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Full Version: Enough Apologizing for Mary?
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I wonder if Catholics and Orthodox try too hard these days to make Protestants and others feel "safe" about our views on the Holy Mother of God, the Virgin Mary.

I noticed that in a lot of our apologetics, we downplay her role in our salvation to the point where she's "just another saint" in the kingdom that we can talk to. And even then, it's common to hear "you don't have to pray to Mary at all," as if her role in our salvation is somehow "optional" (in that you can be Cathodox and participate in the Church while completely ignoring the Virgin).

I think our efforts to "not scandalize" makes us seem dishonest to critics who know more than the average Protestant. Why don't we take a stronger and more clear stance on our views when presenting them to the non-Cathodox world?

I've been convinced for a while now that our society's mixed up views on gender (both in secular and clerical contexts) come from a deprivation of the Holy Mother. I think a lot of the fears people have about Marian beliefs come from ignorance and distortion. Perhaps if we would more boldly proclaim our devotion to her (while espousing proper orthodox Trinitarian dogma), people would become more receptive not just to her role in the kingdom, but to the role of all the saints.

Any thoughts?
I think we tend to do this too much with a lot of our views in terms of apologetic outreach to Protestants. A lot of Catholics tend to blur the lines to the point that it becomes, "Well, they're a Protestant, but they go to church and Bible study and they're basically a good person..." and that throws off the whole point, to assist in converting them to the Church.
It's true that this issue applies to representing the Church as a whole, I guess I just feel like Mary is such a key role that gets brushed aside.

It's not uncommon to talk to a recent Orthodox or Catholic convert who doesn't have any sort of relationship with the Blessed Mother at all. I think our catechesis these days aims to give a minimal understanding...
(06-26-2016, 02:18 AM)Byzantine Wrote: [ -> ]It's true that this issue applies to representing the Church as a whole, I guess I just feel like Mary is such a key role that gets brushed aside.

It's not uncommon to talk to a recent Orthodox or Catholic convert who doesn't have any sort of relationship with the Blessed Mother at all. I think our catechesis these days aims to give a minimal understanding...
That makes me incredibly sad, because the Blessed Mother plays a huge role in my spiritual life (the Rosary, Miraculous Medal....I just started wearing my brown scapular again, and I'm in the middle of a novena to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal).
I just mean it in the sense that I talk to converts (mostly online) who don't seem to know much about Mary and I get the sense that she was just sort of explained away during catechesis.

Obviously it takes time to develop a devotion to the saints and to the Blessed Mother, but there's a difference between sharing about that relationship in its fullness and letting someone grow in it naturally, versus sharing it in a reserved way to make for better apologetics. Do you get what I mean?
Protestants confess to be ONLY about the Bible,and while the stuff about Mary in the Bible can and was historically fleshed out and extrapolated to see a basis for Marian devotion on the surface there's not much there to go by. 

Marian devotion might have it's seed in Scripture, but the bulk of its insights are from extra scriptural traditions and the insights of saints and fathers.

I'll say this much, both Orthodoxy and Catholicism have an exalted role for Mary,the former in everything from practically every text of every Divine Service and iconography, the latter through statues,prayers,devotions like the rosary and alleged apparitions. In either case the place of Mary as both the Mother of God and as a powerful intercessor cannot be ignored.

The one thing I don't like about the modern Eastern apologetics for Mary is how some (not all), in an effort to distance Orrhodoxy from the Immaculate Conception,seem to say that Mary might have had little sins.  That seems to fly in the face of the texts of the Divine Services that at least suggest very strongly that she did not ever sin. 

East and West cannot downplay Marian piety.

And as far as the Byzantine world goes Mary cannot be optional, I mean the Mother of God is addressed in EVERY service, including the Divine Liturgy. I can't think of ANY service or any Hour from the Horologion where she is not addressed somehow.  Are Orthodox chapels where the bulk of the congregation is ex protestant excising all the Theotokia from the services?
I agree that we Catholics downplay Mary because she makes Protestants uncomfortable.  Sadly, I think it has gone farther in that many churches near me lack any substantive Marian devotion.  It's all pretty much optional...  It really is a weakness in our practice of the faith. 
(06-26-2016, 07:56 AM)Fontevrault Wrote: [ -> ]I agree that we Catholics downplay Mary because she makes Protestants uncomfortable.  Sadly, I think it has gone farther in that many churches near me lack any substantive Marian devotion.  It's all pretty much optional...  It really is a weakness in our practice of the faith.

Around here Marian devotion is everywhere present in the new rite parishes. There are May crownings, rosaries recited 6 days a week before Mass, devotions to Our Lady of Perpetual Help with litanies, and plenty of icons and statues with constant votive candles burning before them. Several of the churches around here even do Total Consecration as well.

There are never any sermons about Mary though, and in the Latin Rite as opposed to the Byzantine Marian devotion seems almost totally divorced from the liturgy. Of course in Benedictine Compline one of the Marian Antiphons is chanted depending on the season, but outside this Marian devotion is almost entirely private and extra liturgical. Despite this it's still alive and well amongst modern rite Catholics here in North Central Florida.


(06-26-2016, 07:56 AM)Fontevrault Wrote: [ -> ]I agree that we Catholics downplay Mary because she makes Protestants uncomfortable.  Sadly, I think it has gone farther in that many churches near me lack any substantive Marian devotion.  It's all pretty much optional...  It really is a weakness in our practice of the faith.

My experience of the Roman (Latin) Catholic Church is that it downplays much of traditional and historic Catholicism in order to not make Protestants uncomfortable, not just the Theotokos.  Sheesh!  Even the local RC parish here, which is run and staffed by Marianists  (as in Societyis almost completely devoid of what you refer to as substantive Marian devotion.  Well...there *is* a small-ish statue of Mary tucked away in a small alcove in the huge barn-like structure.  Guess they figure that's good enough. :eyeroll:
(06-26-2016, 07:36 AM)formerbuddhist Wrote: [ -> ]The one thing I don't like about the modern Eastern apologetics for Mary is how some (not all), in an effort to distance Orrhodoxy from the Immaculate Conception,seem to say that Mary might have had little sins.  That seems to fly in the face of the texts of the Divine Services that at least suggest very strongly that she did not ever sin.

Yeah this has bothered me too. It's very clear from the liturgical texts that Mary is sinless and I think it's an impious way of wholeheartedly rejecting the IC for the sake of distancing oneself from Catholicism.

(06-26-2016, 07:36 AM)formerbuddhist Wrote: [ -> ]East and West cannot downplay Marian piety.

Maybe not liturgically (although it sounds like that does happen sometimes in NO), but certainly in our apologetics.

(06-26-2016, 07:36 AM)formerbuddhist Wrote: [ -> ]And as far as the Byzantine world goes Mary cannot be optional, I mean the Mother of God is addressed in EVERY service, including the Divine Liturgy. I can't think of ANY service or any Hour from the Horologion where she is not addressed somehow.  Are Orthodox chapels where the bulk of the congregation is ex protestant excising all the Theotokia from the services?

This definitely isn't happening.
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