Tuesday, October 18, 2005
The Immaculate Conception

As we look at the Hail Mary we see part of the Archangel Gabriel’s address in the exclamation: “full of grace." Grace is defined as a supernatural gift from God’s infinite goodness given by God to His sinful people for their eternal salvation. Mary is addressed as “full of grace” which shows that she must be in complete favor of God to have earned the fullness of God’s grace. This particular instance is a special one, in which God chose Mary to be conceived sinless to make her a house for God to dwell within.

Both Jesus and Mary are perfect although for different reasons; Jesus is God and therefore is without sin and therefore must be perfect. This is shown through Magesterium teachings, scripture, and definition. Sin, which is defined as “distancing oneself from God,” can not have any part in God because it is impossible for God to be distancing Himself from Himself. Mary, though, is perfect, but she was made perfect and preserved from sin by Her Son, who is eternal and preserved her before He became flesh.

In fact, the traditional collect prayer from the Mass of the Immaculate Conception well summarizes this: "O God, by foreseen merits of the death of Christ, You shielded Mary from all stain of sin and preserved the Virgin Mother immaculate at her conception so that she might be a fitting dwelling place for Your Son. Cleanse us from sin through her intercession so that we also may come to You untainted by sin. Through Our Lord."

Some point to the second line of the Magnificat with Mary proclaiming, "And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior," stating the use of "savior" means Mary could not be free from sin. The answer, of course, is that Christ did save Mary  - He simply chose to save her prior to her birth - the difference in methodology in no way detracts from the outcome of the act.

The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception, which was not infallibly defined until 1854 but believed long beforehand, states, "The most holy Virgin Mary was, in the first moment of her conception, by a unique gift of grace and privilege of almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ the Redeemer of mankind, preserved free from all stain of original sin." 

While they did not use the phrase "Immaculate Conception," the Early Church honored the Blessed Virgin Mary as sinless since her conception. For instance, St. Ephrem (306-373 AD) wrote alluding to Mary’s sinlessness: "You and Your mother are the only ones who are totally beautiful in every way. For in You, O Lord, there is no stain, and in Your mother no stain." Hippolytus wrote in 235 AD: “He was the ark formed of incorruptible wood. For by this is signified that His tabernacle was exempt from putridity and corruption.” And Origen wrote in 244 AD: “This Virgin Mother of the Only-begotten of God, is called Mary, worthy of God, immaculate of the immaculate, one of the one.” And there are many other such instances. The dogmatic proclamation in 1854 by Pope Pius IX merely ended a debate that had arisen in the past centuries - fueled often by the protestants.

Once again, it makes perfect sense that the Mother of God does not have sin upon her soul because Christ Himself must dwell within her. In truth, Mary is essentially important to the Christian life as the Mother of Christ and as our Mother, who Christ gave to us through His disciple John (cf. John 19:26-27).

We, as Christians, believe God is the perfect goodness, and likewise, we believe sin is the absence of goodness, where God is the perfect goodness. Therefore, I can conclude that sin is evil and a lack of God’s saving grace, even if only momentary, but a clear distance from God remains because we are not perfect like He. It is through our first sin that we lose our innocence and must work towards salvation as all people must do apart from those exceptions including the Blessed Virgin Mary, whose radiant light kept pulsing harmoniously from her soul through the grace of God, Most High.

Scripture attests to the Immaculate Conception as well though I feel it initially fundamental to dispute a common claim among other faiths that Catholics are in opposition to scripture on this matter. They state Romans 3:23 which reads, “For all have sinned, and do need the glory of God,” however this verse only shows that all are subject to the stains of original sin on the soul. Remember that Christ chose to save His mother from this sin in order to come into the world, but I also see it as a deep reverence for His mother in accordance with the fourth Commandment: “Honor thy mother and father.” It is quite clear that Christ showed great love for His mother already, and He showed even more through the Coronation and Assumption, which I will address at length further into this book.

Moreover, Romans 3:23 uses the English word “all” in place of the Greek word “PAS”, which was not the absolute that “all” encompasses today. I think this further highlights how even the best of translations are nothing compared to the original scriptures. This word taking the English term “all” is also seen in Matthew 3:5-6 and Luke 2:1 to name a few others where it is not the absolute that we see it meaning. For example, Matthew 3:5-6 states, “At that time Jerusalem, all Judea, and the whole region around the Jordan were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins.” I certainly do not believe that the entire region went to the Jordan River including those that did not believe in the faith. I view it much more probable that a great majority went out, not everyone; it is clear that the word “PAS” meant a “just about everyone there is, but maybe not literally everyone,” better than it did “all”.

Furthermore, I feel it essential to state that Martin Luther, the man that began the Lutheran Church and broke away from the original Catholic Church, still held a great devotion to Mary including a belief in the Immaculate Conception: "It is a sweet and pious belief that the infusion of Mary's soul was effected without original sin; so that in the very infusion of her soul she was also purified from original sin and adorned with God's gifts, receiving a pure soul infused by God; thus from the first moment she began to live she was free from all sin."

Further knowledge of the Christian faith continues to disprove the use of Romans 3:23 to be used against the Immaculate Conception. We as Christians believe Christ was free from sin but the verse does not even say “all but Christ”. We also believe that the mentally disabled and infants cannot commit actual sin, even though the verse does not specifically state this fact. Simply, Romans 3:23 must be translated using correct Greek and there would be no remote opportunity to oppose Magesterium teachings in that instance. I, though, do not see the point in tearing down the teachings of the Catholic Church concerning Mary as it is through Mary that we have a powerful intercessor and loving Mother that spares nothing from her children.

Onward, scripture does word the words "Immaculate Conception." Sacred scripture nevertheless holds vast information on Mary, but we must not just read the words but meditate on each and every statement as a truth given to us by God. The Bible begins with the book of Genesis, an account of creation and the fall, and this is the first place that Mary is referenced. In Genesis 3:15 it states, “I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel."

This verse is the first verse that references to mankind’s Redeemer since Jesus Christ came to destroy sin, Satan, and death. 1 John 3:8 further says, “The Son of God appeared that He might destroy the works of the devil,” who came into being through a love for men that far excesses our senses, where one would come to die for all of us while still enemies. This “enmity” in Genesis 3:15 is not between the man and the serpent but the woman and the serpent. Church teachings are that this is in reference to Mary, the one to come and destroy the serpent because of allowing Our Lord to take flesh within her.

Also, it is critical to reverberate the Magesterial teachings of Christ being the Second Adam. We all know that through Adam and Eve sin entered the world and it was through Christ, one man, that sin left the world by his death on the Cross. Yet, just as Eve assisted Adam in losing the faith by offering him the apple, Mary offered Christ her body to come and become man and assisted in bringing Our Lord to us. Out of all people Christ chose Mary as His mother and has given her to us as well; how breathtaking. Christ is called the Second Adam since creation was renewed through Him, and Mary is the new Eve who works alongside Our Lord.

We also know that the only one that can bear the sins of the entire world is God because He is both human and divine and any action of His, whether in his divine or his human nature, is of infinite value. This is how dying one death ended all of our eternal deaths. We could pay the price for sin, but that would be eternal death; instead, Christ chose to free us from the punishment that we deserve out of a love so fervent that He would humble himself to death even death on a cross.

Back to the verse in Genesis, we see reference to Christ by God’s statement that refers to the woman’s offspring. Some translations of the Bible use the word “seed” instead, but the main motive is still intact. This claim that through the women would be offspring, namely Our Savior is quite revolutionary. We already know that God knew of the need for a savior in the beginning, so in this verse, He speaks of Adam and Eve’s offspring, which would include Christ.

This conservation to the women that she would bear offspring, rather than to the man, shows that through a woman Our Savior, who the entire world resides inside, would be born. While scripture does refer to her offspring it also alludes to Christ, who has freed the entire human race through His sacrifice on the Cross where we become part of Him in dying so that we may also see the Resurrection. The entire human race was relying on Christ’s sacrifice, which is alluded to in the book of Genesis although not directly because the people of the Old Testament would not have understood.

Continuing with the verse in Genesis, a special relationship is seen between the woman and the serpent, and this relationship is one with enmity. “Enmity” is certainly an intense, powerful word beyond hatred and defined as “deep-rooted hatred”. We see by looking back to Genesis 3:15 that God Himself will place this enmity between the serpent (Satan) and Mary, who is the second Eve. It is clear that Mary is to be the personal enemy of Satan not Christ. Christ came to destroy the devil’s evil works, but God chose to make Mary as Satan’s personal enemy.

From the beginning, God had a plan for everyone with all of us able to reach Heaven if we chose, and Our Lord chose to save Mary from sin. This also put the enmity between Mary and Satan because Mary had no sin and was perfect and clearly saw the wrongdoings of the devil; she hated them because she was completely in God’s favor. We as sinners can fall into sin, but Mary was preserved from original sin and remained sinless in life, which made her Satan’s personal enemy.

As the Catechism of the Catholic Church explicitly reveals, “Throughout the Old Covenant the mission of many holy women prepared for that of Mary. At the very beginning there was Eve; despite her disobedience, she receives the promise of a posterity that will be victorious over the evil one, as well as the promise that she will be the mother of all the living. By virtue of this promise, Sarah conceives a son in spite of her old age. Against all human expectation, God chooses those who were considered powerless and weak to show forth his faithfulness to his promises: Hannah, the mother of Samuel; Deborah; Ruth; Judith and Esther; and many other women. Mary "stands out among the poor and humble of the Lord, who confidently hope for and receive salvation from him. After a long period of waiting the times are fulfilled in her, the exalted Daughter of Sion, and the new plan of salvation is established."

Mary had a special purpose, and this purpose was to become the Mother of God and help us achieve our salvation. She cannot save us, but her constant motherly presence pleads continually for our souls.

God is in possession of eternity, the simultaneous and complete possession of infinite life. For him, all things are as in the present (see: Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy, Book V)

  1. Catholic Encyclopedia: Immaculate Conception
  2. Catholic Encyclopedia: Original Sin

58 comment(s):

del_button October 18, 2005 at 9:36 PM
Anonymous said...

Wow! This was long, but worthwhile. I'm happy that people searching Google for Immaculate Conception will find such a well written article as this. You write about theological fundamentals in an easy to read fashion.


del_button October 18, 2005 at 9:39 PM
Matthew said...

Thank you so much, Hector. I certainly hope that this article will help someone out.

del_button October 19, 2005 at 12:45 PM
Anonymous said...

so Jesus did not die for Mary? Full of grace=is that she was chosen as God's soverign instrument for the birth of His Son and this is based on undeserved merit. Why would God create Mary without sin when in the Catholic Bible is stated "that He(Jesus) who had no sin was made to be sin that we might be saved. If Jesus was made sin why would his birth have to be from one declared sinless? This is nonsense.Jesus said, " ...their teachings are but rules taught by men". Full of Grace as the basis for born without sin is about the biggest stretch ever imagined and without basis in Scripture.

del_button October 19, 2005 at 12:53 PM
Paul said...

This is in general a very excellent discussion that touches (as far as I can see) just about all the important bases. As you solicited comments, I will add a few just briefly.

I think that your treatment of the belief in the IC in the early Church and its formalization as a dogma could be strengthened -- the Church fathers did not all explicitly profess and teach the immaculate conception because everyone already believed in it. I don't have to go around telling people that water is wet and God is good because everyone knows these things. That's why the teaching wasn't formalized in dogma until the 19th century -- it hadn't been necessary before. Dogmas tend to reflect not so much all the core beliefs of the Church (the Real Presence, for example, is a central doctrine, but has no official dogma defining it) as those central teachings that are threatened (implicitly and explicitly) by the vagaries of the current age.

I am no scholar in Greek, but it seems from what you say about the word "pas" (which is a very good point that I had not known before) that it has a sense that does not translate well, beyond its strictly technical definition. Perhaps it is more akin to our colloquial use of "everybody," in which we mean "just about everyone there is, but maybe not literally every one," instead of just "a great number." I say that, or I get that sense, because "a great number have sinned and lack God's glory" has a different connotation that doesn't seem to express the reality of man's fallen nature as well. But perhaps that is merely my misreading and my lack of understanding of Greek.

One point that I think touched upon but did not mention explicitly is an objection often raised by Protestants. They point to the second line of the Magnificat (And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior) as evidence that Mary could not have been free from sin. The answer, of course, is that Christ DID save Mary -- He simply chose to save her prior to her birth -- the difference in methodology in no way detracts from the outcome of the act.

del_button October 19, 2005 at 12:56 PM
Paul said...

Dear anonymous:

Your tortured and myopic reading of the Scriptures, if it is to have any answer at all, would require more time than I have at the moment -- and it represents a serous misunderstanding of the nature and meaning of grace. Please look into what is actually taught about this matter (and read more carefully moneybags' post), and may God bless you in your search for the truth regarding His Immaculate Mother.

del_button February 6, 2006 at 4:38 PM
Anonymous said...

I'm Catholic but still struggling with this issue. Perhaps you'd be kind enough to answer a few of my questions?

If God had the ability to make Mary sinless without infringing upon her free will, why doesn't he do the same for all of us? It seems it would save us from a lot of unnecessary suffering, suffering which is usually explained as the consequence of free will.

I don't understand your claim that Mary had to be sinless for Jesus to dwell in her. Doesn't Jesus dwell in us when we take Communion? We are certainly not sinless. And aren't we called "Temples of the Holy Spirit"? Again, God dwells in us and we still sin.

Thank you.

del_button October 12, 2006 at 11:16 PM
Jason said...

Further to Aloria's points, it's this simple:

Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

1 John 1:8-9 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us...If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

All have sinned. Period. We're never once told Mary was perfect and sinless and Scripture makes no exclusion for Mary. "All have sinned". Simple simple simple.

Sure you can try and explain things away by referring to "pas" but it's a poor, poor way to prove a sinless Mary. Whether 'pas' means an 'absolute' all or an 'almost everyone' all is inconsequential. If a doctrine such as the immaculate conception is based on a 50/50 toss up of a single Greek word, the Christian world is in serious trouble. If Mary were, in fact, sinless, why is she not mentioned after Acts 1? Why is she never referred to as being sinless? Why aren't we told to be like Mary? And finally, if Mary was sinless, she wouldn't have died (as "the wages of sin is death"). Is Mary still alive today?

What the fascination is with Mary is something I'll never understand. We worship God only. Not angels, not men, not Mary. It's horrifyingly simple.

del_button October 13, 2006 at 5:52 PM
Matthew said...

I explained in great detail how the word "all" really was the Greek word "pas", which meant "many" not not the all encompassing "all" that we know today.

Mary was freed from original sin so that Our Lord could physically take on Her flesh. (He couldn't take on sinful flesh since He is perfect). And, Mary remained sinless for the rest of Her life.

The Church has DOGMATICALLY delcared this. Period. It has been believed since ancient times. Look at history - the Bible was not put together until at the very earliest, 300 AD.

“He was the ark formed of incorruptible wood. For by this is signified that His tabernacle was exempt from putridity and corruption.” – St. Hippolytus (circa 235 A.D.)

“This Virgin Mother of the Only begotten of God is called Mary, worthy of God, immaculate of the immaculate, one of the one.” – Origen (244)

“Thou alone and Thy Mother are in all things fair; there is no flaw in Thee and no stain in Thy Mother.” – St. Ephraim (370)

“Mary, a virgin not only undefiled but a virgin whom grace has made inviolate, free of every stain of sin.” – St. Ambrose (388)

“A Virgin, innocent, spotless, free of all defect, untouched, unsullied, holy in soul and body, like a lily sprouting among thorns.” – Theodotus of Ancrya (446)

“The very fact that God has elected her proves that none was ever holier than Mary; if any stain had disfigured her soul, if any other virgin had been purer and holier, God would have selected her and rejected Mary.” – Jacob of Sarug (521)

“In the womb of the her mother now begins to blossom the earth which will be the dwelling place of the Creator of the earth, the holy scepter, the new ark, the vessel of manna, … the bush which was not consumed by fire, the golden candelabrum, the living bridal room of the Lord God.” – Hymn for the feast of the Conception of St. Anne (seventh century)

“She is born like the cherubim, she who is of a pure, immaculate clay.” – Theotoknos of Livias (650)

“Today humanity, in all the radiance of her immaculate nobility, receives its ancient beauty. The shame of sin had darkened the splendor and attraction of human nature; but when the Mother of the Fair One par excellence is born, this nature again regains in her person its ancient privileges and is fashioned according to a perfect model truly worthy of God…. The reform of our nature begins today, and the aged world, subjected to a wholly divine transformation, receives the first fruits of the second creation.” – Andrew of Crete (733)

del_button October 15, 2006 at 11:17 PM
Jason said...

“Pas” can mean “all” as much as it can mean “many”:
Act 17:24 “God that made the world and all (pas) things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands”

The word is used more then 1200 times in the NT. Are you prepared to say that every instance of “pas” actually means “many”…? Did God not make the world and everything in it?

Whether or not the Church has declared a sinless Mary isn’t relevant. Neither is the date of when the Bible was “put together”. What is relevant is the fact that Scripture is absolutely silent regarding this “sinless woman”.

If Mary lived a sinless life, she wouldn’t have died. Where is she today?
Why is Mary never referred to as being sinless if she was the first sinless person since the beginning of creation? (there isn’t even a vague, subtle HINT that Mary was sinless)
Eternal life is given by God as a result of Christ’s resurrection. This is incorrect if Mary was created eternal.

The doctrine of immaculate conception wasn’t even sworn in until 1854!! For such a sound doctrine based on tradition and Scripture, it’s odd the Church would wait almost 2000 years to make it dogma. I guess there were a few wrinkles to be ironed out.

I love this sentence from the Catholic Encyclopedia on the immaculate conception: “No direct or categorical and stringent proof of the dogma can be brought forward from Scripture.”

Of course you have to insist the Church knows best; proof of a sinless Mary is simply NOT found in Scripture.

As for “tradition”, the CE says: “In regard to the sinlessness of Mary the older Fathers are very cautious: some of them even seem to have been in error on this matter.”

If it’s not something the Church can even agree upon, the validity of tradition is doubtful at best.

So there’s nothing in Scripture and not even the Church fathers couldn get it right. How comforting.

del_button October 16, 2006 at 8:18 PM
Matthew said...

“Pas” can mean “all” as much as it can mean “many”:

Do you really believe all have sinned? let's skip original sin and talk about actual sin. Do you really believe the man that was born mentally retarded and only had a mentality of a two-year old could sin? Of course not! He hadn't reached the mental state of unstanding right and wrong.

Do you believe that Jesus Christ, who was man and God, sinned? I don't even though that passage says "all". And Jesus was fully human just as much as He was fully divine.

So, it's clear that "pas" HAS TO MEAN "many" but not necessarily our view of "all". In the same way, the Mother of God remained sinless.

The word is used more then 1200 times in the NT. Are you prepared to say that every instance of “pas” actually means “many”…? Did God not make the world and everything in it?

Where did you get that number?

Whether or not the Church has declared a sinless Mary isn’t relevant. Neither is the date of when the Bible was “put together”. What is relevant is the fact that Scripture is absolutely silent regarding this “sinless woman”.

It's also silent on many other things. Read the very last sentence of the Gospel of John - not everything is in the Bible because Jesus did so much! The Bible is about the life of Jesus, not the life of Mary.

Plus, I view a dogmatic declaration by the Church VERY IMPORTANT. It means that it has to be true!

If Mary lived a sinless life, she wouldn’t have died. Where is she today?

Catholics are free to accept one of two options. First) Mary didn't die but was at a point at the end of her earthly life, assumed into Heaven. Second option) Mary suffered death of the body because Jesus Christ also suffered death. And, Mary was then assumed body and soul into Heaven.

We all want to be assumed body and soul into Heaven too in the Second Coming! Mary, being sinless, just experienced this first. It is called the Assumption of Mary.

The doctrine of immaculate conception wasn’t even sworn in until 1854!!

It wasn't needed before because everyone believed it to be true. Everyone nearly!

So there’s nothing in Scripture and not even the Church fathers couldn get it right. How comforting.

Scripture never comes out and says: "Mary committed sin either". The Church fathers supported the Immaculate Conception.

I suggest you read this website under: "The Immaculate Conception and the Church Fathers"


del_button October 16, 2006 at 11:54 PM
Jason said...

Look, all I’m saying is that “pas” can mean all. I gave you Acts 17:24 as an example. God created all things. I agree completely that the word can mean “many” just as you’d agree with me that the word can also literally mean “all”. The point of this exercise is to show that a single Greek word isn’t definitive proof that Mary didn’t sin so hopefully there’s some other way to prove your point.

Your original comment was “Moreover, Romans 3:23 uses the English word “all” in place of the Greek word “PAS”, which was not the absolute that “all” encompasses today.” What I’ve been saying is that there’s no way to definitively know this. It's impossible.

The Greek word “pas” occurs exactly 1243 times, according to a concordance.

Do I believe all have sinned? Of course not. I don’t believe infants have sinned and I don’t believe that cows have sinned and I don’t believe palm trees sin either. The reason why they haven’t sinned is because they have no knowledge of the law (right vs. wrong), exactly as you said.

Rom 2:12 “For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;”

Romans 7:7-11 says much of the same thing. No law = no judgment. Law = judgment.

Remember, Scripture wasn’t written for babies or mentally handicapped men and women or cows or palm trees. It was written for people who had the capacity to know what was being asked of them. Sin exists where there’s a knowledge of right and wrong in relation to God’s commandments. The moment we understand the difference is the moment we start sinning. The only person the Bible ever mentions as escaping the confines of sin was Jesus. In the complete absence of proof of anyone else ever achieving the same thing, why assume Mary did? Don’t you find it surprising that Mary is never mentioned in the same breath as Jesus in terms of their sinless life? Christ stood alone and he still stands alone in this respect. Christ has no equal when it comes to perfection.

Even if the Bible is “all about the life of Jesus”, Scripture still goes through great pains to describe, in very great detail, dozens and dozens of other people. Why Mary isn’t mentioned as being the only sinless person ever to have lived prior to Christ is astonishing.

(I never said Jesus sinned. That’s not the discussion. Christ is the exception to every rule because we’re told he was perfect. We’re not and neither is Mary. Fully human and fully divine. Phew. Another topic for another time I think ☺)

Ah yes, the assumption of Mary. Another belief completely absent from Scripture. Let’s be clear about something: Mary was NOT a copy of Jesus. Mary was NEVER given the same status of worship as Christ was. God never told ANYONE to pray to or worship Mary. Mary did NOT “suffer death” simply because Christ did. Christ suffered death so that through his resurrection we might have SALVATION. THAT was why he did it. Did Mary die to save us? Of course not. Did Mary have the same relationship that Christ had with his Father? Of course not. To be honest, I find the similarities you’re making between Christ and Mary to be nauseating. Mary was a normal human chosen by God to be part of an extraordinary situation. That’s ALL we’re told!!

I mean, there are so many problems with this belief it’s tough to know where to begin.

1. Scripture says nothing about Mary going to heaven (or, for that matter, ANYONE going to heaven). But this point seems to have no meaning here.
2. How could someone be at the end of an “earthly life” if they were immortal as the result of not sinning?
3. Church tradition says nothing about Mary going to heaven until centuries after it supposedly occurred.
4. Pope Gelasius (5th Century) condemned books and authors who wrote about the assumption of Mary. This entire decree and its condemnation was reaffirmed by Pope Hormisdas in the sixth century around A.D. 520. This proves that the early Church viewed the assumption teaching, not as a legitimate expression of the pious belief of the faithful but as a heresy worthy of condemnation.
5. How can a Church which is supposedly infallible promote teachings which the early Church condemned as heretical?

“Scripture never comes out and says “Mary committed sin””. That’s an awful argument. Scripture never comes out and says “Jesus is God” but Catholics are quick to say he is. Scripture never comes out and says “God the Son” but Catholics believe so anyhow. Scripture never comes out and says “unbaptized babies will be sent to limbo” but you believe it. Scripture never comes out and says anything about purgatory or an immortal soul yet people defend it as if it does. The absence of evidence doesn't prove your point.

del_button October 19, 2006 at 9:06 AM
Unknown said...

Hey Jason,
Catholics do not and jhave never believed in limbo. That was just theological speculation that was never accepted.
Before you make assumptions of Catholic teachings, you might want to check into them first.

del_button October 19, 2006 at 9:10 AM
Unknown said...

And the first Written testimony of the Assumption was in 593 by Gregory of Tours. However, just because that is the first time it was written, doesn't mean that it wasn't part of Tradition (which it was) from the earliest times.

del_button October 19, 2006 at 11:18 AM
Jason said...

Catholics have never believed in limbo? Really?

This is from the 'National Catholic Weekly':
Though limbo was never officially defined in any church council or document, it became, like other unchallenged elements of the Christian worldview, a part of the common teaching and almost universal catechesis of the church. Since the late 19th century, it was written on the psyche of every young Catholic through the Baltimore Catechism. For example, Baltimore Catechism No. 3 states, with its usual air of certainty: “Persons, such as infants, who have not committed actual sin and who, through no fault of theirs, die without baptism, cannot enter heaven; but it is the common belief they will go to some place similar to limbo, where they will be free from suffering, though deprived of the happiness of heaven” (Q. 632). Most Catholics, of course, made no distinction between defined doctrines and what appeared in the catechism. It was all church teaching, to be accepted without question....More recent resources continue to describe the teaching on limbo, but often with the sense that it is best viewed as a teaching that should simply be allowed to fade quietly away, a teaching that cannot be reconciled with the Christian affirmation of God’s universal salvific will. As Peter Phan puts it in Responses to 101 Questions on Death and Eternal Life, “limbo has outlived its purpose.”

There's also a lot of information here about a belief no one ever believed in.

Limbo was a common teaching of the Church for over 700 years. 700 years teaching a theological speculation... Kind of makes one wonder what other theological speculations are being taught.

del_button October 19, 2006 at 6:19 PM
Anonymous said...

As was pointed out, when the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary he addressed her as "full of grace" (gratia plena) . That would be the grace of God. In order to be completely full of God's grace, holding as much grace as is possible, one would have to be completely without sin. Imagine a glass completely full of water. It can't hold any more. The angel Gabriel called Mary by that beautiful title for a reason.
That is just a super short answer...maybe someone else would like to build on it...

As for Mary being the first sinless person, Adam and Eve were not created with original sin - they chose to sin.

Jason - you seem to have many misconceptions and to be confused about Catholicism. I don't quite know where to start.
Some of the Church Fathers were cautious about the Immaculate Conception, mostly because it was not defined, but it was mainly a discussion over whether she was immaculately convceived or whether God removed the stain of original sin from her soul the moment after her conception.
You say it is not in Scripture(see my first paragraph).
Also, there are two pillars of Christianity: Scripture and Tradition (which is supported by Scripture: 2 Thess. 2:14,
1 Timothy 3:15). Both are extremely important.

You ask if Mary died. There is the Christian tradition of the Dormition and the Catholic dogma of the Assumption - that Mary was taken up to heaven, by her Divine Son, body and soul.

Dogmas are something which the Church does agree on and all Her members believe. The particular issues may have been debated before hand. Notice that the Church does not claim the infallibility of Her individual members, or priests, or individual bishops (that includes the Church Fathers).
The Church never defines something so that it will becaome true rather, She defines it because it IS true.

Tell me, why is it impossible that Almighty God created Mary without original sin?
Why shouldn't He have had a spotless place to dwell in?

del_button October 19, 2006 at 6:23 PM
Anonymous said...

Tota pulchra es Maria et macula originalis non est in te.

del_button October 19, 2006 at 11:52 PM
Jason said...

Let’s first be clear what Gabriel’s salutation actually reads: “The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” No other translation uses “full of grace”. Such a great deal is derived from this phrase and it's not even found in the pages of Scripture.

(The Latin Vulgate is the Latin translation of the Bible done by St. Jerome in the fourth century. It is here that is found the Latin translation which says “full of grace." The New Testament however was written in Greek, not Latin, so the Church has derived its doctrine from the Latin translation, not the Greek original. Therefore, the doctrine is based on an incorrect translation (compare every other Bible translation for peace of mind). On the flip side, what is the Greek for "highly favored one”? It’s ‘kexaritomena’ and means “highly favored, make accepted, make graceful, etc”. It does not mean "full of grace" which is "plaras karitos" in the Greek. Draw your own conclusions.)

Secondly, the whole point of our existence is to make a conscious, free will decision to follow God. God has put before us life and death, good and evil (Deut 30). God wants us to pick life but He won’t do it for us because that’s not the point of the exercise. God is pleased at us when we do good, He’s angry when we do bad but ultimately, if we’re judged worthy, God will reward us handsomely. Mary though, you say, was chosen by God to be sinless from her conception. She had no choice. Mary never made a conscious decision to follow God, it was done for her. So if God made Mary perfect (sinless) without her free will, then Mary, for all intents and purposes, was a robot. She HAD to lead a sinless life if she was to give birth to Christ. So what exactly is so incredible about Mary if she was created for the express purpose of giving birth?

Thirdly, Mary knew she needed a Saviour (Luke 1:47) but a sinless person like her wouldn’t have needed a saviour since there was nothing to save her from.

Finally, Mary seemed confused as to what the heck Gabriel was talking about in Luke 1:29. Strange behaviour for someone created sinless and perfect. Maybe she didn’t know...?

Misconceptions about Catholicism. I’ve been quoting sources. They’re not exactly personal opinions. ☺

Church fathers were cautious about the Immaculate Conception because it wasn’t defined… Well, if Mary was born sinless, what’s there to define? Either she was or wasn’t. If the immaculate conception is true, then surely it was ‘defined’ during the time of Christ by Christ himself or John or Peter or someone who would have known this woman.

The Church might not claim infallibility of church fathers but we’re still left with the naggings of Pope Gelasius and Hormisdas. Once again, because this keeps getting skimmed over, Gelasius issued a decree which rejected the teaching of the Assumption as heresy and its proponents as heretics. In the sixth century, Pope Hormisdas also condemned as heretics those authors who taught the doctrine of the Assumption of Mary. Here we have "infallible" popes declaring something to be a heresy. Then in 1950, Pope Pius XII, another "infallible" pope, declared it to be official Roman Catholic doctrine. Hmmmm…something fishy going on here...

It’s not impossible that God created Mary without original sin. God can do anything. God could have made the earth in a day but he did it in six. It’s what we’re told happened so that’s what we believe. Why God would even decide to “dwell” in the belly of a woman for 9 months is a little strange but whatever. I say skip the whole thing and spend a day, at most, in the womb. Or do you think it’s impossible for God to have done this.

But I digress. Paul writes in Galatians 4:4 "When the fulness of the time came, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law" "Born under the Law" means that he was a male Israelite, living under the Law of Moses. The Jews lived under a law that condemned them because they could not keep it without sinning. Jesus was born one of them, so that he could fully represent them in his work of redemption. The old law was imperfect, like Mary (who is described here as nothing more then simply “a woman”). Jesus lived under one and was born from the other. It’s alright because that’s what happened.

Mary was a very blessed woman. There’s no denying it. She was graced with the privilege of being able to bear the Son of God. However, we should be careful not to elevate her to a level beyond that which is prescribed in Scripture. Look to Jesus. He alone is the sinless one, the perfect one, the Lord, the mediator, the forgiver of our sins. It is he alone to whom we should appeal and trust for the forgiveness of our sins. We should not look to any creature, no matter how blessed that creature may be.

del_button October 20, 2006 at 6:31 AM
Anonymous said...

My thoughts on the Immaculate Conception are few. Could God be born of a fallen angel? That is to say, could God reside in the womb of a fallen being? I think most people would answer no. Therefore Mary as the God Bearer, the Ark of the Covenant could not have been a fallen being. She must have been obedient to God as a Spirit/Soul and as a Woman. Never having displayed the disobedience of the rest of Mankind, she would have been born without sin. Our souls preexist our bodies.

For that same reason, it is safe to assume that the created world is not evil in and of itself, because God could not have “been made man to dwell among us” if in the process the Divine Soul would have entered a fallen entity. It is the soul which makes the physical creation fallen.

I hope I explained myself, imperfectly as it may be.


del_button October 20, 2006 at 7:08 AM
Anonymous said...

Jason - re: Mary's death

Did Elijah die? What about Enoch? I know for sure Elijah was witnessed by three disciples centuries after he ... uh, departed. If Elijah didn't die (and the Bible is silent on this point, because Moses DID die and he was seen, too) or even if he did, there was some kind of afterlife for him unless Peter, James, and John were on peyote or something. The same *could* (not saying was, saying could) be true of the human who held God Himself within her flesh.

We are not told what happened to a lot of people because traditions in most parts of the world were and are handed down orally -- something difficult for us computer-enabled Westerners to understand (grin) -- so it could have been a strong teaching without being in the Bible. It's not necessary to individual salvation to believe, but it does help us see God's dealing with humankind.

All that Mary stuff used to bother me and hubby as well ... until we figured out what it all meant; then it became a blessing and drew us much closer to Jesus.

del_button October 20, 2006 at 11:42 AM
Jason said...

Hi Iris,

The only thing God can’t do is sin. Everything else is possible for Him, including being born from a mortal. But this is again heading into a nature of Christ direction that would take us away from the topic. I’m a Unitarian so because I don’t believe the all-powerful God was born from Mary, I don’t have a problem with her being a normal sinful human being. Enough said though. Unless of course someone wants to start up a Trinity and immortal soul discussion ☺

But again, going back to obedience, I’m not sure Mary ever had the CHANCE to be obedient. She was created perfect. She was created without sin. Obedience isn’t possible since her nature was already chosen for her before she had the chance to choose it herself.

As a result of sin, the world certainly is inherently evil. This is what makes salvation so important. We’re not saved from a happy, good, loving world, we’re saved from one of utter wickedness. Matthew 19:17 say that no one is good except God. This is interesting because no one (or “none” in the KJV) is all encompassing. This means not even Mary was considered “good” by Christ…

del_button October 20, 2006 at 12:43 PM
Jason said...

Hi Bob's Wife,

Elijah died, we can be sure of that. There is compelling evidence that Elijah was back on earth after he was taken away in the whirlwind. A letter was received by Jehoram, King of Judah, from Elijah, after Elijah was taken up by the whirlwind. Either the letter was written before he went to heaven and delivered by a messenger on earth (unlikely), or Elijah was "caught away" exactly as Philip from the Gaza Road to Azotas, (about 17 miles, Acts 8:39,40) for an unspecified purpose and returned to the earth.

Also, Jesus says to his disciples to tell the ‘vision’ to no man. A vision does not necessarily mean objective reality (e.g. Acts 10:3;10,17; contrast Acts 12:9 where what was objective was thought by Peter to be merely subjective), although it may, as when the Lord appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus (Acts 26:19).

Regardless though, and arguably most importantly, what we can unequivocally say is that Elijah and Moses did not ascend to the heavens (the dwelling place of God) since it is expressly stated: "no man hath ascended up to heaven." (John 3:13). Therefore, it’s highly probably the vision was simply a vision (although another idea floating around is that God raised the two from the dead for the express purpose of appearing to Christ but that’s a whole new conversation right there ☺).

Enoch is a rare example of an unknown in Scripture. We can be assured that he died because:
• The writer to the Hebrews includes Enoch when he says, "These all died in faith, not having received the promises..." (Heb. 11:13).
"Death reigned from Adam to Moses." (Rom. 5:14). No exceptions are noted in the context to this categorical assertion of the kingship of death

What did happen to Enoch though can be explained but only after a fairly drawn out examination of his life. Needless to say, the end of the story is Lamech was trying to kill Enoch and God removed Enoch from the area to deliver him out of the hand of his would-be killer (so he would not see death – e.g. be killed). Sounds far fetched, agreed. But it really is an fascinating study. I’ll post it somewhere if you’re interested.

Hebrews 10:22 says all we need to draw near is faith and baptism. If we're having trouble getting close to Christ, I would ask what's preventing you from doing so?

Psa 73:28 "But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works."
James 4:8 "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you..."
Hebrews 4:16 "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."

None of these verses suggest we need anything else other then our own faith and love to come closer to God.

del_button October 20, 2006 at 4:09 PM
Matthew said...

Jason, there are many great voids in Protestantism - one of them is Mary.

It's rather simple for me when I learned this about two years ago. Mary had to be sinless for the Lord to actually take on her flesh as a child does when it is born. Jesus wanted to be born completely mortal. He is true man and true God! He had to be born actually like a normal male child, but with his complete divinity, he could not take on anything sinful - Mary's flesh couldn't have been sinful. Therefore, she had to be sinless so that her entire body would not have been sinful.

Original sin is like a bud puddle. At conception, each of us fall into this puddle because of Adam and Eve. But Jesus reached out and saved Mary from falling in that puddle when she was conceived.

If you are Unitarian, we will disagree on many of things. Unitarians are not even real Christians according to many people.

They deny the Holy Trinity, the True of Mary, and even the divinity of Jesus! This is wrong!!!

"True Faith cannot be found outside the Church" (Singulari Quidem and Singulari Quandem, Encyclical of Pope Pius IX)

I stronly encourage you to join the following message board and post in the debate forums. I participate here and would really like to take our discussion over there:


del_button October 20, 2006 at 5:13 PM
Anonymous said...

Mary was concieved without original sin and remained sinless during her whole life. This does not mean that it was impossible for her sin. She was capable of sin in that she had free will but, by the same free will, which was not distorted by a predisposition to sin, chose not to. Adam and Eve, our first parents, also had free will (as do all humans) but abused it and lost Eden.

When I say the Church "defines" a doctrine, I mean She solemnly declares a Truth. She does so for a reason, often it is in a response to an attack on the same Truth. Cathloics have been praying the Hail Mary literally for ages - which makes it clear that Mary, as full of grace, has always been believed.

How do you define world? God created the world and he does not create evil. What do you believe is the source of evil?

About the Vulgate - it is free from moral and doctrinal errors. St. Jerome (who was fluent in the Biblical languages) translated the Bible into Latin (even though there were other Latin translations before him) at the request of the Pope.

When we read a Bible passage, it is important to take into consideration what was understood by that passage by the Christians (for the New Testament) at the time when it was written.

A good example of this can be found in the Old Testament - Isaiah 7:14 - the much-debated Hebrew word "alma" means young, unmarried but not specifically "virgin" (thus the debate). But at that time, in the Jewish community, a young was in all normal circumstances a virgin and was used to signify that. We can also refer to the commentaries on those passages written by Jewish scolars (for the Old Testament).

That Vulgate translation was accepted by the Pope, scholars, Fathers, Doctors as well as the Chrisitan community who already believed Mary to be gratia plena. This translation was used for hundreds and hundreds of years.

The translations you mentioned are far removed from the time of the Greek translation so they cannot claim to be based on what understood by the Greek words by the Chistians.

I'd be very interested in knowing where you got that information on Pope Hormisdas. Did he comdemn them BECAUSE thay believed in the Assumption? Could you refer me to that Papal Decree please?

del_button October 20, 2006 at 11:12 PM
Matthew said...

Luke 1:46-49
And Mary said:
"My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name...

del_button October 20, 2006 at 11:51 PM
Jason said...

Mary had to be sinless before God was able to do something that involved Himself. So now God has limitations? For sake of argument, ignoring the Trinity for a moment, if God wants to do something, He does it. Did He HAVE to spend 9 months in the womb? Of course not! Could God have been born immortal if he so chose? Of course!! Did it really MATTER if Mary was sinful? Of course not!! God can do anything He wants whenever He wants. He isn’t limited by something as weak and insignificant as one of His creations. God is all-powerful and all-knowing. He is the epitome of good. To suggest that Mary’s sinful body would have been able to taint God’s supreme perfection is, well, bizarre.

You’ve had your little ‘you’re not a Christian so you’re going to burn in hell’ shot. Feel better? ☺

del_button October 21, 2006 at 8:27 AM
Matthew said...

Did it really MATTER if Mary was sinful? YES IT DOES! Of course it matters if she was perfectly preserved from sin. She was the Mother of God and God chose to physicially take on her flesh. She couldn't have been sinful if our Lord wanted to truly be born totally as a male child becuase a male child takes on the mother's flesh. Since Jesus is also God, he couldn't have taken on human, sinful flesh.

It's rather simple for me. I think it's rather sad that so many people still attack the Mother of God who is willingly to hear your prayers and pray for God for you!

del_button October 21, 2006 at 9:50 AM
Matthew said...

You’ve had your little ‘you’re not a Christian so you’re going to burn in hell’ shot. Feel better?

Of course I don't feel better! I'm here on this blog because I care about other people and hope they reach Heaven. It is terribly saddening to know that a person refuses to believe in the complete truth.

Jhn 3:17, "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world might be saved through Him"

I'm not here to condemn anyone - I just want everyone to follow the Truth.

del_button October 23, 2006 at 9:56 AM
Jason said...

Hi Frank,

A billion people doing the same thing a billion times a day for a billion years doesn’t by default make it right. This is a common argument based on peer pressure (“Join the club, it’s HUGE!!”) instead of a truthful examination of the facts.

The Bible is clear who created evil:
I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. (Isaiah 45:7)
Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it? (Amos 3:6)
Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good? (Lamentations 3:38)

God created everything, including evil, but sin is the fault of man. As for the source of evil, what’s your definition of the word?

On whose authority do you claim the Vulgate to be free from moral and doctrinal errors? The Vulgate isn’t authoritative because (1) it was produced by human effort; it does not have an inspired author, which an authoritative version requires, and (2) neither before the decree of the council, nor later, was it authoritative. Not before, because it contained numerous errors, as many Roman Catholics (Nicholas of Lyra, P. Burgensis, Driedo, Jerome of Oleastro, Cajetan, and others, notably Isidore Clarius, who stated that he had found eight thousand errors in the Vulgate!!) freely admit. The whole point of introducing the Vulgate was to keep the word of God from the people by writing it in Latin. The history is plain for anyone who wants to look into it. The Council of Trent (1545-1564) placed the Bible on its list of prohibited books, and forbade any person to read the Bible without a license from a Roman Catholic bishop or inquisitor. The Council added these words: "That if any one shall dare to read or keep in his possession that book, without such a license, he shall not receive absolution till he has given it up to his ordinary." Rome's attempt to keep the Bible from men has continued to recent times. Pope Pius VII (1800-1823) denounced the Bible Society and expressed shock at the circulation of the Scriptures. Pius VII said, "It is evidence from experience, that the holy Scriptures, when circulated in the vulgar tongue, have, through the temerity of men, produced more harm than benefit." Pope Leo XII called the Protestant Bible the "Gospel of the Devil" in an encyclical letter of 1824. Pope Gregory XVI (1831-1846) railed "against the publication, distribution, reading, and possession of books of the holy Scriptures translated into the vulgar tongue." My point stands: “The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” No other translation uses “full of grace”. Such a great deal is derived from this phrase and it's not even found in the pages of Scripture.

This is turning into a court of law!! The first mention of the dogma of the Assumption was in a book dated back to the 3rd or 4th century called De Transitu Virginis Mariae Liber. The book contains the whole of the story of the assumption. However, this entire book was condemned as Gnostic heresy by the Decretum de Libris Canonicis Ecclesiasticus et Apocryphis, attributed to Pope Gelasius, A.D. 494. (Pope Gelasius 1, Epistle 42, Migne Series, M.P.L. vol. 59, Col. 162). Later, Pope Gelasius’ entire decree and its condemnation was reaffirmed by Pope Hormisdas in the sixth century around A.D. 520. (Migne Vol. 62. Col. 537-542). I’d like to submit this to the court as Article ‘A’. ☺

Okay, how about we step back, stop discussing which version is “more right”, and look at ONE point at a time:

1. Pope Gelasius. As an infallible pope, he condemned authors as well as their writings and teachings on the assumption of Mary. Does this or does this not prove that the early Church viewed the assumption teaching, not as a legitimate expression of the pious belief of the faithful but as a heresy worthy of condemnation?

NEXT: Original Sin.

del_button October 23, 2006 at 10:14 AM
Jason said...


Once again, you're saying it’s impossible for an all-powerful God to ‘occupy’ Mary’s womb if she was sinful. Since when is God restricted by the very things He created? If God needs to depend on a human being in order to ensure He’s kept sinless, then we’re screwed because this means God can sin.

By the way, were you aware that Mary was “unclean” after she gave birth to Christ? A perfect, sinless woman in need of purification? Hmmm...Mary, a woman like everyone else, required to follow the old laws of purification (Lev 12:2-6). Gee, it almost makes her seem…normal.

Did you know…The Babylonian “Queen of Heaven” was a goddess (see Jeremiah 7:18 - the Queen of Heaven was a fertility goddess called Ashoreth/Astarte/Ishtar)? With the Catholic Mary now possessing this title, it’s impossible to see why she isn’t a goddess also. Just a quickie fact ☺

del_button October 23, 2006 at 3:08 PM
Matthew said...

Since when is God restricted by the very things He created?

Haven't you been paying attention? God wanted to be born a true man and share completely in our humanity. In that regard, He is limited because He, as God, must retain His divinity.

The Purfication was a formality. She of course didn't need the purification.

del_button October 23, 2006 at 3:10 PM
Matthew said...

There is no such thing as an infallible pope. Only a pope speaking ex cathedra can be infallible. Not when he speaks his opinion!

Give me the name of the official papal document Pope Gelasius said such claims in if you want to make a point.

del_button October 23, 2006 at 6:49 PM
Jason said...

Haven’t I been paying attention. No, apparently not. :) When all I'm hearing is opinions and factless arguments and a complete avoidence of Scripture, I have a habit of nodding off.

Tell me, and this is just out of curiousity, do these sound like the actions of an omnipotent deity: “God wanted to be born a true man…in that regard he is limited because He, as God, must retain His divinity.” Not only is this idea based entirely on speculation (I mean, come on, there’s no way anyone’s ever going to find this in Scripture), but now the created are putting limits and rules on the Creator. Trying to fit him in a neat, tidy box, are we? ☺

God wanted to do something but He wasn’t able to until He found a way to get around His own limitations. What!!?? You’re kidding right? Do you not think, and try and imagine the big, big picture, that God, ageless and infinite, seeing the beginning from the end, creator of the universe, would have forseen the problem of figuring out a way to be born from a mortal, sinful woman? (so bizarre…) And let’s just forget the fact why God, in His infinite wisdom and power, would ever want to “share” in our humanity (as if it’s something glorious) in the first place. This is incredible. It’s a Limited God theory. I can’t even defend this because it’s so ridiculous!!

The God who sent fire from heaven, a flood to wipe out mankind, brimstone to demolish whole cities, plagues that shattered countries, a God who made life itself, a God who sets kings up and takes kings down, who has destroyed nations and kingdoms and sent earthquakes and famine to every corner of the earth and then some have the insidious nerve to throw words like “limited” and “He must” at His face. And this is the truth you’re preaching…

Mary’s purification was a formality???? Come again!!!??? Based on what evidence? Let’s read these verses again and show me where I’m missing the formality part because obviously I’m not paying attention: Luke 2:21-24 “And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb. And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present [him] to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.”

You’re saying Mary offered up a sin offering as a formality. Is that it? Is that what God’s law is now? A formality?

Sure, it makes perfect sense: Sinless Mary, perfect from birth, slaughters a few animals and offers them to God just for the heck of it. She didn’t have to of course, but it was a nice day and she a few spare birds laying around. A sinless woman offering a sin offering. Yup, it’s completely understandable...

You get that from these verses or is that the opinion you're going with because it fits your belief system?

We’ve reached astonishing new lows.

Okay, seriously now. Prove your claims in Scripture. No more theorizing or opinionizing, offer something of substance. Verses, chapters, a word study, a brief study on the nature of God. Something. Anything.

del_button October 23, 2006 at 7:25 PM
Matthew said...

The Church created the Bible around 500 AD. That's fact. Ask any historian. So, if I trust the Bible, which was put together by the Church, I will of course trust the Church's dogmas and teachings.

I think it's clear that Mary is sinless because that's what the True Holy Church teaches in dogma. It can't be wrong!!!

You’re saying Mary offered up a sin offering as a formality. Is that it? Is that what God’s law is now? A formality?

Didn't Jesus still go through formalities like Circumcision?

Tell me, and this is just out of curiousity, do these sound like the actions of an omnipotent deity: “God wanted to be born a true man…in that regard he is limited because He, as God, must retain His divinity.”

Of course God is all powerful and wonderful. He can do all things, but He desired to be one of us to share in us all things except sin. However, I ask you to honestly think about something. Realize, that God wanted to be born a true man from the flesh of a woman, right? Now, He still must retain his divinity (freedom from all stains of sin) through the physicial birth. Now, wouldn't that limit the choices?

Would you please read this short website on Mary's Virginity? It shows how Matthew 1:25 can not prove Mary not being a perpetual virgin.


Thank you for this discussion, but please let's not get angry with each other.

del_button October 23, 2006 at 7:46 PM
Anonymous said...

Jason -

"A billion people..." you entirely missed that the Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ Himself.

God cannot create Evil because he is Good itself. He cannot be all-good and also be the creator of Evil. Evil is a result of disobedience which was first committed by the (non serviam), Evil in the world is a result of the disobedience of our first parent.

About the Vulgate:

1) Only the original texts (written by the original authors) are technically the inspired Bible.

I claim that the Vulgate is free from moral and doctrinal errors (not grammatical and spelling errors, of which there were quite a few) on the authority of the Church founded by Jesus Christ.
Matthew 16:18-19
"Et ego dico tibi quia tu es Petrus et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam et portae inferi non praevalebunt adversum eam
Et tibi dabo claves regni caelorum et quodcumque ligaveris super terram erit ligatum in caelis et quodcumque solveris super terram erit solutum in caelis."

What do you consider to be an authoritive version of the Bible? The New American??? In order for something to be authoritative it has to be authorised by someone who has the power to do so (i.e. the Catholic Church).

2)When the Vulgate was compiled in Latin, it was not to keep God's Word from ordinary people. The word "Vulgate" actually comes from the Latin adjective
vulgus, -a, -um meaning "having to do with the common people". I think that you forget that Latin was spoken by a huge number of people at that time. I don't think it would be incorrect to say most people who could read would have had a fair knowledge of Latin. Also, there wasn't such a thing as a printing press, so making hand copies of a 5000 page book required a huge amount of time, patience and money.

One of the reasons that an authoritive edition was necessary was that numerous copies of original texts which "were from the first days of the Faith" (St. Augustine), were not regulated so some of the COPIES became doubted and confusing to people. Pope Damasus saw the need to have one that was free of errors.

The Council of Trent - what are your sources for that? Also what is the context? Perhaps it refers to a Protestant transaltion of the Bible...I'd have to do a bit more research there. I still don't see an interdict against reading the Bible in that statement (which I would like to see the an authoritive version of).

About Pius VII and Leo XII:
The Protestant versions of the Bible were changed from the original version to suit the doctrines of the various emerging so-called "reformers" (Martin Luther is a prime example of this). These resulted in errors. The circulation of error is never good. The Bible is not a book to be changed or taken lightly. If an erroneous version of the Bible is being circulated it should be condemned. Notice the use of the phrase "through the temerity of men".

Pope Gelasius never condemned the doctrine of the Assumption
ex cathedra and I would like to ask whether he condemned these authors BECAUSE they believed in the Assumption?

About Mary's purification - it was obedience to the Law.

del_button October 23, 2006 at 7:50 PM
Jason said...

Now you guys are just confusing me: Was Mary's purification a law or a formality? Someone pick one and then stick with it please.

del_button October 23, 2006 at 7:57 PM
Jason said...

I’m not an expert in Catholic history but I’ll be a trailblazer for all you non-Catholics out there:


This is a decree. A papal decree. From Pope Gelasius. In it, he condemns a group of apocryphal books, including a book called “Transitus sanctae Mariae”. In English, this is translated “Assumption of Mary”. You can find it here: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0832b.htm

(Yes, that’s right: For some inexplicable reason, the Catholic Encyclopedia openly displays condemned writings – we’ll see why a little further down)

Anyhow, if you don’t want to take the time to read it, in it is recorded the first written account of the assumption of Mary, dated somewhere towards the end of the 5th century.

Now, the problem is not so much Gelasius condemning Transitus Mariae, a book which included the notion of Mary's assumption. Rather, the problem is the Transitus Mariae is the earliest source that speaks of Mary's bodily assumption. You see the problem: a condemned apocryphal book is the earliest substantiation for Mary's bodily assumption. Alarm bells go off somewhere in the distance…

I love how the CE words it: “The relation of the Transitus to the tradition of Mary's Assumption has not yet been adequately examined.” Not yet? It’s been 1500 years. How much more time does one need? Oh, and then there’s this one from Catholic.com: “What does the Transitus literature teach us?” Ummm…are we supposed to be learning from books infallibly condemned by a pope…? What’s the point of condemning them otherwise? ☺ Well, when you consider how important Transitus was in shaping the dogma of the Assumption, you can see why it’s back in use today.

But I digress. The first church father to teach the Assumption was Gregory of Tours in 590 AD. The Transitus Mariae dates from the end of the 5th century. Catholic historian Ludwig Ott confirms this as the earliest source of Mary's assumption:

"The idea of the bodily assumption of Mary is first expressed in certain transitus-narratives of the fifth and sixth centuries. Even though these are apocryphal they bear witness to the faith of the generation in which they were written despite their legendary clothing. The first Church author to speak of the bodily ascension of Mary, in association with an apocryphal transitus B.M.V., is St. Gregory of Tours' " Source: Ludwigg Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma (Rockford: Tan, 1974), pp. 209-210.

Pope Gelasius condemned the authors of the Transitus Mariae, as well as the teachings it promoted as well as any who would simply follow those teachings. Therefore, since the Transitus taught the Assumption, the Assumption was condemned by Gelasius.

The Transitus literature is highly significant as the origin of the assumption teaching and it is important that we understand the nature of these writings. The Church would have us believe that this apocryphal work expressed an existing, common belief among the faithful with respect to Mary and that the Holy Spirit used it to bring more generally to the Church’s awareness the truth of Mary’s assumption. The historical evidence would suggest otherwise. The truth is that, as with the teaching of the immaculate conception, the Church has embraced and is responsible for promoting teachings which originated, not with the faithful, but with heretical writings which were officially condemned by the early Church. History proves that when the Transitus teaching originated the Church regarded it as heresy. (Source – Christiantruth.com).

Now, the Church claims the assumption is a historical fact, yet they can't provide historical verification that links it back to an unwritten teaching of the apostles. They can link it back to a condemned apocryphal gnostic book. If this isn't enough to make someone stop and consider what it means to put their faith in the Roman Catholic Church, nothing will.

Comment what you will. I think this history discussion has gone on long enough. My point's been made. Back to the real meat and potatoes!! :)

del_button October 23, 2006 at 8:22 PM
Matthew said...


When I say "Formality" I mean it is her adherence to the Law of God at the time.

del_button October 23, 2006 at 8:47 PM
Anonymous said...

"Transitus sanctae Mariae" contains a lot more than just "Mary was assumed into heaven". It is very easy to see this.
May I venture to say that it was not condemned BECAUSE it teaches the doctrine of the Assumption but perhaps because it contains an account of the Assumption which cannot be condoned by the Catholic Church.

del_button October 24, 2006 at 10:28 AM
Jason said...

Yup, the Church compiled writings into what we now consider the Bible. But before anyone goes blindly trusting Church teachings on the basis that they put the Bible together, consider (and please, research it yourself if you're skeptical):

1. The Roman Catholic Church took centuries to arrive at an official Canon – despite being (allegedly) guided by the Holy Spirit. In light of her indecisiveness, one is forced to ask the questions “Why did it take so long?” and “What does this mean in terms of the claim to Divine guidance?”

2. The New Testament Canon is the only Canon which both Catholics and Protestants have in common – a Canon which was defined by both sides (independent of each other) at different times.

3. The uniformity of the Canon as presented in the four Protestant Bibles published shortly before the Council of Trent (at which the Catholic Canon – both Old and New Testaments – was officially defined for the very first time) proves that the Protestants had already agreed on an official New Testament Canon without reference to the decisions of the Roman Catholic Church.

4. Even within the (allegedly Spirit-guided) Church, there had been considerable disagreement from an early date, with various bishops defining their own personal Canons at various times. Athanasius, for example (writing in his festal letter of AD 367) lists the 27 books of the New Testament as the same 27 that are currently in the Protestant Canon – without questioning any of them.

5. As stated before, historical evidence shows that the 27 books of the NT were written during the 1st Century AD. Since the authors of these books were the earliest Christians (and therefore possessed a direct link to Jesus himself) it would be most unwise of us to rely on later writings because we can’t be sure they’re reliable. So while we all enjoy referring to and quoting sources outside of Scripture, we can’t unequivocally guarantee their accuracy so ultimately it all has to come back to what we know for sure: The Bible.

6. What were the traditions that Christ gave that aren’t recorded in Scripture? If no one has a detailed description of what they were, then they’re irrelevant to us. It’s a moot point.

7. Col 2:8 “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” The very concept of “tradition” (as defined by the Catholic Church) is unequivocally condemned by the apostles themselves. It is called “the tradition of men”; i.e. that which was instigated by uninspired members of the Christian community, who soon fell away from the original faith (the Gospel message as delivered by Christ and his disciples.) With this in mind, the apostle Paul takes care to distinguish between that which he has been inspired to write (“I have received of the Lord that which I delivered unto you…”) and that which constitutes his own personal judgement (“I write this by permission, and not by commandment…”) He reassures his audience that his own personal views are not to be accepted on the same footing as (a) his Divinely inspired work, or (b) the authority of Jesus. (See I Corinthians 5:5-6, 35, 39-40 for an example.) The apostles never place any weight on “oral tradition.” They draw their arguments from (a) the inspiration of God, and (b) the writings (as opposed to “oral traditions”) of other apostles.

8. Consider how many Christian beliefs have changed or been revised or been edited or updated over the centuries. This speaks volumes about the source of the ‘tradition’. Pro 24:21 “My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change:” Beware of doctrines that have been ‘refined’. They're not from God.

The Church can be wrong. Prove your beliefs, don’t take anyone’s word for it. Salvation is far too important to leave in the hands of another. If it can’t be proven using Scripture, there’s a problem. Not least because it’s guaranteed these man-made beliefs will contradict Scripture (immortal soul, heaven and hell going, infant baptism, etc.). Try it for yourself: use nothing but Scripture to see if your beliefs can be proven and refuted.

Jesus was circumcised because he was a Jew. It wasn’t a formality. Remember, Christ was born into the law so the law applied as much to him as it did to anyone else (Gal 4:4).

No, I don’t believe God wanted to be born a true man from the flesh of a woman because nothing in the Bible ever suggests God had such a desire. God is God. He doesn’t ‘want’ or ‘need’ anything. These are human characteristics. There’s no sense in Him sharing our humanity because He knows exactly how it is all ready since He’s all-knowing. An all-knowing God doesn’t need to try things out. Nothing is new for God. Believe me, I know what you’re saying about God retaining Divinity but as there’s no sense in putting limitations on God because we’re not smarter then our Creator.

LOL. I read the document you provided. Unfortunately, it didn’t include another option for what ‘until’ could mean. It’s one thing to say “it doesn’t necessarily say this” but without suggesting an alternative, one has to wonder if more energy is being spent on refuting a claim rather then researching a viable alternative. For example, the article says: “Consider this quotation from Samuel: "And so Saul's daughter Michal was childless until the day of her death (2 Sam 6:23)." Are we to conclude that she bore children after her death? How about the raven released from the ark? We read that the raven "flew back and forth until the waters dried off from the earth (Gn 8:7)." Does that mean the raven returned?”

These references actually do a great service for supporting the view that Joseph had sexual relations with Mary. Michal was childless until the day of her death. A logical statement since no one’s able to have children when they’re dead. Michal was childless from Time A to Time B (death). The raven flew back and forth until the waters receded. Logical enough. The raven flew around for a duration of Time A to Time B (dry earth). It’s not difficult to see that this language is used in exactly the same spirit today. For example, we would say “They didn’t get married until they bought their first house.” Our natural, logical, correct conclusion would be that they waited to get married until they bought a house. “Joseph didn’t have sexual relations with Mary until the birth of their first son.” Our natural, logical, correct conclusion would be that Joseph and Mary didn’t have sex until after Jesus was born. Mary was a virgin from Time A to Time B (birth of Christ).

Mary simply can’t be an ‘ever-virgin’. It defies all logic (and that’s even ignoring the existence of Christ’s natural brothers and sisters).

del_button October 24, 2006 at 12:55 PM
Jason said...

Numbers. I’m not prepared to say Jesus founded the Catholic Church but I understand where you’re coming from. :) My initial point was that Church dogma is quite often defended by referring to the number of people who believe in it: “It can’t be wrong since there are billions of people who all believe the same thing.” This isn’t so much a rash criticism on my part as it is a comment on the apparent unwillingness by the individual to use Scripture to prove things themselves. Christianity has become a lazy man’s religion.

Evil. God must have created evil because if God didn’t create it then it’s impossible for it to exist. “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.” (Isaiah 45:7) Scripture makes it abundantly clear, does it not? God being all-good is irrelevant to the things He creates. God created disease but He’s not susceptible to the flu. God created osteoporosis but He can't get arthritis. God created physical pain but that doesn’t mean He feels any. Evil didn’t just appear by accident. This is what Isaiah is saying. Evil didn’t just crawl out of the primordial soup unbeknownst to God. Yes, evil in the world is a result of disobedience but this doesn’t have anything to do with who actually created it. God makes peace and creates evil. What else can one say?

Vulgate. Why are you writing in Latin…? Anyhow, if the Vulgate isn’t free from grammar and spelling errors while all the versions based on the original Greek omit “Hail Mary full of grace” then doesn’t this suggest there’s a strong possibility the Vulgate erred in translating this particular verse (or maybe it was an intentional error...)? And to answer your question, I don’t consider any version to be an authoritative version (not even the New American!!). Personally, I find it helpful to refer to all versions with a concordance and lexicon handy depending on what’s being looked at. And in this case, every version replaces “full of grace” (Greek: plaras karitos) with "highly favoured" (Greek: kexaritomena). Apples and oranges. :)

Alright, enough about the Vulgate. The Vulgate has “full of grace” while every version translated from the original Greek doesn’t. “Hail Mary full of grace” doesn’t exist in the Greek text but if people don’t want to question this, that’s their prerogative. I’ll leave it at that. The last points are all yours ☺

Gelasius. Pope Gelasius condemned, ex cathedra, a book that contained the first ever written account of the Assumption of Mary. Why he did this is something no one can answer. The point is that he did. This book, or sections of it, is used today by the Church to defend the history of the Assumption. The first Catholic writer who relates this story is Gregory of Tours (c. 590); Epiphanius two centuries earlier had declared that nothing was known as to the circumstances of Mary's death and burial. Since Epiphanius lived near Palestine, if there were a tradition in the Church that people generally believed he would have known it. But he clearly states that 'her end no one knows.' So in the span of 200 years, the Assumption of Mary took root and grew. The coincidence that the Transitus was written and circulated within this time period prior to a general belief in the Assumption is too great to be ignored. It would therefore make sense why Gelasius would condemn the writing: The Assumption didn’t jive because no one believed Mary had been assumed to heaven.

Mary’s purification. She obeyed the law because she knew she was a sinner who needed purification. This is what the law was for. It was to purify sinners.

Condemnation. The condemnation of the Transitus was all encompassing. Everything in the book was condemned, not bits and pieces of it. This was the infallible papal decree passed by Gelasius. As an infallible condemnation, nothing in this book should ever be referred to by the Church and yet so much stock is put into what it says. Why isn’t this a dead book banned from reference and existence? Because no other writing exists that far back in history which discusses the Assumption in detail.

del_button October 24, 2006 at 6:01 PM
Anonymous said...

What I wrote in Latin was a quote (from the Vulgate) showing that the of the Pope, as the Vicar of Christ on earth, is Scriptural.

About the origin evil:
God did not create evil because He cannot (will not) contradict Himself.
He is all just, all powerful, all knowing and ALL GOOD. Good cannot be the cause of the existence of evil. In fact, He gave all His creatures free will so that they may chose Him (Good) or bad (Evil).

God created the creatures which cause Evil, he merely permits it so as not to violate their free will.

Not everything can be "proved", as you say, from Scripture as it was not all recorded in Scripture. That DOES NOT mean that Christian tradition is irrelevant. In fact St. Paul tells us
clearly. "Brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our Epistle." (2 Thess. 2:14 or 15 depending on your Bible).

Tradition: the teachings of Jesus, given to the apostles, taught to the early Christian and handed down orally.
The Bible was written to help us believe that Jesus is the Messiah and to help us remember His teachings, it is not the only thing necessary for our salvation.

The Bible supports both the Catholic teachings of the authority of the Pope (see my post with all the Latin)and the necessity of tradition.

del_button October 25, 2006 at 11:40 AM
Jason said...

The Vicar of Christ… I’ll bite my tongue. ☺

I'm not sure what you're saying...the Greek versions aren’t very good? Is the Vulgate the ‘chosen’ version?

Anyhow, you didn’t answer my question about spelling and grammar mistakes. With every Greek translation, new and old, reading “highly favored” instead of “full of grace”, does this not strongly suggest the Vulgate screwed up in its translation of the Greek? The Greek word for “highly favoured” doesn’t even resemble the Greek words for “full of grace”. Where the heck did “full of grace” come from? Oh well, that’s okay. This thing’s been beaten to death already.

Evil. So, if God didn’t create evil, then it must have appeared magically. And back we go to “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.” (Isaiah 45:7) Instead of theorizing that God couldn’t make evil for the simple fact that it doesn’t fit your tidy image of who God is, use Scripture to prove your point.

God creating evil doesn’t contradict Himself any more then God creating darkness while He dwells in “light unapproachable”. God is the creator. Simple simple simple. Nothing is by accident. Nothing is created without God bringing it into existence. Don't you agree?

We’ve also got countless verses like Joshua 23:15 ”Therefore it shall come to pass, that as all good things are come upon you, which the LORD your God promised you; so shall the LORD bring upon you all evil things…” and Judges 9:23 Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem…” and 2 Kings 21:12 "Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Behold, I am bringing such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah…” Explain.

Traditions. No one’s saying tradition is irrelevant. But whose traditions are we talking about: Christ’s or man’s? Rev 2:2 “I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:” Traditions are nice things to talk about but they, and the men who give them, can be ‘tried’. It's Scripture that can prove whether or not they tell the truth no matter WHO the so-called “authority” is.

I’ll post these comments again in case they were missed the first few times around:

1. The early Christian “tradition” (so-called) was (a) delivered by Christ himself, and (b) unchanging, unlike the steadily-evolving “traditions of men” which were formulated in the first three centuries of the post-Apostolic era. Do Catholic traditions evolve? Um, yes.

2. Paul’s oral teachings – unlike the oral teachings of the men who led the post-1st Century Church – were not originally his own; they were Christ’s! Furthermore, those same oral teachings were always committed to parchment, not simply passed down through word of mouth (hence the Pauline letters, not the Pauline conversations). They were also recorded by other writers, appearing in the four Gospels, the book of Acts, and the General Epistles. The apostles never place any weight on “oral tradition.” They draw their arguments from (a) the inspiration of God, and (b) the writings (as opposed to “oral traditions”) of other apostles.

3. You’re lumping the traditions of Christ in with the traditions of men. One is necessary, the other isn’t. One can be proved as being correct using the Bible, the other can’t. One never changes, the other does. Therefore, not ALL traditions are correct. This is why the verse in Revelation is so relevant to us today. We (as in every individual out there) have the single most important resource necessary to prove claims and doctrines and dogmas: the Bible.

(Anyone want to start up another post about papal authority? Catholics claim that Silvester I was the Pope of Constantine’s era. Why, then, did the Emperor preside over the Council of Nicaea? Does this not contradict the traditional dogma of Papal primacy? Where is the principle of Papal succession taught in the NT? Even if we accept Peter as the “first Pope”, where do we go from here? Who was next in line, and where are we told that a succession would take place?)

Whoa, wasn’t this post originally about the IC? ☺

del_button December 10, 2006 at 12:33 AM
Michael said...

If God had the ability to make Mary sinless without infringing upon her free will, why doesn't he do the same for all of us? It seems it would save us from a lot of unnecessary suffering, suffering which is usually explained as the consequence of free will.

I don't understand your claim that Mary had to be sinless for Jesus to dwell in her. Doesn't Jesus dwell in us when we take Communion? We are certainly not sinless. And aren't we called "Temples of the Holy Spirit"? Again, God dwells in us and we still sin.

Aloria, unnecessary suffering is the result of the abuse of free will, not the result of free will itself.

Mr. Moneybags did not say God had to make Mary sinless in order for Jesus to dwell in her, he said this was God's choice. God is all-good, so He follows His own law perfectly, including the law that we must honor our mothers and fathers. How could God-made-man honor His mother best? By protecting her from all dishonor. As God, that was within His capacity.

Mary is the new Eve. In Genesis 3:15, God says “I will put enmity between you [the serpent] and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel”. Mary, beloved of God, is the enemy of the serpent, who is Satan. Even the slightest flirtation with sin on her part would be a lessening of the enmity God put between her and the serpent.

While we do not have the Blessed Virgin's perfect enmity with the serpent, we can and should get our souls clean through the sacrament of Confession before receiving our Lord in Holy Communion. If we fail to prepare for Communion and receive Him unworthily, we add to our sins.

All who live piously and chastely are temples of the Holy Spirit,” but many fall. Why that should be is a mystery, but please realize that this life, with all its suffering, is short, and eternity is long. Perhaps the good Lord permits some to disgrace themselves to teach them humility and wisdom. If others choose to throw away His blessings and do not repent, then because of their actions, God's justice will be manifest on Judgment Day, and again His will will be done. All these failures are our own fault. If we would just follow God with all our heart, without reservation, we would not fall, but we put our own selves before our Creator and squander the riches He showers on us.

Or so it seems to me. May God correct our errors and remove from our hearts all that keeps us from Him.

del_button December 19, 2006 at 12:11 AM
Jason said...

Every single post by a Catholic that I’ve read regarding Mary’s immaculate conception centers around the idea that God could not dwell in a sinful body because God is all-good. Therefore, the argument goes: Mary HAD to be sinless in order to be a worthy vessel for God. Michael, please clarify: Did God make Mary sinless because He’s a nice guy or did He have to make Mary sinless because God can’t dwell in sin?

The honor bestowed upon Mary was that she would give birth to the saviour of mankind. That’s all Scripture tells us in terms of the blessing she received. God never says Mary received the blessing of a sinless life or immortality in heaven or any of the other honours you claim she has.

This whole ‘Mary is the new Eve’ statement is as common as it is bizarre. Mary is NEVER referred to as Eve and to put the record straight, read Genesis 3:15 again. It reads: “HE will strike at your head…” JESUS will crush the serpent (death), not Mary. The slaying of death (or Satan or whatever you want to call it) is always, always, always attributed to Christ, no one else.

Also note that Jesus is only called “Adam” once and this is only to compare the nature of both. Anyhow, in 1 Corinthians 15:45, Jesus is called the LAST Adam so what’s up with all this NEW Eve talk? Shouldn’t she actually be the LAST Eve? Or should we ignore Scripture and walk around saying Jesus is the New Adam?

It makes my head spin where you guys get this stuff from.

del_button April 30, 2007 at 12:46 AM
Anonymous said...

If Peter was married, why do priests not marry?

del_button April 30, 2007 at 6:36 AM
Matthew said...


del_button November 8, 2008 at 4:14 AM
Sunil Martin,PhD said...

in the apparitions in lourdes mary said she is immaculate conception..basically the concept of jesus is god..god is holy trinity..etc are divine mistery revealed to us..you cannot argue so much on it if it is scienec so much of arguement makes ence ..first argue about existance of god...trinity..no one can proove it.. so immaculate conception is another beleif put on beleif ..just experience the intercesion of mary

del_button November 8, 2008 at 4:21 AM
Sunil Martin,PhD said...

Christian belief holds that every human being through faith and through baptism is freed from sin - original sin and personal sin - through the grace of Jesus Christ. Roman Catholic Christians simply claim that Mary was the first one to whom this was done.

The basis for the belief in the Immaculate Conception of Mary can be found in the Biblical revelation of holiness and the opposite of that state, sinfulness.

God is revealed as perfect interior holiness.

Is 6:3
"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts!" they (the Seraphim) cried one to the other.
No sin or anything tainted with sin can stand in the face of the holiness of God. "Enmity" is that mutual hatred between Mary and sin, between Christ and sin.

Gen 3:15
I will put enmity between you (the serpent, Satan) and the woman (Mary), and between your offspring (minions of Satan) and hers (Jesus); He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel.
For the birth of God as a human being, God was interested in the condition of the mother's womb. For even a great, but imperfect, judge of Israel, Samson, God was directive about the state of the mother during the pregnancy. The request for the mother to be pure is repeated for emphasis.

Judges 13:3-4
An angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her, "Though you are barren and have had no children, yet you will conceive and bear a son. Now, then, be careful to take no wine or strong drink and to eat nothing unclean."
Judges 13:7
"But he (the angel) said to me, 'You will be with child and will bear a son. So take neither wine nor strong drink, and eat nothing unclean. For the boy shall be consecrated to God from the womb, until the day of his death.' "
Judges 13:13-14
The angel of the LORD answered Manoah, "Your wife is to abstain from all the things of which I spoke to her. She must not eat anything that comes from the vine, nor take wine or strong drink, nor eat anything unclean. Let her observe all that I have commanded her."
How much more would God be interested in the state of His own mother's womb!

The salutation of the Angel Gabriel is different from the usual angelic greeting. It indicates that Mary was exceptionally "highly favored with grace" (Greek: charitoo, used twice in the New Testament, in Lk 1:28 for Mary - before Christ's redemption; and Eph 1:6 for Christ's grace to us - after Christ's redemption).

Lk 1:28
And coming to her (Mary), he (the angel Gabriel) said, "Hail, favored one (kecharitomene)"
Eph 1:4-6
(God) chose us in him (Jesus), before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace (echaritosen) that he granted us in the beloved.
Note that the angel's salutation preceded Mary's acquiescence. Mary was already highly favored. God's grace was not given in time after Mary accepted the angel's word. The Church believes that this grace was given from the very beginning of Mary's life. It is clearly grace because at the time of Mary's conception she could have done nothing to earn it.

The constant faith (paradosis) of the Church attests to the belief in the special preparation of the holiness of the person of Mary to bear in her body the most holy person of the Son of God.

Implicitly found in the Fathers of the Church in the parallelism between Eve and Mary (Irenaeus, Lyons, 140? - 202?); Found in the more general terms about Mary: "holy", "innocent", "most pure", "intact", "immaculate" (Irenaeus, Lyons, 140?-202?; Ephraem, Syria, 306-373; Ambrose, Milan, 373-397); Explicit language: Mary - free from original sin (Augustine, Hippo, 395-430 to Anselm, Normandy, 1033-1109).
Eastern Church: celebrated a Feast of the Conception of Mary in the 8th to the 9th Century; Western Church: celebrated a Feast of the Conception of Mary in the 12th Century; A record of the feast in the 11th Century in Great Britain; in the 12th Century in Normandy; Record in many churches of a Feast of the Conception of Mary in France, Germany, Italy and Spain in the 12th Century (Bernard, Clairvaux, 1090-1153).
14th Century:
Was noted for the opposition to the Immaculate Conception from some of the great doctors of scholasticism. The celebration of the feast was not denied though. The difficulty arose from the meaning of the universal redemption through Christ.
15th Century:
Franciscan theologians solved the difficulty. Christ, the most perfect mediator, preserved Mary from original sin by an equally perfect act of healing. Duns Scotus (Scotland, 1266-1308) explained that the Immaculate Conception came through God's application of the grace of Christ beforehand.
From 15th Century:
The Feast was universally celebrated; and christian piety introduced an oath to defend the belief in the Immaculate Conception to be taken not only by Religious, but also by non-Religious and at the Universities (e.g., Paris, 1497; Cologne, 1499; Vienna, 1501)
From the 17th Century:
The clause "to the shedding of blood" was added to the oath taken to defend the belief in the Immaculate Conception.
Pope Pius IX, infallibly defined, ex cathedra: "The Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instant of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of Almighty God, and in view of the foreseen merits of Jesus Christ, the savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin."
Nonbelievers and enemies of Roman Catholic Christianity often accuse the Church of creating the belief in Mary's freedom from original sin "the Immaculate Conception" in 1854 (as the Church named the belief of Mary's immediate entry, body and soul, into Heaven, "the Assumption" in 1950) when the truths were defined. Such an error is equivalent to saying that before Adam named the animals and birds of creation in Gen 2:19-20 they did not exist. Or that before the early Church in her Ecumenical Councils named the belief of three persons in one God "the Trinity" and the belief that there are two natures, human and divine in the person of Jesus Christ "the Incarnation," the truths did not exist.

In naming the content of Divine Revelation after God has revealed it to us, the Church reflects a long Biblical tradition and practice.

del_button December 30, 2008 at 11:30 PM
Anonymous said...

There is one fundamental reason why Jason can never accept that Mary was sinless. This is because he denies the divinity of Christ.

One definition of sin, which I believe is the most accurate in what sin actually accomplishes with the soul, is that it distances the sinner away from God. It is impossible for God to be tainted with sin, or commit sin because he would be distancing Himself with Himself. That does not make any logical sense, if a being is itself it cannot be apart from itself. The only way I can imagine that happening is if the being split itself apart, and that would require there to be two Gods which would contradict God by producing two infinite beings.

It's impossible for two infinite beings to exist because then one would have to know something the other didn't or have something the other didn't otherwise the purpose of the being would be compromised, which would mean that this second being would not be infinite or God, creating a demi-god.

Claiming the immaculate conception is false, or the imperfection of Mary is untrue, then that person would be committing the heresy of Deism, which by being Unitarianism Jason would have no problem committing because it is fundamental to a Unitarianism. (Correct me if I'm mistaken I've never studied Unitarianism but if I'm not mistaken they do not believe that Christ was diving which is a heresy of Deism. If Unitarianism does not embrace Deism I beg a pardon but it still embraces a heresy of Deism.)

Until Jason embraces the more "pressing" matters such as the divinity of Christ, the Trinity, original sin ect as Jason has claimed there is nothing we can say to convince him because in order to believe that Mary was sinless we have to believe that these fundamentals are true.

Further more the question as to why Mary asked for forgiveness or compassion from Christ during the passion. I'm not a learned Theologian, nor do I study the Bible adamantly. However, I do know that pride is sinful and for her not to humble herself would be at some level sinful. For her to be sinless one of the requirements for sinlessness would be to be perfectly humble. That coincides with Mary's sinlessness perfectly because for her NOT to do this would be a SIN. Of course this does not prove that Mary was sinless, it does reinforce it by displaying Mary's humility by asking for forgiveness from her own Son.

del_button December 31, 2008 at 2:30 AM
Sunil Martin,PhD said...

If we are accepting that christ is god ,his divine and human part is inseparably mixed then he has to accept that mary has to be immaculately conceived as her flsh given to holyspitit to form the incarnation GOD the son..so it is difficult to beleive that god dwelled in his full form and authority in a sinfull body..or god dwells in a womb and she was contemplating sinful thoughts.mary was in a state where eve was before sinning but that do not take away eve's discretion of doing good or bad. we use to bless the bread before using the sacramental words ..so god protected and was preparing mary since long.it was not so happened that angel gabrel just randomly chosen a virgin when god has given the responsibility to do so.everything was preplanned and that is why we call it a mystery ..after all holy trinity is also a mystery

del_button April 4, 2010 at 4:52 PM
Anonymous said...

In 1854 the Immaculate Conception of Mary was proclaimed and since then it has been taught that she was without sin. Now with any teaching of any church whether it be Catholic or Protestant, it must be held up to the scrutiny of Scripture. The Bible is the final authority and if we are to come to truth, we must consistently compare what is being taught to see if it harmonizes with Scripture and if it doesn’t, then we are refute it and disbelieve it. God is the one who establishes truth and not a church, no matter how long they have been established on earth. Length of time is not a criteria for truth. Judaism has been around since the 5th Century BC which would place it about 800 years older than the Roman church and still denies that the Lord Jesus Christ is both God and Messiah. Let us attend to the words of Holy Scripture to test the teaching of the sinless state or perfection of Mary

del_button April 28, 2011 at 8:31 PM
Peter said...


You Protestants always try to beat us at your own game. Unfortunately for you, Catholicism is based on both the Bible AND tradition. (This idea is itself held up in the bible. Take a look at 2 Thessalonians 2:15. Nowhere in the Bible does it say "Sola Scriptura") Thus tradition is in fact a main way us Christians should be able to create dogma. John 16:13 tells us that the Holy Spirit will guide the Church into all truth. So a dogma created by a council or by a pope speaking ex cathedra must be true. Not everything has to stand up to scripture. Granted, if it is contrary to scripture, then it is not possible. But if it isn't specifically spelled out, then the Church has the authority to interpret how it was meant. Remember, the Bible PLUS tradition. NOT the bible ALONE. God bless you!

del_button April 28, 2011 at 8:44 PM
Sunil Martin,PhD said...

Well the word of God is both written and unwritten.Have you seen a word "Trinity" written in the bible.But we all believe in that.trinity is evolved from the bible in the holy councils of early churches.In the same way we have to work with the church to fully understand the meaning of the word of God.You have to read the bible in the contexts of the Church.

del_button July 25, 2011 at 7:33 AM
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
del_button December 9, 2011 at 1:09 PM
Kerri said...

I am not Catholic but I have a question. Acts 6:8 says Stephen was "full of grace" does that mean you believe Stephen was also sinless?

del_button December 9, 2011 at 1:11 PM
Kerri said...

Peter -> Anonymous.

Anonymous never said they were Catholic. Catholic's believe in the purity and righteousness of the Bible as well as Protestants.

They were just speaking truth.

del_button November 25, 2015 at 10:37 AM
Esther said...

If, according to Immaculate Conception,Mary can be conceived without sin from her sinful parents, why can't Jesus be conceived without sin from Mary if she is sinful? Why is it necessary that Mary be without sin?

del_button November 25, 2015 at 10:49 AM
Matthew said...

Basically the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception Proclaimed infallibly by Pope Pius IX in 1854 sums up the theological reasoning.

"in the first instance of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin."

Not only was it necessary for Mary to be a virgin, it was necessary for her to be free from the stain of original sin. If she was not a virgin, she would have sinned in some way on account of the fact that she was espoused to Joseph, but had not yet known him. She didn't 'know' him for a reason. It's reasonable to suppose that they were in some sort of period of betrothal before an official marriage, when sexual relations would have been an occasion of sin.

This is why we know she was sinless:

She is often referred to as the new Eve by the early church fathers. Eve was made free from original sin and it was through her and Adam that sin entered the world.

Mary likewise would have to be free from original sin to be the Mother of God in order for redemption to enter the world.

She is a living tabernacle, the holy of holies, when Jesus was within her. Nothing impure could contain Him and live.

She is told she is 'full of grace' by an angelic witness who would not lie or mince words before the Incarnation of Jesus.

See here for a thorough explanation: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07674d.htm

Post a Comment

Copyright Notice: Unless otherwise stated, all items are copyrighted under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. If you quote from this blog, cite a link to the post on this blog in your article.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links on this blog are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. As an Amazon Associate, for instance, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases made by those who click on the Amazon affiliate links included on this website. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”