Smashing Mary

Listen to Dr. Paul Kengor’s commentary below or read the text.

[audio:|titles=Smashing Mary]

I have a friend, a Catholic businessman, who owns several hotels. He is not wealthy, but has done well, especially as an Eastern European immigrant who decades ago barely escaped death at the hands of communism. He has a special devotion to the Blessed Mother. So much so that he has a statue of Mary outside each of his hotels.

Recently, a customer at one of his hotels had the audacity to tell him: “Your statue offends me.”

Gee, can you imagine saying such a thing? And I imagine that the man who said this prides himself in his open-mindedness, diversity, and tolerance. And yet, his statement smacks of intolerance and insolence. It was rude.

I told my friend that he should have replied: Well, your statement offends me. You are insulting my faith.

This wasn’t the only hostility my friend has faced for his love of the Mother of Our Lord, the Mater Dei.  At another hotel, his statue of Mary was stolen. He replaced it with a new one. This time, he anchored the statue with steel rods in cement. And guess what? Some malefactor actually removed it again. Imagine the effort that must have taken. What must have possessed such a person?

And why this anger at a statue of Mary?

Recently, members of the Occupy Wall Street movement expressed their hatred of the Mother of Christ. This happened among the Occupy brethren in Rome, no less—just outside the Vatican. These fighters for economic and social justice removed a statue of Mary and smashed it into smithereens in the street. She lay there, broken in shards. If you go to the website of, you can watch (click here) the spectacle yourself.

Mary was told that her Son would be a sign destined to divide; a dagger, too, would pierce her heart. Likewise, Mary is apparently a sign destined to divide. Imagine that her mere representation as a statue could elicit so much hate.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.

For Catholic Exchange dot com and Ave Maria Radio, I’m Paul Kengor.

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Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College and executive director of The Center for Vision & Values. His books include “The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism” and “Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.”

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