by Matt Slick
From Vatican Collection Volume 1, Vatican Council II, The Conciliar and Post Conciliar documents. General Editor Austin Flannery, O.P. New revised edition 1992; Costello publishing company, Northport, New York. 1992 pages 420-421 (par. 65)
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Mary the subject of preaching and worship: documents)
65. But while in the most Blessed Virgin the church has already reached that perfection whereby she exists without spot or wrinkle (cf. Eph. 5:27), the faithful still strive to conquer sin and increase in holiness. And so they turn their eyes to Mary who shines forth to the whole community of the elect as the model of virtues. Devoutly meditating on her and contemplating her in the light of the Word made man, the Church reverently penetrates more deeply into the great mystery of the Incarnation and becomes more and more like her spouse. Having entered deeply into the history of salvation, Mary, in a way, unites in her person and re-echoes the most important doctrines of the Faith: and when she is the subject of preaching and worship she prompts the faithful to come to her son, to his sacrifice and to the love of the Father. Seeking after the glory of Christ, the Church becomes more like her lofty type, and continually progresses in faith, hope and charity, seeking and doing the will of God in all things. The Church, therefore, in her apostolic work too, rightly looks to her who gave birth to Christ, who was thus conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin, in order that through the church he could be born and increase in the hearts of the faithful. In her life the Virgin has been a model of that motherly love with which all who joined in the church's apostolic mission for the regeneration of mankind should be animated.
IV. THE CULT OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN IN THE CHURCH1
66. Mary has by grace been exalted above all angels and men to a place second only to her Son, as the most holy Mother of God who was involved in the mysteries of Christ: she is rightly honored by a special cult in the Church. From the earliest times the Blessed Virgin is honored under the title of Mother of God, whose protection the faithful take refuge together in prayer in all their perils and needs. Accordingly, following the Council of Ephesus, there was a remarkable growth in the cult of the people of God towards Mary, in veneration and love, in invocation and imitation, according to her own prophetic words: "all generations shall call me Blessed, because he that is mighty hath done great things to me," (Luke 1:48).
Comments on this passage
- Nowhere in Scripture are we told to put our eyes upon anyone other than the Lord himself. We are told to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:2). In addition, it is Jesus who is the model of virtue--not Mary. Though she was greatly blessed and undoubtedly a godly woman, she still needed a savior. Mary said, "And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior," (Luke 1:47). Contrary to the Roman Catholic teaching that Mary was sinless, Mary herself admitted that God was her savior. A sinless person does not need a savior. It is in the person of Jesus that grace and truth (and virtue) are best exemplified. Our eyes should be kept on him.
- "Spouse"? Still researching to discover what is meant. The Catholic church doesn't seem to be too clear on this.
- The only proper object of preaching and worship is God. Jesus said, " . . . You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only," (Matt. 4:10). The incredible danger of making a person other than God, such as Mary, the subject of both preaching and worship is warned about in Exodus 20:4-5, "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. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me." God clearly warns against creating any idol before which anyone should bow. It goes without saying that the countless images of Mary strewn throughout Catholic churches all over the world are most assuredly shrines of idolatry since thousands of times a day Catholics over the world break the commandment of God by bowing before these images in worship.
- We should look to Christ alone. When you take your eyes off of Jesus and put them on anything else, or anyone else, you will be led astray.
- Where is this taught in Scripture? Where does it say that Mary was exalted above angels and men second only to her son? This would mean that Mary is just under Jesus, the creator of the universe, in position. Vatican II's comments are not biblical. This teaching cannot be found in Scripture and should be abandoned.
- This is a misleading term. Mary is not the Mother of God in the sense that God, the creator of the universe, had a mom. The divine nature has no mother since God is eternal and self-sufficient. Rather, Mary is the mother of the human nature of Jesus--not the mother of the divine nature. The human nature took its biological essence from Mary. The divine nature is from God. But we have to be careful here. Mary is, however, the mother of the person of Christ who has two natures: divine and human. Roman Catholics use the ambiguity of the term to elevate Mary to a place she should not be and in so doing--promote their idolatry.
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- 1. "Cult" in this sense means a community of worshippers and not the "non-Christian cult" meaning that is often used of Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc.