Question:

Allow me to begin by saying that I am not a member of your congregation. Please attend to your own flock before this is taken into account. I am a practicing Catholic that believes strongly in building character through criticism. I also do my best to apply this in my spiritual life. I read your article titled:

What is the difference between Catholicism and Christianity? What is wrong with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church?

I am in no way writing to sway you from your convictions. While I obviously do not agree with it, I want to suggest changing a word in the article to make a truthful statement. I found this statement to be untrue about Catholic belief.

A.D. 470 Worship of Mary as the mother of God

I suggest changing the underlined word to veneration. The Catholic Church never has and never will worship Mary as that would mean she is somehow equivalent to God. She is not. The Church simply venerates her in her unique position as the earthly conduit (mother) of God. As I read on I found that your church believes in no distinction between veneration and worship, but in order to make a more logical argument against Catholicism, changing that word makes sense.

I did not write this to attack or defame your beliefs in any way. I only found that if you are using a logical format to disprove Catholicism, you need every word to be correct. I know this seems to be a blasphemous point of minutiae, however, it is a common misconception about Catholic belief. If I could receive a reply about this I would be most grateful.


Answer:

I certainly don't mind polite requests for consideration. As you pointed out, I've noticed over the years that Roman Catholics spend a good deal of time selecting just the proper word to describe their practices. It gives them elbow room to claim that they aren't doing what everyone else clearly sees that they are.

The wording in the article isn't incorrect, though I can see why it makes you uncomfortable. Among the definitions of worship are:

  • The devotion accorded to a deity or to a sacred object; The religious ceremonies that express this devotion; The ardent love of a person; To honor and adore, especially as a deity; To participate in religious ceremonies
  • a feeling of profound love and admiration

Now, before you get upset with me, I know officially Roman Catholics do not claim that Mary is deity, though many of your number do get as close to the edge as they possibly can. See "The Deification of Mary" for quotes and details. But notice that the emphasis on profound love and admiration is a proper usage of the word "worship" and is similar to the meaning of veneration:

  • Profound reverence, respect or awe; Religious zeal, idolatry or devotion
  • reverence: regard with feelings of respect and reverence; consider hallowed or exalted or be in awe of

Again, I know Roman Catholic's don't think of themselves as practicing idolatry, but it was a part of the definition I found. I selected these simply to point out that the two words are synonyms and attempting to claim you are doing one but not the other is merely splitting hairs that aren't even there.

However, since the article's purpose is to document when various ideas began in Roman Catholicism, I see no harm in using your own terms when they are equivalent anyway. I also changed "Why did Catholicism start and when did it happen?" which provides source references.