Hi Protestant 101,
I didn`t want to take the SDA thread off course, so thought it best to start a new thread to answer your question on Mary.
You wrote the following:
*QUOTE=Protestant101;2076162]If Catholics do not have to believe this; why then would the Pope “approve” these as bonafide “visions?”
Yes, we can honor Mary, like we do anyone else who has died and followed God’s will. But, there is nothing that sets Mary aside as any more special than the rest of the human race. She has nothing to do with our salvation. She followed God’s will, gave birth to Jesus; but it is only Jesus who saves. It is admirable that Mary followed God’s will in being the Mother of Jesus, inspite of all the bad reputation that people tried attaching to her and Joseph; but many other people have sacrificed more to follow God.*
One reason many Protestants do not understand Catholic teachings related to Mary, is because they rely on Sola Scriptura and ignore Sacred Tradition. Many Protestant beliefs, such as the Trinity, the canon of the Bible, and the death of the last apostle closing the deposit of faith, are not found explicitly in the Bible. For Catholics, we follow Chuch authority in matters of doctrine.
God honored Mary by making her above all creatures by making her the mother of His Son, Jesus. In honoring Mary、 we follow the example of God himself. (Perhaps you disagree it was an honor for Mary to give birth to Jesus?)
It isn`t just Catholics who honor Mary. Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Ulrich Zwingli honored Mary as the Mother of God.
I can cite many passages in Scripture showing Mary is the mother of God. To name a few:
Luke 1:43, Matthew 1:23, Luke 1:35.
Early Church Fathers, including St. Ignatius of Antioch (110 AD) and St. Irenaeus of Lyons (180-199 AD) taught that Mary was the mother of God.
Mary`s title as mother of God was not rejected until 429 AD. In that year a bishop named Nestorius argued that Jesus was two distinct persons. The Council of Ephesus condemned this heresy, and it did not surface again until aftre Reformation. In actuality, the unwillingness of some Protestants to acknowledge Mary as the Mother of God is a departure from Sacred Scripture, and from the Early Church Fathers.
As Catholics, we believe having the honor to give birth to Jesus, sets her apart from other humans.
I will address your other questions in a separate post due to space constrictions.