Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception

ialmisry

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Mardukm said:
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
No, it is quite exact.  It has NOTHING on it.

And it is interesting that all the Churches  that claim Apostolic foundation and refer to the Fathers of the first four centuries, and yet it is only the church in Britain that comes up with this, and it is only the Vatican in the Pentarchy who runs with it.

- it is, rather, about the pious belief that Mary received the graces of the Holy Spirit at her conception.
Can you cite some text from the service in support of this?

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.
Btw, can you locate when this idea of the IC being equivalent to baptism?  As I don't see it in the sources from the IC's appearance to the proclamation by the Vatican.

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).
Would you mind quoting where your Bernard of Clairvaux objected?  You have a lot of his material quoted above.  Did I miss something?

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.
Nice revisionism, but where is that in your Vatican Fathers?  In Bernard?  In Thomas Aquinas?  In Bonaventure? In Alexander of Hales?

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).
No, unfortunately the above only demonstrates Ultramontanist revisionism in action, in a desperate attempt to save Vatican I.

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):
That the application of logic to the IC yields results you don't like doesn't make them misrepresentation.

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.
I'll wait for your reply to my quotation from the Vatican's ex cathedra pronouncements above on this issue.

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.
LOL.  I'm going to leave Father Ambrose the fun of taking this up.

3) The two points emphasized above evinces that the dogma does not contradict the fact that Mary died.
You mean the "theologoumen" that she 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.
Again, can you cite something official to back this up?

Mardukm said:
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.
They say it is a mortal sin to miss mass on a "holy day of obligation" your term, not ours.

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"? 
"Cafeteria Catholics" disbelieve things that the Vatican (and the Church) have dogmatically defined.

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. 
Fr. Ambrose.  He is well know here and on CAF (and elsewhere).  I don't think he's afraid to say it.

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.
LOL.  Yeah, anathema is Latin for "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.
So you say.  Can you cite a canon or something else with the authority of your church on this?

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.
The IC is quite unimportant to the Orthodox.
 

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ialmisry said:
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.
Sure, you are entitled to your ad hominem opinion.

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."
Bernard logically sliced the heresy nicely.  Meat, not straw.
I already addressed them in my post to brother Marc.  Besides straw men, I forgot to mention the tactic of evasion to which polemicists are so prone.

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.[/quote]
Point out the obvious why don't you.  Did I say that the dogma of the IC was not de fide?  No.  All I said was that it is lower on the rung in the hierarchy of beliefs.  Like I said, straw men.

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
Mmmmm?  Sounds like excommunication to me. ::)

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).[/quote]
Well, I guess that's why it's theologoumenon. ;D

(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 rhetoric, that would be a class of ad hominem otherwise known as "guilt by association."  That's another one polemicsts are prone to.

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.
We add the word "Immaculate" to it and you get into huff.  The substance is the same, but you simply, in your polemic spirit, refuse to recognize it.  St. Paul had something to say about arguing over words, I believe. ;D

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
[/quote]
Yes, I see.  This easily demonstrates the problem when someone appeals to non-official Catholic sources.  That's another polemical tactic, btw.

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.
This particular rhetorical error is known sensationalism.  No basis in fact, but simply exaggerated claims.

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?
No, your rhetorical errors and polemical tactics are becoming glaring and tedious.

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.
Here's another straw man.  I specifically stated that I wasn't even sure the Latin Church uses this term, but now he wants to blame the Vatican for it. And I already stated that I merely meant "the graces we receive at baptism," but now he creates a bunch of intentions for me out of thin air.

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.
Mmmm?  I didn't know the Forerunner was also designated as the most perfect creation of God.  You learn something new all the time --- NOT!

So what have we learned from brother Isa today.  Nothing really, except that he is prone to rhetorical errors, and uses polemical tactics.

Blessings,
Marduk
 

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Dear brother Isa,

Any diligent reader will realize that my prior posts are a sufficient response to your comments here.  So I don't think I need to reinvent the wheel. If any reader wishes further explanation from me, please let me know.

I will respond to your comment on it being a mortal sin to miss a Holy Day of Obligation.  In my opinion, I wish we had more such days.  I don't think we can worship God enough.  I dramatically appreciate the fact that the Latin Church gives access to the Most Holy Eucharist daily, and I avail myself of that Grace when I can. 

Now, I don't know what in the world you are complaining about.  The only reason I can see that you even have an ounce of credibility in your complaint is if the Catholic Church did not offer the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  To me, all you are complaining about is that the Catholic Church gives an INCALCULABLE amount of importance to worshipping God.  Thus, to me, your complaints are, basically, godless.

Blessings,
Marduk

ialmisry said:
Mardukm said:
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
No, it is quite exact.  It has NOTHING on it.

And it is interesting that all the Churches  that claim Apostolic foundation and refer to the Fathers of the first four centuries, and yet it is only the church in Britain that comes up with this, and it is only the Vatican in the Pentarchy who runs with it.

- it is, rather, about the pious belief that Mary received the graces of the Holy Spirit at her conception.
Can you cite some text from the service in support of this?

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.
Btw, can you locate when this idea of the IC being equivalent to baptism?  As I don't see it in the sources from the IC's appearance to the proclamation by the Vatican.

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).
Would you mind quoting where your Bernard of Clairvaux objected?  You have a lot of his material quoted above.  Did I miss something?

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.
Nice revisionism, but where is that in your Vatican Fathers?  In Bernard?  In Thomas Aquinas?  In Bonaventure? In Alexander of Hales?

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).
No, unfortunately the above only demonstrates Ultramontanist revisionism in action, in a desperate attempt to save Vatican I.

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):
That the application of logic to the IC yields results you don't like doesn't make them misrepresentation.

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.
I'll wait for your reply to my quotation from the Vatican's ex cathedra pronouncements above on this issue.

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.
LOL.  I'm going to leave Father Ambrose the fun of taking this up.

3) The two points emphasized above evinces that the dogma does not contradict the fact that Mary died.
You mean the "theologoumen" that she 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.
Again, can you cite something official to back this up?

Mardukm said:
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.
They say it is a mortal sin to miss mass on a "holy day of obligation" your term, not ours.

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"? 
"Cafeteria Catholics" disbelieve things that the Vatican (and the Church) have dogmatically defined.

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. 
Fr. Ambrose.  He is well know here and on CAF (and elsewhere).  I don't think he's afraid to say it.

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.
LOL.  Yeah, anathema is Latin for "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.
So you say.  Can you cite a canon or something else with the authority of your church on this?

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.
The IC is quite unimportant to the Orthodox.
 

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Mardukm said:
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
Yes, it's been a while, but I do remember someone in coptichymns.net who was a Coptic Catholic.  Small world.  :)

I'm afraid though brother I don't see how this proves the Theotokos was immaculately conceived.  Like I said, the conception of the Forerunner was celebrated probably even as early as to the Apostles themselves.  In addition, if you notice Coptic iconography in the iconostasis, we will ALWAYS have on our left side the Virgin Theotokos holding the baby Christ followed by another icon of the greeting of Archangel Gabriel to the Theotokos followed by another icon of the Archangel Michael trampling on Satan, and on the right side we always will have an icon of Christ the Pantocrator followed by the baptism of Christ by St. John the Forerunner followed by an icon of the patron saint of the altar.  This must ALWAYS occur, and this shows the importance of the core of these icons as the saints (and Christ of course) of highest respect, honor, and veneration.  In order of importance, we have the Theotokos, then the Forerunner, followed by the Archangels (and the patron saint although in general might not be as high is of high importance to the Church itself that bears his/her name).  Specifically the core icons of the Theotokos and the Forerunner and the Archangels carry with it the meaning of the Deisis in Coptic life.  This tells us we have a strong tradition of looking over to the "Blessed among women" Theotokos and the "Greatest among those born of women" as strong sources of intercession, and both are higher than the archangels, angels, principalities, authorities, thrones, and dominions.  

What makes the Theotokos greater than the Forerunner is very simply the fact that our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ took flesh from her.  It is through her own flesh our Lord became incarnate.  He was also nourished and cared for by her not merely as a mother would any son, but the best mother.  Yes, she is even typified as an allegory to the Church Herself.  Nevertheless, we should not forget important role of the Forerunner, preparing the way for the Lord, making His ways straight.  The beginning of Christ's ministry was immediately after the baptism of Christ.  The Forerunner thus is also considered the "Friend of the Bridegroom," who presented Christ to the Church as a best man would while the Theotokos becomes the Mother of the Church through this mystical marriage.  He is also the junction of the Old Testament and the New Testament, the end of the Leviticus priesthood and the beginning of the Melchizedek priesthood, as she was marked the end of chauvinism and the beginning of female empowerment.  And like the Theotokos, he was a son of righteous parents.  Like the Theotokos, he was raised and tended by angels, with the exception that the Theotokos was in the altar while he was in the wilderness who moved the altar away from the Temple to Christ, the True Temple.  She represented the celibacy that lives among the world while he represented the celibacy of the monastic call to live in the wilderness, the other worldly struggle.

The parallels in the lives of both the Theotokos and the Forerunner is not something to be ignored.  They are both the most immaculate and most perfect and greatest of all creatures and the closest to the heart of the Logos Incarnate.  The tradition is strong that veneration to both the Theotokos and the Forerunner seems to have parallel even if slightly unequal roles.  They are the only saints in the whole Church to which we celebrate the conception, the birth, and the departure, with the exception of the Theotokos who we celebrate the Assumption as well, whereas John enjoys his angelic nature, as he is prophesied as the "angel" coming to make the Lord's ways straight, which is also why there is an iconographic tradition of his "wings".

I am unconvinced at this point of the IC if it is not also extended to St. John the Forerunner.

I also recommend that you read this book to enrich your Oriental tradition:

http://www.svspress.com/product_info.php?products_id=190

God bless.
 

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Dear brother Mina,

I certainly honor the Forerunner as much as any Copt.  However, though I agree with and understand the differences you have indicated, I would not call them "slight" but "few."  More specifically, I would say they are few, but big differences. 

To be honest, my only purpose on this thread was/is simply to show what the dogma of the IC IS, to combat false rhetoric about it.  I am not out to PROVE it happened, nor the "how" or "why" of the matter.  In fact, the dogma itself does not have that intention.  The dogma simply states what is.  In the "swim across the Tiber," I had actually set out to DISprove the dogma to myself.  But to do that, I knew that I had to find out exactly what it was I was trying to disprove.  However, in the process of trying to find out exactly what it was, and not filtered through the opinions of non-Catholics, I came to the conclusion that the teaching does not contradict my Coptic Faith.  My discussions on this thread is a basically faithful record of what I went through in my mind before I came to accept the teaching.  The hardest part was the free-will issue, and accepting that as creatures, we can be spiritually purified without having to be physically purified.  That is obviously a dramatically basic tenet of Christian anthropology, but for some reason, I had blinders on when it came to Mary (just like some of our EO brethren here who keep claiming that just because Mary was spiritually purified, then that means she could not have died).

At most, what I want to do here is demonstrate that it is not heresy, not convince someone of its truth.

Blessings,
Marduki

minasoliman said:
Yes, it's been a while, but I do remember someone in coptichymns.net who was a Coptic Catholic.  Small world.  :)

I'm afraid though brother I don't see how this proves the Theotokos was immaculately conceived.  Like I said, the conception of the Forerunner was celebrated probably even as early as to the Apostles themselves.  In addition, if you notice Coptic iconography in the iconostasis, we will ALWAYS have on our left side the Virgin Theotokos holding the baby Christ followed by another icon of the greeting of Archangel Gabriel to the Theotokos followed by another icon of the Archangel Michael trampling on Satan, and on the right side we always will have an icon of Christ the Pantocrator followed by the baptism of Christ by St. John the Forerunner followed by an icon of the patron saint of the altar.  This must ALWAYS occur, and this shows the importance of the core of these icons as the saints (and Christ of course) of highest respect, honor, and veneration.  In order of importance, we have the Theotokos, then the Forerunner, followed by the Archangels (and the patron saint although in general might not be as high is of high importance to the Church itself that bears his/her name).  Specifically the core icons of the Theotokos and the Forerunner and the Archangels carry with it the meaning of the Deisis in Coptic life.  This tells us we have a strong tradition of looking over to the "Blessed among women" Theotokos and the "Greatest among those born of women" as strong sources of intercession, and both are higher than the archangels, angels, principalities, authorities, thrones, and dominions.  

What makes the Theotokos greater than the Forerunner is very simply the fact that our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ took flesh from her.  It is through her own flesh our Lord became incarnate.  He was also nourished and cared for by her not merely as a mother would any son, but the best mother.  Yes, she is even typified as an allegory to the Church Herself.  Nevertheless, we should not forget important role of the Forerunner, preparing the way for the Lord, making His ways straight.  The beginning of Christ's ministry was immediately after the baptism of Christ.  The Forerunner thus is also considered the "Friend of the Bridegroom," who presented Christ to the Church as a best man would while the Theotokos becomes the Mother of the Church through this mystical marriage.  He is also the junction of the Old Testament and the New Testament, the end of the Leviticus priesthood and the beginning of the Melchizedek priesthood, as she was marked the end of chauvinism and the beginning of female empowerment.  And like the Theotokos, he was a son of righteous parents.  Like the Theotokos, he was raised and tended by angels, with the exception that the Theotokos was in the altar while he was in the wilderness who moved the altar away from the Temple to Christ, the True Temple.  She represented the celibacy that lives among the world while he represented the celibacy of the monastic call to live in the wilderness, the other worldly struggle.

The parallels in the lives of both the Theotokos and the Forerunner is not something to be ignored.  They are both the most immaculate and most perfect and greatest of all creatures and the closest to the heart of the Logos Incarnate.  The tradition is strong that veneration to both the Theotokos and the Forerunner seems to have parallel even if slightly unequal roles.  They are the only saints in the whole Church to which we celebrate the conception, the birth, and the departure, with the exception of the Theotokos who we celebrate the Assumption as well, whereas John enjoys his angelic nature, as he is prophesied as the "angel" coming to make the Lord's ways straight, which is also why there is an iconographic tradition of his "wings".

I am unconvinced at this point of the IC if it is not also extended to St. John the Forerunner.

God bless.
 

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But dear Marduk, free will is an issue, not ontologically, but in a pragmatic sense, as I mentioned before.  This obviously forces her to choose to be the Theotokos, not allowing her the freedom to choose.  What if she decided not to become the Theotokos?  Surely, there is no fault in her for doing that, and yet should her immaculateness be taken away because of such a choice that seems faultless?

Can you also address Leo's quote that I posted before?

And since you are Coptic who left the Orthodox Church, I'm very much interested in reading your points on these particular issues I posted before to Papist.  Surely, you have read Leo's quote and thought about the free will issue extensively as I am right now.
 

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Papist said:
I believe that Mary not because of original sin but because her life was completely in conformity to that of her son, who died and most definitely did not posses original sin.
Dear Papist, you stated earlier that you have a mathematical mind and that is why you are so suited to Latinism.  But your statement above shows the opposite.  Firstly you must be aware that you are giving a private opinion and not the teaching of your Church.  No Pope has promulgated the "conformity" doctrine.

We know from the Catechism (1018)*  that anybody without original sin is immune to bodily death.

You contend that because Christ did His Mother was obliged to die too.

This is a problem because 1) no Pope has declared this and 2) the Catechism teaches that she was immune to bodily death.

So the question is:  HOW did she who could not die, die?  If God had decided that she had to die to conform to her Son, did He actually kill her?  How did He kill her?  How does your theory deal with this?


You know, if it weren't for the fact that we are speaking of humanity's most sacred personages, this would be uproariously funny!

-------------------
* CCC 1018: As a consequence of original sin, man must suffer "bodily death, from which man would have been immune had he not sinned.
 

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PoorFoolNicholas said:
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!
Dear Nicholas,

Plug this into a search engine and start reading.  :)

site:forums.catholic.com quasi-incarnation
 

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Dear Marduk,

As Isa takes your lengthy statements and examines each of the points you make it becomes obvious that you have only a very shaky house of cards.

I at least am basing what I am saying on the infallible definition of the magisterial statement Munificentissimus Deus and on the Catechism.

But you are presenting only what you are spinning out of your own mind, making distinctions which have no formulation in authentic Catholic teaching, making seriously erroneous statements about the de fide status of the Immaculate Conception, etc., etc.

In no case have you correlated any of your personal mindspin to anything from Catholic theologians and nor have you have substantiated anything with any papal statements.  Readers should be cautioned about this and examine with care what you present as Catholic teaching.

 

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ialmisry said:
Mardukm said:
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. 
Fr. Ambrose.  He is well know here and on CAF (and elsewhere).  I don't think he's afraid to say it.
Marduk, depite his vociferous claims to preserve his Coptic Orthodox phronema, most frequently speaks and argues from a Roman Catholic mindset and we see that in this instance.

It is simply not a question of making a distinction between dogma and doctrine.  This is supremely unimportant to the East.  It is the tradition which must be upheld in its entirety - whether it be oral tradition or that which has been carefully explicated at Councils and Synods or that taught by the holy Fathers.

We have no "dogma" (in the Latin sense used by Marduk, a magisterial definition) about the Dormition and Assumption.  We don't even have a "dogma" about the presence of Christ in the Eucharist.  But in both instances you will find an Orthodox priest will deny Communion if told by a communicant that he denies them.
 

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Dear brother Mina,

minasoliman said:
But dear Marduk, free will is an issue, not ontologically, but in a pragmatic sense, as I mentioned before.  This obviously forces her to choose to be the Theotokos, not allowing her the freedom to choose.  What if she decided not to become the Theotokos?  Surely, there is no fault in her for doing that, and yet should her immaculateness be taken away because of such a choice that seems faultless?
I believe I addressed this fully earlier. I don't know if you read them, but can you please look at my posts #5, 10, 15, 19, and 20.  Does that answer your question about free will?  But perhaps you are adding another dimension to the issue - i.e., the issue of predestination.  What I have addressed so far on the issue of free will relates to the question - "Does the fact that Mary had no concupiscence mean she did not have the free will to sin?"  I think what you are asking now is (in distinction) - "Does her being chosen by God to be the Mother of God mean she did not have the free will to resist?"  If the latter, then the usual understanding of the Churches on the matter should suffice - that predestination according to the Catholic and Orthodox understanding - refers to God's foreknowledge, not that God forces anyone to do something in the future.  If the former, then I believe I have sufficiently addressed it.

Can you also address Leo's quote that I posted before?
Sorry I missed that earlier, I skipped a whole bunch of posts close to the time when everyone started debating about the immortalist understanding of brother Papist. ;D

To be honest, I'd never pondered those statements before.  I don't see what it has to do with our topic.  I think the very first sentence demonstrates the purpose of the excerpt - namely, how was the chain of sin and death broken.  The obvious and only answer is Jesus Christ.  I notice that the sermon specifically states that righteousness itself springs from the Nativity of Christ.  Those are the considerations I would bring to bear on trying to interpret the final sentence you highlighted.  The sin which the sacred conception overthrew is the sin of humanity (actual and original), the sin that is washed away at Baptism.  I believe this is a classic example of hyperbole to indicate the role of Christ as our Savior.  We all know that the actual moment of our sins being overthrown was at the Cross.  However, it is also true that Christ himself is salvation itself.  Pope St. Leo was simply teaching that very concept (that Christ himself is salvation itself) by stating that sin (the sin that is washed away at baptism) was overthrown from the first instance that His Person came into the world (i.e., the Incarnation) in His mother's womb (which lines up perfectly with his earlier statement that righteousness comes from the Nativity).----------- It just dawned on me what your actual point probably is - namely, is the "sin" mentioned in that final sentence referring to the sin in Mary?  I suppose if one plucked that sentence out of the excerpt and presented it to someone, one could come to that conclusion.  But I think the context leaves no doubt that the sin being spoken about in the last sentence is the sin of the world.

I'm not sure how the "impure seed" idea relates to our discussion. Perhaps you can explain that a bit more.

And since you are Coptic who left the Orthodox Church, I'm very much interested in reading your points on these particular issues I posted before to Papist.  Surely, you have read Leo's quote and thought about the free will issue extensively as I am right now.
To be honest, I regard myself as an Orthodox in communion with Rome.  As I mentioned in another post in these Forums, my translation to Catholicism was not a matter of me rejecting anything of my Coptic Orthodox heritage, but simply a matter of rejecting my heretofore MISconceptions about Catholicism. But that's a big topic that I'm sure would deserve a thread of its own.

Blessings,
Marduk
 

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Irish Hermit said:
PoorFoolNicholas said:
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!
Dear Nicholas,

Plug this into a search engine and start reading.   :)

site:forums.catholic.com quasi-incarnation
Yeah, it's pretty silly, both in its concept and the polemical use of it by non-Catholics.  It's like - "OMG, I heard my Catholic grandma today say angels have real bodies.  That must mean it's offical teaching in the Catholic Church now!"  Polemicists are a pretty silly bunch that shouldn't be taken TOO seriously.  I would love to say "shouldn't be taken seriously PERIOD," but it is a fact that polemecists do manage to lead people astray.
 

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Irish Hermit said:
As Isa takes your lengthy statements and examines each of the points you make it becomes obvious that you have only a very shaky house of cards.
Or maybe it's that his statements are really just copious examples of invalid arguments that they're not really worth a hoot.  It's a case of the boy who cried wolf. When all the arguments have been hollow so far, it's a good bet the rest will be the same.  As stated, a diligent reader will realize my prior posts are sufficient responses to brother Isa's arguments. Face it, brother Isa is a polemicist, not an apologist.  He'll just tweak an argument a little bit to make people think he has made a new point, when the "new" point has in fact already been refuted back down the chain of arguments.  And I've offered individual readers an opportunity to ask specific questions.  I do try to distinguishing between baiting questions and honest questions for the sake of genuine dialogue.  Unfortunately, comments from polemicists are not really meant to promote dialogue, but really serve no other purpose than to try to stir people's emotions or get under your skin - really nothing worth responding to, as any sensible reader might observe from many of the posts from the non-Catholic participants here.

I at least am basing what I am saying on the infallible definition of the magisterial statement Munificentissimus Deus and on the Catechism.
Sorry.  I looked over it, and I simply could not find any place in Munificentissimus Deus that claims that Mary was "preserved from original sin." Either you're working off of a non-Catholic copy that is not an actual translation but rather an interpretation, or you're just trying to purposefully mislead people (which I hope is not the case).

But you are presenting only what you are spinning out of your own mind, making distinctions which have no formulation in authentic Catholic teaching, making seriously erroneous statements about the de fide status of the Immaculate Conception, etc., etc.
Yes, the usual claim when polemicists can't respond to what the Church ACTUALLY teaches.  That's why polemicists need to make straw men. ;)

In no case have you correlated any of your personal mindspin to anything from Catholic theologians and nor have you have substantiated anything with any papal statements.  Readers should be cautioned about this and examine with care what you present as Catholic teaching.
Really?  Or maybe I have, but you just didn't notice them (or maybe purposefully evaded them).  I'll leave you to find my reference to Council of Trent's doctrine on original sin.  Anyone who's willing to agree with your arguments probably won't care what the Catholic Church ACTUALLY teaches anyway, but are merely content in knocking down their straw men.

Humbly,
Marduk
 

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Mardukm said:
Sorry I missed that earlier, I skipped a whole bunch of posts close to the time when everyone started debating about the immortalist understanding of brother Papist. ;D

To be honest, I'd never pondered those statements before.  I don't see what it has to do with our topic.  I think the very first sentence demonstrates the purpose of the excerpt - namely, how was the chain of sin and death broken.  The obvious and only answer is Jesus Christ.  I notice that the sermon specifically states that righteousness itself springs from the Nativity of Christ.  Those are the considerations I would bring to bear on trying to interpret the final sentence you highlighted.  The sin which the sacred conception overthrew is the sin of humanity (actual and original), the sin that is washed away at Baptism.  I believe this is a classic example of hyperbole to indicate the role of Christ as our Savior.  We all know that the actual moment of our sins being overthrown was at the Cross.  However, it is also true that Christ himself is salvation itself.  Pope St. Leo was simply teaching that very concept (that Christ himself is salvation itself) by stating that sin (the sin that is washed away at baptism) was overthrown from the first instance that His Person came into the world (i.e., the Incarnation) in His mother's womb (which lines up perfectly with his earlier statement that righteousness comes from the Nativity).----------- It just dawned on me what your actual point probably is - namely, is the "sin" mentioned in that final sentence referring to the sin in Mary?  I suppose if one plucked that sentence out of the excerpt and presented it to someone, one could come to that conclusion.  But I think the context leaves no doubt that the sin being spoken about in the last sentence is the sin of the world.

I'm not sure how the "impure seed" idea relates to our discussion. Perhaps you can explain that a bit more.
Well, concerning the "impure seed," I'm not sure personally either, but I was personally interpreting that as Christ who did not want to inherit the seed of old, the seed of generations in sin, but presented to us a new Seed, to be the firstborn among the saved, and that we would inherit Christ's seed through baptism.  But then again, I'm not sure if that's what Leo intended.  I do want to point out however that according to Coptic teaching, the point of Christ being born a Virgin was not that virginity is "cleaner" than marriage, as I sometimes get the feeling some teach, but that precisely He wants to become the Firstborn, the First Seed of the New Covenant.  I'm not sure if that's your belief, but we reject any idea that being born of a Virgin lead to some incorruptibility of Christ's humanity.

As for the alternative interpretation, thank you for that.  That actually puts things in perspective for me.  I guess this will be a homework for me to read some of Leo's works.

To be honest, I regard myself as an Orthodox in communion with Rome.  As I mentioned in another post in these Forums, my translation to Catholicism was not a matter of me rejecting anything of my Coptic Orthodox heritage, but simply a matter of rejecting my heretofore MISconceptions about Catholicism. But that's a big topic that I'm sure would deserve a thread of its own.

Blessings,
Marduk
I don't mean to offend you in any way.  Nevertheless, I think that by confessing the IC, you are dogmatically in contradiction to Oriental Orthodox tradition.  For we have no one in our tradition that confesses the IC, and the one saint I know that mentioned anything about a cleansing from Original Sin would be St. Jacob of Serugh, whose book I recommend reading, as is filled with amazing spirituality about the Theotokos.  He is in direct conflict with your beliefs in that he implies the Theotokos was born like anyone else, in Original Sin, and that the taking of away of such happened when the Holy Spirit cleansed her at that moment after the greeting of Gabriel in preparation of the Divine Incarnation.  Surely, if you consider yourself "Orthodox" then you and Coptic Orthodox Church, even the whole Oriental Orthodox communion, have different meanings of what "Orthodox" is.

God bless.
 

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Irish Hermit said:
ialmisry said:
Mardukm said:
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. 
Fr. Ambrose.  He is well know here and on CAF (and elsewhere).  I don't think he's afraid to say it.
Marduk, depite his vociferous claims to preserve his Coptic Orthodox phronema, most frequently speaks and argues from a Roman Catholic mindset and we see that in this instance.
I am Catholic, make no mistake about it.  I do use Catholic terminology, but that is all they are - terminology.  Just because I call a group of beliefs dogma, and another group of beliefs doctrines..... well, I guess that's condemnable in your eyes.  What was that St. Paul said about needlessly arguing about words?

It is simply not a question of making a distinction between dogma and doctrine.  This is supremely unimportant to the East.  It is the tradition which must be upheld in its entirety - whether it be oral tradition or that which has been carefully explicated at Councils and Synods or that taught by the holy Fathers.

We have no "dogma" (in the Latin sense used by Marduk, a magisterial definition) about the Dormition and Assumption.  We don't even have a "dogma" about the presence of Christ in the Eucharist.  But in both instances you will find an Orthodox priest will deny Communion if told by a communicant that he denies them.
Ummmm....That's exactly what I said.???  Wow, you just really love to knock down straw men, Father.

Humbly,
Marduk
 

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Mardukm said:
But perhaps you are adding another dimension to the issue - i.e., the issue of predestination.  What I have addressed so far on the issue of free will relates to the question - "Does the fact that Mary had no concupiscence mean she did not have the free will to sin?"  I think what you are asking now is (in distinction) - "Does her being chosen by God to be the Mother of God mean she did not have the free will to resist?"  If the latter, then the usual understanding of the Churches on the matter should suffice - that predestination according to the Catholic and Orthodox understanding - refers to God's foreknowledge, not that God forces anyone to do something in the future.
I forgot to address this part.  Indeed, it is precisely this issue I was addressing.  However, I must disagree this doesn't answer it sufficiently, and perhaps this is actually leading quite dangerously to a Calvinist side of predestination imo.  Just because God has foreknowledge does not mean He makes the decision to do something to people before the people decide for themselves.  If that's the case, why waste time allowed Adam and Eve in Paradise, allowing them the Tree of Life?  Why didn't He just make them born in a state of death and move on from there?  Why did God anoint Saul king if He knew he was going to screw up, or Judas Iscariot an Apostle before betraying our Lord?

Why didn't God choose David from his birth, anoint him as king from his childhood?  Why did He wait until David was a very young adult?  Why did god wait to hear from Solomon his decision on choosing wisdom over riches when He already knew what he thought?  Why did God wait until Isaiah ask for his mouth to be cleansed?  Why does God wait for each and everyone of us until we die?  Why can't we just die and cleanse us or condemn us or send us to Paradise since He is so foreknowing?

These are all rhetorical questions of course.  But the idea that He already bestows upon the Theotokos a grace similar to baptism without having her make the decision first is unprecedented.  They must grow, they must be raised right, they must be sanctified for their growth, etc.  Then the grace upon which is given her must be given only after the decision, not before, even if God foresees all things.  The type of predestination you teach is not merely foreknowledge, but an active foreknowledge, making the decision no matter what happens, which is exactly what Calvin taught.

Finally, one has to also sit and ponder, did the Theotokos even know she was immaculately conceived, unique among humanity?  Did she know she was going to be the Mother of God from her youth?  Clearly, the answer to the latter question is "No," as has been evident in the accounts of Luke's gospel, when she was "troubled at Gabriel's saying" for being called "Blessed among women, and blessed is the fruit of her womb."  But knowing that, surely for consistency's sake, if she was IC'ed, instead of being troubled at Gabriel's saying, she could have acknowledged this, and easily said, "I, the handmaiden of the Lord, am now ready."

It's not merely "predestination," it's about pragmatism.  Practically speaking, this seems to sound like taking away free will.  Even if we can practice free will by nature, we can practically not change our own fate, for our fate is already written in stone as was the case in the IC of the Theotokos.

God bless.
 

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Mardukm said:
Irish Hermit said:
I at least am basing what I am saying on the infallible definition of the magisterial statement Munificentissimus Deus and on the Catechism.
Sorry.  I looked over it, and I simply could not find any place in Munificentissimus Deus that claims that Mary was "preserved from original sin."
That should not have been Munificientissimus Deus but Pope Pius IX's earlier Ineffabilis Deus of 1854.  I mixed up Munificentissimus with Ineffabilis.  All the same I am a little surpised that you are not sufficiently au courant with these matters to realise which is the correct Apostolic Constitution.

"We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which holds that the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the first instant of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace of the Omnipotent God, in virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of mankind, was preserved immaculate from all stain of original sin, has been revealed by God, and therefore should firmly and constantly be believed by all the faithful."
http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius09/p9ineff.htm


 

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minasoliman said:
Mardukm said:
I'm not sure how the "impure seed" idea relates to our discussion. Perhaps you can explain that a bit more.
Well, concerning the "impure seed," I'm not sure personally either, but I was personally interpreting that as Christ who did not want to inherit the seed of old, the seed of generations in sin, but presented to us a new Seed, to be the firstborn among the saved, and that we would inherit Christ's seed through baptism.  But then again, I'm not sure if that's what Leo intended.  I do want to point out however that according to Coptic teaching, the point of Christ being born a Virgin was not that virginity is "cleaner" than marriage, as I sometimes get the feeling some teach, but that precisely He wants to become the Firstborn, the First Seed of the New Covenant.  I'm not sure if that's your belief, but we reject any idea that being born of a Virgin lead to some incorruptibility of Christ's humanity.
All you say is true and wise.  I've found the same beliefs in my study of Catholicism.  When I first read the excerpt you gave, I was thinking it referred to the traditional belief that original sin was transmitted through the man, nothing more.  I didn't view it as a statement that marriage is a somehow a less holy or worthy state than virginity.

As for the alternative interpretation, thank you for that.  That actually puts things in perspective for me.  I guess this will be a homework for me to read some of Leo's works.
I love to learn, too.  The pedagogic element of our spirituality has always been a blessing for me.

To be honest, I regard myself as an Orthodox in communion with Rome.  As I mentioned in another post in these Forums, my translation to Catholicism was not a matter of me rejecting anything of my Coptic Orthodox heritage, but simply a matter of rejecting my heretofore MISconceptions about Catholicism. But that's a big topic that I'm sure would deserve a thread of its own.
I don't mean to offend you in any way.  Nevertheless, I think that by confessing the IC, you are dogmatically in contradiction to Oriental Orthodox tradition.  For we have no one in our tradition that confesses the IC, and the one saint I know that mentioned anything about a cleansing from Original Sin would be St. Jacob of Serugh, whose book I recommend reading, as is filled with amazing spirituality about the Theotokos.  He is in direct conflict with your beliefs in that he implies the Theotokos was born like anyone else, in Original Sin, and that the taking of away of such happened when the Holy Spirit cleansed her at that moment after the greeting of Gabriel in preparation of the Divine Incarnation.  Surely, if you consider yourself "Orthodox" then you and Coptic Orthodox Church, even the whole Oriental Orthodox communion, have different meanings of what "Orthodox" is.
Actually, I did consider that matter before I came into Catholicism.  When I was reading Catholic (not non-Catholic) materials on the IC, I was greatly surprised to discover that the teaching actually refers to her ensoulment, not her physical conception.  As mentioned, the dogma does not actually state "Mary was preserved from original sin PERIOD."  Rather, it specifically states that Mary was preserved from the STAIN of original sin, the STAIN meaning the spiritual consequences of original sin.  It is a very popular (perhaps even near-universal) belief in Catholicism that assumes that Mary was not born in original sin.  But, if that were actually true, there would be no possibility that she could have died, nor even aged!  No, all the dogmatic teaching actually asserts is simply that Mary was preserved form the spiritual consequences of the Fall, not the physical consequences.  In that sense, my belief does not contradict St. Jacob's.  

As far as the notion that Mary was purified at the Annunciation, instead of at her conception, I consider that a theologoumenon, to be honest.  I don't understand that belief to be so essential to my Coptic/Oriental identity as, for instance, our belief that distinguishes us from the Chalcedonians - at the very least, to the point that it could in any way justify schism.  When I was not in communion with Rome, I came upon many Copts who, when I spoke to them frankly about the topic of when Mary was purified, would flat out say, "who cares?" or "why would that matter to me or you?" You get enough of that response, and you begin to realize that this particular belief from St. Jacob is not exactly a Faith-defining issue.  I gather it is the same for all the Orthodox.  It seems strange to me for an Orthodox to press the point (I'm not saying you are doing this) on a matter that they otherwise believe is not really that important to the Faith, or their identity as Orthodox (Oriental or Eastern).

My understanding of "Orthodox" is, plain and simple, the reality of the Church when it was fully united in the first millenium.

I do so enjoy dialoguing with you, brother.

Blessings,
Marduk
 

Mardukm

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Dear brother Mina,

To be honest, I don't know how to respond.  I DO believe the grace of the IC is fitting to the Theotokos, but as I stated earlier, though Catholics do use that as an argument, it is not the reason I came to believe in the teaching.  As I said, I came to believe in it simply because I did not find it contradicted anything of what made me an Oriental Orthodox.  So your challenge to the intellectual consideration of her fittingness via a consideration of the concept of predestination is not really relevant to my belief on the matter.  You would have to ask a Latin who makes it a point of making fittingness a matter of "proof" for the teaching.

I will respond to one point in your inquiry - namely, your comment about the Theotokos receiving a grace similar to baptism without her having made a decision first.  I would only point out to you that babies do not make a decision either.

Blessings,
Marduk

minasoliman said:
Mardukm said:
But perhaps you are adding another dimension to the issue - i.e., the issue of predestination.  What I have addressed so far on the issue of free will relates to the question - "Does the fact that Mary had no concupiscence mean she did not have the free will to sin?"  I think what you are asking now is (in distinction) - "Does her being chosen by God to be the Mother of God mean she did not have the free will to resist?"  If the latter, then the usual understanding of the Churches on the matter should suffice - that predestination according to the Catholic and Orthodox understanding - refers to God's foreknowledge, not that God forces anyone to do something in the future.
I forgot to address this part.  Indeed, it is precisely this issue I was addressing.  However, I must disagree this doesn't answer it sufficiently, and perhaps this is actually leading quite dangerously to a Calvinist side of predestination imo.  Just because God has foreknowledge does not mean He makes the decision to do something to people before the people decide for themselves.  If that's the case, why waste time allowed Adam and Eve in Paradise, allowing them the Tree of Life?  Why didn't He just make them born in a state of death and move on from there?  Why did God anoint Saul king if He knew he was going to screw up, or Judas Iscariot an Apostle before betraying our Lord?

Why didn't God choose David from his birth, anoint him as king from his childhood?  Why did He wait until David was a very young adult?  Why did god wait to hear from Solomon his decision on choosing wisdom over riches when He already knew what he thought?  Why did God wait until Isaiah ask for his mouth to be cleansed?  Why does God wait for each and everyone of us until we die?  Why can't we just die and cleanse us or condemn us or send us to Paradise since He is so foreknowing?

These are all rhetorical questions of course.  But the idea that He already bestows upon the Theotokos a grace similar to baptism without having her make the decision first is unprecedented.  They must grow, they must be raised right, they must be sanctified for their growth, etc.  Then the grace upon which is given her must be given only after the decision, not before, even if God foresees all things.  The type of predestination you teach is not merely foreknowledge, but an active foreknowledge, making the decision no matter what happens, which is exactly what Calvin taught.

Finally, one has to also sit and ponder, did the Theotokos even know she was immaculately conceived, unique among humanity?  Did she know she was going to be the Mother of God from her youth?  Clearly, the answer to the latter question is "No," as has been evident in the accounts of Luke's gospel, when she was "troubled at Gabriel's saying" for being called "Blessed among women, and blessed is the fruit of her womb."  But knowing that, surely for consistency's sake, if she was IC'ed, instead of being troubled at Gabriel's saying, she could have acknowledged this, and easily said, "I, the handmaiden of the Lord, am now ready."

It's not merely "predestination," it's about pragmatism.  Practically speaking, this seems to sound like taking away free will.  Even if we can practice free will by nature, we can practically not change our own fate, for our fate is already written in stone as was the case in the IC of the Theotokos.
 

minasoliman

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Mardukm said:
Dear brother Mina,

To be honest, I don't know how to respond.  I DO believe the grace of the IC is fitting to the Theotokos, but as I stated earlier, though Catholics do use that as an argument, it is not the reason I came to believe in the teaching.  As I said, I came to believe in it simply because I did not find it contradicted anything of what made me an Oriental Orthodox.  So your challenge to the intellectual consideration of her fittingness via a consideration of the concept of predestination is not really relevant to my belief on the matter.  You would have to ask a Latin who makes it a point of making fittingness a matter of "proof" for the teaching.
Fair enough.  I guess I'll wait on Papist's answers then.

To your point in the previous post about the importance of the dogma, I find it quite sad you met a few people who didn't care.  It seems to me that the present Coptic synod actually does care, especially in her dialogue with the Latin Church.  The rejection is also clear in HH Pope Shenouda's writings.  Nevertheless, I understand what you mean by certain people.  There are people who do not know Church history but are quite obedient to the dogmas being taught to them by the ordained leaders.  I find it personally very enriching and edifying to do my own research, to make my religion my own, and not one that merely belongs to the ordained leaders.  I don't advocate disobedience though, but it helps me in the age of disbelief and questioning, and I wish many were like me, since they can be easily swayed one way or the other and not be strongly rooted in history and dogmatic understanding.

I will respond to one point in your inquiry - namely, your comment about the Theotokos receiving a grace similar to baptism without her having made a decision first.  I would only point out to you that babies do not make a decision either.

Blessings,
Marduk
I couldn't help but answer this point before you respond soon.  I hope you consider a difference in the IC and the baptism of children.  The IC was a preconceived notion/assumption from God that she WILL choose to be the Theotokos.  Baptism of children is on the assumption that the parents bear the responsibility of the salvation of their children.  Thus, even though there are similarities in function, the purposes for both are VERY different from each other, unless the Theotokos' parents told her to be ready to be God's mother, in which case, this indication of knowledge was not so according to Luke's gospel.

God bless.
 
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