The devotion to Mother Mary is questioned a lot in the recent times and the church is often accused of turning the devotion into worship often giving her precedence over God himself. The Catholic Church certainly gives importance to the devotion to Mother Mary but never placed her above the worship to our Almighty God. Marian devotion is never worship to Mother Mary.
The Catholic Church describes the devotion to Mary through these three words:
- Latria: This is a Greek word. The word denotes the supreme worship allowed to God our creator alone and none other. The Catholic Church teaches that God alone is worthy of worship.
- Dulia: A Greek word and a theological term signifying the honor paid to the saints. Honoring saints and praying for their intercession is a tradition followed by the Church since the first centuries. The Catechism of Catholic Church talks about the honor paid to the saints. “Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness. They do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, as they proffer the merits which they acquired on earth through the one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus” (CCC 956). Thus Dulia denotes the honor the Catholic Church gives to the Saints who never cease to intercede for us.
- Hyperdulia: This is the very special honor we accord to Mary, the Mother of God. Hyperdulia is a step above Dulia and denotes the place of honor given to Mary in the Catholic Church. In the magnificat Mary says: “All generations will call me blessed” (Lk 1: 48). “The Church’s devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship.” The Church rightly honors “the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of ‘Mother of God,’ to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs. . . . This very special devotion . . . differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration.” The liturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and Marian prayer, such as the rosary, an “epitome of the whole Gospel,” express this devotion to the Virgin Mary (CCC 971).