Sunday, September 19, 2010

3rd attack on Our Lady; our response below

There’s a Protestant man named Sam who has made 3 posts on his blog attacking Catholic veneration for the Blessed Virgin Mary.

He also insults Catholics by saying that we worship idols.   He sites the fact that he saw a newly web Catholic couple kneel before a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary as proof that we worship idols.

He also says that there was a Catholic priest on Pat Robinson’s radio show that said Catholic veneration of Our Lady is idolatry.

Here is my response:

Dear Sam,

Although the response you posted is long, it crumbles at its base because it rests upon two faulty premises:

1) Your definition of idolatry is incorrect; and,

2) You attribute this incorrect notion of idolatry to Catholics.

Please have the kindness to take note of an essential difference that exists between idolatry and the veneration of images practiced in the Catholic Church, viz., that while the idolater credits the image he reverences with Divinity or Divine powers, the Catholic knows "that in images there is no divinity or virtue on account of which they are to be worshipped, that no petitions can be addressed to them, and that no trust is to be placed in them.

We Catholics know that the honor which is given to them is referred to the objects (prototypa) which they represent, so that through the images which we kiss, and before which we uncover our heads and kneel, we adore Christ and venerate the Saints whose likenesses they are" (Conc. Trid., Sess. XXV, "de invocatione Sanctorum," New Advent).

Furthermore, the fact that a Catholic priest said on radio, (if you heard correctly), that Catholic veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary is idolatry does not make it so.

The fact is, the Catholic veneration of the Mother of God is exactly that -- veneration, and nothing more.

Now, once we have clarified the false premises of your post, for those of good faith, let's shed clarity to what idolatry truly is:

Idolatry etymologically denotes Divine worship given to an image, but its signification has been extended to all Divine worship given to anyone or anything but the true God.

St. Thomas (Summa Theol., II-II, q. xciv) treats of it as a species of the genus superstition, which is a vice opposed to the virtue of religion and consists in giving Divine honor (cultus) to things that are not God, or to God Himself in a wrong way.

The specific note of idolatry is its direct opposition to the primary object of Divine worship; it bestows on a creature the reverence due to God alone.

It does so in several ways. The creature is often represented by an image, an idol.

"Some, by nefarious arts, made certain images which, through the power of the devil, produced certain effects whence they thought that these images contained something divine and, consequently, that divine worship was due to them." Such was the opinion of Hermes Trismegistus. Others gave Divine honors not to the images but to the creatures which they represented.

Both are hinted at by the Apostle (Romans 1:23-25), who says of the first: "They changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of the image of a corruptible man, and of birds, and of four-footed beasts and of creeping things";

And of the second: "They worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator". These worshippers of creatures were of three kinds. Some held that certain men were gods, and these they honored through their statues, e.g., Jupiter and Mercury.

Others opined that the whole world was one God, God being conceived of as the rational soul of the corporeal world. Hence they worshipped the world and all its parts, the air, the water, and all the rest; their idols, according to Varro, as reported by St. Augustine (City of God VIII.21-22), were the expression of that belief.

Others again, followers of Plato, admitted one supreme God, the cause of all things; under Him they placed certain spiritual substances of His creation and participating in His Divinity; these substances they called gods; and below these they put the souls of the heavenly bodies and, below these again the demons who, they thought, were a sort of aerial living beings (animalia).

Lowest of all they placed the human souls, which, according to merit or demerit, were to share the society either of the gods or of the demons. To all they attributed Divine worship, as St. Augustine says (City of God VIII.14).

I sincerely hope that this clarification will be helpful to you to undo the false notions that many hold in regard to Catholics being idolaters.

May the holy Mother of God, who all generations will call blessed, intercede for you and obtain your conversion to the One True Faith of the One True God, the Roman Catholic Church.


Robert Ritchie


  1. The only thing I can add to your very explicative comment is that human nature wants a memento of our loved ones, pictures...since in our Lady's time there was no photography; therefor, we make ourselves sort of an image of what we imagine Her to be, to confirm the old saying: "Seeing is believing"...we love Her, Cherish Her and want to hug Her, and through imagery we sort of achieve our purpose. God Bless you and all of Us.

  2. All I can say, is if the Blessed Mother is good enough for Jesus, She's good enough for me.

  3. All I can say is,if the Blessed Mother is good enough for Jesus, She's good enough for me.

  4. Thank you! for standing up for our Lady. She deserves our respect our love and veneration. You have said it right and we should pray for this man who slam the Catholics because of the lack of understanding in loving our lady Mother Mary most Holy. "Blessed Mother will they ever learn? Thank you Robert.