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.
“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.”