Why I’m Not, And Never Will Be, A Roman Catholic (Reason 5: Teachings On Mary)April 12, 2013
Dulia: veneration given to icons, relics, saints, etc.
Hyper-dulia: special veneration given to Mary.
Latria: worship given to God.
(James White discusses Rome’s un-Biblical uses of “dulia” and “latria”)
After reading more about the official teachings of the Church in regard to Mary, this became one of the clearest points of doctrine for me as to why I believe Rome has gone astray. Many of the functions given to God the Son have increasingly been mimicked in Mary over the history of the Church. In 1854, the Church declared the dogma of the Immaculate Conception and that it is required to believe for salvation. It is now integral to the gospel. Then in 1950, the doctrine of the Bodily Assumption was declared as dogma. Many Catholics I’ve spoken with say these teachings were not “new”, nor became “official”, but were “re-confirmed”.
I would argue that saying something is “re-confirmed” is sketchy, when supposedly it’s supposed to have been part of a universal tradition. I believe that these can historically be proven to have not been any kind of universal “tradition” of the early church especially.
But none of this concerns me the most. It’s how Mary is almost deified by the Church. They use the Latin word “hyper-dulia” (doluo in Greek) and attribute it to Mary, however, in the OT and the NT, duluo is forbidden in a religious context to anyone, or anything, other than Yahweh. In addition, the functions of Christ have been mimicked in Mary.
She is now considered sinless, she has never physically died but was bodily assumed, she is called the Queen of Heaven, she is called the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, she is prayed to, she is asked for mercy, she is a co-Mediator and a co-Redemptrix along side Christ! These dogmas are binding upon the soul for salvation by Rome, yet have no Biblical basis whatsoever. The Bible gives us Jesus — Emmanuel, or “God with us” — as the unique, loving, gracious, Mediator. Yet, many Roman Catholics live in fear of this Mediator, unless they have Mary to give them peace about him.
Functions do matter. Jesus answered the Jews in John 5 when they charged him of making himself out to be “the God” (o theos). Jesus did not back down. He pushed them even further and explained his function as the Son, namely, that all judgment has been given to him by the Father — a divine attribute. So when Catholics see Mary functioning in all these ways as Christ Jesus, it has enormous implications on one’s view of Mary and Christ. Mary is brought up, and Christ is now sharing a gigantic part of his glory with her. She now becomes a mediator to the Mediator! For those whom are Christ-centered in all their theology, this can only be considered blasphemous.
Christ is no longer the only one whom has a unique role as the Mediator of the Church. This is to such an extent that she is actually viewed as a co-Redemptrix of Christ. She aids in our salvation! Some uneducated Catholics aren’t aware of these teachings. Some Catholic prayers even give mention asking for Mary to save them from the wrath of Jesus! This clearly takes away from the fact that Jesus is our all-sufficient High Priest. Mary is also included.
To me this is a clear indication that Rome has side-stepped the true gospel of Jesus Christ, and has elevated the status of Mary so much that she virtually matches all the functions of the 2nd person of the Trinity on behalf of God’s people. Because of this elevation of Mary over the years, and reaching its pinnacle in 1854 and 1950, I believe that many Catholics have unconsciously developed a monad-like view of God, rather than a Trinitarian one. And a monad view of God is very dangerous. Yes, I know that the Catholic Church holds to the doctrine of the Trinity, but my point is that when they go to Mary as a Mediator they are going to a nearly deified monad.
Thus, in turn, I believe their default view of God becomes one of a strict monad, while they maintain that Mary is more approachable than Christ or the Father. A monad view generally leads people to legalism. It overemphasizes God as a single person. God carries out his will for arbitrary and seemingly fascist reasons. However, a pure Trinitarian worldview (not merely doctrine!) leads one to know that God carries out his will, not only as a single person, but also as 3 persons — as an eternal community. With a monad, as with Mormonism, Jehovas Witnesses, Islam, etc. God is seemingly fascist and his servants are very dutiful for the sake of appeasing him.
With a pure Trinitarian view, the whole story of redemption begins to make more sense. We originally were created to worship God. Due to sin, the relationship between us and God was broken. Two families were created, one unto Satan and sin, and one which would be brought back to God (redemption), by God. The 2nd person of the Trinity (the Son) carries out this plan (the Father’s will), and is completely successful because he loves the Father. The Father gives the Son the Spirit (3rd person) to help bring it to pass, and the Father helps the Son succeed. We are redeemed back to God and can be a part of the Triune love and relationship we were created for. Jesus Christ is an efficacious Savior, not merely a hypothetical Savior. The Trinity makes it so. Salvation is not just for our benefit, but for the persons of the Trinity to benefit each other in love. Mary is not part of this Triune exchange.
But the emphasis, I’m afraid, is taken off of Christ and is almost replaced with Mary. None of this should be of any surprise when one’s ultimate authority is the Papacy, not Scripture. Scripture is rife with Jesus alone being our Savior, alone being our Mediator, and alone bringing us into his kingdom as children with full access to the Father. Scripture does not focus on Mary — it focuses on the Son. The Father does not draw attention to himself but to the Son, the main character of the story. The Spirit likewise does not draw attention to himself in the story, but is always there helping the Son. Yet, the Catholic Church has taken the few mentions of Mary, and has made these passages all about her, not mainly about Christ. Christ is the focus. Even the passages about Mary are to point us to Christ, as he is Emmanuel, God with us. If Mary is distracting from the main person of the story, then it’s the wrong story.
But is it any wonder why many Catholics still feel distant from Christ, but very close to Mary? The Bible is read through the lens of the official teachings of the Church, and the Biblical concept of Christ being the only Mediator, and the only Redeemer is very foreign to the Roman Catholic mentality (at least those whom are very in tune with its official teachings). My prayer and hope is that Christ would be made the focus of the story for all whom are truly redeemed back to him!
John 17:24-26 “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
Rom 5:8-11 “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”
Rom 8:14-17 “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”