Mary and Youth: Survey Results


Here are the results to questions asked to youth in a survey done by Father Johann Roten at the International Marian Research institute. The survey was answered by youth of many countries.

Survey on Mary and Youth: General Information Questions
Survey on Mary and Youth: Questions on Apparitions
Survey on Mary and Youth: Marian Prayers
Survey on Mary and Youth: Special Prayers and Dogma
Survey on Mary and Youth: Beliefs about Mary
Survey on Mary and Youth: Mary's Role in the Church
Survey on Mary and Youth: Perceptions of Mary
Survey on Mary and Youth: Views on Mary in Our Lives
Survey on Mary and Youth: A selection of replies
Survey on Mary and Youth: Replies about Personal Images of Mary


Mary and Youth: General Information Questions
Austria Canada Ecuador France Ireland Italy Japan Korea Peru Spain Switzer-
land
United States
No. of Replies
96 149 88 562 66 219 129 611 330 920 53 3631
What is the religion in which you have been raised?
Roman Catholic
100.0%
96
99.3%
148
100.0%
88
89.3%
502
95.5%
63
98.2%
215
94.6%
24.9
24.9%
151
98.2%
323
98.4%
905
96.2%
51
80.6%
2926
No Religion
0%
0
0%
0
0%
0
2.3%
13
3.0%
2
0.5%
1
2.3%
3
30.1%
183
0%
0
0.2%
2
1.9%
1
3.3%
120
In general, how would you characterize your association with the religion in which you have been raised?
Positive (Very Strong, Strong, Average)
75.1%
72
72.5%
108
88.6%
78
57.1%
318
60.3%
38
76.3%
167
78.3%
101
59.5%
363
72.4%
239
77.9%
716
52.8%
28
80.6%
2917
I reject the religion in which I have been raised
7.3%
7
2.0%
3
0%
0
2.2%
12
6.3%
4
1.8%
4
0.8%
4
5.9%
36
2.1%
7
2.5%
23
0%
0
2.4%
85
In the last three years at your school have you ever been taught about Mary?
yes
79.2%
76
67.1%
100
100.0%
88
75.7%
424
47.7%
31
75.5%
163
40.3%
52
64.4%
387
97.3%
321
90.4%
829
41.5%
22
83,9%
3050
At your church, do you participate in special Marian devotions?
No
40.0%
38
64.4%
96
23.0%
20
60.9%
335
89.2%
58
61.7%
132
17.6%
22
53.3%
309
59.1%
194
41.9%
381
56.9%
29
44.4%
1577
If you are aware of any Marian devotions practiced by your school, please indicate which ones are practiced:
To my knowledge, my school does not practice Marian devotions.
14.6%
14
57.7%
86
0%
0
7.8%
44
12.1%
8
0.5%
1
34.9%
45
3.0%
18
4.5%
15
3.6%
33
84.9%
45
15.7%
571
If your school does practice Marian devotions (such as, Rosary, Mass on Marian feast days, special local Marian celebrations such as May crownings or Marian processions, recitation of other Marian prayers, Marian pilgrimages) do you participate?
Yes
70.8%
63
11.4%
17
93.0%
80
54.3%
288
45.1%
23
88.8%
183
80.7%
71
82.6%
493
72.2%
244
73.3%
649
13.6%
3
68.8%
1496
If your family practices any Marian devotions, which ones are practiced?
My family does not practice Marian devotions.
46.9
45
9.1%
53
17.0%
15
44.8%
252
60.6%
40
43.8%
96
32.6%
42
68.1%
416
36.7%
120
39.0%
359
43.4%
23
45.3%
1609


Mary and Youth: Questions on Marian Apparitions

Austria Canada Ecuador France Ireland Italy Japan Korea Peru Spain Switzer-
land
United States
No. of Replies
96 149 88 562 66 219 129 611 330 920 53 3631
The following statements concern how you perceive Marian apparitions, such as Guadalupe, Lourdes, and Fatima.
I am interested in Marian apparitions
62.5%
60
68.7%
101
88.2%
75
72.1%
403
15.8%
9
79.9%
175
76.0%
98
35.1%
202
78.4%
258
70.4%
643
71.2%
37
60.0%
2033
Apparitions are a sign of exaggerated importance given to Mary by the Catholic Church.
45.8%
44
17.6%
26
21.2%
18
19.5%
109
14.8%
8
17.4%
38
42.5%
54
13.0%
74
24.3%
80
31.1%
285
26.9%
14
28.2%
1015
Apparitions are a sign of God's grace operating in the world.
50.0%
48
54.7%
81
77.6%
66
59.9%
336
20.4%
11
70.2%
153
55.2%
69
41.4%
236
74.8%
246
63.2%
578
55.8%
29
66.2%
2375
So-called Marian apparitions can be explained by psychology.
36.5%
35
21.8%
32
28.9%
24
32.4%
181
9.6%
5
25.2%
55
17.2%
22
22.2%
126
18.0%
59
18.8%
172
42.3%
22
16.4%
585
We do have to believe in Marian apparitions.
26.0%
25
45.9%
68
68.2%
58
52.4%
292
9.4%
5
56.0%
122
52.0%
65
38.8%
219
48.0%
158
45.3%
415
44.2%
23
28.0%
1005
Through apparitions, we see that God reveals himself to whomever he wants through Mary.
42.7%
41
41.2%
61
59.5%
50
52.2%
291
30.2%
16
53.0%
115
66.7%
84
32.7%
185
50.0%
164
50.3%
459
42.3%
22
51.0%
1827
Marian apparitions contribute greatly to the conversion of many to God.
70.8%
68
44.6%
66
82.4%
70
51.3%
285
26.9%
14
58.4%
128
44.9%
57
42.3%
231
74.4%
244
67.7%
619
57.7%
30
51.7%
1844

Return to the Apparitions Information Index


Mary and Youth: Marian Prayers

Austria Canada Ecuador France Ireland Italy Japan Korea Peru Spain Switzer-
land
United
States
No. of Replies
96 149 88 562 66 219 129 611 330 920 53 3631
Do Marian prayers have a place in your life?
Yes
45.8%
44
58.8%
87
94.3%
82
55.9%
308
42.9%
27
74.5%
161
44.3%
54
30.9%
186
79.4%
258
84.2%
774
60.4%
32
69.7%
2447
I do not pray.
11.5%
11
16.2%
24
0%
0
19.2%
106
30.2%
19
6.9%
15
4.9%
6
27.1%
163
10.2%
33
8.0%
74
17.0%
9
7.3%
255
If you say any Marian prayers, which one do you say most often?
"Hail Mary"
76.0%
73
69.8%
104
87.5%
77
69.8%
392
57.6%
38
97.4%z
185
76.0%
98
26.0%
159
87.3%
288
82.9%
763
66.0%
35
78.4%
2847
How do you perceive Marian prayer?
I do think it is important.
56.3%
54
63.3%
93
97.6%
83
65.9%
367
27.6%
16
83.5%
182
80.6%
104
39.8%
236
89.7%
296
84.1%
771
59.6%
31
64.5%
2322
Mary is the model of prayer and faith.
53.7%
51
68.0%
100
97.7%
86
68.1%
380
37.5%
21
76.1%
166
55.0%
71
25.0%
147
87.9%
290
83.3%
763
51.9%
27
74.8%
2648
Mary is the powerful intercessor.
50.0%
48
48.3%
71
92.9%
78
48.3%
269
21.4%
12
71.7%
157
51.9%
67
24.7%
145
73.0%
241
61.7%
565
36.5%
19
57.4%
2061
It distracts me from directly praying to God.
13.5%
13
10.2%
15
18.8%
16
15.4%
86
5.6%
3
10.1%
22
10.2%
13
10.1%
59
8.8%
29
6.8%
62
9.8%
5
11.0%
395
One can only pray to God.
14.6%
14
13.6%
20
2.4%
2
23.5%
131
3.6%
2
10.2%
22
7.0%
9
25.5%
150
3.0%
10
2.3%
21
8.0%
4
11.7%
417


Mary and Youth: Questions about special forms of prayer and dogma.

Austria Canada Ecuador France Ireland Italy Japan Korea Peru Spain Switzer-
land
United
States
No. of Replies
96 149 88 562 66 219 129 611 330 920 53 3631
If you were ever taught to pray the rosary, do you ever pray it?
I was taught the rosary, but never pray it.
28.7%
27
43.0%
64
22.7%
20
30.1%
167
59.7%
37
44.2%
96
36.9%
45
10.4%
59
39.0%
128
27.3%
251
43.4%
23
34.4%
1223
Are you a member of any Marian prayer or social organizations?
No
88.2%
82
98.7%
147
80.7%
71
95.5%
528
100.0%
61
94.9%
206
95.2%
120
94.5%
568
88.8%
293
83.3%
766
100.0%
53
96.9%
3467
Other than reading in church or required reading for school, do you ever read the Bible?
Yes
26.0%
25
23.5%
35
68.2%
60
35.4%
197
13.8%
9
26.4%
57
33.3%
43
58.9%
353
53.0%
175
46.0%
421
26.4%
14
41.5%
1493
The Roman Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception says essentially...
I do not know what the dogma says.
77.9%
74
32.0%
47
44.3%
39
41.2%
226
53.2%
33
24.7%
54
50.8%
64
35.5%
212
33.7%
110
32.8%
302
30.2%
16
47.9%
1610
Besides the Assumption and the Immaculate Conception, can you think of other Roman Catholic Marian dogmas?
No
94.7%
90
98.0%
146
86.9%
73
95.0%
516
100.0%
58
94.9%
204
98.4%
124
94.1%
546
84.7%
271
88.2%
811
98.1%
52
92.7%
2357


Mary and Youth: Beliefs about Mary

Austria Canada Ecuador France Ireland Italy Japan Korea Peru Spain Switzer-
land
United
States
No. of Replies
96 149 88 562 66 219 129 611 330 920 53 3631
What is your perception of Mary being divine like God or human like us?
I see Mary as a woman who is like God or more like God than like us.
20.8%
20
35.1%
52
33.7%
29
30.5%
169
17.7%
11
27.9%
61
44.9%
57
13.2%
79
28.4%
93
24.3%
223
35.8%
19
37.0%
1308
What is your perception about how Mary became the mother of God's son, Jesus?
I believe that Mary chose freely to accept God's invitation to bear his son.
54.3%
50
58.1%
86
92.0%
80
70.1%
392
58.3%
35
68.9%
151
77.2%
98
45.1%
269
87.5%
287
82.2%
756
82.7%
43
76.3%
2726
The Roman Catholic Church teaches that Mary was a virgin before, during and after she gave birth to Jesus. I strongly agree or agree that...
A. The doctrine of the virgin birth is important because it safeguards the divinity of Jesus Christ.
29.5%
28
48.3%
71
70.1%
61
52.3%
291
20.0%
11
57.1%
125
48.4%
62
38.8%
225
59.0%
194
56.1%
514
46.2%
24
61.3%
2142
B. I don't understand the doctrine of the virgin birth, but I believe it because the Church teaches it.
7.9%
17
23.1%
34
44.7%
38
23.6%
131
19.6%
11
25.1%
55
55.5%
71
18.1%
105
75.9%
249
23.3%
212
28.8%
15
26.7%
937
C. It is important for Roman Catholics to believe in the virgin birth as biological (physical) reality.
23.2%
22
23.1%
34
26.7%
23
24.3%
135
19.6%
11
17.8%
39
25.8%
33
23.1%
133
19.8%
65
20.9%
190
13.5%
7
35.4%
1243


Mary and Youth: Mary's role within the Church
Austria Canada Ecuador France Ireland Italy Japan Korea Peru Spain Switzer-
land
United
States
No. of Replies
96 149 88 562 66 219 129 611 330 920 53 3631
What is your perception of Mary being divine like God or human like us?
Do you believe that Mary is the mother of God, meaning the mother of Jesus Christ, true God and true man?
Yes
53.7%
51
83.1%
123
93.2%
82
70.5%
395
46.8%
29
80.3%
175
83.6%
107
41.8%
244
86.3%
284
83.6%
765
67.9%
36
81.3%
2912
The following statements concern different views or opinions about Mary. I strongly agree or agree that...
Mary is the mediator between God the Father and humanity.
Agree
62.5%
60
67.1%
100
89.4%
76
61.4%
344
23.2%
13
74.8%
163
51.2%
65
44.8%
265
78.4%
257
64.7%
591
50.0%
26
48.0%
1722
Mary is the co-redeemer of humanity with Jesus Christ.
Agree
35.4%
34
39.6%
59
72.9%
62
36.9%
206
7.3%
4
51.6%
112
66.7%
84
43.6%
258
57.1%
186
51.5%
461
28.8%
15
37.3%
1319
Mary is the Catholic goddess to be worshipped by the faithful.
Agree
35.4%
34
41.6%
62
39.5%
34
36.6%
201
35.1%
20
26.7%
58
51.6%
64
37.5%
219
24.2%
79
28.4%
258
38.5%
20
33.8%
1189


Mary and Youth: Perceptions of Mary

Austria Canada Ecuador France Ireland Italy Japan Korea Peru Spain Switzer-
land
United
States
No. of Replies
96 149 88 562 66 219 129 611 330 920 53 3631
The following are descriptions that are used to describe Mary. I strongly agree or agree that...
she is a caring mother of the Church and of humanity.
65.6%
61
76.2%
112
96.6%
85
73.7%
411
57.9%
33
80.8%
177
68.8%
88
42.1%
249
86.2%
282
84.6%
778
64.2%
34
83.3%
2953
she is the mother of God.
71.3%
67
77.6%
114
94.3%
82
70.7%
396
50.9%
29
81.3%
178
60.9%
78
31.4%
185
88.7%
290
84.0%
772
66.7%
34
79.8%
2851
she sympathizes with the poor.
75.5%
71
85.7%
126
60.9%
53
78.0%
437
43.9%
25
77.9%
169
74.2%
92
47.5%
281
54.0%
176
53.2%
485
76.9%
40
76.7%
2746
she is our sister in faith.
57.0%
53
78.2%
115
85.1%
74
59.3%
332
40.4%
23
70.3%
154
31.3%
40
47.3%
280
74.9%
245
70.1%
641
65.4%
34
70.2%
2496
she is the handmaid of God.
60.6%
57
49.7%
73
90.6%
77
63.0%
353
23.2%
13
58.9%
129
23.8%
30
30.0%
177
63.9%
209
51.6%
473
71.2%
37
50.0%
1767
she is the feminine dimension of God.
22.3%
21
53.1%
78
43.0%
37
33.9%
190
26.8%
15
23.4%
51
41.3%
52
20.3%
119
31.6%
103
24.2%
220
26.9%
14
41.6%
1482
she is the highest expression of human beauty.
21.5%
20
44.9%
66
72.1%
62
35.8%
200
23.6%
13
33.3%
73
50.4%
65
28.6%
169
46.8%
153
40.3%
368
15.4%
8
47.2%
1657
she is the Queen of Heaven.
37.2%
35
46.3%
68
80.5%
70
30.9%
173
43.9%
25
67.4%
147
23.4%
30
13.5%
80
64.2%
210
41.7%
382
21.2%
11
60.4%
2132
she is a powerful intercessor who presents our prayers to God.
51.1%
48
53.1%
78
81.4%
70
42.4%
237
14.3%
8
56.6%
124
60.6%
77
37.9%
223
76.1%
249
49.7%
454
30.8%
16
50.1%
1753
she is the co-redeemer of humanity with Jesus Christ.
35.1%
33
52.4%
77
78.8%
67
45.9%
257
17.9%
10
61.5%
134
65.6%
84
43.6%
258
60.1%
196
51.4%
466
34.6%
18
39.4%
1406
she is the ideal woman.
20.2%
19
39.5%
58
79.1%
68
35.5%
199
22.8%
13
30.3%
66
60.2%
77
39.9%
236
68.7%
224
67.3%
617
13.5%
7
52.0%
1823
she is a chaste virgin.
42.6%
40
37.0%
54
69.8%
60
40.1%
225
24.6%
14
55.5%
121
65.6%
84
59.0%
349
63.5%
207
50.4%
459
32.7%
17
58.6%
2094


Mary and Youth: Views on Mary in our lives

Austria Canada Ecuador France Ireland Italy Japan Korea Peru Spain Switzer-
land
United
States
No. of Replies
96 149 88 562 66 219 129 611 330 920 53 3631
Do you view Mary in other ways? [This continues last's week's questions.
No
3.9%
68
86.3%
126
28.6%
24
78.2%
431
88.3%
53
85.2%
184
92.0%
115
88.4%
497
56.7%
181
59.3%
546
80.8%
42
28.8%
1009
Does Mary have a place in your life?
Yes
33.3%
32
40.8%
60
86.2%
75
40.3%
226
23.4%
15
51.6%
113
10.2%
13
19.9%
118
74.8%
246
68.6%
628
43.4%
23
59.4%
2111
Is Mary important to the Roman Catholic Church?
Yes
66.0%
62
71.6%
106
94.3%
83
68.8%
381
61.9%
39
79.5%
174
71.8%
89
29.2%
170
94.8%
310
85.1%
777
62.3%
33
76.9%
2749
In your opinion, how important is knowledge about and devotion to Mary to faith in Jesus Christ?
Very Important or Important
36.3%
33
42.2%
62
78.4%
69
46.1%
256
12.5%
7
53.9%
118
47.2%
59
29.5%
174
60.7%
198
59.4%
542
34.0%
18
49.1%
1731
In your opinion, is Roman Catholic teaching about Mary an obstacle to Christian unity?
Yes
23.9%
22
4.1%
6
11.5%
10
19.1%
107
5.3%
3
4.6%
10
6.5%
8
9.5%
56
8.3%
27
12.2%
111
20.8%
11
10.8%
382
I would describe my relationship with the following as very close or somewhat close:
God
69.8%
67
64.6%
95
88.4%
76
63.2%
335
41.0%
25
80.4%
176
49.2%
61
75.5%
450
89.6%
294
85.0%
775
71.7%
38
87.0%
3010
Jesus
2.3%
68
64.6%
95
4.2%
81
61.3%
342
36.1%
22
81.7%
179
51.2%
64
75.0%
445
87.5%
287
86.6%
788
73.6%
39
83.7%
2885
Mary
2.6%
40
52.7%
77
8.9%
72
58.8%
329
29.5%
18
73.1%
160
48.4%
61
46.4%
273
85.4%
280
81.3%
734
64.2%
34
64.6%
2211
Saint
9.8%
28
38.8%
57
1.7%
50
42.2%
235
21.7%
13
34.2%
75
5.0%
42
32.5%
192
50.2%
164
41.2%
368
20.8%
11
39.6%
1345
Home parish
5.2%
53
54.8%
80
4.7%
55
50.5%
280
14.8%
9
9.7%
65
6.6%
69
36.1%
214
52.5%
171
60.9%
542
43.4%
23
57.9%
1985
Church groups
35.4%
34
35.9%
52
52.3%
45
41.1%
228
1.6%
1
16.0%
35
47.1%
57
50.6%
298
19.4%
63
49.5%
442
26.4%
14
35.4%
1209


Mary and Youth: A Selection of Replies

The replies to questions 35 to 38 (see Appendix I) which indicated that Mary was seen as a mother figure could be divided into two groups: those using implicit and those using explicit maternal references. Respondents using such imagery appeared to have a personal and affective relationship with Mary. When referring to Mary as mother, the respondents (as can be seen from the samples) spoke of an idealized mother. Implicit maternal language was present in a plurality of the total number of responses to the open-ended questions.

Obviously, such insights are open to subjective interpretation. It is well established, however, that those answering such optional questions tend to hold stronger and less typical views than those who do not answer them. Nevertheless, certain trends appeared.

Ideal Mother Image

Those using explicit maternal references often seemed to express a view of Mary similar to a maternal religious archetype. This was apparent in the replies to question 38. "Is Mary important to the Roman Catholic Church?" Here the replies were short answers, frequently consisting of phrases that seemed to have been memorized." Mother of Jesus Christ, our only Lord" - "She conceived the only son of God through the power of the Holy Spirit" - "She's the mother of God" - "Intercessive [sic] power, as of a mother" - "She's the mother of Jesus and our Spiritual mother" - "She is the mother of the world." Although this group of replies seemed to indicate a more cognitive perspective on Mary, the brevity and the predictable form of the answers might well indicate a shallow level of understanding.

The image most frequently cited in the responses to the open-ended questions described Mary in language which was personal and suggestive of an affective relationship. Examples will follow next week.


Mary and Youth: A Selection of Replies to Questions Inquiring About Personal Images of Mary

Explicit Maternal Image

"I view her as a mother who cares for her children" - "A friend, a mother, my own mother, and a caring person who is concerned about us and our future" - "I see Mary as the mother to all humanity" - "Mother of God" - "My second mother" - "As my mother (real)" - "To me, Mary represents my mother, the one who has done everything she can possibly do for me, that is why when I think of Mary I see my mother" - "Mary is my mother, who I come to [to] seek advice and be consoled" - "She is the mother of Jesus" - "She is the mother of mothers."

Implicit Maternal Image

"As a respected loving and caring woman" - "I see Mary as a gentle, loving person who cares for all" - "Mary is one we can talk to (pray to)" - "Whenever I need some help always ask Mary, and whenever I get scared I ask Mary to help me and protect me, and that never fails" - "Mary helps me in my life in many ways. She helps me to be thankful for everything I have especially my mother" - "Mary is a source of guidance to me and my family" - "But if I am in need I pray to her" - "Mary is someone I see with a heart immeasurably large. She gives special blessings to all and she is like God in that she will listen when you need her to."

Another commonly repeated theme, though less frequent than the ideal mother, was the exemplary or model human person. For our purposes, the term model refers to a person with traits which should and can be imitated. The emphasis is on similitude and affection. Responses in this category were divided between those using the language of human values and those emphasizing religious values. Some examples of Mary recognized as model will follow next week.


Model (Human Values)

Some examples of Mary recognized as model follow:

"She was very young and brave" - "Handmaid, strong-willed, humble, average beauty, not ugly" - " A nice lady" - "Our great, bold, loving mother" - "I view her as a brave, dedicated and loving woman" - " I see her as a friend" - "She is just someone that I can talk to" - "She is what I try to model my life after her caring and compassionate ways" - "Being a female, I see Mary as a role model" - " Mary is someone for me to follow and shape my life after. A model, someone I can confide in" - " Human expectations, goals, possibilities, limitations."

Model (Religious Values)

"I see Mary as the woman without sin" - " Holy woman that would do anything for God" - " I believe Mary was a good woman and served God and he rewarded her, but she is not sinless" - " A model to follow the right way Jesus taught us" - " I feel Mary is a model of faith and discipleship" - " She is a symbol of faith and goodness, also she brings people closer to God."

A large number of responses from young women showed that they saw Mary as a feminine role model (a division of the category of human or secular model):

"I view her as a friend I can ask help from. I can pray to her about 'girl problems' like a big sister" - " I view Mary as a role model for Christian girls" - " She is a feminine model for women" - " Gentle, understanding of our wants and feeling because she was a teenage girl too" - " Example to all women" - " First, Mary is also female and human. She offers me a role model as to what God asks of each one of us" - " I pray to Mary, when sometimes I want to talk to a girl. I believe she hears my prayers and asks the Lord Jesus to help me and who I pray for."

Along similar lines, many responses showed a view of Mary as an ideal, admirable but inimitable. These occured often, though less frequently than responses portraying Mary as a model for attainable goals. As with the image of model, the replies stressing dissimilitude were divided into those based on human (more frequent) and religious values (less frequent). Examples follow next week.


Ideal (Human Values)

"I view her as the most sinless woman who that [sic] will ever live" - "I see Mary as the protector of the weak, and the downfall of the strong that persecute the weak" - " She is a model of truth, justice and fairness. She treats all people equally" - "They [Catholics] use Mary as a model for women and virginity. We are to be pure like Mary, devoted like Mary, virgins like Mary!!"

Ideal (Religious Values)

"She is the 'Highest' to me, no one could ever be like her, I RESPECT her" - "I see Mary as a link between God and humans" - "Mary is sort of my idol. The way she has no sin. I wish I had no sin" - "Mary is the mother of God, and should be respected and honored for giving birth to the Lord, and her total devotion" - "I CAN PRAY TO HER LIKE GOD" - "Mary is like God to me. She is very powerful and I pray to her and God equally the same" - "Mary has a place in my life as the ideal woman. I would like to be pure, trustworthy, beautiful, without sin, faithful, etc....I also pray to her because I know she hears my prayers, and helps them become true" - "Mary is one I pray to other than God for help in my daily life" - "I try to be sinless like Mary but I know I can't be" - "An idol or hero that says we might be human but we can use our gifts to be great and make us worthy to be in heaven with God" - "Mary is very powerful and all Catholics should be close to her" - "Mary symbolizes as the true Mother of God and Queen of Heaven."


Over the past several months, we have brought you the surveys of a Marian survey among youth. Today, we are bringing you the very last in the series.

Related to the notion of Mary as unapproachable religious ideal was the notion that Mary manifests God's presence in her womanhood. Though this received little support when offered as a choice (e.g., no. 34.f."I see Mary as the feminine dimension of God"), a number of 'write-in' replies indicated this perspective.

"As truly God and also knows human emotions" - "I pray to Mary often when I feel comfortable speaking to a female" - "I pray to Mary because I feel that she is close to God and will take my prayers to Jesus Christ. She is a woman and I feel more comfortable talking to her" - "Mary is a special symbol of a person who personifies God" - "It helps me related the beauty of a woman with God. And her compassion helps me to love and pray" - "Mary is a symbol of God" - "She is the embodiment of a human being given divine powers" - "Mary is like Jesus Christ; she conceived him through the power of God & the Holy Spirit" - "Mary is someone that I pray to while in Church. To me, she's a picture of a female god-like creature. She was pure and innocent" - "To me, Mary, along with Jesus is my friend. I feel it would be easier to talk to Mary about something. She's also a female, I'll pray to her. She is also Queen of Peace, so during this [Gulf] war, I pray to her" - "She shows that all women are divine and that not all of our leaders are keen and that she is someone who I can look up to" - "Mary is my mother, the link to my father, God" - "I like to pray to Mary because I think she understands my problems because I am a girl and it is easier to pray to someone who can understand you" - "She represents womanhood in the divine scheme of things" -"She is a divine being who answered her call to God and should be an example to all."

These replies called to mind Leonardo Boff's suggestion that rank-and-file Catholics see Mary essentially as an object of worship (latria). However, there were equally numerous replies which revealed Mary as seen at a lower level than God-either as merely human (e.g., "She is the one who was chosen to bear Jesus and she is a perfect human" - "Personal praying friend" - "Mary was a person as we are. She bore the savior and is a good model of faith") or as one uniquely mediating between lowly humanity and a distant God (e.g., "Mary helps my prayers go to God when I need them most" - "Mary has a place in my life because I think it's easier for me to pray to her. God always seems as a great and wonderful person, but Mary seems a normal human being who makes mistakes" - "She helps me get through to God" - "A mediator of prayers to God. An example of a human being like Jesus"). Such variety of expression eludes reduction to a single mariological principle, but each response contains a grain of revealed truth.


View the Survey

View the Survey Questionaire

Return to Research and Publications

Return to The Mary Page

This page, maintained by The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute, Dayton, Ohio 45469-1390, and created by Jim Danis , was last modified Thursday, 10/21/2010 11:45:15 EDT by Ramya Jairam . Please send any comments to jroten1@udayton.edu.