I was at work and one of my co-workers, I could tell, was uneasy with me. And so one day it all came out and he started shouting at me.
Why do you Catholics put Mary on such a high pedestal? And so I shouted back; oh, do you mean where the Catholic Church makes Mary equal to God, even deifying her? Is that what you mean? He said; Yes! And so I explained to him, never in the two thousand year history of the Church has the Church ever made Mary equal to God or deified her! He hesitated, said nothing and then walked away.
The reason he said nothing is because in order to refute me he has to show some time and place in history where the Church made Mary equal to God or deified her. It simply does not exist. Everybody is in agreement that Mary in the Bible is not a god, but the mother of Jesus. And so where did he get his information? He got it from non-Catholic sources and so that is why we call it Protestant teaching. It is Protestant teaching about the Catholic Church not to be confused with Catholic teaching.
To make up a teaching and apply it to another as though it is their teaching is intellectually dishonest. The irony of the situation is that when people disagree with making Mary into a God, they are in fact disagreeing with Protestant teaching, not Catholic teaching. The Catholic Church never deified her in any century. If anyone would like to challenge me on this, please feel free because in order to do so, that person will have to study history and this would be a good thing.
He later came back and apologized to me saying he spoke in an area he didn’t know enough about. I accepted his apology and told him I was glad he brought it up. I actually have no criticism for this man whatsoever. In fact he has my admiration, because even if he disagrees with me, he believed it to be true and is not afraid to say it. I hold him in higher regard than someone who agrees with me, but is lukewarm in their faith and could care less one way or the other. “I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth” (Rv 3:15, 16).
People have tried to convert me away from the Catholic Church and one of the ways they do it is to misrepresent the Church in regards to Mary and other teachings. I have often wondered what they wanted from me. Do they want me to join their Church and then have me lie about the Church as they are doing? On the other hand, in most cases, they are not culpable because they do not realize they are misrepresenting the Church. They, at some point have come in contact with some anti-Catholic information and believed it to be true without checking with the Church to see if it is in fact true.
Of course when I say anti-Catholic, I don’t mean all Protestants. In fact some will come right out and say that the strong stance against Mary is not a response coming from the Bible, but it is an over response to the Catholic Church. Timothy George admits as much in an article he wrote in Christianity Today. Must nearly everything we say about Mary be couched in the language of dissent and disbelief? The fact is, evangelicals often say less about Mary than the New Testament does. She is seldom mentioned in our sermons or worship services, except for her honorary appearance in the annual Christmas pageant (The Blessed Evangelical Mary; Why we shouldn’t ignore her any longer; 12/1/2003 Christianity Today).