Early each December there is a special fiesta time in the Western Hemisphere designed to re-cement the Roman Catholic's trust in their "Goddess of the Americas." This exercise in idolatry dates back to December, 1531 when an Indian named Juan Diego claims to have seen an apparition of the Virgin Mary on Tepyacac Mountain in Mexico.
She sent him with a message to the local bishop who refused to believe him at first. She reappeared to him and showed him rose bushes blooming out of season on the mountain. He was told to pick the blooms and carry them in his cloak to the bishop.
When he emptied his cloak before the bishop, an image was painted on the inside of the garment which is now preserved in a shrine in Mexico. The image has been designated Our Lady of Guadalupe and proclaimed "patroness of the Americas." Each year thousands of pilgrims go to worship at the shrine. Many walk for days from outlying villages and some climb the hill on their knees, hoping to win the Virgin's favor. In other parts of the hemisphere, the pilgrims will join processions to their local churches carrying candles and praying for healing for loved ones or favor in their families or jobs.
An article in a local newspaper describes the pre-dawn procession as it carried a reproduction of the image to the local Catholic church in Rialto, California. Remarks quoted there graphically illustrate how worship of this image has replaced worship of Jesus in the minds of the pilgrims.
"The faith we have in her is very strong," says a 41-year-old truck driver marching with his wife. He explained that his wife has been battling cancer and they are trusting in the Virgin Mary's healing. "She's the mother of all of us, and she takes care of us," he added.
The pastor of the church explained how the Native Indians were converted to Catholicism in Mexico because of the image and the apparition. "Through her the faith was preserved and spread," he said. One of the staff members at the church claimed that Our Lady of Guadalupe "is like the person who walks along with us in our life's journey."
When questioned, Roman Catholic leaders will deny that this is an exercise in idolatry. Yet the second commandment, which deals with idolatry, forbids making of an image and to "bow down" to it or to "serve" it. Catholics claim that they do not "worship" images. But if we take the second commandment as a valid definition, the bowing down and serving does go on. To "serve" in the Hebrew means work, to spend effort on caring for or giving attention to the image. Of course, Catholics are "guilty on both counts" but there is a deeper factor.
When God speaks against idol worship in the Bible, he often speaks of His jealousy. In fact, in the Exodus 20 listing of the ten commandments, He uses the word to tell why He will not tolerate idol worship. Since jealousy is the result of betrayal of trust, God is saying, "If you place your trust in something other than Me, you have betrayed our relationship and I can no longer bless you or count you as My people."
Catholic theologians may deny that this is idolatry, but the statements above by the "people in the pew" testify otherwise. Nowhere in the whole three-column article is Jesus even mentioned; it is all about Mary. The man's "faith (trust) ... in her is very strong." She is the "...person who walks along with us..."
Can Jesus really look at this whole celebration focused on a mythical person who has been elevated to goddess status and not be jealous that the trust that belongs to Him alone has been betrayed?
The following is an excerpt from "The Myth of Mary", page 162
Reproduced by permission © 1995 by César Vidal
Move over, Jesus
"...like the cuckoo that kicks the legitimate owners out of their nest, the myth of Mary has attempted to deprive Jesus of all that the New Testament attributes to Him.
- He is no longer the only sinless
person. Mary is too.
- He is no longer the only one
who ascended to heaven. So
- He is no longer the only
mediator. Mary intercedes
- He is no longer the only Savior.
Mary is co-redeemer.
- He is no longer the only Lord.
Mary is the Lady.
- He is no longer the only King.
Mary is the Queen.
- He is no longer the one who
holds the keys to death and
Hades. Mary also has them.
From the historical evidence, we see a process of imitation which robs Christ of His most important characteristics and fixes them in Mary. It is a historical evolution of plunder and mythologization. It removes Jesus from His central place in Scripture and replaces him with a Mary entirely different from the biblical figure."