Explaining the role of Mary
Father Jeffrey Kirby’s explanation of how to explain Mary to Protestants is very reasonable. A few weeks ago, a Protestant said to me that there is no difference between Mary and his grandmother who died a couple of years ago.
One of the best explanations about the Protestant rejection of Our Lady is given in a trilogy by Mark Shea, a former Protestant, titled “Mary, Mother of the Son”. It is written in a pleasant, almost conversational style with much humor.
The first volume treats of the difference of language between Catholics and Protestants. Here he explains that the barrier is not so much ignorance of Mary, as many Catholics assume, but fear of Mary, as Father Kirby states. It is an emotional block because they fear that Mary takes away attention from Jesus. He shows how to overcome that barrier.
The second volume shows how to explain the Church’s teaching, especially the dogmas, about Mary to someone with a Protestant mind set. Protestant theology, he says, does not include the mystical aspect, which can be seen as ‘feminine’, and therefore their Protestant theology is ‘masculine’.
The third volume analyzes the devotional practices, such as the rosary, that befuddle the Protestant mind.
I hope this will help those Catholics that are questioned by their Protestant relatives and friends about Mary. You can imagine my situation as director of the Shrine of Our Lady of South Carolina, Mother of Joyful Hope, on the main street of our town with hardly any Catholic families. A group of Protestant women visited the Shrine and one of them asked me whom we worshiped!
Father Stanley Smolenski, spma