“Mary: The Most Powerful Woman in the World” is the 30-page cover story for National Geographic magazine’s December issue. The article examines the phenomena of Marian devotion and apparitions throughout the world.
Catholicism’s Marian cult is quite puzzling to most Evangelicals. Catholics view Mary as a central and essential figure of their belief system. For them, Mary is the Channel of all of God’s graces, Advocate, Mediatrix, and Co-Redemptrix (although the last office is yet to be officially defined by the church). For Catholics, Mary is as essential to their beliefs as Jesus Christ. Mary may not be deity officially, but she has certainly been accorded many divine attributes.
When Catholics read the New Testament for the first time they are surprised to find there’s very little mention of Mary in the Gospels and almost no mention of her beyond that. How then did Mary’s popularity and stature in Catholic theology grow to the point of rivaling Christ? See my earlier blog here for historian Geoffrey Ashe’s examination of the rise of the Marian cult from the remnants of pagan mother goddess worship.
“As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” – Luke 11:27-28
As the National Geographic article points out, Muslims also worship (aka venerate) Mary. The Koran actually mentions her more than the Bible. A number of Muslims join Catholics in pilgrimages to Marian apparition sites. With the world increasingly beset by religious terrorism could the apparition, with her consistent call for international-interreligious peace and unity, play a key role in future events?
As part of its Explorer series the National Geographic Channel will feature “The Cult of Mary” on Sunday, December 13th at 7PM EST.
For more information on Mariolatry see the following helpful books:
- The Virgin: Mary’s Cult and the Re-emergence of the Goddess by Geoffrey Ashe.
- Mary: Past, Present, and Future by Ron Bauk
- Unholy Devotion: Rome’s Marian Errors by Rick Garland
- Mary: A Catholic-Evangelical Debate by David Gustafson
- Blessed Mary by Paul Juris
- The Virgin Mary in Light of the Word of God by Labib Mikhail
- The Cult of the Virgin: Catholic Mariology and the Apparitions of Mary by Elliot Miller
- The Assumption of Mary by J. B. Rowell
- The Worship of Mary by J. B. Rowell
- Who Is My Mother? The Role of the Mother of Jesus in the New Testament and in Roman Catholicism by Eric Svendsen
- Messages from Heaven by Jim Tetlow
- Queen of All by Jim Tetlow
- The Myth of Mary by Cesar Vidal
- Let’s Look at Lourdes and Fatima Too! by Muriel Webber
- Mary: Another Redeemer? by James White