Do Catholics worship Mary? A 30-second explanation

Do Catholics worship Mary? A 30-second explanation

Many non-Catholics believe that Catholics worship Mary.

To be fair, you can see why. Look at all our statues, images and emphasis on the Rosary. We Catholics do give Mary a lot of attention, don’t we?

Yet we don’t worship her. Like all Christians, Catholics worship God alone.

So what’s really going on?

It all comes down to three words: latria, dulia and hyperdulia.

Latria means worship. It’s the worship we give only to God.

Dulia means veneration. It’s the honor we give human people, like the saints. (Great historical figures are also in this category.)

Hyperdulia means a special veneration. Catholics give this honor to Mary above all the other saints. She’s in a league of her own because: 

  • She is the Mother of God. ( Luke 1:43)
  • Jesus made her our spiritual mother. (John 19:26-27)
  • She cooperated perfectly with God’s plan to save us. (Luke 1:31-38)

The next time you hear a non-Catholic claim that Catholics worship Mary, you’ll know this essential distinction:

Latria: God.
Dulia: the saints.
Hyperdulia: Mary.