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As you are well aware, tonight we are going to do the second in a series on the idolatry of Mary worship.  Just to begin with, I want to call two portions of Scripture to your attention as a kind of a biblical beginning for what it is that I’m going to say.  The first portion of Scripture is one with which we concluded last time from Jeremiah’s prophecy.  In the prophecy of Jeremiah, chapter 7, we read about the children of Judah as those who gathered wood - verse 18, Jeremiah 7 - kindled fire, and the women knead dough to make cakes for the Queen of Heaven.  In the 44th chapter of Jeremiah, this same kind of pagan idolatry is addressed again.  Jeremiah 44, verse 17:  “God indicts Judah further for burning sacrifices to the Queen of Heaven and pouring out libations to her.  This is not new.  Our forefathers did it, our kings, our princes did it in the cities of Judah, in the streets of Jerusalem.”  There was widespread worship of this goddess called the Queen of Heaven.

It was addressed by the prophet.  People were asked to cease doing it.  They refused to do that.  When trouble came, finally they acquiesced, diminished their attention to the Queen of Heaven, and when the judgment of God fell they blamed it not on the way they had dealt with God, but on the fact that they had stopped sacrificing to the Queen of Heaven.  They were consumed with the worship of the goddess and it comes up again in verse 25 of Jeremiah 44, again referring to burning sacrifices to the Queen of Heaven. God condemns apostate Judah for worshipping this goddess of paganism called the Queen of Heaven that has had a number of different names throughout history.  The latest name for this goddess, sad to say, is a name borrowed from the earthly mother of our Lord, none other than Mary, who has now been morphed by apostate Christianity into the latest edition of the Queen of Heaven.

Is it important to address this issue?  It is.  First Timothy chapter 1 lays out for anyone in ministry what is an important mandate.  First Timothy 1:3, Paul says, “I urge you that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, nor pay attention to myths and endless genealogies which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God, which is by faith.”  You have to address the people who teach strange doctrine and myths, and verse 5, “And the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart.”  It’s important to say at the outset that this is not because we are mad or hateful or resentful, but it is love from a pure heart.  If you do not address error, if you do not address strange doctrine, damning heresy, this is not love.  This is indifference.  Love from a pure heart and a clear conscience and a sincere faith demands such a confrontation.  And so we come to address this same age-old goddess heresy of paganism in its newest form with the modern goddess having stolen the name of Mary; a terrible dishonor to her, but there is nothing sacred to Satan anyway and to address it is not a lack of love, but is the sincerest, purest kind of love rising out of a good conscience and a sincere faith.

Now in Part 1, I surveyed a brief representation of Mary worship from Roman Catholic dogma and Roman Catholic testimony starting from the 5th century into the 18th century.  We looked at a book called The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus de Ligouri, originally written in 1745.  It is a history of devotion to Mary reaching back to the 5th century, reprinted many, many times.  The particular edition that I had is a reprint copy of a 1931 edition translated out of Italian - it was originally written in Italian - always with the official imprimatur of the Catholic Church.  I have another edition of it, 1981, with the official stamp of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York.  The inescapable conclusion from all of that 750 pages of material collected through all the centuries, and the additional things that have come since the 18th century, many of which I have referred to, is that the Roman Church has deified Mary.  This is their own affirmation.  They call for worship to be given to her, affirm that she possesses attributes that belong only to the triune God.  As such, worship and attribution is blasphemous and satanic and assaults God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

So we dealt with the Roman Catholic attitude toward Mary as noted from the history of devotion to her.  I want to dig a little deeper now and I want to look not at expressions and prayers directed at Mary, but I want to look at actual Roman Catholic doctrine.  What do they actually affirm to be true, that is from God, inspired revelation, regarding Mary?  Everything I am going to say to you is foreign to Scripture, so if you expect me to give you passages in which they find these things, there are none.  In most cases, even in their own literature, they will acknowledge that there are no Scripture passages to support any of these dogmas, however that is not a problem.  Conveniently, in all forms of false Christianity, you have other revelation.  Whether it’s the Book of Mormon or Science and Health with Keys to the Scriptures or whatever it is, heresy is going to come from other sources of revelation.  And so in Roman Catholic theology you have another source of revelation that is the magisterium, that is the church tradition, that which the church, the Pope who represents Christ, says is inspired by God, that is in reality not only equal to Scripture but superior to Scripture since the church is the only valid interpreter – authoritative interpreter – of Scripture.  It sits in judgment on the Scripture.

So it’s not a problem for them that there’s no Bible support for any of these views.  They find their support in their own tradition, which they consider to be equal to, if not superior, to Scripture.  Let me give you the list of these dogmas about Mary.  The first one is called “The Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception.”  “The Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception.”  Most people misunderstand this.  They think it means that Mary gave birth to Jesus as a virgin.  It has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus.  The Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is about the birth of Mary.  It has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus.  It was 1854 and Pope Pius IX issued the famous bull Ineffabilis – ineffable, ineffabilis.  Ineffable means sacred.  It means divine.  It means transcendent.  This bull, this document that came out of the Pope is even called Ineffabilis Deus, “God’s ineffable declaration.”  It says this:  “Mary was preserved by Immaculate Conception when conceived in her mother’s body and was miraculously free from pollution of sin inherited from Adam.  She was, in soul and body, wholly sinless, stainless, undefiled, pure, innocence.” 

That is a segment of this Ineffabilis Deus from 1854.  If I would give you even more, it says this:  “Accordingly, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit,” – through the Pope – “for the honor of the holy and undivided trinity, for the glory and adornment of the virgin Mother of God, for the exultation of the Catholic religion, by the authority of Jesus Christ our Lord, of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own” – that is our own blessed apostles, “we declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which holds the most blessed Virgin Mary in the first instance of her conception by a singular grace and privilege granted by almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin.  This is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful.”

The same Pope, Pius IX, stated how serious an issue it is to reject this dogma, and I quote, “Hence, if anyone shall dare, which God forbid, to think otherwise than has been defined by us, let him know and understand that he is condemned by his own judgment, that he has suffered shipwreck in the faith, that he has separated from the unity of the church, and that furthermore, by his own action, he incurs the penalties established by law if he should dare to express in words or writing or by any other outward means the error he thinks in his heart.”  You are damned and you will be excommunicated if you question this doctrine. 

Now this is part of the system that by shear fear and intimidation and heavy-handedness, binds people to do what they say you must do or be damned.  The church further says God exempted Mary from sin to make her the repairer of the lost world.  We are all saved by Mary from the shipwreck of sin.  By Mary, the whole human race was rescued from death.  She crushed the head of the serpent.  She, to do this, had to be guiltless, free from original sin and personal sin.  De Liguori, in his book on page 297 writes:  “Even her body was preserved from corruption after death.  The flesh of Mary and that of Christ are one.  The glory of the son is one with that of his mother.”  So the first of the Catholic dogmas to which one must adhere or be anathematized, is that Mary was immaculately conceived.  That is she was without the stain of original sin.  A second and obvious corollary is the doctrine of her permanent sinlessness.  Her permanent sinlessness. 

The Roman Catholic catechism from 1994, page 490, number 2030 says this:  “The church finds its example of holiness and recognizes its model and source in the all-holy Virgin Mary.”  De Liguori says:  “There never was and never will be an offering on the part of a pure creature greater or more perfect than that which Mary made to God when at the age of three, she presented herself in the temple to offer God not aromatic spices nor calves nor gold, but her entire self in His honor.”  At three, she came to the temple, fell down, kissed the ground, adored God’s majesty, thanked Him for His favor and without reserving anything, all her powers and all her senses and her whole mind and body, she vowed virginity saying, “My Lord and my God.” 

Page 348 of de Liguori says:  “She is called the Holy Child and she progressed in perfection.”  Born sinless, the all-holy virgin, progressed in sinless perfection.  One wonders why she says in Luke 147, “My spirit has rejoiced in God, my Savior.”  That leads to a third dogma, and this is one that’s, I think, well known by most people who have any association with the Roman Catholic Church because it’s been around a long time.  It’s “The Doctrine of Perpetual Virginity.”  This gets very bizarre.  Not only did she not have original sin and was immaculately conceived without the original sin of Adam, not only was she sinless, but she was a perpetual virgin.  This was held in 553, the 6th century.  And it was actually made dogma in the 7th century at the Lateran Council 649 under Pope Martin I.  This dogma of perpetual virginity states that she was a virgin before Jesus’ birth.  That is accurate, by the way, Matthew 125, she is clearly indicated to be a virgin.  She was a virgin, said this Council, in 649 and says this doctrine.  Listen:  “She was a virgin during Jesus’ birth.”  What does that mean?  “Mary gave birth in miraculous fashion without any opening of her womb and injury to her body, and without pain.”

Now that getting very descriptive about that kind of thing, simply say this:  they cannot allow a sinless Mary to have any wound or any injury to her physical body whatsoever, so the dogma says Jesus came out some miraculous way without every coming through the birth canal, because that would have created some injury to her perfect body.  This is not some obscure doctrine; I have read it in numerous places.  She was a virgin, it’s true, before his birth.  They want to make her a virgin even during the birth and that’s a kind of strange approach to virginity, but the absolute untouched, unscarred, unwounded body of this goddess to them is important.  And then, and most importantly, that after Jesus’ birth she remained a virgin for life.  This is what her perpetual virginity is all about. Schreck in The Basics of the Faith, the Catholic Catechism, says:  “Out of respect for the fact that God Himself had dwelt and grown in her womb, she remained a virgin all her life.”  All her life.  This, of course, is utterly contrary to what the Scripture says.  Matthew 1:18, the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows.  When his mother, Mary, had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child.  What does that tell you?  Before they came together means that at some point they came together.  How hard is that?  Things are so utterly obvious.

In 1 Corinthians 7 it says, “She withheld her body from her husband.  She sinned.”  First Corinthians 7:3-5 says it’s a sin to withhold yourself from your husband.  Your body is not your own and is your husband’s, even as your husband’s body is not his, it is yours.  Matthew 13:55, “Is not this the carpenter’s son?  Is not his mother called Mary and his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?  And his sisters, are they not all with us?”  Everybody knew Mary had sons, daughters.  John 7 talks about Jesus’ brothers not believing in him.  Later they did, after the resurrection.  What does the Roman Catholic Church say about this?  They say they were all cousins, even though none of those passages uses the word anepsios, which is the word for cousin, but whenever it refers to the brothers it uses adelphos, which means brothers.  So you have these strange doctrines, immaculate conception, which means conceived without sin.  Perpetual sinlessness, which leads to the obvious perpetual virginity. 

At the end of her life, we come to what they call the fourth of their important doctrines concerning Mary, “The Doctrine of the Assumption.”  You may have heard of that, the assumption or the ascension.  This doctrine didn’t find a place in the actual canon of Catholic theology until 1950.  It was November 1, 1950 that Pope Pius XII made it official that Mary ascended into heaven.  “The bodily assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven is a dogma of the divine and the Catholic faith.”  Born without sin, lived without sin, lived as a virgin and left this world by ascending into heaven.  Now this idea about Mary, though it really wasn’t formally dogmatized until the 20th century, goes way, way back and you start to read about this in the 5th century as paganism and pagan goddess worship at the very earliest gets mingled.  Remember the Holy Roman Empire, as it was called, the Holy Roman Empire was really not holy.  It was Roman, for sure, but the emperor in 325 decided that the best thing to do to unify the great empire was to make everybody automatically a Christian, and since the empire was rife with paganism they just married the kind of Christianity with paganism and all this came very early.

So it’s in the rule of somebody who calls himself Gelasius I, a self-appointed leader of the church in the 5th century, this comes up at that time.  There’s a discussion about Mary being assumed in heaven, so already this goddess cult has imposed itself on poor Mary and it was, at first, considered heretical.  There was no evidence for it historically, there was no evidence for it biblically, obviously.  So the earliest appearance of this idea is in a very apocryphal work, an unreliable work like the “Gospel of Judas” and hundreds of others.  It was called Transitus Mariae and it was, in the 5th century, it was denounced as a heresy.  So when it first showed up in the 5th century, in the 400’s, it is denounced as a heresy.  But things begin to develop over the years in regard to Mary.  Praying to Mary arrives in 600.  Four hundred or 500 years later, the rosary comes into play in 1090.  But it’s not until 1950 that this original idea, which was considered to be a heresy – that Mary was assumed into heaven in an ascension – it isn’t until 1950 until it finally becomes dogma.

One of the modern-day apologists for Roman Catholicism is a man named Karl Keating.  Karl Keating is very aggressive in defending Catholicism, writing about it, particularly he goes after evangelical protestants who are ignorant and unwitting and are easily victimized.  Karl Keating says this in his book Catholicism and Fundamentalism – that’ll tell you where he’s directing his efforts; advocacy for the Catholic Church – Karl Keating writes:  “It was the Catholic Church that was commanded by Christ to teach all nations infallibly.  The mere fact that the church teaches “The Doctrine of the Assumption” as something definitely true is a guarantee that it is true.”  That’s Karl Keating, probably one of the two or three leading apologists in our day for Roman Catholicism.  If the church, commanded by Christ to teach all nations infallibly says it’s true, then the fact that the church says it’s true is a guarantee that it’s true.

Catholic theology says that Mary went to heaven in tact to reign and to take possession of the Kingdom of Heaven.  There are hymns to Mary at her death.  Here’s one:  “Uplift the voice and sing/The Daughter and the Spouse/The Mother of the King/To whom creation bows/Praise to Mary, endless praise/Raise your joyful voices, raise/Praise to God who reigns above/Who has made her for His love/When Mary linger’d yet/An exile from her Son/Like fairest lily set/Mid thorns of earth alone.”  And then the chorus:  “Praise to Mary, endless praise,” etc.  “To be with God on high/Her heart was all on fire/She sought and ask’d to die/With humble, sweet desire.”  At length, “Her Heavenly Spouse/Who loved her with such love/Invites her to repose/With Him in Heaven above/Praise to Mary, endless praise/Raise your joyful voices, raise.”

De Ligouri writes on page 144:  “At her ascension, purgatory was emptied out.”  Whoever at that moment was in purgatory was released.  So you have those four very, very strange and unbiblical ideas about Mary.  To deny any of them, to deny any official dogma of the Roman Catholic Church is to be anathematized, condemned and damned, and from the church’s viewpoint, excommunicated.  Those four have considerations for her earthly life.  She came in sinless, she lived sinlessly, she lived as a virgin, and upon death was immediately ascended or assumed into heaven.  Now that puts her into heaven and we turn the page and talk about how the Catholic Church views her role in heaven.  The first four how they view her on earth; the remainder how they view her in heaven.  I want to be very careful about this and I want to be somewhat detailed because it’s so important that you understand this and that we make sure the sources are indicated.  Let’s make this number five in our list, the first four relating to life here and the next relating to life in heaven from the Catholic view.

The first thing you want to know about Mary in heaven is she is immediately identified as the Mother of God and the Queen of Heaven.  Ludwig Ott, page 211, his theology, “Mary’s right to reign as Queen of Heaven is a consequence of her divine Motherhood.”  She is ever and always the Mother of God, the Mother of God, the Mother of God, a very, very misleading statement; a very unbiblical statement.  She, in fact, dominates the whole church calendar.  There are, and I counted them with my finger, over the Catholic calendar, there are about 50 annual feasts and festivals devoted to Mary.  Forty-two of them on set days and five of them are variable; starting in January and running through December there are 47 of them to be exact, feasts and festivals devoted to the Mother of God and the Queen of Heaven. 

It was John Paul II who dedicated himself and his pontificate to Mary.  He is the Pope who was just replaced.  His personal motto, “Totus tuus sum, Maria,” “I am all yours, Mary.”  On October 8, 2000, before the image of Fatima, virgin, an early supposed appearance of Mary, the Pope stood before the image of Fatima and consecrated the world and the new millennium to his personal and heaven’s own queen, whom he called Mary Most Holy.  Pius XII again, same one who we mentioned earlier, put forth this statement, Ad caeli reginam,” “The Blessed Virgin Mary is to be called Queen, not only on account of her divine Motherhood, but also because by the will of God she had a great part in the work of our salvation.  In this work of redemption the Blessed Virgin Mary was closely associated with her Christ just as Christ, because he redeemed us is by a special title our King and Lord, so to is Blessed Mary, our Queen and our Mistress because of the unique way in which she cooperated in our redemption.  She provided her very substance for his body.  She offered him willingly for us, and she took a unique part in our salvation by desiring it, praying for it and so obtaining it.”  So she deserves to be called the Mother of God and the Queen of Heaven. 

It was Newsweek Magazine.  It was August 1997.  Newsweek said:  “Mary has changed the Trinity into a holy quartet.”  Mary is viewed as the spouse of the Holy Spirit, the mother of the son and the daughter of the father.  And even an outsider looking in can see that she is treated as a fourth member of the Godhead.  Where did this idea of Mother of God come from?  It’s so misleading, as if God had a mother who gave birth to Him.  This was first used by Alexander, Bishop of Alexandria in the 4th century.  Goddess worship, the very outset, the Holy Roman Empire comes into existence in the 4th century – early in the century.  This Mother of God comes in rapidly by the year 431 in the Council of Ephesus; in 451 in the Council of Chalcedon this is established.  She is to be called the Mother of God.  This contributes to centuries and centuries and centuries of accumulated deification of Mary.  She becomes equal to God and though the church tries its best to wiggle out of this, it tries its best to deny this, the truth of the matter is she really is superior to God and superior to Christ as becomes very evident in what they say and in how they portray her in cathedrals all over the world.  She rules in heaven as queen, sovereign, saving, sanctifying, sympathizing.  All this power is given to her that belongs only to God.  Again, it’s Karl Keating who’s trying to sell the Catholic faith to fundamentalists who says, “God’s grace is not conferred on anyone without Mary’s cooperation.” 

Number six on my list as to how the Catholic Church views her is not so much a dogma, but it is an experience of Mary that is so widely accepted and acknowledged.  It’s as good as a dogma.  Let’s just called it apparitions.  Mary keeps appearing.  Have you noticed?  She keeps appearing.  She descends from heaven to earth to make herself known to people.  She comes quite frequently.  She always comes with secret messages.  She comes with secret messages for very isolated people.  She came to Banneaux, near Liége in Belgium.  In 1933 she appeared eight times to an 11-year-old peasant girl.  She came again to Beauraing, in Belgium, in 19 – also, it was about the same period of time.  It started in ’32 and ended in ’33.  She appeared 33 times to five little children in the garden of a convent.  She came to Fatima, which by the way I should have said earlier, is in Portugal. She appeared there six times in 1917 to three children in a field.  Fatima is north of Lisbon.  She came to Guadalupe, Mexico; appeared four times back in 1531 to an Indian by the name of Juan Diego, on a hill outside Mexico City.  She came to La Salette, France, appearing as a sorrowing and weeping figure, again to two peasant children.  She came to Lourdes.  You probably heard about Lourdes in France, identifying herself as the immaculately-conceived Mary, affirming the Catholic doctrine.  She appears 18 times between February 11 and July 16, 1858, all 18 times to a 14-year-old girl named Bernadette Soubirous.  She appears at a grotto near Lourdes, which again is in Southern France. She appears three times in 1830 to Catherine Labouré in the chapel of the mother house of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul in rue de Bac in Paris. 

Those are just a few that come out of the Catholic Almanac.  She comes a lot.  She comes quite regularly.  In fact, the apparitions are presently becoming numerous.  The latest Pope, Pope Benedict XVI, previously known as Cardinal Ratzinger, said this – note this:  “In 1984, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, the head of the Roman Catholic Church’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith” – that was where he came from; he came from being the doctrinal gatekeeper of Roman Catholicism – “declared, “One of the signs of our times is that the announcements of Marian apparitions are multiplying all over the world.”  He made this observation as a comment on the many reports of the appearances of the Blessed Virgin Mary to individuals located in a wide variety of countries, cultures and political systems.  In fact the last century and a half has seen numerous appearances of the Blessed Virgin, they say, and they have received official approval by the Roman Catholic Church.”

You may have remembered some of the Catholic mystics of the past, Elizabeth von Schönau, she lived in the 12th century.  Mary appeared to her repeatedly.  She appeared to another woman, Anna Katharina Emmerick.  This is at basically the end of the 18th century and the early 19th century.  She kept appearing and appearing and appearing and there’s a lot written about these two mystical women and all the appearances of Mary.  One wonders why the Lord Jesus never bothers to get equal time.  He’s definitely losing the popularity contest because he never shows up, which reinforces the whole Mary deal because Jesus seems to be indifferent to everybody, while Mary is so sympathetic she always shows up in obscure places and talks to peasant people.  She’s certainly a lot more lovable than Jesus.

Through these apparitions, according to one writer, Mary has called Catholics to repentance, to perform acts of penance, to pray the rosary for the conversion of sinners and to pray for peace in the world.  She has asked Catholics to give themselves to greater devotion to her under the titles of her immaculate heart and her immaculate conception and that sinlessness is the immaculate heart idea; immaculate conception and immaculate heart.  When you think of Catholicism, you think of the immaculate heart, don’t you?  That’s something they portray constantly.  You see a depiction of Mary, a picture of Mary, with a great big huge heart there.  Religious practices have also developed as a result of these appearances, such as the wearing of the miraculous medal and scapular medal, both of which bear images of Mary.  In one appearance, supposedly to Pope John XXII, that was the 14th century, Mary is said to have instructed Catholics to wear the scapular, which is two squares of cloth often bearing images connected by string and hung around the neck.  Mary promised Pope John that Catholics who died wearing the scapular in honor of her would be delivered from purgatory on the first Saturday after their death. So if you want to get out of purgatory the first Saturday after you die, you spend your whole life, because you don’t know when you’re going to die, with that stuff around your neck.

Each year 5.5 million Roman Catholic pilgrims visit Lourdes.  Almost that many go to Fatima and to the Cathedral of the Virgin of Guadalupe near Mexico City.  In Central Europe, the primary focus of Mary’s appearances and the pilgrim’s attention is the Shrine of Our Lady of Czstochowa, a wooden icon of a black Madonna dating from the 14th century.  The best known, however, is Medjugorje in Bosnia-Herzegovina.  There Mary supposedly appeared to six peasants.  She appeared to them around 1981 almost every day.  Over 10 million Catholics have gone to Medjugorje to drink in some of whatever happens when Mary’s been someplace. 

A book in 1993 had about a thousand appearances of Mary that were documented.  Thirty times in the 18th century, 200 times in the 19th century and 450 times in the 20th century, so they are escalating at a rapid rate.  Cardinal Meisner claims that Mary brought Christ to Europe from Fatima, and one would ask where was he before that, if she brought him.  She visited a farm in Georgia, an office building in Clearwater, Florida, and a subway wall recently in Mexico City.  She comes so often and she comes to the down and out and she comes to the little children.  She comes to the peasant people and this validates the fact that she is this loving, sympathetic, merciful, tenderhearted, compassionate person. 

Let me read to you from – commenting on the Medjugorje phenomenon:  “Since the apparitions began in 1981 at Medjugorje, millions of people of all faiths from all over the world have visited Medjugorje and have left spiritually strengthened and renewed.”  I’m not sure what the dynamic is there.  “Countless unbelievers and the physically or mentally afflicted have been converted and healed.  Our Lady continues to give messages to six young people from the Village of Medjugorje, Ivan, Jakov, Marija, Mirjana, Vicka and Ivanka.  These six young people, referred to as “visionaries,” have had apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary since June 24, 1981.  In addition to these messages, Our Lady is to give each of the six visionaries a total of 10 secrets or happenings that will occur on earth in the near future.  Only one of the secrets so far has been revealed by the visionaries.  There are nine more to go.  Our Lady has promised to leave a supernatural, indestructible and visual sign on the mountain where she first appeared.  When each of the six visionaries has received all 10 secrets, Our Lady will stop appearing to them on a daily basis.  Currently, Marija, Vicka, and Ivan have received nine secrets and Our Lady still appears to them every day, wherever they are, at 5:40 p.m. during Daylight Savings time, and 6:40 p.m. the rest of the year,” – Medjugorje time.  “Mirjana, Jakov and Ivanka have received all 10 secrets and Our Lady appears to them once per year and will do so for the rest of their lives.”  So they’re all moving toward having all the 10, and each of them has 10 for a total of 60, and when they’re all in the Virgin’s going to write something on the mountain that’s going to affect the whole world.

The only person, if there is someone really appearing to them, is right out of hell.  This is demonic, for sure; for sure.  But what assurances and what cleverness the demons offer for the deceived and the damned with their hellish counterfeits.  Well, there’s more.  Here’s the seventh and very important doctrine regarding Mary.  This has swirled around in Catholicism for a long, long time.  This is Mary as Mediatrix.  Mary as Mediatrix or Mediatress, if you will; either one is correct.  Mary is that channel of all divine grace through which God touches people.  Listen to the Catholic Church official statement, Ludwig Ott, “No grace is conferred on men without her actual intercessory cooperation.”  Ott, page 212, page 211:  “Mary’s sublime dignity as Queen of Heaven makes her supremely powerful in her maternal intercession for her children on earth.”  She intercedes to God and Christ to get the grace for whatever we need and it never comes except by her intercession.  De Liguori says, page 159:  “We may be afraid to go to God because it is His infinite majesty we have offended.  Mary has nothing in her to terrify us.”  That’s the bottom line.  Mary is harmless, compassionate, tender.  Don’t go to God.  He’s tough.  Don’t go to Jesus, he’s harsh and he never shows up, so he’s indifferent.  Go to Mary.  That’s the system.  And so Satan has diverted all these people who say they worship God and Christ into an inordinate worship of Mary.

Roman Catholic Catechism, page 252, number 969:  “Therefore, the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the title of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress and Mediatrix.  She is the chief and sovereign refuge of Catholics in their trials.”  Here is a statement called “Supreme Apostolatus,” a Catholic document:  “The Catholic Church has always, and with justice, put all her hope and trust in the Mother of God, she who is associated with Him in the work of man’s salvation has favor and power with her son greater than any other human or angelic creature has ever obtained or ever can obtain.”  The point is you go to Mary because Jesus can’t resist Mary and Mary, because she’s so merciful, can’t resist you.  Mary claims the church can persuade God to grant what He otherwise wouldn’t grant.  Another Roman Catholic document, “All men, moreover, are full of the hope and confidence that prayers, which might be received with less favor from the lips of unworthy men, will be accepted by God when they are recommended to him by the Most Holy Mother and will be favorably heard.”  You’re really banging on steel if you go to God yourself.  Go to Mary and He listens to Mary.

Fausto Appetente Die, another Roman Catholic document says, “St. Dominic knew well that, while on the one hand Mary is all powerful with her divine son,” – just remember that.  She is all powerful with her divine son, “who grants all graces to mankind through her.  On the other hand, she is by nature so good and so merciful that, inclined to aid spontaneously those who suffer, she is absolutely incapable of refusing her help to those who invoke Her. The church is in the habit of greeting the Virgin as Mother of Grace and Mother of Mercy, and so she has always shown herself, especially when we have recourse to her by means of the Holy Rosary.”  You see, Roman Catholicism is pagan goddess worship.  Completely distracted.  God is reinvented as judgmental, harsh.  Christ is reinvented as indifferent.  Everybody worships Mary.  Listen to what Superiore Anno, another document says about God:  “We have a confident hope that God will, at length, let himself be moved and have pity upon the state of His church and give ear to the prayers coming to him through Mary.”  Pope Pius XII taught, while Peter has the “keys of heaven, Mary has the key to god’s heart.  When she turns the key, the church guarantees the lock will open.”

Another Catholic document says, “We could not find a more powerful protectress or one more irresistible before God.  She is, for us, the best of mothers, our safest confidant, and in fact the very motive of our hope.  She obtains all she asks for and her prayer is always heard.”  Another quote:  “Mary is all powerful with her divine son, for she is the mighty Mother of God.”  Tanto Studio, another document, “For while the prayers of those in heaven have certainly some claim on the watchful eye of God, Mary’s prayers place their assurance on the right of a mother.  For that reason, when she approaches the throne of her divine son, she begs as advocate, she prays as handmaid, but she commands as Mother.”  She commands Jesus.  Who is this person?  Who is this?  This is a false God.  Mary is even given the power to save us.  When praying the Hail Mary, Catholics say this:  “Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death,” asking Mary to extend salvation.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church says this:  “By asking Mary to pray for us, we acknowledge ourselves to be poor sinners.  We address ourselves to the Mother of Mercy, the all-holy one.  We give ourselves over to her now in the today of our lives and our trust broadens further already at the present moment, to surrender the hour of our death wholly to her care.  May she be there as she was at her son’s death on the cross.  May she welcome us as our mother at the hour of our passing, to lead us to her son Jesus in paradise.”

Is this some kind of movement among ignorant people?  Is this some kind of a commoner’s movement?  I don’t think so.  There was a day in the life of John Paul II – a frightening day for him.  He was shot in the stomach by Mehmet Ali Aca, a psychopathic terrorist and a convicted murderer – a 23-year-old Turk.  He had a .9mm Browning automatic pistol and he was in St. Peter’s Square and he fired at the Pope and hit him.  A friend caught the falling Pope and heard him pray, “Mary, my Mother!  Mary, my Mother!”  His biographer said that plea was still on his lips 15 minutes later when he passed out at Gemelli Hospital with dropping blood pressure threatening his life.  He was immediately ministered last rites.  St. Peter’s Square was crowded with people.  Some went to the throne of the Pope and placed a picture on the throne and the picture was a picture of Mary.  On the back of the picture was written, “May Our Lady protect the Holy Father from evil.”  Immediately the rosary was broadcast over Vatican loudspeakers.  By 8:00 the Pope was stable, confident “that God had heard Mary’s plea for his life,” and the crowd began to disperse. 

This is not some uneducated commoner’s view.  This comes right from the top.  Going back a little bit in John Paul’s history, after the death of his mother when he was eight years old – his real name, Karol Wojtya – he developed at a very early age an intense devotion to Mary because that was part of the whole system.  When he became Pope in 1978 he formally rededicated himself and his whole pontificate to Mary.  In his travels as a Pope, he constantly visited the Marian shrines – and they’re all over the world.  He made devotion to Mary the primary focus of his prayers, the primary emphasis of his own personal devotions.  He had a crest that John Paul had as a coat of arms.  On the central part of that crest was a huge M for Mary.  When he died, his coffin was decorated with this large letter M signifying what he had said so many years before, “I am totally yours, Mary.” 

In notes included in his will, he quoted the words of a former Polish cardinal which had inspired him:  “Victory, when it comes, will be through Mary.”  Anyone who follows at all the preaching of John Paul could see his intense devotion to Mary.  On Wednesday, the 7th of May 1997, John Paul said, “The history of Christian piety teaches that Mary is the way that leads to Christ.”  He wrote a book called John Paul II’s Book on Mary.  The ad copy inside the book says it’s a book for people who seek a deeper relationship with Jesus and his mother.  The table of contents in the book lists all the titles that John Paul credited to Mary:  “Gate of Heaven,” “Mediatrix of All Graces,” which is what we’re talking about, “Mirror of Perfection,” “Mother of the Church,” “Mother of Mercy,” “Pillar of Faith,” “Seat of Wisdom.” 

Here’s a sample of things from the book:  “Mary shares our human condition, but in complete openness to the grace of God.  Not having known sin, she is able to have compassion on every kind of weakness.  She understands sinful man and loves him with a mother’s love.  Precisely for this reason she is on the side of truth and shares the church’s burden in recalling always, and to everyone, the demands of morality.”  Another time he said:  “For every Christian, for every human being, Mary is the one who first believed and precisely with her faith as spouse and mother, she wishes to act upon all those who trust themselves to her as her children.  And it is well known that the more her children persevere and progress in this attitude, the nearer Mary leads them to the unsearchable riches of Christ.”  If you ever want to get to Christ, you’ve got to go to Mary.  And I ask again, how is this?  This is a Satanic fabrication.  This is worshipping demons. 

He says further:  “As Christians raise their eyes with faith to Mary in the course of their earthly pilgrimage, they strive to increase in holiness.  Mary, the exalted Daughter of Zion, helps all her children wherever they may be and whatever their condition, to find in Christ the path to the Father’s house.”  He said, “Nobody else can bring us as Mary can into the divine and human dimension of the mystery of the gospel.”  He said, “We can turn to the Blessed Virgin, trustfully employing her aid in the awareness of the singular role entrusted to her by God, the role” – listen to this – “of cooperator in the redemption, which she exercised throughout her life in a special way at the foot of the cross.”  Now that’s a pretty bold statement.  She is not only the Mediatrix of all Grace, the channel through which all grace comes, the one to whom we go for everything, but she is even involved in our redemption. Leo XIII said, “According to the Church, Mary is God’s unique channel of blessing.  God grants all graces to mankind through her,” and Benedict XV affirmed that:  “She is the seat of all divine graces, and almost infinite treasure to whom the Church exhorts the faithful to flee in time of need.”

I could go on and on with all of this, but I think you get the picture.  The church says, “Nothing comes to us except through Mary’s mediation, for such is God’s will.”  The church says, “Mary is the most powerful Mediatrix and Advocate of the whole world with her divine son.”  “Hail,” one of the prayers of the Rosary says, “Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee to we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn, then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.  Pray for us, O holy Mother of God that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.” 

This is what de Liguori said, reaching way back, “Mary was made Mediatrix of our salvation, not a Mediatrix of justice, of course, but of grace.”  He said, “She has been made the Ladder to Paradise, the Gate of Heaven,” – that’s what John Paul II called her – “the Most True Mediator between God and human beings.”  De Liguori says, “God decreed all graces through her hands.”  He said, “Mary is the source of every good and the absolute master of all graces,” and again Ott, a Roman Catholic theologian, “No grace accrues to man without the intercession of Mary.”  “Veritatis Splendor” from John Paul II says, “She is the Mother who obtains for us divine mercy.”  But there are two more that I need to talk about, but you’ve endured a lot.  I think what I’m going to do – this is probably wise – is finish this next Sunday night because there are only two more, but there are a lot more pages in my notes.  And I would be unfaithful to the duty that is mine if I didn’t also, at the end of all of this, go to the Word of God and take a real biblical look at this. 

So I understand next Lord’s day is Easter Sunday, but next Sunday night we had planned a Q&A, but this is much more important and we’ll wrap this up next time.  In case you’re wondering what the remaining two are, I shouldn’t tell you.  I should make you come, but because I want to be kind, we’ve already suggested one, that she is co-redemptrix; co-redeemer with Jesus.  And the final one, equally shocking, that she is the source of eternal merit.  She not only participated in our redemption, but she was so much more holy than she needed to be that she had more holiness than she needed, which is now available to sinners for a price.  That gets us into the whole idea of selling indulgences, selling the excess righteousness of Mary, and that’s what infuriated Martin Luther and launched the Reformation.  Having looked at those two, we will then look at the Word of God and what it has to say about worshipping a false god.

And so, Lord, we feel like we have seen Satan’s throne.  It’s frightening, terrifying, and what is equally tragic is how many unwitting people want to embrace this system as if it was true.  These people who are in this system are worshipping a false god, violating the first commandment.  They have another god.  It was God Himself who said, “You shall have no other God before me.”  They are worshipping a goddess by Satan’s design, who obliterates the truth of Christianity and leaves only meaningless vestiges of Christianity corrupted by demonic tradition.  We say all this in love, from a clear conscience, and a sincere faith because the truth matters.  It matters more than anything else.  It matters more than people being happy with us or liking us or having “a good relationship.”  The truth matters more than anything because what you do with the truth or the gospel determines your eternity.  We would be unfaithful and unloving in the worst way if we weren’t willing to confront error’s error.  We trust that the attitude with which it’s been dealt is one of stern concern, and at the same time genuine love.  People need to be rescued from this system.  It doesn’t need to be identified as if it were Christian.  This is idolatry, blasphemous paganism of the worst kind because being mingled with Christianity makes it even more deceptive.

Help us to find ways to bring people away from this who are caught in it, to Christ, who are alone salvation-wise.  Anyone trusting in Mary for salvation has polluted the gospel.  And whatever it is that they look to Jesus for is inadequate because he demands all our faith and all our affection and all our trust and all our hope be placed in him and him alone.  So use this, we pray, in the lives of those who have heard it, who will repeat it and who will yet hear it down through the years as this message is repeated.  And we acknowledge, again, the blessing of having the truth and knowing the living truth, the Lord Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray.  Amen.

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