In the Sub tuum præsidium, how should I explain that we are not worshiping St.Mary?

I’ve been going back and forth with a non-denominational Protestant pastor concerning some Catholic beliefs with which he has real problems.

We’ve been discussing praying to saints. I sent him a tract, that I have to admit, I cannibalized from many different sources, mostly from various articles at Catholic Answers.

I think I’ve answered most of his questions except for his belief that we worship saints when we pray to them.

Today he sent me a copy of the earliest known prayer to the Blessed Mother,
Sub tuum præsidium

Beneath your compassion,
We take refuge, O Mother of God [Theotokos]:
do not despise our petitions in time of trouble:
but rescue us from dangers,
only pure, only blessed one.

As you can imagine the ‘only’ in the last line to this prayer caused his blood pressure to rise. He sees it as proof that we worship Mary. He says that surely God (and presumably other saints) are pure and blessed too, so how can we deny we’re worshiping Mary.

I know that’s not the case, but I don’t know how to handle the ‘only’ in that last line.

I’ve seen the Latin translation of the last line as:

O glorious and blessed Virgin.

He probably wouldn’t object to that line. Can you explain how that change occurred?

Can anyone help? I’d like to put his mind at ease, at least concerning this prayer.

It’s complicated. It’s been around since approx. the year 250. Here is a brief history:

The different English translations seem to depend on whether it was translated from the original Greek (which contain the line your Protestant friend objects to), or the Latin (the one you think he wouldn’t object to). The Latin is a more recent translation.

Personally, I’d ask him if he really wants to spar with 1766 years or so of tradition based on the minutiae of ancient translations? If he really wants to object to the Catholic Church, and hangs that objection on something that is 1766 years old (and is also used by the Orthodox), I expect you may be wasting your time in this “debate”.

Among mere human beings, the Virgin Mary is unique. She was both conceived without sin by a unique favor of God and she remained sinless throughout her life. I think it is in this context and sense that some versions of the Sub tuum praesidium refer to her as “only pure, only blessed one.” See Luke 1:42 where the Virgin Mary is referred to as “blessed … among women.”

I looked up the prayer in Greek.

First off, the word is in the feminine form. So it doesn’t apply to Jesus, the Father, etc. It means and implies “the only pure one among women.”

Second off, it means not so much “one and only” as “the one above all others of the same kind,” with the others in this case being other women. It can also mean “pre-eminent in a particular quality among others of the same kind.”

So it’s not necessarily praising the Virgin Mary too much. Indeed, it might not be praising her enough.

That is correct; the latin words are “Virgo gloriosa et benedicta”.

It is very common for words of a translated prayer to have some meaning added or removed from them depending on context, or for the translator to add words in an attempt to retain his perceived meaning.

Just by googling I find this translation:

“We fly to thy patronage, O holy Mother of God; despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin. Amen.”

Well, I have never gotten that deep in the minute phraseology of the various Christian churches that sprouted up in the mideast. Knew about St. Marin and his conversion of people in Lebanon and surrounding areas. Have a Maranite church in town where I worshiped a few times.
AS MOTHER Teresa said to a Protestant asking questions of why we have such emphysysis on the Blessed Mother. She stopped and looked at him and saif,"WITHOUT MARY SAYING YES AND DELIVERING JESUS TO THE WORLD AS HIS MOTHER, THERE WOULD BE NO JESUS.! It shocked him. He was
quiet. He later wrote her and said, he, finally, got it.
Protestants like king James versions of the Bible, but using his Bible, look up annunciation. Where Gabriel
Calls her to deliver the message and he says, “YOU WILL BE BLESSED AMONG ALL WOMEN”.
THE wedding feast of Cana , they needed more wine. Someone informed Mary of the shortage.WHY, ONE MIGHT ASK? Jesus had not performed miracles yet.
Jesus said, “MOTHER, IT IS NOT MY TIME YET!” But,
He changed the water to the best wine. HE WAS OBEDIENT TO HIS MOTHER.
On the cross, Jesus gave His mother to St. John to care for. We accept this as Jesus giving the world His Mother. We care for her and she for us. Since she agreed to take this journey, delivering, raising and watching her son suffer and die for us.
Next–the church are the people not the buildings or denominations. Jesus taught us how to pray=reference the OurFather. We are told to seek and we shall find it. Knock and the door shall open.
Ask and it shall be given.
Prayer formila=Our Father w hello and praise for all He has done. NEXT= petition request/s. NEXT=spend some time w Him. ENDING=Thanking Him for all His answers and the attention He will give this. IN JESUS NAME, BY THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
NOW,MARY= Google the miracle of the sun at Fatima.Does he believe in Mary’s visitations. Find a site where she tells her messengers to go back to church and venerate herSon, Jesus, again. Her message always points to Jesus.
Half the rosary comes from the Bible. We added,"PRAY FOR US SINNERS NOW AND AT THE HOUR OF OUR DEATH. That is all we do is ask us to continue our prayers in heaven for us. Jesus goes to the Father to get the ok
When our relatives die, there souls go to heaven, if that is their assignment, then. There are those who go to pugatory. Here, I might be off. I don’t like people going to hell. This is not the last judgement, when we die on earth. So, I like to think we go to Purgatory where we think about our lives, now, that it must be true because I’m here. If you’ve sinned against the Holy Spirit, one could go straight to hell. Otherwise review your life, beg for forgiveness and mercy. The people’s whose bodies died did not lose the life of their spirit. That is why we ask, the living family of Saints to pray for us, the Blessed Mother and the souls in Purgatory. In fact, that is one of their big jobs. So, all their prayers would go from Jesus on fown, "Abba, so and so needs your help w this or healing,etc. Maybe Jesus expounds on petitioners faithfulness,etc. Mary is praying, "Dear Father and my Son, Jesus and Comforter, so and so has been praying to you for this and has asked me to continue her prayers for this need here in heaven.
Part of our Father. He should ask his family members to continue the prayers. You would ask him to pray for your sick Mom. Members of the church have a prayer chsin. We ask living members on earth to pray for us. The church is alive in heavrn and Purgatory. You should Google Purgstory. Mother Angelica has a book about questiions.
The word Purgatory is not in the Bible. The word Trinity does not appear in the Bible.
Matthew 11, I think has a situation where a man is in heaven but he is receiving a punishment of getting whipped. That can’t happen and he wasn’t in hell. So, there must be another place=Purgatory. In the book of Maccabees which is not in King James, has King Maccabees counting his dead after battle. He found some wearing pagan amulets around their necks. Bad,bad! So, he goes to the temple and gives a silver offering to save their souls. If there is only heaven and he’ll why pay money There has to be another place= Purgatory. Yabadabado. THAT’S ALL I KNOW NOW.
MAY GOD give you His wisdom. May the love of God for your brother in the Lord shine through w His grace.
in Jesus name, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Remember to pray before you dtart.

The Latin itself is a translation from the original Greek, and the English translation the OP cited is more faithful to the Greek than the Latin.

Does your friend suffer from an issue with reading comprehension and semantics with everything, or just with Catholic prayers?

I’m sorry but there a few autocorrections and typos I didn’t notice. I reread when I still couldn’t sleep.
There is a he’ll which is hell. If there is an s in a funny place, it should be an a.
The main message is there. Sorry, I didnt check eRlier.
in Christ’s love

Just wanted to thank everyone for your answers. Awesome forum and participants.

At the least, I think that my Protestant friend will be willing to admit that “Maybe this prayer isn’t proof that Catholics worship Mary”, after relaying the information from y’all.

Thanks again. :thumbsup:

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