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 Karol Wojtyła
 Marian cult(english)
 Kult Marii
 Boże Narodzenie

 epidemia homo...
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 unser papst 2
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Marian cult


Marian cult

I. Part of session of Rev. Jerry Dean given at Theological College in Lublin, Poland (the preacher used the New International Version of the Bible).

God I pray that you would reveal your truth to us, Lord I pray that you would remove all lies, every deception, every blindness, Lord that you would open our eyes, that you would give us the truth, Lord that you would put your truth into our hearts, that you would put your truth into our minds, Lord that the truth about Mary would be preached in Poland, Lord that Mary the women you had chosen to bring forth Jesus Lord that there would be the correct picture of the person you'd chosen, in Jesus' name we pray. Amen

Open up your Bibles, the Gospel of Luke. And in the first session what we're gonna do, we're gonna look at what the Bible has to say about the person of Mary, and so we're gonna form a picture of who God thinks Mary is. Luke chapter 1, and let's read together from verse 26 to 56; In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you". Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greetings this might be. But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end". "How will this be", Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?". The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God". "I am the Lord's servant", Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said". Then the angel left her. At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!" And Mary said: "My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers". Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.

When God created the world His plan was that we would live in unity with Him. But we know that Adam and Eve chose to disobey, they chose to be disobedient and rebelious towards God and from that very day God was looking for a plan to bring unity between Him and His creation; to bring about someone who would save us from our sins. And we see that all throughout the Old Testament that God promises that he would send a saviour who would take our place for our punishment, that he would cleanse us from our sins, cleanse us from our unrighteousness, and would serve as a bridge or a mediator between God and man. And all throughout the Old Testament God promises that he would send this Saviour, a mediator, an intencessor, someone who completely understands God's point of view, but someone who will also understand completely our point of view. Someone who would feel everything that God feels and would feel everything that man feels. And God promised that He would send this person into the world and we know that this person that He sent was His son, Jesus Christ. That God had a plan that His son would be born in a humane image and likeness. That he would take on flesh and blood as we have flesh and blood. In order to do that He needed be born into this world. And in this day when Mary and Joseph lived God chose that time and that place to be born. If we look in the Old Testament there were certain conditions that need to be fulfilled: if Jesus was to be born who would be his parents? And we know from the Old Testament, from Isaiah, that he would be born from a virgin, someone who had never had sexual relationships. We know that he was to be born a Jew, and we knew that he was to be born from a line of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Juda and a line of David. The person who was to be the mother would have to so and who'd raise Jesus in the right way. I'm. sure that God didn't just say: "Anyone could fulfil this role, but I'm. sure that God looked for the right person to fill this role. The right person that would become the earthly mother of Jesus who would raise the young boy Jesus in the right way, that would teach him in the way of the Scriptures, that would form a good family atmosphere, a person that would fear God. And I believe that in Palestine at this time, that there were maybe thousands of women who were Jews, that were from the line of David, who were still virgins. But it was probably the desire of all the young girls at that time to be the mother of the Saviour, but only one could be. And Jesus chose Mary. And I think that if we look at the life of Mary we can see why he chose her: because her life is a picture of humility, a life of submission to God, a life of devotion to the Lord. If you want to have a picture of who Mary is turn to the Old Testament, to the book of Proverbs chapter 31. And here is a description of who is a wife of noble character. Chapter 31, verse 10: A wife of noble character who can find? She's worth far more than rubbies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm all the days of her life. And then it talks about her work that she does at home: that she's a hard-worker, that she wakes up early in the morning, she takes care of the needs of her family, she takes care of the needs of the other people, she makes sure that nothing is lacking in their house. She's a prosperous woman, she makes clothes and she sells them. She helps the poor, she watches over the affairs of her house. Her husband is respected. Verse 30 says: Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. I belive that Mary fit this description, that she was someone who loved the LORD with all of her heart, that she did good and not harm to her husband and her family. She had a noble character, she cared for others. And I believe that maybe we'd also find the description in Timothy and Titus about the wife of an elder or the wife of a deacon, and also you would find the description of, probably, who Mary looked like. You know, we as protestants we want to somehow lower or remove Mary from our Bibles, because we've seen on the other side that catholics tend to lift up Mary into a place where she doesn't belong. And so on our side we have neglected or forgotten or tried to remove her. But I belive that of all women in the Bible, that she was one of the most worthy of our respect. And a good role model and an example for women.

Let's go back to Luke, it says that the angel came to a virgin, to the virgin Mary, and she was pledged to be married to Joseph. In this time they were not married yet, but they were treated like they were already in the marriage union, that they had to be faithful and that they would not be looking for another partner. So although that she was not married, at this point she was almost treated as a wife. And an angel comes and appears to her. And he says: Greetings You who are highly favoured, the LORD is with you!. Now think of it: angels don't appear every day. How many people have seen an angel lately. Anyone has seen an angel this week? So it's not a regular, everyday occurance. If an angel shows up he's here to tell us something important. And he says: You are favoured. What does this mean? What is "grace"? Grace is something that is undeserved, grace is something that you cannot work for. If I go to work and I work forty hours at work and I come to my boss, and he gives me an envelope with the money in it, is that grace? Or is that what I have worked for and what I deserve? And so it says that Mary found grace. In other words, she didn't deserve to be the mother of the Saviour, it wasn't because she was holy enough, it wasn't because she had prayed enough, it wasn't because that she was better than anyone else, but God's grace. It was something she didn't deserve, something she didn't work for. God had to choose somebody and she was one of the people that fit the prophecies.

And it says that Mary was greatly troubled at his words. And was wondering what type of reading this could be. Why was Mary troubled. What do you think? Angels do not appear every day, do they? If an angel showed up to you you'd be wondering why he came. If an angel came to me I'd be thinking what did I do wrong. And it says: She was afraid. The angel said: Do not be afraid. You've found favour with God at verse 30. " I'm not here to punish you. I'm here to bring a good message to you". You see, I don't think that Mary knew (I think that she did not know) that she was chosen to be the mother of the Saviour. If she knew all along that she was gonna be the mother of our Saviour then when the angel came she would have said: "Oh, I know why you're here. I've been waiting for you". But she did not know why he was there. It wasn't because of her good works. And the angel says: Don't be afraid. Why? She was afraid. Almost every time that an angel appears in the Bible the first words were almost always Don't be afraid. Because man is afraid. Man is aware of his sins and his faults, his shortcomings. And angels always had to reassure that "I've come here not to punish you, but to bring a message from God".

Let's look further. His message: You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you will give him the name Jesus. He will be great and be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of his father David and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, His kingdom will never end. Mary couldn't call this son whatever name she wanted. "I think I'll call him Richard. Richard Christ". Now she had instructions: the baby's name was to be "Jesus". And so she was obedient, she gave him the name Jesus. The prophecy was: He will be great. It doesn't say that Mary will be great, but it says "Jesus will be great". And it says: And he will be called the Son of the Most High God. It doesn't say that "you will be called the Mother of God" or that "He will be called the Son of Mary". But He will be called the Son of the Most High God. It says: The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. It doesn't say that He will give Mary a throne, but it says that He will give Jesus a throne. There is nothing about Mary being great, there is nothing about Mary having a throne, nothing about her ruling over anyone, but the whole focus here is on Jesus and that's where the focus should remain.

And Mary's response to the angel is interesting. Did she say: "Oh, of course, I'm gonna be the Morther of God. I knew this all along? She said: How can this possibly be? She didn't know. She didn't know God's plan. She says: I'm still a virgin. Everything that the angel said was great but she had a problem. She wasn't married yet. She had never been with a man. And that's the fact why she was chosen. God wanted to perform a miracle. And here it's not a question of rebelion on her part but it's a question of: "I don't understand how this all will work". So the answer is like this the angel says: The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you and so the Holy One born to you shall be called the Son of God. Who was responsible for Jesus birth? Was it Mary or was it God? Really, Mary was only a vessel, Mary was only a place where Jesus would be incarnated in the flesh of the Holy Spirit. It was an act of God, not an act of Mary. God who existed through all eternity would lower Himself to become a human being, take the form of a litttle embryo and be implanted into Mary. He would lower Himself as much as He could lower Himself to a little, little cell. And from there He grew and He was born. And Mary's response is a response of humility and a response of submission. She said: I'm the Lord's servant. May it be done to me exactly to the way you have said. And so we see that Mary is a person who wanted to be in the centre of God's will. She's excited, she runs to see her cousin, Elizabeth, and verse 43 says: Blessed are you among women and blessed is the Child you'll bear.

The Bible here says Blessed are you among women. It doesn't say "Blessed are you above women" but "among women". It doesn't say that "you will be blessed by all people", it doesn't say that "people will come and bless you", but it's just a stated fact that "you are going to be a blessed person". What does the word "blessed" mean? Or "to bless"? Means to make happy. That's what "bless" means. If you're blessed you're a happy person, if you're cursed then you are a sad person. So to be blessed means to be happy. What would make Mary happy. The fact of being chosen, the fact of living with Jesus, the Son of God, for 30 years. If you were with Jesus for 30 years wouldn't you be blessed? If He lived in your apartment? You would be blessed. So you have a two-room apartment you're in one room and Jesus lives in the other room for 30 years. You would be blessed. "He chose to live with ME for 30 years!" And then think of just her role in history: an example of humility and submission. All these things together would make Mary a happy person. And so we see that she is blessed. People think that it's their job to bless Mary, that "I need to do something to bless Mary". To lift her up above other women. But God wants her not to be lifted up ABOVE other women. God says that she will be blessed AMONG. So God's place for her is not above us, but her place is with us. Do you understand? Her place is here, with us, on the ground, on earth. And this was a typical blessing, many people were blessed this way in the Old Testament. Verse 45 another reason why she was blessed: Blessed is she who has believed what the Lord has said. You know what, when you believe the word of God and you're obedient to the word of God you're blessed. When you don't believe the word of God, and if you're not obedient to the word of God you don't have the blessings of God.

It says that Mary praised the Lord and we see in verse 46 to 56 that it's a whole song that Mary has towards God. Let's look particularly at verse 47. It says: My spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour. I have a question. Who needs a Saviour? Sinful people. She said: "I rejoice in God, MY Saviour". If she recognized that God was her Saviour she was admitting that she was a sinner. And in this song of praise that she gives to God she recognizes that she is a weak sinful human being that needs the grace of God. Somebody who needs to be saved. A saviour comes to save people. And she needed a saviour, she needed to be saved. If she needed a saviour then she wasn't the saviour. She was a servant who needed a saviour. Verse 48 and 49: for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me and holy is his name. For the third time we see the word blessed with the word Mary. In other words it says: "the whole world will recognize that she is a happy person, because she was chosen to be the mother of our Lord and Saviour". That God did great things, that God gave her grace.

Let's look further. Let's go to Matthew, chapter 1. Let's read verses 18 to 25. This is another account of the birth of Jesus. This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins". All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" which means, "God with us". When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. One of the myths or one of the traditions that is associated with Mary is that she remains a virgin forever. Here we see in verse 25: she had no union with her husband UNTIL she gave birth to Jesus. It would not say here "until" if the writers of the Scripture had in mind that she was to remain a virgin forever, that he would have written "but she had no union with her husband". Period. But it says "until" Jesus was born he did not. After Jesus' birth Joseph and Mary had a normal sexual marriage relationship.

She had other children. The Bible talks about it. The Bible talks about 4 brothers of Jesus and at least two sisters of Jesus. And let's take a look that it was prophesied in the Old Testament that Jesus would have brothers and sisters. Psalm 69. This is a messianic song about Jesus. The whole thing is about Jesus. Verse 8 says: I am a stranger to my brothers and an alien to my own mother's sons. Whose sons? His mother's sons. See, the reason why some people have turned Mary into a virgin forever is because they think that for her to have later sexual relationships would be to contaminate the place where Jesus had once dwelt. And that if she would remain a holy, uncontaminated, that it was to holy place to be defiled by sexual relationships. But remember, Jesus humbled himself. Where was he born? Was he born in a holy place? Was he born in a clean temple? Or was he born in a stable, with the animals. Did he choose the queen of Israel to be born to or a poor humble Jewish girl? Jesus humbled himself to become a little cell in her body. Jesus wasn't so proud that he could not be lower Himself and become human. And he was fully human, fully God. And he would expect that His mother would be fully human. And it wouldn't be completely human and normal for her to remain a virgin while being married. You think that the Jews of this day would allow that once they get married the wife on the wedding day says: "Listen, I've taken a vow of virginity for the rest of my life. Sorry". Is it possible that a wife can choose to do such a thing? Is it possible today to do such a thing? No. So we see it is a myth.

Let's read about Jesus' brothers in Matthew 13. Let's first look at Luke chapter 2, verse 6 and 7: While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. The Bible here says "firstborn". If there was a firstborn the logic demands that there is a second born. If there is a race and you say I came first, isn't it logical that there is the second and maybe the third? But he wouldn't say he was first if he was the only runner. He would say "I was the only". He wouldn't say "I was the first" but he would say "I was the only one that ran". The Bible here says firstborn. That's a Greek word. The Greek word is "prototokos". It means "one of many", "the first of many". It also means "the first in an order of many". If Jesus was her only son, then the author would have used a different word, like the word in John 3,16. What's the word there? God so loved the world that He gave his FIRSTBORN son"??? "ONE AND ONLY son!!! And so if Mary only had one son it would have been a different word: "monogene" only, unique. Matthew 13, verses 55 and 56: Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't his mother name Mary, and aren't his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren't all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?. Read Mark 6,3 also: Isn't this the carpenter? Isn't this Mary's son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren't his sisters here with us? And they took offense at him.

Catholic theologians believe that these people: James, Joseph, Simon and Judas are either Jesus' cousins or they are sons from a previous marriage of Joseph or they are some other relatives. But the Bible uses the word "adelfos", which means "brother". It's never translated as "relative", "cousin" or "brother-in-law", each one of these words is a different word in Greek. Also the word "sister". They are all different words in Greek if it was a cousin or sister-in-law. So four of his brothers are listed by name and we know that Jesus had at least two sisters. Because is says aren't his sisters here? It doesn't say "and his sister" but "his sisters". In Mark it says all his sisters. And so you don't use the word "all" if there is only two. And so we see that there are at least six brothers and sisters. And we see them later on in the Gospel also. Let's read further in Luke, chapter 2. And we're gonna see what happens when Jesus is a little bit older. The story is here in chapter 2, verse 21 to verse 40. It's the whole story of Jesus with his parents going to the temple and the question is why did they have to go to the temple? Let's read just verses 22 to 24: When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord"), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: "a pair of doves or two young pigeons.

They went to the temple to offer that sacrifice of purification. As it's written in the Law of the Lord. So they had to give a sacrifice. In Leviticus it gives the whole procedure of what happens when a woman has a boy or a girl born to her. And that after the birth they were to go to the temple and give a sin offering. And if they were poor then the minimum offering was a pair of doves. And after they brought their sin offering the woman would be cleaned from her flow of blood. It says here that in time of THEIR purification, not of "Joseph's purification" but of "their": his and his wife's. In other words they went to the temple to give an offering for their sins. They were there giving offering for their sins. Now, it's not a sin to have a child but because of the flow of blood made her ceremonially unclean. And so she went to give an offering for her sin. And it goes directly against catholic teaching that Mary was sinless. Because we see that she gave sacrifices for her sins.

Later we see Jesus twelve years old. Luke chapter 2 and the whole situation from verse 41 until verse 52. Jesus was in the temple, he was teaching all the wise men, Mary and Joseph lost him, they were looking all over the place for him, they found him finally in the temple the last place they looked. And they said: We've been looking for you. Where were you? And he said "Didn't you know I would be in my Father's house?" Verse 50: But they did not understand what he was saying to them. So we see that even his parents did not understand his calling, his mission, his relationship with the Father. But later Mary would understand.

Now let's look at the first miracle that Jesus does. And this is the next time that we see Mary in the Bible. Let's read from the Book of John, chapter 2, verses 1 to 11: On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus' mother said to him, "They have no more wine". "Dear woman, why do you involve me?" Jesus replied, "My time has not yet come". His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you". Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water"; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet". They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, "Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now". This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.

This was Jesus' first miracle and he was about thirty years old at that time. All the way up until this time he was living with his parents, with his mother. We had seen that he was obedient to his parents. And now there's a wedding. Mary sees that there is a need and she comes to her son and she says: "They don't have any more wine. Do something". And at this point in time that Jesus was beginning his ministry something changes. See, he was no longer going to be a son obedient and submitted to his mother, but now the mother would need to be obedient to the son. And we see this first of all he answer and say "woman", he doesn't say "mother". Do you call your mother "woman" at home? Do you do that at home? The Jews didn't do that. They didn't call their mothers "women". They had respect. Jesus continues with respect but he does something here. He was showing her that no longer is he a boy that is in need of her help, that he was no longer there to be obedient to her, but he was there to fulfil his role as saviour, healer, king. And that their roles and their relationship had to change now. It was time for him to start revealing who he was. And that was the end and the finish of her ministry, she was no longer called to be the person watches over and protects him, and helps him to grow up. She's not any longer his provider, but he becomes her provider. And so the mother goes to the servants and she realises that she no longer is in control but now her son is in control. And the mother says to the servants: "Do whatever he tells you to do". In other words, she resigned. She said "whatever Jesus says you do that". "Whatever Jesus says I'm gonna do it now". Jesus goes ahead, he performs a miracle, he turns water into wine. But he does it secretly. Only the servants and Mary would know. The guests and the newly-wed, the host they wouldn't know. But only Mary and the servants knew. And these are the very last words of Mary in the Bible. Very few words Mary has said in the Bible, we read them all already. "Whatever Jesus tells you to do, do it". I think it was with a very strong purpose that these were her last words in the Bible. And the words are not only to the servants, they're in Galilea, I think these were her words to us also. She was no longer telling and dictating Jesus what he needed to do. In other words, she was ready now to tell others to listen to him and she herself would be obedient. And we see that we also need to go to Jesus and do what he tells us to do.

People think and have the impression that Jesus is more hard and stern and Mary is more loving and more open, and so if we want something we should go to Mary because she is the loving motherly type instead of the mean Jesus. And we see that even people back in those days had that impression. Let's look in Matthew, chapter 12, verses 46 to 50: While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you". He replied to him, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" Pointing to his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother. See, the thinking is that because of her physical relationship being close to Jesus that Jesus would answer her requests. Thats it's a relationship that's close, that Jesus would listen to his mother. That there is love, there is intimacy, that there is a special relationship there. But the Bible says that whoever does the will of the Father in heaven becomes the mother and the brother, and the sister of Jesus. In other words, Jesus was saying: "The close relationship I have with my mother is available for all of you. This special relationship between a mother and a son is also available to you". The requirement is doing the will of the Father in heaven. The same situation is in Mark, the same situation is written there in chapter 3, the same history is written in Luke, chapter 8. And we see that each time Jesus said: "You can be like my mother and my sister if you obey the will of my Father in heaven". The Catholic Church teaches that Jesus always answers Mary's requests. But we see that he didn't fulfil her request, he didn't come outside. He stayed inside, he continued to teach. In all three accounts Mary says "Come out", in all three accounts Jesus stays where he is. He was showing that his earthly mother and brothers were not more important than his spiritual brothers. You see, Jesus wants to have this close relationship with you. And that's why he came. Why was Mary and his brothers there trying to get in? Why did they want to come in and speak to Jesus? Mark, chapter 3, verse 20 and 21: Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, "He is out of his mind. Why was Mary and his brothers there? Because they thought that Jesus had gone crazy. And they came there to say: "Poor Jesus. You come back with us. You've been in the heat too long." "He's been standing out in the hot heat in the desert roads and the sun s been beating on his head too much." Or maybe Mary was jealous, it says "there were great crowds there" and she was losing her son to the crowd. "And we need to come and put Jesus into line". That's why Mary and his brothers were there. They didn't believe that he was the Messiah, they didn't believe in his mission. Not until later.

Luke, chapter 11, verses 27 and 28. Jesus is speaking to a crowd and it says: At Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, "Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you." He replied, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it. What is Jesus saying here? He's saying: "Yes, Mary is blessed. But those that listen and obey the word of God are more blessed." If Jesus ever meant for Mary to be blessed or lifted up, or worshiped this was the time to do it. When the woman called out "Blessed the womb who gave you birth! Blessed are the breasts that have nursed you!" Jesus is saying: "There is something more important than the womb and the breasts. More important are those that hear the word of God and obey it". You've been more blessed than Mary if you become one of disciples. He's'not saying anything about Mary, but he is saying something very positive about you and me. You can have the same blessing that Mary had if you listen to His word, if you obey His word, if you become submitted to His will.

I believe that Mary is in the Bible for a reason, and she's there to give us an example of humility, submission and dedication. You see that she's at the cross and through the whole time of crucifiction she's dedicated to be there at Jesus' side. And we see that even after Jesus' resurection that she's with the church in Jerusalem, that she's there on the day of Pentecost. It says that she's there with the Lord's brothers praying to God and with Jesus' own brothers that finally their eyes were opened, they believed. And they were there with the church praying not to Mary but to God on the day that God sent his Holy Spirit and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. The last thing that we see of Mary in the Bible that she's part of the church, that she's praying with the other believers, and that she's a Spirit filled Christian who speaks in tongues and is proclaiming the Gospel to others.

II. Notes:

1. The Book of Judge (chapter 5, verse 24) calls Jael, who killed Sisera in her tent, blessed ABOVE other women: Most blessed of women be Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, most blessed of tent-dwelling women. (NIV New International Version) or Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be, blessed shall she be above women in the tent (KJV King James Version). And still Israelites never worshiped Jael nor considered her better than other women. God called her blessed above women and yet there was no cult or adoration of Jael among Jews.

2. The Book of Genesis ( 18, 18) says that THROUGH Abraham or IN Abraham all nations of the world will be blessed: Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed trough him (NIV) or Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him(KJV). Israelites honoured the memory of Abraham and set him as an example, but there was never any worship or cult of Abraham among them.

3. The Greek word translated as highly favoured (Luke 1,28) is "kecharitomene" (nom. sing. fem. part. perf. pass. from "charito" ) and does not apply to Mary only. The apostle Paul uses another form "charito" (3 pers. sing. aor.1, ind. act.) in the Book of Ephesians (1,6) when he says: He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves (NIV) or Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved (KJV). All the believers are highly favoured by God in Jesus Christ.

4. The Book of Judges (6, 12) tells us that when the angel of the LORD came to Gedeon he greeted him saying The LORD is with you: When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, "The LORD is with you, mighty warrior(NIV) or And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour (KJV). It didn't not mean, however, that Gedeon was sinless or meant to be worshiped.

5. In Luke 1,32 David is called the father of Jesus and in many other fragments Jesus is called the son of David (e.g. Matthew 1:1, 9:27, 12:23, 15:22, 20:30-31, 21:9.15; Romans 1:3), just like Mary was the mother of Jesus and Jesus was the son of Mary. Catholics believe they can call and praise Mary as the Mother of God, because Elizabeth called her the mother of my Lord (Luke 1,43) and because Jesus is God. And yet they dare not proclaim or praise David as THE FATHER OF GOD. Why not? If David is called the father of Jesus and Jesus is God why not call David the Father of God? Why don't catholics praise David or ask him for intercession? Isn't he the Father of God just like Mary is the Mother of God?

6. If Mary was sinless why was she afraid when an angel came to her and why didn't she realise that she had found favour with God (Luke 1,30)? Why didn't she know that she was going to be the mother of Christ, why didn't she find out herself the will of God for her life, why didn't she understand that she was without sin only to give birth to the Messiah? Why was she surprised to learn that God would be incarnated in her womb? Jesus always knew the will of his heavenly Father, but Mary many times showed that she did not know the will of God at all (a) she was absolutely surprised hearing the prophesies concerning her son (Luke 2:19.33); (b) she did not know or understand that the boy Jesus was to be found in the house of his heavenly Father (Luke 2:49-51); (c) she did not realise that Jesus was doing the will of his Father when he preached all day long and she went to stop him (Mark 3:20-21.31-35).

7. Why do catholics believe that Mary never had any sexual intercourse with her husband Joseph? Would she be in any way defiled or made less holy if she had slept with her husband? This would mean that marital sex makes people in some way unworthy in God's sight. If not, then what does it matter whether Mary was a virgin until her death or not? Why is it so important for catholics to believe that Mary remained a virgin after Jesus was born? Would she have become in any way unclean or unholy if she had slept with Joseph afterwards? The question of Mary's virginity shouldn't really be the subject of any serious arguments if we believe that marital sex is pure, holy and fully accepted in God's sight. The Bible teaches that losing virginity on marital bed is no sin at all (1 Corynthians 7:28.36; 1 Timothy 4:3; Hebrews 13:4). So does it make any real difference whether Mary remained a virgin or not? It shouldn't make any difference at all.


It is no mystery that the city of Ephesus (now in western Turkey) is regarded by most reseachers as the oldest centre of the Marian cult. Catholic apologets and theologians have ascribed this fact to an ancient tradition saying that Mary, the mother of Jesus, lived in Ephesus for the last few years of her life as she is believed to have arrived there along with the apostle John. Tourists visiting the ruins of the city are usually shown what is said to be the "Hoyse of the Blessed Virgin Mary" on Bulbul Dag (Nightingale mountain).
More important, it was in Ephesus that the oldest known Christian church devoted to the Virgin Mary was built. It is known as Meryem Kilisesi (the Church of the Virgin Mary), the Double Church (because one aisle was dedicated to the Virgin and the other to St. John) and the Councils Church (because of the two important church councils that were held there). The building was constructed by the Romans in the 2nd century AD and used as a mercantile and education centre. In the early 4th century it was converted into a church. The Church of the Virgin was a classic rectangular basilica surrounded by rows of columns, 260 meters long with a baptismal room inside. The western part of the church was restored as a basilica with a dome and the narthest floor was paved with mosaics.

1. The First Council of Ephesus
It was no coincidence that in this very building the Council of Ephesus was held in 431 AD as the fate the Marian cult was at stake. Most bishops who gathered there agreed that Mary should be called the "God-Bearer" (THEOTOKOS), contrary to the opinion expressed by Nestorius. Later this term developed into the phrase "the Mother of God". Bishops opposing the veneration of Mary had to arrive at the basilica with armed escort for fear of being linched by fanatical crowds. The people of Ephesus gathered outside the church were anxious to hear the verdict of the Council. When after the first sesion it was decided that Mary should be allowed to have the title of "God-Bearer" the crowds shouted for joy and chanted: "Theotokos! Theotokos!" The whole city was jubilant, people lit torches and fires, women brought incense-burners, formed a long procession and escorted the bishops to their abodes (see "The Orthodox Veneration of the Mother of God" by St. John Maximovitch Archbishop of Shanghai and San Francisco). After five more sessions the Council decreed that if anyone denied Mary the title of "Theotokos" he was to be excommunicated (anathemized).

2. Ephesus as the city of the Queen Bee
Despite the orthodox explanations for the links between the Marian cult and the city of Ephesus there exists a vast evidence suggesting that the Christian cult of the Eternal Virgin derives from ancient Ephesian cults.
Right from its very beginning Ephesus was closely associated with a strong cult of Mother Goddess. According to Greek legends the city was founded by ancient feminists, Amazons. Callimachus of Cyrene in his "Hymn III: to Artemis" says: "Amazons, lovers of battle, set up a wooden image under an oak, in seaside Ephesos and Hippo offered a holy sacrifice to you [Artemis]; around the oak they danced you a war dance, Queen Oupis, first with shields and then a wide circledance, the shrill pipes joined in lithe song to keep time [thats was before they pierced fawn bones for flutes, Athena's evil work for deer]; the echo of the music leapt to Sardis and the Berekynthian song, their feet clicked quickly, the quivers rattled. Afterward around that wooden image, wide foundations were built."
Indeed, Artemis herself was like one of them. She was independent, a huntress depicted with a bow and arrows, and she refrained from sexual contacts with men. Actually, she was known as the Eternal Virgin and all her priestesses in Ephesus had to be virgins. Callimachus in one of his hymns to Artemis mentions a myth saying that while she was still a child she asked Zeus to give her eternal virginity in the first place.
Yet this is not only legends that present Ephesus as one of the gratest centres of Mother Goddess worship. Ancient Hittite text from about XIV century BC mention a city called Apasa(s) or Abasa(s) and most scientists believe those were references to Ephesus. Thus, the name "Ephesus" derives most likely from the pre-Latin word "apis" meaning "a bee". So Ephesus was known right from the very beginning as the city of Queen Bee. This, in turn, links the Ephesian cult to the minoan religion where the Mother Goddess was worshiped on Crete as the Bee Goddess. Florence Mary Bennett in "Religious Cults Associated With the Amazons" (1912) in Chapter III entitled "Ephesian Artemis" says on page 36: "An inscription which dates probably from about the third century BC gives direct evidence of association between Crete and Ephesian Artemis".
Even later on when the cult of Artemis of Ephesus received its distinct form she was still associated with bees. There were several bees on her statue found in Ephesus, her Ephesian priestesses were called "melissai" ("bees") and the Bee Queen was depicted on coins struck in Ephesus. The symbolism of the bee queen is fairly obvious: it is the mother of all bees, the only and great mother. In the same way the goddess worshiped in Ephesus for several centuries was the Only and Great Mother of all people.
The Temple of Artemis in Ephesus built by king Croesus of Lydia in the VI century BC was considered by Greeks to be one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It was burned in 356 BC and then restored after 323 BC. The famous statue of Artemis that stood inside the temple was that of a woman with numerous breasts, which some believe to be bull testicles or bee eggs. According to Greek myths Artemis was an eternal virgin but in Ephesus she was also worshiped as the goddess of fertility or the Mother Goddess. How powerful and widespread this cult was is clearly shown in the Bible when the apostle Paul was fiercely attacked by local population on account of his preaching against man-made gods (Acts 19:23-40).

3. Other female dieties worshiped in Ephesus
Ephesus was well-known not only on account of its Artemis' temple and worship. Another female diety that the city was famous for was Cybele (Kybele). One of her titles was "potnia theron" ("the Mistress of Animals"), associated both with Artemis and with the Minoan Great Mother. The Greeks referred to her simply as "Mother". The citizens of Ephesus honoured this goddess with an annual ecstatic celebration, the Ephesia. Moreover, archaeologists found in Ephesus traces of the temple of Isis, Egyptian Mother Goddess. Isis was often shown feeding baby Horus, just like Mary is frequently depicted as feeding baby Jesus.
One might say that it was a mere coincidence that one of the most powerful and famous centres of ancient female dieties' worship became the first centre of the Marian cult. One may believe it was just a coincidence that Mary was given the same titles as Artemis, the eternal virgin, or Cybele, the Mother. One might see no similarity between Ephesian population shouting fanatically "Great is the Artemis of the Ephesians!" in the 1st century AD and their children shouting "Theotokos!" ("the Mother of God!") 400 years later. Yet given the facts, one may also come to the conclusion that the Marian cult born in Ephesus was just a somewhat transformed version of the earlier cults of Artemis, Cybele and Isis.

1.SOURCE: http://www.angelfire.com/ny4/djw/epiphanius.html
Quotations from "Panarion" (78 and 79) by Ephiphanius of Salamis (IV AD) found in Martin Chemnitz, "Examination of the Council of Trent, III" (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1986), p.468; George Mastrantonis, "Augsburg and Constantinople" (Brookline, Mass.: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1982), p.140-141
"Some think and speak contemptuously about Mary; others however, inclining toward the other side, glorify her beyond what is fitting. ... Under the pretext that it is right, the devil secretly enters the mind of men and deifies mortal nature; he models statues which bear the human image, in order that they may adore the dead and introduce images for adoration, committing adultery with the mind against the one and only God. Yes, certainly, the body of Mary was holy, but she was not God. Yes, indeed, the Virgin was a virgin, and honorable, but she was not given to us to worship. She worshiped him to whom she gave birth from her flesh; the one who is from heaven and from the Father's bosom. And for this reason the Gospel reassures us of this, the Lord himself declaring that: O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come [Jn 2:4]. And so that no one would think from the words, O woman, what have you to do with me, that the holy Virgin is superior, he calls her "woman"."
"What Scripture has told this? Which prophet has commanded to adore man? Elijah did not see death, but was taken into heaven. John reclined against the breast of the Lord. But neither was Elijah worshiped, even though he was among the living. Neither was John worshiped, although by his own prayers he attained a wondrous death, and received grace from God. Not even Thecla, nor any of the saints, were worshiped. For the ancient error will not conquer us: to abandon the Living and to worship those who have been made by him. For they worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, and became fools [cf.Rom 1:25]. For if he does not want the angels to be worshiped, how much more does he not want her who was born from Anna, who was given by Joachim to Anna, to be worshiped?"
"The Word, which is God, took on flesh from Mary, not however in order that the Virgin might be adored, neither that he might make her God. Let Mary be held in honor, but let the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit be worshiped; let no one worship Mary. This mystery is due God, not to women, neither to man. Nor does such a doxology belong to the angels. Let those things be erased which have been wrongly written in the heart of those who have been deceived. Let the lust of the idol be extinguished from the eyes. Let the creature return again to the Master. Let Eve with Adam return to honor God alone. Let no one be led by the voice of the serpent. Let him abide by the command of God. ... Although Mary is holy and to be honored, nevertheless she is not meant to be adored."

2. SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collyridians
From Wikipedia, the free internet encyclopedia The Collyridians were an obscure minor early Christian heretical group. According to our main source, the Panarion or "Medicine-chest against Heresies" of Epiphanius of Salamis (written ca. 375), certain women in Arabia worshipped Mary mother of Jesus and offered little cakes or bread- rolls (Greek "kollyris" a word occurring in the Septuagint) to her. Little else is known.
The Collyridians have become of interest in some recent Myslim Christian religious discussions, because the Qur'an is understood by many to assert that the Christian Trinity consists of God, Jesus, and Mary (based mainly on sura 5, verses 73, 75 and 116) something which has never been a mainstream or widespread doctrine among Christian or quasi Christian groups at any period of history. It is speculated by some that Muhammad may have mistakenly confused Collyridian beliefs with orthodox Christianity. Others point out that there is no evidence that Collyridianism still existed in the 6th or 7th centuries AD (the time of Muhammad), and/or they reject the interpretation according to which the Qur'an is said to assert that Mary is part of the Trinity.
Some women interested in feminist spirituality claim the Collyridians as precursors.

3. SOURCE:http://campus.udayton.edu/mary/questions/yq2/yq315.html
From the Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute (University of Dayton Catholic school upholding Marianist traditions)
Q: Who are the Collyridians?
A: Kollyridians or Collyridians were adorers of Mary in the 4th century Arabia, as Epiphanius mentioned in his writing against heretics (see: Haer. 78, 23; 79). He coined the expression Collyridians which has the meaning of "cake-eater-sect". Leontius of Byzance had a different name for them. He called them "Philomarianites", meaning Mary-lovers (PG 87, 1364). The priestesses of this sect used to present Our Lady with cakes or a special kind of bread (kollyris) intended as offerings as was the custom in pre- Christian times. This sect, mainly consisting of women or at least led by woman priests, propagated what amounts to a Goddess cult regarding Our Lady. Epiphanius had this warning on their behalf: "Although Mary is the most beautiful and holy and worthy of praise, we don't owe her adoration" (Haer. 79,7, PG 42, 752). In a different passage Epiphanius uses even stronger words: "Adoration must cease. For Mary is no goddess nor has she received her body from haeven (oute gar Theos hae Maria oute ap'ouranou exousa to soma)" (Haer. 78,24). Collyridians are also known and mentioned by John Damascene (PG 94, 728).

4. SOURCE: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/wace/biodict.html?term=Collyridians
From "A Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century AD, with an Account of the Principal Sects and Heresies." by Henry Wace (1836-1924) to be found at http://www.ccel.org/ccel/wace/biodict.html
Collyridians. Under this name Epiphanius (Haer. 79) assails certain women who had brought from Thrace into Arabia the practice of performing on certain days rites in honour of the Blessed Virgin, the chief being the offering of a cake (kollyris), and the partaking of it by the worshippers. Epiphanius condemns their conduct because (a) women ought not to offer sacrifice, and (b) Mary is to be honoured, God only to be worshipped. The name Collyris (or kindred forms) is to be found in the LXX translation of Lev. 7:12, 8:26; 2 Sam. 6:19, 13:8; and the word passed thence into the Latin versions.

5. SOURCE: George Sale (The Koran, IX Edition of 1923, J B Lippincott Company, London, p. 25)
"Among the Arab it was that the heresies of Ebion, Beryllus, and the Nazareans, and also that of the Collyridians, were broached, or at least propagated; the latter introduced the Virgin Mary for God, or worshipped her as such offering her a sort of twisted cake called collyris, whence the sect had its name. This notion of the divinity of the Virgin Mary was also believed by some at the Council of Nice, who said there were two gods besides the Father viz. Christ and the virgin Mary, and were thence named Mariamites."

6. SOURCE: http://www.aol.bartleby.com/81/11024.html
From "Dictionary of Phrase and Fable" (1898) by E. Cobham Brewer (1810-1897)
Mariamites. Worshippers of Mary, the mother of Jesus. They said the Trinity consisted of God the Father, God the Son, and Mary the mother of God.

7. SOURCE: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08070a.htm
From "The Catholic Encyclopedia", Volume VIII (Robert Appleton Company; New York, 1910), definition "Intercession (Mediation)" a fragment The Collyridians, or Philomarianites, offered little cakes in sacrifice to the Mother of God; but the practice was condemned by St. Epiphanius (Har., lxxix, in P.G., XLI, 740); Leontius Byzant., "Contra Nest. et Eutych.", III,6, in P.G., LXXXVI, 1364; and St. John of Damascus (Har., lxxix, in P.G., XCIV, 728).

8. SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/library/HOMELIBR/COLLYRID.TXT
COLLYRIDIANISM by Patrick Madrid (Patrick Madrid is the editor of Envoy Magazine, a journal of Catholic apologetics and evangelization. He is the best-selling author of ten books on Catholic themes). Dates: 350-450. Founder: Unknown.
(a) Background to controversy
Most of the early heresies were Trinitarian and Christological in nature, but Collyridianism stood alone as a heresy that sought to deify the Blessed Virgin Mary. Little is known about the movement's theology. Not even the names of the group's leaders are mentioned by writers of the time. This sect's excessive Marian devotion developed into the idolatry of Mary worship. This aberration grew out of the Church's rightful veneration of Mary as ever-virgin, Mother of God, and powerful heavenly intercessor, but crossed the line of orthodoxy when certain Christians began to worship Mary as divine. Details about the Collyridians are scanty, but one of the few specifics we know of them is that at their liturgical service bread was offered as a sacrifice to Mary.
(b) Principal errors
The heresy of the Collyridians was very simple: They worshiped Mary. This was in direct conflict with the Catholic Church's condemnation of idolatry, which had been condemned by God himself: "You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God" (Ex. 20:3-5; cf. Deut. 5:7, 6:14; 1 Cor.4:8-9, 10:19-20; Eph. 5:5). This proscription applies not just to statue worship, but to the worship of anything besides God.
(c) Orthodox response
It is ironic that the most diligent opponent of the Collyridians was Epiphanius (315-403), the bishop of Salamis. He was widely renowned for his learning and holy asceticism and was a close friend of Jerome, but he was also a rude and querulous man who garnered many enemies, some of whom were fellow bishops.
Though Epiphanius's efforts to quash the Collyridians were laudable and his theological and scriptural reasoning against their idolatry was sound, he himself was not free from error in the area of honoring God's friends. The vehemence of his opposition to the Collyridians' idolatry was rivaled by his fanatical opposition to icons.
In a description that is reminiscent of certain modern-day Fundamentalist foes of Catholic Marian doctrines and of venerating icons and images, patristics scholar Aloys Dirksen, C.P.P.S., describes Epiphanius as having a "fiery temperament and unreasonable impetuosity ... that made the calm objectivity necessary for scholarly work impossible for him. His narrow- mindedness is apparent in the part he played in the Origenist controversy and the violence with which he attacked the veneration of images.
"He considered this idolatry, and in his testament he anathematized anyone who would even gaze upon a picture of the Logos-God. His temperament made him suspicious of heresy everywhere, and he made capital of even the smallest inaccuracy of statement. It appeared impossible for him to see any viewpoint but his own. Since he lacked critical acumen and was a poor, even a tiresome writer, his works would be of little value if it were not for his many quotations [of others]. He thus saved much that would otherwise have been lost to us" (Elementary Patrology [St. Louis: Herder, 1959], 117).
Epiphanius wrote against the Collyridians in his most important apologetic work, Panarion (Medicine Box [374-377]), a tour-de-force refutation of over eighty heresies known to him. He refuted the two extreme and diametrically opposed Marian heresies of his day, Collyridianism (which overly exalted Mary) and Antidicomarianitism, an Arabian movement that debased Mary's status and virtues, to the point of claiming "that holy Mary had intercourse with a man, that is to say, Joseph, after the birth of Christ" (Panarion 78:1). The Collyridians were primarily women who developed a syncretistic combination of Catholicism and pagan goddess cult customs. After describing the "awful and blasphemous ceremony", in which they adorn a chair or a square throne and spread a linen cloth over it for their ritual, Epiphanius writes, "Certain women there in Arabia have introduced this absurd teaching from Thracia: how they offer up a sacrifice of bread rolls in the name of the ever-Virgin Mary, and all partake of this bread" (78:13). He emphasizes the difference between Mary and God: "It is not right to honor the saints beyond their due" (ibid. 78:23); "Now the body of Mary was indeed holy, but it was not God; the Virgin was indeed a virgin and revered, but she was not given to us for worship, but she herself worshiped him who was born in the flesh from her ... Honor Mary, but let the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit be worshiped, but let no one worship Mary, ... even though Mary is most beautiful and holy and venerable, yet she is not to be worshiped" (ibid. 79:1,4).
With Epiphanius we can say that anyone who worships Mary or any other creature is committing idolatry and must be rebuked. We should look to Scripture, at the case of the angel who rebuked John for his temptation to idolatry, to see how to admonish modern-day Collyridians: At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, "Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! (Rev. 19:10). No doubt, our Lady herself would say this to any who would seek to worship her.
(d) Modern parallels
Collyridianism is seen today in various forms. Those "hyper-Marian" groups and writers who overly exalt Mary and focus on her to the exclusion (or near exclusion) of Christ are guilty of something approaching idolatry. Modern feminism is the source of a recycled Collyridianism that worships a "mother goddess" and seeks to "re-image" God in female terms.
This article was taken from the October, 1994 issue of "This Rock", published by Catholic Aswers, P.O. Box 17490, San Diego, CA 92177, (619) 541- 1131, $24.00 per year. The electronic form of this document is copyrighted. Copyright © Trinity Communications 1994. Provided courtesy of : The Catholic Resource Network, Trinity Communications,P.O.Box 3610, Manassas, VA 22110. Voice: 703-791-2576.Fax: 703-791-4250. Data: 703-791-4336. The Catholic Resource Network is a Catholic online information and service system. To browse CRNET or join, set your modem to 8 data bits, 1 stop bit and no parity, and call 1-703-791-4336.