The Heretical Teaching of Catholic Mariology -- By: Mal Couch

Journal: Conservative Theological Journal
Volume: CTJ 05:15 (Aug 2001)
Article: The Heretical Teaching of Catholic Mariology
Author: Mal Couch

The Heretical Teaching of Catholic Mariology

Mal Couch

President & Professor of Theology & Languages
Tyndale Theological Seminary, Ft. Worth, TX

Below is the fourth article in a ten-part series on Catholic Theology and Dogma. Almost all of the material quoted comes from books and articles approved by the Catholic Church. The first article (March 2000) dealt with the Catholic view of the Church. It is hoped that many Catholics will read these articles and arrive at a conviction of the unbiblical nature of Catholic Theology. It is also hoped that Evangelicals reading this material will understand why it’s impossible for Catholics and Evangelicals to join hands in spiritual endeavors. The abbreviations for the references are explained at the end of the article.


When Vatican II took place in the mid 1960s, the world of Catholicism drastically changed. This was the opportunity for the Church to re-invent itself and to propel its teachings into the twenty-first century. Since Vatican II, a 1974 apostolic exhortation of Pope Paul VI, Marialis Cultus, attempted to revitalize popular Marian devotion within the spirit of Vatican II. Paul VI wrote that women could not be inspired to change their status in society if Mary is presented to them as a passive figure, submissive to men in all things. Up to that point, feminists viewed Mary as uninfluential. This was, and still is, not explicitly mentioned in the earlier history of Catholic devotion to Mary.

So in a sense, Mary had to be made-over, and placed front and center in Catholic theology. However, the make-over would be more cosmetic than substantive, because in the Middle Ages and even more recently in the nineteenth century, the teachings about Mary had already reached their zenith. But now was the time to re-state them in more modern thought forms.

Feminism and the Re-invention of Mary

Social and cultural changes are affecting the Church. Feminists used to perceive Mary as subservient to men in all things. Now that a strong Mary is in vogue among many Catholics, feminists look to Mary as a liberating force. The Bible is being re-written and she is seen as more active in the ministry of Jesus—she no longer sits passively by, merely acquiescing to God’s will, but willingly, actively participating in the work of her Son. Some feminist Catholics have said she was little more than “a product of male projections about the ‘ideal woman,’ the ‘eternal feminine.’” (Mary, p. 102)

Feminists and liberation theologians have now added names to Mary to make her more acceptable to the modern, liberal Catholic woman. She is now being calle...

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