Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Mariophobia

H/T: Mark Shea What follows are parts of a superb January 2nd post of Mark Shea's entitled:

Right in the Middle of Christmas
The formatting is mine and dot, dot, dot. . . . designates parts omitted. I highly recommend a visit to Mark's blog!

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Mark Shea writes:
Here's a really splendid bit of Mariophobic Response Syndrome from the Boar's Head Tavern, written in an unconsciously funny way (at least to this Catholic's ears):
You have no idea how hard I am working on the right attitude toward Roman Catholicism, but here you have the addition of ANOTHER Marian feast right in the middle of Christmas
It's the words "right in the middle of Christmas" that crack me up the most. Mary, intruding on the Christmas story like that! What could the Mother of God possibly have to do with the birth of God the Son? And yes, fine, there is that bit of Scripture about "from now all generations will call me blessed" but do we *have* to muck up the celebration of Christ's birth by calling her blessed, you know, again?

This is a fairly classic example of what I'm talking about when I say that there is something unnatural, not about normal Catholic devotion to the Blessed Virgin, but about Protestant terror of it. If somebody were to hoist a glass to my mother during my birthday party, I would not respond by pointing out that this party is about ME and people had bloody well better keep the focus on giving me all the glory I am due. I would stand and offer the toast myself. It's called "honoring your mother" and is highly spoken of in Scripture. The Evangelical fear (there's no other word for it) about giving Mary "too much" honor is exactly like the teetotaler's terror of drinking "too much" wine in communion. "Too much" always tends to mean "any". . . . .

. . . . . The instant and sure assumption is that any honor paid to Mary is honor taken from God. It's a notion applied almost exclusively to her, never to the actor we applaud, the retiree we honor, the parents we toast on their anniversary, the birthday boy, or the champion bowler.

. . . . Something is being deducted somewhere, spent where it ought not, and something else (presumably the honor due to God) is being deprived. The notion of honor as a zero sum game is a peculiarly Protestant idea, never trotted out on
  • ~~> Mother's Day -- "God alone is the author of your being! It is idolatrous to thank your mother for giving birth to you!"
  • ~~> nor on Veterans Day -- "World Wars I and II were won by the sovereign power of God Alone and not by the sinful human efforts of soldiers. How many other feast days must we multiply through the year--Memorial Day, Vietnam Remembrance Day! Where does it end?--before we stop this idolatrous exaltation of the creature?"
No, it is only the honor given the Mother of God that is seen as "robbing God" of honor. It is only the joy of saying "Thanks Mom!" to one of whom our Lord said, "Behold your mother" that is treated as some horrible and onerous task.

I am left, once again, with the impression that dawned on me some years ago when I first began looking at the question of Marian devotion. Namely, if Catholics honor Mary "too much", where do Protestant honor her "just enough"?
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Note from Soutenus: Here is a link to all of Mark Shea's posts concerning Mary. A wealth of information and insight!

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