M * A * R * Y
"Rome has so built up the Mary role that it has become an indispensable part of the present day (Roman Catholic) Church, so much so that if Mary were placed back in the position given her in Scripture it would change the whole character of Roman Catholicism. Some have even suggested that the Roman Catholic Church should be called the ‘Marian Church’, because in its life and practice it gives first place to Mary rather than to the Lord Jesus Christ." Loraine Boettner
As recently as 1990, the Roman Catholic Church had authorized only 14 alleged apparitions of Mary as ‘worthy of pious belief’, in the past 160 years. Many of the messages claimed to have been given by ‘Mary’, are in stark contrast with the Roman Catholic Bible. Therefore, the topic of visions and apparitions of Mary will not be discussed in this booklet. For a study of this subject we refer the reader to two books: one is entitled ‘The Cult of Mary’ by Elliot Miller and Kenneth R. Samples and the other is by a former Mary worshipper and avid follower of the apparitions, Mr. Timothy Kauffman, entitled ‘Quite Contrary’.
THE ROMAN CATHOLIC PORTRAYAL OF MARY
This opening chapter of our study on Mary is designed to provide a general overview of the Roman Catholic description of Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Firstly, the Roman Catechism states that not only was Jesus free of sin but that Mary, too, was "...conceived and born free from original sin..."1 She is given the title, ‘Mother of God’, and, we are told by Rome, has special power in heaven and on earth.
"(Roman) Catholic theology understands Mary’s role in redemption to be directly related to her status as the mother of God. "(Pope) Pius IX stated: ‘The most blessed Virgin, conceived without original sin, was chosen to be the Mother of God so that she might be made an associate in the Redemption of mankind.’"2 Pope Benedict XV also held that Mary "...herself may justly be said to have redeemed together with Christ the human race."3
Mary is also called the ‘Queen of Heaven’ and is said, by Rome, to be more loving and merciful than Jesus Christ. Consequently, rather than go directly to the Lord Jesus, as the Roman Bible teaches, Roman Catholics are told to go to Mary, who will act as intercessor between them and the Lord Jesus Christ. From the Papal encyclical of 1897, we read the proclamation: "As no man goes to the Father except by the Son, so no man goes to the Son except by His Mother."
Because of the Roman Catholic Church’s belief in Mary’s role as mediator between the Son of God and man, she instructs her followers to pray frequently to the ‘Blessed Virgin Mary’. In one of many prayers that are directed to Mary, the ‘Salve Regina’, she is addressed as ‘Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy....Our Life, our Sweetness and our Hope’. The most popular prayer to Mary is ‘The Rosary’, in which there are no less than 10 prayers directed to her to every 1 that is addressed to God.
In the book, ‘The Glories of Mary’, written by St. Liguori and pronounced by Pope Pius XI in 1803 and Pope Leo XII in 1825 to be without error, it is stated: "You oh Holy Virgin have over God the authority of a mother, and hence can obtain pardon for the most obdurate of sinners." Liguori encourages us to "Go to Mary, for God has decreed that He will grant no grace otherwise than by the hands of Mary." Just exactly where God made this ‘decree’ no one seems to know! It is certainly not stated in the Holy Scriptures.
The Roman Catholic Church has also taken it upon herself to bestow upon Mary the following titles: Mother of Divine Grace; Ark of the Covenant; Gate of Heaven; Morning Star (these last two names are spoken only of Jesus Christ in the Roman Catholic Bible – see John 10:9 & Revelation 22:16); Refuge of Sinners; Ladder of Paradise; Treasury of Divine Grace; Mother of Mercies; Advocate of Sinners; Propitiatory of the Whole World; Mediatrix of Grace; Mother of Christians; and the Way of Salvation. As will be detailed later, several of these titles belong solely to Jesus Christ.
The three titles given to Mary by Roman Catholicism that are said to most exalt her are: Daughter of God the Father; the Mother of God the Son; and Spouse of the Holy Ghost. It is evident that "such names most plainly imply that Mary is honored as the fourth person of the Godhead, for more exalted names could not be given to the Divine Being Himself."4
The Roman Catholic Church also teaches that Jesus Christ cannot deny His mother’s requests. In Liguori’s ‘Glories of Mary’, Mary is asked to "...command thy most beloved Son our Lord Jesus Christ..." In addition, Liguori—whose book is officially approved by the Roman Catholic Church—claims that "...all is subject to Mary’s Empire, even God Himself, and that God hears her prayers as if they were commands." In the same book it is alleged that "no one enters heaven without passing through her."
It is also said that all power has been granted to Mary in heaven and on earth and that just as with God, nothing is impossible for her! The Scapular—two small rectangular pieces of cloth joined by a cord and worn over the shoulders under secular clothes in token of affiliation to Mary and for protection—depicts Mary treading upon a serpent, an obvious reference to Genesis 3:15 that pictures the Messiah, Jesus Christ, not Mary, as the one who will bruise the Serpent’s head.
The documents of Vatican II declare: "In an utterly singular way she (Mary) cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope and burning charity in the Saviour’s work of restoring supernatural life to souls. For this reason she is a mother to us in the order of grace."5
Mary is looked upon with loving adoration by all Roman Catholics. "She is the object of all religious affections, and the source whence all the blessings of salvation are sought and expected."6 It is taught that Mary has been exalted even above all angels and is second only to the Lord Jesus Christ. Again, we find in St. Liguori’s book, the following non-biblical claim: "...our salvation is in the hands of Mary, he who is protected by Mary will be saved, he who is not will be lost." The Roman Catholic Bible, however, assures us that "Whoever possesses the Son has life; whoever does not possess the Son of God does not have life" (1 John 5:12). There is no mention of Mary here. Liguori adds, "We often more quickly obtain what we ask by calling on the name of Mary than by invoking that of Jesus" (pp.169ff; 254; 1931 edition).
It is true to say that the Roman Catholic Church has granted Mary divine attributes that only God is worthy of. Mary is often portrayed in a variety of ways as equal to God, as is evidenced by the diverse titles that have been unjustly bestowed upon her by the Church of Rome.
VOWS OF DEVOTION - WHAT DO MARY’S FOLLOWERS SAY?
Mary is adored, venerated, honored, prayed to and even worshipped by hundreds of millions of people. One of the most popular prayers to Mary is the ‘Hail! Holy Queen’. The prayer is as follows: "Holy Queen, Mother of mercy; hail, our life, our sweetness, and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn, then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us; and after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus, O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary."7
One of the numerous ‘saints’ of the Roman Catholic Church, St. Bonaventure, once stated: "Mary so loved the world that she gave her only begotten Son." These words, blasphemously attributed to Mary, have been taken from John 3:16, where it rightly states that GOD ALONE was the one who "...so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life."
Pope John Paul II is perhaps the most devout follower of Mary. It is stated by former Jesuit, Malachi Martin, who at one time worked closely with the Pope, that John Paul’s purpose in kissing the ground of each country he visits, is to consecrate that country to Mary, to whom he is completely devoted. The Pope’s personal motto is ‘Totus Tuus Sum Maria’, which is Latin for MARY, I’M ALL YOURS!
At the current Pope’s enthronement, which occurred in 1978, he made this vow to Mary: "All that I have is thine, my queen and my mother." All Roman Catholics are taught to address Mary with prayers such as this: "In taking flesh in your chaste womb God has been pleased to become your debtor in order to place afterwards at your disposal all the treasures of His abounded mercy..."8
In a prayer penned by St. Bonaventure in his ‘Te Deum,’ Roman Catholics are instructed to pray: "All the earth doth worship thee the spouse of the Eternal Father. All the angels and archangels, all thrones and powers do faithfully serve thee. To thee all angels do cry aloud with never ceasing voice Holy, Holy, Holy Mary Mother of God. Thou sittest with thy Son on the right hand of the Father...in thee sweet Mary is our hope, defend us for evermore..." The Roman Catholic Bible shows clearly that there is only one who is, and should be, addressed in this way: "Holy, Holy, Holy IS THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY..." (Revelation 4:8).
In the 1994 Winter edition of the ‘Fatima Crusader’, a Roman Catholic publication, Mary is ascribed the following attributes: "...One rightly calls her Jesus’ Queen-Mother....Yes, O Mary, Mother of God, Sovereign Virgin, God’s most glorious creature, we want to follow you as our Queen of love, who art all-powerful....The Madonna brings Jesus to us and takes us to Jesus. That is why we call her Mediatrix..." Truly, Mary is revered and worshipped by the Roman Catholic Church as if SHE were God!!
Mary is addressed in the ‘Hail Mary’—a prayer, incidentally, that did not become ‘accepted devotional formula’ by the Roman Catholic Church until approximately 1050 A.D.—as being ‘full of grace’, the ‘mother of God’ and is asked to ‘...pray for us sinners...’ Beyond doubt, Mary has been made the central focus of attention for Roman Catholics who, sadly, have been falsely instructed to see her as the font of all grace and mercy, and their only hope for salvation.
Idols of Mary abound in all sizes and can be found in Roman Catholic churches, homes, schools and even in cars. They are often adorned with a crown and, at times, by robes bedecked with precious jewels, particularly during festivals where large graven images of Mary are carried through city streets.
PAGAN TRADITION CONTINUED IN ‘MARY WORSHIP’
Paganism has, for centuries, included the worship of a vast array of female ‘deities’. False deities, such as Isis of Egypt, Aphrodite in Greece, Cybele in Asia and Diana in ancient Rome, have all been worshipped and adored by pagan man.
In the early years of Romanism, many pagans were attracted to the ‘new religion’, but their devotion to their beloved female deities was very strong and subsequently they were reluctant to forsake them. "Compromising Church leaders saw that if they could find some similarity with the worship of the (pagan) mother-goddess, they could greatly increase their numbers. Mary, of course, was the most logical person for them to choose."9
In time, these Church leaders merely changed the names of the pagan goddesses to ‘Mary’. "The people were allowed to bring into the Church those things from their old religions that could be reconciled with the type of Christianity then developing, hence many who bowed down before the images of Mary were in reality worshipping their old gods under a new name."10 Through a gradual process, pagans transferred their goddess worship to Mary. "At the same time, shrines dedicated to Mary began to replace the ancient temples of her former pagan rivals."11
In the book, ‘The History of Christianity’, which falsely claims Roman Catholicism to be Christianity, it is revealed that: "Some scholars believe that the worship of Artemis (Diana) was transferred to Mary....Many people connected Mary with Isis the Egyptian goddess whose worship spread throughout the Empire in the Christian era. The devotees of Isis—herself called ‘the great virgin’ and ‘mother of God’—naturally tended to look to Mary for comfort when paganism was outlawed...at the end of the fourth century."
In actual fact, the whole Roman Catholic system of Mary worship may be traced back to Babylon. As we shall see later, the present-day characteristics assigned to Mary were originally attributed to pagan goddesses centuries before the arrival of Christianity! The supposed ‘immaculate conception’ and ‘assumption of Mary’, along with the titles, ‘Mother of God’ and ‘Queen of Heaven’, were all originally given to pagan goddesses!
The Official Baltimore Catechism contains a drawing of Mary, with the Holy Spirit depicted as a dove, hovering over her head. "Yet, as far as the Scriptural account is concerned, the only one upon whom the Spirit as a dove descended was Jesus Christ Himself (John 1:32)—not His mother! On the other hand, the pagan virgin goddess under the name of Juno was often represented with a dove on her head, as was also Astarte, Cybele, and Isis!"12
Moreover, the disc or circle of light that often appears in paintings of Mary, may be readily seen in Babylonian portrayals of pagan gods and goddesses. These discs or circles were used as symbols of the Sun-divinity and have nothing whatsoever to do with Christianity!!
Mary was first given the title, ‘Queen of Heaven’, by Pope Martin in the 7th century, despite the fact that Mary is never given this title in Holy Scripture. The only ‘Queen of Heaven’ mentioned in the Roman Catholic Bible is the Canaanite pagan goddess whom the Israelites worshipped (see Jeremiah chapters 7 and 44). The Israelites were warned by God’s prophet, Jeremiah, against this heathen practice, for with it they sinned greatly against God.
We see then that the title, ‘Queen of Heaven’, is originally a pagan concept that has been transferred to Mary by the Roman Catholic Church. "After the leaders of the Church declared Mary to be the mother of God, such devotion became more and more acceptable. Thus, it was never really necessary for the (often only) nominally converted subjects of Rome to repent of their longing for a goddess figure; they could just transfer their devotion to the most likely replacement within a Christian context."13
ALWAYS A VIRGIN?
Roman Catholicism teaches that Mary remained a virgin even after the birth of Jesus Christ. This new doctrine, which cannot be substantiated by Holy Scripture, was in fact NOT TAUGHT by Rome until approximately 300 years after the ascension of Jesus Christ! Moreover, the doctrine of perpetual virginity did not become official until 451 A.D. at the Council of Chalcedon.
This erroneous view of Mary, which was the cause of much controversy and debate, was totally rejected by several of the early ‘Church fathers’. "As almost all historians (including those of the Roman Catholic Church) recognize, the eventual doctrinal triumph of Mary’s perpetual virginity was directly related to the rise of asceticism and monasticism. These traditions, which greatly influenced the medieval church and its developing Mariology, revered celibacy as being more inherently spiritual than the married state."14
The book ‘The Catholic Religion’ teaches that Mary and Joseph "...agreed not to demand their marital rights from each other in order that they might be able to dedicate themselves fully to the love of God." This is pure fiction, for no such vow is recorded, or implied, in Holy Scripture. Yet again we see the Roman Catholic Church adding to the teachings of God’s Word to suit its own agenda.
As is testified to in the pages of the Roman Catholic Bible, Mary and Joseph entered into normal marital relations after the birth of God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Matthew 1:25 tells us that Joseph "...had no relations with her (Mary) UNTIL she bore a Son, and he named Him Jesus." Luke 2:7 says, "and she gave birth to her FIRSTBORN son...", undeniably confirming that there were children born to Mary and Joseph after the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus.
The Roman Catholic Bible does not teach that Jesus was Mary’s only child; it teaches that Jesus was GOD’S ONLY CHILD!! (1 John 4:9) Joseph and Mary produced several children, as Matthew 13:55,56 clearly proves: "Is not His (Jesus’) mother named Mary, and His BROTHERS James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Are not His SISTERS all with us?" (cf. Mark 6:3).
The Roman Catholic Bible teaches that Jesus had four half brothers and at least three half sisters. In a desperate effort to cast doubt upon this the Roman Catholic Church teaches that the Greek word used for brothers may also mean ‘cousins’. Yet in contrast to their own teaching, the Roman Catholic Bible uses the word BROTHERS!! "The pleas made by The Roman Catholic Church that these (brothers) were cousins is quite untenable, for the Greek word for cousins 'anepsios', found in Colossians 4:10, is quite different to the Greek word (adelphos) for brothers found in Matthew 13."15 Noticably, there is silence in regards to the word sisters in Mark 6 verse 3.
Perhaps the most conclusive proof that Mary did have other children after Jesus, as a result of normal and proper marital relations with her husband Joseph, is found in the Messianic Psalm 69. Several verses in this Psalm apply prophetically to Jesus Christ, among them verse 9 which says: "I have become an outcast to My kin, a stranger to MY MOTHER’S CHILDREN." This prophetic Scripture is fulfilled in John 7:5, which speaks of Jesus’ unbelieving brothers: "For His brothers did not believe Him."
A HISTORICAL VIEW OF MARY’S ALLEGED ‘IMMACULATE CONCEPTION’ AND ‘ASSUMPTION’
The Roman Catholic doctrines of the ‘Immaculate Conception’ and ‘Assumption’ of Mary declare that Mary was born without stain of original sin, thus receiving supernatural life at the moment of her conception. Three days after her death, it is contended, Mary rose from the grave and ascended into heaven.
This particular doctrine was first spawned at the outset of the 12th century by the British monk, Eadmer. Romanism not only teaches that Mary was born without original sin but that she also DID NOT sin throughout her entire life and that she indeed COULD NOT sin! Such teaching alleges that Mary was a divine being and no mere human, thus putting her on a par with Jesus Christ the Lord.
"The doctrine of the immaculate conception has had a long and varied history. It was unknown to the apostolic church, and it was not even a matter of discussion until several centuries after the death of Mary. It did not become an official doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church until the year 1854, more than 18 centuries after Christ was born of the virgin Mary, and so is one of the later doctrines of the Roman Church. The Council of Ephesus, which convened in 431 A.D., did use the expression, ‘Mother of God’, but its purpose was to emphasize the Deity of Christ, not to set forth a doctrine concerning Mary. But popular opinion reasoned that since the birth of Christ occurred without any taint of sin, Mary herself must have been without sin, even without original sin, which is the lot of all other human beings."16
What many Roman Catholics may find surprising is the fact that St. Augustine, revered as the greatest theologian of the early Church, was firmly against the doctrine of a sinless Mary, declaring that her flesh was ‘flesh of sin’ and that ‘Mary, springing from Adam, died because of sin...’ The doctrine was also strongly opposed by early ‘Church fathers’ such as Chrysostom, Eusebius, Ambrose and Anselm.
Most medieval scholars, such as Bonaventure and Cardinal Cajetan (who was Luther’s opponent at Augsburg), also disagreed with the doctrine of a sinless Mary. It is a fact of history that the immaculate conception has had many famous detractors. "Thomas Aquinas, the leading theologian and philosopher of the Roman Catholic Church denied the teaching. ‘So strong was Thomas’ opposition to the doctrine that it became almost a point of honor throughout the Dominican order to oppose the notion as theologically untenable, in other words it was incapable of being maintained, defended or vindicated.’"17
These ‘fathers’ of the early Church all warned that the doctrine of the immaculate conception was in contrast to the Biblical facts relating to the universality of sin and the need for the salvation of all mankind (see 1 Kings 8:46; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:10, 23; Galatians 3:22).
In addition, two of Roman Catholicism’s greatest Popes, Gregory the Great and Innocent III, DID NOT hold to the belief that Mary was conceived without original sin!! Astonishingly, between the 11th and 19th centuries, in excess of 100 Popes declared that the Church of Rome HAD NEVER BELIEVED IN MARY’S IMMACULATE CONCEPTION!! In fact, several Popes forbad anyone to even say that the immaculate conception was an article of faith!
One of the main arguments against the doctrine of Mary’s immaculate conception was: "...if Mary were not a partaker of the sin and apostasy of the race, she could not be the point of contact between Deity and humanity as was required for the human nature of Christ. Hence, in this case, even tradition, the usual refuge of the Roman Catholic Church in matters of doctrine, contradicts this papal dogma."18
It must be noted that for Mary to have been born sinless, it stands to biblical reason that she could not have been born of human seed. According to this then, we conclude that Mary’s father must also have been born sinless, for if he wasn’t, then the Roman Catholic doctrine of immaculate conception could not stand. Moreover, if we are to believe that Mary’s father was without sin, then we would be obligated to say that his father must also have been without sin and so on and so on. Eventually we would end up back at Adam and we all know that Adam was a sinner and all that are his children are also sinners. So this line of thinking simply cannot stand in light of Scripture. Alternatively, all that remains is the teaching that Mary, just like Jesus, was born of the Holy Spirit and had no human father. Since there is no Scriptural evidence that even hints at this, the doctrine of Immaculate Conception lies dead in the water.
But it is the very words of Mary herself that completely demolish Roman Catholicism’s teaching of her fabled sinlessness. The Roman Catholic Bible records Mary as saying: "...my soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices IN GOD MY SAVIOR" (Luke 1:46,47). Here is the strongest evidence yet against the Roman Catholic doctrine of the immaculate conception and it comes to us straight from the mouth of Mary herself!!!
All would agree that one does not need a SAVIOUR unless they are in need of salvation and no one requires salvation UNLESS THEY ARE SINNERS. "If Mary needed a Savior, she was not a savior herself. If she needed a Savior, then she also needed to be saved, forgiven and redeemed. The fact is, our Lord’s divinity did not depend on His mother being a divine person. He was divine because He was the only begotten Son of God!"19 He was Divine because He was God.
Mary was a sinner who required a Savior (see Romans 3:23; cf.3:10; 5:12). She herself said: "...my spirit rejoices in God my Savior." The Roman Catholic Bible informs us that the ONLY ONE who was born without original sin and who never sinned was the Lord Jesus Christ, who, incidentally, never once called God His Saviour, for He Himself was and is, the Saviour of mankind!!
Despite all of this, the doctrine of the ‘immaculate conception’ of Mary was declared unquestionable dogma by Pope Pius IX in 1854. It was the first dogma "...ever to be pronounced solely on the authority of a pope without the official sanction of a council..."20
Everyone, even Roman Catholics themselves, are threatened with a curse of eternal damnation, if they will not believe this lie. Why, though, should Roman Catholics be forced to believe a doctrine that is not in their Bible and that was not even believed by past popes, as well as many of the Roman Catholic Church’s greatest scholars and theologians?
The doctrine of the immaculate conception increases the affinity of Roman Catholicism’s Mary with the goddesses of paganism, who were also believed to have had a sinless conception. The teaching that Mary, too, was conceived without sin would prevent her appearing inferior to the goddesses of paganism.
The fact that no support for this doctrine whatsoever can be found in the pages of the Roman Catholic Bible is highlighted by the following admission, made in The Catholic Encyclopedia: "No direct or categorical and stringent proof of the dogma can be brought forward from Scripture."21
The purported ‘assumption’ of Mary is the most recent belief to have been officially sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church. Pope Pius XII pronounced on November 1, 1950, that Mary’s body was raised from the grave three days after her death, taken up to heaven and enthroned as Queen of Heaven, to reign with her Son in heaven and on earth. To believe otherwise is considered a mortal sin.
Clearly, Mary has been lifted up to the level of Jesus Christ by this and other non-biblical teachings, which have spewed forth from the mouth of Rome. No scriptural evidence can be given by the Roman Catholic Church to support Mary’s ‘assumption’. Concerning the Assumption, the Roman Catholic Bible makes two absolute declarations: ONLY ONE HAS ASCENDED TO HEAVEN!!, and John 3:13 reveals who that one is: "NO ONE has gone up to heaven except the One who has come down from heaven, THE SON OF MAN."
Finding no support from Scripture, "Pope Pius XII made the pronouncement with the utmost confidence, relying on an alleged original ‘deposit of faith’ given to the apostles by Jesus Christ—but which, we note did not come clearly to light until some nineteen centuries later. The early Church fathers, who were closest to those events knew nothing at all about such an ascension. One is left to marvel that such unscriptural, unhistorical, and senseless teachings could be embraced by any people and treated as if they were unchallengeable and Scriptural truth."22
The ‘assumption’ of Mary is nowhere to be found in Scripture, not even in the traditional teachings of the 1st century Church, which Rome considers authoritative. "The doctrine of the assumption of Mary is merely one of the so-called ‘logical conclusions’ that the Roman theologians have drawn to support their system. Since Mary was sinless it is illogical, we are told, to assume that her body remained in the grave. But the answer is: If Mary was sinless, why did she have to die at all? Death is the penalty for sin. And where there is no sin there can be no penalty. God would be unjust if He punished the innocent. Either Mary was sinless and did not die, or she did have sin, she died, and her body remains in the grave."24
The ‘assumption’ of Mary was initially looked upon as a fable, and in the 5th century, Pope Gelasius condemned it as apocryphal—of questionable authority! Such apocryphal material (known as transitus) was written by men claiming to be original apostles or ‘contemporaries of Mary’. Many Roman Catholic theologians consider the work as ‘theological speculation’ and confirm: "...there is nothing of any historical value in such apocryphal works."23 Thomas Acquinas, in his commentary on John 21, maintained: "...only the canonical Scriptures are normative for faith."
Dear Roman Catholic, we implore you to take a long look at what you believe and why; your eternal destiny depends on what you believe. If God has said something, then we must believe Him and not the inventions of blind leaders, who only lead people away from the truth. The Lord Jesus said in Matthew 15:14: "...if a blind person leads a blind person, both will fall into a pit." If anything contradicts the Bible, the Word of God, then we must reject it no matter who the source is, lest we be found to be calling God a liar. "Add nothing to His words, lest he reprove you, and you be exposed as a deceiver" (Proverbs 30:6).