I would like to start by stating that I am rather new to the forum, so feel free to correct me if I am posting this inquiry in the wrong section.
I purchased a rather cheap copy of a book entitled Catechism of the Catholic Church a few months ago and I have only now got around to examining it. If it is of any relevance, my copy was printed by a company named Image (as I am not certain how many publishers distribute this book). While I was scrutinizing the table of contents, I came across a section entitled “Mary’s Motherhood with Regard to the Church.” I was always aware that Catholics held Mary in high veneration based on my observations that most Cathedrals in my area are named after her and my step family’s house has several icons depicting her. However, I was not aware of the following:
“Finally, the Immaculate Virgin …] was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things…” (pp. 274, paragraph 491)
This seems anomalous to me, as I have never encountered such a high placement of Mary in any system of theology. The book provided a citation, but it was not from the Bible. It said “LG 59,” which I assume is in reference to the Lumen Gentium? Without dwelling on it too long, I went ahead and consulted Google for further clarification. I am not terrible sure which websites are authoritative, but I found one called catholicbridge.com, which provides a relatively good discussion on the topic at hand. I can understand the interpretation of Revelation 11:18-12:17, which is that the woman clothed in the sun is Mary. However, I do not see where it tells us this woman in Revelation was “exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things…”
The website also makes reference to 1 Kings 15:13 and 2 Kings 24:12 as examples of a king’s mother being his queen, or וְאִמּ֔וֹ (queen-mother). It goes on to say that these queens could not be refused (1 Kings 2:19-20), therefore applying this understanding to Mary. They cite 2 John 1-5, but they actually meant to put John 2:1-5 as an example of Jesus bending his will to Mary. I find it to be a rather poor example, but wouldn’t this interpretation of the passage create conflict with what Jesus said in passages such as John 6:38, which is where Jesus tells us the following:
“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” (NASB)
Any clarification would be abundantly appreciated.
Not at all. The commandment is not “do the will of your father and your mother.” Rather, it is “honor your father and your mother” (Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:2). Jesus honored Mary and even his father Joseph. However, Jesus performed the will of his heavenly Father, not the will of Mary.
I was actually referring to Ephesians 6 - Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth
For Christ to NOT obey Mary would be for Christ, who is Perfect, to do that which is wrong.
Many of our Protestant brethren have what I refer to is “Catholic blindness” when it comes to reading Scripture. They simply don’t connect Catholic teachings to Bible references–mainly because they don’t know Catholic teachings through no fault of theirs.
Protestants aren’t taught to look for Catholic teachings in Scripture. Some who do only do so to attempt to refute Catholic teachings. So, being blind to verses that support* Church teachings isn’t unusual. (*not prove–the Church doesn’t use the Bible as a proof-text but as a witness to Christ, his teachings and her authority).
With that in mind please consider these verses:
2Tim.2 if we endure, we shall also reign with him;
if we deny him, he also will deny us;
Rev.5 and hast made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on earth."
Rev.11 Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever.”  saying, "We give thanks to thee, Lord God Almighty, who art and who wast, that thou hast taken thy great power and begun to reign.
Rev.20 Blessed and holy is he who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and they shall reign with him a thousand years.
Rev.22 And night shall be no more; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they shall reign for ever and ever.
Surely if we are to reign with Christ, how much more she who conceived Christ through her fiat–born of her flesh and none other’s, nurtured him, suffered with him, gave him to the world on the cross where she stood by him, and prayed with the Apostles when the Holy Spirit descended on the Church at Pentecost? Or is it only those we’d like to see reign with Christ because we believe we know better than God, as James and John once presumed to know, who is to sit at Christ’s left and his right hand? The Church, after prayer and through the unfailing guidance of the Holy Spirit, which promised Christ promised to his Church, has declared that Mary sits at her Son’s right hand in glory. It is only fitting considering her utter faithfulness to God and her unique position as the Second Eve, who by her yes corrected the fault of Eve, giving us our Redeemer and Savior.
While I understand your logic here, I do find it to be quite a stretch to say that she is “exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things…” based on this line of reasoning. Especially when we consider how critical this teaching is to the Catholic faith. If there was a Bible verse that said she was to be exalted, then that would be clear. However, simply saying that she will be Queen over all things because others will rule with Christ is not going with the plain reading of the text.
This. “Honor” and “obey” are two different things. A setting in which Christ “obeys” his mother makes Mary superior to him and gets us into the quasi-deification of Mary. That seems to be a fine line around here.
And here is where the great divide comes between Protestant and Catholic thinking about Scripture and it’s place in doctrinal matters.
As I mentioned in my post, the Church does not hold to the idea that a teaching must be explicitly stated in Scripture for it to be valid. The Church takes into account the whole of Sacred Tradition, which is Scripture as well as the oral teachings of the Apostles (preserved largely in the Early Church Fathers), as well as the living Magisterium, which is composed of all the bishops in union with the pope. This Tradition is not the same thing as the “traditions of men”–the Pharisees additions to the Law that Our Lord condemned. Rather, it is the kind that St. Paul mentions here:
2Thes.2 So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.
1Cor.11 I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you.
Our Lord, as well as St. Paul and the other Apostles all drew from Sacred Tradition in order to teach the Gospel to the people. The Church does the same.
When it comes to doctrines/dogmas not explicitly stated in Scripture, the Church delves into the mind of Christ, as taught by both oral and written sources passed down within the Church. In all matters of faith and morals Christ has given the Church the authority to decide what is true and proper.
While we can certainly go to Scripture for much, it is not all there is, and was never intended to be the only source from which the Church, by Christ’s authority, was meant to draw her conclusions. Many sources are explored and much prayer is sent up before the Church makes pronouncements regarding all such things.
So, while there is no specific reference in Scripture for Mary being exalted as “Queen over all things,” there is ample evidence for it from the many sources the Church uses, including, and most importantly from, Scripture. We don’t believe in the adage “Show me explicitly in the Bible and I’ll believe it.” Rather, we believe “If it is not contrary to Scripture and the evidence of Sacred Tradition, the Church has the authority from Christ to define it as doctrine.”
I know it is a radical change in thinking from Scripture alone, but then Scripture alone is not an ancient concept in the Church. It was introduced by the reformers roughly 1500 years after the Church has been in existence and had been declaring doctrine/dogma employing the whole of Sacred Tradition, not Scripture alone.
Then your study of Church history and theology must be limited to Reformation theology, as we see references to this title for Mary as far back as the fourth century. So you seem to be ignoring at least 1100 years of theology. By the way, the Orthodox also place such a high placement of Mary in their theology. So you really must have only focused on minority theology.
Where does the bible say that doctrine must clearly be spelled out in it’s pages?
Then you must be Unitarian, as Jesus, nor the bible ever clearly states the Trinity. The dots must be connected. In fact some theologians in the early Church rejected the doctrine of the Trinity, because they felt it was not clearly spelled out in Scripture. And there are theologians who reject it today, for the same reason. And some of them say all the arguments they have heard for the Trinity they find rather poor.
If you and I have a disagreement, in this case on whether Mary is the Queen of Heaven, or not (as I can see the connection that you fail to), does the bible say take it to the bible, or take it to someplace else? And has that someplace else made a definitive ruling on this subject?
’If you have seen me, then you have seen the Father." Their divine wills are the same. And though Jesus does have a human will, can we ever say it went against the divine will? Seemingly, He did not want to do the miracle at Cana, as His hour had not yet come. Was it the divine will that wanted Him to perform the miracle, in obedience to His mother’s wishes?
I leave you with this, taken from the Catholic Strength website:
If God’s own messenger, the Archangel Gabriel, hadn’t called her by the descriptive title, “Hail, Full of Grace” (Luke 1: 28); and if she had not been covered by the Holy Spirit’s “unspeakable shadow” (see Luke 1:42); and if St. Luke, in describing Mary’s visitation to Elizabeth, hadn’t drawn a stunning comparison between the Virgin Mary and the all-holy Ark of the Covenant (see link below); and if Mary’s visit (with Jesus in utero) to Elizabeth hadn’t unleashed a veritable explosion of grace; and if, at the sound of Mary’s voice, Elizabeth had not been filled with the Holy Spirit and boldly proclaimed Mary to be “the Mother of my Lord” (Luke 1:41-45); and if Simeon the prophet had not peered down through the decades to see that Mary, who had brought the baby Jesus to the Temple, was predestined to share closely in Jesus’ passion, saying to Mary, “And a sword will pierce your own soul too” (Luke 2: 35); and if Mary’s role as a powerful intercessor hadn’t been so clearly manifested at Cana when she moved her Son to work His first public miracle against His own will since His “hour had not yet come” (John 2:1-12); and if the Lord Jesus Himself hadn’t bequeathed her to us (from the cross) as our Spiritual Mother as He was meriting our very salvation, saying, “Behold, your Mother” (John 19: 25-27) as she stood faithfully at the foot of the cross in fulfillment of Simeon’s prophecy; and if Saint Luke hadn’t specifically pointed out that she was present with the Apostles in the Cenacle in preparation for Pentecost” and the “birth of the Church” (quotations from Pope John Paul II; see Acts 1:14); and if Saint John hadn’t seen her in a vision of heaven, “clothed with the sun” and wearing her Queenly crown of twelve stars (Revelation 12:1-2); and if Old Testament typology and New Testament fulfillment didn’t point to her as the New Eve and Queen Mother (see especially Scott Hahn’s masterful book, Hail Holy Queen); and if the testimony of the Catholic saints didn’t overwhelmingly verify beyond all peradventure the amazing assistance she provides to those who accept her spiritual motherhood (which Jesus merited for us), leading them to greater union with Jesus, perhaps then you could persuade me not to accept all of the beautiful and sublime teachings about her by the Roman Catholic Church
All of the Apostolic Churches, the Roman Catholic Church, all the Eastern Catholic Churches, the Eastern Orthodox, the Oriental Orthodox and the Assyrian Church of the East all venerate Mary very highly. The Protestants really are quite novel in not venerating her.
From the practical and pragmatic viewpoint: Mary’s tomb would be a massive site of pilgrimage for Catholics, Orthodox Christians, and the Muslims. For almost 2,000 years, not one of those communities has even mentioned searching for the site. For 499 years, those who set their sights on the Catholic Church have likewise either not searched for her tomb, or have searched and come up empty. There is a reason for this.
Scripture supports Mary’s queenship, but her role is not based on scripture. Basing everything on scripture is a fairly recent European innovation in Christianity, and has confused and lead millions astray.
I was limited to Unitarian studies, actually. I have been a Unitarian since converting two years ago, so I had no desire to look into Catholicism or eastern Christianity. However, I have now accepted the trinity, not on the basis of Church history, but on the basis of Scripture alone. I have to disagree with you in that the Bible does very clearly state the trinity. I did not need to rely on the writings of the early Christians to define it. Had it not been clearly and completely defined in the Bible, I would still reject it. This is primarily because I reject the Catholic concept of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition (as it stands).
I used to find the trinity to be a rather poorly supported doctrine, but it was primarily because many Trinitarians misrepresented it. I had debated the doctrine of the trinity with many people and none of them presented it as well as James White did in his publication The Forgotten Trinity.
Let’s continue with the example you gave, which is the doctrine of the trinity. There is not one verse that spells it out for us. There is not one verse that tells us Jehovah is triune in nature, that is, consisting of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. Yet the Bible does reveal this teaching through a network of scriptures (Matthew 3:16-17, 11:27, 17:1-9, 27:46, John 1:18, 14:16-17. The Pre-existence of the Son: Colossians 1:13-17, Hebrews 1:2-3, John 1:1; Colossians 2:9, John 20:28, Titus 2:13, 2 Peter 1:1, John 1:18; identification as Yahweh: John 6:39-41/Isaiah 6, Hebrews 1:10-12/Psalm 102:25-27, etc.). I can say the same thing regarding sola scriptura. Consider the following texts (NASB):
2 Timothy 3:16 -
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
What did Jesus and the apostles appeal to?
Matthew 4:4 -
But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’”
Matthew 4:7 -
Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Matthew 4:10 -
Then Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’”
Acts 17:2 -
And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures,
Acts 17:11, 12 -
Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men.
Acts 18:28 -
for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:19 -
For it is written, “I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE, AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE.”
Do you recall what Jesus said to the Pharisees regarding tradition?
Matthew 15:3-6 -
And He answered and said to them, "Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother is to be put to death.’ But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever I have that would help you has been given to God,” he is not to honor his father or his mother.’ And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition.
Now, let’s clearly consider what Jesus is talking about. This was not the layman, pagan, tradition that local people had. Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees about their religious traditions!
I gather that Catholics like to make arguments from silence (e.g. someone in this thread has stated " the Church does not hold to the idea that a teaching must be explicitly stated in Scripture for it to be valid.") This, of course, is not acceptable according to Scripture itself.
Deuteronomy 4:2 -
You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.
Proverbs 30:5, 6 -
Every word of God is tested;
He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.
Do not add to His words
Or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.
1 Corinthians 4:6 -
Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that in us you may learn not to exceed what is written, so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other.
Revelation 22:18, 19 -
I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.
Now, the same person on this thread that I quoted above also gave the following explanation:
"The Church takes into account the whole of Sacred Tradition, which is Scripture as well as the oral teachings of the Apostles (preserved largely in the Early Church Fathers), as well as the living Magisterium, which is composed of all the bishops in union with the pope. This Tradition is not the same thing as the “traditions of men”–the Pharisees additions to the Law that Our Lord condemned. Rather, it is the kind that St. Paul mentions here:
2Thes.2 So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.
1Cor.11 I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you."
I will now show you that the apostles had authority only because they were set up by Christ.
Acts 2:42 -
They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread [or “meals”] and to prayer.
Ephesians 2:20 -
having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone,
This authority that the apostles had did not transfer onto bishops after their deaths, as one had to be a witness of Christ.
Acts 1:22 -
beginning with the baptism of John until the day that He was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.
1 Corinthians 9:1 - Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord?
Now, one could reasonable argue (and I would agree with the position) that the Greek Scriptures do not contain all of the teachings of the apostles. This would be consistent in our understanding of how the New Testament is written given that all of Jesus’ teachings were not recorded either (John 20:30). However, as quoted above, 2 Timothy 3:16 teaches that everything in Scripture is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness…” I would like to request from you a passage out of the Bible that tells us the traditions (or oral teachings) of the apostles were “god-breathed.”
We should also consider what the Scriptures are told to be written for.
John 20:30, 31 -
Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.
Romans 15:4 -
For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
1 John 15:13 -
These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.
2 Peter 3:1, 2 -
This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.
I am willing to concede that Jesus did obey his mother and even his father (Joseph), as the commandment demands. By obeying this commandment, Jesus would be doing the will of the Father.
The mother of the king was always the queen in the Old Testament.
*Now in the eighteenth year of King Jerobo’am the son of Nebat, Abi’jam began to reign over Judah. He reigned for three years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Ma’acah the daughter of Abish’alom. (1 Kings 15:2)
Jehosh’aphat was thirty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Azu’bah the daughter of Shilhi. (1 Kings 22:42)
Manas’seh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Heph’zibah. (2 Kings 21:1)*
There are over 30 verses like this. His mother’s name… His mother’s name… His mother’s name… over and over and over. God is telling us the name of the mother of the king because the mother of the king is the queen. The mother of the king had a title. She was the ***Gebirah ***which means grand lady or queen mother. Some translations of the Bible actually use the word Gebirah instead of queen mother.
*Even Ma’acah, his mother, King Asa removed from being queen mother because she had made an abominable image for Ashe’rah. Asa cut down her image, crushed it, and burned it at the brook Kidron. (2 Chronicals 15:16)
Say to the king and the queen mother:
“Take a lowly seat,
for your beautiful crown
has come down from your head.”
Jesus is the King of Kings. His mother is the queen, just like all mothers of the Old Testament kings.
Your understanding of these passages is not itself set in stone. The text does not interpret itself, and it would be wrong to deny that you’re viewing this through the lens of the Reformation tradition, which I should point out is a set of scriptural traditions that essentially did not exist for the first 1,500 years of Christian history.
Mary is, in both Catholic and Orthodox traditions, seen as the archetype of the Church. We see, in her response to the angel Gabriel, a “yes” to God’s plan for salvation history, and in that yes we may find the beginnings of the birth of the Church into the world. The Church has always been seen as feminine in character, and this is obviously due to the idea of the nuptial covenant between Israel and God, in which God takes Israel to be his bride. Jesus is the “bridegroom” in Johannine tradition. We see this metaphor continued by Paul in Ephesians in great depth. We see the Church presented as the bride in Revelation. And ultimately the Church is about that whole assent to God and his works, asking people to do whatever Christ asks, and standing at the foot of the cross of Jesus’ passion. Mary, as the archetype of the Church, and in order to provide the type of whole assent to be the “god-bearer” that would not be possible if there was any hint of sin, was, as Paul describes in Ephesians, was filled with the grace of God from her conception, not of her own doing or actions, but entirely by the action of God, “that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” [He is, of course, foremost speaking of the Church, but as Mary is the archetype of the Church, it applies to her as well.] For Mary is, not only a daughter and mother of God, but in an analogical sense (and not any way that implies equality) His spouse (in the Holy Spirit and as the archetype of the Church).
Mary declares that all generations will call her blessed, something that Luke did not see as insignificant to include, and we see the mother of the Christ in Heaven crowned with twelve stars about he head: Israel, Daughter Zion, and yes, Mary.
Anyway, we would not believe we are adding anything to God’s word, but merely coming to better understand overtime the scripture and tradition handed down directly from the apostles – and that includes traditions about the dormition and assumption and even her crowning as Queen of Heaven (not as any type of sovereign, but as the mother of the king).
As to the apostles not passing down authority . . . I guess that might be something you can declare now, so many centuries later. It’s certainly in disagreement with the Christian Church in the first, second, third, and fourth centuries.
But, all that said, the part on Mary is only a small part of the Catechism. I hope it doesn’t prevent you from reading further. Even if you don’t accept everything, there is a lot of good in there.
The Orthodox haven’t gone about with so many dogmas, but they have doctrines about her being Mother of God, her perpetual virginity, that she went her whole life without committing any personal sin (which Martin Luther agreed with; I should note that Orthodox understand Original Sin differently than western traditions, too), about her dormition, assumption, and calling her Queen of Heaven (just one quick example: theorthodoxfaith.com/mary-as-the-queen-of-heaven/). They do see her as the archetype of the Church.
Mary is actually more prominent in some eastern liturgies than it is in Latin Rite Catholic liturgies. There’s a beautiful Akathist to the Holy Virgin in Orthodox tradition. That said, development of personal devotions to the Blessed Mother is limited mostly to the west, I believe.