Fr. Jeffrey Steel, who recently converted to Catholicism with his family, has returned to blogging after a short hiatus. His blog, de cura animarum, has long been a source of intellectual stimulation and faithful reflection. In today's entry, Fr. Jeffrey discusses the difficult issue of approaching Marian piety from a Protestant background. As often happens, Fr. Jeffrey has had to deal with some folks who criticize the Church's reverence for the Mother of God. Also as often happens, Fr. Jeffrey gives an excellent treatment to this thorny matter.
A very good book on Mary's place in the culture at large as well as within the Church is the late Jaroslav Pelikan's Mary Through the Centuries: Her Place in the History of Culture (Yale University Press, 1996). It's a good place to start reading on the history of the topic.