Joan A – A while back during an on-line dialogue with a friend, you gave an excellent explanation how belief in the papacy and worshiping Mary and saints ever came about. Unfortunately I failed to keep those messages. I wished I had. If it wouldn’t be too much trouble would you please sent them again. I have several Catholic friends (and former Catholics) who I think might be interested. Thanks so much.

Dave – Hey Joan. I wouldn’t say to a Catholic that they worship Mary, because they are convinced that they don’t (although this can be debated). They do pray to her because they think she is God’s Mother and has ascended to Heaven without dying. They believe this because they believe Mary was sinless and was conceived by the Holy Spirit in her mom’s womb thus avoiding Adam’s “original sin” (Immaculate Conception). So they feel she has influence with Him. What they do not realize is that this is manipulation (not that it actually works, but if it did, then it would still be a sin to manipulate God like that). The Bible is clear that Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and man, not Mary (1 Timothy 2:5). This applies to the saints as well. They are not to be prayed to or asked for favors. Jesus worked very hard and suffered much in order to be that One Mediator. Let us not diminish that. The Bible cannot be clearer on this issue. All sinners can approach God Himself directly through the Blood of Jesus having faith in Jesus.

At one point, Jesus did mention one human being that was the greatest person ever born to a woman. Surprisingly it was not Moses or Abraham, and, for Catholic ears, it wasn’t Mary. It was John the Baptist. He went on to reveal that even the least citizen in heaven is greater than John. Wow! I cannot imagine ever being greater that John was in his time of his earthly body, but I will according to Jesus. But the point I am making is that Mary was not picked by Jesus as being the greatest. There are other times in Scripture when Jesus separated Himself from Mary as well.

Actually the Catholic priesthood rejects the theme of the Book of Hebrews. Its message was telling Jews that the old system of priests and Temple animal sacrifice is obsolete. The veil in the Temple separated sinful man from a Holy God, but split from top to bottom when Jesus died. This event was a loud statement regarding the future role of any priest-type positions. They simply are not needed. In fact, relying upon a priest is insulting to Jesus considering all He went through to become our High Priest. This is why Protestant churches, including non-denominational churches, never have priests. In Ephesians 4:11-12 the New Covenant reveals that churches are to have pastors, teachers, evangelists, apostles (those who start churches), and prophets (those who speak God’s word).

In brief summation, over the years the Roman Catholic Church has created four tenets that all replace Jesus Christ. There are two meanings for the word “anti”: 1) against, and 2) in place of. Their doctrines about Popes, priests, Mary, and saints have all served to replace the real Jesus. It’s kind of rebuilt Judaism where ritual and human effort to gain forgiveness (with no assurance of this) is the norm. This is why so many Catholic people I’ve known battle with deep-rooted guilt – they’ve never met the real Jesus yet. An anti-Christ system is a false church. It is not the one that Jesus started. I know this is very difficult for some people to embrace, but I must always say, “If you can show me by the Scriptures, I will recant what I’ve said about Catholicism.” John Huss said these same words just before the Catholic Church burned him at the stake and desecrated his remains shortly after in 1415 AD.

… the history of “Mary worship” or the Catholic belief about saints… was rooted in paganism before the Catholic Church emerged. “Who is the Queen of Heaven?” are good key words to use with a Google search.