On October 16 Pope John Paul II issued an apostolic letter to mark the beginning of his 25th year as pope. The object of the letter was to add another set of "mysteries" to one of the central rituals of Roman Catholicism - the rosary. These mysteries are to be "contemplated" while reciting the dozens of Hail Marys, Our Fathers, and Glorias in this prayer-bead ritual.
Entitled "The Rosary of the Virgin Mary," the letter insists that it is all about focusing on Christ: "With the Rosary, the Christian people sits at the school of Mary and is led to contemplate the beauty on the face of Christ and to experience the depths of his love. Through the Rosary the faithful receive abundant grace, as though from the very hands of the Mother of the Redeemer."
While Jesus is said to be the focus, the Virgin Mary goddess gets most of the attention. The performance of the full rosary ritual involves 15 repetitions of the Our Father, and 15 Glorias, but 150 Hail Marys. Of these canned prayers, Mary gets 10 times as many as God - and Jesus gets none.
One of the main objections to the practice of the rosary is the prohibition in Matt. 6 against "vain repetitions." This is valid for the nominal Roman Catholic who simply repeats the ritual by rote without bothering with the "contemplative" exercise. It's just another function of the elaborate variety of Catholic rituals. If you do them faithfully, then the Virgin Mary will talk Jesus in to letting you into heaven.
But the more insidious tie-in is with the Virgin Mary goddess that Catholicism has fabricated out of the humble Jewish maiden. Here the practice of the rosary ritual becomes another support for the function of this usurper of the glory of our Saviour. An entire chapter of the pope's letter is devoted to "Contemplating Christ through Mary." Mary is presented as the model of "contemplation" as she watched Christ grow to manhood. Then she is become the church's advocate. The pope declares: "Mary intervenes with her maternal intercession. 'The prayer of the Church is sustained by the prayer of Mary.'"
So, when we see a string of rosary beads hanging from the rear view mirror of a car, we know that the owner has accepted this mythological female deity as his contact with heaven.
Catholics will argue that Mary is not a goddess. Yet, no mere human could listen to millions praying to her all at once around the world and possibly deal with each request. Only a divine being has that capability.
Rome's response is that God has given her that capability to fulfill her mission as Mother to the church and the world. If that were true, then God is the one who made her into a goddess.
How do you know a duck if you see one? If it walks and swims and quacks like a duck then it must be - a duck.
If a being is called the Mother of God, is sinless, is Queen of Heaven along with Christ the King, appears omniscient, shares mediator and redeemer functions with Jesus, then it must be -divine, a goddess.
In the local Roman Catholic church, Jesus hangs forever nailed to the cross, while the statue of Mary stands beckoning the people to place their trust in her instead.
For more information on the status Mary has been given by the Roman Catholic Church, see "Understanding Roman Catholicism" by Rick Jones.