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From Latin Marīa[1] or English Mary (the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ) +‎ -o- +‎ -latry, modelled after idolatry. The English word is cognate with French mariolâtrie, Italian mariolatria, Late Latin mariolatria.[2]



Mariolatry (countable and uncountable, plural Mariolatries)

  1. (Protestantism, derogatory) Adoration or veneration of the Virgin Mary to an extent regarded as inappropriate or even idolatrous. [from early 17th c.]
    Synonym: Marianolatry (obsolete, rare)
    • 1611, Thomas Iames [i.e., Thomas James], “The 32. Place Corrupted, in the 17. Homily of Chrys[ostom] vpon Gen[esis] To[me] 1. Pg. 97.”, in A Treatise of the Corrvption of Scripture, Councels, and Fathers, by the Prelats, Pastors, and Pillars of the Church of Rome, for Maintenance of Popery and Irreligion. [], London: Printed by H. L. for Mathew Lownes, OCLC 22142325; republished London: Printed by H. L. for Mathew Lownes; [], 1612, OCLC 38676399, part II (Corruption of the True Fathers), page 85:
      For, though it were a knowen corruption, and therefore ſhould haue beene auoyded; yet [Robert] Bellarmine in muſtering vp the Fathers authorities, for proofe of the reading, ipſa (the beſt ground of their Mariolatrie) brings in [John] Chryſoſtom in the rereward.
    • 1843, Alexander Viets Griswold, The Reformation: A Brief Exposition of Some of the Errors and Corruptions of the Church of Rome, Boston, Mass.: James B. Dow, publisher, OCLC 4622775, page 87:
      Our great prophet has so ordered the revelation of God's will, and of the doctrines of life, that Christians have nothing to justify or excuse this Maryolatry,—this idolatrous exaltation of Mary.
    • 1845, [Richard Ford], “Madrid”, in A Hand-book for Travellers in Spain, and Readers at Home. [], part II, London: John Murray, [], OCLC 969041870, section XI (The Castiles; Old and New), page 754, column 2:
      St. Bernard [of Clairvaux] was a champion of the Virgin, second only to Sn. Buonaventura, the Seraphic Doctor; and both advocated Mariolatry to its wildest extent, substituting her for the Father and the Redeemer.
    • 1846 April, “Art. VIII.—The Annals of the English Bible, by Christopher Anderson. London: William Pickering. 1845. 2 vols. octavo. [book review]”, in Southern Quarterly Review, volume IX, number XVIII, Charleston, S.C.: Published for the proprietor, OCLC 1066047533, page 481:
      [I]f this is the rational reverence of Protestantism,—it cannot be long before the ingenuity of our enemies compiles the annals of Bibliolatry, abounding, if not with sad impieties, yet with absurdities as numberless and as noxious as the thousand and one Mariolatries, with which our controversialists are armed.
    • 1899, John M[ackinnon] Robertson, “Freethought in the Nineteenth Century”, in A Short History of Freethought: Ancient and Modern, London: Swan Sonnenschein & Co. Ltd.; New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Co., OCLC 906182845, part I (The Culture Forces), § 6 (Poetry and Fine Letters), paragraph 4, page 412:
      [O]n the side of the regulation religion [...] can be cited at best the regimental psalmody of Mr. [Rudyard] Kipling, lyrist of trumpet and drum; the stained-glass Mariolatries of Mr. Francis Thompson; and the Godism of Mr. [William Ernest] Henley, whereat the prosaic godly look askance.
    • 1954 April 4, Clinton H. Blake, “Gravest Heresy [letter]”, in Peter [Morton] Day, editor, The Living Church, volume CXXVIII, number 14, Milwaukee, Wis.: Church Literature Foundation, ISSN 0024-5240, OCLC 609938560, page 3, column 1:
      Even historically, it is interesting to note, Roman Mariolatry now denies the very circumstances out of which it arose. [...] The second half of the 11th century theology is marked by two outstanding developments; one being the canonical declaration of Transubstantiation and the other being the rise of Mariolatry. Both of these were an attempt to express the saving presence of deity amongst men and directly available to men.
    • 1977, Wolfhart Pannenberg, “Jesus’ Divinity in Relation to the Father’s Divinity”, in Lewis L. Wilkins and Duane A. Priebe, transl., Jesus – God and Man, 2nd edition, Philadelphia, Pa.: The Westminster Press, →ISBN, part 1 (The Knowledge of Jesus’ Divinity), section II.2 (Virgin Birth and Incarnation), page 147:
      [I]t is understandable that Mariolatry has worked with unparalleled productivity in the history of piety without a sufficient historical basis and even to a great extent without an old tradition. In Mariolatry the church has not, as in Christology, pursued the inner logic of a historically given starting point, but has sought repeatedly to express its own essence in the figure of Mary.
    • 1989, Michael P. Carroll, “The Splintering of Religious Devotion in Catholicism”, in Catholic Cults and Devotions: A Psychological Inquiry, Kingston, Ont.; Montreal, Que.: McGill–Queen’s University Press, →ISBN, page 166:
      In his Apologia Pro Vita Sua (1864, 176–8), [John Henry] Newman's great autobiographical account of his gradual conversion, he tells us that Catholic "Mariolatry," the emphasis that Catholics place upon Mary and Marian devotions, had always been one of his greatest stumbling blocks.
    • 1989, Rolland E. Wolfe, How the Easter Story Grew from Gospel to Gospel, Lewiston, N.Y.; Queenston, Ont.: The Edward Mellen Press, →ISBN, page 240:
      Such mounting departure from truth, as Maryolatry, was instrumental in causing Christianity to be eliminated from another important segment of the Christian world. [...] [T]he overburden of superstition, especially the Maryolatry, caused Christianity to be swept away from that great land [Russia] with the revolution.

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