Why The Virgin Mary is Necessary for our Salvation: A Socratic Dialogue

Blessed Virgin Mary, The Helper in Childbirth

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.

Sam: Great.

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.

Justin: Why?

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?

Sam: Yes!

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.

12 thoughts on “Why The Virgin Mary is Necessary for our Salvation: A Socratic Dialogue

  1. Eternal Life
    John 5:24
    B. Thomas
    Notice –

    1. It is the spiritual life of the soul. It is called “eternal life,” not merely as distinguished from temporal and fading, but also from material and carnal. The soul by sin has lost its spiritual life, its primitive purity, harmony and happiness arising from the peace and friendship of God. The soul left God like an erratic star from its central sun, and is truly described as being dead – dead to God and its highest interest. This life is the life of God within. His Law written in the heart, and his image restored in the soul. A life having its roots in God, its vitality from him, germinating and budding in the genial soil of his peace and friendship, growing and blooming in the sunshine of his love, and under the reviving dew of his presence and influence. This is the highest life of which the soul is capable. It is its true life – real, and not a mere form.

    2. This life is in and through Christ. Having lost our spiritual life by sin, it is evident that we must have it from a Divine source, and through a Divine medium, and under a new and Divine arrangement. Christ is this Source and Medium. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. “I am come that they might have life,” etc. As we derive our natural life from Adam, we derive our spiritual life from Christ, the second Adam.

    3. This life is a blessing to be attainted. It comes not with us into the world. We have many things in consequence of birth. We are here with all the privileges of manhood; but not with eternal life. This we must attain, and to attain it is the chief end of life. If we had eternal life simply as men, we would not be urged to get it, seek it, and make every effort to lay hold of it.

    4. It is to be had on certain conditions. These conditions are as set forth here – knowledge of and faith in the Divine Father and the Son: “He that heareth my word,” etc. Every life from the lowest to the highest has its conditions, and these must be complied with ere that life can be enjoyed. Eternal life has its conditions. To know and believe the Author, the Source, and the Giver of this life is essential to its enjoyment. This natural, reasonable, and gracious as the conditions are suitable, easy, and within the reach of all.

    5. It is to be had on these condition,’s now. As soon as its conditions are complied with, eternal life is begun in the soul. “Hath eternal life.” Some speak of it as if it were entirely future, whereas it must be had in the present or never. This world is the only birthplace, and the season of salvation is the only birthday of eternal life. All those who enjoy it in heaven found it on earth.

    6. It can only be fully enjoyed in the future. Being eternal, it must have eternity to develop itself fully. What is eternal in duration cannot reach maturity in time; what is spiritual in nature cannot be fully enjoyed under material conditions. All terrestrial life reaches a climax under terrestrial laws and circumstances; but spiritual life requires spiritual conditions, and naturally demands eternity in its full length to expand and develop its beauty, fruition, and happiness.

    7. It is a life without end. “Eternal life.” Every life here has an end, but one – spiritual life – Christ-life in the soul. This is eternal, and worthy of being so. The life of the body has an end: and when we consider its vanity, emptiness, privations, and sufferings, we are glad that it has. There is nothing in it, as a whole, to make endlessness desirable. There is no life, but that of God in the soul, worthy of being qualified by the word “eternal;” this has all the elements to make it worthy of eternal continuance. Eternity in the possession of this life will make up the sum of all the happiness man is capable of.


    1. There is a wonderful immunity. “Shall not come into judgment.” Much of the blessings of redemption consist, not in what we shall enjoy, but in what we shall evade; and this will be a great evasion. “Shall not come,” etc. And why? Because it is passed. Eternal life and judgment are opposed to each other, and are respectively the results of faith and no faith in Christ. Judgment is in the region of death, but the believer has come out of that. There can be no real judgment for the possessor of life. “Who can lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” in this case the final examination is in the preliminary. Pass this, and you pass all.

    2. There is a wonderful transition. “From death unto life.”

    (1) This transition is wonderfully great. Death and life are diametrically opposed. The moral distance between them is immeasurable; the change involved is, therefore, great. There is a change of nature, of condition, of sphere, of character, of prospects, of world. The passage from death unto life is morally long, and the transition wonderful.

    (2) The transition is Divine. Every one who undergoes this transition must undergo a Divine process. The voice of God alone can make the dead in trespasses and sins hear. His power alone can bring them back to life. His infinite love can warm and quicken the soul into spiritual vitality; cause the heart to beat, and the blood to course so as to result in a new and Divine life. What is human in the process is lost when compared with the Divine, and God is all in all.

    (3) The transition is real. It is not a passing dream, but a glorious reality; a genuine passage of the soul from a state of spiritual death to that of spiritual life. That it is real is evidenced:

    (a) By the believer’s experience and consciousness; He does not feel the same man. And he is right; for he is a new man. “I live, but not I,” etc. His experience is quite different. “Who was before a blasphemer,” etc.

    (b) There are the ordinary proofs of life. It is not very difficult to distinguish between a dead and a living body, and not much more difficult is it to distinguish between a dead and a living soul. Mark the difference in the man – in his habits, his temper, his character, his language; they are unmistakable evidence of the transition.

    (c) The emphatic testimony of Christ. “Verily, verily,” etc.

    (4) The transition is free. It cost infinitely to God. Before a single soul could be transmitted from death unto life, God’s only begotten Son bad to suffer the most ignominious death. But what we have to do in the transition is only to believe and submit; only to jump on board the ship of life, and the passage is free.

    (5) The transition, though great, is quickly made. We hear of quick passages made across the oceans, but they are all physical distance. To the moral distance between death and life, they are the moral poles of the universe; but the passage is quickly made. Only believe in Christ. The quickest passage, perhaps, on record is that of the thief on the cross. In the morning and even at midday he was in the empire of death and one of its extreme regions; but by an act of faith in Christ he was, before the close of that day, with Christ in one of the regions of life – in Paradise.

    (6) The transition is a most happy one. “From death,” etc.

    (a) The happiness of the greatest deliverance.

    (b) The happiness of the highest promotion.

    (c) The happiness of perfect safety.

    (d) The happiness of an ever-increasing enjoyment – the enjoyment of a holy, spiritual, and ever-young and growing life.

    (e) The happiness of a never-ending gratitude. – B.T.

    The Pulpit Commentary, Electronic Database.
    Copyright © 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2010 by Biblesoft, Inc.
    All rights reserved. Used by permission. BibleSoft.com
    Bible Hub

  2. A natural way of saying what is intended without offending another’s faith. I find an answer to a question that i was battling with for quite some time. Thanks Matt!!!

  3. Matt

    Great discourse, again. I have only one concern for discussion. When Justin and Sam, in the “strictly necessary” section seem to agree on the fact that any woman could have been the mother of God, by, I assume, the grace of God. Is this what you guys are saying? If so, I would respectfully disagree. I suppose another’s name could have been substituted for Mary … Ruth or Jane .. but the soul providing the necessary spiritual base for the preparation of The Son of man, the only soul capable of such purity, ever created, was the only one capable to receive, nourish and birth the True God.

    I don’t think it’s splitting hairs when I say that I believe God’s creation of Mary’s soul came first, not all the female souls ever to be created, were, and then God chose one to be the bride for His Holy Spirit. If this assumption of mine is true, then that perfectly formed soul, expressly created for His transformation from divinity to humanity, could be named anyone, but would still be the created soul chosen from and for perfection.

  4. Matt

    What does it mean “comment awaiting moderation”? Have I said something that is considered offensive? If so, apologies please. I meant no disrespect.

    1. Thanks, JD. I’m not sure why wordpress does that some times and doesn’t others. I certainly didn’t read anything I found offensive, so don’t worry! 🙂

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