Archive for the ‘Compassion’ Category

Is Mary more Compassionate than Jesus? – Part II

May 14, 2008

In the previous post (link) we saw how it appears that the criticism of Roman Catholicism as teaching that Mary is more compassionate than Jesus is a justified criticism, despite such a characterization not explicitly appearing in any conciliar documents or allegedly infallible papal writings.

There’s another way that we can arrive at the conclusion too – which is the papist notion that Mary, as “Queen of Heaven,” is the queen of Mercy (whereas Christ is not the King of Mercy, but the King of Justice, in the description below … though he certainly is called the “King of Mercy” elsewhere in Roman Catholic writings).

The kingdom of God consisting of justice and mercy, the Lord has divided it; he has reserved the kingdom of justice for himself, and he has granted the kingdom of mercy to Mary, ordaining that all the mercies which are dispensed to men should pass through the hands of Mary, and should be bestowed according to her good pleasure. St. Thomas confirms this in his preface to the Canonical Epistles; saying that the holy virgin, when she conceived the Divine Word in her womb, and brought him forth, obtained the half of the kingdom of God by becoming Queen of Mercy, Jesus Christ remaining King of Justice.

As reported here (link), and essentially confirmed here (link).

For comparison (link).

This title, “Queen of Mercy,” is apparently even part of the ordinary (i.e. not extraordinary) teachings of the Vatican, for it can be found in the document, Marialis Cultus (link), subtitled: “For the Right Ordering and Development of Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.” In that document, it is written: “It is also important to note how the Church expresses in various effective attitudes of devotion the many relationships that bind her to Mary: … in loving service, when she sees in the humble handmaid of the Lord the queen of mercy and the mother of grace … .” (Marialis Cultus, paragraph 22, emphasis added)

Thus, we can see that this concept of Mary’s alleged Queenship of Mercy is actually the standard teaching of the modern Roman Catholic church. One could argue that Marialis Cultis is written in such a way that it qualify as an ex cathedra proclamation under the standard enunciated by the first Vatican council, although I recognize that modern Roman Catholics would almost to a man not recognize it as such.

But this is not the teaching of Scripture. Scripture states that “the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” (James 5:11) Likewise, it tells us that God is “rich in mercy” (Ephesian 2:4). Furthermore, it clearly indicates that it is by his compassions and mercies that we are saved: “It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. ” (Lamentations 3:22)

And Scripture also teaches that God is sovereign in his mercy: “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” (Romans 9:15) So then, it is purely the invention of the imaginations of men’s hearts to elevate Mary from the handmaid of the Lord (Luke 1:38) to the Queen of Mercy. Let us turn instead and pray to God alone, beseeching him for Mercy who is the Merciful God (Deuteronomy 4:31).

For it is written: “for the LORD your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if ye return unto him.” (2 Chronicles 30:9) Therefore, repent of yours sins and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ alone for salvation.


UPDATE: Updated to reflect the fact that despite the division discussed above, Roman Catholics elsewhere do call Christ the “King of Mercy,” since – based on a single comment I received, it appears that this was not clear from the original post. Also, despite criticism to the contrary from the same commentator, Mary is not only described by Catholic authors as the Queen of Heaven, but also the Queen of Hell: “Mary, Queen of heaven, is also Queen of hell; the devils themselves, bend under the yoke of her sovereignty …” (source).

Is Mary more compassionate than Jesus? – Part I

May 13, 2008

Recently, one of my brothers in Christ asked me to confirm that Roman Catholics view Mary, practically speaking, as more compassionate than Jesus. If one does a search for the phrase “more compassionate than Jesus” one will not find a conciliar document – or probably even a papal encyclical.

One will encounter certain testimonials, such as this one: “I was taught as a RC youngster that approaching Mary was “easier” than approaching Jesus because she was more compassionate than Jesus was/is,” (link) but these may be easily dismissed by RC apologists as being merely faulty memories of youth (though I suppose many folks would be able to confirm that they too were taught such a view of Mary). Likewise one may find a phrase like “more compassion than Jesus” from questionable internet apologists (example) who oppose Catholicism.

Nevertheless, there are also other ways in which inappropriate devotion to Mary can be seen in Roman Catholic writings. For example, this site (link – caution – images) provides prayers of “reparation” to be made to Mary for “Blasphemy against the Blessed Virgin Mary”! I wish I were joking, but I am not.

But this is not a post specifically about Mariolatry (as evidenced by the very idea that Mary is capable of being “blasphemed”) but more specifically about the supposed greatness of Mary’s compassion. In the prayer there to Mary, the writer calls her: “the Immaculate Virgin and most compassionate Mother of God.” Now, we could chalk this up to simply flattery of Mary in the hopes of getting her favor, but the question remains: is she is truly “most compassionate”? Is not Jesus more compassionate?

Someone might argue that “most” is simply being used as synonym for “very.” While this cannot be totally ruled out, consider whether we would interpret the other extreme comments in the prayer as equally hyperbolic. Would we consider “immaculate” as simply meaning “very pure”? Would we interpret “Most glorious Virgin Mary” to mean that she was only “very glorious”? Would we interpret “most holy Mother” to mean that she was only “very holy”? And what about the appellation “the supreme comforter of the afflicted” — shall we interpret that in the prayer to mean only a very good good comforter of the afflicted? Surely, when we consider he phrase in context, it seems to be meant to be taken literally, as though there is no greater comforter of the afflicted, no more glorious person, and that she is totally free of sins.

But let us turn to a book. This book is called, “The Glories of Mary,” and was originally written in Italian by “St.” Alphonsus de Liguori, founder of the “Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer,” and was translated into English by a “Father” of that congregation. The book was approved and commended by Achbishop Wiseman of Westminster.

Under Section II – Mary is the Hope of Sinners, the following example and prayer are provided (pp. 97-99):

Blessed John Herold, who out of humility called himself the Disciple, relates, that there was a married man, who lived at enmity with God. His wife, who was a virtuous woman, being unable to engage him to give up sin, begged him, in the wretched state in which he was, to practise at least the devotion of saluting our Blessed Lady with a ‘Hail Mary,’ each time that he might pass before her picture. He began to do so. One night this wretched man was on his way to commit a crime, when he perceived a light at a distance: he drew near to see what it was, and found that it was a lamp, burning before a devout picture of Mary, holding the child Jesus in her arms. He at once, according to custom, said the ‘Hail Mary.” In the same moment, he beheld the Divine Infant covered with wounds, from which fresh blood was streaming. Terrified, and at the same time, moved to compassion, at this sight, he reflected that it was he, who, by his sins, had thus wounded his Redeemer. He burst into tears, but the Divine infant turned his back to him. Filled with shame, he appealed to the most Blessed Virgin, saying : ‘Mother of Mercy, thy Son rejects me: I can find no advocate more compassionate and more powerful than thee, for thou art his Mother; my Queen, do thou help me, and intercede for me.’ The Divine Mother, speaking from the picture, replied: ‘You sinners call me Mother of Mercy, but, at the same time, you cease not to make me a Mother of Sorrows, by crucifying my Son afresh, and renewing my sorrows.’ But as Mary can never let any one leave her feet disconsolate, she began to implore her Son to pardon this miserable wretch. Jesus continued to show himself unwilling to do so. The most Blessed Virgin, seeing this, placed him in the niche, and, prostrating herself before him, said: ‘My Son, I will not leave thy feet until thou hast pardoned this sinner.’ ‘My Mother,’ then said Jesus, ‘I can deny thee nothing; thou willest that he should be forgiven; for love of thee I pardon him; make him come and kiss my wounds.’ The sinner, sobbing and weeping, did so, and, as he kissed them, the wounds were healed. Jesus then embraced him, as a mark of forgiveness, and he changed his life, which, from that time, was one of holiness ; and he always preserved the most tender love and gratitude towards this Blessed Virgin, who had obtained him so great a grace.

O most pure Virgin Mary, I worship thy most holy heart which was the delight and resting-place of God, thy heart overflowing with humility, purity, and Divine love. I, an unhappy sinner, approach thee with a heart all loathsome and wounded. O compassionate Mother, disdain me not on this account; let such a sight rather move thee to greater tenderness, and excite thee to help me. Do not stay to seek virtues or merit in me before assisting me. I am lost, and the only tiling I merit is hell. See only my confidence in thee and the purpose I have to amend. Consider all that Jesus has done and suffered for me, and then abandon me if thou canst. I offer thee all the pains of His life; the cold that He endured in the stable; His journey into Egypt; the blood which He shed; the poverty, sweats, sorrows, and death that He endured for me; and this in thy presence. For the love of Jesus take charge of my salvation. Ah my Mother, I will not and cannot fear that thou wilt reject me, now that I have recourse to thee and ask thy help. Did I fear this, I should be offering an outrage to thy mercy, which goes in quest of the wretched, in order to help them. O Lady, deny not thy compassion to one to whom Jesus has not denied His blood. But the merits of this blood will not be applied to me unless thou recommendest me to God. Through thee do I hope for salvation. I ask not for riches, honours, or earthly goods. I seek only the grace of God, love towards thy Son, the accomplishment of His will, and His heavenly kingdom, that I may love Him eternally. Is it possible that thou wilt not hear me? No: for already thou hast granted my prayer, as I hope ; already thou prayest for me; already thou obtainest me the graces that I ask; already thou takest me under thy protection : my Mother, abandon me not. Never, never cease to pray for me until thou seest me safe in heaven at thy feet, blessing and thanking thee for ever. Amen.

*** End of Quoted Materal ***

Now, consider, dear Reader, whether or not this tale suggests that Mary is more compassionate and approachable than Jesus? It is hard to read it any other way. For Jesus, in the tale, rebuffs the sinner, but Mary is the solution. Indeed, the man in the tale asserts: “I can find no advocate more compassionate and more powerful than thee….” Now doubtless those advocating the papist position today might argue that there is no better advocate before Jesus than Mary – and not simply no better advocate than Mary. But the problem is this: Scripture is clear that Jesus is compassionate and merciful to those who come to him. Furthermore, Jesus is our advocate, and is the mediator between God and man.

We need Jesus, not Mary, to plead our case for the forgiveness of our sins. Mary was blessed, indeed – but not with the role of mediatrix. Scripture nowhere teaches or hints at such a role for the mother of Christ, the Son of God.

So, let us turn from what is – in essence – idolatry that would be offensive to Mary if she were still with us, and turn instead to the pure worship of the One True God, by His Son, our Savior, Jesus the Righteous!

As the Orthodox are so wont to say: Lord have mercy!


P.S. This is Part I, but it is the main part. Part II is planned simply to be the provision of a similar example of an excessively high view of Mary.

UPDATE: updated to address a typographic error, and to clarify one point.

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