In Defense of Exaggerated Marian Devotion

 

A Marian procession in San Cataldo, Sicily, for the Feast of the Assumption.
A Marian procession in San Cataldo, Sicily, for the Feast of the Assumption.

Protestants aren’t the only ones who find Catholic devotion to Mary a bit over-the-top sometimes. A lot of Catholics find other Catholics, including great Saints like Alphonsus Liguori and Louis de Montfort, to be a little “much” when talking about the Virgin Mary. I get it. Take the Salve Regina, for example: it calls Mary “Our Life, Our Sweetness, and Our Hope.” How is that kind of effusive flattery theologically defensible? After all, Our Life and our Hope is Jesus Christ.

Part of the answer is cultural and rhetorical. It’s not a coincidence that the most schmaltzy or exaggerated-seeming statements about Mary tend to come from Romantic Romance-language speakers (the Italians, French, and Spanish, especially).

But even more than that, these kind of lines come from devotional writings, meaning that they’re more like love letters to the Virgin Mary than they are like carefully-worded theological treatises. Blessed John Henry Newman, a comparatively-stuffy Englishman, points this out brilliantly:

And of all passions love is the most unmanageable; nay more, I would not give much for that love which is never extravagant, which always observes the proprieties, and can move about in perfect good taste, under all emergencies. What mother, what husband or wife, what youth or maiden in love, but says a thousand foolish things, in the way of endearment, which the speaker would be sorry for strangers to hear; yet they are not on that account unwelcome to the parties to whom they are addressed. Sometimes by bad luck they are written down sometimes they get into the newspapers; and what might be even graceful when it was fresh from the heart, and interpreted by the voice and the countenance, presents but a melancholy exhibition when served up cold for the public eye.

So it is with devotional feelings. Burning thoughts and words are as open to criticism as they are beyond it. What is abstractedly extravagant, may in particular persons be becoming and beautiful, and only fall under blame when it is found in others who imitate them. When it is formalised into meditations and exercises, it is as repulsive as love-letters in a police report. Moreover, even holy minds adopt and become familiar with language which they would never have originated themselves, when it proceeds from a writer who has the same objects of devotion as they have; and, if they find a stranger ridicule or reprobate supplication or praise which has come to them so recommended, they feel it as keenly as if a direct insult were offered to those to whom that homage is addressed.

The parody band Flight of the Conchords has a (slightly-racy) song called “The Most Beautiful Girl in the Room,” in which the singer compliments a girl by saying things like “I can tell that you are the most beautiful girl in the … room,” and “when you’re on the street, depending on the street, I bet you are definitely in the top three good looking girls on the street.” The joke is that these carefully-nuanced statements make for terrible compliments. A man in love ought to think and speak of his beloved as if she’s the most beautiful woman on earth. Newman’s point is true of all devotional language, but in a special way of the way Catholics speak and think about Mary. Criticizing Catholics for exuberantly praising their mother Mary is like criticizing a child for buying a “#1 Dad” mug for his father.

Some of you, in reading this, might object. Shouldn’t we be careful not to exaggerate or use over-the-top or flowery language? No. There are two reasons for this. First, it limits the fullness of human emotional expression. Exaggeration for effect is a great way to emphasize a point, and it’s arbitrary to demand that it not be used. Second, rejecting exaggeration thwarts our ability to understand the Bible… because the Bible employs exaggeration.

I’ve mentioned before that parts of the Bible are metaphoric, but it’s important to recognize that parts of the Bible are also exaggerated.  Exaggeration is a part of Jewish culture just as much as it is part of Mediterranean cultures. There’s a nod to this fact in 1 Samuel 18:6-8, after David kills Goliath:

As they were coming home, when David returned from slaying the Philistine, the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with timbrels, with songs of joy, and with instruments of music. And the women sang to one another as they made merry, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” And Saul was very angry, and this saying displeased him; he said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands; and what more can he have but the kingdom?”

David has killed one guy, and the women are accrediting him with killing “tens of thousands.” Saul is annoyed by this, not because it’s not literally true, but because they only credit him with killing “thousands.” Remember this when you read the incredible body counts at certain parts of the Old Testament. The Jews did things with numbers that we English-speakers just don’t usually do.

Jesus uses a similar kind of rhetorical exaggeration in Matthew 18:8-9, in a passage that on its face would literally advocate mutilation:

And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life maimed or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.

But of course, we don’t find the followers of Christ mutilating themselves, or (for example) gouging our their eyes when they struggle with pornography. And speaking of mutilation, St. Paul says in Galatians 5:12 that he wishes that those preaching mandatory circumcision would just castrate themselves. He’s obviously exaggerating for effect. He doesn’t literally hope that will happen.

Nevertheless, it’s uncomfortable even to write that parts of the Bible are exaggerated, because it’s so deeply ingrained within us that things are either literally true or else they’re false. There’s a scene in the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie in which Peter tries to use a metaphor around the alien Drax, and Rocket explains “His people are completely literal. Metaphors go over his head.” Drax then replies “Nothing goes over my head. My reflexes are too fast. I would catch it.”

Drax only has two categories: literal or lies. And so he doesn’t understand a lot of what’s going on around him. Watching him struggle is how it feels to watch a lot of religious debates. If you said that it was “raining cats and dogs out there,” he would denounce you as a liar because there weren’t actual animals falling from the sky. But now imagine that before you can respond, one of your friends jumps to your defense by saying that yes, actual animals did fall from the sky. The whole debate would be so surreal and so far off the mark of what you actually meant, and yet that’s exactly how many atheist-Christian debates go, in which people get bogged down debating whether a particular number is literal or false, as if those are the only two categories. That’s Drax Christianity.

And Drax Christianity is accompanied by outspoken Drax atheism. So, for example, after Ross Douthat explained to Bill Maher (an atheist) that the Bible was never intended to be understood as a science textbook, and that even the earliest Christians recognized this, Maher responds bizarrely:

So, you’re giving yourself license to say that some of the Bible is bull****. […] But the Bible does say, it’s funny, it says, “this is 100% true.” And the Bible says “you have to take it like that.” Now, if it’s not 100% true, I would say the whole thing falls apart.

Maher’s only got two categories; either it’s literal in the way that a science book is, or it’s a lie. So Bill cites to some (imaginary) Bible verses about how the Bible is “100% true” and therefore “you have to take it like that,” and concludes that it therefore can’t have any non-literal language. He’s a Drax atheist. He just doesn’t understand how normal people talk.

Can exaggeration be dangerous? Yes. But as Blessed Cardinal Newman points out, exaggeration is dangerous when it’s not recognized as such, when we treat a love letter like a police report. But the solution to that isn’t to resort to Drax Christianity or to quash all exaggerations and flourishes. It’s to recognize that there are a billion good reasons to embrace the fullness of human expression, including exaggeration, and to claim even exaggeration for Christ.

 

353 Comments

  1. Very nice comparison; it really illustrates the ineffable personal relationship we Catholics have with Our Mother. So many Protestants reject that maternal relationship with Mary and therefore cannot understand 90%+ of Catholic teachings and understanding of…the Queen of the Universe.

    1. Another point to keep in mind is that Christ told us “You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? So, every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit. A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.”

      I challenge any Protestant Mary-hater to come up with an example of “bad fruit” coming from a person’s devotion to Mary. Let’s hear it, because I know of none such. Instead, what I see is an increase in Charity, a deeper devotion to our Lord Jesus Christ, and a richer prayer life.

      1. Yes, Bob, and there’s another similar consideration from the teachings of Christ for all the ‘Mary-haters’ to recall: humility. We know that Mary is the ‘queen of humility’, so to say, as it was this very virtue that is said to be responsible for her election as the Mother of ‘God’s Son’. She herself said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, for he hath regarded the HUMILITY of his handmaid/bond-slave/slave girl; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed”. Note particularly the focus on humility and the description of ‘free will bond-slave’ which connotes complete obedience and humility….not to mention the love for her ‘master’,the Lord, due to the word’s: ‘My soul magnifies the Lord’.

        Then, again, in the Gospel teachings, Jesus notes that humility will play an important part in the Kingdom of Heaven, and He warns those who would presume to place themselves first at the ‘Wedding Feast’, that they might anger the ‘master of the feast’ should they lack the proper respect and humility regarding the other guests. Jesus says:

        “When thou art invited to a wedding, sit not down in the first place, lest perhaps one more honourable than thou be invited by him: And he that invited thee and him, come and say to thee, Give this man place: and then thou begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when thou art invited, go, sit down in the lowest place; that when he who invited thee, cometh, he may say to thee: Friend, go up higher. Then shalt thou have glory before them that sit at table with thee.Because every one that exalteth himself, shall be humbled; and he that humbleth himself, shall be exalted. ”

        So, considering these words of Christ, it is very wise to copy the virtue of humility in Mary, that brought down God’s blessing on her. If Christians do so, they are far more likely to follow her Son’s advice, and seek the lowest place at the Feast, so as to be raised to the right place by the ‘Master of the Feast’ Himself. And in another place, Jesus similarly relates that a man not wearing the right garment provided for such a feast, was expelled into the darkness outside for his wicked presumption and complete lack of humility.

        So, if honoring Mary also includes imitating her, is this not one of the most spiritually beneficial things that a Christian could do, that is, to copy her profound humility?

        ‘Mary-haters’ might actually hate her so much, and consider themselves so highly in comparison, that it wouldn’t be surprising if some of them actually try to sit in her assigned place at the ‘Feast’. Imagine how shocked they would be when the King arrives, and sees someone sitting in the Queens place? Horrifying.

        The only words that come to mind are…..” I’m a REAL, REAL dummy”.

        So, the imitation of Mary has eternal benefits for the soul of every Christian. And… if St. Paul could counsel: “Be imitators of me as I am of Christ”, how much more should His own mother be able to counsel the same thing regarding the virtue/benefits of humility?

        ‘Mary-haters’….it’s best to take heed to the voice of Christ in the Holy Gospel regarding these matters.

        1. Wow, Al. I thought of the Pharisee and the tax man. One went home justified. The one who looked to God for everything, acknowledging his sinfulness, was the humble man. The other prayed “to himself,” thanking God that he was not a sinner. He thereby condemned himself, didn’t he? The tax man was humble.

          The other Gospel narrative showing our need to look to Him for everything is just prior to the miracle of loaves and fishes. Jesus told the disciples to have the people recline, and he told them to feed the people themselves! In other words, Jesus told the disciples to rely on themselves! But what did they do? They told the people to recline and then they looked to Jesus to help them feed the people. Had they started to complain, “We cannot do that! Why are you asking us to do that? It’s impossible for us to defy logic! Can’t you see we have no food?”

          Only when they realized they needed help were they humble enough to look to the Lord, and then he came to their aid. Relying on ourselves as sufficient and knowing it all causes Him to turn away.

          1. Margo, thank you for bringing up the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. Elsewhere in this conversation, BB characterized the Holy Rosary as “vain repetition”, and claimed that Christ condemned all repetitive prayer. Yet in this very parable, Our Lord commends the tax collector for praying OVER AND OVER AGAIN, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.”

            As I attempted to explain to BB, not all repetitive prayer is “vain”, and the Rosary is most certainly not.

          2. Bob and Al,
            Right. This is, in some form or other, known as the Jesus Prayer. Someone once suggested it to me as a tool for impatience. When I am tempted or on the verge of saying something in irritation, impetuously or impatiently, I find this prayer to be very efficacious. Anyone else use it?

          3. For me it’s the Rosary, and especially with my wife. More recently, I have been repeating to myself before, and during, such communal prayer “where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there in their midst.” This really brings me to the present truth that Jesus, according to His word, indeed is there with us in our midst. Sometimes, I naturally talk to the Lord non vocally…and not looking at the crucifix on the wall that we pray before… but to the area between myself and my wife, who is about 7 feet away. I do this because Jesus said that His location was in ‘our midst’, so I figure He is between us, as He said.

            This is actually a great consolation, and keeps my mind from straying too much. I also ask the Lord, there, to help me pray the ‘Hail Mary’s’ correctly, and to address His mother worthily…even as He did…with His attitude and reverence. And this is interesting, because I’m asking Him how to honor His Mother, but then His Mother’s will is that I honor Him worthily and respectfully, too. So, it’s kind of like passing a spiritual basketball of honor and respect around the room.

            Best to both of you in the Lord, and in union with His holy Mother, Mary.

          4. Al,

            Yes, the Rosary is a beautiful prayer for husband and wife to say together. It is easy to see, as you say, the bouncing between Mary, Jesus, husband, wife.

            The Rosary is worship of Jesus through Mary, isn’t it? I often find myself asking Mary how she did what she did, what she thought, how she felt when Jesus was, for example, scourged, crowned, or crucified. How did she STAND at the foot of the cross? That speaks of incredible endurance and fortitude. She did all she did for God and for us, just as her Son did. She did this, fully human, enabled by fullness of grace.

            God bless you and yours.

        2. we honor an love Holy mother of God MARY.IF YOU LOVE AN HONOR YOUR MOTHER.YOU CAN CALL HER ALL SORTS OF NICE WORDS WHICH YOU THINK FITS TO HER..its not an exagration if l call my mother ‘my love…my queen..my everything its not bad.thats how l feel about her..l am an east african woman.catholis.from tanzania.l l love Holy Mary because she was chosen by God to bear the sevior of the world…..may l say that anyone who hates Mary hates Jesus an God too.

    2. we honor an love Holy mother of God MARY.IF YOU LOVE AN HONOR YOUR MOTHER.YOU CAN CALL HER ALL SORTS OF NICE WORDS WHICH YOU THINK FITS TO HER..its not an exagration if l call my mother ‘my love…my queen..my everything its not bad.thats how l feel about her..l am an east african woman.catholis.from tanzania.l l love Holy Mary because she was chosen by God to bear the sevior of the world…..

  2. Can’t this argument be extended to *anything* though? Unless you are willing to draw the line somewhere what’s to prevent somebody from attaching the title “Uncreated” to St Mary?

    “Weeell, she may not strictly be uncreated, but it’s a step in the right direction because it speaks positively of her power and majesty”

    1. I think most people are banking on the NOT exaggerated words of the Angel Gabriel at the Annunciation:

      “Hail”, “Full of Grace”, “The Lord is with thee”, “Blessed art thou amongst women”.

      And after that, the NOT exaggerated words of Elizabeth: “Who am I that the Mother of My Lord should come to me?”.

      Actually, these are such powerful words/statements in themselves as to make them difficult to exaggerate. They stand on their own in describing the dignity of the Mother of God. Elizabeth, the mother of a miraculous child herself, and fully aware of that miracle, says that she is unworthy that Mary should even come and be in her presence. That’s how great Mary is, and in it’s non-exaggerated form.

      1. It is also hard to exaggerate Christ telling us (from the Cross, no less) to “Behold your Mother!”

        Or Mary instructing us at Cana, “Do whatever He [Jesus] tells you.”

        1. BIM: It is also hard to exaggerate Christ telling us (from the Cross, no less) to “Behold your Mother!”

          BB: Oh stop it. The Lord was ensuring Mary would be cared for since by this time, all agree Joseph was dead.

          BIM: Or Mary instructing us at Cana, “Do whatever He [Jesus] tells you.”

          BB: If you are trying to say that Mary is instructing “us” in the here and now to obey Jesus by way of the Cana episode, you must be out of your mind, if I may be so blunt. Obedience to God and Christ DRIPS like lava from a volcano from Genesis to Revelation in one incident after another, and so the incident at Cana does not prove a blessed thing to prove any RC doctrine concerning her whatsoever.

          1. BB: “If you are trying to say that Mary is instructing “us” in the here and now to obey Jesus by way of the Cana episode, you must be out of your mind, ..”

            No, Flounder, you-don’t-get-it…ah-gin. What Mary was telling you, me, and us all, is first, she is **the** rightful conduit of her Son’s will and second, that she is secondary to her Son. Again, something any grade-school Catholic knows and practices when he or she prays for Our Blessed Mother’s intercession.

            Which apparently escapes you and Jimmy….but no surprise there….hatred blinds more effectively than Odysseus’ heated sharp stick.

          2. “The Lord was ensuring Mary would be cared for since by this time, all agree Joseph was dead.”

            Really? REALLY??? This is the Gospel of St. John that we are reading here. You know, the Gospel in which every.. single.. word.. is absolutely freighted with theological significance. John does not waste his breath on anything that doesn’t figuratively sink under the weight of its multiple meanings and its laser like focus on all readers of all times. You can’t seriously believe that the Evangelist would, in the middle of the most important scene in his entire Gospel, not have at least 18 different interpretations in mind with a passage as central as Christ’s entrusting the Church to Mary’s care, and inaugurating Mary’s eternal mission as the mother of all the faithful.

            Besides, you protestants are always insisting that Jesus had so many brothers and sisters. If that were true, then Jesus’ handing His mother over to the care of one of his disciples would be bizarre in the extreme. Why wouldn’t one of these supposed siblings take her in? Your “interpretation” makes no sense.

          3. BIM: you protestants are always insisting that Jesus had so many brothers and sisters.

            BB: True. Joseph did not know Mary UNTIL she gave birth. So spare us the claptrap about “cousins” thank you, or your ludicrous attempt to force the word “UNTIL” into submission with the concept of perpetual virginity.

            BIM: If that were true, then Jesus’ handing His mother over to the care of one of his disciples would be bizarre in the extreme.

            BB: For you to make such a statement without trying to refute the opposite point of view (which has MUCH more credibility than yours) proves you simply don’t even know what that opposite point of view is. But it’s there, right in the Text.

            BIM: Why wouldn’t one of these supposed siblings take her in?

            BB: Because it would be out of order to hand her over to those WHO DID NOT BELIEVE IN HIM!

            “I have become a stranger to my brothers, and an alien to my MOTHER’S CHILDREN. (Ps 69:8).

            The phrase “my mother’s children” is utterly unique in the literature of the day both before and after the fact (the situations under which it could be used are practically non-existent, but the exquisite parallel between David and the life of Christ fit like a glove; David being anointed in the midst of his brothers (“my mother’s children) certainly made him an alien to THEM…2 Sam 6:12-19….and can only make beautiful sense in conjunction wherein we understand the dual application; i.e., Christ bemoans that even “his mother’s children” did not believe in hm. The phrase reeks with intimations of the virgin birth, as well as setting him apart by their being none too pleased with his activities:

            “For even his brothers did not believe In Him.” (Jn 7:3-5).

            BIM: Your “interpretation” makes no sense.

            BB: The only thing that does not makes sense is the RCC constantly telling us that this episode signifies Mary is now the “mother of the church”. It says no such thing. Or that she “goes before us” as the bride of Christ without spot or wrinkle (CCC 773). It says no such thing. And everything else they tell us about her being based on the flimsiest of implications and/or wild-eyed speculation. What the Bible says that would detract from your marian dreamworld, is systematically blown out like a candle.

          4. “Then he brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary facing east, but it was closed.
            The LORD said to me: This gate must remain closed; it must not be opened, and no one should come through it. Because the LORD, the God of Israel, came through it, it must remain closed.”

        2. Some deny the possibility that Jesus, from his cross, gave His mother to His disciples. How reconcile this with that same Woman giving to us, to them, to the WORLD their Savior? Mary was chosen from the beginning, at Genesis 3:15: Her seed would be at enmity with the serpent’s seed.

          Mary is the God-given love-filled foil to Eve, the mother of sin-filled humanity? John is representational disciple. Did Jesus save only John? Or did he save all disciples? Did Mary give Jesus only to John? Or did she give all disciples her Son?

          Go figure: With no more evidence than the word “brothers” (and other evidence of Jesus talking spiritual brotherhood) many Protestants claim that Mary bore other biological children. At the same time, they deny that Mary is their own mother in the order of grace. Directly opposing the word of the Lord.

          1. BB,

            The Psalm may refer to brothers who are not so in the order of grace.

            There is a movie where a black guy claims his white brother is by a different mother.

            Perhaps the other brother in this psalm is by a different mother–perhaps that brother denies who His Mother may be.

            Perhaps those brothers are….Protestant?
            It is at least within the realm of possibility. Unless one claims omniscient knowledge of the full scope and breadth of God’s word.

  3. JH: Take the Salve Regina, for example: it calls Mary “Our Life, Our Sweetness, and Our Hope.” How is that kind of effusive flattery theologically defensible?

    BB: It isn’t.

    JH: Shouldn’t we be careful not to exaggerate or use over-the-top or flowery language? No.

    BB: To say that we shouldn’t be careful in what we say and how we say it, is just plain WRONG, whether we are talking about the Bible or not. We need to be sensitive to the reader, imagine their objections beforehand (as well as God’s objections!) and strive to convey our thoughts in the clearest way possible lest the reader come to the wrong conclusion or God is put in a position of playing second fiddle to anyone but himself.
    Consequently, the prayer said after each Rosary declaring Mary to be “our life, our sweetness and our hope” is in DIRECT contradiction to the word of God which says CHRIST is our life (Col 3:4), our sweetness (Ps 34:8) and our hope (Col 1:27, Titus 2:13), and no amount of fancy footwork on your part to justify it rings true. Marian piety has certainly tipped the scales, so much so that the catechism advises that we bring “ALL”….(again, ALLLLL) our cares to HER (CCC 2677)… which again is in direct violation of Holy Writ, and simply CANNOT be justified!
    (Phil 4:6-7, 1 Pet 5:7, Heb 4:15)

      1. Jesus did say that we will be accountable for every idle word we utter. The question is, is whether exaggerated praise is ‘idle’?

        If the praise is merited, like those who yelled ‘Hosanna, to the Son of David’, then such enthusiasm isn’t idle. What some Catholics do for Mary, isn’t idle either. She, herself, prophesied “From this day all generations will call me blessed”. And what a lot of simple souls do, around the world is to fulfill this prophesy. As Joe says, they might use exaggerated means to praise her, but it is out of love and zeal. Was Jesus not zealous for His Father’s house? Are these devotees of Mary not zealous to portray her great place and incomprehensible dignity in the History of the World? Sometimes, it’s ONLY by exaggerating that a point is gotten across.

        Look at Martin Luthers cartoons that he helped design in the 1500’s, depicting the pope and papacy. You view them on-line, many repeat with donkey heads and trumpets being blown out of the posterior end of Popes. Is Martin Luther harassed but the Protestants for these exaggerated depictions, not to mention FILTHY depictions?

        No. Not a peep from the Protestants on this type of slanderous propaganda if it serves to tear down the Catholic Church. On the contrary, such vulgarity is celebrated as completely suitable, as they think it is a portrayal of the truth. But to put a crown on the head of the Blessed Virgin and walk through the streets with it, rejoicing that she is eternally blessed… and in Heaven…is considered “over the top”.

        1. Awlms (and Joe), seems to me the next logical and proper topic following this would be, when does “sola” veneration of Scripture stop, and morph into over-the-top, bibliophilic and idolatrous worship?

          Given that nowhere in Scripture does Scripture give itself status worthy of worship….

        2. AWL: She, herself, prophesied “From this day all generations will call me blessed”.

          BB: Blessed to be chosen for a task is one thing. But this statement (which you have used repeatedly) does not for a moment prove any of the marian doctrines in general, and neither does it prove that we ought to believe those doctrines “FOR” our salvation in particular, which the RCC demands. As the theme of this article suggests, and which is shown from your conclusions, YOU GO TOO FAR.

          AWL: [We cannot deny] her great place and incomprehensible dignity in the History of the world

          BB: YOU GO TOO FAR by using the “I.D.” term. Jesus refutes you at once by telling us that of all those born of women, NONE was greater than John the Baptist, which, as I see it, COMPLETELY demolishes near everything the RCC teaches about her. It’s pretty obvious to me that Catholics wish Christ never made that statement as it rains hail and thunder down on their marian parade. Too bad.

          AWL: Martin Luther’s cartoons that he helped design in the 1500’s, depicting the pope and papacy [is] slanderous propaganda. Is Martin Luther harassed by Protestants for these exaggerated depictions, not to mention FILTHY depictions?

          BB: I disagree that the supposed “over-exaggerated” cartoons and the “over-exaggerated” claims of the person of Maria Marvelous, are to be equated to make your point. For the comparison to stand and make sense, Prots would have to either agree with both or deny both. As it is, we agree with one, and not the other. If Jesus did not initiate the office of a papacy, then the papacy is well-deserving of all the vitriol one can muster because from our perspective, it is a false gospel to say papal subordination is necessary for salvation and so, Christ tells us to expose the unfruitful works of darkness. Ergo, we agree with the “exaggerated” cartoons and do not consider them slanderous because we are exposing the false claims of the Pope, period.
          On the other hand, we DISAGREE with the “exaggerated” marian claims and DO consider them slanderous to the person of Mary, as we feel she herself would disown each and every title given her.

          AWL: [The cartoons were filthy and vulgar and] serve to tear down the Catholic Church.

          BB: I would say this comment is nullified by the fact that RC “personnel” from antiquity went out of their way to snuff out the lives of far too many to count, who did not comply with RC belief and practice, and in essence, sought to “tear down” the belief of all NON-Catholic churches.
          I would also say that the “filthy and vulgar” priestly scandals bring new meaning to the words. Thus, murder and molestation are surely the greater crimes than mere cartoons on paper.

          1. Wow, you, sir, are a twit. Psalm 69 verse 9: “for zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who insult you fall on me.” The Apostles recalled this verse when Jesus was clearing the temple of the vendors. But read verse 5 in which the Psalmist says, ” O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee.” We cannot apply this verse to Jesus!

            http://www.ewtn.com/library/answers/talmud.htm

            You have yet to prove ANYWHERE from Sacred Scripture alone that Mary gave birth to any other children besides Jesus. The Catholic position is implicitly IN THE BIBLE and from extra-biblical sources underlying Jewish thought as several posts here have indicated but you ignore. The perpetual virginity of Mary, like all Marian doctrines, are not found in just one verse or two, but are shown implicitly through all of the Sacred Scriptures much like doctrines on my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ’s Incarnation, Original Sin (which many protestants deny), and the Trinity among others.

            You seem to think that Joseph, a righteous man, would have sex with the woman whose body was the vessel for the Incarnation of the Word, God the Son, God Himself…. that makes no sense even without any other biblical exegesis. The other passages that refer to the “brothers” of Jesus have already been addresses — they are relatives. You haven’t proven otherwise. You base your tradition of man of supposition as FACT, when it is not. Then you start rambling about end-times and when in a corner, cry foul. Typical.

            Another point not mentioned about “adelphos”, according to the “Greek expression” used by John (1:41) “Andrew (after his encounter with Jesus) went to look for his brother (Peter) “ton adelphon ton idion” (John 1:41). John considers insufficient the word “adelphos” (=brother) to express the relationship between Andrew and Peter who were true blood brothers. This is why John says “ton adelphon ton idion.” This expression is in contrast with the different expression “hoi adelphoi autou” used a little later to describe the meaning of the “brothers of Jesus” (John 2:12; 7:3-10). This is the key to grasping why “adelphos ” can signify “cousin,” “countrymen” (4,45), “townspeople” (7:5). The brothers of Jesus in the gospel of John are his “fellow countrymen,” not true siblings.

            The terminology that John uses in using the word adelphos thus differs between the way John refers to Jesus’ brethren, and the way John refers to the blood brothers Peter and Andrew. The phraseology makes a distinction in the way adelphos is used. In addition, the passage indicates the way Jesus is being commanded by his unbelieving kin: Hebrew culture would not allow younger blood sibling to attempt to command Jesus around in such a fashion. We know that if they were blood brothers, they’d have to be younger, as Jesus was first-born. However if they are either older, or about the same age, which could only happen if they are not blood brothers, this would not be surprising.

            Mary was the Ark of the New and Eternal Covenant, “overshadowed” by the Holy Spirit and thus betrothed to God, untouchable by man. Why does that bother you so much? It’s a special BLESSING so NORMAL and LOGIC to understand and just springs out for those who read the Scriptures with the Holy Spirit as a light. Why does that bother you so much that Mary was an extra-ordinarily blessed woman? Wouldn’t the Theotokos be somewhat more blessed? None of this was of her merit — it was all from God’s GRACE. The fact that you are so bothered by this is rather psychotic.

            What’s more, you complain that, when people show how most early Protestant deformers supported Catholic theology on Mary (from the Bible alone) you say, “oh they were wrong about other things too” — and you’re NOT??? You’re so sure.

            The Catholic Church existed BEFORE the Bible. We GAVE the Bible to the world (including the deuterocanonicals which the Palestinian Jews only rejected around A.D. 90… but even today Jews of North Africa and Ethiopia recognize the deuterocanonicals as Scripture; in Christ’s time, the Sadducees didn’t recognize anything beyond the Pentateuch), and the doctrines you attack are supported by our Bible, but hey, you seem to have secret knowledge that OBVIOUSLY eluded those who knew the Apostles and those who studied with those who knew the Apostles.

            Charite Kecharitomene!”

            Mary serves as a link between the two Covenants not just through parallel or prophetic verses but by embodying common themes. She is a bridge between the Old and the New Testaments because Scripture shows her representing both the people of Israel and the Church begun by her Son.

            The most famous Old Testament prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah are Genesis 3:15, Isaiah 7:14 and Micah 5:1-4. In all three prophecies the Mother of the Messiah plays a prominent part, just as in Revelation 12.
            Mother of the New Adam, with whom she is united in the same “enmity” for the serpent whose head is to be crushed (Gen 3:15). This “woman” is the Virgin Mother of Emmanuel, that is, of “God with us” (Is 7:14). She is the “woman in travail” bearing God made man, the Savior of the “remnant of Israel”, of the People of God (Mic 5:1-2).

            The two mysteries of the Incarnation and of the redemption, foreshadowed in these prophetic oracles, are intimately linked to the mysteries of the Immaculate Conception (Gen 3:15), the divine and virginal maternity (Is 7:14), and the co-redemption (Gen 3:15) attributed to the “woman in travail” of Bethlehem (Mic 5:1-2). Indeed, the earliest Church fathers referred to her as “the New Eve” since, just as God had fashioned Eve from the rib of Adam (cf. Gen. 2:21), so He became incarnate by the flesh of the Virgin Mary and subsequently, the Church is born from the pierced flesh of the “sleeping” Lord Jesus, the New Adam (cf. John 19:33-35; Rom. 5:6-18):

            “He became man by the Virgin, in order that the disobedience which proceeded from the serpent might receive its destruction in the same manner in which it derived its origin. For Eve, who was a virgin and undefiled, having conceived the word of the serpent, brought forth disobedience and death. But the Virgin Mary received faith and joy, when the angel Gabriel announced the good tidings to her that the Spirit of the Lord would come upon her, and the power of the Highest would overshadow her: wherefore also the Holy Thing begotten of her is the Son of God; and she replied, ‘Be it unto me according to thy word.’ And by her has He been born, to whom we have proved so many Scriptures refer, and by whom God destroys both the serpent and those angels and men who are like him; but works deliverance from death to those who repent of their wickedness and believe upon Him.” Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, 100 (A.D. 150).

            “In accordance with this design, Mary the Virgin is found obedient, saying, ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.’ But Eve was disobedient; for she did not obey when as yet she was a virgin. And even as she, having indeed a husband, Adam, but being nevertheless as yet a virgin (for in Paradise ‘they were both naked, and were not ashamed,’ inasmuch as they, having been created a short time previously, had no understanding of the procreation of children: for it was necessary that they should first come to adult age, and then multiply from that time onward), having become disobedient, was made the cause of death, both to herself and to the entire human race; so also did Mary, having a man betrothed [to her], and being nevertheless a virgin, by yielding obedience, become the cause of salvation, both to herself and the whole human race. And on this account does the law term a woman betrothed to a man, the wife of him who had betrothed her, although she was as yet a virgin; thus indicating the back-reference from Mary to Eve, because what is joined together could not otherwise be put asunder than by inversion of the process by which these bonds of union had arisen; s so that the former ties be cancelled by the latter, that the latter may set the former again at liberty… Wherefore also Luke, commencing the genealogy with the Lord, carried it back to Adam, indicating that it was He who regenerated them into the Gospel of life, and not they Him. And thus also it was that the knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. For what the virgin Eve had bound fast through unbelief, this did the virgin Mary set free through faith.” Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 3:22 (A.D. 180).

            Together with these fundamental Mariological texts, we also find in the Old Testament an abundance of minor texts that converge to give to those “roots” a certain consistency in prefiguring and symbolizing the extraordinary personality of Mary. Thus, we discover the “roots” of Mary in the “daughter of Zion” (Mic 4:8), in “the poor of Yahweh” (Ps 9), in “the strong woman” (Sir 26:2) who works for the regeneration and salvation of the people. We find her prefigured by Sarah, Rebecca, and Rachel, by Miriam, the sister of Moses, by Deborah, Abigail and Ruth, by Judith and by Esther. We can read of the virtues and sanctity of Mary in the various and richly allusive biblical symbols, such as the burning bush, the fleece of Gideon, the holy ark, the rainbow, Jacob’s ladder, and in many others …

            “Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son”‘ (Matt. 1:22ff.; Is. 7:14). There is Genesis 3:15, the enmity between the woman and the serpent, her seed and his seed, of which more later. There is the prophetic figure of the Daughter of Sion. This takes us to St. Luke and the Annunciation.

            The angel says to Mary: ‘Hail full of grace, (or10 favoured one’), the Lord is with you,. And then ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have favour (or ‘grace’) with God.

            And behold you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus (Yahweh-Saviour) (Luke 1:28-31). The Old Testament background to this is Zephaniah 3:14-17: ‘Sing aloud, O daughter of Sion … The Lord is in your midst … Do not fear, O Sion, the Lord your God is in your midst (your womb), a warrior who gives victory’. So in Luke ‘hail’ means rejoice, with messianic joy, and Mary, ‘favoured one’ or ‘full of grace’ is seen as the Daughter of Sion, who realizes the hopes and longings of Israel’s history, and in a more wonderful way the Lord will be in her midst.

            Gabriel addresses Mary not with her name but with a title, “KECHARITOMENE”, a perfect passive participle, echaritosen is an indicative active aorist. Kecharitomene means “having been” or “have already been” graced. In all the Bible, angels do not address people by their names nor with any sort of title; they simply come and deliver a message. Note the uniqueness of Mary here in this regard.

            Gabriel goes on, in the words of the prophecy of Nathan, to tell her that her Son will be the Messiah, and when Mary asks ‘How shall this be, because I have not husband?’ he explains: ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the most high will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, Son of God’ (Luke 1:32-35).

            ‘Overshadow’ refers to the”Shekinah” the cloud of God’s presence which went with the Israelites in the desert, filled the temple of Solomon, appeared at the transfiguration and the ascension, and according to Israelite tradition, covered with its shadow the Ark of the Covenant (cf. Exodus 40:35). Thus Mary, like the Ark, becomes God’s resting place on earth.

            Compare Luke 1:39 / 2 Sam. 6:2 ; Luke 1:41 / 2 Sam. 6:16 ; Luke 1:43 / 2 Sam. 6:9 – ; Luke 1:56 / 2 Sam. 6:11 and 1 Chron. 13:14 ; Then in John’s account in Rev 11:19 – at this point in history, the Ark of the Old Covenant was not seen for six centuries (see 2 Macc. 2:7), and now it is finally seen in heaven. The Jewish people would have been absolutely amazed at this. However, John immediately passes over this fact and describes the “woman” clothed with the sun in Rev. 12:1. John is emphasizing that Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant and who, like the Old ark, is now worthy of veneration and praise. Also remember that Rev. 11:19 and Rev. 12:1 are tied together because there was no chapter and verse at the time these texts were written andwe see the “woman” that John is describing is Mary, the Ark of the New Covenant, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. Just as the moon reflects the light of the sun, so Mary, with the moon under her feet, reflects the glory of the Sun of Justice, Jesus Christ.

            The evidence is strengthened when we think about whom Mary carried in her womb and what the Ark of the Covenant contained (which Christ embodied and fulfilled).

            And then there is the holiness of the Ark: In Exodus 25:11-21 we read that the ark of the Old Covenant was made of the purest gold for God’s Word. Mary is the ark of the New Covenant and is the purest vessel for the Word of God made flesh.; 2 Sam. 6:7 (1 Chron. 13:9-10) – the Ark is so holy and pure that when Uzzah touched it, even with the best of intentions, the Lord slew him. This shows us that the Ark is undefiled. Mary the Ark of the New Covenant is even more immaculate and undefiled, spared by God from original sin so that she could bear His eternal Word in her womb. God prepared her body in advance for this great calling.

            Other Scriptures always used to show Mary’s Immaculate Conception were Wisdom 1:4 : “For into a malicious soul wisdom shall not enter; nor dwell in the body that is subject unto sin…” (cf. Ef. 1,6-7 ; Col. 3,16). For God to dwell within Mary the Ark, Mary had to be conceived without sin.

            What’s more about the overshadowing, is its connotations of a MARITAL RELATIONSHIP. Thus when Mary was told by the archangel Gabriel “Behold, you shall conceive in your womb, and bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus” (Lk 1:31), Gabriel explained that this was to come about because “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the Holy one to be born shall be called the Son of God” (Lk 1:35).

            By stating it in those terms the archangel declared to Mary that God would enter into a marital relationship with her, causing her to conceive His Son in her womb, For “to lay one’s power (“reshuth”) over a woman” (see Targum to Dt 21:4) was a euphemism for “to have a marital relationship with her.”

            Likewise “to overshadow” (Lk 1:35) by spreading the “wing” or “cloak” over a woman was another semitic euphemism for marital relations. Thus, the rabbis commented (source: Midrash Genesis Rabbah 39.7; Midrash Ruth Rabbah 3.9) that Ruth was chaste in her wording when she asked Boaz to have marital relations with her by saying to him “I am Ruth you handmaid, spread therefore your cloak ( literally, “wing”: “kanaph”) over your handmaid for you are my next-of-kin” (Ruth 3:9). “Tallith”, another Aramaic-Hebrew word for cloak, is derived from “tellal” = “shadow”.

            Thus, “to spread one’s cloak (“tallith”) over a woman” means to cohabit with her (see Kiddushin 18b, and also Mekhilta on Exodus 21:8).

            Did not the Lord say to His BRIDE, the nation of Israel: “I am married to you” (Jr 3:14) and “your Maker is your husband”? (Is 54-5:5; Jr 31:32)? And what is more intimate than what the Lord said to His bride: “You developed, you grew, you came to full womanhood; your breasts became firm and your hair grew… you were naked… and I saw that you were now old enough for love so I spread my cloak over you… I gave you My oath, I entered into a covenant with you and you became Mine, says the Lord God” (Ezk 16:7, 8).

            Thus we see in these how Mary IS THE DAUGHTER OF ZION AND THE EMBODIMENT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH in her unique role in salvation history.

            ‘Son of God’ is a messianic title, but its full meaning will be gradually unfolded, and gradually also Christian faith will come to Be what it means to be God’s Mother. Mary’s humble answer, “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” is an unhesitating acceptance of her place in God’s redemptive plan.

            Amazing!

            Mary IS Israel and the New Ark of the Covenant in Revelation 11 & 12 as well as the mother of all believers, fulfillment of the Old Testament “types.”

            The comparison of Zephaniah 3:17-17 and Luke 1:28-33 is especially striking:

            “Rejoice, Daugher of Zion, the King of Israel, Yahweh, is IN you. Do not be afraid Zion, Yahweh your God is in your womb as a strong Savior.” [Zephaniah 3:14-17] “Rejoice so highly favored (“Charite Kecharitomene). The Lord is WITH you. Do not be afraid, Mary … Listen, you are to conceive in your womb and bear a son and you must name him “Yahweh Savior.” He will reign (Luke 1:28-33).

            In many ways Mary, ‘the handmaid of the Lord’ is patterned on Hannah, ‘the handmaid, who, of all OT mothers, is the archetypal figure of maternal devotion and religious piety, dedicating her son entirely to the service of Yahweh in the temple, and there rejoicing over her son’s birth with a paean of praise. Much of the thought and even the language of Hannah’s song is taken up by Mary, the new Hannah, in the Magnificat. So now Mary becomes, not merely the symbol of the faithful of Israel in general, but the symbol of the faithful mother in particular.

            Mary’s role at the side of her royal Son is prefigured in the Old Testament depictions of the Queen Mother. The title of Queen Mother or Gebirah was very common in Old Testament times and was a position independent of the King. The Queen Mother had a very influential role in national affairs and acted as regent when the king was absent or dead. Since the importance of the Queen Mother was recognized by the ancient Hebrews, the first Christians saw no conflict in honoring the Mother of their King.

            Rene Laurentin dwells further on this theme:

            “Queen mothers had an important position in eastern courts and especially in Israel. Their names have been preserved with care in the Books of Kings (1 Kgs 14:21; 15:2; 22:42; cf. 53. 2 Kgs 9:6; 12;2: 14:2; 15:2,33; 18:2; 22:1; 23:31,36; 24:18). They bore the title gebirah and were found closely associated in the honor and position of the monarch (Jer 13:18; 22:6). It is important to note that it was not the position of the wife of the kind that counted, but that of the king’s mother. Very significant in this regard is the comparison between 1 Kings 1:16,31 and 2:19, where Bethsheba prostrates herself before King David, her husband, whereas Solomon, her son, after he has become king, prostrates himself before her and makes her sit at his right hand.

            “The prophetic texts studied above therefore glimpse Mary essentially as the queen mother of the eschatological king, involved as such in the honor paid his reign. Thus the Old Testament brings the positive contribution of a source to the doctrine of Mary’s Queenship. … Genesis 3:15, Isaiah 7:14 and Micah 5:1-2 all in varying degrees bring into striking relief a “maiden,” a “queen,” “one who was to give birth” in eschatological times to this “son of David” who mysteriously would be Son of God (2 Sam 7:14; Ps. 2 and 110). ”

            Mark Miravalle goes further on the implications of the Queen Mother theme:

            We can see an authentic foreshadowing of the role of the Mother of Jesus as Advocate for the People of God in the Old Testament role of the Queen Mother, the role and office held by the mothers of the great Davidic kings of Israel …

            The office and authority of the queen mother in her close relationship to the king made her the strongest advocate to the king for the people of the kingdom. The Old Testament understanding of an advocate is a person who is called in to intercede for another in need and particularly at court, and no one had more intercessory power to the king than the queen mother, who at times sat enthroned at the right side of the king (cf. 1 Kings 2:19-20). The queen mother also had the function of counselor to the king in regards to matters of the kingdom (cf. Prov 31:8-9; 2 Chr 22:2-4).

            The recognized role of advocate of the queen mother with the king for members of the kingdom is manifested in the immediate response of King Solomon to his mother, Bathsheba, in this queen mother’s petition for a member of the kingdom:

            “And the king rose to meet her, and bowed down to her; then he sat on his throne, and had a seat brought for the king’s mother; and she sat on his right. Then she said, ‘I have one small request to make of you; do not refuse me.’ And the king said to her, ‘Make your request, my mother; for I will not refuse you.’ (1 Kings 2: 19-20).

            The Old Testament image and role of the queen mother, the “great Lady,” as advocate to the king for the people of the kingdom prophetically foreshadows the role of the great Queen Mother and Lady of the New Testament. For it is Mary of Nazareth who becomes the Queen and Mother in the Kingdom of God, as the Mother of Christ, King of all nations. The Woman at the foot of the Cross (cf. Jn 19:26) becomes the Great Lady (Domina) with the Lord and King, and thereby will be the Advocate and Queen for the People of God from heaven, where she is the “woman clothed with the sun … and on her head a crown of twelve stars” (Rev 12:1). (13).

            It has also often been said that Abraham pre-figured Mary for reasons explained here by the exegete John McHugh: “God made three promises to Abraham that his children would be a great nation (Gen 12:2; 13f,6; 15:5; 17:6, 19; 22:17); that his descendants would possess the land of Canaan (Gen 12:7; 13:15; 15:18-21; 17:8); and that in him all the nations of world would count themselves blessed (Gen 12:3; 22:18). In Mary’s child, the last of the three promises was fulfilled, and it is not surprising that Luke draws out many parallels between Mary and Abraham. Like Abraham (Gen 18:3), Mary found favour with God (Lk 1:30); like Abraham (Gen 12:3; 18:18; 22:18), she is a source of blessing for, and is blessed by, all nations (Lk 1: 42,48); like Abraham (Gen 15:6), she is praised for her faith in the promise that, by a miracle, she would have a son (Lk 1:45). ”

            Another striking parallel has been drawn between Mary and Old Testament mediators like Moses in recent exegesis as Ignace de la Potterie shows here:

            “His mother said to the servants: ‘Do whatever he tells you.'” In passing let us note that these are the final words of Mary in the Gospels …

          2. Timothee,

            Thanks for the comprehensive analysis and details. It’s quite a good collection of ideas and references to save for future study.

          3. Al, posts like yours and Timothee’s pull me back from Flounder’s cage and remind me why I really come here. You’re right, a post worthy of cut/paste/save and future reference…..

        3. Compare an exaggeration of Mary to the ‘vain’ pursuits or ‘entertainment’ of modern life. Then examine a claim that Catholic honor of Mary is exaggeration. Compare a Procession honoring Mary with a Super Bowl halftime show. Firework flares color the night sky as the rock star descends with the help of supercables from a superheight. Eardrums burst with amplification of raucous cacophony. Observers fan themselves into frenzy with the aid of beer or other poison. All in the name of fun. Nothing exaggerated about it, right? Nothing idolatrous here. We wait with bated breath for next year’s game.

          Many modern society consumer pursuits are over-the-top. Lexus, Hummers, Tesla. Everything is offered for sale during commercial break. Artists and marketers compete to innovate to captivate or disgust. Legal drugs with tax-payer funded safe places for people to shoot up. The list goes on and on, and that is no exaggeration.

      2. D: he never said we dont need to be careful in what we say

        B: If that’s your only comment in response to my post, you have simplicity agreed with my condemnation of CCC 2677, for which I thank you.

    1. Actually, the Salve Regina says “Mother of Mercy, Our life, our sweetness and our hope” so take it as Jesus being our life our sweetness and our hope and Mary being his mother.

        1. AWL: Excellent clarification, Mary.

          BB: I do not see AT ALL, how M cleared annnnnnything up! She simply said Mary is the mother of Jesus who is our life and our sweetness and our hope.
          My response? Thanks for nothing my dear, but we already know that (!) and does not for a minute detract from my objection (in unison with Scripture)— giving to Jesus exclusive rights to these distinctives.

          1. Because, Flounder, at 9:06 you said the Blessed Mother is addressed as “Our life, sweetness, and our hope.” Mary took you and your puppetmaster and Westboro-wannabe Jimmy White to school on what any grade-school Catholic already knows about the concluding prayer of the Rosary…..maybe you should really read that dog-eared highlighted Catechism you say you keep on your desk, along with, occasionally, Scripture (preferably Douay-Rheims).

            Please tell us again, by the way, how ‘kecharitomene’ is used multiple times in in the New Testament so your cut and paste below on the Scriptural use of Greek and Latin will have your usual level of credibility.

          2. AK: at 9:06 you said the Blessed Mother is addressed as “Our life, sweetness, and our hope.”

            BB: Yeah, SO WHAT?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! TELL US ALL HOW SHE IS SUPPOSEDLY NOT ADDRESSED? Tell us! I’m waiting.

            AK: Mary took you and your puppetmaster and Westboro-wannabe Jimmy White to school on what any grade-school Catholic already knows about the concluding prayer of the Rosary

            BB: Just shut up AK. Your words make NO SENSE WHATSOEVER. Mary is your life and sweetness and your hope, as shown in the FIRST SENTENCE OF THIS ARTICLE, and there is nothing in the concluding prayer that says anything different. As Paul said, “we are not ignorant of Satan’s devices”; neither am I ignorant of yours by trying to blow smoke out of your ears to cover up your insidious theology by writing sentences that are bombastic and nonsensical.

          3. hahhahahahahahahah…if one could make another shut up from the remote anonymity of a distant keyboard, you’d have been muzzled long ago. But do keep begging…it’s fun to watch.

            Flounder, the snorted hellfire threats that work for your prognathous inbred Ozark flock is a source of humor to us. You really should stop flavoring your chili-cheese fries with paint chips.

            Splitting hairs which is what fundie-tards do in their desperation to find something, anything to shore up their Rube Goldberg theology. “Mother of Mercy”….Jesus as defined by Scripture and affirmed by the belief-worthy visions of St. Faustina Kowalska, is Himself Mercy Incarnate….so given an understanding of sentence structure unknown to those homeschooled by room-temp IQs, one could here interpret Jesus as the “Mercy” who imparts life, sweetness, and hope. But, as Joe affirms above, it is entirely appropriate for reasons Scriptural and traditional, to honor the Mother of The Living God with those same qualities.

            I realize all this is making your head hurt, so please do waddle back to your dog-eared Chick-tracts and your day will get much better.

        2. AK: Because, Flounder, at 9:06 you said the Blessed Mother is addressed as “Our life, sweetness, and our hope.”

          BB: Once again, I ALREADY KNOW THAT. THAT IS WHAT THE RCC TEACHES. You may as well have given me the recipe for a pineapple upside down cake, your comment was THAT ridiculous, as was poster Mary’s above.
          All you people do is yachty yack that Mary is our life/sweetness/hope and can’t move beyond it. When pressed to justify it, you say it all over again, as if the second time will be the charm.
          We say it completely contradicts Scripture and you are in for a shock on Judgment Day.
          Hoping to pass the buck and blame the RCC by saying, “they told me so” will not cut it either.

          1. “I ALREADY KNOW THAT. THAT IS WHAT THE RCC TEACHES. ”

            Then, Flounder the All-Caps-tard, howcum you said the RCC teaches something completely different, at 9:06, and you’ve contradicted yer-own-self several times since?

            Your Lurasidone expired?

        1. Margo,

          BB posted this sentence above on Sept 21 @ 9:06::

          “To say that we shouldn’t be careful in what we say and how we say it, is just plain WRONG, whether we are talking about the Bible or not. We need to be sensitive to the reader…”

          Over the last few months he hasn’t really demonstrated such concern for the reader…thus…. the “eye brow raise’.

  4. The problem with every defense of Marian devotion (that I’ve read) is that it never addresses the elephant in the room: devotion to Mary can be taken too far. I think we would agreed on this. But this post shrugs off as “exaggerations” what very well could be idolatry. That’s a real danger, right?

    The main argument seems to be this: “First, [restricting exaggeration] limits the fullness of human emotional expression. Exaggeration for effect is a great way to emphasize a point, and it’s arbitrary to demand that it not be used. Second, rejecting exaggeration thwarts our ability to understand the Bible… because the Bible employs exaggeration.”

    First, allowing the “fullness of human emotional expression” is called lawlessness. It is often good and necessary to limit the fullness of human emotional expression. That’s what a law does. They guard us from going too far. Your first point ignores the fact that restricting exaggeration towards Mary is not restricting exaggeration in every case. No one is arguing to prohibit all forms of exaggeration. It also assumes the very point it needs to prove, that this particular form of exaggeration is good.

    Second, examples of exaggeration in the Bible do not give us free reign to exaggerate in any way, shape, or form. Further, restricting one form of exaggeration does not thwart our ability to understand it. We do not need to perform every sin in order to understand what sin is.

    I’m not trying to be antagonistic, but it bothers me that I’ve never seen any attempt to keep Catholics from going too far.

    1. I guess my top question would be: what is too far?

      I also suspect that there is a common fear (especially among Protestants) that more devotion to Mary translates to less devotion towards God. With the material, that is true; if one slice of the pie is larger, then the other slice(s) are smaller. But with the spiritual, love for one child does not result in less love for another. I might even say that any amount of love for Mary can ONLY result in more love for Her Son.

      1. Glennonite,

        Thank you for responding, but I think this is still the wrong way to look at it. The issue is not more or less pieces of the pie. It really is an issue of adultery or unfaithfulness. There are some things reserved for your wife alone, just like there are some things reserved for God alone. Someone might say, “I’m not replacing my relationship with my wife”, however it is still breaking the covenant to add another woman on the side. Jeremiah saw this kind of addition in his day: “The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Stand in the gate of the Lord’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the Lord, all you men of Judah who enter these gates to worship the Lord. […] The children gather wood, the fathers kindle fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods, to provoke me to anger.” (7:1,2,18 RSV Catholic Edition). The people were still on their way to worship God in the temple, but it was the addition that was offensive to God.

        Note how the author admits that “some Catholics may over-emphasize Mary”, but never defines what that is or why it happens. How do you think he can recognize it?

        Consider this argument on prayer from Origen:
        “But if we accept prayer in its full meaning, we may not ever pray to any begotten being, not even to Christ himself, but only to the God and Father of All to whom our Savior both prayed himself, as we have already instanced, and teaches us to pray. […] It remains, accordingly, to pray to God alone, the Father of All, not however apart from the High Priest who has been appointed by the Father with swearing of an oath, according to the words He hath sworn and shall not repent, “You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” In thanksgiving to God, therefore, during their prayers, saints acknowledge His favors through Christ Jesus. Just as the man who is scrupulous about prayer ought not to pray to one who himself prays but to the Father upon whom our Lord Jesus has taught us to call in our prayers, so we are not to offer any prayer to the Father apart from Him. […] ‘Learn you therefore how great a free gift you have received from my Father in having received through regeneration in [Jesus] the Spirit of adoption, that you may be called sons of God and [Jesus’] brethren. For you have read [Jesus’] utterance spoken through David to the Father concerning you, ‘I will proclaim your name to my brethren; in the midst of the church will I sing hymns to you.’ It is not reasonable that those who have been counted worthy of one common Father should pray to a brother. To the Father alone ought you, with [Jesus] and through [Jesus], to send up prayer.’” (On Prayer, Chapter 10, c. 185-c. 254)

        Is this not a compelling argument?

        God bless!

        1. Thanks for the follow-up. I suppose I’d ask, to whom was Origen addressing and why. If he was referring to those who might be praying to any one who was not God–as one who was independent from God, I would agree with him (Origen).

          I find St Louis-Marie DeMontforte’s writings more compelling, however. In short, All things to Jesus, through Mary. As he also says, We are the Body, Christ is the Head, and Mary is the neck. I cannot imagine Mary doing anything apart from God or without God’s blessing. Nor can I imagine any good Catholic trying to do ‘an end-run’ around God by praying to Mary instead. Thoughts?

          1. Hi Glennonite,

            It appears that Origen was addressing the church in general in order to give a full study of prayer. Here’s the full text: https://www.ccel.org/ccel/origen/prayer.xi.html

            I don’t see any indication that he would accept praying to someone who was not God as long as they were dependent on God. The whole chapter is focused on the recipients of prayer.

            As for St. Louis-Marie DeMontforte’s writings, I agree with the author of this post that they are a little “much”. As for the rest, it’s an interesting idea, but I don’t find any support for it in Scripture. The emphasis throughout the New Testament is our unity with Christ, that we abide in Him and He in us. No intermediary necessary.

            God bless!

      2. G: I guess my top question would be: what is too far?

        BB: Answer? I told you at 9:06. When the big boys tell us in 2677 that we must bring “ALL” our cares to her. To think that the hundreds of people who looked over the rough draft could let that slip by without a blink, proves in an instant, they do not have the Spirit residing in them. They are blind leaders of the blind.

    2. What is too far? The Church decides what is orthodox and what is not. The Church has made it clear that we are not to worship any created creature. You seem to assume the worst in others. While you worry about idolatry in someone’s level of Marian devotion that you deem to be to far, they may think your faith is tepid. They cannot read your heart, nor you their’s.

      From a personal standpoint, I have never seen anyone that had a deep devotion to Mary, that did not have an even greater devotion to Jesus. The two seem to go hand in hand.

      1. Duane,

        Please don’t assume the worst in me. I mean no disrespect to you or anyone else here. I’m not claiming to know anyone else’s heart either. But I do know that, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately corrupt; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9 RSV Catholic Edition) and that God commands “you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God” (Exodus 34:14 RSVCE) and that He says, “my glory I will not give to another.” (Isaiah 48:11 RSVCE). And I know from personal experience and conviction of the Holy Spirit that my heart is prone to make an idol out of anything.

        From my personal standpoint, I have seen people more devoted to Mary than Jesus. Here’s an example from a Catholic friend of mine: “I think it is mostly a humility thing. According to one of my priests, sometimes it is hard for him when he feels like he’s really screwed up or that God is far away, it is easier to talk to his spiritual mother, Mary, and ask her to (as he says) wrap him up in her mantle and take him to Jesus.”

        What do you think would make it easier to talk to Mary than to Jesus?

        God bless!

        1. Hi Early,

          I mean no disrespect to you, and did not think you were being disrespectful to anyone here. With that being said, you stated:

          “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately corrupt; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9 RSV Catholic Edition)

          This verse can apply to anyone in any situation, including people in the pews singing songs of praise to Jesus. After all, they could be singing with a corrupt heart.

          You stated:

          “you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God” (Exodus 34:14 RSVCE)

          I have yet to hear one Catholic ever call Mary a god (and I know many Marian devotees, from all around the globe), have you? If not, then this verse does not apply.

          You stated:

          “my glory I will not give to another.” (Isaiah 48:11 RSVCE)

          Can you show me one piece of Marian devotional literature asking that God give His glory to her? If not, then this verse does not apply.

          As a side question. I have heard many a Jewish scholar say that the correct translation of the fourth commandment is Glorify your mother and father. Since Jesus is God, and He glorifies her, is your understanding of that verse probably erroneous?

          You stated:

          And I know from personal experience and conviction of the Holy Spirit that my heart is prone to make an idol out of anything.

          And here is the crux of the matter, and why we cannot see eye to eye. You are trying to make your own personal knowledge of yourself normative for Catholics. Once again, IT IS THE CHURCH WHICH DECIDES WHAT IS NORMATIVE FOR CATHOLICS, because Christ gave her (the Church) Divine Authority. Nowhere do I see Christ giving Divine Authority to you. If He has, please show me.

          The Church has set the parameters for devotion to the saints. That devotion, as long as one stays in the parameters that the Church has set, can only lead to a deeper relationship with Christ. I have seen this countless times.

          What amazes me is that you are concerned about devotion that may go awry in some individuals, without producing any proof that it has gone too far. I know of children of Protestant pastors who after they read the bible, became atheists. Should we discourage the reading of Scripture because of these children who misunderstood Scripture?

          You stated:

          From my personal standpoint, I have seen people more devoted to Mary than Jesus.

          So they have stated to you that they are more devoted to Mary than Jesus? If not, can you read their hearts? If not, why don’t you ask them? You may find that your assumptions are wrong, and you may find that they believe your faith is lukewarm. But they would be wrong, correct?

          You stated:

          Here’s an example from a Catholic friend of mine: “I think it is mostly a humility thing. According to one of my priests, sometimes it is hard for him when he feels like he’s really screwed up or that God is far away, it is easier to talk to his spiritual mother, Mary, and ask her to (as he says) wrap him up in her mantle and take him to Jesus.”

          He wants her to take him to Jesus!!! And you have a problem with that? He wants to go to Jesus and you have a problem with him saying he wants Jesus’ mother to carry him!!! Wow, just wow. I applaud him. By the way, what a poor example, because once again you are trying to read something into another person’s heart. That priest never said he has a greater devotion to Mary than her Son. And I will state again that I have never yet met a person that did not have a deep Marian devotion that did not have a deeper devotion to Christ.

          You stated:

          What do you think would make it easier to talk to Mary than to Jesus?

          That’s easy. She is the perfect disciple, and our mother. The saints carry our prayers to Jesus. She can plead on our behalf. Her prayers on our behalf are much more efficacious than ours are on their own. I can go on.

          Did you ever think from Scripture that it is obvious to Catholics that Jesus wants devotion to all the saints, but moreso to His mother, and that the wedding at Cana makes this obvious.

          1. Hi Duane,

            Thank you for the reply. I wasn’t trying to imply that the verses quoted were about prayer specifically. Only that those verses are applicable to the topic. Our hearts are deceitful, therefore even though we can’t see each others’ hearts, we should take care to protect our hearts from drifting towards idols. God is a jealous God, therefore we should take care to give Him what He claims for Himself. God does not share His glory (nor should He), therefore we should draw clear lines to protect His glory. I agree that all these verses have other applications as well.

            You asked: “I have yet to hear one Catholic ever call Mary a god (and I know many Marian devotees, from all around the globe), have you?”

            This was not my point, but would you agree that it’s possible to call Mary a god without using the word “god”? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet…

            You asked: “Can you show me one piece of Marian devotional literature asking that God give His glory to her?”

            Again, this was not my point, but the problem in Isaiah is God’s people giving His glory to other things, idols.

            You said: “You are trying to make your own personal knowledge of yourself normative for Catholics.”

            Just to make sure I’m understanding you, are you saying that you are not prone to idolizing things? Are you saying that no one else is? I’m honestly not sure what you mean.

            You said: “The Church has set the parameters for devotion to the saints. That devotion, as long as one stays in the parameters that the Church has set, can only lead to a deeper relationship with Christ.”

            But what are those parameters? If you are referring to the definitions of dulia, hyperdulia, and latria, they are nearly impossible to apply. Are the devotions the author described as “a little “much”” hyperdulia or latria?

            You said: “Should we discourage the reading of Scripture because of these children who misunderstood Scripture?”

            By no means! We should teach the proper understanding of Scripture at all ages.

            You said: “So they have stated to you that they are more devoted to Mary than Jesus? If not, can you read their hearts? If not, why don’t you ask them?”

            Are you implying that an action is only sin if the person admits it? I get that we should talk to people rather than assuming, however it sounds like you’re saying we can’t be reasonably sure that something is wrong unless we get the person committing it to say it is wrong.

            You said: “He wants her to take him to Jesus!!! And you have a problem with that?”

            Please bear with me… I have a problem with that because the priest has a wrong view of Jesus. To think that he can’t go to Jesus must mean that he has forgotten that “God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 RSVCE) and “if any one does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1 RSVCE) and that “we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sinning.” (Hebrews 4:15 RSVCE). Is there anything lacking in His grace or mercy? Is there any valid reason for feeling that you can’t come to Christ?

            You said: “That’s easy. She is the perfect disciple, and our mother. The saints carry our prayers to Jesus. She can plead on our behalf. Her prayers on our behalf are much more efficacious than ours are on their own. I can go on.”

            None of this actually answers the question. The question is a comparison. What do you think would make it easier to talk to Mary than to Jesus? You say that she is the perfect disciple. Isn’t Christ a better disciple? You say she is our mother. Isn’t Christ a better mother? You say she can plead on our behalf. Can’t Christ offer a better plea?

            To say that it is easier to talk to Mary must mean that she is better than Christ in some respect or (if all things are equal) that you have more affection for her than Christ. I honestly don’t see any other way. If I am wrong, please help me see how.

            I realize that this is a very sensitive subject. Please know that I only want to glorify our God above everything else and point others to Him.

            God bless!

          2. Hi Early,

            You stated:

            This was not my point, but would you agree that it’s possible to call Mary a god without using the word “god”? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet…

            No. It is impossible to call someone a word without using that exact word. It is possible to treat someone or something like a god without calling them a god. I hope this is what you meant.

            But since the Church is clear in her teachings that there is only one God, and that no created creature can ever be part of the Godhead, I am not sure why you single Marian devotion out as the bogeyman. A much bigger fear should be all the people who privately interpret Scripture without the mind of the Church, to their destruction.

            You stated:

            Again, this was not my point, but the problem in Isaiah is God’s people giving His glory to other things, idols.

            Yes, but as long as we don’t make an idol out of Mary, then it is okay, correct?

            And since we can make an idol out of anything, I sure hope that when you are reading Scripture, that you don’t make an idol out of that book you are holding. But I worry about it, I really do.

            You said:

            Just to make sure I’m understanding you, are you saying that you are not prone to idolizing things? Are you saying that no one else is? I’m honestly not sure what you mean.

            No, I’m not prone to idolizing things. From a very young age, I was taught the difference between veneration and worship, and that the idolization of anything but God, is wrong. I know of no Catholics who idolize Mary. Could there be some? Maybe. But there could be some Evangelicals who idolize the bible. I know this, you are worried about excessive devotion, because you think that in you it could lead to idolatry. Did you ever think that it could lead to a relationship with Christ that is so much deeper than you could ever imagine?

            By the way, here is a definition of the word idol:

            i·dol
            ˈīdl/
            noun
            noun: idol; plural noun: idols

            an image or representation of a god used as an object of worship

            You stated:

            But what are those parameters? If you are referring to the definitions of dulia, hyperdulia, and latria, they are nearly impossible to apply. Are the devotions the author described as “a little “much”” hyperdulia or latria?

            Unless you can read another person’s heart, no one can tell if someone is worshiping something that they shouldn’t be, unless they tell you that they are worshiping something other than God.

            Read what he says again. He never said it was too much. He said others may find it a little much. In all honesty, as long as your devotion leads to a deeper relationship with Christ, it cannot be too much. Since you have admitted you cannot read another person’s heart, unless you are positive that they are giving latria to Mary, you should assume the best in others.

            Should I be worried that I have seen Protestant congregations singing songs of praise with their eyes closed and palms in air, that they might be actually worshiping the ceiling? No, because I cannot read their hearts, and so I assume the best. You clearly assume the worst, because it is a type of spirituality that is foreign to you.

            You stated:

            By no means! We should teach the proper understanding of Scripture at all ages.

            The same can be said for any devotion.

            You stated:

            Are you implying that an action is only sin if the person admits it? I get that we should talk to people rather than assuming, however it sounds like you’re saying we can’t be reasonably sure that something is wrong unless we get the person committing it to say it is wrong.

            Nope. But it is only a sin if they are actually committing it. You have admitted that you cannot read their heart to know if they are committing the sin.

            But the Church for countless centuries has already said that if on the off chance that someone should turn Marian devotion into worship, that they are sinning. She has set the boundaries over a millennia before you were born.

            You stated:

            Please bear with me… I have a problem with that because the priest has a wrong view of Jesus. To think that he can’t go to Jesus must mean that he has forgotten that “God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 RSVCE) and “if any one does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1 RSVCE) and that “we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sinning.” (Hebrews 4:15 RSVCE). Is there anything lacking in His grace or mercy? Is there any valid reason for feeling that you can’t come to Christ?

            You need to reread what you posted. That priest never said that he can’t go to Jesus. Yet you assumed because the priest said that sometimes it is easier to talk to the mother of the King, rather than directly to the King, that he feels he can’t go directly to Jesus. If you know your OT, if you wanted a favor of the king, you often went to his mother first. Does Jesus say that that particular tradition has been done away with? If not, then, more power to that priest. Without a doubt, it is you that has the wrong view of Jesus, not the priest.

            I have no doubt that if that priest had said he wanted angels to carry him to Jesus, you would have found that acceptable. But you have been so trained that when any Catholic says Mary to you, the hairs on your neck stand up. Very sad.

            You stated:

            None of this actually answers the question. The question is a comparison. What do you think would make it easier to talk to Mary than to Jesus? You say that she is the perfect disciple. Isn’t Christ a better disciple? You say she is our mother. Isn’t Christ a better mother? You say she can plead on our behalf. Can’t Christ offer a better plea?

            To say that it is easier to talk to Mary must mean that she is better than Christ in some respect or (if all things are equal) that you have more affection for her than Christ. I honestly don’t see any other way. If I am wrong, please help me see how.

            Christ is not a disciple. He is God. In Revelation, she is depicted as the mother of the Church.

            When she offers a plea on our behalf, it is only to have Christ offer our plea. That is the concept which you, and most Protestants cannot wrap your head around. All we are asking her to do is to take our pleas and join her plea to them to her Son, since her prayers are more efficacious than ours.

            Following your reasoning, if anyone has ever asked you to pray for them, you said no, since Jesus praying on their behalf is much more efficacious than you. I wonder if they were making an idol out of you. 🤔

            He never said it is always easier to talk to her than Christ, he said sometimes. Sometimes it is easier to talk to my priest than my wife. To your way of thinking, this must mean I love him more than her.

            But something that you obviously missed. If he loved her more than Jesus, wouldn’t he want her to just carry him, instead of carrying him to her Son? But your mind is so closed that you cannot see the obvious, you say: ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your own eye.

            You stated:

            I realize that this is a very sensitive subject. Please know that I only want to glorify our God above everything else and point others to Him.

            That’s great. How do you know that that is the way that God want’s you to glorify Him?

            For a Catholic, the Church that Jesus founded tells us what is acceptable in worship to God. She also offers us many aids to deepen our relationship with Christ. That what you deem as extreme devotion to His mother, and that He would want that, and that it could actually lead one into a deeper relationship with Him, is unimaginable to you.

            You have your interpretation of what you think the bible says.

            God bless,

          3. Early,

            You said: None of this actually answers the question. The question is a comparison. What do you think would make it easier to talk to Mary than to Jesus? You say that she is the perfect disciple. Isn’t Christ a better disciple? You say she is our mother. Isn’t Christ a better mother? You say she can plead on our behalf. Can’t Christ offer a better plea?

            Me-Are you saying that if one wants to get closer to Jesus one must only approach Jesus? Do you think Jesus cares how we find our way to Him?

          4. Hi Duane,

            Sorry for the delay. It was a busy, rewarding weekend.

            You said: “No. It is impossible to call someone a word without using that exact word. It is possible to treat someone or something like a god without calling them a god. I hope this is what you meant.”

            It sounds like you’re being intentionally difficult, but it’s hard to tell in comments like these. But yes, you eventually understood what I meant.

            You said: “But since the Church is clear in her teachings that there is only one God, and that no created creature can ever be part of the Godhead, I am not sure why you single Marian devotion out as the bogeyman.”

            Two things: (1) no one is claiming that there are other gods, that Mary is another god, or that she should be added to the Godhead. Our conversation has been focused on idolatry and treating someone/something as a god even though they are not God. (2) Since this is our first conversation and it is relevant to the topic of this article, why do you think I am singling out Marian devotion?

            You said: “Yes, but as long as we don’t make an idol out of Mary, then it is okay, correct? And since we can make an idol out of anything, I sure hope that when you are reading Scripture, that you don’t make an idol out of that book you are holding.”

            Absolutely. Another Catholic friend of mine already brought up that the Bible could be made into an idol. I have my own ideas about that, but my question to you is, what do you think it looks like to idolize the Bible or take it too far?

            You said: “No, I’m not prone to idolizing things.”

            Now, we’ve already covered that I can’t see into a person’s heart, but let me present the issue in a different way. In explaining the root of anxiety, David Powlison says, “You profess that God is your rock and refuge, a very present help in whatever troubles you face. You profess to worship Him, trust Him, love Him, obey Him. But in that moment—or hour, day, season—of anxiety, you live as if you needed to control all things. You live as if something—money, someone’s approval, a “successful” sermon, your grade on an exam, good health, avoiding conflict, getting your way—matters more than trusting and loving God. You live as if some temporary good feeling could provide you refuge, as if your actions could make the world right. Your functional god competes with your professed God. Unbelievers are wholly owned by ungodly motives—their functional gods. Yet true believers are often severely compromised, distracted, and divided by our functional gods as well. Thankfully, grace reorients us, purifies us, and turns us back to our Lord. Grace makes our professed God and functional God one and the same.” Since I feel the need to be very clear, I’m not accusing you of anxiety or any other sin. Rather, I think it is very important and helpful for people to realize that the sins we commit every day (e.g. pride, selfishness, lust, etc) are the pursuit of a functional (not actual) god, something other than God that we think will satisfy us.

            You said: “Unless you can read another person’s heart, no one can tell if someone is worshiping something that they shouldn’t be, unless they tell you that they are worshiping something other than God.”

            Is there anything that could be said of Mary (without knowing the heart) that would be too far?

            You said: “I know of no Catholics who idolize Mary. Could there be some? Maybe.” Then later you say: “In all honesty, as long as your devotion leads to a deeper relationship with Christ, it cannot be too much.”

            These seem to be contradictory statements. If it is possible to idolize Mary, then there is a type of devotion to Mary that can lead you away from Christ. Right?

            You said: “But the Church for countless centuries has already said that if on the off chance that someone should turn Marian devotion into worship, that they are sinning. She has set the boundaries over a millennia before you were born.”

            My question is still: how does that happen? This must be a possibility if the church has been teaching against it. I know where the boundaries lie *in definition*, but no one seems to know where they are *in practice*.

            You said: “That priest never said that he can’t go to Jesus. Yet you assumed because the priest said that sometimes it is easier to talk to the mother of the King, rather than directly to the King, that he feels he can’t go directly to Jesus.”

            Then what do you think the priest IS saying about Jesus?

            You said: “If you know your OT, if you wanted a favor of the king, you often went to his mother first. Does Jesus say that that particular tradition has been done away with? If not, then, more power to that priest.”

            What exactly is this tradition? Where is it cited as authoritative for God’s people? What was the motivation for “often” going to the king’s mother first?

            You said: “I have no doubt that if that priest had said he wanted angels to carry him to Jesus, you would have found that acceptable. But you have been so trained that when any Catholic says Mary to you, the hairs on your neck stand up. Very sad.”

            I’m not sure how you became so confident about who I am or what I would say/do in any given situation. Here’s what I would say to that priest: “When you feel unworthy or far from God, Jesus says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29 RSV Catholic Edition) “For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sinning. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16 RSVCE). My friend, Jesus wants you to draw near with confidence in His goodness and grace!”

            You said: “Christ is not a disciple. He is God.”

            Jesus said, “I can do nothing on my own authority; as I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.” (John 5:30 RSVCE) and “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me” (John 6:38 RSVCE). Doesn’t this fit the description of disciple? Christ showed Himself to be the perfect disciple because He submitted Himself to the Father perfectly, even unto death on a cross.

            You said: “When she offers a plea on our behalf, it is only to have Christ offer our plea. That is the concept which you, and most Protestants cannot wrap your head around. All we are asking her to do is to take our pleas and join her plea to them to her Son, since her prayers are more efficacious than ours.”

            Again, you misunderstand. I know that concept well. My problem is with the words “more efficacious”. Let me ask you this: is there anything that Christ would say “no” to, that Mary would say “yes” to?

            You said: “He never said it is always easier to talk to her than Christ, he said sometimes. Sometimes it is easier to talk to my priest than my wife. To your way of thinking, this must mean I love him more than her.”

            Since you set up the scenario, please allow me to dig a little deeper. Why would it be easier to talk to your priest than your wife?

            You said: “But something that you obviously missed. If he loved her more than Jesus, wouldn’t he want her to just carry him, instead of carrying him to her Son?”

            Again, I did not miss that point. Idolatry does not obliterate our love for Christ or what we know to be true. You can still trust in things other than Christ while knowing that you ultimately need to be with Him.

            You asked: “How do you know that that is the way that God want’s you to glorify Him?”

            “Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way which he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:19-22 RSVCE). God wants us to have confidence in the blood of Jesus and His continuing work as our great priest! And because of that, He wants us to draw near to Him. It seems pretty clear that this is God’s ideal for every believer, ever-increasing confidence in Christ.

            Thanks for all the time you put into this. God bless!

          5. Hi Early,

            You said:

            Since this is our first conversation and it is relevant to the topic of this article, why do you think I am singling out Marian devotion?

            Because the first thing you said was this:

            The problem with every defense of Marian devotion (that I’ve read) is that it never addresses the elephant in the room: devotion to Mary can be taken too far. I think we would agreed on this. But this post shrugs off as “exaggerations” what very well could be idolatry. That’s a real danger, right?

            There is only one way it could be taken too far, and that is if the devotee turns reverence into worship. But the Church has been clear from the beginning, we must never worship a created being. Your elephant in the room is the elephant in every room, including your church.

            If you are not worried about people with their hands in the air singing songs of praise taking it too far and suddenly worshiping the bible, the lectern, or the ceiling, because they know better than to do that, why are you worried about people who venerate Mary, simply because she is the mother of Christ, suddenly turning it into idolatry, even though they know better?

            You said:

            Absolutely. Another Catholic friend of mine already brought up that the Bible could be made into an idol. I have my own ideas about that, but my question to you is, what do you think it looks like to idolize the Bible or take it too far?

            To worship it.

            Which brings two questions for you.

            1.) Since Christ gave the Church Divine Authority to bind and loose, and to set guidelines for what would be considered going too far, and the Church has clearly said that this kind of Marian devotion is within the guidelines and is orthodox, where did Christ make you, and not the Church, the determiner of what is too far in another person’s journey with Christ?

            2.) When did Christ give you Divine Authority to bind and loose, and to determine what is orthodox and what is not, in contrast to the Church that he founded?

            You said:

            …..Rather, I think it is very important and helpful for people to realize that the sins we commit every day (e.g. pride, selfishness, lust, etc) are the pursuit of a functional (not actual) god, something other than God that we think will satisfy us.

            Sounds like he re-packaged St. Augustine’s writings on disordered love.

            You said:

            Is there anything that could be said of Mary (without knowing the heart) that would be too far?

            On the positive side? If one were to say she is a goddess. The Church condemned any talk of this in the third or fourth century, because one tiny group had proposed this.

            On the negative side? Slander and derogatory comments.

            You said:

            Could there be some? Maybe.” Then later you say: “In all honesty, as long as your devotion leads to a deeper relationship with Christ, it cannot be too much.”

            These seem to be contradictory statements. If it is possible to idolize Mary, then there is a type of devotion to Mary that can lead you away from Christ. Right?

            How so? Think of what you are saying. If the way a person practiced a devotion brought said person into a deeper relationship with Christ, even though you personally thought it was too much, how would the exaggerated practice of said devotion be a bad thing, if it brought the person into a deeper relationship with Christ?

            See, I mean this as no offense, but you are so bothered by the thought of Marian devotions that you are not thinking clearly.
            All devotions are meant to bring us into a deeper relationship with Christ. Can someone pervert a devotion? I imagine, though I don’t know how, unless they started to worship Mary.
            But since it is also possible to idolize the Bible, than there is a type of Scripture reading that could lead you away from Christ, right? Should we discourage Scripture reading, on the off chance that someone might idolize the Bible? You have already said no.

            So there is an off-chance that a perverted practice of a devotion could, notice I said could, lead you away from Christ. But for most Christians, yes I said Christians as I know of Protestants who practice Marian devotions, the devotions always lead to a deeper relationship with Christ.

            Now another question for you. If a person were to practice a Marian devotion and it leads that person into a deeper relationship with Christ, which is what all devotions are supposed to do, would that be a good or bad thing?

            You said:

            My question is still: how does that happen? This must be a possibility if the church has been teaching against it. I know where the boundaries lie *in definition*, but no one seems to know where they are *in practice*.

            Really? I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t know where the boundaries are.

            If one were to worship her as a goddess, or offer sacrifices to her, then that would be crossing the boundary. Now that tiny community that I mentioned earlier, they proposed to cross the boundary.

            You said:

            Then what do you think the priest IS saying about Jesus?

            That He is God, and I want His mother praying on my behalf. That is all he is saying. You have read what you want to read into it, because there is a deepness to Catholic spirituality that you cannot understand.

            You said:

            What exactly is this tradition? Where is it cited as authoritative for God’s people? What was the motivation for “often” going to the king’s mother first?

            https://udayton.edu/imri/mary/q/queen-mother-in-old-testament.php

            You said:

            I’m not sure how you became so confident about who I am or what I would say/do in any given situation. Here’s what I would say to that priest:

            And here is what I say to you: Do you want to stand before Christ’s throne by yourself, or would you like his mother there pleading on your behalf? That’s all that priest is saying.

            http://biblestudyforcatholics.com/marian-reading-revelation-12/

            You said:

            Again, you misunderstand. I know that concept well. My problem is with the words “more efficacious”. Let me ask you this: is there anything that Christ would say “no” to, that Mary would say “yes” to?

            We are not asking her to say yes. We are just asking her to join her prayers to ours, because the prayers of the righteous availeth much.

            Why wouldn’t you, earlychurch, ask her to pray to her Son on your behalf for your needs, just as you would a neighbor of yours?

            You said:

            Since you set up the scenario, please allow me to dig a little deeper. Why would it be easier to talk to your priest than your wife?

            Marital problems. Sometimes it is easier to talk to someone who is not so close to the issue. I’m taking it that you have never had marital problems. And if you have, you never found it easier to talk to someone else.

            You said:

            Again, I did not miss that point. Idolatry does not obliterate our love for Christ or what we know to be true. You can still trust in things other than Christ while knowing that you ultimately need to be with Him.

            Actually, by it’s very definition, idolatry does obliterate our love for Christ. Idolatry is a conscious act to treat an object or personas either an only god, or another god, or a god among many.

            I have noticed that you seem to be using a definition of idolatry that is not the biblical usage. In it’s strictest sense, idolatry is the worship of idols, and in the OT, were treated as if God were actually in them.

            You said:

            God wants us to have confidence in the blood of Jesus and His continuing work as our great priest! And because of that, He wants us to draw near to Him. It seems pretty clear that this is God’s ideal for every believer, ever-increasing confidence in Christ.

            This does not answer the question. How do you know that your form of worship, is the way that God wants to be worshiped and glorified?

          6. I find that 99.9 percent of objection to Marian devotions are the product of ignorance, and it doesn’t take that much to show that 100 percent of Marian devotions are Christ centric. Take the Rosary. The are 20 Mysteries of the Rosary. Of them, only 2 are focused on Mary, whilst 17 are Christ centric and one is Holy Spirit centric. Not a bad ratio, wouldn’t you say? Mary does figure to a greater or a lesser extent in 11 (or 12) of them – the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Nativity, the Presentation, the Finding in the Temple, the Wedding at Cana, the Carrying of the Cross, the Crucifixion, the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the Assumption, and the Coronation (and possibly the Ascension). Yet Christ is present in all 20.

          7. Was editing and re-editing that I mistyped some things. Meant to say: And here is what I say to you: Do you want to stand before Christ’s throne by yourself, or would you like his mother and all the saints there, praying with you on your behalf? That’s all that priest is saying.

            And: I have noticed that you seem to be using a definition of idolatry that is not the biblical usage. In it’s strictest sense, idolatry is the worship of idols, and in the OT, were treated as if the god were actually in the idol.

          8. Early,

            I have a few more questions for you, pertaining to what we have discussed.

            1.) Do you refuse to pray on the behalf of others if they ask you to, because they should just go straight to Jesus, since His prayers are always more efficacious than yours?

            2.) What is the problem with wanting Mary, or the angels, or the saints, to carry us to Jesus?

            3.) Do any of those verses you posted earlier, actually show that that priest has the wrong view of Christ, simply because He said sometimes it is easier to talk to His mother, rather than Him, when he knows he has sinned?

            4.) Does the Bible anywhere state that it is always easier to talk to God, rather than a saint? If not, then isn’t your stating that he has the wrong view of Christ a subjective opinion, with no biblical basis?

          9. Hi CK,

            Sorry for not responding earlier. I missed your comment in between the longer ones.

            You said: ”

            Early,

            You said: “Are you saying that if one wants to get closer to Jesus one must only approach Jesus?”

            I’m not saying that we can never learn from other people by example or teaching. But I don’t believe that we will grow closer to Christ when we treat other people or things like a savior, even if it is an exaggeration.

            You said: “Do you think Jesus cares how we find our way to Him?”

            Absolutely.

            “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few. Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” (Matthew 7:13-15 RSV Catholic Edition).

            “test everything; hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21 RSVCE)

            “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel— not that there is another gospel, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:6-8 RSVCE)

            The reality of wolves and false gospels require us to test everything, even the Apostle Paul and angels. This is because there are people and ideas that will claim to lead us to Christ, but actually result in us “deserting Him who called you”.

            May I ask you what I’ve been asking others here? Some people have said it is sometimes easier to pray to Mary than to Jesus. Have you felt this way? If so, why?

            God bless!

          10. Hi Duane,

            I’m going to try and shorten this up as much as I can.

            You said: “Your elephant in the room is the elephant in every room, including your church.”

            I agree, however I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect me to bring up every room when the topic of this blog post was Mary. I have already agreed that idolatry occurs in many ways and in all churches. Again, we have only had one conversation and you know nothing about me. Accusing someone of “singling out” an issue without any evidence is nothing more than an ad hominem attack.

            You said: “If you are not worried about people with their hands in the air singing songs of praise taking it too far and suddenly worshiping the bible, the lectern, or the ceiling, because they know better than to do that, why are you worried about people who venerate Mary, simply because she is the mother of Christ, suddenly turning it into idolatry, even though they know better?”

            Because “knowing better” is not enough. “Therefore we must pay the closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” (Hebrews 2:1 RSV Catholic Edition). Drift can occur any every area of life and doctrine. Simply knowing does not preclude us from sinning. I believe that most Catholics know not to worship Mary, but my fear is that the Catholic Church has implicitly or explicitly approved so much veneration of Mary that no one even knows what it would look like to drift towards worship of Mary.

            I asked: “what do you think it looks like to idolize the Bible or take it too far?” You said: “To worship it.”

            Yes, but what does that mean? Have you actually seen anyone do this?

            You said: “Since Christ gave the Church Divine Authority to bind and loose, and to set guidelines for what would be considered going too far, and the Church has clearly said that this kind of Marian devotion is within the guidelines and is orthodox, where did Christ make you, and not the Church, the determiner of what is too far in another person’s journey with Christ?”

            Wow, that escalated quickly… I hope that you’ve noticed that the majority of my comments have been questions, not claims to authority. After all, we are commanded to “test everything; hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21 RSVCE). Not only that, we are especially called to warn other people who might be drifting. “My brethren, if any one among you wanders from the truth and some one brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” (James 5:19-20 RSVCE). We haven’t even gotten to the topic of authority yet. We’re still testing the idea that it’s okay to exaggerate about Mary.

            You said: “Sounds like he re-packaged St. Augustine’s writings on disordered love.”

            I can’t tell if that mean you agree or disagree…

            I asked: “Is there anything that could be said of Mary (without knowing the heart) that would be too far?” You said: “If one were to say she is a goddess.”

            Okay, now we’re getting somewhere. Are you being super-literal again and only talking about the word “goddess”? Or can we safely assume that this includes similar words and implications?

            As a quick side note, how would you feel about someone removing all uses of the name of God in the Psalms and replacing it with Mary’s name and using it as a devotion?

            I said: “If it is possible to idolize Mary, then there is a type of devotion to Mary that can lead you away from Christ. Right?” You said: “So there is an off-chance that a perverted practice of a devotion could, notice I said could, lead you away from Christ. But for most Christians, […] the devotions always lead to a deeper relationship with Christ.”

            I feel like this is a big step for us. Admitting that a type of devotion to Mary could lead us away from Christ is progress!

            Since we have already reiterated over and over again that neither of us can know the heart of a person, how are you so confident that this is true? How do you know that it is the devotion to Mary that is leading them to Christ and not something else, like increased prayer to God or reading their Bible?

            You said: “If a person were to practice a Marian devotion and it leads that person into a deeper relationship with Christ, which is what all devotions are supposed to do, would that be a good or bad thing?”

            I get that it’s supposed to lead someone into a deeper relationship with Christ. I’m just not sure how it would actually do that.

            If I pray to Mary, “turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us”, where does that lead me? Is this going to increase my confidence in Christ’s advocacy, in His eyes of mercy?

            If I pray to Mary, “may all who seek your help experience your unfailing protection”, how does that lead me to trust in Christ’s protection? These are honest questions.

            You said: “Really? I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t know where the boundaries are.”

            You keep acting like this is common sense, yet it has taken a remarkably long time to present any kind of meaningful explanation of where that boundary is. Doesn’t it bother you that no one else here was able to come up with word “goddess” when asked “how far is too far?” Why wasn’t this common sense answer the first thing to come up?

            You said: “If one were to worship her as a goddess, or offer sacrifices to her, then that would be crossing the boundary.”

            Good! Now we have two examples. So what counts as offering sacrifices to her? A sin offering? A burnt offering? Lighting candles? Singing songs? Making food for her?

            You said: “That He is God, and I want His mother praying on my behalf. That is all he is saying. You have read what you want to read into it, because there is a deepness to Catholic spirituality that you cannot understand.”

            I don’t see how I’m reading into it. The priest said “easier” for a reason. I’m just treating the word as if it means what it’s supposed to mean. He cannot simply be saying “God is God and I want Mary to pray for me”. He made a comparative statement. X is more than Y. These statements by design say something about both variables, namely where they are in relation to each other. The priest must be saying that it is sometimes “more” easy to pray to Mary, therefore it is sometimes “less” easy to pray to Jesus. There must be some real or perceived deficiency in Jesus compared to Mary in those times where this is true. Or am I missing something?

            You said: “If you know your OT, if you wanted a favor of the king, you often went to his mother first. Does Jesus say that that particular tradition has been done away with?” And then you provided a link with further explanation.

            I must point out that your reference for people “often” going to the king’s mother comes from one example in the Bible. In this example (1 Kings 2), Adonijah is trying to secure one of David’s concubines in order to win favor with the people and overthrow King Solomon. He tries to do this by manipulating the king’s mother, Bathsheba, and when the she brings the subversive petition to the king, Adonijah is killed for it. I fail to see how this counts as a tradition or any kind of positive example that we should follow…

            You said: “Do you want to stand before Christ’s throne by yourself, or would you like his mother and all the saints there, praying with you on your behalf?”

            The only reason I can see for wanting someone to plead on my behalf to Christ is because of fear. And we all know that “perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18 RSVCE). The more you understand Christ’s immeasurable love for you, the less you will care who else may be pleading for you.

            You said: “We are not asking her to say yes. We are just asking her to join her prayers to ours, because the prayers of the righteous availeth much.”

            This isn’t answering the question, it’s just changing the terms. Is there any prayer that Mary would join her prayers to that Christ would not join His prayers to?

            You said: “Why wouldn’t you, earlychurch, ask her to pray to her Son on your behalf for your needs, just as you would a neighbor of yours?”

            This is a whole different topic about who hears our prayers and how praying to the dead is different from asking your neighbor to pray for you. If you want to discuss this, I would suggest starting a different comment or maybe e-mailing back and forth.

            I said: “Why would it be easier to talk to your priest than your wife?” You said: “Marital problems. Sometimes it is easier to talk to someone who is not so close to the issue. I’m taking it that you have never had marital problems. And if you have, you never found it easier to talk to someone else.”

            Okay, why is it easier to talk to someone who is not so close to the issue than the person you offended? Are they more understanding? More forgiving? More likely to ease your guilt?

            The next question then is, how does this compare to your relationship with Christ?

            You said: “Actually, by it’s very definition, idolatry does obliterate our love for Christ. Idolatry is a conscious act to treat an object or personas either an only god, or another god, or a god among many.”

            This doesn’t make sense. If an idol can be treating an object or person as “another god”, then it stands to reason that the person is still treating other things as god or God, right?

            You said: “And: I have noticed that you seem to be using a definition of idolatry that is not the biblical usage. In it’s strictest sense, idolatry is the worship of idols, and in the OT, were treated as if the god were actually in the idol.”

            Didn’t you already admit that we could idolize Mary? Aren’t you then implicitly agreeing that idolatry can extend beyond a small object? After all, in the NT, Paul tells us to avoid “covetousness, which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5 RSVCE). Therefore, the Biblical understanding of idolatry is also things we covet, long for, trust in for peace and satisfaction. Like a functional god or distorted love, right?

            You said: “1.) Do you refuse to pray on the behalf of others if they ask you to, because they should just go straight to Jesus, since His prayers are always more efficacious than yours?”

            By no means! We are commanded “that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men” (1 Timothy 2:1 RSVCE). If they are seeking efficacy, I would exhort them to trust in God alone. “Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:9-11 RSVCE). I don’t believe that God is waiting for the right number of people or the one righteous person to ask before He will act.

            You said: “2.) What is the problem with wanting Mary, or the angels, or the saints, to carry us to Jesus?”

            For one, because it doesn’t take into account the indwelling of Christ. “But if Christ is in you, although your bodies are dead because of sin, your spirits are alive because of righteousness.” (Romans 8:10 RSVCE). Doesn’t it make the request seem kind of silly?

            You said: “Do any of those verses you posted earlier, actually show that that priest has the wrong view of Christ, simply because He said sometimes it is easier to talk to His mother, rather than Him, when he knows he has sinned?”

            This is already very long, so the quickest way I can think to answer is to bring up 1 John 4:18 again: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love.” If Christ’s love for us is perfect, then any obstacle we perceive between us is wrong.

            You said: “4.) Does the Bible anywhere state that it is always easier to talk to God, rather than a saint? If not, then isn’t your stating that he has the wrong view of Christ a subjective opinion, with no biblical basis?”

            Remember that all my questions were asking “why is it easier”. There is no good reason why it would be easier to go to a saint. “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13 RSVCE). There is no greater love than Christ’s love for us. Period.

            God bless!

          11. Early,

            If your comment has been shortened, how long was it before you shortened it?!

            Your comment is addressed to Duane, and I’ll let him answer. I only glanced at your comment, and a couple things jumped out:

            “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13 RSVCE). The reason many saints are saints is their doing just as Jesus did, laying down their lives for the cause of Christianity, to further the salvation of souls, just as Jesus did. So we pray to saints to ask their prayer to Jesus.

            Why is it more difficult to pray to Jesus than to pray to a saint or to Mary? My last post to you, and earlier posts too tried to show the source of our unworthiness–Jesus is divine judge. Fear of the Lord is a virtue. We are humble. We know our unworthiness. Even the best of saints claimed to know the pain of their own or their neighbors’ sins. It is frightening to fall into the hands of the living God.

            You acknowledge all these ideas when you quote 1 John 4:18 again: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love.” You say: ***If Christ’s love for us is perfect, then any obstacle we perceive between us is wrong.***

            I say: Yes. What is wrong between us is sin.

            I say: Yes, Christ’s love for us is perfect! OUR LOVE FOR CHRIST IS NOT! We have not reached His perfection. For most of us, that takes many years of prayers and purification. Many more never reach the finish line. Many are called but few are chosen.

            Something is wrong if we hesitate to face Jesus face-to-face

          12. Margo: Hebrews 4:14-16 says: “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need”.

          13. Hi Early,

            You said:

            Because “knowing better” is not enough. “Therefore we must pay the closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” (Hebrews 2:1 RSV Catholic Edition). Drift can occur any every area of life and doctrine. Simply knowing does not preclude us from sinning. I believe that most Catholics know not to worship Mary, but my fear is that the Catholic Church has implicitly or explicitly approved so much veneration of Mary that no one even knows what it would look like to drift towards worship of Mary.

            Until you can definitively show that veneration has turned to worship, there cannot be too much. Remember, we are only venerating her because she is the mother of Jesus. One thing is clear in all your posts, you somehow feel that exaggerated veneration detracts from Christ. Too many Protestants have this distorted view of love. This would only be true if love is finite. But it’s not. Love is infinite.

            Here are some questions for you. If she is a perfected member of the body of Christ, which all the people in Heaven are, when you love a member of His body, are you not loving Him? By reason then, when you lessen your love for the members of the body of Christ, are you not lessening your love for Him? In fact, since whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me, is not our veneration of her, also veneration of Him?

            You said:

            Yes, but what does that mean? Have you actually seen anyone do this?

            For the umpteenth time: without someone telling you that they are worshiping something that they shouldn’t, you have no way of knowing. Here is the difference between you and I: When I see someone kneeling and praying in front of the Bible, or even kissing the Bible, I assume that particular person is trying to deepen their relationship with Christ. When you see someone with a Marian devotion, for the most part you cringe and feel that it detracts from Christ.

            You cannot imagine that Christ would actually draw someone into a deeper relationship with Him through an exaggerated Marian devotion, because you have set yourself up as the norm for what orthodox devotion should look like. You will reply, you don’t know me, so how can you make that statement about me. I don’t need to know you. A core tenet of Protestantism is that the individual decides for himself what is orthodox. Don’t believe me? Read the confessions of faith, or better yet, just reread your posts, and you will see that your posts are all laced with: I fear, I think, I see, I hear. And the Catholic replies are all: the Church says, the Church does, the Church.

            You said:

            We haven’t even gotten to the topic of authority yet. We’re still testing the idea that it’s okay to exaggerate about Mary.

            Yes but the Church has said this type of devotion is not drifting, and is a tool to deepen our relationship with Christ. A Catholic conforms his or herself to this decision. He trusts in the promise of Christ to be with His Church to the end of the age.

            You said:

            As a quick side note, how would you feel about someone removing all uses of the name of God in the Psalms and replacing it with Mary’s name and using it as a devotion?

            I do not believe in changing or removing words or books from the Bible to fit one’s theology.

            An aside question for you: How do you feel about people removing books of the Bible to fit their theology?

            You said:

            I feel like this is a big step for us. Admitting that a type of devotion to Mary could lead us away from Christ is progress!

            You are wrong. Reread carefully what I typed. I did not say the devotion could lead us away, but a perverted practice of it. Just as a perverted type of prayer can lead us away from Jesus. Or a perverted form of reading the Bible.

            You said:

            How do you know that it is the devotion to Mary that is leading them to Christ and not something else, like increased prayer to God or reading their Bible?

            That would be great. That is what a devotion to Mary is supposed to do. Lead us closer to her Son. I do know this, it is amazing how after one starts consistently practicing a devotion to Mary, how much their prayer life (which usually includes a deeper understanding of Scripture) intensifies!!!

            You said:

            I get that it’s supposed to lead someone into a deeper relationship with Christ. I’m just not sure how it would actually do that.

            As others have said St. Louis de Montfort’s “Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin” will answer your questions. You might find this from JPII interesting, does his youth remind you of anyone?

            I myself, in the years of my youth, found reading this book a great help. “There I found the answers to my questions”, for at one point I had feared that if my devotion to Mary “became too great, it might end up compromising the supremacy of the worship owed to Christ” (Gift and Mystery). Under the wise guidance of St. Louis Marie, I realized that if one lives the mystery of Mary in Christ, this risk does not exist. In fact, this Saint’s Mariological thought “is rooted in the mystery of the Trinity and in the truth of the Incarnation of the Word of God”

            You said:

            You keep acting like this is common sense, yet it has taken a remarkably long time to present any kind of meaningful explanation of where that boundary is. Doesn’t it bother you that no one else here was able to come up with word “goddess” when asked “how far is too far?” Why wasn’t this common sense answer the first thing to come up?

            You said: “If one were to worship her as a goddess, or offer sacrifices to her, then that would be crossing the boundary.”

            Good! Now we have two examples. So what counts as offering sacrifices to her? A sin offering? A burnt offering? Lighting candles? Singing songs? Making food for her?

            I have given you the same answer several times. I said we cannot make an idol out of her. What were idols in the OT? Idols were gods. I gave you the OT definition of an idol. To make an idol out of her would be making her into a goddess. So several times, I have given you the same answer. We cannot worship a created being.

            The Church’s highest prayer is the Sacrifice of the Mass, to which we only offer to God, not to Mary.

            Lighting a candle is usually for a special intention. It’s not sacrifice.

            You said:
            I don’t see how I’m reading into it. The priest said “easier” for a reason. I’m just treating the word as if it means what it’s supposed to mean. He cannot simply be saying “God is God and I want Mary to pray for me”. He made a comparative statement. X is more than Y. These statements by design say something about both variables, namely where they are in relation to each other. The priest must be saying that it is sometimes “more” easy to pray to Mary, therefore it is sometimes “less” easy to pray to Jesus. There must be some real or perceived deficiency in Jesus compared to Mary in those times where this is true. Or am I missing something?

            Yes, you are missing something. Saying that since sometimes person Z finds it easier to talk to person X rather than person Y, it does not follow that this means that person Z finds person Y in any way deficient. There is another way to look at it, one that is obvious from that priest’s statement.

            You said:
            I must point out that your reference for people “often” going to the king’s mother comes from one example in the Bible. In this example (1 Kings 2), Adonijah is trying to secure one of David’s concubines in order to win favor with the people and overthrow King Solomon. He tries to do this by manipulating the king’s mother, Bathsheba, and when the she brings the subversive petition to the king, Adonijah is killed for it. I fail to see how this counts as a tradition or any kind of positive example that we should follow…

            I must point out to you that just because he was killed, does not take away from the fact that to have his petition heard, he went through the Queen Mother. Why, if he could have just went straight to Solomon? Also, by your logic, if I prayed for someone to be blessed, and they were hit by a car and died, then prayer is a negative example. Is that what you are saying?

            I suggest you read up on the importance of the Queen Mother, from this Protestant source: https://baylor-ir.tdl.org/baylor-ir/bitstream/handle/2104/8256/ginny_brewer-boydston_phd.pdf;sequence=1

            You said:

            The only reason I can see for wanting someone to plead on my behalf to Christ is because of fear. And we all know that “perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18 RSVCE). The more you understand Christ’s immeasurable love for you, the less you will care who else may be pleading for you.

            I understand Christ’s perfect love for me. It does not follow that just because He has perfect love for me, that I have perfect love for Him. And yes, I will have fear of Him. Filial fear, and that is a good thing. And so yeah, I will be grateful if His mother is there, praying on my behalf.

            The more you understand Christ’s immeasurable love for you, the more you will want the saints praying for you at the moment of your death.

            You said:

            This isn’t answering the question, it’s just changing the terms. Is there any prayer that Mary would join her prayers to that Christ would not join His prayers to?

            I thought I answered no earlier. I can see that I did not.

            You said:

            This is a whole different topic about who hears our prayers and how praying to the dead is different from asking your neighbor to pray for you. If you want to discuss this, I would suggest starting a different comment or maybe e-mailing back and forth.

            It’s only a different topic if you accept that the saints are dead. But didn’t Christ say?: “and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

            The more you understand Christ’s immeasurable love for you, the more you would understand that you will never die, if you persevere to the end.

            You said:

            Okay, why is it easier to talk to someone who is not so close to the issue than the person you offended? Are they more understanding? More forgiving? More likely to ease your guilt?

            Because they are not so close to the issue, they can usually see things in a much more objective manner, which is why there are counselors.

            You said:

            The next question then is, how does this compare to your relationship with Christ?

            Not sure what you mean. I have the hunch that it was Christ telling me to go talk to the priest.

            You said:

            This doesn’t make sense. If an idol can be treating an object or person as “another god”, then it stands to reason that the person is still treating other things as god or God, right?

            Again, read what I said carefully. The first thing I said is I may be treating that object as an only god. Meaning there is no other god than that object. And if that is the scenario, than I have obliterated any love for Jesus as God that I might have had, as I would no longer be acknowledging Him as God.

            You said:

            By no means!…. I don’t believe that God is waiting for the right number of people or the one righteous person to ask before He will act.

            Then why ask others to pray on your behalf?

            In James 5:14, why does he say for the presbyters to be summoned and pray over you, if it does not matter who is praying for you?

            You said:

            For one, because it doesn’t take into account the indwelling of Christ. “But if Christ is in you, although your bodies are dead because of sin, your spirits are alive because of righteousness.” (Romans 8:10 RSVCE). Doesn’t it make the request seem kind of silly?</blockquote.

            Not at all. The indwelling, cannot be seen or touched. You may feel it. It may be a burning in the bosom, though it is amazing how many people feel a burning in the bosom but hold contradictory beliefs. What the priest is asking is for Mary to take him where he can see Jesus, and physically touch Him. So we can see it has been taken into account, making your silly comment the silly part.

            You said:

            This is already very long, so the quickest way I can think to answer is to bring up 1 John 4:18 again: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love.” If Christ’s love for us is perfect, then any obstacle we perceive between us is wrong.

            But is our love perfect? Is your love perfect now? Is that priest’s love perfect now? If no, then unless our love has been perfected, fear is natural, according to John.

            You said:

            There is no good reason why it would be easier to go to a saint.

            What you reject as not being a good reason, another may find as fantastic. So you should qualify it as you think there is no good reason. I know you do not have Divine Authority to speak for Christ, and not one verse that you have posted said it is wrong to sometimes find it easier to talk to another man than to God. I can easily see where it would sometimes be easier to talk to one that faced similar struggles, and triumphed.

            You said:

            “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13 RSVCE). There is no greater love than Christ’s love for us. Period.

            No one ever said there was. You seem to conflate people saying they love the saints as somehow detracting from Christ. We love the saints because they have been perfected in love, and trod a path that we are on. And we know they pray for us. Period.

            God bless

          14. Hi Duane,

            Thanks for sticking with this. Sometimes these conversations turn into marathons. Hopefully you feel like we’re getting somewhere.

            You said: “Too many Protestants have this distorted view of love. This would only be true if love is finite. But it’s not. Love is infinite.”

            It’s not about whether love if finite or infinite, but whether or not love is ordered and bound by rules. Jesus says, “He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37 RSV Catholic Edition). This demonstrates clear direction from our Savior to order our affections with God as our ultimate love. You can see this also in the two greatest commandments: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39 RSVCE). Notice the differences in these commands. God deserves our “all” of every part of us, while we are required to love our neighbor in the same way that we love ourselves. Our love for God should be unique.

            You said: “Here are some questions for you. If she is a perfected member of the body of Christ, which all the people in Heaven are, when you love a member of His body, are you not loving Him? By reason then, when you lessen your love for the members of the body of Christ, are you not lessening your love for Him? In fact, since whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me, is not our veneration of her, also veneration of Him?”

            Yes, Christ is in His Body and is pleased when we love each other and harmed when we hurt each other. However, this connection does not create some kind of transfer or duplication of love. If it does, Matthew 10:37 makes no sense. It would be impossible to love someone more than God because it would all count as loving God. But clearly, there is a way to love someone too much, including Mary.

            You said: “For the umpteenth time: without someone telling you that they are worshiping something that they shouldn’t, you have no way of knowing.”

            I’m getting mixed messages from you. It’s true that you have said this many times, but you also said previously “If one were to worship her as a goddess, or offer sacrifices to her, then that would be crossing the boundary.” I assumed that you had changed your mind to say that there are objective signs of crossing the line into worship.

            You said: “A core tenet of Protestantism is that the individual decides for himself what is orthodox.”

            I’m confused. How did you become a Catholic without deciding it was true? Everyone has to make a decision about what they believe is true/orthodox. The person that leaves the Catholic church is deciding for themselves what they believe, just like the person that stays in the Catholic church. You and I will be judged for what we decide to believe, even if we choose to defer to the authority of our church.

            You said: “You cannot imagine that Christ would actually draw someone into a deeper relationship with Him through an exaggerated Marian devotion, because you have set yourself up as the norm for what orthodox devotion should look like.”

            I cannot imagine it because no one has been able to explain it. How could taking comfort in another woman draw me closer to my wife?

            I said: “As a quick side note, how would you feel about someone removing all uses of the name of God in the Psalms and replacing it with Mary’s name and using it as a devotion?” You said: “I do not believe in changing or removing words or books from the Bible to fit one’s theology.”

            Would you say that, as a devotional practice, that it’s going too far? I know that we can’t see the person’s heart, but I’m just asking about you personally.

            You said: “How do you feel about people removing books of the Bible to fit their theology?”

            I think it’s a terrible idea. However, I completely agree with the reasons that the Reformers did remove those books. It’s also the same reason that St. Jerome and Cardinal Cajetan rejected those books.

            Consider this quote from Cardinal Cajetan (1480-1547AD): “Here we close our commentaries on the historical books of the Old Testament. For the rest (that is, Judith, Tobit, and the books of Maccabees) are counted by St. Jerome out of the canonical books, and are placed amongst the apocrypha, along with Wisdom and Ecciesiasticus, as is plain from the Protogus Galeatus. Nor be thou disturbed, like a raw scholar, if thou shouldest find anywhere, either in the sacred councils or the sacred doctors, these books reckoned as canonical. For the words as well of councils as of doctors are to be reduced to the correction of Jerome. Now, according to his judgment, in the epistle to the bishops Chromatius and Heliodorus, these books (and any other like books in the canon of the Bible) are not canonical, that is, not in the nature of a rule for confirming matters of faith. Yet, they may be called canonical, that is, in the nature of a rule for the edification of the faithful, as being received and authorised in the canon of the Bible for that purpose. By the help of this distinction thou mayest see thy way clearly through that which Augustine says, and what is written in the provincial council of Carthage.” (Cardinal Cajetan, “Commentary on all the Authentic Historical Books of the Old Testament,” cited by William Whitaker in “A Disputation on Holy Scripture,” Cambridge: Parker Society (1849), p. 424)

            I said: “How do you know that it is the devotion to Mary that is leading them to Christ and not something else, like increased prayer to God or reading their Bible?” You replied: “That would be great. That is what a devotion to Mary is supposed to do.”

            I don’t think I’m being clear enough. How about this… what do you think would happen if tomorrow you replaced every prayer or devotion to Mary with a prayer or devotion to Christ Himself? Would you be willing to try it for a few days? A week?

            You said: “The Church’s highest prayer is the Sacrifice of the Mass, to which we only offer to God, not to Mary.”

            Honest question: why is this only offered to God? If you can’t honor Mary too much, wouldn’t this honor her?

            You said: “Saying that since sometimes person Z finds it easier to talk to person X rather than person Y, it does not follow that this means that person Z finds person Y in any way deficient. There is another way to look at it, one that is obvious from that priest’s statement.”

            Don’t leave me in suspense! What is the other way to look at it? Although, the fact is there isn’t any way around it. If you told your wife that another woman was more beautiful than her, would she accept that this does not mean that you find her in any way deficient?

            You said: “I must point out to you that just because he was killed, does not take away from the fact that to have his petition heard, he went through the Queen Mother. Why, if he could have just went straight to Solomon?”

            Because he was trying to steal King Solomon’s throne! Solomon clearly saw through this ruse right away: “King Solomon answered his mother, “And why do you ask Ab′ishag the Shu′nammite for Adoni′jah? Ask for him the kingdom also; for he is my elder brother, and on his side are Abi′athar the priest and Jo′ab the son of Zeru′iah.” (1 Kings 2:22 RSVCE). The only example of going to the queen mother is someone trying to manipulating the king. Is this what people are doing when they pray to Mary?

            You said: “Also, by your logic, if I prayed for someone to be blessed, and they were hit by a car and died, then prayer is a negative example. Is that what you are saying?”

            If that were the only example ever and there were no commands to pray, then yes. At the very least, I wouldn’t ask you for prayer.

            You said: “The more you understand Christ’s immeasurable love for you, the more you will want the saints praying for you at the moment of your death.”

            Please explain this to me. I honestly have no idea how you could tie those two things together.

            You said: “It’s only a different topic if you accept that the saints are dead. But didn’t Christ say?: “and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

            Of course, but I also believe Revelation 14:12-13 “Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord henceforth.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”” (RSVCE) And Revelation 6:11 applies this directly to the martyrs, “Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.” (RSVCE). Note they aren’t simply granted a momentary rest, but until the number of martyrs is complete. And in case you think that rest means work, the answer is in Hebrews: “So then, there remains a sabbath rest for the people of God; for whoever enters God’s rest also ceases from his labors as God did from his.” (4:9-10 RSVCE).

            You said: “Because they are not so close to the issue, they can usually see things in a much more objective manner, which is why there are counselors.”

            Remember that we got here because you said: “He never said it is always easier to talk to her than Christ, he said sometimes. Sometimes it is easier to talk to my priest than my wife. To your way of thinking, this must mean I love him more than her.” Based on your answer, it means that you think the priest can sometimes see things in a much more objective manner than your wife. However, this is not a concern with Christ because there is no time where someone would “see things” better than Him. Your example does not support your argument.

            You said: “Then why ask others to pray on your behalf?”

            Because intercessory prayer builds community. My favorite times of the week are getting together with other men to pray. I am manifesting a spiritual love towards them when I pray and maybe even helping them grow through how I pray about their situation. There are many, many reasons I love to pray with and for other people, but gaining more power to twist God’s arm is not one of them. Tim Keller said, “The basic purpose of prayer is not to bend God’s will to mine, but to mold my will into His.”

            You said: “In James 5:14, why does he say for the presbyters to be summoned and pray over you, if it does not matter who is praying for you?”

            It does matter who prays for you, when someone has a responsibility to do so. The presbyters have a responsibility to go to the sick to minister to their soul. This is not a guarantee of physical healing.

            You said: “What the priest is asking is for Mary to take him where he can see Jesus, and physically touch Him.”

            How does Mary do this?

            You said: “But is our love perfect? Is your love perfect now? Is that priest’s love perfect now? If no, then unless our love has been perfected, fear is natural, according to John.”

            But this means that your fear should be decreasing as you are growing, right? So if fear of Christ as judge were the reason you pray to the saints, there would naturally be less and less of a reason to pray to anyone else as you mature.

            You said: “What you reject as not being a good reason, another may find as fantastic. So you should qualify it as you think there is no good reason. I know you do not have Divine Authority to speak for Christ, and not one verse that you have posted said it is wrong to sometimes find it easier to talk to another man than to God. I can easily see where it would sometimes be easier to talk to one that faced similar struggles, and triumphed.”

            What if I said that the reason I sometimes buy milk at the gas station is because it is cheaper. If you found out that the milk is never cheaper at the gas station, wouldn’t you say that I had no good reason to buy it there? What if you found out that there is literally no advantage to buying milk at the gas station? Would you be able to consider my reason “good” or “fantastic”?

            Thanks again for your reply. I do really appreciate this conversation.

            God bless!

          15. Hi Early,

            You said:

            It’s not about whether love if finite or infinite, but whether or not love is ordered and bound by rules. Jesus says, “He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me;….

            Yes the sin is loving something more than Him. Everyone knows this. But once again, you have not shown that exaggerated devotion leads to someone loving Mary more than Jesus. So until you do, your line of reasoning is pointless.

            You said:

            I’m getting mixed messages from you. It’s true that you have said this many times, but you also said previously “If one were to worship her as a goddess, or offer sacrifices to her, then that would be crossing the boundary.” I assumed that you had changed your mind to say that there are objective signs of crossing the line into worship.

            Your getting mixed messages? You originally asked how could a person tell if another person had crossed the line in an exaggerated devotion. I said unless the person told you, you would have no way of knowing. This is for a devotion.

            You then made comments about drifting. How would you know if someone is drifting closer to Jesus or away from Jesus when practicing a devotion? Furthermore, how would you know it is the devotion causing the drift at all? Only the person practicing the devotion could tell.

            You then asked what would worship to Mary look like, and I responded that without seeing sacrifice offered to her you would not be able to tell. So again, you have done nothing to show me that exaggerated devotion is in any way harmful.

            You said:

            I’m confused. How did you become a Catholic without deciding it was true? Everyone has to make a decision about what they believe is true/orthodox. The person that leaves the Catholic church is deciding for themselves what they believe, just like the person that stays in the Catholic church. You and I will be judged for what we decide to believe, even if we choose to defer to the authority of our church.

            My reply: http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2010/05/the-tu-quoque/

            You said:

            I cannot imagine it because no one has been able to explain it. How could taking comfort in another woman draw me closer to my wife?

            So if your mom gave you comfort in troubling times in your marriage and actually told you to heal your marriage, that would not draw you closer to your wife?

            Isn’t Mary the mother of all Christians?

            You said:

            Would you say that, as a devotional practice, that it’s going too far? I know that we can’t see the person’s heart, but I’m just asking about you personally.

            Wouldn’t changing words in the Psalms, be changing God’s word? Whereas can you show me where one devotional practice changes God’s word?

            You said:

            I think it’s a terrible idea. However, I completely agree with the reasons that the Reformers did remove those books. It’s also the same reason that St. Jerome and Cardinal Cajetan rejected those books.

            You have numerous problems here with St. Jerome.
            1.) I believe the count is up to well over seventy times where St. Jerome quotes the Deuterocanon as inspired Scripture. (What does St. Paul say about all Scripture?)

            2.) We know one of his primary reasons for rejecting them is that he believed they were originally written in Greek, but the Dead Sea scrolls have now shown this not to be the case.

            3.) There are Jewish scholars who admit that Sirach was considered Scripture at the time of Jesus.

            By the way, Cajetan also thought Hebrews, James, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, and Revelation, were doubful, so I am not sure if he helps your argument.

            You said:

            I don’t think I’m being clear enough. How about this… what do you think would happen if tomorrow you replaced every prayer or devotion to Mary with a prayer or devotion to Christ Himself? Would you be willing to try it for a few days? A week?

            Why? When I pray to Mary I am praying to Christ. Since any prayer to Mary is just asking her to add her prayers to ours. After all, who am I asking her to pray to? And my devotions to Mary deepen my relationship to her Son. Why would I want to lessen that relationship?

            Now are you willing to pray more and ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to join you in prayer? And are you ready to start some Marian devotions to deepen your relationship with Christ? Are you willing to try it for a day, or a week, or a month?

            You said:

            Honest question: why is this only offered to God? If you can’t honor Mary too much, wouldn’t this honor her?

            Again. Who can we only offer sacrifices to? And if we were to do that to Mary, what boundary would we be crossing?

            You said:

            Don’t leave me in suspense! What is the other way to look at it? Although, the fact is there isn’t any way around it. If you told your wife that another woman was more beautiful than her, would she accept that this does not mean that you find her in any way deficient?

            The scenario of the beautiful wife is different than the scenario you posited. Anyone that can think logically realizes that in the scenario you posited, person z may find it easier to talk to person x rather than person y, not because person z found a deficiency in y, but realized that he himself was deficient, and was ashamed to talk to y because of something that he (z) had done. I have seen this innumerable times, and is quite obvious from that priest’s statement.

            You should really drop with the wife and other woman arguments. Your arguments would only apply if we are replacing Jesus with Mary, but that is not what a devotion does.

            You said:

            The only example of going to the queen mother is someone trying to manipulating the king. Is this what people are doing when they pray to Mary?

            Notice, he was trying to manipulate the king. His mother was not!!!! This does not change the fact that seemingly the only reason Solomon heard the request is because his mother asked him to listen. I might add that Solomon broke his word.

            Now Mary is in Heaven, she is never going to ask her Son for anything on our behalf that would be spiritually damaging to us.

            You said:

            Please explain this to me. I honestly have no idea how you could tie those two things together.

            Could their prayers for you possibly be more efficacious than yours? And has His immeasurable love for you connected you to His mystical body? And isn’t it great that His immeasurable love makes it that it does not become about me and Jesus, but about us and Jesus?

            You said:

            Of course, but I also believe Revelation 14:12-13 “Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. …

            And how does this prove that the saints don’t hear our prayers and pray for us?

            You said:

            However, this is not a concern with Christ because there is no time where someone would “see things” better than Him. Your example does not support your argument.

            Actually it does. Just because x is never going to see things better than y, it does not follow that z will always find it easier to talk to y than x, especially when z is ashamed of something they have done in relation to y.

            You said:

            but gaining more power to twist God’s arm is not one of them. Tim Keller said, “The basic purpose of prayer is not to bend God’s will to mine, but to mold my will into His.”

            But we are not trying to twist God’s arm. And what Tim Keller said, the Catholic Church has taught for 2000 years!! Now you say it builds community. I agree. Only Catholics don’t just stop with the Church militant community. We include the Church triumphant into our community.

            You said:

            How does Mary do this?

            I don’t know, but that is what he asked for. And you did have a problem with that. Me, I don’t care how he gets to Jesus. Mary, an angel, St. Peter. I’d be willing to let any of them carry me to Jesus.

            You said:

            But this means that your fear should be decreasing as you are growing, right? So if fear of Christ as judge were the reason you pray to the saints, there would naturally be less and less of a reason to pray to anyone else as you mature.

            But again, we are not praying to anyone else. We are asking them to join their prayers to ours. You know, community!! Again, he never said he found it sometimes easier to talk to Mary than to Jesus out of fear. You have tried several times to read things into his statement that are not there.

            You said:

            What if I said that the reason I sometimes buy milk at the gas station is because it is cheaper. If you found out that the milk is never cheaper at the gas station, wouldn’t you say that I had no good reason to buy it there? What if you found out that there is literally no advantage to buying milk at the gas station? Would you be able to consider my reason “good” or “fantastic”?

            Another poor analogy. You are taking something that can be tangibly quantified, in this case, whether gas is ever cheaper at a particular gas station, and comparing it to something that could never be tangibly quantified, in this case, whether Marian devotion can deepen our relationship to Christ. I was always taught that this is a comparative no no.

            Until you were to start practicing prayer to the saints and Marian devotions, you will never know if these practices can deepen your relationship with Christ .

            God bless.

          16. This paragraph should read:

            Another poor analogy. You are taking something that can be objectively tangibly quantified, in this case, whether gas is ever cheaper at a particular gas station, and comparing it to something that can only be subjectively tangibly quantified, in this case, whether Marian devotion can deepen our relationship to Christ. I was always taught that this is a comparative no no. You could empirically prove to said person that gas was never cheaper at that gas station. But you could never empirically prove to that person that his relationship did not deepen after starting a devotion.

          17. Hi Duane,

            You said: “Yes the sin is loving something more than Him. Everyone knows this. But once again, you have not shown that exaggerated devotion leads to someone loving Mary more than Jesus. So until you do, your line of reasoning is pointless.”

            My goal in that paragraph was not to show that exaggerated devotion leads to someone loving Mary more than Jesus. I was simply showing that your comment about the Protestant “distorted view of love” was wrong.

            You said: “Your [sic] getting mixed messages? You originally asked how could a person tell if another person had crossed the line in an exaggerated devotion. […] You then made comments about drifting. […] You then asked what would worship to Mary look like”

            Do you feel like I’m sending mixed messages? To me, all these questions are very much related to my original comment about taking Marian devotions too far.

            You said: “You originally asked how could a person tell if another person had crossed the line in an exaggerated devotion. I said unless the person told you, you would have no way of knowing. This is for a devotion.”

            So according to you, only the person who is exaggerating can tell if they’re crossing the line. But can someone tell if they’re crossing the line? From reading this post, one gets the impression (intended or not) that there are no limits on exaggeration. Creating an impression that no sin can exist where sin can exist is in many ways “harmful”.

            You said: “You then asked what would worship to Mary look like, and I responded that without seeing sacrifice offered to her you would not be able to tell.”

            So you already admitted that, “It is possible to treat someone or something like a god without calling them a god”. Yet based on the clear teaching of your church, you have only identified worship as literally calling someone a god and offering them the sacrifice of the Mass. Are these two things the only ways to treat someone or something like a god without calling them a god?

            You never said whether or not you agreed with the idea of functional gods or disordered loves. Augustine said, “”For it was my sin that not in Him, but in His creatures—myself and others—I sought for pleasures, sublimities, truths, and so fell headlong into sorrows, confusion, errors.” (Confessions, Book 1, Chapter 18, Part 31). Do you agree with this?

            I said: “How did you become a Catholic without deciding it was true? Everyone has to make a decision about what they believe is true/orthodox. The person that leaves the Catholic church is deciding for themselves what they believe, just like the person that stays in the Catholic church. You and I will be judged for what we decide to believe, even if we choose to defer to the authority of our church.”
            You said: “The Tu-Quoque Argument”

            Sadly, I have already read this article long ago and found it sorely wanting. But if I remember correctly, it doesn’t actually address the statements I made above. Which ones do you deny and why?

            As a side note, this type of argumentation makes conversation impossible, that is, linking to a 271 page dissertation or a 30 page article which is further developed in 300+ comments. It feels like an attempt to shut down the opponent with sheer volume (see Timothee’s post above). There is so much content that it is impossible to respond to. It is unfair and uncharitable. I understand that other people have put a lot of thought into these subjects and have developed good ideas at great length. However, if you agree with the Tu Quoque article, then you should be able to apply it to my comment in your own words or, if you prefer, provide a comment that specifically addresses my comments. So my request to you is: if you want to link to a fuller treatment of a topic, please give your thoughts first and then provide the link as a side note.

            You said: “So if your mom gave you comfort in troubling times in your marriage and actually told you to heal your marriage, that would not draw you closer to your wife?”

            There is a difference between receiving comfort from and taking comfort in someone. If I simply received advice from my mother on how to heal my marriage, it would draw me closer to my wife if I followed that advice. However, if I spent the majority of that time extolling the merits of my mother and how she’s going to make everything better, it would not draw me closer to my wife.

            You said: “Wouldn’t changing words in the Psalms, be changing God’s word? Whereas can you show me where one devotional practice changes God’s word?”

            St. Bonaventure rewrote the Psalms putting in Mary’s name in the place of God’s name. See the link below:
            https://www.ewtn.com/library/SOURCES/PSALTER.TXT
            Is this going too far?

            You said: “I believe the count is up to well over seventy times where St. Jerome quotes the Deuterocanon as inspired Scripture.”

            I was going to ask for proof of these 70 quotes, because I highly doubt that they all point to the Deuterocanon “as inspired Scripture”. But, I don’t agree with Jerome’s rejection of the Deuterocanon, because he’s St. Jerome. I agree with his rejection of the Deuterocanon because I believe his argument is sound.

            You said: “We know one of his primary reasons for rejecting them is that he believed they were originally written in Greek, but the Dead Sea scrolls have now shown this not to be the case.”

            The Dead Sea Scrolls included only three of the deuterocanonicals, Sirach, Tobit, and Baruch. The other reasons include his knowledge of Hebrew tradition and evidence of the second, uninspired canon.

            You said: “There are Jewish scholars who admit that Sirach was considered Scripture at the time of Jesus.”

            Considered Scripture by who? Citation, please?

            You said: “By the way, Cajetan also thought Hebrews, James, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, and Revelation, were doubful, so I am not sure if he helps your argument.”

            There were many scholars at the time questioning the canon (Erasmus and Luther included). However, doubting is not the same as rejecting (e.g. Luther never rejected James even though he considered it doubtful). And the reasons for doubting some were different than the reasons for rejecting others. In the quote I provided, Cardinal Cajetan clearly states why he is teaching others to reject the deuterocanon.

            I said: “what do you think would happen if tomorrow you replaced every prayer or devotion to Mary with a prayer or devotion to Christ Himself?”

            You said: “Why? When I pray to Mary I am praying to Christ. Since any prayer to Mary is just asking her to add her prayers to ours. After all, who am I asking her to pray to? And my devotions to Mary deepen my relationship to her Son. Why would I want to lessen that relationship?”

            When you say “why would I want to lessen that relationship”, are you saying that replacing prayers and devotions to Mary with prayers and devotions to Christ would lessen your relationship with Christ? Remember my question was, what do you think would happen…

            You said: “Now are you willing to pray more and ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to join you in prayer? And are you ready to start some Marian devotions to deepen your relationship with Christ?”

            I asked if you would be willing to do something well within the bounds of your theology. You are asking me to do something that feels like adultery.

            You said: “Again. Who can we only offer sacrifices to? And if we were to do that to Mary, what boundary would we be crossing?”

            My mistake. I forgot that the Mass is seen as a literal sacrifice.

            You said: “Anyone that can think logically realizes that in the scenario you posited, person z may find it easier to talk to person x rather than person y, not because person z found a deficiency in y, but realized that he himself was deficient, and was ashamed to talk to y because of something that he (z) had done. I have seen this innumerable times, and is quite obvious from that priest’s statement.”

            This still doesn’t address the issue. Shame is a description of how person Z feels, but doesn’t explain why they choose person X over person Y. After all, many people feel shame and still talk to person X, right? Protestants feel shame and choose God over Mary every time. This is because shame affects how the person feels about themselves, not another specific person. If shame causes you to not want to talk to person X, it is because of how you think person X will react. Shame is a real problem and makes it harder to talk to people, but it does not determine who I talk to. If I believe that person X will never reject me, then shame won’t hold me back from talking to them, even if they are the one I have offended.

            You said: “Could their prayers for you possibly be more efficacious than yours?”

            No. People seem to forget that God regularly grants the most important prayer (for salvation) requesting the most important thing (atonement through Jesus’ blood) to the least deserving (sinners) when they first come to Him. “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him?” (Romans 8:32 RSV Catholic Edition)

            You said: “And how does this prove that the saints don’t hear our prayers and pray for us?”

            As previously stated, “for whoever enters God’s rest also ceases from his labors as God did from his.” (Hebrews 4:10 RSVCE). Therefore, Moses for example, who regularly interceded for God’s people and has entered God’s rest, is no longer interceding for God’s people. The saints are resting from their labors until the Day of Judgment, not engaging in the same labors they had on earth.

            You said: “But we are not trying to twist God’s arm.”

            Then why talk about efficacy? You’ve brought it up multiple times as reasons to pray to Mary or the saints. Like I said before, I don’t believe that God is waiting for the right number of people to pray or that one, specific, efficacious person to pray before He will act. “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will.” (Mark 11:24 RSVCE).

            You said: “I agree. Only Catholics don’t just stop with the Church militant community. We include the Church triumphant into our community.”

            I see no reason to pursue relationships with the dead. “For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward; but the memory of them is lost. Their love and their hate and their envy have already perished, and they have no more for ever any share in all that is done under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 RSVCE, emphasis added) We’ll have plenty of time to build community with them after we enter into that rest ourselves.

            You said: “Again, he never said he found it sometimes easier to talk to Mary than to Jesus out of fear. You have tried several times to read things into his statement that are not there.”

            Instead of reading things into his statement, I’ve been trying to cover every possible reason that he could have for making that statement. I have not provided any of the reasons that we’ve talked about. They have all come from other Catholics on this site. One of the reasons to sometimes prefer Mary (that has come up on this page) is fear of God as Judge.

            You said: “Another poor analogy. You are taking something that can be tangibly quantified, in this case, whether gas is ever cheaper at a particular gas station, and comparing it to something that could never be tangibly quantified, in this case, whether Marian devotion can deepen our relationship to Christ. I was always taught that this is a comparative no no.”

            You forget the fact that I have been asking you comparative questions about Mary this entire time. The items in question don’t have to be quantifiable; they just have to be comparable. Is there any advantage to praying to Mary over praying to Jesus? Is she more merciful than Jesus? More willing to hear our prayers? More understanding? More sympathetic? These things are not quantifiable, but you know the answer to these questions.

            Thanks again for continuing to engage. I hope this finds you well.

            God bless!

          18. Hi Early,

            You said:

            But can someone tell if they’re crossing the line? From reading this post, one gets the impression (intended or not) that there are no limits on exaggeration. Creating an impression that no sin can exist where sin can exist is in many ways “harmful”.

            Of course someone could tell if they, themselves, are crossing the line.
            There are no limits on exaggeration. You still have not shown even once that exaggeration leads to idolatry.

            Here is the problem I see. If one were to actually idolize Mary, you would blame the devotion, or the Catholic Church, not the individual. If one were to read the Bible and twist the words of Scripture to their own destruction, you would blame the individual, not the Bible. Why is that?

            You said:

            Are these two things the only ways to treat someone or something like a god without calling them a god?

            Depends on what a person’s definition of a god is.

            You said:

            Do you agree with this?

            Yes to disordered love. But you can have disordered love, and still not treat the thing you have a disordered love for as a functional god!!

            You said:

            “How did you become a Catholic without deciding it was true? Everyone has to make a decision about what they believe is true/orthodox. The person that leaves the Catholic church is deciding for themselves what they believe, just like the person that stays in the Catholic church. You and I will be judged for what we decide to believe, even if we choose to defer to the authority of our church.”

            I was lucky enough to be brought into the Church that Christ founded as an infant. The Scriptures merely confirmed what I had been taught and was patently obvious to me, that this Church had the power to bind and loose me. Like St. Augustine, I would not believe the Scriptures without being influenced by the authority of the Catholic Church.

            An orthodox Catholic is at a distinct advantage over you. They know they belong to the Church that Christ founded, and as such that Church has Divine Authority to bind and loose them. Unless you belong to a church that you believe has the power to bind and loose you, even when you believe it goes against your interpretation of Scripture, then in reality you belong to a church of yourself, as you have granted yourself that authority. To my knowledge there are no Protestant churches that claim this authority, ergo, I can safely state that not one Protestant church is the Church that Christ founded.

            You said:

            There is a difference between receiving comfort from and taking comfort in someone. If I simply received advice from my mother on how to heal my marriage, it would draw me closer to my wife if I followed that advice. However, if I spent the majority of that time extolling the merits of my mother and how she’s going to make everything better, it would not draw me closer to my wife.

            And yet we only extol the merits of Mary because the honor granted to her based on Whom she bore in her womb.

            Is this going too far?

            No. Because he is not saying this is Scripture now. Nor is he worshiping Mary in this Psalter. All he did was write psalms based on the Book of Psalms. Cannot understand why anyone would take offense at that.

            I agree with his rejection of the Deuterocanon because I believe his argument is sound.

            Except we now know his argument is not sound. Part of his argument is based on his believing the Deuterocanon was not written in Hebrew. This we now know to not be true, ergo, the soundness is gone.

            Who gave the Reformers Divine Authority to take those books out? To show the Jews that He had Divine Authority, Jesus performed many miracles. What miracles did the Reformers do to show they had Divine Authority? If you cannot even name one, then why should anyone believe they came from God?

            Furthermore, if the Reformers had the right to take books out of the Bible that the Church had already ruled were part of the canon, why should people care when others do the same? My sister belongs to a church that refuses to read the letters of St. Paul, as they believe he was a false Apostle. How is what they have done different than the Reformers?

            You said:

            Considered Scripture by who? Citation, please?

            The Talmud, as it quotes Sirach as Scripture. This excerpt is from Defending the Deuterocanon book by book on this same website:

            The Book was Accepted by the Early Jews: Michael Barber has described, one of the most fascinating discoveries in regards to this Book is that despite being rejected by modern Jews, Sirach is quoted as Scripture by the Jewish Talmud. As you may know, the Jewish canon of Scripture is divided in three parts: the Law (Torah), the Prophets (Nevi’im) and the Writings (Ketubim or Hagiographa). According to Folio 92b of Tractate Baba Kamma, the Book of Sirach belongs in this third category of Scripture, along with Books like Psalms, Proverbs, and Ezra. Here’s the relevant passage:

            This matter was written in the Pentateuch, repeated in the Prophets, mentioned a third time in the Hagiographa, and also learnt in a Mishnah and taught in a Baraitha: It is stated in the Pentateuch as written, So Esau went unto Ishmael [Genesis 28:9]; repeated in the prophets, as written, And there gathered themselves to Jephthah idle men and they went out with him [Judges 11:3]; mentioned a third time in the Hagiographa, as written: Every fowl dwells near its kind and man near his equal… [Sirach 13:5]

            Without a doubt, this is the Talmud quoting Sirach 13:5 (or Ecclesiasticus) as Scripture. Rabbi Dr. Ezekiel Isidore Epstein, responsible for the English translation of the Talmud, concedes as much in a footnote.

            Furthermore, we have evidence from Rabbi Akiba written in the early second century in a work called Tosefta Yadayim, 2:13 calling on Jews to reject the writings of the Deuterocanonicals and the Gospels. Why? If the Jews already rejected them and the early Christians rejected them, what reason is there for Rabbi Akiba to mention them at all? But he clearly links them to the Christian Scriptures, ergo, the Christian Jews must have been accepting them.

            You said:

            In the quote I provided, Cardinal Cajetan clearly states why he is teaching others to reject the deuterocanon.

            See the problem I have here? Cajetan is basing his argument on St. Jerome. Except after the council of Rome, I believe you will not find St. Jerome calling the Deuterocanonicals into question. He submitted to the ruling of the council, unlike Cajetan.

            Now all I need is one quote from St. Jerome quoting a Deuterocanonical as Scripture, and it debunks Cajetan. Because then that puts Cajetan at odds with what St. Paul says about all Scripture is useful…Would you like me to provide a quote from St. Jerome where he calls Sirach Scripture?

            You said:

            When you say “why would I want to lessen that relationship”, are you saying that replacing prayers and devotions to Mary with prayers and devotions to Christ would lessen your relationship with Christ? Remember my question was, what do you think would happen…

            Except you are clearly asking me to lessen my relationship to Christ through lessening my relationship with His mother. Why would I want that? You yourself said your favorite time of the week is when you get together with others to pray. Why would that be different when a Catholic is asking all the saints to pray with him/her?

            You said:

            I asked if you would be willing to do something well within the bounds of your theology. You are asking me to do something that feels like adultery.

            Why? You are not cheating on Jesus? You are not trying to do something without His knowledge. You are simply asking those in Heaven to pray with and for your intentions. Yet you seem to think Jesus would have a problem with that.

            By the way, what you are asking me to do feels like saying I love Jesus while I attempt to kick other members of His body to the curb.

            You said:

            If shame causes you to not want to talk to person X, it is because of how you think person X will react. Shame is a real problem and makes it harder to talk to people, but it does not determine who I talk to. If I believe that person X will never reject me, then shame won’t hold me back from talking to them, even if they are the one I have offended.

            Are you saying you have never avoided someone out of shame? I find that hard to believe. And you may find it easier to talk to someone else first. By the way, is there any chance that people will think person x will not reject them and x actually does? I am thinking of the goats and the sheep.

            You said:

            No. People seem to forget that God regularly grants the most important prayer (for salvation) requesting the most important thing (atonement through Jesus’ blood) to the least deserving (sinners) when they first come to Him. “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him?” (Romans 8:32 RSV Catholic Edition)

            This does not show that their prayers are not more efficacious. Are you trying to tell me that my prayers for another person’s healing would be just as efficacious as St. Peter’s? And notice the communal aspect of the verse you provide, us, us, us.

            You said:
            ,blockquote>As previously stated, “for whoever enters God’s rest also ceases from his labors as God did from his.” (Hebrews 4:10 RSVCE). Therefore, Moses for example, who regularly interceded for God’s people and has entered God’s rest, is no longer interceding for God’s people. The saints are resting from their labors until the Day of Judgment, not engaging in the same labors they had on earth.

            This verse is clearly talking about hard physical work, like the rest on the Sabbath. Which is why there is a comparison to God resting. This has nothing to do with intercessory prayer. And in Revelation we see the elders offering our prayers to God, which means they are doing work right there.

            You said:

            Then why talk about efficacy? You’ve brought it up multiple times as reasons to pray to Mary or the saints. Like I said before, I don’t believe that God is waiting for the right number of people to pray or that one, specific, efficacious person to pray before He will act. “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will.” (Mark 11:24 RSVCE).

            Then again, that would mean there is never any reason to ask others to pray on behalf of another. If you say it builds community, then pray for community. By the way, I do believe if Mary did not inform Him about the wine, even though He knew what was needed, He would not have acted.

            You said:

            I see no reason to pursue relationships with the dead. “For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward; but the memory of them is lost. Their love and their hate and their envy have already perished, and they have no more for ever any share in all that is done under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 RSVCE, emphasis added) We’ll have plenty of time to build community with them after we enter into that rest ourselves.

            You obviously misinterpret what this passage means by the dead. This passage is obviously talking about the damned. This becomes quite obvious when several times Jesus says we will never die. He also calls God the God of the living, making it quite clear that they are not dead. But there is another passage where Jesus says something that quite clearly makes the Protestant interpretation of this verse erroneous:

            Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day; he saw it* and was glad. (John 8:56)

            This terminology is used to describe someone’s time on Earth. My day is now, while I walk this Earth. Tell me, how did Abraham, who is dead, rejoice and see Jesus’ day, if Abraham had no knowledge of what was going on, on Earth?

            You said:

            Is there any advantage to praying to Mary over praying to Jesus? Is she more merciful than Jesus? More willing to hear our prayers? More understanding? More sympathetic? These things are not quantifiable, but you know the answer to these questions.

            Remember, we are not praying to Mary over Jesus. You keep trying to say that, but that is not what we do. And I believe you know that. We are asking her to join her prayers to ours. All our prayers end up with Jesus, we are just asking the saints to join us. And you take issue with that.

            You said:

            I hope this finds you well.

            Same to you.

            God bless.,
            Duane

          19. Hi Duane,

            Sorry for the delay. Things have been pretty busy around here.

            You said: “Of course someone could tell if they, themselves, are crossing the line.”

            I respectfully disagree. You and I are both blind to a number of different ways that we sin each day. This is why the psalmist says: “But who can discern his errors? Clear thou me from hidden faults.” (Psalm 19:12, RSV Catholic Edition). It only makes things worse when we blur the line we shouldn’t cross by saying “there is no limit on exaggeration”.

            You said: “Here is the problem I see. If one were to actually idolize Mary, you would blame the devotion, or the Catholic Church, not the individual. If one were to read the Bible and twist the words of Scripture to their own destruction, you would blame the individual, not the Bible. Why is that?”

            You are incorrect. I would blame the person and the devotion. Both are at fault. The devotion is at fault because it is designed to instill trust in someone other than God. If you disagree, then what is the purpose of calling Mary “our hope”? Even if someone were to consciously remember that Christ is the one Mary is petitioning, the words themselves direct us to hope in Mary. Repeating those words regularly can only undermine our identifying Christ as our hope.

            I said: “Are these two things the only ways to treat someone or something like a god without calling them a god?”
            You said: “Depends on what a person’s definition of a god is.”

            Martin Luther once said, “A god is that to which we look for all and in which we find refuge in every time of need.” This would explain how people make a god out of alcohol, careers, pornography, etc. Every day, people are looking to these things to satisfy them, bring them peace, and ease their guilt. Would you agree that a “functional god” is something other than God that we turn to for refuge?

            You said: “An orthodox Catholic is at a distinct advantage over you. They know they belong to the Church that Christ founded, and as such that Church has Divine Authority to bind and loose them.”

            But, I also know that I belong to the Church that Christ founded, and as such my Church has Divine Authority to bind and loose me. So where’s the advantage?

            You said: “Unless you belong to a church that you believe has the power to bind and loose you, even when you believe it goes against your interpretation of Scripture, then in reality you belong to a church of yourself, as you have granted yourself that authority.”

            I have seen Protestants and Catholics submit to church authority, even thought they disagree, and I have seen Protestants and Catholics walk away from their church because they disagree with it. So it appears to depend on the individual, not the church institution. It is the individual that decides to stay or go, submit to authority or not. You and I are both deciding on our own authority to stay where we believe the true church is. So who belongs to a “church of yourself”?

            You said: “To my knowledge there are no Protestant churches that claim this authority, ergo, I can safely state that not one Protestant church is the Church that Christ founded.”

            All churches claim this authority, except ones that abdicate all forms of authority. And at that point, I would question whether you can call them a church, since they would be disobeying multiple commands from Scripture.

            You said: “No. Because he is not saying this is Scripture now. Nor is he worshiping Mary in this Psalter. All he did was write psalms based on the Book of Psalms. Cannot understand why anyone would take offense at that.”

            This is the equivalent of taking old love letters to your wife, erasing the names, and writing someone else’s name in. How could someone not take offense at that?!? He took inspired words designed to praise and worship God and directed them identically to someone else.

            You said: “Except we now know his argument is not sound. Part of his argument is based on his believing the Deuterocanon was not written in Hebrew. This we now know to not be true, ergo, the soundness is gone.”

            First, the argument doesn’t rest on the Deuterocanon not being written in Scripture. Second, only three of the deuterocanonical books were found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Meaning that Jerome was right about the rest. Third, as Cajetan points out, Jerome also based his decision on Hebrew tradition and the use of a second, ecclesiastical, uninspired canon.

            You said: “Who gave the Reformers Divine Authority to take those books out? To show the Jews that He had Divine Authority, Jesus performed many miracles. What miracles did the Reformers do to show they had Divine Authority? If you cannot even name one, then why should anyone believe they came from God?”

            I was unaware that this was how you determined Divine Authority! This must mean that each council that added to Catholic doctrine must have proven their authority in the same way, right? If you cannot even name one, why should anyone believe those doctrines came from God?

            You said: “Furthermore, if the Reformers had the right to take books out of the Bible that the Church had already ruled were part of the canon, why should people care when others do the same?”

            First, the Church had not ruled that they were part of the canon. The Catholic Encyclopedia states, “The Tridentine decrees from which the above list is extracted was the first infallible and effectually promulgated pronouncement on the Canon, addressed to the Church Universal.”

            Second, reasons matter. The reformers did not reject the deuterocanon because they didn’t “like them”, but the same reasons that Cajetan, a Catholic Cardinal, rejected them. Many, many, many people prior to Trent rejected them.

            You said: “Without a doubt, this is the Talmud quoting Sirach 13:5 (or Ecclesiasticus) as Scripture. Rabbi Dr. Ezekiel Isidore Epstein, responsible for the English translation of the Talmud, concedes as much in a footnote.”

            I am not an Old Testament scholar and don’t know the full argument from the book you’re quoting. But, I do know that the Talmud was written between between the second and fourth centuries, therefore it seems impossible to tell if Sirach was quoted as Scripture two hundred years prior, during the time of Christ. It was an accumulation of varying schools of thought, so it’s entirely possible that this quote came from the Alexandrian school where the Septuagint was their primary source and included the deuterocanonicals (and more that everyone rejects).

            You said: “Furthermore, we have evidence from Rabbi Akiba written in the early second century in a work called Tosefta Yadayim, 2:13 calling on Jews to reject the writings of the Deuterocanonicals and the Gospels. Why? If the Jews already rejected them and the early Christians rejected them, what reason is there for Rabbi Akiba to mention them at all? But he clearly links them to the Christian Scriptures, ergo, the Christian Jews must have been accepting them.”

            Why the call to reject them? Because some had accepted them, but this doesn’t mean that all Jews had accepted them or that Christian Jews had accepted them. We know that the Alexandrian Jews did accept them and perhaps their influence was moving into Israel. But this is far from definitive proof that the deuterocanon was considered Scripture by all Jews, most Jews, or Christian Jews. It is very interesting though. I’m glad you brought it up.

            You said: “Except after the council of Rome, I believe you will not find St. Jerome calling the Deuterocanonicals into question. He submitted to the ruling of the council, unlike Cajetan.”

            I’d be curious to find out what the council knew that Jerome did not. But even if Jerome did submit to the council, the Vulgate was still circulated with Jerome’s prefaces doubting/denying their inspiration.

            You said: “Would you like me to provide a quote from St. Jerome where he calls Sirach Scripture?”

            That would be great! But, it would have to show that Jerome believed it was a part of the inspired canon and not just the ecclesiastical canon. Like Athanasius says, “But for greater exactness I add this also, writing of necessity; that there are other books besides these not indeed included in the Canon, but appointed by the Fathers to be read by those who newly join us, and who wish for instruction in the word of godliness. The Wisdom of Solomon, and the Wisdom of Sirach, and Esther, and Judith, and Tobit, and that which is called the Teaching of the Apostles, and the Shepherd. But the former, my brethren, are included in the Canon, the latter being [merely] read.”

            You said: “Except you are clearly asking me to lessen my relationship to Christ through lessening my relationship with His mother.”

            Please explain. You are saying that you can go to Christ or go to Christ through His mother. I’m suggesting that any time you would take the second route that you take the first route instead.

            You said: “You yourself said your favorite time of the week is when you get together with others to pray. Why would that be different when a Catholic is asking all the saints to pray with him/her?”

            There are too many differences here to count. It’s like comparing eating dinner with a friend to eating dinner with an empty chair.

            You said: “Why? You are not cheating on Jesus? You are not trying to do something without His knowledge.”

            Nothing is done without his knowledge, that doesn’t make it right. God has never given any indication throughout all of Scripture that He wants us to communicate with the dead. There are approximately 650 prayers in the Bible; none of them are to dead saints.

            You said: “You are simply asking those in Heaven to pray with and for your intentions. Yet you seem to think Jesus would have a problem with that.”

            Absolutely, I do. I would be blindly lifting up words to a spirit that I hope is there for no good reason. I wouldn’t learn from that spirit, build community with it, or gain anything at all from it.

            I’m curious. Would you personally pray to someone who may not be in heaven?

            You said: “By the way, what you are asking me to do feels like saying I love Jesus while I attempt to kick other members of His body to the curb.”

            Do the saints in heaven care if you pray to them or not?

            But if that’s how you feel, then here’s another thought. What do you think would happen if every time you went to pray to Mary, you instead asked another living believer to pray for you? You would actually be deepening your relationship with another believer and no one gets kicked to the curb!

            You said: “Are you saying you have never avoided someone out of shame? I find that hard to believe. And you may find it easier to talk to someone else first.”

            Not at all, I’m saying that shame does not determine who I talk to. If I truly believe someone to be all loving and all gracious, no amount of shame could turn me away from them. Wouldn’t it be the same for you?

            You said: “By the way, is there any chance that people will think person x will not reject them and x actually does? I am thinking of the goats and the sheep.”

            I think you already said that Mary wouldn’t accept somebody that Jesus wouldn’t, so I think this is a moot point.

            You said: “This does not show that their prayers are not more efficacious. Are you trying to tell me that my prayers for another person’s healing would be just as efficacious as St. Peter’s?”

            Yes, that’s absolutely what I’m telling you. Not because you’re so great or Peter is so small, but because I sincerely believe that’s not how God decides to answer prayer. Otherwise, Christ never would have went to the cross due to praying for another way out. “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matthew 26:39 RSVCE)

            You said: “This verse is clearly talking about hard physical work, like the rest on the Sabbath. Which is why there is a comparison to God resting. This has nothing to do with intercessory prayer. And in Revelation we see the elders offering our prayers to God, which means they are doing work right there.”

            I disagree. There is no indication that it is only talking about “hard physical work”. You are defining work to fit your presuppositions. After all, speaking creation into existence clearly isn’t “hard physical work”. Also in Revelation 5:8, you have no idea when the 24 elders are offering the prayers, how those prayers got through, who the prayers were directed to, whether all the saints do this, or whether it is a continuing task they perform.

            You said: “Then again, that would mean there is never any reason to ask others to pray on behalf of another. If you say it builds community, then pray for community.”

            By no means! It’s the same reason I don’t pray for my lawn to be mowed. God clearly has given me the task of taking care of all He has given me. In the same way, God commands, “therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another” (James 5:16 RSVCE). God tells us to be praying for the same people that are praying for us! The only way we can do this is to be in such close communication that we all know how to pray for each other. This can only occur among the living. Unless the dead also have things to confess or ask prayer for…

            You said: “You obviously misinterpret what this passage [Ecclesiastes 9:5-6] means by the dead. This passage is obviously talking about the damned.”

            Did you read the context? Please explain from the context what leads you to believe this.

            You said: “This becomes quite obvious when several times Jesus says we will never die. He also calls God the God of the living, making it quite clear that they are not dead.”

            No one is talking about disappearing out of existence when we die. This has nothing to do with Ecclesiastes 9.

            You said: “This terminology is used to describe someone’s time on Earth. My day is now, while I walk this Earth. Tell me, how did Abraham, who is dead, rejoice and see Jesus’ day, if Abraham had no knowledge of what was going on, on Earth?”

            Two questions: when did Abraham see this? Did anyone in the Old Testament ever see future events while they were alive?

            You said: “Remember, we are not praying to Mary over Jesus. You keep trying to say that, but that is not what we do. And I believe you know that. We are asking her to join her prayers to ours. All our prayers end up with Jesus, we are just asking the saints to join us. And you take issue with that.”

            Remember that I’ve been asking why it is easier to pray to Mary instead of Jesus. And no one has objected to that question, I assume because they realize that they are choosing one over the other.

            But you are halfway right, there is often a problem between what we say and what we do. Praying to Mary is much more than “just asking the saints to join us”. And I think you know that. If it was just asking the saints to join us, we wouldn’t have to talk about exaggerations (“our life, our sweetness, our hope”), right? After all, I’m guessing that you’ve never been tempted to redirect the Psalms to the other believers in your life, no matter how great they are.

            Again, I appreciate your time in all this. And I hope this finds you well.

            God bless!

          20. earlychuchfan: I don’t believe that the New Testament Church had of sense of Church authority that we have today. Saint Paul, in 2Corinthians 1:24 says: “Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand”; and 1Peter 5:3 says to the elders: “Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock”. These verses seem to have a different tone than what we have today.
            Back then, the main authority was Christ Himself. 1Corinthians 1:11-13 says: “For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?” Divisions have existed in Christianity from it very beginnings.
            We can remain or leave a church regardless of who the functionaries are. Revelation 3:1, 4 says: “And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead… Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy”. I guess that the church which we interact with doesn’t have to be perfect.

          21. “Divisions have existed in Christianity from it very beginnings.”

            Read in context, you don’t get from that, St. Paul was approving of the situation…do you?

            So has diabolic undermining of Church leaders, through their human weaknesses. Doesn’t follow that said undermining – or schism – are good things or what was intended, if that was your inference.

          22. Peter, our most recent posts – mine referencing a newspaper article on the results of the Reformation – passed each other.

            Untidy = schism = not God’s intent = un-Scriptural.

            IMCCO (C=Catholic Christian) schism is not something to which we are called to be resigned.

            Of course, your mileage varies….and that’s untidy.

          23. I sort-of agree. Schism is not God’s intent; but it is there. The alternative to this is to be resigned to it instead of being constantly upset about it. Being resigned does not equal approval.

          24. Find me a defibrillator- we agree! However…

            ….insofar as ones definition of “resignation.”

            I know that little Me, absent a Moses-like commission, can’t change the current theological fracturing by myself….so I do what I can to be an example, and thoroughly trust in God that He will guide events – most likely not in my lifetime but if so will be pleasantly surprised – to bring about Christian unity under His Intended Church per Matt 16:18.

            So my version of resignation, is the pleasant resignation of sure and certain hope.

            I understand your mileage may vary, and I respect that.

          25. I almost totally agree, except that the unity will not happen during the Church age. The return of Christ is when the world will be forced to unite. Humans are not going to do it voluntarily prior to this.

          26. Peter, as if to underscore your post…

            Saw this article in our local paper, the Colorado Springs Gazette. Showcases an interview with a local Lutheran pastor starting with his defection from his Lutheran seminary in 1974, along with 200 other seminarians and faculty, because their school was getting too liberal. So….they started their own seminary. Can you see this happening at, say, Mount St. Mary’s in Maryland? And what was one of the interviewed pastors’ quotation….? As follows…

            “”There are tens of thousands of Christian denominations,” said the Rev. Michael Tassler. “So nothing like unity occurred as a result of the Reformation, and for the ELCA Lutherans, that’s a wound in the body of Christ.”

            Duh…..

            http://gazette.com/500-years-after-the-reformation-the-church-remains-divided/article/1613242

        2. It is easier to talk to Mary than to Jesus because:
          1) She is human. Jesus is divine. The disparate difference between the two is oceanic.
          2) She is a Mother. God gave her to mankind upon His death. She is ours.
          3) She is a woman. She is soft and small. Men are rough and tough and muscular. Larger.

          Basic stuff. Etc. Want more? Just ask. Tomorrow I’ll reply. Good night.

          1. Hi margo,

            Thanks for the reply. Here are some thoughts in response.
            1) Jesus is also fully human. In fact, “we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sinning.” (Hebrews 4:15 RSV Catholic Edition)
            2) Isn’t Jesus a better mother? The Father gave Jesus to mankind upon His death. Jesus is also ours.
            3) What you are describing cannot possibly be known. Jesus could have been soft and small. Mary could have been rough and tough. None of those things are good or bad. Plus, these attributes would only make it easier to talk to someone if we did not know them. If you knew Jesus’ infinite grace, would it matter what He looked like?

            Is there more that you think is relevant to the discussion. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

            God bless!

          2. Has anyone ever been born of a man? Suckled by a man? God forbid! Jesus was born of a woman. By virtue of statistical biology, women carry more fat (making them soft) and less muscle. Statistical biology gives women less strength and less size.

            God chose a Woman to give birth to his Son. That Son was given to the world by that Woman. At the death of Jesus, He gave His mother to his disciple John. John is disciple. We are disciples. Mary is our mother. Jesus is our brother. God the Father is our Father. We all share the same spirit if we accept Him.

          3. Hi ECF,

            1) As you say, Jesus is fully human. But he is also fully divine. Mary, our mother, a woman, is more approachable because of our shared fully human (not divine) nature.

            Would most young people prefer to first tell their mom or their dad about some bad thing they did? Moms often suffer with their child and plead with the father to go easy on the child. At least it tends to be so. There are, of course, exceptions. With a view of one’s humility and unworthiness, it would often seems easier for sinful man to approach a human than one whose divine nature is granted–full of mercy–but also full of justice. Mary stood while her son was crucified. That speaks to me of the strength of mercy. She is solicitous to human embarrassment. “They have no wine,” she said to Jesus. And he did as she wished, without her expressing a wish.

            2) Jesus identified himself as our brother, never our mother. Mary is His mother, he gave her to his disciple/s (us) just as Mary gave us our brother.

            3) You’re right. We don’t know that Jesus wasn’t soft. But as a worker of wood, occasional fisherman, mountain-climber, walker, homeless for three years, subsisting on basic sustenance, he probably wasn’t soft.

            As a youth and adolescent, Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II) felt no strong devotion to Mary, focusing more on Christ. Then he read some works by a saint (Louis de Montfort,18th C. French preacher) who taught that ‘true devotion to Mary was also focused on Christ’. JPII then understood that Mary’s ‘Fiat’ made discipleship of all. To be a disciple of Christ was to be like Mary, answering yes in faith to God. This changed his opinion of Marian devotion (Witness to Hope, by G. Weigel, p. 57). As Pope, he taught on Mary through his encyclical Redemptoris Mater. His Theology of the Body teachings are filled with many insights on self-giving as a fruit of love. One cannot help but see Mary there.

          4. Hi margo,

            I’m just going to respond to your last comment for the sake of time.

            1) You said: “As you say, Jesus is fully human. But he is also fully divine. Mary, our mother, a woman, is more approachable because of our shared fully human (not divine) nature.”

            If someone thinks His divinity makes Mary more approachable, then I don’t think that they understand the fullness of His humanity. “For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sinning. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15 RSV Catholic Edition). Note how Christ’s humanity translates to confidence in drawing near. His divinity does not diminish His humanity. There is no experience that He does not understand or sympathize with. Remember that little children had no problem running to Him and receiving His grace.

            Furthermore, we don’t have any evidence that Mary was tempted as we are in every respect like Christ was. How do we know that she understands our struggles?

            2) You said: “Jesus identified himself as our brother, never our mother.”

            This is true, but it doesn’t mean that Jesus couldn’t fulfill every role of a mother. Even Paul claims to be like a mother: “But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children.” (1 Thessalonians 2:7). If Paul can be tender as a mother, Christ can be moreso. Just because He couldn’t perform the physical actions of a mother during His physical life, doesn’t mean that He can’t be just as spiritually nurturing, if not more so, than any mother.

            3) You said: “You’re right. We don’t know that Jesus wasn’t soft. But as a worker of wood, occasional fisherman, mountain-climber, walker, homeless for three years, subsisting on basic sustenance, he probably wasn’t soft.”

            Don’t it seem odd to judge one easier to pray to than the other based on an image in our head? An image of what we guess they might have looked like before they were taken to heaven?

            If you were to hesitate to ask someone for help because of how they look, we would call that prejudice. A problem to be corrected, right? And many times that prejudice evaporates once you get to know someone. Imagine, then, getting to know the all-surpassing beauty of Christ. Would His physical appearance make any difference once you knew how great His love and grace were?

            4) I wanted to treat this one sentence separately. You said: “With a view of one’s humility and unworthiness, it would often seems easier for sinful man to approach a human than one whose divine nature is granted–full of mercy–but also full of justice.”

            I find this to be one of the strangest ideas surrounding Mary. Isn’t Mary full of justice? Doesn’t she hate what God hates? Isn’t her will aligned with God’s will either for justice or mercy? Or are they so disconnected that she would pronounce “mercy” where He would pronounce “justice”? This seems to me to be one of the most troubling things.

            I look forward to hearing from you, margo. God bless!

          5. Hi Early,

            You said:
            “I’m just going to respond to your last comment for the sake of time.”
            Does that mean that this comment is responding to my other couple comments too, specifically why prayer to Mary is not filth, empty, corrupt?

            1) You say: “If someone thinks His divinity makes Mary more approachable, then I don’t think that they understand the fullness of His humanity.”

            Early, I fear the DIVINITY of Jesus, not his humanity. I agree that his divinity does not diminish his humanity nor vice versa, since He does the will of his father always in any case. I am sinful. He is not. My sins are the reason for his dying on the cross. He holds eternity in his hands. SHE does not. He is the JUDGE. She is simply Mother.

            You said: Remember that little children had no problem running to Him and receiving His grace.

            Little children are without sin. I am not.

            You said: “Furthermore, we don’t have any evidence that Mary was tempted as we are in every respect like Christ was. How do we know that she understands our struggles?”

            Mary stood while her son was put to death not for her sake but for ours. She understands the struggle of humanity. She watched her DIVINE son die. Tell me again that she does not understand sorrow or struggle.

            2) Early said: “…doesn’t mean that Jesus couldn’t fulfill every role of a mother. Even Paul claims to be like a mother: “But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children.” (1 Thessalonians 2:7). If Paul can be tender as a mother, Christ can be moreso. Just because He couldn’t perform the physical actions of a mother during His physical life, doesn’t mean that He can’t be just as spiritually nurturing, if not more so, than any mother. ”

            Early, if you want to see Jesus as a gentle mother, Scripture doesn’t say you should not. But Jesus was a man. Mary was a woman. Women are mothers. Men are fathers. Last I checked. I admit I’m not in the vanguard so far as accepting that one ought choose one’s gender identity. Neither was Jesus, last I heard.

            There is a movie and a book, “The Shack” which seems to see God as Mother. Try that on for size. A big black woman plays Mama God. This is totally unscriptural. But I hear it’s a blockbuster of sorts for some part of the world. Imagine that!

            3) Early said: “Don’t it seem odd to judge one easier to pray to than the other based on an image in our head? An image of what we guess they might have looked like before they were taken to heaven?”

            Maybe it is an image in your or “our head.” I pray neither to an image in my head nor in ‘our head’. I pray to God and His mother. Maybe there is a picture or maybe there are words which someone wrote or painted which gives me an incentive or a motive to pray. As may the sunshine or my husband’s smile or my son’s first steps or food when I’m hungry. All these are images in my head but I pray to God because of something about them which remind me of Him.

            Early said: “If you were to hesitate to ask someone for help because of how they look, we would call that prejudice. A problem to be corrected, right? And many times that prejudice evaporates once you get to know someone.”

            Early said, “Imagine, then, getting to know the all-surpassing beauty of Christ. Would His physical appearance make any difference once you knew how great His love and grace were?”

            Wy is prayer to God through His Mother against His love and grace?

            If that is prejudice, feel free to pin that right up front upon me.

            4) Early, Point No. 1 above. God is Judge. He will allow me in or He will send me thither. She will perhaps advise, but His word is the first and the last.

            God bless.
            .

          6. Hi margo,

            I hadn’t noticed your other comments when I said that I was only replying to your last one. I only meant the multiple comments in this thread. But since the conversations in this comments section are expanding rapidly, I’m going to have to pick and choose how to respond. I truly wish I could put more time into this…

            You said: “Early, I fear the DIVINITY of Jesus, not his humanity. I agree that his divinity does not diminish his humanity nor vice versa, since He does the will of his father always in any case. I am sinful. He is not.”

            But I thought that Mary was also sinless. Doesn’t that make her the hardest to relate to of all the saints?

            You said: “My sins are the reason for his dying on the cross. He holds eternity in his hands. SHE does not. He is the JUDGE. She is simply Mother.”

            I’m not sure how helpful this may or may not be, but this is very unusual and narrow way to view somebody. I imagine that if I had a father who was also a judge, he would be perturbed if I continued to focus on his role as a judge, especially in every day issues. The fact is that right now Christ is interceding and advocating for you (Hebrews 7:25 and 1 John 2:1). All indications point to Christ judging us at the Day of Judgment.

            You said: “Little children are without sin. I am not.”

            I’m pretty sure the Catholic Church teaches the opposite of this, but it’s kind of a side topic.

            You said: “Mary stood while her son was put to death not for her sake but for ours. She understands the struggle of humanity. She watched her DIVINE son die. Tell me again that she does not understand sorrow or struggle.”

            Does she understand a teenage boy’s struggle with lust? I’m not trying to be flippant, but we know from Scripture that Christ was “one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sinning” (Hebrews 4:15 RSV Catholic Edition). This is the very reason given that He is able “to sympathize with our weaknesses”. Mary surely suffered, but we don’t have any indication that she can sympathize with everyone in the way that Christ can.

            You said: “Early, if you want to see Jesus as a gentle mother, Scripture doesn’t say you should not. But Jesus was a man. Mary was a woman. Women are mothers. Men are fathers. Last I checked. I admit I’m not in the vanguard so far as accepting that one ought choose one’s gender identity. Neither was Jesus, last I heard.”

            Let’s pull the emergency brake before we veer off track. I agree with everything you said, but my point is that Christ is not lacking because He was not a physical mother. He has all the attributes or qualities of the greatest mother and then some.

            You said: “Maybe it is an image in your or “our head.” I pray neither to an image in my head nor in ‘our head’. I pray to God and His mother. Maybe there is a picture or maybe there are words which someone wrote or painted which gives me an incentive or a motive to pray. As may the sunshine or my husband’s smile or my son’s first steps or food when I’m hungry. All these are images in my head but I pray to God because of something about them which remind me of Him.”

            You said originally that “It is easier to talk to Mary than to Jesus because: She is a woman. She is soft and small. Men are rough and tough and muscular. Larger.” Since you used physical attributes as a reason that it may be easier to pray to Mary, I’m simply asking “why?” I’ll just say that if the idea that Mary is soft and Jesus is rough are due to pictures that someone has in their head, then I would simply point out that Mary and Jesus’ appearance has nothing to do with their mercy and grace. Jesus’ supposed roughness is an imagined barrier to the One who says, “come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 RSVCE).

            You said: “God is Judge. He will allow me in or He will send me thither. She will perhaps advise, but His word is the first and the last.”

            Do you doubt that He will allow you in? I think that the fact that He is Judge should be a comfort to us, because He is a perfect Judge. He is not capricious, unpredictable, vindictive, or unfaithful to His promises. He will honor the atoning sacrifice for your sins. He won’t pull the rug out from under you at the last minute. “And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6 RSVCE)

            God bless!

          7. Margo says, “Our humility is something I fail to see as under our direction. If it were something we could control, it would fail as true humility. Humility is meekness, lowliness of mind, absence of self. Without an awareness or sense of self, we cannot direct anything, least of all its absence.”

            I’m not an apologist and stumbled upon this thread by mere chance. I was directed to this site because I recently discovered that protestant Bibles, in addition to removing 7 books have also, some of them, removed certain verses as well. I found this fascinating and almost unbelievable and wanted to confirm this myself. I inquired and did a few Google searches about it. In my searching I soon realized that Catholic websites don’t really focus on protestant Bible versions so much, or all the differences in the various denominations and what they subscribe to as ‘truth’. Someone kindly led me here and that is how I ended up on this thread, by happenstance.

            I was once protestant. I spent 15 years making a solid go of it. I was raised by a lapsed Catholic mother and protestant father who never attended church. Was baptized Catholic but never taken back to Mass after that. At age 6 I had a long hospitalization for a congenital condition that needed correcting. At age 9 I needed an appendectomy. While in hospital I was anointed with oil and prayed over for healing. I didn’t know anything about Jesus, but I prayed fervently after the priest left and until I fell asleep. The next morning they took me to xray before surgery and I was healed completely. I got a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and glass of milk and got to go home.

            So I knew Jesus was real. I knew he loved me and wanted an intimate relationship with me. After that I got on a Baptist bus and was taken to Sunday school, all by myself, for about 2 years. Then my father’s family decided to take me to a Pentecostal church, so they reconciled with my parents (they were estranged) and I began to attend there for an additional 5 years. In both these protestant churches they had their ‘traditions’- we had dress code at the Baptist church that I could recall. At the Pentecostal church every Sunday after the preaching the same guy in the back would speak in tongues and then the pastor would get a ‘word of knowledge’ prophesy about the mysterious message and it ALWAYS related to his sermon.

            I was taught to pray to Jesus and he would answer my prayers. I was taught to read scripture and the Holy Spirit would speak to my heart, it would come alive to me. I did these things. I did revivals, I watched rapture movies with the youth group, did prayer vigils where people prayed over you to be anointed by the Holy Spirit so you could speak in tongues. I even committed to going to morning prayer at 5:30 am every weekday for a year to pray in the church for wisdom and guidance from the Lord.

            I did all this and still Jesus was a distant two dimensional icon in my mind that I couldn’t grasp. I knew I needed to be holy to go to heaven and so I tried to be good for fear of consequence. I struggled to find that Jesus that healed me when I knew nothing about him and was a blank slate. I went to healing services at the pentecostal church and saw people disappointed when they were not healed. Now I had more questions about Jesus. Why did he heal me? Why didn’t he heal them?

            So I left for college with a mission. I would try every denomination until I could finally find him. I tried Methodist, Lutheran, Church of Christ, Campus Crusade for Christ, I even went to a Mormon church once, I was SEEKING. I felt like I was on a boat without oars floating in the ocean.

            Then my sophomore year my roommate invited me to the mass. I told her I wasn’t Catholic so I didn’t think it was allowed, as I had been trained that they were in error about denying communion to protestants and that they were evil and fallen church due to the sins of former popes and had been lead astray. It never occurred to me once, in all this time, to ever enter the Catholic church to see if it was what I had been seeking all this time.

            It was. I entered RCIA that year.

            I NEED the Eucharist. That’s where I found Jesus. It was sacred, it was divine, I was moved deeply by the Holy Spirit in a way I never felt before.

            I was mentored by others and the ones with the most beautiful and humble wisdom about Jesus also had a marian devotion. I didn’t take it up for MANY years. I just read catholic teaching about her because I had many hang ups from my youth. But even at the Baptist church when I was 10 they chose me to be Mary in the Nativity play. She has had a role in my life in the background for many years.

            I began learning the rosary seriously about 5 years ago.

            I took up a daily rosary last year for the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima and have received so MANY graces from this. How do I describe? I don’t know. But the rosary teaches us who Jesus IS. This beautiful Lord who loved me when I was a 9 year old child with no experience in any dogma. He had mercy on me and healed me. I had faith to believe in him. But I couldn’t KNOW him. I struggled with loving him properly because he was sort of this mysterious two dimensional being that I couldn’t quite relate to. But Mary knew him intimately, and through the rosary, and my sacramentals I have been drawn toward knowing him in a much deeper and more intimate way. This has forced me to really see my faults and sins in a bright light. It makes me curb my tongue and it has changed the way I act as a wife and mother. Mary is a great and wonderful teacher. She has guided me to how I must properly worship Jesus, how I can know him. This helped me to learn how to love him back, and even though it is an imperfect love because I still have a sinful nature and a fail time and time again, my genuine remorse and humility before the Lord is greater because I understand my faith in a way I never did as a protestant. Mary doesn’t take away from Jesus. She draws you to Him.

            Well, I have enjoyed the commentary here but I think my place is not in apologetics as I couldn’t compete with all the arguments here. So I will sign off. God bless all.

          8. Hey Early,

            I don’t have more than a few brief moments to continue. If you want to understand more about Mary’s ‘softness,’ I recommend St. JPII’s Theology of the Body of JPII. One of the main premises is that the body reflects the person. The bodily or physical attributes of femininity are, as I wrote earlier (perhaps you overlooked that), are more fat relative to bone and muscle. Bone and muscle are weighted statistically greater as physical attributes of persons of male gender.

            God created differences in male and female. The personhoods of each is different.

            Mary is a Mother. Mothers, because of their physical bond of pregnancy and the care of bearing and suckling of offspring, tend to be more protective and bonded to their children than the father. Mary gave birth to the Christ Child. He was subject to her and obedient to her. He honored her.

            As brothers of Christ and children of God the Father, we share a spiritual bond with Mary. Other of my posts explained my thinking about this and your questions suggest you may not have seen those or do not accept those?

            GOD chose Mary at the beginning of time (Gen. 3:15). She is in Scripture by attribute, symbol, role, virtue, in Proverbs, Wisdom/Ecclesiastic (Luter removed that book so perhaps you don’t know where I get my ideas), Revelation, Synoptics, et al.

            By honoring and recognizing the choice of God through which He offers us salvation, we do what HE HIMSELF HAS DONE.

            God of course is perfect judge. God will bring complete the perfection he has begun IF AND ONLY IF I ALLOW MYSELF TO BE COMPLETELY PERFECTED. His grace is meaningless if I do not accept the gift. I have the free will to sin, and righteous men and women sins many times a day, as scripture informs. So I fear that I may offend the Lord. As you say, Mary as sinless woman, has never offended him. So I choose her as my friend.

            God chose her. Jesus was subject to and obedient to her. He listens to her.

            Best of grace to you in your quest for truth and light and love and hope.
            Regards,
            M

          9. Good morning, 7Sorrows,

            Sorry that I only have a few brief moments to read your post but I do hope that you consider staying here if you are inclined. It is not a competition and your voice and your testimony is very important and necessary part here. Your words have moved me, a firm cradle Catholic with a long-time appreciation and love for Mary, to greater appreciation and love for how she has worked in you.

            With gratitude,
            Margo

          10. Hi 7Sorrows,

            Thank you so much for sharing your story. I recognize that it is your own experiences and understanding.

            All I know is that my experience has been very different. I have had similar experiences in bad Protestant churches. But I also found a Protestant church that loved God and only wanted to teach what God had said in His Word. They went through the Bible book by book, word by word, and taught us for nearly an hour every Sunday. The effect was that our love for God increased and manifested in greater efforts to love and serve family, friends, and the community. People repented regularly to each other. I met with many older men Thursday morning for prayer. I was truly blessed by their humility, wisdom, and honesty. It was an incredibly beautiful thing for me to be a part of. This church is what I needed.

            I also need the Bible. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4, Deut. 8:3) That’s where I found Jesus most clearly. It is sacred, divine, and through reading it regularly I was moved deeply by the Holy Spirit in a way I never felt before. Reading His words has forced me to see my sin more clearly and fall down in repentance before Him. I cannot express my gratefulness at His continuing work in my life.

            I don’t say any of this to discredit your story. I only wanted to provide another testimony to consider. I pray that you will continue to grow in your own love for Christ.

            God bless!

          11. Hebrews 4:14-16 says: “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need”.
            I usually point to these verses when someone says that Mary is more accessible compared to Jesus.

          12. Peter,

            You are TOTALLY missing the point. The passage you cite from Hebrews is actually in 100% alignment with Marian theology. Our Blessed Mother can do NOTHING by herself. Everything, including her own blessedness, is a gift from God by means of His all-powerful, totally effective, and self-sufficient Word. Truer words were never said (or written).

            Besides… (blue sky thinking here – don’t hold me to what is pure speculation) Just what exactly is the “Throne of Grace”? Does the term refer to Jesus Himself, or to His throne, which could possibly be a title of Mary? In the Litany of Loreto, she is given many such titles, to include:

            Mirror of Justice
            Seat of Wisdom
            Tower of David
            House of Gold
            Arc of the Covenant
            Gate of Heaven

            Why not “Throne of Grace”?

          13. Hey…your “Blue Sky” has to have at least the same level of validity as invented doctrines like sola-anything….and in light of Fatima, Lourdes, etc….a whole lot more.

          14. As I said, It was pure speculation. I put the disclaimer up front.

            (Though I do think I might be onto something there. I can’t find any obvious flaws in my thinking.)

          15. Jesus is at the right hand of the Father interceding for us. This is the throne of grace. Because of Jesus’ humanity, Hebrews is telling us to not be hesitant to go directly to Him.
            Hebrews 7:25 says that Jesus “is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them”.
            2Peter 1:19 says of Scripture: “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts”.
            We ignore this at our own peril. I prefer to keep it simple. I don’t believe that later writings can improve on this.

          16. Thanks Early,
            Actually, the scriptures are much more alive to me now as a Catholic convert too. I was young when I left Protestantism, but please do not think that I abandoned the Bible when I did. I do the Magnificat daily, which offers the universal scriptures as well as a meditation and both morning and evening prayers. I also read scriptures when I am in Adoration Chapel too.

            Thank you for your prayers. Scripture for me is something that I need the church fathers for, to help me understand. I also enjoy listening to radio shows that have very knowledgeable priests who have studied Greek and Latin and Hebrew and can parse it out from an historical context. For example, Fr. Simon Says. He’s quite funny priest, very humble, and really teaches the daily scripture readings on his show.

            Thanks for your wonderful comments. I think as long as we are growing in our faith and our love of Christ it’s all good. He reaches us where we are at and slowly guides us to the next place. That’s how I look at it. I’m happy and blessed to be where I am at, but I still desire to learn and grow every day.

          17. Hi margo,

            Sorry that I didn’t catch this one right away. Here’s some thoughts on your reply.

            You said: “One of the main premises is that the body reflects the person. The bodily or physical attributes of femininity are, as I wrote earlier (perhaps you overlooked that), are more fat relative to bone and muscle. Bone and muscle are weighted statistically greater as physical attributes of persons of male gender.”

            The problem is that this premise cannot apply to Christ, since there’s no way that his physical appearance can reflect His divinity. As Isaiah says, “For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or comeliness that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.” (53:2 RSV Catholic Edition). In other words, the Source of all beauty came in a form that had no beauty. So the physical appearance of Christ is not a valid reason to prefer Mary to Him.

            You said: “God created differences in male and female.”

            I’m glad that you pointed this out, because God created male and female in His image. Since that is true, Mary’s femaleness and motherhood are simply a part of that image of God (i.e. Christ). Anything positive in Mary is derived from Christ Himself. “Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master” (John 13:16, RSVCE).

            You said: “He was subject to her and obedient to her. He honored her.”

            Yes, but He was also subject to and obeyed and honored Pilate, Caiaphas, and Joseph. Just because Christ subjected Himself to someone does not validate our preference for them nor approve any exaggeration of them.

            You said: “As brothers of Christ and children of God the Father, we share a spiritual bond with Mary. Other of my posts explained my thinking about this and your questions suggest you may not have seen those or do not accept those?”

            I do not accept those. Even though we have a spiritual bond through Christ, we are never given permission, direction, or encouragement to pursue a bond with the dead. “For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward; but the memory of them is lost. Their love and their hate and their envy have already perished, and they have no more for ever any share in all that is done under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 RSVCE, emphasis added).

            You said: “By honoring and recognizing the choice of God through which He offers us salvation, we do what HE HIMSELF HAS DONE.”

            Honoring and recognizing a person has nothing to do with preferring, exaggerating, or praying to them. Protestants honor and recognize Mary all the time. Catholics go well beyond this.

            You said: “So I fear that I may offend the Lord.”

            Does your sin offend Mary? Why or why not?

            You said: “As you say, Mary as sinless woman, has never offended him. So I choose her as my friend.”

            Please don’t think that I was affirming that Mary was sinless. I agree with Augustine on this point: “He assumed flesh, of the same lump which had deserved death by sin. For to speak more briefly, Mary who was of Adam died for sin, Adam died for sin, and the Flesh of the Lord which was of Mary died to put away sin.” (Exposition of Psalm 35, Section 14)
            http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1801035.htm

            And again, “Thus all, without one exception, were dead in sins, whether original or voluntary sins, sins of ignorance, or sins committed against knowledge; and for all the dead there died the one only person who lived, that is, who had no sin whatever, in order that they who live by the remission of their sins should live, not to themselves, but to Him who died for all, for our sins, and rose again for our justification, that we, believing in Him who justifies the ungodly, and being justified from ungodliness or quickened from death, may be able to attain to the first resurrection which now is.” (Augustine, City of God, Book 20, Chapter 6)
            http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/120120.htm

            God bless!

      2. D: What is too far?

        B: Already mentioned it 3 times: CCC 2677. THAT IS NOT THE WAY TO PRAY. For you to deny it, only proves you aren’t a Christian.

        D: The Church decides what is orthodox and what is not. The Church has made it clear that we are not to worship any created creature.

        B: Your church is DEAD WRONG. As James White says,
        “There simply is no biblical basis for saying it is acceptable to give “service” to created beings but only “worship” to God, for Scripture has both concepts being part and parcel of the single meaning of “worship”. “You shall worship and serve God alone”
        READ THAT AGAIN DUANE and how God uses those two together and sees NO DISTINCTION: “You shall worship and serve God alone”
        White continues: This verse cannot be changed into “you shall worship God alone; but as long as you call your religious devotion ‘service’, you can ‘serve’ Mary and angels and saints, too.” The Bible not only does not recognize such a distinction, it denies it, both lexicographically (both latria and dulia trace back to biblical usages and both terms refer to divine worship) as well as by direct assertion. Paul refers to the idolatry that marked the pagan past of the Galatians as “SERVICE” in Galatians 4:8 (“However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves [“served,” “evdouleu,sate”, root term being “douleuo”, leading to dulia in Latin] to those which by nature are no gods”). So if one begins with Scripture as your ultimate authority, no amount of quibbling will change the reality of the definition of worship. And believe me, ask Uzzah if God is serious about the topic of worship (2 Samuel 6:3-7).”

        Thus, your fatal flaw is your sweeping the Bible under the rug, and making the church at Rome the ultimate authority: IOW, “Sola ecclesia”. Needless to say, the “Sola Scriptura” person gets into heaven before the “Sola ecclesiast”, for Scripture absolutely will not allow for any totalitarianism as it regards the church at Rome, NOR does it make a difference between “latria” and “dulia”.

        1. Flounder: “As James White says,”

          Parster Jimmuh! Praise’ be!

          Haven’t heard from the good Parster in awhile. I guess the laxatives must be working.

    3. Was St. Elizabeth ‘taking it too far’, or exaggerating, when St. Luke relates that she said this to Mary:

      “And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she cried out with a loud voice, and said: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”

      Did this great saint, Elizabeth, the mother of a miraculously born child John the Baptist, not say that she, herself, was not even worthy of even being in the presence of Mary, the ‘mother of her Lord’? Is this ‘taking it too far? Or, is this, rather, sacred scripture teaching exactly how far we SHOULD take it, in venerating Mary…that is, pointing out that this indeed is the right degree of honor due to Mary, the mother of Our Lord?

      Moreover, that it was the “Holy Ghost” who inspired her to such a great cry and proclamation, is it not the same Holy Ghost who might be inspiring others also in such praise of Mary, even in our day, and encouraging them to ‘cry out’ similar praises..and filled with the same Holy Spirit? And the same Holy Spirit that urges us to proclaim “Jesus is Lord”, is He not the same that inspires us to say “And Mary, Full of Grace, is His most Blessed and most venerable Mother!”

      And again, is it not admirable that Catholics proclaim Mary’s praises, with the very words of scripture and especially in that most beautiful of prayers, the Holy Rosary, when we say every day, and many times a day:
      “Hail Mary, Full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus.” ??

      Is recalling these awesome words, which accompanied the most significant event in Human History, wherein the Son of God was born into this world for our salvation, not one of the most exalted forms of meditation possible? And are not these words given to us by God Himself, as the first were said by an angel, and the second by Elizabeth impelled by the Holy Spirit, not to be dwelt upon with great devotion and amazement, even as the angels of God sang on the night of Christ’s birth? Are these recollections to be forgotten? Or rather, do we set certain times of the year for the very purpose of remembering them…so great and valuable is the recollection and meditation, even as is the meditation on holy cross of the Lord on Calvary?

      Who can argue with these honors paid by God to Mary, through the angel Gabriel and the Holy Spirit? Who should seek to reduce their significance? And, who should not meditate on them frequently, as one of the most beautiful, and notable, accounts in Christian History?

      But, maybe it’s better to meditate on ‘snow covered dung’ and ‘enslavement of souls’ as it seems the Protestants prefer?

      1. Hi awlms,

        I’m having a hard time understanding your argument, since it is mostly questions. Are you denying that some devotion to Mary is “a little “much”” like the author said?

        In short, I believe that the statements of Elizabeth and angels were true, but not meant to be repeated in prayer or worship by the church. In the same way, I don’t think that the praises sung about David were meant to be repeated in prayer or worship by the church. “Did they not sing to one another of him in dances, ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands’?”” (1 Samuel 21:11 RSV Catholic Edition). Just because we see an action performed in the Bible doesn’t automatically mean that it was meant to be repeated in the church. We must use more discretion than that.

        I have no issue reading and meditating on the accounts you’ve described. However, I see no warrant for repeating them in prayer to Mary. I side with the early church on this:

        “And being persuaded that the sun himself, and moon, and stars pray to the Supreme God through His only-begotten Son, we judge it improper to pray to those beings who themselves offer up prayers (to God), seeing even they themselves would prefer that we should send up our requests to the God to whom they pray, rather than send them downwards to themselves, or apportion our power of prayer between God and them. And here I may employ this illustration, as bearing upon this point: Our Lord and Saviour, hearing Himself on one occasion addressed as “Good Master,” (Matt. 19:17, Mark 10:18) referring him who used it to His own Father, said, “Why callest thou Me good? There is none good but one, that is, God the Father.” (Matt. 19:17, Mark 10:18) And since it was in accordance with sound reason that this should be said by the Son of His Father’s love, as being the image of the goodness of God, why should not the sun say with greater reason to those that bow down to him, Why do you worship me? “for thou wilt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve;” (Deut. 6:13) for it is He whom I and all who are with me serve and worship. And although one may not be so exalted (as the sun), nevertheless let such an one pray to the Word of God (who is able to heal him), and still more to His Father, who also to the righteous of former times “sent His word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.”” (Origen, Against Celsus, Book 5, Chapter 11, ~176 AD)

        God bless!

        1. First, I think we ought not to compare the physical Sun to any Christian, as Origen back then might not have known, but we do today, that the Sun is a product of thermal nuclear reactions. And also, Origen is only one small voice in the early Church, however right he might be on many aspects of the faith. Second, there are many nuanced meanings of the term ‘prayer’, even as there are of ‘worship’ and ‘venerate’. The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines these things, and those who transgress the boundaries of propriety regarding them, commit sin, whether greater or lesser. So, this is taught by the Church, not to say that some people aren’t poorly catechized, and so, don’t know these things, even as happens in every Church. There are always official teachings, and then there are ill informed practices as well. This has always been difficult to control since the very beginning of the Church.

          My own opinion is that Protestants seem enamored of their own regulations regarding many aspects of Christian faith and devotion. They take a scripture, or two, and draw huge conclusions from them, often without taking the Gospel as a whole, and the Bible as a whole, into account. That is, they seem to prefer precepts and rules over understanding and wisdom fond in context of the entire bible, not to mention Church history as well. And this is how the Pharisees often operated at the time of Christ, always searching the law to find transgressions, and neglecting justice, mercy, true piety and fraternal love along the way. This was why Jesus was so opposed to them, because they valued philosophy and invented regulations over familial love and devotion, viewing God more as a harsh dictator than a loving Father. This caused them great fear, and so they made more and more regulations and laws so as to not transgress against anything God commanded, that is…until Jesus straightened them out.

          Jesus Christ had nothing against honoring people who deserve it. He praised many people in the Gospel message. He even said of St. Mary of Bethany, that her use of the precious and costly ointment on Him would be recalled wherever the Gospel was preached, in commemoration of her. And this is similar to what Mary prophesied of herself, that from that day (with Elizabeth), every generation would call her blessed. And this is also what Catholics fulfill. We say, ‘Blessed art thou among women and Blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus’.

          Note how we link Mary and Jesus? And we honor both of them in this beautiful prayer? And remember also, that Jesus taught that “Where I am you also may be” regarding eternal life. So, Mary is indeed close to Jesus in eternity according to this promise. If she were in hell, her prophesy of being called ‘blessed’ by all generations could never have been included into scripture, as it would have made the Gospel of Luke heretical.

          This is not to say that St. Paul is not also blessed, and we can rejoice that he has run the good race, as did also countless other Christians since him. Moreover, the same early church that you refer to, has honored the martyrs in a most exalted fashion, and was not to take away anything from God’s honor, but rather, as a stimulus for other Christians to imitate their zealous faith and noble deeds. And,this is why we honor all saints, so that even as St. Paul said “Be imitators of me as I am of Christ”, we also can be like these Saints of God, and might ourselves run the ‘good race’ our entire lives, even as they did.

          So, that’s why we honor the saints, and especially the Mother of Christ, so we might imitate them in their great love for both God and mankind.

          1. Hi awlms,

            I hope you don’t mind if I start by repeating/restating two questions.

            (1) Do you believe that devotion to Mary can be taken too far? If so, how?

            (2) Some people have said that it is sometimes easier to pray to Mary than to Jesus. Do you agree? If so, why is it easier?

            Now back to your argument:

            You said: “Origen is only one small voice in the early Church, however right he might be on many aspects of the faith.”

            This is true. However, it always seems like the people that disagree with us become the “one small voice” and the ones who agree with us somehow turn into many, large voices.

            You said: “Second, there are many nuanced meanings of the term ‘prayer’, even as there are of ‘worship’ and ‘venerate’.”

            It would take too long to get into Origin’s whole argument, but the entire book is “On Prayer”. And I think the principle of the quote is pretty clear, that we shouldn’t pray to those who pray.

            You said: “My own opinion is that Protestants seem enamored of their own regulations regarding many aspects of Christian faith and devotion.”

            I’m not being facetious, but your entire paragraph describes my opinion of the Catholic Church almost to a T. It’s quite ironic…

            You said: “Jesus Christ had nothing against honoring people who deserve it.”

            Absolutely! But remember that this article was not about honoring someone. It was about exaggerations. The definition of exaggerate is “to magnify beyond the limits of truth; overstate; represent disproportionately”. Christ was most often humbling His disciples by promoting the “least in the kingdom” and “the first shall be last”. Note Jesus’ reaction to the blessing of Mary:

            “As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”” (Luke 11:27-28)

            I think that the most striking word is “rather”. It’s a word of opposition or contrast. Is Christ dishonoring Mary by elevating a simple obedient disciple above His own mother? By no means! Rather, He is drawing our attention to what He emphasizes, hearing the Word and obeying it.

            You said: “So, that’s why we honor the saints, and especially the Mother of Christ, so we might imitate them in their great love for both God and mankind.”

            It is a great thing to imitate those who imitate Christ. However, what role does exaggeration play in that? Why go beyond what is true into speculative territory? How does calling Mary “our life, our sweetness, our hope” instill a love of Christ in us?

            I hope this finds you well. God bless!

          2. Early you said – This is true. However, it always seems like the people that disagree with us become the “one small voice” and the ones who agree with us somehow turn into many, large voices.

            Me – yes because many of these issues were addressed by the early church fathers and settled via a council or another and so we Catholics are not constantly re-inventing the wheel. We believe the Catholic Church is the church instituted by Jesus so we have the confidence in her teaching. As far as I know, Praying to the saints is practiced by every ancient Christian church. Think about that. Some leaders knew of Origen personally and none as a group bought his view and here you are 1500 years removed thinking you know better than the collective fathers at the time. The irony is, 1500 years from now Protestants will still be looking for the answer because you can’t get there with certainty without the Church and her Traditions. And so Protestants discard Sacraments, feast days, devotions, fasting etc… tools given to us by His church to get closer to Him, because they can’t be 100% sure. They are only sure of the Bible and their interpretation of it, ignoring the other irony that their assurance of the Bible comes from Tradition and the Jews that rejected Jesus.

          3. Hi Early,

            I hope you don’t mind if I jump in with two cents.

            Mary gave birth and suckled, just as trillions of other humans and animals have done throughout time. Mary is not blessed for doing what comes naturally. She is blessed for listening to God’s word and doing it. She gave herself to “Fiat!” For that reason she is rather blessed.

          4. Hi CK,

            You said: “Some leaders knew of Origen personally and none as a group bought his view and here you are 1500 years removed thinking you know better than the collective fathers at the time.”

            Could you provide the source of this information? Particularly the “none as a group bought his view”…

            You said: “The irony is, 1500 years from now Protestants will still be looking for the answer because you can’t get there with certainty without the Church and her Traditions.”

            Looking for what answer? Would it make any difference to this conversation if I told you that I was already confident in “the answer”?

            You said: “And so Protestants discard Sacraments, feast days, devotions, fasting etc… tools given to us by His church to get closer to Him, because they can’t be 100% sure.”

            For what it’s worth, my Protestant church holds to all the “solas” and has sacraments, feasts, devotions, and fasting. Again, I’m not sure where you’re getting your information.

            You said: “They are only sure of the Bible and their interpretation of it, ignoring the other irony that their assurance of the Bible comes from Tradition and the Jews that rejected Jesus.”

            My journey through the early church fathers has been encouraging to say the least. It has been very assuring to see all my beliefs in the earliest writings of the church.

            God bless!

          5. Early,

            So famous is controversy about Origen, it is known as the Origenist Controversy. Interesting that you posted about Origen on St. Jerome’s Feast Day–Does your denomination celebrate St. Jerome?

            Here is an excerpt from a scholar who covers the main points:

            “In the year 400, Origen was condemned by the Roman pontiff, the bishop of Alexandria, and a council at Jerusalem. (A council at Cyprus followed suit in 401.) With three of the great patriarchates rendering judgment against Origenist heresies, any relevant doctrinal questions were considered settled.
            Nonetheless, the controversy did not end for St. Jerome, as he still sought to defend himself over his former praise of Origen. It was not until the spring of 402 that he learned of Rufinus’ Apology in two books, to which he responded in three defenses that are collectively known as the Apology against Rufinus (402). In the last of these defenses, Jerome writes: “We once were zealous in our praise of Origen; let us be equally zealous in condemning him now that he is condemned by the whole world.” Origen’s posthumous reversal of fortune did not result from a sudden change in Catholic doctrine, but from a new public focus on his speculative theology, which had been hitherto ignored or downplayed by orthodox writers. We will later see that Origen’s controversial doctrines were his own innovations, and foreign to the mainstream Christian tradition of his day.
            Before St. Jerome wrote his Apology against Rufinus, Origen had already been condemned by the highest ecclesiastical and civil authorities of the East and West – three patriarchates and two emperors. It is clearly erroneous to blame Origen’s fate on this polemic; on the contrary, the severe tone of the Apology against Rufinus is best understood in light of the already universal condemnation of Origenism, and the fact that Rufinus went out of his way to link St. Jerome to this recognized heresy. ”

            -http://www.arcaneknowledge.org/catholic/origen.htm

          6. Hi margo,

            I was aware of the Origenist controversy. However, I think that you are out of line with your own church.

            This is from the Catholic Encyclopedia with a “nihil obstat” and an “imprimatur”:

            “Were Origen and Origenism anathematized? Many learned writers believe so; an equal number deny that they were condemned; most modern authorities are either undecided or reply with reservations.”

            In fact, the encyclopedia seems to approve Origen’s teaching on prayer:

            “Two opuscula have been preserved entire in the original form; an excellent treatise “On Prayer” and an “Exhortation to Martyrdom”, sent by Origen to his friend Ambrose, then a prisoner for the Faith.” (Prat, Ferdinand. “Origen and Origenism.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. accessed 3 Oct. 2017)
            http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11306b.htm

            I hope this helps!

          7. Hi Early,

            So this helps nothing!

            What is your point?

            Origen’s works cannot today be accepted as valid and without error (defined by the Catholic Church) simply because some modern scholars disagree with the early church’s decree of anathema leveled at some of his work.

          8. Oh, BTW, Early,

            This is not the first instance you have leveled your charge that I suggest something different than Catholic Church teaching. Please take it up with them! And see how far your arrow flies.

            Good day.

          9. Hi margo,

            You said: “So this helps nothing! What is your point?”

            My only point was that the Origenist controversy doesn’t automatically discredit Origen’s works not associated with that controversy. After all, someone can be wrong in one area and be right in another.

            “Origen’s works cannot today be accepted as valid and without error (defined by the Catholic Church) simply because some modern scholars disagree with the early church’s decree of anathema leveled at some of his work.”

            Did it cover all Origen’s works? If it did, was it infallible?

            “This is not the first instance you have leveled your charge that I suggest something different than Catholic Church teaching. Please take it up with them! And see how far your arrow flies.”

            I meant no disrespect. I thought I was taking it up with them. That was my goal in quoting from a source with a “Nihil Obstat” and “Imprimatur”.

            Here’s the citation from the article on Origen in the Catholic Encyclopedia: “Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. February 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.”

            BTW, I accidentally emphasized the wrong part. I forgot that I had provided the quote from Origen’s work “Against Celsus”. This work also gets a glowing recommendation from the Catholic Encyclopedia though: “In the eight books of the “Contra Celsum” Origen follows his adversary point by point, refuting in detail each of his false imputations. It is a model of reasoning, erudition, and honest polemic.”

            When I replied earlier, I was thinking of this quote from Origen: “But if we accept prayer in its full meaning, we may not ever pray to any begotten being, not even to Christ himself, but only to the God and Father of All to whom our Savior both prayed himself, as we have already instanced, and teaches us to pray. […] It remains, accordingly, to pray to God alone, the Father of All, not however apart from the High Priest who has been appointed by the Father with swearing of an oath, according to the words He hath sworn and shall not repent, “You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” In thanksgiving to God, therefore, during their prayers, saints acknowledge His favors through Christ Jesus. Just as the man who is scrupulous about prayer ought not to pray to one who himself prays but to the Father upon whom our Lord Jesus has taught us to call in our prayers, so we are not to offer any prayer to the Father apart from Him. […] ‘Learn you therefore how great a free gift you have received from my Father in having received through regeneration in [Jesus] the Spirit of adoption, that you may be called sons of God and [Jesus’] brethren. For you have read [Jesus’] utterance spoken through David to the Father concerning you, ‘I will proclaim your name to my brethren; in the midst of the church will I sing hymns to you.’ It is not reasonable that those who have been counted worthy of one common Father should pray to a brother. To the Father alone ought you, with [Jesus] and through [Jesus], to send up prayer.’” (On Prayer, Chapter 10, c.185-c.254)

            God bless!

          10. earlychurchfan: I wonder how Origen interprets his own words of praying to the Father alone with and through Jesus. Does he pray to both simultaneously? If so, he is also praying to Jesus. All of the fullness of the Godhead dwells in the man Christ Jesus.

          11. ECF,
            If you don’t mind, I would like to comment some of your points on post from September 26, 2017 at 4:31 pm. First, your questions:
            (1) Do you believe that devotion to Mary can be taken too far? Yes. How? By removing her association with, and dependence from, Jesus. Please remember that while the Church honors Mary as the Mother of God (condition sine qua non), she considers worshipping her (or anyone else except the Trinity) a mortal sin.
            (2) Some people have said that it is sometimes easier to pray to Mary than to Jesus. Do you agree? Yes. Why? Human nature. For the same reason, it is sometimes easier to ask your mother instead of your father (and not, Mary is not at the same level as God; this is just an example), and sometimes it is easier to ask your father instead of your mother.
            Now, questions for you: do you think it’s possible for Protestants and Evangelicals to elevate their local clergy way over the actual message they are supposed to bring forth, to the point that when a pastor leaves/is fired the congregation is divided and splits, usually on very hurtful terms? Similarly, is it possible that Protestants and Evangelicals may pick a church “because of the worship style”, including music played and/or light displays, instead of the quality and orthodoxy of the message?
            “And I think the principle of the quote is pretty clear, that we shouldn’t pray to those who pray” = this is incorrect. Origen refers to a specific meaning of the word “prayer” (distinction that is lost in modern English), therefore “the principle of the quote” is clear only if it takes into consideration what Origen’s original intent was.
            “It’s a word of opposition or contrast” = incorrect; the Greek word “menoúnge” (from “μέν”, “οὖν”, and “γε”), is, literally, “therefore really indeed”, and reinforces the truth previously affirmed (Blessed is the womb that bore you) by stressing Mary’s obedience to God’s word (Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it).

          12. LLC: Of course people will deny that they worship or idolize Mary when you approach them; but consecration to Mary as taught by Saint Louis de Montfort, a doctor of the church, is pure idolatry.
            Here is an example of what he says in his Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin 37: “First, that Mary received from God a far-reaching dominion over the souls of the elect. Otherwise she could not make her dwelling-place in them as God the Father has ordered her to do, and she could not conceive them, nourish them, and bring them forth to eternal life as their mother. She could not have them for her inheritance and her possession and form them in Jesus and Jesus in them. She could not implant in their heart the roots of her virtues, nor be the inseparable associate of the Holy Spirit in all these works of grace. None of these things, I repeat, could she do unless she had received from the Almighty rights and authority over their souls. For God, having given her power over his only-begotten and natural Son, also gave her power over his adopted children – not only in what concerns their body – which would be of little account – but also in what concerns their soul.”

          13. Peter – LLC: Of course people will deny that they worship or idolize Mary when you approach them;

            Me – why do you think this? Do you think they don’t know they are worshipping or do know but don’t want to admit it?

          14. CK: I was never taught a simple surrender or consecration directly to Christ in all of my early Catholic upbringing and schooling. Outward practices were always substituted for this; although, outward practices are also part of Christianity. The closest thing that I have seen in Catholicism to simple surrender to Christ is Louis de Montfort’s consecration to Mary; but she is not part of the Godhead.
            Because outward practices are so all-pervasive, I don’t believe that Catholics view them as idolatrous, even though they can distract a person from adopting simple faith and trust directly in Christ. I believe that most Protestants also rely on their own outward practices that have the same effect. Praise and worship are the current fad.
            A number of years ago, when I read Louis de Montfort, an interesting thing happened. After I was initially shocked, I substituted Christ for what he said about Mary and I got a fuller understanding of how Christ’s humanity functions as a channel for all graces. Christ’s human faith in the Father appropriates the graces, which Christ can then share with us when we have His presence within us. If Mary could do this, her spirit would have to be within us, which Louis de Montfort assumes to be available; but there is only one Pentecost that I know of.
            A lack of understanding of what is in Scripture is a major problem.

          15. PA,
            “Of course people will deny that they worship or idolize Mary when you approach them” = if this is the case, God will judge them (Luke 16:15), not you (Matthew 7:1-6).
            “consecration to Mary as taught by Saint Louis de Montfort, a doctor of the church, is pure idolatry” = the title of Saint Louis treatise is “True Devotion”. Devotion is not the same as idolatry, as already shown in this and other posts. Simple definitions of devotions are “feeling of strong or fervent affection”; “dedication; religious veneration, zeal”, “piety”. The RCC, conversely, condemns idolatry, to Mary or any other created being.
            If your personal sensitivity makes it difficult to accept Saint Louis shows of devotion, feel free not to. At the same time, you will have to explain Luther’s similar words of devotion to Mary, as found in countless Sermons:
            “[She is the] highest woman and the noblest gem in Christianity after Christ. …She is nobility, wisdom, and holiness personified. We can never honor her enough. Still honor and praise must be given to her in such a way as to injure neither Christ nor the Scriptures” (Sermon, Christmas, 1531)
            “No woman is like you. You are more than Eve or Sarah, blessed above all nobility, wisdom, and sanctity” (Sermon, Feast of the Visitation. 1537)
            “One should honor Mary as she herself wished and as she expressed it in the Magnificat. She praised God for his deeds. How then can we praise her? The true honor of Mary is the honor of God, the praise of God’s grace… Mary is nothing for the sake of herself, but for the sake of Christ…Mary does not wish that we come to her, but through her to God” (Explanation of the Magnificat, 1521)
            “It is the consolation and the superabundant goodness of God, that man is able to exult in such a treasure. Mary is his true Mother, Christ is his brother. God is his father” (Sermon. Christmas, 1522).

          16. LLC: Even Martin Luther can be wrong. If coming to God through Mary were possible, her spirit would have to be available to reside in us as Christ’s is. The Father sends the Spirit of His Son into our hearts. She cannot be our preliminary to Christ, as Christ is our preliminary to the Father; therefore, you can only have the Father through Jesus.
            Here are some quotes from Louis de Montfort’s The Secret of Mary: 50 “Beware, chosen soul, of thinking that it is more perfect to direct your work and intention straight to Jesus or straight to God. Without Mary, your work and your intention will be of little value. But if you go to God through Mary, your work will become Mary’s work, and consequently will be most noble and most worthy of God.” 20 “But there is no place where God can be more present to his creature and more sympathetic to human weakness than in Mary.” 36 “In going to Jesus through Mary, we are really paying honour to our Lord, for we are showing that, because of our sins, we are unworthy to approach his infinite holiness directly on our own. We are showing that we need Mary, his holy Mother, to be our advocate and mediatrix with him who is our Mediator.” Compare these prior quotes with Hebrews 4:14-16.
            44 “The chief difficulty is to enter into its spirit, which requires an interior dependence on Mary, and effectively becoming her slave and the slave of Jesus through her.” 28 “Chosen soul, this devotion consists in surrendering oneself in the manner of a slave to Mary, and to Jesus through her, and then performing all our actions with Mary, in Mary, through Mary, and for Mary.” 47 “We must always act in Mary, that is to say, we must gradually acquire the habit of recollecting ourselves interiorly and so form within us an idea or a spiritual image of Mary…She will be a burning lamp lighting up our inmost soul and inflaming us with love for God. She will be a sacred place of repose where we can contemplate God in her company. Finally Mary will be the only means we will use in going to God, and she will become our intercessor for everything we need. When we pray we will pray in Mary…If we do anything at all, it will be in Mary, and in this way Mary will help us to forget self everywhere and in all things.”

            Here is an interesting quote from Louis de Montfort’s Treatise on True Devotion 259(3): “From time to time during an action and after it, we should renew this same act of offering and of union. The more we do so, the quicker we shall grow in holiness and the sooner we shall reach union with Christ, which necessarily follows upon union with Mary, since the spirit of Mary is the spirit of Jesus.”

          17. PA:
            “A lack of understanding of what is in Scripture is a major problem” = conversely, “A lack of understanding of what the Catholic Church actually teaches is a major problem”. Fulton J. Sheen: “There are not a hundred people in America who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions of people who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church — which is, of course, quite a different thing”.
            Perhaps, they should’ve paid better attention in Sunday School.

          18. The words of St. Louis Marie de Montfort were used to support a claim of idolatry. This claim opposes reason.

            Consider only the first few words: “Mary has received from God…” These words–on their face–assert that Mary has received from God. Mary is the beneficiary of a gift from God. She herself is not the originator, creator, instigator, planner, administrator, director, etc. She is the recipient, subordinate to the Almighty. She is God’s handmaid.

            If one acknowledges the sense, the meaning, the idea of that phrase, the claim of idolatry cannot not hold.

            Second, consider prayer.
            Prayer to Mary is not worship of Mary. Prayer is communication. When we communicate, we talk and we listen, just as we talk and listen to our friends, our family, our colleagues, one another here. What Mary gives has been given by God.

            Consider idolatry: The claim has been made that prayer to Mary is idolatrous. If this is so, why, then, is it not idolatry to talk to one another? In time, in space, and in spirit, Mary communicated more to Jesus than any of us could hope to do. Why is it idolatry to talk and listen to Mary who knows Jesus better than we?

            Idolatry is when man replaces God and His image with works of our own hands, then endow those works with divinity. The Golden Calf exists in an inordinate love of money, of power, of sex. The purpose of prayer to Mary is to discover Jesus through her. God gave Jesus to us through her. Meditating, contemplating, communicating with Mary is not idolatry. It is not worship of her. It is veneration and honor, just as the Fourth Commandment requires. That is not idolatry.

          19. What I find interesting in this conversation is the various opinions on the meaning of prayer itself.

            From a protestant perspective prayer is a verbal conversation and an act of worship toward God and God alone. For the most part it includes verbal adoration, repentance, thanksgiving, and praise. In all my years in protestant faith this was my understanding of prayer. It was an individualistic relationship between me and my God. It was a labor filled effort for me, always, to think of things to say in prayer and I always felt strange in supplication as it was something that made me feel quite cheeky about, personally.

            Now I realize that not all denominations teach the same things when it comes to prayer. I’m not an apologist and am only adding my personal experience because I am one of the rare, but growing number of folks who have converted to Catholicism.

            As a Catholic convert I took great comfort in the lives of the saints, and was greatly relieved that I did not have to spend great deal of time talking incessantly to God in order to pray. No, I’m a quiet person. Words don’t always come easy for me. Sometimes I revel in the silence. Sometimes I wouldn’t dare suppose I know the answer or what an outcome ought to be.

            Before I began the daily rosary I prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet daily, which is a prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and can most certainly be a consecration to Him as well. When I have been lost in life trying to understand things happening around me or struggles my friends are going through I have relied greatly on lifting them up in prayer as my intentions during a rosary or a chaplet or a novena. My heart, my love for them, is all I need. I don’t need to verbalize in my own ignorance what I think God ought to do in a situation. No. I can do a prayer of consecration and let God be God. In my humility and with great sacrificial love I can say, you are God and I trust in YOU. My prayer, within the rosary, also joins my holy mother to my side and I am comforted in knowing that she will continue praying for me when my meditative prayer ceases. I will also call on the saints as well, my heavenly family, to help me to grow in love, obedience, and humility as I pray and ask God to hear and answer me. As a Catholic I am no longer in isolation in solitary prayer. I am part of a beautiful and loving eternal family who lifts me up in prayer long after my prayers cease. I belong to a rosary prayer group and am a regular attendee in the Adoration Chapel, where I have learned the beauty of silent prayer before the Lord. For me the prayer of contemplation and the prayer of silence are wonderful, and having sacramentals are a great comfort, too. It binds me to my faith and my heavenly family. Am I an idolator? Do I worship the saints? Mary? my rosary beads, the crucifix? Absolutely not. But all these things have helped me grow in my faith tremendously. I am rooted and grounded. I hear the Holy Spirit clearly and when I am obedient to His voice those that I intercede for are often amazed by the messages I receive from God.

            Can another person gain charismatic gifts without praying the rosary, praying to saints, contemplative prayer and prayer of silence? I’m sure they could. I do not by any means assume that this is the ‘correct’ formula for a relationship with Jesus, our Father, and the Holy Spirit. Nor would I think to judge another who has a devotion I do not understand that also bears good fruit.

            October is the month of the rosary. Try it for a month on a daily basis. Maybe you won’t change your mind. Maybe you will. Maybe like me, it will become a wonderful devotion that you look forward to every day, one that brings your whole family together in prayer.

            For me the difference lies in learning that prayer is not about asking what God can do for me, but realizing, in complete humility, that prayer is for asking what I can do for God. It is learning what being full of grace means, what sacrificial love really is. My petitions are mainly about asking for direction, to do His will, to be obedient. I no longer ask for things for myself in prayer. I wouldn’t dream of it. No, I trust that Jesus my savior will provide as needed because His love is immeasurable. I don’t need to ask. I need to love. That I can do without any words at all just by visiting him in adoration chapel and sitting there with him while my heart swells with gratitude.

            I can tell you also that as my prayer life matured and my devotions developed into a regular and daily thing in my life that I also began developing stronger charisms as well. Our prayer life should connect us with the Holy Spirit and it should bear good fruit. I think it’s okay if people are uncomfortable praying a rosary, doing a divine mercy chaplet, or speaking in tongues. I also think that it is okay if people cherish these devotions and are blessed by them. As long as we are growing and are listening to the Holy Spirit and humbly asking God for direction He is pleased.

            I find it odd that there is so much judgement about the spirituality of others going on in apologetics and dare I say, this very thread. I wouldn’t dare try to hinder another soul from prayer. God is merciful and loving. I truly believe He meets us where we are at and if we are open to it, He will mercifully guide us toward the truth and how we can have that intimacy with Him that we all desire. All we need to do is have a willing heart and be open to His voice. He never leaves us. The problem is, I think, that we don’t always follow Him where He is asking us to go.

            When you’ve been miraculously healed through no merit of your own it does something to your soul. You realize that God is not some distant being beyond your capacity and reach. He is agape love. He’s inside your very heart, and if you believe in the real presence, the very food that literally sustains you each and every day of your life. Who wouldn’t want to sit with Him in adoration? Meditate on the mysteries of His life, read his words, and consume Him as spiritual food?

          20. PA:
            “Even Martin Luther can be wrong” = what authority are you citing to make this judgment? Luther used the same source (Sola Scriptura) and the same tool (personal interpretation) as you, so you may be the one in error.
            “If coming to God through Mary were possible, her spirit would have to be available to reside in us as Christ’s is” = unclear. Are you saying that Mary would be our conduit to God instead of Jesus? This is not Church’s teaching, therefore you are in error. If you mean that Mary is a conduit of our prayers to God after we accept Jesus, this is fully biblical, and the subsequent points in your posts are null.
            From all the quotes from Saint Louis’ treatise, the main point to which you seem to object is that without Mary we wouldn’t have Jesus. Given that Mary’s “fiat” was necessary for the Incarnation, it follows that, at that specific point of space and time, she was a conditio sine qua non for the salvific coming of Jesus. If you want to debate this specific point, please bring forth some coherent statements. If you just want to quote from someone else’s works, without providing personal insights, from now on you will be monologuing with yourself.

          21. Official Church teaching and Louis de Montfort are not one and the same; but he is considered a Doctor of the Church, which give him some Church validity. The only authority that I can cite for saying that Martin Luther can also be wrong is my personal opinion.
            It is not official Church teaching that Mary is our conduit to God; but it is Louis de Montfort’s teaching, which is not Biblical. He speaks of Mary being more than just a conduit for prayer.
            Mary was obviously a conduit for the birth of Jesus. Louis de Montfort claims that Mary is also a conduit for the birth of Jesus in our hearts. This is not official Church teaching, and it is not Biblical.

          22. Hi LLC,

            Sorry for not getting to your comment earlier.

            You said: “(1) Do you believe that devotion to Mary can be taken too far? Yes. How? By removing her association with, and dependence from, Jesus.”

            Would this be an explicit action or can it be done subtly? Would this have to be a total removal or would a partial removal also be too far?

            You said: “(2) Some people have said that it is sometimes easier to pray to Mary than to Jesus. Do you agree? Yes. Why? Human nature. For the same reason, it is sometimes easier to ask your mother instead of your father (and not, Mary is not at the same level as God; this is just an example), and sometimes it is easier to ask your father instead of your mother.”

            I’m having a hard time understanding this. First, what do you mean by human nature? Second, if you say “Mary is not at the same level as God”, can we really use a mother and father (who are equal) as a valid example? Third, if the mother/father example worked, there are stills reasons that we choose one over the other. Unless you’re describing a situation where the decision is completely neutral.

            You said: “do you think it’s possible for Protestants and Evangelicals to elevate their local clergy way over the actual message they are supposed to bring forth, to the point that when a pastor leaves/is fired the congregation is divided and splits, usually on very hurtful terms?”

            Yes, I have seen both Protestants and Catholics leave churches when the pastor/priest leaves.

            You said: “Similarly, is it possible that Protestants and Evangelicals may pick a church “because of the worship style”, including music played and/or light displays, instead of the quality and orthodoxy of the message?”

            Yes, I have seen both Protestants and Catholics pick churches based on aesthetics.

            You said: “Origen refers to a specific meaning of the word “prayer” (distinction that is lost in modern English), therefore “the principle of the quote” is clear only if it takes into consideration what Origen’s original intent was.”

            The context is pretty explicit. Even searching “Against Celsus” for the word prayer shows that he regularly uses it to refer to what we would both call “prayer” (e.g. referring to Psalm 50 or Matthew 26:39). How did you come to this conclusion?

            You said: “the Greek word “menoúnge” (from “μέν”, “οὖν”, and “γε”), is, literally, “therefore really indeed”, and reinforces the truth previously affirmed (Blessed is the womb that bore you) by stressing Mary’s obedience to God’s word (Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it).”

            I’m no Greek scholar, but here’s the entry from Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, which I checked before making the comment:

            μενουγγε (μενοῦν γέ L Tr) (μέν, οὖν, γέ), nay surely, nay rather; three times in answers by which what was previously said is corrected (and standing at the beginning of the clause, contrary to Attic usage where μέν οὖν is never so placed; cf. Sturz, De dial. Mac. et Alex., p. 203f; Lob. ad Phryn., p. 342; (Buttmann, 370f (318); Winer’s Grammar, § 61, 6)): Luke 11:28 (where T Tr WH μενοῦν); Romans 9:20; Romans 10:18; also Philippians 3:8 (where L G Tr μέν οὖν, WH μέν οὖν γέ), and Nicet. ann. 21, 11. 415 (p. 851, Bekker edition).

            I don’t know if your lexicon is different, but the RSV Catholic Edition and the Douay-Rheims also translate it to be “rather” or “yea rather”. Why do you think that is?

            Thanks for your comments and I look forward to hearing from you.

            God bless!

    4. ECF: I’m not trying to be antagonistic

      BB: I don’t see any other option OTHER than being antagonistic, regardless of your attempt to minimize your desire to… not be antagonistic! It simply will not work my dear friend, especially when dealing with a church that thinks they have been given the gift of infallibility. Do you not see that because they think they are infallible, they have rigged the debate in their favor from the get-go and are not subject to correction. If that wasn’t bad enough, Trent calls their adversaries, “satanic, godless, contentious and evil”. Now I ask you: In light of an infallible church that thinks YOU, ECF, are a godless chump, you are under no obligation to throw angel dust on your spiritual enemies. This is theological war, just as relevant as any ACTUAL war ever fought in the past. Do the opposing parties send bouquets of roses to one another? No.
      Simply conduct yourself in a manner that does not offend the host of this website, and say on, remembering that a “book of remembrance” is laid up in heaven which has recorded your every word. A little “antagonism” never hurt anyone, especially when we recall that Jesus antagonized the religious leaders 16 times in Matt 23 alone, and called Herod a “fox” elsewhere. Oh my, how antagonizing!

      ECF: it bothers me that I’ve never seen any attempt to keep Catholics from going too far.

      BB: And you never will. The reason for this is that the Christian and the Catholic have two absolutely contrary sources of authority to which they appeal for religious truth. That being so, the papal ego has no choice but to make Scripture appear as obscure as possible in order to justify everything else they wish to add TO it. Again, the game-plan is that God was always and forever speaking with marbles in his mouth and has now assigned the RCC to explain what he REALLY meant.

      1. Again, the game-plan is that God was always and forever speaking with marbles in his mouth and has now assigned the RCC to explain what he REALLY meant.

        Me – if I could only find an example in Scripture of someone needing assistance interpreting Scripture or better yet someone saying some books are difficult to understand and can be twist one to their own destruction to refute you!

        Alas, I can’t. BB I’m ready to convert to Anglican as they use the same bible as you and therefore must believe exactly as you. No explanations necessary.

        Thanks again!

    5. How is it lawless to pray to or look at images of the mother of God? Is it lawless for you to watch TV, visit an art museum, or talk to your spouse or mother? Do you look in the mirror each day? Is that unlawful? And if the Bible does not give us reign to exaggerate any shape or form, it certainly does not prohibit it. A citation or a quotation is wanted for consideration of your point. Else, moot.

      1. Margo, some Protestants….usually the more studius ones…. have attributes that might be considered neo-pharisaical. They live according to the letter (of the NT instead of the old) without understanding the nuanced or typological meanings of the same letter. Everything has to be proved by scripture, yet they misunderstand and misinterpret the scriptures at the same time, and then go and make giant conclusions based on their erroneous premises. Basically they don’t understand the Bible because they don’t allow ‘common sense’ into their exegesis. These are only some Protestants, of course. Usually, the more ignorant ones are more spiritually honest, in my experience.

      2. Hi margo,

        Sorry for the confusion. I wasn’t saying that “looking at something” was lawlessness. The author originally stated: “Shouldn’t we be careful not to exaggerate or use over-the-top or flowery language? No. There are two reasons for this. First, it limits the fullness of human emotional expression.”

        His answer is that we should not be careful in this area because it limits the fullness of human emotional expression. My point is that we need limits on the fullness of emotional expression. Paul imposes a limit when he says, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths” (Ephesians 4:29) And again, he says, “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking” (Ephesians 5:4). And again, “Let no one deceive you with empty words” (Ephesians 5:6) I think that we would agree that exaggerations can be empty, foolish, or corrupting, right? We should restrain any language that leads people astray regardless of its shape or form, right? So it would be wrong to say that exaggerations should be allowed without qualifications like Paul gives.

        I hope this helps!

        1. Hi Early,

          Yes. I totally agree with Paul’s quotes from his letter to the Ephesians. We should limit “corrupting talk,” “filthiness, foolish talk…crude joking,” and “empty words.”

          I see devotion and prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary as none of those things. How do you define prayer? When I pray, I talk and I listen. I seek to understand God and myself in relation to Him. Some may see prayer–as an exaggerated total empty waste of time. I have not experienced that to be. Some may see filth, crudity, corruption. Sometimes I have seen those traits in myself when I stand before Jesus or his Mother. But they love me nonetheless, and they give me to know and to understand their love may heal me. How is that filthy? Perhaps I don’t deserve it? Some may call that corrupt, but I call it MERCY.

          Seeking to understand the love of God for us humans through our communicating with Mary and her Son is no fool’s errand. It is the best use of our time for all ETERNITY.

          God bless.

    6. Earlychurchfan,

      I should have probably said something in the post to preempt this concern, because it’s a widespread one. A few thoughts:

      1) Exaggeration is normal, even Biblical, and proper to expressions of love.

      2) Exaggerated expressions of love don’t ever accidentally turn into worship. If a man calls his wife the most beautiful woman in the world, that’s an exaggeration, and a good one. If he worships her as God, that’s not “an exaggeration.” That’s a difference in kind, not degree.

      3) It may be that, to an outsider, we don’t know which is meant. If a man says to his wife “I adore you” (or especially the French, “je t’adore“), we might suspect him of literally adoring her as God. But the man himself isn’t in any confusion. In other words, I never hear people prone to exaggerated expressions of Marian piety say “is this worship?” but always people who are uncomfortable with exaggerated expressions worrying about whether their neighbor should be allowed to be non-literal. I’m not saying “stop being so judgmental” so much as “this could only be mistaken as worship to an outsider.” That’s why Craig’s comment below is so crucial: “When I began asking Orthodox what they meant by the prayers, then the prayers made sense.”

      4) The problem here is that many Christians seem to think that worship is on the same spectrum as love: that it’s okay to love someone, but not TOO much, because then you might accidentally end up worshiping them. That’s insane and anti-Christian, because it would require us to conclude that Jesus couldn’t love us TOO much or else He might accidentally worship us.

      1. Hi Joe,

        Thank you for taking the time to comment and answer questions. I hope you don’t mind if I offer some thoughts on your response.

        1) I agree that exaggeration is normal and used in the Bible, however there are still restrictions on when and how we use it.

        2) You said: “If a man calls his wife the most beautiful woman in the world, that’s an exaggeration, and a good one.” If a married man calls his coworker the most beautiful woman in the world, would you feel the same way? Why or why not?

        3) This seems to be the most common response: “you don’t understand because you’re an outsider”. However, consider the example of the married man and his coworker. Would you accept this line of reasoning from him? What if you saw this exaggerated behavior repeatedly or increasing?

        4) I think that this is missing the point. I’m positive that we agree that there are boundaries and rules for how we worship and how we love. As in, there are inappropriate ways to worship God and love people, right? This is really the crux of the issue.

        Three verses come to mind:

        “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon [riches].” (Matthew 6:24 RSV Catholic Edition)

        “He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;” (Matthew 10:37 RSVCE)

        “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. Unfaithful creatures! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is in vain that the scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit which he has made to dwell in us”?” (James 4:3-5 RSVCE)

        All these passages clearly state that we can love something/someone TOO much. Not that we cannot love anything else in any way. But, we are absolutely required to love God in an exclusive way. So the questions becomes, what forms of love exclusively belong to Christ, our betrothed?

        Thanks again for your time and God bless!

      2. Hi Joe,

        I’d love to hear your thoughts on one more issue. A few Catholics I know have said that it is sometimes easier to pray to Mary than Jesus. Some people in the comments here have agreed or provided reasons why.

        Do you agree that it is sometimes easier to pray to Mary than Jesus? If so, why?

        If not, why do you think other Catholics DO sometimes find it easier to pray to Mary than Jesus?

        God bless!

        God bless!

        1. Well, speaking as a Catholic myself, I can’t honestly say I ever find it EASIER to pray to Mary rather than Jesus… but there are most certainly times when I feel it to be more appropriate. Perhaps this comes from my time in the Army. There were situations when going “up the chain of command” was the proper thing to do, rather than going straight to the commanding officer.

          1. Perhaps we need to define exactly what we mean by prayer. I see prayer as primarily a talking and a listening. I often pray with the goal of SEEKING to understand God and myself or my existence in relation to him. We are taught to attend to contritition, thanksgiving, praise, petition. There are many styles and types of prayers. There are prayers which God Himself gives us, and these are the best.

            God bless.

          2. Hi Bob in Maryland,

            Thanks for the comment. Can you explain these situations a little more? Why does it feel more proper to pray to Mary in those times?

            God bless!

          3. I guess it’s like the wedding at Cana. At the most literal level, it would appear that the Mother of our Lord is bothering Him with trivialities (“They have no wine.”) Yet He nevertheless accedes to her request, and replenishes the wedding feast’s supply of wine. (It’s fun to imagine what Christ’s response would have been to the steward making the request rather than His Mother.) Of course, we know full well that John is using this deceptively trivial incident to illustrate the inauguration of the superior New Covenant. (“You have saved the best wine until last.”) John never wastes a single word in his Gospel, let alone an entire chapter.

            When I am praying for my (grown) daughters when they are super stressed out, or for that matter for any particular “trivial” difficulty, I feel it more appropriate to send the matter “up the chain” rather than taking it straight to the Top. I recall an incident (again, back in the Army), when a soldier in my company complained to a visiting general about his difficulty in getting some sort of special boot. Afterwards, our First Sergeant scolded him for wasting the general’s time with matters that were more properly addressed at a lower level.

          4. “John never wastes a single word in his Gospel, let alone an entire chapter….”

            That’s where I have a real problem with the “theology” bruited by Flounder (aka Barry) and some other, happily less virulent Protestants who post here, an who cherry-pick Scripture, deciding what is and isn’t important to dovetail with the dogmas of their peculiar denomination. Case in point, Flounder in a previous topic, declaring of the Last Supper “they just had dinner together!!” Really? No theological significance worthy of note, just documenting a nosh? Rii-iiight.

            My understanding of Scripture (after 4 years of the Denver Catholic Biblical School) is 1. that every word is there for a reason and 2. must be read in context, not only of the entire passage, but of the entirety of Scripture both OT and NT, given Augustine’s dictum “the Old is fulfilled in the New, and the New is hidden in the Old…”

            Flounder is also, as I recounted above, the one who decided on his own self that Luther is ‘burning in Hell.’

          5. Hi Bob in Maryland,

            Thanks for explaining that some more. I’m curious though, how do you think Christ reacts to the little things we bring to Him in prayer?

            God bless!

          6. “[H]ow do you think Christ reacts to the little things we bring to Him in prayer?”

            A very good question. Unfortunately, I have no idea.

            But the original question to me was why I (not Jesus) felt it was sometimes more appropriate to address my petitions to Mary rather than directly to the Godhead.

            I believe that perspective is very important, and is part of Objective Reality. When I stand on the seashore, the ocean seems to me to be unimaginable vast. But when I consider the Virgo galaxy supercluster (of which our own Milky Way is an infinitesimal part), then even the Pacific Ocean is less than nothing. But here’s the thing – BOTH PERSPECTIVES ARE CORRECT!

            This is something we need to keep in mind when contemplating Omniscience. God knows the position and velocity of every last electron in the universe. Yer that same God cares for little ol’ me – personally. A rounding error, not only in the universe, but in my home city of Baltimore. Both of those things are true.

            Laying our cares at the feet of God’s Mother is very much in line with the perspective of my standing on the seashore. It’s valid because that perspective is also valid. Saying we must only petition the Second Person of the Holy Trinity is like saying only the perspective of the Virgo supercluster is valid, and what we experience as human beings is not.

          7. Hi Bob,

            Thanks again for the reply. I’m finding this conversation very helpful.

            You said: “A very good question. Unfortunately, I have no idea.”

            I think God gives us a few indications. First, in the Lord’s prayer, we are commanded to pray “give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11, RSV Catholic Edition). Jesus is commanding us to bring our basic needs to Him every day. Imagine if that soldier had bothered the visiting general for a slice of bread! Second, 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you” (RSVCE). Peter never qualifies this as bringing only our big anxieties, but simply leaves it at “all”.

            I agree that there are different perspectives depending on the issue, but I believe that these passages of Scripture tell us that God wants to hear our trivial requests.

            God bless!

  5. Joe , good article. You made the correct diagnosis. I for one would get caught up with the literal stuff. When I began asking Orthodox what they meant by the prayers, then the prayers made sense.

    This is why I think one cannot study Marian prayers to truly understand them. One must pray to Mary and ask for her intercession. I see this as akin to riding a bike. You can study about how one balances and how much forward motion is needed to balance when riding a bike. But the only way to every really understand how to ride a bike is to go ahead and actually ride one.

    We Protestants do not understand Marian devotion, not because we do not understand hyperbole (we are not making ourselves eunuchs, chopping of hands, or tearing out eyes after all). Rather, we do not know how to pray. We have not tried praying the way Christians (and even Jews) have always prayed. With rules, with memorized prayers, with petitions made to saints, etcetera.

    Hence, the reality is that Protestant prayerlife is atrophied. I never prayed as much as I do now–I pray probably 10 times more (today may be about 30 times more, but I had a lot of driving.) But, it is easy to pray that much more when you are showed how to pray and you make a practice out of asking others (i.e. the saints) for more prayers on your behalf.

    Let me add that we must recognize that when we pray the following to God: “Thou art my Creator, and the Giver and Provider of every good thing, and all my hope is in thee” and “All my hope I place in thee, O Mother of God: keep me under thy protection” we are not contradicting ourselves. We mean “all of my hope” in two different senses. In an ultimate sense, GOd is our only hope. But also, Mary is all of our hope because apart from her bearing God, even God Himself could not redeem us. Christ had to come into the world to redeem mankind. We need a Theotokos. This is why we can pray both, mean both, and be completely honest with such a prayer.

    One last note. I know former Roman Catholics, including an ex nun, who were not educated in these nuances. This leads me to believe that Protestantism, despite all the evils of schism, has in reality improved the Orthodox and Roman Catholic faiths. It has improved how the Roman Catholics and Orthodox educate their own parishioners. No one should have apostatized from the Apostolic Church due to misunderstandings over Marian veneration. The fact that people have showsz people are not paying attention, and more regrettably in other cases, are not being educated properly.

    God bless,
    Craig

    1. Hi Craig,

      You said regarding to the practice of prayer: “You can study about how one balances and how much forward motion is needed to balance when riding a bike. But the only way to every really understand how to ride a bike is to go ahead and actually ride one.”

      And this is a good observation to make, and describes pretty much the two major theories of catechesis and education over the centuries, those being the monastic and the scholastic. In post-Nicaean Christianity, there was a great lack many resources such as philosophical books needed for the scholastic approach to education and catechesis. We see that the first millennium was dominated by the Monastic hermeneutic of education and catechesis. And this is what you seem to describe as ‘riding the bike’ as opposed to ‘studying it’ so as to learn to ride. This is also is most likely why you are being taught in this way, because the Orthodox haven’t engaged in the ‘scholastic movement’ to a same extensive degree as the Western Church did after the first millennium.

      This also seems to be why Protestantism(…except for Charismatics and Fundamentalism, maybe), born in the Middle Ages, appears to be based more on the ‘scholastic’ model, which tends to focus on the use logical arguments to teach and prove the truths of the Faith. And Catholics also use scholastic elements, but it was ‘born’, so to say, for 1000 + years in the monastic model, and especially after the Fall of the Roman Empire.

      The Monastic model was based more on ‘imitation of virtuous living’ or ‘the practice of discipleship’, as is found in the early monastic movements in the 4th -14th centuries. Basically, to be a Christian, was to seek entrance into the Church and receive catechesis. You learned what the Church taught you, and agreed to it, or were not baptized as a member of the Church. It was not merely an intellectual endeavor, but involved prayers, fastings, exorcisms, moral conformation, study, imitation of elders, liturgy of the hours, and many other elements useful for teaching “discipleship”, the very word of which is based not on intellectual understanding, but on corporal discipline. And this also is how the disciples of Jesus were also taught. They didn’t get lessons in Aristotelian logic while traveling with Jesus in Israel.

      It seems that many Protestants have never understood this distinction between the monastic and scholastic methods of catechesis and education. They seem to only understand, or be familiar with, the scholastic method, which is largely confined to utilization of the intellect, as compared to the ‘master’ and ‘apprentice’ approach to learning. Yet, if you read the Didache, for instance, in the very first chapter you read not about how to understand theology, but rather, what a Christian must ‘practice’ and avoid’, and particularly regarding virtues and vices, which it says is traveling either the way towards life, or the traveling towards eternal death.

      By the time you get to St. Bonaventure and St. Thomas Aquinas, you get a good example of how the two hermeneutics, the monastic and the scholastic, collide. St. Bonaventure though raised ‘scholastically’, was also a devout follower of the way of life of the poor St. Francis of Assisi, who was largely uneducated in any formal sense. St. Francis followed the tradition of the previous 1000 years, that is, the only one they knew in the Western Church at the time…the Monastic. St. Thomas Aquinas and the Dominicans, on the other hand, were promoting the newly revived scholastic education system( largely ignored since the Fall of the Roman Empire), after the re-discovery, and reintroduction of Aristotelian logic into Europe.

      Anyway, I think this lack of understanding of these two educational styles, is why Protestants can’t understand the Church very well. They don’t understand well what you are describing in your new catechesis, which seems from you description to be based mostly on the monastic style and hermeneutic of catechesis. This is why it is new to you, but by which you can now understand the ways of the early Church so much better. And that is, because the early Church was based on this system, based on teaching ‘discipleship’ primarily, and scholasticism secondarily….which by you r commentary seems that you now find to be very enlightening, as well as ‘refreshing’.

      Just an opinion and observation.

    2. Hi Craig,

      Very well stated and interesting post.

      I have encountered many an ex-Catholic (including siblings) who have stated the same thing as that ex-nun. The question that I always ask them: “Did you ever look for an official Catholic answer to questions you had about the Catholic faith?” Surprisingly, most say they derived their “official” Catholic answers from non-Catholic sources. Has the education gotten better in Catholicism? Yes. But the answers were always there, for anyone, if they were willing to put the effort into looking, in every century since Christ founded her.

      There are many a Catholic, who reject aspects of what the Church teaches, without bothering to learn the why of what she teaches. I am always amazed at how many Catholics reject her teaching on contraception, without even bothering to read her teachings on contraception.

      1. Duane, I agree that such a turn of events is truly tragic. And sadly, know-it-all Protestants like myself are so vocal that people confuse this as knowledge, when in fact their priest likely mediates on God all day.

        My wife years ago made and observation to me which I think fits the bill, “Americans confused ‘opinionatedness’ with intelligence.” Not everything in RC and Orthodoxy is vocal, and so in a Western context we are easily duped by the opinionated.

        God bless,
        Craig

    3. CT: Let me add that we must recognize that when we pray the following to God: “Thou art my Creator, and the Giver and Provider of every good thing, and all my hope is in thee” and “All my hope I place in thee, O Mother of God: keep me under thy protection” we are not contradicting ourselves. We mean “all of my hope” in two different senses. In an ultimate sense, God is our only hope. But also, Mary is all of our hope because apart from her bearing God, even God Himself could not redeem us. Christ had to come into the world to redeem mankind. We need a Theotokos. This is why we can pray both, mean both, and be completely honest with such a prayer.

      BB: It is unwarranted to suppose that just because Jesus had to born a man, that this then gives us the right to suppose that the one who gave HIM birth, is by extension, our “protector” also. Do I need to point out to you the 25 verses regarding protection that you throw under the bus? Only one will do:
      “God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in time of trouble”.

      1. Is it unreasonable to think that the saints in heaven, out of their now-perfected love, intercede for loved ones here on earth, or do you think that once they’ve reached heaven, all memory of their loved ones is erased? You can’t deny that it happens anymore than you can affirm that it does, based on Scripture alone. But if their wills are now perfectly united with the Lord’s, and the Lord certainly intercedes for us (Heb 7:25), it seems one can validly infer that the saints also will to intercede…

        1. “You can’t deny that it happens anymore than you can affirm that it does”

          Athanasius, but you can affirm that it does. Remember that the prophet Samuel intervened in Saul’s life in the story of the ‘Witch of Endor’, but it resulted in Saul’s death. Never the less Samuel did indeed prophesy and intervene, reluctant and annoyed as he was…God permitted it. And, then we have the Transfiguration of Jesus on Mt. Tabor. God allowed Moses and Elias to intervene in the life of Jesus, almost as if they were angels. They also intervened in the life of Peter, James and John …Peter of whom considered setting up tents, in all hospitality, for their comfort. Then lastly, after the death of Jesus on the Cross, it says the ‘graves were open’, and the dead communicated to their relatives in Jerusalem.

          All of this is proof of intervention of deceased saints described in the Bible.

          So, if Moses and Elias can be sent to converse with Jesus on the Mount, is it a stretch to think that Mary, or some other saint, cannot be sent, or do the same in our age, if God wills it?

    4. “We Protestants do not understand Marian devotion, not because we do not understand hyperbole (we are not making ourselves eunuchs, chopping of hands, or tearing out eyes after all). Rather, we do not know how to pray. We have not tried praying the way Christians (and even Jews) have always prayed. With rules, with memorized prayers, with petitions made to saints, etcetera.

      Hence, the reality is that Protestant prayerlife is atrophied. I never prayed as much as I do now–I pray probably 10 times more (today may be about 30 times more, but I had a lot of driving.) But, it is easy to pray that much more when you are showed how to pray and you make a practice out of asking others (i.e. the saints) for more prayers on your behalf.”

      As a Catholic Convert from Protestantism I totally agree. I think Protestants protest devotion to Mary out of ignorance and also because in many cases they are taught it is wrong, as I was. After many years in the Catholic faith I went through a very trying time of suffering while I was a young mother with a chronically sick child. I began to identify with Mary and delved into many theological texts both for and against devotion to her because I was confused about what I was originally taught about Catholic Teaching on Mary and what the Catholic Church actually teaches. At the end of it all I began to take up the Rosary as a daily prayer and this transformed my spiritual life, increased my devotion to Our Lord and strengthened my faith. It taught me the beauty of sacrifice and suffering, and gave me a very DEEP and long lasting love for Jesus Christ. The Rosary is a prayer that takes us through the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, on a daily basis through 5 daily mysteries that we meditate on while asking Mary to pray for us. Mary is not a goddess that we pray to, she is our mother that we ask to pray for us, to show us how to love her son. Protestant prayer is something that I never felt fulfillment from, coming from a sola scriptura background and not mainline liturgical denomination. It was an endless battle of wandering thoughts and supplications, a sort of ‘name it and claim it’ mentality. I prayed to a God that I had defined based on my own needs and prejudices. Prayer was always me verbalizing my thoughts to God, and my prejudices. This often left my prayers unanswered and I found myself believing that my lack of faith was the cause of my suffering. Through Mary and the Catholic Church my prayer life has deepened tremendously over the years. She knew that saying yes to God and becoming the handmaid of the Lord would cause her great suffering, but she did it anyway. She knew the scriptures, the prophecies of the old testament that a sword would pierce her heart. But she said yes anyway. She took up that suffering and thus teaches us that we must do the same for the sake of our Lord. She was the first Christian and a great role model for us all. Through Mary I learned to love Jesus more and to trust in God. The rosary has given me great faith and peace. Through the magisterium and the Catholic Church I can be confident that Jesus didn’t leave His church to the court of popular opinion and that the Holy Spirit will guide it from error. This is also a great comfort and helps bolster my faith. At one time I believed it was wrong to pray to Mary for intercession, as it was deeply drilled into me by my protestant upbringing that this was wrong. I am glad I did though. It has given me many graces in my life and increased my spiritual gifts (or charisms) and my love for others in many, many ways. I feel more in tune to the Holy Spirit now than I ever did before. To argue against a practice that you have no spiritual experience with holds no value to a person like myself. Don’t knock it unless you try it and find it doesn’t bear fruit. That’s my 2 cents.

      1. 7: That’s my 2 cents.

        B: Thanks for the input 7, but I reject each and every line of your testimony.

        7: I think Protestants protest devotion to Mary out of ignorance

        B: We base our objections squarely on the Text, and so obviously the Lord has more respect for our position than yours, which is not based on the Text.

        7: The Rosary is a prayer that takes us through the life and teachings of Jesus Christ

        B: We don’t need the repetitious Rosary because Jesus condemned repetitious prayer! The word of God is quite enough to take us through the life of Jesus Christ, anytime we want.

        7: [I do this] on a daily basis through 5 daily mysteries that we meditate on

        B: Joshua mediated on the WORD day and night (1:8) which eliminates the need for the Rosary altogether. If God wishes us to take after the example of Josh by meditating on the word day and night, this then leaves no TIME to mediate on all those “traditions” the RCC claims are equal to Scripture. IOW, the marian dogmas are not mentioned in Scripture, so you have no right to meditate on them since the Lord says your time is to be used elsewhere. See all 176 verses of Psalm 119 to get a clue.

        7: Mary is not a goddess that we pray to, she is our mother that we ask to pray for us,

        B: There is not even a hint or a whisper that Maria Marvelous was given the power of omniscience in order to receive prayers, and so you have no right to think so.

        7: She knew that saying yes to God and becoming the handmaid of the Lord would cause her great suffering, but she did it anyway.

        B: What you say shows you are biblically illiterate I am sorry to report, and is why we cannot take you seriously. Under no circumstances WHATSOEVER did Mary at the time of her visitation, know that what lay in store for her would cause her great suffering and conclude, “well I’ll do it anyway”.

        7: She knew the scriptures, the prophecies of the old testament that a sword would pierce her heart.

        B: Again, you are a beautiful example of a Protestant who was never actually saved, and so you compound the problem by joining the RCC, where your unsaved status remains. Under no circumstances WHATSOEVER did Mary know of any prophecy that a sword would pierce her heart because…(hellooooo!), no such O.T. prophecy ever existed!

        7: She was the first Christian

        B: The book of Acts says they were “first called Christians” at Antioch (11:26)

        7: Through the magisterium… I can be confident that Jesus didn’t leave His church to the court of popular opinion

        B: Excuse me, but the Pope self-appointed HIMSELF infallible as late as 1870, a concept that was absolutely UNHEARD of for 1,870 years! Wake up woman! If that weren’t bad enough, infallibility became retroactive to all councils and popes prior to that time. At the end of the day, you are… “confident”…that the Pope is infallible because he says so! Sadly, you don’t realize that this is not only arguing in a circle, but you are unaware that a vote was taken at that time, and the people voting were ummmm…..ON THE POPE’S PAYROLL, so why naturally, most were going to vote in his favor!

        7: the Holy Spirit will guide it from error.

        B: James 3:2 says that, “For we all err in many things”, and does not roll out the red carpet for the infallibility of any man or magisterium. You are greatly deceived.
        Moreover see the the “infallible” Council of Trent’s error at 8:46.

        1. Moreover see the the “infallible” Council of Trent’s error at 8:46.

          Already answered you on Trent, and I don’t think that your rebuttal was a sufficient refutation of my defense.

          Again, this is off topic. Can we focus on the doctrines about Mary, alone?

        2. Barry said, “: Again, you are a beautiful example of a Protestant who was never actually saved, and so you compound the problem by joining the RCC, where your unsaved status remains. Under no circumstances WHATSOEVER did Mary know of any prophecy that a sword would pierce her heart because…(hellooooo!), no such O.T. prophecy ever existed!”

          Luke 2:25-35

          25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon;[a] this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.[b] 27 Guided by the Spirit, Simeon[c] came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, 28 Simeon[d] took him in his arms and praised God, saying,

          29 “Master, now you are dismissing your servant[e] in peace,
          according to your word;
          30 for my eyes have seen your salvation,
          31 which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
          32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles
          and for glory to your people Israel.”
          33 And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. 34 Then Simeon[f] blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed 35 so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

          1. 7: Luke 2:25-35 [proves the O.T. prophecy concerning the sword of sorrow piercing Mary’s heart].

            B: That simply is not true. How can you be so blind and not see it? Simeon was making a modern day prophecy directly to Mary, and was NOT referring to anything mentioned in the O.T.

          2. God Bless you Barry, but you don’t quit and you thrive on insults toward others. I will try to respond with gentleness and grace.
            I am not blind. It is well known that Mary was a Jew, and as the chosen vessel to carry the Lord she was I’m sure also fully aware of Jewish scripture. Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22 are two examples of OT prophesies of the death of the Messiah, both quite detailed and generations before the birth of Mary. I am fully aware that the scripture does not spell it out in the New Testament that when the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and she responded as the new Eve with the declaration ‘Let it be done to me according to your will’ that she was aware that the long awaited Messiah would die for the sake of mankind. So this is a common sense assumption that she was not ignorant of scripture, OT prophesy, as the chosen vessel of God to carry the messiah. The whole point of Mary, as an example for the rest of us, is that she lived to do the will of the Father (a grace given to her, not one that she earned). That is why her soul ‘magnified the Lord’…. She was like a mirror. She emptied herself so that the Lord could fill her. This is what Christian discipleship is about, Barry. It’s not about the argument. It’s not about insulting others to prove you are more right. It’s about LOVE. It’s about being so in love with Jesus Christ, so utterly amazed at his selfless gift to mankind that your entire life is a mirror to reflect the truth of His message. Jesus saves. We are to live the faith. We are to love others, to do unto them as we would have done unto us. We sacrifice, we become servants of the Lord. It is time for me to have a lovely dinner with my family and then after we will have our evening prayers. I will lift you up to the Lord tonight in my prayers and pray that you will be blessed by the Holy Spirit and that the Lord, in his love and mercy, will bestow on you the gifts of the Holy Spirit, including wisdom and understanding. Love is to will the good of the other for the sake of the other. I wish you to feel loved and to be able to love others in your quest for spiritual truth, whether or not they are in agreement with you. God bless, and gdnight Barry.

          1. D: what do you mean it was ‘unheard’ of I can easily show you wiririntgs before 1870

            B: This thread is not about infallibility, so we shouldn’t discuss it. However, I’m smart enough to know after 30 years studying the RCC that WHATEVER you would show, WOULD NOT prove that the RCC considered herself infallible. Keenan’s catechism of 1869 answered the question, “Is the Pope infallible?”, and the answer was NO. Then when the Pope self-appointed himself infallible in 1870, the question was removed from the catechism in all future editions.
            And I’ll leave it at that.

          2. they were in the overwhelming minority but you are right we shoudlnt dicusess it here

            God Bless

          3. except for in a few places the belief was almost unanimous and before that they still held to infalliblity of the Church

        3. “Jesus condemned repetitious prayer!”

          No, He did not. Jesus condemned VAIN repetition in prayer. There’s nothing vain about the Rosary. And don’t forget, Christ Himself used repetitious prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane.

          “So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, SAYING THE SAME WORDS.” (Matthew 26:44)

          “And again he went away and prayed, SAYING THE SAME WORDS.” (Mark 14:39)

          1. BIM: Jesus condemned VAIN repetition in prayer. There’s nothing vain about the Rosary.

            BB: Au contrair, Pierre. With the underlying foundation of the Rosary bearing the unbiblical assumption that “nothing comes to us except through Mary’s mediation, for such is God’s will”, the Rosary is indeed, VAIN (Leo, Octobri Mense). Far less is there even any hint of the over-indulgent marian mayhem that she offered Christ on Golgotha to the Eternal Father! (Mystici Corporis). Scripture says that he offered HIMSELF without blemish to God (Heb 9:14), period, end of story… debunking such a thought. The essence of Mr. Heschmeyer’s article is to minimize marian piety to be “not so bad after all”, but the Rosary goes OVERBOARD by what they teach about this woman which is reflected upon by the laity as they count their beads. Mary “contributed to the Redemption of all”, and that it was on Calvary that Mary’s suffering, beside the suffering of Jesus, reached an intensity which can hardly be imagined [but which was] mysteriously and supernaturally fruitful for the Redemption of the world” (Salvifici Doloris).
            BUNK! We tire of everything always being defined as a “mystery”. This is the easy way out to get away with an unbiblical premise. In any case, rather than picturing her as a grateful redeemed sinner at the feet of her Savior, the RCC inexcusably portrays her as as redeeming mankind along WITH Christ via through her OWN sufferings! (Inter Sodalicia).
            Based on what the RCC teaches about her and what the laity is to reflect upon, I would say that the Rosary signifies the epitome of religion gone a muck.

            BIM: And don’t forget, Christ Himself used repetitious prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane.

            BB: Spare me. That is in a whole other category! It was done for a limited time and in the midst of pure misery. Catholics, on the other hand, spend their entire LIVES muttering the same things over and over again. Watching Mother Angelica and her nuns go through this fiasco was one time too many for me before I became nauseous.
            At the end of the day, the Rosary is as repetitious as a broken record and as vain and useless as trash fit for the city dump. The abominable thought of intertwining the sufferings of Mary with the sufferings of Christ is nothing but a sneaky and successful attempt by Satan to obscure the gospel, and you do greatly err by participating in it.

          2. “It was done for a limited time and in the midst of pure misery. ”

            Considering from where that speculation was withdrawn – along with the rest of your anti-psychotics-deprived rants – you should be wearing heavy rubber gloves and have a bucket of industrial-grade disinfectant at hand. Maybe a hazmat suit.

            You are so funnnnnny, Flounder. But we’re not laughing (too much, anyway) because you’re-so-pathetic…

            You wanna tell me about your helicopter or Jimmy White, your pet baffoon?

          3. I know, I know… We are supposed to bend over backwards in Charity to those who curse us. But really, BB – you are one sick puppy!

            Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, Sancta Dei Genetrix.
            Nostras deprecationes ne despicias in necessitatibus nostris,
            sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper,
            Virgo gloriosa et benedicta.

      2. Thank you, 7 Sorrows. Beautiful. It is clear that Mary has imbued your writing: “..she is our mother that we ask to pray for us, to show us how to love her son,” and, “She was the first Christian and a great role model for us all,” and the explanation that “Jesus didn’t leave His church to the court of popular opinion and that the Holy Spirit will guide it from error. This is also a great comfort and helps bolster my faith.” The words “fulfillment,” “transformation,” “bear fruit,” and others show that she (with her son) is with you. May Jesus through Mary continue to bless you.

  6. Has anyone else noticed how a certain person has pulled a Martin Luther? In this case said person did not change the wording of the Bible but changed a word in the CCC to make a point. Without this change, argument falls apart. He must have transubstantiated the word. 😉

      1. Funny, since Flounder has in the past stated that Martin Luther is burning in Hell.

        Is that actually true? If it is, that surprises me quite a bit actually….

        When I was a protestant Martin Luther was my hero! (even though I wasn’t actually Lutheran)

        1. You betcha! Several times in past topics, when I invoked Luther and Flounder’s apparent deviance from the Reformation’s founder. A most egregious example of another wayward and mild psychotic starting his own self a religion.

  7. For you were called for freedom, brothers. But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; rather, SERVE one another through love. 😉

  8. D: Has anyone else noticed how a certain person has pulled a Martin Luther? In this case said person did not change the wording of the Bible but changed a word in the CCC to make a point. Without this change, argument falls apart. He must have transubstantiated the word. 😉

    BB: Of course you refer to me, but without pointing out my exact error, your accusation is dismissed.
    By the way, did YOU ever notice that the catechism quotes the Council of Trent in 1376, where Trent ADDS to the words of Christ? We read…

    “Christ our Redeemer ***SAID*** that it was ***TRULY*** His body He was ***OFFERING*** under the species of bread”.

    Tsk, tsk. For a council that claimed to be infallible, we notice immediately there are three distinct errors in this one sentence alone! Jesus did not ***sayyyyyyyy*** that he was ***offering*** anything, let alone that the bread was ***truuuuuuuly*** his body.

    Thus, in their doctrine on transubstantiation, Trent is guilty of transubstantiating the truth of God’s word into a theological ulcer.

    1. Lol. Why don’t you post the exact wording of the paragraph from the CCC? Surely anyone who is literate can see that you changed a word. One must ask why?

      We went through Trent before, several times. Again, as the Church teaches, and was explained to you, it is the canons that are infallible. That part that you quote is not a canon, so your argument fails once again, the same way it did before.

      Man it’s good to be not so busy and back reading this site’s blogs and people’s replies.

      I’d like to thank you personally. I never laugh so hard as when I read you twist Scripture and change wording to try to make a point.

      1. D: Lol. Why don’t you post the exact wording of the paragraph from the CCC? Surely anyone who is literate can see that you changed a word. One must ask why?

        BB: I didn’t change anything so shut your lying filthy mouth.

        D: We went through Trent before, several times. Again, as the Church teaches, and was explained to you, it is the canons that are infallible.

        BB: Again, kindly shut your lying filthy mouth. You never produced any document that supported your position, which makes you a double liar.
        FACT: TRENT DID NOT MAKE ANY DISTINCTION ABOUT ONLY THE CANONS to be set in stone, even threatening that if anyone did not agree with them, “it was curtains for you!”. Your attempt to minimize and whitewash the infallibility which the RCC places on Trent, utterly fails. This is simply another escape hatch to try and cover up Trent’s mistake, and it is DEPLORABLE. Anyone with a thinking brain can see right through your lame attempt to pretend the CCC 1376 error does not exist, but it DOES. It VANQUISHES the concept of infallibility, and by extension, every single last one of your doctrines right along with it. For if Trent was’t infallible, Jesus did not give this gift to the RCC and they are a fraud. Now wasn’t that easy?
        So to summarize: what you are saying is that when Trent claimed to be guided by the Holy Spirit “day by day” during the course of writing these documents, that they were not being guided by the Holy Spirit after all because those words were not in the precise canons. We are to believe that when Jesus allegedly gave infallibility to the church, he narrowed it down to faith and morals, and only those things that were specifically mentioned in the canons!!! What kind of insane theological framework proposes a church has the ability to speak infallibly, but at the same time, when they declare they are speaking infallibly under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, they are not really infallible at all? Oh stop it. Jesus Christ has nothing to do with this garbage and your thousand excuses and exceptions.

        So get it straight: CCC 1376 quotes Trent. But Jesus did not ***sayyyyyyyy*** that he was ***offering*** anything, let alone that the bread was ***truuuuuuuly*** his body. Which makes Trent’s claim that they were being guided by the H.S., FALSE. They are guilty of speaking in the name of the Lord when the Lord has NOT spoken. Consequently, your entire religious system is to be rejected according to Deut 18:22.

        1. Barry Baritone says:
          September 21, 2017 at 4:37 pm

          G: I guess my top question would be: what is too far?

          BB: Answer? I told you at 9:06. When the big boys tell us in 2677 that we MUST, bring “ALL” our cares to her. To think that the hundreds of people who looked over the rough draft could let that slip by without a blink, proves in an instant, they do not have the Spirit residing in them. They are blind leaders of the blind.

          2677 Holy Mary, Mother of God: With Elizabeth we marvel, “And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Because she gives us Jesus, her son, Mary is Mother of God and our mother; we CAN entrust all our cares and petitions to her: she prays for us as she prayed for herself: “Let it be to me according to your word.” By entrusting ourselves to her prayer, we abandon ourselves to the will of God together with her: “Thy will be done.”

          Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death: 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. We give ourselves over to her now, in the Today of our lives. And our trust broadens further, already at the present moment, to surrender “the hour of our death” wholly to her care. May she be there as she was at her son’s death on the cross. May she welcome us as our mother at the hour of our passing to lead us to her son, Jesus, in paradise.

          Big difference in whether we must do something or can do something. So yes, you changed the word can, which is the Church telling us that it is optional, to must, making it not optional. Your own post convicts you of changing a word.

          Barry, you can call me all the names you want. They don’t bother me.Your name calling only makes me laugh, which I thank you for.

        2. Re-posting reply to make it easier to read.

          Barry Baritone says:
          September 21, 2017 at 4:37 pm

          G: I guess my top question would be: what is too far?

          BB: Answer? I told you at 9:06. When the big boys tell us in 2677 that we MUST, bring “ALL” our cares to her. To think that the hundreds of people who looked over the rough draft could let that slip by without a blink, proves in an instant, they do not have the Spirit residing in them. They are blind leaders of the blind.

          2677 Holy Mary, Mother of God: With Elizabeth we marvel, “And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Because she gives us Jesus, her son, Mary is Mother of God and our mother; we CAN entrust all our cares and petitions to her: she prays for us as she prayed for herself: “Let it be to me according to your word.” By entrusting ourselves to her prayer, we abandon ourselves to the will of God together with her: “Thy will be done.”

          Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death: 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. We give ourselves over to her now, in the Today of our lives. And our trust broadens further, already at the present moment, to surrender “the hour of our death” wholly to her care. May she be there as she was at her son’s death on the cross. May she welcome us as our mother at the hour of our passing to lead us to her son, Jesus, in paradise.

          Big difference in whether we must do something or can do something. So yes, you changed the word can, which is the Church telling us that it is optional, to must, making it not optional. Your own post convicts you of changing a word.

          Barry, you can call me all the names you want. They don’t bother me.Your name calling only makes me laugh, which I thank you for.

          1. D: Re-posting reply to make it easier to read. You said,

            “I told you at 9:06…. the big boys tell us in 2677 that we MUST, bring “ALL” our cares to her.

            D: Well I do thank you for finally defining the error instead of making people have to go search it out (which they were too lazy to do because it would mean having to get up and actually look at the catechism). But you did check it out.
            Technically, the word “must” is not there, but to say that I deserve a wilted cigar and the editors of the catechism deserve a bouquet of roses, would be out of order, to say the least. Actually, my error only brings to light ever further the grosser error of your counterfeit Christianity. When Jesus taught them to pray, he did not include any of the fanciful notions contained in 2677. I would imagine that he is sick and tired of playing second fiddle to Mary by the never ending comparisons (i.e., whatever is said of him, may equally be said of her in far too many examples to stomach).
            The point is that you don’t even listen to your “first pope”, who told you to “cast ALL your care on him, for he cares for you” (1 Pet 5:7). But to this you respond, “WHO CARES!” It is therefore a slap in God’s face to suggest that Catholics CAN or MAYYYYY go to her whenever the mood suits them. God is VERY particular when he gives instructions and does not like them modified! He struck Uzzah dead for being ***careless*** (2 Sam 6) and he will strike Catholics likewise on that final day for bringing their ***cares*** to Mary. By doing so, the magisterium is guilty of nullifying the word of God to the MAXX through these vain traditions received from the fathers, precisely as Jesus in the gospels and the apostles in the epistles, roared against. To think that the RCC is immune from these blistering indictments and that they have NOT nullified the Scriptures, only proves God has purposely blinded your eyes because you prefer your traditions over his word (2 Thess 2:11-12).

            D: “our trust broadens further, already at the present moment, to surrender “the hour of our death” wholly to her”
            care.

            BB: More ***carelessness!***. You’ve not only seen it played out in Scripture, but also at every funeral to remind you over and over again. The famous quote wherein God promises to be with us as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, completely overpowers any notion of committing the hour of our death to this woman! It is absolutely disgraceful.

            D: “May she be there as she was at her son’s death on the cross.”

            BB: That Mary was “there” for Jesus at his death is no apologetic that she will be “there” for us at a similar time. Scripture refutes you.

            D: “May she welcome us as our mother at the hour of our passing to lead us to her son, Jesus, in paradise.”

            BB: More pious mumbo jumbo. There is not a peep out of Holy Writ that she will be our escort to the Judgment throne. You do greatly err, disregarding the principle that we ought no to, “think about men ABOVE that which is written” (1 Cor 4:6). Catholicism does this all over the map, driving past the guard-rails of Scripture and over the cliff into the sea of their worthless traditions, wherein they will drown for all eternity.

          2. ZZZZZZZ.

            You changed a word, and you knew you did it, to bear false witness.

            Nowhere does the bible ever say it is okay to bear false witness because you believe the other person, or in this case institution is evil.

            Again, the very words that you typed convict you of breaking that commandment.

            Much better for you if you had just admitted that you erred, but that is beyond you, when dealing with people you don’t like.

          3. D: You changed a word, and you knew you did it, to bear false witness.

            B: Oh be quiet. I’m going to ask the moderator’s permission here if it’s OK to call you a total ignoramus, as Jesus called Herod a fox to make HIS point.

            D: Nowhere does the bible ever say it is okay to bear false witness

            B: Ummm, I made a mistake, you blithering fool.

            D: Again, the very words that you typed convict you of breaking that commandment.

            B: No wonder Catholics have a reputation for being pig-headed.

            D: Much better for you if you had just admitted that you erred, but that is beyond you, when dealing with people you don’t like.

            B: First of all, I am quite certain you have never admitted any of your errors on this site, neither have I ever witnessed a Catholic admit even the POSSIBILITY they could be wrong on ANYTHING! So do kindly spare me the CRAP that you might be in the habit of admitting your errors!
            Second, you received my admission at 10:39, and wrote this obnoxious post saying I did not admit it, at 10:50. Which means, I have no choice but to call you (if the moderator permits me) an ignoramus.

    2. Luke 22:19 “And taking bread, he gave thanks, and brake; and gave to them, saying: This is my body, which is given for you. Do this for a commemoration of me.”

      He said that it was his body (which we interpret to mean that it is *truly* his body), which is given for you (which we interpret to mean that His body is being *offered*).

      No fabrication at all. Just a different interpretation, i.e. literal. One that I might add Luther himself agreed on on the first part, with his sacramental union doctrine. He also believed in sola scriptura, so you can’t just blame it on us not agreeing on that point.

      This post isn’t about the Eucharist, it’s about Mary. Can we keep on topic?

      1. AF: This post isn’t about the Eucharist, it’s about Mary. Can we keep on topic?

        BB: Yes, but your explanation FAILS, and I will not mention it further after this.

        AF: He said that it was his body (which we interpret to mean that it is *truly* his body),

        BB: FOOLISH! You are putting words in the mouth of Christ and are to be condemned. It is not a matter of interpretation. It is a matter of quoting Jesus out of context! They stole the word from John 6, “Truly I tell you, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of man”… and carried that word over to the Last Supper where he did not “TRULY” say any such thing. Trent was on a rampage against their adversaries, and so they OVER-EXAGGERATED their position (which IS the topic of this thread), to make their point. By doing so, they proved they were not infallible at all.

        AF: “which is given for you” (which we interpret to mean that His body is being *offered*).

        BB: The entire Christian world screams out against you, for the body “which IS given”… refers to that body which he would henceforth give ***on the cross**** the following day, and NOT that he was giving (or offering in sacrifice) that body right then and there at the table before it even happened yet!
        Again, we are not talking about an “interpretation”. Trent QUOTES Jesus as saying something! Do you understand that? Open your eyes. They are QUOTING him, claiming “HE SAID” that he was “truly”… “offering” something, but he did not “SAY” he was “truly offering” ANYTHING. So it’s not a matter of interpretation. It’s simply a matter of being a false witness and as a result, Trent is to be condemned and Catholicism avoided (Deut 18:22).

        1. I disagree. We’re talking about interpretation, and thus, my explanation still stands. But this post is about Mary, so I won’t press the matter.

  9. …one thing I love about Marian artwork is that there has been such variety created throughout the ages – from the very simple to the very elaborate…one day I love Murillo’s Holy Family with the Little Bird and another day I love Van Eyck’s Virgin Mary, from the Ghent Altarpiece…we are talking about artwork, aren’t we?

    P.S. When my husband says I’m the love of his life…that doesn’t take away from his love of God, Jesus, Mary, the Saints…I love it when he says that…

  10. Exaggeration is necessary to put into our thick skulls that GOD was born of a woman. The creator became man through mankind. Astounding. To call one’s attention to this astonishing fact, exaggeration is required.

    All art is an exaggeration of some sort. The Virgin Mary is represented in art, in language, in belief as greater than mere woman because she was, in fact, larger than ‘life’ so as to birth the creator of life. She was, in fact, the daughter of God, the spouse of God, and the mother of God. These relationships per se are “huge”!

    1. M: She was, in fact… the spouse of God,

      BB: Look Margo, why don’t you go and create your own religion instead of trying to conform the word of God to your own heretical ideas, like the whopper you propose above, the divine “Quadrinity”.
      Absolutely disgusting.

        1. DLM: The doctrine concerning Mary is very deep and complex…what Margo has stated is not a new, heretical idea, it is ancient:

          https://fraangelicoinstitute.com/2012/09/10/mary-the-mystical-spouse-of-the-holy-spirit-and-the-wife-of-joseph/

          BB: Thanks for the link. However, to save time, my policy is (usually) that when I detect that a writer does not accurately represent their own body of teachings, I stop reading, thus making anything they may have to say, of no consequence. Now in this case, we read in the first paragraph:
          “We have all read the nativity accounts of St. Matthew and St. Luke and if you are a Roman Catholic you believe that Sacred Scripture is the foundation on which we build our theology; however, Sacred Tradition and the scholarship and teaching of the Magisterium of the Church are also very important”.

          The truth is, as you know, that the RCC teaches a triumvirate authority, each one-third (as the writer describes above) is to be equally divided and is no more and no less important than the others. “EQUAL reverence” is to be attributed to all. But the writer did not say this, alleging on the other hand that Scripture is the “foundation” of RC theology—which is categorically false. THAT, sir, is the Protestant position. So I did not read any further into this article because if one builds on a false foundation, then anything he has to say to prove his point, is not with listening to.

          1. Hi Barry, I have been an art teacher for 25 years, so I guess that is why I love beautiful religious paintings and sculptures so much. My opinion is that many people are inspired spiritually by viewing stained glass, icons, and even books, like the Book of Kells. I don’t think it is a form of “exaggerated devotion”. I am wondering if you have ever listened to Scott M. Sullivan, a former Protestant who has very detailed study courses online about Christianity, the Bible, the Early Church etc…? I have his course on “The Evidence for Christianity” (I got this course to help me explain my faith in Christ to others). I feel like he gives a great explanation of the oral and written traditions of the church and the reason we can believe in the Bible (something that it is becoming more & more difficult for people to believe in because they don’t have any formal teachings of it since many don’t even go to any church). http://www.scottmsullivan.com/

            Catholics do count the oral tradition and the writings of the Early Fathers as very important since the Bible wasn’t put together until the second century. I am sure you already know all of this, but people during the early church could actually recite long passages of the gospels and letters in the Bible from memory. In his video presentations, Scott brings in Catholic and Protestant theologians to explain the beginnings and importance of the Holy Scriptures. PS: Did you know that if you went to mass in any Catholic Church every day for 3 years, you would hear about 80 to 90% of the entire Bible read, Old and New Testament? 🙂 As St. Jerome said, “Ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ” and “Love the knowledge of the scriptures & you will not love the errors of the flesh” (342-420 AD)

          2. DLM: I am wondering if you have ever listened to Scott M. Sullivan, a former Protestant who has very detailed study courses online about Christianity, the Bible, the Early Church etc…?

            BB: First of all, because I ALWAYS keep on hearing about “former Protestants”, to the EXCLUSION of “former Catholics”, I would just like to go on record as stating the obvious, but which is simply never mentioned: Former C’s do in fact, exist, and I would imagine have to numbered in the millions. I happen to be one of those people. My point is, that every time I hear “former P”, it certainly does not do anything to buttress RC claims, unless you would just like to mention it for identification purposes, then OK.
            Anyway, I have not heard of this gent.

            DLM: I have his course on “The Evidence for Christianity” (I got this course to help me explain my faith in Christ to others). I feel like he gives a great explanation of the oral and written traditions of the church

            BB: While I realize you are trying to be kind, the reason I will not listen to this person is not because I know it all, but because “I’ve been there, done that”. In other words, the RC scheme of things is that the written and oral traditions are not only to be considered on the same level of Holy Writ, but are necessary for salvation as well. That being so however, no Catholic can tell me how many or exactly what those traditions RRRRRR! Is it then unreasonable of me to ask, “How then, may a Catholic know if they are keeping all the traditions when they cannot say for sure how many or even what they are?”
            They cannot answer this question! Isn’t this a risky venture? Isn’t your salvation based on the “hopeful monster” of simply hoooooping you’re complying with all the unwritten traditions and then rolling the dice on Judgment Day hooooooping you roll double sixes and the key to heaven’s gate?
            This is why no Catholic can ever have any peace of mind. They simply don’t know if they’re being good enough. How much easier to trust in the merits of Christ rather than the “fulfilling of requirements” as the RCC demands.

            May I suggest to YOU, the 3 volume set I recommended at 6:43? It completely, thoroughly, brilliantly, persuasively and without a doubt, demolishes the RC position as it regards this issue.

          3. …First of all, because I ALWAYS keep on hearing about “former Protestants”, to the EXCLUSION of “former Catholics”…

            Sure. Because you’re probably talking to Catholics, who (naturally) like to talk about converts to Catholicism. Just like Protestants like to talk about converts to Protestantism, Orthodox like to talk about converts to Orthodoxy, Hindus like to talk about…..I don’t really know because I’ve never been the least bit interested in the topic and never talked to one.

            Nothing really to be upset over. If you’d like to talk about converts from Catholicism to some flavor of Protestantism, name one (preferably in a new comment so it’s easier to find), and we can discuss him/her in a friendly manner.

      1. “…. why don’t you go and create your own religion…”

        You Darbyites, Smith-ites, Russell-ites, Eddy-ites, and Swaggartines – all who look and smell like decaying Flounder – are way out there past the Cat’Liks on that score…..

        1. Hi Barry, I looked up the 3-Volume set on amazon. I will see if I can find it at the library…so far, the title is awesome! The Holy Scriptures are definitely the ground and pillars of our faith. Lately, I have been reading Ephesians over and over so I can really absorb it and I love Ephesians 2:8-10, For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”…so many people argue about grace and works, but in my humble, non-theological understanding, both are important…some of the arguments people have presented here are over things that are leanings & preferences, not issues of salvation, like those verses that talk about grace and works within the same passages. Some other favorites are Deuteronomy 6:5 & 10:12 & Micah 8:6 to me, these are simple truths…to love the Lord thy God with all of your heart, soul, and strength…now that, is beautiful exaggeration! 🙂

  11. My objection to such devotions is the dry, indifferent way the formula is recited and over the top fawning language. The fawning language is especially ridiculous when recited in a dry monotone. Sure, Catholic traditions are fine, but when you don’t believe in it for itself but for that traditional festival involved and are not otherwise active, what’s the point? It is such superficiality that gives scandal to any faith seeker. “This is what we believe, except we don’t, really.”

    1. “….but when you don’t believe in it for itself but for that traditional festival involved…”

      How about both?

      ..fawning language…’

      “Fawning” is relative. Ever hear an evangelical parson intoning endless, syrupy dinner grace to “Father God” while a table full of starveling supplicants is wishing – reverently – he’d just shut-the-“helicopter”-up (credit to Flounder for the alliteration) ……..?

    2. Superficial? And you are the judge of that? The Mother of God, a woman, is superficial?

      Perhaps you rebel against the worship because you reject God’s method?

      Only the man is worthy?

      What is dry and indifferent and fawning is the rejection, the cold-heartedness, the obstinate denial of anyone allowing another his or her own worship. The Bible in a Building has spoken.

      1. A slobbering fainting hand-waving sobbing arena-full of down-home ‘vangerlilercal sycophants geeked up on big gulps, worshipping a pompadoured snake-oil-slicked Full-Gospel (of Wealth, or sola whatever, or etc.) televangeloid who can’t believe how easy it was to become a multimillionaire…..

        Unkind, uncharitable, un-Christian, yes…and it’s what we have been getting year after bloody year from Protestants for paying homage and humbly asking the intercession of God’s Blessed Mother.

      2. M: Perhaps you rebel against the worship because you reject God’s method?

        BB: Are you kidding?! Does not Catholicism itself reject God’s method of worship by demanding, “If anyone says that by God’s command [we] ought to receive both kinds of the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, let him be anathema”? However, the dual axiom of both bread AND wine provided at the Last Supper is a foundation that stands immovable, regardless of the bulldozing tendencies of the Roman oligarchy to uproot it.
        Thus, instead of the halo you claim to wear, if it were within my power to remove it, I would do so and have no choice but to replace it with a dunce cap. Jesus said to partake of BOTH. The RCC says, do whateva ya all want!

        M: What is dry and indifferent and fawning is the rejection, the cold-heartedness, the obstinate denial of anyone allowing another his or her own worship.

        BB: Where do you get the idea that we ought not to object, with biblical precedent, someone else’s “right to worship”? In fact, we may indeed DO JUST THAT.
        Let us recall now the sin of King Uzziah in 2 Chronicles 26. This good king went from royalty to leprosy in a matter of minutes, all because he decided to modify God’s commandment as it pertained to worship….precisely what the RCC has done by modifying the elements down to either bread OR wine, as well as seeing a difference between the word “worship” and “serve” with regard to Mary… when there is, by definition, NO DIFFERENCE, whatsoever (see my comment at 5:03), making the accusation that Catholics do in fact, worship Mary, stand supreme whether they realize it or not.
        As it regards Uzziah, Over 80 priests confronted him (contrary to your implication that they ought not to) that he was erring greatly, but Uzziah only became enraged. Consequently, he was struck with leprosy on the spot. Sadly, your fate will be similar on that final day when you are confronted likewise with the realization that you too were believing one big fat LIE.

      3. And let me clarify: Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary is not worship of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is worship of her son WITH HER AS OUR INTERCESSOR, our model, our guide, our purveyor, our mediator.

        The mysteries of the rosary are the mysteries of Christ. The Annunciation (she was there as was Christ), the Visitation (again both were present), the Assumption (she couldn’t have risen if He had not willed it), the Finding of Jesus in the Temple (she and He again), the Resurrection (again, she is by grace there…. if she had not given him life, he could not have died and could not have risen from the dead). SO prayer to Mary is PRAYER TO JESUS THROUGH, WITH, BY THE SIDE OF MARY. Mary gave Jesus to humanity. We ask that she carry our gift of prayer and honor and worship to Him.

        1. M: The mysteries of the rosary are the mysteries of Christ. The Annunciation (she was ***there*** as was Christ), the Visitation (again both were ***present***)… the Resurrection (again, she is by grace ***there***).

          B: You appear to use the fact that people were …”THERE”… to prove the Rosary’s validity. The only problem is that there is no proof that …(watch it now!) “Veronica” was there, and thus, I should think “Veronica” is the achilles heel for your apologetic in support of the Rosary.

          1. So hi again BB,
            Boy, was that FF good!

            You have proven yourself correct! Veronica is not in the Rosary. There goes Achilles, limping. Poor Achilles.

            Truly, truly, truly, I need never pay for entertainment so long as you put your finger power here.

            God bless.

  12. BB:
    First, you attribute this quote to SOMEONE we don’t know who. So whether it is “Catholicism” official, unofficial, infallible, or incredible or the words of a simple individual, we do not know. Perhaps you do but for some reason perhaps you fear we shall read further and discover what you say is not really what he said. Or perhaps it is not what he meant, and his further or prior words prove you incorrect. No matter.

    You agree with what he says! Now it is a little bit of a nuance, so some folks may not be able to wrap their little scaly heads around it, but the someone essentially that God does not command that we receive both kinds of the sacrament.

    One of the ‘species’ is sufficient? If we receive God’s blood, that is sacramentally sufficient. If we receive God’s body, that too is sacramentally sufficient.

    God never commanded that we receive both. Quote me the source and quote me the scripture where God commands us to receive both kinds of the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. Then I’ll consider your words as reasonable.

    1. M: First, you attribute this quote to SOMEONE we don’t know who.

      B: OK, I know you have a headache, but I assumed you would know that I meant Trent, since they are the ones who hurled over 100 anathemas to anyone who dare dispute their work.

      M: So whether it is “Catholicism” official, unofficial, infallible, or incredible or the words of a simple individual, we do not know. Perhaps you do but for some reason perhaps you fear we shall read further and discover what you say is not really what he said. Or perhaps it is not what he meant, and his further or prior words prove you incorrect. No matter.

      B: Oh yes it is… a “matter”…. because you are trying to insinuate that I am being purposely deceitful in the hopes no one will discover that I am providing false info! My paper trail proves just the opposite, as even on this very thread when I misquoted the catechism, I admitted it. Catholics NEVER admit their faults in public, only perhaps behind a curtain to a priest in a dark cubicle. Your accusation is doubly infuriating because LIARS do not purposely go out of their way to serve God! LIARS will not inherit the kingdom of God, so your attempt to classify me in some mentally deranged category as a liar trying to work his way into heaven, is just plain stupid. You are free to disagree with my conclusions, but are NOT free to accuse me of trying to “lie my way into heaven”.

      M: One of the ‘species’ is sufficient.

      B: I know this is off topic, so I will address it once and that’s it. It happened because someone else mentioned Transubstantiation and got me going.

      M: If we receive God’s blood, that is sacramentally sufficient.

      B: Even if we were to suppose T was true, put on your thinking cap: THE BLOOD OF CHRIST DOES NOT CONTAIN HIS BODY, just as your own blood does not contain yorrrr body. Consequently, to conclude that the “blood is sacramentally sufficient” has not a DRIP of “hemoglobic” or biblical support. Neither does it have scientific support because there is no such thing as a “sacramental” form of existence! There are only two forms: spiritual and corporeal. The sacramental kind was dreamed up out of thin air to somehow shrink “jesus” down to the size of a Ritz cracker so you could swallow him in some nebulous, dimensionless form in an effort to inherit eternal life.

      M: God never commanded that we receive both.

      B: Are you mad?

      M: Quote me the source and quote me the scripture where God commands us to receive both kinds of the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. Then I’ll consider your words as reasonable.

      B: Ya know Margo, your challenge is so outrageously ignorant, it’s like asking me for proof if there’s a sun up in the sky!
      Now everyone knows what took place at the Last Supper (INCLUDING YOU), so if you think for one minute I will waste my finger power to type in the most famous words of Jesus Christ said at Mass, you are sadly mistaken. Thus, to suppose that Jesus NEVER commanded you to partake of ***BOTH*** elements, proves you are thoroughly brainwashed and there is nothing I can do to help you. If the Lord has ordained to send you “strong delusion” (2 Thess), as he promised to do upon those who ditch his word, I certainly can’t fight that. So I respond to you for the sake of others who will witness your delusion, and perhaps stand amazed that you could possibly have such a skewered understanding of the requirements the Savior put on us as it relates to bread and wine.

      1. If I understand you correctly, BB, you suggest that Jesus commanded us to receive both body and blood at the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. Correct? Well, gee willikeers, I simply cannot find that in my King James, my Tyndale, my St. Joseph Confraternity editions. Perhaps I need to run right out and buy a Luterbook?

      2. And that is where you’ve gone wrong, FF. You see God commanding us in regard to his bread and his wine. And I see something else entirely.

        God bless.

        1. M: And that is where you’ve gone wrong, FF.

          BB: I assume you mean BB.

          M: You see God commanding us in regard to his bread and his wine…. I see something else entirely.

          BB: Well you (and the Council of Trent) indeed must have a double migraine, because to DOUBT that Jesus Christ asks us to partake of BOTH elements, is something even an atheist will agree is clearly stated in the Text. Furthermore, it was inexcusable to make such an assertion, and then fail to back it up. I know very well how Trent backs it up and their words are probably the most disgraceful ever written. While of course you must agree with them under penalty of death, I would bet my entire bank account that you haven’t the foggiest idea of how they support their ludicrous position.

          Still, if you really think Jesus intended to give us the OPTION to do whatever the HELICOPTER we feel like doing, may I suggest that you write a personal e-mail to the moderator of this site, and ask him if he would be so kind as to write an article and entitle it,
          “Why Protestants are silly gooses to suppose Jesus wants us to partake of BOTH bread and wine, when nothing could be further from the truth”.

          1. Hi BB, (FF is short for Flounder fish which is what I’m having for dinner!)

            I’ll leave the writing of that little entitlement to you, ok? But if you hijack my name, well, I think he’ll know that too!

            God bless.

  13. Please allow me leave to correct my unedited writing: (I really am in fact suffering migraine and also am in a hurry to do other work):

    Correction: Someone (we don’t know who) essentially says that God does not command that we receive both kinds of the sacrament.

    Correction: One of the ‘species’ is sufficient. Declarative sentence, not question.

  14. Barry (if you’re still on this thread): It seems like you want more than anything to discuss Sola Scriptura on this thread more than anything else. Why not share a few passages that you believe support this doctrine and we can discuss them? I won’t comment on it being off-topic, as I’m specifically inviting you to share on it.

    1. AF: It seems like you want more than anything to discuss Sola Scriptura on this thread more than anything else. Why not share a few passages that you believe support this doctrine

      BB: It would be out of order to do so as you well know. All I will say here is to lead you to the following three volume work. I stopped using my highlighter pen half way through because I realized I was highlighting EVERY LINE. Thus, to suppose there is no biblical evidence for S.S. is probably THEE most single disgusting allegation in this universe, and anyone who says so needs to have their head examined.
      Thank you for allowing me to furnish you this link.

      https://www.amazon.com/Holy-Scripture-Reformation-Principle-Scriptura/product-reviews/1893531023/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_show_all?ie=UTF8&reviewerType=all_reviews&pageNumber=1#reviews-filter-bar

      1. All I will say here is to lead you to the following three volume work….Thus, to suppose there is no biblical evidence for S.S. is probably THEE most single disgusting allegation in this universe, and anyone who says so needs to have their head examined…

        Hmmmm….27% of reviewers of this book series seem to disagree, but thanks for the resource anyway.

        1. AF: 27% of reviewers of this book series seem to disagree

          B: Which amounts to four readers, 2 of which are RC apologists. BIG DEAL!

          I don’t think you understand that when God decides to purposely blind someone (2 Thess 2:11-12) that person will NEVER come to a knowledge of the truth no matter WHAAAAT you put in from of them. Consequently, if we were to suppose the author’s have made their case to God’s satisfaction (and I say they have) and that hell is your eternal destination for denying it by thinking, for example that papal subordination was necessary for salvation, the fact that 4 readers disagreed with the book will not mean a thing…because (helloooo!) those 4 readers, under the same delusion of putting papal subordination on the same level as the blood of Christ, will be right there in hell next to you.

          1. Does everything Catholic that I say make you angry?

            Yes. I know what you believe about God blinding people. I don’t agree that Catholicism is a delusion, so the argument doesn’t really phase me.

          2. By the way, here’s the verses before your passage:

            “And we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of our gathering together unto him: That you be not easily moved from your sense, nor be terrified, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by epistle, as sent from us, as if the day of the Lord were at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means, for unless there come a revolt first, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, Who opposeth, and is lifted up above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself as if he were God. Remember you not, that when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now you know what withholdeth, that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity already worketh; only that he who now holdeth, do hold, until he be taken out of the way. And then that wicked one shall be revealed whom the Lord Jesus shall kill with the spirit of his mouth; and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming, him, Whose coming is according to the working of Satan, in all power, and signs, and lying wonders, And in all seduction of iniquity to them that perish; because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”

            The only way your interpretation makes sense is if you believe the pope is the man of sin. He clearly isn’t, for several reasons:

            1. The popes are more than one man.
            2. The popes doesn’t claim to be God.
            3. The popes proclaim Jesus Christ as True God and True man. (not with the gospel you want, but still proclaiming the incarnation — which St. John said the antichrist would deny — 1 John 2:22, 2 John 1:7)
            4. The popes aren’t men of sin, but on the contrary, the better popes frequently confront sin.
            5. The popes don’t work all kinds of false power, signs, and wonders — Catholic miracles are usually not done by the pope, but someone else.

            I’m sure you have a hojillion reasons why you think the pope is the antichrist anyway. So let’s get this over with…

          3. Sorry for the typo, I was originally drafting this with singular “pope” for all the list items, until I realized it made more sense to have it be “popes”

  15. Barry,

    Here is a little timeline of your comments.

    Barry Baritone says:
    September 21, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    G: I guess my top question would be: what is too far?

    BB: Answer? I told you at 9:06. When the big boys tell us in 2677 that we must bring “ALL” our cares to her. To think that the hundreds of people who looked over the rough draft could let that slip by without a blink, proves in an instant, they do not have the Spirit residing in them. They are blind leaders of the blind.

    I then pointed this out:

    Duane says:

    September 21, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    Has anyone else noticed how a certain person has pulled a Martin Luther? In this case said person did not change the wording of the Bible but changed a word in the CCC to make a point. Without this change, argument falls apart. He must have transubstantiated the word. 😉

    Then you said:

    Barry Baritone says:
    September 21, 2017 at 8:46 pm

    BB: Of course you refer to me, but without pointing out my exact error, your accusation is dismissed.

    To which I replied:

    Duane says:
    September 21, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    Lol. Why don’t you post the exact wording of the paragraph from the CCC? Surely anyone who is literate can see that you changed a word. One must ask why?

    At this point, any sane human being, who in reality cares about the truth, would reread the CCC and reread what they posted to see if they changed a word. But not one who deals in Bearing False Witness. Nope, such a person will almost always double down, as Barry did here:

    Barry Baritone says:
    September 22, 2017 at 7:51 am

    BB: I didn’t change anything so shut your lying filthy mouth.

    Then I showed where you changed a word to fit your agenda:

    Duane says:
    September 22, 2017 at 9:04 am

    Barry Baritone says:
    September 21, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    BB: Answer? I told you at 9:06. When the big boys tell us in 2677 that we MUST, bring “ALL” our cares to her.

    I pointed out that you changed the word CAN to MUST. This totally changes the meaning of said paragraph.
    You replied with:

    Barry Baritone says:
    September 22, 2017 at 10:39 am

    “I told you at 9:06…. the big boys tell us in 2677 that we MUST, bring “ALL” our cares to her.

    D: Well I do thank you for finally defining the error instead of making people have to go search it out (which they were too lazy to do because it would mean having to get up and actually look at the catechism). But you did check it out. Technically, the word “must” is not there,

    Right away one notices several things that you did here.

    1.) Whenever you post and want people to realize that it is you commenting, you write B:, or BB:. But in the above post, you made it look like it was me commenting, by putting D: before the comment.

    2.) Are you one of those people who was too lazy to search to find the error that you posted? You were told you had made an error, but you insisted that you hadn’t changed anything. So you, yourself were either too lazy to look where you had changed the wording (which becomes funny as that is what you accused others of doing), or you were not lazy, and knew exactly what word you had changed to fit your agenda.

    3.) While in a roundabout way of admitting an error was made, by saying it is “technically” not there, you try to lead the uninformed into thinking that yes, though it’s technically not there, that is the real meaning of that paragraph. No technicality about it. IT’S NOT THERE. And by using it you change the whole meaning of that paragraph.

    To which I replied:

    Duane says:
    September 22, 2017 at 10:50 am

    ZZZZZZZ.

    You changed a word, and you knew you did it, to bear false witness.

    Nowhere does the bible ever say it is okay to bear false witness because you believe the other person, or in this case institution is evil.

    Again, the very words that you typed convict you of breaking that commandment.

    Much better for you if you had just admitted that you erred, but that is beyond you, when dealing with people you don’t like.

    I typed the above, because by using the word technically, you were still trying to show that what you had typed was really not an error.

    You replied my last post with this gem:

    Barry Baritone says:
    September 22, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    D: You changed a word, and you knew you did it, to bear false witness.

    B: Oh be quiet. I’m going to ask the moderator’s permission here if it’s OK to call you a total ignoramus, as Jesus called Herod a fox to make HIS point.

    D: Nowhere does the bible ever say it is okay to bear false witness

    B: Ummm, I made a mistake, you blithering fool.

    But you insisted you had not made a mistake earlier when you said you had not changed anything. AND I FINALLY AGREE WITH YOU. Your changing of the wording was no mistake on your part. Which is why I dub thee: Barry, the Bearer of False Witness, Baritone.

    The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones.

    1. Barry, truth doesn’t need help. Your inability to admit your misleading comment tells me you are not operating from a position of truth otherwise you wouldn’t need to lie.

      1. CK: Your inability to admit your misleading comment tells me you are not operating from a position of truth otherwise you wouldn’t need to lie.

        B: I really should ignore still yet another baboonish comment referring to my “inability to admit” when the post shows I did exactly the opposite, so it only remains to be said that by calling me a liar, only makes YOU a liar. I’m wondering if your initials stand for “cantankerous kook”.
        Any SANE reader can see that instead of responding to the points I’ve made, people like yourself have to embellish a small error for all it’s worth because they have nothing better to say. It’s typical in debate. When you can’t answer the objections, try to find some personal fault with your opponent. They tried to do it with Daniel, and I can see human nature has not changed ONE BIT.

        1. Barry, that is no small “error”. You should be upset with whoever fed you that information, not at me. You say some wacky stuff and until now I at least believed your cut and paste from the CCC and other works were legit, though misunderstood. I didn’t feel the need to scrutinize them for malicious changes. Now I know you are embracing sites that have to be dishonest and malicious to convince people that they/you are right.

          If you have to rely and embrace Satan’s tools to try to prove something then you really are no better than the Pharisees. The end justifies the means is not what Jesus taught us.

          You should at least announce the name of this malicious site so that other good intentioned Christians don’t fall prey to it’s “ends justifies the means approach” or as I call it Satan’s way.”

          1. CK: You should at least announce the name of this malicious site so that other good intentioned Christians don’t fall prey to it’s “ends justifies the means approach” or as I call it Satan’s way.”

            BB: Your revolting lies makes one want to vomit. I didn’t “refer” to any particular site AT ALL, you cantankerous old coot. What is so hysterical is that in all your rantings you have not addressed the ERROR contained in 2677…namely, that we can bring “ALL” our cares to Mary, which is the polar opposite of what we read in 1 Per 5:7. YOU JUST KEEP HARPING ON THE WRONG WORD I WAS USING, and hope to whitewash and minimize the catechism’s heresy. You are, quite simply, despicable.

    2. D: Whenever you post and want people to realize that it is you commenting, you write B:, or BB:. But in the above post, you made it look like it was me commenting, by putting D: before the comment.

      B: It was simple mistake! Honestly, your criticisms are worthless. What comes to mind now is what the martyrs would think of your comment and how my mistake PALES in comparison to the MISTAKE of RC lunatics who put them to death!

      D: But you insisted you had not made a mistake earlier when you said you had not changed anything.

      B: Yes I did, because at that moment in time, you did not point out the error (which would have taken your lazy hand no more than 3 seconds to type). Instead you wished to playing guessing games, and I was not going to comply.

      1. Barry,

        Most decent people when they make a mistake of any type, have the humility to say sorry. That is what I find most egregious in you. Not your name calling. Not your twisting of Scripture, to fit your agenda. Not your inability to stay on topic. None of those.

        Just a simple sorry for calling someone a filthy liar, when they pointed out the fact to you that you had changed a word, one that you later admitted you had changed.

        1. D: Just a simple sorry for calling someone a filthy liar, when they pointed out the fact to you that you had changed a word, one that you later admitted you had changed.

          B: You are indeed, a filthy liar, and INANE you are, DU-ane. So much so that I cannot tolerate you a moment longer. Your crankpot piousness is nauseating! Clearly, you are deluded by Divine Providence…on purpose, per 2 Thess 2, so I don’t want to fight against the judgment of God. I will just remind any reader that I never once admitted that I “CHANGED” anything– oh thou fool. It was a simple mistake of wording. Frankly, if I was the moderator, I would ban you for systematically displaying an ignorance that is beyond ridiculous.

          1. BB, aka FF, etc…:

            Matthew 5:22 But I say to you, that whosoever is angry with his brother, shall be in danger of the judgment. And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council. And whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

            Please take note, and furthermore, take your ridiculous self styled interpretations elsewhere – they are no longer appreciaited on this decent, informative, charitable website.

            YOU ARE REFUTED (along with all your hand-waving baseless assertions)

            Good day, sir.

          2. Barry,

            Clearly, the word was changed from CAN to MUST. Even if an unintentional mistake in the way you tried to represent the CCC was made on your part (which having read the bile you type, I highly doubt), the fact that the word was changed is not in question. Nor did you apologize for misleading people with that supposed unintentional mistake.

            The fact that a word was changed was pointed out to you, which at first you denied. Then you said it was a mistake on your part. Now you are saying you didn’t change the word.

            Unless you want us now to believe your computer has somehow been hacked and someone else has been posting posing as you, then you are the one that typed the post where it is clear the word has been changed to give credence to your post.

            So this is what we know:

            1.) You were alerted to the fact that you had changed a word in a paragraph of the CCC, changing the meaning of the paragraph.

            2.) You denied changing a word and called the person who pointed that a change had been made by you a filthy liar.

            3.) You were definitively shown that what you posted was a change from the actual wording of the CCC.

            4.) You then admitted an error was made.

            5.) You now say you didn’t change the word.

            Has your device that you use to post your pointless ramblings been hacked? Because you say you didn’t change the word, yet it is clear the word has been changed from what is actually in the CCC, to what is on your post.

            Barry, wouldn’t it be easier just to swallow your pride and say you made a mistake and that you are sorry if anyone was misled by the word change in your posting?

            Of course I realize that you will instead try to turn things and whine how you believe the Catholic Church has misled others.

            This passage from Tolkien describes you perfectly. I admit that I am changing the names: Barry Baritone!’ (I say as I laugh once again.) ‘Barry, you missed your path in life. You should have been the king’s jester and earned your bread, and stripes too, by mimicking his counsellors….I fear I am beyond your comprehension. But you, Barry, I understand now too well. I keep a clearer memory of your arguments, and deeds, than you suppose.

          3. D: You were alerted to the fact that you had changed a word in a paragraph of the CCC,

            BB: And you were alerted to the fact that 2677 utterly contradicts
            1 Peter 5:7 and have refused to deal with it.
            Again, YOU CAN’T STAND THE THOUGHT OF DEALING WITH IT, so you close your eyes, and cover your ears. My mistake only serves to highlight your utter contempt for the word of God, and so I am happy it happened. It should be obvious to any sober-minded reader that you are nothing but “poor, blind and naked” as Jesus describes those who are not his own, an apt description of your spiritual condition, and will leave it at that.

        2. Hi Duane,

          I consider the accusation of God-inspired delusion and the suggestion that I submit my ignorance before the moderator as signs of favor. You’ve joined the group of Catholic foot soldiers who passed through BB’s firing range and emerged victorious. Congratulations!

          1. Good mornign Margo:

            As we’ve all observed, interminably, Flounder does what Flounder does to feed the ravenous appetite of his resident Catholic-hating demon. The more unhinged he gets, the more mistakes he makes – adding to Scripture and the CCC, faulty and easily re-fruited (hah) references, pathetic spelling and grammatical errors, hilarious malapropisms. I have no doubt God would not look with favor upon one taking satisfaction from another of His children’s precipitous slide into unmistakable degeneracy and madness, so I suppose Flounder’s sad case is a test for us…..

          2. Good morning AK,
            Agreed. It is superficially funny and a sad reality. Was it CS Lewis’s Screwtape who found jest like holy water? It burns.

            God bless.

  16. Five reasons why Mary deserves the utmost honor that a Christian can give her:

    1. She had the opportunity to reject the angel Gabriel’s offer but did not. She could have done this through the excuse of false humility, as many of us would do, if the responsibility appeared to be impossible for us to accomplish well. But, Mary’s humility was so profound that she trusted in God for everything. She was not merely a handmaid, but more accurately, a ‘slave girl’ of the Lord, and so, would do what ever the Lord wanted from her in that humble and obedient condition of slavery to God’s will for her. Even as Jesus said ‘Thy will be done’ on the Mount of Olives, so to Mary exercised her own free will in the same way, saying…”be it done to me according to your will”.

    2. If there is any person who actually demonstrates the ‘once saved always saved doctrine of the Protestants, it is the Blessed Virgin Mary. So strong was her faith in God, and in her ability to persevere in her condition of slavery to the will of God, that she prophesied of herself: “From this day all generations will call me blessed”. And, she proclaimed this incredible statement even before the birth of Jesus, which in effect is a claim of self canonization. Yet, even Desert Fathers feared greatly for their salvation, and after years of prayer, fastings and mortifications, and would never presume to claim that they were already possessed of ‘irrevocable salvation’ while still alive. Mary, on the other hand, had this true confidence of irrevocable perseverance, as we learn from these very words of her prophesy.

    3. Jesus in His humanity was obedient to His mother in His childhood and youth. He honored her as a mother and teacher, thereby obeying the 4th commandment of God. At 12 years old he was legally independent in the Jewish culture, and could have chose to leave Mary and Joseph forever, if desired. Mary knew this and it caused her anguish at the thought. It’s possible that in her true humility that she thought that maybe her task fof raising the Messiah of God was finished, and that Jesus would begin His mission for the salvation of the world at that time. Yet, Jesus returns to her familial companionship even after proving that His wisdom far exceeded that of any of the Rabbi’s in the Temple at Jerusalem. Yet, it wasn’t His time. Here we have an account of the tremendous and incomprehensible love that Mary had for her child. This is why this story is termed as one of the seven sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

    4. Mary teaches us to be gentle with each other in public, and not to shame anyone, even if faults were made, or sins were indeed committed. This is proved by the miracle at Cana. She knew that the servants would be held responsible for making a severe error of about a deficit of 200 or more gallons of wine needed for a successful wedding banquet. And this would result in them being severely chastised for this great error. Having compassion on their condition, she asked Jesus to intervene with a miracle, His first miracle, to cover up their error. Apparently, Mary, in her wisdom understood the Holy Spirit’s will in this, and even as she guided Jesus away from exercising His legal right for independence when He was 12 years old, now she actually provoked Him towards His ‘public life’ for the salvation of the world. Drawing everything from the treasury of her recollections, everything hidden in her ‘mother’s’ heart, and knowing that Jesus was both recently baptized by John, and tempted in the Desert; moreover, seeing His newly acquired disciples gathered around Him, she instinctively must have known that this was the time for a change, and that His mission was already ‘on it’s way’, so-to-say. And so, she tells the servants to “do whatever he tells you”, thereby actually leaving the final decision respectfully, but confidently, in the hands of Jesus. “The ball is in His court”..so-to-say, regarding what He would do. would he comply with His mothers request and intention? And, we see that, yes, He immediately went to task to fulfill her request. So, if Jesus Himself honors His mother in this way, and with a public miracle also, should we not recognize her incomprehensible dignity of being the Mother of the Christ, the Mother of God, and honor her likewise? But also, we should remember the motive for this miracle, which is to cover the shame of others… even as the son’s of Noah did for their Father…except for the one son, Ham, and we know how that story ended. So, we all should be careful regarding shaming others in public, as Jesus not only spoke about this, but also did a miracle to ‘cover the shame’ when needed.

    5. Mary is a model of patience and faith. She was present on Mt. Calvary witnessing the torture of Her only Son. She is in the condition even as Sara would have been if she was allowed to follow Abraham towards the sacrifice of her only son of Abraham, Isaac. But Sara was spared that love induced torture and Mary was not spared it. Mary, of her own will, followed Jesus carrying His sacrificial wood up the mountain (even as Isaac did). And, Jesus leaves the future life of Mary in ‘limbo’ also, as He has not indicated what would happen with her after His sacrifice on the cross. Yet, at the very last moment He reveals to her His plan. He would give His own Apostles to her as new ‘sons’ on this Earth, and particularly John who would ‘take her into his house’. “Behold thy Son”, He told His mother, and “Behold thy Mother”, He said to John. Here we see that Jesus provides and is mindful of human needs in this world, and that we are to be patient, and faithfu,l like Mary in her great trust of Jesus’ care for us. That is, we should imitate this great patience and faith that we find in her on Mt. Calvary. And she should be highly honored for this.

    There are many more things we can learn from the life and words of Our Blessed Lady, but they are too many to put down here.

    This is mainly for those Protestants who don’t care to reflect on these great things, and events, regarding the Life and virtues of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Maybe if they knew these things better, they would not be afraid of venerating her as she deserves.

      1. No, Bob, I don’t think I’m the ‘author type’, so to say. But, I do tend to remember a lot of what I have read on Our Lady from many sources. I can’t even remember them all as they are recollections over decades of reading. I think a lot of people, especially Protestants only have a superficial understanding of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and actually, of the humanity of Jesus also. Many Protestants seem to be focused mainly on what Jesus has ‘done for them’, that is, died on the cross so that they might attain forgiveness and salvation. But, Catholics it seems, are taught a more comprehensive faith, which focuses on not just what Jesus ‘did for us’, but rather who Jesus IS. And this is because Jesus taught,”…if you have seen me, you have seen the Father”, and, “Blessed are the eyes that see the things which you see. For I say to you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see the things that you see, and have not seen them; and to hear the things that you hear, and have not heard them.” So, Catholic’s (as we find in the writings of many Saints), value the deep mystical teachings of Christ in everything He did and everything He said, as it is this very study wherein we “see the Father’, as Jesus intends for us to do. Jesus came to reveal the nature of His Father as no other person was able to do before him.

        Moreover, part of this profound revelation involves His Holy Mother, who was particularly used by His Father for His own purpose to effect the Incarnation of His Son.

        These mysteries are so profound and wonderful, and especially the accounts regarding Sts. Mary and Joseph…and Elizabeth and John too… as to be incomprehensible in this world. It’s just a shame that many Protestants don’t seek to understand them deeper, but actually teach others to ignore such a study. But, thanks be to God, Catholics ‘fish in deep waters’ so to say; And so, seek to delve deeply into all of these beautiful mysteries and stories of Jesus, Mary, and all of the others that were essential figures in the Gospel stories.

        Anyway, my own opinion regarding writing books is: Why should everyone want to write their own books, when we have so many writings of the saints that are readily available, but aren’t being largely read anymore? I would rather spend my time pointing others to these great books, already written, by and about the true hero’s of our Lord…The Catholic Saints. And actually, I do currently republish these in a series called “The Spirituality of the Saints Series’. I give them out in clear bags of 3 or 4 sheets of card stock 8 1/2″ x11”, printed both sides…in one part of the series per sheet of paper. So, for instance I republish the ‘Autobiography (‘Confession’) of St. Patrick, in a four part series which includes the entire content of His writing. I then distribute them at my local parish, farmers markets, a local college campus and to loads of drunks….on St. Patricks day/night and the following weekend at the Masses.

        This takes enough time and energy for me (and my wife…and others too), and actually gets true holiness out to the people in a more efficient way than making people pay for a book written by ‘awlms’. Moreover, everything I give out is free, and the people seem to like them, so far.

        But, thanks for the compliment. You’re the first person to have ever suggested this to me.

        Best to you always in the Lord.

        1. AWL: These mysteries are so profound and wonderful… especially the accounts regarding Sts. Mary and Joseph

          BB: The episodes of M & J are profoundly SIMPLE, with no “mystery” about them other than the mechanics of how the Holy Spirit overshadowed her with the Christ-child.

          AWL: [These mysteries are] are incomprehensible… It’s just a shame that many Protestants don’t seek to understand them deeper, but actually teach others to ignore such a study.

          AWL: The results of your “deeper study” have resulted in three separate dogmas about her which one is obliged to believe or hell waits. Thus, (as Jesus said) you have blocked the entry to heaven for many who would like to go in, but will not, because the RCC has put those filthy beliefs on the same level as the blood of Christ, and the Savior will NOT accept a half-hearted devotion. Consequently, you will not enter therein also.
          Then you talk about “mystery”. The underlying reason why the magisterium always refers to the “mystery factor” is to create an impenetrable fog between the laity and the profoundly CLEAR teachings of Scripture. For example, Joseph did not know her “UNTIL” she brought forth a son; meaning, AFTERWARDS, they proceeded to have other children. Now wasn’t that simple enough? You know DARN well it is, but because your traditions are so tightly wound around your neck, you are confused beyond your ability to cope with reality, and end up throwing the simplicity of the Text right out the window. You remain content with being TOLD what to think, rather than using the brain God gave you to use for yourself —which “simply and profoundly” refutes marian piety in the blink of an eye.

          AWL: But, thanks be to God, Catholics ‘fish in deep waters’ so to say; And so, seek to delve deeply into all of these beautiful mysteries and stories of Jesus, Mary, and all of the others that were essential figures in the Gospel stories.

          BB: This is where you refute yourself. We are constantly hearing that if weren’t for her “Yes”, salvation could not be accomplished. However, what you have just admitted above, is that there were OTHER essential figures who were also needed on the chessboard to bring God’s intended purposes to fruition. Thus, these other “game pieces” were just as important, and should be looked at as no more and no less vital to the game plan than anyone else. But the RCC will have none of it.
          Instead of taking the advice of John the Baptist who said “He must increase and I must decrease”, they have heaped upon Mary one unbearable gaudy title after another that anyone with a sober mind can plainly see is INCREASING her “net worth” beyond biblical boundaries.
          So much so, that one must believe something about Mary’s ***MOTHER***, someone who is not even mentioned in the Text, in order to be saved! This proves the RCC adheres to a “another jesus and another gospel” per 2 Cor 11:4.

          AWL: Anyway, my own opinion regarding writing books is: Why should everyone want to write their own books, when we have so many writings of the saints that are readily available

          BB: Jesus would say to you, “why should you want to hold to your vain and worthless traditions about Mary and set them up as the gateway to heaven, when you have my WORD so readily available which says the polar opposite? And whyyyyy should you want to constantly and forever uplift this servant of mine when I took great pains to put her in her rightful place in each episode you read of her? Isn’t it obvious that by doing so, I was well aware of what the RCC had up its sleeve, and so I provided the antidote before it even happened yet, by responding accordingly at 12 years old, at Cana, to the voice in the crowd who praised her and to those telling me that she was at the door waiting to speak with me. Thus, you do greatly err, not knowing the Scriptures or the power of God.”

          1. Barry,

            Your comments on both the Church and the Blessed Virgin Mary are like the shell of an easter egg: superficial, easily broken, and with a little hole in it wherein all the (spiritual) nutrition has already been sucked out of it. They are so, because they are hollow of meaning, lack credible explanation, and devoid of fraternal charity as well. That is, if you understand so well the ecclesiology that you espouse, then why not explain it in all wisdom and charity and with coherent explanations? You should easily be able to describe the role of the ‘Mother of God’ to us, and of her interior relationship with Jesus, just by the words that she hersel speaks and the words also that others have spoken with, or of, her.

            For instance, you should easily understand what is mean’t when Mary said to the angel Gabriel:

            “Behold, the BONDSLAVE of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.”

            And also:

            “My soul exalts the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has had regard for the humble state of His BONDSLAVE; For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed. ”

            If you have any idea of what a slave actually is, you might understand something about the Blessed Virgin Mary. She was a SLAVE to God’s will. She renounced completely her own will, even as Jesus also did.

            And yet you would consider this nothing special. And speak of ‘Marvelous Mary’ as if you did not understand anything of what it means to be a true servant/slave of God…. and as if this is of little, or no, spiritual significance.

            And this is just one example that demonstrates your spiritual lack of depth and insight. No spiritually sensitive Christian would ever call, or term, the mother of Jesus Christ, Son of God: “Marvelous Mary” …whether joking or not. It’s exceedingly insensitive to the greatest Christian truths and gifts that the world has been given by the love of God Himself: The incarnation of Jesus Christ into this world by means of the faithfulness of God’s ‘slave girl’… the meek and humble Mother of God, the most Blessed Virgin Mary.

            Hopefully, some day, you’ll actually ‘get a clue’.

          2. Good morning Al:

            Flounder pretty much showed his Scriptural cognitive disorder when he said, of the Gospel narratives of the Last Supper and their theological significance….

            ….wait for it….

            “THEY JUST HAD DINNER TOGETHER!!!!” (all-caps are his)

            There’s just nowhere to go with such a pile of issues except either to ignore it or to laugh it off, and very publicly. I have chosen the latter course, for now.

    1. AWL: There are many more things we can learn from the life and words of Our Blessed Lady, but they are too many to put down here.

      BB: Mary’s words receive limited space in Scripture, but of course you will do everything and anything to blow them up like a hot air balloon to the point that people now believe she is the ladder to heaven”, the “divine aqueduct”, and other such nonsense. The Lord Jesus Christ DEBUNKS your marian piety by telling us (much to your horror) that he considered John the Baptist the greatest of them all. Boy, how you must hate that verse.

      AWL: she asked Jesus to intervene with a miracle

      BB: She most certainly did NOT do any such thing!

      AWL: [She did this to] to cover up [the servant’s error]

      BB: Pure speculation!

      AWL: [She} provoked Him towards His ‘public life’ for the salvation of the world.

      BB: What a bunch of horse manure. I take it now you are a mind reader?

      AWL: she instinctively must have known that this was the time for a change, and that His mission was already ‘on it’s way’,

      BB: I simply cannot get over the GALL you display with these utterly unwarranted speculations. But it does show that you prefer to meditate on things in general which God has not revealed, which in turn, exposes your contempt for the word of God in particular. Obviously, Scripture simply isn’t enough to satisfy, so you end up taking liberties with it to spice it up and to accommodate doctrines that are biblically bankrupt, yet which the RCC requires for salvation.

      AWL: would he comply with His mothers request?

      BB: As I mentioned elsewhere twice already, she did not REQUEST anything! She made a statement and alerted Jesus to the situation. The only reason you persist in believing this balderdash is to convince yourself that if Jesus jumped to obey his mother’s “request”, then you can use that little episode as evidence that all your prayers to her will be then sent to Christ for consideration. But as any true Christian knows (which I’m afraid you’re not), Jesus did not teach us to pray in this matter, nor did he tell us to bring “ALL” our cares to her, as your diabolical catechism instructs in 2677 (and which completely contradicts 1 Peter 5:7).

      I once heard someone say that Catholics want SO MUCH to be certain their doctrines are true, that they have exchanged TRUTH…for certainty!
      So enjoy your imagined “certainty” while you can. It will get you nowhere on Judgement Day.

      so-to-say. And so, she tells the servants to “do whatever he tells you”, thereby actually leaving the final decision respectfully, but confidently, in the hands of Jesus. “The ball is in His court”..so-to-say, regarding what He would do. would he comply with His mothers request and intention? And, we see that, yes, He immediately went to task to fulfill her request.

      1. “Pure speculation!”

        Pretty much like your posts, as well as any of Reformed theology that deviates from the One True Church, there, Flounder.

        Especially anything written by that loonbat Calvin.

      2. Everything to you is speculation, Barry.

        Is it speculation that Jesus was not indeed made out of wood, and had a knob attached to Him…as He said things like “I am the door of the sheep.”? Or, is it speculation that Jesus indeed had wool for body hair because He is termed as the “Lamb of God”?

        How can you understand anything in the Bible as most of it is not logical, but rather intuitive and allegorical, which actually demands wisdom to understand? Sacred Scripture is like a ‘follow the dot drawing…yet some people just can make the connection between the dots, and so never come to understand what the drawing actually reveals. The line connecting the dots is the gifts of wisdom and virtue given by God so that we might understand who He is and attain eternal life through that understanding…even as Jesus said: ” This is eternal life, that you know the one true God and He whom He sent, Jesus Christ”.

        I’d highly suggest that you spend $15 and buy a Catholic Catechism, so as to start to learn how to ‘connect the dots’, so to say. That is, to learn how to acquire true Christian wisdom and virtue…and thereby also to acquire true ‘knowledge of God’, The Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This will help you fulfill Christ’s quote, above, so that you might attain ‘eternal life’.

          1. If anyone ever has the chance to read “The Public Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ Vols. 1&2, by Archbishop Alban Goodier SJ….. it’s also pure gold! Genius exegesis.

        1. AWL: How can you understand anything in the Bible as most of it is not logical, but rather intuitive and allegorical, which actually demands wisdom to understand?

          BB: I did not realize that Catholics have gotten to the point of saying the Bible is not logical. I will leave you to your delusion.

          AWL: Sacred Scripture is like a ‘follow the dot drawing…

          BB: No, what you mean to say is that Scripture is nothing but a “dead letter” (having been described as such by the big boys), which is useless without THEM telling you what it means.
          Again, I leave you to the “strong delusion” God has obviously inflicted upon you and let the reader gasp (2 Thess 2).

  17. Hi Barry,

    BB: And you were alerted to the fact that 2677 utterly contradicts
    1 Peter 5:7 and have refused to deal with it.

    I haven’t refused to deal with it because it doesn’t contradict it. It amazes me that anyone who is beyond the second grade would find it contradictory. 2677: we can entrust all our cares and petitions to her: she prays for us as she prayed for herself. So you find entrusting cares to Mary because she prays for us contradicting 1 Peter 5:7. If this is contradictory to 1 Peter 5:7, then you in your life Barry, must NEVER ask anyone to pray for any hardship in your life, or they to you. If someone were to say to you: “please pray for my daughter who has leukemia”, by your logic you should reply: “I can’t, that would be entrusting a care to me, contradicting 1 Peter 5:7.” But we know that your understanding of this passage is wrong (as is your understanding of most, if not all of the Bible I might add), because your understanding contradicts numerous passages in the Bible telling us to pray for one another.

    It amazes me that Prots have a problem with Catholics asking Mary to petition on our behalf to her Son, the King. Yet that is all we are doing.

    I have some questions for you about Trent, or any Catholic council for you. What is the criteria that Catholics use for determining what makes a council infallible, and when does it become infallibe and binding on a Catholic?

    1. D: 1 Peter 5:7 doesn’t contradict CCC 2677. It amazes me that anyone who is beyond the second grade would find it contradictory.

      B: One of us is definitely blinded by Divine Providence and I say that person is you. First Peter tells us that because God “CARES” for us, we ought to cast ***ALL*** our ***CARE*** on him. But the RCC tells us to cast ***ALL*** our ***CARE*** on her! Any…ummm… second grader… can tell who is the supreme liar here, it’s as simple as that.
      But of course, I do understand that the Catholic is now obligated to stick their index finger in-between their lips and rub it up and down and try to give us some blabbering lame excuse as to why we should NOT take the word of God at face value. Here is what your excuse:

      D: she prays for us as she prayed for herself.

      B: First of all, I will thank you to tell me, where do we find M praying for herself?
      Second, even if we were to suppose that the saints in heaven pray for us, this is no apologetic to bring ***ALL*** our ***CARES*** to THEM, let alone M in particular. All believers are classified as saints, and so it is outrageous that the RCC has the nerve to create “canonized saints”, with the ulterior motive of bringing ***ALL*** our cares to them, further treading under foot the word of God. Is there no let-up to Catholics placing their Bibles in their bathtubs and drowning it every chance they get?
      You continue

      D: If someone were to say to you: “please pray for my daughter who has leukemia”, by your logic you should reply: “I can’t, that would be entrusting a care to me, contradicting 1 Peter 5:7

      B: No! Your marian passion has blinded you to your logical inconsistencies. We know VERY well of the places wherein we ought to pray for one another. Your example above intimates that Protestants never pray for one another and are unaware of our instructions to do so. This is ridiculous. You err by typically going outside biblical boundaries, and this of course is the death knell for Catholicism. When push comes to shove, practically EVERYTHING you believe that is necessary for salvation is found outside the Text— and so I am confident it will be a total disaster for YOU on Judgment day, and certainly not me.
      Your example above also fails because it posits a SINGLE care brought to someone like me to pray for the victim. But my objection all along has been that the catechism says we ought to bring EVVVVVVERYTHING to her, which God Almighty could not possibly agree with, let alone a second grader.

      D: I have some questions for you about Trent, or any Catholic council for you. What is the criteria that Catholics use for determining what makes a council infallible, and when does it become infallibe and binding on a Catholic?

      B: I will only answer this once and go no further because it’s off topic. (Are you trying to get me in trouble with the moderator?).
      I would say that the determining factor for a council is just as much “up for grabs” as is the criteria for determining when a Pope speaks infallibly. In other words, just as no one knows how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop, so too do we not know what is the precise criteria to follow in identifying an infallibly defined statement. For example,

      Popular priest, William Most, says there are only 2.
      “If the Pope intends to make anything definitive, no special form of words is needed. We conclude that all that is required is
      1) the intent to make an item definitive, and
      2) writing in such a way as to make that intent clear.

      On the other hand, RC apologist, Scott Butler, in his, “Jesus, Peter and the Keys”, which he describes as, “A Scriptural Handbook on the Papacy”, says there are 3 criteria: The Pope must
      1) Confirm his brethren in the faith (whatever that means)
      2) Proclaim his message as a definitive act
      3) And it must be relating to faith and morals (p. 203).

      But opposed to these, is The Catholic Encyclopedia, indicating that there are actually 4.
      In addition to Butler’s 3, they further state that it must contain a “binding condemnation of error” (Vol 2, p. 796).

      Because I’m not going to answer anything further on this topic, I will remind the reader that to refute me, Duane needs to submit a statement from a higher authority than the RC foot-soldiers above, which over-rules their suppositions. IMHO, you will not be able to do this because if such a document did exist, the above 3 people would have quoted from it.

  18. Hi Barry,

    Barry said:

    First Peter tells us that because God “CARES” for us, we ought to cast ***ALL*** our ***CARE*** on him. But the RCC tells us to cast ***ALL*** our ***CARE*** on her! Any…ummm… second grader… can tell who is the supreme liar here, it’s as simple as that.

    But Barry, we are casting our prayers to Jesus, we are just having Mary carry them to Her son, the King. You cannot refute that. Notice in CCC 2677 we are asking her to pray for us.

    Barry said:

    First of all, I will thank you to tell me, where do we find M praying for herself?

    Are you saying she never participated in the Passover? Because there are prayers for oneself in the Jewish Passover. So unless you are saying she was not a faithful Jew, then yes, she did pray for herself.

    Are you saying she was not a faithful Jew?

    Barry said:

    second, even if we were to suppose that the saints in heaven pray for us, this is no apologetic to bring ***ALL*** our ***CARES*** to THEM

    By this logic you are saying it is wrong for someone to ask their neighbor to pray for every care that they have. Can you show me from Scripture where we are not supposed to ask our fellow Christians to pray for every care we have? If not, then again, you are refuted. Furthermore, since they carry our prayers to God, then we cannot help but be entrusting all our cares to them. I hope they don’t drop one.

    Barry said:

    But my objection all along has been that the catechism says we ought to bring EVVVVVVERYTHING to her, which God Almighty could not possibly agree with, let alone a second grader.

    There you go again. CHAAAAAANGIIIIIIIIIIING words. Huge difference between ought and can. But let’s dig even further into your stupidity. What is the number of cares that is acceptable to bring to her, in your opinion? And why would God care if she is praying for all our needs? You obviously think He takes offense that someone might ask her to pray on their behalf for all their needs. That is what you are saying!!! But show me where He takes offense for someone praying for all another person’s needs, and why He takes offense.

    I am sorry I insulted any second-grader. Their arguments are far better thought out than yours.

    Barry said:

    I will only answer this once and go no further because it’s off topic. (Are you trying to get me in trouble with the moderator?).

    Several times you have brought up Trent, now you worry about being off topic?

    On an earlier thread you were told that only the canons are considered infallible. This you denied. Yet throughout the history of the ecumenical councils, we see one thing consistently. It is only the canons that have anathemas linked to them. This is because only they are considered the parts that are infallible and a Catholic must believe. But they are not binding or infallible until the pope confirms them, that is why they send the canons to him. And only the parts of a council that a pope confirms, are considered infallible. In fact we only see popes either confirming or denying canons, but no confirmation on any other parts of councils.

    The part of Trent that you like to quote about the Lord’s supper is not part of the canons. Nor did Pope Pius IV ever confirm anything but the canons of Trent. You are more than welcome to look up his bull that confirm the decrees, or canons of Trent. So once again, your argument was built on sand, instead of rock. Man, refuting you is too easy.

    1. Barry,

      One more thing. The only way 2677 of CCC would be contradicting 1 Peter 5:7, is if it said to bring our cares to Mary with the intent of her not bringing them to Jesus. But the reason we pray and give her our cares is for her to bring them to and lay them before her Son, in the hopes that she will join her prayers to ours. So the fact that we are asking her to bring our cares to her Son, you find offensive!!!!

      Do you think she hordes some of them?

      1. D: One more thing. The only way 2677 of CCC would be contradicting 1 Peter 5:7, is if it said to bring our cares to Mary with the intent of her not bringing them to Jesus.

        B: Nope. The word of God refutes you and all the never-ending excuses trying to justify it. The words could not be more clear. Do I need to point out to you the numerous places where God has established boundaries and we are not to go outside of those commands? Yet, you spend your entire life doing just that and as a result, fighting against God himself.

        D: But the reason we pray and give her our cares is for her to bring them to and lay them before her Son, in the hopes that she will join her prayers to ours.

        B: Which is precisely why the RCC tries to make her “requesting” something at Cana, so that when the request is fulfilled, you can now use that to justify bringing your cares to Mary. However, as I told you before
        1) she was NOT making a request
        2) You have to deal with his response, “Woman, what have I do with you?”…not ONCE mentioned by anyone on this thread because you would prefer to pretend it ain’t there… just like you would prefer he did not say the Baptist was the greatest born of women…and just like a WHOLE LOT of other things which rain on you parade, which is why the Bible must constantly be put into a choke-hold and made to submit to the circus of Roman clowns.
        3) She could NOT have anticipated a miracle since neither she or anyone else for that matter had not seen him in action before.
        4) It is presumptuous to think she has been given the ability of omniscience (which is why I wonder that in addition to sinlessness, immaculate conception and assumption, they haven’t officially crowned her mediator of the world. Some chump by the name of Mark Miravelle, I think it’s spelled, is running around like a mad dog collecting signatures to demand the Pope do JUST THAT! When will the madness end?Omniscience is an attribute of God alone, and one can assume it always will be, for we will always be his “servants who serve him” says Rev, so stop trying to make her out to be something she herself would condemn you for.

        D: So the fact that we are asking her to bring our cares to her Son, you find offensive!!!!

        B: MOST DEFINITELY. But more importantly, the very thought of it is a stench in God’s nostrils. Repeatedly, we find him referring to the greatness of his power in such ways as “Is my arm too short to fix this problem?”, or that he never sleeps, etc. I was just watching a show which reminded me that there are trillions upon trillions of stars…which in turn reminded me of thee most underrated sentence ever written…”And he made the stars also”. Added to that, we read that he knows each one by name (!) and we fall down in a heap. All this to say, it is only logical he is able to multitask every prayer ever made… BY HIMSELF, which is whyyyyyyy we don’t read of praying to dead saints in Scripture.

        1. “which is whyyyyyyy we don’t read of praying to dead saints in Scripture”

          No-o-o-o-o-o-o, we don’t read of such a thing because there weren’t that many “dead saints” when Scripture was being written. They were still alive. You could have walked right over to one of them and said, “Could you please pray for me about this?”

          1. You, Bob, are going to Helllllll…..along with awlms, margo, Joe, me and a few others.

            You will be served BBQ carved from the lean briskets of Parstard James White and Barry (aka: Flounder, aka Bulldog) Baritone who will both be residing in the large Pit Barrel Smoker next to your molten lava hot tub.

            For Eternity. Enjoy.

          2. “All this to say, it is only logical he is able to multitask every prayer ever made… BY HIMSELF, which is whyyyyyyy we don’t read of praying to dead saints in Scripture.”

            Maybe God doesn’t will to do such multitasking, and for His own Divine reasons? Maybe He wants both angels and mankind to cooperate with Him on Earth and in Heaven, wherein all of His blessed creatures cooperate with Him for the sake of the salvation of His Mystical Body? Does God not use angels to deliver messages, serve and guard mankind? Clearly it is His Divine Will that the saints hear our prayers, in our devotion and love for them (even as we love our fellow Christians here below), and offer them to God. And, some of these same saints are our beloved family members, friends, comrades, fellow missionaries in Christ, who have passed before us, and who we ourselves helped them to attain their salvation. That is, without our teaching and preaching to them, and showing good example, these would never have entered through the ‘narrow gate’. Why limit what they in their love can do for our own salvation, then, as we were inseparable friends in Christ the Lord, on Earth with these same friends of God? This, of course, is not unheard of. It says so in the very Book of Revelation:

            “And when he had opened the book, the four living creatures, and the four and twenty ancients fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints:”
            [Revelation 5:8]

            So, are we to ignore such interaction of the angels and saints in our lives, or are we to accept the fact that God indeed uses His lower creatures for just such purposes?

            Clearly, it is God’s Divine will that He allow saints and angels to cooperate and participate in the salvation of mankind. The Bible is full of such accounts for any who want to pay a little attention to such details while reading it. Moreover, God never would have used Gabriel to send His message to Mary if He desired to multitask everything Himself. And, He probably wouldn’t have sent Jesus to this world, either.

          3. If aid was not given to us from the prayers and intercession of Saints, both angels and fellow Christians, would we not also be highly disadvantaged in our spiritual war against Satan and his Legion of Demons? This eternal warfare is all the more why both saints and angels aid us. It might be why, also, that Moses and Elias consulted with Jesus on the Mount of the Transfiguration. Why didn’t God just multitask that also, if Barry’s assumptions are indeed correct?

            This is just another angle as to some reasons why God operates in the way He does here on Earth, and as is portrayed very well in the Sacred Scriptures.

          4. Scripture tells us of many cures Jesus performed after people sought Him on behalf of another:

            Matthew 8″:5ff: A centurion seeks the cure of his paralyzed servant.
            Matthew 8:16: “…they brought to him many who were possessed, …”
            Matthew 9:2: “And behold, they brought to him a paralytic lying on a pallet.”
            Mark 5:22-23: “And there came one of the rulers of the synagogue named Jairus….My daughter is at the point of death; come, lay thy hands upon her, that she may be saved and live.”

            Mark 1:30: “Now Simon’s mother-in-law was keeping her bed sick with a fever, and they immediately told him about her.”
            Mark 1:32: “…they brought to him all who were ill and who were possessed.”
            Mark 9:16: “‘Master, I have brought to thee my son, who has a dumb spirit;’…”
            Mark 7:25: “For immediately a woman, whose little daughter had an unclean spirit, on hearing of him, came in and fell down at his feet….And she besought him to cast the devil out of her daughter.”

            ETC. It is God’s WAY that he responds when we speak to him on behalf of others. He tells us to knock and the door will be opened. He does not tell us not to knock at Mary’s door. He does not tell us not to prayer for one another.

          5. Also forgot: God HIMSELF chose to bring salvation through Mary. Why should we not go through Mary? Are we not to be perfect as He is perfect? We ought to do as He has done and as he has said.

    2. D: Several times you have brought up Trent, now you worry about being off topic?

      B: Trent-talk was never just pulled out of a hat. I chose to mention them always in conjunction with what someone else said. I’m going against my previous refusal to entertain you on this, but I will do so one last time.

      D: On an earlier thread you were ***told*** that only the canons are considered infallible. This you denied.

      B: I denied it because you failed to produce a document to support your view! Since when is something true merely because you ***told*** me so?

      D: Yet throughout the history of the ecumenical councils, we see one thing consistently. It is only the canons that have anathemas linked to them. This is because only they are considered the parts that are infallible and a Catholic must believe.

      B: This is where you are dead wrong and I will not let you get away with it.

      1) Trent, for example, did not entertain the thought of what you are saying above. They wanted the whole kit and caboodle of what they taught to be forever set in stone (which I will prove below). Neither have you produced evidence from some “official” source which teaches the laity to make this distinction.

      2) In any case, even if such a document exists which contains the blurb that only the canons and the anathemas linked to them are infallible, this document HAD to be written long AFTER Trent, and so by using the brain God gave us, it is logically absurd to suppose that only “canons tied to an anathema” are to be considered the crown jewels…RETROACTIVE from the date your document was written! Trent DID NOT give any indication of this, and I, sir, have read those documents, as can you, anytime you darn well please. It is likewise absurd to believe when the Pope declared himself infallible in 1870, that infallibility was RETROACTIVE to all previous popes (even though they didn’t know it). LOL!

      3) It is is even more absurd to suppose that Jesus gave the gift of infallibility to the RCC with “exceptions”, hitherto unknown until 1870 (narrowing it down to faith and morals), and then later narrowing it down FURTHER with only the canons being infallible…and ONLY if attached by an anathema! Oh, those never-ending exceptions! I tell you, Jesus Christ no more had anything to do with giving this “gift” to the RCC and all their exceptions to the rule, than alligators fly.

      D: But they are not binding or infallible until the pope confirms them

      B: Fine. However, none of the three Popes who presided over the long run of that council, wrote anything which distinguished from the fallible and non-infallible portions of their decree! If they did, you would have a case. As it is, you do not.

      D: The part of Trent that you like to quote about the Lord’s supper is not part of the canons.

      B: Agreed. However, one wonders why the catechism then QUOTES that non-infallible portion in 1376? They preface it by saying that here, “The Council of Trent summarizes THE CATHOLIC FAITH (!!!)”.

      D: In fact we only see popes either confirming or denying canons, but no confirmation on any other parts of councils.

      B: You lose, Duane. Look at what I just said above. Did not JPII approve the catechism? And is he not ***CONFIRMING*** a particular ***PART OF*** the council which is not infallible? Of course he is. And that being so, he (unbeknownst to himself) confirms the error of Trent, when THEY supposedly quote Jesus:

      “Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly His body He was offering under the species of bread” (CCC 1376).

      There are three distinct errors in this one sentence alone! Jesus did not “SAY” that he was “OFFERING” anything, let alone that the bread was “TRUUUULY” his body under the appearance of bread!

      Trent’s first error was the brazen lie of “affirmation”, when there was no such affirmation: “For the apostles had not as yet received the Eucharist from the hand of the Lord, when nevertheless ***himself affirmed with truth***, that to be his own body which he presented [to them]”. ( “Decree on the Eucharist”, ch. 3).
      In their rampage against the Reformation, this council shows the typical human (not Holy-Spirit inspired) tendency to embellish whatever it is they want to prove. In this case, the student of the Bible will notice at once that Jesus most certainly did not… “affirm with truth”… the elements were actually his body and blood. He simply said, “This is my body”. And needless to say, we do not believe it was.
      The second offense was proclaiming Jesus “said” something, when he did not. Their third offense was teaching that something was being “offered” to God, when the Text says no such thing. Their fourth offense was showing their confusion between where he did say, “Truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man…” in John 6:53, but erroneously transporting the word “truly” over to the Last Supper account, where he did not “truly” affirm that at all. Their fifth offense, I would suggest is to assert that Christ did not command that we partake of BOTH bread and wine, which is simply disgusting.
      What you don’t realize is that even if we take the claim of infallibility out of the picture altogether, what Trent says is still technically inaccurate. They started off with the claim that the council was being led by the Holy Spirit day by day. So according to your logic, henceforth whenever an RC council claims to guided by the Holy Spirit, we should not believe them unless they attach an anathema to it.
      Oh my, when will the madness end?

      Even though there is no anathema attached to it, can you not SMELL it in the distance when they say,
      “This council forbids all the faithful of Christ henceforth to believe, teach, or preach anything about the most Holy Eucharist that is different from what is explained and defined in this present decree” (Decree on the Eucharist, Intro)….making no qualification whatsoever to any of the parts therein.
      Thus, even if we are to narrow it all down to just their ONE error…that ONE stone which kills the Goliath of the Vatican… (i.e., the word “Truly” which Trent put in the mouth of Christ, which he did NOT say) they have conveyed something about God which is incorrect (Job 42:7) and as a consequence, the entire Roman Catholic faith is to be rejected per Deut 18:22.

      Apologizes to the moderator for this out of order sermon. It is my last comment on this thread.

      1. Fllounder: “He simply said, “This is my body”. And needless to say, we do not believe it was.”

        Well, that pretty much encapsulates the entire Reformed paradigm….it’s not what Scripture says, it’s what I believe it says….halloloojah…..

        That BBQ I referenced in my post above? Your server tonight – and for Eternity – is Calvin.

        1. Not to mention that I already answered him on Trent, and I explained why I didn’t think that his rebuttal was a sufficient refutation of my defense.

          Barry doesn’t seem to accept when his anti-catholic arguments fail to convince, which is quite sad for his sake.

          1. Barry and his foaming-mouthed tent-revival fundie ilk are a laughing stock wherever there is even a hint of enlightenment, a dying reflection of an outworn age almost two centuries past and are increasingly irrelevant save for stagnant backwaters of the world. So what he thinks is nothing more than a source of amusement. Let him Gamaliel out of existence, Acts 5:34-39. .

            The real danger is in the relativists and atheists who have funding and the mistaken belief – religion, really – that science and time are both on their side….they have real power and influence where it is a danger….

        2. AK – Why am I not hungry for said BBQ? The Founder I ate last night for dinner still lingers.

          The Gamaliel story is powerful.

          Speaking of irony, today I realized something about “solo/sola scriptura” Since the Catholic Church brought forth the scripture, all this time, have some been proclaiming, without knowing it, “Catholicism alone.” They would probably say “Anathema!

          Are we to believe the BB has finished posting here? For how long may we hope?

          1. Flounder is a fish that doesn’t smoke well, like salmon. Best if it’s poached, lightly seasoned….then fed to the dogs, because it’s inedible by humans.

            I love the way Fr. (now Bishop) Barron uses the Gamaliel Scripture to illustrate the Blessed Mother’s intercession with St. Bernadette at Lourdes.

            Speaking of Gamaliel and your ‘irony’…the fact is, Catholicism has survived unbroken for 2,000 years. The theological comedy team of Martoon and Calvoon has fractured into thousands of sub-sects that at best, uneasily coexist, and at worst, theological intransigence of the old mainlines and the obnoxiousness of the flounder-sects are making people flee from religion altogether. The old Jewish sage had something on the ball.

            Flounder is like a poorly placed carbuncle that reminds you of it’s presence every time you sit. Annoying but certainly of little consequence.

          2. Founder, as well, is apt; it’s what a rusty theological tramp steamer does when it takes four Shameless Papist apologetic torpedoes below the waterline.

          3. AK – 🙂 Yes. But was it a tramp steamer or a large submarine? It was large, in plain sight. Neither radar nor sonar were needed to spot it.

  19. Barry,

    You said:

    Nope. The word of God refutes you and all the never-ending excuses trying to justify it. The words could not be more clear. Do I need to point out to you the numerous places where God has established …….go outside of those commands? Yet, you spend your entire life doing just that and as a result, fighting against God himself.

    You only need to show me where does God says we can’t ask another to pray on our behalf for all our concerns? You seemed to say in an earlier post that asking them to pray for a single concern is fine. Is two off limits? You say God has set boundaries. What are the numerical boundaries that He has set for how many cares I can ask my neighbor to pray for? That is all you need to do.

    You said:

    Which is precisely why the RCC tries to make her “requesting” something at Cana, so that when the request is fulfilled, you can now use that to justify bringing your cares to Mary. However, as I told you before
    1) she was NOT making a request
    2) You have to deal with his response, “Woman, what have I do with you?”…not ONCE mentioned by anyone on this thread because you would prefer to pretend it ain’t there… 3) She could NOT have anticipated a miracle since neither she or anyone else for that matter had not seen him in action before.

    The words of Jesus refute you. For He also said My hour has not yet come. What a weird answer to give to someone who was not making a request. Why would she care if His hour had not yet come, if all she said was they have no wine? Yet she obviously is anticipating a miracle, else why does she tell the servers to do whatever He says? And why does He say mine hour is not yet come to Mary, if she was not anticipating a miracle? No, all in all we can see that you have misinterpreted Scripture again, as is your habit.

    You said:

    just like you would prefer he did not say the Baptist was the greatest born of women…

    I like this one. Since Jesus was born of a woman, is John the Baptist greater than Jesus?

    You said:

    BY HIMSELF, which is whyyyyyyy we don’t read of praying to dead saints in Scripture.

    I thought they weren’t dead. Jesus said: “Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

    Obviously, you don’t believe Jesus’ words here. You said the saints are dead, but Jesus refutes you and says they will NEVER die. And if they are alive, why wouldn’t they pray for us?

  20. It is no exaggeration when St. Louis De Montfort says that we should be slaves of Mary.

    How so?

    St. Paul said: “Be imitators of me as I am of Christ”. And wouldn’t Mary be entitled to say the same thing? That is, “Be imitators of me as I am of Christ…my Son”? Or, do we think that St. Paul who had never learn’t from Christ when He taught in Israel, has more knowledge and ability of imitating Jesus… than His own Mother who lived with, and spoke with Jesus, for 33 years of her life? It would be highly absurd to think so.

    And, regarding the imitation of Mary, we should remember well what we are actually imitating. We should remember that she herself, called herself a ‘slave of the Lord’. So, by imitating her we seek to become what she was, a ‘bond-SLAVE’ of the Lord. Listen how she describes it in the Gospel:

    “My soul magnifies the Lord, for he hath regarded the HUMILITY of his handmaid/bond-slave/slave girl; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed”.

    Of her own free will she renounces that will for the sake of God’s will in her life. And, Jesus, her Son also said a similar thing on the Mount of Olives : “Not mine, but THY WILL be done”, regarding His imminent torture and crucifixion. Jesus was actually following His mother’s example as she preceded Him into this holy slavery to God’s will, and it was that humility which called down God’s favor on her as she herself notes above: “…for he hath REGARDED THE HUMILITY of his handmaid/bond-slave”. We might also note that there was a reward for such humility and slavery to God’s will: “behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed”.

    So, if we imitate May as she accepts voluntary slavery to God’s will, we also agree to be ‘bond-slaves’ of the Lord. We also, like Mary renounce ourselves, ‘die to ourselves’, that God her Son might live within us. Like St. John the Baptist, we ‘shall grow lesser’ and ‘He’, Christ, will grow greater.

    If Mary was indeed NOT such a ‘slave of God’s will’, then it wouldn’t be wise to imitate her at all. But, that she was completely captivated by the Lord, enough so that God regarded that humility and raised her from the ‘last’ position to the ‘first’ position by making her ‘the mother of God’, it is very wise for us indeed to imitate her to the extent of our abilities. If we follow her in this holy slavery, we are actually becoming ‘slaves’, or disciples, of a ‘slave of God’. What greater, or more safe of a vocation, could there be in this life? Moreover, this is also the safest place to put ourselves, according to Christ’s holy teachings. Here is how He Himself taught this truth:

    “When thou art invited to a wedding, sit not down in the first place, lest perhaps one more honourable than thou be invited by him: And he that invited thee and him, come and say to thee, Give this man place: and then thou begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when thou art invited, go, sit down in the lowest place; that when he who invited thee, cometh, he may say to thee: Friend, go up higher. Then shalt thou have glory before them that sit at table with thee. Because every one that exalteth himself, shall be humbled; and he that humbleth himself, shall be exalted. ”

    So, St. Louis De Montfort in his ‘True Devotion to Mary’ is not promoting some form of ‘exaggerated’ devotion, as people might think. Rather it is entirely backed by the Holy Gospel, and conforms to the very teaching of Christ, above. It should be an aspiration of everyone who loves the Lord, as it imitates Christ Himself and His own holy slavery to His Father’s will. And what better position is there to be in than ( according to Christ Himself) the ‘least and the servant of all’? Maybe God will raise that person up to a high place if he deserves it? But what shame, on the other hand, will be for those who don’t follow this humble slavery to God, and seek to provide themselves with a place at the Wedding Feast that was not meant for them. In their overestimation of themselves they regarded themselves too highly whereas to merit to be humbled by the Lord in the presence of all, even as He said:

    “and then thou begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when thou art invited, go, sit down in the lowest place; that when he who invited thee, cometh, he may say to thee: Friend, go up higher. Then shalt thou have glory before them that sit at table with thee. Because every one that exalteth himself, shall be humbled; and he that humbleth himself, shall be exalted.”

    So clearly, Jesus would be very pleased that all follow the example of His eminently humble mother, the ‘bond-slave’ of the Lord. And, St. Louis de Montfort sets out how to better do this in his excellent “Treatise On The True Devotion to Mary”.

    1. And there’s a difference between the ‘bond-slavery’ concept of Catholicism and that of either Islam, or of deterministic Calvinism. In Catholicism, Mary **chose** to be a bond slave, the bond being the Theotokos and the promise of salvation in return for being the vessel of the Incarnation and her pierced heart, reflective of the respect God has for the free will he instilled in his creation. Islam…you are a slave to Allah, period and you don’t get a vote. Same with Calvinism….your fate has been decided since the beginning of time, like Islam, and free will be damned.

      Imagine…a loving God, Who loves ALL his children, but condemning some of them to eternal torment from the beginning of time, and preserving others in His little club of the ‘saved elect,’ just because He can, with free will being an illusion, and the CS Lewis’ concept of Hell as a door locked form the inside, anathema to the Calvinist.

      Makes perfect sense…right? To Calvoon, maybe, and his stump-broke adherents like Flounder and Jimmy White. Ugh….

      1. I think a good analysis of Mary’s slavery contrasted with Luther’s and Calvin’s is a worthy topic to research more in depth. I was pondering this a bit over the last few days. It’s quite a contrast between the two conceptions/ideologies, as you note in your comment. The difference is probably as great as that between Heaven and Hell? …unless Luther and Calvin really weren’t serious about it, and like Henry XIII, really had some ulterior motives such as the desire to break their celibacy vows with little or no corporal consequences for them. That is, they might have wanted to follow there real vocations, which was to the lay, married, vocation, even as Henry VIII wanted a male heir to HIs throne. The Christian doctrines were only a facade by which to acquire his real desire…a son on the throne in England.

        Best to you.

        1. …And, on the same note, what do you think were the ulterior motives of Joseph Smith?
          🙂

          Probably nothing to do with religion. Maybe the satisfaction of duping people? Or, having a house full of wives? But, most likely, nothing to do with God.

          1. A house full of *other men’s wives* – and daughters (Hallelujah!) but that’s another story entirely.

            Old Joe didn’t have long on earth to enjoy his scam…God is not mocked.

          2. Al – thanks. I have had debates where I have asked for **one credible non-LDS Egyptologist** who verifies Smith’s translation of the papyrus in question. Quite the opposite….

            In addition….great big bleeding sections of the “Book of Mormon” seem to have been copied directly from the KJV, to include translation errors. 1 and 2 Nephi, indeed….

            I know more than a few Mormons, smart and good people…..the very recent historical record just doesn’t support the belief set without severe mental gyrations. I just don’t know “what’s up with that.” Apparently a lot of erstwhile Mormons are indeed having problems with the gymnastics….see this….it’s kind of indicative of what’s going on in the Moridor these days…..

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BiCxbDwJ7o0

  21. It is irresponsible for the Catholic Church to excuse and promote a universally said prayer like the Hail Holy Queen with its bad theology, and dismiss it as just cultural, rhetorical, or devotional. Why wouldn’t Protestants accuse Catholics of being idolatrous towards Mary. You don’t think that Catholics who refer to Mary as our life, our sweetness, and our hope, instead of Jesus, really mean it?

    1. I guess you haven’t been seen in the thread, where this was discussed early on; Mary, as the “mother of Mercy” and Jesus, as the Font of all Mercy, are both Life, Sweetness, and Hope. The latter, because He IS….and Mary, because She leads us to Him.

      Hair-splitting over this is uninteresting to Catholics.

          1. Vatican II’s Dei Verbum 21 says: “Therefore, like the Christian religion itself, all the preaching of the Church must be nourished and regulated by Sacred Scripture.”

          2. “Nourished and regulated…” as in, supported and in consonance.

            NOT the sole-source of inspiration nor an item of worship.

            If in your cherry-picked theology, you find singular, uncontextual proof-texts that Mary is of no significance, please, be our guest to believe what you wish. As St. Bernadette of Lourdes aptly pointed out, we are here to inform, not convince.

            Protestant, especially Evangelical, disdain for the Mother of God is in my opinion born not of sound theology, but simply of a deeply neurotic desire to differentiate themselves from Catholicism. Ironic, since, first, their founder Luther had a deep and Catholic-like respect for her, and as well, they themselves have thousands of sects sufficient to satisfy the irrational and (if I may be so bold) Scripturally indefensible pursuit of schism.

            Hey…let’s go church-shopping, everyone!

          3. AK: It’s a question of who provides our peace and strength. It is God or creation? When God created, it was all good; but there are certain things that only God can provide; and He provides these things when our humility is directed at Him and His Son. We are not allowed to direct this humility towards His creation, regardless of significance.

          4. Peter,

            I see you approach Dei Verbum the same way you do the Bible. Cherry picking…. below is the quote in context. Doesn’t say what you think it says, just like your interpretation of the Bible.

            “She has always maintained them, and continues to do so, together with sacred tradition, as the supreme rule of faith, since, as inspired by God and committed once and for all to writing, they impart the word of God Himself without change, and make the voice of the Holy Spirit resound in the words of the prophets and Apostles. Therefore, like the Christian religion itself, all the preaching of the Church must be nourished and regulated by Sacred Scripture. “

          5. Peter it’s all interwoven. Your interpretation of the Bible comes from tradition. The assurance that the books you have in your bible today is inspired comes from Tradition and tradition.

            So Tradition is regulated by written Scripture which is interpreted via Tradition. Be it Catholic Tradition or a particular Protestant denomination tradition.

          6. When a person reads Scripture for themselves, why is that person necessarily interpreting it from tradition? Can’t we try to be as objective as possible in reading it. We give it our best shot. We may find something useful for ourselves that is not emphasized or taught by the Church. Even though the Church compiled the Bible for itself in the fourth century, it is now widely distributed outside of the organization, and others can benefit by it. This may not have been the original intent, but the printing press changed that.
            The Church limits itself to being regulated by it. Those of us who read it for ourselves can do the same whether we are Catholic or not.

          7. “He provides these things when our humility is directed at Him and His Son.”

            He provided His mother for precisely that purpose, to lead us poor imperfect humans to Him. Amply demonstrated in this and other topics.

            “We are not allowed….”

            Right. Everyone has an opinion. We are commanded (John 6) clearly to eat His Body and drink His Blood, to have life within us. When was your last attendance at Mass for this purpose?

          8. Peter…in response to your 11:33 post…you wrote:

            “Can’t we try to be as objective as possible in reading it. We give it our best shot. We may find something useful for ourselves that is not emphasized or taught by the Church.”

            OK, I get that. But…so someone can read Scripture, interpret for themselves, and say “why has no one else seen this but me? All those other denoms are in mortal error…I must start my own little church so at least someone can be saayyyyved….” Read Barry’s (aka Flounder) posts. That’s how he believes, that only he and the six inbred Australopithecines in his Ozark compound are holders of the Truth as he sees it, everyone else – ‘speshully them ‘ere Papists – roasts over the coals on the floor of Hell.

            But, based on the Scriptural example of obedience, perseverance, and love given by Mary to her Son, and in the sure knowledge she lives, listens, and intercedes for us as she did for the stewards and newlyweds at Cana, if a Catholic finds Mary a source of “life, sweetness, and hope,” he or she is “irresponsible,’ possessed of “bad theology,” and of course, “idolatrous…’

            Sure makes sense to me…..

          9. You don’t have to start your own church. I didn’t. We can all contribute to tradition in our own way. There is an interesting quote from Vatican II’s Dei Verbum 8 which states: “This tradition which comes from the Apostles develop in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit. (5) For there is a growth in the understanding of the realities and the words which have been handed down. This happens through the contemplation and study made by believers, who treasure these things in their hearts (see Luke, 2:19, 51) through a penetrating understanding of the spiritual realities which they experience, and through the preaching of those who have received through episcopal succession the sure gift of truth”. It sounds like our subjective experiences can also contribute to tradition. We can all add to it, as long as we’re regulated by Sacred Scripture (see Dei Verbum 21).
            I believe that certain things can only come directly from God. When we try to extract them from a creature of God, we are going to be disappointed and unfulfilled. This is what Scripture has taught me.

          10. Peter – you said:

            “It sounds like our subjective experiences can also contribute to tradition. We can all add to it, as long as we’re regulated by Sacred Scripture (see Dei Verbum 21).”

            Then you said:

            “I believe that certain things can only come directly from God. When we try to extract them from a creature of God, we are going to be disappointed and unfulfilled.”

            Skimming over the previously noted fact Dei Verbum places Church tradition as an item of sublime importance along with Scripture….you basically said’ rely on individual subjective experience to create tradition, then you said relying on things that don’t come from God are unfulfilling and disappointing. So just where did your ‘subjective judgement’ originate? Unless you are God, this is something that (you being a creature of God) originates in your mind, which is…wait for it…a creation of God, just-like-Mary.

            And which, if you rely on your own created intelligence to interpret Scripture and create your own tradition, and fail to rely on the Church that Jesus Himself ordained in Matt 16:18, you will be left disappointed and unfulfilled.

            You don’t have to create “your own Church,” Peter. But your paradigm of the supremacy of subjective interpretation gives that unassailable right to whomever reads Scripture, be it Martin Luther, Billy Graham, Joel Osteen, David Koresh…or Peter Aiello.

          11. Juggling objective truth with subjective experience is something that we all do. Along with what I previously quoted from Vatican II, a few other quotes sum it up for me.
            “Moreover, as the truth is discovered, it is by a personal assent that men are to adhere to it. On his part, man perceives and acknowledges the imperatives of the divine law through the mediation of conscience. In all his activity a man is bound to follow his conscience in order that he may come to God, the end and purpose of life. It follows that he is not to be forced to act in manner contrary to his conscience. Nor, on the other hand, is he to be restrained from acting in accordance with his conscience, especially in matters religious. The reason is that the exercise of religion, of its very nature, consists before all else in those internal, voluntary and free acts whereby man sets the course of his life directly toward God. No merely human power can either command or prohibit acts of this kind” (Dignitatis Humanae 3).
            “It is in accordance with their dignity as persons-that is, beings endowed with reason and free will and therefore privileged to bear personal responsibility-that all men should be at once impelled by nature and also bound by a moral obligation to seek the truth, especially religious truth. They are also bound to adhere to the truth, once it is known, and to order their whole lives in accord with the demands of truth However, men cannot discharge these obligations in a manner in keeping with their own nature unless they enjoy immunity from external coercion as well as psychological freedom” (Dignitatis Humanae 2).
            “On their part, all men are bound to seek the truth, especially in what concerns God and His Church, and to embrace the truth they come to know, and to hold fast to it. This Vatican Council likewise professes its belief that it is upon the human conscience that these obligations fall and exert their binding force. The truth cannot impose itself except by virtue of its own truth, as it makes its entrance into the mind at once quietly and with power” (Dignitatis Humanae 1).

          12. Peter, look at these lines, which you quoted:

            ““Moreover, as the truth is discovered, it is by a personal assent that men are to adhere to it. On his part, man perceives and acknowledges the imperatives of the divine law through the mediation of conscience.”

            “Truth” and **especially** “imperatives of divine law” are specifically singled out here as immutable and that man at his best obeys them through the agency both of his conscience and free will. Nowhere does it say that man has the freedom to invent his own theological rules from “subjective experience” or “private extraction” apart from the ‘truths revealed to the episcopal succession’ you so properly noted earlier – just to discern and obey (or not) what has been put before him by the Church ordained by Jesus in Matt 16:18.

            Or else David Koresh and Joseph Smith have equal theological authority with Billy Graham and Pope Francis, or Peter Aiello. No leaders, no rules, just right – not.

          13. As well….you rightly noted:

            “..the preaching of those who have received through episcopal succession the sure gift of truth”. ”

            Those in the episcopal succession of the Catholic Church who have received that gift of truth are all in for veneration of Mary and trusting in her intercession with her Son.

          14. “Has anyone figured out what part of Pope Francis’ opinions and writings are part of tradition?”

            All of them.

          15. “I guess that they are all Word of God.”

            I didn’t say that. I said they were all part of tradition.

            But that doesn’t really matter. Way too many people who have a beef with Pope Francis are those whose private political opinions are more important to them than what the Church says. They don’t like Laudato Si because it’s too “liberal” and accepts climate change. They don’t like his warnings against the excesses of Western consumerist culture because they smell of Marxism. But for whatever reason, it’s always “My opinion is more important to me than the Chair of Peter!”

            I do not know whether this description fits you (I know almost nothing about you), but your posting is highly suggestive of such an attitude. If I misjudged you, then I apologize. But why did you even ask such a question, unless you’re one of those who think Francis is a “bad Pope”?

          16. Vatican II’s Dei Verbum 10 says: “Sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture form one sacred deposit of the word of God”. I’ve always had a difficult time figuring out what writings are part of tradition.

          17. Pope Francis’ writings/opinions…ooohhhh, I smell A Clever Trick Question. Wriggle out of this one, Papist!

            How about this….we all recognize that (contrary to what a lot of Protestants think Catholics believe) not everything every Pope says or does is right (or wrong), correct (or incorrect), outside of the strictly dogma-content-limited doctrine of Papal Infallibility.

            For an extreme example, the Catholic Church never adopted as tradition the practice of clergy threatening excommunication to a mistress because she wanted to go back to her husband, just because Pope Alexander VI did precisely that.

            So, given the Holy Spirit guides His Church, I apply the Gamaliel test to what becomes tradition we follow….as documented in Acts 5: 34-39. Fruit borne or not, may not be visible in your or my lifetime.

          18. “No man does have freedom to invent his own theological rules. Subjective experiences result from implementing the truth.”

            I sense a numbing circularity here. You started by telling us that venerating Mary was bad theology and idolatrous. The you tell us that private interpretation of Scripture is correct (unless it gives Catholic-style homage to Mary) and that Church tradition is mutable by the individual doing just that. When I argued both points you went low and desperate with the trick references to Pope Francis, knowing it might be a flash point (why didn’t you use as your example Pope Benedict? Or St. JP the Great?).

            Now you’re circling back with ‘private interpretation’ and the thousands of squabbling, dogma-confused denoms that have sprung from that poisoned ground really isn’t ‘inventing your own rules.’ Save the watch.

            Bottom line is, by your posts and site hotlinked to your name you are a ‘do your own theology’ kinda guy along with +30,000 other sects, except of course if doing ones own thing is venerating Mary or following Church tradition.

            Boring. I am done here.

          19. WHOA! Do you really make so bold to utter so? Do you seriously think that Catholics or do you yourself equate the words of Pope Francis to the WORD OF GOD? The Bible is the Word of God. Jesus is the Word of God.

            Perhaps someone may recommend a good book for Peter to read about infallibility, impeccability, collegiality, etc., versus the opinions of authorities relative to tradition and the Word of God.

            ?

          20. Margo – good afternoon. I sense Barry-lite here. I see all the signs.

            Peter is not here like Irked and Early, to discourse, learn and share; he is here to instruct and when we don’t roll and become instant, just-add-grape-juice fundietards at his revelations, well, we’ll get impatient, weakly sarcastic little prissettes like the Pope Francis dig.

            I get enough of that, squared, from Flounder. I’m done with him.

          21. Peter – Scripture is the Bible, but in its fullness, including the books which Luter removed. Add the test of time for some tradition. Put these together with the visible, one, holy and Catholic Church. Add her theologians, her laity, her bishops, her holy people, the Mother of God, one Pope, then sprinkle a very large dose of the Holy Spirt. Mix well. Let rise. Voila.

          22. Margo – I find it amusing how Protestants are allowed to freewheel, flitting from Bible verse to verse, version to version, changing Scripture and Tinkerbelling out their own competing muddy theologies, but Catholic doctrines, traditions, and dogmas have precisely to dovetail, be crisply defined, and be immediately clear to the casual observer to be *acceptable* to Protestants who troll here.

            I call BS. So do legions of Protestant scholars who got sick of the hypocrisy and swam the Tiber.

        1. Peter – How does one “direct” humility? Do you mean a showing or bringing forth to God?

          God chose Mary to bring Salvation to the world. Jesus remained subject and obedient to Mary. We do not act in opposition to Jesus if we act as He did. We do not act in opposition to God the Father if we act as He did. He chose Mary, we chose Mary as a path to Him. In prayer, we listen to Him via her or her via Him. They are RELATED; she magnifies Him and is blessed by Him. We honor God’s words by honoring her. We do not pray to/chose Mary in opposition or in distinction to God. Mary and God are in communion. Whether we ignore her or honor her, her presence is in Scripture with Jesus and in the Church with Jesus, and as Revelation attests, she is in heaven with Jesus.

          1. Margo: I use 1Peter 5:5-7 as a definition of humility: “Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you”. We rest our minds on Him.
            Some people want to direct this type of humility to Mary. This would be idolatry because Mary is part of God’s creation. In Scripture, it is only directed to the Creator, which would be the Godhead of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

          2. Hi Peter,

            To apply the verb “direct” to humility is difficult! As you quote above, Paul suggests we ‘be clothed with humility,’ as in “put on.”

            It is no more idolatrous to communicate with Mary than it is to talk and listen to a good friend. We are to love our neighbor as ourselves. A good neighbor, a good friend, a pastor, a holy man, a learned teacher, all can be sources of God’s goodness. Indeed, we write here because we learned of God from creatures.

            Mary is a special creature. She is intimately connected to our Lord. God the Father chose her of all women to carry and deliver His Son to humanity. God the Father honored and loved Mary before any creature, knowing and choosing her from the beginning of time (Gen. 3:15) to be the vehicle of salvation leading us eternal life. We honor and love her because HE did first.

            Our humility is something I fail to see as under our direction. If it were something we could control, it would fail as true humility. Humility is meekness, lowliness of mind, absence of self. Without an awareness or sense of self, we cannot direct anything, least of all its absence.

            You also say: “When we try to extract them [certain things] from a creature of God, we are going to be disappointed and unfulfilled.”

            Here again, the ‘extract’ is a problem. When you pray, do you try to extract something from God? Or do you ask for something and allow Him leave to grant it when and where He chooses? I pray in order to understand, to increase my ability to love, to learn. I don’t see myself extracting (like pulling teeth or mining coal from an underground seam). I talk to, listen to, meditate, contemplate.

            For example, I may ask Jesus and Mary (they are equally intertwined in meditation during the Rosary): “Please show how you loved sinful humanity as you did when you asked, from the Cross, for forgiveness for those respecting neither homicide nor deicide. Please teach me to endure, Mary, as you endured your son our savior on the cross.” Etc. While contemplating the Annunciation: “How was it possible that Mary accepted in faith that which defied reason and logic.”

            We ought seek no extraction. We ought to wait upon the Lord. Waiting for Him is what Mary did. Then she gave Him up.

            None of this is directing or extracting. None of this is idolatry.

          3. Margo: Jesus is the only human heavenly High Priest who intercedes for us.
            Hebrews 4:14-16 says: “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need”. Does this sound like Jesus is only divine and remote? Because of Jesus’ humanity, Hebrews is telling us to not be hesitant to go directly to Him.
            Hebrews 7:25 says that Jesus “is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them”.
            I don’t believe that Jesus and Mary are interchangeable in terms of devotion and consecration.

          4. Peter,
            No one claimed that Mary and Jesus are interchangeable! They are two different persons, in communion.
            No one claimed that Mary is a High Priest!

            I’ll not answer any further posts here. Onward and upward. There is a new post. Have you seen it yet?

            Best,

    2. É, Pedro, e o seu profundo poço de discernimento acrescentou uma pérola de sabedoria, continue assim!

  22. Peter, if in spite of the site hotlinked to your name and your “you Catholics” posts, if you are a practicing Catholic, well, good for you…however….your last sentence to me is a big “huh?”

    I guess it depends on how one defines “life within,” and how one sources life therefrom. I get mine from the Sacraments and prayer (which includes Scripture reading, but not **only**), and celebrating Church tradition – pretty much what the *full* Dei Verbum quote exhorts.

    1. AND what Jesus tells us in Scripture – John 6…..so Peter, don’t know from where you are sourcing your life, but if it isn’t John 6, it isn’t Scriptural…….

    2. Having life within us revolves around being in the state of sanctifying grace before communion. Communion does not put us in the state of grace. Baptism and Confirmation are the sacraments for the state of grace and the Spirit of Christ. The sacrament of Reconciliation is listed after the Eucharist. This involves another lengthy conversation.

      1. Partly agree. Baptism puts us in a state of sanctifying grace, which is why it comes before Communion; one must properly be sanctified to receive the Body and Blood of the Creator’s Son. .

        But so-named Holy Communion – the Eucharist – is the taking of the Creator of the Universe into communion with ourselves, under Divine command, in the guise of bread and wine, an unfathomably profound gift which confers innumerable sustaining graces.

        In Confirmation, the Holy Spirit is given to those already Baptized, is a perfection or completion of the gift of Baptism that makes one a soldier of Christ. But you already knew that. Not lengthy at all. Simple.

  23. It seems to me that what this article is really saying is that everyone is free to interpret the Bible in any way they want. I’d be OK with that, except of course that’s not what Joe really means. What he really means is that we are all free to interpret the Bible the way Joe and the clergy interpret it, and everything else is wrong.

    Joe wrote, “Jesus uses a similar kind of rhetorical exaggeration in Matthew 18:8-9, in a passage that on its face would literally advocate mutilation:”

    Here Joe appears to be saying that of course Jesus is not advocating mutilation, he feels this is obvious. Well, why is it obvious?

    Interpretations of the Bible which prohibit masturbation and homosexuality have led directly to centuries of ruthless oppression of literally millions of people in every corner of the world, typically either supported, or even led by the Church. People who violate these restrictions have been denied housing and jobs, they’ve been scorned and ridiculed, they’ve been beat up, tortured, imprisoned and killed. Such interpretation driven madness continues to this day in some parts of the world. In fact, until very recently the Church was spending millions in the U.S. trying to deny such folks the civil rights that Catholics take for granted that they themselves should have.

    So why is it obvious that the quoted passages from Jesus are exaggerations? Why is self mutilation any more crazy than how those Jesus quotes have been used since they were written?

    Masturbation for example is typically described as being a grave sin. Grave sins can send a person to hell for eternity according to the Church. So why is cutting off one’s hand so obviously not what Jesus meant? It seems to me that self mutilation is a sensible and fairly obvious course of action if masturbation can indeed condemn one for eternity. Who cares if one could not then work or eat, what’s that as compared to one’s eternal fate?

    It seems to me that theological commentators run in to some deep trouble when they first claim Jesus is God, and then in the next sentence say that we are free to ignore what Jesus is reported to have actually said in this or that or some other circumstance.

    1. Oh, look who’s back……it’s Erhard-Lite come again to enlighten us with his thoughts about thoughts and mouth-foamed maximally-self-righteous social-justice polemics.

      I needed some amusement today….

    2. The Bible is out there for anyone to read and interpret. It has been interpreted for good and bad. 2Peter 3:16 speaks of the unlearned and unstable who twist the Scriptures to their own destruction. This is unavoidable. This implies that there are those who can use the Scriptures properly. This has been true from the beginning. Hopefully, we also individually use them properly to figure out which teachings are out of line and detrimental to our spiritual health.

      1. “It has been interpreted for good and bad..”

        Who in the Reformed world is the judge of good or bad? Who has that authority?

        “This implies that there are those who can use the Scriptures properly.”

        Joe Osteen is doing pretty well. So is Benny Hinn. Even Jimmy Swaggart is still going strong. Not at this point apparently headed to their “own destruction.” Are they using Scripture properly?

        Ditto back to my first two questions, above.

        1. “Moreover, as the truth is discovered, it is by a personal assent that men are to adhere to it. On his part, man perceives and acknowledges the imperatives of the divine law through the mediation of conscience.” (Dignitatis Humanae 3).
          Apparently we all have the authority to judge good and bad; otherwise, how can we assent without that authority?
          Individual preachers have their good and bad days. Saint Peter was right all along.
          You can’t undo the effects of the printing press. The cat’s out of the bag.

          1. “Moreover, as the truth is discovered, …”

            The Church that Christ ordained is the source of the Truth. Whether or not Man listens to his conscience and accepts that truth is up to that man. The passage doesn’t say “every man gets to decide for himself what is truth….” Else the guy with the biggest gun is the Authority. I love the way Protestant apologetics takes one line out of any given Catholic document – something you have done in this forum – and twists it to make the Church look like the maundering of Evangelical parsons. It ain’t workin.’

            However, if you choose your interpretation, that Christ meant in Matt 16:18, that it was every man for himself, it’s a case of ‘what else is new?’ It happens every day in tens of thousands of denominations.

            Go feed your cat.

          2. I don’t have a cat. I agree that we don’t make up our own truth. I learned from Scripture itself, the most important things in my personal life; but I had to piece it together while reading it. This is what I believe Vatican II is saying. I can’t help it if I didn’t learn it from the priests, brothers, and nuns when I was growing up. At least I learned it from somewhere.

    3. “It seems to me that theological commentators run in to some deep trouble when they first claim Jesus is God, and then in the next sentence say that we are free to ignore what Jesus is reported to have actually said in this or that or some other circumstance.”

      So what, non sequitur, he *may* be a god, but we can “freely” (but responsibly) ignore what he actually said.

  24. To refocus a bit…

    Did Jesus use exaggeration as a rhetorical device in his comments as Joe suggests? The passage Joe referred to was…

    “And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life maimed or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.”

    The question would seem to be, how serious are the sins that Jesus is referring to? Jesus speaks of being “thrown into the hell fire” in regards to these sins. Is this exaggeration too?

    If Jesus is referring to serious sins which could result in eternal damnation, then his advice to do anything necessary to end the sin would not seem to be exaggeration, for it logically follows that one should do whatever it takes to avoid an eternal punishment.

    If Jesus is referring to minor sins, then it seems he should have said so rather than open the door to dramatic mis-interpretation by over zealous followers.

    In any case, the whole passage is so incurably vague as to be of little use.

  25. A genius of the Bible may be that it’s open to so much varying interpretation.

    Consider the difference between mediocre and excellent philosophy professors. The mediocre professor gives you answers to memorize, while the excellent professor gives you questions to ponder. By giving you questions, unsettled business which you have to sort out for yourself, the excellent professor engages you more deeply in the subject by requiring you to participate.

    Imagine that Jesus returned to Earth 100 feet tall and provided us with very clear simple rules which could be understood by everyone on Earth. All questions would be settled, and there’d be nothing left to talk about.

    Of course some people are sure all questions already are settled. But due to the Bible’s openness to interpretation, they can’t prove they are right. And thus the conversation goes endlessly on, century after century after century.

    Perhaps God is wise enough to realize that the best way to keep us on the subject is to give us something to argue about. 🙂

    1. “Imagine that Jesus returned to Earth 100 feet tall… All questions would be settled, and there’d be nothing left to talk about. ….”

      Hah…old Yiddish expression…”If God came to earth today, people would break His windows.”

      Another (not Yiddish): “If the Angel Gabriel came visibly and triumphantly to Central Park in New York and blew his trumpet, there are people who would palaver over unexplainable aural phenomena…”

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