“Taylor devoted his whole useful life to the search after such old manuscripts as would enable him to have his own speculations concerning several obscure rites in the Mysteries corroborated by writers who had been initiated themselves. It is with full confidence in the assertions of various classical writers that we say that ridiculous, perhaps licentious in some cases, as may appear ancient worship to the modern critic, it ought not to have so appeared to the Christians.
During the mediaeval ages, and even later, they accepted pretty nearly the same without understanding the secret import of its rites, and quite satisfied with the obscure and rather fantastic interpretations of their clergy, who accepted the exterior form and distorted the inner meaning. We are ready to concede, in full justice, that centuries have passed since the great majority of the Christian clergy, who are not allowed to pry into God’s mysteries nor seek to explain that which the Church has once accepted and established, have had the remotest idea of their symbolism, whether in its exoteric or esoteric meaning. Not so with the head of the Church and its highest dignitaries.
And if we fully agree with Inman that it is “difficult to believe that the ecclesiastics who sanctioned the publication of such prints could have been as ignorant as modern ritualists”, we are not at all prepared to believe with the same author “that the latter, if they knew the real meaning of the symbols commonly used by the Roman Church, would not have adopted them.”
To eliminate what is plainly derived from the sex and nature worship of the ancient heathens, would be equivalent to pulling down the whole Roman Catholic image-worship – the Madonna element – and reforming the faith to Protestantism. The enforcement of the late dogma of the Immaculation was prompted by this very secret reason. The science of symbology was making too rapid progress. Blind faith in the Pope’s infallibility and in the immaculate nature of the Virgin and her ancestral female lineage to a certain remove could alone save the Church from the indiscreet revelations of science. It was a clever stroke of policy on the part of the vicegerent of God.
What matters it if, by “conferring upon her such an honor”, as Don Pascale de Franciscis naively expresses it, he has made a goddess of the Virgin Mary, an Olympian Deity, who, having been by her very nature placed in the impossibility of sinning, can claim no virtue, no personal merit for her purity, precisely for which, as we were taught to believe in our younger days, she was chosen among all other women. If his Holiness has deprived her of this, perhaps, on the other hand, he thinks that he has endowed her with at least one physical attribute not shared by the other virgin-goddesses.
But even this new dogma, which, in company with the new claim to infallibility, has quasi-revolutionized the Christian world, is not original with the Church of Rome. It is but a return to a hardly remembered heresy of the early Christian ages, that of the Collyridians, so-called from their sacrificing cakes to the Virgin, whom they claimed to be Virgin-born. The new sentence, “O, Virgin Mary, conceived without sin”, is simply a tardy acceptance of that which was at first deemed a “blasphemous heresie”, by the orthodox fathers.”
H. P. Blavatsky