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How Virgin Mary is worshipped by Catholics

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.

Exodus 20:3–6
Do not make an idol for yourself, whether in the shape of anything in the heavens above, the earth below, or 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.

Mary is a co-mediatrix, which is a god-head position

In Catholic tradition, the mother of Jesus has the authority to mediate between humanity and God alongside Jesus Christ. The term “co-mediatrix” means that Mary participates in the mediation of divine grace, cooperating with Jesus in the redemption of humanity.

The catechism declares Mary is “Co-Redemptrix” (C 968) and “preserved from sin” (C 411), which makes her divine. Mariology presupposes Mary is the Theotokos, which they interpret as Mary sharing Christ’s divinity.

  1. Roman Catholics worship Mary as a co-mediatrix, elevating her as the fourth god-head who has the power to answer petitions.
  2. Cathedrals, like the one in Pisa, depict Mary at the pinnacle, with Jesus and God below her.
  3. Mary is portrayed as receiving crowns from Jesus and God, implying a position of a god-head figure.
usccb catechism
Excerpts from the Catechism from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website, 2024.

Practices of Veneration

  1. People kiss, touch, and show physical reverence to Mary’s images, statues, and pictures.
  2. Penitential acts, like crawling on knees, are performed before the statues of Mary.
  3. The rosary, a prayer practice, focuses significantly on Mary, with multiple prayers dedicated to her.
The coronation of the Virgin Mary inside the Pisa Cathedral, Tuscany, Italy, with Jesus and God the Father who crowns her and the Holy Spirit upon her.
worship of mary
The veneration of the Virgin Mary is based on a Catholic Dogma declared by their infallible Pope. In contrast, the Bible is clear that God alone is Holy and Jesus alone is our intercessor—without the need for any human mediation.

The Scapular: 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.

“Wearing the scapular is a silent prayer that shows one’s complete consecration and veneration to Mary. It is devotion whereby we venerate Her, love Her, and trust in Her protection.” [STC]
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