By Grace Ostuni
A former Anglican priest spoke about Mary during an international Marian symposium hosted by Franciscan University on Sept. 14-15.
Rev. Dwight Longenecker presented on introducing Evangelicals to the Blessed Virgin Mary during the symposium sponsored by the International Marian Association.
Longenecker said he was raised as an Evangelical and became an Anglican priest before he and his family converted to Catholicism in 1995.
“I had to think very carefully about the Marian dogmas as I came into the Catholic Church,” said Longenecker.
Longenecker talked about how Protestants’ resistance is to Catholicism in general, while Mary is simply the figurehead of that resistance. He said that, for them, she is a symbol of the Whore of Babylon.
“One cannot have God as his Father, until he has the Blessed Virgin Mary as his mother,” stated Longenecker.
According to Longenecker, there are three main reasons for resistance to Marian devotion: Protestants cannot understand the prominence of Mary and her role in the Bible, they uphold God’s rejection of idolatry and they insist upon the preeminence of Jesus.
“As in all apologetics, we should be seeking an answer, not an argument,” said Longenecker.
Longenecker shared that many Evangelicals view Mary as someone Jesus simply went through to become human. In other words, Mary was simply a conduit.
“We believe God took his human flesh from Mary,” said Longenecker.
Longenecker concluded by saying that there needs to be a shift in understanding the question of human cooperation with God’s grace. He said that the Protestant is uncomfortable with this because it seems close to salvation by works.
“The Church does in the world today what Christ did when He was here,” said Longenecker.
Longnecker’s talk was sponsored by The International Marian Association, which includes theologians, bishops, clergy, religious and lay leaders. The organization currently has over 100 members from 25 countries.
The International Marian Association is built on the four pillars of being Mariological, devotional, episcopal and evangelical. Their mission is to spread Marian devotion across the world.