Would more Protestants become Catholic if it were not for Mary?

I was reading through some other posts on here and it got me to thinking: If Protestants do their research and study theology, I think that many of them would come to the conclusion that the Catholic Church is the true Church. However, many Protestants believe (mistakenly) that Catholics worship Mary.

Do you think that more Protestant Christians would convert to Catholicism if it were not for our veneration of Mary?

If so, what can “we” do in a spirit of evangelism to either educate or correct their misguided notions of our veneration?

I think the biggest thing that keeps Protestants out of the CC is the amount of love and passion some Evangelicals have. Let’s face it, Evangelicals are taught to dedicate their lives to Christ, build Churches and schools in countries stricken with poverty, etc.

It’s hard to tell a devout Evangelical who loves God more than anything and has witnessed miracles in Africa (people coming to Christ by the thousands) that they’re wrong.

Your biggest hurdle as a Catholic would be matching the love of an Evangelical and showing them that the love your Church has is as great as theirs.

If the pope had never defined the last two Marian dogmas, Protestants would have far less problems with Mary and the CC. By defining them the CC made them a stumbling block. I think that Protestants would even be far more likely to accept the doctrines if they hadn’t been defined.

This may be the excuse, but really, I think it goes deeper than Marian devotion. There’s a very different mind set and approach to reality in Evangelical churches, and even other liturgical bodies, such as the ECUSA and various Lutheran Synods, etc. We Catholics view everything through incarnational eyes, while our fellow Christians do not.

The real divider is the Eucharist, not Mary. If our Protestant brethren would accept the Church’s teaching about the Eucharist, Mary would be no problem. Some think they already have it, and so won’t come in, and others deny this doctrine with all their souls. Either way, this is the real stumbling-block to fellow baptized Christians being reconciled to the Church.

As for missions, no church on earth has more missions to the poor of the world than the Catholic Church. We don’t advertise it the way some groups do, but it’s true just the same.

Yes, the Catholic Church should try this method…wait…the Catholic Church invented this

I would disagree and say Mary is the stumbling block.

As an evangelical, I really had no idea that Catholics believed in transubstantiation. I never looked into it that deeply.

However, you talk to evangelicals about Catholicism and they will complain about Catholics worshiping statues, men confessing to mere men, and superstitious rituals, but what’s more frightening to an evangelical is what they see as idolatry of Mary, as a demi-goddess.

At first, thinking about how the issue of Mary has been quite hard to get around in my own spiritual journey, I would have said yes, more Protestants would become Catholic.

But thinking about it, the answer is in fact no.

Because if all it takes is the veneration and intercession of Mary to drive Protestants away from the Church, then I highly doubt they would have entered the Church anyway.

Because, what convinced me of the truth is the role Tradition plays, and the beliefs of the early Christians. The belief that Jesus founded His Church upon the Rock, Peter, and that this Church would not be prevailed over by the gates of Hell.

The Magisterium and Sacred Tradition are just as fundamental as Sacred Scripture. If a Protestant can see and understand the truth of the Papacy, then I can assure you that Mary will not pose too much of a problem.

When one accepts that Christ established one Church, that would be built on Peter, the rest follows eventually. It might provide difficulty, but certainly not complete dissuasion.

Now, if the dogmas surrounding Mary were something unrooted in Tradition, then you might have a point. But they’re not.

At the end of the day, if a Protestant was ever considering Catholicism, Mary would not be the number one problem, and would not be a main stumbling block. The number one problem, you see, is the authority and infallibility of the Church. Once one gets their head around that, and understands the scriptural backing for it, then the other doctrines are easier to understand.

To conclude, the gift of the Mother of God to the Church far outweighs any impediment that may be caused to Protestants. And to reiterate, while it may cause difficulty, a Protestant who is seriously considering the claims of the Catholic Church will not be dissuaded merely by Mary. I mean, it really is meaningless for someone to say “Oh, I can accept the authority of the Church, and the Papacy, and Tradition, and purgatory, and the Eucharist… But Mary, y’know, that’s just a deal-breaker. I can kind of see why the Church is infallible and all, but Mary just ruins it for me.” Y’see the problem here? Mary is never going to be the deal-breaker. It’ll always be the authority and origins of the Church.

And if Mary wasn’t there, then the question would just be “Would more Protestants become Catholics if it were not for purgatory?” or “confession?” or “infant baptism?” or “papal infallibility?”

If a Protestant could accept those above things, then Mary isn’t going to dissuade them. Cause a lot of confusion, difficulty and strife, sure, but actually prevent them from entering the Church? No way.

Your sarcasm further proves my point.

Is this the sort of way we should address our brothers without the fullness of truth? With sarcasm? No. Only with love can we win our brothers.


Catholics build more schools, orphanages, and hospitals than all other religions and service clubs combined. We also bring in thousands of converts not only in other countries, but here at home, as well.

In the parish where I work, we have seven Catholic schools, and all of them are packed to the doors, with long waiting lists of people trying to get in.

dee burk may only have meant to be cute, not sarcastic. Still, it’s true, just the same. :wink:

I agree with SOS about the issue of authority and Sacred Tradition. These are often very great barriers.

As for Evangelicals who are scared by our veneration of Mary, well they’re just as scared by our veneration of any of the saints, for that matter. Again, it’s because they don’t have an incarnational understanding of Christ and his Church.

No doubt.

I’m not comparing, I’m saying those who are doing the same outside of the CC feel there’s no reason to call themselves Catholic.

Evangelicals are taught to build schools in countries stricken with poverty? Really? That’s news to me. You are aware that Catholics are taught to dedicate their lives to Christ too, right?

Of course, many Catholics don’t, just like many evangelicals don’t.

It’s hard to tell a devout Evangelical who loves God more than anything and has witnessed miracles in Africa (people coming to Christ by the thousands) that they’re wrong.

Your biggest hurdle as a Catholic would be matching the love of an Evangelical and showing them that the love your Church has is as great as theirs.

Well, that’s the big word there isn’t it; ‘show’. You would have to challenge the evangelical to go out to the various Catholic charities throughout Africa, witness their devotion and the miracles that happen within their own communities. Sadly, words can only get us so far. If an evangelical were to live among a monastic order and serve the poor among them, then they may very well discover the unparalleled love and devotion that the Church has to offer, and the true nature of the Church that is so often misrepresented. The Catholic Church is the biggest contributor to charity in the world. I’m not sure what other practical evidence an evangelical would be looking for.

And yes, our Lord can perform great miracles with all those who call upon His Name, but the fullness of this can only be found in the Catholic Church. Another thing would be to challenge the evangelical to investigate the hundreds of miracles that take place in the Church, and the vigorous scientific verification the Church undertakes to make sure miracles are genuine.

Some good points have been made. From a Lutheran perspective, aside from the virgin birth and Holy Theotokos, the marian beliefs are considered adiaphora. We are free to belief or not, for example, in the Assumption.

My own take here is that there are other, more important issues for those protestants who would consider conversion. For me its universal jurisdiction. For those who would not consider conversion, very little of any doctrine would make a difference anyway. They are happy and blessed in their faith, by and large, and view the Catholic church down the street as just another church.


If your main problem is universal jurisdiction, then why aren’t you at least Orthodox? :stuck_out_tongue:

There are several reasons a person doesn’t join the Church, and Mariology is probably one of the rarer among them, mainly because many people simply misunderstand it. I remember in the past I was extremely uncomfortable when I heard the Catholic Church believed Mary was immaculate, because I took it as blasphemous and in conflict with the human necessity for a Savior. Turns out, I was actually entirely correct to feel that way, but I hadn’t fully investigated the Catholic theology surrounding Mary, since she too needed a savior, and her sinlessness was via preservation, not via a form of Pelegianism, which is a heresy in the Catholic Church.

I think there are far more common reasons - real reasons - why people avoid the Church than because of Mary. People don’t like the idea of submitting to an earthly Pope. They don’t like the idea of confession. They don’t like the teachings on contraception or the indestructibility of marriage. They don’t like being told they have to observe Mass every week. These things are all obligations, and while I believe they are obligations that all make people happier, healthier, and closer to God, it is in the nature of original sin that man’s intellect is darkened and our heart’s stubborn. In our journey towards holiness, we have to give up things that we really don’t need in the first place. When we reach the Beatific Vision, we will look back on all our struggles - and on all the things we feared to leave behind - and we will shake our heads and laugh, and never give them a second consideration again.

The theology surrounding Mary isn’t really an obligation in anyway. What does a person have to give up by believing that? “Oh darn. I have a mom in Heaven that loves me. What a drag.” :shrug:

How is it news to you that Christians do Christ like actions? And yes; I am aware, why do you think I am not?

Because the issue is universal jurisdiction, and who is right. Were I to become Orthodox, and Rome is correct in its claim, then I am still in schism.

Besides, I am a western Christian, Orthodoxy is interesting. :wink:


i apologize if my humor offended you. The fullness of truth is that the Catholic Church has been doing this for many years, yet you make it sound as if only protestants perform this selfless service to the world. And i cant think of anyone that has dedicated themselves to God more than the Catholic religious.

Now as far as the Veneration of Mary and protestants. i was raised southern baptist and the more i learn about our Holy Mother, the more i love her. i am sad that she was kept out of my life when i was young.

I think a lot of people interpreted my words that way even though I said nothing of the sort, so for that I apologize as well. Perhaps I need to explain things in greater detail so I’ll try again.

The reason that Evangelicals feel they do not need to be Catholic is that through the Holy Spirit working through them, many are coming to know Christ who have never known Him before. The Church I have been apart of has always taught that we should take every opportunity to discuss Jesus, we should spread the Gospel to other countries, and help the poor across the world. When one is doing this they fail to see the reason they need to be called, “Catholic.”

This is not to say that Catholics aren’t doing the same thing, which is how I see many interpreted my words. This is just to say that Evangelicals are doing amazing things because of their love for Christ and feel no need to switch Religions.

=dee burk;11150014]i apologize if my humor offended you. The fullness of truth is that the Catholic Church has been doing this for many years, yet you make it sound as if only protestants perform this selfless service to the world. And i cant think of anyone that has dedicated themselves to God more than the Catholic religious.

Perhaps it is safe to say that good Christians of all stripes, obeying the call and command of Christ, do what they can to help the least of God’s children.


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