It recently was reported that Panama has plans to erect a statue of the Virgin Mary that will stand taller than the Statue of Liberty. EWTN News noted:
President Ricardo Martinelli of Panama said that a new statue of Santa Maria la Antigua will be the largest one ever made of the country’s patroness.
In a public ceremony on Aug. 14, Martinelli said the statue of the Virgin Mary will be erected on the coast in Panama City and will rise 100 meters – seven more than the Statue of Liberty in New York.
In light of this, it seems appropriate to offer a reminder of precisely what the Roman Catholic Church teaches about Mary. Following are excerpts from the Catechism of the Catholic Church addressing just a few of their deviant teachings regarding this subject.
The Roman Catholic Church espouses Mary’s immaculate conception, that she was born free of original sin and preserved as such throughout her life:
Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, “full of grace” through God,was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854:
“The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Saviour of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.”
The Fathers of the Eastern tradition call the Mother of God “the All-Holy” (Panagia), and celebrate her as “free from any stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature”.By the grace of God Mary remained free of every personal sin her whole life long.
“Let it be done to me according to your word. . .”
Yet, Scripture clearly teaches that “in Adam all die” (1 Cor. 15:22) and that not one man is righteous or without sin (Rom. 3:10–18).
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us….If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 1 John 1:8, 10
The Catholic Catechism further asserts Mary’s perpetual virginity:
The deepening of faith in the virginal motherhood led the Church to confess Mary’s real and perpetual virginity even in the act of giving birth to the Son of God made man.In fact, Christ’s birth “did not diminish his mother’s virginal integrity but sanctified it.”and so the liturgy of the Church celebrates Mary as Aeiparthenos, the “Ever-virgin”.
Against this doctrine the objection is sometimes raised that the Bible mentions brothers and sisters of Jesus.The Church has always understood these passages as not referring to other children of the Virgin Mary. In fact James and Joseph, “brothers of Jesus”, are the sons of another Mary, a disciple of Christ, whom St. Matthew significantly calls “the other Mary”.They are close relations of Jesus, according to an Old Testament expression.
Jesus is Mary’s only son, but her spiritual motherhood extends to all men whom indeed he came to save: “The Son whom she brought forth is he whom God placed as the first-born among many brethren, that is, the faithful in whose generation and formation she co-operates with a mother’s love.”
Contrary to this, Scripture indicates in several places that the Lord Jesus had brothers and sisters (Matt. 1:24–25, 12:46–47, 13:55; Mark 6:2–3; John 2:12; Acts 1:14; 1 Cor. 9:4–5; Gal. 1:19). The biblical text offers no validity to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church on this subject.
The Roman Catholic Church teaches that, now in Heaven, Mary continues to act as a mediator for the Church:
This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfilment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation …. Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix.
God’s Word, however, tells us that the only One who acts as a mediator between man and God is Jesus Christ. He alone is the high priest (Heb. 5:5, 6) who offered His own blood as an acceptable sacrifice for the sins of those who would believe (Heb. 9:14–15, 10:14).
For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. 1 Tim. 2:5–6
While this overview is not exhaustive, to see the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church alongside Scripture helps to illuminate their error. In essence, the veneration of Mary by Roman Catholics amounts to idolatry and stands in contradiction to our Lord’s teaching against such sinful practices. May Christians be reminded that their Roman Catholic neighbor, if true to the teachings of the church, is embedded in false teaching. It truly seems as though members of the Roman Catholic Church are a greatly untapped mission field. Let us, then, take to them the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ alone, offering them freedom from a false gospel of works and idolatry.