You know, I would like to see some of the major figures in Roman Catholicism, the “out front” guys, the ones who promote Rome as infallible, her Pope as the head of the church, etc., just once come out and say, “Look, people, this kind of thing is absurd and ridiculous. Pure superstition, idolatrous, and worthy of at the very least church discipline.” But no, you won’t hear that. Instead, you’ll hear, “Well, looks like a rather common water stain mixed with the salt from the road on an underpass, but hey, if it gives you warm post-modern religious fuzzies, that’s great!”
We hear all the time from RC apologists, “Oh, Marian devotion does not detract from Christ at all! Mary is our path to Jesus.” Well, if that is true, and Mary leads everyone to Jesus, why are all these folks finding pictures of Mary in the grimy stains left by reconstituted water (Clearwater Florida bank window, remember?) or salt-filled road run off on a freeway underpass? Where is someone’s mind if they can look at this stain and go, “Oh gosh, Mary has appeared under a bridge!” What on earth is she doing under a bridge? Western culture is on the slippery slope of post-modernism, sliding at high speed toward self-destruction, and Mary is busily arranging salt stains on a bridge underpass near Chicago? Hello? Anyone out there? No, Marian devotion does detract from devotion to Christ and to His Lordship in life. As I said in Mary–Another Redeemer?, a person who believes they need a mediator with the Mediator simply does not know the Mediator to begin with. And in case you haven’t read that book, allow me a single quote to illustrate the kind of “piety” that leads people to light candles in front of water stains on the walls of freeway underpasses:
On this account it was, says St. Bernard, that the Eternal Father, wishing to show all the mercy possible, besides with giving us Jesus Christ, our principal advocate him, was pleased also to give us Mary, as our adwith Jesus Christ. There is no doubt, the saint adds, that Jesus Christ is the only mediator of justice between men and God; that, by virtue of his own merits and promises, he will and can obtain us pardon and the divine favors; but because men acknowledge and fear the divine Majesty, which is in him as God, for this reason it was necessary to assign us another advocate, to whom we might have recourse with less fear and more confidence, and this advocate is Mary, than whom we cannot find one more powerful with his divine majesty, or one more merciful towards ourselves. The saint says, Christ is a faithful and powerful Mediator between God and men, but in him men fear the majesty of God. A mediator, then, was needed with the mediator himself; nor could a more fitting one be found than Mary. (Liguori, The Glories of Mary,pp. 195-196).