You can’t allow yourself to be wrong

It wasn’t even a year ago that you informed me that Catholics “worship the Virgin Mary.”

Despite the fact that I am now an atheist, I did receive the majority of my sacraments in the Roman Catholic Church. Baptism, Penance, First Communion, and Confirmation were started not long after birth and completed before I reached the age of majority. In my teen years, I was a lector at St. Elizabeth’s Roman Catholic Church, where Father Joseph Radomski led our small congregation with a kind smile and positive outlook every Sunday as I read scripture from the pulpit. In college, I became a eucharistic minister while I struggled with my doubts. Throughout the first half of my life, I learned the catechism of the Roman Catholic Church.

While in your home one evening, as we were leaving, you made a tangential remark that Catholics worship the Virgin Mary.
I stopped and tilted my head, smiling.
“Why would you say that?”
You repeated your statement, with no indication of sarcasm or playfulness. You were being serious.

I scowled and replied that simply isn’t true.

“Yes, it is!”

My wonderful husband spoke up for me and informed you that I was raised in the Catholic Church and that I probably knew more than you did about the subject.

You still rejected anything I had to say.

I quickly and succinctly explained the basics of intercessional prayer and the role of the saints in Catholicism. You looked confused. I said that the earliest saints were martyrs under Roman rule and were, therefore, beloved by god. They were patrons of certain cities or situations. You pray to St. Anthony to find something you’ve lost. You pray to St. Francis when your pet is sick. Saints are, essentially, the people you pray to for intercession for the smaller things in life. You save the bigger ones for Jesus.

Mary is special. She is exalted above all men (maybe that’s why you don’t like her veneration?) for having given birth to your lord made flesh. Her virgin birth qualifies her, I would think, for special consideration. Catholics celebrate feast days for just about all the saints. There are also celebratory days that mark major events in her life and death. The story that she ascended wholly into heaven is one of the more treasured Catholic beliefs. Having read the Bible yourself, you must be aware that she was there every step of the way, in every story in the synoptic gospels and even in the oddly different Book of John.

You were mildly diplomatic but unwavering. Your sons have called you stubborn. I think you’re just not capable of learning any new information. You are a mountain of pure confirmation bias and you will not be moved.

Do you understand how insulting you were to people in my own family who are Catholics? Or how insulting you were to your wife, who once converted to Catholicism? She, too, said that Mary isn’t worshiped. You waved her off.

If you have ever asked someone to pray for you, then you have requested intercessory prayer. That is the same as asking St. Anthony, St. Augustine, St. Francis, or St. Mary to help you, to put a good word in to their boss on your behalf. For the record, this makes you a hypocrite.

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