O Mother of Perpetual Help, thou art the dispenser of all the goods which God grants to us miserable sinners, and for this reason, has He made thee so powerful, so rich, and so bountiful, that thou mayest help us in our misery. Thou art the advocate of the most wretched and abandoned sinners who have recourse to thee; come, then, to my help, dearest Mother, for I recommend myself to thee. In thy hands, I place my eternal salvation and to thee do I entrust my soul. Count me among thy most devoted servants; take me under thy protection, and it is enough for me; for, if thou protect me, dear Mother, I fear nothing; not from my sins, because thou wilt obtain for me the pardon of them; nor from the devils, because thou art more powerful than all hell together; not even from Jesus, my Judge Himself, because, by one prayer from thee, He will be appeased. But one thing I fear; that, in the hour of temptation, I may neglect to call on thee, and thus perish miserably. Obtain for me then the pardon of my sins, love for Jesus, final perseverance, and the grace always to have recourse to thee, O Mother of Perpetual Help.


According to Catholicism, how can we reconcile the idea that Mary obtains forgiveness of our sins and protects us from Jesus with the fact that we are saved by Jesus and our sins are forgiven by Jesus?

  • 1
    -1 You should explain your concern, and ask for a (Catholic) explanation. This assumes wrongheadedness, and doesn't justify the negativity.
    – Bit Chaser
    Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 18:11
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    Just tagging "Catholicism" isn't really enough to ensure that this questions wants an answer from a Catholic viewpoint. The question should include "According to Catholic teaching ..." otherwise,you could ask "According to Evangelicals ..." and it would be the same question.
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 18:17
  • Thanks, I edited my question to accommodate to those remarks Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 18:28
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    The title would be less offensive to Catholics if it would be worded in an explicatory way than simply a question of blasphemy, since you know that Catholics accept this matter. Your title should simply ask an explanation of their doctrine.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 21:17

1 Answer 1


If it blasphemous I'd hope that EWTN wouldn't publish it. In any event, the sentence structure is a little confusing and requires parsing. There is such a thing as Mariolotry, but this is not it.

So, by Our Lady's intercession what don't we fear?

  • Jesus' judgement (if Mary puts in a good word for us).

I think I could even make the case that this is a Biblical teaching.

The Queen sits at Your right hand, arrayed in gold

Psalm 45

A traditional understand of Mary's role in the heavenly economy is as a Mediatrix, a helper to advocate for humanity before God, like Solomon's "Queen Mother". And the idea is that Mary had such favor with God that He would do as she asked, as Jesus did during the wedding at Cana, when He didn't think His time for miracles had come.

She knows that as such she can point out to her Son the needs of mankind, and in fact, she "has the right" to do so. Her mediation is thus in the nature of intercession: Mary "intercedes" for mankind. And that is not all. As a mother she also wishes the messianic power of her Son to be manifested, that salvific power of his which is meant to help man in his misfortunes, to free him from the evil which in various forms and degrees weighs heavily upon his life.

St. John Paul II - Redemptoris Mater

and if you contrast it with the Memorare (a much more popular devotional prayer), which I'm typing from memory here:

Remember oh most gracious Virgin Mary that never was it known that anyone who fled to they protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was ever left unaided, inspired by this confidence I fly unto thee oh Virgin of virgins my Mother. To thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. Oh Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.

The words "in thy mercy" always struck me as a bit much. I'd think, only God has mercy, what good is Mary's mercy. Well, we all have mercy, by virtue of being human - and perhaps Mary, who is hailed by the Catholic Church as the greatest and most pure of all humans ever created, ought to have very good mercy.

So she takes all our humanness as far as humanly possible although ( as St. Louis Demontfort makes clear) the gulf between her and God is infinite.

I AVOW, with all the Church, that Mary, being but a mere creature that has come from the hands of the Most High, is, in comparison with His Infinite Majesty, less than an atom; or rather she is nothing at all “He who is,” and thus by consequence that grand Lord, always independent and sufficient to Himself, never had, and has not now, any absolute need of the Holy Virgin for the accomplishment of His will and for the manifestation of His glory. He has but to will, in order to do every, because He only is thing.

Nevertheless I say that, things being supposed as they are now, God having willed to commence and to complete His greatest works by the most holy Virgin, since He created her, we may well think He will not change His conduct in the eternal ages; for He is God, and He changes not either in His sentiments or in His conduct.

God the Father has not given His Only-begotten to the world except by Mary. Whatever sighs the patriarchs may have sent forth—whatever prayers the prophets and the saints of the ancient law may have offered up to obtain that treasure for full four thousand years—it was but Mary that merited it; it was but Mary who found grace before God by the force of her prayers and the eminence of her virtues. The world was unworthy, says St. Augustine, to receive the Son of God immediately from the Father’s hands. He has given Him to Mary in order that the world might receive Him through her.

And that, is about as far as any Catholic can take their devotion to Mary.

If you parse the approved prayers correctly, you'll see a clear application that Jesus is doing the work of salvation, but the Virgin Mary and the Saints (and each of us here on Earth) as for each other's prayers in intercession.


Intercession is a prayer of petition which leads us to pray as Jesus did. He is the one intercessor with the Father on behalf of all men, especially sinners. He is "able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them." The Holy Spirit "himself intercedes for us . . . and intercedes for the saints according to the will of God."

Since Abraham, intercession - asking on behalf of another has been characteristic of a heart attuned to God's mercy. In the age of the Church, Christian intercession participates in Christ's, as an expression of the communion of saints. In intercession, he who prays looks "not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others," even to the point of praying for those who do him harm.

The first Christian communities lived this form of fellowship intensely. Thus the Apostle Paul gives them a share in his ministry of preaching the Gospel but also intercedes for them. The intercession of Christians recognizes no boundaries: "for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions," for persecutors, for the salvation of those who reject the Gospel.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 2634-2636

Finally, if you get a just verdict in a court of law (and don't represent yourself), it could be said that your lawyer "obtained for you a just verdict" even when the judge was the one who handed it down.

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