Consider the fact that this man likely prayed over a hundred thousand Hail Mary's during the course of his life. Furthermore, his motto was "Totus Tuus ego sum", which is Latin for "I am totally yours" in reference to a total devotion to Mary. In his will, the pope stated:
- "I desire to follow Him, and I desire that everything making up part of my earthly life should prepare me for this moment. I do not know when the moment will come, but like everything else, I place it too in the hands of the Mother of my Master: Totus Tuus. In the same maternal hands I leave everything and everyone with whom my life and vocation have linked me. In these Hands I leave, above all, the Church, as well as my Nation and all humanity."
Wow! Can we conclude that the pope worshipped Mary? He actually put the future of the Catholic Church, and all humanity, in the hands of the Blessed Virgin!?! On the surface, this comes across as blasphemy, and a direct sin against the first commandment.
Of course, a comprehensive discussion of Catholic theology is beyond the scope of this post. But let me do my best to summarize Catholic beliefs as follows:
We can conclude that, if you believe that souls in heaven hear our prayers and in turn pray for us, it is most beneficial to solicit the prayers of the Mother of God the Son. It is also safe to conclude that devotion does not constitute worship. In summary, the only aspect of John Paul II's devotion to Mary inconsistent with most Protestant beliefs is the idea that souls in heaven can/do pray on our behalf.
To further make the point that JP II was devoted to Mary (as opposed to worshipped Mary), let's take a quick look at another revealing quote from his Last Will and Testament, which serves to clarify his relationship with God, and the Blessed Virgin Mother:
In other words, even though he was devoted to Mary and consistently asked for her intercessory prayers, he recognized his total dependence on God's grace, and his total reliance on Christ as our redeemer.