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Catholics believe that Mary is the Mother of the Church. Firstly, she gave birth to Jesus; and secondly, because of John 19:27.
Roman Catholicism’s official teaching is that Mary, the mother of Christ, is also the Mother of the Church.
The latest edition of the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (question 196 if you want to look it up) stipulates the following: “The Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of the Church in the order of grace because she gave birth to Jesus, the Son of God, the Head of the body which is the Church. When He was dying on the cross Jesus gave His mother to His disciple with the words, Behold your mother (John 19:27)”.
So is Mary the Church’s Mother? Let’s analyze the logic at work in the Catechism.
There are two distinct reasons why Catholics believe that Mary is the Mother of the Church. Firstly, she gave birth to Jesus; and secondly, because of John 19:27.
1.- She gave birth to Jesus
Evidently it was no small thing to bring the Lord Jesus into the world as a helpless babe. I confess that much. But Jesus never emphasized the role of His mother. In fact He downplayed it in Mark 3:33-35 when He asked, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And the answer was, “Whosoever shall do the will of God is my brother and my sister and my mother”. As Paul made clear, we know nobody according to the flesh (2 Corinthians 5:16). Not even Mary! The Gospels barely mention her and the epistles are completely silent on this matter.
At any rate, why could Sarah –Abraham’s wife- not be the first woman in the “order of grace”? After all, was she not the lady through whose womb the promise of universal blessing was initially to come? Or how about Noah’s wife? Or why not even go right back to the days of Eve? Did she not receive also the message of the Gospel (Genesis 3:15)? Mary was nothing more than a little link in a long chain of divine salvation. Yes, she was blessed. Amen. But so was Deborah. So was Hannah. So was Esther. So was Elizabeth.
The real star of the Incarnation is neither Mary nor Joseph, but the Lord God Almighty. Only He is the Lord of the Church. The term ‘Mother of the Church’ is nowhere used in the Bible. It was an invention of Roman Catholicism. If you read the full version of the Catechism online you will see that it doesn’t quote any portion of Scripture correctly to justify its naming of Mary as Mother. It merely quotes Augustine, Paul VI, Pius XII andLumen Gentium (one of the main documents from the Second Vatican Council). But guess what? No sound Bible verses to back it up! That’s why we can’t accept Mary as Mother of the Church. It gives her far too much prominence. And it’s certainly not scriptural.
2.- John 19:27
The only biblical reference the Catechism attempts to use to defend Mary’s Motherhood of the Church is John 19:27. The text reads, “Then Jesus said to the disciple (John), Behold your mother! And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home”.
So that’s it. That verse is the justification for Mary’s exalted estate amongst Catholics. Now what was Jesus doing when He told John, “This is your mother”? He was taking care of her. He was making sure John looked after her. Even as He hung from the cross in agonizing fashion, He thought about the welfare of His beloved mother. In contemporary terms He was saying, “John, she’s in your hands now. Take good care of her”.
He certainly wasn’t saying, “John, go home and write up a Catechism proclaiming her to be the Mother of the Church in my name”. Nothing of the sort! The Catholic zeal for Mary leads them to distort so simple a Scripture and to find things in it that were never meant to be there. So once again, we say no. Mary is not the Mother of the Church. The apostle John would be horrified if he learned of how millions had misread His Gospel account.
The conclusion is simple: biblically speaking there can be no good reason offered for calling the Virgin Mary (well, she was only a virgin until Jesus was born) the Mother of the Church. The Head of the Church, then, is not Jesus plus Mary. It is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Full stop! They get the glory for building the Church; not men, not women and not even Mary. And what's more, I'm certain she would glad I told you that.