What is Mariology? Essentially, it’s the theology that affords devotion to Mary. Does this mean the Catholics worship Mary? Well, yes and no. Publicly, the Roman Catholic Church does not afford Mary the same status as Jesus. However, their reverence for her goes beyond their admiration for even the saints. The Catholic Encyclopedia details a view of Mary that it admits is not Biblical. Their view of her life and her role originate in Catholic tradition – that is, the writings of the popes and theologians, rather than in the Bible.
Biblically, Mary was betrothed to Joseph. Because of her faith, she was chosen to give birth to the Messiah, Jesus Christ. She was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, and conceived Jesus. There was no physical union, and therefore Jesus was born of a virgin. While no doubt a faithful and godly woman, Mary was nonetheless just a woman. In fact, apart from Acts 1:14, Mary is not mentioned anywhere outside the Gospels (the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). Even in the Gospels, her spiritual power and authority are almost non-existent. Neither Jesus, nor Paul, nor any other biblical writer ever gave Mary the place or devotion that the Catholic Church has given her. The New Testament epistles (letters) were written for the spiritual guidance of the Church, and have a great deal to say about doctrine and worship. Her absence from the epistles must then call into doubt the role that Catholics ascribe to her.
In Roman Catholicism, Mary (or as she’s also called: Our Blessed Lady, Our Blessed Virgin, etc.) is more than human. Catholic Tradition includes the following teachings:
1 – Mary’s immaculate conception: This doctrine teaches that she was born without original sin, and was therefore sinless throughout her life.
2 – During her tutelage in the temple as a child, Mary received almost nightly visits by angels.
4 – Mary’s physical ascension into heaven: This teaches that because of her sinlessness, Mary never experienced a physical death – the result of sin. Instead, she was raised bodily into the presence of Christ.
5 – Mary’s role as Co-redemptrix and Mediatrix of all graces: This doctrine holds that the obedience and sufferings of Mary were essential to secure the full redemption bought by Christ.
6 – Mary’s right to veneration and/or worship: This teaching holds that because of her unparalleled role in salvation, Mary is worthy of special adoration.
There are three specific terms of worship in Catholicism: latria – adoration that is due God alone, dulia – veneration afforded to the saints, and hyperdulia – special veneration given to Mary. In practice, these become practically indistinguishable. As a matter of point, Catholics pray to Mary and expect that she hears and answers all such prayers. This elevates her to a position of deity.
I have already mentioned that the role that is ascribed to Mary by Catholics is unbiblical. Let me give you more evidence of that. Below, I have included an excerpt from the Catholic Encyclopedia, where the writer acknowledges that their interpretation of a passage in the book of Genesis must be more accurate than the original Hebrew text, as their interpretation ascribes more power to Mary:
The first prophecy referring to Mary is found in the very opening chapters of the Book of Genesis (3:15): “I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed; she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.” This rendering appears to differ in two respects from the original Hebrew text:
(2) The second point of difference between the Hebrew text and our version concerns the agent who is to inflict the mortal wound on the servant: our version agrees with the present Vulgate text in reading “she” (ipsa) which refers to the woman, while the Hebrew text reads hu’ (autos, ipse) which refers to the seed of the woman. According to our version, and the Vulgate reading, the woman herself will win the victory; according to the Hebrew text, she will be victorious through her seed. In this sense does the Bull “Ineffabilis” ascribe the victory to Our Blessed Lady. The reading “she” (ipsa) is neither an intentional corruption of the original text, nor is it an accidental error; it is rather an explanatory version expressing explicitly the fact of Our Lady’s part in the victory over the serpent, which is contained implicitly in the Hebrew original. The strength of the Christian tradition as to Mary’s share in this victory may be inferred from the retention of “she” in St. Jerome’s version in spite of his acquaintance with the original text and with the reading “he” (ipse) in the old Latin version. [Highlighting added by Contender Ministries]
For the record, the text of Genesis 3:15 mentioned above is found that way only in the Catholic version of the Bible. Other versions agree with the original Hebrew text in that the seed of the woman (Jesus) will do the crushing. The Catholic Church has changed scripture to fit with their doctrines. This tactic is the only way the Catholic Church can justify many of its teachings that are unbiblical.
In his book, Revelation Unveiled, author Tim LaHaye says this”
“One of the dangerous trends during the twentieth century in the Church of Rome is the elevation of Mary to a status just short of deity. News media reports indicate that millions have petitioned the Pope to declare her a member of the Trinity, though the official line is that it is not going to happen – yet. Already she is referred to as ‘the mother of God’ or ‘the queen of Heaven’ and in some instances appears to be the dispenser of salvation, which contradicts many Scriptures…To even suggest that anyone, even Mary the human mother of Jesus, participates in dispensing the gift of eternal life is not only heresy, it is blasphemous.””