ROMAN CATHOLICISM AND MARY
Mary’s Immaculate Conception
Pope Pius IX on 8th December 1854, in the Bull Ineffabilis promulgated this doctrine:
“The Most Holy Virgin Mary was, in the first moment of her conception, by a unique gift of grace and privilege of the Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of mankind, preserved free from all stain of original sin.”
Mary’s Perpetual Virginity
The Lateran Synod of AD 649 stressed that Mary was a virgin before, during and after the birth of Christ.
Mary the Mother of God
The title (Theotokos) was given Mary at the Council of Ephesus in AD 431.
It was designed to support the deity of Jesus Christ as used in the Definition of Chalcedon in AD 451:
“…[Jesus is] of one substance with the Father as regards his Godhead, and at the same time of one substance with us as regards his manhood; like us in all respects, apart from sin; as regards his Godhead, begotten of the Father before the ages, but yet as regards his manhood, begotten, for us men and for our salvation, of Mary the Virgin, the God-bearer [Theotokos]; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, recognized in two natures, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation; the distinction of natures being in no way aned by the union, but rather the characteristics of nature being preserved and coming together to form one person and subsistence, not as parted or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son and Only-begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ.”
The RC Church used the term now to exalt Mary to a supernatural status as Queen of Heaven and Queen of the Angels.
Due to her assumed prominence in heaven, she is able to approach her Son on behalf of others.
An official poll of all the RC Church’s bishops concerning the possibility and desirability of this teaching about Mary received a favourable reply, so Pope Pius XII, on 1st May 1950, issued by the Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus as dogma revealed by God:
“Mary, the immaculate perpetually Virgin Mother of God, after the completion of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into the glory of Heaven.”
Mary as co-redemptrix and co-mediatrix
Some hoped that Vatican II (1962-65) would proclaim Mary “Co-Redemptrix”.
This did not happen. However, Mary plays a subsidiary role in the redemptive work of Christ.
Christ is the perfect Redeemer. Yet Mary plays a significant role as well – a co-operative.
At best there is confusion in RC theology of redemption, at worst there is outright idolatry.
Mary as an object of worship
“We often obtain more promptly what we ask by calling on the name of Mary, than invoking that of Jesus.” (Alphonsus Ligouri)
How can the RC Church hold Jesus as Redeemer, Saviour, and Mediator, AND Mary at the same time?
Answer: they do not officially sanction the worship of Mary, but they have 3 kinds of worship:
- Latria– supreme worship, given to God alone
- Dulia– veneration to the saints and angels
- Hyperdulia– higher veneration to Mary
The Bible and Mary
- Matthew 1:18-25 – Records the angel visit to Joseph confirming the virgin birth of mary. Verse 25 teaches her virginity “until she had given birth” to Jesus.
- Matthew 2:11 – The magi see the child Jesus with Mary and the worship him but not Mary.
- Luke 1:26-38 – Birth of Jesus foretold to Mary by the angel Gabriel.
- Luke 1:46-55 – Mary’s Magnificat. God is her Saviour (verse 47).
- John 2:1-11 – At the marriage in Cana Mary asks Jesus to help. Her last recorded words: “Do whatever he tells you.”(verse 5)
- Matthew 12:46-50 – Jesus teaches that his family (mother, brothers, sisters) are those who do the will of the Father.
The above survey of what the Bible teaches us about Mary reveals the following:
- No evidence of her sinlessness, perpetual virginity, or assumption
- No evidence of her being co-redemptrix or co-mediatrix
- No evidence of praying to her, trusting in her, or any particular devotion to her
- No evidence of worship given to her
In addition to references to Mary, we need to take into account what the Bible teaches about God, Christ and salvation:
- Jesus is the ONLY Mediator between God and man – Acts 4:12, 1 Timothy 2:5
- God alone is to be worshipped and prayed to – Exodus 20:1-7, Revelation 19:10
- We come to the Father, through the Son, by the Holy Spirit – Ephesians 2:18, Romans 5:1-2, Hebrews 10:19-22
- Wherever God’s grace is mentioned, or his compassion, etc Mary is never mentioned – Ephesians 2:1-10, Titus 2:11-14 & 3:4-7, etc
The RC theology of Mary is man-made and idolatrous.
Us and Mary
Should we pray to, worship, venerate, trust in Mary? NO!
Mary was a unique woman – she was the mother of Christ, and as such the mother of God. But this should magnify our view of God and His grace, not of Mary and her person.
Mariolatry is an attack on Jesus Christ, his Person and Work.
Mariolatry is an attack on the Bible. The basis for Mariolatry is the claimed infallibility of the RC Church. In reality it is the opinion of sinful men made into dogma.
We should boast in Jesus Christ alone. He alone accomplishes our salvation.