September 25, 2007

Why I Left The Catholic Church (II)

If you've ever attended a Catholic mass or have been a member of a Catholic church at any time, then one thing you notice immediately is that Mary is an extremely important part of the Catholic faith. I have yet to see a Catholic church where there is not a statue or some other representation outside and then obviously within the church, there are many more representations. She is an imposing figure in the Catholic religion and venerated in several methods of the religion.

My second reason for leaving the Catholic church is:

#2 - I Disagree With The Extreme Importance / Near Worship Of Mary In The Catholic Church

Now, I want to be very careful with this as I don't think Jesus, nor anyone, would take kindly to disparaging words made about their mother. If my boys mouth off toward Jenni, I can promise you I will be the first one in their little mugs to ensure they conduct themselves with respect and honor towards their mom. SO shall I endeavor to do here.

Mary is an important figure in the Bible. She was chosen by God and was bestowed the immeasurable blessing of being the vessel through which the Savior of the world would come. She was, as Catholics pray in their prayer "Hail Mary", "blessed amongst women". That is Biblical. In "the Magnificat", the Bible says as much. However, that is where the importance of Mary comes to an end, and I think Mary, could she speak for herself today, would be the first to say that.

First, I do not believe Mary was sinless. We are never told that in the Bible nor given any reason to assume that. It also is not required for Mary to be sinless in order for Jesus to be able to be born without sin since Jesus was conceived of The Holy Spirit and not of human means. Therefore, Mary was just as much in need of Jesus to be her Savior as you and I are.

Second, aside from the accounts given in Luke and Matthew of Jesus birth, Mary is mentioned less than 10 times. Outside of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), Mary is mentioned ONCE, and that is an informational notation that at Pentecost she was gathered with all the other followers of Jesus. If Mary was really to be held in such a high exalted state, worthy of near worship, then I believe she would occupy a much more central and focused role in the New Testament and we would see examples or mention of her veneration in the letters of Paul or Peter. Very strikingly, we don't, and I believe appropriately so. The writers of the New Testament gave Mary the mention due her, but also did not make her a focus of their writings. They certainly didn't give her the focus that is placed upon her in the Catholic church.

Third, I don't believe Mary remained a virgin after the birth of Jesus. She was a virgin when Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit, but we are given no reason to think that she remained chaste after Jesus' birth. On the contrary, it would have been very odd for her to have remained so. Why would her and Joseph, after the birth of Jesus, not have sex for the remainder of their marriage? That seems odd to me and that case is certainly NEVER presented in Scripture. On the contrary, in Mark 3:31-35 we are very much given a passage of Scripture that very strongly suggests that Jesus had earthly brothers which certainly means Mary did not remain a virgin the rest of her life. Once again, beliefs held to by adherents of the Catholic faith that have no Scriptural backing.

Lastly, I don't believe that Mary is needed as an intercessor for us. I will cover this in tomorrow's post in detail as an entire reason.

Mary, as any mother on Earth, is beloved, special, and worthy of honor and respect. But veneration and near worship are certainly not warranted or presented in Scripture. As you'll begin to see, my first reason and my subsequent reasons have a definite common thread. Once you begin looking away from the Bible to oral tradition and early church fathers, your religion begins to incorporate practices and beliefs that have no solid foundation upon which to stand.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Marc,
Mary is the Mother of Jesus Christ.
Mary is the True Spouse of the Holy Spirit.
Mary is the creation of God the Father.

It's hard to believe that Mary can not stay true to her spouse the Holy Spirit.

Do think that you should rely on greek word play when you are mention Jesus' kin.

When you get an opportunity to present yourself to Christ on your personal Judgement. Do you think this is the way you show Christ you love him, by showing direspect for his mother?

The gospel message of Christ to his beloved Apostle John was to "Behold my mother!" if it is good enough for Saint John should it not be good enough for you?

Marc Backes said...

Anon...

Hence why I took special care not to disrespect her while writing about her...

I also would ask how you draw the conclusion that Mary is the spouse of the Holy Spirit - Chapter? Verse?

Also, how does Jesus passing responsibility of care for Mary to John at the cross somehow make her worthy of extreme veneration / near worship?

Also, just so you know, I'm perfect comfortable with how I'll stand before my God when I die...
Because it won't be on my merit or because of anything I've done that I'm accepted but because of the perfect obedience and shed blood of Jesus...

That was kind of the point of the reformation...justification by faith alone...

I can and never will be able to be holy before God without Jesus...HE is my only hope...

Anonymous said...

But Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?"
And the angel said to her in reply, "The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.

The two natures of Christ fully human, fully divine. Would God the Father allow His Son to be born of something anything less than a holy spousal relationship?

Joel Walkley said...

I think that is pretty unfair to accuse Marc of disrespect when he is truly attempting to arrive at a faithful conclusion of what actually is the case. (Not our own presumptions based on tradition)