Excerpted from an article by Stephen Ray:
Is Mary being worshiped as a God or equal to Jesus? Is this Catholic or Protestant teaching?
When people ask you the question, “Why do Catholics worship Mary as God?” there is a fallacy built into the question and this fallacy should be dealt with first, before any other issue. The worship of Mary as God is not Catholic teaching, but Protestant teaching about the Catholic Church. In other words they misrepresent the teachings of the Church and then they disagree with their own misrepresentations.
It doesn’t say in the Bible, Catholics worship Mary as God. There is no Catholic Council that deified Mary as God and so where does it come from? It is purely a product of anti-Catholic teaching. Yes, it is a Protestant tradition and no it didn’t come from Martin Luther. It came from some of the later Protestant traditions. I can disagree with Luther on a number of things, but there is one thing I very much admire about Luther. He had an extremely high regard for Mary that most Protestants today are totally unaware of.
Here is one of Luther’s statements: “If our Lady were to enter Jerusalem today in a golden coach drawn by 4,000 horses it would not be an honor to great enough for she who bore in her womb our Savior” (Protestantism and our Lady, Fr. George Rutler).
I once had someone come up to me and literally yell at me saying; “Why do you Catholics put Mary on such a high pedestal?” I retorted back, “Oh, you mean where the Catholic Church makes Mary equal to God or even greater then God, is that what you mean?” And he said, “yes!” I then told him that never in its two thousand year history has the Church ever deified Mary or made her equal to God. He stood there looking at me and then walked away. He later came back, and to his credit, he apologized.
Why didn’t he have any response for me? The problem is this; he can’t just recite anti-Catholic literature. He has to use Catholic sources. I gave him two thousand years of history to find a Church Council that shows where the Catholic Church deified Mary, and it doesn’t exist. [In fact, the Church denounces as idolatry any person or thing worshiped except God alone and denounces any deification of Mary].
We honor (dulia) the saints; we give a greater honor (hyperdulia) to Mary and the greatest honor (latria) and glory go to Jesus. The deification of Mary is Protestant teaching (or misrepresentation) about the Catholic Church, not to be confused with real Catholic teaching.
And yes I do disagree with groups who deliberately misrepresent the Church. I am always amazed by the lack of intellectual honesty on the part of the anti-Catholics. If a person really has a case against the Church, why wouldn’t they first represent the Church honestly and then disagree with it?