Questions on Mary from Protestant 101


#1

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.

Sincerely,

Maria1212


#2

Alright, thankyou. I will be sure to keep track of this topic.


#3

Dear Protestant 101,

You wrote: *She followed God’s will, gave birth to Jesus; but it is only Jesus who saves. *

Catholics believe that all of us our saved through Jesus. JESUS was Marys Savior. She was redeemed by Jesus, just as we all are. Catholics believe that Marys redemption was unique in that it was proactive in the sense that it preserved Mary from sin, whereas for us, it removed sins contracted.

Mary didnt just give birth to Jesus. She nursed him, clothed him, and protected him. In all ways, she consented to the Fathers will for Jesus, and even accompanied him to Calvary and witnessed in his suffering.

Catholics worship God alone. We do not mistake Mary for God. We honor Mary because Jesus honored her, perfectly obeying the 4th commandment, and we are called to imitate Christ.

Sincerely,

Maria1212


#4

catholic.com/library/Mary_Mother_of_God.asp

catholic.com/library/Mary_Ever_Virgin.asp

catholic.com/library/Mary_Full_of_Grace.asp

catholic.com/library/Immaculate_Conception_and_Assum.asp

The above links might also help answer some of your questions.

Sincerely

Maria1212


#5

Tim Staples did an excellent talk on Mary. It is available on video. I think it is called “All Generations Shall Call Me Blessed” (I’m not sure about the title). It goes through the scriptures from a theological and historical perspective. It really helped me in my understanding of the Catholic understanding of the Mother of God.


#6

This link might also be helpful.

catholic.com/thisrock/2006/0609fea1.asp


#7

Dear Protestant 101,

We asked what we are to think about the Pope and Fatima.

I recommend reading the two articles posted on the following links. I pasted an insert from the first article. Both of these will help you understand the diffference between public and private revelation, as well as the Fatima Revelation itself.

catholic.com/thisrock/2000/0011bt.asp

*Because they do not require divine and Catholic faith, private revelations do not impose an obligation of belief of the sort that public revelation does. To disbelieve knowingly and deliberately anything God has revealed in such a way that it requires divine and Catholic faith is to commit mortal sin. However, since God has not issued private revelations with this degree of certainty, the burden is not imposed. Thus, “such a message can be a genuine help in understanding the Gospel and living it better at a particular moment in time; therefore it should not be disregarded. It is a help which is offered, but which one is not obliged to use” (ibid.). *

catholic.com/thisrock/2000/0010fea1.asp

Sincerely,

Maria1212


#8

Actually, I would be interested in discussing this phrase “all generations shall call me blessed,.” I will read through the links that Maria1212 posted to see what they have to offer on that phrase. I find this kind of thing very interesting. it might take me a day or three to get back; but get back I will! :tiphat:


#9

Thanks! I`ll check it out!!

Sincerely,
Maria1212


#10

Hi,

This comes from Luke 1:48. In Luke 1:46-55 we see Mary being praised for being the mother of the Lord and because of her belief, she reacts as the servant in a psalm of praise.

I would say she was blessed to be chosen to be the mother of Jesus.

Sincerely,

Maria1212


#11

Reference: catholic.com/thisrock/2006/0609fea1.asp

In an article by a Catholic apologist entitled :” Making Peace with the Mediatrix,” By Mary Beth Kremski, we read the following:

“Even after coming home to the Catholic Church, many converts and reverts struggle with the lingering fear that the Church makes too much of Mary. This uneasiness is not always unfounded, considering the number of Catholics whose novena booklets are well worn while the binding of their Bible is barely cracked. Their emotional attachment to Mary is obvious; their commitment to Christ is less clear.”

I can certainly find agreement with the last two sentences of this first paragraph of the article. Many times; I have personally witnessed this over-emphasis on Mary, and the forgotten Jesus just kind of relegated to the sidelines of theology and religious practice by many well-meaning Catholics.

A similar comparison could be made to what Adventists do with one of our Pioneers, Ellen G White.

Moving on a couple more paragraphs into the article we read:

“Is this true? Does the Church really teach that Mary is the Mediatrix of all graces and necessary to the salvation of every soul?

Church Teaching or Popular Piety?
If this is, indeed, Church teaching, it must be reconciled with Scripture, which says that “there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5).

Church documents and papal writings speak clearly.

The Second Vatican Council states that “the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Auxiliatrix, Adiutrix, and Mediatrix” (Lumen Gentium 62).

The Council refers to Pope St. Pius X, who said that Mary is the “dispensatrix of all the gifts and is the ‘neck’ connecting the head of the mystical body to the members. But all power flows through the neck” (Ad Diem Illum 13).

Other popes and prominent saints have taught the same. In

**Octobri Mense Adventante, Pope Leo XIII wrote: **
Nothing at all of that very great treasury of all grace that the Lord brought us—for “grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” [John 1:17]—nothing is imparted to us except through Mary, since God so wills.

In Inter Sodalicia, Pope Benedict XV told us:
Every kind of grace we receive from the treasury of the redemption is ministered as it were through the hands of the same sorrowful Virgin.

Pope Pius XI concurred in Ingravescentibus Malis:
We know that all things are imparted to us from God the greatest and best through the hands of the Mother of God.

This is only a sampling of consistent papal teaching: The Church does teach that Mary is the Mediatrix of all graces.”

I will continue my comments in the next post, as I have to stick to the limit for number of characters in each post here at this forum.


#12

It is evident how that Catholic doctrine is consistent in saying that Mary is the “Mediatrix” of all grace, and that she is, therefore, necessary to the salvation of every soul. This, of course; I would disagree with. But to explain further; we should also look at the next passage in this same article:

“Branches of the Vine

The idea that Jesus alone can mediate grace actually contradicts Scripture: Ephesians 4:29 tells us that you and I are to “impart grace” to others by our words. As members of the body of Christ, we are called to “impart” (or mediate) grace in a variety of ways, including ministries of healing, teaching, and prayer.

The key to a correct understanding of 1 Timothy 2:5 is to see that the one mediator stands “between God and men.” Only Jesus Christ can stand for us before God and gain our salvation and all grace. But what he has gained can be distributed from man to man among the members of his body. What he gives to me, I can, by his power, share with you, and vice versa. In fact, we experience this on a daily basis.

Jesus is the source of grace. As branches abiding in the Vine, we can distribute his grace. Because of his mediation before God on our behalf—because he has gained grace for us and entrusts us with that grace—we are able to impart grace to others.

In calling Mary the Mediatrix of all graces, the Church does not mean that she is a rival for Jesus’ unique place. Vatican II clarified the Church’s position on 1 Timothy 2:5–6:

The maternal duty of Mary toward men in no way obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ but rather shows its power. For all the saving influences of the Blessed Virgin on men originate not from some inner necessity but from the divine pleasure. They flow from the superabundance of the merits of Christ, rest on his mediation, depend entirely on it, and draw all their power from it. In no way do they impede the immediate union of the faithful with Christ. Rather, they foster this union. (LG 60)
Christ makes it possible for Mary to mediate grace and desires her to do so because he has planned it that way.”

With the above quotes, we now have enough to go on for further in-depth study. My particular interest, for some future posts, is in the comments re 1 Timothy 2:5–6, and Eph.4:29 that I have posted above from the article in question. When we have finished discussing these; then perhaps we can move onto the rest of this above article?

(More to come in next post)


#13

First; I was wondering if anyone can offer further documentation, from official Catholic sources re the last phrase:

“Christ makes it possible for Mary to mediate grace?”

I noticed in this article, after this comment that there is a major emphasis on the writings of Popes; but very minor emphasis on what the Holy Bible actually tells us about this same subject. Therefore, I am wondering if any of the Catholics here have done any scripturally based study on these texts to further explain and prove the Catholic contentions here?

I will explain more details in my next post on how I understand these texts. This is likely long enough for this post.

But I do want to comment briefly on how I understand Mary – who she is; what she is, etc.

I love the story of Jesus; and how He was born. The scene depicted in the Bible where the angel came to Mary and told her that she was to give birth to Jesus, is very meaningful to me; but even more; when Mary came to Elizabeth, her cousin, (Luke 1:36), and gave that wonderful testimony of the grace she received from God. It was in Luke 1:46-55 where Mary said to Elizabeth how she was so blessed by God; but Mary did not mean she was anything different than many other people before God. Mary received grace from God; but the Bible does not tell us she dispensed/es grace to us. Only Jesus does this; it is His perogative only. (Jo.1:29).

The Bible nowhere justifies any kind of exaltation, honoring, or worship of Mary such as we can see in the Catholic Church Catechism, and other Catholic writings. Mary is not once, in the Bible, shown to be a dispenser of grace; but only a receiver of grace, just like all other human beings. I see most of the Catholic teachings on Mary as stemming from pagan concepts, and Apocryphal legends, which have grown to be called “Tradition,” by the Catholic Church. The only trouble, is that this is not in the Bible. The Bible does not say that Mary dispenses grace; only that she received it, like us.

In my next post, I will be happy to reply to any comments on my last 3 posts; plus I want to start commenting on and getting feedback on Luke 1:28 where it says Mary is/was “blessed among women.” I also will comment on the above quote where it mentions from Catholic sources about “Branches Of The Vine.”


#14

You couldn’t be more wrong! Did not both Elizabeth, and by extension the unborn John the Baptist within her become ‘filled with the Holy Spirit’ at MARY’S words of greeting?

Elizabeth says as much - it was ‘when your (Mary’s) words reached my ear’ that this happens, as evidenced by John the Baptist leaping in her womb.

What is this if not a dispensing of grace through Mary? How much more grace-filled could Elizabeth have become than by this influx of the Holy Spirit?

Secondly is the incident of the Wedding at Cana, where it is at Mary’s request and instigation that Jesus performs his first miracle. While less direct than the above example, the Wedding at Cana certainly shows Mary playing a quite active role in this particular event of Jesus’ ministry.


#15

Luk 1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
Luk 1:36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.

The way I understand it is that the Scriptures make it plain how that The Holy Spirit “came upon” Mary; as we see in Luke 1:35; and at that time, is when Elizabeth was first mentioned as receiving the same “grace” in order to also have a child “in her old age.” That would definitely take the same “grace” as what Mary would have received, in order to have a Child, even though Mary “did not know any man.” (Luke 1:34). Look at how old Elizabeth was!!

Mary and Elizabeth were separate and apart when these two things happened with their pregnancies; therefore, Elizabeth could not have received any grace from Mary, in the context of saving grace. Jesus is the only one that saves; and He is all anyone needs. Luke 1:36 says distinctly that when the angel was telling Mary that Elizabeth was going to have a baby; she had ALREADY “conceived a son in her old age;” in fact, at that point, Elizabeth was already six months pregnant! (as the Bible says it).

In Luke 1:41, when it says “Elizabeth was filled with The Holy Ghost;” it does not mean, as for the first time; or as in “from Mary.” Mary did not dispense any grace to Elizabeth; Elizabeth was already filled with God’s grace atleast 6 months earlier; if we go by the Bible.


#16

Luke says absolutely nothing about Elizabeth being ‘filled with the Holy Spirit’ prior to this visit from Mary. For starters something which is ‘filled’ can’t receive further filling, so if Elizabeth was already full of the Holy Spirit then she couldn’t be said to become ‘filled with the Holy Spirit’ when Mary visited.

For seconds a barren woman doesn’t at all need to be ‘filled with the Holy Spirit’ to conceive a child with her human husband - Sarah, Abraham’s wife, wasn’t ‘filled with the Holy Spirit’ when she first conceived, nor was Jacob/Israel’s wife Rachel , neither was Samuel’s mother nor Samson’s.


#17

Luke 1:41 says it quite plainly, that Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost." And, if she was “filled” as you say; it doesn’t mean their would be no room for more “filling,” because the filling never stops. Jesus wants our cups to overflow; and so should we.

Overflowing to others is what the infilling of the Holy Spirit is all about. This obviously happened with both Mary and Elizabeth; and we must note that if, as you say, that Elizabeth was already “filled to capacity,” then there would also be no need for Mary to give her anything either.

Both Mary and Elizabeth gave one another a beautiful testimony of the infilling of The Spirit within themselves, and in their life; but Mary gave no part of the Spirit to Elizabeth; it is very obvious that this would have been impossible.

Jesus said:

"Joh 7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

This is talking about the ongoing filling of the Spirit in the believer’s life. Something that happened to both Mary & Elizabeth. They were able to share their respective testimonies with one another as an example to believers to day.

Rev 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.


#18

Luke 1:41 IS the account of Mary’s visit - as I said, it is UPON hearing Mary’s greeting that Elizabeth is said to be filled with the Holy Spirit. There is no hint at all that PRIOR to hearing Mary’s greeting Elizabeth was filled with the Holy pirit - or indeed touched by that particular personage in the slightest. It happened at the time Mary greeted her - ‘when my ears heard your greeting’ as Elizabeth says.

What scriptural or other basis do you have for this other gibberish you’re saying about ‘overflowing’ or being fuller than full of the Holy Spirit??? That’s a completely nonsensical and unscriptural idea.


#19

You could as well argue that Jesus did not pay any special attention to Mary at all.

When someone told Jesus that his mother and brothers are standing outside he said “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Strange how He did not use that opportunity to accredit her with any special status whatsoever.

Before He died, He did not even call Mary mother but woman`. Again Jesus is doing absolutely nothing to show that Mary shold hold any superior or special position.


#20

He said ‘blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it’ and that those who do so are his true mother and brothers.

Now are you seriously suggesting that there’s anybody you could name apart from Christ himself who heard and kept God’s word better than Mary? She who unlike all the Apostles and disciples *never *stuffed up, never put a foot wrong, never disbelieved, denied or betrayed like Peter and Judas, nor ran away from the Cross, nor persecuted his followers like Paul.

He most certainly IS accrediting her with special status with this statement. To do otherwise would be breaking the commandment to honour his mother, and thus sinning. Impossible for Jesus.

He just points out that her special status is not based on biology alone. He is re-affirming WHY she’s the greatest of all God’s creatures, and thus closest to his heart. And thus worthiest to be called His mother, as she truly is in every sense :heart:

And ‘woman’ was actually a term of great respect, in no way dismissive or putting her down at all. He was a grown man, in those days they never called their mothers ‘mother’ in public. And it’s only his public sayings and doings that are recorded.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.