Answering the rebuttals of a Catholic apologist, #34: “‘Queen of Heaven’ Condemned”

Today, we continue with our series responding to “Meeting the Protestant Challenge: How to Answer 50 Biblical Objections to Catholic Beliefs” (2019), written by Karlo Broussard. With this next installment, the Catholic apologist completes his five-chapter section on Mary as he disputes evangelical Protestants’ arguments that the notion of a “‘Queen of Heaven’ (is) Condemned.”

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The myth that Mary was crowned as “Queen of Heaven” following her “assumption” gained traction within Roman Catholicism in the 13th through 15th centuries. In his 1954 encyclical, Ad Caeli Reginam (“To the Queen of Heaven”), pope Pius XII formally defined the belief. Catholics believe Mary is co-ruler of Heaven, reigning beside Jesus Christ, as well as being Mediatrix and Co-Redemptrix. Protestant evangelicals object to this glorification/semi-deification of Mary as “Queen of Heaven” and often cite Jeremiah 7:17-18:

“Do you not see what they are doing in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem The children gather wood, the fathers kindle fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven. And they pour out drink offerings to other gods, to provoke me to anger.”

God was angered by the Jews of prophet Jeremiah’s time who committed idolatry by worshiping a pagan goddess (most probably Ashtoreth) as the “queen of heaven.” Evangelicals contend that Catholics commit similar idolatry by worshiping Mary as the “Queen of Heaven.”

Broussard responds with three arguments:

(1) Broussard posits that God’s disappointment with the Jews for their idolatrous worship of the pagan “queen of heaven” cannot be applied in the case of Catholics and Mary. Broussard claims that Catholics rightly “honor,” not worship, Mary, because of her “exalted place” as the “Mother of the Savior.” Broussard cites 1 Timothy 5:17 and 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 as Biblical precedents for rightly honoring individuals.

(2) Broussard then reasons that (A) just because a pagan goddess was illegitimately referred to as “queen of heaven,” (B) it doesn’t prove that Catholics can’t legitimately refer to Mary using the same title.

(3) Broussard refers back to the Old Testament for examples of queen mothers in 2 Chronicles 15:16 and Jeremiah 13:18. He acknowledges that, in both examples, the person spoken of is evil, but contends that does not detract from their legitimate royalty. Broussard argues that (A) since there were legitimate queen mothers in the Davidic Kingdom, then (B) “it’s reasonable to conclude that Mary is the new ‘queen mother’ in the restored Davidic kingdom” (p.189).

Let’s now respond to Broussard.

(1) Catholics strongly object to accusations that they worship Mary. They claim to “worship” (latrīa, Latin) God alone, but rightly accord “veneration” (dulia, Greek) to the saints and hyperdulia uniquely to Mary. This is lexical sophistry. No Catholic can precisely distinguish between latrīa and hyperdulia. Catholics pray to Mary as their Mediatrix and Co-Redemptrix for their salvation. Such practices are acts of WORSHIP. The honoring of pastors that the apostle Paul writes about in the two passages that Broussard presents as proof texts is certainly NOT the “honor” that Catholics bestow upon their semi-deified “Queen of Heaven.”

(2) I agree with Broussard’s contention that, in theory, the illegitimate usurpation of a title doesn’t ipso facto render the title to be illicit. However, nowhere in the New Testament do we find one verse that either explicitly or implicitly suggests that Mary is reigning as the “Queen of Heaven” and holding the divine offices of Mediatrix and Co-Redemptrix. All of these claims for Mary evolved over time as part of Catholic “Sacred Tradition.”

(3) Broussard’s attempt to leverage the existence of queen mothers in the Old Testament as a “reasonable” proof for Mary’s role as “Queen of Heaven” is grasping at straws. Broussard conveniently ignores all Biblical passages that state that God does not share His glory or throne with another.

“I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other.” – Isaiah 42:8

Keep in mind that half of Catholics’ “religious devotion” is directed towards Mary, in some cases even more so.

“For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.” – Isaiah 48:11

“‘And Jesus answered him, “It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’” – Luke 4:8

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6

“Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne.” – Revelation 4:2

“Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” – Revelation 19:10

Mary humbled herself before God as His lowly servant (Luke 1:38), but Catholics have accorded her deific powers and crowned her co-regent of Heaven. We’ve previously discussed how Catholic Mariolatry is rooted in the syncretic adaptation of pagan mother goddess worship.

Who is the Queen of Heaven?
https://www.gotquestions.org/Queen-of-Heaven.html

Next up: “One Mediator”

26 thoughts on “Answering the rebuttals of a Catholic apologist, #34: “‘Queen of Heaven’ Condemned”

  1. Excellent job, Tom. It is truly baffling how people who hold to a certain view which cannot be supported by Scripture will do anything they can to “prove” it. In regard to Mary, if Catholics would just let Scripture speak for itself, they would see how absurd this notion is. Mary, rather Miriam, was a righteous Jewish young woman at the time of birth, and no doubt a righteous middle-aged and older woman as she continued through her life … and that’s it.

    A wonderful woman, indeed, but no goddess!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, David! Yes, Roman Catholicism has worked very hard to contort Scripture to attempt to make it fit its Marian paradigm. Obviously, the most important difference between Gospel Christianity and Roman Catholicism is regarding how a person is saved, however, as a secondary doctrine, Marianism holds an extremely high position within Catholicism.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hmmmm, Epiphanius, when talking about the Collirydians, noted this 😀 :

    Epiphanius (310/320-403): Let no one eat of the error which has arisen on St. Mary´s account. Even though “˜The tree is lovely´ it is not for food; and even though Mary is all fair, and is holy and held in honor, she is not to be worshiped. . . . They must not say, “˜We honor the queen of heaven.´ Frank Williams, trans., The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis: Book II and III (Sects 47-80, De Fide) 79. Against Collyridians, 7,7; 8,2 (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1994), p. 627.

    Furthermore, I’m sure Gregory the Great, Augustine and Epiphanius would disagree with Broussard.

    Gregory the Great, Bishop of Rome (c. 540-603): It’s as if in venerating Abraham and the prophets they [i.e. the Jews] were placing them ahead even of Truth himself. We are shown that those who do not know God venerate his servants erroneously. Dom David Hurst, trans., Gregory the Great, Forty Gospel Homilies, Homily 16 (Kalamazoo: Cistercian Publications, 1990), p. 116.

    Epiphanius of Salamis (310/320-403): And there have been many such things to mislead the deluded, though the saints are not responsible for anyone’s stumbling; the human mind finds no rest, but is perverted to evils. The holy virgin may have died and been buried””her falling asleep was with honor, her death in purity, her crown in virginity. Or she may have been put to death””as the Scripture says, “œAnd a sword shall pierce her soul””” her fame is among the martyrs and her holy body, by which light rose on the world, [rests] amid blessings. Or she may have remained alive, for God is not incapable of doing whatever he wills. No one knows her end. But we must not honor the saints to excess; we must honor their Master. Frank Williams, trans., The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis: Book II and III (Sects 47-80, De Fide) 78. Against Antidicomarians, 78. 23 (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1994), p. 619.

    Augustine (354-430): Let not our religion be the worship of dead men. If they lived pious lives, it must not be supposed that they seek divine honours. They want us to worship him, in whose light they rejoice to have us as sharers in their merit. They are to be honoured by imitation and not adored with religious rites. If they lived evil lives, wherever they now are, they are not to be worshipped. John H. S. Burleigh, trans., The Library of Christian Classics, Augustine: Earlier Writings, Of True Religion, lv, 108 (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1953), p. 254.

    Augustine (354-430): Because Paul and Barnabas were working miracles in Christ, because they had exceeded merely human limits, the pagans according to their wont called Barnabas Jupiter and Paul Mercury, because he was the readier talker, and they had already started to dedicate victims to them. They were so horrified by this honor that they tore their clothes and tried to teach them, as best they could, who alone was to be venerated, the one by whose power they were doing these things. John E. Rotelle, O.S.A., ed., The Works of Saint Augustine, Newly Discovered Sermons, Part 3, Vol. 11, trans. Edmund Hill, O.P., Sermon 198.13 (Hyde Park: New City Press, 1997), p. 193.

    Augustine (354-430): So if the reason he’s worshiped is that he is a middle something, why is that one not rather worshiped who calls back to himself the wit which you put in the middle, in order to make it break with and turn away from inferior things and unite itself to him? Such is the wit of the saints, the wit of the martyrs, the wit of the angels. Because if wit is such as that angel displayed whom I mentioned, wit enlightened by God, it thrusts away from itself any human veneration, and admonishes the one who would venerate it to venerate God instead. Venerate God, he said, for I too am your fellow slave, and the fellow of your brethren (Rv 19:10, 22:9). John E. Rotelle, O.S.A., ed., The Works of Saint Augustine, Newly Discovered Sermons, Part 3, Vol. 11, trans. Edmund Hill, O.P., Sermon 198.24 (Hyde Park: New City Press, 1997), p. 198.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. SB, thanks for the excellent references! Historian Geoffrey Ashe did a good job tracing Mariolatry back to the Collyridians in his book, “The Virgin: Mary’s Cult and the Re-Emergence of the Goddess” (1988).

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  3. Hey, Papa Tom! This was one of the most absurd chapters I have ever read in any kind of literature in all my life. How does a bad queen mother correlate to Mary as being Queen of Heaven. This is an apples to oranges comparison not apples for apples. I am really starting to question how the Catholic view/veneration of Mary isn’t a primary doctrinal issue? I am really starting to see Marianism a salvation issue. Mary does not save people from their sins, Jesus did/does. Jesus says we are to pray in His Name only. We call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, not Mary. The Holy Spirit helps us and intercedes for us, not Mary. This is idolatrous and regardless how a person views the 10 Commandments, we shall have no other God before Him. I realize the RCC will refute they do this. As always, I am thankful for you and for your teaching and guiding me. Love and blessings to you and Corinne!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Mandy! I really appreciate you interest and feedback in this series.
      RE: Marianism as a secondary or primary?
      You make a good point. Although I would formally see Marianism as a secondary difference, worship of her is definitely part of Catholic soteriology as Catholics perceive Mary as the “mediatrix/dispenser of all graces.” Catholics claim that all of the sacramental graces flow first through Mary. Yes, many Catholics pray directly to Mary for their salvation as well as other favors.
      Catholics will spin it every which way to “prove” their “veneration” of Mary ultimately honors her Son, etc., etc.
      Again, I’m thankful for your support and encouragement through this difficult series! Love and blessings to you and Nathan as well!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. 👋🏼 Hi my friend! Hope you’re having a good day. We went to the canal again today. My wife really enjoys that. Got a white hot with meat hot sauce from the food cart again. Had lunch watching the boats go by. Prepped the house some more and now it’s R&R time. BTW, my wife and I watched “American Gospel” on Netflix the last two nights and I wrote a short review this morning. We both really enjoyed it.

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    1. Hey Jesse. Thanks for bringing this good article to my attention. Catholic apologist Broussard’s next section in his book – five chapters – is devoted to the saints. I will be examining many of the same items presented in your good article.

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      1. I’m of the opinion that the fathers present challenges for both the evangelical and the Catholic. We can see a rising degree of veneration for the bishop of Rome in some of the patristic writings, but nothing like the imperial papacy of 500-1000 years later. The ascendancy of the bishop of Rome “makes sense” from a worldly perspective, as the early church became increasingly institutionalized, adopting the Roman imperial model.

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