Most of my family are members of Scripture-alone groups. They say that praying to Mary is fruitless and that the Eucharist is not really Jesus’ body and blood. How can I respond?
For 800 years before Martin Luther, Christians had clarified that they adore God but venerate saints; that’s a big difference.
Mary is not some alternative to God, possessing any power or authority independent of God. She is a model disciple and thus has directly experienced many of the same things that the person praying has lived through. Can your relatives explain why Christians prayed for help from the saints for almost 1,500 years before there were any Scripture-alone groups such as theirs?
Also, both Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christians have seen the Eucharist as very real for those same 1,500 years. How do your relatives understand 1 Corinthians 11:23–32? Can a person receive the Eucharist unworthily if he or she considers it as not real?
Although Martin Luther rightly criticized many abuses within the Roman Catholicism of his day, he believed that praying to Mary was legitimate and that Christ is truly present in the Eucharist. He explained the latter as consubstantiation rather than transubstantiation, which the Church had accepted 300 years before the Reformation began.