It seems the crusades were a bad idea. A movement to riling people up to kill starts to take a life of it’s own and soon becomes something you can’t properly control.
I guess I shouldn’t really be, but was a bit surprised that atrocities were committed against Jews as a proxy instead of Muslims who were too far away. Reminds me of a comedian Chris Rock joke referring to initial feelings after 9/11 where people first said, “I’m a true American not like those Muslims Arabs.” The declarations started to change to, “I’m a true American not like those illegal Mexicans.” Joke’s punch line was to brace for blacks and Jews being once more scapegoated.
Although there were conflicts between Muslim and Christian kingdoms, what caused the spark for the crusades was to real estate. The Muslim threat wasn’t an invasion or killing of Christians, but the systematic demolition of Constantine’s Basilica in Jerusalem. Curiously something as innocuous as the humble pilgrimage to visit holy sites contributed the outrage to injustices against Christians in Muslim countries. On these holy trips people could witness the damaged site.
The necessity of warfare can be debated, should a Christian country have an army?
Generally war is contrary to Christian ideals, at best it’s a necessary evil. Fundamental shift in theology was the idea that warfare could be a way to win salvation. This is a strange theology since salvation is a free gift from God by Jesus’ sacrifice. Was it case of wanting a bigger house in heaven? Indulgence of a loved one who the Church deemed too sinful to be allowed in heaven?
With the idea of weaponizing Christianity first to battle the “enemy” Islam as an enemy of Christians opened the Pandora’s box. Why not use it against other enemies of Christianity such as the wrong type of Christianity or even political opponents? Being unable to recapture Jerusalem left these armies with too much idle time. Eventually it was realized having rich, powerful, independent standing armies just hanging around was not a good idea and the Orders dedicated to reclaiming Jerusalem such as the Templars were turned on. All in all the crusades were a bad idea.
We’re not surprised that some people worship people. Romans chapter 1 says that when people suppress the truth of God and reject that which can be known of God that is in them, in the place of God they create their own idols in the form of man as well as beasts and other animals. It is a little bit unusual, however, in our society to worship dead people.
In the Roman Catholic system the lay people are instructed to worship Mary as if she were God. Cathedrals elevate her above God and above Christ. There is a cathedral in Pisa, Italy which depicts Mary at the pinnacle as they almost all do all through Europe, she’s at the top, Jesus and God are below her, and in that particular cathedral in Pisa, you have Jesus and God offering their crowns to Mary. People kiss her image. They kiss her statue. They kiss her picture. They crawl on their knees in penitential pain as some kind of preparation to come before statues of her. They pray to her regularly using the rosary. The rosary is a series of ten prayers, there are five of the tens making 50 prayers, and there are five prayers in between. The 50 are to Mary, the five are to God. There are five “Our Fathers,” there are 50 “Hail Marys.” For every time you pray once to God the Father, you pray ten times to Mary…for five to God, fifty to Mary.
This is no different than worshiping Baal or Molech or Caesar or Buddha or Krishna or Kim Jong-un. And the whole cult of Mary worship would be an unspeakable horror to Mary if she ever knew, but hopefully she never will.
Now the Catholic Church tries to wiggle around a little bit out of this by saying there are different kinds of worship. There is doulia, that is the worship of saints and angels. There is latria, that is the worship of God. And there is hyper–doulia, which is the worship of Mary alone. This is not just doulia which is a sort of low-level worship of saints and angels, this is hyper or upper level doulia, not quite latria. This is a silly, artificial kind of distinction that even Roman Catholic people can’t sort out. They worship saints. They venerate or worship angels. Far above saints and angels they worship Mary. And they attempt to worship God. But if you’re worshiping those who are not God, God does not accept your worship. It is an artificial distinction, doulia and latria from Greek words are synonyms, they do not distinguish worship at all. Mary is believed to hold the sovereign authority of God.
If any of you get a chance to drop into a library there is a book called The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus Delaguarie originally written in 1745. It is a history of devotion to Mary reaching back to the fifth 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. 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 eighteenth century, many of which I refer to, is that the Roman Church has deified Mary. This is their own affirmation, called for worship to be given to her, affirmed that she possesses attributes that belong only to the Triune God. And 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 comment on is foreign to Scripture. 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 the Key to the Scriptures, or whatever it is, heresy is going to come from other sources of revelation. 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 the equal of 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 a 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 Effabillis. 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, quote: “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 holy, sinless, stainless, undefiled, pure innocence,” end quote. That is a segment of this ineffabilisdeus 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 exaltation 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,” end quote.
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 sheer 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.”
Delaguarie in his book on page 297 writes, “Even her body was preserved from corruption after death.” Quote: “The flesh of Mary and that of Christ are one, the glory of the Son 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. The second and obvious corollary is the Doctrine of her Permanent Sinlessness. The Roman Catholic Catechism from 1994, page 490, number 2030 says this, quote: “The Church finds its example of holiness and recognizes its model and source in the all-holy Virgin Mary.” Delaguarie says, quote: “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 Delaguarie 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 1:47, “My spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.”
That leads to a third dogma and this is one, I think, is 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, immaculately conceived without the Original Sin of Adam, not only was she sinless, but she was a perpetual virgin. This was held in 553, sixth century, and it was actually made dogma in the seventh century at the Laterin 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 1:25. 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? Quote, “Mary gave birth in miraculous fashion without any opening of her womb and injury to her body and without pain.” Now without 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 ever coming through the birth canal because that would have created some injury to her perfect body. This is not some obscure doctrine, this I have read 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 a 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. Shreck in The Basics of the Faith, a 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 at some point they came together. How hard is that? Things are so utterly obvious and 1 Corinthian 7 says that if she withheld her body from her husband, she sinned. First Corinthians 7:3 to 5 says, “It’s a sin to withhold yourself from your husband. Your body is not your own, it is your husband’s even as your husband’s body is not his, it is your’s.” 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 the first, 1950, Pope Pious XII made it official that Mary ascended into heaven. Quote, “The bodily assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven is a dogma of the divine and 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 twentieth century goes way, way back and you start to read about this in the fifth 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 the 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 a kind of Christianity with paganism and all of this came very early. So it’s in the rule of somebody who calls himself Galacius I, a self-appointed leader of the church in the fifth century, this comes up at that time. There’s a discussion about Mary being assumed into 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’s 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 Transidus Getti Marii and it was in the fifth century it was denounced as a heresy. So when it first showed up in the fifth century, the 400’s, it is denounced as a heresy. But things began to develop over the years in regard to Mary. Praying to Mary arrives in 600…400 or 500 years later the rosary comes into play in 1090. But it’s not until 1950 that this original idea 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.
So you have those 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.
Where did this idea of “mother of God” come from, so misleading, as if God had a mother who gave birth to Him? This was first used by Alexander Bishop of Alexandria in the fourth century. Goddess worship, the very outset, the Holy Roman Empire comes into existence in the fourth century, early in the century. This mother of God comes in rapidly by the year 431 and the Council of Ephesus and 451, 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.
Now 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, hail, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To you do we cry, poor banished children of Eve, to you do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, your eyes of mercy toward us and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of your 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 Delaguarie said, reaching way back, “Mary was made mediatrix of our salvation, not a mediatrix of justice, of course, but of grace.” He says, “She has been made the ladder to paradise, the gate of heaven…that’s what Pope John Paul II called her…the most true mediator between God and human beings.” Delaguarie 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, the Roman Catholic theologian, “No grace accrues to men without the intercession of Mary.” Beri totus splendor, from Pope John Paul II says, “She is the mother who obtains for us divine mercy.”
Pretty serious stuff to worship the queen of heaven. The false Mary of Roman Catholicism is a lie and a deception. It is pagan goddess worship, imported into Christianity. It steals glory from God the Father. It steals glory from God the Son. Steals glory from God the Holy Spirit. And you cannot worship the true God and sit at the table of demons. You can’t, it’s an abomination. The queen of heaven is nothing but an occult concept. The Roman Virgin Mary is included, by the way, on some web sites. The Roman Virgin Mary is included on some web sites of goddesses. If you want to look at them, there’s a website called, “The Spiral Goddess Grove.” Another one called “The White Moon and Goddess 2000,” and Mary is one of the goddess figures. She is considered to be the divine feminine. Really, you’d have to believe that the two greatest hoaxes that have ever been perpetrated on the world in any connection with Christianity are that the Pope is the representative of Jesus Christ in the world and that Mary is the source of all spiritual graces. Pagan/goddess worship dressed up in Roman Catholic fantasy, just as idolatrous as the ancient worship of the Semitic goddess Astarte known as Ishtar, originally among the Babylonians. The veneration shown to Mary in Roman Catholicism is no less offensive than the worship of Ishtar and Astarte. The worship of Semiramis, the worship of Isis. It is no less offensive to God than the worship that King Manasseh gave to the Tyrian goddess Asherah. Remember he had a carved image set up in the house of the Lord, remember 2 Kings you can read it, 2 Kings chapter 21. He set up a goddess in the house of the Lord, 2 Kings 21:12 says, “For this abomination God sent calamity on Jerusalem and Judah.” The Roman Catholic Church has set up an idol in every Church, every cathedral, every Catholic home and the image is everywhere. It is virtually indistinguishable from Roman Catholicism.
The origins and motives of the veneration, or some might say worship, of the Virgin Mary were something that always had me curious. Though I had watched several debates between Protestant and Catholic apologists argue both sides of the veneration of Mary, they never got into the historical background as to how it all began. In this chapter, MacCulloch writes that the importance of Mary began to grow in prominence during the medieval period with monastaries being dedicated to her by the Cistercians. However the elevation of Mary started way before, stretching far back from the time of the Nestorian and Christological controversy during the 430s when the term theotokos, or “God-bearer” and later in Latin “The Mother of God” came to the forefront. Like many times in the past, the Church dug up old traditions (as they did with the idea of Purgatory from Origen and Clement, but this time it was Jerome) to support or justify a future idea – which in this case was Mary’s perpetual virginity in order to buttress the eleventh century ideal of universal clerical celibacy and the virtues of chastity. It was also interesting to note that the extremely dualistic Cathars insisted that she was not human since the Gospels or Scriptures don’t mention her genealogy. But this was just the beginning.
To further elevate her (more and more to a divine?) status, English Benedictine abbots in the 1120s began promoting the idea that Mary had been conceived without lust, which translated into her conception being immaculate, not desecrated by sin. It seems more and more that Mary was becoming more and more like Christ or at the very least taking more and more of his divine attributes. There was controversy over the Immaculate Conception, the loudest of which came from Bernard of Clairvaux, but I guess it never gained any traction as there was too much support and hysteria it seems from the mass populace. Then the devotion to Mary goes on to new heights where in the late 1150s a mystical nun, Elizabeth of Schonau, had a vision of the Virgin Mary taken into Heaven without experiencing bodily death. To churches that were too poor to obtain holy relics, the devotion to Mary was a boon to them – now all they had to do was commission a statue of her which paved the way for miraculous reports of healings and manifestations that would prompt pilgrimages to the church, thus providing the church with instant recognition; something that still goes on centuries later. This would prove so successful that all over Europe from the 11th century on churches there were rededicated away from local and international saints, in honor of Mary.
It’s interesting to see how doctrines are formed and evolve by the current needs or milieu of the era it came out of. You can take an obscure verse or minor character in the Bible and build an entire doctrine out of it. Sometimes it’s the strong emotions of persons or a group that give rise to beliefs, and then comes the rationalizations and biblical justifications. In the way that MacCulloch presents it, the devotion and veneration of Mary grew out of the monastic dedication and justification for living a celibate life. Then you add in a bit of (Platonic) dualism into the picture where you view the flesh being evil and the spiritual being good, and then a doctrine soars to supernatural heights. This type of thing happens all the time with religious beliefs even till today. For instance, a person or group of persons will have (or think they had) a profound revelation or religious experience, and then use the Bible or some other religious source of authority to propagate and justify a belief. And it’s amazing as to what great lengths people will go to believe something or convince themselves of something being true or being supported by God. This just goes to show you that no doctrine is ever written in stone and that doctrines often have a malleable nature. I believe this presents us with a broad insight as to how religious beliefs evolve over time and gets adopted by the community and the church at large.