These dialogues aren’t meant to cover every aspect of, or every objection to, each doctrine. There’s more that could be said, obviously.
They’re meant to be a fun and intellectually stimulating introduction to Catholic teachings that can sometimes be hard to understand.
Also, I’ve tried to make it a reasonably fair exchange between Sam (the Protestant) and Justin (the Catholic), but I haven’t tried that hard.
The goal here is to demonstrate the superiority of the Catholic position, something that couldn’t be done in the space I’ve done it in if I were to launch every Protestant objection to the doctrines discussed.
Cool? I don’t think Protestants are cotton-headed ninny muggins’s. Promise.
Enjoy, and please give me your feedback below.
Why Do you Wear That Medal?
Sam: I’ve been meaning to ask, why do you wear a medal of Mary around your neck?
Justin: Why do you wear a cross around yours?
Sam: To remind me of what Christ did for me. It reminds me of my salvation and that, despite my many sins, Christ died for them all.
Justin: That’s a good answer. So you’re saying that by the cross, Christ redeemed fallen humanity, yes?
Sam: Of course.
Justin: Good. I agree. Let me ask you this . . .
Sam: . . . Are you going to tell me why you wear this Mary medal? I wasn’t trying to be antagonistic, just curious.
Justin: Oh, I know you weren’t. Believe it or not, I’m trying to tell you. Do you think the cross was necessary for our salvation?
Sam: What do you mean?
Why The Cross Necessary
Justin: Just what I said; do you think that Jesus’ death on the cross was necessary for our salvation?
Sam: Yes, of course.
Justin: So you’re saying that if the Romans—or was it the Persians, I’m not sure—hadn’t invented this method of execution, God would have no way to redeem us?
Sam: No, I’m not saying that. . . . This is the first time I’ve thought of this and so I’m thinking on the spot here . . . I think God could have saved us by other means, perhaps God could have redeemed the world without Christ even dying, I don’t know, but since that is the way God chose to save us, it becomes necessary for us, doesn’t it?
Justin: I like the way you put that. Yes, I agree with you. I suppose we could distinguish between strict necessity and relative necessity, couldn’t we. It wasn’t strictly necessary, since he could have saved us without the cross; but since he’s chosen to save us in this way, it becomes necessary.
Sam: So why do you wear a medal of Mary instead of a cross? Is it because the cross wasn’t “strictly necessary”?
Justin: Oh, certainly not! I’ve worn a cross in the past and I’ll probably wear one again in the future. Let me tell you why I wear a medal—it’s called a miraculous medal, incidentally—depicting the Mother of God.
Why Mary is Necessary
Justin: Without the Virgin Mary, without her “yes” to the angel Gabriel, the second person of the Blessed Trinity would not have become man. The Mother of God is necessary for our salvation.
Sam: Wow. I’m sure you’ve got reasons for this stuff, but it sounds, well, slightly idolatrous.
Sam: Mary is necessary for our salvation?
Justin: That’s a question, not an argument. Why is what I’ve said idolatrous.
Sam: You’re saying that without her we’d all be damed?
Justin: Yes, that is what I’m saying. But look, just a moment ago you said that an inanimate object—the cross— was necessary for our salvation.
Sam: It wasn’t strictly necessary, it isn’t the source of our salvation.
Justin: Agreed, and I would say the same of the Mother of God. She wasn’t strictly necessary, and she isn’t the source of our salvation, God is.
Sam: Okay, that makes me feel better. What do you mean she wasn’t strictly necessary? You admit that God could have been born of some other woman if he chose to?
Justin: Of course, don’t you?
Justin: But we’ve seen, haven’t we? That just because something isn’t strictly necessary, it doesn’t follow that it isn’t relatively necessary, that it isn’t necessary for us. And it doesn’t mean we remove those lines from our hymns like, “thank you for the cross where your love poured out.” Or that we insert into them, “Oh the wondrous cross . . . that wasn’t strictly necessary but is necessary for us since he chose to save us in this way”
Sam: Haha. Right.
Justin: So if you’re going to say—and I agree with you—that the cross was necessary for our salvation, shouldn’t you also say the same of Mary? Without her, his crucifixion would have been impossible.
Sam: Fine, I can see that.
Justin: So if you’re allowed to wear a cross to remind you of your salvation, why can’t I wear an image of the Virgin Mary to remind me of the same thing? Besides, the cross didn’t have a choice to participate in God’s plan for our salvation, Mary did.
Why Pray to Her? Why do You Make Images of Her?
Sam: But you also pray to her and wear images of her? Especially when we’ve been commanded not to make graven images?
Justin: I have to run, but Matt Fradd was recently interviewed about that very question. Interested in listening to it?
Sam: Matt Fradd? You mean Matthew Kelly, right? I’ve heard of him.
Justin: Yeah, no. Matt Fradd . . . Not as awesome but still Australian. Anyway, here’s the link to the audio
Sam: Thanks, Justin.