Biblical Worship

9. Rome's Counterfeit Worship of Relics and Mary

By Dr. Paul M. Elliott
Scripture specifically condemns these two forms of counterfeit worship long commanded by Roman Catholicism.

From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase

Part 9 of a 20-part series. Read part 8.

Scripture specifically condemns these two forms of counterfeit worship long commanded by Roman Catholicism.

They joined themselves also to Baal of Peor, and ate sacrifices made to the dead. (Psalm 106:28)

The children gather wood, the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven... (Jeremiah 7:18)

In our last article, we discussed the pagan roots of Roman Catholicism's long-standing worship of dead persons it designates as "saints." In this article, we shall address two additional areas in which Rome commands counterfeit worship - the worship of relics, and of Mary.

The Counterfeit Worship of Relics

Rome has long commanded Catholics to venerate so-called "relics". Relics are primarily the remains of the bodies and bodily fluids of dead saints. They range from entire corpses to body fragments such as a finger, a bone, or hair.

A few years ago, I was in San Antonio, Texas. I saw what were said to be the remains of a dead saint housed in an ornate, gold-plated chest on poles. The chest was being carried aloft by priests through the streets of the city, and crowds of Roman Catholics on the sidewalks were kneeling in worship and making the sign of the cross as the procession went past.

The altar is the focal point of every Roman Catholic church. By Vatican edict, every altar contains a cavity in which some part of the remains of a dead saint's body is placed. According to Rome, the presence of these human remains (relics) in the altar cavity is necessary in order for the altar to be consecrated and used. Wherever possible, the remains are from the body of the saint for which the church is named.

It is upon this combination altar and sepulchre that the priest, according to the false teaching of Rome, turns bread and wine into the actual body and blood of Christ in order to offer a fresh sacrifice for sins at every Mass, contrary to Scripture.

Dear friends, such things were and are the practices of the pagans, and Rome has brought them into the visible church. In the pages of Scripture, God speaks often against such associations with the dead. For example, in Psalm 106 we read this:

They [the people of Israel] joined themselves also to Baal of Peor, and ate sacrifices made to the dead. Thus they provoked [the Lord] to anger with their deeds... Therefore the wrath of the Lord was kindled against His people, so that He abhorred His own inheritance. (Psalm 106:28-29, 40)

God likewise abhors the idolatrous worship of relics that has been commanded by Rome for centuries, and is still commanded today.

The Counterfeit Worship of Mary

In addition to the worship of saints and relics, Rome also commands the worship of Mary the mother of Jesus. Rome says that Mary is the Mediatrix of salvation along with Jesus Christ. Let me quote for you an official statement of the Catholic church:

To begin, we can say without doubt that the title 'Mediatrix' [for Mary] is justified, and applies to all graces for certain, by her cooperation in acquiring all graces on Calvary...

...in suffering with Him as He died on the cross, she cooperated in the work of the Savior, in an altogether singular way, by obedience, faith, hope, and burning love, to restore supernatural life to souls. As a result she is our Mother in the order of grace.

...after being assumed into heaven, she has not put aside this saving function, but by her manifold intercession, she continues to win the gifts of eternal salvation for us.1

Dear friends, this is a lie. Biblical Christianity recognizes that Jesus Christ is the only Mediator between God and man.

For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time... (1 Timothy 2:5-6)

He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. (Hebrews 9:15)

He alone is the Savior of souls. He alone is the Redeemer of sinners. Scripture makes no claim that Mary is a Mediatrix or Co-Redemptrix. In fact, Scripture records the fact that Mary herself understood and stated that she was in need of redemption herself, and she herself professed Christ as her Savior, and worshipped Him even before His incarnation:

And Mary said: "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in [notice] God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. (Luke 1:46-49)

Despite this, Roman Catholicism says that Mary is to be worshipped as the "Queen of Heaven." Dear friends, this is yet another Roman throwback to ancient paganism.

The pagans of ancient Babylon worshipped a goddess who they addressed as the "Queen of Heaven" and the "Virgin Mother." In ancient Egypt, a similar goddess was worshipped by the name Hathor. In China and Tibet, this false deity was called the "Virgin God-Bearer." Later in Greece, this goddess was called Hestia, and in Rome she was called Juno.

The Roman Catholic church simply incorporated elements of these earlier forms of pagan worship into Catholic worship, and they called it "the veneration of the Blessed Virgin." Today, New Age religions engage in what is called "Mother Worship." A New Age practitioner who has a program on one of our local radio stations says that New Age pagans see their worship of "the Mother" or "Mother Earth" as the same thing as the Roman Catholic worship of Mary. At least the New Age pagans recognize paganism in others when they see it.

The Lord long ago condemned this quite specifically:

Do you not see what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead dough, [notice] to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods, that they may provoke Me to anger. (Jeremiah 7:17-18)

We find the same condemnation of the worship of the queen of heaven in Jeremiah chapter 44, beginning at verse 17. Dear friends, Scripture could not be more clear. The historic and present-day worship practices of Rome are the long-standing worship practices of the world under the sway of Satan. These things have no place in the true church of Jesus Christ.

References:

  1. William G. Most, "Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces," as viewed on 2/17/2013 on the website of the Vatican's Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), http://www.ewtn.com/faith/teachings/marya4.htm..

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