Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception

minasoliman

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I'd like to add to Marc Hanna's excellent points about an OO perspective.  Some Catholics have shown me pamphlets of HH Pope Shenouda giving the Theotokos language about her "all-purity," her being "immaculate," and without sin (akin especially in quoting St. Ephrem the Syrian and using his language).  If one understand HH Pope Shenouda in context, one would understand that he, in keeping with OO tradition, has taught very clearly that she was pure in her actions, but not necessarily in her nature.  She, as anyone else, was born in sin.  He does mention however the requirement that her womb be cleansed for the conception of the Logos.  In this case, when the Holy Spirit came upon her, that was her moment of "purification from Original Sin" so to speak so that the Logos can take flesh from her.

St. Jacob of Serugh (OO saint post-Chalcedonian) in his amazingly poetic and dogmatic praises to the Theotokos says something similar to that extent.  It was not from her own conception she was purified, but from the descending of the Holy Spirit upon her.  This truly indeed preserves her free will.  Not that free will is ontologically taken away if one has no Original Sin, but from a pragmatic sense.  She may have been sanctified for the role from her conception as was John the Forerunner, but not necessarily purified, for she did not decide yet whether she wanted to bear the Logos Incarnate yet.  Consider the vessels of the Old Testament.  They were washed with water and oil before the Shekinah glory came, but after the Shekinah glory came, they washed it with blood, not before.  It seems to me this is a clear testament of how we should interpret the Virgin Theotokos.

Finally, I like to mention one last thing from EO/Latin tradition, a quote from Pope Leo the Great in the fifth century, from his 24th Sermon:

And so to undo this chain of sin and death, the Almighty Son of God, that fills all things and contains all things, altogether equal to the Father and co-eternal in one essence from Him and with Him, took on Him man's nature, and the Creator and Lord of all things deigned to be a mortal: choosing for His mother one whom He had made, one who, without loss of her maiden honour, supplied so much of bodily substance, that without the pollution of human seed the New Man might be possessed of purity and truth. In Christ, therefore, born of the Virgin's womb, the nature does not differ from ours, because His nativity is wonderful. For He Who is true God, is also true man: and there is no lie in either nature. The Word became flesh by exaltation of the flesh, not by failure of the Godhead: which so tempered its power and goodness as to exalt our nature by taking it, and not to lose His own by imparting it. In this nativity of Christ, according to the prophecy of David, truth sprang out of the earth, and righteousness looked down from heaven . In this nativity also, Isaiah's saying is fulfilled, let the earth produce and bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together (Isaiah 45:8). For the earth of human flesh, which in the first transgressor, was cursed, in this Offspring of the Blessed Virgin only produced a seed that was blessed and free from the fault of its stock. And each one is a partaker of this spiritual origin in regeneration; and to every one when he is re-born, the water of baptism is like the Virgin's womb; for the same Holy Spirit fills the font, Who filled the Virgin, that the sin, which that sacred conception overthrew, may be taken away by this mystical washing.
So it seems that Leo was teaching two things that contributed to the purity of Christ:
1.  He was born of a Virgin, not of impure seed (I suppose to become a new Seed).
2.  The Holy Spirit and the conception seemed to take away the Virgin's "sin."

Am I interpreting this correctly?  Or does Leo teach elsewhere in a better context?  I must admit, I got this quote directly from someone else, but I cannot confirm this being correct as I have not studied its context, but I can say I copied and pasted this particular quote from this site:
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/360324.htm

God bless.
 

ialmisry

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AlexanderOfBergamo said:
Hi all,
I tried and resisted to intervene up to now in this conversation, but now I find myself so upset for the take this conversation has taken that I felt I should intervene in favour of Orthodoxy, now.
First of all, it seems that the will to "dogmatize" everything is typically latin. That's so sad... that it reminds me of those Scholars in the Middle Ages trying to define the gender of angels...

1) My easiest reply to your last post, dear brother Papist, is that you misunderstand the word "dormition". The word is a Latin rendering of a Greek word meaning "to fall asleep". That's true. But you're making the same mistake as the apostles and the parents of that girl Jesus once resurrected when he said "she's asleep" and had to clarify "she died". The expression "Feast of Dormition" is thus no proof at all that she never died...
"Falling asleep" is also the usual term for Orthodox death.  Any Orthodox.

2) When the Church honours Mary as "All holy" it's not like saying she was "Ever Holy". If you reflect on this, maybe the Liturgy would have preferred a term such as "aieonohagia" as for "aieonoparthenos" (ever-virgin) to mean that she was ALWAYS holy, isn't it? "All holy" means that she experienced a special integrity with respect even to the Apostles because she never actually sinned at all after Christ's conception.
Excellent point!  Never thought of that, and the contrasting language is right there!

minasoliman said:
I'd like to add to Marc Hanna's excellent points about an OO perspective.  Some Catholics have shown me pamphlets of HH Pope Shenouda giving the Theotokos language about her "all-purity," her being "immaculate," and without sin.  If one understand HH Pope Shenouda in context, one would understand that he, in keeping with OO tradition, has taught very clearly that she was pure in her actions, but not necessarily in her nature.  She, as anyone else, was born in sin.  He does mention however the requirement that her womb be cleansed for the conception of the Logos.  In this case, when the Holy Spirit came upon her, that was her moment of "purification from Original Sin" so to speak so that the Logos can take flesh from her.

St. Jacob of Serugh (OO saint post-Chalcedonian) in his amazingly poetic and dogmatic praises to the Theotokos says something similar to that extent.  It was not from her own conception she was purified, but from the descending of the Holy Spirit upon her.  This truly indeed preserves her free will.  Not that free will is ontologically taken away if one has no Original Sin, but from a pragmatic sense.  She may have been sanctified for the role from her conception as was John the Forerunner, but not necessarily purified, for she did not decide yet whether she wanted to bear the Logos Incarnate yet.  Consider the vessels of the Old Testament.  They were washed with water and oil before the Shekinah glory came, but after the Shekinah glory came, they washed it with blood, not before.  It seems to me this is a clear testament of how we should interpret the Virgin Theotokos.
Excellent points.

Finally, I like to mention one last thing from EO/Latin tradition, a quote from Pope Leo the Great in the fifth century, from his 24th Sermon:

And so to undo this chain of sin and death, the Almighty Son of God, that fills all things and contains all things, altogether equal to the Father and co-eternal in one essence from Him and with Him, took on Him man's nature, and the Creator and Lord of all things deigned to be a mortal: choosing for His mother one whom He had made, one who, without loss of her maiden honour, supplied so much of bodily substance, that without the pollution of human seed the New Man might be possessed of purity and truth. In Christ, therefore, born of the Virgin's womb, the nature does not differ from ours, because His nativity is wonderful. For He Who is true God, is also true man: and there is no lie in either nature. The Word became flesh by exaltation of the flesh, not by failure of the Godhead: which so tempered its power and goodness as to exalt our nature by taking it, and not to lose His own by imparting it. In this nativity of Christ, according to the prophecy of David, truth sprang out of the earth, and righteousness looked down from heaven . In this nativity also, Isaiah's saying is fulfilled, let the earth produce and bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together (Isaiah 45:8). For the earth of human flesh, which in the first transgressor, was cursed, in this Offspring of the Blessed Virgin only produced a seed that was blessed and free from the fault of its stock. And each one is a partaker of this spiritual origin in regeneration; and to every one when he is re-born, the water of baptism is like the Virgin's womb; for the same Holy Spirit fills the font, Who filled the Virgin, that the sin, which that sacred conception overthrew, may be taken away by this mystical washing.
So it seems that Leo was teaching two things that contributed to the purity of Christ:
1.  He was born of a Virgin, not of impure seed (I suppose to become a new Seed).
2.  The Holy Spirit and the conception seemed to take away the Virgin's "sin."

Am I interpreting this correctly?  Or does Leo teach elsewhere in a better context?  I must admit, I got this quote directly from someone else, but I cannot confirm this being correct as I have not studied its context, but I can say I copied and pasted this particular quote from this site:
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/360324.htm

God bless.
A thread on another forum  :police: ::) :police: most of us here came from, deals precisely with these quotes.  The Vatican supporters refused to see that Pope St. Leo was talking about the Theotokos' conception of Christ, not her own conception in St. Anne.
 

ialmisry

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I forgot the beginning of Bernard writing on the "novelty" of the IC:
Bernard of Clarivaux (12th cent.):

The Mother of the Lord, you say, ought greatly to be honoured. You say well, but the honour of a queen loves justice. The royal Virgin does not need false honour, since she is amply supplied with true titles to honour and badges of her dignity. Honour indeed the purity of her flesh, the sanctity of her life, wonder at her motherhood as a virgin, adore her Divine offspring. Extol the prodigy by which she brought into the world without pain the Son, whom she had conceived without concupiscence. Proclaim her to be reverenced by the angels, to have been desired by the nations, to have been known beforehand by Patriarchs and Prophets, chosen by God out of all women and raised above them all. Magnify her as the medium by whom grace was displayed, the instrument of salvation, the restorer of the ages; and finally extol her as having been exalted above the choirs of angels to the celestial realms. These things the Church sings concerning her, and has taught me to repeat the same things in her praise, and what I have learnt from the Church I both hold securely myself and teach to others; what I have not received from the Church I confess I should with great difficulty admit. I have received then from the Church that day to be reverenced with the highest veneration, when being taken up from this sinful earth, she made entry into the heavens; a festival of most honoured joy. With no less clearness have I learned in the Church to celebrate the birth of the Virgin, and from the Church undoubtedly to hold it to have been holy and joyful; holding most firmly with the Church, that she received in the womb that she should come into the world holy. And indeed I read concerning Jeremiah, that before he came forth from the womb he was sanctified, and I think no otherwise of John the Baptist, who, himself in the womb of his mother, felt the presence of his Lord in the womb (S. Luke i. 41). It is matter for consideration whether the same opinion may not be held of holy David, on account of what he said in addressing God: In Thee I have been strengthened from the womb: Thou art He who took me out of my mother’s bowels (Ps. lxxi. 6); and again: I was cast upon Thee from the womb: Thou art my God from my mother’s belly (Ps. xxii. 10). And Jeremiah is thus addressed: Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest out of the womb I sanctified thee (Jer. i. 5). How beautifully the Divine oracle has distinguished between conception in the womb and birth from the womb! and showed that if the one was foreseen only, the other was blessed beforehand with the gift of holiness: that no one might think that the glory of Jeremiah consisted only in being the object of the foreknowledge of God, but also of His predestination.

3. Let us, however, grant this in the case of Jeremiah. What shall be said of John the Baptist, of whom an angel announced beforehand that he should be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb? I cannot suppose that this is to be referred to predestination or to foreknowledge. For the words of the angel were without doubt fulfilled in their time, as he foretold; and the man (as cannot be doubted) filled with the Holy Ghost at the time and place appointed, as he predicted. But most certainly the Holy Ghost sanctified the man whom He filled. But how far this sanctification availed against original sin, whether for him, or for that prophet, or for any other who was thus prevented by grace, I would not rashly determine. But of these holy persons whom God has sanctified, and brought forth from the womb with the same sanctification which they have received in the womb, I do not hesitate to say that the taint of original sin which they contracted in conception, could not in any manner take away or fetter by the mere act of birth, the benediction already bestowed. Would any one dare to say that a child filled with the Holy Ghost, would remain notwithstanding a child of wrath; and if he had died in his mother’s womb, where he had received this fulness of the Spirit, would endure the pains of damnation? That opinion is very severe; I, however, do not dare to decide anything respecting the question by my own judgment. However that may be, the Church, which regards and declares, not the nativity, but only the death of other saints as precious, makes a singular exception for him of whom an angel singularly said, and many shall rejoice in his birth (Luke i. 14., 15), and with rejoicing honours his nativity. For why should not the birth be holy, and even glad and joyful, of one who leaped with joy even in the womb of his mother?

4. The gift, therefore, which has certainly been conferred upon some, though few, mortals, cannot for a moment be supposed to have been denied to that so highly favoured Virgin, through whom the whole human race came forth into life. Beyond doubt the mother of the Lord also was holy before birth; nor is holy Church at all in error in accounting the day of her nativity holy, and celebrating it each year with solemn and thankful joy. I consider that the blessing of a fuller sanctification descended upon her, so as not only to sanctify her birth, but also to keep her life pure from all sin; which gift is believed to have been bestowed upon none other born of women. This singular privilege of sanctity, to lead her life without any sin, entirely befitted the queen of virgins, who should bear the Destroyer of sin and death, who should obtain the gift of life and righteousness for all. Therefore, her birth was holy, since the abundant sanctity bestowed upon it made it holy even from the womb.

5. What addition can possibly be made to these honours? That her conception, also, they say, which preceded her honourable birth, should be honoured, since if the one had not first taken place, neither would the other, which is honoured. But what if some one else, following a similar train of reasoning, should assert that the honours of a festival ought to be given to each of her parents, then to her grand-parents, and then to their parents, and so on ad infinitum? Thus we should have festivals without number. Such a frequency of joys befits Heaven, not this state of exile. It is the happy lot of those who dwell there, not of strangers and pilgrims. But a writing is brought forward, given, as they say, by revelation from on high, [A writing of this kind is attributed to an English abbot named Elsin in the works of Anselm. Watch out for those angels of light] as if any one would not be able to bring forward another writing in which the Virgin should seem to demand the same honours to her parents also, saying, according to the commandment of the Lord, Honour thy father and thy mother (Exod. xx. 12). I easily persuade myself not to be influenced by such writings, which are supported neither by reason nor by any certain authority. For how does the consequence follow that since the conception has preceded the birth, and the birth is holy, the conception should be considered holy also? Did it make the birth holy because it preceded it? Although the one came first that the other might be, yet not that it might be holy. From whence came that holiness to the conception which was to be transmitted to the birth which followed? Was it not rather because the conception preceded without holiness that it was needful for the being conceived to be sanctified, that a holy birth might then follow? Or shall we say that the birth which was later than the conception shared with it its holiness? It might be, indeed, that the sanctification which was worked in her when conceived passed over to the birth which followed; but it could not be possible that it should have a retrospective effect upon the conception which had preceded it.
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/bernard/letters.lxviii.html
 

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Papist said:
She only died because the master is not greater than the servant and Jesus died.
This seems a piece of mythology from the laity. 

Please reference the infallible papal teaching which confirms what you have just said.


She did not die as the result of sin.

The Catechism (1018) teaches that sin is the cause of bodily death.    You are saying the Catechism is heretical?

If she did not inherit death as the result of original sin, just like all the children of Adam, then what was the cause of her death?   


Tread carefully now,  You seem to be on the verge of heresy in these matters.

she did not die as you and I do but rather experienced a "dormition".
Come, come, Papist.  It was quite the usual thing in the early days to speak of the death of Christians as a dormition (dormitio) or as a transit (transitus.)

 

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Papist said:
So you believe Mary was a sinner? You don't believe that she was "All Holy" as the Liturgy teaches?
Why bring the Liturgy into it?

The Liturgy calls the Patriarch of Constantinople "All Holy."

I know I am going to be quite shocked when you start arguing this proves he was immaculately conceived.  :eek:
 

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ialmisry said:
Btw, can you post again the quotes of Maximillian Kolbe's ideas on the Theotokos.  That might be a good context to see what the IC leads to (and before anyone complains, look at what the IC and Assumption says as to the proof that these "dogmas" are the natural result of X, Y and Z pronouncement).
The Quasi-Incarnation of the Spirit

Ah, you are referring to the nascent heresy, that the Mother of God is the quasi-incarnation of the Holy Spirit.

It is said to be gaining grounds in Catholic circles, especially among the Franciscans.  That is a bad sign since the Franciscans have played a major role in getting previous Marian errors accepted by Rome.

It will be quite interesting to see how the quasi-incarnation is introduced and promoted.   We can expect to suddenly see quotes form the ancient Fathers produced, as proof that the Church has always believed in it.   Appeals will be made to the  Eastern Fathers to show that the Orthodox used to believe it but are now perversely denying it out of anti-Catholic sentiment.

Development of doctrine used to take a long time in the Church of Rome but these days, with the Internet and whatnot, things can be developed much more speedily.  We can expect to see this new development grow rapidly from its node point and reach fruition in our own lifetime, or in the next generation.  We have a unique opportinity to watch at first hand the process of the development of doctrine.
 

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I'm going to be really busy over the next few days, and I will try to respond to the sillier arguements presented hear frist when I return.
 

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Papist said:
I'm going to be really busy over the next few days, and I will try to respond to the sillier arguements presented hear frist when I return.
Speaking of sillier arguments.... unless you have now clarified your confusion of the Immaculate Conception as the Immaculate Birth (message #1) you may not be in a position to respond to other things.  ;D
 

ignatius

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Grace and Peace Brothers and Sisters in Christ!

I come to you with a heavy heart as my job of 13 years comes to an end and the company I spent most of my adult life working for closes it's doors. That said I welcome your prayers that God take pity on me in my sorrows and be my light in the dark.

I read these words of St. Bernard and found them to be inspiring for me as one who humbles himself obediently before the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception.

The gift, therefore, which has certainly been conferred upon some, though few, mortals, cannot for a moment be supposed to have been denied to that so highly favoured Virgin, through whom the whole human race came forth into life. Beyond doubt the mother of the Lord also was holy before birth; nor is holy Church at all in error in accounting the day of her nativity holy, and celebrating it each year with solemn and thankful joy. I consider that the blessing of a fuller sanctification descended upon her, so as not only to sanctify her birth, but also to keep her life pure from all sin; which gift is believed to have been bestowed upon none other born of women. This singular privilege of sanctity, to lead her life without any sin, entirely befitted the queen of virgins, who should bear the Destroyer of sin and death, who should obtain the gift of life and righteousness for all. Therefore, her birth was holy, since the abundant sanctity bestowed upon it made it holy even from the womb.

I believe this but I don't wish to argue over it. I look at it with wonder and humility, the mystery of Our Blessed Virgin Mary.

For the Western Church, we stand at the edge of Triduum in the midst of Holy Week. Lent has past us by and we look to the dark of Holy and Good Friday when Our Lord does descend into that darkest of prisons to free us all from that slavery which binds us to sin.

Free us ole Lord! Free us!
 

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Irish Hermit said:
Papist said:
I'm going to be really busy over the next few days, and I will try to respond to the sillier arguements presented hear frist when I return.
Speaking of sillier arguments.... unless you have now clarified your confusion of the Immaculate Conception as the Immaculate Birth (message #1) you may not be in a position to respond to other things.   ;D
I already did Father Ambrose. I was just in a hurry when I typed previously. Is it considered a virtue in your Church to irritate people needlessly? I doubt it. I suggest you be a better example of your faith.
 

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Papist said:
Irish Hermit said:
Papist said:
I'm going to be really busy over the next few days, and I will try to respond to the sillier arguements presented hear frist when I return.
Speaking of sillier arguments.... unless you have now clarified your confusion of the Immaculate Conception as the Immaculate Birth (message #1) you may not be in a position to respond to other things.   ;D
I already did Father Ambrose. I was just in a hurry when I typed previously. Is it considered a virtue in your Church to irritate people needlessly? I doubt it. I suggest you be a better example of your faith.
If a man falls into what is technically heresy simply because he is typing in a hurry, I think that he is a poor example of his faith.  Haste which produces typos is one thing.  Haste which produces heresy shows that the grasp of theology is a little superficial.  You see, we can play tit for tat with the ad hominems if you like.  :(
 

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Dear brother Marc,

Marc Hanna said:
Does anyone have any sayings from the fathers on this topic?  Just so we can all agree, let's limit these saying to those pre 5th century.
I don't think there are any explicit sayings.  I think the belief came out of a pious meditation on such statements about Mary being the New Eve (extant since the second century), combined with the Church's belief on her being the most perfect creation of God (also just as ancient).  It finally came to fruition, as mentioned, with the establishment of the Feast of the Conception in the Byzantine Church in the 7th or 8th century.  Of course, the Feast is not exactly about her preservation from the stain of original sin - it is, rather, about the pious belief that Mary received the graces of the Holy Spirit at her conception.  I'm guessing that the belief quickly blossomed into the realization that receiving all the graces of the Holy Spirit (that a creature can receive, that is) is tantamount to receiving Baptism.  So what is the effect of Baptism?  The cleansing of the stain of original sin. 

When the Feast migrated to the West, it faced opposition.  What the Latins already believed was that Mary received the graces of the Holy Spirit at the moment of her SPIRITUAL conception (i.e., ensoulment or quickening).  However, unlike the Easterns, the Latins distinguished the moment of ensoulment from the moment of physical conception, believing that ensoulment occurred at least 40 days or more after the physical conception.  Thus, some prominent Saints in the Latin Church opposed the introduction of the Feast in Latin Church.  They could not agree to the idea that she received the graces of the Holy Spirit from the moment of her conception, because they believed she received those graces at least 40 days hence.  As part of their rhetoric against the Eastern Feast, they opined that only Jesus was absolutely pure from the moment of his physical conception because he did not have a human father (from whom original sin was traditionally held to be transmitted).

Eventually, the Latin Church grew to understand, together with the East, that the moment of ensoulment occurs at the same instant as the moment of conception.  Hence, the dogma of the IC.

The above explanation demonstrates that there is no difference between what the medieval Latin Fathers (who opposed the introduction of the Feast into the West) believed and what Catholics today believe - namely, that Mary received all the graces the Holy Spirit at the moment of her ensoulment.  The dogma of the IC uses the word "conception" instead of "ensoulment" simply because both occur at the same time (it's the simple and basic commutative law).

There are some things that need to be emphasized about the dogma of the IC that opponents always mispresent (and those misrepresentations are glaringly evident in this thread):

1) The dogma does NOT say that Mary was preserved from original sin.  If she was preserved from original sin PERIOD, then she would not only be spiritually pure, but she would also not experience corruption or death.  But that is, as stated, NOT what the dogma states (contrary to the polemical wishes of Father Ambrose).  Rather it says she was preserved from the STAIN of original sin.  As repeatedly explained, the STAIN of original sin refers to the SPIRITUAL CONSEQUENCES of original sin, NOT the PHYSICAL/TACTILE effects of original sin.

2) The dogma, when it speaks of conception, refers to her SPIRITUAL conception (i.e., ensoulment), not her PHYSICAL conception.  Thus, it is true, and the dogma does not contradict, the teaching of the medieval Latin Fathers that only Jesus had an immaculate PHYSICAL conception.

3) The two points emphasized above evinces that the dogma does not contradict the fact that Mary died.

4) The dogma of the IC refers to nothing more nor less than the fact that Mary received the graces of Baptism at the moment of her conception, as already explained fully in an earlier post.

Blessings,
Marduk
 

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Dear brother basil,

basilthefool said:
Wow! This thread really lends itself to the ad hominen, eh? It does seem to the uninformed follower of all this that both sides are missing the mark on the opposition's arguments. I haven't seen so many knees jerking since lightning hit the football bleachers.

I had always thought that the main objection to immaculate conception was that it was proclaimed as a dogma necessary for salvation and that the Orthodox that it wasn't an essential belief and should not have been proclaimed unilaterally.
That is an astute observation.  As you can see, there is nothing objectionable about the teaching itself, but polemicists simply bend over backwards to misrepresent the teaching and knock down their straw men.  I find it really funny when Orthodox post their agreements to these hollow arguments, because the arguments haven't really addressed the teaching itself, but have only been knocking down straw man caricatures of it.

As it relates to your comments, I would just like to point out 3 things:
1) The Catholic Church recognizes an hierarchy of beliefs wherein some beliefs are more important and necessary for the maintenance of the Faith as others.  The dogma of the IC falls in the lower rungs of that heirarchy of beliefs.
2) The proscription in the dogma is not an anathema (unlike other dogmas), but is a minor excommunication, which itself indicates its status in the hierarchy of beliefs.  So, contrary to what you stated, it is not "a dogma necessary for salvation," at least not like the explicitly Christological dogmas.
3) The dogma's proscription refers only to those who reject the belief.  I know many Orthodox who believe the teaching, though only as theologoumenon (Bp Timothy Ware himself admits that it can be a legitimate theologoumenon).  In fact, if Orthodox really want to remain faithful to Tradition, they would not reject the teaching at all, since the substance of the teaching is celebrated in the Feast of the Conception of St. Anne.  My point is that the dogma does not insist that it be believed as a dogma, but only that it be believed (so one can view it as theologoumenon).

Blessings,
Marduk
 

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I hope my Orthodox brethren realize that brother Papist's immortalist view is a peculiarly LATIN Catholic theologoumenon. Not all Latin Catholics believe that way, and it is certainly not a viewpoint that exists in the Eastern and Oriental Catholic Churches.

Blessings
 

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Mardukm said:
Of course, the Feast is not exactly about her preservation from the stain of original sin - it is, rather, about the pious belief that Mary received the graces of the Holy Spirit at her conception.  I'm guessing that the belief quickly blossomed into the realization that receiving all the graces of the Holy Spirit (that a creature can receive, that is) is tantamount to receiving Baptism.  So what is the effect of Baptism?  The cleansing of the stain of original sin. 
I think this is where we might disagree, i.e. "all" the graces"  Certainly, there was never any indication that she received "all" the graces, and in fact, there are many, including those of my tradition, who clearly stated that the removal of such a stain happened at the greeting between her and Archangel Gabriel.  Truly, if one is really "Oriental," St. Jacob of Serugh cannot be ignored.  The statements he made implies that she did not receive ALL the graces.

The Holy Spirit inspired prophets, anointed kings and priests.  The Holy Spirit gave grace to St. John the Forerunner of God (Theoprodromos?), and there is even a tradition of him also being sinless and immaculate and pure in his life.  In fact, it is not merely a descent of the Holy Spirit upon John, but even when he was in the womb of St. Elizabeth, he was "filled" with the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:15).  It is why we seek the intercessions of St. John above all the hosts of angels and archangels and second to the Theotokos.  In fact, the celebration of his birth and conception was established before the Theotokos'.  Surely though, you don't find anyone celebrating the IC of John.  It is therefore a leaping assumption one has to make to say that something "quickly blossomed" into the IC.  It has no consistent tradition in the Church in the view of the OO Church.
 

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God bless!Dear Mardukm, you wrote this:
As it relates to your comments, I would just like to point out 3 things:
1) The Catholic Church recognizes an hierarchy of beliefs wherein some beliefs are more important and necessary for the maintenance of the Faith as others.  The dogma of the IC falls in the lower rungs of that heirarchy of beliefs.
2) The proscription in the dogma is not an anathema (unlike other dogmas), but is a minor excommunication, which itself indicates its status in the hierarchy of beliefs.  So, contrary to what you stated, it is not "a dogma necessary for salvation," at least not like the explicitly Christological dogmas.
3) The dogma's proscription refers only to those who reject the belief.  I know many Orthodox who believe the teaching, though only as theologoumenon (Bp Timothy Ware himself admits that it can be a legitimate theologoumenon).  In fact, if Orthodox really want to remain faithful to Tradition, they would not reject the teaching at all, since the substance of the teaching is celebrated in the Feast of the Conception of St. Anne.  My point is that the dogma does not insist that it be believed as a dogma, but only that it be believed (so one can view it as theologoumenon).
Then why is there a solemnity that the entire RC laity must attend on December 6th? And why was it so urgent to proclaim such a doctrine "ex cathedra"? Let's be serious, my brother... the intent was to impose it to all Christendom. Being free to believe something you call a "theologumenon" means that the Pope should have left the question open. Which is what we Orthodox effectively do, so that everyone can meditate the question by their own and no higher authority can impose it or deny it at all.
If the Pope really has in mind to reconcile the churches, why does he add newer and newer doctrines? Maybe he just wants us to seem naif, unprepared or without any form of "growth" in the faith because we preserve continuously the same and only doctrine of 1000 years ago. There's no need for "evolution" at all... no upgrade!

In Christ,  Alex
 

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Dear brother Mina,

I was a frequent lurker at CopticHymns, and I always enjoyed your posts. :)  I understand where you are coming from.  I know it never made it into our Tradition.  However, the Feast did manage to become part of the Tradition of our Armenian brethren several centuries ago.

I was using the "all graces" language very loosely, and really only meant "the same graces we receive at Baptism."  I was quoting something I read on the Feast of the Conception from an EO source (or perhaps it was Armenian).  I don't think the term "all graces" is even used by the Latin Church.  I think it is simply hyperbolic language (which is pretty common in praises to Mary) and shouldn't be taken too literally.

As far as your comments on the Forerunner, I would not expect a belief in the IC of John by any stretch of the imagination.  Part of the rationale for the IC is the patristic belief that she was the purest and most immaculate creation of God.  In that sense, I never considered the teaching as being opposed to my Oriental sensibilities.

Blessings,
Marduk

minasoliman said:
Mardukm said:
Of course, the Feast is not exactly about her preservation from the stain of original sin - it is, rather, about the pious belief that Mary received the graces of the Holy Spirit at her conception.  I'm guessing that the belief quickly blossomed into the realization that receiving all the graces of the Holy Spirit (that a creature can receive, that is) is tantamount to receiving Baptism.  So what is the effect of Baptism?  The cleansing of the stain of original sin. 
I think this is where we might disagree, i.e. "all" the graces"  Certainly, there was never any indication that she received "all" the graces, and in fact, there are many, including those of my tradition, who clearly stated that the removal of such a stain happened at the greeting between her and Archangel Gabriel.  Truly, if one is really "Oriental," St. Jacob of Serugh cannot be ignored.  The statements he made implies that she did not receive ALL the graces.

The Holy Spirit inspired prophets, anointed kings and priests.  The Holy Spirit gave grace to St. John the Forerunner of God (Theoprodromos?), and there is even a tradition of him also being sinless and immaculate and pure in his life.  It is why we seek the intercessions of St. John above all the hosts of angels and archangels and second to the Theotokos.  In fact, the celebration of his birth and conception was established before the Theotokos'.  Surely though, you don't find anyone celebrating the IC of John.  It is therefore a leaping assumption one has to make to say that something "quickly blossomed" into the IC.  It has no consistent tradition in the Church in the view of the OO Church.
 

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Dear brother Alexander,

Thank you for your response.  First, I really don't see what the problem is attending a Feast day (on December 8, btw).  Our obligation to worship on Feast days is based on love, not fear.  That's the kind of love for God that the Catholic Church promotes.  Heck, the Latins have DAILY Mass, one of the things I am actually jealous about in the Latin Tradition.

Second, if you believe the teaching as theologoumenon, I don't understand the problem.  I see you are thinking of becoming EO.  Let me ask you something.  Do you think that EO are free to disbelieve something that is not dogmatically defined but is otherwise contained in their Tradition?  Is there such a thing as "cafeteria Eastern Orthodoxy"?  Last year, an EO priest on CAF stated that even though the Assumption is not a dogma in his Church, he would refuse communion to an EO who did not believe in the doctrine.  Considering these things before I became Catholic, I understood that dogmas in the Catholic Church are simply an indication that a belief is really important and much cherished.  Orthodoxy (Eastern and Oriental) have very important and much cherished doctrines that are not dogmatized, but belief in them are nevertheless viewed as consitutive of one's claim to be Orthodox.  So what if the Latins dogmatized these important and cherished doctrines?  Would they be less important if they were not dogmatized?  I don't think so.  Besides, the prosciption of the dogma, as stated, is not an anathema, but a minor excommunication.  Lack of belief in it would result in nothing more or less than what that EO priest mentioned he would do if he knew someone coming to him for communion rejected the doctrine of the Assumption of the Theotokos - he would refuse it.  In other words, Catholics and Orthodox both hold beliefs that are very important to them.  Catholics, and Latins in particular, like to dogmatize these doctrines.  But the fact that Orthodox don't dogmatize these same doctrines does not make these doctrine any less important to Orthodox.

I hope that has given you some food for thought.

Blessings,
Marduk

AlexanderOfBergamo said:
God bless!Dear Mardukm, you wrote this:
As it relates to your comments, I would just like to point out 3 things:
1) The Catholic Church recognizes an hierarchy of beliefs wherein some beliefs are more important and necessary for the maintenance of the Faith as others.  The dogma of the IC falls in the lower rungs of that heirarchy of beliefs.
2) The proscription in the dogma is not an anathema (unlike other dogmas), but is a minor excommunication, which itself indicates its status in the hierarchy of beliefs.  So, contrary to what you stated, it is not "a dogma necessary for salvation," at least not like the explicitly Christological dogmas.
3) The dogma's proscription refers only to those who reject the belief.  I know many Orthodox who believe the teaching, though only as theologoumenon (Bp Timothy Ware himself admits that it can be a legitimate theologoumenon).  In fact, if Orthodox really want to remain faithful to Tradition, they would not reject the teaching at all, since the substance of the teaching is celebrated in the Feast of the Conception of St. Anne.  My point is that the dogma does not insist that it be believed as a dogma, but only that it be believed (so one can view it as theologoumenon).
Then why is there a solemnity that the entire RC laity must attend on December 6th? And why was it so urgent to proclaim such a doctrine "ex cathedra"? Let's be serious, my brother... the intent was to impose it to all Christendom. Being free to believe something you call a "theologumenon" means that the Pope should have left the question open. Which is what we Orthodox effectively do, so that everyone can meditate the question by their own and no higher authority can impose it or deny it at all.
If the Pope really has in mind to reconcile the churches, why does he add newer and newer doctrines? Maybe he just wants us to seem naif, unprepared or without any form of "growth" in the faith because we preserve continuously the same and only doctrine of 1000 years ago. There's no need for "evolution" at all... no upgrade!

In Christ,   Alex
 

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Irish Hermit said:
The Quasi-Incarnation of the Spirit

Ah, you are referring to the nascent heresy, that the Mother of God is the quasi-incarnation of the Holy Spirit.

It is said to be gaining grounds in Catholic circles, especially among the Franciscans.  That is a bad sign since the Franciscans have played a major role in getting previous Marian errors accepted by Rome.

It will be quite interesting to see how the quasi-incarnation is introduced and promoted.   We can expect to suddenly see quotes form the ancient Fathers produced, as proof that the Church has always believed in it.   Appeals will be made to the  Eastern Fathers to show that the Orthodox used to believe it but are now perversely denying it out of anti-Catholic sentiment.

Development of doctrine used to take a long time in the Church of Rome but these days, with the Internet and whatnot, things can be developed much more speedily.  We can expect to see this new development grow rapidly from its node point and reach fruition in our own lifetime, or in the next generation.  We have a unique opportinity to watch at first hand the process of the development of doctrine.
Not to derail this thread, and I don't think I am; but what is the The Quasi-Incarnation of the Spirit that you speak of? I can't seem to find anything about it. God Bless!
 

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Mardukm said:
basilthefool said:
Wow! This thread really lends itself to the ad hominen, eh? It does seem to the uninformed follower of all this that both sides are missing the mark on the opposition's arguments. I haven't seen so many knees jerking since lightning hit the football bleachers.

I had always thought that the main objection to immaculate conception was that it was proclaimed as a dogma necessary for salvation and that the Orthodox that it wasn't an essential belief and should not have been proclaimed unilaterally.
That is an astute observation.  As you can see, there is nothing objectionable about the teaching itself,
That's neither true, nor what he said.  The fact that the Vatican by itself proclaimed a novel, heretical innovation as an eternal dogma necessary for salvation is but its first hurdle.

but polemicists simply bend over backwards to misrepresent the teaching and knock down their straw men.
The objections that the Vatican's son Bernard voiced when this novelty first appeared on the fringe of Christendom I've posted above.  I need only add that all right believing Orthodox (i.e. those not in communion with the Vatican) would subscribe, as I do, to ALL his obejctions to this deviation from the "deposit of Faith."

I find it really funny when Orthodox post their agreements to these hollow arguments, because the arguments haven't really addressed the teaching itself, but have only been knocking down straw man caricatures of it.
Bernard logically sliced the heresy nicely.  Meat, not straw.

As it relates to your comments, I would just like to point out 3 things:
1) The Catholic Church recognizes an hierarchy of beliefs wherein some beliefs are more important and necessary for the maintenance of the Faith as others.  The dogma of the IC falls in the lower rungs of that heirarchy of beliefs.
I'd brush up on your Vatican dogmatics: they class it as de fide, i.e. its A-1 rating. Compare:
105. Jesus Christ is the True God and True Son of God. (De fide.)
155. Mary was conceived without stain of Original sin. (De fide.)
http://jloughnan.tripod.com/dogma.htm

along with the points so aptly raised by AlexanderofBergamo.

2) The proscription in the dogma is not an anathema (unlike other dogmas), but is a minor excommunication, which itself indicates its status in the hierarchy of beliefs.  So, contrary to what you stated, it is not "a dogma necessary for salvation," at least not like the explicitly Christological dogmas.
Your church teaches otherwise.  Ineffabilis Deus:
Besides, we must note a fact of the greatest importance indeed. Even the Council of Trent itself, when it promulgated the dogmatic decree concerning original sin, following the testimonies of the Sacred Scriptures, of the Holy Fathers and of the renowned Council, decreed and defined that all men are born infected by original sin; nevertheless, it solemnly declared that it had no intention of including the blessed and immaculate Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, in this decree and in the general extension of its definition. Indeed, considering the times and circumstances, the Fathers of Trent sufficiently intimated by this declaration that the Blessed Virgin Mary was free from the original stain; and thus they clearly signified that nothing could be reasonably cited from the Sacred Scriptures, from Tradition, or from the authority of the Fathers, which would in any way be opposed to so great a prerogative of the Blessed Virgin.
Hence, if anyone shall dare -- which God forbid! -- to think otherwise than as has been defined by us, let him know and understand that he is condemned by his own judgment; that he has suffered shipwreck in the faith; that he has separated from the unity of the Church; and that, furthermore, by his own action he incurs the penalties established by law if he should dare to express in words or writing or by any other outward means the errors he thinks in his heart
http://www.newadvent.org/library/docs_pi09id.htm


3) The dogma's proscription refers only to those who reject the belief.  I know many Orthodox who believe the teaching, though only as theologoumenon
They are mistaken.  In fact, most Latins don't know what it teaches (even when you eliminate those who confuse it with the Virgin Birth).

(Bp Timothy Ware himself admits that it can be a legitimate theologoumenon).
 

The good bishop is wrong, as he is on women's ordination and legalized abortion.

In fact, if Orthodox really want to remain faithful to Tradition, they would not reject the teaching at all, since the substance of the teaching is celebrated in the Feast of the Conception of St. Anne.  
No, it that were true, it woudl be the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, which, as I said, was not celebrated in the first millenium, nor us ever.  That is how you get nonsense like this:
Questions and Answers:  
Question:  "Is this the official teaching of the Catholic Church?"  
Answer:  The Catholic Church has no official teaching on whether or not the Virgin Mary had a virgin conception and virgin birth. This booklet contains speculative theology, that is, theology on questions not yet decided by the Church.
But I say more. There are ten thousand truths as yet undiscovered within the ancient Deposit of Faith:  Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.

Question:  "Are you saying that Saint Ann was a virgin?"  
Answer:  No, Saint Ann was not a virgin. Saints Ann and Joachim conceived a child in the usual way, the older sister of the Virgin Mary, mentioned in John 19:25. Rather, I am saying that the manner of the Virgin Mary's Immaculate Conception was entirely virginal and miraculous.

Question:  "What are the differences between Mary's conception and Christ's conception?"  
Answer:  (1) Christ is Divine, whereas Mary is merely human. Thus, Christ's conception was an Incarnation, whereas Mary's conception was not an Incarnation.  
(2) Mary was conceived, virginally and miraculously, of both her parents (St. Joachim and St. Ann). Christ was conceived, virginally and miraculously, of only one human parent (the Virgin Mary). This difference indicates that Christ is Divine, with God alone as His Father, whereas Mary is merely human.  
(3) Christ was conceived, virginally and miraculously, of a perfect Virgin. Mary was conceived, virginally and miraculously, of Joachim and Ann, who were not virgins. Joachim and Ann conceived a child years earlier, the older sister of the Virgin Mary (Jn 19:25).
http://www.catholicplanet.com/virgin/index.htm
http://www.catholicplanet.com/virgin/virginity-Jesus-Mary.htm

I'm betting that the Co-redemptrix will be the next of the "ten thousand truths as yet undiscovered within the ancient Deposit of Faith" to be proclaimed as eternal dogma by the Vatican.

My point is that the dogma does not insist that it be believed as a dogma, but only that it be believed (so one can view it as theologoumenon)
Do I really have to comment here?

Mardukm said:
I was using the "all graces" language very loosely, and really only meant "the same graces we receive at Baptism."  I was quoting something I read on the Feast of the Conception from an EO source (or perhaps it was Armenian).  I don't think the term "all graces" is even used by the Latin Church.  I think it is simply hyperbolic language (which is pretty common in praises to Mary) and shouldn't be taken too literally.
This is however, EXACTLY what the Vatican has done.  On the one hand, you want to use "'all grace' language very loosely" to preclude the Orthodox from taking the IC to its logical conclusion, while on the other hand want to use it as proof that the Orthodox always believed it.

As far as your comments on the Forerunner, I would not expect a belief in the IC of John by any stretch of the imagination.  Part of the rationale for the IC is the patristic belief that she was the purest and most immaculate creation of God.  In that sense, I never considered the teaching as being opposed to my Oriental sensibilities.
The problem is that the Vatican's "reasoning" itself into the IC, after her most devoted sons and doctors preached against it, provides the perfect template to argue the same for the Forerunner, even on firmer ground, as Mina shows his conception feast is older and more universal.
 
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