Worship of Mary?

The words i am quoting below are not my own, but are from a source that i have been reluctant to read from because of how inflammatory they are. I am posting these words that are from a prominent protestant evangelical because the issue of Mary has been something that I have never been able to understand nor come to a conclusion about. Also I had trusted this minister and heard many a christian reference him before as a trustworthy resource. I was raised baptist but my bestfriend is roman catholic. He and I have tried talking many times about this issue, but it is difficult.

“… there are millions all over the world who worship Mary. Millions of images of her in every imaginable form are scattered throughout the world. They’re obviously not able to even be counted…millions of them in every form and every location, churches, cathedrals, shrines, houses, streets, cars, wallets, everywhere are images, pictures, representations of Mary. Millions upon millions of people every day pray to her. They pray to her to save them. They pray to her to protect them. They pray to her to help them, to comfort them, to rescue them, to bring them to heaven and she has never heard one of those prayers ever. By any honest definition, this is idolatry, this is a severe violation of the first commandment, to have no other gods but the true and living God, is no different than pagan idolatry which God totally condemns as an abomination. So let’s just get that clear at the beginning.”

If anyone can shed some light on this or just give me there thoughts i would appreciate it.

The quote carries the assumption that if there is a statue present, then you are worshiping the individual and/or the statue. This is a rash assumption.

Catholics “venerate” Mary and DO NOT “worship” Mary. Venerate is defined as respect somebody: to regard somebody with profound respect or reverence. Venerate is porportionate to the mother of our God.

Prayer to someone other than God is NOT worshiping that individual. Prayer does not automatically equal worship. That is a faulty assumption. The prayer to that individual is in the form of asking for “Intercession”. This is no different than asking your fellow evangelical to pray for you. On the Catholic side, we ask for prayers from someone already in Heaven.

The rest of the quote springs from that assumption and is fairly faulty and geared towards those who do not understand Catholicism. A similiar comparison would be to state that you worship a book (when I see you praying near a bible) instead of Jesus Christ. You would conclude that is a faulty assumption, and I’d agree.

Does this help? Kindly - James

I’ll go through it a bit at a time.

"… there are millions all over the world who worship Mary.

I highly doubt this and would posit that the author of this statement has no way to determine this. Worship is not found in bowing or in looking at pictures. Worship does not come from actions or from the brain or the pinky finger. It comes from the heart, and whoever this guy is, he cannot see anyone’s heart, so he has no way to determine if there is worship of Mary going on except to ask people and accept their self-reporting.

Millions of images of her in every imaginable form are scattered throughout the world. They’re obviously not able to even be counted…millions of them in every form and every location, churches, cathedrals, shrines, houses, streets, cars, wallets, everywhere are images, pictures, representations of Mary.

Probably true. But I am curious - how many MORE images of Jesus are there? I counted in my old, average, Catholic church once. there were 2 visual depictions of Mary and nearly 50 of Jesus/the cross. Citing large numbers like this is meaningless without providing a standard to compare it to.

Millions upon millions of people every day pray to her.


They pray to her to save them.

Possibly true, but irrelevant. Believing that Mary is the one who saves us is in direct contradiction to Catholic teaching, and it is the height of unfairness to judge a group by those who don’t follow the rules.

They pray to her to protect them.

True, though a Catholic knows that ultimately the protection comes from God and that all Mary is doing is praying for us as well.

They pray to her to help them, to comfort them, to rescue them, to bring them to heaven and she has never heard one of those prayers ever.

She has never heard one of these prayers? And how does the author know this? Has he been to heaven himself and met Mary? Because that’s the only way he could know whether she can hear us or not.

By any honest definition, this is idolatry,

Some of those things would be idolatry, true, but it is interesting to note that the things listed that would qualify as idolatry are actually the exact same things that the Catholic Church forbids of its members.

this is a severe violation of the first commandment, to have no other gods but the true and living God,

Actually, the first commandment technically says to have no other gods BEFORE him, not to have no other gods period. It’s a command to place him first, not to deny the very existence of other deities. (we have scripture verses for that, of course, but this commandment is not one of them)

is no different than pagan idolatry which God totally condemns as an abomination. So let’s just get that clear at the beginning."

Clear at the beginning? He has done nothing but muddle things - atributing false beliefs to Catholics, assuming he knows things only those in heaven could possibly know, and re-defining words like idolatry to his own ends, instead of abiding by the universally accepted definitions as found in a dictionary. He most certainly did not get anything clear. In fact, to use nerdy geological parlance, I would say that he irradiated his quartz. (turns clear quartz black)

:confused: All German translations I know has “neben” what means “beside” or “next to” and not before.
So it is for bitten to have any other God(according to the German translation).

Follow this catholic.com/tracts/browse/Mary
link for several articles about Mary. The person making these statements is, perhaps intentionally, confusing veneration with worship. Is it not one of the ten commandments to honor (i.e. venerate) your father and your mother? Would Jesus violate any of those commandments? Are we not to follow Jesus’ example as perfectly as possible? Did not Jesus give us Mary to be our mother (John 19:25-27)? Do you have pictures of your mother and father in your house and/or wallet? Are you worshipping them?

I find the remarks about praying to Mary to be almost laughably ridiculous. I have been in many Protestant churches and gatherings and inevitably somebody will ask that prayers for this or that need, e.g. my brother is sick–please pray for his recovery, be said. Is that person “worshiping” the intercessors?

It’s John MacArthur again. :rolleyes: He may be “a prominent protestant evangelical”, but when it comes to the Catholic faith, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and is actually feeding his people anti-Catholic propaganda and misinformation. I guess he feels he needs to keep the controversies, factual or not, stirred up so his financial donations don’t drop off. In his case, as with so many other a-Cs, the venerable Bishop Fulton Sheen was quite correct when he said:
“Few people in America hate the Catholic religion,
but there are many who hate
what they mistakenly believe is the Catholic religion
—and if what they hate really were the Catholic religion,
Catholics would hate it too.”

I suggest that you see the following articles from the Catholic Answers main site and my own blog.

*]Saint Worship?
*]Do Catholics Worship Statues?
*]Immaculate Conception and Assumption
*]Mary: Ever Virgin
*]Mary: Mother of God
*]“Brethren of the Lord”
*]The Perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
*]Iconoclasm: Or: Catholics Worship Graven Images NOT
*]Reasons Why I Believe in The Blessed Virgin Mary’s Assumption
*]The Intercession & Communion of Saints

Someone recommended Hail Holy Queen by Dr. Scott Hahn, which I just finished reading.

I think one key here is that Mary is Jesus’ mother. They share the same D.N.A. He lived in her womb. She breastfed him. Etc.

Another key is that she is our mother. Through baptism and confirmation, we are adopted into the holy family of God. She protects us. She prays for us. She is concerned that we, as adopted sons, grow into the image of her perfect son, Jesus.

Because of the facts of the incarnation, Mary plays a certain role in helping along our salvation and spiritual growth. But that is only because of the sacred role that God has given her in all this.


Even that way, technically, that just means not to have any other gods beside the Father, or, in other words, to set them equal to the Father. It still doesn’t say not to have them entirely. (though, again, there are other verses that say this, so I’m not actually advocating for other gods here)

To quote a movie, “The man is the head, but the woman is the neck and the neck can turn the head any way she likes.”

Catholics ask Mary to pray for us. We ask for her intercession to the all-mighty, ever-living God. He chose her to have his son, Jesus. She is his bride.

:rotfl:Ya had some of us concerned there for a moment.

I agree though and since we

*]Don’t adore the Blessed Virgin, but venerate her and ask for her intercession, and
*]Have never, do not now, and will not ever, considered her equal to the Lord God Almighty, then the issue is resolved.

Mary is a Queen. Mary is the Queen of Heaven and Earth. It’s that simple and entirely Biblical.

There is no doubt that Jesus is a King. Kings in the Old Testament did not appoint their wives to be queen but appointed their mother to the position of queen,

Then Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him for Adonijah, and the king stood up to meet her and paid her homage. Then he sat down upon his throne, and a throne was provided for the king’s mother, who sat at his right. (1 Kings 2:19)

Noone in the kingdom was higher than the king, yet King Solomon pays homage to his mother and seats her in a throne on his right. This is because King Solomon’s Mother is also King Solomon’s Queen. The King’s mother was usually the Queen of the land.

The Hebrew word for queen-mother or literally “Grand lady” is Gebirah. We see references to the Gebirah elswhere in the Old Testament.

Jehu met the kinsmen of Ahazi’ah king of Judah, and he said, “Who are you?” And they answered, "We are the kinsmen of Ahazi’ah, and we came down to visit the royal princes and the sons of the queen mother."
(2 Kings 10:13)

This was after King Jeconiah and the queen mother, the court officials, the princes of Judah and Jerusalem, the artisans and smiths had left Jerusalem. (Jerimiah 29:2)

In fact, the various kings throught he centuries are listed in the Books of Kings and the Books of Chronicals, and with every king, the king’s mother is also listed.

In the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam, son of Nebat, Abijam became king of Judah; he reigned three years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Maacah, daughter of Abishalom. (1 Kings 15:1-2)

In the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam, Abijah became king of Judah; he reigned three years in Jerusalem. His mother was named Micaiah, daughter of Uriel of Gibeah. (2 Chronicals 13:1-2)

Uzziah was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-two years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jecoliah, from Jerusalem. (2 Chronicals 26:3)

There are twenty seven verses like this. When God repeats something once or twice in the Bible we can be sure it is important. When God repeats something twenty seven times we had better take notice. God is telling us who the mother of the king was because the mother of the king was a queen.

*A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. (Revelation 12:1) *

We can argue who the woman in Revelation 12 is but the fact that she wears a crown is clear. Only kings and queens wear crowns. The woman is clearly a queen. The woman is described as giving birth to a male child who rules the nations, and this description is consistent with a king and his mother the queen. The fact that the woman’s son in Revelation 12 is “Caught up to God and his throne” leads most Christians to believe that the child is Jesus. The mother can only be Mary, and Mary is Queen.

As Queen of Heaven and earth, Mary has been granted very real power and authority. As a Queen with real authority, we are right to ask her for help, and for protection, and for guidance.

Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth is in the Bible. It is completely Biblical. In the royal kingdoms on earth, everyone except the king bowed to the queen. As Queen of Heaven, all the angels bow before Mary. As Queen of Heaven, all the saints bow before Mary.

Shouldn’t we?


The “worship” of Mary was one of my biggest concerns about RC. Now I daily ask Mary to intercede for me, and it has become a precious treasure for me. The book Catholic for a Reason 2?: The Mystery of the Mother of God has helped me a lot in my understanding of the role of Mary.

However, I recently read something that Saint Alphonsus Liguori wrote that has caused me some confusion in view of the portrait of Jesus as our merciful High Priest provided by the writer of Hebrews. If anyone could comment on the text below, I would appreciate it.

*The Grand Chancellor of Paris, John Gerson, meditating on these words of David: “These two things have I heard, that power belongs to God, and mercy to you, O Lord” (Ps 61:12-13), reasoned this way - since God’s kingdom consists of two elements, justice and mercy, God decided to divide his kingdom. Justice he reserved to himself; mercy he transmitted to Mary, ordaining that all mercies which come to human beings should come through Mary’s hands, and that these mercies should be distributed according to her choice. Saint Thomas, in the preface to his commentary on the Canonical Epistles holds the same opinion. He says that when the Blessed Virgin conceived the Eternal Word in her womb, she obtained half of his kingdom. Mary became the queen of mercy, he says, while the distribution of justice remained in the hands of her son. *


To Pink1019:
When I read what was said to you, my heart cried out. Don’t let those who do not know Mary confuse you. And, don’t get upset when they try to fill your head and your heart with conflicting information. I’ve been there. With the help of the wonderful people who post and answer questions on this site, I found peace and the ability to pray for the one who so often accused me of “worshipping statues” and “praying to Mary” instead of Jesus. They don’t understand what they don’t know. Pray for them. And, find peace when you ask Mary to intercede and help you with your prayers. May God bless you and keep you in his loving arms.

I found Steve Ray’s discussions on this extremely helpfull in overcoimming my difficulties in this area.


Something you have to consider when reading Alphonsus de Liguori is that…it’s Alphonsus de Liguori. He is not the easiest to understand (measuring by our modern language and usage). His audience and the time period must be taken into account, as well as his style of prose. At any rate, Mary obtaining part of the Kingdom is a reference to her Queenship…as Timothy H shows us that the custom from the beginning was that a King’s mother would be his Queen, not a spouse. Likewise, Mary, being Christ’s mother, is Queen. Liguori’s reference to mercy coming through Mary’s hands, to my limited understanding of Liguori, is simply showing that Christ has seen fit to give His Queen a duty/freedom of extending His Mercy to whom she pleases. The Mercy is God’s…being given through whatever vehicle He chooses (Mary, in this case).

I am writing a book currently that hopes to clarify this issue by giving Our Lady’s life and actions some personality through fictional form.

The first 6 chapters are available here. The book is called The Joy of the Lord and has some fictionalization of the Joyful Mysteries.

Please read and let me know if Mary’s heroism during the Annunciation is worthy of our utmost respect as fellow humans.


I deleted most of the quote because that is all I have to know. People say these things because they are simply ignorant of Catholicism. We do not, and have NEVER worshiped Mary. There may be a handful of people around the world who do but they are in heresy. Mary has held a incredibly important role in Christianity for a very long time. I would encourage you to read what we say about her yourself and make your own judgement. I personally really like the way Scott Hahn describes these things. He was a former protestant minister who converted to Catholicism because of his study of the bible. Here is a link to his page on Mary. I would also suggest you try reading his book “Hail Holy Queen”. I found it informative.

This pastor’s words are strong but are in line with what the bible speaks about, so in that respect, the pastor is only affirming what God has written down.

The Catholic church is comprised of both Sacred Scripture (the bible) and Tradition (man made laws), thus the Catholic religion is a mix of both God’s infallible Word and man made tradition. To know this is to understand why Catholics pray to Mary, as Marian devotions are still going strong in certain parts of the world. The Catholic church too has not given her stamp of approval on many of the Marian apparitions that have come to light, thus while the church upholds Mary in a highly exalted position, the church does not fully back up many of the Marian apparitions in and of themselves. Nevertheless, many Catholics are taught to pray to Mary at a very young age and so Mary has become for many Catholics the link to God, for who better to offer help to us sinners than the mother of Jesus Christ herself?

To understand Mary is to understand the makeup of the Catholic church, which is again, founded on God’s Word and man’s tradition passed down throughout the ages. However, nowhere in the bible does it state that we ought to pray to Mary, no matter how exalted her status within the church… God, knowing that people needed to see a visible representation of Himself on earth, sent His son, Jesus Christ, to stand for Him. Jesus often said, “when you see me you see the Father, for the Father and I are one”. Jesus also said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the life. Whoever believes in me will have eternal life”. Thus, Jesus and Jesus alone points the way to the Father and to our salvation.

While no one questions the authenticity of Mary as the mother of God, God Himself gave us Jesus His Son to lead us out of the darkness into the light. Mary will always be the mother of God, but Jesus is the one and only true Savior of the world.

Jesus Rocks

Fully agree with the Church’s position on Mary. That being said, I think we would be foolish not to recognize that there are many Catholics who wrongly cross the line into superstition and perhaps idolatry when it comes to Mary (witness the 1000’s of people who showed up to venerate a tree in NJ that supposedly had a weeping image of Mary on it). Unfortunately the sensationalism of this foolishness is proving to be a stumbling block to our Protestant bretheren. No we do not worship Mary, but it’s not hard to see how they get the impression.

Tell me, do Catholics deny they worship God? Do they get annoyed or even angry when somebody accuses them of worshiping God? Does their Catechism deny they worship God?

Now, if Catholics also worshiped Mary, why would they deny they worship her? Why would they get annoyed when accused of worshiping her? Why would their catechism deny they worship her? Why would they behave so differently regarding their worship of God and their worship of Mary?

Furthermore, what is the consequence of denying one worships God? Pretty bad, if we believe God is worthy of worship, wouldn’t you agree? So what would be the consequence of denying we worship Mary, if we do? Pretty bad also, if we believed she was worthy of worship, wouldn’t you agree?

Bottom line: why would Catholics deny something they believe, and condemn themselves to hell by doing it? Why would Catholics, many of whom have gone to their deaths rather than deny worship of God, be so quick and universal in denying worship of Mary?

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