Is Roman Catholic adoration of Mary really idolatry?

by Matt Slick
8/4/2015
 

One of the accusations made by Protestants against Roman Catholics is that by praying to Mary they are committing idolatry because they are giving to Mary the honor and adoration that belongs to God alone. Only God is worthy of worship, prayer, and supplication.  These acts by people should be given to God, not created things.   

When Roman Catholics bow before statues of Mary, are they worshipping the statue?  Of course not.  Neither did the false worshippers of the Old Testament believe that the statue in front of which they were bowing were actually their gods.  Instead, they used those statues and idols as focul points of adoration, worship, and prayer.

Nevertheless, the Roman Catholics deny they are committing idolatry and say they are only honoring Mary. But, is that the case when they bow before statues of Mary and pray to her? Are they committing idolatry?

Yes, they are.

In order to illustrate the idea that they are committing idolatry let's substitute Mary and adoration to her with different things.

idolatry bullBull Statue

If there were a church and in this church there was a special room and in this special room was a statue of a bull and around the bull people were kneeling and praying to the bull as they faced the direction of the statue, are they just giving honor and adoration to the bull?  Or, would that be idolatry?  Yes, it is idolatry.

idolatry bibleBible Statue

If there were a church and in this church there was a special room and in this special room was a statue of a Bible and around the Bible people were kneeling and praying to the Bible as they faced the direction of the statue, are they just giving honor and adoration to the Bible?  Or, would that be idolatry?  Yes, it is idolatry.

idolatry soldierSoldier Statue

If there were a church and in this church there was a special room and in this special room was a statue of a fallen soldier and around the solder people were kneeling and praying to the soldier as they faced the direction of the statue, are they just giving honor and adoration to the soldier?  Or, would that be idolatry?  Yes, it is idolatry.

idolatry maryMary Statue

If there were a church and in this church there was a special room and in this special room was a statue of Mary and around the statue people were kneeling and praying to Mary as they faced the direction of the statue, are they just giving honor and adoration to Mary?  Or, would that be idolatry?  Yes, it is idolatry.

Questions

  1. If it is not idolatry to give honor and adoration to Mary, then why is it idolatry in the other cases? 
  2. What makes it idolatry to offer the same prayer, adoration, and honor to a Bull, a Bible and a Soldier, but it is not idolatry when it is offered to Mary?
     

The Bible says...

"You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth," (Exodus 20:4).

 

 

 
 

About The Author

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