Catholicism puts great emphasis on the importance on the Mary, the Mother of God. It honors her and insists upon her perpetual sinlessness and perpetual virginity. And in my observation, it seems as though this high opinion of and devotion to Mary is integral to Catholicism.

This is very much in contrast to Protestant traditions which insist that Christ is of sole importance. In the loosely-quoted words of many-a-Protestants:

Why wouldn't a Christian's devotion be to Christ alone? Why set up intermediaries where none are needed? And why contort Mary's role as having any more significance than Christ's physical, human mother? Doesn't that smell like idolatry to you!?

So, why is she so important in and seemingly integral to Catholicism? Is there theological, symbolic, or spiritual significance?

Do they just assume if they can convince Mary to pray for them, Jesus has to listen because she's His mom? (Lest he be put on a heavenly time-out?)

For the sake of Christian unity or otherwise, why can't the Catholic Church just drop the Marian devotion?

Addendum/Clarification: Is the theology and practice surrounding Mary roughly as integral to Catholicism as the doctrine and meditation of the Holy Trinity? Eliminating the doctrine of the Trinity would fundamentally change the Catholic understanding of God. Would downgrading Mary also change the Catholic understanding of God?

  • Related, but not the same: christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/1482/…
    – svidgen
    Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 17:18
  • 3
    Relevant: anglicancommunion.org/ministry/ecumenical/dialogues/catholic/… Mary: Grace and hope in Christ is the agreed statement on Mary from the Anglican and Catholic communions. Commented Jul 26, 2013 at 8:27
  • One of the most theologically apt explanations I've read is this chapter from Henri de Lubac ("The splendor of the Church", last chapter)
    – leonbloy
    Commented Jul 29, 2013 at 21:14
  • 1) The Orthodox, not just the Catholics, have a huge Marian devotion which literally goes back thousands of years. 2) the "objection" from many Protestants hinges upon more basic definitions which differ between the groups namely, what is devotion, worship or an intermediary? 3) it wouldn't change who God is (were such elimination possible) but it would obscure how God chooses to act.
    – eques
    Commented Jun 10, 2019 at 21:01
  • Pretty much for the same reason Christians, in general, can't just drop their devotion to Christ, for the sake of Judaeo-Christian-Islamic unity, or theists, in general, can't just drop their devotion to a personal deity, for the sake of (a)theist unity, etc. As for the other question, namely Why wouldn't a Christian's devotion be to Christ alone?, the reason lies in the fact that Christ taught us that God is (selfless) love (of others), and the mentality behind this statement is fundamentally at odds with that of (self-centered) individualism, which is what loneliness usually implies.
    – user46876
    Commented Oct 31, 2019 at 4:10

12 Answers 12


There are many reasons why Catholics practice Marian devotion. One reason, given by Catholic Pam Brink, is that “If I ignore Mary, I am being disrespectful to Jesus”. Catholic apologist David MacDonald makes the same argument in Why do Catholics pray to Mary?: Is it not disrespectful to someone not to honour his mother?

Another reason David gives is that, like fellow believers on earth, the saints in heaven (especially Jesus' mother) pray for us. Protestants often ask saints on earth to pray for them, even though it is not ‘necessary’. Similarly, Catholics don't hesitate to ask the saints in heaven for intercession.

More to your point, it is true that Catholics sometimes modify their Marian devotion in the presence of Protestants in order not to cause offence (see Romans 14). However, like many Christians, Catholics don't feel that they need to avoid something they consider spiritually beneficial to avoid offending others—particularly since Catholics consider their church to be the true Church, and their faith to be the true faith. From their point of view, the question is similar to: should Trinitarian Christians avoid worshipping Jesus to promote unity with Jehovah Witnesses?

Catholics are maximalists, not minimalists. For them, a life of faith that does not include devotion to Mary and to the saints would be missing something beneficial for the Christian. True, such acts may not be strictly necessary for salvation, but like many Christians, Catholics don't believe people should do ‘just enough to get by’; they tend to believe that the more beneficial things done, the better. Fasting? taking monastic vows? These things are not required for salvation, but still spiritually beneficial, and while there may be very particular points of time when not practicing Marian devotion may be expedient, it is not good enough reason for Catholics as a whole to abandon the practice.

Edit: All this assumes, of course that paying Mary respect does not detract from the respect given to God. Protestants tend to see honour as a zero-sum game: the more honour paid to Mary, the less paid to God. The Catholic does not see honour in these terms: honour paid to Mary is not detracting from honour given to God, but rather amplifies it; Jesus is glorified when his mother is honoured. Analogously, glory given to God the Father is not lessened when glory is given to Jesus. Of course, honour due to Mary is of a qualitatively different type than that due Jesus, even in Catholic theology, and there is a line that must not be crossed. Nevertheless, while some Protestants feel uncomfortable about paying any respect to Mary, Catholics only place the line at giving Mary divine adoration.

Disclaimer: In linking to any site, I do not necessarily subscribe to any or all of the author’s opinions.

  • 2
    This is a great answer to begin with, and the use of objective & deferential language makes still better. +1 and welcome. Commented Jul 27, 2013 at 19:49
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    Reluctantly downvoting this answer -- it provides an excellent rhetorical defense of Marian devotion as well as a good basic clarification of how Catholics are devoted to Mary. But it doesn't really touch on the theological aspect of the original question. My sense is that the historical mainstream of Catholic opinion has always held that a proper understanding of Mary is both logically and practically necessary for orthodox Christian belief -- which I think is a much stronger claim than @JohnPeyton has made here.
    – Ben Dunlap
    Commented Aug 8, 2013 at 14:03
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    It’s true that a proper understanding of Mary is considered necessary for orthodox Christian belief, if only because it is directly relevant to Christology. (For example, calling Mary the "Mother of God" was deemed necessary by the Council of Ephesus, because if that weren't the case, that would mean either that Christ is not God or that the divinity and humanity of Christ are seperable.) The key word here, however, is devotion: the question is, why don't Catholics just drop the devotion? I think the evidence points to the maximalism issue described, rather than clear theological reasons. Commented Aug 10, 2013 at 21:24
  • 4
    @JohnPeyton Sure but understanding and devotion are tightly linked. A proper understanding of Mary leads naturally to Marian devotion. Conversely traditional devotion informs understanding: Lex orandi, lex credendi. Without devotion to Mary, the right understanding of the Incarnation (i.e,. orthodox Christian faith) withers -- see the quotation from Cardinal Newman in my answer.
    – Ben Dunlap
    Commented Aug 12, 2013 at 15:46
  • 1
    As a Prot. I see Cath. approach to Mary as possibly a kind of humility, Mary is human. Jesus, although human, is also God. Mary is not God. She is one of us, so instead of rushing in and demanding an audience with the King, Catholics in humility, may enter by the back door and speak of their human link to Jesus' own human mother, first, as the reason for their requests of the Godhead.
    – Hello
    Commented Nov 2, 2014 at 16:46

Theologically and historically the veneration of Mary is inseparably linked to an orthodox understanding of the Incarnation. The Council of Ephesus affirmed St. Cyril's defense of the earlier fathers' use of the term Mother of God -- in St. Cyril's account this is an important part of avoiding "the fallacy of speaking of two sons":

The Word's becoming flesh means nothing else than that he partook of flesh and blood like us; he made our body his own, and came forth a man from woman without casting aside his deity ... This is the account of the true faith everywhere professed. So shall we find that the holy fathers believed. So have they dared to call the holy virgin, mother of God. (Second Letter to Nestorius, emphasis mine)

From this theological conviction, religious devotion to the Mother of God naturally follows. And this devotion constantly leads us back to Jesus, specifically by reminding us of Who He is. Blessed John Henry Newman:

Every church which is dedicated to her ... every image ... every litany in her praise, every Hail Mary ... does but remind us that there was One who, though He was all-blessed from all eternity, yet for the sake of sinners, "did not shrink from the Virgin's womb". Thus she is ... "the Tower of David"; the high and strong defence of the King of the true Israel; and hence the Church also addresses her ... as having "alone destroyed all heresies in the whole world". (Discourses to Mixed Congregations #17)

He goes on to argue that the converse is also true -- namely, that neglect of the Mother of God leads inevitably to a rejection of the orthodox doctrine of St. Cyril and of the Council of Ephesus. This amounts to a concrete application of the ancient dictum lex orandi, lex credendi (i.e., as one prays, so one believes -- cf. CCC 1124).

On that note, it's illuminating to observe that Mary is continually invoked throughout the daily cycle of liturgical prayer in both East and West: multiple times in the Mass and in the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, and again more than once in the canonical hours (at least in the Roman Rite -- although I'd guess that, if anything, the Hours of the Eastern Churches mention Mary even more often). And here I'm referring only to the times she is mentioned in the ordinary course of the day, regardless of what feast is being celebrated, or whether any feast is being celebrated at all. Marian feasts, which are observed throughout the year, take the devotion to a whole new level of intensity -- and the most important of these feasts are obligatory, at least in the Roman Rite.

If, then, "liturgy is a constitutive element of the holy and living Tradition" (CCC 1124 again), then one would expect an obligatory liturgical practice that constantly recurs in both East and West to express a fundamentally important aspect of the faith.

  • 3
    Finally! I've been waiting for an answer that mentions that Mariology originally developed to protect Christ's humanity/Incarnation (Theotokos). +1
    – Dan
    Commented Aug 12, 2013 at 16:15
  • 1
    Ok. Newman says that if we reject the Mother of God, our other doctrines crumble with it. So, it seems like Newman is saying a rejection of Mary leads to a false understanding of God. Is that an accurate understanding of your answer? Can you provide a little more detail on that? That is, why is that true? How do we know a rejection of the Mariology leads to a rejection of other doctrines? Or taints our understanding of God?
    – svidgen
    Commented Aug 12, 2013 at 19:08
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    Well logically speaking, in order for Christ to be fully human he must have been "made of a woman" (Galatians 4:4). Clearly, to reject the substance of this verse is to reject the orthodox faith. But does a failure to venerate the woman of Galatians 4:4 amount to a rejection of the doctrine? I think this follows from the dictum lex orandi, lex credendi, and Newman's point seems to be that history concurs: He claims that most Protestants of his day are de facto Nestorians. I have no idea whether he would say the same today, though.
    – Ben Dunlap
    Commented Aug 12, 2013 at 20:37

Mary is totally integral to our faith. She is the Mediatrix of All Graces!* She is the Cause of our Joy! She is the Singular Vessel of Devotion!

I think you'd have a more productive time talking about Mary with Protestants than avoiding her. She didn't say "All generations would call me a schmo for letting God walk all over me". She said:

All generations will call me blessed

Lk 1:48 - Gospel from the Solemnity of the Assumption Blessed Virgin Mary

This is something that is in the Bible and I think it is clearly stated in a way that it is asserted by the Holy Spirit and therefore true. Now, if Catholics decided decided to devote every Tuesday to the kind of ecumenism that refuses to call Mary Blessed, then every Tuesday the Church would cease to exist. But, since "the gates of hell" will not prevail over the Church on Monday, neither shall they prevail over her on Tuesday and therefore, in her incorruptible majesty, it seems as though she is incapable of abandoning her

The best way to contemplate Jesus is through Mary's eyes. That's why the Rosary is such a powerful devotion.

One can figure that out without being Catholic and I think that makes for common ground. Perhaps too, there are some who fear that the Rosary is somehow unecumenical because of its distinctly Marian character. Yet the Rosary clearly belongs to the kind of veneration of the Mother of God described by the Council: a devotion directed to the Christological centre of the Christian faith, in such a way that “when the Mother is honoured, the Son ... is duly known, loved and glorified”. If properly revitalized, the Rosary is an aid and certainly not a hindrance to ecumenism! Pope John Paul II - Rosarium Virginis Mariae

Bl. Pope John Paul II the Great* goes on to quote St. Louis de Montfort

Our entire perfection consists in being conformed, united and consecrated to Jesus Christ. Hence the most perfect of all devotions is undoubtedly that which conforms, unites and consecrates us most perfectly to Jesus Christ.

St. Louis de Montfort - Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

yes, St. Louis, but you said this was Total Consecration to Mary, what does she have to do with Jesus?

Now, since Mary is of all creatures the one most conformed to Jesus Christ, it follows that among all devotions that which most consecrates and conforms a soul to our Lord is devotion to Mary, his Holy Mother, and that the more a soul is consecrated to her the more will it be consecrated to Jesus Christ


So it is by being an imitator of the one who is most conformed to Jesus that we become more and more consecrated to Jesus. To Jesus through Mary... Where have I heard that one before. Oh yeah, she is the Mediatrix of All Graces. That's what that means, it means that sanctifying grace was allowed to permeate our souls because Mary freely chose to offer herself to God and bring Redemption into the world.

To drop her Marian devotion, the Church would have to wipe out at least 17 feasts during the year in her honor (3-4 of which are Holy Days of Obligation), we'd have to get a lot of black paint; smash a lot of statues; stop praying the Rosary and the Hail Mary; Find someone else to help us with our "purity issues". We'd have to be Protestants!

Forgot to read the second half of your question. Maybe there's no sufficient answer for this and I will have to resort to bad analogies.

  • If the Trinity can be likened to a Blue Plate Special (which I doubt it can) at your favorite diner then Mary is your friendly waitress Cheryl.

  • If the Trinity can be likened to a 3-in-1 Lego Creator kit, then Mary is your mom who bought it for you for Christmas.

  • If the Trinity can be likened to anticipation, experience and remembrance, then Mary is the one who got you all excited in the first place.

  • If the Trinity is some strange fractal with triangles that infinitely recursively fall in upon themselves, the Mary is your 7th grade math teacher.

If Mary is as integral as getting to know Jesus, then she is equally integral in getting to know the Father and the Holy Spirit!

Don't want to go overboard and contradict myself, in this related question I said Marian Devotion is not essential to salvation and that's true. But I think "integral to faith" and "essential to salvation" aren't exactly the same thing.

*It's not heretical to call her that, even though it's not a dogma yet. If you don't believe me, ask another question! *Can I just future proof and call him St. Pope John Paul II the Great?

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Feb 15, 2017 at 14:12

Why can the Catholic Church not simply ignore the Virgin Mary? Why can it not simply drop Marian devotion altogether? That is like asking the question, Why did God not decide to become incarnate by another means? Why did He pass through Mary? Surely God is omnipotent, and thus can do anything that He wills. So why did He come to us through Mary? Because He willed it. There is no other reasonable explanation.

And so, if God willed to come to us through Mary, how can it be "idolatrous" or "blasphemous" to go to Him through Mary? Catholics approach God in the same way in which He came to us: through the Virgin Mary. Surely you would not accuse God of idolatry or blasphemy?

Protestantism is so obsessed with "a direct relationship with Christ" that they forget that Grace itself is a mediated reality. And the different levels of mediation (the Priesthood, the Sacraments, intercession of the Angels and Saints) in no way take away from the effectiveness of Christ's work of salvation in us: on the contrary, they add to it.

I hope this helps.

  • 1
    Welcome to the site, but I need to point out that "who is right and who is wrong" is off-topic here. This isn't a debate site, and this "answer" is pretty borderline, particularly the "Protestantism is so obsessed" part. Please try to refrain from that tone. See: the help page, How we are different than other sites? and What makes a good supported answer? Commented Jun 7, 2014 at 20:49
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    Otherwise, this is a fair representation of a Catholic view. Commented Jun 7, 2014 at 20:50
  • @DavidStratton The querent poisoned the well with "who is right and who is wrong" in the way the question was worded, and you bust the chops of someone responding to that? Why is the question still open? Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 14:52
  • Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Notice Jesus did not say: "have the children seek my mother so that she can guide them to me..."
    – Lenny
    Commented Jul 7, 2022 at 5:03

Speaking as a Protestant, I suggest that one of the main "sticking points"--if not the sticking point--between the Protestant and Catholic perspectives on the personhood of Mary can be traced to our differing perspectives on Holy Scripture.

Generally speaking, Protestants (and particularly Evangelical Protestants, of whom I am one) consider the Holy Bible to be the only fully authoritative word of God. Catholics, on the other hand, while having great reverence for the Bible, do not consider the Bible to contain the only fully authoritative word of God. What is fully authoritative to the Roman Catholic Church is church tradition as interpreted by the leadership within the Roman Catholic hierarchy, and particularly by the Holy See, and the authority, jurisdiction, and governmental functions associated with the papacy.

Speaking more specifically, Waeshael's answer, above, contains a good illustration of how a scripture is interpreted through the lens of church tradition. I quote his answer as follows:

On the Cross (John 19:26) the Master told this to a disciple: “When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home” (John 19:26, 27 KJV). The Church Fathers understand this command to be directed towards all who believe that Jesus loves them. To be considered brethren to Jesus, you shall consider Mary to be your Mother, and you must take her into your own home.

Your average Evangelical Christian would interpret the same verses quite differently, I suggest. First, our (i.e., my) interpretation would involve very practical--nay, pragmatic--concerns such as John's support of Jesus' earthly mother, not only in the wake of Jesus' immediate demise on the cross, but also after Jesus' ascension into heaven.

Second, we would suggest that Jesus' attitude toward his earthly mother was at times a bit less than reverential. When Jesus was preaching to the crowds in his hometown of Nazareth, someone told him,

"Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You" (Matthew 12:47; cf. Mark 3:32 and Luke 8:20).

What was Jesus' response?

"But Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, 'Who is My mother and who are My brothers?' And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, 'Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother'" (Matthew 12:48-50 NASB).

Perhaps a Catholic contributor to this website would care to interpret that passage from a Catholic perspective, as I'm sure his or her interpretation would differ significantly from that of most Protestants.

In conclusion, Catholics, I suggest, are simply not bound as tightly to the Judeo-Christian Scriptures as are many--if not most--Protestants. I would not be surprised if many Catholics interpreted our reverence for Scripture as bordering on Bible worship--or bibliophily at best. I have to admit, many famous Protestant preachers seem to have a habit of iterating the same "The Bible says . . ." ad infinitum, ad nauseam.

Moreover, Protestants are not unlike many Catholics, I suspect, in realizing just how much our common religion has been shaped by and depends on centuries of tradition and generations of socialization regarding what we believe and why we believe it! What is most important, in my opinion, is that at the heart of our common religion is a living Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. That alone should provide sufficient common ground for cordial relations between us.

  • I think that often we do feel exactly as you suspect we feel about Protestant attitudes toward Scripture. Fortunately there has been much fruitful ground covered in the last forty years or so as far as finding common ground with various groups of Protestants. After all, "I believe in God, the Father Almighty, ... and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, ... I believe in the Holy Spirit..." Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 23:03
  • @MattGutting: True enough. We probably have more in common than we might at first think! Hindering cordial relations between "camps" are the "purists" in each camp who are not willing to look for common ground, figuring they somehow have a corner on the truth! There's only one person who has a corner on the truth, and that's Jesus Christ, who famously said, "I AM the truth." Don Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 23:38
  • I'd say that Luke 11:27-28 is even stronger than Matthew 12:48-50, but a standard Catholic interpretation is this: Christ is pointing out that Mary's beatitude and even her physical motherhood of Him are rooted fundamentally in her perfect obedience to the will of God..
    – Ben Dunlap
    Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 23:07
  • @BenDunlap: Good point, and I think you're right that the Luke passage is even stronger. While we're at it we may as well throw in John 2:1-5, particularly v.4 ("Woman, what does that have to do with us? My hour has not yet come") Commented Apr 7, 2016 at 22:19
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    I think on the surface these seem like valid interpretations : the 'reprimanding' Christ. Etc. But if you accept tota scriptura, you'll find, for instance that the New Eve typology/symbolism of Christ calling Mary exclusively 'Woman', and as the new Adam, on the new 'tree of life,' you might say, renaming the "Woman" 'mother of all the living' in Christ, Revelation 12:1,5,17 becomes a Biblical testimony and affirmation of the spiritual motherhood of Mary of all Christ's brothers and sisters.We are called "the rest of her seed". cf. Gen 3:15. That there would be no 'new Eve' is unthinkable. Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 13:38

Catholicism includes a great range of traditions: Eastern, Greek, Syrian, Anglican, and Roman. Belief about the details of the nature of Mary may differ. But all agree that Mary is Theotokos - the God bearer, or Mother of God.

And consider this: On the Cross (Joh 19:26) the Master told this to a disciple

“When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.” John 19:26, 27, KJV.

The Church Fathers understand this command to be directed towards all who believe that Jesus loves them. To be considered brethren to Jesus, you shall consider Mary to be your Mother, and you must take her into your own home.

  • Can you please provide some references supporting the idea that John 19:26 is a command for all Christians?
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Jun 5, 2014 at 23:49
  • This question is not great as those who understand mothers and motherhood know.
    – user13992
    Commented Aug 9, 2014 at 20:52
  • Theotokos is Christological doctrine, not Marian. Additionally, that verse has been stretched out to mean things it might not have meant.
    – Lenny
    Commented Feb 27, 2022 at 10:12

I agree with the above answers, but one thing I might add is that many Catholics view the Virgin Mary as "The Ark of the New Covenant"

As the ancient Israelites honored the Ark of the Covenant in the Old Testament, so do Catholics. Let me explain better if I can. The Ark of the Covenant in the Old Testament contained the Ten Commandments and holy relics and it caried the presence of God. The Virgin Mary (when pregnant) contained Jesus Christ (the Word of God) and the presence of God which would make her the Ark of the New Covenant in their eyes.

The scripture many Catholics use to support this is:

Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail. Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth (Revelation 11:19; 12:1-2).

Many Catholics say that these two scriptures together indicate that this glorious woman is the Ark of the New Covenant because in the Old Testament the Ark of the Covenant was described in great detail and that if the Ark of the Covenant was to be mentioned here in Revelation then surely there would be a glorious description of it; in fact, however, the only thing described is this glorious pregnant woman.

So it is possible that one may say that the Virgin Mary is viewed as the Ark of the New Covenant and is honored as such.


It has something to do with the understanding from the Church Fathers that the Son, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, existed before all ages, before the Mother of God.

So, there was an old debate about Mother Mary in the Middle Ages, between Franciscans and Dominicans: Was Our Lady Sinless (The Franciscan point of view), or was she Maculate? (The Dominican point of view) Since the hinge of the debate was that how could Our Lord save His own mother if she was born without sin? Doesn't the sinlessness of Mary separate her from the rest of humanity? But at the same time, if Our Lord existed before He was even born, since He is God, why would He choose to be born to an impure woman? Couldn't He make an exception to a special woman that she would be spared from the connection to the sin of Adam, that He may be born of a spotless and perfect mother?

Also, if Our Lady was tainted by the Original Sin, it was more likely that her Free Will would have denied accepting the Holy Spirit that she may conceive Our Lord, since a fallen human nature would be self-serving; she would have taken into consideration the shame of being pregnant without a known father.

Of course, if she were pure and sinless, and was born that way, she would have been willing to align her will to the Will of God, who desires the salvation of all mankind. She said "My Soul Doth Magnify The Lord" not because she was a robot devoid of Free Will... But because she was filled with grace, devoid of sin, when she was conceived by her parents.

And so, there is great reason for her son, Our Lord, to love her, and she to love Him; when two hearts are joined together, they feel each other's pains, each other's joys, and it was like what Old Simeon said: a spear shall pierce her heart, because a spear will pierce the heart of her beloved Son.

What kind of a Christian would be unmoved by this reality?


The principle devotion to Mary is the Rosary. The Rosary was given to St. Dominic directly from Heaven. If you believed this, then your question wouldn't seem so reasonable. Practically the Virgin Mary obtains favors from her Son. It was on her request that he changed the water into wine at Cana. He said, "Woman, why do you involve me? My hour has not yet come." This answer seems like a no, but she knew that he would not refuse her request and says,"Do whatever he tells you." The Virgin Mary is called the Star of the Sea. She guides Catholics to Heaven. I recommend the book "The Glories of Mary" by St. Alphonsus for a brilliant 500 page answer to your question. I would paste the whole book here if I could.

  • The claim that the Rosary was given to Dominic is a myth, and a badly supported one. Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 0:58
  • In any case, devotion to Mary certainly preceded the institution of the Rosary as we know it. Commented Sep 11, 2015 at 22:30

Why can't Catholicism just drop its Marian devotion?
Because she is the Mother of Our LORD, God himself, and also our Mother.

Devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary

"'All generations will call me blessed': 'The Church's devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship.' The Church rightly honors 'the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of "Mother of God," to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs .... This very special devotion ... differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration.' The liturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and Marian prayer, such as the Rosary, an 'epitome of the whole Gospel,' express this devotion to the Virgin Mary." [cf. CCC, 971. The internal quotes are from Lk 1:48; Me 42,56, and LG 66.].
Source: Devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary | Handbook of Prayers | Rev. James Socias , Publisher.

  • @svidgen I take that back! It was a great question (to me , easy to answer) ... The quote above answers the Addendum/Clarification: Mary and Devotion to her cannot be separated from the Trinity and God's works, especially the new creation (new Eve linked with new Adam, Jesus), the work of salvation.
    – user13992
    Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 8:11

God made her free from sin.

[AKJV] Genesis 3:15
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; it shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.

"I ( God ) will put enmity between you ( Serpent ) and the woman .."

It is God's Act and not of Blessed Virgin Mary's own strength that keep her against the Serpent's trap.

And She is Mother to those who are brothers of Christ.

"No one can apprehend the meaning of it (John's Gospel) except he have lain on Jesus' breast and received from Jesus Mary to be his mother also....For if Mary, as those declare who with sound mind extol her, had no other son but Jesus, and yet Jesus says to His mother "Woman, behold thy son" and not "Behold you have this son also", then He virtually said to her "Lo, this is Jesus, whom thou dost bear". Is it not the case that every one who is perfect lives himself no longer, but Christ lives in him, if Christ lives in him, then it is said of him to Mary "Behold thy son Christ". (Origen, Commentary on John, Bk 1, ch.6)

We praise God for giving us Blessed Virgin Mary for it was His perfect work and handmaid. Through Her we also received Jesus Christ. Thus, we also imitate Christ in Loving Blessed Virgin Mary his mother.

The Church is a spiritual sense of Family.


Here is a Protestant perspective. The Catholic Church falls back on tradition to justify doctrines that they cannot establish from Scripture. However, if we look closer, we can see Biblical justification for several Marian doctrines and for the importance of honoring Mary (and Joseph) prominently and consistently. It is because of the Biblical justification that the Catholic church should not neglect or abandon its commitment to honoring Mary. Let us revisit a passage that @rhetorician cited in a previous answer:

"But Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, 'Who is My mother and who are My brothers?' And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, 'Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother'" (Matthew 12:48-50 NASB).

A careful analysis of Matthew (which has twenty-eight chapters) demonstrates that every chapter corresponds to one of the twenty-eight times in Ecclesiastes 3. By this it is clear that the entire book of Matthew is a chronological prophecy. If one assumes that each group of four times spans 321 years (the historical analysis required to back this up is substantial) and starts near at the day of Pentecost in 33 AD then chapter 12 corresponds to the period 916-996 AD. The interpretation of the passage is that Jesus is challenging the church to ask the question, "Who is my mother?" In the time periods that immediately follow this period, the Catholic church began to ask that question, with the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception becoming more acceptable within a century.

One can do the same thing with the Exodus accounts of the Ten Plagues and Ten Commandments. Moses lived for 120 years. If you take 120 years for a plague and 120 years for a commandment, you get 240 years per period, for ten periods in all. If you start near the birth of Christ (AD 1) then the fifth period is 960-1200 AD. That corresponds to the fifth commandment:

Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. (Exodus 20:12)

What happened in Europe during this period? The Medieval Warm Period plus innovations in farming techniques caused the gross crop yields to double and the food available for human consumption to triple. The population doubled and the life expectancy went from 25 to 35.

So the Catholic Church honored Mary (and Josephology also flourished, including work by Thomas Aquinas) and as a consequence God kept his promise that their days would be long.

(The links between the other commandments as well as the plagues to their corresponding periods of history are also striking. The Plague of Boils matches the time of the Black Death and the prohibition against murder. The time of the plague of locusts matches the age of the Colonial empires and the command to not steal.)

  • That may be your perspective, and you may be a Protestant, but until you provide Protestant sources for your interpretations that show those to be a mainly Protestant stance, you give us speculations that cannot be attributed to 'Protestants'. Your reasoning comes over as very much 'after-the-event', following on once Marian devotion had been established, seeking to justify it. I don't know of any Protestant source that would go along with that, hence my down-vote. But if you can quote Protestant sources that agree with your interpretation, I shall remove it.
    – Anne
    Commented Oct 29, 2021 at 8:37

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