My apologetics article about the Blessed Virgin Mary for Columbia magazine has got a huge readership. The Knights have now published it online here.

The editor set a tough goal for me: explain in simple terms the main Marian dogmas in simple language in the length of a short article. Phew! It helped focus my thoughts and you might find the article helpful as a summary of Catholic teachings about Mary, and readers who are not Catholic may find the explanations helpful.

Last summer, I met a very nice heretic at the community pool. A polite Presbyterian who was curious about my Catholic faith, she asked why Catholics worship the Virgin Mary. I explained that we do not worship Mary, but that we do venerate her as the most humble and exalted of all God’s creatures. She was still alarmed at this idea, so I tried to explain further.

“You see, when you really stop to think who Jesus is and who Mary is, then you’ll understand that she is totally unique,” I said. “This is because Jesus Christ, God’s Son, took his human flesh from Mary and from no one else. Therefore, he looked like Mary. He was, in a sense, a masculine form of Mary.”

The poor woman nearly choked on her Dr Pepper. “Why no!” she protested. “That’s not true! Jesus didn’t take his human flesh from Mary!”

“What do you think happened?”

“I’m not sure,” she stammered. “I think Jesus just sort of ‘came through’ Mary.”

“So she was a conduit or a channel for him to come from heaven into the world?”

“That’s right!” she smiled brightly.

Although it may sound harsh to call this nice Presbyterian at the pool a heretic, she simply did not hold the orthodox, historical understanding of the doctrine of the Incarnation. She believed a faulty, partial truth, and that’s precisely what a heresy is. A heresy is not a total lie. It is a firmly held half-truth.

Read the whole article here.