Worshipping The Earth Mother Goddess

Roman Catholic apologists seem to enjoy word games. When attempting to refute charges that much of what the Romish cult holds as dogma and doctrine is heretical, it is not unusual to see them drift off into a sea of semantics. One RCC apologist responded to a paper I wrote concerning Marian worship by stating:

". . . the printed words [of Catholic teaching on Marian worship] need to be interpreted based on more than the paper and ink that they are written on, i.e., worship does not always mean worship. Whether they have been interpreted from another language or not, the words are not as they appear on the page to the average reader - more is needed for them to gain a proper understanding."

There he went, playing word games. "Worship does not always mean worship." It is indeed true that Rome teaches that only God the Father is to be worshipped, while Mary and the dead people Rome calls saints and all their various body parts and appurtenances are to be venerated or honored. However, as with most things Rome teaches, she also teaches these things are to be WORSHIPPED. The wonderful thing about Magisterial teaching is that it covers just about every base, so the Catholic apologist can always be right, even when he holds two opposing positions on the same subject.

Catholics will always deny that they worship Mary, yet in practice they do. When obvious worship of Mary or of some bit of bone is pointed out to a Catholic spokesman, the not unusual response is "They are not following the teachings of the Church." Like Pilate, the Magisterium washes it's hands of responsibility. Rather than admit to worshipping Mary, they will say they venerate her, or honor her, or some such malarkey. You can paint a rock any color you want, but you are still going to have a rock. Changing word associations does not change what actually is going on.

But enough of this. Let me show where the Catholic Church indeed has taught that Mary is to be worshipped. In doing that I will draw from two official catechisms of the Catholic Church, which were published with all the bells and whistles that authenticate them as teaching the right stuff. I shall also call on a Doctor of the Church and another great man of Catholic letters. Perhaps that will rest well with Catholic readers.

This first teaching is from the Baltimore Catechism:

9. Q. What must we do to save our souls?

A. To save our souls, we must worship God by faith, hope, and charity; that is, we must believe in Him, hope in Him, and love Him with all our heart.

"Worship," that is, give Him divine honor. We honor persons for their worth and excellence, and since God is the most excellent, we give Him the highest honors, differing from others not merely in degrees but in kind-divine honors that belong to Him alone. And justly so, for the vilest animal upon the earth is a thousand times more nearly our equal than the most perfect creature, man or angel, is the equal of God. In speaking of worship, theologians generally distinguish three kinds, namely: latria, or that supreme worship due to God alone, which cannot be transferred to any other creature without committing the sin of idolatry; dulia, or that secondary veneration we give to saints and angels as the special friends of God; hyperdulia, or that higher veneration which we give to the Blessed Virgin as the most exalted of God's creatures. It is higher than the veneration we give to the other saints, but infinitely inferior to the worship we give to God Himself. We show God our special honor by never doubting anything He reveals to us, therefore by "faith"; by expecting with certainty whatever He promises, therefore by "hope"; and finally by loving Him more than anyone else in the world, therefore by "charity. The Baltimore Catechism, "On the End of Man" (My emphasis)

Read that last sentence again, carefully.

"We show God our special honor by never doubting anything He reveals to us, therefore by "faith"; by expecting with certainty whatever He promises, therefore by "hope"; and finally by loving Him more than anyone else in the world, therefore by "charity.""

Now, bearing those words in mind, reflect on the attention given to Marian apparitions. Does any Catholic ever doubt the words attributed to Mary in the 'authenticated' apparitions? Does any Catholic ever not expect with certainty what Mary promises in these apparitions? Can many devout Catholics honestly declare they do not love Mary more than anyone else in the world? Why Pope John Paul II seemed to dedicate everything the RCC does and is to Mary. Can any 'good' Catholic do less?

Of course, it could also be argued that the same reverence is tendered to the reigning pope.

Surely a pope's catechism must be an official RCC document. This is a passage from one such catechism:

22 Q. What is the difference between the honour we give to God and the honour we give to the Saints?

A. Between the honour we give to God and the honour we give to the Saints there is this difference, that we adore God because of his infinite excellence, whereas we do not adore the Saints, but honour and venerate them as God's friends and our intercessors with Him. The honour we give to God is called Latria, that is, the worship of adoration; the honour we give to the Saints is called Dulia, that is, the veneration of the servants of God; while the special honour we give to the Blessed Virgin is called Hyperdulia, that is, a special veneration of the Mother of God. - Catechism of Pius X, "The First Commandment"

How about the theology of one of the 32 Doctors of the Church? St. Alphonsus De Liguori [1696-1787] was canonized in 1839 and proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius IX on July 7th, 1871. The following passages are from an instructional guide he prepared for Catholic clergy:

115. There are several interior practices to true devotion to the Blessed Virgin. Here are the principle ones, stated compendiously: (1) to honor her as the worthy Mother of God, with the WORSHIP of hyperdulia; that is to say, to esteem her and honor her above all the other saints, as the masterpiece of grace, and the first after Jesus Christ, true God and true Man; - Alphonsus de Liguori, Dignity and Duties of the Priest," p. 69) (My emphasis)

Another well-received Roman Catholic theologian had plenty to say about Mary's importance. According to him, she is in charge of both heaven and earth, having taken over command of God's hosts, among other things. In fact, she is just about equal to God in this description of her power, authority and duties:

In the Heavens Mary commands the angels and the blessed. As a recompense for her profound humility, God has empowered her and commissioned her to fill with saints the empty thrones from which the apostate angels fell by pride. The will of the Most High, who exalts the humble (Lk. 1:52), is that Heaven, earth and Hell bend, with good will or bad will, to the commandments of the humble Mary, whom He has made sovereign of Heaven and earth, general of His armies, treasurer of His treasures, dispenser of His graces, worker of His greatest marvels, restorer of the human race, Mediatrix of men, the exterminator of the enemies of God, and the faithful companion of His grandeurs and triumphs. . .

The most infallible and indubitable sign by which we may distinguish a heretic, a man of bad doctrine, a reprobate, from one of the predestinate, is that the heretic and the reprobate have nothing but contempt and indifference for Our Lady, endeavoring by their words and examples to diminish the WORSHIP and love of her, openly or hiddenly, and sometimes by misrepresentation. Alas! God the Father has not told Mary to dwell in them, for they are Esaus. - Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, True Devotion to Mary, Father Frederick William Faber, D.D.(translator), edited/annotated by the Fathers of the Company of Mary, Tan Books and Publishers, Inc. (1941), has Imprimi Potest, Nihil Obstat & Imprimatur (My emphasis)

Those were a few words from Peter's Throne and a couple of Doctors of the Church. Now its time to check input from Catholic laity:

Our Blessed Lord did not begin His work of redemption without the consent of Mary, solemnly asked and freely given. Likewise He did not complete it on Calvary without her presence and her consent. "From this union of sufferings and of will between Mary and Christ, she merited to become most worthily the restorer of the lost world and the dispenser of all the graces Jesus purchased by His death and by His Blood." She stood by the cross of Jesus on Calvary, representing all mankind there, and at each new Mass the offering of the Saviour is accomplished subject to the same conditions. Mary stands at the altar no less than she stood by the cross. She is there, as ever, co-operating with Jesus - the Woman, foretold from the beginning, crushing the serpent's head. A loving attention to her ought, therefore, to form part of every Mass rightly heard. - The Legion of Mary, The Liturgy of the Eucharist in Union with Mary, "Holy Mass" - 2004 - 2007 New York Senatus

Wow! Omnipotent God has to get Mary's permission before He can carry out His program of salvation. That places her pretty far up in the pecking order, doesn't it? In the likely event his appeal to semantics fails, the Romish apologist might then attempt a different approach in his effort to discredit the findings and statements of his Christian antagonist. He might seek to shift the focus of the discussion away from exposing the heretical natural of RCC doctrine and, instead, challenge the Christian doctrine of Sola Scriptura.

If this is true about the inspired Word of God [needs to be interpreted based on more than the paper and ink that they are written on/with], which was written without error, then how much more true for the teachings of the Church, that do not carry with them the same guarantee that the scriptures do - except of course for the few infallible proclamations.?

Therefore, when interpreting Church documents, it would be greatly appreciated if the same courtesy were afforded the enemy in their interpretation as you afford yourself.

In addressing this strawman, my response is that I absolutely do use the same literal/historical/grammatical hermeneutic that I use when reading Scripture as I do when reading documents of the RCC. Perhaps the Romanist simply does not understand what such a hermeneutic is. It has been my observation that RCC apologists usually do not trouble themselves to learn the doctrines, beliefs and hermeneutics of Christians, finding it far easier to simply respond with the appropriate knee-jerk reflex when certain trigger words are encountered. Then, the RCC apologetic approach often selected is to rush to one or another of the apologetics sites maintained by RCC folks and simply copy and paste from the appropriate heading. For those who would really like to learn what "literal interpretation" means, I urge you to acquire a copy of Dr. James White's "The Roman Catholic Controversy" (www.aomin.org). In it, they will discover what Sola Scriptura really means and, perhaps more importantly, what it does not mean. There is also a wonderful explanation of what literal interpretation is.

Sigh!

Fact is, word meanings aside, Rome indeed does worship Mary in practice whether she owns up to it or not. As Rev. Dr. James A. Wylie wrote in the 19th century,:

The same worship is rendered to Mary as to Christ. Churches are built to her honour; her shrines are crowded with devotees; enriched with their gifts; and adorned with their votive offerings. To her prayers are addressed as to a divine being, and blessings are asked as from one, who has power to bestow them. Her votaries are taught to pray, 'Spare us, good Lady,' and 'From all evil, good Lady, deliver us.' Five annual festivals celebrate her greatness, and keep alive the devotion of her worshippers. In Roman Catholic countries the dawn is ushered in with hymns to her honour; her praises are again chanted at noon, and the day is closed with an Ave Maria sung to the Lady of Heaven - James A. Wylie, The Papacy, Book 2, Chapter XIX. "The Worship of the Virgin Mary"

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Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen. - 1 John 5:21

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