ROME — On one of the Roman Catholic feast days following Christmas, “Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God,” Jorge Bergoglio, also known as “Pope Francis,” consecrated 2021 to the deceased Mary, asking that she bless the days ahead and help men to find time for God and others. His words were affirmed by some and rebutted by others.
“Holy Mother of God, to you we consecrate this new year,” he said at the end of his homily read during mass on Friday by Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin. Bergoglio sent his words ahead as he was unable to be present due to a bout with sciatica.
“You, who know how to cherish things in your heart, care for us, bless our time, and teach us to find time for God and for others,” he wrote. “With joy and confidence, we acclaim you holy mother of God! Amen.”
Bergoglio also tweeted the sentiment early Friday morning, generating over 31K likes as of press time.
“Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God” is observed every Jan. 1 as the octave of Christmas on the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar. Bergoglio consequently delivers a homily focused on lessons from the life of Mary every new year and posts a brief message on Twitter.
“This year, while we hope for new beginnings and new cures, let us not neglect care. Together with a vaccine for our bodies, we need a vaccine for our hearts. That vaccine is care,” he said in Friday’s message. “This will be a good year if we take care of others, as our lady does with us.”
Some echoed Bergoglio’s words, leaving Marian prayers under his tweet.
“Holy Mother Mary, the mother of God, we dedicate this new year to you and your beloved Son. We feel safe in your shelter and know that you will take care of us and shower your blessings on us,” one wrote.
“Dearest Pope Francis, without Mary saying yes to having Jesus, God incarnate, we would never be able to say ‘I am a Christian,'” another stated. “Honoring Mary, the mother of God, by consecrating this new year to her, earned queen of the universes. She will intercede, opening hearts as servants of God.”
However, while evangelicals do not oppose learning from the life of Mary, some pushed back against Bergoglio’s prayer to Mary and his consecration of the year to her care and blessings.
“Spiritualism is not biblical,” one wrote. “Mary is dead, and she has nothing to do with the living because the Bible says [in] Ecclesiastes 9:5, ‘For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.'”
“Where does the Bible teach us to consecrate anything to Mary? Shouldn’t the Lord Jesus Christ be the ONLY one to whom we consecrate our lives?” another asked.
“Hate to break it to you, but she’s dead and has not been given special powers to interact with humanity. Try Jesus,” a third stated.
As previously reported, Christians feel that Catholics place an inordinate amount of focus on Mary and unbiblically ascribe attributes to her that belong to the Godhead alone, such as her all-seeing eye (omniscience), her ability to hear prayers from around the world (omnipresence), and her power to care for and protect those who entrust their very lives to her, even by intercession (omnipotence).
Last month, Catholics also observed the Feast of Immaculate Conception, a day in which those who follow the religion commemorate their belief that Mary was conceived in her mother’s womb without original sin.
The doctrine is reflected in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which states in Paragraph 493, “The Fathers of the Eastern tradition call the Mother of God ‘the All-Holy’ (Panagia) and celebrate her as ‘free from any stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature.’ By the grace of God Mary remained free of every personal sin her whole life long.”
Catholics also believe that Mary did not die but, like Jesus, ascended into Heaven. The concept is not found in the Scriptures but was decreed by Pope Pius XII in 1950 as he wrote, “We pronounce, declare and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma that the immaculate mother of God, the ever virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul to heavenly glory.”
1 Timothy 2:5 states, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
Romans 3:23 also teaches, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”