A small publication that’s well worth reading

Back several decades ago, when I was a young Christian, I used to enjoy getting a few Christian periodicals in the mail, including “Moody Monthly” and “The Sword of the Lord.” These days, there’s so much information available via the internet (good and bad) that periodicals seem quaintly anachronistic.

However, last year I began receiving the Ulster Bulwark quarterly, which always has an interesting collection of short articles, albeit with at least one focused on the activities of the Christian churches in Northern Ireland. Below is the contents listing for the January-March issue that I recently received:

  • The Warfare of the Christian Life
  • Three Weeks in Another Town: The Bern Disputation of 1528
  • Strossmayer and Papal Infallibility
  • The Answer to a Political Crisis
  • Who Do Protestants Say the Pope is and Why Do They Say It?
  • Ulster’s Mission Hall Legacy
  • Short book reviews

Included with this quarter’s issue was the small booklet, “Concerning Papal Infallibility: The evidence proves otherwise,” the infamous speech given by Croatian Catholic bishop, Josip Juraj Strossmeyer, at the First Vatican Council, which debunked the claims for Petrine primacy and the subsequent dogmatic declaration of papal infallibility by that council. Every believer should read this speech. I’ve read a little bit on Vatican I’s and pope Pius IX’s self-serving declaration of papal infallibility, but I need to hit the stacks for some greater detail.

Receive your complimentary subscription to the Ulster Bulwark via the link to the website below:


Postcript: Because of the article in this issue of the Ulster Bulwark about Vatican I and the accompanying copy of Strossmeyer’s speech, I was motivated to download the Kindle ebook version of “Vatican I: The Council and the Making of the Ultramontane Church.” Review to follow in a few weeks.

Another betrayal of the Gospel in the push for “unity”

Justified in Christ: The Doctrines of Peter Martyr Vermigli and John Henry Newman and Their Ecumenical Implications
By Chris Castaldo
Pickwick Publications, 2017, 234 pages

I’m already acquainted with the author of this book, evangelical pastor Chris Castaldo. I’ve reviewed two books he wrote and one he co-wrote previously about Gospel outreach to Roman Catholics (see here, here, and here). I welcomed those efforts because there are very few books dedicated to outreach to Catholics published by major (c)hristian publishers these days. But the books were also disturbing because they came across as a bit too soft on Catholicism. It was as if, in the final analysis, Castaldo was saying to Catholics, “Yes, your church is legitimate to a degree, but evangelicalism is a better way.” Castaldo shares that kind of accommodating and compromising attitude with other notable evangelical pastors and para-church leaders. This new book is even more disturbing as it appears Castaldo is determined to formulate a “middle way” theology on justification that is acceptable to both Catholics and Bible Christians.

There are many irreconcilable differences between Catholicism and Biblical Christianity, but the most important difference is in regards to the doctrine of justification. Martin Luther rightly said that justification is the doctrine on which the church stands or falls.

In brief, Catholics believe they are initially justified by their infant baptism and that they must continue to receive their church’s sacraments in order to receive graces so that they may successfully obey the Ten Commandments and church rules so as to hopefully merit Heaven at the moment of their death. Catholics believe they can become subjectively, intrinsically righteous through the infused grace of the sacraments and the merit of obedience and good works.

In contrast, Bible Christians believe they are justified by repenting of sin and accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith alone. They believe that they become objectively, extrinsically, forensically righteous before God solely because of Jesus Christ’s perfect righteousness that was imputed to them the moment they accepted Him as Savior. Bible Christians believe good works are the fruit (verification) of justification in Christ, not the basis of it.

The two views are diametrically opposed. One is wrong. One is right. They cannot both be right.

In this book (which was actually the author’s doctoral thesis), Castaldo presents two theologians from the past, one an Italian Protestant Reformer, Peter Martyr Vermigli (1499-1562), and the other a famous convert from Anglicanism to Catholicism, John Henry Newman (1801-1890).

Castaldo attempts to find some agreement between the two theologians as a basis for ecumenical dialogue between Catholics and evangelicals. Vermigli taught that the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ was the “formal cause” of justification, however he also taught that God also “accepts and rewards Christian works as a necessary constituent of final justification.” Castaldo labels this as “double-righteousness” or “double-justification.” So Vermigli gave more credence to good works in salvation than Bible Christians would allow.

Over the years, Newman shifted in his theology from an “evangelical” to a high-church Anglican, to a Roman Catholic. Castaldo references Newman’s writing at the time he was an Anglican, when he still allegedly held to the imputation of Christ’s righteousness as a “factor” in justification, while concurrently holding to baptismal regeneration and progressive sanctification as other contributing factors. Later, after he converted to Catholicism, Newman rejected his previous opinions about imputed righteousness and embraced Catholicism’s notion of sacramentally infused grace and subjective, intrinsic righteousness.

I’m only a Theology 101 type of guy and I don’t normally seek out theology texts that are loaded with Latin phrases to impress academicians like this book does, but I am well-versed in the Protestant-Catholic debate over justification and was able to follow Castaldo’s arguments pretty well. The attempt to blaze some kind of middle-road between evangelicalism’s and Catholicism’s views on justification using Vermigli and pre-Catholic Newman falls totally flat and the differences remain.

It’s sad that Judas evangelicals like Castaldo seek to advance unity with Rome through accommodation and compromise of the Gospel of grace. In the acknowledgements, the author credits Timothy George, one of the principals of Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT), as a strong supporter of this effort as well as three Roman Catholic priests. Save your time and your money.

Was Mary really sinless?

Roman Catholicism teaches that Mary was conceived without original sin and lived a totally sinless life. Why do they teach such a thing? Because Mary holds such an exalted place in Catholicism and is claimed to share many of the offices of Jesus Christ (e.g., Advocate, Mediatrix, Co-Redemptrix, Channel of all Graces, etc.), Catholics argue she must necessarily have been sinless just as Jesus was since they allege she also played a role in redemption.

But doesn’t the Bible say all men are sinners?

“As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” – Romans 3:10-12

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” – Romans 3:23

How do Catholics get around those passages in defending the sinlessness of Mary?

A couple of weeks ago, I was listening to the 1/15/19 podcast of the “Called to Communion” Catholic talk radio show and apologist, David Anders (above photo), attempted to deftly sidestep Scripture’s clear and unambiguous teaching on the sinfulness of all mankind, including Mary. We begin at the 48:35 mark of the podcast:

Tom Price, show moderator: This (question) is from Andy, checking us out on Facebook. “My brother-in-law and I are discussing the sinlessness of Mary. He used Romans 3:23 as a proof-text that all have sinned, including Mary. How do I respond to that?”

David Anders: So Romans 3:23 says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. What’s Paul’s point in the argument? His purpose in writing the book of Romans is not to speculate on the doctrine of Mary. Mariology doesn’t enter into the thing at all. He’s talking about the grace and “Judential”* relationships in relation to the Law of Moses. It’s just not even concerned with Mariology. And we use this kind of language all the time in an imprecise way. I remember Colin Donovan (Catholic theologist) used this illustration when he said, “Everybody went to the ballgame.” Well, NOT EVERBODY went to the ballgame, but you know what he meant. Or “Nobody goes to that restaurant anymore because it’s too crowded” as Yogi Berra would say. This is just colloquial language in how St. Paul’s speaking. He’s not making an argument about Mariology one way or the other. If you want to go for Mariology go to the Gospel of Luke.

Tom Price: Yeah, and don’t get hung up on the word “all” in this particular case.

David Anders: Right.

We can all agree that people sometimes use “all” as a generality without meaning every specific case, but was that Paul’s intention in Roman 3:23? The “no, not one…not even one” of Romans 3:10-12 precludes Anders’ sophistry. Mary acknowledges she was a sinner in need of the Savior in Luke 1:47. She also offered up a sin offering along with a burnt offering in Luke 2:22-24. Yes, Mary was a sinner in need of the Savior as we all are. Catholic apologists must deviate from the precise and crystal clear meaning of Scripture in this example in order to justify their doctrine of the sinlessness of Mary.

*Anders routinely invents words during “Called to Communion” broadcasts, such as this example; “Judential.”

Breaking News: Despite long-term opposition from Catholic church, New York State finally passes law extending recourse for victims of childhood sexual abuse

Breaking News: I’m very pleased to report that, today, New York State passed the Child Victims Act. Story below:

They Were Sexually Abused Long Ago as Children. Now They Can Sue in N.Y.

For thirteen long years, the Roman Catholic church determinedly fought the passage of the Child Victims Act, which extends the statute of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse from age 23 to 28 in criminal cases and extends victims’ ability to sue their abuser in civil cases up to age 55.

I’m very grateful for the advocates and politicians who championed this legislation and persevered despite tremendous opposition from the Roman Catholic church.

More comments to come in this weekend’s news roundup.

Answering the alleged “95 Catholic Verses” – #s 77, 78, and 79: Veneration/Worship of Saints? – Part 1

Today, we will continue with our response to Dave Armstrong and his book, “The Catholic Verses,” in which the Catholic apologist presents ninety-five Bible verses or passages that allegedly validate Catholicism and are claimed to “confound” Protestants.

This week, we will examine three passages that Armstrong claims support Catholicism’s veneration of “saints.”

#77) 1 Corinthians 4:16: “I urge you, then, be imitators of me.”

#78) Philippians 3:17: “Brethren, join in imitating me, and mark those who so live as you have an example in us.”

#79) 2 Thessalonians 3:7-9: “7 For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle when we were with you, 8 we did not eat any one’s bread without paying, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not burden any of you. 9 It was not because we have not that right, but to give you in our conduct an example to imitate.”

Beneath these passages, Armstrong writes, “These verses provide a primary biblical basis for the Catholic practice of venerating the saints. We honor the saints because the Bible instructs us to do so. There is nothing wrong or unbiblical in venerating or trying to emulate the saints, unless we were to put them in the place of God, which is idolatry.” – p. 133.

First of all, Catholicism’s notion of “saints” is un-Scriptural. The New Testament refers to ALL believers as saints (Greek, “hagios,” called out ones, separated ones). The Roman church hijacked the word to mean super-sanctified individuals who, according to its judgment, definitely merited Heaven.

Secondly, in the three passages the apostle Paul is encouraging believers to follow the example he has set in living the faith. Paul was not perfect, but his faith in Christ and his submission to the Lord were exemplary. Paul was certainly not urging believers to venerate HIM!

“For I am the least of the apostles and am unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not in vain. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” – 1 Corinthians 15:9-10

Paul never encouraged praise and honors to himself, but always deferred to the Lord.

“God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” – 1 Corinthians 1:28-31

The Roman church teaches that its members can pray to those it has canonized as saints as mediators. But nowhere in the Bible does a believer pray to anyone other than God. God’s Word specifically teaches that Jesus Christ alone is our Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5) and that we are not to attempt to communicate with dead souls:

“And when they say to you, ‘Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,’ should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living?” – Isaiah 8:19

If all of the dead Catholic saints were able to hear all of the prayers said to them by Catholics all around the world, they would have to be omnipresent, a quality that God alone possesses. By attributing various deitifical powers to saints, the Catholic church crosses the line from “venerating” saints to “worshiping” them. Catholics are encouraged to develop strong devotions to a particular saint and many Catholics spend most of the “prayer” time attempting to communicate with their “patron” saint.

No, the three Bible passages that Armstrong cites definitely do not support venerating/worshiping “saints.”

See the post below for more information on how Catholicism adapted paganism’s plurality of gods into saint veneration/worship.

Patron gods and patron “saints”

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 1/26/19

Americans were galvanized by the video clip of a 16-year-old high school student confronting Native American activist, Nathan Phillips, in Washington D.C. on Friday, January 18th. The teenager was joined by his fellow Covington Catholic High School (Park Hills, Kentucky) classmates, many of whom “taunted” Phillips and other Native Americans in his entourage, with faux Native American war chants while wearing caps with “Make America Great Again” logos. It’s obvious why politically-liberal media sources sought to exploit this incident. I personally don’t get too excited about most things that high school students do. It was unwise for the teen to engage in a stare-down contest with Phillips, but the actions of Phillips and the other Native Americans accompanying him could also easily be interpreted as confrontational and inflammatory (they approached the students, not vice versa). Phillips claims he was only trying to diffuse an earlier confrontation between the students and Black Hebrew Israelite radical provocateurs (who spewed racist comments at both the Native Americans and students that the media chose to overlook without comment). The two Catholic media articles above, one liberal, one conservative, reflect the opposing camps within Catholicism. I normally don’t post on political matters, but this one is creating quite a buzz among American Catholics. Bottom line: the Catholic high schoolers, Phillips, and Black Hebrew Israelites all need salvation in Jesus Christ.

New York State’s new abortion law, championed by Roman Catholic, Governor Andrew Cuomo, allows full-term abortions right up until the baby’s delivery date. The new World Trade Center building in New York City was lit up in pink lights to “celebrate” the passage of the new law. Cuomo has previously stated he desires for New York to be noted as the most progressive state in the country. An abortion during any point of a pregnancy is horrendous, but imagine, if you can, an abortionist ending the life of a pre-born infant only a week prior to his/her birth.

Few evangelicals understand how important the “sacrifice of the mass” is to Catholicism, whereby the priest allegedly changes bread wafers and wine into Jesus Christ and then offers him up to God the Father as a sacrifice for sins. The Catholic laity then consume the Jesus wafer, believing it imparts graces to help them live a “moral” life so that they may hopefully someday merit Heaven.

Pope Francis has been accused of covering up for sexual predators, bishop Gustavo Zanchetta and cardinal Ted McCarrick, as well as for several prelate enablers.

This story focuses on one particular Catholic seminary to demonstrate how anti-Francis sentiment is growing among conservative Catholic clergy and academicians.

These “Psalms Experts” must be Baptist stoics like me.

I had a 30-something male neighbor who used to live across the street who routinely parked his car in the garage during the winter months while his wife’s car stayed outside in the driveway and collected snow. And who brushed the snow off her car every morning? She did, much to my wife’s consternation. Another blow against toxic masculinity!


As I mentioned above, I try not to comment on political issues, but the recent government shut-down tipped the scales once again. I’ve lived through the administrations of twelve U.S. presidents (with admittedly few memories of Ike), but in sixty-two years I’ve never witnessed the lack of leadership, decorum, civility, and statesmanship that I’ve seen in the last two years. If nothing else, the chaos we’re seeing in Washington should teach people that their salvation is not via government or politics.

The San Diego Padres usher in their 50th season in 2019!

The San Diego…er…Los Angeles Chargers had a very good season, going 12-4 and defeating the Baltimore Ravens in the first round of the playoffs. Unfortunately, they were manhandled by the Belichick & Brady steamroller in the divisional playoffs, so it’s time to put football to bed (Super Bowl? What’s a Super Bowl?) and think baseball.

This upcoming season is a special one for San Diego Padres fans because the franchise will be celebrating its 50th year. I was one-year late to the party. I began following the then-San Diego Chargers in September 1969 and my thirteen-year-old mind reasoned that if I was going to follow the Chargers, I might as well follow the expansion Padres, too, even with their mustard-yellow and brown scurvy uniforms. So I jumped on board in 1970, the ball club’s second season, when the only good player on the roster was first-baseman, Nate Colbert (photo below).

Being a Padres fan hasn’t been easy. Yes, there were the two World Series appearances in 1984 and 1998, but the club has only had fourteen .500+ winning seasons in fifty years and only one winning season in the last eleven years. With no salary cap in MLB, the small-market Padres just can’t compete with the large-market big-spenders.

Still, I look forward to another season. Pitchers and catchers report on February 13th. The team will open the season at home with a four-game series against the San Francisco Giants beginning on Opening Day, Thursday, March 28. As usual, I’m hoping for a .500+ season, but that’s asking a lot given the Padres’ anemic bats and unsteady pitching. With the Padres, it’s always about the “farm system” and next year. But the cash-strapped club constantly pulls the rug out from under itself by trading away young players with talent before they reach free agency.

Is it strange that a guy with a blog named “excatholic4christ” roots for a team called the “Padres” with a “Swinging Friar” for a mascot? Yes, it’s quite an irony, but I don’t get wrapped around the axle over it.

In the upcoming weeks, in commemoration of the Padres’ 50th season, I will be be discussing the Padres’ 1984 and 1998 NL Championship teams and also selecting the unofficial, All-Time Padres team.

Have you ordered your Padres 50th Anniversary cap yet?
Padres’ first baseman, Nate Colbert, prepares to launch one out of the ballpark. Ugh, those old uniforms! Nasty!

What’s in a name?

I’ve posted previously about what prompted me to start blogging back in 2015 (see here). Three and a half years later, I’m still at it, thanks to the Lord.

When I began the blog, I thought about a good name for it, just like every blogger does. My goals for the blog were 1) to compare the doctrines of Catholicism with God’s Word, 2) to reach out to Catholics with the Gospel, and 3) to warn Christians of the ecumenism with Rome that was spreading like cancer within the evangelical church. With those goals in mind, I immediately thought of the name “Ex-Catholic for Christ.” However, a father and son ministry team in the U.K. was already using “Ex-Catholics for Christ,” so I modified the moniker slightly to “excatholic4christ.”

The short name actually contains quite a bit of information:

I was a Catholic, but I am not any longer. I am now for Jesus Christ and His Gospel.

As a Roman Catholic, I was NOT for Jesus Christ. I upheld my church’s gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit. Christ’s death on the cross didn’t mean much to me personally because I still had to receive the sacraments and merit my own salvation. Despite my church’s talk about “grace” and “faith,” I understood very well, along with my fellow Catholics, that my salvation was dependent on how well I “cooperated with grace.” However, while reading God’s Word, I was confronted with the irreconcilable differences between Scripture and the Catholic church and I was convicted to leave Catholicism. In 1983, I finally repented of my sin and accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior by faith alone.

Hence, I am an ex-Catholic and I am now for Christ and His Gospel.

I very much understand that a title like”excatholic4christ” is not appealing to many people. In our current era, when the concepts of plurality, tolerance, diversity, and political correctness are idolized to the detriment of truth, even among evangelicals, such a moniker is off-putting and even scandalous. There are more than a few so-called “evangelical” pastors (Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, Kenneth Copeland, etc.) and para-church leaders who purposely overlook irreconcilable doctrinal differences and enthusiastically embrace Catholicism as a Christian entity, all in the quest for shallow “unity.” After all, Catholics also refer to “grace,” “faith,” and “Jesus the Savior.” The idea of reaching out to Catholics with the Gospel has become “religiously incorrect” in many evangelical circles.

However, Catholics need to hear the Gospel as much now as they did seventy years ago, before Billy Graham and others began their accommodations and compromises with error. Will you love the 70 million lost Catholics in this country by sharing with them the Gospel of grace, educating your pastors about the spiritually deadly errors of Catholicism, and supporting ministries that specialize in outreach to Catholics?

Several times I considered changing the name of the blog to something that would be perceived as less offensive, but thought better of it. I am an ex-Catholic and I am for Christ. I cannot change any of that. As upsetting as it may sound to some, the Catholic church and Catholics are NOT for Christ because they do not teach His Gospel of grace. If a Catholic is saved, they are saved in spite of their church, not because of it, and are on their way to leaving their church as they become more obedient to His Word.

Postscript: I didn’t intend for this post to be an exercise in introspective, self-congratulatory navel-gazing, but only to explain why this blog is named what it is. The Lord God Almighty doesn’t need me or this little blog to achieve His purposes. All praise, glory, and honor to the Lord!

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.” – Matthew 10:34-36

Too much sectarian baggage to be useful

My Deliverance from the Heresies of Rome
By Harry Hampel
Harry Hampel Deliverance Revivals, 1955, 110 pages

The author of this short book, Harry Hampel, was a Pentecostal evangelist active in the 1950s and 60s within the Assemblies of God denomination. Hampel begins this book with his testimony of how he was raised as a Roman Catholic, but shortly after returning to the States after serving as a Marine at the end of World War II, he repented of his sin and accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior by faith alone at a Pentecostal tent meeting. He then details his entry into the ministry and expounds upon the various differences between Roman Catholicism and Biblical Christianity. Throughout his discourse, Hampel refers to many of the tenets of Pentecostalism. I’m a cessationist in regards to the apostolic gifts of the Spirit, so I read over Hampel’s claims regarding glossolalia and faith healings with a good degree of skepticism.

This book has some valuable, basic information regarding the Roman salvation system of sacramental grace and merit, but the must reader hop scotch over the claims for Pentecostalism. Beginning in 1967, with the “Duquesne Weekend,” Pentecostal practices began entering into the Catholic church and evolved into the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement. Pentecostals were in a bind. Although CCR Catholics still held to their works gospel, they demonstrated the requisite “gifts of the spirit,” forcing Pentecostals to overlook doctrinal differences on justification and salvation and accept Catholics as Christians because of their common ecstatic experiences. I wonder what Hampel would say about the strong ecumenism with Rome that we see from such contemporary Pentecostals/charismatics as Kenneth Copland, Joel Osteen, Pat Robertson, etc.

Another qualification; this book was written in 1955 when the Roman Catholic church was still religiously and politically militant, so Hampel’s warnings about the RCC seeking to overthrow the United States will appear as quaintly paranoid to today’s reader.

I did some research via the internet for information on Hampel and came across some of his evangelistic meetings literature, which advertised, in addition to physical healings, “deliverance from poverty.” That surprised me. I had thought the financial prosperity gospel was a somewhat recent phenomenon within Pentecostalism, but I see that its roots go back at least into the 1950s.

Because of the qualifications cited above, I wouldn’t recommend this book


  1. A Glimpse unto the Past
  2. The Story of My Conversion
  3. The Original Church
  4. The Quest for World Supremacy
  5. Suppression of the Word of God
  6. Mary – Worship or Idolatry
  7. The Pope Infallible?
  8. Confirmation or Holy Spirit Baptism
  9. Venial or Mortal Sins
  10. The Confession Booth
  11. The Wafer God of Rome
  12. Behind Convent Walls
  13. Purgatory or Hell?
  14. The Church of Rome in Prophecy
  15. America Under the Sway of Catholicism
  16. My Two Appeals

A Prayer to Mary?

We know from Scripture that only Almighty God is worthy of our worship. The Bible is not fuzzy about this; it commands us to worship God alone.

“You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.” – Matthew 4:10

But Roman Catholics dedicate a large portion of their religious devotion to Mary. Protestants have even charged Catholics with worshiping Mary. Our Catholic friends strongly deny that they worship Mary. They claim that they simply honor her with the veneration she deserves as the mother of Jesus and “mother of the church.”

Despite the denials, the line between “veneration” and “worship” is not altogether clear in regards to how Catholics actually relate to Mary. Let’s focus on just one example; the celebrated Catholic saint, Alphonsus Liguori.

Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) was an Italian Catholic bishop who founded the Redemptorists religious order of priests and brothers and is considered one of Roman Catholicism’s greatest saints. He was canonized in 1839 by pope Gregory XVI and proclaimed a Doctor of the Church (i.e. an honorific title bestowed upon the church’s 36 preeminent theologians) by pope Pius IX in 1871.

Liguori is best known for his absolute devotion to Mary. His book, “The Glories of Mary,” was first published in 1774 and became the standard work in promulgating devotion to Mary within Catholicism.

Below is a petition to Mary written by Liguori. I ask all evangelicals to read this “prayer” with open eyes:

“Most holy Virgin Immaculate, my Mother Mary, to thee who art the Mother of my Lord, the queen of the universe, the advocate, the hope, the refuge of sinners, I who am the most miserable of all sinners, have recourse this day. I venerate thee, great queen, and I thank thee for the many graces thou has bestowed upon me even unto this day; in particular for having delivered me from the hell which I have so often deserved by my sins. I love thee, most dear Lady; and for the love I bear thee, I promise to serve thee willingly forever and to do what I can to make thee loved by others also. I place in thee all my hopes for salvation; accept me as thy servant and shelter me under thy mantle, thou who art the Mother of mercy. And since thou art so powerful with God, deliver me from all temptations, or at least obtain for me the strength to overcome them until death. From thee I implore a true love for Jesus Christ. Through thee I hope to die a holy death. My dear Mother, by the love thou bearest to Almighty God, I pray thee to assist me always, but most of all at the last moment of my life. Forsake me not then, until thou shalt see me safe in heaven, there to bless thee and sing of thy mercies through all eternity. Such is my hope. Amen.”

In this prayer to Mary, Liguori fleetingly mentions Jesus Christ, God the Son, and God the Father, but the passion of the prayer is devoted entirely to Mary.

Among other offices and attributes, Liguori honors Mary as the following:

  • Queen of the universe, the advocate, the hope, the refuge of sinners.
  • Bestower of many graces, in particular the deliverer from hell.
  • Source of all hopes for salvation.
  • Deliverer from all temptations.

At the end of the prayer, Liguori pleads with Mary to assist him in his efforts to merit salvation, especially at the time of his death.

Evangelical believers must surely read this prayer with astonishment and revulsion. Liguori attributes to Mary all of the offices that uniquely belong to Jesus Christ: Advocate, Savior, and Deliverer. Catholics protest that they do not worship Mary out of one side of their mouth, and yet worship her unabashedly out of the other side.

Believers praise the Lord for Mary’s example of obedience in Scripture, but Mary was a sinner in need of the Savior as we all are. Mary would be sorely grieved by the veneration/worship Catholics accord to her.

The Redemptorists’ website says the following about their founder, Liguori, in his old age as he approached death:

“(Liguori)…was plagued with spiritual afflictions, scrupulously fearing he hadn’t done enough to serve the God he loved so much. To help him through these times, his confreres gathered with him to pray. They always included the Litany of Our Lady, usually followed by the rosary. They read to him from his own writings about the glory of Mary and how, as heaven’s queen, she welcomed all her true and faithful servants at the hour of their death. Early in the evening on July 31, 1787, Alphonsus made one final request. “Give me my lady,” he whispered. They placed a picture of Mary in his hands. He spent the night in prayer with the Blessed Mother. The next day at the stroke of the noon Angelus, Alphonsus died at the age of 91.”

Liguori was not trusting in Jesus Christ as his Savior by faith alone. He led millions upon millions into error by teaching them to worship Mary and to attempt to merit salvation through Mary with their own unrighteous works.

When the day comes when I approach the valley of the shadow of death, I will turn to my loving Savior and Shepherd, Jesus Christ, and say, “Take me home, Lord.”