Skip to comments.Was Mary Sinless?
Posted on 12/05/2010 6:14:57 PM PST by RnMomof7
............The Historical Evidence
The Roman Catholic Church claims that this doctrine, like all of their other distinctive doctrines, has the unanimous consent of the Fathers (contra unanimen consensum Patrum). They argue that what they teach concerning the Immaculate Conception has been the historic belief of the Christian Church since the very beginning. As Ineffabilis Deus puts it,
The Catholic Church, directed by the Holy Spirit of God has ever held as divinely revealed and as contained in the deposit of heavenly revelation this doctrine concerning the original innocence of the august Virgin and thus has never ceased to explain, to teach and to foster this doctrine age after age in many ways and by solemn acts.
However, the student of church history will quickly discover that this is not the case. The earliest traces of this doctrine appear in the middle ages when Marian piety was at its bloom. Even at this time, however, the acceptance of the doctrine was far from universal. Both Thomas Aquinas and Bernard of Clairvaux rejected the immaculate conception. The Franciscans (who affirmed the doctrine) and the Dominicans (who denied it, and of whom Aquinas was one) argued bitterly over whether this doctrine should be accepted, with the result that the pope at the time had to rule that both options were acceptable and neither side could accuse the other of heresy (ironic that several centuries later, denying this doctrine now results in an anathema from Rome).
When we go further back to the days of the early church, however, the evidence becomes even more glaring. For example, the third century church father Origen of Alexandria taught in his treatise Against Celsus (3:62 and 4:40) that that the words of Genesis 3:16 applies to every woman without exception. He did not exempt Mary from this. As church historian and patristic scholar J.N.D. Kelly points out,
Origen insisted that, like all human beings, she [Mary] needed redemption from her sins; in particular, he interpreted Simeons prophecy (Luke 2.35) that a sword would pierce her soul as confirming that she had been invaded with doubts when she saw her Son crucified.
Also, it must be noted that it has been often pointed out that Jesus rebuke of Mary in the wedding of Cana (John 2:1-12) demonstrates that she is in no wise perfect or sinless. Mark Shea scoffs at this idea that Mary is sinfully pushing him [Jesus] to do theatrical wonders in John 2, arguing that there is no reason to think [this] is true. However, if we turn to the writings of the early church fathers, we see that this is precisely how they interpreted Marys actions and Jesus subsequent rebuke of her. In John Chrysostoms twenty-first homily on the gospel of John (where he exegetes the wedding of Cana), he writes,
For where parents cause no impediment or hindrance in things belonging to God, it is our bounden duty to give way to them, and there is great danger in not doing so; but when they require anything unseasonably, and cause hindrance in any spiritual matter, it is unsafe to obey. And therefore He answered thus in this place, and again elsewhere Who is My mother, and who are My brethren? (Matt. xii.48), because they did not yet think rightly of Him; and she, because she had borne Him, claimed, according to the custom of other mothers, to direct Him in all things, when she ought to have reverenced and worshiped Him. This then was the reason why He answered as He did on that occasion He rebuked her on that occasion, saying, Woman, what have I to do with thee? instructing her for the future not to do the like; because, though He was careful to honor His mother, yet He cared much more for the salvation of her soul, and for the doing good to the many, for which He took upon Him the flesh.
Now why on earth would Jesus care for the salvation of Marys soul at this point in time if she was already preventatively saved through having been immaculately conceived, as was claimed earlier? That does not make any sense, whatsoever. Likewise, Theodoret of Cyrus agrees with John Chrysostom in saying that the Lord Jesus rebuked Mary during the wedding at Cana. In chapter two of his Dialogues, he writes,
If then He was made flesh, not by mutation, but by taking flesh, and both the former and the latter qualities are appropriate to Him as to God made flesh, as you said a moment ago, then the natures were not confounded, but remained unimpaired. And as long as we hold thus we shall perceive too the harmony of the Evangelists, for while the one proclaims the divine attributes of the one only begottenthe Lord Christthe other sets forth His human qualities. So too Christ our Lord Himself teaches us, at one time calling Himself Son of God and at another Son of man: at one time He gives honour to His Mother as to her that gave Him birth [Luke 2:52]; at another He rebukes her as her Lord [John 2:4]. And then there is Augustine of Hippo, whom many Roman Catholic apologists attempt to appeal to for their belief in the immaculate conception. They like to quote a portion of chapter 42 of his treatise, On Nature and Grace, where Augustine states,
We must except the holy Virgin Mary, concerning whom I wish to raise no question when it touches the subject of sins, out of honour to the Lord; for from Him we know what abundance of grace for overcoming sin in every particular was conferred upon her who had the merit to conceive and bear Him who undoubtedly had no sin.
However, those who quote this passage miss the point of what Augustine is trying to communicate. He was trying to refute the Pelagian heretics (who were the ones who were claiming that Maryamong other biblical characterswere sinless, since they denied the depravity of man). The article explaining Augustines view of Mary on Allan Fitzgeralds Augustine Through the Ages helps clear up misconceptions regarding this passage:
His [Augustine's] position must be understood in the context of the Pelagian controversy. Pelagius himself had already admitted that Mary, like the other just women of the Old testament, was spared from any sin. Augustine never concedes that Mary was sinless but prefers to dismiss the question Since medieval times this passage [from Nature and Grace] has sometimes been invoked to ground Augustines presumed acceptance of the doctrine of the immaculate conception. It is clear nonetheless that, given the various theories regarding the transmission of original sin current in his time, Augustine in that passage would not have meant to imply Marys immunity from it.
This same article then goes on to demonstrate that Augustine did in fact believe that Mary received the stain of original sin from her parents:
His understanding of concupiscence as an integral part of all marital relations made it difficult, if not impossible, to accept that she herself was conceived immaculately. He specifies in [Contra Julianum opus imperfectum 5.15.52] that the body of Mary although it came from this [concupiscence], nevertheless did not transmit it for she did not conceive in this way. Lastly, De Genesi ad litteram 10.18.32 asserts: And what more undefiled than the womb of the Virgin, whose flesh, although it came from procreation tainted by sin, nevertheless did not conceive from that source.
As can be seen here, these and many other early church fathers did not regard Mary as being sinless or immaculately conceived. It is quite clear that the annals of church history testify that Rome cannot claim that this belief is based upon the unanimous consent of the fathers, since the belief that Mary was sinless started out among Pelagian heretics during the fifth century and did not become an acceptable belief until at least the beginning of the middle ages.
As has been demonstrated here, neither scripture nor church history support the contention of the Roman Catholic Church that Mary was sinless by virtue of having been immaculately conceived. In fact, Rome did not even regard this as an essential part of the faith until the middle of the nineteenth century. This should cause readers to pause and question why on earth Rome would anathematize Christians for disbelieving in a doctrine that was absent from the early church (unless one wants to side with the fifth century Pelagians) and was considered even by Rome to be essential for salvation until a century and a half ago. Because Rome said so? But their reasons for accepting this doctrine in the first place are so demonstrably wrong. After all, they claim that this was held as divinely revealed from the very beginning, even though four and a half centuries worth of patristic literature proves otherwise. This ought to be enough to cast doubt not only on Romes claims regarding Mariology, but their claims to authority on matters of faith and morals in general.
You make that choice every waking moment of your life.
Catholics state that they do not worship Mary. People who are NOT Catholic, or who are failed Catholics, or who are excommunicated, say differently. Whom to believe, whom to believe....
And frankly, there is nothing to "prove." Catholics don't worship Mary. Believe it or not.
LOL! Fascinating post...;-D
P.S. Is this an open thread? Is no one else allowed to read posts and comment, without special permission?
The issues are that no one challenged the canon Trent affirmed until Luther, and that Trent was just reaffirming the Church's unaltered stance since 382, and that Trent's canon was identical to that of prior conciliar affirmations.
I have said that that the Catholic Church has had a consistent list of books since 382. Can you dispute that?
This issue is not a consistent list, but one standardized official canon, which was not open to dispute. By saying Church unaltered and consistent you infer that an official finalized canon was established from 382, which besides the problem with the 382 date, and that Trent's canon was not exactly the same, (see below) as it must be if an early claim to infallibility is made Trent itself as well as the centuries after Hippo testify to continued disagreement within Roman Catholic scholarship regarding the canon, which (in contrast) ceased within Rome after Trent:
The Catholic Encyclopedia, Canon of the New Testament, (1917): The Canon of the New Testament, like that of the Old, is the result of a development, of a process at once stimulated by disputes with doubters, both within and without the Church, and retarded by certain obscurities and natural hesitations, and which did not reach its final term until the dogmatic definition of the Tridentine Council.
According to Catholic doctrine, the proximate criterion of the biblical canon is the infallible decision of the Church. This decision was not given until rather late in the history of the Church at the Council of Trent...The Council of Trent definitively settled the matter of the Old Testament Canon. That this had not been done previously is apparent from the uncertainty that persisted up to the time of Trent" (New Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. II, Bible, III (Canon), p. 390; Canon, Biblical, p. 29; Bible, III (Canon), p. 390).
"...an official, definitive list of inspired writings did not exist in the Catholic Church until the Council of Trent (Yves Congar, Tradition and Traditions" [New York: Macmillan, 1966], p. 38).
"For the first fifteen centuries of Christianity, no Christian"The Tridentine decrees from which the above list is extracted was the first infallible and effectually promulgated pronouncement on the Canon, addressed to the Church Universal. (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03267a.htm; cf. New Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. II, Bible, III (Canon), p. 390; cf. The Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent (Rockford: Tan, 1978), Fourth Session, Footnote #4, p. 17; )
"in the fifth century a more or less final consensus [on the New Testament canon] was reached and shared by East and West. It is worth noting that no ecumenical council in the ancient church ever ruled for the church as a whole on the question of the contents of the canon." (Harry Gamble, in Lee McDonald and James Sanders, edd., The Canon Debate [Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 2002], p. 291)
The Catholic Study Bible, Oxford University Press, 1990, p. RG27: "The final definitive list of biblical books (including the seven additional Old Testament books) was only drawn up at the council of Trent in 1546." Church put forth a definitive list of biblical books. Most Christians had followed St. Augustine and included the 'Apocrypha' in the canon, but St. Jerome, who excluded them, had always had his defenders." (Joseph Lienhard, The Bible, The Church, And Authority [Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1995], p. 59)
Here we close our commentaries on the historical books of the Old Testament. For the rest (that is, Judith, Tobit, and the books of Maccabees) are counted by St Jerome out of the canonical books, and are placed amongst the Apocrypha, along with Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus, as is plain from the Prologus Galeatus. Nor be thou disturbed, like a raw scholar, if thou shouldest find anywhere, either in the sacred councils or the sacred doctors, these books reckoned as canonical. For the words as well of councils as of doctors are to be reduced to the correction of Jerome. 1532, Cajetan wrote his Commentary on All the Authentic Historical Books of the Old Testament (dedicated to Pope Clement VII ). More
Looking at your links to over 1,000 words of carefully formatted material show the first to be a Lutheran site (http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com), the second, obvious non-Catholic (tektonics.org), ditto the third (christiantruth.com)....
You missed New Catholic Encyclopedia (not a link but a ref) in your protestations, but now your objection is that of links to Protestant sites, even when they link to posted material? And when Catholics posts the like we are not to examine them if we want to verify what the poster says? And http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com, among others, offers historical research which you are unlikely to see at most Roman Catholic apologist sites (and often vice versa), and it interacts with challenges from Roman Catholics. And rather than just posting material origins unknown (which at least one Roman Catholic web apologist promotes), i provided sources, often with links as well. With Scriptural arguments this is rarely needed, but with historical research it often should be.
We are not in the Watchtower Society, although Catholics have been discouraged from reading or listening to teachings contrary to Rome's teachings,. objectively examining issues in order to ascertain if Rome was right in infallible decrees. "The intolerance of the Church toward error, the natural position of one who is the custodian of truth, her only reasonable attitude makes her forbid her children to read or to listen to heretical controversy, or to endeavor to discover religious truths by examining both sides of the question." Holding to Catholic principles how can he do otherwise? How can he consistently seek after truth when he is convinced that he holds it? Who else can teach him religious truth when he believes that an infallible Church gives him God's word and interprets it in the true and only sense? (John H. Stapleton, Explanation of Catholic Morals, Chapter xxiii. the consistent believer (1904); Nihil Obstat. Remy Lafort, Censor Librorum. Imprimatur, John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York )
Though I just looked quickly, I did not see anything that disputes the canon of 382 on down through the ages to Trent.
The claim that Hippo & Carthage approved the same canonical list as Trent is wrong. Hippo (393) and Carthage (397) received the Septuagint version of 1 Esdras as canonical Scripture, which Innocent I approved. However, the Vulgate version of the canon that Trent approved was the first Esdras that Jerome designated for the OT Book of Ezra, not the 1 Esdras of the Septuagint that Hippo and Carthage ( along with Innocent I) received as canonical. Thus Trent rejected as canonical the version of 1 Esdras that Hippo & Carthage accepted as canonical. Trent rejected the apocryphal Septuagint version of 1 Esdras (as received by Hippo and Carthage) as canonical and called it 3 Esdras. More
As for 382, first, the Council of Rome was not an ecumenical council but a local one, as was Carthage and Florence, as judged by Rome, thus their decrees were not infallible binding pronouncements for the universal church. The Catholic Encyclopedia states also, "only the decisions of ecumenical councils and the ex cathedra teaching of the pope have been treated as strictly definitive in the canonical sense, and the function of the magisterium ordinarium has been concerned with the effective promulgation and maintenance of what has been formally defined by the magisterium solemne or may be legitimately deduced from its definitions." http://www.bible-researcher.com/gelasius.html
Second, the claim about the Council of Rome (382) approving an infallble canon of Scripture depends upon the Decretum Gelasianum, which is disputed (among RC's themselves), based upon evidence that is was pseudepigraphical, being a sixth century compilation put together in northern Italy or southern France at the beginning of the 6th cent. More: http://www.tertullian.org/articles/burkitt_gelasianum.htm
So what if there was disagreement? I'll side with Augustine over your 15 links:
What do you mean so what??? More notable Catholic than you did not side with Augustine. What about admitting you were wrong about Luther being the 1st challenger, and that the canon was not settled, and that Trent's was not exactly the same.
On to your sixth link (back to beggarsallreformation), more discussion at the Council (gee, isn't that what Councils do?)
What this one did was to show that your idea of an uncontested, settled canon was wrong, and if you had admitted that then it would have saved us both time and typing.
So I consider your dumping of links (not as careful as you claim, as there were duplicate links) to be serious overkill. If you can't include a quote in a post, If you can't include a quote in a post, I'm not going to spend hours reading links I probably would not agree with anyway.
The duplicates were in different sections, and served as verifications as well as for further information. And you do not have to read the links, but if you wanted to contest them you should have. What is dumping is making misleading statements from memory on such a subject, and continuing to do so despite documented material showing the error, all of which i did spent hours writing, which is not for you alone.
By the way, to show you how much of a non-expert I am, I have never heard of Jedin!
Neither had i till recently, but that is what researching enables.
I will agree that my saying nobody ever challenged it before Luther is not technically correct;
I am glad at the end you at least see that.
I did not think that one through; most of the time my posts, infrequent as they are, have to be done quickly.
That is understandable. For my part it takes me a long time to write, while what could have been a discussion became a debate due to repeating of misleading claims. What can be said is that the Roman Catholic canon was largely settled early by the time of Carthage, but not disagreement by notable Catholics scholars until Trent settled the issue, nor was the canon of the latter exactly the same as the former. And that in Trent itself there was some debate about the apocrypha, and that Luther sided with some notable Catholic authorities in rejecting the it, yet he commented favorably upon 1 Maccabees as being able to be included. He questioned the apostolicity of Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation because the early church categorized these books as antilegomena. Yet Luther 's Bible contained the disputed books, though they were placed last in order, while his views on some of these books changed in later years.
Define "repetitively" - Once per thread? Once per poster? Once per website?
But...According to some here on FR that Catholic baptism is “indelible”.
Could the little preschooler whose drunken mom and friends tattooed him with the letter “M”, later “reject” it? I don't think so.
That is exactly what I observed when looking into this matter of catholic images, idols and other "things" catholics seem to attach themselves to, in one form of worsahip or another, and reasons for that equally disturbing.
So that begs an answer, if what they are doing looks like and acts like and "feels" like worship as so many have shown...then what does thier worship of Christ look like and differ? I cannot see any difference.
I wonder if they realize God sees everything?
Why? Are you ignorant? Look it up in those precious files...
What time are you attending Confession tomorrow?
Hitler was born and raised Roman Catholic. The majority of his coterie were practicing Roman Catholics. Himmler, Goebbels, Heydrich, von Papen and Hoess were all RC. Bormann was married to a Roman Catholic and raised his children as Roman Catholics.
It was a rhetorical question but it certainly is true that, “Besides, the true church is obligated to exercise some level of church discipline”, in fact it was to be spotless and clean not full of dead men’s bones as relics and endless scandals of sexual predators.
What should I be sorry for?
Thanks to metmom for reminding me that we can add Lenin and Stalin to the RC list since they both were baptized Catholic.
So that begs an answer, if what they are doing looks like and acts like and "feels" like worship as so many have shown...then what does thier worship of Christ look like and differ? I cannot see any difference.
The difference lies between the activities done to perform "veneration" (dulia) and "adulation" (latria). According to Catholic Dictionary "New Advent", "dulia" is
a theological term signifying the honour paid to the saints, while latria means worship given to God alone, and hyperdulia the veneration offered to the Blessed Virgin Mary....A further distinction is made between dulia in the absolute sense, the honour paid to persons, and dulia in the relative sense, the honour paid to inanimate objects, such as images and relics.How often have we been told that Catholics don't worship the Saints and Mary, but rather they venerate them? Pay attention to how Cardinal Antonio Bacci, in his devotional material, clears away the confusion by equating "veneration" (dulia) with "worship", even mentioning the bowing and praying to statues of Mary or the Saints:
....The worship of the Saints is an act of veneration (dulia), not of adoration (latria), which can be given only to God. It is wrong to imagine, as many Protestants do, that by praying to and venerating the Saints we subtract something from the homage we owe to God. The veneration of the Saints and the adoration of God are entirely distinct activities. Moreover, the Saints are the faithful servants of God and intercede with Him on our behalf. By venerating and invoking them, we honour the Giver of all holiness. If anyone, on the other hand, were to disregard the worship of God in favour of devotion to the Saints, he would be making a serious mistake. A person who goes into a church and rushes over to a statue of the Blessed Virgin or of one of the Saints, without giving a thought to the living and real presence of Jesus in the Blessed Eucharist, is developing a false and sentimental piety.
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