ROME — Jorge Bergoglio, also known as “Pope Francis,” led Roman Catholics on Tuesday in the observance of the feast day called “The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God,” during which he expressed the hope that Mary would “protect” the people for the new year, and claimed that in times of trouble, men should not only “lift [their] eyes to our lady” but to also let Mary gaze upon them, for she is “our life, our sweetness and our hope.” His words have since been refuted by a former Roman Catholic as being unbiblical.
“May Mary, Mother of God, protect and accompany us during this new year and bring the peace of her Son into our hearts and the world,” Bergoglio tweeted this morning, generating over 62K likes as of press time.
Bergoglio delivered further remarks during mass at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, where he provided a message for the feast day, which is observed every Jan. 1 as the octave of Christmas on the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar.
“Especially in times of need, when we are entangled in life’s knots, we rightly lift our eyes to our lady,” he stated, according to the Catholic News Agency and a video posted to YouTube by Vatican News. “Yet first, we should let ourselves be gazed upon by our lady.”
“The eyes of our lady know how to bring light to every dark corner; everywhere they rekindle hope,” Bergoglio continued. “As she gazes upon us, she says, ‘Take heart, dear children; here I am, your mother!’”
He stated that the maternal gaze of Mary helps men to “grow in faith,” and keeps them “rooted in the Church, where unity counts more than diversity.”
“How much dispersion and solitude there is all around us. The world is completely connected, and yet seems completely disjointed. We need to entrust ourselves to our mother,” Bergoglio said. “Mary is a cure for solitude and dispersion. She the mother of consolation. She stands with those who are alone. She knows that words enough are not enough to console; presence is needed. And she is present as a mother.”
He pointed to the Salve Regina, also known as the “Hail, Holy Queen,” which refers to Mary as “our life.” He acknowledged that the words of the Marian tune might seem exaggerated because Christ is life, but said that Mary is “so closely united” to Christ and His people that “we can do no better than to put our hands in hers, and to acknowledge her as our life, our sweetness and our hope.”
“Hail, holy queen, mother of mercy/hail our life, our sweetness and our hope/to thee do we cry,” Catholics recite in the Salve Regina, which is also stated to be the last prayer in the rosary.
“Our lady is not optional; she has to be welcomed into our life,” Bergoglio said to those gathered. “She is the queen of peace, who triumphs over evil and leads us along paths of goodness.”
He then presented a prayer to Mary for his closing remarks.
“Take us by the hand, Mary. Clinging to you, we will pass safely through the straits of history,” Bergoglio prayed. “Lead us by the hand to rediscover the bonds that unite us. Gather us beneath your mantle in the tenderness of true love, where the human family is reborn. We fly to thy protection, holy mother of God.”
As previously reported, the feast of The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God was initially the feast of The Circumcision of Christ until being replaced in 1974 by Pope John VI.
“This celebration, assigned to January 1 in conformity with the ancient liturgy of the city of Rome, is meant to commemorate the part played by Mary in this mystery of salvation,” John XI wrote. “It is meant also to exalt the singular dignity which this mystery brings to the ‘holy mother … through whom we were found worthy … to receive the Author of life.’”
“It is likewise a fitting occasion for renewed adoration of the newborn Prince of Peace, for listening once more to the glad tidings of the angels, and for imploring from God, through the queen of peace, the supreme gift of peace,” he said.
The day is also known as the “World Day of Peace” for this reason.
Bergoglio tweeted on Sunday, “May Jesus, Mary and Joseph bless and protect all families around the world, so that love, joy and peace may reign within them.” The tweet generated 72K likes.
IS IT BIBLICAL?
Mike Gendron of Proclaiming the Gospel Ministries in Southlake, Texas told Christian News Network that Bergoglio’s remarks, including at today’s mass, wrongly instructed Roman Catholics to place their gaze upon Mary as their hope, when it should rather be upon Christ alone.
“Instead of encouraging Catholics to be amazed at Mary, the pope should encourage them to be utterly amazed at our holy, omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, eternal, and merciful God who sovereignly controls everything that takes place in the universe that He created,” he stated.
Gendron outlined that while Bergoglio said that “when we are entangled in life’s knots, we rightly lift our eyes to our lady,” the Scriptures rather instruct in Hebrews 12 that men are to “fix [their] eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
He said that contrary to Bergoglio’s assertions surrounding Mary’s continual gaze upon mankind—and his desire for Mary to bless and protect the new year—Mary is incapable of doing so as the deceased can do nothing.
“Mary cannot bless or gaze upon men and women. This is a distortion of the true Mary of the Bible,” Gendron remarked. “She died like the rest of humanity. She sleeps in death, awaiting the resurrection at Christ’s return (1 Cor. 15:51-52; 1 Thess. 4:16).”
Further, while Bergoglio declared that Mary is “the queen of peace who triumphs over evil,” Gendron explained that the Scriptures teach that it is rather “God [who] gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:57) and “victory belongs to the Lord” (Prov. 21:31).
“Jesus is our prince of peace (Isaiah 9:6),” he noted.
The former Roman Catholic of over 30 years encouraged those who wish to honor Mary to study the words of Christ, highlighting that when “[s]omeone said to Him, ‘Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You,’ Jesus answered and said, ‘Behold, My mother and My brothers … are those who do the will of My Father who is in Heaven’ (Matt. 12:47-49).”
“Our only protection is Christ and His Word, not Mary,” Gendron exhorted. “Because of my love and concern for Catholics, I echo the inspired words of the Apostle Paul: Do not be ‘carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming’ (Eph. 4:14). Test every man’s teaching with the supreme authority of God’s Word, our only infallible source for truth on this earth (Acts 17:11).”