So how is the Blessed Virgin Mary not a goddess?

From the American Heritage Dictionary online:

goddess

1. A female being of supernatural powers or attributes, believed in and worshiped by a people. 2. often Goddess A female being believed to be the source of life and being and worshiped as the principal deity in various religions. Used with the. 3. An image of a female supernatural being; an idol. 4. Something, such as fame or wealth, that is worshiped or idealized. 5. A woman of great beauty or grace.

Allow me to provide the first reply.

“The difference is that we Catholics don’t worship Mary. We just do a lot of things that if they were done by people of any other religion would be identified as worship (even by us) but when we do it, it is not worship.”

Mary is a human being greatly favored by God. I don’t think that fits in with the definition of goddess.

Mary, a human, was so greatly favored by God that He selected her to be His mother. He honors her greatly, and as a consequence, so do we.

[quote=Racer X]From the American Heritage Dictionary online:

goddess

1. A female being of supernatural powers or attributes, believed in and worshiped by a people. 2. often Goddess A female being believed to be the source of life and being and worshiped as the principal deity in various religions. Used with the. 3. An image of a female supernatural being; an idol. 4. Something, such as fame or wealth, that is worshiped or idealized. 5. A woman of great beauty or grace.

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  1. What supernatural power are attributed to Mary and not God?
  2. Where does it state that Mary is the source of life and being?
  3. How is Mary supernatural?

She is a woman of great beauty and grace, but then again so is my wonderful bride, so I think the last defintion is a moot point :smiley:

It seems the only *really *argument you have here is that she should be considered a goddess by Catholics because she is “worshipped” like a goddess.

Before going any further, let me ask you a question: do you think we worship Thomas Jefferson by having a statue of him and revering him as one of America’s great founding fathers? Is Thomas Jefferson, then, a “god?”

Mary is not divine because she is human, was created human and was preserved free from sin by the same mechanism the rest of us are saved, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, her Son, on the Cross and the resurrection. She is not a goddess because there is no such thing as a goddess. [font=Verdana]goddesses are fictional creations of pagan religions.
There is One God possessing One Divine Nature which includes Three Divine Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Only Jesus Christ, second Person of the Blessed Trinity, possesses both a Divine Nature and a Human Nature, united in what is known by theologians as the hypostatic union.[/font]

It’s like everyone else says.

Mary has no supernatural abilities. She is in heaven as we all wish to be and thus has the abilities to listen to us and then pray to God who has supernatural abilities due to being God.

Mary is believed in, but not as a divine being, but as the mother of Jesus who is fully human and fully God.

Mary is not worshipped. She is honoured greatly and there are Marian devotions but none of them are worship in the modern English religious use of the word - which worship is only for God.
Therefore the only part of the definition that Mary fits well is “a female being”. My wife is one of those too. Though I love her greatly, I can safely say she is not a goddess.

Mary is human.

It is easy to find examples of pagan deities who were humans elevated to godhood. Hercules, some Roman emperors, the Mormon Jehovah, most of the Chinese folk pantheon.

Mary has no supernatural power.

The miraculous image of Guadalupe. The healing spring of Lourdes. “But Mary did not do that, God did it.” How is such a statement different from me saying that I don’t have any inherent power to move about, it is God who allows me to use my legs? When Mary appears and disappears is that not really Mary doing it but God causing it? How is that different from saying “God caused me to have a hallucination of Mary?” Is she really there or not?

We don’t worship Mary. We venerate her.

Help me understand the distinction. Please provide an example of something we do in worshipping God that we do not do when “venerating” Mary.

I will myself provide one: blood sacrifice. We offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to God and we never offer a sacrifice to Mary. Ok. But does that mean that everything else we do is only venerating God and that the only time we actually worship Him is in the Mass?

If the Our Father is worship but the Hail Holy Queen is only veneration, then I don’t see the distinction.

In the abortion debate there is talk about the unborn being human but not persons. It should be obvious to anyone that this category of non-human person was invented specifically to defend the pro-abortion position and has no other basis. “Veneration” sounds like suspiciously like this kind of invention. If it is not, then are there examples of non-worship veneration in other religions?

Racer-X,

It’s all semantics, meanings attributed to different words. For instance, if we take the last definition of ‘goddess’ as a woman of exceptional beauty and/or grace, then by that definition Mary, Full of Grace, is a ‘goddess’. And since Mary is exceptional when compared to every other human being (because of Immaculate Conception, etc.), then she might even fit the first definition of ‘goddess’.

But it seems to me (an outsider, non-Catholic looking in) that when Catholics deny that Mary is a ‘goddess’, what they deny is a particular definition of ‘goddess’, a definition that includes attributing to the goddess qualities of, e.g., omniscience, omnipotence, omnicompassion, eternality, and infinity.

This thread on iconoclasm may help some.

[quote=Racer X]From the American Heritage Dictionary online:

“The difference is that we Catholics don’t worship Mary. We just do a lot of things that if they were done by people of any other religion would be identified as worship (even by us) but when we do it, it is not worship.”
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  1. Your signature: The Catholic Church is GOD’s Church. He made it. Jesus is GOD and man. Not man alone.

  2. Do you ever pray for someone else? Has anyone else prayed for you? So too, our Blessed Mother prays for us.

  3. Do you love your Mother? Do you pay her honor by listening to her, doing good works, bringing her flowers? So too should we revere the Mother of God! But Mary wants everything to be for her Son. She brings us ever closer to her Son and prays for us to do so.

You are obviously not Christian. You must be Mormon or JW. Perhaps even Muslim…Please find a Catholic Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. These will clear up your misunderstanding of how we revere Mary.

[quote=Donna P]1. Your signature: The Catholic Church is GOD’s Church. He made it. Jesus is GOD and man. Not man alone.
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Donna, my sig is something of a jest to incite anti-Catholic Christians, you know… the sort who like to criticize our traditions of men and how man-made inventions corrupted the Catholic Church. It does not in any way question our Lord’s divinity. Christ is both God and man.

As for the rest of your post, I just don’t see what it has to do with my questions.

My questions have more to do with a sort of us-versus-them word game. Example, the Magi that visited Jesus and Simon the Magus in the Book of Acts. Many Bibles translate magus as “wise man” in Luke and as magician or sorcerer in Acts. Why? Because in Luke they are good guys and Acts Simon is a bad guy so we use different terms to make distinction which in reality does not exist.

Same thing with not identifying Mary as a Catholic goddess, even though she would easily be recognized as such by an independent observer.

If there were another religion that told the story of a woman who was assumed into Heaven and crowned Queen of Heaven and who is referred to as our collective Holy Mother and is prayed to and has enormous temples built in honor of her and appears to mystics, we would of course refer to her as a goddess. How much more does it take to be a goddess?!

Our blessed Mother is not a goddess, because she was created and is not divine. Nor is she divine now. I will agree with you though, that if anyone looks to her in the same way they adore God, then that is making her a goddess in one’s mind. Such as seeking salvation from her, mediation that rightfully belongs to Christ and eternal life. But most Catholic REVERE her as our Mother and the Mother of our Lord.

[quote=Racer X]Mary is human.

It is easy to find examples of pagan deities who were humans elevated to godhood. Hercules, some Roman emperors, the Mormon Jehovah, most of the Chinese folk pantheon.
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None of them were born and preserved free of sin and carried to heaven body and soul at the ends of their time on earth.

Mary has no supernatural power.

The miraculous image of Guadalupe. The healing spring of Lourdes. “But Mary did not do that, God did it.” How is such a statement different from me saying that I don’t have any inherent power to move about, it is God who allows me to use my legs? When Mary appears and disappears is that not really Mary doing it but God causing it? How is that different from saying “God caused me to have a hallucination of Mary?” Is she really there or not?

Mary did not ascend to heaven under her own power. She was assumed by God. She does not appear under her own power, but is sent by God, who makes it possible for her to be seen and heard. The Blessed Mother has no supernatural power of her own, just as your legs have no power of their own. Your brain and nervous system command your legs, if everything is working properly.

As for apparition vs. hallucination, that’s part of the reason that the church has such an investigatory system in place.

We don’t worship Mary. We venerate her.

Help me understand the distinction. Please provide an example of something we do in worshipping God that we do not do when “venerating” Mary. *
I kiss the pictures of my father and sister and step-mother who have passed on. I pray for them and ask them to pray for me. Do I worship them? No, of course not.

When I worship God, there is the realization that of myself, I am nothing. I do nothing good, create nothing, accomplish nothing that does not come first from Him.

When I ask the Blessed Mother’s assistance, there is no such realization. It is not she who breathed life into me or formed me in my mother’s womb.

I am asking her to show me more about her Son and God. Fear of God maybe makes Mary somehow more approachable. I am a mother too. I see my children go through trials and heart-rending situations - she knows this kind of thing better than anyone. How to endure it and use the sorrow for good and the glory of God. This, I must learn from her.

But does that mean that everything else we do is only venerating God and that the only time we actually worship Him is in the Mass?

Oh, no. You can go to the tabernacle at any time and worship Him. You can pray at home or in your car in worship. You can sing and dance in worship of Him.

If the Our Father is worship but the Hail Holy Queen is only veneration, then I don’t see the distinction.

Do you hear anything of “thy will be done” in the Hail Holy Queen?

“Our life, our sweetness and our hope.” You said “Yes,” Mother Mary - and in doing so, you gave the whole world a Savior. Through you came our life. Your life of grace is our sweetness and your assumption into heaven is our hope - if we follow your example and say “Yes” to the will of God, we, too will live with God forever.

See, everything Mary says points to Jesus, “Whatsoever He tells you to do, do it.” And therefore everything she says points to God and Holy Spirit as well.

In the abortion debate there is talk about the unborn being human but not persons. It should be obvious to anyone that this category of non-human person was invented specifically to defend the pro-abortion position and has no other basis. “Veneration” sounds like suspiciously like this kind of invention. If it is not, then are there examples of non-worship veneration in other religions?

“Veneration” is a word that has been in use for at least a few millenia, along with “worship” and “honor” and “love.” They are terms of distinction to delineate various levels of reverence.

This “non-person human” clap-trap is a brand new equivocation courtesy of relativism that attempts to separate people from the will of God by means of alleviating their consciences.

Elizabeth

She never proclaimed herself to be a goddess and neither has anyone else.

The only ones who make that claim are Protestants and they only claim we treat her as such which we don’t.

For one we believe that Mary was just as human as any one of us. She was not divine as only the Holy Trinity is. She was granted a special favaor in that she was sinless from even befroe the moment she was born. BUT this does NOT make her any less human.

She has no power apart from what God give her. A goddess has power in and of herself. Whatever power Mary has was granted to her from God. She was created like any other creature. Goddesses are not made they just exist or in mythology they are born from other gods or goddesses. Mary had human parents on both sides of the family tree (whereas Jesus had one divine parent).

So protestants who are jealous of Catholics devotion to Mary are barking up the wrong tree… Because she is the Queen Mother of Jesus, who we consider to be God Incarnate, she is a very very special person, completely human, but completely worthy of our love and devotion.

wc

[quote=Racer X]If the Our Father is worship but the Hail Holy Queen is only veneration, then I don’t see the distinction.
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The ‘Our Father’ is not worship. It is a prayer. Prayer is just communication, whether with God, the saints, (or a court of law, for that matter.)

The fact that the Our Father is addressed to the Father rather than Mary does not really make it worship. (It does make it a high level communication, since it is addressed to the supreme being.) But worship is more than communication.

We can address our communications to many different parties and in many ways. When we address them to persons who are in heaven, we call it prayer. Prayer is not worship.

Worship is the total submission of mind and will that we owe as created beings to the One who created us from nothing and to no one else.

Consider the Seraphim, the highest order of angels, whose only function is to surroound the throne of God offering constant praise and worship. They do not need to pray. They worship.

Consider that the ordinand about to be ordained prostates himself on the floor in total submission to the Lord while the Litany of Saints is being recited. He does not prostrate himself to Mary or the saints. (I knew of one Redemptorist priest who made this his ordinary ‘posture’ when worshipping God.)

You did of course mention sacrifice. In the Mass we offer the one Sacrifice of the Son to the Father. That is worship. In doing so, we also offer ourselves: whatever we have, whatever we are, we join to that one sacrifice and offer it along with Christ to the Father. That is worship.

There have been many human beings in my life whom I venerated highly, just as I venerate many humans who are now in heaven. I give them great honor. But never worship. Because they are only creatures, like me.

The problem is not that veneration is too similar to worship. The problem is that our concept of worship is so watered down. God deserves far greater.

[quote=Racer X]From the American Heritage Dictionary online:

goddess

1. A female being of supernatural powers or attributes, believed in and worshiped by a people. 2. often Goddess A female being believed to be the source of life and being and worshiped as the principal deity in various religions. Used with the. 3. An image of a female supernatural being; an idol. 4. Something, such as fame or wealth, that is worshiped or idealized. 5. A woman of great beauty or grace.

Allow me to provide the first reply.

“The difference is that we Catholics don’t worship Mary. We just do a lot of things that if they were done by people of any other religion would be identified as worship (even by us) but when we do it, it is not worship.”
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Hey Racer X, did you get your name from the metal band “Racer X?” They were good!

Worship is the total submission of mind and will that we owe as created beings to the One who created us from nothing and to no one else.

JimG, your post does a good job of describing the kind of worship properly due to the Lord God and I agree with you in that regard. But the English word “worship” is simply not restricted to this usage.

See the Catholic Encyclopedia articles on Worship, Christian, which begins thus:

The word worship (Saxon weorthscipe, “honour”; from worth, meaning “value”, “dignity”, “price”, and the termination, ship; Lat. cultus) in its most general sense is homage paid to a person or a thing. In this sense we may speak of hero-worship, worship of the emperor, of demons, of the angels, even of relics, and especially of the Cross.

and continues

As the Blessed Virgin has a separate and absolutely supereminent rank among the saints, the worship paid to her is called hyperdulia (for the meaning and history of these terms see Suicer, Thesaurus ecclesiasticus, 1728).

What you are referring to you as worship is properly called Adoration.

[quote=J.W.B.]Hey Racer X, did you get your name from the metal band “Racer X?” They were good!
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No, I got it from the same place they did.

speedracer.com/char-x.htm

I betting that you are under thirty, right?

[quote=Racer X]What you are referring to you as worship is properly called Adoration.
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You are quite right. Adoration, or the more technical word latria. Words are quite flexible in their meanings, and so it is often not enough just to use a word. One has to describe in more detail what one means by the word.

(One might say, “I adore my wife” and not have latria in mind.)

And the word worship in older meanings has simply meant veneration. But protestants commonly use the term worship to mean that degree of veneration which is due only to God. Trouble is, their highest concept of worship is often way too small. Quite often, mere prayer is thought of as worship.

[quote=Racer X]Donna, my sig is something of a jest to incite anti-Catholic Christians, you know… the sort who like to criticize our traditions of men and how man-made inventions corrupted the Catholic Church. It does not in any way question our Lord’s divinity. Christ is both God and man.

?!
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Perhaps I am too simple…I don’t see the point of seeming to be in error to incite anyone. Seems something for the confessional to sort out.

I’d rather be true and tell the Truth.

[quote=Donna P]Perhaps I am too simple…I don’t see the point of seeming to be in error to incite anyone. Seems something for the confessional to sort out.

I’d rather be true and tell the Truth.
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There is no error in my signature, Donna.

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