HOW EXCESSIVE IS THE WORSHIP OF MARY?
By LLOYD I. CASTRO
IMPORTANT QUESTIONS posed by Rene Laurentin in his book, Mary’s Place in the Church, echo the concern of thinking Catholics about the development of the Marian movement. On pages 27 to 28, Laurentin writes:
“There is no doubt that the Marian movement is fruitful, fertile and prosperous, but would it not be true to say that its abundance is excessive, its intensity, and its development specialized and partly pathological? If something of the sort is true, should it not be remedied both for the good of Catholic theology and for the honour of the Virgin Mary?”
Laurentin wonders whether the development of the Marian movement has become excessive, unhealthy, and partly pathological. He suggest that, if it has, then it should be remedied because of its harm on Catholic theology and on Mary’s honor itself.
This article aims to answer Laurentin’s question by presenting six Catholic doctrines, beliefs and/or claims and comparing to the teachings of the Holy Scriptures, which is the authority on God’s truth.
1. Mary’s approval in Christ’s redemption
This is one claim that makes the recognition of Mary excessive, unhealthy, and partly pathological, according to Laurentin:
“Thus according to certain theories which have, it must be added, had little success, since Christ was not a human person, the consent of Mary, who was no more than a creature, was necessary to ratify the redemption in the name of humanity. According to others, she is for this same reason closer to us and more merciful than Christ himself.” (p. 77)
How far has the Catholic veneration of Mary gone? Laurentin reveals that certain theories, surely Catholic in origin, allege that Mary’s authorization was needed in Christ’s act of redemption. This completely opposes the following proclamation of God:
“The LORD says, ‘It was my will that he should suffer; his death was a sacrifice to bring forgiveness. And so he will see his descendants; he will live a long life, and through him my purpose will succeed’.” (Is. 53:10, Today’s English Version)
This biblical passage is a prophecy about the suffering and death of Christ. It is God who willed that Christ must suffer and die for the forgiveness of sins. There is not a single reference in the Bible, explicit or implicit, to the necessity of Mary’s approval to Christ’s act of redemption.
2. Salvation depends on Mary
In his book Mary and the Priest, Mark J. Lyons expresses bewilderment to this allegation:
“It is bewildering to realize that salvation of the whole world, of millions yet unborn, depended on a little maiden, no more than fourteen years of age, going through the great adventure of motherhood.” (p. 64)
Not only is this Catholic teaching that salvation depends on Mary bewildering, but it is also totally alien to the Bible. The Savior introduced by the Bible is the One whom Mary gave birth to—our Lord Jesus Christ:
“For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Lk. 2:11, New King James Version)
3. Mary is now in heaven
Otto Semmelroth, author of Mary, Archetype of the Church, alleges that, “except for Christ—Mary is the only human being dwelling body and soul in eternal glory in Heaven” (p. 161).
This teaching is not in consonance with the Scriptures. Henri Daniel-Rops, author of The Book of May, testifies that the so-called Assumption of Mary into heaven is found nowhere in the whole of the Bible:
“What is even more astonishing is the thought that some of the great festivals of Our Lady are of very uncertain origin. An example is that of November 21, the Presentation of Our lady In the Temple. Now the Assumption of Our Lady is something unknown to the Gospel, nor is it mentioned at all in the book of the Acts of the Apostles which says nothing whatever of Mary after the Pentecost.” (p. 36)
Checking the Bible to see if there is any mention in it about Mary ascending to heaven after her death will lead to the conclusion that the Catholic doctrine of the Assumption is merely an assumption.
4. God is subject to Mary
The Catholic Church teaches through its so-called saints that God is subject to Mary. Catholic saint Louis Mary De Monfort in his work, True Devotion to Mary, writes:
“When the saints tell us that all things in heaven and on earth, including God Himself, are subjected to the Blessed Virgin, they mean that the authority God gave her is so great that she appears to have the same powers as the Trinity, and that her prayers and requests have such an effect upon God that He receives them as commands.” (p. 9)
Catholic saint Louis Mary De Monfort is one with his fellow “saints” in teaching that God is subject to Mary. He is saying simply that Mary commands God, or that God allows Himself to be commanded by a human being.
But according to the Bible, the Father is the One above all—not Mary:
“One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Eph. 4:6, NKJV)
5. Mary is worshiped
The blasphemous belief that God is subject to Mary is accompanied by the profane act of worshiping her. In fact, the Catholic Church worships her more than it does God and Christ. This is the testimony of F.C.H. Dreyer and E. Weller:
“THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH in actual fact worships Mary, the mother of Jesus, more than it worships either God or Christ.” (Roman Catholicism in the Light of Scripture, p. 179)
This is in stark contrast with the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ on who the true worship. In John 4:23, , He explicitly declares:
“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.” (NKJV)
Christ declares that the true worshipers worship the Father, whom He, the Son, recognized and introduced as the only true God (Jn. 17:1, 3). He did not say that it is His mother. So, those who worship Mary are certainly not true worshipers and their worship is false.
The way the Catholic Church justifies its worship of Mary all the more proves that it indeed worships her. Jesuit priest John A. Hardon, author of The Catholic Catechism, attempts to draw the line between the worship of Mary and of God:
“… The technical name for the worship of God is adoration or latreutic worship (from the ancient Greek word latreia, which meant the service given to the gods). The lesser form of veneration given to the angels and saints that Catholicism recognizes has the theological name of dulia (from the Greek term douleia, which means the respect shown to a master by his servant). The Blessed Virgin is said to be honored with hyperdulia, i.e., a higher form of what is essentially the same veneration paid to other creatures among the saints but in essence unlike the adoration given only to God.” (p. 442)
Whatever terminologies Catholic authorities may use to distinguish their worship of Mary from that of God, the fact remains that the Catholic Church worships her. Hardon admits that they honor Mary with hyperdulia, a form of veneration or worship higher than that paid to the Catholic saints. So , she is not the only creature the Catholic Church worships but also its “saints” who number by the thousands. That is a direct affront to God (Exo. 20:3-5; Rom. 1:23, 25).
6. Queen of Heaven
So high is Roman Catholicism’s exaltation of Mary that it has crowned her Queen of Heaven and more. In his book Glories and Virtues of Mary, Catholic priest, J. Alberione, tries to show the imagined extent of Mary’s domain:
“Mary is the Queen of heaven and earth; she is the Queen of purgatory, of the missions, of the rosary, of peace—the universal Queen.” (p. 165)
Jeremiah 7:18-20 records God’s pronouncement against people who worship the false goddess called the Queen of Heaven:
“The children gather firewood, the men build fires, and the women mix dough to bake cakes for the goddess they call the Queen of Heaven. They also pour out offerings of wine to other gods, in order to hurt me. But am I really the one they are hurting? No, they are hurting themselves and bringing shame on themselves. And so I, the Sovereign LORD, will pour out my fierce anger on this Temple. I will pour it out on people and animals alike, and even on the trees and the crops. My anger will be like a fire that no one can put out.” (TEV)
God abhors the worship the Catholic Church renders to Mary, whom it exalts as the Queen of Heaven. This is one of the roots causes of His curse of pestilence in this world.
Recognition of Mary should not go beyond what is written in the Bible. To criticize the Catholic Church’s excessive regard of her is not equivalent to defaming her person. Mary, the mother of Jesus, has nothing to do with the Mary being portrayed by the Catholic Church.
Marian veneration is excessive because it is against the teaching of the Bible. In fact, thinking Catholics have felt its destructive threat to Catholic theology itself, or what sound teaching is left of it, if any. *
Alberione, Very Rev. J. Glories and Virtues
of Mary. Philippines: St. Paul Publication, n.d.
Daniel-Rops, Henri. The Book of Mary.
Garden City, New York: Doubleday &
Company, Inc. 1960.
De Monfort, St. Louis Mary.
True Devotion To Mary. Bay Shore,
New York: Monfort Publications, 1985.
Dreyer, F.C.A. and E. Welles.
Roman Catholicism in the Light of Scripture.
Chicago: The Moody Bible Institute, 1960.
Hardon, John A., S.J. The Catholic Catechism.
New York, New York: Doubleday Dell
Publishing Group, Inc., 1981.
Laurentin, Rene. Mary’s Place in the Church.
London: Burns & Oates, 1965.
Lyons, Rev. Mark J. Mary and the Priest.
Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Company, 1963
Semmelroth, Otto. Mary, Archetype of the Church.
Ireland: M.H. Gill and Son Ltd., 1963
Copied from PASUGO GO’S MESSAGE/August 2002/Pages 9-11/Volume 54/Number 8/ISSN 0116-1636