Do Catholics worship Mary, and does the Catholic Church teach Mary worship? No, of course not. There is not one single source anywhere instructing Catholics to worship Mary, and if anti-Catholics had even an ounce of humility and honesty, they would stop their lies about the “Vatican making Mary a deity” and other nonsense like that.
The truth is, the Catholic Church condemns idolatry. There is only one God and one Lord Jesus Christ, and He alone is to be worshiped. Anyone who thinks that Catholics worship Mary does not understand Catholicism. So, perhaps this article can help to explain why Catholics honor Mary.
Honoring Mary: What Catholics Really Believe
One of the most common questions asked by Christians of other denominations is, “Why do Catholics honor Mary so highly?” The answer is simple: because God did!
In Genesis 12: 3-4, and many other passages found in the Old Testament, God specifically commands us to honor those whom He honors, bless whom He blesses, and curse those who He curses. This is what the Bible teaches. So, if God honors someone, we do too. Thus Catholics honor Mary because God did first.
God was the first one to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary. He is the one who gave her a special calling and raised her up to be the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ, the long awaited Messiah, the second Person of the Holy Trinity. Jesus is almighty God, and Mary is His mother. Wow! Talk about an honor.
In Luke 1:28 the angel Gabriel said to Mary, “Hail! Full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women.” So Catholics honor Mary because God did. Moreover, in Luke 1:42 we read that, inspired by The Holy Spirit, Elizabeth cried out and proclaimed that that Mary was “blessed among all women.” Note that she said this under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Finally, in Luke 1:48 Mary herself prophesies that “all generations will call her blessed.“ That’s right, Luke 1:48 says that all generations will call her blessed. Do you call Mary blessed? Catholics do. Catholics honor Mary and treat her as blessed just as the Bible says to.
So we have three separate places in Scripture telling us that Mary is blessed among women, and that she is honored by God. So Catholics just follow His example.
Think about this: from all eternity, and in His eternal wisdom, God chose Mary to be the mother of His eternal Son. All power, all grace, all salvation all redemption came into the world in the person of Jesus in and through Mary. That’s awesome!!
I remember getting into a discussion with two men who called themselves “Bible Christians.” They were saying that Catholics worship Mary, and they put too much emphasis on Mary. I informed them that Catholics don’t worship Mary, but we honor her because God did, and that is biblical.
They said that we shouldn’t honor Mary, that we should only praise Jesus. “It’s all about Jesus.” I responded that we worship Jesus and adore him alone, and that He alone is the King, but the Bible commands us to honor those who God honors, and God honors Mary. And thus, so do we.
They immediately recoiled and said no, we worship Jesus only. We are Bible Christians and go only by the Bible. I responded by saying that if they were truly Bible Christians, they would be honoring Mary because God honored her in Luke 1:28 and Elizabeth honored her in Luke 1:42, and the Bible says that all generations will call Mary blessed in Luke 1:48.
For a third time they said, they shook their heads no and said, no we don’t focus on Mary, she was only a virginal conduit. She was just a tube which Jesus descended through. I replied, “I thought you were Bible Christians? Because the Bible says the exact opposite of what you are saying right now. The Bible specifically says that she is blessed among women and that we must call her blessed. ALL generations must call her blessed. Don’t you follow the Bible? That’s in the Bible.”
After holding them to that passage in Luke 1:48 and telling them that is what Scripture says, they finally admitted, though reluctantly, that Mary was blessed.
But why should we do it reluctantly? We praise and adore God’s power, might, and majesty working in and through such a lowly vessel. Mary is the masterpiece painting, and God is the Master Artist. We praise the artist for all He’s done. But we definitely recognize the painting is beautiful and worthy of honor as well. The painting is nothing and would be nothing without the artist.
When we go to museums and stand in front of masterpiece paintings we don’t worship them, do we? Imagine the artist nearby saying, “Hey, I painted that!” Would we brush him aside and ignore him while fawning over the canvas? Of course not! We would rightly turn and praise the creator, and tell him what a marvelous job he did.
So, every time we honor Mary, we are really praising God because His great mercy, grace, and love. He is the Source of all beauty, perfection, and goodness. May we praise Our Lord, Jesus Christ forever and ever! Amen.