On Mother Mary And Marian Devotion In The Philippines

After all the articles aiming to criticize the destructive religiosity of the Philippines, I find myself writing another piece about how some of our beliefs seem twisted and somehow dangerous in a sense. Of course, again, everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and opinion. However, for now, please hear out some of the points I have to offer. Indeed, when I finish, you’re even welcome to brand me as a blasphemer and heretic. After all, I know what I’m putting forth here is largely against Filipino traditions and concepts. Then again though, do note that some of our traditions such as “Filipino Time” and “Fiesta Mentality” do more harm than good…

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Okay, first off, note how I used the title “Mother Mary” over “Virgin Mary” even though the latter seems to be the more popular moniker for the mother of Christ. Well for one, she is, after all, a mother figure to all Christians and, secondly, I don’t believe the idea she stayed a virgin for the rest of her life. I mean, c’mon, she was a traditional Jewish woman in the ancient world. For all we know, she and Joseph probably produced kids of their own once Jesus was up and about in the world. However, that’s not the point here and I’m not going to go any deeper on that topic.

Based on what I know of ancient history as well as what I’ve read from the Bible, Mary was an otherwise ordinary woman with extraordinary reserves of kindness, wisdom and strength of character. She’d had the strength to bear the responsibility of raising God in human form and impart to him the values of being a good man and, at the end of it all, the fortitude to watch her own son die a brutal death at the hands of His enemies. She seemed like a humble woman who nonetheless made it her personal duty to be a good mother and a figure of hope to her son’s friends.

However, in our culture (as well as that of many other third-world societies), we tend to focus too much on the “virgin” aspect of Mother Mary, giving an otherwise Christian figure a very pagan feel. Indeed, our Marian Devotion (devotion or veneration of Mother Mary) only affirms the concept of the “Madonna-Whore Complex”, that is believing a woman is either “all good” or “all bad” instead of seeing them as people who are every bit as vulnerable and fallible as men. To many Marian Devotees, the Virgin Mary is the perfect example of feminine purity and plays a part into why we look down or laugh at people who mention genitals or why some of us assume outgoing women to be “flirty”.

For some of us, the Virgin Mary has become a deity in her own right (even though she clearly isn’t and, if she’s watching us right now, she’d be outright appalled by some of our practices and beliefs) and often use her as the image of the “ideal woman” even though she was clearly meant to be no such thing. If anything, she should be considered a model mom for Christian women in society and not used as a measuring stick to measure a woman’s worth. As implied by long-time GRP commenter Marius, there seems to be a sizable difference between what was probably the real Mother Mary and the porcelain idols that many claim are the image of Christ’s mother with the thought that the latter might actually be something else entirely.

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21 Comments on “On Mother Mary And Marian Devotion In The Philippines”

  1. Please answer this question, what is “Filipino Time” and “Fiesta Mentality” and where do these things belong in the business or academic world? I have seen people miss work or school. I have seen people come to work or school late because of these two things. i look at someone who will tell me they need more money, but miss work due to these two things. I believe in keeping traditions sacred. I do not believe an tradition should come between making a better living for yourself or family. I ask everyone this question. Is “Filipino Time” and “Fiesta Mentality” making this nation stronger or weaker?

  2. Ah, so that’s what you meant 🙂 I was expecting another horror story.

    I completely agree.

    However my original comment was that it doesn’t really matter who she was or was not. Christianity is about Christ. Jesus took on the role as mediator with God (“no-one comes to the Father except through me”) and he certainly never suggested his mother could stand in for a while if he felt like taking a day off.

    The saints were all just human beings. Talking to (or attempting to talk to) the souls of dead humans, saints or otherwise, is called necromancy, and is frowned upon in many cultures. In my personal opinion, this is because the things you summon or pray to are not who they purport to be. Satan is also called The Liar and the Father of Lies. Presumably he has plenty of ethereal followers who are also Liars. It wouldn’t surprise me if they amuse themselves by toying with gullible humans who don’t know they’re talking to demons.

    In any case, those freaky Chucky dolls that people parade around don’t look much like saints to me. They look like voodoo fetishes, or worse.

    1. Well, if it’s a story you want, there’s one on the way as we speak…

      And yes, I have to agree with that last that a lot of us might not even know what they’re praying to…

  3. I have a book entitled “Papal Sin” (2000) by Gary Wills, which describes Mary less as a religious figure and more of a political instrument of the Catholic Church (especially during the 19th-20th centuries).

    Marian devotion is kept white-hot because Roman Catholicism ignores a female aspect of the Trinity. Wills suggests that it should be the Holy Spirit which should be the feminine aspect of God, because it possesses the traditional roles that Marian politics co-opted (teacher, comforter, evangelizer).

  4. More joxx…

    What do Mary and Mar have in common?

    Ans: Both are deaf to all your requests/pleas.

    An incompetent goddess and an incompetent future president for an incompetent people. They all match perfectly!

    1. I kinda take offense to that Zaxx.

      However, I must agree that Mary is a human being like us, she was never a goddess and was never meant to be worshiped at all. Unless, Midway Haven, marius and I are right and that people are actually praying to something else entirely.

      1. Hey Chaplain Grimwald, don’t get me wrong – I’m quite positive we’re on the same page. I am totally a fan of Mary as a model mother. But she is no way a deity. A competent mother absolutely; but as a goddess who can answer prayers all over the world – zero competence. I agree with Marius’ idea that possibly a demonic spirit is behind answers to prayers addressed to Mary and departed souls. Note: I have had very close demonic encounters – I know they are real.

        It’s the praying and worship of Mary that’s totally off in Catholicism. If you really want to know what Mary has to say, here’s a testimony from a girl who died temporarily and had a Marian encounter. It will take a bit of faith to swallow though, as I have no way of verifying the validity. Up to the reader to judge…

        http://www.insightsofgod.com/downloads/bernardatestimony.pdf

  5. Mr. Grimwald, I respect your beliefs; whatever they may be. As long as you do not go on, strapping explosives on your body. And become a suicide bomber; killing us, non believers; or murdering those who do not share your beliefs, to prove your point…

  6. Is being a Marian devotee makes one a Catholic and which automatically makes him a devoted Christian? I asked that because I find it confusing. Why? Because in the Bible, I don’t remember Mary being appointed by God to have a position to which Catholics have put her. In the case of Christ, there were clear passages in the Bible that makes him a “mediator” between God and Man. Most Catholics I asked this question always points me to the scene at a wedding in Canaan where Mary ask her son Jesus to turn water into wine. However, I remember Jesus replying “it’s not yet my time.” But he turned it, nonetheless. Then at Jesus’s crucifixion where Christ told John “this is your mother (referring to Mary). Take care of her.” To me, I would interpret that as a dying person’s wish to one of his subordinates. But my point is, Christ never told John to be a devotee of her. Therefore, I think being a Marian devotee does not connect to being a true Christian.

    When I was in elementary in a Catholic school, one teacher explained to us Mary’status through a story. Accrding to my teacher, there were souls who were about to enter the gates of heaven when the apostle Peter (heaven’s guardian or keeper to Catholics) stopped them. Peter said he will have to check first the book of who can enter heaven (like a record or something). Unfortunately, Peter found out that they are not qualified to be in heaven because their names are not in the book. Perhaps because of previous sins. Hence, they have to go to the other gate (Satan’ place). Pondering over their fate, they sat near one of the walls of heaven when Mary, walking around the perimeter of heaven, found them. “What are you doing here? Why don’t you enter heaven?”, Mary asked them. They told her that Peter didn’t allow them to enter because their names are not in the book. But added that when they were on earth, they were Marian devotees. Hearing their explanation, Mary went inside heaven. Similar to Rapunzel, Mary made the souls climb the walls of heaven using her Rosary. Finally, the souls are happily rejoicing in heaven. One day, Peter found one of the souls and asked him, “Why are you here? Didn’t I told you that you are not qualified to be in here?” The soul said, “Mary made us climb the wall.” Then Peter said, “Well, if it’s Mama Mary who let you in, then I can’t do anything. Welcome to Heaven.”

    Thinking about that Catholic story, I think we can’t blame if there is palakasan here on earth. It exists even in heaven by those who we pray to to make the system on earth better! May padrino system din pala sa langit, e dito pa kaya.

    Until one Catholic convinces me that Marian devotion is the path to salvation, I will maintain that that devotion is the most dangerous misinterpretation of the scriptures man has ever had. Why would I be a Marian devotee if I can go directly to God since according to the Bible, he is love and hearer of prayers? The Bible even added that before I can realize it God, already knows what I need. So where is the need for a Rosary? Even Paul or John of Pathmos, the last two disciples that I know, were not recorded to have prayed with a Rosary. They pray directly to God.

    Perhaps Marian devotion and praying to her adds to the woes of the country. Why? Either we’re praying to the wrong person or God is too offended that he won’t even look at us. It’s one of those “what gets us into trouble isn’t what we know. It’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.”

    But then, some might say to me what about those people who were miraculously saved from a terminal disease or a dangerous situation or Mary’s reported apparitions and messages of peace. Well, isn’t the Bible also warned us that the Devil can disguise as an angel of light and is clever enough to appear beautiful just to cause confusion and divert attention? I remember Paul going through so much pain just to fulfill his mission but I don’t remember him asking Mary to help her through it.

    1. Well if something smells fishy, you can bet there’s something rotten.

      I think religion has to be logical. If you hear a lot of baloney from the teachers which doesn’t make sense, you can be quite sure these guys are just pulling your leg.

      Catholicism is a stepping stone to the next level. Think of it as a stairway to the truth. Pinoys need to graduate and move higher.

      I like the way fast-talking creation apologist Kent Hovind says it: once you get to the top of the mountain of truth, you’ll find the Baptists have been sitting there all along.

      note: not that I think Baptists got it ALL correct. There are still a few doctrines they still need to rectify. But at least a lot of it will make sense,

      Btw, for Catholics wishing to transition to the next level, I highly recommend doing a YouTube search of Bong Saquing. If GRP chaplain fails to deliver his weekly Sunday mass message here, just play a YouTube video of his sermon which targets a lot of a Pinoy dysfunction. It will save you the time / money / traffic going to mass as well.

    2. Since it is said that the Devil is able to disguise himself, it is possible that those Marian apparitions/messages are all fraudulent, proving that many people have already been deceived by the Devil’s charms. Also, that story regarding the rosary is built on lies if one has read and understood the Bible. There is no basis that Peter serves as a gatekeeper to heaven, possessing the Book of Life. When one has already been sent to the Lake of Fire, they are damned to burn there eternally. The Bible has no documentation or proof regarding the Rosary as a tool to get people to Heaven.

      1. Just to add to my previous statement regarding the Rosary as a mean to enter heaven, if those claims, though contradictory to the Bible’s teachings, were true, what would be the point of Christ’s sacrifice and mission to free mankind from sin? Also, John 10:1 considers those who trust ways other than Jesus Christ for salvation as thieves and robbers, as stated as such: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.” To conclude, Philippine spirituality needs to evolve in order to develop true Christians. If this keeps up, we might as well call ourselves Marians instead.

  7. Deification is a pagan practice. Only divine condescension is scriptural.

    God is the perfection of attributes.
    Mary is deified as omnipresent, God’s infinity applied to space.
    Therefore, God ceased to be God as He has to compete with Mary in one of his attributes.

    Therefore, Catholics have the entire country drunk in idolatry.

    1. It goes the same for all corrupt Filipino politicians, who had delusionally convinced themselves that they are faithful, disciplined, and selflessly devoted to their causes; and, still nothing has changed in the Philippines.

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