Can you become Catholic without believing what the Church teaches about Mary?

I’ve heard my Catholic friends thank Mary for some answered prayer and I think that is stealing Jesus’s glory. Doesn’t the Bible teach that all good gifts come from God above? Isn’t the Holy Spirit grieved when we don’t tell Him thank you or give credit to someone other than who the credit is due?

Dear friend,

By that logic, we cannot thank anybody for anything because God is the ultimate giver of all that is. Certainly, we owe Him thanks first. But this does not rule out our thanking His children for their generosity. If we ask others for a favor, it is always appropriate for us to thank them at least for their willingness to help us. How much more ought we to thank people for their prayers—especially when they are known for their holiness.

This brings us to Mary. In Lk. 1:28, the angel Gabriel honored Mary with the words:“Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” Throughout the Old Testament whenever an angel appeared to a human being, it was the human being that did the angel homage. Here it was the opposite–and rightly so. She was to become the Mother of the Redeemer who would be both God and Man. THIS is why she is so special. Without Jesus we wouldn’t ever have known about her existence.

We honor her precisely because of her proximity to HIM! To those would diminish her, I ask: do you consider that Jesus doesn’t deserve a mother who is that special? Catholic and Orthodox Christians have always believed that He does!

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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