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   Marian Doctrine and Devotion

The Roman Catholic Church holds many teachings associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Four of these specific doctrines have been raised to the level of dogma, meaning in technical terms that they must be held by the faithful as essential to participation as Roman Catholics.


The four Marian dogmas that have been defined by the magisterium over the course of Christian history, using both Scripture and Sacred Tradition, the two elements of the one source of Revelation, as evidence for these proclamations are the following:


Mary the Mother of God 

Perpetual Virginity of Mary 

The Immaculate Conception

The Assumption of Mary into Heaven


A Marian devotion in Christianity is a gift (total or partial) of oneself, or one's activities to the Virgin Mary, i.e. a willingness and desire to dedicate oneself to, or venerate her, either in terms of prayers or in terms of a set of pious acts.  Such prayers or acts may be accompanied by specific requests for Mary's intercession to God.


There are many Marian devotions, ranging from multi-day prayers such as Catholic Novenasand activities which do not involve prayers, such as the wearing of scapulars or maintaining a Mary garden.


Devotion to the Virgin Mary does not, however, amount to worship - which is reserved for God alone.  Catholics view Mary as subordinate to Christ, but uniquely so, in that she is seen as above all other creatures.


In 787 the Second Council of Nicaea affirmed a three-level hierarchy of latria, hyperdulia and

dulia that applies to God, the Virgin Mary and then to the other saints.

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