As I noted yesterday, I want to delve more in the adoration of Mary (a very Protestant term, although many Orthodox use it in the English world). Kimberly Hahn writes,
We carefully differentiate between veneration of Mary, which is good and right, and adoration of Mary, which the Catholic Church condemns as idolatry. For Protestants, worship consists of songs, prayer, and a sermon. On a Marian feast day, since Catholics have songs about Mary, prayers to Mary, and a homily about Mary, Protestants can feel offended that we have “worshipped” her. However, as Catholics, we define adoration as sacrifice and veneration as honoring those whom God honors. For example, we would never offer Mary’s body as a sacrifice nor do we sacrifice to her, though we do honor Mary and the saints as, we believe, God does.1
One of the things I’ve learned in moving West is that words mean different things. The Catholics do not worship Mary, but venerate her, or in the language I grew up with, adore. But, if we are to have a universal church, or at least a universal charity, then we should at least hope for a normative use of words. Hahn, and many others, note the differences, but it is Hahn that succinctly presents the difference. Veneration would not include sacrifice. I believe Epiphanius, a 4th century Bishop, condemned the sacrifice to Mary, reserving only sacrifice (and thus the Eucharist) through worship to the Holy Trinity.
- Kimberly Hahn, “Mary, Full of Grace,” in Catholic for a Reason II: Scripture and the Mystery of the Mother of God (ed. Scott Hahn and Leon J. Suprenant Jr.; Second Edition.; Steubenville, OH: Emmaus Road Publishing, 2004), 148. ↩