Veneration of the Blessed Mother

Article excerpt

MANILA, Philippines - Thirty-six years ago, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines published a pastoral letter on the Blessed Virgin Mary entitled Ang Mahal na Birhen: Mary in Philippine Life Today. Devotion to Mary, according to this document, "is the safeguard for the preservation of our faith and the principle of deeper and fuller evangelization."But it also cautions against some aspects of Marian devotion that have strayed from genuineness and purity, and hence are in need of reform and renewal. The document points to the lack of doctrinal instruction as the main cause of such deviant forms of Marian veneration. Here are some guidelines for a more authentic veneration of the Blessed Mother, as outlined by the document:1. Mary is not a goddess. Therefore, the veneration of Mary is to be subordinated to the adoration of the triune God and of Christ who is the Mediator. 2. The faithful should venerate Mary out of love for her and appreciation of her dignity and not primarily to obtain personal and material favors. 3. The presence of several images of Mary in the same house, chapel, or church should not be encouraged. For, this leads the devotees to compare the power of their statues with the others, as though these images were rivals. 4. Medals, scapulars, and votive candles associated with Mary are by their very nature religious symbols and are means to express devotion. …