her better.
Featured Image by fietzfotos/Pixabay
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