Tag: Mary

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In Defense of Exaggerated Marian Devotion

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.

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Five Reasons to Believe in the Assumption of Mary

Francesco Botticini, The Assumption of the Virgin (1476)
Today is the Feast of the Assumption, in which we Catholics celebrate that the Virgin Mary, at the conclusion of her earthly life, was taken up into Heaven, body and soul. For Protestants and even many Catholics, it's a hard doctrine to swallow. Here are five reasons that I believe in it (besides the fact that the Church infallibly teaches it).

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Are Some People’s Prayers More Valuable Than Others?

Julio Romero de Torres, La Saeta (1918)
When Catholics talk about praying to Mary, a classic Protestant objection is "but I can go directly to Jesus!" To that, I'd say, "True, you could go to Jesus alone... but if you pray to Mary, you and the Virgin Mary can go directly to Jesus!" The "why not just go directly to Jesus" objection points to one of the real differences between Catholics and Protestants on this question: we Catholics believe that some people's prayers are more efficacious than others.

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The Saintly Case for Catholicism

St. Maximilian Kolbe
Then-Cardinal Ratzinger said in 2002, "I have often affirmed my conviction that the true apology of Christian faith, the most convincing demonstration of its truth against every denial, are the saints, and the beauty that the faith has generated. Today, for faith to grow, we must lead ourselves and the persons we meet to encounter the saints and to enter into contact with the Beautiful." Here's an example of how the life and death of St. Maximilian Kolbe helped me to believe the Catholic Church's teachings about the Virgin Mary.

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And Joseph Knew Her Not: A Case for the Perpetual Virginity of Mary

Joys and Sorrows of St. Joseph Palmira Laguéns, The Sorrows and Joys of St. Joseph: The First Sorrow (20th c., Sanctuary of Torreciudad)
The Calvinist theologian Peter Leithart has a fascinating (but incorrect) article on the perpetual virginity over at First Things. There is much to praise about the short piece. First, he's asking the right question. As the article's teaser puts it, "why didn't Joseph have sex with Mary during her pregnancy?" So many Protestants focus on the fact that they believe St. Joseph and the Virgin Mary did have sex after Christmas that they ignore the explicit Biblical evidence that they didn't have sex before (Matthew 1:25). Second, much of Leithart's answer is correct, and points to the radical Biblical truth about the Virgin Mary. Finally, even when Leithart's argument goes off the rails, he shows his work, so it's easy enough to see how he goes wrong.

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