Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Terms “Latria” And “Hyperdulia” Create A Distinction Without A Difference

Dulia, a Greek word signifying honor and veneration, is reserved for the saints. Latria, the Greek word for worship, is reserved for God. Between Dulia and Latria, there exists a form of veneration that is reserved for Mary alone, and that veneration is called Hyperdulia, or literally “hyperveneration.” According to the Roman Catholic Encyclopedia, hyperveneration is reserved for “the Blessed Virgin.” It ought to be sufficient, therefore, for Roman Catholics to dismiss all criticism by offering up these three terms. “We don’t worship Mary,” they should say. “We merely hypervenerate her. It is more than the dulia we give to the other saints, but it is less than latria, which is of course reserved for God alone. We are very good at maintaining the distinctions between them.”

What makes such a response implausible is that English translations of papal statements on Mary use the word “worship” where hyperveneration ought to have been used. For example, Pius XII’s papal encyclical, Fulgens Corona, uses “worship” repeatedly to describe Roman Catholic veneration of Mary:

“…there is nothing ‘more sweet, nothing dearer than to worship, venerate, invoke and praise with ardent affection the Mother of God conceived without stain of original sin.’ … But where—as is the case in almost all dioceses, there exists a church in which the Virgin Mother of God is worshiped with more intense devotion, thither on stated days let pilgrims flock together in great numbers and publicly and in the open give glorious expression to their common Faith and their common love toward the Virgin Most Holy. … But let this holy city of Rome be the first to give the example, this city which from the earliest Christian era worshipped the heavenly mother, its patroness, with a special devotion.” (Pius XII, Fulgens Corona, September 8, 1953, paragraphs 18, 33 & 34)

To get to the bottom of Rome’s veneration, we really ought to look at the Latin version of the text, and the Latin version uses various conjugations of the infinitive colere, “to worship”:

“…dulcius, nihil carius, quam ferventissimo affectu Deiparam Virginem absque labe originali conceptam ubique colere, venerari, invocare et praedicare … Ubi vero — quod in omnibus fere Dioecesibus contingit — sacrum exstat templum, in quo Deipara Virgo impensiore pietate colitur, illuc statis per annum diebus…. Omnium autem in exemplum praecedat haec alma Urbs, quae inde ab antiquissima christiani nominis aetate caelestem Matrem ac Patronam suam peculiari religione coluit.”

Roman Catholic apologists may object to us rendering colere as “worship,” but we remind them that this is their translation, not ours. If it is hyperveneration that is intended by colere, then the translators at the Vatican, whose primary language is presumably Latin, ought to know better. Perhaps the Latin Vulgate can be of some help. At Exodus 20:5, when forbidding idolatry, the Vulgateimplores us, “Non adorabis ea neque coles,” that is, “Thou shalt not adore [false gods], nor serve them,” thus distinguishing between “adoration” and “service.” But this does not help, for coles is just as forbidden as adorabis in Exodus 20:5, and what is forbidden there is what Pius XII apparently prescribed to his flock.

Timothy F. Kauffman, "WE DON’T WORSHIP* MARY” PART 1"

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