Thank you! I have been surprised and impressed by all the speedy and excellent replies. I can certainly elaborate on what Catholic-Protestant disputes that Protestants fall on the wrong side of in another thread if that’s something of interest. I’m sorry if that sounds cavalier to someone else reading this - I’ve always believed in being honest about my own group’s shortcomings. If there’s interest, I’ll oblige!
I accept that to a degree the Protestant position on Peter does not fit with the Bible. Even if we were totally right in dismissing Jesus’ declaration that Peter is the rock on which He will build His church (and I don’t think we are) other verses like John 21 have no other good explanation, and clearly in the history of the church Peter and his successors were uncontroversially awarded some kind of special place in the hierarchy of the church.
I guess I wonder whether or not the Eastern Orthodox position on the Pope is more accurate, that Peter’s position is closer to a first among equals than an absolute monarch. So, the degree of power that the Pope is supposed to have is my stumbling block with that one, not the role of Peter. I still need to read through some of the links you all gave me on Papal infallibility so I’ll see if my question is answered in there. Thank you!
Also, I do have a B.A. in history and theology so for those of you worrying that I think the Pope personally ordered the Crusades and all that happened, or that Catholics blithely believe every word and deed of the Pope to be infallible, don’t worry! I do not. I perhaps could have picked a better example than Urban II to illustrate my concern. My appologies for any confusion I have caused.
[quote=Robles]On the matter of Mary I would suggest you look into the various degrees of honor we give to God and the saints…
Jesus amazingly sealed his work on the cross by giving us to His mother and giving his mother to us:
“[Jesus] said to his mother: Woman, behold thy son. After that, he said to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own… all things were now accomplished” (John 19:26-28) …similarly I pray “that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)
I hope you don’t mind me quoting you only partially (I did read the rest of your reply, and am thankful for it) but I had always understood John 19:26-28 in a very practical sense where Jesus was providing for His mother, not giving His mother to the church.
With the B.V.M., I am thankful for your honest responses more than any sort of theological explanation. I accept that the Catholic position on intercessory prayer via Mary & the saints is logically congruent with scripture and tradition. I’ll buy the latria / dualia distinction. I’d admit that Protestants like myself tend to undervalue Mary. It’s the practical outcome that has me uncomfortable.
I remember doing part of my teacher placement in a publicly funded Catholic school, and my kids knew the Hail Mary backwards and forwards, but no other prayers, not even the Lord’s prayer. Anyways, in those moments, I remember Erasmus’ The Shipwreck with great fondness and find it harder to see the use/good in this sort of devotion to the Mother of God et al.
I understand that this sort of feeling is kinda nebulous and doctrines can be true while causing misunderstandings, so that is why I was mostly curious to see how you felt rather than ask for a defence of devotion to Mary.
Again, thank you all for your kind replies. I have no one really to talk to about these things where I am right now, so I appreciate this community.