Hyperdulia is not Latria

For those who have been taught that Roman Catholics worship Mary, let me assure you we do NOT.

  • We HONOR and VENERATE her above all other humans.
  • WORSHIP belongs to God alone.

The technical terms are dulia, hyperdulia, and latria.

  • Dulia refers to the respect and veneration properly paid to the saints.
  • Hyperdulia refers to the special veneration properly paid to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
  • Latria refers to the adoration, praise and worship due to God alone.

I remember a day once upon a long time ago when my 6 and 8 year old girls came home from elementary school in tears, because some boys on the bus had accused them of worshiping Mary.

“We don’t, Mommy, right?”said the oldest, with real tears running down her cheeks.

“Of course not!”  We sat right down on the grass and I explained to them about dulia, hyperdulia and latria.  Then I explained to them about kids who, sadly, are taught lies about our faith and about how we need to teach them what we really believe, pray for them to understand, and forgive them for being mean.

My point here is that even at that tender age, my girls, who had been raised from birth in the Roman Catholic Church, who had been taught to say the rosary and were accustomed to seeing pictures and statues of Mary in our home and at church, KNEW that we DO NOT WORSHIP MARY.

What about statues and pictures of Mary? Is having them or kissing them or parading them around the streets a violation of the First Commandment?

  • It would be if we worshiped Mary.
  • Or if we worshiped her statues or her pictures.
  • But we don’t.

What we do is use statues and pictures as touch points for prayer. We’re physical beings. We often want or need ways to physicalize our thoughts and emotions. The woman in the picture below is not worshiping a stone or a flag or the soul of her dearly departed. She’s grieving.

MIL grief

“A Catholic who may kneel in front of a statue while praying isn’t worshiping the statue or even praying to it, any more than the Protestant who kneels with a Bible in his hands when praying is worshiping the Bible or praying to it.

Read more @ http://www.catholic.com/tracts/do-catholics-worship-statues

Idolatry - Pope Francis and Mary


Filed under Catholic Church, Christianity, Prayer

5 responses to “Hyperdulia is not Latria

  1. Chrissy, throw some learnin’ my way … When a Catholic “says the Rosary” isn’t that “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed is the fruit of thy womb …”? Who are you speaking to, Mary or God or some intercessory divination? And what’s its purpose?


  2. I just wanted to make a comment about Kelli’s question from the last thread. I’m at work and can’t go into the exact scriptural references, but the whole “praying to dead people/saints” argument has been going for hundreds of years, so it’s something that is a point of contention between Catholics & Protestants. As you pointed out, to some, it’s a no-no. Not to Catholics or Orthodox, however, and it was apparently never an issue with any Christians for 1500 years or so. Right from Christ’s time there were references to the ones who have gone before and the occasional interaction with people still here. Some scripture seems to forbid it, but the only thing definite is that witchcraft or divination is forbidden. Paul said we should “test” spirits, since we surely will encounter them. He really did not say that none were ever beneficial. He, himself, benefitted from an angel who quite literally sprung him from prison.

    Are we to ignore angels who appear to us that encourage us toward faith? Of course not. Are we to consider the “Communion of Saints” as forbidden to us? Of course not. Why are they mentioned in the Nicene Creed from the first few hundred years of the Church’s existence, then? Why does some scripture mention praying for those who have passed on? We are certainly encouraged to pray for each other in Scripture. Why not ask for the prayers of those we know are with God, particularly those who we have known closely here on Earth?

    Scriptural arguments are not very definitive, IMO, but they are all Protestants can really trust, so they rely on them. Catholics and Orthodox also rely on a couple thousand years of history and tradition that is filled, right up to the present day, with supernatural occurrences, apparitions and miracles that prove to us (some very personally) that God is with us, and that He prefers to use his servants – living and dead – to reach us and bring us closer to him. To me, it makes no sense to reject that.

    Some prefer not to be bothered by all that, and that’s fine. But if it’s the Devil’s temptations we fear, it’s not possible to escape that in our daily lives, no matter what we choose to forbid or ignore. He tends to creep into our very thoughts, and we must always be on guard against him.

    Is it possible that the Devil appears to people as the Virgin Mary to mislead them, as some Protestants believe is happening to silly Catholics? Indeed. But if Catholics use the same test St. Paul did, and only pay attention when Mary is consoling us or driving us back from sin to her son, Jesus, then it can only be a mistake to reject her efforts out of fear.


    • chrissythehyphenated

      I have noticed a distinct difference in the tone between demonic impressions and Godly ones. The former agitate my spirit and disappear when I bind and rebuke them. The latter may not be what I cared to hear, but when I submit my will (after binding!), then I receive a palpable peace.


  3. Pingback: Why do Catholic pray to saints? | PoliNation