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This is a topic which seems to generate a good deal of heat; the problem is that energy so deployed might be better utilised to bring light. To bring a charge of ‘Mary worship’ against another Christian is to accuse them of blasphemy – of putting someone else in the place of God. Such a charge should not be levelled because you thought that when someone bowed to a statue they were worshipping it. That is to elevate your own limited cultural experience to the status of a universal norm. If I bow to Queen Elizabeth II, it does not mean I worship her. Over-literal readings of the Bible have a lot to answer for. In the culture of ancient Israel bowing to a statue was a sign of worship, which is why Moses told us God forbade it; but God did not ban the making of images – as anyone familiar with his instructions for the Ark of the Covenant will know. There are those uncomfortable with emotionalism in religion, there are those deaf to poetic language, and alas, such people tend also to be addicted to over-literal readings of Scripture, although few of them, thanks the Lord, actually pluck out their own right eye or chop off their own right hand.

No Catholic thinks that Our Lady delivers salvation to us, but every Christian knows that she was the gateway through which Our Salvation entered this world of sin, and some of us like to express our gratitude to her for that. We know it is easy to misread such devotion, not least because we have a commentator here, Bosco, who does so every day, but again, it is necessary to stress that those doing this incur the serious charge of calling their brothers and sisters in Christ ‘fool’ – they might want to look up the words of Jesus on such matters.

This is the month in which the Church celebrates the Blessed Virgin, which is one reason we have just had a series on the definition of the dogma of the Theotokos. It is also the month in which we shall soon celebrate the centenary of Fatima, on which there will be a post here on 13th May. But why do I choose to write on Our Lady? The answer is a simple one; I owe her a great deal, not simply in the way all Christians do, but also for her help personally.

It was through the Rosary that I was led into the Church; that was her guidance. She has been a never-failing source of solace, a constant refuge. Could I not, you might ask, find these things in her Son? Good question. All I can say is that she guided me to her Son, and that redoubles my devotion.

In this I am one in a long line, which includes St Cyril and the Blessed John Henry Newman and St John Paul II and Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI. Perhaps we are all stupid and/or deluded, and we are all Diana worshippers, after all, between us we only have about nine degrees and deep historical knowledge, what is any of that to put into the balance against the opinion of a Protestant with an opinion? The Pope is only infallible on certain matters, but the Protestant with an opinion on Our Lady is always infallible.

Our Lady is the greatest human being God ever made. All generations call her blessed. In saying that, I am part of the long chain.

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