Do Catholics Worship Mary?

by Steve Ray on May 11, 2014

A friend named Lenard Alt sent this to me — a response he wrote about an anti-Catholic verbal assault:

James_Tissot_The_Holy_Virgin_as_a_Girl_250Is Mary being worshiped as a God or equal to Jesus?  Is this Catholic or Protestant teaching?

When people ask you the question, “Why do Catholics worship Mary as God?” there is a fallacy built into the question and this fallacy should be dealt with first, before any other issue. The worship of Mary as God is not Catholic teaching, but Protestant teaching about the Catholic Church. In other words they misrepresent the teachings of the Church and then they disagree with their own misrepresentations.

It doesn’t say in the Bible, Catholics worship Mary as God. There is no Catholic Council that deified Mary as God and so where does it come from? It is purely a product of anti-Catholic teaching. Yes, it is a Protestant tradition and no it didn’t come from Martin Luther.   It came from some of the later Protestant traditions. I can disagree with Luther on a number of things, but there is one thing I very much admire about Luther. He had an extremely high regard for Mary that most Protestants today are totally unaware of.

mary_nazareth2Here is one of Luther’s statements: “If our Lady were to enter Jerusalem today in a golden coach drawn by 4,000 horses it would not be an honor to great enough for she who bore in her womb our Savior” (Protestantism and our Lady, Fr. George Rutler).

I once had someone come up to me and literally yell at me saying; “Why do you Catholics put Mary on such a high pedestal?” I retorted back, “Oh, you mean where the Catholic Church makes Mary equal to God or even greater then God, is that what you mean?” And he said, “yes!” I then told him that never in its two thousand year history has the Church ever deified Mary or made her equal to God. He stood there looking at me and then walked away. He later came back, and to his credit, he apologized.

virgin460Why didn’t he have any response for me? The problem is this; he can’t just recite anti-Catholic literature.  He has to use Catholic sources.  I gave him two thousand years of history to find a Church Council that shows where the Catholic Church deified Mary, and it doesn’t exist. [In fact, the Church denounces as idolatry any person or thing worshiped except God alone and denounces any deification of Mary].

We honor (dulia) the saints; we give a greater honor (hyperdulia) to Mary and the greatest honor (latria) and glory go to Jesus. The deification of Mary is Protestant teaching (or misrepresentation) about the Catholic Church, not to be confused with real Catholic teaching.

And yes I do disagree with groups who deliberately misrepresent the Church. I am always amazed by the lack of intellectual honesty on the part of the anti-Catholics. If a person really has a case against the Church, why wouldn’t they first represent the Church honestly and then disagree with it?



{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

jack gibes October 18, 2011 at 10:51 PM

we, catholics all know not to worship Mary, but my amazement kicks in when we American Catholics stay away from Medjugorje news, especially the clergy. Most say that this hasn’t been an approved apparition, when we all know that it just does not have to approved anymore, since 1982, I believe. John Paul II and Pope Benedict, both strongly support Medjugorje and invite all to experience it. It seems that American Church has something against it. I wonder if Steve could have a post on those issues, possibly?
Also where in the Bible would we find a clear explanation of Sunday worship, something to go against protestant claims that Sunday worship is not Bible supported.
Also there has been an approved apparition of Our Lady of America by the late bishop Leopold, in the 50,s and 60′s, and now they all say that the only approved apparition of Our Lady was in Champion, Wisconsin. How is that possible?

De Maria January 11, 2012 at 8:14 PM

My amazement is that Protestants, who claim to follow Scripture Alone, do not honor Mary more stridently. Let me explain:

Scripture says that God’s will should be done on earth as it is in heaven. And God wills that the Angels praise Mary. How do I know? Look in Scripture:

Luke 1: 26And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

Let’s break this down:


1. an angel is a messenger of God. That is what the word, angel, means.
2. this angel, Gabriel, is one of the four angels that stands before the throne of God.


1. God sent this angel to Mary.
2. Since this angel is a messenger of God’s, God sent Him to deliver a message.
3. Therefore, the angel was not speaking on his own, but was communicating God’s message to Mary.
4. If we skip down to verse 28, we see that this was a message of praise (i.e. blessed art thou).
5. Therefore God praised Mary through His Angel.

That is great praise indeed. Do you know of any man whose praise is worth more than God’s? In other words, what do you value more highly, the praise of man or the praise of God? But, there’s more.

God sent the Angel to do His Will. What is His Will. Obviously, God sent the Angel to deliver a message of praise. Therefore it is God’s will that the Angels praise Mary. And there’s yet more.

Because the Holy Spirit inspired a holy woman to exclaim, “”Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! ” still in Luke chapter

1: 41And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: 42And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. 43And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. 45And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.

Should we break this down?

1. The Holy Spirit is God the Third Person of the Holy Trinity.
2. Therefore, God inspired Elisabeth to praise Mary.
3. This praise is inscribed in the Word of God for all generations.
4. Since Elisabeth is a member of the human race, then it is safe to conclude that God wills that men praise Mary.
5. And we find, again, that God praised Mary through His Saint. Saint Elisabeth praised Mary when she was inspired by the Holy Spirit to do so. That means that it is the Holy Spirit’s praise which she passed on. That is why Scripture is called the Word of God. Because it is inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Need we say more? Let’s do it anyway.

Scripture says: Matthew 6:10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

Thus, God wills that mankind PRAISE Mary. This is confirmed by Mary herself when she says, “From now on all generations will call me blessed (Luke 1:48).”

It seems plain to me from Scripture that God wants us to praise Mary. And this conforms to the Teaching of the Church. So, why don’t Protestants’ see this even though they rely upon Scripture alone?


De Maria

Stan April 7, 2013 at 8:17 PM

Is Mary an intersessor between God and myselg?

Amy May 12, 2013 at 10:25 AM

Mary is an intercessor in the same way that your friend or next-door neighbor who prays for you is an intercessor. Well, except that Mary is in Heaven with God, in His very presence! She can do nothing without Him… yet He does much through her for us. We always remember that it is through God’s power alone that prayers are answered and graces are given, but that sometimes He chooses to work through others, and that includes Mary, the angels, and the saints.

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