Dear Pope Benedict,

You are cramping my style. Don’t you read Parchment and Pen. Don’t you know that I have been making the argument that things had changed since the Reformation? Don’t you see that there was some progress being made; we were moving in a direction that is more positive and hateful polemics were being looked down upon. Haven’t you downloaded Catholic theologian Peter Kreeft’s Ecumenism with Compromise to your IPOD?

Then I read this article about your recent actions saying that I and my Christ-fearing brothers and sisters in the Protestant church are not a part of the true church. This is very disheartening. What is up with that? It is not as if I thought that Trent said anything less, but level with me, (just between you and I) you guys always change your position, you just don’t call it “change,” you call it “progression.” I can roll with that. I am not too uptight. But the fact is that those on your side and ours thought that things were “progressing” in the right direction. Vatican II attempted to “progress” by softening the language of Trent. It essentially said to us, “we are sorry,” and that “Protestants are not confined to the pits of hell.” Phew . . . that was encouraging.

I know, I know, it was not as if I expected us to unify publically or for you to renounce your thro . . . umm, seat, but Trent’s claims to exclusivity were arrogant and beyond your authority (yes, question begging, but this is a letter, not debate). Some of us were even calling you a cult until Vatican II. And then there was John Paul II. While he was rather odd about Mary, I was excited to see his willingness to chan . . . ahem . . . I mean progress (I keep forgetting that you cannot admit change as a presupposed foundation to your system).

I have been getting emails from Catholics all over the world that read our blog saying that they were disappointed with this statement. Someone even apologized on your behalf. I know that this someone (I can’t name names – don’t want them to get in trouble) does not have the authority in your system to apologize on your behalf, but I was glad he did nonetheless. My saddened countenance is expressed by all those who believed that things were changing. Sigh . . .

But we can fix this! It is not too late. Here is what you can do to both rectify this situation and save face. First, you have to redefine your use of the word “Church” in that document. You know, like that clever maneuver you did when you changed the intent of Trent’s “anathema” upon Protestants. You softened it to the point that we are now “separated brethren.” That was nice. Kudos. Granted, I would have much rather you said that Trent was wrong and apologized for saying we were all going to Hell, but the “You just misunderstood us” was accepted.

What you can do here is say this: “You misunderstood me.” Oh yeah! You then continue, “All I meant to say was that Protestant Churches are not true Roman Catholic churches.” It would be like Baptists saying that all those not Baptists are not Baptists churches. Pretty self-evident, huh? That is the beauty of it! Then you go on, “But we did not mean that you were not part of the Body of Christ or that you could not gather in local fellowships.” That would be slick. I won’t tell anyone I told you to.

Later down the road, I was going to tell the next Pope to soften Vatican II, but you can only do so much.

BTW: I am working on the Evangelical church and our problems. They are many. We have so many maverick churches, denominations, and TV evangelists who say whatever they want. They have no regard for those who have gone before them. They have no regard for any type of authority out side of their own private interpretation. As you know, there are some who are claiming that God wants everyone to be rich and healthy. Others are saying that faith is a force. Still, others are beginning to devalue the exclusivity of Christ all together. We are an odd bunch and many in our ranks have either lost the Gospel completely or have lost focus. They are disrespectful and arrogant (oh, but that is a criticism that I have of you as well–but you already knew that). Protestants are just all over the place and frankly we don’t know what to do.

I know, I know, you warned us. But you must understand that most of us believe that it was still worth the risk. I am currently working on a project at Reclaiming the Mind Ministries. We have a program called The Theology Program which seeks to help people understand theology biblically and historically. It has been great. We have over 30,000 students online and in local churches. What it does is encourage people to reengage their minds helping them to be accountable to those who have gone before us and authorial intent hermeneutics. It also helps people to understand what essential Christianity is. OK, enough of the self-promotion, but I do think it can have a serious impact, Lord willing. (BTW: Could you endorse The Theology Program? Chuck Swindoll did. Your endorsement might make some of our constituency think we have gone soft, but I think it is worth it to help educate your people to think critically . . . we will talk more about that later).

Now I know that you cannot actually consider the contents of this letter since consideration itself will undermine your own offices’ authority (I know, it’s a crazy mess you guys have gotten yourself into. I will explain how to get out of that later . . .) And I know that critical thinking is not really encouraged since no one in your church has the right to criticize its head (nice job, BTW, keep them all in line). But I nonetheless encourage you to be wise, humble, and rethink what you have done here. The atmosphere has changed. “Progress” has ceased. You have come dangerously close to putting us back in the time of the Reformation and we will all have to act accordingly to preserve the essence of what Christ did for us.

Pope, we all have problems . . . this I know. None of us has it all figured out. But yours is very significant. Nevertheless, you can change and greatly help your people to realize the fullness of the truth and release them of their unnecessary burden. Please consider my shrewd yet sincere proposal.

Truly and respectfully,

C. Michael Patton
Ordination 2001, Stonebriar Community Church
Th.M. 2001, Dallas Theological Seminary
President of Reclaiming the Mind Ministries

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

    122 replies to "Letter to Pope Benedict"

    • Dave Armstrong

      Catholic Marian prayers are (needless to say) vastly misunderstood, because Protestants (unlike their founders) hardly have any Mariology at all anymore. They rarely understand even the basics of Mariology. It’s like trying to understand trigonometry and calculus without learning your times tables. NOT likely . . .

      I wrote about some of these prayers and how they are wildly misinterpreted in these papers:

      Does St. Alphonsus de Liguori, in The Glories of Mary, Teach That Mary is “Above God” and Can “Manipulate God”? (Corrections of Protestant Misunderstandings of Catholic Mariology)

      “The Lost Liguori”: The Nefarious Protestant Conspiracy to Conceal St. Alphonsus’ Christocentric Mariology

    • C Michael Patton

      “In thy hands I place my eternal salvation and to thee do I entrust my soul.”

      You can at least see how Protestants would interpret this prayer as idolatry?

      Don’t get me wrong, when a Catholic tells me “I don’t worship Mary” I believe them. Why would they say they don’t if they do. But this prayer, if it is not a surrendering of trust due only to God, it sure comes across such a way. You must understand where the Protestant protest comes from. As well, it seems to be highly suggestive and provocative toward Mary worship, especially for someone who first encounters it.

      My suggestion: get rid of it or drastically reword it.

      I don’t have much a problem with the Catholic understanding of the communion to the saints, or even prayer to the saints in the sense that you are simply asking them to pray for you . . . don’t do it, but I don’t think of it as saint worship necessarily. But this prayer is different.

      Hope you understand where I am coming from.

    • Saint and Sinner

      “Why would they say they don’t if they do.”

      To get around the Commandment.

      Before I was a Christian, I would have said that I didn’t worship the sexual sin of lust, but in reality, I did.

      Greedy people *say* that they don’t worship money, but they do.

      The latria/dulia dichotomy is a distinction without a difference. It’s true that dulia is used in the Bible as “to serve” someone, like the king.

      **However, everytime dulia or its variants are used in cultic (i.e. religious) context, the verb is used synonymously with “to worship,” and every time it is not given to God, it is condemned as idolatry.**

      “even prayer to the saints in the sense that you are simply asking them to pray for you”

      It’s not damnable if it is done in ignorance, but attributing omniscience to a created being is a bit blasphemous. Early Christians prayed *for* departed saints, not *to* them.

    • Dave Armstrong

      Well, the Apostle Paul states several times that he was helping to save people or being a channel for them to receive divine grace. If it was okay for him to do, why not Mary, the mother of Jesus our Lord?:

      1 Corinthians 9:22 I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

      2 Corinthians 4:15 For it [his many sufferings: 4:8-12,17] is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

      Ephesians 3:2 assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you… (cf. 1 Pet 4:8-10)

      Ephesians 4:29 Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear.

      1 Timothy 4:16 Take heed to yourself and to your teaching: hold to that, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

      “Entrust[ing] [your] soul” to a human being gives you pause? Okay, there is Bible sanction for that too (or at least something very similar):

      Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them; for they are keeping watch over your souls, as men who will have to give account. Let them do this joyfully, and not sadly, for that would be of no advantage to you.

      So if someone wants to claim the Catholic prayer in question is Mariolatry, fine, but let them be consistent and say that the Bible teaches “Paulolatry” as well, if this is the reasoning. Of course no Protestant will say that, but since the Bible gives sanction to Pauline “saving” and “distribution of graces” then no one can say that the Theotokos participating in the same sort of thing is prima facie “unbiblical”.

      If the Catholic Marian prayers were properly understood and interpreted correctly in the first place, the issue would never come up, but because Protestants have no frame of reference in which to interpret them (having not been taught any degree of Mariology to speak of at all), then they automatically view it as a species of idolatry, which it is NOT.

      I say that — rightly understood — Catholic teachings do not contradict the biblical understanding of things at all. We believe, with James, that “the prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). Therefore, if indeed Mary is sinless (taught in Luke 1:28, closely examined and exegeted, as I have done), and God’s highest creation, then her prayers would be uniquely powerful (just as Elijah’s were, that James refers to); hence this sort of flowery language is perfectly acceptable. One goes to the person whose prayers of intercession have the most power.

      Elsewhere in the prayer “Our Lady of Perpetual Help” it is made clear the origin of this extraordinary power of intercession that Mary has:

      “I give thanks to our Lord, who for my sake hath given thee a name so sweet, so lovable, so mighty. . . . He hath made thee so powerful, so rich, so kind, that thou mightest assist us in our miseries.”

    • C Michael Patton

      Dave, those examples are so different from the Mary prayer it alleviates no problems. Believe me, like I said, I am more than willing to give the benifit of a doubt, but, in all honesty, that seems rather far out to say that this prayer to Mary, “In thy hands I place my eternal salvation and to thee do I entrust my soul” and Paul self conception concerning his role in preaching the Gospel here on earth are parallel. Are you asking Mary to come and preach the Gospel to people?

      Anyway, again, you must understand how difficult it sounds. I don’t see why you can’t just get rid of the prayer in favor of something different if it is not what it seems to be. This would help people from getting confused and accusing you of things you don’t do. The prayer is not inspired in your view is it?

      All that I am asking is that you at least consider how difficult it is and not write people off acting as if we just understood what you were saying it would make all the difference. I think I do understand what you are saying, but the prayer still says something different in good ol’ Oklahoman 🙂

    • Dave Armstrong

      Michael, I used to be an evangelical Protestant. You’re not telling me anything new. I had to work through many of these same issues in order to become a Catholic. Were you ever a Catholic? If one used to firmly believe one thing, then they knew it from the inside. I was not just a Protestant, but a Protestant apologist and cult researcher. I was on the largest Christian radio station in Detroit talking about Jehovah’s Witnesses as a Protestant in 1989. So I know where you’re coming from, and I understand the Protestant outlook through and through.

      Your choice is simple: you can go the same old tired route (the stuff you say you believed just five years ago) and conclude that Catholics are idolaters who are so stupid and clueless that we don’t even know that Mary is different from Jesus, or you can accept the validity of the reasoning I have given you (and additional explanations from others) or at least acknowledge that there are issues here that are difficult to understand at first but that it is not nonsense and idolatry. The prayer is going nowhere. It has a long tradition and it is perfectly orthodox.

      You say we should just get rid of it? By the same token I could say, “why don’t you get rid of one or more beliefs from TULIP, since Calvinists are vastly misunderstood and don’t really believe what many people attribute to them (making God the author of evil; making evangelistic efforts null and void, turning men into will-less automatons, etc.)? You wouldn’t do that, on those grounds, so why do you think it is reasonable that we would do so?

      I have no problem saying that it is tough for a Protestant to comprehend. Of course it is. I already dealt with that in my previous responses by saying that one can’t comprehend trigonometry without first learning their basic arithmetic.

      Mariology is not Christian kindergarten; it is advanced studies in Christian graduate school.

      “In thy hands I place my eternal salvation and to thee do I entrust my soul” and Paul self conception concerning his role in preaching the Gospel here on earth are parallel. Are you asking Mary to come and preach the Gospel to people?

      You have not properly understood the analogy that I made. Paul’s saying that he “saved” people and telling Timothy that he can “save” his hearers (when we all know that it is God Who does the saving and Paul is only a vessel of same) is precisely the same that we think of Mary. The logic is exactly the same:

      1. Paul: “I might save some . . . save both yourself and your hearers”.

      2. (the logical converse) Spiritual seeker: “Paul, please save me by your powerful intercession and distribution of God’s grace. In your hands I place my seeking after eternal salvation because I know your intervention on my behalf is profoundly powerful.”

      3. Ergo: logical equivalent of saying to Mary: “In thy hands I place my eternal salvation” because if the thought is “If Paul and Timothy [human beings] can ‘save’ other human beings, then clearly there is a dynamic at work far different from just God alone and the person being saved. God uses human beings in the process.”

      In other words, if Paul can say that he saves others, then others can ask him to save them, and we are in exactly the same place where the Marian prayer takes us. Mary is the mother of Jesus. Paul didn’t even see Jesus before the Resurrection. So if this is true of Paul, it can certainly be true of Mary.

      Yet you say, “those examples are so different from the Mary prayer it alleviates no problems.” I disagree; it is a close analogy. We know that Paul doesn’t ultimately save anyone; it is God. Catholics know the same about Mary. It is only by attributing gross ignorance to Catholics en masse (even to many of our greatest theologians) that Protestants come up with the hogwash that they do about our supposed Mariolatry.

      The real lack of knowledge and sufficient thought and reflection is seen, rather, in a statement like the one above: “attributing omniscience to a created being is a bit blasphemous.” But of course no one is doing that! Saints in heaven do not have to have all knowledge in order to hear prayers. They are in eternity, with God. They’re out of time. That completely solves that problem. It doesn’t require omniscience at all, but merely being in another sphere in terms of time or dimensions. Someone thinks that is insufficient? Very well, then, read what your own Protestant theologians and Bible commentators say about the relationship of time and eternity and how we will be like Jesus when we get to heaven. It’s a perfectly plausible, biblical, acceptable understanding of the afterlife. It’s sheer foolishness to make out that such a scenario requires a saint to be omniscient and therefore God-like.

    • C Michael Patton

      Dave, I appreciate that you have been on the other side, but this does not seem to be helping. In fact, it might be hindering. I think that from your perspective you feel that it is your duty to justify all those things that you had a problem with before without recognizing the extent of the problem. If reformation does not come for you in doctrine, can’t it come in communication? Again, I take you at your word when you say you don’t worship Mary. Worship is a subjective entrustment of our lives to a source in which we have ultimate reliance. We have non-ultimate reliances in our lives such as our cars to get us to work, our fathers to protect us when we are young, etc. All reliances are secondary to the primary. This I understand. Our ultimate reliance for Salvation does not come through anything other than God, although we do rely upon other people to have their secondary part in God’s plan. If you are simply saying that Mary is a secondary reliance like all others secondary reliances (albeit, a very good one), I take you at your word.

      In this case, the problem is first one of communication.

      You say that this:
      “[Mary] In thy hands I place my eternal salvation and to thee do I entrust my soul.”

      Really means this:
      “[Mary] In thy hands I place the hope of my eternal salvation since you are one of the many who can pray to the One who can save me and to you I entrust my soul since your are one of the many who can intercede through prayer on my behalf to the One who can take care of my soul.”

      You see. You are having to jump through hoops here to explain the first. All I am saying is be sensitive to the concerns of those who just take the first at face value. Make the first say the second and it would alleviate yourself of having to write books to justify the first.

      To compare this with Calvinism is helpful to a degree, but in its present form presents a non seq. In other word, TULIP is what it is. It does not have to explain itself to take away the sting of miscommunication. In fact, once you do explain TULIP you find that there is integrity in communication because it means exactly what it says. The problem does not have to do in communicating its points at face value, but the interpretation of its implications.

      For example, if you were to say that this is one of the points of Calvinism, then there would be a parallel:

      God is responsible for sin.

      Indeed, this is problematic. There are very few Calvinists who would actually go this far with it. Now, they may communicate it as such, but then they would, like you, have to jump through hoops to explain that this does not mean what it seems to mean. They may say this:

      God is responsible for sin only in the since that he is the creator of free will beings that choose to sin, but He Himself is not the ultimate first cause of its genesis.

      Here is what I would tell a Calvinist (of which I am one) who has as part of his regular confession the first. Don’t say it!! It miscommunicates what you mean. Just say what you mean! If you don’t, you will do two things. 1) You will scare people away because they have simply thought you meant what you said (who would blame the), or 2) You are going to cause some of your own to actually believe that God is the creator of sin and promote this doctrine as such.

      This is the same with many issues and confessions in Mariology. You scare people away based upon a perfectly understandable misreading of your doctrine based upon popular communication and, in some cases, you cause your own to fall into idolatry simply because they take this at face value.

      Not that I have any platform to give advice Dave, but I would try to see this first as a theologian and a pastor, rather than an apologist. It seems that as an apologist you are seeking to justify this prayer as it is, failing to recognize how it communicates.

      Again, I really appreciate your willingness to dialogue.

    • JoanieD

      To Dave Armstrong: You make some very good points comparing Mary to Paul in terms of helping people to be “saved.” I do wonder, though, about saying that Luke 1:28 backs up the belief that Mary was sinless. The NIV states it as “The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” I wouldn’t take that as saying Mary was sinless. I am not a theologian and cannot say any of this for sure, but I think maybe the view of Mary as having been conceived without sin (Immaculate Conception) was because ancient Christian theologians found it difficult to think that God (as Jesus) would ever be born from a regular “sinful” human being. Personally, I find it wonderful. And I think that Mary was likely a very wonderful human being and was the perfect mom for Jesus. Her family as a whole must have been very close to God. John (the Baptist) was said to have been filled with grace from his birth. Did that make HIM sinless? Jesus said that John was the greatest person born of woman.

      I think part of the reason Catholics feel that they can pray to Mary and ask “favors” is that at the wedding in Cana, Mary asked Jesus to help the people out by making wine for them when they had run out. Jesus could have done that without his mom asking him to do it though. Jesus also provided care for his mom even as he was dying on the cross. So we know that he had respect for her. I, personally, do not think that we need to ever go through anyone to have God hear us. If it helps some people to visualize the mother of God helping them with their prayers, I don’t know that that is a terrible thing though. AS LONG AS they know that it is Jesus who saves.

      (Dave, I was brought us as a Catholic. I don’t know what I am now though. Just someone ATTEMPTING to do as Jesus wants.)

      Joanie D

    • Felicity

      [26] When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!
      [27] Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.[/i]

      Mary is our mother. Jesus gave us to Mary as our spiritual guardian. Just as when we are infants, our entire physical well-being is entrusted to another human being (our earthly mother) in order that she might protect, guide, and nurture us as we grow, Mary is entrusted with our eternal soul.

      [i]“In thy hands I place my eternal salvation and to thee do I entrust my soul” [/i]

      In my earthly mother’s hands, I placed my physical life and entrusted her with my well-being.
      In my heavenly mother’s hands, I place my eternal salvation, and entrust her with the well-being of my soul.

      Some earthly mother’s fail their children and do not care for them properly.
      The mother to whom the Father entrusted the physical well-being of His only Begotten Son, will not fail to do in perfect obedience to God, the Will of God. It’s a guarentee. Mary can be trusted to help me grow in such a way that my salvation will come about in the fullness of time. She doesn’t “save” me–Jesus does–but she nurtures me and guides me to his saving grace just as she nurtured and cared for the Son of God right up until His crucifixion in the fullness of time. She was with Him at the foot of the cross, and she leads me there.

    • Felicity

      This is the same with many issues and confessions in Mariology. You scare people away based upon a perfectly understandable misreading of your doctrine based upon popular communication and, in some cases, you cause your own to fall into idolatry simply because they take this at face value. ~CMP

      ***But who’s responsibility is it? Does God call the Church to temper its language for man, or does God call man to hear the truth of God? Just as in John 6, Jesus refused to temper His language when He said, “My flesh is true food, my blood is true drink,” and he allowed disciples who refused to hear the truth of God to walk away, the Church is not responsible to make truth more palitable to those who lack faith. The truth is the truth and trust is trust.

    • Dave Armstrong

      Hi Michael,

      That was an interesting psychological-sociological analysis of my argument; now would you like to actually interact with the argument itself? 🙂 🙂

    • Dave Armstrong

      Hi Joanie,

      Thanks for your comment. The argument from Luke 1:28 regarding Mary’s sinlessness is a lot more involved than the passage suggests at first glance. Here are some papers of mine, if you want to see the full argument:

      Luke 1:28 (Full of Grace) and the Immaculate Conception: Linguistic and Exegetical Considerations

      Dialogue on the Exegesis of Luke 1:28 (“Full of Grace”), and the Immaculate Conception (Dave Armstrong vs. Ken Temple)

      Dialogue with an Evangelical Protestant on Catholic Mariology (including an explicitly biblical argument for the Immaculate Conception, from Luke 1:28, related exegesis, and the meaning of grace) (Dave Armstrong vs. Jack DisPennett)

    • C Michael Patton

      Dave, as I have said from the beginning, I don’t have THAT big of a problem with what you mean, but the misleading way in which it is communicated. The ball in in yo’ court my friend.

    • Dave Armstrong

      I’ve already answered. The devotion will not and should not change simply because it is misunderstood and because Protestantism has a virtually nonexistent Mariology. And I showed that it also was unreasonable to say that it should, based on an analogy to your own belief-system.

      Substantive dialogue deals with the objective assertions of the opponent at some point, rather than merely subjective, stylistic issues and how things are received. Postmodernism (you said on White’s webcast that your bookshelf is filled with this sort of thing) clearly is influencing you to the detriment of your argumentation here. It’s all subjective and little objective analysis of objective stuff.

      My method, on the other hand, is to use Scripture and logic, and history where necessary.

    • C Michael Patton

      Dave, again, I think you are too caught up in your apologetic defenses here. I am simply offering a suggestion to you. It is fine if you don’t agree, but my points were valid and not relativistic in the slightest. There was no response from you concerning your non seq with Calvinism and Paul.

      I argued that your comparison to Calvinism had no parallel. The same with regards to your reference to Paul. If you don’t believe me, this is fine, everyone has the right to be wrong 🙂

      The prayer has no interpretive context. Because of this, people have to take it at face value. You interpret the face value meaning much differently, which is fine (and a bit relativistic), and then say that it is Protestants fault for mistakingly thinking Catholics worship Mary. Like it or not, the prayer does suggest this.

      Dave, while I know you cannot reform in doctrine, you can reform in communication. The “it says this, but it really means this” is confusing both to Catholics and Protestants.

      If you are going to teach and defend the prayer, I would rework it. Do you think that Mary will really get THAT upset? 🙂 Just think about what I am saying, that is all I ask.

    • carrie


      Some Mary quotes for you since you are waffling on this one. All from Popes:

      “The recourse we have to Mary in prayer follows upon the office she continuously fills by the side of the throne of God as Mediatrix of Divine grace; being by worthiness and by merit most acceptable to Him, and, therefore, surpassing in power all the angels and saints in Heaven. Now, this merciful office of hers, perhaps, appears in no other form of prayer so manifestly as it does in the Rosary. For in the Rosary all the part that Mary took as our co-Redemptress comes to us,”

      “Thus is confirmed that law of merciful meditation of which We have spoken, and which St. Bernardine of Siena thus expresses: “Every grace granted to man has three degrees in order; for by God it is communicated to Christ, from Christ it passes to the Virgin, and from the Virgin it descends to us.””

      “By the fullness of grace which confers on her the most illustrious of her many titles, the Blessed Virgin is infinitely superior to all the hierarchies of men and angels, the one creature who is closest of all to Christ. “It is a great thing in any saint to have grace sufficient for the salvation of many souls; but to have enough to suffice for the salvation of everybody in the world, is the greatest of all; and this is found in Christ and in the Blessed Virgin.””

      “The foundation of all Our confidence, as you know well, Venerable Brethren, is found in the Blessed Virgin Mary. For, God has committed to Mary the treasury of all good things, in order that everyone may know that through her are obtained every hope, every grace, and all salvation. For this is His will, that we obtain everything through Mary.”

      “Those, alas! furnish us by their conduct with a peremptory proof of it, who seduced by the wiles of the demon or deceived by false doctrines think they can do without the help of the Virgin. Hapless are they who neglect Mary under pretext of the honor to be paid to Jesus Christ! As if the Child could be found elsewhere than with the Mother!”

    • C Michael Patton

      Thanks Carrie,

      Wouldn’t you agree that these quotes give the impression that Mary is worshipped?

    • Dave Armstrong

      There was no response from you concerning your non seq with Calvinism and Paul.

      Huh? I made a very extensive response. Obviously you disagreed with it, but that is far different from claiming I made “no response.”

    • carrie

      Wouldn’t you agree that these quotes give the impression that Mary is worshipped?

      The prayers, the statues, the crowns on the statues, feast, etc. Yes, similar behavior to pagan worship can be seen. In fact, in a conversation with an Indian women I worked with, she asked “who are the ones that worship Mary”.

      Even if we take Catholics at their word that they don’t “worship” Mary, the teachings of the church still place her at a much too elevated level – mediatrix between man and Christ. She is the mediator of ALL graces as the quotes above state. Since Catholics need to “tap into” graces to maintain/recover their salvation, that is a big problem.

      It appears not only are the sacraments required for salvation, but Mary also.

    • JoanieD

      To Dave Armstrong: wow, there are a LOT of articles on your webpage to read! I started with one you pointed out:
      I see that the person you were “debating” writes, “John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb.” I have wondered about that scripture passage as well. If anyone seems to have been “sinless” it seems to be John and Jesus says that John is the greatest person born of woman. It seems that he puts John even above his mother when he says that. I guess we need to decide what being “filled with the Holy Spirit” means. Does it mean one will never sin? Does it mean one has never sinned? Does it mean one does not have “original sin?” And, what do we mean by “original sin?” Do we mean that we are born with a propensity to sin which means we “miss the mark” in living the way God would want us to live? Does it mean we are lead by evil? Does it mean we are born with a sense of separateness from God that we can only resolve by accepting God’s grace through Jesus? These are important questions in my mind.

      Folks talk about being “filled with the Holy Spirit.” Does that mean they are ALWAYS filled with the Holy Spirit? As Christians, we say we have the Holy Spirit within us. But is it always FILLING us or are we getting in the way of the Spirit working in us and filling us so that we will never “miss the mark” and so that we will walk the way God intended, with fullness of love for God and all humankind?

      I have a feeling not many will read this comment as this topic has become so long now! I, too, give up after a while on the long ones. But Dave, I will return to your webpages from time to time to do more reading. I can see you have studied these matters deeply and I know it is worth my time to read the writings of people who have studied the subhect so well. Thanks for your time!

      Take care,
      Joanie D.

    • Dave Armstrong

      Hi Joanie,

      Lots of great questions! I feel it would be inappropriate for me to answer questions like that on another blog where I am a guest and an “outsider”, so to speak, so I’ll leave that to Michael and the others here (and they are far more theologically educated than I am, anyway, and would likely do a better job at it).

      Thanks for your very kind words. I have over 1600 papers or web pages on my blog. 🙂 It’s the result of over ten years of continuous apologetic writing on the Internet (and some papers go back as far as 1982, when I was an evangelical Protestant).

      You’re welcome on my blog (as is anyone else). I can’t always answer direct questions that deserve in-depth answers, as yours do (esp. now that I have an additional full-time job completely unrelated to my ministry). But almost always other blog regulars will chime in when questions are asked.

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