Catholicism's FALSE Worship!
When Is Worship Not Worship?
Those who would defend Roman Catholicism persistently press the illogical and invalid assertion that the Roman cult neither teaches nor in fact practices worship of Mary. They argue that, as concerns Mary and the other ghosts in the RCC pantheon, worship does not mean worship and venerate does not mean worship and render homage does not mean worship and pray to does not mean worship and sacrifice to does not mean worship. Words can be used to convey many meanings, a fact the Magisterium has consistently used to its own purpose.
Regardless of what those who speak in Rome's cause may claim or of how they redefine word meanings, the Roman Catholic hierarchy indeed do foster mariolatry, worship of things and the spirits of the dead. When the Ladies' Sodality meets every night in the chapel to toll their beads and pray the Rosary, they are rendering worship to Mary. When a little old man struggles up to a statue of Mary and, falling to his knees before it, places coins in a box, lights a candle and offers prayers to her, that is worship. When a Blackrobed Benedictine oblate prays to St. Maurus and calls upon him to heal a dying child, he is not only praying to a spirit for a miracle but actually is rendering a low-level of worship. When the Catholic faithful genuflect or cross themselves when passing in front of the tabernacle where a consecrated host is kept, they might claim they are rendering honors to Christ, but the fact is they are paying homage to a cracker.
As one Christian theologian wrote:
"The same worship is rendered to Mary as to Christ. Churches are built to her honour; her shrines are crowded with devotees; enriched with their gifts; and adorned with their votive offerings. To her prayers are addressed as to a divine being, and blessing are asked as from one who has power to bestow them. Her votaries are taught to pray, 'Spare us, good Lady,' and 'From all evil, good Lady, deliver us.' Five annual festivals celebrate her greatness, and keep alive the devotion of her worshippers. In Roman Catholic countries the dawn is ushered in with hymns to her honour; her praises are again chanted at noon, and the day is closed with an Ave Maria sung to the Lady of Heaven." (James A. Wylie, The Papacy, London (1852) p. 370)
At this point, perhaps it would be well to define a few terms. The words veneration and worship are used often in catechisms and other RCC documents. Surely the meanings of these words are clearly understood by Catholics, religious and laity alike. One older Catholic dictionary provides these definitions:
"VENERATION. The word commonly used to express in English that worship given to saints either directly or through images and relics
"WORSHIP. Adoration and reverence paid to God…also for the honor paid to the saints….veneration." (William E. Addis & Thomas Arnold, Eds., A Catholic Dictionary containing some account of the doctrine, discipline, rites, ceremonies, councils and religious orders of the Catholic Church, Catholic Publication Society:New York (1884); w/Nihil Obstat and Imprimitur)
Interesting that this Catholic dictionary uses the word worship to define veneration and then goes on to define worship as adoration, reverence and veneration. Granted, the dictionary does draw distinctions between levels of worship rendered to God and to saints. However, this source does clearly give the lie to ill-informed Catholic apologists who would assert that Catholics do not worship their saints. Perhaps the problem lies with the age of this dictionary. A more recent Catholic dictionary provides no definition of worship but does address veneration:
"Veneration of the Saints: Devotion to the saints, who are invoked in recognition of their presence before God and thus capable of intercession on behalf of the living and those suffering in purgatory; they are particularly honored as patron saints because of their example in this life…The reverence shown the saints, called dulia, must be distinguished from latria, the worship and adoration given to God alone." (Peter M.J. Stravinskas, Ed., Catholic Dictionary, Our Sunday Visitor, Inc:Huntington (1993)
In this Catholic dictionary, the words devotion and reverence are used to help define veneration while worship and adoration are used to distinguish between the service rendered to saints and that given to God. Should one press the issue and seek to learn how this Catholic source defines the terms used, the issue becomes more clouded.
"Adoration: An outward act of giving worship to a person or object. Both the Old and New Testaments give clear indications that God requires exclusive adoration from His creatures…Adoration may also be internal (e.g., contemplative prayers." (Stravinskas, Op. cit.)
So, adoration is an outward act of worship that may be internal. It is giving worship to a person or thing but should be rendered to God alone. Yeah, that's clear.
Some Catholic apologists might be quick to point to the differences between dulia and latria as evidence that Catholics do not worship Mary or any of the saints in the Roman Pantheon. However, this is playing with word meanings – semantics, if you will.
"WORSHIP. The unique adoration and reverence paid to God, called latria; the word is sometimes used for the honour paid to the saints (dulia), but this is better distinguished by some word such as "veneration." (Donald Attwater, Ed., A Catholic Dictionary, The MacMillan Company:New York (1942); w/Nihil Obstat and Imprimitur).
Given the above definitions, it would appear that one is not in error when claiming that Catholics worship Mary, as well as things and other ghosts. This may be simply innocence on the part of ill-prepared Catholic apologists who do not understand that latria, hyperdulia and dulia are but various levels of worship, as is clearly explained by a trusted Catholic source:
"The word worship (Saxon weorthscipe, "honour"; from worth, meaning "value", "dignity", "price", and the termination, ship; Lat. cultus) in its most general sense is homage paid to a person or a thing. In this sense we may speak of hero-worship, worship of the emperor, of demons, of the angels, even of relics, and especially of the Cross. This article will deal with Christian worship according to the following definition: homage paid to God, to Jesus Christ, to His saints, to the beings or even to the objects which have a special relation to God.
"There are several degrees of this worship:
? if it is addressed directly to God, it is superior, absolute, supreme worship, or worship of adoration, or, according to the consecrated theological term, a worship of latria. This sovereign worship is due to God alone; addressed to a creature it would become idolatry.
? When worship is addressed only indirectly to God, that is, when its object is the veneration of martyrs, of angels, or of saints, it is a subordinate worship dependent on the first, and relative, in so far as it honours the creatures of God for their peculiar relations with Him; it is designated by theologians as the worship of dulia, a term denoting servitude, and implying, when used to signify our worship of distinguished servants of God, that their service to Him is their title to our veneration (cf. Chollet, loc. cit., col. 2407, and Bouquillon, Tractatus de virtute religionis, I, Bruges, 1880, 22 sq.).
? As the Blessed Virgin has a separate and absolutely supereminent rank among the saints, the worship paid to her is called hyperdulia (for the meaning and history of these terms see Suicer, Thesaurus ecclesiasticus, 1728)." (F. Cabrol,Worship, The Catholic Encyclopedia
Once again, it bears noting that words such as devotion, veneration and honours are used in defining the term worship. Perhaps this is not convincing for, trustworthy Catholic source that it may be, the Catholic Encyclopedia is not an official source of Catholic teaching. Let us turn now to the Catechism:
"971. "'All generations will call me blessed': 'The Church's devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship.'[Lk 1:48 ; Paul VI, MC 56.]The Church rightly honors 'the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of 'Mother of God,' to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs.... This very special devotion ... differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration.'[LG 66.] The liturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and Marian prayer, such as the rosary, an 'epitome of the whole Gospel,' express this devotion to the Virgin Mary.[Cf. Paul VI, MC 42; SC 103.]" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Doubleday:New York, (1994); United States Catholic Conference, Inc – Libreria Editrice Vaticana)
Notice that in this official source, we are taught that devotion to Mary is a vital part of Catholic worship. In the citation from the Catholic Encyclopedia, devotion was used to define the special worship rendered to God alone.
"2132. "The Christian veneration of images is not contrary to the first commandment which proscribes idols. Indeed, 'the honor rendered to an image passes to its prototype,' and 'whoever venerates an image venerates the person portrayed in it.'[St. Basil, De Spiritu Sancto 18, 45: PG 32, 149C; Council of Nicaea II: DS 601; cf. Council of Trent: DS 1821-1825; Vatican Council II: SC 126; LG 67.] The honor paid to sacred images is a 'respectful veneration,' not the adoration due to God alone:
"Religious worship is not directed to images in themselves, considered as mere things, but under their distinctive aspect as images leading us on to God incarnate. The movement toward the image does not terminate in it as image, but tends toward that whose image it is.[St. Thomas Aquinas, STh II-II, 81, 3 ad 3.]" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Op. cit.)
Sonuvagun! Here, the Catechism talks of the veneration rendered images and such. The Catholic Encyclopedia used the same word to describe the worship tendered saints.
The thinking Catholic might acknowledge that, in the face of the foregoing evidence, Catholics indeed do worship Mary, saints and things. However, he likely then will seek to dismiss this clear infraction of the First Commandment by pointing out that the Catholic sources that use the word worship in reference to things and saints and such clearly define that it is not the adoration they give only to God.
Let me draw a parallel from the real world to demonstrate the flaws in the above argument. Notice my use of the word in these statements: 1) I love my wife; 2) I love cheesecake; 3) I love sleeping late. Each of these is a true statement; however, each expresses a different degree of love. All are accurate uses of the word, which has many applications.
One wonders why Roman Catholics have such a difficult time admitting that the word worship similarly has multiple levels of application. Rome has an arsenal of definitions for worship and draws from it according to the needs of the moment. The Catholic apologist is quick to point out that, should the RCC declare that the worship or veneration given to the saints is not the adoration that belongs to God, it shows that a clear line has been drawn as to what the church wants.
At this point it is worth noting that most Christians who post to this board have demonstrated a consistent literal/historical/grammatical hermeneutic, whether looking at a passage in the Word of God or a logia from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I do not recall any Christian post here that adamantly argued that Catholic teaching required worship be offered to Mary and other spirits and things in the same manner or at the same level as that rendered to God. Like the cult of Mithra, from which so much of RCC doctrine and practice is derived, Catholicism is explicit in declaring three levels of worship for her gods and sacred objects. Rome has declared, in her Catechism, in her Code of Canon Law, in her councils and papal pronouncements, in her breviaries, liturgies and church calendars, that worship is tendered, at different levels, to God Almighty, Mary and all the pantheon of saints and to their leavings.
In an interesting sidebar, the Second Council of Nicea elected to use the word proskunei in addressing the veneration to be rendered to images rather than dulia, the preferred word for such veneration. Proskunei is found in Acts 10:25-26, where it is recorded for all time as the word used to describe the worship the Centurion Cornelius sought to render Peter. (Definition of the Sacred Images and Tradition, Council of Nicea II, (787), Denzinger 302)
Acts 10:25-26, "And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped [proskunei] him. But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man."
Golly gee! A council of the Catholic Church used the word to describe the worship due objects that the Holy Spirit used to describe the inappropriate worship Cornelius attempted to give Peter. Guess there are times when the RCC indeed does teach that things are to be worshipped.
This passage is made more interesting when one considers the RCC fantasy of apostolic succession. In Acts 10, Peter refused to permit people to bow down to him or to worship him in any way, yet those who claim to be his successors offer their hands or rings or feet to be kissed and seem to enjoy being carried about on the shoulders of men, just like those idols the churches parade through the streets every now and then.
Has the Roman Catholic Church in fact, if not in their written word, elevated Mary to the level of deity? I believeit has.
Isaiah 45:18 For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.
Isaiah 45:19 I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain: I the LORD speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.
Isaiah 45:20 Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save.
Isaiah 45:21 Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.
Isaiah 45:22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.
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