Sunday, July 15, 2018

Catholic Answers Provides Lousy Excuses For Marian Devotion

  • Discussion:
          -An apologist named Mary Beth Kremski wrote an article for Catholic Answers titled Making Peace with the Mediatrix, where she attempts to clarify Catholic doctrines on Mary, especially the title of Mediatrix in light of 1 Timothy 2:5. In fact, the author boldly stated:

          "The idea that Jesus alone can mediate grace actually contradicts Scripture: Ephesians 4:29 tells us that you and I are to "impart grace" to others by our words. As members of the body of Christ, we are called to "impart" (or mediate) grace in a variety of ways, including ministries of healing, teaching, and prayer."

          There are absolutely no words that can sufficiently express the degree of absurdity behind this rhetoric. The Roman Catholic Church clearly teaches that Mary is co-mediator with the Lord Jesus Christ, whereas Scripture teaches that He is the one who reconciles man to God. This constitutes a flat contradiction. There is no explaining this away. Scripture tells us that the only way that we can reach the Father is through the Son (John 14:6). 

          We do not access Christ through Mary. There is no other name among men by which we can be saved (Acts 4:10-12). Thus, He is the only one who can impart to us salvific grace. The reason He is the mediator of the New Covenant is that He give Himself up as an expiatory sacrifice for the sins of this world. Yet, the author has the audacity to suggest that "the idea that Jesus alone can mediate grace actually contradicts Scripture." Next, consider the cited proof-text in the Catholic Answers excerpt being dissected:

          "Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers." (Ephesians 4:29)

          This passage of Scripture speaks of us "imparting grace" in the sense of being graceful and compassionate. The context stresses the importance of godly conduct in the Christian life. It has nothing to do with praying to souls who have departed into the supernatural realm. It says nothing concerning the administration of grace that brings about conversion, which the Church of Rome claims also belongs to Mary. The Bible does not give to Mary and saints attributes that Rome has assigned to them. Hence, the points made by the folks at Catholic Answers are outright wrong. The entire article which has been linked here in this post is a work of fanciful speculation, twisted exegesis, and cognitive sophistry.

          The Roman Catholic concept of prayers to deceased saints is not only foreign to the pages of Scripture, but is also contradicted by primitive writers. Consider a handful of excerpts from various early church fathers:

          "Neither does [the Church] accomplish anything by angelic invocations, or by incantations, or by some other perverse curious art, but she directs her prayers to the Lord, who has done all things, in a pure, sincere and upright spirit, and invoking the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, she is accustomed to doing miraculous works for the benefit of mankind, not to make them wrong...the altar is then in heaven. our prayers and directed offerings)." (Irenaeus of Lyon, Against Heresies 2:32: 5 and 4:18:6)
          "Paradise, the place of heavenly bliss appointed to receive the spirits of the saints, cut off from the knowledge of this world." (Tertullian, Apology 47)

"For whoever of his soul serves the Divine Being in any other way, who does not always take into account the Creator of everything, to direct his prayers to Him alone , and to do all things as if in the eyes of God, who sees us completely, even our thoughts." (Origen, Against Celsus 7:51)

          "But if we accept prayer in its full sense, we can never pray to any created being, not even to Christ himself, but only to the God and Father of all whom our Savior has prayed as we have already shown, and teaches us to pray." (Origen, About Prayer 10)

          "It is evident that those who pray to the dead , or venerate the earth, or offer their souls to unclean spirits, do not act as if becoming men, they will suffer punishment for their wickedness and guilt , who, rebelling against God the Father of the human race, committed themselves to inexpiable rites, and violated the whole sacred law." (Lactantium, The Divine Institutes 2:18)

           "Moreover, when we stand praying, beloved brethren, we ought to be watchful and earnest with our whole heart, intent on our prayers. Let all carnal and worldly thoughts pass away, nor let the soul at that time think on anything but the object only of its prayer. For this reason also the priest, by way of preface before his prayer, prepares the minds of the brethren by saying, 'Lift up your hearts,' that so upon the people's response, 'We lift them up unto the Lord,' he may be reminded that he himself ought to think of nothing but the Lord. Let the breast be closed against the adversary, and be open to God alone." (Cyprian, On the Lord's Prayer, 31)

           Church historian Philip Schaff notes, in his History of the Christian Church, the following regarding the Roman Catholic Marian dogmas which developed after the New Testament Scriptures were penned:

           "Thus the veneration of Mary gradually degenerated into the worship of Mary; and this took so deep hold upon the popular religious life in the Middle Age, that, in spite of all scholastic distinctions between latria, and dulia, and hyrerdulia, Mariolatry practically prevailed over the worship of Christ...Irenaeus calls her also the "advocate of the virgin Eve," which, at a later day, is understood in the sense of intercessor. On this account this father stands as the oldest leading authority in the Catholic Mariology; though with only partial justice; for he was still widely removed from the notion of the sinlessness of Mary, and expressly declares the answer of Christ in John ii. 4, to be a reproof of her premature haste. In the same way Tertullian, Origen, Basil the Great, and even Chrysostom, with all their high estimate of the mother of our Lord, ascribe to her on one or two occasions (John ii. 3; Matt. xiii. 47) maternal vanity, also doubt and anxiety, and make this the sword (Luke ii. 35) which, under the cross, passed through her soul."

1 comment:

  1. That author's defense of Marian devotion is about as bizarre as it gets.