Nor should Catholics use the term “worship” with respect to Mary if they wish to be properly understood.
But we’re going to be EXPLAINING either way. So we might as well explain in a way that preserves our religious language. We’re going to have to give an explanation either way, so why not give a good one.
We can say either:
“No, we don’t worship Mary, we venerate her.”
“We worship Mary, but it is not the worship due to God alone. It is a high honor and religious invocation. But we certainly do not recognize them as having the majesty of Self-Existence or having any glory or power that isn’t completely dependant on God.”
EITHER one is an explanation…except that the first really doesn’t explain anything, it doesnt get to the heart of the difference…it just deceptively switches labels.
If we’re going to have to explain our teaching to them either way, not use my second explanation. It’s cuts right to the heart of the issue: what exactly do you mean by “worship”. AND preserves our richness of usage and powerfulness of language.
Having been a Baptist all my life, when I hear someone pray “Hail Holy Queen” it looks and sounds a lot like worship. I think most Protestants would agree.
Exactly. And just saying, “No, it’s only veneration,” doesn’t explain anything. That’s just switching words. It’s a low-level cookie-cutter response that they teach amateur apologists. But that’s why I don’t really like the “apologetics” approach to evangelization and catechizing. Too much of it is based on pre-prepared, low-level, automatic responses to common objections. It doesn’t get into the deeper underlying issues or theological discussion at all.
The real issue here is WHAT you exactly define worship as.
To Catholics, it is not that any specific external gestures are reserved for God. We can kneel before, bow to, praise, pray to, have feasts in honor of, make images of ANYONE in heaven. Is this “worship”? Sure, I’m arguing that word should be retained for it.
But is it Latria? No. Latria is that worship reserved for God alone, and is different in that all the other worship of Mary, the Angels, and the Saints recognizes that their glory and worshipability is due only to God.
Their glory comes only from God. They have no power of their own. They are completely dependent on God. But, by God’s grace, they truly have merited and become holy and deserving of worship. The have been divinized, undergone what the East calls theosis, or deification. They really participate in the divine life, and through God’s grace have merited glory and deserve (due to God’s grace) our acts of worship.
We do not believe in a salvation that merely legally covers the imperfections of creatures, like snow on a dunghill, but which through grace truly makes us good and holy. Which is a gift of God. So dulia is the honor and worship paid to the Saints that they deserve, but only BECAUSE of what God has wrought in them, the good and glory merited in their souls but due only to grace.
On the other hand, latria, the worship do to God alone is distinct in the fact that we recognize him as being self-existence, being the source of his own glory, having power that is his own and not from anyone else. Many of the external acts of latria are the same as dulia; prayer, praise, kneeling, bowing, etc…but the important part is the internal recognition that God is infinitely greater than the Saints, self-existence, and His majesty is the source of all their glory. In a sense then, we are worshipping God IN His angels and saints.
But this distinction may be too nuanced for the Protestants, who alledgedly can’t distinguish the same act done but with different attitudes, for whom I guess “worship due to God alone” means that you can only pray and praise and sing Amazing Grace to God…so maybe I’ll just throw out the old standby and say, “Yeah, they look the same, but this one’s just veneration,” without going any deeper…:rolleyes:
The protestants aren’t dumb and I have a little more respect for them than that. If we just try to switch labels on them…they’ll catch on. We should actually EXPLAIN if we are going to be talking to them anyway. But let’s call a spade a spade.