Is devotion to Mary – “idol worship”?

Mary and Idol Worship

Our last week’s discussion was based on“Is Idol Worship possible for people? If so, then, what does one understand by this term “Idol Worship?”

A good number of my readers and visitors to my site had responded well by sharing their views with regard to it. The views were enriching to me and those who come across that article. Some of the positive outcome of the interaction was – we were able to understand that there is an evolution with regarding “idol worship.” Because of this fact we realized that in order to understand our present day idol worship we need to look into the priorities of a person’s life. It meant what holds “FIRST” in a person’s life – is it God (the Creator) or some other person or things (creature). Because of these complex and subtle features we thought of calling ‘idol worship’ of our time as “modern day idol worship.”

Now taking from where we have stopped, I would like my readers to look into our churches and some traditions where we see devotion to Mary and veneration to a number of saints. We also see their status and images inside as well as outside the churches. Given this background of “idol worship” the topic we would like to put forward for this ‘inter-personal dialogue’ is:-

As a Christian, “how should we understand devotion to Mary and the saints in the church?”

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17 thoughts on “Is devotion to Mary – “idol worship”?

  1. Blessings, Raymond! Well, I can assure you that Catholics do not believe Mary is a goddess!!! If I thought such a thing, would I dare deny it here? Mary, the humble handmaiden of the Lord….hardly a goddess, but she is the Mother of God. How can this be? Because the Son of God, the Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity became incarnate in her womb. Jesus is a Divine Person with a Divine and a human nature. Mary certainly did not give Him His Divine nature, but she did give Him His human nature, hence, she is His Mother. He never ceased to be God while in her womb, and so, because her Son is God, we say that she is the Mother of God. We can’t divide Jesus into separate persons.

    I suggested that you read Catholic teaching on Mary, which is based in Scripture, because then you will know what we actually believe, and not all the nonsense we are accused of believing about Mary.

    Jesus refers to her as “woman,” because she is the “woman” of Genesis 3:15, and the woman of Revelation, clothed with the sun who gave birth to the One who would rule the nations, while the dragon went about to make war on her other children (us.)

    Consider the significance of Jesus working His first miracle at His mother’s request, changing water into wine, and later He would change wine into His Own Precious Blood in the Holy Eucharist.

    Richard, I know you must be brave as your name states, and so I hope you will read what Catholics really believe. I don’t mind if you disagree with us for that. But, please don’t falsely accuse us. Know the facts! God bless you! I know you mean well. 🙂
    Praised be Jesus Christ now and forever!

  2. I as Biltrix am looking forward to the discussion. I thought I had followed your blog, and so I am sorry it took me so long to get here. I kept looking for your post in my reader and none ever came, so I thought you did not do a lot of post. So sorry:>) Am following now! God Bless, SR

    1. Hi, The Christian Bible is very specific about idol worship and the Catholic Church I believe has made Mary a Goddess. Just have a sculpture of Mary in each Catholic church is deemed to be idol worship. In the Old Testament a Hebrew leader took an idol ( sculpture) from people they had just beaten in battle and hid it in a tent. God made the ground open up and over 25,000 died. The Golden Calf that was made while Moses was on Mount Sinai nearly cost Israel their lives. Pope John Paul II prayed to a sculpture (Idol) of Mary on various occasions as though she was a Goddess which is the female term for God. She is not a God or a deity. I have a number of post which cover this topic in more detail as it is very important for many reasons. For example Christmas was instituted by the Catholic church in order to draw people from worshipping Diana a fertility Goddess whose yearly festival was around 25 December so Mary and Child were used to draw pagan peoples to Christianity. I know this will be hard for some people to understand and accept, however if you read the posts and think about what they mean then maybe you will understand. I am not trying to attack the Catholic church for the sake of it. I understand how this has happened has it has in ancient times. My position is that the Bible is God inspired Word for our lives and that I am instructed to keep the faith and teach and explain to others why i believe in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour. There is no other way to enter the kingdom of God as Jesus took all our sin on His own body for our salvation so we would not have to face God’s judgement. Please look at :- . http://wp.me/p3Vdde-1xE
      http://wp.me/p3Vdde-1xA http://wehavebeencreated.wordpress.com/2013/10/01/exposing-the-idolatry-of-mary-worship-in-roman-catholicism-an-overview/

      http://wehavebeencreated.wordpress.com/2013/10/01/mary-protectress-mother-goddess-saint-2/

      http://wehavebeencreated.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/why-do-you-celebrate-christmas/

      http://wehavebeencreated.wordpress.com/2011/04/19/list-of-catholic-heresies-and-human-traditions/

      1. Hi Raymond. Thanks for your courteous response. I have to disagree that the Catholic Church has turned Mary into a goddess for one main reason. The Church teaches that she is not. Furthermore, no Catholics actually believe this to be true.

        I can understand the perception that this is not the case, coming from someone who has not received catechetical instruction in the Church, which is something all Catholics are required to do. Those who don’t undergo this instruction are an exception to this rule, they probably don’t participate much in their professed faith, probably don’t go to Church on Sunday, and probably don’t pray much at all. So we can’t rely on them as an example, since they don’t take their faith seriously in the first place.

        Those who do take their faith seriously understand that we don’t worship idols. We don’t pray to statues.

        Statues are kind of like crosses: they are physical reminders of other realities. In the presence of, say, a cross we are reminded of a reality. The reality becomes present to our mind in the presence of the cross.

        Do you have any crosses in or at your church? Do you wear a cross on your neck or know anyone who does? Do you or anyone you know pray to the cross? Does the image of the cross ever prompt you to reflect or to pray? What is the point of erecting crosses for people to see?

        Catholics pray in the presence of statues sometimes, that does not mean they pray to the statue. The statue is not the object of worship — so there is no idolatry in this regard, as you suggest there is.

        Praying to Mary is another issue. Yes, Catholics do this, but No, we don’t worship her. We don’t regard her as a divinity. We believe and teach that there is only one God, who is a trinity of persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This is the only God we worship.

        When we pray to Mary, it is usually for intercession (which needs to be discussed separately). Statues of Mary are common, because we honor her, like you honor other important people in the same way. We believe Mary is the mother of our Savior and she deserves special recognition for that.

        I mentioned that the way in which we pray to Mary and saints is a topic that should be discussed separately. That is, if one can first come to the understanding that those prayers do not constitute worshiping some divinity other than the one true God. That’s not what we intend, that’s not what we teach, that’s not what we do.

        That needs to be understood before we can begin to discuss what it is we really believe and why we believe it.

        1. Dear Biltrix,

          The following link address http://www.the-ten-commandments.org/catholic_church_idolatry.html# summarises the proper Biblical stance on Idolatry and what has happened in the Catholic church. I have a copy of the Catholic Bible and my wife attended a Catholic convent for her education and I have ministered to a staunch Catholic lady who had no idea that she had been worshipping Mary. This I did not force on her nor brainwashed her but she found this out by reading the New King James Version of the bible. She tried to justify her position by trying to get me to read a book about the whole subject which I did not need to do. I am what you would call a Fundamental Christian and do not recognise the established Protestant Denominations as they add their traditions and change the scriptures and thereby making null and void the Word of God. Women priests and bishops being one example of heresy as far the Gods Word is concerned. Paul’s letter to Timothy outlines who should be a Bishop or a deacon. The Scriptures lay down extensive qualifications for the office of elder (1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:2-3). Some qualifications, such as ‘the husband of one wife’ are absolute, while others are more relative, for example ‘hospitable,’ or ‘apt to teach’ (1 Tim. 3:2). Some I and millions of others do not belong to a denomination but to independent Charismatic church congregation keeping to the scriptures in word and deed. I hope this gives you some more background to my opinions. In love and peace RaymondTheBrave. PS I will be posting some articles on what is Idolatry as it is a subject which is not well understood.

    2. Hi Biltrix, The following link explains why Mary is a Goddess and Idol to Catholics based upon the norms of history and Pagan religions. http://wehavebeencreated.wordpress.com/2011/04/25/mary-worship-by-the-catholic-church/ I was going to give a full response to your response to my comments but I think the link is very compelling. I would like to say that it is difficult when you are involved in something like the Catholic Church to see some things objectively as you would have grown up in maybe a catholic family, our town or country and ideas and false teaching can enter without you realising. My standard way of judging doctrines is by what the Bible says or does not say about a subject. I have responded to the following response you made:-

      I have to disagree that the Catholic Church has turned Mary into a goddess for one main reason. The Church teaches that she is not.
      My response:- Please show me where the Catholic Church teaches she is not. Also having the Church teach that she is not an Idol/Goddess does not make it so, does it?

      Furthermore, no Catholics actually believe this to be true. My Response :- This also does not make it so. Also I have articles written by ex-Catholics that say that Mary is worshipped and seen and treated like deity. Maybe the label of Goddess is not used but the mindset and intentions of the faithful are that she can answer prayers and that they should use her name in prayer etc. Why do Catholics say/pray Hail Mary so many times a day and in church services?
      Wikipedia says The Hail Mary, also commonly called the Ave Maria (Latin) or Angelic Salutation, is a traditional Christian prayer asking for the intercession of the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus. In Roman Catholicism, the prayer forms the basis of the Rosary and the Angelus prayers. In the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches, a similar prayer is used in formal liturgies, both in Greek and in translations. It is also used by many other groups within the Catholic tradition of Christianity including Anglicans, Independent Catholics, and Old Catholics. Some Protestant denominations, such as Lutherans, also make use of a form of the prayer.My Response is that Mary cannot intercede or even respond or hear as she is dead and in heaven with other believers. Blessings RaymondTheBrave

      1. Thanks for following up with me, Raymond. Let’s take one thing at at time. If the Catholic Church teaches that Mary is not a goddess and instructs us not to regard her as such, and No Catholics believe that she is, then your response of just saying that does not make it so does not make a lot of sense. If you think about it, we have on the one hand, the Church’s official position, and on the other, the way in which that is practices. Prayers like the Ave Maria are not intended to divinize Mary or worship her as a goddess, regardless of your opinions as to whether she can hear us or not.

        As for the references you requested, Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) 2113: “Idolatry not only refers to false pagan worship. It remains a constant temptation to faith. Idolatry consists in divinizing what is not God. Man commits idolatry whenever he honors and reveres a creature in place of God, whether this be gods or demons (for example, satanism), power, pleasure, race, ancestors, the state, money, etc. Jesus says, “You cannot serve God and mammon.”44 Many martyrs died for not adoring “the Beast”45 refusing even to simulate such worship. Idolatry rejects the unique Lordship of God; it is therefore incompatible with communion with God.”

        CCC 971 “The Church’s devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship.” The Church rightly honors “the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of ‘Mother of God,’ to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs. . . . This very special devotion . . . differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration.” The liturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and Marian prayer, such as the rosary, an “epitome of the whole Gospel,” express this devotion to the Virgin Mary.

        Other references could be given from official Church documents, and one could google them and read for one’s self. But one might just be inclined to say, “We don’t recognize what the Church says for itself, because after all, the Church is corrupt and deceitful in that regard, so we can’t trust their documents to explain to us what the Church really teaches” That would be poisoning the well.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poisoning_the_well

        Could it not be the case that this is precisely what you think?

        1. Hi, Thanks for your reply. The only source for how and what the Christian Church stands for and teaches is the bible and no other extra writings. The Bible is complete in itself as the Word of God and as scripture says no one should take away or add anything to it. This is how cults like Jehovah Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists have come about. When I say you are quoting the Catholic Church to justify your stance I mean you are not quoting the Bible which is what Jesus did when He was on the Earth and what we are expected to do. You are quoting what the Catholic Church has written down or not which is mans opinion and traditions. I agree with your comments about idols can be many things, however in the case of Mary there is actually an Idol of her in every Catholic Church quite often with a baby Jesus in her arms.. Your comment “CCC 971 “The Church’s devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship.” The Church rightly honors “the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of ‘Mother of God,’ to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs” is quoting Catholic teaching and tradition and not what the bible teaches at all. Who gave Mary the name Mother of God? Not the bible. Mary is hardly mentioned in the New Testament and this is for a reason. Why is Mary so important to the Catholic church? Jesus is the cornerstone of Christianity and there is no Godly need for Mary to be mentioned at all. Yes she was blessed as she carried Jesus in her womb and she has her reward in heaven, but that is as far as it goes. Mary had other children after Jesus. Have you read the Nun’s post about Mary and her overall experience in the Catholic Church and the other posts as this will fill in hopefully many gaps that you might have from my perspective. Furthermore who gave the Pope the authority to speak for God and make new laws or pronouncements. Jesus said very specifically and often that the Jewish leadership had added to the word of God and added their own meaning on the scriptures and had added traditions which made Gods word of NO Effect. The same mistakes I believe have been made by the Catholic Church leadership over the centuries. The bible can be understood by anyone regardless of the education if they want to and God was more than able to ensure that the bible manuscripts that became the current day Bible is correct and complete lacking nothing. To say otherwise would be a heresy as which additional documents could we trust? Ones from the Catholic priests over the centuries? Or from some other source? This does not make sense. The bible interprets itself. If you would like to ask about a certain topic I would be glad to explain what the bible says about it with regard to how we should live our lives. Regards Raymond

        2. Hi Biltrix, I just looked up the Mother of God explanation on Google on page http://www.catholic.com/tracts/mary-mother-of-god The mistake that the Catholic Church makes time and time again is that Jesus has always existed. He is the alpha and omega and was there at the beginning of creation. Mary provided a human body for the spirit of the Son of God to dwell. She could not have provided and genetic material as life is in the blood and thus Jesus would have been born into sin as he would have be born from the DNA of Adam .God had to specially create the baby Jesus without any DNA material from Mary so He could be born sinless. Yes she probably nourished Him for the nine months but He could not have had her actual Adams DNA as this would have meant that Satan could legally say that Jesus had sinned just by being born with a sin nature which is what all of us have inherited from Adam, however since the baby was created by the Holy Spirit with the spirit of Jesus He was born as a man and God the Son, which allowed Him to die on the cross for us all. He had never sinned before His death and therefore took all our sins in His own body on the cross and then went to hell and then was resurrected on the 3 day and later went up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of the Father. Playing games with words as the above link does, does not mean that you can call Mary the Mother of God. Neither Jesus, God or Holy Spirit ever had a mother that is a human construct which the Catholic Church uses. It is not Biblical at all. Raymond

      2. Raymond, you are so confused about the love..not worship which Catholics show to Mary. You need to read and consult Catholic teaching to truly understand what we believe and practice regarding the Mother of Jesus. As long as you steep youself in anti-Catholic writings, you will get nowhere, because these are people who do not understand what the Church teaches anymore than you do. Did you know that Martin Luther had great regard for the Blessed Virgin? I suggest you read Scott Hahn’s book on Mary entitled “Hail Holy Queen.” God bless you for your sincere efforts. But, know that Jesus left you His Mother from the Cross….He gave us all that He had, including His Own beloved Mother. God bless you!

        1. Dear Patricia, I do not need to read Catholic teaching with all due respect. I need to read the bible which tells me all I need to know about Mary. What man says about Mary is always going to be distorted. The bible is very clear that Mary is the mother of Jesus full stop. She is not the Mother of God as she is referred to by the Catholic Church as that would make her a Goddess would it not. How can a human being be the mother of God? Why does the catholic church make Mary so central to what they stand for. Jesus should and must be central to the Gospel. Jesus referred to His mother as “woman”. Nor Jesus, nor Almighty God referred to Mary in any exalted position. God Bless RaymondTheBrave. PS The articles that i have posted although not necessarily completely correct address what the Catholic Church teaches and stands on as a foundation for their faith. There are so many anti-Catholic articles by well meaning Christians for a reason. They are trying to reach the lost in the Church. The message of being Born Again and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues is not taught at all. I speak in tongues and it did not die out when the Apostles died. That is a lie.

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