Roman Catholics certainly exalt Mary to a great extent, and in doing so almost elevate her to the status of God. Of course, they will deny that she is a goddess and maintain that it is only the proper honor due to her that is offered, and that this proper honor can then account for the astounding attributes granted to her per Sacred Tradition's declaration. But is it right to endow to Mary things attributed to God, such as her atoning for sin1, delivering our souls from death2, and simultaneously hearing thousands of people praying silently in different languages all over the world3? Without a shred of biblical evidence to support these and other things said of Mary, we must conclude that Roman Catholicism has gone beyond what is revealed in scripture (1 Cor. 4:6) and has even violated Scripture.
This is why Protestants frequently equate Roman Catholic exaltation of Mary with idolatry. Protestants maintain that God alone should receive the glory, that God alone performed the atoning work, that God alone delivers our souls from death, and that God alone has the ability to simultaneously hear thousands of silent prayers from around the world in different languages. Still, Roman Catholics claim they are not committing idolatry but are instead only giving Mary her proper honor--an honor derived completely from Roman Catholic's Sacred Tradition. So, which is it? Does Roman Catholicism lift Mary almost to the level of God, or is it nothing more than a very high honor?
Following is a grid comparing things attributed to God that are also attributed to Mary. Some of them are shocking.
C O M P A R I N G M A R Y T O G O D
|Access to Jesus||Matt. 11:28, "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."||"so no man goeth to Christ but by His Mother." (Vatican Website: Encyclical of Pope Leo 13th on the Rosary, Octobri Mense, Pope Leo 13th, 1903-1914).|
|Atonement||1 Cor. 15:1-4; Col. 1:20; and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.||"Christ alone truly offered the sacrifice of atonement on the Cross . . . In the power of the grace of Redemption merited by Christ, Mary, by her spiritual entering into the sacrifice of her divine son for men, made atonement for the sins of man and (de congruon) merited the application of the redemptive grace of Christ. In this manner she cooperates in the subjective redemption of mankind." (Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma4, Ott, page 213).|
|Body Not See Corruption||Acts 2:31, "he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that He was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh suffer decay."||"She, by an entirely unique privilege, completely overcame sin by her Immaculate Conception, and as a result she was not subject to the law of remaining in the corruption of the grave, and she did not have to wait until the end of time for the redemption of her body" (Pope Pius XII, Munificentissimus Deus, # 5); "her sacred body had never been subject to the corruption of the tomb," (Pope Pius XII, Munificentissimus Deus, # 14).|
|Crush the Serpent||Gen. 3:15, "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He shall bruise [Heb. shoof, bruise, crush] you on the head and you shall bruise him on the heel.” (NASB5). Gen. 3:15, "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel," (vatican.va, New American Bible).||"All our hope do we repose in the most Blessed Virgin—in the all fair and immaculate one who has crushed the poisonous head of the most cruel serpent and brought salvation to the world," (Pope Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus).|
|Deliver from death||2 Cor. 1:10, " [God] who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us,"||" . . . You [Mary] conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death." (CCC 966).|
|Devotion to||1 Cor. 7:35, "And this I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is seemly, and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord."||"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," (CCC. 971).|
|Feasts||Exodus 32:5, "Tomorrow shall be a feast to the Lord."||"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," (CCC. 971).|
|Full of Grace||John 1:14, "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth."||"The Holy Spirit prepared Mary by his grace. It was fitting that the mother of him in whom "the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily" should herself be "full of grace." (CCC 722).|
|Helper||John 14:16, 17, "And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth,"||"Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix.'" (CCC, par. 969).|
|Holy||1 Pet. 1:16, "because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” "||"By asking Mary to pray for us, we acknowledge ourselves to be poor sinners and we address ourselves to the 'Mother of Mercy,' the All-Holy One." (CCC 2677).|
|Hope of Grace||1 Pet. 1:13, "Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ."||"The holiness which is our end in Christ (cf. 1 John 3:2-3) was seen, by unmerited grace, in Mary, who is the prototype of the hope of grace for humankind as a whole." (www.vatian.va, Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian unity. Anglican--Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC), #59).|
|Intercessor||Hebrews 7:25, "Hence, also, He [Jesus] is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them."||" . . . by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation . . . " (CCC par. 969).|
|Look to||Psalm 123:2, "So our eyes look to the Lord our God, Until He shall be gracious to us."||"After speaking of the Church, her origin, mission, and destiny, we can find no better way to conclude than by looking to Mary," (CCC 972).|
|Lord's Supper||Mark 14:22-24, "And while they were eating, He took some bread, and after a blessing He broke it; and gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is My body.” 23 And when He had taken a cup, and given thanks, He gave it to them; and they all drank from it. 24 And He said to them, “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many."||"Therefore, in the footsteps of Mary, "woman of the Eucharist" (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, chapter VI), the Christian community lives this mystery! Strengthened by the "bread of eternal life", it becomes a presence of light and life, a leaven of evangelization and solidarity." (Address of John Paul II, Altar of the Confessio of the Vatican Basilica, Sunday, 17 October 2004).|
|Mediator||1 Tim. 2:5, " For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." Matt. 11:28, "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."||"Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix.'" (CCC, par. 969).|
|Offering||Heb. 7:27, "who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins, and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself." See also Heb. 9:13||It was she, the second Eve, who, free from all sin, original or personal, and always more intimately united with her Son, offered Him on Golgotha to the Eternal Father for all the children of Adam," (Mystici Corpois Christ, par. 110).|
|Prayer, addressed to||2 Cor. 13:7, "Now we pray to God that you do no wrong; not that we ourselves may appear approved, but that you may do what is right, even though we should appear unapproved."||"Mary is the perfect Orans (pray-er), a figure of the Church. When we pray to her, we are adhering with her to the plan of the Father." (CCC 2679).|
|Prayer, answers||John 14:14, "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.||Roman Catholics all over the world fully expect Mary, by her intercession, to provide answers to their prayers.|
|Prayer, hears prayers||Psalm 65:1-2, "There will be silence before You, and praise in Zion, O God, and to You the vow will be performed. 2 O You who hear prayer, to You all men come."||"May the Blessed Virgin hear your every prayer." (Message of John Paul II, read by H. E. Msgr. Francesco Marchisano, Grotto of our Lady of Lourdes in the Vatican Gardens, Saturday, 31 May 2003).|
|Preparing a Place||John 14:1,2, "Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you."||"This mother . . . is waiting and preparing your home for you" (Handbook for Today's Catholic, p. 31).|
|Receive us||John 14:3, "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also."||"Jesus entrusts us to Mary as our Mother, and Mary receives us all as her children!" catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=748; "Mary receives us, nurtures us, and returns us to God the Father in love," (secretummeummihipress.com/content/view/172/117/).|
|Sinless||1 Pet. 2:22, "who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth;||"The formal active essence of original sin was not removed from her soul, as it is removed from others by baptism; it was excluded, it never was in her soul. Simultaneously with the exclusion of sin. The state of original sanctity, innocence, and justice, as opposed to original sin, was conferred upon her, by which gift every stain and fault, all depraved emotions, passions, and debilities, essentially pertaining to original sin, were excluded." (Catholic Encyclopedia, Immaculate Conception, newadvent.org/cathen/07674d.htm).|
|Trust in||Psalm 9:10, "And those who know Your name will put their trust in You. For You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You."; Psalm 37:5, "Commit your way to the Lord." 1 Pet. 4:19, "Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right."||"By entrusting ourselves to her prayer, we abandon ourselves to the will of God together with her: 'Thy will be done,' (CCC 2677).|
|Well Pleased||Matt. 3:17, "and behold, a voice out of the heavens, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased."||"Above all creatures did God so love her that truly in her was the Father well pleased with singular delight," (Pope Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus).|
|Worship||Matt. 4:10, "Then Jesus *said to him, “Begone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’”||" . . . when she [Mary] is the subject of preaching and worship she prompts the faithful to come to her Son . . . " (Vatican Council II, p. 420).|
- 1. Pope Leo 13th, 1903-1914, on the Rosary, Octobri Mense.
- 2. CCC, 966
- 3. "May the Blessed Virgin hear your every prayer," Message of John Paul II, read by H. E. Msgr. Francesco Marchisano, Grotto of our Lady of Lourdes in the Vatican Gardens, Saturday, 31 May 2003.
- 4. nihil obstat and imprimatur. The nihil obstat is a declaration that the material contains nothing objectionable to the Catholic faith. It doesn't mean that the one giving the approval agrees with everything within the work, but that the work contains nothing contrary to the Catholic faith and morals. The Imprimatur means it is worthy to be published and distributed among Catholics. Question: If Christ alone offered the sacrifice of atonement, how can it be said that Mary atoned for the sins of man?
- 5. Hebrew is "shoof" and means "bruise, crush, gape upon" ¹Wv 1) to bruise, crush, gape upon; Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1995.