Respect not conversion

In the subsequent pages ‘Explaining Mary’ we will explain where in the Scriptures, the Catholic beliefs about Mary are found, so that fair-minded Christians may recognise and respect the unwavering intellectual integrity the Catholic Church has applied in its Scripture interpretation, even if they disagree. The aim is for respect not conversion.

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An introduction to Mary

“Of all the obstacles littering my path toward the Catholic Church, none loomed larger than Mary. She represented diversion from true devotion to Our Lord to a plastic (or ceramic or marble) substitution. She was only the box that held the Present; did it honor the giver to play with the box and ignore the Gift? Depending which Catholic friend I spoke to, I heard qualities attributed to her that bordered on divinity, including titles such as Queen of Heaven and Mother of God. How could I reconcile the love for Jesus which I shared in common with Catholic brothers and sisters with the antagonism I felt towards Mary, his mother?

Kimberly Hahn – ‘Catholic for a Reason II – Scripture and the Mystery of the Mother of God’ 2nd ed.

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Mary and the hierarchy of truths

Catholics believe that God reveals the fullness of truth to Christians through the Bible and through the ongoing guidance of the Holy Spirit. They believe that a range of truths are revealed by God, some of these are accepted by nearly all Christians, and other truths, such as the importance of Mary in God’s plan for the world, are not.

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Mary's Immaculate Conception, and her role in salvation history

Many people, even Catholics, wrongly believe the Immaculate Conception to be the event by which Mary came to be pregnant because the Holy Spirit came upon her and Jesus was conceived – so that God was Jesus’ Father and not a man. That event is the Virgin birth. In fact the Immaculate Conception is not when Jesus was conceived, but when Mary was conceived.

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Mary's assumption into heaven

In terms of the Hierarchy of Truths whether or not Mary was bodily assumed into Heaven, or not is relatively low on the scale of ‘truths important for salvation’. However, the following Scripture passage shows us a vision of Mary (the new Ark of the Covenant) as being gloriously crowned in Heaven and hints at her Assumption by her sudden appearance in Heaven

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Mary Queen of Heaven

Heaven is inhabited by the Holy Trinity, angels and the souls of men, women and children. Amongst this collection it would seem perfectly reasonable for there to be a special place for the mother of Jesus; the specially chosen daughter of the Father and the Spouse of the Holy Spirit.

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Worship of Mary

Amongst the concerns that are most often expressed against the Catholic Church and which have no basis whatsoever in the mind of the typical Catholic is the accusation of idolatry in terms of Mary. The Catholic Church does not worship Mary and it would be a gross offense of the First Commandment if this were true.

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