Our Blessed Virgin MaryOur Blessed Virgin Mary

In the realm of Christian faith, the veneration of Mary, the mother of Jesus, holds a significant place within Catholic theology and devotion. However, this practice often faces objections and misconceptions, particularly from Protestants who may view it as contradictory or excessive. In this article, we aim to provide a comprehensive overview of common objections raised by Protestants and address these concerns from a Catholic perspective. By clarifying the distinction between veneration and worship, exploring the biblical basis for Mary’s veneration, discussing her role as a mediator and intercessor, and examining the place of devotion in the Catholic faith, we hope to foster a deeper understanding of Catholic beliefs and practices regarding Mary.

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Worshiping Mary:

One of the primary objections is the accusation that Catholics worship Mary. Protestants often misunderstand the distinction between veneration and worship. Catholics believe in giving Mary a special honor and respect, but worship is reserved exclusively for God. Catholics understand that Mary is a created being and not divine.

In Catholic theology, there are three distinct categories of honor or reverence: dulia, hyperdulia, and latria. These terms help to differentiate the types of honor given to different objects or beings within the Catholic tradition. Here’s a breakdown of each term:

  1. Dulia: Dulia refers to the honor or veneration given to the saints and angels. It is the lowest form of honor among the three categories. Dulia acknowledges the exemplary lives and virtues of the saints and recognizes their intercessory role in prayer. It is important to note that dulia is not worship or adoration but a reverential respect and honor shown to these holy individuals who are considered to be models of faith.
  2. Hyperdulia: Hyperdulia is a higher form of honor or reverence that is given specifically to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It acknowledges her unique and exalted role as the Mother of God and her exceptional virtues. Hyperdulia surpasses the honor given to all other saints and angels. Catholics believe that Mary holds a singular and elevated place among all creatures, and her role as the Mother of Jesus deserves special honor and veneration.
  3. Latria: Latria is the highest form of honor, and it is reserved exclusively for God. It refers to the worship and adoration given to God alone. Latria acknowledges the divine nature of God and recognizes His supreme authority, power, and majesty. Latria is the type of honor that is due to the Holy Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—and is not to be given to any created beings, including saints or angels.

To summarize, dulia is the honor given to saints and angels, hyperdulia is the special honor given to Mary as the Mother of God, and latria is the worship and adoration reserved solely for God. These distinctions help to clarify the appropriate way in which Catholics understand and express reverence toward different beings within their faith tradition.


Catholics often encounter the claim from some Protestants that the use of images in our worship and devotion is akin to idolatry. It is important to clarify this misconception and shed light on the Catholic understanding of images. Firstly, it is crucial to emphasize that Catholics do not worship or adore images themselves. Instead, we use sacred images, such as statues or icons, as visual aids to deepen our connection with the divine. These images serve as reminders of the presence of God, the saints, and the mysteries of our faith. They are not worshipped as gods but rather as representations that inspire reverence and contemplation. Catholic teaching strongly condemns idolatry, which involves attributing divine qualities to created objects. In contrast, the use of images in Catholic devotion is a means of directing our hearts and minds towards the heavenly realities they represent. It is the spiritual significance and symbolism behind the images that Catholics focus on, not the physical objects themselves.

Biblical Basis:

Protestants may challenge the Catholic veneration of Mary based on the belief that it lacks sufficient biblical support. They argue that there is limited scriptural evidence to justify practices such as praying to Mary or seeking her intercession. In response, Catholic apologists point to passages such as the Annunciation (Luke 1:26-38) and the Wedding at Cana (John 2:1-12), which demonstrate Mary’s unique role in God’s plan of salvation.

The Bible contains verses that speak of Mary being called blessed for generations to come. One notable passage is Luke 1:48, where Mary herself proclaims:

“For he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed.”

This verse is part of Mary’s response, known as the Magnificat, to the greeting of her relative Elizabeth, who is filled with the Holy Spirit and declares Mary to be blessed among women. Mary acknowledges God’s favor upon her and prophesies that future generations will recognize and honor her blessed state.

Another verse that alludes to Mary’s blessedness is Luke 1:42, spoken by Elizabeth:

“And she exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!'”

In this verse, Elizabeth praises both Mary and the fruit of her womb, Jesus. This statement is often echoed in Catholic prayers, such as the Hail Mary, which draw from this biblical text to honor Mary’s blessedness.

These verses reflect the high esteem and veneration accorded to Mary within the Catholic tradition. She is recognized as the chosen vessel to bear the Son of God and is regarded as a blessed and highly favored figure in the history of salvation.

The book of Isaiah in the Old Testament contains prophecies about the coming Messiah, including references to His birth from a virgin. Here are two key verses from Isaiah that speak of the virgin birth:

  1. Isaiah 7:14: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” This prophecy, often cited during the Christmas season, foretells the miraculous birth of a child to a virgin. The child will be called Immanuel, which means “God with us.” Christians interpret this verse as a prophecy pointing to the birth of Jesus, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.
  2. Isaiah 9:6: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Although this verse does not explicitly mention a virgin birth, it speaks of the birth of a child who would hold divine titles and bring peace and salvation. Christians see this verse as foreshadowing the coming of Jesus as the Messiah.

These prophecies from Isaiah are regarded by Christians as pointing to the fulfillment of God’s plan for salvation through the birth of Jesus Christ, who was born of the Virgin Mary in accordance with these ancient prophecies.

The dismissal of tradition as a valid source of authority overlooks the fact that the Bible itself emerged from within a tradition. The canon of Scripture, the process of determining which books were to be included, and the interpretation of certain passages were all influenced by early Christian tradition. Tradition provides valuable historical, liturgical, and theological insights that can aid in understanding the biblical text and its application.

Mediatorship of Christ:

Some Protestants object to the Catholic belief in Mary’s role as a mediatrix, suggesting that it diminishes the centrality of Jesus Christ as the sole mediator between God and humanity (1 Timothy 2:5). Catholic apologists clarify that Mary’s mediation is subordinate to Christ’s and that she intercedes for us by presenting our prayers to her Son.

Luis Maria Grignon de Montfort wrote extensively about Mary’s role as a mediator in the spiritual life of believers. According to Montfort, Mary serves as a mediator between God and humanity, assisting believers in their journey towards union with God. Here’s an explanation of Montfort’s perspective on Mary as a mediator:

  1. Spiritual Motherhood: Montfort emphasized Mary’s role as a spiritual mother to all Christians. He believed that, just as Mary physically gave birth to Jesus, she also spiritually gives birth to believers, nurturing and guiding them in their spiritual growth. As a loving mother, she intercedes for her children, presents their needs to God, and obtains graces for them.
  2. Christological Mediation: Montfort saw Mary’s mediation as closely connected to her unique relationship with Jesus Christ. He taught that Mary’s role as the Mother of God made her uniquely suited to intercede on behalf of humanity. Montfort argued that all graces and blessings flow through Mary’s hands, as she is intimately united with her Son and shares in His redemptive work.
  3. Offering Our Prayers and Actions: Montfort encouraged believers to consecrate themselves to Mary and to offer their prayers, sacrifices, and good deeds through her. He believed that by entrusting everything to Mary, she purifies and embellishes these offerings before presenting them to God, thus making them more pleasing and effective.
  4. Dependence on Mary: Montfort emphasized the complete dependence of believers on Mary’s intercession. He taught that true devotion to Mary involves surrendering oneself entirely to her care and guidance. Through this dependence, believers receive the graces necessary for their spiritual growth and are led closer to Christ.
  5. Marian Total Consecration: Montfort promoted the practice of Marian Total Consecration, where believers give themselves entirely to Mary, offering their whole lives to her service. This consecration involves a radical surrender of one’s will, desires, and possessions to Mary, allowing her to lead and shape their lives according to God’s will.

Saints as Intercessors:

Protestants may question the practice of asking Mary and other saints for intercession, believing that it contradicts the belief in the direct access to God through Jesus Christ. Catholic apologists explain that just as we ask fellow believers on Earth to pray for us, we can also ask those who have gone before us and are united with Christ in heaven.

The Bible contains several verses that support the idea of praying for others and seeking intercession on their behalf. Here are a few examples:

  1. 1 Timothy 2:1-2: “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” This verse encourages believers to offer prayers and intercession for all people, including those in positions of authority. It highlights the importance of seeking God’s intervention and blessing on behalf of others.
  2. James 5:16: “Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” This verse emphasizes the power of prayer and the importance of interceding for one another. It encourages believers to seek healing and restoration through the prayers of the righteous.
  3. Romans 15:30: “I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.” Here, the Apostle Paul requests the prayers of fellow believers, recognizing the value of their intercession. This verse demonstrates the practice of seeking the prayers of others and acknowledges the mutual support and encouragement found in intercessory prayer.
  4. Ephesians 6:18-19: “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.” In this passage, Paul encourages believers to pray for one another, including himself. It highlights the need for ongoing, fervent prayer for all fellow believers.

These verses demonstrate the biblical support for praying for others and seeking intercession on their behalf. They affirm the importance of lifting up one another in prayer, seeking God’s intervention, healing, and guidance. Intercessory prayer reflects the biblical principle of caring for and supporting one another in faith.

The role of Mary as an intercessor is seen as a reflection of her unique relationship with God and her closeness to Jesus. Catholics believe that Mary’s intercession does not compete with or diminish the adoration of God but enhances it. Mary’s intercession is understood as a powerful means of drawing closer to God and seeking His grace and mercy.

Furthermore, Mary is seen as the perfect disciple who always directs attention to her Son, Jesus Christ. She played a crucial role in God’s plan of salvation by giving birth to Jesus and nurturing Him throughout His earthly life. Catholics believe that Mary’s intercession leads believers to a deeper relationship with Jesus, who is the ultimate object of adoration and worship.

Catholics strive to honor Mary as a model of faith and discipleship while giving ultimate adoration and worship to God alone. Asking for Mary’s intercession is seen as a way to seek her help and guidance in drawing closer to God, not as a distraction from the worship and adoration due to God Almighty.

Excessive Devotion:

Some Protestants perceive Catholic veneration of Mary as excessive, citing practices such as the recitation of the Rosary or the presence of statues and images. They argue that these practices may distract from a personal relationship with Christ. Catholic apologists emphasize that such devotions are meant to deepen one’s relationship with Christ and view them as aids to prayer and meditation.

The Rosary guides us to Jesus as its primary focus. It is profoundly Christ-centered, aiming to deepen believers’ understanding and connection with Jesus. While the Rosary includes the repetition of traditional prayers like the Hail Mary, its intention is not to emphasize Mary but rather to reflect on the significant moments in Christ’s life. Each Hail Mary prayer corresponds to a specific event, such as Jesus’ birth, passion, or resurrection. Through contemplation of these mysteries, Catholics seek to encounter Christ, nurturing their devotion and affection towards Him.

Saint Maximilian Kolbe, a Polish Franciscan friar who lived in the early 20th century once said: “Don’t be afraid to love too much, Mary. You would never love her as much as Christ did”. Saint Maximilian Kolbe was known for his deep devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and his selfless sacrifice during World War II. He emphasized the limitless love and affection that Christ had for His mother, Mary, and encouraged others to love and honor her with great devotion. No amount of love or devotion to Mary can surpass the immense love that Christ had for her as His own mother.

The True Devotion to Our Lady Bless Virgin Mary

As Catholics, we view Mary as an example to live a Christian life in various ways. Her humility and obedience, as demonstrated in her response to God’s call, serve as models for believers. Mary’s unwavering faith, trust in God, and enduring presence at the foot of the cross inspire us to trust in God’s promises and persevere in our own journeys. Her motherly love and compassion extend not only to Jesus but also to all humanity, encouraging us to love and care for others selflessly. Mary’s purity and holiness are admired, and Catholics seek to emulate her moral integrity. Mary’s life serves as a relatable and compassionate guide, inviting us to grow in faith, obedience, humility, love, perseverance, and holiness, ultimately shaping their Christian lives.

Learning from Mary

By Soldier of Truth Publishing

Spreading God's Word through powerful devotional journals, notebooks, and more. Only Truth will set us free.

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