The Exaltation of Mary

maryFollowing is a list of the titles, attributes, and qualities of the Virgin Mary according to the Roman Catholic Church.  Note how many of the statements elevate Mary to a place that is equal to God in many functions, i.e., intercession, atonement, prayer to, etc.

  1. Adoration of Mary
    1. Prayer to Mary
      1. CCC par. 2675, "Beginning with Mary's unique cooperation with the working of the Holy Spirit, the Churches developed their prayer to the holy Mother of God, centering it on the person of Christ manifested in his mysteries . . . "
    2. Hears every prayer (in multiple languages)
      1. Pope John Paul II said, "I pray with each one of you in front of the Grotto as it were to offer to the Immaculate Virgin the gift of the whole spiritual journey completed in this Marian month: every resolution, every concern, every need of the Church and of the world. 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)
  2. Catholics Relation to Mary
    1. Prayer to Mary
      1. CCC 2679 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, who sends his Son to save all men. Like the beloved disciple we welcome Jesus' mother into our homes, for she has become the mother of all the living. We can pray with and to her. The prayer of the Church is sustained by the prayer of Mary and united with it in hope.
    2. Praises to Mary
      1. CCC 2682 Because of Mary's singular cooperation with the action of the Holy Spirit, the Church loves to pray in communion with the Virgin Mary, to magnify with her the great things the Lord has done for her, and to entrust supplications and praises to her.
  3. Characteristics of Mary
    1. Mary Born without sin
      1. "Now God has willed that the Blessed Virgin Mary should be exempted from this general rule. 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." (Munifentissimus deus,, #5).
      2. CCC 722 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." She was, by sheer grace, conceived without sin as the most humble of creatures, the most capable of welcoming the inexpressible gift of the Almighty. It was quite correct for the angel Gabriel to greet her as the "Daughter of Zion": "Rejoice." It is the thanksgiving of the whole People of God, and thus of the Church, which Mary in her canticle lifts up to the Father in the Holy Spirit while carrying within her the eternal Son.
  4. Titles
    1. From the Catechism of the Catholic Church
      1. Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, Mediatrix:  CCC 969, "Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix."
      2. The New Eve, Mother of the Church:  CCC 975,"We believe that the Holy Mother of God, the new Eve, Mother of the Church, continues in heaven to exercise her maternal role on behalf of the members of Christ."
      3. Mother of God, Seat of Wisdom:  CCC 721, "Mary, the all-holy ever-virgin Mother of God, is the masterwork of the mission of the Son and the Spirit in the fullness of time . . . Mary is acclaimed and represented in the liturgy as the "Seat of Wisdom."
      4. Mother of the members of Christ:  CCC 963, " . . . The Virgin Mary . . . is acknowledged and honored as being truly the Mother of God and of the redeemer. . . . She is 'clearly the mother of the members of Christ' . . . since she has by her charity joined in bringing about the birth of believers in the Church, who are members of its head." "Mary, Mother of Christ, Mother of the Church."
      5. Queen over all things:  CCC 966, "Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death." You conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death."
      6. Holy Mother of God, Holy Virgin of virgins, Mother of the Church, Mother of divine grace, Mother most pure, Mother most chaste, Mother inviolate, Mother undefiled, Mother most amiable, Mother admirable, Mother of good counsel, Mother of mercy, Virgin most prudent, Virgin most powerful, Virgin most merciful, Virgin most faithful, Mirror of justice, Seat of wisdom, Mystical rose, Tower of David, Tower if ivory, Ark of the covenant, Gate of heaven, Morning star, Health of the sick, Refuge of sinners, Comfort of the afflicted, Help of Christians, Queen of Angels, Queen of Patriarchs, Queen of Prophets, Queen of Apostles, Queen of Martyrs, Queen of Confessors, Queen of Virgins, Queen of all Saints, Queen conceived without original sin, Queen assumed into heaven, Queen of the most holy Rosary, Queen of families, Queen of peace. (
    2. From the Vatican Website
      1. Spouse of the Holy Spirit:   "Let us turn our gaze to Mary, Christs first disciple, Spouse of the Holy Spirit and Mother of the Church, who was with the Apostles at the first Pentecost, so that she will help us to learn from her fiat docility to the voice of the Spirit."  (Holy Father's speech for the world congress of ecclesial movements and new communities).
      2. Queen of the Apostles:  We entrust to the intercession of these two holy Apostles the Church's course at the beginning of the new millennium. We invoke Mary Queen of the Apostles so that everywhere the Christian people may grow in fraternal communion and in missionary zeal.  (Homily of John Paul II, Friday, 29 June 2001)
      3. Woman of the Eucharist:  "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)
  5. Works of Mary
    1. Mary's intercession brings us the gifts of eternal salvation
      1. "This maternity of Mary in the order of grace began with the consent which she gave in faith at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, and lasts until The eternal fulfillment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this salvific duty, but by her constant intercession continued to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation. By her maternal charity, she cares for the brethren of her Son, who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and cultics, until they are led into the happiness of their true home. Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked by the Church under the titles of Advocate, Auxiliatrix (helper), Adjutrix (benefactress), and Mediatrix. This, however, is to be so understood that it neither takes away from nor adds anything to the dignity and efficaciousness of Christ the one Mediator." (Vatican II, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, Solemnly Promulgated by Holiness Pope Paul VI, Nov. 21, 1964 , #62).
    2. Mary made atonement for the sins of men
      1. "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 dogma, page 213 as cited in "the facts on Roman Catholicism" by John Ankerberg and John Weldon, harvest House publishers, Eugene Oregon, 1993, page 51)
    3. Mary is preparing a home for Christians
      1. "This mother . . . is waiting and preparing your home for you" (Handbook for Todays Catholic, p.31).
        1. John 14:2, "In My Fathers house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you."
    4. Mary is the mediator between Christ and people.
      1. "Mary is the intermediary through whom is distributed unto us this immense treasure of mercies gathered by God, for mercy and truth were created by Jesus Christ. Thus as no man goeth to the Father but by the Son, 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)
        1. 1 Tim. 2:5, "For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."
    5. Mary delivers the Christian's souls from death.
      1. Par. 966, " . . . You [Mary] conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death."
  6. Other
    1. Looking to Mary
      1. CCC 972 After speaking of the Church, her origin, mission, and destiny, we can find no better way to conclude than by looking to Mary. In her we contemplate what the Church already is in her mystery on her own "pilgrimage of faith," and what she will be in the homeland at the end of her journey. There, "in the glory of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity," "in the communion of all the saints," the Church is awaited by the one she venerates as Mother of her Lord and as her own mother.
        1. The best way to conclude is to look to Jesus, not Mary!
        2. We should contemplate what the church is in Jesus.
        3. We should look to Jesus as our Savior.
    2. Mary the example of holiness
      1. CCC, 2030, "It is in the Church, in communion with all the baptized, that the Christian fulfills his vocation . . . From the Church he learns the example of holiness and recognizes its model and source in the all-holy Virgin Mary . . . "
    3. Mary as the prototype of hope and grace for mankind
      1. "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." (, Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian unity.  Anglican--Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC), #59).



About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.