Has the Church ever condemned any Marian devotions as idolatrous?

Full Question

Has the Church ever condemned any Marian devotions as idolatrous?

Answer

Yes. In the fourth to fifth centuries there was a heresy known as Collyridianism, in which the adherents treated the Virgin Mary as a goddess by offering to her a bread sacrifice during their liturgies. The primary defender of the orthodox Catholic position was St. Ephiphanius of Salamis in his work Panarion.

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2 comments

  1. I guess I do not understand this – is my Marian prayer book idolatrous? And my Rosary. Are we not to pray to Mary the Mother of God to intercede for us? Am I doing this wrong?

    1. When we pray to Mary today, it’s not to worship, it’s to ask her to intercede on our behalf, much like she for the married couple in the story of the wedding at Canaa. She didn’t turn the water to wine, but she added an extra voice to the request. By offering bread sacrifices, you are treating her on the same level as the Trinity or a pagan diety and Mary is not of the Trinity. The same concept applies to saints.