I received an e-mail from a man considering conversion to the Catholic Church. He wrote:
Now if I could get past Jeremiah, chapter 44, I’d really be a happy camper, (LOL). Stumbled on that passage this morning in my “Quiet Time” (still have SOME residual Protestantism within me I guess), and wondered about the “Queen of Heaven” that the people of Judah were burning incense to. God sure was mad! Who was this “Queen” they were venerating (worshiping? don’t know the Hebrew here)? I wonder if they were putting her ahead of God? The struggles continue….but the Lord is faithful!!
I thought it would be good to think through this passage with him. In Jeremiah 44 the people of Israel were “presenting offerings in worship to the queen of heaven and were pouring out drink offerings to her” and they “made for her sacrificial cakes in her image and poured out drink offerings to her?” (verse 19).
Jeremiah 44:17-21 “We will do everything that we have vowed, make offerings to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her … And the women said, “When we made offerings to the queen of heaven and poured out drink offerings to her, was it without our husbands’ approval that we made cakes for her bearing her image and poured out drink offerings to her?”
Then Jeremiah said to all the people, men and women, all the people who had given him this answer: “As for the offerings that you offered in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem … The Lord could no longer bear your evil deeds and the abominations that you committed. …
It is because you made offerings and because you sinned against the Lord and did not obey the voice of the Lord or walk in his law and in his statutes and in his testimonies that this disaster has happened to you, as at this day.” …
Jeremiah (right) condemned this idolatry. But Jeremiah 44 is one of those passages that some Protestants confuse and wrongly apply to the Catholic faith.
Just like the discussion of Paul in Romans and Galatians (about faith and works) has NOTHING to do with Catholic vs. Protestant debate—it is about Jew and Gentile—so this passage in Jeremiah has nothing to do with the Christian/Catholic faith and our veneration of Mary.
Israel was forbidden to make offerings to “the queen mother” or to worship her. She was a mythical goddess and the conduct of the Israelites was idolatry. See Jeremiah 7 and Jeremiah 14. This is often used by anti-Catholics against the Catholic veneration of Mary. A few comments are in order…
I then present seven reasons why this has nothing to do with the veneration of Mary. For the full article, click HERE.