Mary was a stumbling block, but the Church’s doctrines/dogmas regarding her were not the major stumbling block. Once I had the separation of Protestants and Catholics narrowed down to the question of authority and the nature of the Church, I had come to the conclusion that “if the Catholic Church’s claims are true, and the Apostles and their successors had authentic sacramental authority granted by Christ, then I would have to submit to that authority regardless of what I thought in order to be authentically Christian” and that Catholicism meant humbling oneself instead of placing one’s opinion of matters on a pedestal, I began to take the approach of reading Church teaching from the eyes of a Catholic, so-to-speak (lending some level of trust to it). Not because I was submitting to the authority of the Church at that time, but only because I realized that unless I tried on the Catholic glasses, I’d never be able to understand it from a Catholic point-of-view. It was only by God’s Grace and by giving the Catholic view a chance, that I began to see how necessary, beautiful, and Christological the Marian doctrines and dogmas are. Also, from a historical standpoint, there is no doubt that these doctrines and dogmas were represented in various devotions, writings, and quotes from the Early Fathers. So, aside from my conclusion on the importance of the authority question that led me to seek an understanding of Marian doctrines, I also came to realize that the anti-Marian Protestant position I had been raised to hold did not gel with historical Christianity at all, but was a rather new development.

Joe Palmer – comment on Called to Communion