Friday, June 3, 2016


May is a month when Catholics talk about Mary a bit more. I know May ended before I posted this. Get over it. Mary makes Protestants very nervous. She still makes me a bit nervous and I have been Catholic for 13 years now. Something just does not feel right about the idea of coming to Jesus through Mary. Why is that? I think deep down we think about holiness as being between me and God and anybody else is mostly irrelevant. We don't think of salvation as joining God's family. Protestants use that language and even think in those terms with superficial things like worshipping or doing ministry. Yet when things get intensely personal and we start dealing with our deepest fears and our most entrenched sins then we don't think family. We think Jesus and me. 

Really even when Protestants think family they think father, that is God, they think brothers and sisters, that is other Christians, but they never think mother. Somehow God has given us a motherless family and nobody notices. There are 2 great sources of spiritual motherhood in Catholic tradition. That is the church and Mary. The church they are kind of OK with. John Calvin talks about the church as his mother in The Institutes and nobody found it that strange. Yet modern Protestants don't go there much. Obviously Mary as a spiritual mother is seen as more than strange. It is seen as idolatry. Really that is how Mary was presented to me as a Protestant. She was a potential idol. That is it.

There are a bunch of objections but the most common one seems to be why. Why is Mary needed when Jesus is every thing we need? Often they quote 1 Tim 2:5, "There is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Jesus." Don't Catholics talk about Mary as a mediator?

Fair question. We do talk about Mary as a mediator. Yet that verse says Jesus is the only mediator between God and man. That is true. He is the only one who is both God and man. So Mary can't bring us to God without Jesus. She can't even bring herself to God without Jesus. Yet that does not make her unimportant. In fact, we are all called to be mediators, not between God and man but between other people and Jesus. If we bring someone to Jesus then Jesus can bring them to God. This is important because a lot of people are more likely to come to Jesus if we lead them because we have a closeness and a credibility with them. 

Think of the scriptures. The bible can't save anyone. Yet it can bring someone to Jesus who can save them. So what do we do? We encourage people to read the scriptures as much as possible. We read them ourselves. We talk about them positively often. Do the scriptures become an idol? It is possible. Yet should we avoid promoting the scriptures because of that possibility? Not at all. There is just 100 times more good that can come from the scriptures than bad. 

Mary is like that. She cannot save anyone. Yet she can lead people to Jesus. So we should encourage a relationship with Mary. We should venerate her ourselves. Can she become an idol? It is possible. Not nearly as likely as many say, but it can happen. Should we avoid promoting Mary because of that possibility? Not at all. She leads people to Jesus far more often than she leads anyone away form Him.

The truth is God has given Mary a special role in His plan of salvation. Now when a man impregnates a woman God expects that man to have a special relationship with that woman. In fact, He expects that relationship to be permanent. He wants him to be married to her. So why should we assume that when God impregnates a woman that He does any less? That He would not maintain a permanent, special relationship with her?

The role of Mary is just an extension of the role of Jesus. It is not a replacement. Jesus came to earth and shortened the distance between us and Heaven. Yet He didn't shorten it to zero. Other things can shorten it more. Other people, other things, I have already mentioned the bible. Yet St Louis de Montfort says Mary is the quickest, easiest, and surest way to Jesus. Who believes Him? St John Paul II, St Maximilian Kolbe, too many to count. 
Why would it not be true? Nobody is closer to Jesus than His own mother. Nothing can help us overcome our fears like a mother's love. 


  1. Hmm what part is opinion & what is truth?

    1. Good to hear from you Tony. I am not sure what you mean by that. A lot depends on who you trust. Would God let Christians fall into serious error? Most teaching on Mary has been widely believed by virtually all Christians for many centuries. Even the reformers accepted many of them. See here.

      Yet you are right. For most protestants, myself included, the teachings on Mary are among the last they accept. Even though they make sense there is still a strong aversion to anything Marian.