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Reading chats and posts and such here with our BU friends I've noticed a thread that seems similar to the way Catholics view The Blessed Virgin Mary and Unitarians view Jesus. It seems like in both theologies they're asymptotically approaching God/Divinity. Could someone help me compare and contrast the relations between the two? Basically, what is the difference between Unitarian Christology and Catholic Mariology?

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  • I appear to not be the only person to draw this conclusion although I wouldn't call it Mariolatry
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Dec 21, 2022 at 22:13
  • . . . . . . I am assuming that by 'asymptotically approaching' you mean that they never get there, as they require more and more 'evidence' as credibility shrinks with each added 'proof' . . . . . .
    – Nigel J
    Commented Dec 22, 2022 at 9:29
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    Interesting that one makes more of a person than Scripture allows and the other makes less of a person than Scripture allows using similar means (according to the link in comments). Perhaps that is the difference? Commented Dec 22, 2022 at 14:09
  • @nigel I think it should be a comparison between Catholicism and Unitarianism from a disinterested point of view. But by asymptotically approaching, I mean their theology intentionally makes them the best creatures, best examples, ideal models of piety and imitation - but never God Himself.
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Dec 22, 2022 at 14:24
  • Yes, some similarities. Good question. Commented Dec 23, 2022 at 0:00

2 Answers 2

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A way for a Catholic to think of how Biblical Unitarians (BUs) think of Jesus is that He is the King of the Saints in Heaven, firstborn in resurrection and first among those He himself calls 'friends', who plays a unique mediatory role between other humans and God.

  • Like Mary in Catholicism, Jesus is fully a human, and does not have a 'dual nature'.

  • Like Mary in Catholicism, Jesus did not pre-exist his conception.

  • Like Mary in Catholicism (dogma of the assumption of Mary), Jesus is a human who was taken up into Heaven.

  • Like Mary in Catholicism (dogma of the immaculate conception), Jesus had a unique conception vis a vis other humans which puts him into the position of fulfilling a unique role as ordained by God.

  • Like Mary in Catholicism (and the other saints, but Mary is often given a privileged role), Jesus can be 'prayed to', but again this must be qualified (in both cases, the primary function is that of an intercessor).

  • Like Mary in Catholicism, Jesus has a privileged relationship to God (unique Son of God, Mary is unique Mother of God).

  • Like Mary in Catholicism with special 'veneration' or devotion, there is an attitude towards Jesus which others might consider 'worship' and inappropriate towards anyone except God, and which is not equal to other humans in heaven.

  • Like Mary in Catholicism (although it seems a minority position), Jesus can be called 'divine' (although this can be controversial and also a minority position), but in either case the notion of 'divine but not co-equal to God' has to be defined.

So there are many similarities.

However, for BUs Jesus is the Christ, Son of God, and so is quite different from Mary because He is the Savior - through whom salvation comes - and the King, seated at the right hand of the Father - to whom all authority has been given by the Father. Catholics do not hold similar views re Mary.

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    There is a grass roots movement within Catholicism to institute a new Marian Dogma naming her as co-mediatrix so your last paragraph may not always be true. Commented Dec 26, 2022 at 14:44
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    @MikeBorden Interesting! I have to wonder how many Catholics actually hold this, as I hadn't heard of it until now despite 10 years going to Catholic churches. "This movement would, in practice, redefine the Trinity as a kind of Quartet." gotquestions.org/Mary-redemptrix-mediatrix.html Commented Dec 26, 2022 at 21:50
  • @MikeBorden The current Pope seems to be a strong 'no' on this. Commented Dec 26, 2022 at 21:51
  • I don’t understand the downvotes, as at least on the catholic side, this post looks factual correct to me. Mary co-mediatrix is new to me. I know Mary as mediatrix, and I know there is some movement for Mary co-redemptrix. Mediatrix is an old titel, co-redemptrix also has a long history but is a bit more controversial, also because it is connected to the lady of all nations
    – ABM K
    Commented Jan 1 at 16:54
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What is the difference between the way Catholics view The Blessed Virgin Mary and Unitarians view Jesus?

The differences in the way Catholics view the Blessed Virgin Mary and how Unitarians view Jesus is a little hard to clearly state because of lack of clarity of many theological definitions that are not standardized in the Unitarian understandings on theological matters. As such, we can only get a close approximation of terms on this question matter.

So you ask the question: Basically, what is the difference between Unitarian Christology and Catholic Mariology?

Basically there is little to no real difference as they do not worship Jesus as God, but simply venerate him as the Son of God, and not Divine.

Catholics venerate Mary as a saint (Mother of God) and Unitarians venerate Jesus as the Son of the Father.

Catholic do have Marian pilgrimages whereas Unitarians do not have any spiritual pilgrimages in honour of Jesus in order to foster any devotion to Christ (pilgrimage in honour of the Child Jesus for example).

Catholics pray the Rosary in honour of Mary while Unitarians do not pray any chaplet prayers in honour of Jesus whatsoever. The Jesus Prayer is a good example.

Catholic venerate Mary with a form of veneration called Dulia. Unitatarians seems to venerate Jesus in his humanity because he is the Son of God but not Divine. However their theological definitions are such that such veneration given to Jesus in Unitarianism seems to be a simple form of veneration and not hyperdulia signifying the highest form of dulia or veneration given to Mary uniquely.

Just for clarity here is a Catholic definition of Dulia: "A theological term signifying the honour paid to the saints, while latria means worship given to God alone, and hyperdulia the veneration offered to the Blessed Virgin.

Catholics adorn their churches with statues of Mary , while Unitarians do not.

Catholics hold that Mary is the Mother of God because she gave birth to Jesus in his physical body, being God and Man in two natures. Jesus in his humanity was nevertheless God. Unitarians do not hold Jesus was God or Divine, thus Mary could not be the Mother of God.

The wording of Unitarian belief is very subtle and at times confusing to truly understand.

For example how can they explain the Catholic concept of latria or the worship given to God alone. Read the following article and understand where I am going with this : Can we “worship” Jesus Christ?

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