Virgin and Statue Worship IMPRIMATUR:
Quizzes to a Street Preacher
Joannes Gregorius Murray Archiepiscopus Sancti Pauli.
Written by Fr. Chas. M. Carty, Rev. Dr. L. Rumble, M.S.C.1. Why do you Catholics worship Mary as a goddess?
It would be mortal sin for any Catholic to regard Mary as a goddess. If a Catholic expressed such a belief to a priest in Confession he would be refused absolution unless he promised to renounce such as an absurd idea. If you wish to attack Catholic doctrine, at least find out what Catholics do believe before you begin. We Catholics do not give worship to Mary, the Mother of Christ, but what we do give to her is the best that we can in the giving, namely, homage, veneration, reverence, but never worship. We have enough intelligence to know that Mary the woman who gave human bone, human flesh, and human feature to the Savior of Mankind was not a goddess but a human member of the human race. Although she is a member of our race we hail her as the First Lady of Heaven and of Earth. 2. The genealogies of Christ as given by the Gospel afford one much difficulty. If Jesus was not the son of Joseph, why is His genealogy traced through Joseph?
Jesus was not the natural son of Joseph. But Mary, who was the Mother of Jesus, was related to Joseph, whose genealogy was also her own. It was a Jewish custom to record descent only through the male line. 3. If you call her Queen of Heaven do you not do her an injustice in refusing to her the title of goddess?
It would be the greatest possible injustice to regard her as a goddess. It is just to honor her even as God has honored her, which we Catholics do. Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords, and His mother certainly possesses queenly dignity holding the highest place in Heaven next to her Divine Son. But that does not, and cannot change her finite and created human nature. To regard her as a goddess would be absurd. 4. Yet you insist that she is the Mother of God!
Jesus Christ is true God and true man, and as He was born of Mary she is truly the Mother of God. The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity was born of her according to the humanity He derived from her. She is not a goddess, for God did not take His Divine Being from her. But she is the Mother of God since the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity was truly born of her in His human nature. 5. How could Mary be the mother of the One who created her?
Mary owed her being, of course, to God, but this under the aspect of His eternal nature. Subsequent to her creation that human nature was born of her which the Son of God had assumed to Himself. She was, therefore, the mother of Christ. But Christ was one Divine Person existing in two natures, one eternal and divine; the other, temporal and human. Mary necessarily gave birth to a being with one personality and that divine, and she is rightly called the Mother of God. 6. Does not the Catholic Church insist also upon the biologically impossible dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary herself?
The dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary has nothing to do with biology. It does not mean that she was conceived miraculously in the physical sense. She was normally conceived and born of her parents, Joachim and Ann. But in her very conception her soul was preserved immaculate in the sense that she inherited no stain of original sin, derived from our first parents. 7. According to Catholic doctrine the Sacrament of Baptism destroys original sin. Would you say that Mary did not need Baptism?
Mary did not need Baptism insofar as that sacrament was instituted for the destruction of original sin. She received that sacrament in order to participate in its other effects, and chiefly in order to receive the Christian character which that sacrament impress upon the soul. Mary was not the only one born into this world free of original sin. Jeremias, the prophet, picked out by God to preach penance to the Chosen People of God, was sanctified by the action of God, whilst being carried in the womb of his mother so that when he was born he was free of original sin. Jer. 1:5. St. John the Baptist was likewise sanctified in the womb of his mother Elizabeth because he was picked out by God to point out to mankind the Lamb of God, the Messiah, Luke 1:41. Jeremias and St. John were conceived in original sin but before birth were cleansed of original sin. Mary was never conceived in original sin and thus it is only by this privilege that she was never under the dominion of the evil spirit. It is only by the privilege of the Immaculate Conception that Mary can be the woman of whom God speaks in prophecy to Satan after the fall of the first parents, Adam and Eve, when He says to the serpent: "Because thou hast done this.... I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel." Gen. 3:14-15. 8. If Mary was sinless she could not have needed redemption! Yet is not Christ the Redeemer of every child of Adam?
Insofar as the sin of Adam involved the whole human race in condemnation Mary needed redeeming. But there are two ways of redeeming. God could allow one to be born in sin and then purify the soul by subsequent application of the merits of Christ, or He could, by an anticipation of the merits of Christ, exempt a soul from an actual contraction of original sin. Thus He exempted Mary from any actual inheritance of the sin, and she owes her exemption to the anticipated merits of Christ. In other words, she was redeemed by Christ by prevention rather than by subsequent purification. 9. Is there any evidence in Scripture that Mary was indeed never actually subject to original sin?
Yes. In Gen. 3:15, God said to Satan, "I will put enmities between thee and the woman ... thou shalt lie in wait for her heel." The radical enmity between Satan and that second Eve, the Mother of Christ, forbids her having been under the dominion of Satan, as she would have been had she ever contracted original sin in actual fact. In Lk. 1:28, we read how the Angel was sent by God to salute Mary with the words, "Hail, full of grace." Grace excludes sin, and had there been any sin at all in Mary she could not have been declared to be filled with grace. The Protestant version translates the phrase as "thou that hast been highly favored." But the Greek certainly implies "completely filled with holiness." However, complaints that our doctrine exempts Mary from the contracting of original sin are becoming more and more rare in a world which is tending to deny original sin altogether, and which wishes to exempt everybody from it. 10. St. Paul says that one died for all, and therefore all were dead. 2 Cor. 5:14-15.
Such texts must be interpreted in the light of other passages where God reveals that Mary was never under the dominion of Satan. Mary is included in these words of St. Paul juridically insofar as she was born of Adam, but she was not allowed to be born in sin to be afterwards redeemed. She was redeemed by prevention. 11. St. John knew the Mother of Christ better than the others, yet he does not mention her Immaculate Conception!
In Rev. 12 he shows clearly his knowledge of the deadly opposition between Mary and Satan. His Gospel he wrote to supplement the Synoptic accounts, and sufficient details had been given concerning Mary herself by St. Luke. Omission to mention a fact in a given book is not proof that the writer did not know of it, and above all if it does not fall within the scope of his work. 12. Did the early Church know anything of this doctrine?
St. Augustine, in the fourth century wrote: "When it is a matter of sin we must except the holy Virgin Mary, concerning whom I will have no question raised, owing to the honor due to our Lord." St. Ephrem, also in the fourth century, taught very clearly the Immaculate Conception of Mary, likening her to Eve before the fall. The Oriental Churches celebrated the feast of the Immaculate Conception as early as the seventh century. When Pope Pius IX defined the Catholic doctrine in 1854 he gave, not a new truth to be added to Christian teaching, but merely defined that this doctrine was part of Christian teaching from the very beginning, and that it is to be believed by all as part of Christian revelation. 13. Your infallible Church allowed St. Bernard to remain in ignorance of this doctrine.
Since the Church had not then given any infallible definition on the subject St. Bernard naturally could not be guided by it. St. Bernard believed that Mary was born free from sin, but he was puzzled as to the moment of her sanctification. He thought the probable explanation to be that she was conceived in sin, but purified as was St. John the Baptist prior to her actual birth. But he did not regard this opinion as part of his Faith. Meantime his error was immaterial prior to the final authentic decision of the infallible Church. St. Bernard believed all that God had taught and all that the Catholic Church had clearly set forth in her definitions prior to his time. 14. Did not St. Thomas Aquinas deny the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception?
His opinion was probably much the same as that of St. Bernard. Before the definite decision of the Church was given theologians were free to discuss the matter. But the Church has since defined that the soul of Mary was never subject for a single moment to the stain of original sin. Both St. Bernard and St. Thomas would have been very glad to have had the assistance of such a definition. 15. Why did the Church withhold that honor from Mary for so long a time?
Since Mary always possessed that honor the Church did not withhold it from her. The definition that Mary did possess such an honor was given by the Church when necessity demanded it. There was no real dispute about this matter in the early Church. In the middle ages theologians attempted a deeper analysis of the privileges of Mary, and with no infallible decision of the Church to help them, some theologians arrived at defective conclusions chiefly because of the defective psychology of the times. Some theologians held that Mary was preserved from original sin from the very moment of her conception; others said from the moment of her animation; yet others that she was purified at a moment subsequent both to her conception and to her animation. All admitted that she was sanctified prior to her actual birth. Now that the Church has spoken there is no doubt on the subject. 16. Did not Franciscans and Dominicans attack each other bitterly over the Immaculate Conception?
They indulged in much controversy, but - it was a free matter for discussion until the Church had given her definite ruling. The Catholic Church demands unity in doctrines which have been definitely decided, liberty in matters still undecided, and charity always. I admit that her ideals of charity have not always been maintained by her wayward children in theological controversies, but that is no fault of the Church. 17. Did not Philip III and Philip IV ask the Pope Paul V, Gregory V, and Alexander VII to define the Immaculate Conception in order to stop the wrangling, the Popes replying that the doctrine was not definable as not being in Scripture?
The Popes have never given such a decision. Paul V in 1617 forbade anyone to teach publicly that Mary was not immaculate. Gregory V in 1612 ordered the discussion to stop until the Church should have given an official decision. Alexander VII said that the Immaculate Conception of Mary was the common doctrine of the Church and that no one must deny it. None of these Popes gave a dogmatic definition, but rather a disciplinary ruling. Pope Pius IX. defined the doctrine finally in 1854. 18. Why call Mary a virgin? Seeing that she was a mother. The linking of the two terms is an insult to reason.
The assertion that an omnipotent God is limited by the natural laws, which He Himself established, is an insult to reason. Jesus, the child of Mary, was conceived miraculously without the intervention of any human father, and was born miraculously, Mary's virginity being preserved throughout. I do not claim that any natural laws were responsible for this event. I claim that God was responsible, and the only way you can show that the doctrine is not reasonable is by proving that there is no God, or that He could not do what Catholic doctrine asserts. 19. Where does it say in Scripture that Mary was ever virgin?
Isaiah the prophet (7:14) certainly predicted a supernatural and extraordinary birth of the Messiah when he wrote, "The Lord Himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son; and his name shall be called Emmanuel." St. Luke says, "The angel Gabriel was sent from God ... to a virgin ... and the virgin's name was Mary." When Mary was offered the dignity of becoming the mother of the Messiah, a privilege to which any Jewish maiden would ordinarily look forward with eager desire, she urged against the prospect the fact that she had no intention of motherhood. "How shall this be done, because I know not man." She does not refer to the past, but by using the present tense indicates her present and persevering intention. The angel assured her that her child would be due to the miraculous operation of the Holy Spirit, and that she would not be asked to forfeit the virginity she prized so highly, and then only did she consent. Luke 1:26-38. When Jesus was born, Mary had none of the suffering usually associated with childbirth. The child was born miraculously. Mary herself in no way incapacitated. She herself attended to her own needs and those of the child. "She brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him up in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger." Lk. 2:7. The Virgin Birth means that Mary had at one and the same time the privilege of Motherhood and the privilege of Maidenhood. 20. Did not Mary, to cloak her own sin, persuade St. Joseph that her child was of the Holy Ghost?
No. That is absolutely false. Mary, saluted by an angel as full of grace, was the purest and holiest woman who ever lived on this earth. And, as a matter of fact, with sublime confidence in God, Mary refrained from explaining the event to St. Joseph, leaving all to God. As St. Matthew Mt. I, 20, tells us, "Behold the angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying, 'Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.'" What you suggest has been said by certain people merely because the Catholic Church honors Mary. Their hatred of the Catholic Church is so great that they dislike all she loves, and are willing to overlook any injury to Christ in fostering their hatred. Yet how can they hope to please Christ by dishonoring His mother? Every true child bitterly resents disrespect to his mother, and Christ was the beat son who ever lived. The more we honor Mary the more we honor Christ, for the honor we show her is because of Christ. If He were not the central figure, Mary would have been forgotten long ago. 21. If Jesus was born of a virgin why does he say nothing about it?
We do not know that He said nothing about it. The evangelists do not record any special utterances of Christ on this subject, but they do not pretend to record all that He ever said. St. Luke tells us that when He met the two disciples on the way to Emmaus, "beginning at Moms and all the prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures, the things that were concerning him." 24:27. There is every probability that He explained His advent into this world according to the prophecy of Isaiah. Meantime the Gospels do record the fact that Mary was a virgin, and their words are as reliable in this as when they record the utterances of Christ. 22. To prove Davidic descent both Matthew and Luke give the Genealogy of Joseph, useless were not Joseph the father of Christ.
The genealogy of Joseph was that of Mary also. They were kinspeople of the same Davidic stock. The Jews as a rule counted their generations only in the male line, and such a generation alone would appeal to the Jews for whom Matthew above all wrote. The same St. Matthew records that the angel told Joseph that the child was conceived miraculously by the Holy Ghost and not through the intervention of man. St. Luke in turn left no doubt as to his mind on the subject when he carefully wrote that "Jesus Himself was beginning about the age of thirty years; being (as it was supposed) the son of Joseph." 3:23. 23. St. Matthew says that Joseph knew her not till she brought forth her first-born son: 1:25.
Nor did he. And the expression "till" in Hebrew usage has no necessary reference to the future. Thus in Gen. 8:7, we read that "the dove went forth from the ark and did not return till the waters dried up." That expression does not suggest that it returned then. It did not return at all, having found resting places. Nor does the expression firstborn child imply that there were other children afterwards. Thus Exodus says, "Every first-born shall be sanctified unto God." Parents had not to wait to see if other children were born before they could call the first their first-born! 24. Matt. 13:55-56 says, "His brethren James and Joseph, and Simon and Jude: and his sisters, are they not all with us?"
The Jewish expression "brothers and sisters of the Lord" in Scripture merely refers to relationship in the same tribe or stock. Cousins often came under that title. In all nations the word brother has a wide significance, as when one Mason will call another a brother Mason without suggesting that he was born of the same mother. The same St. Matthew speaks explicitly of "Mary, the mother of James and Joseph" in 27:56, obviously alluding to a Mary who was not the mother of Jesus but who was married to Cleophas, the brother of Joseph. 25. There would not he two girls in the one family called Mary.
There certainly could be. And St. John 19:25, writes that there stood by the cross of Jesus "His mother, and His mother's sister, Mary of Cleophas." But even here, Mary of Cleophas need not have been a sister in the first degree of blood-relationship, but rather of the same lineage in more remote degrees of either consanguinity or affinity. 26. Why are Protestants, who believe in Scripture, so convinced that Mary had other children?
They are not inspired by love for Christ, or for the mother of Christ, or for Scripture in their doctrine. Their main desire is to maintain a doctrine differing from that of the Catholic Church. But it is a position which is rapidly going out of fashion. Learned Protestant scholars today deny as emphatically as any Catholic that Mary had other children. When Our Lord, dying on the cross, commended His mother to the care of St. John, He did so precisely because He was her only child, and He knew that Mary had no other children to care for her. The idea that Mary had other children is disrespectful to the Holy Spirit who claimed and sanctified her as His sanctuary. It insults Christ, who was the only-begotten of His mother even as He was the only-begotten of His Heavenly Father. It insults Mary, who would have been guilty of a great ingratitude to God, if she threw away the gift of virginity which God had so carefully preserved for her in the conception of Christ. It insults St. Joseph. God had told him by an angel to take Mary to wife, and that the child to be born of her had no earthly father but was the very Son of God. God merely gave St. Joseph the privilege of protecting her good name amongst the undiscerning Jews, and He chose a God-fearing man who would respect her. Knowing that her child was God Himself in human form, Joseph would at once regard her as on a plane far superior to that of any ordinary human being, and to him, as to us, the mere thought of her becoming a mother to merely earthly children would have seemed a sacrilege. 27. You urge these privileges granted to Mary as the foundation of your devotion to her, yet Christ said, "Rather blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it." Luke 11:28.
Would you presume to say that Mary, whom the angel addressed as full of grace, did not hear the Word of God and keep it? You have missed the sense of the passage to which you allude. In Luke 11:27, a woman praised the one who had the honor to be the mother of Christ. Christ did not for a moment deny it, as you would like to believe. The sense of His words is simple, "Yes, she is blessed. But better to hear God's word and keep it, thus attain holiness, than to be My mother. You cannot all imitate Mary by being My mother; but you can do so by hearing God's word and keeping it." The thought that those who hear God's word and keep it are rather blessed than Mary because she did not is simply absurd. "Henceforth," declared Mary prophetically, "all generations shall call me blessed." Lk. 1:48. And Elizabeth saluted her with the words, "Blessed art thou among women." Lk. 1:42. 28. How do you prove Mary's bodily assumption into Heaven?
No Christian could dispute the fact that Mary's soul is in Heaven. Christ certainly did not suffer the soul of His own mother to be lost. The doctrine of her bodily assumption after her death is not contained in Scripture, but is guaranteed by tradition and by the teaching of the Catholic Church. That Scripture omits to record the fact is no argument against it. Omission is not denial. Meantime, early traditions positively record the fact, and negatively we note that, whilst the mortal remains of a St. Peter and of a St. Paul are jealously possessed and honored in Rome, no city or Christian center has ever claimed to possess the mortal remains of Our Lady. Certainly relics of Our Lady would be regarded as having greater value than those of any Saint or Apostle, so nearly was she related to Christ. And it was most fitting that the body of Mary, who had been preserved even from the taint of original sin, should not have been allowed to corrupt. After all, it was just as easy for God to take her glorified body to Heaven at once as it will be to take the glorified bodies of all the saved at the last day. However, the definite sanction of this doctrine by the Catholic Church is sufficient assurance of the fact. 29. I have discovered 27 virgin-born Saviors in my studies of mythology.
You would find it difficult to name them. However, granting that you have read of some such claims, a little further study would show you that a critical and, comparative examination such as Christian doctrine has had to undergo, leaves these mythological claims devoid of reality, whilst the Christian fact emerges unscathed. 30. At evening devotions in a Catholic Church I heard many prayers to Mary. I cannot find in Scripture where Mary is to be worshipped in the same way as Christ.
I am not surprised, for such a doctrine is nowhere taught in Scripture. Moreover if any Catholic dared to worship Mary in the same way as he worships Christ, he would be guilty of a most serious sin, and no Catholic priest could give him absolution unless he promised never to do so again. But that does not mean that one must deprive Mary of all honor. 31. St. Bonaventure said, "Into thy hands, O Lady, I commend my spirit." Thus he served the creature more than the creator to whom alone such words should be addressed.
St. Bonaventure did not serve the creature more than the Creator. In commending his soul to Mary he was not commending it to anyone opposed to God. He did is because of God, who chose Mary as the second Eve. Eve brought us forth to misery and to death; Mary brought us forth to happiness and to life when she brought forth our Saviour. Like the kings from the East, St. Bonaventure knew that after the long journey through this life, he would also find the child Jesus with Mary, His mother, and that if he commended his soul to the mother he would necessarily find himself in the presence of the child, even in eternity. Gladly on my own deathbed would I utter the words used by St. Bonaventure. As Jesus came to us through Mary, so we shall go to Him through her, whether we think of it or not. 32. Mary is no different from your own mother.
As the street Arab replied to a similar objection. "But there's an immense difference between the sons. My mother is the mother of me. Mary is the mother of God." 33. You speak as if Jesus looks on His mother just as you look on your mother.
As surely as my mother is my mother, He knows that His mother is His mother; and He treats her as such. 34. Jesus was a good son but he recognized only one being, the omnipotent God.
Had he ignored Mary He would not have been a very good son, nor would He have had much respect for God who said, "Honor thy father and thy mother." Christ was a perfect example of virtue in all things. And if He did not recognize Mary, why did He go down to Nazareth and be subject to her? Why did he perform His first miracle at her request? And why did He make such special provision for her at the moment of His death? 35. When someone praised Mary, Christ paid no attention, but said that only those are blessed who keep the word of God. Lk. 11:28.
The Gospels are fragmentary accounts, and we do not know all that transpired on that occasion. But even so, the actual text is not opposed in any way to the honor we give to Mary. Someone praised Mary. Christ replied, "Yea, rather blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it." Not for a moment did He intend to deny that Mary had done this. He practically says, "Yes. She is blest in being my mother. But it is a greater blessing to serve God." And, from one point of view, the fidelity with which Mary undoubtedly served God was a greater blessing to her than merely being the mother of Christ. Any idea that Christ, the best of sons, was trying to belittle His mother is absurd. And if you have such faith in Scripture, what do you do as regards the prophecy of Mary in Lk. 1:48? "From henceforth," she predicted, "all generations shall call me blessed." Yet blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it! We Catholics call Mary blessed indeed, whilst many Protestants search Scripture in the fond hope of proving something to her discredit! 36. Christ called her, "Woman," when he said, "Woman behold thy son." John 19:26.
In the language Christ spoke, that word was a term of great respect however harshly it may sound in our modern English language. Our Lord would have been the last to slight His mother, a thing we despise in every man; and above all in His last and most tender words to her. Nor are we likely to please Him by seeking to dishonor her. 37. Did He not say to her at the marriage feast of Cana, "Woman, what is that to thee and to Me?" John 2:4.
He did. But most certainly He intended no reproach to Mary. Her action was one of pure charity to others. Foreseeing the possible distress of others, she asked Him to relieve them; and He would not rebuke so unselfish a thought. Nor would He speak to her with any trace of disrespect. Then, too, had Mary asked a wrong thing, Christ would not have done it, nor would He have sanctioned a request He had to rebuke. And Mary knew that she had not been reprehended, or she would not have told the waiters to do what her Son would tell them. She would have dropped the matter. Why, then, did Christ speak thus? It was His first miracle, the first public sign of His divinity wrought by Himself. And He wanted to bring out publicly the fact that He was doing it, not as the son of an earthly mother and according to His human nature, but calling upon His divine nature as the eternal Son of God. He did it because His mother requested it, but He did not do it by any power derived from His mother. He thus brought out both for the listeners and for us that this beginning of miracles was proof of His divinity, although in appearance He seemed but man. 38. Why do you call Mary Queen of Heaven?
Because Mary is undoubtedly in Heaven, and Jesus is King of Heaven. Since Jesus is "King of kings and Lord of lords," it is certain that Mary His mother rejoices in queenly dignity. 39. Why pray to Mary at all?
Because God wills that we should do so, and because such prayers to her are of the utmost value. God often wills to give certain favors only on condition that we go to some secondary agent. Sodom was to be spared through the intercession of Abraham; Gen. 18:20-33. Naaman, the leper, was to be cured only through the waters of the Jordan, 4 Kings 5:9-14. Now Mary is, and must ever remain, the Mother of Christ. She still has a mother's rights and privileges, and is able to obtain for us many graces. But let us view things reasonably. If I desire to pray, I can certainly pray to God directly. Yet would you blame me if, at times, I were to ask my own earthly mother to pray for me also? Such a request is really a prayer to her that she may intercede for me with God. Certainly, if I met the mother of Christ on earth, I would ask her to pray for me, and she would do so. And in her more perfect state with Christ in Heaven she is more able to help me. 40. But a prayer to God directly must be more efficacious than a prayer to Mary.
Not necessarily. It might well be that God intends to honor Our Lady by granting the favor I seek through her intercession in a particular way. In that case the grace is to be given through her provided I honor her by addressing myself to her. Again, every prayer to Mary is in reality the asking of a favor also. It is often better to ask God for a favor and to have someone else praying to God with one for the same favor. Two prayers are better than one. And above all, when the other one praying is Christ's own mother. 41. God loves you more than Mary loves you.
That is so. But He loves Mary more than He loves me. And as she is more pleasing to God than I am, He will be more ready to grant her requests. 42. It is unscriptural to attribute power to Mary.
That is a very unscriptural statement. At His mother's request Jesus changed water into wine at Cana, though He had said, "My time is not yet come." John 2:4. St. James tells us that "the prayer of a just man availeth much." Ja. 5:16. How much more the prayer of Mary! 43. Does the Bible sanction such prayers to Mary?
Yes. All through the Bible you will find God conferring favors through the prayer of others. In the Old Testament we read of the prayers of Abraham, Moses, and of the various prophets. In the New Testament, St. James 5:16, tells us to "pray for one another," in the text I have just quoted. If we must always pray directly to God and may not ask the prayers of others why did St. Paul write to the Thessalonians, "Pray for us that we may be delivered from importunate and evil men"? 2 Thess. 3:2. Why did he not ask directly of God, instead of asking the prayers of the Thessalonians? Or would you be more scriptural than the New Testament itself? 44. There is but one mediator, - there is no place for Mary.
Christ is the principal mediator in His own right, Mary is a secondary mediatrix, through, with, and in Christ. Without Him she would have no power, and therefore He is the source of all mediation with God on behalf of men. 45. How can you blend the mediation of others with that of Christ?
It follows from the doctrine of the Communion of Saints. Remember that, by Baptism, every Christian is incorporated with Christ. St. Paul says, "Christ is the head; ye are the members." 1 Cor. 11:3; 12:27. So close is this union that Christ says, "Whoever gives you to drink a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ; amen, I say to you, he shall not lose his reward." Mk. 9:40. Every Christian is Christ in a most intimate way. St. Paul tells us that if a baptized person sins, he takes the members of Christ and makes them the members of iniquity! When that same St. Paul was persecuting the Christians before his conversion, Christ appeared to him and said, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest Thou Me?" Acts 9:4. He did not say, "Why persecutest thou My disciples?" He could equally say, when we pray to Mary or to the saints, "What asketh thou of Me?" When we honor Our Lady or the saints, we honor, not their own merely human and created nature, but we honor Christ in them according to the doctrines of Scripture. The Catholic Church is the only completely scriptural Church. 46. Do Catholics believe that Mary is omnipotent?
No. God alone is omnipotent. But through Mary we have access to the omnipotence of God. 47. How do you know that Mary hears you?
The Catholic Church guarantees that, and she is here to tell us the truth about such things in the name of Christ and with His authority. Reason also assures us that, as she could know our prayers in this life and pray for us in turn, so she can do so in the more perfect state in Heaven. Finally, experience proves it, for she has manifested her power in thousands of concrete instances in answer to prayer. 48. Why should Mary be recognized as being greater than any other woman?
She was picked out by God to be the sacred repository of God's own Son, to furnish, so to speak, the human texture, flesh, and blood from which was to be woven the garb of divinity. If before birth we could have the privilege of choosing our own natural mother, and if we ever had the power of making that mother whatever we chose, would we ever make her short of anything but the loveliest lady in the world, or would we ever have endowed her with those qualities which would make us apologize to men either for moral blemishes or physical weaknesses? No. I think we would give to her the qualities and virtues which would make all men love her eternally. If you and I then, ... with our natural natures would have done all this to the woman who gave us life, who meant so much to us, should we not suppose that God would do the same and more for the Mother of His Son? This he did do. He arrayed her in the peerless jewel of Divine Grace, a grace that was higher than any grace given to any mint, angel, or archangel. Angels were created to serve God. Mary was created to be the Mother, the shrine, the tabernacle of God-made Man. Mary is to be honored above all women as the prophecies of the Old Testament declare, precisely because of the royal role she plays as Co-Redemptrix with Christ in the Divine Redemption. 49. I don't see the necessity of hailing her as the Co-Redemptrix with Christ.
See then what is happening to the non-Catholic world for denying that role of Mary. In Catholicism, they tell us, there is too much emphasis and the wrong emphasis on the Mother of Jesus. If we ever begin a religion by eliminating the Mother, we shall eventually wind up by eliminating the Son. Thus when the Reformers did away with the Mother, they paved the way for doing away with the Son. If we get rid of the one, we will soon get rid of the other. Germany began by putting the Mother in the tomb of oblivion or on the dusty pages of history and after four hundred years Germany is now trying to get rid of the Son. If we can judge correctly the attitude of the American Federation of Churches, our Blessed Savior is being rapidly brought down to the mere status of a man. We can reasonably be suspicious that religions that have taken Mary out, have slurred this wonderful lady, and when we insult the Mother we insult the Son. We can never have a Son without a Mother in the natural order of things; in the Divine order of things we can never have a Christ without a Mary. If we smash her statues and white-wash Our Lady's Chapel or chisel the Child from the Mother, we run the risk of smashing the entire statue of Christianity, for those two holy heads of Jesus and Mary are too close together for their halos not to mingle and to cross. 50. Attending a Catholic Church one evening I was disgusted by the rigmarole called the Rosary. What is the Rosary?
The Rosary is a special form of devotion to Mary. One takes a set of beads, divided into five sections, each section consisting of one large bead and ten small beads. Holding the large bead, one says the Our Father, and on each of the small ones, the Hail Mary. Between each section or decade the Gloria is said. Whilst saying the prayers, one meditates or thinks of the joys, or sorrows, or glories of Christ's life and of that of His Mother. It is a very beautiful form of prayer with which you were disgusted merely because you did not understand it. The Rosary is a Bible for the Blind and the unlearned. In the so-called Dark Ages which were indeed the Ages of Faith, the Church taught the great masses, who could not read, the mysteries of the Bible through the meditations of the Rosary.
(Continued in next post)