Is Gabriel guilty of idolotry for saying 'Hail' to Mary?


I was speaking with a funadementalist the other day who was accusing Catholic’s of worshiping idols. I simply said that that’s not true. He said “but you said ‘Hail Mary.’” I opened up his very own King James bible to Luke 2:28, which says:

And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

Of course I pointed out that Gabriel addressed Mary with a ‘Hail.’

Then he starts mumbling on “yea but that’s in a different context when an angel says it, we’re going to judge the angels.” That was pretty much the whole conversation, it got interuppted. I remembered reading that we will judge the angels. I’m not quite sure what it means, but it’s 1 Corinthians 6:3. There is a possible argument here that Gabriel WAS guiltry of idolotry, that I put together in my head, I don’t even think he realized it, I honestly think he was just mumbling on. The argument is, if we are going to judge the angels, then Gabriel could have been wrong by saying Hail to Mary. I could easily see him using that if he thought of it. I know, it’s ridicoulous, but is there a good intellectual argument I can use if he pulls that on me? Otherwise it’s just my word against his.

How will Christians judge the angels?

“hail” is a joyful greeting. It has nothing to do with worship per se.


of course he is, and anyhow, where does some angel get off trying to be a mediator between God and a human, everyone knows Jesus is the one mediator, so why doesn’t Gabriel just get back on his cloud and blow his horn.


A great deal of the faith rests on Gabriel because, if he was capable of sinning (see St. Thomas Aquinas on the angels, and that they could only turn from God at the first moment of their creation), then he would have been a fallen angel and a companion of Lucifer and hence not to be trusted and all that he said would have to be considered as falicious. However, Gabriel is not considered in this way and is the chosen spokesangel of God and as such his statements can be trusted to be in accordance with God’s own setiments.

Basically if it was wrong for Gabriel to say “Hail Mary” then the rest of what he said would be suspect also.


That’s what I thought too. Also, as Valke2 pointed out, hail is simply a joyful greeting, I confirmed this in the Meriam Webster dictionary. Good point Valke2!

A follow up question (maybe this should go to a new thread?), what did Paul mean when he said we will judge the angels? Why us? And, it seems to me that the angels have already been judged, a third of them are with Satan now.


Not one shred of sin can exist in heaven, therefore Gabriels greeting was prequalified by God.

The word “Hail” is a latin translation I believe. I am not sure what the Greek word was, but eitherway, it was a very honorous greeting.


This points out the perils of sola scriptura. Using this one verse takes its meaning way out of context. One has to remember that Paul was taking the Corinthians to task for their excessive lawsuits against each other in the civil courts of the day, and was trying to make point that they should be able to handle small matters among themselves. He wasn’t implying that one day we will get to render a judgment against one angel or another.


Hasn’t anyone ever hailed a cab?


We’re going to hell now! :smiley:



I’m still looking this up, but I believe that “Hail” as in “Hail full of grace” is the same word as is used in John 19:3 “Hail, king of the Jews” when the guards were mocking Jesus.

The mockery further consisted of a purple cloak, and a crown (of thorns). So they used a “joyful greeting” to complete this mockery? No…

This “Hail” is reserved for royalty.


It is the address given by Judas to Jesus as he betrays him with a kiss. And yes, it is the same word, as you say, for John 19:3.

But I didn’t know that it was only for royalty. Do you have a dictionary that says this? I think it is the same word, but in a different form in Acts 15:23 as a greetings to the brethren in a letter. But I have no claim to Greek.


I know I’ve heard before that this particular “Hail” was a special greeting reserved for royalty. It may not be just the dictionary meaning of the word, but the context as well. For example, in this article, it mentions this:

The exceptional character of the angel’s greeting to Mary consists not so much in the single phrases, also found elsewhere in the Old Testament, as in the linking of the two expressions. “Rejoice” and “full of grace”, as a form of address. No similar instance of this in relation to any other creature can be verified in the Old or New Testament.

I’ve found several secondary sites that identify “Hail” as a royal greeting, but haven’t found anything authoritative yet…


It’s my understanding that “Hail, Mary, Full of Grace” was her title. Full of Greace was her title given to her by Gabriel.

I heard it here so hopefully someone will confirm or clarify.


I’m hoping a Mary expert will jump in here…

But Gabriel didn’t say “Hail, Mary…” he said “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you.” So this indeed was a change of name, like Abram to Abraham, Jacob to Israel, etc.


I heard that they got the translation wrong and that it is actually Rejoice Mary full of Grace


Hey, that’s pretty good.


Considering that “Hail” is reserved for royalty, that would be ok considering Mary is queen of Heaven and Earth, right?




The word “hail” is a standard English greeting from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. It is used frequently in many writings of those periods (The KJV Bible, Shakespeare, etc.). A similar word is “pray”. “Pray” is simply medieval/renaissance English for “ask”.


Perhaps it could be translated as “Rejoice” rather than hail. I checked out the LXX for you on the use of that particular word in that particular form. It was used in the context of rejoice. (I think another poster mentioned rejoice)

For example, Zeph 3:14 starts “Rejoice” and it is that word (in the Greek, not Hebrew). Or Joel 2:21 has that same rejoice in it.

Telling Mary to rejoice makes a lot of sense, given the full of grace scenario and her having found favor with God and all.

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