How Catholics worship the Virgin Mary
Catholics worldwide venerate Mary through millions of her images. Devotees pray daily for petitions, protection, and salvation. There is no denying that many Catholics worship Mary. Several popes have openly declared their devotion to the Catholic Mary. They’ve knelt and kissed her image.
Do not make an idol for yourself, whether in the shape of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below, or in the waters under the earth. You must not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the father’s sin, to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing faithful love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commands.
Worship and Elevation of Mary
- Roman Catholics worship Mary as a co-mediatrix, elevating her as the fourth god-head who has the power to answer petitions.
- Cathedrals, like the one in Pisa, depict Mary at the pinnacle, with Jesus and God below her.
- Mary is portrayed as receiving crowns from Jesus and God, implying a position of superiority.
Practices of Veneration
- People kiss, touch, and show physical reverence to Mary’s images, statues, and pictures.
- Penitential acts, like crawling on knees, are performed before the statues of Mary.
- The rosary, a prayer practice, involves a significant focus on Mary, with multiple prayers dedicated to her.
Scapular: The symbol of Mary’s divine authority
The scapular is associated with a vision of the Virgin Mary received by St. Simon Stock in the 13th century. According to tradition, Mary presented St. Simon with a brown scapular, symbolizing devotion to God.
The Virgin Mary promised special protection, known as the “Sabbatine Privilege,” to those who faithfully wore the scapular and lived virtuously.
This privilege includes her intercession for the soul in purgatory, potentially leading to early release on the first Saturday after death. Hence, Mary shares an intercessory role alongside Jesus.