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Worship of Mary in the Roman Catholic Church

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    Worship of Mary in the Roman Catholic Church

    Dr. Pusey

    (From the January 1866 issue of The Sword and the Trowel)

    We have summarized the detailed account of the idolatrous worship of Mary by the Papists as exposed in full by Dr. Pusey in his new work. As his statements are not made at random, but are supported by quotations from Romish writers of recognised authority, they will be valuable to those who are met by the crafty denials of Romanists whenever they expose the genuine doctrines of Popish faith. Amid all the mischief which Pusey has done, it is well to note and acknowledge whatever service he may in this case render to truth. The headings of the paragraphs are ours; the quotations are given as they stand.

    Blessings said to be obtained through Mary.—"So, then, it is taught in authorized books, that 'it is morally impossible for those to be saved who neglect the devotion to the Blessed Virgin;' that 'it is the will of God that all graces should pass through her hands;' that 'no creature obtained any grace from God, save according to the dispensation of His holy Mother;' that Jesus has, in fact, said, 'no one shall be partaker of My Blood, unless through the intercession of My Mother;' that 'we can only hope to obtain perseverance through her;' that 'God granted all the pardons in the Old Testament absolutely for the reverence and love of this Blessed Virgin;' that 'our salvation is in her hand;' that 'it is impossible for any to be saved, who turns away from her, or is disregarded by her; or to be lost, who turns to her, or is regarded by her;' that 'whom the justice of God saves not, the infinite mercy of Mary saves by her intercession;' that God is 'subject to the command of Mary;' that 'God has resigned into her hands (if one might say so) His omnipotence in the sphere of grace;' that 'it is safer to seek salvation through her than directly from Jesus.'"

    Mary worship held up as a cure for trouble.—"F. Faber, in Ms popular books, is always bringing in the devotion to the Blessed Virgin.. He believes that the shortcomings of English Roman Catholics are owing to the inadequacy of their devotion to her. After instancing people's failures in overcoming their faults, want of devotion, unsubmission to God's special Providence for them, feeling domestic troubles almost-incompatible with salvation, and that 'for all these things prayer appears to bring so little remedy,' he asks, 'What is the remedy that is wanted? what is the remedy indicated by God himself? If we may rely on the disclosures of the saints, it is an immense increase of devotion to our Blessed Lady, but remember, nothing short of an immense one. Here, in England, Mary is not half enough preached. Devotion to her is low and thin and poor. It is frightened out of its wits by the sneers of heresy. It is always invoking human respect and carnal prudence, wishing to make Mary so little of a Mary, that Protestants may feel at ease about her. Its ignorance of theology makes it unsubstantial and unworthy. It is not the prominent characteristic of our religion which it ought to be. It has no faith in itself. Hence it is, that Jesus is not loved, that heretics are not converted, that the Church is not exalted; that souls, which might be saints, wither and dwindle; that the sacraments are not rightly frequented, or souls enthusiastically evangelized. Jesus is obscured, because Mary is kept in the background. Thousands of souls perish, because Mary is withheld from them. It is the miserable unworthy shadow which we call our devotion to the Blessed Virgin, that is the cause of all these wants and blights; these evils and omissions and declines. Yet, if we are to believe the revelations of the saints, God is pressing for a greater, wider, a stronger, quite another devotion to His Blessed Mother.'"

    The Pope's whole reliance on the Virgin.—In his Encyclical Letter of 1849, Pius IX wrote: "On this hope we chiefly rely, that the most Blessed Virgin—who raised the height of merits above all the choirs of Angels to the throne of the Deity, and by the foot of Virtue 'bruised the serpent's head,' and who, being constituted between Christ and His Church, and, being wholly sweet and full of graces, hath ever delivered the Christian people from calamities of all sorts and from the snares and assaults of all enemies and hath rescued them from destruction, and, commiserating our most sad and most sorrowful vicissitudes and our most severe straits, toils, necessities with that most large feeling of her motherly mind—will, by her most present and most powerful patronage with God, both turn away the scourges of Divine wrath wherewith we are afflicted for our sins, and will allay, dissipate the most turbulent storms of ills, wherewith, to the incredible sorrow of our mind, the Church everywhere is tossed, and will turn our sorrow into joy. For ye know very well, Ven. Brethren, that the whole of our confidence is placed in the most Holy Virgin, since God has placed in Mary the fullness of all good, that accordingly we may know that if there is any hope in us, if any grace, if any salvation, it redounds to us from her, because such is His will Who hath willed that we should have everything through Mary."

    Mary blasphemously called Co-Redemptress with our Lord.—"We had heard before, repeatedly, that she was the Mediatrix with the Redeemer; some of us, who do not read Marian books, have heard now for the first time, that she was ever our 'Co-Redemptress.' The evidence lies, not in any insulated passage of a devotional writer (which was alleged in plea for the language of M. Olier), but in formal answers from Archbishops and Bishops to the Pope as to what they desired in regard to the declaration of the Immaculate Conception as an Article of Faith. Thus the Archbishop of Syracuse wrote, 'Since we know certainly that she, in the fulness of time, was Co-redemptress of the human race, together with her Son Jesus Christ our Lord.' From North Italy the Bishop of Asti wrote of 'the dogma of the singular privilege granted by the Divine Redeemer to His pure mother, the Co-redemptress of the world.' In South Italy the Bishop of Gallipoli wrote, 'the human race, whom the Son of God, from her, redeemed; whom, together with Him, she herself co-redeemed.' The Bishop of Cariati prayed the Pope to 'command all the sons of Holy Mother Church and thy own, that no one of them should dare at any time hereafter to suspect as to the Immaculate Conception of their Co-redeemer.' From Sardinia, the Bishop of Alghero wrote, 'It is the common consent of all the faithful, and the common wish and desire of all, that our so beneficent Parent and Co-redeemer should be presented by the Apostolic See with the honour of this most illustrious mystery.' Spain, the Bishop of Almeria justified the attribute by appeal to the service of the Conception. The Church, adapting to the Mother of God in the Office of the Conception that text, 'Let Us make a help like unto Him,' assures us of it. and confirms those most ancient traditions, 'Companion of the Redeemer,' 'Co-Redemptress,' 'Authoress of everlasting salvation.' The Bishops refer to. these as ancient, well-known, traditionary titles, at least in their Churches in North and South Italy, Sicily, Sardinia, Spain."

    A Parallel infamously drawn between Jesus and Mary.—"As our Redemption gained its sufficiency and might from Jesus, so, they say, did it gain its beauty and loveliness from the aid of Mary. As we are clothed with the merits of Christ, so also, they say, with the merits of Mary. As Jesus rose again the third day without seeing corruption, so they speak of her Resurrection so as to anticipate corruption, in some three days;' as He was the first-fruits of them that slept, so is she; as He was taken up into heaven in the body so, they say, was she; as He sits at the Right Hand of God, so she at His Right Hand; as He is there our perpetual Intercessor with the Father, so she with Him; as ' no man cometh to the Father.' Jesus saith, 'but by Me;' so 'no man cometh to Jesus', they say, 'but by her;' as He is our High Priest, so she, they say, a Priestess; He, our High Priest, gave us the sacrament of His Body and Blood; so, they say, did she, 'her will conspiring with the will of her Son to the making of the Eucharist, and assenting to her Son so giving and offering Himself for food and drink, since we confess that the sacrifice and gifts, given, to us under the form of bread and wine, are truly hers and appertain unto her. As in the Eucharist He is present and we receive Him, so she, they say, is present an received in that same sacrament. The priest is 'minister of Christ,' and 'minister of Mary.' They seem to assign to her an office, like that of God the Holy Ghost, in dwelling in the soul. They speak of 'souls born not of blood, nor of flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God and Mary;' that 'the Holy Ghost chose to make use of our Blessed Lady to bring His fruitfulness into action by producing in her and by her Jesus Christ in His members;' that 'according to that word, 'the kingdom of God is within you,' in like manner the kingdom of our Blessed Lady is principally in the interior of a man, his soul; that 'when Mary has struck her roots in the soul, she produces there marvels of grace, which she alone can produce, because she alone is the fruitful Virgin, who never has had, and never will have, her equal in purity and fruitfulness.'"

    Shameless declaration that Mary is in the Eucharist.—(Oswald.) "'We maintain a (co-)presence of Mary in the Eucharist. This is a necessary inference from our Marian theory, and we shrink back from no consequence.' 'We are much inclined,' he says afterwards, 'to believe an essential co-presence of Mary in her whole person, with body and soul, under the sacred species. Certainly to such a presence in the Eucharist, 1. there is required a glorious mode of being of the Virgin body of the Holy Mother. We are not only justified in holding this as to Mary, but we have well-nigh proved it. 2. The assumption of a bodily presence of Mary in the Eucharist compels self-evidently the assumption of a multi-location (i.e. a contemporaneous presence in different portions of space) of Mary, according to her flesh too. 3. One who would receive this must be ready to admit a compenetration of the Body of Christ and of that of the Virgin in the same portion of space, i.e. under the sacred species.' The writer subsequently explains that 'the "lac virginale" must be looked upon as that of Mary, which is primarily present in the Eucharist, whereto, in further consequence, the whole Christ the Head, the Blessed Virgin is, as also her soul, would be joined.' 'The Blood of the Lord, and the lac of His Virgin Mother, are both present in the sacrament.'"

    Mariolotry to swallow up all other devotion.—"'Assuming that, in and under Christ the Head, the Blessed Virgin is, after her Assumption, as it were, the neck of the Church, so that all grace whatever flows to the Body through her, that is, through her prayers, it might be argued, that, for such as have this belief to ask anything of or through her, is identical in sense, but in point of form better, than to ask it directly of Christ, in like manner as to ask anything of or through Christ, is identical in sense, but clearer and fuller in point of form, than to ask it directly of the Father. And hence, it might seem that it would bean improvement, if, reserving only the use of the appointed forms for the making of the Sacraments, and an occasional use of the Lord's Prayer (and this rather from respect to the letter of their outward institution than from any inward.199 necessity or propriety), every prayer, both of individuals and of the Church, were addressed to or through Blessed Mary, a form beginning, 'Our Lady, which art in heaven,' etc., being preferred for general use to the original letter of the Lord's Prayer; and the Psalter, the Te Deum, and all the daily Offices, being used in preference with similar accommodation.'" Horrid ravings of Faber, whose writings are very popular among Papists.--"'There is some portion of the Precious Blood which once was Mary's own blood, and which remains still in our Blessed Lord, incredibly exalted by its union with His Divine Person, yet still the same. This portion of Himself, it is piously believed, has not been allowed to undergo the usual changes of human substance. At this moment, in heaven, He retains something which was once His Mother's, and which is, possibly, visible, as such, to the saints and angels. He vouchsafed at mass to show to S. Ignatius the very part of the Host which had once belonged to the substance of Mary. It may have a distinct and singular beauty in heaven, where, by His compassion, it may one day be our blessed lot to see it and adore it. But with the exception of this portion of it, the Precious Blood was a growing thing,' "&c.

    Enough! enough! every one of our readers will cry out, and therefore we stay our hand. Surely "for this cause, God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."

    The RCC will often say that praying to Mary isn't worshiping Mary - only God is to receive latria while Mary is to be afforded hyperdulia and the other "saints" ought to be given dulia. Every instance of payer in the Bible is worship. If 1 million people were to offer silent prayers and the RC "mary" is supposed to fully know all of them that means she is the heartknower of all (Greek: kardiognōstēs) which is the same thing as saying she is omniscient. This is terrible blasphemy.

      Originally posted by Faber View Post
      The RCC will often say that praying to Mary isn't worshiping Mary - only God is to receive latria while Mary is to be afforded hyperdulia and the other "saints" ought to be given dulia. Every instance of payer in the Bible is worship. If 1 million people were to offer silent prayers and the RC "mary" is supposed to fully know all of them that means she is the heartknower of all (Greek: kardiognōstēs) which is the same thing as saying she is omniscient. This is terrible blasphemy.
      I agree, which is why we should strive to correct our errant brothers.

      Galatians 6:1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.

      2 Thessalonians 3: 14-15
      14 If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. 15 Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.

        Originally posted by atpollard View Post

        I agree, which is why we should strive to correct our errant brothers.

        Galatians 6:1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.
        Lest you too be tempted. Do we realize Protestants are considered "imperfect in communion" with the Catholic church, and Protestants are excommunicated? Do we know what Protestants need submit to in order to be communicable members in the Catholic church?

        Originally posted by atpollard View Post
        2 Thessalonians 3: 14-15
        14 If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. 15 Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.
        Exactly who are we warning atpollard? Exactly what does the Magisterium of the Catholic church say? To our brethren, which I presume you mean Catholics, what will we say? Maybe invite them into our church to take communion?

        Perhaps, Bede can shed some light upon this subject? I want to know if any Protestant receives an invitation into a Catholic church, and whether the Catholic church allows them to profess the Protestant faith. Not only am I wondering whether they'll be welcome as brothers but also as a co-laborer in the mission field for Christ. Will they be encouraged to commune with them?

        Question, does any one of you or you atpollard take communion in a Catholic church? Does anyone even know why or why not?

        I'm curious, since this is the Reformed Theology section of the board. I'd like to know how many "Protestants" know these things? I read a couple of threads on a Catholic website in search for an answer a moment ago, and couldn't get a straight response!

        God bless,

          Bowing out of the discussion, lest I cause distension among the Church.
          Last edited by atpollard; 09-15-2016, 01:08 PM.

            Originally posted by atpollard View Post
            Bowing out of the discussion, lest I cause distension among the Church.
            Heh, got me chomping at the bit right now. I hope you don't leave, because as a brother Protestant, your input has value. I really wish I could multi- quote, but because I can't, I'll just say I'll try to answer William's post above. Yes, we Protestants were originally excommunicated by the Catholic Church, although some Catholics will claim that we walked away from them. When an institution tries to equate itself with God, to put itself in God's place, then it does indeed qualify as Anti- Christ. Here's how the Anti- Christ is understood in my own particular Confession:

            1. Term used in the NT (1) of all false teachers (1 Jn 2:18; 4:3) and (2) of one outstanding adversary of Christ (1 Jn 2:18). Characteristics of the Antichrist are mentioned, e.g., in Dn 11;2 Th 2.

            2. The word antichristos (Gk.) occurs first in the NT and there only in John's writings. But the idea is mentioned in earlier Jewish apocalyptic literature and is rooted in OT prophecy. The origin of the idea has been vainly sought in heathen lands, e.g., in the battle of Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainyu (see Zoroastrianism). The prophecies of Daniel were applied first to Antiochus IV (Epiphanes, i. e., the illustrious; d. 163 BC; king of the Seleucidae of Syria 175–163; declared Judaism illegal 168; destroyed Jewish temples in Syria; his opposition against Jewish religion led to Wars of the Maccabees), later to Pompey the Great (106–48; Romangen. and statesman; captured Jerusalem 64–63), Herod the Great (73?–4 BC; king of Judaea 37–4), and Caligula (so named because he early wore caligae, military shoes; real name Gaius Caesar; 12–41 AD Roman emp. 37–41).

            3. Polycarp* (letter to the Philippians, 7) quotes 1 Jn 4:3 in connection with those that do not “confess the testimony of the cross”; the Didache (16:4) speaks of “the deceiver of the world” who is to come; the “Ep of Barnabas,” IV, speaks of “beast” of Dn 7:7–8. Irenaeus (Adversus haereses, V xxv 3; xxviii 1) applies Jer 8:16; Dn 7:8, 20–25; 2 Th 2:8–12 to the Antichrist. Hippolytus (De Christo et antichristo) quotes Gn 49:16–17; Dt 33:22; Dn 11:31; 12:11–12; Rv 12:1–6, 13–17; Mt 24:15–22 and parallels; 2 Th 2:1–12 as pertaining to the Antichrist.

            4. The Antichrist was soon connected with Nero* and his expected return (Augustine* of Hippo, Decivitate Dei, XX, 19; Commodianus,* Instructiones, 41; Lactantius Firmianus, De mortibus persecutorum, II [Nero as forerunner of the Antichrist]). In the 4th c., prediction of a last emp., or last ruler of the world, before Antichrist became prominent. Antichrist apocalypses flourished in the age of Islam and intensified during the Crusades.* People began to see Antichrist or his forerunner in every pol., nat., soc., or ecclesiastical opponent.

            5. Franciscans opposed to certain features of the papacy* held that the pope is the Antichrist, or a least his forerunner. Bohemians J. Milíc,* M. v. Janow,* and J. Hus* as well as J. Wycliffe*and J. Purvey* adopted the same view.

            6. M. Luther* regarded the pope as the Antichrist chiefly because the papacy* substituted work-righteousness for grace (WA 20, 673; 37, 600–661; 40 I, 36–37, 60–61, 301). Luther also pointed out that the pope substitutes man-made rules for divine law (5, 344; 40 I, 406–407), usurps power (5, 195, 339–344; 52, 654), usurps the position of Christ (42, 635; 45, 46; 52, 221; 50, 4–5), sits in the temple (40 I, 71; 40 III, 421), and exalts himself above God (14, 608; 50, 4). Luther also spoke of the Turk (together with the pope) as Antichrist (42, 634).

            7. The AC does not speak of the pope as Antichrist but indicates that subscribers are willing to continue in the RC system, provided abuses are corrected (XXVIII, 28–78). The Ap shows thatpapacy* has the marks of the Antichrist as depicted by Daniel (VII abd VIII 24; XV 18–19; XXIII 25; XXIV 51) and by Paul (VII and VIII 4). It speaks of papacy as part of the kingdom of the Antichrist (XV 18). The SA hold that pope has clearly shown himself as Antichrist, since he exceeds even Turks and Tartars in keeping people from their Savior. (SA-II IV 10–11; cf.Tractatus 39–59). The FC (X 20) quotes the SA on Antichrist.

            8. Luth. dogmaticians (e.g., J. W. Baier,* J. A. Quenstedt*) regarded the teaching of the Antichrist as nonfundamental (see Fundamental Doctrines). C. F. W. Walther* (Der Lutheraner, XXI [1864–65], 113–115) and F. A. O. Pieper* followed the opinion of the dogmaticians. EL

            See also United States, Lutheranism in the, 7.

            “Ist der Antichrist im Atheismus unserer Zeit zu suchen?” L. u. W., XV (1869), 39–45; C. J. H. Fick, Das Geheimniss der Bosheit im römischen Papstthum (St. Louis, 1873); F. W. Stellhorn, “ 'Unsere Wege zur katholischen Kirche,' ” L. u. W., XIX (1873), 97–108; W. Bousset, The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore, tr. A. H. Keane (London, 1896);H. Preuss, Die Vorstellung vom Antichrist im späteren Mittelalter, bei Luther und in der konfessionellen Polemik (Leipzig, 1906); A. Jeremias, Der Antichrist in Geschichte und Gegenwart (Leipzig, 1930); B. Rigaux, L'Antéchrist et l'Opposition au Royaume Messianique dans l'Ancien et le Nouveau Testament (Paris, 1932); P. E. Kretzmann, “Papam esse verum Antichristum,” CTM, IV (1933), 424–435; W. Hoenecke, 5 essays on the Antichrist, Theologische Quartalschrift (Wisconsin Syn.), XL (1943), 166–188, 253–277; XLI (1944), 32–55, 91–109, 149–176; [J.] M[eyer], “Papam Esse Ipsum Verum Antichristum,” Theologische Quartalschrift (Wisconsin Syn.), XL (1943), 87–109; P. Schütz, Der Anti-Christus (Kassel, 1949); P. Althaus, Dis letzten Dinge, 5th ed. (durchgesehene Auflage; Gütersloh, 1949), 282–297; H. Hamann, “A Brief Exegesis of 2 Thess. 2:1–12 with Guideline for the Application of the Prophecy Contained Therein,” CTM, XXIV (1953), 418–433.

            Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
            ©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod - Christian Cyclopedia

            My next post will deal with Mary worship.

              We should and are commanded to worship God alone. Jesus is our only Intercessor with the Father. I thought this would be about the Virgin Mary, but she stands out as an example of the broader problem of saint worship, as this article of the Defense of the Augsburg Confession states:
              Article XXI (IX): Of the Invocation of Saints.

              1] The Twenty-first Article they absolutely condemn, because we do not require the invocation of saints. Nor on any topic do they speak more eloquently and with more prolixity. Nevertheless they do not effect anything else than that the saints should be honored; likewise, that the saints who live pray for others; as though, indeed, the invocation of dead saints were on that account necessary.2] They cite Cyprian, because he asked Cornelius while yet alive to pray for his brothers when departing. By this example they prove the invocation of the dead. They quote also Jerome against Vigilantius. "On this field" [in this matter], they say, "eleven hundred years ago, Jerome overcame Vigilantius." Thus the adversaries triumph, as though the war were already ended. Nor do those asses see that in Jerome, against Vigilantius, there is not a syllable concerning invocation. He speaks concerning honors for the saints, not concerning invocation. 3] Neither have the rest of the ancient writers before Gregory made mention of invocation. Certainly this invocation, with these opinions which the adversaries now teach concerning the application of merits, has not the testimonies of the ancient writers.

              4] Our Confession approves honors to the saints. For here a threefold honor is to be approved. The first is thanksgiving. For we ought to give thanks to God because He has shown examples of mercy; because He has shown that He wishes to save men; because He has given teachers or other gifts to the Church. And these gifts, as they are the greatest, should be amplified, and the saints themselves should be praised, who have faithfully used these gifts, just as Christ praises faithful business-men, 5] Matt. 25:21, 23. The second service is the strengthening of our faith; when we see the denial forgiven Peter, we also are encouraged to believe the more that grace 6] truly superabounds over sin, Rom. 5:20. The third honor is the imitation, first, of faith, then of the other virtues, which every one should imitate according to his calling. 7] These true honors the adversaries do not require. They dispute only concerning invocation, which, even though it would have no danger, nevertheless is not necessary.

              8] Besides, we also grant that the angels pray for us. For there is a testimony in Zech. 1:12, where an angel prays: O Lord of hosts, how long wilt Thou not have mercy on 9] Jerusalem? Although concerning the saints we concede that, just as, when alive, they pray for the Church universal in general, so in heaven they pray for the Church in general, albeit no testimony concerning the praying of the dead is extant in the Scriptures, except the dream taken from the Second Book of Maccabees, 15:14.

              Moreover, even supposing that the saints pray for the Church ever so much, 10] yet it does not follow that they are to be invoked; although our Confession affirms only this, that Scripture does not teach the invocation of the saints, or that we are to ask the saints for aid. But since neither a command, nor a promise, nor an example can be produced from the Scriptures concerning the invocation of saints, it follows that conscience can have nothing concerning this invocation that is certain. And since prayer ought to be made from faith, how do we know that God approves this invocation? Whence do we know without the testimony of Scripture that the saints perceive the prayers of each one? 11] Some plainly ascribe divinity to the saints, namely, that they discern the silent thoughts of the minds in us. They dispute concerning morning and evening knowledge, perhaps because they doubt whether they hear us in the morning or the evening. They invent these things, not in order to treat the saints with honor, but to defend lucrative services.12] Nothing can be produced by the adversaries against this reasoning, that, since invocation does not have a testimony from God's Word, it cannot be affirmed that the saints understand our invocation, or, even if they understand it, that God approves it. Therefore13] the adversaries ought not to force us to an uncertain matter, because a prayer without faith is not prayer. For when they cite the example of the Church, it is evident that this is a new custom in the Church; for although the old prayers make mention of the saints, yet they do not invoke the saints. Although also this new invocation in the Church is dissimilar to the invocation of individuals.

              14] Again, the adversaries not only require invocation in the worship of the saints, but also apply the merits of the saints to others, and make of the saints not only intercessors, but also propitiators. This is in no way to be endured. For here the honor belonging only to Christ is altogether transferred to the saints. For they make them mediators and propitiators, and although they make a distinction between mediators of intercession and mediators [the Mediator] of redemption, yet they plainly make of the saints mediators of redemption. 15] But even that they are mediators of intercession they declare without the testimony of Scripture, which, be it said ever so reverently, nevertheless obscures Christ's office, and transfers the confidence of mercy due Christ to the saints. For men imagine that Christ is more severe and the saints more easily appeased, and they trust rather to the mercy of the saints than to the mercy of Christ, and fleeing from Christ [as from a tyrant], they seek the saints. Thus they actually make of them mediators of redemption.

              16] Therefore we shall show that they truly make of the saints, not only intercessors, but propitiators, i.e., mediators of redemption. Here we do not as yet recite the abuses of the common people [how manifest idolatry is practised at pilgrimages]. We are still speaking of the opinions of the Doctors. As regards the rest, even the inexperienced [common people] can judge.

              17] In a propitiator these two things concur. In the first place, there ought to be a word of God from which we may certainly know that God wishes to pity, and hearken to, those calling upon Him through this propitiator. There is such a promise concerning Christ,John 16:23: Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it you. Concerning the saints there is no such promise. Therefore consciences cannot be firmly confident that by the invocation of saints we are heard. This invocation, therefore, 18] is not made from faith. Then we have also the command to call upon Christ, according to Matt. 11:28: Come unto Me, all ye that labor, etc., which certainly is said also to us. And Isaiah says, 11:10: In that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign to the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek. And Ps. 45:12: Even the rich among the people shall entreat Thy favor. And Ps. 72:11,15: Yea, all kings shall fall down before Him. And shortly after: Prayer also shall be made for Him continually. And in John 5:23 Christ says: That all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father. And Paul, 2 Thess. 2:16-17, says, praying: Now our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God, even our Father, ... comfort your hearts and stablish you. (All these passages refer to Christ.] But concerning the invocation of saints, what commandment, what example can the adversaries produce from the Scriptures? 19] The second matter in a propitiator is, that his merits have been presented as those which make satisfaction for others, which are bestowed by divine imputation on others, in order that through these, just as by their own merits, they may be accounted righteous. As when any friend pays a debt for a friend, the debtor is freed by the merit of another, as though it were by his own. Thus the merits of Christ are bestowed upon us, in order that, when we believe in Him, we may be accounted righteous by our confidence in Christ's merits as though we had merits of our own.

              20] And from both, namely, from the promise and the bestowment of merits, confidence in mercy arises [upon both parts must a Christian prayer be founded]. Such confidence in the divine promise, and likewise in the merits of Christ, ought to be brought forward when we pray. For we ought to be truly confident, both that for Christ's sake we are heard, and that by His merits we have a reconciled Father.

              21] Here the adversaries first bid us invoke the saints, although they have neither God's promise, nor a command, nor an example from Scripture. And yet they cause greater confidence in the mercy of the saints to be conceived than in that of Christ, although Christ bade us come to Him 22] and not to the saints. Secondly, they apply the merits of the saints, just as the merits of Christ, to others; they bid us trust in the merits of the saints as though we were accounted righteous on account of the merits of the saints, in like manner as we are accounted righteous by the merits of Christ. Here we fabricate nothing. 23] In indulgences they say that they apply the merits of the saints [as satisfactions for our sins]. And Gabriel, the interpreter of the canon of the Mass, confidently declares: According to the order instituted by God, we should betake ourselves to the aid of the saints, in order that we may be saved by their merits and vows. These are the words of Gabriel. And nevertheless, in the books and sermons of the adversaries still more absurd things are read here and there. What is it to make propitiators if this is not? They are altogether made equal to Christ if we must trust that we are saved by their merits.

              24] But where has this arrangement, to which he refers when he says that we ought to resort to the aid of the saints, been instituted by God? Let him produce an example or command from the Scriptures. Perhaps they derive this arrangement from the courts of kings, where friends must be employed as intercessors. But if a king has appointed a certain intercessor, he will not desire that cases be brought to him through others. Thus, since Christ has been appointed Intercessor and High Priest, why do we seek others? [What can the adversaries say in reply to this?]

              25] Here and there this form of absolution is used: The passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, the merits of the most blessed Virgin Mary and of all the saints, be to thee for the remission of sins. Here the absolution is pronounced on the supposition that we are reconciled and accounted righteous not only by the merits of Christ, but also by the merits of the other saints. 26] Some of us have seen a doctor of theology dying, for consoling whom a certain theologian, a monk, was employed. He pressed on the dying man nothing but this prayer: Mother of grace, protect us from the enemy; receive us in the hour of death.

              27] Granting that the blessed Mary prays for the Church, does she receive souls in death, does she conquer death [the great power of Satan], does she quicken? What does Christ do if the blessed Mary does these things? Although she is most worthy of the most ample honors, nevertheless she does not wish to be made equal to Christ, but rather wishes us to consider and follow her example [the example of her faith and her humility]. 28] But the subject itself declares that in public opinion the blessed Virgin has succeeded altogether to the place of Christ. Men have invoked her, have trusted in her mercy, through her have desired to appease Christ, as though He were not a Propitiator, but, only a dreadful judge and avenger. 29] We believe, however, that we must not trust that the merits of the saints are applied to us, that on account of these God is reconcile d to us, or accounts us just, or saves us. For we obtain remission of sins only by the merits of Christ, when we believe in Him. Of the other saints it has been said, 1 Cor. 3:8: Every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor, i.e., they cannot mutually bestow their own merits, the one upon the other, as the monks sell the merits of their orders. 30] Even Hilary says of the foolish virgins: And as the foolish virgins could not go forth with their lamps extinguished, they besought those who were prudent to lend them oil; to whom they replied that they could not give it because peradventure there might not be enough for all; i.e., no one can be aided by the works and merits of another, because it is necessary for every one to buy oil for his own lamp. [Here he points out that none of us can aid another by other people's works or merits.]

              31] Since, therefore, the adversaries teach us to place confidence in the invocation of saints, although they have neither the Word of God nor the example of Scripture [of the Old or of the New Testament]; since they apply the merits of the saints on behalf of others, not otherwise than they apply the merits of Christ, and transfer the honor belonging only to Christ to the saints, we can receive neither their opinions concerning the worship of the saints, nor the practise of invocation. For we know that confidence is to be placed in the intercession of Christ, because this alone has God's promise. We know that the merits of Christ alone are a propitiation for us. On account of the merits of Christ we are accounted righteous when we believe in Him, as the text says, Rom. 9:33 (cf. 1 Pet. 2:6 and Is. 28:16): Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be confounded. Neither are we to trust that we are accounted righteous by the merits of the blessed Virgin or of the other saints.

              32] With the learned this error also prevails, namely, that to each saint a particular administration has been committed, that Anna bestows riches [protects from poverty], Sebastian keeps off pestilence, Valentine heals epilepsy, George protects horsemen. These opinions have clearly sprung from heathen examples. For thus, among the Romans, Juno was thought to enrich, Febris to keep off fever, Castor and Pollux to protect horsemen, etc. 33] Even though we should imagine that the invocation of saints were taught with the greatest prudence, yet since the example is most dangerous, why is it necessary to defend it when it has no command or testimony from God's Word? Aye, it has not even the testimony of the ancient writers. 34] First because, as I have said above, when other mediators are sought in addition to Christ, and confidence is put in others, the entire knowledge of Christ is suppressed. The subject shows this. In the beginning, mention of the saints seems to have been admitted with a design that is endurable, as in the ancient prayers. Afterwards invocation followed, and abuses that are prodigious and more than heathenish followed invocation. From invocation the next step was to images; these also were worshiped, and a virtue was supposed to exist in these, just as magicians imagine that a virtue exists in images of the heavenly bodies carved at a particular time. In a certain monastery we [some of us] have seen a statue of the blessed Virgin, which moved automatically by a trick [within by a string], so as to seem either to turn away from [those who did not make a large offering] or nod to those making request.

              35] Still the fabulous stories concerning the saints, which are publicly taught with great authority, surpass the marvelous tales of the statues and pictures. Barbara, amidst her torments, asks for the reward that no one who would invoke her should die without the Eucharist. Another, standing on one foot, recited daily the whole psaltery. Some wise man painted [for children] Christophorus [which in German means Bearer of Christ], in order by the allegory to signify that there ought to be great strength of mind in those who would bear Christ, i.e., who would teach or confess the Gospel, because it is necessary to undergo the greatest dangers [for they must wade by night through the great sea, i.e., endure all kinds of temptations and dangers]. Then the foolish monks taught among the people that they ought to invoke Christophorus, as though such a Polyphemus (such a giant who bore Christ through the sea] had once existed. And although 36] the saints performed very great deeds, either useful to the state or affording private examples, the remembrance of which would conduce much both toward strengthening faith and toward following their example in the administration of affairs, no one has searched for these from true narratives. [Although God Almighty through His saints, as a peculiar people, has wrought many great things in both realms, in the Church and in worldly transactions; although there are many great examples in the lives of the saints which would be very profitable to princes and lords, to true pastors and guardians of souls, for the government both of the world and of the Church, especially for strengthening faith in God, yet they have passed these by, and preached the most insignificant matters concerning the saints, concerning their hard beds, their hair shirts, etc., which, for the greater part, are falsehoods.] Yet indeed it is of advantage to hear how holy men administered governments [as in the Holy Scriptures it is narrated of the kings of Israel and Judah], what calamities, what dangers they underwent, how holy men were of aid to kings in great dangers, how they taught the Gospel, what encounters they had with heretics. Examples of mercy are also of service, as when we see the denial forgiven Peter, when we see Cyprian forgiven for having been a magician, when we see Augustine, having experienced the power of faith in sickness, steadily affirming that God truly hears the prayers of believers. It was profitable that such examples as these, which contain admonitions for either faith or fear or the administration of the state, be recited. 37] But certain triflers, endowed with no knowledge either of faith or for governing states, have invented stories in imitation of poems, in which there are nothing but superstitious examples concerning certain prayers, certain fastings, and certain additions of service for bringing in gain [where there are nothing but examples as to how the saints wore hair shirts, how they prayed at the seven canonical hours, how they lived upon bread and water]. Such are the miracles that have been invented concerning rosaries and similar ceremonies. Nor is there need here to recite examples. For the legends, as they call them, and the mirrors of examples, and the rosaries, in which there are very many things not unlike the true narratives of Lucian, are extant.

              38] The bishops, theologians, and monks applaud these monstrous and wicked stories [this abomination set up against Christ, this blasphemy, these scandalous, shameless lies, these lying preachers; and they have permitted them so long, to the great injury of consciences, that it is terrible to think of it] because they aid them to their daily bread. They do not tolerate us, who, in order that the honor and office of Christ may be more conspicuous, do not require the invocation of saints, and censure the abuses in the worship, of saints. 39] And although [even their own theologians], all good men everywhere [a long time before Dr. Luther began to write] in the correction of these abuses, greatly longed for either the authority of the bishops or the diligence of the preachers, nevertheless our adversaries in the Confutation altogether pass over vices that are even manifest, as though they wish, by the reception of the Confutation, to compel us to approve even the most notorious abuses.

              40] Thus the Confutation has been deceitfully written, not only on this topic, but almost everywhere. [They pretend that they are as pure as gold, that they have never muddled the water.] There is no passage in which they make a distinction between the manifest abuses and their dogmas. And nevertheless, if there are any of sounder mind among them, they confess that many false opinions inhere in the doctrine of the scholastics and canonists, and, besides, that in such ignorance and negligence of the pastors many abuses crept into the Church. 41] For Luther was not [the only one nor] the first to complain of [innumerable] public abuses. Many learned and excellent men long before these times deplored the abuses of the Mass, confidence in monastic observances, services to the saints intended to yield a revenue, the confusion of the doctrine concerning repentance [concerning Christ], which ought to be as clear and plain in the Church as possible [without which there cannot be nor remain a Christian Church]. We ourselves have heard that excellent theologians desire moderation in the scholastic doctrine, which contains much more for philosophical quarrels than for piety. And nevertheless, among these the older ones are generally nearer Scripture than are the more recent. Thus their theology degenerated more and more. Neither had many good men, who from the very first began to be friendly to Luther, any other reason than that they saw that he was freeing the minds of men from these labyrinths of most confused and infinite discussions which exist among the scholastic theologians and canonists, and was teaching things profitable for godliness.

              42] The adversaries, therefore, have not acted candidly in passing over the abuses when they wished us to assent to the Confutation. And if they wished to care for the interests of the Church [and of afflicted consciences, and not rather to maintain their pomp and avarice], especially on that topic, at this occasion, they ought to exhort our most excellent Emperor to take measures for the correction of abuses [which furnish grounds for derision among the Turks, the Jews, and all unbelievers], as we observe plainly enough that he is most desirous of healing and well-establishing the Church. But the adversaries do not act so as to aid the most honorable and most holy will of the Emperor, but so as in every way to crush [the truth and] us. 43] Many signs show that they have little anxiety concerning the state of the Church. [They lose little sleep from concern that Christian doctrine and the pure Gospel be preached.] They take no pains that there should be among the people a summary of the dogmas of the Church. [The office of the ministry they permit to be quite desolate.] They defend manifest abuses [they continue every day to shed innocent blood] by new and unusual cruelty. They allow no suitable teachers in the churches. Good men can easily judge whither these things tend. But in this way they have no regard to the interest either of their own authority or of the Church. For after the good teachers have been killed and sound doctrine suppressed, fanatical spirits will rise up, whom the adversaries will not be able to restrain, who both will disturb the Church with godless dogmas, and will overthrow the entire ecclesiastical government, which we are very greatly desirous of maintaining.

              44] Therefore, most excellent Emperor Charles, for the sake of the glory of Christ, which we have no doubt that you desire to praise and magnify, we beseech you not to assent to the violent counsels of our adversaries, but to seek other honorable ways of so establishing harmony that godly consciences are not burdened, that no cruelty is exercised against innocent men, as we have hitherto seen, and that sound doctrine is not suppressed in the Church. To God most of all you owe the duty [as far as this is possible to man] to maintain sound doctrine and hand it down to posterity, and to defend those who teach what is right. For God demands this when He honors kings with His own name and calls them gods, saying, Ps. 82:6: I have said, Ye are gods, namely, that they should attend to the preservation and propagation of divine things, i.e., the Gospel of Christ, on the earth, and, as the vicars of God, should defend the life and safety of the innocent [true Christian teachers and preachers].

              Defense of the Augsburg Confession - Book of Concord


                Originally posted by atpollard View Post
                I agree, which is why we should strive to correct our errant brothers.
                A brother would be a fellow Christian. Those who continuously engage in this idolatry and defend it are heretics.


                  Originally posted by Faber View Post
                  A brother would be a fellow Christian. Those who continuously engage in this idolatry and defend it are heretics.
                  Two questions then.

                  1. Of the people you have actually met who claim to be Roman Catholic, what percentage appear to be ignorant and in need of correction and what percentage appear to be heretics?

                  2. What are the Biblical guidelines for dealing with heretics?

                  Thank you for your patience with me,

                  (Treading very lightly)

                    Hello atpollard,
                    1. I have met a mix of both. On discussion forums I tend to encounter those that are hard core. Many JW's and Mormons are ignorant and in need of correction but the teaching of their church, just like the RCC, is heresy.
                    2. It depends on the situation. Paul said that our speech should be with grace (Colosssians 4:6) and yet he also did not shy away from harshly denouncing them (Acts 13:10).

                      Originally posted by ConfessionalLutheran View Post
                      Heh, got me chomping at the bit right now. I hope you don't leave, because as a brother Protestant, your input has value. I really wish I could multi- quote, but because I can't, I'll just say I'll try to answer William's post above. Yes, we Protestants were originally excommunicated by the Catholic Church, although some Catholics will claim that we walked away from them. When an institution tries to equate itself with God, to put itself in God's place, then it does indeed qualify as Anti- Christ. Here's how the Anti- Christ is understood in my own particular Confession:
                      Never the site, just potentially the topic. :)

                      I don't actually disagree with anything in the confession.
                      The issue becomes one that the word "anti-Christ" comes so pre-loaded with emotional baggage that even if it is being used in a technically correct manner, I have concerns that it will ultimately prove a stumbling block to communication. When the Catholic Church was burning heretics, the need and desire to maintain any open lines of communication was probably moot. At last check, the Catholic Church is no longer burning Protestants at the stake, just talking mean to us.

                      I posit, that this may indicate that dialogue is possible. So the question is "Towards what end?"
                      NOT towards reaching a happy middle ground. Luther and Huss and Calvin were correct. The TRUTH of God is what it has always been and if God will not bend his truth, then neither should we. Yet I know so many current and former Catholics who find their church as full of empty ritual as those who attend large churches from Liberal Protestant denominations. Both are full of seekers who enter and leave church hungry for truth and hope and something that a band and a motivational speaker cannot provide.

                      Just as screaming the 'N' word at an African American, or involving the term 'Nazi' in a political conversation will shut out all meaningful communication, so too, I question, whether the term "anti-Christ" (even if used appropriately) might prove more of an impediment to the true Gospel than a tool for correcting bad doctrine.

                      So many need to hear the Truth.
                      I wonder ...

                      1 Corinthians 9
                      19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.

                      In other words: "Just a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down, in the most delightful way" :)

                      Perhaps we can hold off on the vinegar, without skimping on the beef
                      (And that pretty much butchers enough mixed metaphors for one post.)

                        Originally posted by ConfessionalLutheran View Post
                        I really wish I could multi- quote, but because I can't, I'll just say I'll try to answer William's post above.
                        Christian Forums - Christforums

                        God bless,


                          Originally posted by William View Post
                          Thanks kindly, William! :)

                            Originally posted by Faber View Post
                            If 1 million people were to offer silent prayers and the RC "mary" is supposed to fully know all of them that means she is the heartknower of all (Greek: kardiognōstēs) which is the same thing as saying she is omniscient. This is terrible blasphemy.
                            I have encountered a few Roman Catholics that have insisted to fully know the hearts of all does not mean the same thing as being omniscient. Not only is this assertion proved incorrect in how kardiognōstēs is properly defined (see bottom of the post) but other Roman Catholics do in fact affirm this truth.

                            1. Christ claimed to be omniscient (all knowing)

                            MATTHEW 9:4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?

                            (Cf Also MATTHEW 22:18, MATTHEW 26:46, MARK 2:8, MARK 5:30, LUKE 22:10-13, JOHN 5:42, JOHN 6:64, JOHN 13:10-11, MATTHEW 12:25, MATTHEW 13:54, LUKE 2:47, LUKE 6:8, LUKE 9:47, JOHN 2:24-25, JOHN 4:29, JOHN 7:15, JOHN 13:1, JOHN 16:30, JOHN 18:4, JOHN 21:17, COLOSSIANS 2:3, APOC 2:23).
                            Holy Trinity
                            Revelation 2:23
                            And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds. (NASB)

                            2. In fact, here is an affirmation to the above from the 'United States Conference of Catholic Bishops':
                            [42:15–43:33] These verses comprise another hymn; cf. 16:24–18:14. In them Ben Sira contemplates God’s power, beauty, and goodness as manifested in the mighty work of creating and preserving the universe (42:15–17, 22–25; 43:1–26), his omniscience (42:18-20), perfect wisdom and eternity (42:21). The conclusion is a fervent hymn of praise (43:27–31). (The bold is mine)

                            Sirach 42:18-20
                            18 He sees into the oceans and into the human heart,
                            and he knows the secrets of both.
                            The Most High knows everything that can be known
                            and understands the signs of the ages.
                            19 He knows all that has ever been and all that ever will be;
                            he uncovers the deepest of mysteries.
                            20 He takes notice of our every thought
                            and hears our every word.
                            Sirach 42 GNT - These are times when it is proper for - Bible Gateway

                            God taking notice of our every thought refers to --> His omniscience.

                            To fully know the hearts of all is the same thing as being omniscient.
                            1. NIDNTT: The fact that God sees, tests and searches the hidden depths of the human heart is commonly stated in both the OT and the NT (1 Sam. 16:7; Jer. 11:20; 17:9f.; Lk. 16:15; Rom. 8:27; 1 Thess. 2:4; Rev. 2:23). This belief in the omniscience of God is expressed succinctly by the adj. kardiognōstēs (2:183, Heart, T. Sorg).
                            2. TDNT: The designation of God as ho kardiognōstēs , "the One who knows the heart," expresses in a single term (Ac. 1:24; 15:8) something which is familiar to both the NT and OT piety (Lk. 16:15; R. 8:27; 1 Th. 2:4; Rev. 2:23 of Christ, cf. 1 Bas. 16:7; 3 Bas. 8:39; 1 Par. 28:9; Psalm 7:9; Ier. 11:20; 17:10; Sir. 42:18 ff.), namely that the omniscient God knows the innermost being of every man where the decision is made either for Him or against Him (3:613, kardiognōstēs, Behm).
                            3. EDNT: On the one hand God is "in heaven" (Matt 6:9f. par.; 7:11; 11:25) and strictly distinguishable from everything that is of this world. On the other hand, however, he is present (Matt 6:1-18; Rev 1:8) and omniscient (Matt 6:8, 32; Acts 1:24; 15:8) (2:141, theos, G. Schneider).
                            4. New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis: the psalmist acknowledged the omniscience of God who knows the secrets of the heart (44:21[22]) (3:426, ta`alummah - hidden, secret, Andrew Hill).
                            5.The Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible: Christ possesses the attributes of God: omniscience (Acts 1:24) (2:94, deity of Christ, A.H. Leitch).

                            Two more things should be noted. First, some RC's will respond by saying that God can simply give this ability to Mary. However, this would mean that the omniscient God would have created another omniscient Being (God). There is only 1 omniscient God. Second, the Bible records that prophets were able to read the hearts of people (cf. 1 Kings 14:5; 2 Kings 6:12; 8:11 Acts 5:3-5). However, although prophets had more insight than others they were never said to be able to know the totality of the hearts of all people let alone the totality of just one of them (2 Kings 4:27). Only God has this knowledge (omniscience).

                            1 Kings 8:38-39
                            whatever made...then hear in heaven...for You alone know the hearts of all the sons of men (NASB)
                            Last edited by Faber; 09-17-2016, 01:39 AM.

                              Originally posted by William View Post
                              Perhaps, Bede can shed some light upon this subject?
                              Just come across this thread.

                              And no I don't want to reply. This thread is Catholic bashing at it's worst (well almost - no-one has quoted from Alexander Hislop yet).
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