First, a blessed Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception to you and your loved ones. The role of Mary in salvation history cannot be overstated, and this, coincidentally, is related to today's Vortex topic.
Protestantism — the heresy — has a very difficult time with Mary. In varying ways, it either ignores her, diminishes her or even insults her. Although, oddly enough, as much as statues are reviled in Protestantism, statues of Mary do pop up every year at this time, even on Protestant properties in the manger scenes.
But heresy in general is denoted by its denial of truth; and for this reason, America (as well as large parts of the Church) is crippled. The connection between theology and society is significant. When we talk about "culture," the word itself derives from "cult," which ties directly to religion.
So if a culture is going to be preserved or proposed without any reference whatsoever to religion, then it has no hope of survival. But even more so, in our culture here in the United States and the West, where multiple versions of religion (in general) and Christianity (specifically) coexist, the truth of the matter is, they really don't coexist — they only appear to.
Sure, individual men may be polite and so forth with each other, even get along and be friendly. In the end, the ideas and beliefs will war with each other until one or another comes out on top — for such is the nature of truth when it is proposed to the intellect.
In the realm of Christianity, for example, the role of Mary is rejected by almost every single Protestant denomination. Catholicism has a great devotion to Mary and honors her in her role because God assigned her the role she has. To acknowledge Mary (beyond the barest recognition) is to acknowledge God's choice to elevate her above all creation.
That and many other theological points prove the supremacy of Catholic dogma, but, in a pluralistic society, political and cultural leaders will declare that such a claim cannot be made. Unfortunately, this includes Catholic leaders who don't necessarily reject the supremacy of Catholicism — at least publicly — but never out-and-out declare it, as they are divinely charged to do.
Here is the brutal truth: Catholicism is the fullness of the Faith, period. It is the Church established personally by Christ and promised to never be overcome by the gates of Hell, with Her teachings guaranteed by the Holy Spirit.
Protestantism is a heresy, and as such, it possesses some truth, but it can never possess the fullness of the truth. If it did, it would cease to exist and simply be Catholicism. Protestantism is a cultural pit stop on the road to either atheism or Catholicism.
At the end of the day, no other belief system can exist or lay claim to truth. Religion, by its very nature, is an all-or-nothing proposition. Who, for example, believes his religion to be the right religion but then disagrees with it in various ways? It's the teachings we're talking about. Why would any thinking man belong to a religion he disagrees with, much less claim it is the "right religion"? And if he doesn't believe it to be right, why belong?
But even if an individual believer doesn't see the obvious contradiction here, certainly the religion itself adheres to the proposition that it is the correct religion. If not, that would enter the realm of the preposterous. What religion exists believing another religion is the true religion? If so, how could it make any claim on its followers?
So beginning with the proposition that every religion believes itself to be the true religion, and continuing with the reality that there are tens of thousands of religions and/or denominations, it is the case that, as a culture, we have never resolved the large issue of which religion is the right religion.
And failing that, there has never been any further settlement on the question, posed by atheism, whether God exists or not. In previous world civilizations, these questions were settled. There was a God, or gods, and the State approved a religion (a cult), which the culture submitted to.
But that approach has never been followed in the Enlightenment West. A chaotic scattergun approach to religion (or no religion) has been adopted, and, as a result, the culture has become chaotic, with no one having any claim on truth other than by force (namely, the government).
But is there not truth as it exists in itself? If so, what is its nature? What is the philosophical underpinning of any religion? All this needs to be hashed out. Is there a God? If so, what worship is accorded Him? What religion promotes that worship? And that means there could not be more than one true religion.
But the "culture" has avoided these questions, and because religious men and women have not tackled these issues, atheism, with its own morality, has surged to the fore and is now the dominant force in the culture. That atheism would control culture stands in direct defiance of all human history and human experience.
If human affairs and morality are not governed by a force outside of the race, then where do they come from? The only answer would have to be the State, which explains why there is such a scramble for control of the government and its power, its authority.
For the moment, Christianity is the majority religion in America, with almost two-thirds of the population identifying as such. But since there is debate over which version of Christianity is correct — and only one of them can be — atheism has seized the day. After all, there is no real disagreement and infighting among atheists over the nonexistence of God. What would there be to actually debate?
Protestantism cannot make a claim — no Protestant denomination can make any claim — to be the authentic Christian religion because Protestantism didn't even appear on the scene until 15 centuries after the events of the New Testament. But the intransigence of this particular heresy, now 500 years old, has opened the door for cultural confusion and chaos, which we are now feeling the full brunt of.
Protestantism must choose; it cannot remain forever on the sidelines, in a cultural pit stop. No one can remain idled indefinitely. Protestantism must either admit of Catholicism or succumb to atheism. There is no other choice. It's all or nothing — every thing or no thing.