5 Facts to Ignore Before Accusing Catholics of “Mary Worship”

I love the Blessed Mother! There…I said it and I’m glad I did! As a Catholic, I’m so blessed to be a member of the Church that truly honors and respects the Mother of my Lord and Savior. I must admit that, even though I’m a cradle Catholic, I didn’t always feel this way. In fact, for most of my life I didn’t understand Mary’s role or care about her too much. What a mistake! Now, after several recent accusations of “Mary worship” on my Facebook page, it’s time to stand up for my “Mom”. And, even though I love her and want to defend her honor, I have no intention of getting nasty. Rather, I’d prefer to present 5 facts about Mary. Before you accuse Catholics of worshiping Mary, I ask you to take a long hard look at these facts. They have a way of poking holes in the theory that we place too much emphasis on Mary. If you still want to accuse Catholics of worshiping Mary, then I suggest you ignore these facts!

1. God Sent The Savior Through Mary – I list this one first because it’s really tough to downplay Mary’s importance while acknowledging that the long awaiting Messiah came to earth by being born of a woman…and that woman was Mary. Out of all the ways that Jesus could have come to earth, why was Mary chosen? If Mary was important to God, shouldn’t she mean something to us?

2. Jesus Performed His First Miracle At Mary’s Request – This is another good one. Oh I know, Jesus didn’t need Mary to turn the water into wine at Cana. She just happened to be there. OK, why then did St. John list Mary FIRST in his list of wedding guests?

On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; Jesus also was invited to the marriage with His disciples. (John 2:1-2)

If Mary is not important in this saga, why is she listed BEFORE the apostles and BEFORE Jesus? St. John the Evangelist was not known for inserting extraneous details. Mary is listed first because John wants to call the readers’ attention to her presence at the wedding.

But what about “the rebuke”? You know, the argument that Jesus was telling Mary to “butt out” when He stated:

“O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” (John 2:4)

Jesus was a devout Jew and an obedient follower of the Ten Commandments. Why would He publicly dishonor His mother in violation of the Fourth Commandment? Secondly, if this was such a “put down” by Jesus, why did He go ahead and perform the miracle of changing water into wine? Wouldn’t that have been the end of the request. Of course it would, unless He wasn’t putting Mary down. When His mother interceded on behalf of the couple, Our Lord decided that His time had now come. Don’t you think Jesus is trying to tell us something? Isn’t is probable that Jesus waited until Mary’s request, in order to show us her intercessory power? Doesn’t that explain why St. John listed her first among the guests?

3. Jesus Gave Mary To John From The Cross – As He suffered and died on the Cross, Jesus made a very profound statement:

When Jesus saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing near, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. (John 19:26-27)

Why, while struggling to speak as He hung on the Cross, would Jesus have spoken these words if they didn’t mean anything? Could He have been making small talk? Obviously, there was a reason that Our Lord did what He did. The Church has always believed that John represented each member of the Church and that, from that moment on, Mary became our spiritual mother. Scripture tells us that, on that day John accepted Jesus’ gift and “took her to his own home” (John 19:27). Shouldn’t we do the same?

4. Jesus’ First Graces Were Given Through Mary – This is a fact that frequently gets overlooked by those who wish to downplay Mary’s importance…and it comes straight from the Bible! After accepting God’s offer to become the Mother of the Savior, Mary traveled “in haste” to visit her relative, Elizabeth.

And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the child leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. (Luke 1:41)

According to this Bible passage, before Jesus was even born, Mary’s voice was used to deliver the graces to Elizabeth. Why? Because she’s not important? Isn’t there some other way, these graces could have been dispensed?

Not convinced? Listen to what Elizabeth had to say (also directly from the Bible)…

“For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the child in my womb leaped for joy.” (Luke 1:44)

It’s pretty hard to deny the importance of Mary’s presence and voice in dispensing these graces to Elizabeth. Did the graces originate from Mary? No, they obviously came from Jesus. However, He chose to have Mary make the journey and use her voice to deliver them. Why? Because He wants us to realize that she is important!

5. Jesus Christ Is The Sole Mediator Between God And Man – Now, this doesn’t make sense. How does this help to support the Catholic position? This is why we Catholics “have it all wrong”, isn’t it? Sorry if I’m bursting anyone’s bubble, but Catholics absolutely believe that Jesus Christ is the sole mediator between God and man. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) clearly states this belief:

Intercession is a prayer of petition which leads us to pray as Jesus did. He is the one intercessor with the Father on behalf of all men, especially sinners. (CCC 2634)

This Catholic teaching is supported by the following Bible passage:

For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all. (1 Timothy 2:5-6)

Although Jesus Christ is the sole mediator between God and man, that doesn’t preclude others (including Mary) from being involved in a subordinate mediation, or intercession. Saint Paul, who made the above statement, is obviously aware of that fact since he several times urges his readers to pray for each other (Romans 1:9, 1 Thessalonians 5:25, 1 Timothy 2:1). The Catechism refers to this type of intercession as being a “participation in the intercession of Christ” (CCC 2635) and is put into practice each time we pray for one another. Asking Mary to intercede for us in no way takes away from Jesus’ role as mediator between God and men.

While I’m not naive enough to think that listing these 5 facts will render me immune from further accusations of “Mary worship”, I do think that they will have an effect if looked at with an open mind. Sacred Scripture does not contain a lot of words about Mary, but what’s there is powerful. Theologians have spent 2,000 years studying her Biblical appearances and will continue to do so. We can learn much by studying Mary’s role as documented in the pages of the Bible. If anyone wants to accuse me of being a “Mary worshiper”, I ask you to first look at these 5 facts. If you still want to point a finger, you’ll need to ignore these factual statements…because accepting them will seriously undermine your credibility!

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on CE on Jun 27, 2012


Gary Zimak is the author of several books, including A Worrier's Guide To The Bible, From Fear To Faith and Stop Worrying & Start Living. Gary is a frequent speaker at parishes and conferences across the United States and Canada and is recognized as the leading Catholic speaker on the topic of overcoming anxiety. He is the host of Spirit In The Morning on Holy Spirit Radio in Philadelphia and the creator and host of Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled, the only Catholic podcast designed specifically for worriers. Gary is also a regular guest on EWTN TV and radio. For more information, visit his website FollowingTheTruth.com.

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  • Yblegen

    I couldn’t stop from laughing out loud over your last sentence in this article. 

  • Peter Nyikos

    I like to tell evangelicals about the great contrast between the words of the Hail Mary, “Pray for us sinners” and the prayer of the Publican, “O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.”  It shows the difference between intercessory prayer, technically called “dulia” [or, in the case of Mary, “hyperdulia”] and the worship that is due to God alone, “latria.”

    I also talk to them about the rest of the Hail Mary, reminding them that the whole first half is scriptural, while the words “Mother of God” are better understood in the original Greek, “Theotokos” — literally “God-bearer”.  Its significance is its stress on the Incarnation — that Jesus was God already in Mary’s womb, and not made God at some point in his later life, as some heresies have it. 

  • Kecharitomine

    I wasn’t born a Catholic, but I became a Catholic when I told God I want to worship Him truthfully. I used to go to SDA church and I found that people are netted in a way that they shouldn’t see the truth and always attacKing Catholics particularly, When I went into a Catholic Church after a dreams that changed my life, I found out that no one is interested in engaging on debates on who is truly worshiping God, all they did was to strengthen their faith with sacramentals. as I checked in most Catholic books and all it was was about creating a relationship with God and praying for the whole world. I began to read the bible by myself and found that at my previous churches they left behind many important verses of the scripture so that we may not know the whole truth. 

    I then became a Marian person after reading the Magnificat; on the phrase that says “all generations shall call me blessed” Lk 1:48. I then confessed that the only church in the world with the fullness of truth is the Catholic Church, and I wanted to be one of those honouring mother of God in this generation

    To add on praying to the saints, in on Rev 8:3-4, during Mass in a Catholic Church you will feel closeness to God, and I don’t understand why anti-catholic are not reading these verses

    since I came from the protestant church, I knew many questions about Catholic faith regarding relics, and I had to try and see if it is supported in the bible. Our awesome God revealed these verses to me (2Kings 13:20-21; Act 19:11-12; and Lk8:45-47 

    I love these 5 facts and I wish your develop more facts to ignore in many questions. BE BLESSED 

  • Belovedoflat

    Try to ponder the love between an infant as it gazes at the gentle Joy on it’s mother’s face & it’s mother as she beholds the life that came from the depths of her being… The depth of fondness is seemingly inexplicable. For those who have experienced such love, no explaination is necessary – for those who have been hypnotized or brain-washed into believing that God doesn’t share this love with us, no explaination will suffice. As a youth, my experience of rosaries was one of being forced to comply. As maturity occurred, so did some of the accompanying pressures. When I tried again the rosary seeds forced on me as a youth, inner experiences of inexplicable ecstacy washed over my being. Part of this ecstacy is the longing for others to know it’s sweetness; I believe it to be Mary’s maternal longing for all her children to come to the Heavenly experience of “Drowning” in Her Son’s Love.  Please trust that devotion to/ consoling of Mother Mary’s Heart can only enhance our experience of the God that she holds SOoo dear.

  • .aron

    Sorry, but I still don’t understand the reasons for “worshiping” Mary… or better, in my point of view I guess Catholics and Protestants give different meaning to the word “worship” otherwise I cannot understand such debate.

    With respect to intercessory prayers, I don’t understand the reason of asking Mary to intercede for us. With all respects, and with all understanding of Mary’s role, she is not God and she did not resurrect. (Sorry if I might sound quite rude. My English needs more practice).

  • QuoVadisAnima

    There is much more to it than this, but here is a simple answer: Intercession is about asking someone to pray for you. The prayers of a holy person are of more value (per James 5:16). And Mary is the first among His disciples as well as blessed among all women. She is the closest to God that any human being ever has been or ever will be. Her intercession therefore would have the greatest value of all the saints.

  • Juice Banjo

    I have no words, I could take the time to pick each piece of BS in this article, but I have other things to do

    So, I will call on this, your use of bible verses does not validate or make “Mary Worshiping” okay.

    Yeah, Jesus said to John, “This is your mother…” but he could have easily have been saying this as she was the woman he grew up with as a Mum and wanted to ease her loss, this may come as a shock, but NOT EVERYTHING Jesus said had a double meaning.

    Also, who says Mary or any other saint for that matter has the power to grant or receive prayers? The bible mentions (In revolution) the people in power in heaven, all unsurprisingly not catholic saints and from the old testament. (Eli, Abraham…. ect)

    So answer, How do we know she can receive prayers?

    (Oh, and don’t bring the Pope into this, he is not anointed by God, he’s picked by a load of other bishops, and he is not “Jesus Christ on earth”- that’s blasphemy).

    Do you know what this reminded me of English GCSE,and History GCSE, in these I could write a piece about how Hitler was a angel sent from heaven, clearly this is not the case, but as long as I have evidence to back this up, it will be taken as a valid argument.

    The Bible is the same, if you really wanted you could find verses to back up abortion, being Gay (they have done this, actually), sex before marriage and other things.

    So, therefore, when it come to things like this we have to look for bible quotes SPECIFIC verses, I have one: “…Worship the lord your God ALONE.” (Worship is definitely kissing statues by the way.)

    That’s pretty damn specific.

  • Karen

    Although Jesus Christ is the sole mediator between God and man, that doesn’t preclude others …Oh? Douay-Rheims
    Jesus saith to him: I am the way, and the truth, and the
    life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me. JOHN 14:6. Jesus Christ Is The Sole Mediator Between God And Man – Now, this doesn’t make sense. How does this help to support the Catholic position? This is why we Catholics “have it all wrong”, isn’t it? Sorry if I’m bursting anyone’s bubble, but Catholics absolutely believe that Jesus Christ is the sole mediator between God and man. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) clearly states this belief:If this is true, why then do you you pray the “Hail Mary”? why pray to “dead “saints”? Don’t say they are intercessing for you, because they are no longer here on earth, and only God can hear prayers in heaven.

  • Karen

    God doesn’t have a mother, he always was, always will be here. Jesus has a mother, but notice in the bible he always referred to her as WOMEN, never mother.

  • Karen
  • Karen

    You are right on track…you english is just fine.

  • Karen
  • Brad

    Then you should not kiss your own mother when you greet her nor should you celebrate her birthday. By the way, Jehovah’s Witnesses utilize this argument and do not celebrate ANYONE’s birthday because they believe to do so is to “worship” that person.
    Me on the other hand, I kissed my mother’s cheek every opportunity I had when she was alive, and celebrated her birthday.
    I am glad of heart to be a “Momma’s Boy.”

  • Solomon Meyshok

    Nobody says Mary isnt important,,But what is the need to worship her,,many persons were given importance by jesus ,,then is that we should worship JOHN as a god,,because he was lovable disciple of jesus, What about the ten commandments,,You shall not have worship any other god than me, what about that,isnt it written in the catholic bible, But finally please dont say that we dont worship mary we just honor her,which no one believes,,,