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It has been reported (in The ChristLast Media, I must note) that the current Pope does not like the phrase "lead us not into temptation...

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Tuesday, May 09, 2017

John Martignoni explains why Catholics believe and worship as we do. (Part 2)

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General Comments

Hey folks,

Two things:
     1) The DVD's of the Genesis and Evolution Conferencewe held at Samford University a few weeks ago are now available.  You can order them here:
     There are two DVD's, one for each night of the conference.  Both nights have 3 speakers.  One each representing the Young Earth Creationist, Old Earth Creationist, and Evolutionary Creationist (Theistic Evolution) points of view.  The first night speaks to the scientific perspective of each point of view and the second night is the theological perspective.  The people who attended the conference live really enjoyed it, so I hope you will as well.
     2) I've posted a new video on YouTube in the series: Questions Protestants Can't Answer .  This one is on absolute assurance of salvation - once saved always saved.  It uses a verse that most people would not think to bring up in regard to this topic, but it's a verse that I think absolutely devastates the once saved always saved dogma.  You can view it here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIr_yI9pXXQ  I hope you enjoy it! 


       Here is the 2nd in the Why Do Catholics...?series The series is intended to answer, in a simple and direct manner, questions that non-Catholics often have about the Catholic Faith.  So, please keep in mind that it is addressed primarily to non-Catholics. 

       The question this week is: "Why do Catholics worship Mary?"  I had only been back in the faith for a few months (after being away for 13 years), when I was visiting a couple of good friends of mine who I had not seen in about a year.  I don't think I had been at their house for even ten minutes when Linda just matter-of-factly stated, "Why do Catholics worship Mary?"  She wasn't hostile about it at all, she was just genuinely curious.  We hadn't even been talking about religion, though, so the question caught me a bit off guard.  I replied, "We don't, where did you hear that?"  "My pastor said it in our Bible study this past Sunday."  I went on to answer her question, and she accepted the answer with, "Oh, okay, that makes sense."

        So, this is a particularly favorite question of mine, as answering Linda's question was the very first time I ever engaged in apologetics, although I had never heard the term "apologetics" at that time. 


Q:     Why do Catholics worship Mary?

A:     The easiest, and most direct, way of answering that question is to simply say, "We don't."  But, I'm sure that isn't enough to satisfy anyone who asks that question.  After all, most folks who ask that question are probably thinking, "Wait a minute, if you don't worship Mary, then why do you pray to her and kneel in front of her statues and all the other things Catholics do?  Isn't that worshipping her?"

       Very good question.  Let me respond to it one objection at a time.  First, this thing about Catholics "praying" to Mary.  When Catholics say we "pray" to Mary - or to any of the other saints - you need to understand our language.  Catholics and non-Catholics often use the same words, but they can sometimes mean different things.  When Catholics say we "pray" to Mary, what we mean by that is this: We are simply asking Mary to do something for us...to pray for us.  We use the word "pray," in this context, as it was commonly used in older English: "I pray thee fetch me a drink."  "I pray thee come with me to town."  It's a request.  To "pray" to Mary, then, is to make a request of Mary...a request for prayer.   

       And we see this most directly when we pray a Hail Mary.  What do the words of the prayer say?  "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death."  So, when we "pray" to Mary, what we are really doing is simply asking Mary to pray for us, just as we would ask anyone here on Earth to pray for us.  It's no different. 

       For example, if I were to ask you to, say, pray for my daughter to get one of the scholarships she's applying for in order to go to college, what would you say?  You would undoubtedly say, "Yes, of course, I would be happy to pray for that intention for your daughter."  What you wouldn't say is, "Why are you praying to me about your daughter getting a scholarship?"  You should worship God and God alone."  You wouldn't equate asking you for prayer with worshipping you, would you?  Of course not!  Well, it's the same principle in regard to Mary.

       You know that it is a good and holy thing for one member of the Body of Christ to pray for another member of the Body of Christ.  And that by asking someone for prayer we are not worshipping them.  Well, if it's okay to ask a member of the Body of Christ here on Earth to pray for us, why isn't it okay for us to ask a member of the Body of Christ in Heaven to pray for us?  And, again, that's exactly what we are doing when we "pray" to Mary and to the saints.  We are asking them, essentially, to add their prayers - as members of the Body of Christ in Heaven - to ours as we place them before the throne of God. 

       We are not, as some would accuse us of doing, praying to Mary insteadof Jesus.  "Well, yeah, I prayed to Jesus for a new job, but He isn't answering me, so I'm going to pray to Mary instead to see if she can get it done."  No!  Catholics understand that a person cannot "pray" to Mary without going through Jesus.  We also understand that Mary has no power, no authority, apart from what Jesus gives to her.  Mary has no power or authority of her own.  So we cannot "pray" to Mary instead of Jesus.

       Mary is a member of the Body of Christ.  Jesus is the Head of the Body.  The Body is nothing without the Head.  The Church, in its official teaching states that Mary can do nothing apart from Christ.  That everything she is capable of doing "flows forth from the superabundance of the merits of Christ, rests on His mediation, [and] depends entirely on it..." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph #970).  The Catechism also clearly defines Mary as a "creature" ...a creation of God (#722). 

       Which means that we do not worship Mary in any sense of the word because we do not consider her to be divine and we do not consider her to have any authority or power outside of that given to her by her Son.  So, again, our "prayers" to Mary are simply our requests for prayer from another member of the Body of Christ.

       Now, regarding kneeling in front of statues of Mary...well, kneeling in front of something does not automatically signify worship, does it?  If it does, then I worship my bed every morning when I kneel by it to say my prayers.  Also, I've known of Protestants who kneel to say their prayers while having an open Bible in front of them.  Does that mean they worship the paper and the ink that is the book?  I mean, while the Bible does indeed convey the Word of God, it is, nevertheless, just paper and ink.  It is not God.  So does a person worship paper and ink when they kneel in front of a Bible to pray?  Of course not.

       Kneeling in front of a statue of Mary...or of any of the other saints...is not a sign of worship, it is a sign of respect and a sign of honor and a sign of love.  And it is not a sign of respect and honor and love for the statue, but for the person the statue represents.  Catholics respect, honor, and love Mary...just as Jesus did, and still does.  We cannot come close to matching Him in His love for His mother, but we are still called to imitate Him in His love for her. 

       "All generations" are to call Mary blessed.  As Catholics, we do our best to honor those words of Scripture, and to honor and imitate the love of Jesus for His mother.  We do not, however, worship her or place her on an equal footing with Her Son.  She is a creature...no more, no less.  We reserve our worship for God, and God alone.

       "Wait a minute, what about this thing where you call Mary 'Mediatrix' and 'Co-Redemptrix' - isn't that saying she is equal to Jesus, which would make her God?"  Okay, here's the deal with all of that - those two titles for Mary essentially have to do with the fact that God gave us Jesus through Mary.  So, just as sin entered the world through Eve, so salvation entered the world through Mary.  Saving grace entered the world through Mary.  God could have given us Jesus without going through Mary, but He chose to use Mary to accomplish the salvation of the world.  That is something to always keep in mind - God chose Mary for this purpose and He didn't have to do that.  Mary cooperated with God in that she freely said, "Yes," - "Let it be done unto me according to Thy Word," (Luke 1:38). 

       So, when Mary is called "Co-Redemptrix" or "Mediatrix," it doesn't mean that she redeemed anyone, or that she is a mediator between God and man in the sense that Jesus is.  It means that through her the redemption of the human race was accomplished. Jesus redeemed mankind.  Jesus came into the world through Mary.  Therefore, mankind was redeemed through Mary, but not byMary.  The prefix "co" here does not mean "equal to" - as if Mary is equal to Jesus - it means "with."  Mary cooperated withGod - with her Son - to accomplish the redemption of the world.  These titles point to Mary's unique role in the salvation of mankind.  They do not suggest or imply, in any way, that Mary is somehow equal to Jesus or that anyone is saved by Mary's blood. 

       These two titles celebrate and honor Mary's special place in the Kingdom of God.  The mother of the King of kings.  "The mother of my Lord," (Luke 1:43).  The mother of the Redeemer.  The mother of the "one mediator between God and man," (1 Tim 2:5).  The mother of the Savior.

       So, again, we do not worship Mary.  Do we honor her?  Do we love her?  Do we pay her our respect?  Yes, yes, and yes!  Some may accuse Catholics of going overboard in the attention we give to Mary, but here's the thing - were all Catholics, everywhere, to pay honor to Mary 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every week of their lives, we would never come close to giving her the amount of honor that God Himself gave her by choosing her to bear His Son.  So, if God can honor Mary in such an awe-inspiring fashion, shouldn't we do what little we can to imitate Him? 

Closing Comments

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TheChurchMilitant: Sometimes anti-social, but always anti-fascist since 2005.

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First of all, the word is SEX, not GENDER. If you are ever tempted to use the word GENDER, don't. The word is SEX! SEX! SEX! SEX! For example: "My sex is male." is correct. "My gender is male." means nothing. Look it up. What kind of sick neo-Puritan nonsense is this? Idiot left-fascists, get your blood-soaked paws off the English language. Hence I am choosing "male" under protest.


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