By John MacArthur
The Roman Catholic view of Mary is pagan, it is utterly pagan. Listen to what the [Roman Catholic] Church says,
1. Pope Benedict XV, in 1918 - "Mary suffered with Christ and nearly died with Him when He died, thus she may rightly be said to have redeemed the human race with Christ."
2. Pope Pius XI, in 1923 - "The virgin of sorrows shared the work of redemption with Jesus Christ."
3. Pope Leo XIII, in 1891 - "No one can approach Christ except through His mother."
4. The Catechism, in the Sunday Missal (Catholic Catechism) says, "My salvation depends on Mary's mediation and union with Christ, because of her exalted position as Mediatrix of all grace."
5. Vatican II, said, "Mary's intercession continues to win for us the gift of eternal salvation."
Let me tell you something about Mary--she is not co-Redemptrix, she doesn't mediate grace. She's never heard a prayer from anybody. Mary has never heard anybody pray, and Mary has never done anything for anybody! She can't hear prayers. Mary is just another one of myriad of saints who are in the presence of God. They don't hear prayers--they don't answer prayers. They don't help people. They have nothing to do with what is going on in this world. They don't know what you are thinking, what you are praying--they can't hear you speak. They are not involved. No saints are, and Mary certainly is not.
That is a fabrication; that is a form of idolatry that has created in Mary another member to the Trinity, who hears and answers prayer and who mediates and dispenses grace. Nothing could be more foreign to Scripture. Mary has never heard anybody pray--ever at any time. Mary has never appeared to anybody, nor has she ever assisted anybody in anything.
Now there is immense pressure, however, because this cult is so vast in Roman Catholicism, on Pope John Paul II to exercise his power of Papal Infallibility and to affirm this as dogma. It's there and it is believed, but it has never really been nailed down as official church dogma. There is a huge movement to bring this about. The dogma should state this (according to Catholic experts), "That Mary is co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces--an advocate for the people of God." The Pope, by the way, has received, over the last six or so years, an average of 100,000 signatures a month to do this, to make this official dogma.
The idea is this, that somehow Mary mystically participated in the death of Christ and purchased redemption. That Mary participates in the work of redemption achieved by her Son, by being the source of redemption for sinners. The bottom line is this: God is a very reluctant Savior (in that view) and God isn't really concerned about you. Jesus is a little more concerned about you, but He's kind of a tough guy too, and He is not likely to save you and to give you what you want, but He can't resist His mother. So, what you want to do is solicit His mother's help and she'll go to Jesus, and who can resist his mother?--Jesus is like all the rest of us.
So Mary participates by going to Jesus. They would say this, "The graces that flow from the suffering of Jesus, the graces of salvation, sanctification, the graces that flow from Jesus are granted to sinners only if and when Mary asks Him for them!--only if and when Mary asks Him for them! All prayers, all petitions from the faithful on earth must flow through Mary, who then brings them to Jesus.
None of that is true. Mary has never heard anybody pray. Since she went to heaven, she has never heard anybody pray. No saints in heaven ever hear anybody pray. The Bible says in 1st Timothy 2:5, "There is one mediator--the man Christ Jesus."
Roman Catholicism is cultic--in that sense, that it has postulated a false god and created a system of worship around that false god, that destroys the purity and the singularity of the mediator work of Jesus Christ. This is not small stuff--this is huge!
During the 20th century, from almost every continent, visionaries have reported that Mary has appeared over 400 times, that is more than in the three previous centuries combined. She has appeared 400 times. Do you know the truth? She has never appeared once--anywhere, to anybody. I have read things (I told you about them, that she has appeared on a tortilla--that's true, they built a shrine in Texas and tens of thousands of people went to worship the Virgin of the Tortilla. They had the tortilla . . . I mean, . . . you laugh at that, but that's . . . then in the clouds . . . and you've read all of that.
Mary is believed to be the maternal mediator. Mary does not mediate. Mary does not hear prayers. Mary does not make appearances. Yet, tens of millions of people, literally tens of millions flood these shrines to worship what is imagined to be the appearance of the Virgin.
Pope John Paul II, who is the great leader of the Catholic Church, and is in many ways a monolithic, unilateral leader of the church, says this, and I am quoting from him, 1997, he said this, "having created man male and female, the Lord also wants to place the new Eve beside the new Adam in redemption." The new Adam, of course, is Christ, and the new Eve is Mary. He goes on, "Mary, the new Eve, thus becomes the perfect icon for the church, we can therefore, turn to the Blessed Virgin, trustfully imploring her aid in the awareness of the singular role entrusted to her by God, the role of co-operator in redemption." That is blasphemous!
He credits Mary with saving his life, in 1981, during an assassination attempt. Mary didn't save his life. Mary wasn't around. Mary is a spirit in heaven with all the rest of the saints who are there, doing what they're doing and having nothing to do with what we are doing.
Perpetual Virginity of Mary, that doctrine in the Catholic Church, that she was a virgin until she died. Immaculate Conception, that she also was born by the Holy Ghost without a man. The doctrine of the Assumption of Mary, that she ascended into heaven without death. The doctrine of Mary as co-Redemptrix, and co-Mediatrix. All of those have come, or will come by Papal decree--they have nothing to do with the Bible.
Mary as the Queen of Heaven
It is bizarre, it is wrong, it is unbiblical to turn this humble servant of God (Mary) into the "queen of heaven"--which Rome has done (the Roman Catholic Church). It is unthinkable to do such an idolatrous act. There is no queen in heaven, there is only a King--there is no queen in heaven, only the One, True, Eternal King! To say that heaven has a queen, is to create an idol. Worship of Mary is idolatry--nothing less. Mary is not the queen of heaven; heaven has no queen. Heaven is occupied by a King who is a Trinity--heaven is not a holy quartet--it is a Trinity.
Now, the Roman Catholic Church didn't invent the idea of the queen of heaven, they borrowed it from paganism. Turn to Jeremiah 7--it has nothing to do with Christianity, it never has, it is a pagan concept--it goes way back into Old Testament history. This is very, very important information.
Jeremiah, called, obviously, by God to be a prophet, to preach judgment to the Southern Kingdom Judah and Jerusalem, and they were so bad, they were so sinful, verse 8 of Jeremiah 7, "they trusted deceptive words, they were stealing, murdering, committing adultery, swearing falsely, offering sacrifices to Baal, and walking after other gods"--just totally rejecting the true God. Verse 16, is the pronouncement of judgment, Jeremiah 7:16, "As for you," God says, "don't pray for this people Jeremiah! Don't lift cry or prayer for them, and don't intercede with Me; I am not going to listen to you--I've had it, it won't do you any good to pray for them."
Verse 17, "Do you not see what they are doing? I mean, Look, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. The children gather wood, to make an offering, they kindle the fire, and they prepare the dough to make cakes for the . . ." what?--"for the queen of heaven." What! They are making cakes to offer to the queen of heaven, "and they are pouring out libations (drinks) to other gods in order to spite Me."
The "queen of heaven" was a false god. The "queen of heaven" was a pagan idol, and she was the queen of the gods. Verse 19, "'Do they spite Me?' declares the Lord. Is it not themselves they spite, to their own shame?" They are really bringing down divine wrath on their own heads, verse20, "Behold, My anger and My wrath will be poured out on this place, on man and on beast and on the trees of the field and on the fruit of the ground; it will burn and not be quenched."
Now they had decided that they were going to worship the queen of heaven, this pagan idol, this false god, that the pagans called the "queen of heaven." She was known as Ashteroth in Baal worship, and Astarte in the worship of Molech. She is the one that the Feminists still worship--this famous goddess, the high priestess of false religion--Isis, all kinds of names. The queen of heaven--a pagan idol, and the Jews were worshipping her.
Go to chapter 44, and I will show you how profoundly devoted to her they were. This was not casual; they had traded in the King of heaven for the queen of heaven. They had traded in the worship of the true God for the worship of this idol. Starting in verse 11, he starts pronouncing judgment on them, and down in verse 15 we will pick it up, "Then all the men who were aware that there wives were burning sacrifices to other gods, along with all the women who were standing by, as a large assembly, including all the people who were living in Pathros in the land of Egypt, responded to Jeremiah, saying . . . " Jeremiah is pronouncing judgment . . . here's their response, "As for the message that you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we are not going to listen to you!" That's how they handled it--we're not listening to anything you say. "But rather (verse 17) we will certainly carry out every word that has proceeded from our mouths (we are going to listen to our own viewpoints). We are going to burn sacrifices to the" . . . what? "Queen of heaven." "We are going to pour out libations to her, just as we ourselves, our forefathers, our kings and our princes did" . . . did you get that? The whole nation had been worshipping this queen of heaven.
We are going to do as we have always done it, "for then (end of verse 17) we had plenty of food, and we were well off, and we saw no misfortune." Boy, were they twisted, they believed that their prosperity, in the past, was not a result of God's mercy and God's blessing, but was a result of their worshipping the queen of heaven. So they say, we're not going to listen to you, things have gotten bad, they are getting worse all the time. The more you (Jeremiah) say, the worse it gets. We are probably offending the queen of heaven, so we are going crank up our worship to her.
Verse 18, "Since we stopped burning sacrifices to the queen of heaven and pouring out libations to her, we have lacked everything and have met our end by the sword and by famine. And, said the women, 'When we were burning sacrifices to the queen of heaven and were pouring out libations to her, was it without our husbands that we made for her sacrificial cakes in her image and poured libations to her?'" Let me tell you something folks, their husbands got involved, but this was a feminist movement. These women wanted a queen in heaven, they were tired of a patriarchal society. They wanted a matriarchal cult, and so they created a queen of heaven and their husbands just got in line and followed along. They were worshipping this false idol, called the queen of heaven, feeling that everything that was good in their past history could be attributed to her, and everything bad that had happen because they had ceased to worship the queen of heaven.
That is who the queen of heaven is--and Mary is not the queen of heaven, nor is there a queen in heaven. To postulate a queen in heaven is to blaspheme the true and living God, the Holy King of heaven. Mary was a slave of God. She was a handmaid, she was a bond-slave--nothing more. She is not the queen of heaven.
Do you want to know how Mary understood herself, you find it right here in our text, don't you? She didn't say, "Behold, the Queen of Heaven!" she said, "Behold, the bond-slave of the Lord." She is nothing more than a bond-slave. She said it again in verse 48, she's a bond-slave. Verse 47, she says, "God is my savior," she needed a savior like everybody else, she was nothing but a servant. She was not a part of redemption, she was not sinless--she was a simple humble little girl, who was given a privilege. And as a servant, she responded and said, "Let it be done to me according to your word."