Catholics, Orthodox, and Mary

All Christians know that Catholics and Orthodox have relationship with Mary, The Mother of Jesus, which is missing in Protestantism.
But I am curious to know why Protestants are so infatuated by this relationship.

I don’t think it is an infatuation. A lot seem to have a problem with it.

Agreed, especially Evangelicals who believe that (a) Mary is worshiped in the same way as God and (b) the Bible limits worship only to God, mentioning nothing of veneration of Mary or the saints.

I believe the reason is that many Protestants erroneously view Catholic devotion to the Blessed Mother as a clear cut display of “idolatry”. They look at prayers like the Salve Regina, or even the Ave Maria, and conclude that Catholics simply must be idolaters. I am convinced that sometimes the tired accusation that Catholics “worship Mary” is simply a way for many Protestants to address insecurities about their own faith by gloating in the “errors” of Catholicism. Of course, an intellectually honest approach quickly reveals that the idea of worshipping Mary as co-equal with God is abominable to any Catholic. It seems no amount of repeating “but we don’t worship Mary” will convince them otherwise, nor will holding their hand as you draw out every line of the Ave Maria directly from Holy Scripture right before their eyes. No. It seems to me that the Protestant “infatuation” with Catholic devotion to Our Blessed Mother stems from an intense desire to prove, despite all evidence to the contrary, that Catholics are idolaters. And to that I say: Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!

Protestantism originally started off as both Marian & maintaining devotion to the saints. This quickly faded though and it shouldn’t be surprising. The basic tenant of protestantism is that the Holy See does not teach with authority, and so subsequently you lose your basis for devotions to the saints throughout history or to why a communion of saints is relevant to your devotion to Jesus. If Christianity was allegedly in grave error for the first 1500 years of existence, and Jesus Christ failed in his mission that entire time, then why would you turn to those so-called saints throughout that history of error? Of course, even today you still have Episcopalian churches that are named “St. Jerome’s” and so forth, but this is almost purely aesthetic, and these denominations of protestantism appear to be dying. Each new generation of protestantism is further departed from Catholic spirituality than the previous, and its new generation is unaware of the history of why this is or why they believe what they believe.

I would tend to agree with R.H. Benson- it’s a defensiveness by protestants who are seeking to find errors with the Church. Possibly to support the fact that they left the Church.

Interestingly, both Martin Luther and Calvin had great respect for Mary. Here is a link that lists a number of Martin Luther’s comments on Mary- they sound much more Catholic than anything like what today’s protestants believe.

Very true!

As a Protestant (Lutheran), I can say that many Protestants honor Mary as the mother of Jesus - we just don’t venerate her, pray to her, and many of us do not recognize the Immaculate Conception or the Assumption. I’m not sure where you’re getting your info as to why we are infatuated by the relationship that Catholics have with her - I don’t see that among my Protestant family or friends.

My question - and I cannot find the answer - is where does the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, her Assumption into heaven and also how one should or could pray to her to ask something of Jesus.

I realize that Martin Luther did still venerate Mary - he was after all an Augustinian Monk and was not out to change the church but to question some of the practices of a corrupt system at the time. The Council of Trent put things back on track from what I’ve been told.

I’d love to have someone point me to where the Immaculate Conception and/or the Assumption were taught by Jesus or His apostles.

Thanks!
God’s peace to you!

Rita

Well, in Luke, the angel Gabriel refers to Mary as full of grace (the Greek word is something very special etymologically speaking, found nowhere else). . .the ‘fullness’ being such that a deepening understanding of it through the Holy Spirit led to its being understood as what we know today as the Immaculate Conception. So yes, the apostles did teach this, just as they taught the Trinity and the Eucharist, even though you won’t find the word ‘Trinity’ in the Bible.

As for the Assumption, word of mouth teaching (of course hard to ‘prove’ as words ‘disappear’ when spoken) is most likely. This didn’t ‘spring up’ out of nowhere in the 16th century.

In all due respect, I think Catholics have more than just a “relationship” with Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Examples of this include the following:

The Hail, Holy Queen prayer:
Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy! our life, our sweetness, and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley, of tears
. ***Turn, then, ]most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us; ***and after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus; O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

To me, that sounds like Mary is being given divine characteristics instead of being the godly young girl that she was who took a great risk to her own life to say “Yes” to God and give birth to out Lord and Savior and to love Him and raise Him and to be there for Him and not abandon Him at His crucifixion.

I even heard a Catholic priest quoted as saying that all prayers should be said “to Jesus THRU Mary”, which if true, I find very troublesome because it implies she is divine. I pray to God (divine) thru Christ (also divine). Where is the need to pray thru Mary (non-divine), although scripture says she was full of grace and blessed among women?

I even heard another priest on EWTN end a prayer to Jesus with, “In your mother’s name, Amen”. :confused:

While listening to Catholic radio the other day, I heard the announcer introduce a listener as “so and so who listens to us on ***Mediatrix Radio ***in such and such city”. Mediatrix Radio? :confused: The dickens, you say.

Editorial comment:
I honor Mary as full of grace and blessed among women and thank her for saying “Yes” to Christ, but praying to her or statues of her or going to parades with her image all over the place is taking it a little too far, in my view, and makes it easier for the faithful to blur the line between her and the Holy Trinity when she receives that kind of treatment.

This is an honest opinion not meant to demean Catholicism in any way and is probably the biggest remaining obstacle that keeps me from becoming Catholic although I like and agree with much of the rest of it, especially the sacraments, the ties to the early church, the Pope, and even the Eucharist, which I can assent to. I also like what Catholics do at Lent, which I think can help us grow closer to Christ.

I am a Protestant and I have no problem with having a relationship with Mary. She is my sister in Christ.

Mary was a huge obstacle to me at first, when I converted.

You don’t have to have any relationship with Mary or any Saint in order to be a Catholic. So please don’t let that hold you back.

I participated in Lent for two years prior to deciding to join RCIA, so I understand what you mean about that.

But I made a point to learn more about Mary, and found that my objections dissolved. She is not divine. She is not God. She is not part of the Trinity. She IS our Lord’s Mother, and our Mother (due to our Lord giving her to us when He was on the cross), and she is a Mother we can ask for help when we need it, someone we can ask to take our prayers to her Divine Son when we feel unworthy or don’t know what to say. Have you not ever asked another Christian to pray for you? Perhaps one you felt was more pious than you, and perhaps God might listen to that person more readily or be more disposed to answer that person’s prayers? That is Mary and the Saints for me.

How do Lutherans honor Mary? If you don’t pray to her, talk to her, talk about her, how do you honor her? Perhaps you can share how Lutherans honor Mary. What do you actually do?

My question - and I cannot find the answer - is where does the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, her Assumption into heaven and also how one should or could pray to her to ask something of Jesus.

All such doctrines come from the Church. Many doctrines Trinity, Mary Mother of God, equality of the 3 persons, communion of saints, the Real Presence in the Eucharist, Son of God substance and nature same as the Father, Christ having 2 natures, human and divine etc. came from the Church, the same Church that established the books in the Bible. Many of these understandings were already in the early Church. But heresies and doubt require the formal announcement through the Church.

If you believe in the Communion of saints, you can just talk to any of the family members of God. No special permission need to be sought to talk to Mother Mary. She would love to hear from any of her children. She is wondering why some are ignoring her.

I realize that Martin Luther did still venerate Mary - he was after all an Augustinian Monk and was not out to change the church but to question some of the practices of a corrupt system at the time. The Council of Trent put things back on track from what I’ve been told.

Many others as well. Just wondering why many Protestants totally ignore Mary except for the Xmas decoration bit.

I’d love to have someone point me to where the Immaculate Conception and/or the Assumption were taught by Jesus or His apostles.

Not a proof text, but Luke 1:28 “Hail, full of grace” is a good starting point for the Immaculate Conception. Human reason must conclude that Jesus is birthed in a fitting sinless vessel. Mat 7:17-18. Good tree bears good fruit. Bad tree cannot bear good fruit. The sinless second Adam can not come from a sinful Second Eve.

These were not explicitly taught by Jesus/Apostles in the Bible. Not to worry, the Church has been given the highest authority by Christ himself to teach all truths and the Holy Spirit is there to assure and guide that , till the end of days. Mat 16:18, Mat 18:16 , Jn14:16.

Pope Pius IX proclaimed the IC in his Apostolic Constitution “Ineffabilis Deus” 1854.
Pope Pius XII proclaimed the Assumption dogma in the Encyclical Munificentissimus Deus in 1950.

Well said. :thumbsup:

Mary.

I don’t think it has to do with insecurities. Most non-Catholics who hear the prayers/devotion to Mary look at it and just say it’s weird.

I for one thought Catholics worshiped Mary when I was a teenager, only because it appeared that way. I don’t believe so now anymore because I’ve been told it’s not true.

If you believe in the Communion of saints, you can just talk to any of the family members of God. No special permission need to be sought to talk to Mother Mary. She would love to hear from any of her children. She is wondering why some are ignoring her.

My honor to Mary does not mean I talk to her or have to talk to her. She did answer God’s call to put herself into a position of possible dishonor by accepting the special job of being mother by the incarnate Jesus. You also mention that you can talk to any family members who have passed on - - I thought the Catholic Church taught that one can only speak to those who are saints and have proved that they live in heaven; not in Purgatory.

How do you know that "she is wondering why some are ignoring her?’

Last question at this point -Why do you go thru another human being (saint) if you have the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to go to for your supplications to God?

All such doctrines come from the Church. Many doctrines Trinity, Mary Mother of God, equality of the 3 persons, communion of saints, the Real Presence in the Eucharist, Son of God substance and nature same as the Father, Christ having 2 natures, human and divine etc. came from the Church, the same Church that established the books in the Bible. Many of these understandings were already in the early Church. But heresies and doubt require the formal announcement through the Church.

Can you point me to where these are taught in the Early Church? Pre-Constantine? Why did the Church wait so long to declare these as doctrines and dogmas of the church?

If you believe in the Communion of saints, you can just talk to any of the family members of God. No special permission need to be sought to talk to Mother Mary. She would love to hear from any of her children. She is wondering why some are ignoring her.

Not all Protestants do this.If God chose her to be the mother of our Lord then she is to be recognized and honored in such a way.

[quote]Not a proof text, but Luke 1:28 “Hail, full of grace” is a good starting point for the Immaculate Conception. Human reason must conclude that Jesus is birthed in a fitting sinless vessel. Mat 7:17-18. Good tree bears good fruit. Bad tree cannot bear good fruit. The sinless second Adam can not come from a sinful Second Eve.

These were not explicitly taught by Jesus/Apostles in the Bible. Not to worry, the Church has been given the highest authority by Christ himself to teach all truths and the Holy Spirit is there to assure and guide that , till the end of days. Mat 16:18, Mat 18:16 , Jn14:16.{/QUOTE]

Why did these poI knowsts wait close to 2000 years to proclaim these dogma?

I am not knowledgeable enough about Greek to be able to offer the one or 2 other areas in which the same Greek words are used so I’ve asked some Lutheran Pastors to
help me out there.

Thanks for letting me respond and for your respectful response to my questions and statements!

God bless!!

Rita

[/quote]

Concerning the Theotokos, the Mother of God:

[LIST]
*]The LCMS commemorates Mary on the Feast of the Annunciation (March 25), The Purification of Mary (February 2), the Visitation (July2), and St. Mary, Mother of our Lord (August 15).

*]The Book of Concord refers to Mary as “blessed” “pure, holy and ever-virgin” and “is worthy of the most ample honors” and is “rightly called” and “truly is the mother of God.”

*]Luther initially believed that Mary was immaculately conceived, but later thought that she became sinless at the time the Holy Spirit overshadowed her.
[/LIST]

Those are some of our synod’s teachings on Mary. For myself, I am pondering these notions:

[LIST]
*]The angel greeted Mary as being full of grace (or favored) before she said yes, and before the Holy Spirit came to her. She was special, set apart, before she said “yes.” Immaculately conceived? Seems logical to me.

*]If Mary wasn’t assumed into heaven, where is her body? relics? If we have bits of so many other saints, if her remains were on earth - they would be in somebody’s collection or museum. If she was made sinless (whether at her or Jesus’ conception) why wouldn’t she be raised up?
[/LIST]
Lutherans believe that Mary, like all the saints in heaven, pray for the church on earth (that’s us!). I would carry this a bit further and add that these saints are alive, they are not dead - so asking them in a personal way to pray for me, my family, specific needs, etc., is no different than asking my own mother to remember me in her prayers, except the saints don’t have the earthly distractions going on that we have in the Church Militant. I see Mary as an individual, and so I ask her, as the Mother of all Christians, to pray for my needs (Here is your Mother). This does not in any way detract from praying to God through our one Mediator, Christ. It makes it possible to pray without ceasing, knowing that my prayers are being carried as incense by the saints, and Mary herself.

That’s the thing about dogmas. In Catholicism they are not new but perhaps you have been told of this as well. They are formulated and written, usually through a council or proclamation by a Pope, when doubt arises about certain doctrine and it became an issue. The Church has to step in and made a formal declaration in written form to dissuade any argument over it.

The reason why every doctrine is not necessary written or declared formally is because they are already being believed by the Church in what we called in the Sacred Tradition. A good example would perhaps the canonization of the Books in the Bible which were done many centuries later but they were nevertheless already been used officially in the liturgy and proclamation all along before that.

Exactly what part is disagreeable? Is Mary not an advocate? If she is in Heaven would she not be an advocate? Is she not merciful? If she is in Heaven would she not be merciful?

I completely understand the reaction where you see this as attributing divine characteristics to Mary. But what are divine characteristics? It obviously can’t simply mean anything which God possess. For instance God is existence. We have existence. As long as we have existence we are like God and posses one of His characteristics. But we don’t have existence in our very nature. We receive it from God. We don’t have and never can have necessary existence. This alone can belong to God.

Likewise we can’t have omnipotence. But we do have power. We have it in this world and we’ll have it in the next. In fact couldn’t we have more power in the next?

I think one of the problems for Protestants is that there is not so much of an idea of theosis where we become like God. In Catholicism and Orthodoxy there is.

Again, I can understand your discomfort. If you are accustomed to hearing all prayers end with ‘through Jesus’ then hearing ‘through Mary’ would be startling. But I think praying through Mary makes sense. And to understand it you need to understand the role of Mary as Mediatrix.

I would say Catholicism has a better understanding of our participating in salvation. It understands we have to cooperate with God. God initiates things with His Grace. But we can reject that. In our own salvation we are real participants. All salvation comes from the life and death of Jesus. But it is a fact that Jesus’ life was the result of Mary’s participation in the divine plan. Could it have been another way? Sure. But what really did happen was Mary said yes to God and conceived, bore and raised Jesus. Jesus was the first cause of our salvation but Mary was a secondary cause. This is why she is the highest of Saints. We ourselves can and should be causes of salvation. But we can never be the cause in the way that Mary was. The fact that Mary, and hopefully us, are causes of salvation does not detract from God’s power. This is how God wants it. To do God’s Will is to participate in salvation.

Of course this depends on what worship is. We have to know what it is before we can know if Catholics worship Mary. If worship is just praising then most folks would be worshiping all sorts of creatures.

The lack of claimed relics is a most interesting fact. I’d also add that assumption is not unheard of. Enoch and Elijah were in some way assumed. One could debate where they went but it seems to me clear that Holy Scripture is teaching they were in some way spared what most of us will experience.

Surely you don’t honor someone by keeping quiet! Or was it just a mental act? All generations will call her blessed. Did you and fellow brothers/sisters really did that? Or is she just a birth vessel to be kept out of sight/mind once that work is done?

Some folks have their favorite saints and talked to them regularly. Mary obviously is a/the top favorite. We talked to the ones we know have attained sainthood. Those not canonized but if one believe due to their holy lives should be in heaven, yes, you may chat with them. No harm done if you thought wrongly. Just a dead phone line. :smiley:
Purgatory is just a timing issue. They will be in heaven soon enough. Just some cleaning up before they are totally clean for heaven.

How do you know that "she is wondering why some are ignoring her?’

Well, you have groups of Protestants who called themselves followers of her Son, yet never a single word (for centuries) from them to ask Jesus, how is his mama. If you did, then I apologize for assuming you didn’t.

Last question at this point -Why do you go thru another human being (saint) if you have the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to go to for your supplications to God?

Why do you pray for each other? What is wrong with asking the saints to pray for us? They are our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ are they not? The doors of heaven are already opened aren’t they and saints are filling up the population there? They are alive are they not? I can assure you that they are all Catholics!:smiley:

Can you point me to where these are taught in the Early Church? Pre-Constantine? Why did the Church wait so long to declare these as doctrines and dogmas of the church?

I mentioned previously that the Church usually don’t make any proclamations unless there is a need to address heresies or doubt.

Here’s the Church Fathers on Immaculate Conception. staycatholic.com/ecf_immaculate_conception.htm

staycatholic.com/ecf_assumption.htm and on Assumption.

Why did these poI knowsts wait close to 2000 years to proclaim these dogma?

It just wasn’t an issue. Not even an urgent issue to be dealt with like those heresies. You will notice the early heresies are about the nature of Christ, what he is and is not. The Reformer Fathers Luther/Calvin you can say do give Mary the honor she deserves in words going by post #6. catholicbridge.com/catholic/martin_luther_on_mary.php But unfortunately as time goes by, Protestants question the validity of the Reformer Fathers’ beliefs. My question back to you then is why do modern Protestants discard these beliefs? Is it because they are no longer able to differentiate between veneration vs worship? The plain answer is that in the past, it just wasn’t an issue! Catholics for centuries knew that worship is for God only. Some how Reformation cut off that historical knowledge from modern day Protestants. The longer the period, the less attached modern day Protestants are to old knowledge. New “knowledge” are being embraced by “progressive” protestants and novel gospels abound.

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