Mary Matters

July 25, 2014 | 49 comments

In my new book, Behold Your Mother: A Biblical and Historical Defense of the Marian Doctrines,which is now available at a reduced price if you pre-order before the October release date, I spend most of its pages in classic apologetic defense of Mary as Mother of God, defending her immaculate conception, perpetual virginity, assumption into heaven, her Queenship, and her role in God’s plan of salvation as Co-redemptrix and Mediatrix. But perhaps my most important contributions in the book may well be how I demonstrate each of these doctrines to be crucial for our spiritual lives and even our salvation.

And I should note that this applies to all of the Marian doctrines. Not only Protestants, but manyCatholics will be surprised to see how the Perpetual Virginity of Mary, for example, is crucial for all Christians to understand lest they misapprehend the truth concerning the sacred, marriage, sacraments, the consecrated life, and more.

I won’t attempt to re-produce the entire book in this post, but I will choose one example among examples I use to demonstrate why Mary as Mother of God not only matters, but how denying this dogma of the Faith can end in the loss of understanding of "the one true God and Jesus Christ whom [God] has sent" (John 17:3). It doesn't get any more serious than that!  

In my book, I use the teaching of the late, well-known, and beloved Protestant Apologist, Dr. Walter Martin, as one of my examples. In his classic apologetics work, Kingdom of the Cults, Dr. Martin, gives us keen insight into why the dogma of the Theotokos (“God-bearer,” a synonym with “Mother of God”) is such a “big deal.” But first some background information.

 Truth and Consequences

It is very easy to state what it is that you don’t believe. That has been the history of Protestantism. Protestantism itself began as a... you guessed it... "protest." "We are against this, this, this, and this." It was a "protest" against Catholicism. However, the movement could not continue to exist as a protestant against something. It had to stand for something. And that is when the trouble began. When groups of non-infallible men attempted to agree, the result ended up being the thousands of Protestant sects we see today.

Dr. Walter Martin was a good Protestant. He certainly and boldly proclaimed, “I do not believe Mary is the Mother of God.” That’s fine and good. The hard part came when he had to build a theology congruent with his denial. With Dr. Martin, it is difficult to know for sure whether his bad Christology came before or after his bad Mariology—I argue it was probably bad Christology that came first—but let’s just say for now that in the process of theologizing about both Jesus and Mary, he ended up claiming Mary was “the mother of Jesus’ body,” and not the Mother of God. He claimed Mary “gave Jesus his human nature alone,” so that we cannot say she is the Mother of God; she is the mother of the man, Jesus Christ.

This radical division of humanity and divinity manifests itself in various ways in Dr. Martin’s theology. He claimed, for example, that “sonship” in Christ has nothing at all to do with God in his eternal relations within the Blessed Trinity. In Martin’s Christology, divinity and humanity are so sharply divided that he concluded “eternal sonship” to be an unbiblical Catholic invention. On page 103 of his 1977 edition of The Kingdom of the Cults, he wrote:

[T]here cannot be any such thing as eternal Sonship, for there is a logical contradiction of terminology due to the fact that the word “Son” predicates time and the involvement of creativity. Christ, the Scripture tells us, as the Logos, is timeless, “…the Word was in the beginning” not the Son!

From Martin’s perspective then, Mary as “Mother of God” is a non-starter. If “Son of God” refers to Christ as the eternal son, then there would be no denying that Mary is the mother of the Son of God, who is God; hence, Mother of God would be an inescapable conclusion. But if sonship only applies to “time and creativity,” then references to Mary’s “son” would not refer to divinity at all.

But there is just a little problem here. Beyond the fact that you don’t even need the term “Son” at all to determine Mary is the Mother God because John 1:14 tells us “the Word was made flesh,” and John 1:1 tells us “the Word was God;” thus, Mary is the mother of the Word and so she is the Mother of God anyway, the sad fact is that in the process of Martin’s theologizing he ended up losing the real Jesus. Notice, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity is no longer the Eternal Son! And it gets worse from here, if that is possible! Martin would go on:

The term “Son” itself is a functional term, as is the term “Father” and has no meaning apart from time. The term “Father” incidentally never carries the descriptive adjective “eternal” in Scripture; as a matter of fact, only the Spirit is called eternal (“the eternal Spirit”—Hebrews 9:14), emphasizing the fact that the words Father and Son are purely functional as previously stated.

It would be difficult to overstate the importance of what we are saying here. Jesus revealed to us the essential truth that God exists eternally as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in his inner life. For Martin, God would be father by analogy in relation to the humanity of Christ, but not in the eternal divine relations; hence, he is not the eternal Father. So, not only did Dr. Martin end up losing Jesus,the eternal Son; he lost the Father as well! This compels us to ask the question: Who then is God, the Blessed Trinity, in eternity, according to Dr. Walter Martin and all those who agree with his theology? He is not Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He must be the eternal … Blah… the Word, and the Holy Spirit (Martin did teach Christ to be the Eternal Word, just not the Eternal Son). He would become a father by analogy when he created the universe and again by analogy at the incarnation of the Word and through the adoption of all Christians as “sons of God.” But he would not be the eternal Father. The metaphysical problems begin here and continue to eternity… literally. Let us now summarize Dr. Martin’s teaching and some of the problems it presents:

1. Fatherhood and Sonship would not be intrinsic to God. The Catholic Church understands that an essential aspect of Christ's mission was to reveal God to us as he is in his inner life as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Jews already understood God to be father by analogy, but they had no knowledge of God as eternal Father in relation to the Eternal Son. In Jesus' great high priestly prayer in John 17, he declared his Father was Father "before the world was made" and thus, to quote CCC 239, in "an unheard-of sense." In fact, Christ revealed God's name as Father. Names in Hebrew culture reveal something about the character of the one named. Thus, he reveals God tobe Father, not just that he is like a father. God never becomes Father; he is the eternal Father

2. If Sonship applies only to humanity and time, the "the Son" would also be extrinsic, or outside, if you will, of the Second Divine Person of the Blessed Trinity. Thus, as much as he would have denied it, Dr. Martin effectively creates two persons to represent Christ—one divine and one human. This theology leads to the logical conclusion that the person who died on the cross 2,000 years ago would have been merely a man. If that were so, he would have no power to save us. Scripture reveals Christ as the savior, not merely a delegate of God the savior. He was fully man in order to make fitting atonement for us. He was fully God in order to have the power to save us.

3. This theology completely reduces the revelation of God in the New Covenant that separates Christianity from all religions of the world. Jesus revealed God as he is from all eternity as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Dr. Martin reduces this to mere function. Thus, "Father" does not tell us who God is, only what God does. Radical feminists do something similar when they refuse to acknowledge God as "Father." God becomes reduced to that which he does as "Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier" and in the process there is a truly tragic loss of the knowledge of who God is. In the case of Dr. Walter Martin, it was bad theology that led to a similar loss.

4. There is a basic metaphysical principle found, for example, in Malachi 3:6, that comes into play here as well: "For I the Lord do not change." In defense of Dr. Martin, he did seem to realize that one cannot posit change in the divine persons. As stated above, "fatherhood" and "sonship" wold not relate to divinity at all in his way of thinking. Thus, he became a proper Nestorian (though he would never have admitted that) that divides Christ into two persons. And that is bad enough. However, one must be very careful here because when one posits the first person of the Blessed Trinity became the Father, and the second person of the Blessed Trinity became the Son, it becomes very easy to slip into another heresy that would admit change into the divine persons. Later in Behold Your Mother, I employ the case of a modern Protestant apologist who regrettably takes that next step. But you'll have to get the book to read about that one.

The bottom line here is this: It appears Dr. Walter Martin’s bad Christology led to a badMariology. But I argue in Behold Your Mother that if he would have understood Mary asTheotokos, it would have been impossible for him to lose his Christological bearings. The moment the thought of sonship as only applying to humanity in Christ would have arisen, a Catholic Dr. Walter Martin would have known that Mary is Mother of God. He would have lost neither the eternal Son nor the eternal Father because Theotokos would have guarded him from error. The prophetic words of Lumen Gentium 65 immediately come to mind: “Mary… unites in her person and re-echoes the most important doctrines of the faith.” A true Mariology serves as a guarantor against bad Christology.

 


Tim Staples is Director of Apologetics and Evangelization here at Catholic Answers, but he was not always Catholic. Tim was raised a Southern Baptist. Although he fell away from the faith of his childhood, Tim came back to faith in Christ during his late teen years through the witness of Christian...

Comments by Catholic.com Members

#1  Patrick Gnau - Springfield, Ohio

Tim,
Some grammar errors in the article you may want to fix:

 "Creator, Redeeemer, and Sanctifier" and int he process where is a truly tragic loss of the knowledge of who God is. In the case of Dr. Walter Martin, it was bad theology that lead to a similar loss.

Redeemer is spelled wrong and I think your "and int he" should be "and in the".

Good article and excited for the book!

Thanks,
Patrick

July 26, 2014 at 7:46 pm PST
#2  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Good catches, Patrick! Made the changes.

July 26, 2014 at 8:12 pm PST
#3  Logan Rieck - Albany, Illinois

Wonderful! When I was considering coming into the faith I had heard what you said at the end, "A true Mariology serves as a guarantor against bad Christology," and read St. Louis de Montfort's "True Devotion to Mary" and realized that this is an inescapable statement and helped me realize the necessity of reverance to the Blessed Virgin in order to better understand and worship her Son. It's no coincidence the Catholic Church does exactly this and I found my home in it.

It's chilling to see old heresies sprout up like the Nestorian one you showed yet it shows the helplessness of Christians without the Church, Scripture without Tradition (though Mary as Mother of God I thought was pretty able to grasp).

July 26, 2014 at 10:21 pm PST
#4  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Logan,

Wait 'til you see my book. As I said in my post, I demonstrate why it is crucial for us to understand all of the Marian doctrines. If we miss it on Mary as Mother of God, we are going to miss it on who God is as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We are going to miss it on who Jesus Christ is as one divine person with two distinct natures - one human, one divine. If we miss it on the Immaculate Conception, we are not going to understand our own dignity as sons and daughters of God. If we miss it on the Perpetual Virginity, we are going to miss it on the nature of marriage, sacraments, we are going to miss it on the very nature of "the sacred," consecrated life, celibacy, and more.

If we miss it on the Assumption, we are going to miss out on a great gift God has given to us that engenders the "hope" that the inspired author of Hebrews refers to as "the anchor" of our souls. If we miss it on Co-redemptrix and Mediatrix, we will miss it on the essential role all Christians have in "saving souls" (I Cor. 9:22; James 5:19-20; I Cor. 7:16; Romans 11:14; I Tim. 4:16; Col. 1:24, etc.). And if we miss it on Mary's Queenship, we are going to lack in our own understanding of our royal calling in Christ.

In all of our Mariology, our Blessed Mother keeps the doctrines of our faith from remaining in the abstract. They become actualized and concretized in the life of a real human person and serve as a "hope" for us that what has been accomplished in her will be accomplished in us. Thank God for the gift of his mother and ours!

July 27, 2014 at 4:34 am PST
#5  Mark Advent - Simpsonville, South Carolina

Great article, as always. I pre-ordered the book and can't wait for it to get here.

You comment "Protestantism itself began as a... you guessed it... "protest." "We are against this, this, this, and this." It was a "protest" against Catholicism" is particularly interesting.

The Catholic Encyclopedia says that the term "protestant" was first used by Catholics because certain non-Catholic Christians "protested" the rights of Catholics to celebrate mass. The term's meaning has morphed into today's understanding.

I get a chuckle out of the fact that the Church actually names heresies by their founders name: Lutheranism, Calvinism, Muhammadanism, etc. and the names are actually used by their adherents!

Brilliant!!

July 27, 2014 at 12:16 pm PST
#6  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Mark,

Great point! It was a case of, if the shoe fits... and it did!

July 27, 2014 at 1:12 pm PST
#7  Salonsar War - Shillong, Kentucky

Tim,
About those few sentences ---- "Protestantism itself began as a... you guessed it... "protest." "We are against this, this, this, and this." It was a "protest" against Catholicism. However, the movement could not continue to exist as a protestant against something. It had to stand for something. And that is when the trouble began. When groups of non-infallible men attempted to agree, the result ended up being the thousands of Protestant sects we see today. "
WOW!! ... That was the best definition of protestantism I have ever come across. It cannot be clearer than that.
Great article; will read the book for sure.
God Bless

July 28, 2014 at 1:59 am PST
#8  Kathy Muller - Dublin, Georgia

As a former Protestant, I can reiterate, that the "protest" is very true. My journey to Catholicism has been life long..as oh so sweet. Mary was a huge issue for me. But I decided to go to Mass daily and pray the Rosary..I prayed to Mary, and with complete blind faith, asked for her intercession. I cannot express the love I have for our Mother today. She is a gift, and she is our Mother, who guides us to Jesus.

July 28, 2014 at 12:06 pm PST
#9  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Beautiful, Kathy!

Mary was the last obstacle for me in my journey to the true Faith. It would be understanding the communion of saints that would open the door for me to understand Mary. Then, it would be Newman's "New Eve" (that wasn't "his," he simply gleaned it from the fathers of the Church), the Ark of the Covenant, Beginning of the New Creation, etc. - the typology concerning Mary in the Old Covenant - that would bring me home. The Bible just lit up for me and I could see Mary's intricate role in God's plan of salvation at every crucial moment in salvation where a human person was involved. The Incarnation, the presentation, the wedding feast of cana, the cross, the coming of the Holy Spirit, and in the midst of the cosmic battle of the ages as it is recounted in Revelation 12.

I agree, the journey has been and still is, "oh so sweet!"

July 28, 2014 at 12:39 pm PST
#10  Chaunce Shrewsbury - West Valley City, Utah

Time Staples, this was beautifully written. I've quoted you a couple of times from this article.
I'm currently in RCIA and your Blogs, as well as those written by men such as Jimmy Atkins and others along with radio host Patrick Madrid and the Catholic Answers Radio show along with all of the other great programming on EWTN, have really helped me in my journey to the Catholic Church.
I have come to a great understanding of Mary as Mother of God along to the path of coming to a greater understanding of the Trinity and through some bible study, her typology in he OT. The communion of Saints makes total sense to me and I love the truth behind it, that we are all one. My only dilemma at this time and I wonder if it is something that you touch on in this book- is the use of sepulchers, pendents, statues and the significance that they play in our spiritual life. Please forgive me if this isn't the right format to bring up questions.

July 28, 2014 at 10:25 pm PST
#11  Chaunce Shrewsbury - West Valley City, Utah

One other comment Tim, if I may, what does this book have to offer and how is it different from the other books that you have written about the same topic? I'm just wondering because as I was looking at purchasing the book, I saw that you've written several other similar books. I'm new to the faith, but I have been reading articles and listening for the last 11 months. I do want something in depth, but I'm not sure what would best serve me to help answer some of the most pressing issues that Protestants and other "Christians" ask. Thank you!

July 28, 2014 at 10:44 pm PST
#12  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Chauncy -

When you say "sepulchers," I think you meant to say "scapulars." I would recommend you get a hold of my CD set called "Friends in High Places," where I go into not only the communion of saints, but the use of statues, icons, etc. You can get it here at the shop on catholic.com
The key is to remember that God has chosen to use "stuff" - the material world in order to communicate his grace to us. The Incarnation is the ultimate example of this. "The Word was made flesh..." (John 1:14). He didn't have to become man in order to save us. But he did. He chose to use "stuff" in order to heal we who are made of "stuff."
In Mark 8:23, Jesus "spat" on the eyes of a blind man to heal him. In John 9:6, Jesus spat on the ground, made clay out of it and anointed a blind man's eyes with it. In Acts 5, God used the shadow of Peter. In Acts 19:12 God used handkerchiefs that were touched to Paul's body to heal people. In Matt. 9:20 Jesus used "the fringe of his garment" as a conduit to heal the woman who was hemorrhaging for 12 years. In the Old Testament, God used a "bronze serpent" (a statue) set up on a pole to heal his people in Numbers 21:8-9. He used "the bones of Elisha" in II Kings 13:21 to raise a man from the dead, etc.
Scapulars, statues, icons, etc. are used as ways to communicate God's life and love to us. Jesus is revealed to be "the image of the invisible God" in Col. 1:15 (the Greek word for "image" is "icon"). The reason we need this "icon" of God is because we are not angels (pure spirits), we have bodies. Thus, we needed to be communicated to and with via a physical reality. So it is with all of these examples of God using "stuff" to communicate to us and heal us.
The bottom line is: we need statues, icons, scapulars, etc. for our spiritual well-being.

July 29, 2014 at 5:55 am PST
#13  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Chaunce,

Forgive me for addressing you as "Chauncy" in my above post. That should have been "Chaunce."
Anyway, I have not written a book on Mary before. The "books" to which you refer are actually CD sets on the topic.
The reason I recommend the book is it is the culmination of many years of study. The CD sets were a part of that study over the years, but in the book I actually make a few corrections concerning things I have said over the years. I correct a number of popular myths (a few of which are believed and communicated even by Catholic apologists that are not true) about Mary, take apart Protestant arguments, and much more.
In fact, my friend Al Kresta, who wrote one of the blurbs that will be on the book said he could think of no book anywhere that does what my book does in giving an exhaustive treatment of the apologetics of Mariology.

July 29, 2014 at 6:03 am PST
#14  Chaunce Shrewsbury - West Valley City, Utah

Tim Staples,
Thank you so much for the quick response. It truly means a lot. I will take a look at the resources that you have referenced. Thank you for the correction to "scapulars" and for correcting my name. The bible references were great. God bless, I hope we talk again.

July 29, 2014 at 7:25 am PST
#15  Debbie Douglas - Fraser, Michigan

Tim,

Thank you for this article. Like Chaunce, I too am a convert...but only in my heart. Haven't begun going through RCIA yet as my Protestant husband is very upset with my conversion. And thanks too for answering Chaunce's questions above...I print these things off and have a very large folder which I am hoping to share with my husband and Protestant friends/family one day.

I've ordered your book...but cannot wait to find out who the modern Protestant apologist is. Could you give me a hint? LOL...but seriously...patience is not one of my strong points...lol.

July 29, 2014 at 12:51 pm PST
#16  obayi ifeanyi - Enugu, Enugu

Great Tim,
Thank you very much for another wonderful post.
As usual,your post is always briliant,interlectually satisfying and exceedingly refreshing.
I will appreciate your responds to two issues below:
(1)Is there a catholicanswers's athourised retail outlet in Nigeria where one can buy some of your most recent books in hard copy?
(2)As the director of apologetics i think you are in position to act in an issue i would like to bring to your notice:A particular commentator in Mr.Ed O. is using very abusive,spiteful and offensive language in this blog.Above all he is attacking our devine faith with lies.He appears to be interested in biasing the minds of cradle catholic.
I have written a complaint ealier (over three weeks now)to Mr Keating in his last post but he (Mr keating) appears not to have noticed.
I am reproducing the note i wrote to Mr Keating in his last blog post (what not to expect from synods) in the hope that you may act or atleast draw his attention to act.
(link http://
www.catholic.com/blog/devin-rose/why-catholicism-is-preferable-to-
protestantism?page=1)
Mr.Ed. O should nolonger be ignored.
Thanks and God bless you.

Dear Mr keating,
I would like to use this medium to thank you for your book "Catholicism vs
fundamentalism" it's a wonderful book that i enjoy reading over and over again.(I
bought copies for relations who also find it very interesting)I pray that our lord
will reward you abundantly for your efforts in bringing people to the one Holy
Catholic and Apostolic church which he(our Lord +Jesus)founded.
I believe that one of the most fundamental reason you founded CatholicAnswers
is to help catholics learn and defend thier faith hence catholics worldwide would
naturaly turn to catholic.com if they want a quick online response to questions
about our devine faith.However it is disturbing to allow (knowningly or
unknowningly)some of our seperated brethens to use this blog to spread lies and
hate comments that attack our faith.Take for example this link http://
www.catholic.com/blog/devin-rose/why-catholicism-is-preferable-to-
protestantism?page=1
a particular commentator (Ed.O) has been spreading lies and hate comments in
pretext of debating catholics.I appreciate that catholics and non catholics should
from time to time engage in healthy and productive debate/dialogues.But common
sense dictates that such debates should be respectful,truthful and devoid of
hateful/disrepectful remarks.People should be barred from posting comments
once they fail to adhere to this simple rule.I wish to remind you of what you
mentioned in your book which i totaly agree with and that is that it takes several
pages of informed response to refute one line of false attack from fundamentalist
against the Catholic church(I am not quoting you verbatim due to lack of time to find
your book and link up)Although,wonderful people like ChristopherTravis,Eric
McCabe and co. have done a nice job refuting some of his lies.The best thing
should be to warn such poeple not to use spiteful language and block them
outrightly if they continue to do so.
Harmless as it may seem to ignore such comments,some are intended to plant
seed of doubt in the minds of some cradle catholics.Remember this is a world
wide web.
I hope you can find time to read the comments in the link i posted,you will see
the point i am making.
Thanks and God bless.
July 6, 2014 at 4:33 pm PST

July 31, 2014 at 5:15 pm PST
#17  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Obayi,

Thanks for posting.
We do review our posts and excise some of them. It is often difficult to make the determination of which posts to eliminate. When they use vulgarities, etc. that is a no-brainer. But if a post has a bit of snark in it, we generally do not delete it. In this case, Ed.O created quite a buzz, and, as you know, stirred up some Catholics to respond. From what I've read, there is some good back-and-forth there.
I will certainly alert our monitors to take a look at Ed O.'s comments to see if he goes over the line, but from what I've seen so far (I did not read everything he has written), I think his posts can remain and should be refuted.

August 1, 2014 at 6:07 am PST
#18  obayi ifeanyi - Enugu, Enugu

Great Tim,
Thanks for finding time to reply.
Now that i know,you guys are aware.I can let go and join the debate when i can,even though i thinks that someone who refers to Catholics as satanist,Pope as beast and have very unpleasant remarks about the Holy Eucharist deserves a little caution.
Kudos to Christopher in particular,Eric,Debbie,Mcmacbe for their wonderful reply.
You to have forgotten my ealier question about your authorised retailer or publisher for catholicanswers in Nigeria.I found Mr. Keating's book through Opus Dei study center around mylocation.But have not found anything written by you in their Bookshelve.
Thanks.

August 2, 2014 at 2:23 am PST
#19  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

Yesterday a dear friend of our family was laid to rest, she was very devoted to her faith and especially loved our Blessed Mother Mary. When someone asked her for her best advice in life she didn't hesitate a second when she said
"that's easy, say a Rosary every day!" That is great advice from a great witness to Christ's love. I ask for your prayers for her soul and for her family. Thank you in advance.

When I think of Christ upon the cross I think about Him giving His all. There He was, suffering and taking all of our sins, He was giving us His all both physically and spiritually. Just when you think, well what more can He give us than His life? There He goes giving us the one who gave Him life, the very nature of His flesh and blood! What more can be given? Giving us His flesh and blood, and then giving His flesh and blood!!! He didn't separate Himself from us or His Mother, He divinely joined us to Her with Himself as an eternal gift!!! There was not one cell of His flesh and blood that He did not give to us, not one I tell you! My heart aches for those who refuse to accept and treasure such a mind blowing loving gift like that. There is not a greater treasure in the world that has every been given! Our Lord did not come from a divided family, He came from a family bound like no other that has every graced itself upon this earth, and what God has joined...He tells us...LET NO MAN SEPARATE!

Thanks for your great article Tim, and I can't wait to read your book. I have no doubt it will help us all build in our relationship with our Blessed Mother. And Obayi, as always thanks for your prayers and support. God bless and the peace of Christ to all!!!

August 2, 2014 at 7:08 am PST
#20  Matthew Seymour - Long Beach, California

I think that outsiders perceive too much Marian adoration in the Catholic faith. They think that this is equivalent to worship. Mary is a Saint in Heaven who prays for us, and is Blessed by our Lord as His Mother.

The focus, of course, should be on Mary's Son - Jesus Christ - not her. But her prayer has true power, as she is unified with her Son in a unique way.

August 2, 2014 at 10:18 am PST
#21  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Obayi,

We do not have an official publisher in Nigeria, but we can ship our products anywhere in the world. If you contact our customer service at Catholic Answers, as 619-387-7200, or if you email the webmaster at www.catholic.com, our guys can get you whatever information you need to get our products into your country.

August 2, 2014 at 9:17 pm PST
#22  Sean Green - North Ridgeville, Ohio

I'm a Lutheran and have been researching the Catholic faith but perhaps Tim can clarify a few points. When one of the bloggers mentioned how Protestant was used, I thought that came about during the Diet of Speyer because of how political powers wanted Lutherans to worship or how to believe in a way contrary to their confession. I know that the Catholic church first called Lutherans Evangelicals, which had a somewhat derogatory connotation because they focused on the Gospel too much.
I started reading True Devotion to Mary and I've been attending a local Marian consecration retreat which I've found to be helpful but I'm still struggling with the notion that Mary was without sin and how she is viewed as a Mediatrix of God's graces. Are you able to show how from scripture that teaching came about? Thanks again

August 3, 2014 at 12:02 pm PST
#23  Seokwon Chung - Tempe, Arizona

Dr. Staples, I love our mother the blessed virgin mary. So, I need to know her details in order to defend my faith to protestant brothers. They always say mother mary had other children and they are the brethren of the Lord. I've made these equations for myself, so I need you to check them out and correct me.

1. The other Mary(Mt 27.61)
= Maria the mother of James and Joseph(Mt 27.56)
= His mother's sister(Jn 19.25)
= the wife of Alphaeus(James's father/Mt 10.3)

2. James the son of Alphaeus(Matthew10. 3)
= James the Lord’s brother(Galatians 1:19)

For me, if the mother Mary's sister(Jn 19. 25) is the mother of James and Joseph(Mt. 56), then it makes sense that why Paul called James as the Lord's brother in Gal 1. 19. Therefore James of the brethren of the Lord is Jesus's cousin and the son of Mary the mother of James and Joseph, mother mary's sister.

Am I wrong here?
Thanks.

August 4, 2014 at 10:02 pm PST
#24  Seokwon Chung - Tempe, Arizona

Sorry, it's the same Seokwon above. But I also gotta ask this cuz my Christian friend strongly insists that Mary was persecuting Jesus by taking out of this house. And Mary is one of those people who agreed that Jesus is out of mind. I don't agree that, but somehow it seemed like Mary didn't understand Jesus fully at this point. What do you say about this event? Thanks so much.

Mark 3
20- He came home. Again (the) crowd gathered, making it impossible for them even to eat.
21- When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said, "He is out of his mind."
31 - His mother and his brothers arrived. Standing outside they sent word to him and called him.
32 - A crowd seated around him told him, "Your mother and your brothers 12 (and your sisters) are outside asking for you."
33 - But he said to them in reply, "Who are my mother and (my) brothers?"

August 5, 2014 at 8:02 pm PST
#25  Debbie Douglas - Fraser, Michigan

Seokwon,

I think when the Bible was written the writers didn't necessarily use or have a word for cousin and therefore referred to any close relative as "brother". And in John 19 at The Crucifixion, Jesus said to of John "Woman, here is your son." and to John, "Here is your mother." If Jesus had had other brothers (from Mother Mary), there would have been no need for John the beloved to take care of Jesus' Mother.

August 8, 2014 at 1:27 pm PST
#26  Debbie Douglas - Fraser, Michigan

*Jesus said OF John*

August 8, 2014 at 1:28 pm PST
#27  Matthew Seymour - Long Beach, California

My own opinions on the matters of Mary the blessed Virgin: she was a virgin, and remained so throughout her entire life. Therefore she had no other children. Mary was Assumed into Heaven in bodily form. Other souls in Heaven have not been resurrected bodily, and therefore are "bodiless". Of course Jesus Christ is Glorified as God in Heaven, and therefore her Mother is uniquely unified with her Son (her God) in Heaven. They continue to share a unique relationship. When Jesus died, Mary felt as if God abandoned her, similar to the feeling Jesus had when he looked up and cried out "My God! My God! Why have you forsaken Me!"

I'm sure that Mary needed someone, another person, another "son" (the Apostle John) to comfort her, since her True Son had left. They all, I would imagine, felt abandoned by God at that point. Perhaps that is the reason that Jesus cried out "My God! My God! Why have you forsaken Me!" Perhaps he felt the pain (present and future) of his Mother and disciples. Depression probably came upon their heads... at least for 3 days. Then things changed once they realized what had happened to their Beloved Savior Jesus Christ.

August 8, 2014 at 3:18 pm PST
#28  Seokwon Chung - Tempe, Arizona

Debbie,
I appreciate your thoughts on this matter. However, if you tried to answer my question, I lose my chance to hear Tim Staples' opinion on this particular question. I could ask this question to a random catholic person or a priest, but the very reason why I came catholic.com was to hear from Tim Staples. Through my study on Mary I already know what you wrote above, and if you read my question again, your answers are not what I asked to Tim. I hope you understand what I mean, and thanks anyway.

August 8, 2014 at 4:37 pm PST
#29  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

Amen Debbie! Who gives their mother away to someone out of the family? Blessed Mary was not just some ordinary mother either, she was the most blessed and holy mother to ever set foot on earth. This one occurrence of Christ giving Blessed Mary to John makes all the other arguments fall flat on their face.

August 8, 2014 at 8:45 pm PST
#30  Michael Rogala - Chicago, Illinois

". . . I demonstrate each of these doctrines to be crucial for our spiritual lives and even our salvation. . . "

This statement you made re: the doctrine of the BVM is close to heresy. You are way off base here.

August 12, 2014 at 11:20 am PST
#31  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Sean,

In answer to your #22:

It is generally understood that the term "Protestant" originated with the German Emperor's cancellation of the "Recess of August 27, 1526" which had stated each government within the German Empire could choose which religion it would follow between the Catholic Faith and the new religion of the Reformers. Luther, Zwingli and their followers formally signed on to a "Protest" (April 19, 1529) against that cancellation because it was, in effect, a movement back toward the Catholic Faith for the empire.

The term "Protestant" began here and has always been understood to ultimately be a "protestant" against Catholicism, which is really the essence of what "Protestantism" is.

August 13, 2014 at 9:23 am PST
#32  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Seokwan,

In answer to your #23:

You are right on!

August 13, 2014 at 9:25 am PST
#33  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Seokwan,

In answer to your #24:

The text seems to separate Mary from those who thought Jesus was "out of his mind." The text clearly says it was his "relatives," and does not include his mother as believing this.
It then states Mary came with them to call Jesus. Of course this would be the case. Mary would want to be there to protect and defend her Son.
Then, when Jesus famously said, "Who are my mother and brothers..." he does not deny Mary is his mother, but he brings all involved (including us today, of course) to consider the most important aspect of our relationship with the Lord. Being related to the Lord "according to the flesh" as is the case with the Blessed Mother and his "relatives," pales next to being related to him spiritually by "doing the will of God" (Mark 3:35). And, of course, Mary is the ultimate example of one who does just that in Luke 1:37-38.

August 13, 2014 at 10:13 am PST
#34  Matthew Seymour - Long Beach, California

See posts #20 & #27.

August 13, 2014 at 10:21 am PST
#35  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Michael,

In response to your #30, I would ask you to explain how I am "close to heresy" and "way off base." To extend such a serious accusation as this without any evidence is, to say the very least, irresponsible.

I would respectfully ask you to consider just a few things before you tell me where I am "close to heresy." I am assuming you are Catholic so I would first ask you to consider, CCC 971:

"The Church's devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship."

That tells me that rejecting devotion to Mary is to act contrary to our Catholic Christian Faith and that would be to endanger your soul.

Second, CCC 89:

"There is an organic connection between our spiritual life and the dogmas. Dogmas are lights along the path of faith; they illuminate it and make is secure. Conversely, if our life is upright, our intellect and heart will be open to welcome the light shed by the dogmas of faith."

There is nothing here that would exclude the Marian dogmas; thus, we must say the Marian dogmas are essential for our spiritual lives.

Third, Lumen Gentium (the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, from the documents of Vatican II) 65:

"But while in the most holy Virgin the Church has already reached that perfection whereby she is without spot or wrinkle, the followers of Christ still strive to increase in holiness by conquering sin. And so they turn their eyes to Mary who shines forth to the whole community of the elect as the model of virtues. Piously meditating on her and contemplating her in the light of the Word made man, the Church with reverence enters more intimately into the great mystery of the Incarnation and becomes more and more like her Spouse. For Mary, who since her entry into salvation history unites in herself and re-echoes the greatest teachings of the faith as she is proclaimed and venerated, calls the faithful to her Son and His sacrifice and to the love of the Father."

Our Marian dogmas are not some pious add-ons that are optional. They are essential to the Christian Faith and to deny them is to deny that same Christian Faith.

Where am I "close to heresy" here?

I would respectfully suggest you get a copy of my book and read it ("Behold Your Mother," and it is available to order now, even though it won't be on the shelves until October, at http://shop.catholic.com/featured/coming-soon/behold-your-mother-a-biblical-and-historical-defense-of-the-marian-doctrines.html). Or, if you cannot wait until October, get a hold of my CD sets on Mary called "The Gospel Truth About Mary," Volumes 1 and 2, and "New Eve, Mediatrix, and Mother." Then, you will have a better sense of what I am saying so that you can respond to it with all of the facts involved.

Does that make sense?

August 13, 2014 at 10:52 am PST
#36  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Matthew,

In response to your #34:

First, while I agree with you that all "focus" must ultimately be on Jesus Christ, we must not perceive that to mean we do not honor the saints, and especially Mary, as well. It was Jesus that told St. John to "Behold, your mother" on the cross. Was he sinning by telling St. John to "focus" on his mother? Was St. Paul wrong in saying we need to honor leaders in our Church? (see I Tim. 5:17; I Thess. 5:12-13). Was the Psalmist wrong in saying all generations and all peoples would "praise" to Mary in Psalm 45:17? which is most likely the text alluded to by Mary herself in Luke 1:48. I think you get my drift here?

Second, I would caution against the notion of saying, "Jesus felt abandoned by God." CCC 603 tells us he was so one with us in our "wayward state" that he could say "in our name" "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" It was not that he was forsaken. He experienced our pain.

Similarly, Mary never wavered in her faith, and she certainly would not have descended into "depression" at the foot of the cross. It was because of her faith at the foot of the cross that never wavered even while she suffered more than any human person in history, that, Pope St. John Paul the Great would say:

"It is especially consoling to note—and also accurate in accordance with the Gospel and history—that at the side of Christ, in the first and most exalted place, there is always his Mother through the exemplary testimony that she bears by her whole life to this particular Gospel of suffering. In her, the many and intense sufferings were amassed in such an interconnected way that they were not only a proof of her unshakeable faith but also a contribution to the redemption of all."

August 13, 2014 at 11:29 am PST
#37  Matthew Seymour - Long Beach, California

Tim,

Jesus wasn't telling John (future St. John) to "focus" on his mother! He was telling him to care for her. And that is what he did, in obedience and love of the Lord Jesus Christ. Not because John obeyed Mary, but because John obeyed His Lord Jesus. Mary was His mother, but Jesus was/is/will be her GOD.

John loved Mary, because he loved Jesus.

August 13, 2014 at 12:11 pm PST
#38  Matthew Seymour - Long Beach, California

Tim,

Remember the wedding feast?

Remember was Jesus told his mom there?

August 13, 2014 at 12:12 pm PST
#39  Matthew Seymour - Long Beach, California

Tim, you said:

"Second, I would caution against the notion of saying, "Jesus felt abandoned by God." CCC 603 tells us he was so one with us in our "wayward state" that he could say "in our name" "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" It was not that he was forsaken. He experienced our pain."

My dear Tim, this is not opposite what I said. Please pay attention. Reread my comments. I never said that Jesus was forsaken by God! Jesus is God! How can God forsake Himself!

Reread and comment again, please.

August 13, 2014 at 12:21 pm PST
#40  Perry White - Thomson, Georgia

Dr Martin certainly does better than will I and if you won't believe him then you won't believe me. BUT like all Catholic doctrine this one is made up of thin air and not one shred of Biblical evidence. Please direct us to the verse that tells of Mary's sinless birth, perpetual virginity, Assumption, and intercession, and her part in our salvation or any verse instructing us to pray to her or any other saint. When us Christians hear Catholics praying to Mary we wonder why you don't understand the John 14:6. You worship Mary (or whatever demon is behind your Mariolatry. You worship a cracker (your Jesus in a wafer which you keep safe in a box) but you do not worship God. He does not share His worship and you have divided it up. Mary is made CoRedemptrix in which Bible verse?? I keep looking but can't find it. Please help us poor Protestants who are against idolatry and against error no matter how nicely you couch it in religious terms.

August 13, 2014 at 1:19 pm PST
#41  Seokwon Chung - Tempe, Arizona

Dr. Staples

I just wanna say We love you, we support you, and we appreciate your patience, anwers, and love. I'm reading Scott Hann's "Hail, Holy Queen". When I'm done, definitely gonna have your "Behold your mother." Can't wait. Thanks so much.

August 13, 2014 at 6:05 pm PST
#42  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Matthew,

In response to your #37:

The text does not say, "Care for your Mother." It says, "Behold, Your Mother." Behold (Gr.-idou) means "to behold, look upon, see." We know from our tradition that St. John took Mary into his home. And because she had no other children, this makes perfect sense. But the text says, "Behold, your mother." We have to begin with the literal sense of the text before we go to the spiritual senses.
Jesus was saying to St. John (and to all of us because, according to St. John who also wrote the Book of Revelation, John represents all Christians to whom Jesus gave to his mother - Rev. 12:4-5, 17) that he must "behold his mother." And his mother must also "behold" her Son. He did not only give his mother to St. John, but he have St. John to his mother as well. This indicates the importance of the communion of saints and how we "need" each other as St. Paul says in I Cor. 12:21. Most especially, we "need" the Blessed Mother.

August 14, 2014 at 4:50 pm PST
#43  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Matthew,

In answer to your #38:

Yes, he said, "Ti emoi kai soi, gune," or "What to me and to thee, woman," followed by "my hour has not yet come. There is appears to rebuke him mother, and yet he does exactly what she asked him to do revealing Mary's essential role in giving birth the Jesus' ministry, his first miracle, the revelation of his glory, and the apostles coming to faith (see John 2:11).

Again, get my book. I go into greater detail than I can do here in this comment.

But you'll want to draw a parallel to the Canaanite woman in Matt. 15:21ff where the Lord appeared to reject her petition three separate times. Like with the Blessed Mother, this was a rebuke "ad mentem" or "to an end" (for a purpose) of testing her faith, and using her intercession in the healing of her daughter. In the Blessed Mother's case, her intercession launched Jesus' ministry, etc., as I said above.

August 14, 2014 at 4:55 pm PST
#44  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Matthew,

In answer to your #39:

I will cut and paste what you said here and put it in quotes:

"They continue to share a unique relationship. When Jesus died, Mary felt as if God abandoned her, similar to the feeling Jesus had when he looked up and cried out "My God! My God! Why have you forsaken Me!"

I'm sure that Mary needed someone, another person, another "son" (the Apostle John) to comfort her, since her True Son had left. They all, I would imagine, felt abandoned by God at that point. Perhaps that is the reason that Jesus cried out "My God! My God! Why have you forsaken Me!" Perhaps he felt the pain (present and future) of his Mother and disciples. Depression probably came upon their heads... at least for 3 days."

That is what I disagreed with. Jesus did not "feel abandoned by God," nor did Mary. They did not fall into "depression" either.

August 14, 2014 at 5:00 pm PST
#45  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Perry,

In response to your #40. I would urge you to get my book (you can order it here: http://shop.catholic.com/featured/coming-soon/behold-your-mother-a-biblical-and-historical-defense-of-the-marian-doctrines.html

I answer all of your questions and more. After you've read it, we will have a point of reference.

August 14, 2014 at 5:02 pm PST
#46  Victor Sweeney - West Fargo, North Dakota

Would someone please moderate Perry? He's a disrespectful troll who is only interested in slinging derogatory remarks about the Eucharist from blog post to post. If he were interested in debate, rather than attack, he would present himself differently, I imagine.

August 14, 2014 at 8:25 pm PST
#47  Perry White - Thomson, Georgia

Tim
Maybe I will buy your book. But first let's look at The Book. Just pick one of my questions and answer it from the Bible. Lets agree to use KJV, NIV, ESV for starters. Please give me one verse that will support any of the exaltation of Mary from the Bible. One. It's all I ask. I mean there are so many that claim Jesus was sinlessly born. Wouldn't there be at least one to support that claim for Mary?
There are many claims of Christ to be God. Is there not one for Mary's as CoRedemptrix?
We have a passage that claims Christ Ascended into Heaven. Is there not one account of Mary also? Just one???
Come on Tim, toss me a lifeline here. Use the Scripture which teaches boldly and plainly that Christ is the only way to heaven and show me where He gave Mary a part to play. Surely there is one verse which will shut me up and clearly display the sinless perfection of Mary and her role in saving us by her constant intercession for us.
Come on Tim, why do I need to read your book? All it would take is for you to give me one Bible verse that tells me I can or should pray through any other entity other than Jesus.
Seriously, I am asking you to make the Bible our point of reference.

August 15, 2014 at 7:34 am PST
#48  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Perry,

I don't just give one verse for any of these topics. I give multiple. After you read my book, we'll chat.

August 15, 2014 at 7:58 am PST
#49  Matthew Seymour - Long Beach, California

Dear Tim,
You are free to disagree with me.

September 1, 2014 at 10:26 am PST

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