How holy was the Blessed Virgin Mary?...

Mary and Jesus

Was Mary the "perfect follower of Christ" [Marialis Cultus, Paul VI, 1974]?

Catholic theology: Technically, it is impossible for Catholics to "worship" Mary. "Worship" has been defined as applying only to "God". The worship of Mary is termed "hyperdullation" or "veneration", and of the Saints, "dullation". Further, Catholics do not "pray to" Mary, they "ask Mary to pray for us." But to any non-Catholic, this is exactly the same as praising and praying to someone, i.e., worshipping them. "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet".
An email correspondent writes:
Please speak to and be open to hearing the perspectives of Catholics and understand what true DEVOTION and not WORSHIP OF Mary is. Mary is the window in which we look through to see Jesus. She always points to Jesus. Even if a Catholic has misunderstood who Mary is, she in turn will show them Jesus, if they are willing to see Him. She prays for us as I can pray for you, and you for your friend. She is our intercessor, and she knows Jesus, therefore a very good intercessor.

(Right Hon. Lord Robert Montagu, 1889): Now let us investigate the alleged holiness of Mary. Matthew wrote that "Jesus said unto them : A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and in his own house. And He did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief" [Matt. 13:57-8] - because of the unbelief of those in his own house or family. For John plainly tells us that "neither did His brethren believe in Him." [John 7:5]

Now let us look for the traces of holiness in Mary's personal history. Mary heard that her Son was "the Saviour which is Christ the Lord;" [Luke 2:11] and the angel had promised that He should "be called the Son of the Highest." [Luke 1:32] Yet all that Mary did is described in these words: "But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart." [Luke 2:19] To ponder denotes a balancing of arguments or probabilities; a weighing of pros and cons, or of opposing doubtS. When Simeon prophesied to Mary that her Son would be "a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel," [Luke 2:32] Mary and Joseph "marveled" at these words "which were spoken of Him." [Luke 2:33] "Marvelled" implies doubt, or a want of knowledge and certainty. Twelve years after, Mary and Joseph "understood not the saying which He spake unto them," [Luke 2:50] When He called God His Father; but "His mother kept all these sayings in her heart," [Luke 2:51] or stored them up in her memory. Twenty years after, we are told that Mary's other sons did not believe in Him. This fact at once recalls to our minds the psalm which our Lord applied to Himself as a prophecy which was fulfilled in Him. In that psalm we find our Lord saying: "I am become a stranger unto my brethren and an alien unto my mother's children, for the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up." [Psa. 69:9, John 2:17]

I will return to this point after a consideration of an expression in Simeon's prophecy: Christ shall be "a sign which shall be spoken against (yea, a sword shall pierce through thine own soul also); that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." [Luke 2:34-5] What was meant by the sword? Something related to speaking against Christ; and something that had to do with a general belief or opinion - "the thoughts of many hearts." There is little doubt, I think, that it denotes a poignant remorse, a most bitter repentance, a piercing memory, opportunities lost and hard thoughts indulged. Mary had not believed in her son throughout his life, and therefore she had not understood His sayings; and when He was at the point of death she was cut to the heart by remorse and grief and bitter repentance.

These words may appear harsh and shocking. Why so? Because they are so unaccustomed, so outre, in these days. They embodied the common opinion in former days. Tertullian wrote, for example: "The brothers of the Lord did not believe on Him. His mother, in like manner, is proved not to have adhered to Him; whereas the other Maries and Marthas were often in His company. By this fact their unbelief was to be at last made manifest." [De Carne Christi, 7] Again, "Whilst Christ was preaching, was it without justice that He uttered those words to strike at the unbelief of his mother and brothers, who stood without." [Adversus Marcionem, 4]

So also Origen [?-254? A.D.]: "What! do we suppose that when the apostles were offended or scandalized, the mother of our Lord was free from feeling offense? This was what Simeon prophesied, saying: `and through thine own soul the pointed sword of unbelief shall pierce, and thou shalt be struck with the sharp edge of doubt.'" [sources for unidentified quotes are being sought] Basil thus paraphrased the same passage: "Yet, after all, there shall arise a certain wondering, even in thine own soul." [] "Even thee, also, who hast been instructed from above in the things of the Lord, some doubts shall darken." []

When St. Hilary [315-367 A.D.] was asked by a brother bishop the meaning of the text, he replied: "The sword which pierced her soul was disbelief, which smote her at the time of Christ's passion." [] Chrysostom, mentioning the miracle at Cana in Galilee, says: "Not even did all the apostles know Him as He ought to have been known. Not even His mother or His brothers knew him." Again: "Why do I speak of many, whereas not even the virgin who conceived him knew the ineffable mystery; not even His brothers believed on Him." Further: "Now we see the foolish arrogance, of both her and of them."

At the beginning of that prophecy of Simeon, he "blessed them" [Luke 2:34]; he blessed Mary and Joseph; and so we know that Simeon was better than both; for "Without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better." [Heb. 7:7]

Cyril of Alexandria tells us that Mary, during Christ's suffering on the cross, failed, from doubt and remorse; and that our Lord committed her to John to be instructed; and that Jesus magnanimously forgot her disbelief and gave way to love and compassion when He said: "Woman! behold thy son [John]." [John 19:26]

When the disciples asked Him to teach them to pray, He never inculcated a single phrase to His mother, nor a single ejaculation to any saint.

Augustine wrote thus: "When the Lord said, 'Woman! what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come,' He gave us to understand that as being God, He had no mother." Ambrose laid down a far-reaching principle "We are brought into the presence of kings by lords and officers; because a king is, after all, a man, and knows not to whom he may safelY entrust his realm. But in order to come to God, from whom nothing is hidden and Who knows the merit, of all men, we need no middle man-only a devout mind. For wheresoever such a one speaks to God, God will answer him."

Epiphanius [of Salamis, 315-403 A.D.], writing against the Collyridian heretics [who offered bread sacrifices to Mary], whose error was Mariolatry, said: "Christ said to His mother: Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come. Lest any one should think that the virgin was of a greater excellence than others, He called her 'Woman,' as if prophesying the future species of sects and heresies which were to arise on earth; lest persons admiring too much that holy woman should slip into this heresy of the Collyridians and its deliriums. For indeed, their whole doctrine is a mockery, and an old wife's tale, and, so to speak, nothing but the working of a heresy." [Panarion]

An email correspondent writes:
Let me just tell you this. The Roman Catholic church does not worship Mary. We do not pray to her in repentance, we pray to Jesus and attend confession. When we do pray we may ask Mary for guidance in our daily lives. One way of us doing this is by praying the Rosary. Her mission did not end when she gave birth to Christ it was only just begining. So before you post lies on your website get your facts straight, and tell the truth.
An email correspondent writes:
Catholics use Revelation 12 to justify claiming Mary is crowned queen of heaven. They see only the first part of the chapter without reading the whole for if they applied their reasoning throughout the chapter they would find that Mary does not fit in all of the context and therefore their interpretation must be flawed. Substitute Israel for Mary and then the picture becomes clear and makes sense.

Do we read that Mary ever interceded for any one? Or did any sinner have cause to fear going straight to Jesus? Never, never! ... He still commands: "Thou shalt worship the Lord, thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve." [Matt. 4:10] He warns us that "No man cometh unto the Father but by me." [John 14:6] "If ye ask any thing in my name, I will do it." [John 14:14] "For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus." [1 Tim. 2:5]

[Apostle] Paul "kept back nothing that was profitable," [Acts 20:20] and "declared all the counsel of God;" and summed it all up in "repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." [Acts 20:21]. But not a word did he say about Mary, or any other saint.

Jesus proved his infinite love to sinners, by suffering for them on the accursed tree; did Mary do so? The dying thief turned to Jesus, whom he had just been reviling, and said, "Lord, remember me when thou comest into Thy kingdom." [Luke 23:42] Did Jesus reply, "Ask Mary to pacify me, who am justly angry with you"?

When the Roman Catholics worship Mary, the mother of Jesus, and call her "advocate," "intercessor," "mediatrix," we reply that Christ "is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them;" [Heb. 7:25] so that we do not want any other intercessor beside Christ Jesus and His Holy Spirit.

by Justin Dewey Fulton D.D., "Is it Mary or the Lady of Roman Catholic Mariology?", Brooklyn, New York, January, 1890.


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