A number of Roman Catholic dioceses nationwide—and also globally—have been consecrating themselves to the “immaculate heart of Mary” throughout 2017, a practice that evangelicals say is unbiblical and gives to the earthly mother of Jesus the devotion that should be bestowed to Christ alone.
“We are uniting ourselves to her who opens up the way for God to enter, and we are uniting our hearts to her immaculate heart, the one heart that is perfectly united to the Sacred Heart of Jesus,” James Johnston Jr. of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri told the National Catholic Register.
The consecrations are being conducted as 2017 marks the 100th year since the purported 1917 apparitions of Mary to child shepherds in Fatima, Portugal. The apparitions were stated to have taken place on the 13th of each month over a six-month period.
“God desires to establish in the world devotion to my immaculate heart,” Mary was quoted as stating during one of the appearances to the children. “To whomever embraces this devotion I promise salvation; these souls shall be dear to God, as flowers placed by me to adorn His throne.”
Diocese in Pennsylvania, California, Mississippi, Rhode Island, Colorado, New York and other states have already conducted consecration ceremonies, with more to follow for the remainder of the year.
“This is one way we can ask Mary to guide us and watch over us during implementation [of the Priorities],” Mary Woodward, chancellor for the Diocese of Jackson, Mississippi told the outlet Mississippi Catholic.
They conducted their consecration on Sunday, Oct. 8.
The Diocese of Santa Rosa, California announced in a recent letter that it plans to dedicate every parish and mission under its jurisdiction to Mary during services on Dec. 9 and 10 between the Catholic feasts of the Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Guadalupe.
It also provided notice that those interested can participate in an online Marian Consecration Preparation Program.
“In our consecration we state, ‘We consecrate to you (Mary) our very being and our whole life; all that we have, all that we love, all that we are,'” the notice, issued by Robert Vasa, outlines.
“It is an act of trust in the love God has for us and in the love our blessed mother has for us,” it continues. “We entrust ourselves to Her maternal care with profound confidence and love. We trust that, having given over everything we have and are to Her protection and even Her dominion, we then rely on Her to distribute merits and graces where they are most needed.”
On Oct. 13, the date of the last of the Fatima apparitions, Donald Wuerl, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Washington, plans to consecrate the entire United States to Mary at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
“Many people are worried about the state of the world,” Connie Schneider of Children of the Eucharist told reporters. “This is something everyone can participate in; to light a candle and to entrust families, our country and the world to the care of Our Lady of Fatima.”
Schneider’s organization, as well as the group Missionaries of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, are the main sponsors of the event. The candlelight rosary procession and entrustment prayer will be broadcast live on EWTN to over 140 countries. According to the National Catholic Register, EWTN is also airing a new film this week entitled “Queen of Heaven: Mary’s Battle for Souls” to coincide with the Oct. 13 observance.
Diocese in Denver, Colorado; Minneapolis, Minnesota and Phoenix, Arizona will also hold ceremonies on that date.
However, while Roman Catholics have expressed an excitement about the consecrations, opining that they are a work of God in the world, others find the observances concerning as they attribute to Mary the devotion and surrender that only belongs to Christ.
“It is not surprising to see many Catholic dioceses across America falling deeper into apostasy,” Mike Gendron of Proclaiming the Gospel Ministries told Christian News Network. “Part of Rome’s apostasy includes their exaltation of Mary as the ’cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race’ (Catechism of the Catholic church paragraph 494). Catholics look to her as another sinless mediator who brings them ‘the gifts of eternal salvation’ (CCC, para 969).”
“It is no wonder that far more Catholic Churches are named after Mary than the Name above all names,” he lamented.
Gendron said that some of the comments made by Roman Catholic bishops in regard to the entrustment ceremonies, such as those of Robert Vasa, wrongfully suggest that Mary has powers and attributes just like the Godhead.
“To suggest that she has supernatural or divine power to protect people within her dominion and also to be the source of divine grace is blasphemy,” he declared. “Many people are unaware of Roman Catholicism’s treasury of merit, which contain the merits of Mary that are co-mingled with the inexhaustible merits of Christ (CCC. para. 1477). The Catholic bishops teach that these merits can be distributed to souls suffering in purgatory through indulgences.”
Gendron, a former Roman Catholic of 30 years, says that his heart breaks in observing many being deceived by such practices.
“The tragedy in all this is that Catholics are led astray from a pure devotion to Christ (2 Cor. 11:3),” he stated. “Not only are they being deceived by another Jesus which always leads to another gospel, they are also being deceived by another Mary (2 Cor. 11:4).”
“My heart is full of compassion for Catholics who are where I was for over half my life: believing I belonged to the one true Church, but destined for an eternity in hell because I believed Rome’s false and fatal gospel,” Gendron continued.
“This is the very nature of deception! People do not know they are deceived until they are lovingly confronted with the truth. This truth has been entrusted to every born again Christian and we need to challenge Catholics in their unbelief,” he exhorted. “Their only hope is repent and trust Christ alone for the salvation of their souls.”