Ancient Marian Devotion

Apr 19th, 2014 | By | Category: Blog Posts, Catholic Life and Devotion
Our Lady of Perpetual Help
Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Christians have been venerating the Blessed Virgin Mary for a long time. A really, really long time. Nevertheless I think one may be excused from wondering whether its antiquity doesn’t tell us something about its validity as a form of Christian piety. For now though I will simply appeal to what Jason Kettinger has designated the “Noltie Conundrum,” which you may read here, because I would like this post to be short.

Unbeknownst to me (prior to reading the article to which I shall imminently link) the Blessed Virgin was known as the Theotokos long before the Council of Ephesus in 431. It turns out that she has borne this title since at least the middle of the third century, before even the Council of Nicaea. The evidence for this may be found in this article. Take a look. There you will see the following prayer addressed to Mary:

Under thy compassion we take refuge, Theotokos;
Do not disregard our prayers in the midst of tribulation,
but deliver us from danger, O Only Pure, Only Blessed One.

The linked article at Catholic-Concepts.com has some interesting remarks to make, and I do not want to steal their thunder, so I encourage you to read the article. For my part I have a few observations of my own (some of which may overlap or be outright borrowed from the linked article; I am not claiming any ownership of my comments here) that seem worth making.

First, I would like to apply the Conundrum so unfortunate as to bear my name. The Church has evidently been praying to Mary and calling her the Mother of God (that is the English for Theotokos, unless one wishes to be really literalistic) for at least nearly 1800 years, and must have begun the practice pretty early in its history. Protestants generally (and Reformed in particular) object to this practice. My question is: if God would allow the Church to go wrong on this obviously important doctrine and practice (and I say they are obviously important since the Reformed regularly call us idolaters because of them), why should we believe that Calvin, Luther, or anyone else has ever gotten things right about it? I see no reason at all, personally; and here it might be better to refer you again to “The Accidental Catholic” for a more complete formulation of the argument.

Secondly, it would be a gross mistake to read this prayer as idolatrous. It is no more idolatrous than to ask someone who is good friends with the President to say a good word on our behalf, to intercede with him for us. So too this ancient prayer is one in which the writer puts his trust in the Mother of God as his Intercessor with the Lord. If the prayers of a righteous man avail much (and they do, says St. James) then a fortiori the Lord’s own mother will have great influence with her Son when she intercedes on our behalf in Heaven. This is not unlike a man saying to his lawyer, “I am counting on you to clear my name.” Well, the lawyer has no actual control over that himself, does he? But what he can do is make a better effort than the ordinary fellow at defending him, just because of his position and training. He knows how to persuade judges and juries to see his point of view, and we entrust ourselves to them as our representatives. We could of course act as our own counsel…but that rarely turns out well. And in cases where I can have Christ’s own Mother intercede for me, why the heck would I not want to take advantage of that?

The veneration of the Blessed Virgin is ancient. Far from being a novelty of an apostate church, it is a shining example of devotion to God precisely because when we ask her to pray for us we ask her to pray to God for us.

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  1. “We could of course act as our own counsel…but that rarely turns out well.”

    Then shouldn’t I also be careful about acting as my own counsel to Mary, the Theotokos, Queen of Heaven? Best to pray to St. James first, think. But wait: James is pretty high up too. Better be careful about acting as my own counsel to him. Yup, I think, bearing in mind the professed dangers of acting as my own counsel before the “higher-ups”, I’ll just safely pray to my dear old granny, and hope that my prayers eventually make it all the way up to God.

    Hopefully, they don’t play Chinese Whispers in Heaven!

  2. IP,

    If you wish to seek your grandmother’s intercession for you, by all means do so. She loves you and I am sure she would be happy to bring your requests before the King. The prayer of a righteous woman availeth much. She might even ask the Blessed Virgin to take up your cause, too. If there is anything about which I may pray for you, please let me know.

    Happy Easter!

    Fred

  3. Fred,
    The Lord Jesus nor the apostle ever taught such a thing as praying to Mary or anyone else except God. Another reason no Christian should ever pray to Mary or anyone else except is that Christ opened the way up for Christians to have direct access to the Father in Christ. Jesus taught that we are ask in His name and not in the name of anyone else. He alone is the One Who intercedes for us before the Father. Hebrews 4:14-16

    God does allow error to exist for a long time.

  4. Hello Pat,

    You wrote in #3:

    The Lord Jesus nor the apostle ever taught such a thing as praying to Mary or anyone else except God.

    What you are actually saying is that you know of no evidence for such a thing in the Protestant Bible. But that is one of the claims at issue, and is really nothing more than an assertion denying the legitimacy of Sacred Tradition. And I have no reason whatsoever to accept Protestant claims about that. If you think otherwise, then please read “The Accidental Catholic” (linked in the article above) and show me where my argument there is invalid.

    Perhaps I ought also to point out that we do not pray to Mary and the saints as we do to God. We hope for the saints’ intercession on our behalf, as I explained in the article above, with the lawyer analogy/illustration that Irish Protestant found so amusing. :-)

    Another reason no Christian should ever pray to Mary or anyone else except is that Christ opened the way up for Christians to have direct access to the Father in Christ.

    This claim proves too much, inasmuch as (if true) it would delegitimize asking anyone (living or dead) to pray for you. Given that the entire NT is posh with examples of people doing exactly this, your claim is invalid. So the only thing that is actually at issue is whether we may ask the saints in heaven to pray for us. You deny that this is legitimate, but once again I have no reason whatsoever to accept the Protestant claim. Again, see “The Accidental Catholic.” :-)

    God does allow error to exist for a long time.

    This claim allows the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses to assert that’s what happened before their respective groups appeared on the scene, and because you allow the possibility for the Church to teach error, you have no theological basis for disputing their claims. Again, and for the last tedious time in this comment, please see “The Accidental Catholic.” :-)

    Happy Easter!

    Fred

  5. Fred,
    The “Protestant Bible” i.e. 66 books are in your bible also. We can start with what can easily be checked in your bible. We know from your bible that there is no teaching, example, or exhortation of praying to Mary. Not one author of these books promotes any prayers to Mary.
    You are praying directly to Mary. There are many, many prayers to Mary. Take the most common one: The hail Mary. In one part it says–“pray of us sinners now at the hour of our death”

    Asking others in this world to pray for you is taught in Scripture. Paul asks for prayers of believers in this world who are alive but never ask anyone to pray to the dead.

    The other problem you have is that you have no way to know what is the nature -condition of a person when they die. You have no way to know if they can hear you or do as you ask. The only One Who can is the Lord Christ. He exhorted His followers to pray directly to Him and in His name. That is never said of Mary or any of the dead including the apostles or angels.

  6. Hello Pat,

    You wrote in #5:

    The “Protestant Bible” i.e. 66 books are in your bible also. We can start with what can easily be checked in your bible. We know from your bible that there is no teaching, example, or exhortation of praying to Mary. Not one author of these books promotes any prayers to Mary.

    In the first place, I have no reason to accept the Protestant canon. On your own terms the Church can and does err, and so there is no reason to believe (*on your terms*) that the canon is correct. Even Sproul has conceded that you have a “fallible list of infallible books.” But fallibility here is fatal: if you do not and cannot know with certainty which books belong in the canon, you have no basis for saying that any of them are inspired.

    In the second place, we have examples of the dead praying for us in Revelation and 2 Maccabees 15, and of the living praying for the dead in 2 Maccabees 12. Furthermore, in Tobit 12 Raphael tells us that when Tobit prayed, he (Raphael) presented his requests before God, clearly an act of intercession (since, obviously, God has no need for that sort of thing). More to the point, I have no reason to accept Protestant objections to the practice, for reasons I have given in — wait for it — “The Accidental Catholic.” :-)

    You are praying directly to Mary. There are many, many prayers to Mary. Take the most common one: The hail Mary. In one part it says–”pray of us sinners now at the hour of our death”

    The word “pray” is not one that has reference solely to communication with God. So the fact that we use that word to describe our requests for her intercession and that of the other saints is irrelevant. I daresay most Protestants would still object no matter what word we might use, so this complaint is something of a red herring, it seems to me.

    Asking others in this world to pray for you is taught in Scripture. Paul asks for prayers of believers in this world who are alive but never ask anyone to pray to the dead.

    Of course, this does not mean either that he opposed it or that he did not teach it, since it has been preserved in Sacred Tradition (as well as in the Bible). Plus we have Raphael’s example of interceding for Tobit and Sarah even when they had not asked him to do so. It is all the more likely that they will pray for us if we ask them. They love us. They are part of Christ’s Body just as we are.

    The other problem you have is that you have no way to know what is the nature -condition of a person when they die. You have no way to know if they can hear you or do as you ask.

    This raises a reasonable question. There are two parts to the answer I will offer. In the first place, canonized saints have been infallibly declared to be in the presence of God. We can know with confidence that those the Church places in the canon of saints are in heaven. The second part of my answer is that Catholics do not pretend to know (apart from those declared to be saints by the Church) anyone’s eternal state. So we hope. And on the basis of that hope, we ask our deceased loved ones to pray for us (and vice versa, we pray for them until or unless they are canonized). What you ask is somewhat of an important personal question for me, because my father is deceased. I do not know the state of his heart when he died; no human being possibly could. But I hope that he died in friendship with God, and on the basis of that hope I pray for him (on the assumption he may be in Purgatory) and I ask him to pray for me. And he was not Catholic.

    The only One Who can is the Lord Christ. He exhorted His followers to pray directly to Him and in His name. That is never said of Mary or any of the dead including the apostles or angels.

    It may not be said in the New Testament, but Sacred Tradition absolutely includes it. :-)

    Peace,

    Fred

  7. Fred,
    “Protestant and Roman Catholic” bibles share the same 66 books as Scripture. We agree on these books. Yes, churches can err since there is evidence for it and the Lord Jesus never promised a church could not err. There are plenty of warnings in Scripture that false teachers would come into the church and deceive many. See 2 Peter 2:1 for example.

    The Jews of the Old Testament never claimed to have infalliblity and yet the Lord Jesus accepted the Old Testament canon which did not contain the Old Testament apochrya. It is a known fact that these books (Old Testament apochrya) contain errors on a number of things.

    There is no example in the book of Revelation of a person who is living that prays to the dead.

    As for Maccabees there are serious problems using it to justify praying for the dead. For one Judas was not a prophet or priest. He carries no spiritual authority. He did not speak with the authority of the Lord. Also, once a person dies then comes the judgment. Hebrews 9:27.

    We also know that the angel Raphael spoke falsely when he said “ Almsgiving saves from death and purges every kind of sin.” Tobit 12:9. We know this is not true because only the death of Christ could pay for sin (Colossians 2:13-14) and His blood cleanses us from all sin (I John 1:7). Nothing else can do this. Almsgiving cannot.

    Also, there are no prayers directed to angels in the New Testament or Old Testament. Where in Tobit 12 does it say “Tobit prayed, he (Raphael) presented his requests before God”? I don’t see it.

    You are praying to Mary when you pray the hail Mary. There are no prayers to Mary in Scripture. No hint that the dead can hear your prayers.

    Since it is established that neither Jesus or His apostles taught that you are to pray to the dead. What is this “Sacred Tradition”? Where has Rome defined it and given you a list of these Sacred Traditions and their origins? I want to make sure I understand what you mean.

    There is no way for your church to know if a dead person is a canonized saint. How could anyone know with any certainty the fate of the dead? doesn’t your church claim it does not know the fate of the dead?

  8. Hello Pat,

    In #7 you wrote:

    > Protestant and Roman Catholic” bibles share the same 66 books as Scripture. We agree on these books.

    On the contrary, there are important differences. In the first place Protestantism has no principled means for establishing its canon. This is commonly admitted, and Protestants really have no choice but to do so because, Scripture itself lacking a definition of the canon, the only alternatives are the irrationalist “self-attesting” canon and the authority of the Church to declare what the canon is. If the Church (however you want to define it) can err there is no reason to suppose the canon is reliable.

    Secondly some Protestants have taken it upon themselves to decide whether certain passages are inspired. This, of course, is a Pandora’s box, given that they admit they could be wrong.

    > Yes, churches can err since there is evidence for it and the Lord Jesus never promised a church could not err.

    On the contrary, The Lord most certainly did promise to preserve the Church from error under at least some conditions. Again, see “The Accidental Catholic” where I show that the only alternative is a relativism that demolishes the unique claims of Christianity; see also [this article](http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2012/02/making-my-way-to-the-church-christ-founded-2/) for more. On the other hand one need only look at the sad history of Protestantism to see what happens when the Church’s infallibility is denied.

    Please provide an example which demonstrates your claim that the Church has erred in its teaching on faith and morals.

    > There are plenty of warnings in Scripture that false teachers would come into the church and deceive many. See 2 Peter 2:1 for example.

    The fact of some false teachers does not imply that what the Church teaches about its infallibility is invalid.

    > The Jews of the Old Testament never claimed to have infalliblity and yet the Lord Jesus accepted the Old Testament canon which did not contain the Old Testament apochrya. It is a known fact that these books (Old Testament apochrya) contain errors on a number of things.

    Depending upon whom you ask, there are errors in every book of the Bible. The fact of Protestant rejection of part of the canon, held in its present (Catholic) form since at least the time of St. Augustine, is likewise irrelevant because you freely admit that you err. Hence Protestants cannot deny that they may have erred with respect to their truncated canon.

    > There is no example in the book of Revelation of a person who is living that prays to the dead.

    I didn’t say there was. Revelation does show that the saints in heaven do pray concerning events on earth.

    > As for Maccabees there are serious problems using it to justify praying for the dead. For one Judas was not a prophet or priest. He carries no spiritual authority. He did not speak with the authority of the Lord. Also, once a person dies then comes the judgment. Hebrews 9:27.

    Your sketch here depends upon Maccabees as the origination of praying for the dead. I did not claim that, nor is there any reason to do so. On the contrary what Maccabees shows is that the Jews **did** pray for the dead.

    Hebrews 9:27 is not contradicted by the Catholic doctrine of Purgatory.

    > We also know that the angel Raphael spoke falsely when he said “ Almsgiving saves from death and purges every kind of sin.” Tobit 12:9. We know this is not true because only the death of Christ could pay for sin (Colossians 2:13-14) and His blood cleanses us from all sin (I John 1:7). Nothing else can do this. Almsgiving cannot.

    Your account is erroneous because you deny the distinction between mortal and venial sin. Aside from that the account in Tobit is consistent with James 5:19-20.

    > Where in Tobit 12 does it say “Tobit prayed, he (Raphael) presented his requests before God”? I don’t see it.

    12:12.

    > You are praying to Mary when you pray the hail Mary. There are no prayers to Mary in Scripture. No hint that the dead can hear your prayers.

    You are repeating yourself without addressing the arguments I have offered against your view, Pat. In the first place we are not limited to Scripture alone. In the second place you are ignoring the fact that you admit that you and your denominations can and do err, so I really have no reason at all to listen to you **unless** you show me where my argument in “The Accidental Catholic” is wrong.

    > What is this “Sacred Tradition”? Where has Rome defined it and given you a list of these Sacred Traditions and their origins? I want to make sure I understand what you mean.

    A sufficient off-the-cuff definition for our purposes is: if it is related to faith and morals and taught by the Church, she does so infallibly. If that teaching is not found in the Bible, it is Sacred Tradition. Examples: the Immaculate Conception; the Assumption; the perpetual virginity of Mary; the canon.

    > There is no way for your church to know if a dead person is a canonized saint.

    Perhaps you would like to clarify that? If the Church does the canonization, obviously she knows whom she has canonized. :-)

    > How could anyone know with any certainty the fate of the dead? doesn’t your church claim it does not know the fate of the dead?

    The procedures by which the Church performs canonization aren’t really relevant here for this post, but they include requirements for miracles, an investigation into the individual’s life, and a formal opponent. Beyond such cases the Church does not presume to say who is in heaven (or purgatory) or hell.

    Happy Easter Monday! :-)

    Fred

  9. Hi Pat,

    I am concerned that our conversation is not going to go anywhere given its present course. Why? Because I can (and will) simply say “Pat, you admit that you could be wrong in your interpretation of the Bible. That being the case, why should I trust anything you say about it to be correct?” I do not say this to be rude, but really I only see one way to get through this impasse: namely, address my arguments in “The Accidental Catholic.” There I show that the Protestant’s claimed means for discerning truth in the Bible do not work. As a result of realizing this ten years ago, I stopped being Protestant almost literally overnight. I did not have any interest in the Catholic Church until months later when I decided I ought to give them a fair hearing.

    Unfortunately thus far you have apparently ignored that earlier article.

    In summary, I have no reason to think you are right in criticizing my article from my own point of view, and you admit that you could be wrong from/about your point of view. Stalemate, as far as I can tell, unless perhaps you can invalidate what I wrote in The Accidental Catholic. As it stands, the existence of a prayer to the Theotokos from the mid-third century is strong evidence for the Catholic position, and nothing you have said thus far contradicts that.

    Peace,

    Fred

  10. Pat (@7),
    It must be frustrating trying to bring this argument to what is in Sacred Scripture while us Catholics seem to be avoiding the issue like professional contortionists.

    I don’t know if this would help, but I’ll try to explain why we are doing this.

    We acknowledge that revelation came in the person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and that the Truth He conveyed “Sets us free”. We all agree on this.

    Where we disagree is how that revelation is transmitted to us. You acknowledge only method “S”, Scripture. We acknowledge “S”–Scripture, “T”–Tradition, and “M”–the Magisterium, which is the Holy Spirit guiding the Church to all Truth in its interpretation and understanding of “S” and “T”.

    You are trying to argue against devotion to Mary based on “S” alone, but we don’t rely on “S” alone, but also acknowledge “T” and “M”. For us to engage in discussing with only “S” as an authority would be to presume your rejection of “T” and “M”, and we could not present the full Catholic understanding, which would cripple the discussion.

    It would be legitimate to discuss whether the Catholic understanding of “T” contradicts “S”. Therefore we ask you not to demand where we justify something in “S” alone, because we don’t acknowledge “S” alone. Rather, on the subject of “S”, you would need to show that the (accurate) Catholic Teaching on devotion to Mary contradicts Scripture, and not just demand that we justify it, especially since our reading of Mary’s place in Scripture is heavily influenced by “T” and “M”.

    Why Fred keeps driving the point of the canon and our fallible intellects is because, as we argue, you cannot have “S” without “T” and “M”, which gets to the root of the disagreement, for if without “T” and “M”, we cannot have “S”, then, since we all agree that “S” is the inerrant word of God, you will need to acknowledge the need for “T” and “M”. But if we just sling Bible verses back and forth, from within different ways of understanding the role of the Bible and how we are to go about interpreting it, we will quite literally get nowhere.

    Finally, I wanted to point out the irony of you quoting 2 Peter 2:1. We to acknowledge that; however, we also acknowledge that God intervenes and gave the Body of Christ an “Immune System”. We acknowledge that such false teachers have come: Arius, Marcion, Nestorius, … Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, etc. However, thanks be to God, the Magisterium of the Church defended the Faith given to us by the Apostles and condemned these false teachers.

    Fred is pointing out that, yes, false teachers will arise, but how do we know we aren’t being false teachers? If from the 200’s to the 1500’s no one had a problem with devotion to Mary and the saints, by what right can we say they got it wrong, but we got it right! And in such an obvious way that it would fall into the “Essentials” (I presume you believe that devotion to Mary and the Saints is a violation of the “essential doctrines).

  11. friar Charles,
    This discussion is not about the canon of Scripture. We agree on the 66 books of the Bible as being inspired-inerrant. If the RC wants to argue that his “T” and “M” to justify the canon then he has some serious problems. One is that the RC is going to have to show specifically what these “T” are and where the RC has officially defined these things as sacred Traditions. A list of these Traditions and when they came to be are going to be required so I know exactly what they are and if they are equal with the Scripture. We cannot assume that “T” as on equal footing with the Scripture.

    It is true that RC teachings on Mary is not grounded in Scripture but on later developments of men who did not exegete the Scripture to arrive at their beliefs and doctrines about her. The immaculate conception of Mary does contradict Scripture. All men who are conceived by 2 human parents come into the world with sin. (Rom 5:12). Mary came into the world in this way and so is a sinner. The Scripture makes no exception for her.
    We also know from Scripture that no one prayed to her or venerated her. In fact what you believe about Mary was not believed by the church for centuries.

    2 Peter 2:1 also applies to Protestant churches. Your church condemns Luther, Calvin, Zwingli not on biblical grounds. It cannot make a case against them on Scripture.

    You can know false teachers when their teachings are measured by the Scripture and found to be in error. Since the apostles never taught the Marian dogmas for example we can know they are not apostolic and false because they go against the Scripture.

  12. Hi,
    I am a newly confirmed Catholic convert and am curious what is meant by “only pure, only blessed” one.
    Obviously, we believe that Jesus is pure, so why does this prayer say only in regards to Our Lady?
    Thanks,
    Rose

  13. Hello Rose,

    You wrote, in #12:

    I am a newly confirmed Catholic convert and am curious what is meant by “only pure, only blessed” one.
    Obviously, we believe that Jesus is pure, so why does this prayer say only in regards to Our Lady?

    The prayer omits mention not only of Jesus but also of the other Persons of the Holy Trinity. Obviously God the Father and God the Holy Spirit are also pure. So I think that this fact points at the answer to your question: the prayer addresses the Blessed Virgin that way in relation to other human persons. Jesus was a divine Person who took on human nature in the Incarnation. So, relative to us other human persons Mary is said to be “only pure” because she is uniquely pure as the Virgin Mother of God, having been preserved by the grace of God from the stain of original sin (the Immaculate Conception) and with the help of His grace leading a sinless life.

    I hope this helps!

    Peace,

    Fred

  14. Hello Pat,

    You wrote in #11:

    This discussion is not about the canon of Scripture. We agree on the 66 books of the Bible as being inspired-inerrant.

    The article is primarily about the antiquity of Christian requests for Mary’s intercession, and of the Marian title Theotokos. Secondarily it includes by way of reference a preemptive defense against Protestant objections, by pointing readers to my article “The Accidental Catholic.” Lastly it includes a response to the oft-heard, seldom-justified and false claims that Catholic veneration of Mary and the saints is idolatrous, and that prayers to them are meant by us in the same sense that we use when we pray to God.

    The fact that the canon question has popped up is (as you say) a side issue, but to say that we “agree on the 66 books of the Bible” is not a characterization of the situation that does it justice. In the first place you reject several canonical books and consequently reject Scriptural defenses drawn from those books. This leaves us all playing with a stacked deck, so to speak. And it is precisely to fix the deck that I appealed to my earlier article. There are reasonable appeals to Scripture touching on the questions raised in this article which you reject simply because you deny that the books from which those appeals are made are canonical. The challenge of the “Noltie Conundrum” for you is that there is no principled basis for you to reject those books.

    Secondly, Protestants do not even agree among themselves about the NT canon, so it is difficult to see how it can be said that Catholics and Protestants agree about it. I am of course referring to passages like the end of Mark 16, the story of the woman caught in adultery, and even to Luther’s uncertainties about James (by the way, I have heard Protestants express the same doubts about James, so the question is hardly one of solely antiquarian interest).

    Thirdly, we do not agree as to who has authority to make decisions as to the contents of the canon. Apparently many Protestants are perfectly comfortable with allowing textual critics to make decisions about stuff like Mark 16, but for Catholics this approach just isn’t possible.

    You also wrote:

    You can know false teachers when their teachings are measured by the Scripture and found to be in error.

    See, now this is why it appears you prefer to ignore “The Accidental Catholic” (aside from the fact that you have never mentioned it despite my explicit invitation to disprove my argument there). :-) Because in light of TAC this claim of yours just simply cannot stand. Have you read it? If not, please do, and then please help us understand why you think your claim here is valid in spite of my argument in TAC.

    Happy Easter Tuesday!

    Fred

  15. Pat,
    You assert that the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was not known for centuries. It may be more accurate to say that certain aspects of it had not been reflected upon or challenged for centuries. Actually, the Immaculate Conception is implied in Perpetual Virginity. Original sin’s punishment include domination by the male and the woman’s desire for him, and pain in child birth. Isaiah 7 says a virgin will give birth proving Mary did not suffer loss of bodily integrity in partu. As long as Mary was a virgin, she was free from the results of Adam and Eve’s sin.
    I remember years ago arguing this doctrine with a member of the Greek Orthodox Church. He denied it but I had to remind him that that very day just so happened to be a feast in his Church, the Conception of St. Anne ( St. Anne’s conception of Mary that is ). The Church does not keep the feasts of conceptions nor births of those in sin. So, while the Orthodox officially do not hold to the doctrine, they might as well do so.

  16. Jim,
    Where do you get the idea that “As long as Mary was a virgin, she was free from the results of Adam and Eve’s sin”? If this were true then all virgins would be free from sin. That we know is not true.

    Doesn’t your church keep the feast of St Joseph and other saints throughout the year?

  17. Fred,
    Your still in the same boat as Protestants when it comes to interpreting Scripture. Your church has never officially interpreted the Scriptures. This means that your interpretations of Scripture is your private personal interpretations.

    This is also means that you cannot point to one prayer to Mary in the entire corpus of Scripture. The apostles and those whom they taught did not pray to Mary.

    Do you agree with this work by THE GLORIES OF MARY by St. Alphonsus de Liguori Doctor of the Church?

    “MARY, OUR LIFE, OUR SWEETNESS.
    Mary is our life, because she obtains for us the Pardon of our Sins.
    To understand why the holy Church makes us call Mary our life, we must know, that as the soul gives life to the body, so does divine grace give life to the soul; for a soul without grace has the name of being alive but is in truth dead, as it was said of one in the Apocalypse, Thou hast the name of being alive, and thou art dead (“Nomen habes quod vivas, et mortuus es”—Apoc. iii. 1). Mary, then, in obtaining this grace for sinners by her intercession, thus restores them to life.”

    Can you think of any apostle that comes close to saying this kind of thing?

    BTW- the last part of Mark 16 and the woman caught in adultery are not in the earliest manuscripts. This is why they are believed to be added by later scribes.

  18. Fred,
    Thank you for the helpful explanation! That makes a lot of sense.

  19. Hello Pat,

    You wrote in #17:

    Your still in the same boat as Protestants when it comes to interpreting Scripture. Your church has never officially interpreted the Scriptures.

    This is only partially true, if it is true at all. I am not free to interpret Adam and Eve as anything other than the literal primordial pair of human beings, because the Church has spoken on that subject. That is one single example. I am not free to interpret John 6 in a way that denies the sacrament of the Eucharist, because the Church has spoken on that subject. I am not free to interpret references to the “brothers” of Jesus as literal half brothers because the Church has spoken on that subject (and the text absolutely does not require that Protestant interpretation either).

    The point of those three examples is that Catholics are obliged to interpret the Bible in accord with the official, living tradition of teaching of the Church. If you do not think that limits how I interpret the Bible…then you obviously haven’t lived it, brother. :-) Because it certainly does restrict how we interpret Scripture.

    This means that your interpretations of Scripture is your private personal interpretations.

    Yes. That is what they are. That fact does not in any way imply that I am free to interpret the Bible any old way that I want, as I have pointed out. It does imply that my interpretation is not the last word when it comes to interpreting any passage of Scripture. Would any Protestant say that? Heh. Not a chance, bro. :-) It also implies that the Church does have the last word.

    This is also means that you cannot point to one prayer to Mary in the entire corpus of Scripture.

    On the other hand, there is an example of Mary’s intercession in John 2, and quite honestly it is not that far-fetched to postulate that Nathanael (who was at the wedding, and already believed Jesus was the Son of God) might have been the one who got Mary to ask Jesus about the wine, since – knowing that He was God – Nathanael would surely have believed that Jesus could perform miracles (even though he had not yet done so). So I do not think the situation is as clear-cut as you might think.

    The apostles and those whom they taught did not pray to Mary.

    On the one hand this is stating the obvious, dude: she was still alive. :-) On the other hand, is there any reason to think that they would not have come to her house and asked her to pray about something, just like you might call your friends and ask them to pray? And on the third hand (Zaphod Beeblebrox is involved here, obviously) what you have done just now is offer two bald assertions without any argumentation to justify them. I am not saying you have to prove a negative, but I have now offered alternative (and, I think, not unreasonable) hermeneutical scenarios in which your assertions are incorrect.

    An additional issue is the antiquity of the papyrus in the article I referred to in the post: from the mid-third century. What your position requires is that the Church was already apostate or apostasizing less than 2 centuries after St. John probably died. If that did in fact happen, then there is no reason whatsoever why I should believe that the Reformers got one single thing right: because the people of AD 100 – AD 250 were native Greek speakers in practically the exact same culture as St. Paul and yet they blew it, on your view. Why on earth should I then suppose that a German and a Frenchman from an entirely different civilization would be better interpreters of the Bible, or have better knowledge of what the Church should be teaching, than people who lived in AD 250?

    Do you agree with this work by THE GLORIES OF MARY by St. Alphonsus de Liguori Doctor of the Church?

    I’ll make a deal with you, Pat. I will answer your question about St. Alphonsus’s work if you provide me a refutation of The Accidental Catholic. :-)

    BTW- the last part of Mark 16 and the woman caught in adultery are not in the earliest manuscripts. This is why they are believed to be added by later scribes.

    “believed” to be added? So no one actually knows? So the contents of the canon are uncertain, just like Sproul said? Also, I will ask again: since when do textual critics have any ecclesial office to make binding declarations about the text of the Bible?

    On the other hand, I withdraw the last paragraph. Treat it as rhetorical. :-) I would really prefer to answer your question about St. Alphonsus, so I would much rather you refute my earlier article rather than answer these additional questions. :-)

    Peace and Happy Easter Wednesday to you!

    Fred

  20. Rose,

    You’re welcome! Congratulations on your reception of Confirmation! Did you enter the Church this Easter too?

    Peace,

    Fred

  21. Fred,
    I have been having a discussion with a Roman Catholic on Genesis and he says it’s a myth. Does your church say the 6 days of creation are literal 24 hour days?

    Mary asking Jesus to help in John 2 was not a prayer. So we agree there are no prayers to Mary in scripture?

    We know more today about the early church than someone who lived 250 years from the apostles because we have more resources and better qualified people to study these things. Take Jerome who was the great translator for the Vulgate. Our translations are superior today because we have more resources and qualified people and manuscripts than he did.

    Fred, your post is not about The Accidental Catholic. It’s about Mary and devotion to her. This is what I’m focusing on.

  22. Pat, You scoff that since all virgins are free from the pains of child birth and male domination, that according to my assertion, they must be free of Original Sin.

    No, that is not my assertion, Pat. My assertion would refer only to those virgins who conceive and give birth.

  23. Pat, You assert that since we see no prayers addressed to Mary in the New Testament, the Catholic practice is contrary to the intent of the Bible.
    Since neither Paul nor Mark speak of the Virgin Birth, they must have denied it by your logic.
    What we do see in Revelation, Tobit and Maccabees* are prayers going up to saints in heaven and presented to God.
    Unless you would be so brash as to question Mary being in heaven, you have no basis for objecting to Mary hearing our prayers and presenting them to her Son. On earth, Mary was instrumental in Jesus’ first miracle ( there is no reason to think He would have done it without her suggestion ). As the Queen Mother of the New Davidic Kingdom, she would have the role of intercessor with the New David.
    * The fact that Protestants reject 7 books of the OT does not bind Catholics. The onus is on you to disprove them as canonical. Good luck trying!

  24. Pat,
    I forgot to address St. Alphonsus’ masterpiece on Mary. Protestant objections to Catholics using joyous and unrestrained praise when we speak of/to the Queen of Angels/Mother of God stems from their either/or mentality.
    Non-Catholics are always on guard against Catholics robbing God of His glory and applying it to a creature.
    Be at peace, Pat. God’s glory is not in danger of depletion. He doesn’t need our praise. The glory we give to Mary pales in light of the glory He lavished upon her. If I were in your shoes, I would be more concerned with not obeying the prophecy that, “all generations will call me blessed”.
    God humbled Himself to partake of our humanity that we may partake of His divinity. Jesus is the Good Shepherd. Peter is told to feed His sheep. God is the Rock. So is Peter. Jesus is the foundation. So are the Apostles. God is the judge. Christians will judge angels. We are not to be spectators but participants, Pat.

  25. Hello , I thought of an interesting aside. Our Lady of Perpetual Help is pictured at the top of this article. Pat mentions St. Alphonsus Ligouri. It just so happens that the original icon hangs over the altar in the Redemptorist church named after the founder of the order ( Alphonsus Ligouri ) in Rome a few hundred meters from St. Mary Major.

  26. Fred,
    Yes, my husband and I both entered the church. I was baptized Catholic, but was raised Presbyterian/ Baptist. This has been a long process of the Lord working on both of our hearts. It’s good to be home!

  27. Rose, that’s great! Welcome back, and welcome to your husband!

    Peace,

    Fred

  28. Good morning Pat,

    You asked, in #21:

    I have been having a discussion with a Roman Catholic on Genesis and he says it’s a myth. Does your church say the 6 days of creation are literal 24 hour days?

    To my knowledge the Church has never made a dogmatic declaration concerning whether Genesis 1–2 must be taken literally or not. What is required is that we believe that God created everything ex nihilo. For what it is worth, I will say that as a Protestant I adamantly believed in six literal 24 hour days of creation in Genesis 1. I maintained that prior to the advent of Darwinism and Lyell no one would have interpreted it any other way.

    That turns out not to be the case. Aquinas and Augustine are two shining lights in the Church who did not think the passage should be taken literally, and there is at least one interesting textual issue which makes a literal rendering practically impossible (or so it seems to me). At any rate, I was mistaken about the history of interpretation of that passage, and as I said I am unaware of any dogmas associated with it beyond the necessity of creation ex nihilo.

    Mary asking Jesus to help in John 2 was not a prayer. So we agree there are no prayers to Mary in scripture?

    Both your assertion and question here are based upon an inaccurate definition of the word “prayer”. It does not mean “speaking to God.” So: no, we are certainly not in agreement, either with respect to your assertion here nor your question. To obtain that agreement you would first have to demonstrate that pray may only be used in reference to God (which is false), then demonstrate that Mary’s request to Jesus was not an intercession for others (it was), and that no one asked her to make the request of Him (which would be an argument from silence, and there is no necessary reason to assume that the silence implies she was not asked).

    We know more today about the early church than someone who lived 250 years from the apostles because we have more resources and better qualified people to study these things.

    That is an amazing declaration. :-) Truly. And it is one that seems to me to be intuitively false: People who live 1800 years after an event know more about it than the people who witnessed it (in this case, the author and readers of the papyrus which is the subject of this post)? Really? So there are experts today who can tell us what the author and readers thought of the content of that papyrus? I’m sorry, but stretches credulity. You would have to demonstrate that before I would ever accept it.

    Take Jerome who was the great translator for the Vulgate. Our translations are superior today because we have more resources and qualified people and manuscripts than he did.

    Jerome is not a great example for your argument here, I think, because he was working as a translator of a language he had to learn himself, and so the quality of his translation depends upon the measure of his expertise. We are discussing a Greek papyrus found in Egypt dating from the time of the Roman Empire, when Greek was the common language of the people. They did not have to translate it; they knew it. I am sorry, but your defense of this point is going to have to be much better than merely appealing to Jerome’s skills and resources.

    Fred, your post is not about The Accidental Catholic. It’s about Mary and devotion to her. This is what I’m focusing on.

    Pat, I specifically included TAC by reference because it speaks to a lot of objections that Protestants might be inclined to make against the subject of the post. As I said before, it was intended as a preemptive defense. The question that TAC raises for you in the present context is this: In AD 250 or so, the Church was calling Mary the Mother of God and asking for her intercession. You deny that the latter at least (and possibly the former, since some Protestants do object to it) is a Christian practice. Therefore the Church in AD 250 was mistaken. But if that is the case, why should anyone believe that the Reformers got anything right? If God did not protect the Church from error in 250, why would he protect a German and a Frenchman 1250 years later, especially given what Protestants say about perspicuity and the Holy Spirit’s assistance in hermeneutics?

    So, The Accidental Catholic is entirely relevant here, even if it is only because I intended it to be. You are concerned with authorial intent in interpretation, right? Well, I am telling you what mine was. :-)

    Happy Easter Thursday!

    Peace,

    Fred

  29. Pat,
    You wrote, “Do you agree with this work by THE GLORIES OF MARY by St. Alphonsus de Liguori Doctor of the Church? “MARY, OUR LIFE, OUR SWEETNESS”………………………………………..Can you think of any apostle that comes close to saying this kind of thing?”

    Maybe St. Paul in Phillipians 4:1 where he says, “you are my joy and my crown”.

  30. Thanks!

  31. Fred,
    The days of Genesis is an example how Roman Catholics are in the same boat as Protestants in regards to the interpretations of Scripture. As a Roman Catholic you can have no certainty if your interpretations are correct.
    Here is how Vines defines prayer: “”to pray,” is always used of “prayer” to God, and is the most frequent word in this respect, especially in the Synoptists and Acts, once in Rom. 8:26; Eph. 6:18; Phil. 1:9; 1 Tim. 2:8; Heb. 13:18; Jude 1:20.” http://www2.mf.no/bibelprog/vines?word=%AFt0002181

    Mary talking to Jesus at Cana is not prayer. You don’t pray to someone who you can see and talk to and is a human being. Mary asking for help is not the same thing as when you pray to God or the dead.

    Let me take another example of those who live after event can have a better understanding than those that were close to an event. Take 911. We know more today than those who were there on the day it happened. A person who lived a 100 years after Christ would not necessarily know more than scholars 1900 years later because the person who lived a 100 years later would not have had access to what scholars have today.
    People in the early church did not own copies of the Old Testament scriptures nor have complete copies of the New Testament for the most part. Today, many Christians own their own copies of the Scriptures and can benefit from scholars who have researched the history of the Scriptures in ways a person living 1800 years ago could not.

    If in “AD 250 or so, the Church was calling Mary the Mother of God and asking for her intercession” then this shows that this was not apostolic since the apostles never taught such things. This shows corruption of beliefs coming into the church in regards to praying to Mary.
    Also, what do you mean by the “Church” here? Was it the entire church and was it believed by all? If so, who spoke for the entire church in this period?

    You should trust the Reformers only if what they taught is in line with Scripture. This is the test for all teachers and authorities. If not, then it is not to be followed. This is how we know that devotion to Mary is not apostolic.

  32. Jim,
    There are no examples of anyone praying to Mary in heaven in the NT.
    Lets look at the verses in Revelation and see if anyone is praying to someone other than God in heaven:
    “8 When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. ” 5:8

    ” 3 Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer ; and much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand.” 8:3-4

    As you can see there is no praying to some saint in heaven.

    Phillipians 4:1 is not about Mary.

    How did the apostles tell us to obey this of Mary “all generations will call me blessed” in their letters?

  33. Hello Pat,

    In #31 you wrote:

    The days of Genesis is an example how Roman Catholics are in the same boat as Protestants in regards to the interpretations of Scripture. As a Roman Catholic you can have no certainty if your interpretations are correct.

    Heh. I completely disagree. I am obliged to interpret the Bible in a manner consistent with the the doctrines taught by the Church. If I interpret any passage of Scripture in a manner contrary to what the Church teaches concerning faith and morals, I am unequivocally wrong. With respect to the days of Genesis, the correct interpretation is one which conforms to the dogma of creation ex nihilo. Whether that means God did so in six literal days or in long ages is really a matter of zero consequence as far as I can tell, but one is in good company if he takes the non-literal view along with Augustine and Aquinas. :-)

    Part of the impasse here is the utterly mistaken Protestant notions of perspicuity and primacy of conscience. Contrary to what they say, it is false to claim that all essential doctrines of the faith may be readily found by the layman in the Bible (and often not even by scholars). Contrary to what they say, my conscience’s ideas about what the truth is do not have priority or primacy over what the Church says in such a way that God would protect me from error with respect to faith and morals but not the Church. These are two of the major points of The Accidental Catholic, btw. :-)

    Here is how Vines defines prayer: “”to pray,” is always used of “prayer” to God, and is the most frequent word in this respect, especially in the Synoptists and Acts, once in Rom. 8:26; Eph. 6:18; Phil. 1:9; 1 Tim. 2:8; Heb. 13:18; Jude 1:20.” http://www2.mf.no/bibelprog/vines?word=%AFt0002181

    Why should I care what Vine says about it?

    The Oxford English Dictionary says this about the word:

    To ask earnestly, humbly, or supplicatingly, to beseech; … esp. in religious use, to make devout and humble supplication to [God]. [bold added]

    The point is that it is a mistake to judge the way a word is used in a single context (in this case, the Bible) and then to make sweeping statements that the word never means anything else. The OED definition tells us what the word means, and points out that the religious use referring to suppications made to God is the most common. It is by no means the only use of the word “pray,” however: it is still used in judicial settings today on a regular basis, and one sometimes hears people say things like, “Pray tell us, why did you set the house on fire?” :-) So there is nothing inappropriate about saying that we pray to the saints. At all. The purpose of that prayer is what is genuinely relevant, and the purpose is to obtain their help in making our requests known to God.

    Mary talking to Jesus at Cana is not prayer. You don’t pray to someone who you can see and talk to and is a human being. Mary asking for help is not the same thing as when you pray to God or the dead.

    I think my discussion of the meaning of the word shows clearly that the word is still used that way even today. Even the first digital dictionary I looked at (the Terminology app for iOS) has this for the second definition of the word:

    call upon in supplication; entreat; “I beg you to stop!”

    So once again, it is incorrect to say that the word pray is not used apart from communicating with God.

    Let me take another example of those who live after event can have a better understanding than those that were close to an event. Take 911. We know more today than those who were there on the day it happened. A person who lived a 100 years after Christ would not necessarily know more than scholars 1900 years later because the person who lived a 100 years later would not have had access to what scholars have today.
    People in the early church did not own copies of the Old Testament scriptures nor have complete copies of the New Testament for the most part. Today, many Christians own their own copies of the Scriptures and can benefit from scholars who have researched the history of the Scriptures in ways a person living 1800 years ago could not.

    Your analogy is decent, but I think the comparison does not hold. In the first place, we are talking about comprehension of a written text. We live 1800 years later, in an utterly different culture, and we do not speak Greek natively. The writer and hearers of that papyrus lived in the culture in which it was written, worshiped God in it, and spoke Greek natively (in the eastern Empire at any rate). It simply beggars belief to suppose we know better than they what they meant and understood by that text. Historical events are of an entirely different nature, and their interpretation has enormous complications. Historiography is non-trivial, particularly over a two-millennium timespan.

    You should trust the Reformers only if what they taught is in line with Scripture. This is the test for all teachers and authorities. If not, then it is not to be followed. This is how we know that devotion to Mary is not apostolic.

    If God did not keep the early Church from error, then there is no reason to think that He kept the Reformers from error, and there is no reason to think that He will keep me from error. The Protestant framework cannot sustain certainty about the meaning or extent of divine revelation for this very reason. It cannot distinguish mere opinion from revelation.

    But there I go, repeating myself from The Accidental Catholic again. See? It is entirely relevant here. :-)

    Peace,

    Fred

  34. Lets grant, for a moment, the RC two-source theory, i.e. Scripture and tradition come from the Apostles and are equally authoritative.

    Can somebody please tell me what Peter, Paul, or Jesus, or anyone else said when they commanded us to pray to Mary. Was it in a sermon? Did they deliver it in the liturgy?

    The argument about why would God allow… for so many years is fundamentally flawed. Why would God allow any error ever to creep into professing Christendom? Why would God allow heretics to flourish in the days of the Apostles.

    Be consistent. If really old=true, reject the papacy.

  35. Pat and Robert,

    Pat wrote;
    “If in “AD 250 or so, the Church was calling Mary the Mother of God and asking for her intercession” then this shows that this was not apostolic since the apostles never taught such things. This shows corruption of beliefs coming into the church in regards to praying to Mary.”

    Wouldn’t this be circular thinking Pat? It is similar to your assertion that Tobit cannot be Biblical as it has un Biblical teaching.

    “Can somebody please tell me what Peter, Paul, or Jesus, or anyone else said when they commanded us to pray to Mary. Was it in a sermon? Did they deliver it in the liturgy?”

    Robert, we probably don’t see praying to Mary in scripture because scripture was completed before the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. and Mary was still alive then. Whether Mother Theresa or JPII, they are not prayed to while on earth, before they have the Beatific Vision as they are not in a position to hear prayers.
    Because something is not explicit in scripture does not mean scripture is opposed to it. All is not clearly set forth on the pages of the Bible until reflected upon. John 14:26, John 16:13. Or think of the encounter on the road to Emmaus. Jesus reminded His listeners and enlightened them as to what they had already heard.
    The Faith was delivered to the Apostles. Jude 1:3. Only by reflection though, does it come to light. The Trinity is revealed in scripture only to those who already believe it. Remember, it took 400 years of debate and reflection and councils and Papal decree ( and definitely not using the Bible alone ) to settle the issue.

  36. Robert,
    As the topic you bring up by writing, “Be consistent. If really old=true, reject the papacy.” is not what we are discussing here, I will only assert what I have told you on another blog; the Papacy is about the easiest thing to prove using Bible Alone. Certainly easier to prove than the Trinity!

  37. Robert and Pat,
    I clicked around to find some videos* for you that you can trust. They are by R C Sproul.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZJKigh5Lkc in which he points out how the refutation of one Christological heresy ( Sabellianism ) opened the door to Arianism. Sproul shows how the Fathers were initially interested in promoting monotheism. This led to Modalism and the denial of distinction in Personhood. Refutation of this error morphed into Christ becoming lesser than the Father. And the Bible was at the center of both error and solution. It took magisterial pronouncements to quell the controversies.
    Cardinal Newman in his explanation of how doctrine develops agrees that the early Fathers and the later Fathers had different explanations of the same philosophical terms and passages of scripture. Certain OT passages that had once been used to refer to Christ became problematic as they pointed to a creature ( Wisdom for instance ). This could play into the hands of the Arians. So, these passages came to be applied to Mary. As emphasis came to be placed on the divine indwelling of the justified, appreciation for human and angelic mediation developed with the Fathers. All the while the Author of Revelation is watching over the deposit of faith.
    As for Nestorianism, that heresy was met with rioting on the part of the laity whose sensum fidelium smelled an erroneous innovation which needed the Council of Ephesus to define Mary as Theotokos to restore confidence to the faithful.
    * ( As Sproul pontificates, he meanders to and fro. As he steps to his right, he repeatedly exposes a painting by Millet called THE ANGELUS which shows two farmers pausing for the traditional midday salutation to Mary).

  38. Jim,
    So we agree that no one prays to Mary in Scripture? Yet your church teaches something that Christ never did which is a violation of 2 John 9-11–” 9 Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; 11 for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.”

  39. Pat, I know of no written record of Christ explicitly instructing anyone to pray to Mary. Nowhere in scripture do we see Christ administer Communion to a woman or a child either. Nor do we see Christ perform a marriage.
    Although we have the cryptic “I AM” statements, we don’t see Christ grab anybody, look into their eyes and say, ” Look here. Pay attention. I am God. I proceed from all eternity from the Father by way of generation. I am One in substance (and not just one in intention ) with the Father. The Holy Spirit spirates from the Father and the Son. One God. Three Persons. Consubstantial, now don’t forget it!”
    So Pat. You got me. Despite searching the scriptures from Genesis to Revelation, I see no place where Jesus hands anyone a Rosary and instructs them in the various mysteries. I concede defeat. Time to shut down the Vatican, turn out the lights and go home.

  40. If I may interject with a different perspective. Fred, you are right on so far except for the Nathanael maybe urging The Blessed Mother to intercede. That is way off base, you would be picked off at first base on that one. May I use the ancient method of (filling in the blanks in the vernacular) to explain The Blessed Mother at Cana.

    Mary: They have on more wine. (you should do something about it)
    Jesus: Why do you involve me? My time has not yet come. (leave me alone)
    Mary, just like a mother, left unsaid to Jesus:(I’ve told you the problem once and I am not going to tell you again. I expect you to fix it or I would not have said anything.)
    Mary to the servants: Do whatever he tells you. (She now has divine assurance that Jesus will fix the problem, and how he will fix it.)
    This is an astounding display of Mary’s boldness, courage and holiness. She initiated the miracle, overcame Jesus objection without a word and directed the successful conclusion. She will do the same thing for us too.

    Pat, Mary is the spouse of the Holy Spirit, The mother of God, the woman clothed with the sun, Satan’s greatest human enemy and called “blessed” by every person on earth. Devotion and/or prayers to her should be very nearly a non issue. If you want to, simply remind Catholics to “Keep your eyes on Jesus” Heb 12:2. That is all you need to say. If you think Catholics worship Mary then remind Catholics that St. John worshiped an angel twice in Revelations and they should not make the same sin.

  41. Pat, As a matter of fact, I see no passage in scripture where Christ commissions anyone to write anything down. I see Him send Apostles out to preach, to Baptize, to forgive sins, to confect the Eucharist to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth. I see Him commission Peter to feed His lambs and sheep. He promises to build a Church and to send the Holy Spirit to guide that Church. He says He will feed His followers with His own flesh. But write? Other than writing something unrecorded in the dirt with His finger, we don’t know of Christ writing at all. Since He neither wrote any record nor told His followers to write, I guess the Bible violates Christ’s teaching.
    Pat! Lets be serious.

  42. Jim,
    It is true that we have no record of Jesus teaching anyone to pray to Mary. To claim that He or anyone else did in Scripture would be false. Its not even hinted at.
    In regards to women receiving the Lord’s supper we can look at I Cor 11 where Paul is writing to the church at Corinth which included women. They were never excluded from the Lord’s supper.

    Jesus certainly believed in marriage. See Matt 19.

    The apostles were Jews who came from a people who wrote down what their prophets said. God commanded the prophets at times to write down what He said. The angel in Rev 22 told John as did the Lord Christ did in Rev 1:11.

    Rome needs to own up to its errors on Mary. Your right, Jesus never taught anyone to pray the rosary. That didn’t happen for over a thousand years. The warning that 2 John 9-11 warns us about is not being heeded by your church.

  43. Chris,
    Let’s get your claim “…Mary is the spouse of the Holy Spirit, The mother of God, the woman clothed with the sun, Satan’s greatest human enemy and called “blessed” by every person on earth. Devotion and/or prayers to her should be very nearly a non issue.” established in Scripture first. I’m sure you don’t want to believe in things that Jesus nor His apostles ever taught.

    So can you point me to the Scripture where it says:
    1) “Mary is the spouse of the Holy Spirit”

    2) “The mother of God, the woman clothed with the sun” which is found in Rev 12. The problem is that the details of the chapter don’t fit Mary.

    3) “Satan’s greatest human enemy”

    4 ” Devotion and/or prayers to her ..”

    If these things are not taught in Scripture then we should not believe these things as from Christ.

  44. Pat (#43)

    If these things are not taught in Scripture then we should not believe these things as from Christ.

    Why?

    jj

  45. Thank you for posting this.

    From my study of Mary in the Patristics on through to our modern time, what I find a bit concerning is that you have a certain progression that the Protestant seeker is troubled with. It goes like this

    1) Apostolic Age – We have no clue if Mary was sinless or assumed into heaven

    2) Patristic Age – We can say that Mary is 2nd Eve (because of what she did, not what she’s doing), but we still dont have a clue to whether she was sinless or assumed into heaven. We do know she was holy and the mother of the Lord.

    3) Middle Ages (A)- We think Mary was assumed into heaven. And we believe she was kept free from sin. But neither are essential to the gospel.

    4) Middle Ages (b)- The whole thing is under debate, debate, debate

    5) Modern times (1850-1950)- We are absolutely sure that Mary was immaculately conceived and she was assumed into heaven, and that such was part of the Tradition passed on from the Apostles (especially John).

    This kind of curtails the whole difficulty. Can anyone speak to this?

    Thanks for your time and help:) !

  46. Pat,

    You wrote:
    “If these things are not taught in Scripture then we should not believe these things as from Christ.”

    Where does the Bible teach this principle about Holy Scripture?

    Is there a text or combination of texts that you can point me to that clearly show the Bible asserting the *concept* that the Scriptures are the sole infallible rule of faith for the Church? If so, please do.

    I repeat, in case you missed where I said this, that I don’t believe the Bible is the word of God because the Bible makes that claim… I believe it because of the Church. I see nothing unbiblical about that, sir.

    IC XC
    Christopher

  47. Pat,

    o can you point me to the Scripture where it says:
    1) “Mary is the spouse of the Holy Spirit”

    In the annunciation scene, Mary is told the Holy Ghost will “overshadow/spread his wings/cloak over her. ( The same language used in Ruth where it says Boaz will act as a chaste husband to her ).

    2) “The mother of God, the woman clothed with the sun” which is found in Rev 12. The problem is that the details of the chapter don’t fit Mary.

    Rev 12 has polyvalent meanings. Israel, the Church and Mary are all seen here. The same serpent as Gen 3:15, the same Seed/man child and the same Woman.

    3) “Satan’s greatest human enemy”

    Absolutely! God Himself created the enmity between the Woman and the Serpent. She is gonna squish his head.

    4 ” Devotion and/or prayers to her ..”

    We want to imitate Jesus. He honored Mary. We want to do as He did. Why don’t you obey scripture and call her ‘Blessed”?

    “If these things are not taught in Scripture then we should not believe these things as from Christ.”

    You mean, don’t you, if these things are prohibited in Scripture, we should not believe these things as from Christ.

  48. Jim,
    No one in the Scripture ever called Mary the spouse of the Holy Spirit.
    Rev 12 is not Mary. It cannot be multiple meanings because not all could fit the description of the passage.

    Gen 3:15 is about Eve and her descendants in which Christ will crush the serpent.
    “And I will put enmity
    Between you and the woman,
    And between your seed and her seed;
    He shall bruise you on the head,
    And you shall bruise him on the heel.”

    Also in the gospel accounts there is no mention of any enmity between Mary and Satan but there is between Christ and Satan. His exorcism are an example of this. Mary never exorcised any demons.

    Jesus never prayed to His mother nor did He teach others to do so. No one is said to be her disciple in Scripture which would be required to be devoted to her. 2 Cor 11:3 makes it clear Who we are to be devoted to: ” But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. “

  49. Pat,
    You are wrong and I am right about Rev 12. As for Gen 3:15, again, polyvalent meanings. In a sense, a repentant Eve is possible, and God will crush Satan under the feet of Jesus’ followers. However, a complete enmity does not exist between Eve and the serpent as she helped him trick Adam. Nor between sinners and Satan. But the Woman is of Gen 315 is the Woman of Rev 12. Eve is not the Woman of Rev 12 is she?
    Why did you forget to assert that Jesus is the crusher of the serpent of Gen 3;15? I concede that He is. I also concede that God, we, and Eve are possible readings too. And I concede that the Woman of Rev 12 is Israel and the Church. But in both passages, I insist there is a Marian interpretation. You agree with me on all readings except the Marian one. Why? You should examine that.

  50. Pat,

    “Jesus never prayed to His mother nor did He teach others to do so. No one is said to be her disciple in Scripture which would be required to be devoted to her. ”

    No? Jesus most certainly does teach people to pray to Mary. You see Pat, Jesus started a Church and gave it all power on heaven and earth to speak for Him. Jesus is one with the Church as Head is to Body. He said to ignore the Church is to ignore Him and the Father Who sent Him.
    Now, that Church that speaks for Jesus, has read and re-read John 19 for 2,000 years. Upon first reading, it appears that a dying son is making provision for his widowed mom. Upon subsequent readings, we see something more. We see Jesus Christ, from the throne of His Cross commission Mary with a task. Although the wife of Zebedee is present, Jesus Christ tells Mary to be a Mother to John. Since all seven utterances from the Cross are spoken to the universal Church and have a salvific significance, not just John but all Beloved Disciples are told to take Mary as their own. The Church that Jesus established to apply the cross, preach the Gospel, guard the deposit of faith, etc. has mediated on this and other passages for a long time and have come to some conclusions.
    So, Pat, Jesus wants you to get hold of a Rosary, be enrolled into the Scapular Confraternity, say your Angelus or Regina Coaeli at lunchtime , make the DeMontfort Consecration to Him through the Mother of John 19, save up your pennies and go on a pilgrimage to a shrine, buy a statue, ( kitschy or classy you decide ) and place it on your night stand with a candle or better, a flower ( candles can be dangerous ) in front of it, wear a Miraculous medal, etc. You bet Pat. Jesus says to pray to Mary. Jesus wants you to take Mary as your own Mother.

  51. Pat (#48)

    No one in the Scripture ever called Mary the spouse of the Holy Spirit.

    This is pretty weak. No one in Scripture ever called Jesus the “Second Person of the Trinity.” So what? Should our reading of Scripture be limited to that very flat and literal sense?

    The Holy Spirit “overshadowed” Mary and a child was conceived. In properly ordered procreative relations, the husband (spouse) unites with his wife and conceives a child. If this act of conceiving a child is not between persons in this spousal relationship, the act and the child are illegitimate. Was Jesus an illegitimate child? That is the inescapable conclusion if you say the Holy Spirit was not a spouse to the woman in whom He conceived a child.

    Frank

  52. Frank,
    So Mary had 2 spouses at the same time? Joseph and the Holy Spirit.

    For a person to have a spouse they must be human. The spouse has to be a human being.

  53. Pat,
    I know protestants read the Bible. But do they meditate on what they read. Frank above spoke of the Holy Spirit overshadowing Mary as her spouse. Mary then conceives the Son in His human nature in her womb. Ponder in your heart all the ramifications involved. The Son and Mary also have a spousal relationship according to some of the Fathers. Remember, the Son was a pre-existing Person. They say Gabriel was a matchmaker who was sent to ask for Mary’s consent to the union between man and God.
    Where the Son is there is the Father also. ( No, I am not saying the Father became Incarnate ). The Holy Spirit proceeds by way of spiration from the Father and the Son in the womb of Mary! What does that mean? I can hardly fathom. But it is the Faith of the Church.
    Now think about this; The Father’s Paternity and Mary’s Maternity come to term in the same Son. Can you wrap your head around that? What is Mary’s relationship with the three Persons of the Trinity? I think the word “WOW!” says it best.
    The next time you are sitting around chewing your cud, thinking about Mary being a sinner, or being slapped down by her son at Cana, or going on to have a ” normal sex life life” with Joseph after being taken up into such a bond with the Persons of the Trinity, stop. Stop and think for a minute. Maybe pray for understanding. You just might be left speechless.

  54. Jim,
    We are not to go beyond what is written. The Scriptures never describe Mary in the terms you are using. There is nothing sinful about Mary and Joseph having a normal sex life after Jesus was born. In fact the Scripture point to her other children in Matt 13:55-56.

    No doubt God used Mary is a unique way. However, we must not deify her as the RCC has done.

  55. Pat,

    You wrote in #54:

    We are not to go beyond what is written. The Scriptures never describe Mary in the terms you are using. There is nothing sinful about Mary and Joseph having a normal sex life after Jesus was born.

    In saying this you are going beyond what is written. The Bible says nothing about Mary and Joseph having a “normal sex life”.

    In fact the Scripture point to her other children in Matt 13:55-56.

    Aramaic has no word for “cousin” so “brother” is used. In point of fact John 19:26-27 effectively makes your claim impossible, for the duty of caring for His mother would have fallen to one of these alleged brothers (if they existed). Instead, Jesus arranges for her care by John after His death and resurrection.

    Peace,

    Fred

  56. Pat,
    In order to deify Mary, we have have to say she has the power to create ex nihilo. She would also have the attribute of aseity. Until we do that, the chasm between Creator and creature has not been bridged.
    The Arians said Jesus/logos was the best, the greatest, the first, the most spectacular, the highest, the most…But not quite one with the Father. Jesus could walk on water, pass through walls, heal the sick, change water into wine. He was the first and greatest creature but at the end of the day, still a creature. He somehow had the ability to create things, but he himself had a contingent existence, a beginning in time. Close counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. But not in divinity. Either Or. No fuzzy gray area. Jesus is God or not. No kinda’, sorta’, almost, or in a way.
    Same for Mary. She is a Goddess or she isn’t. Being able to hear a million prayers doesn’t make her a Goddess ( Angels can do that ). Being full of grace doesn’t either. Appearing to shepherd children, being sinless, conceiving while a Virgin, not corrupting in the grave, carrying God in her womb,interceding in heaven, etc. don’t make her divine. Not even close.
    Mary had a beginning in time. Her existence is contingent. She cannot create ex nihilo. You can be at peace. You aren’t going to wake up tomorrow and hear Mary is the 4th member of the Trinity. I promise.

  57. Pat (#52)

    For a person to have a spouse they must be human. The spouse has to be a human being.

    Really? Where is that in Scripture, Pat? Show me where it says that in Scripture.

    Jesus had two natures, human and divine. He is utterly unique in this respect. It is therefore not surprising that his Mother would have two spouses, one human and one divine. That fact – with only a little interpretive muscle – IS found in Scripture, Pat. Furthermore, Mary, as a perpetual virgin (to which both Luther and Calvin attested) never had carnal relations with her human spouse – so the only marriage that was actually consummated was with the Holy Spirit, and in that sense she had only one true spouse – the one who conceived in her the child Jesus.

    Frank

  58. Pat (#54):

    Let me ask you – were Luther and Calvin wrong about Mary’s perpetual virginity?

    From “Luther’s Works” by Jaroslav Pelikan

    Christ . . . was the only Son of Mary, and the Virgin Mary bore no children besides Him . . . I am inclined to agree with those who declare that ‘brothers’ really mean ‘cousins’ here, for Holy Writ and the Jews always call cousins brothers.
    {Pelikan, v.22:214-15 / Sermons on John, chaps. 1-4 (1539)

    From “Calvin’s Commentaries”:

    Harmony of Matthew, Mark & Luke, sec. 39 (Geneva, 1562), vol. 2
    [On Matt 1:25:] The inference he [Helvidius] drew from it was, that Mary remained a virgin no longer than till her first birth, and that afterwards she had other children by her husband . . . No just and well-grounded inference can be drawn from these words . . . as to what took place after the birth of Christ. He is called ‘first-born'; but it is for the sole purpose of informing us that he was born of a virgin . . . What took place afterwards the historian does not inform us . . . No man will obstinately keep up the argument, except from an extreme fondness for disputation.

    All of the early Protestant Founders accepted the truth of the Perpetual Virginity of Mary. How could this be, if it is merely a Catholic “tradition” with no scriptural basis? Why was its supposed violation of Scripture not so obvious to them if they are using sola scriptura – the same principle you use to conclude Mary was not a perpetual virgin?

    Whose interpretation should I accept – theirs or yours? I really would like to hear your explanation of this disagreement between you and these other sola scriptura Christians.

    Frank

  59. Fred,
    Mary and Joseph had a normal sex life after Jesus. Here’s why:
    1) No mention of her being a perpetual virgin mentioned in Scripture. None of the authors of Scripture claim she was a perpetual virgin.
    2) The passage in Luke 1:48 in which Mary says she is a virgin does not mean she took a vow of perpetual virginity. It is only that she is a virgin up to this point in time.
    3) The idea that a person who is about to be married is taking or has taken a vow of perpetual virginity is unheard of Biblically. There is no indication from the OT or NT that it would be acceptable to be married and yet chose to be a perpetual virgin. Married Jewish couples were to be fruitful and multiply. This is OT teaching.
    4) When brothers and sisters are used in connection with father or mother then it does not mean cousins but actual blood brothers and sisters. See Matthew 13:55-56, Mark 3:31-32; Mark 6:3; John 2:12; Galatians 1:19
    5) There are only 2 possible meanings for “for adelphos, namely, “either ‘physical brotherhood’ in the strict sense or more generally the ‘spiritual brotherhood’ of Israelites or Christians” (Kittel, 1964, 1:144). A broadened meaning for adelphos (to refer to a cousin) does not exist in the New Testament.”
    6) In the previous passages noted the best way to understand these relationships “brothers-sisters” is that these are siblings of Jesus by blood.
    7) There is no hint in Scripture that Joseph was previously married and had children.
    8) Paul refers to James as the “brother of the Lord” in Galatians 1:19. Adelphos- a brother, whether born of the same two parents or only of the same father or mother.
    9) There are Greek words for cousin—anepsios as in Colossians 4:10 or kinsman = sungenis which is used in Luke 1:36. The bible never uses these two Greek words anepsiosor sungenisin reference to Jesus brothers.
    10) Psalm 69 which is a messianic Psalm clearly shows that Jesus has brothers. Verse 8—“ I have become estranged from my brothers
    And an alien to my mother’s sons.”
    11) Other references to Jesus’ brothers by Mary included: John 2:12, 7:3; Acts 1:14
    12) Protestant scholar D. A. Carson points out, if “brothers” refers to Joseph’s sons by an earlier marriage, not Jesus but Joseph’s firstborn would have been legal heir to David’s throne.
    13) His brothers did not believe in Him during His earthly ministry (John 7:5). Also, its possible His brothers were unaware of what was happening to Him at this time and they may have not even been in the city.

  60. Frank,
    Calvin and Luther are not infallible. They can err as anyone can except the Lord Christ. I gave Fred 13 reasons why Mary was not a perpetual virgin in post #59. What you will find there is that there are to many problems thinking that Mary was a perpetual virgin that just can’t be harmonized with Scripture.

    Where do any of the authors of Scripture refer to Mary as the spouse of the Holy Spirit? Where is it said in Scripture that Mary was married to the Holy Spirit? To be a spouse of someone you must be married to that person.

  61. I want to quote St. Maximilian Kolbe on Mary as Spouse of the Holy Spirit:

    The Immaculate is united with the Holy Spirit in an ineffable way, by the fact that She is His Spouse, but She is in an incomparably more perfect sense than this term can express in creatures. What kind of union is this? It is above all interior; it is the union of Her being with the being of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, in fact, dwells in Her, lives in Her, and does so from the first instant of Her existence, always and for all eternity. (SK #1318)

    Needless to say, Mary as Spouse of the Holy Spirit is speaking of the unique relationship she had, as part of who she was, with the Holy Spirit, it is not speaking of some sort of Zeus/Alcmene relationship-Jesus is not Hercules. The Holy Spirit overshadowed Her (the “Glory-Cloud”), and formed in her womb the God-Man. The union of a man and woman in marriage includes, generally, sexual union. There is none of that here between Mary and the Holy Spirit.

    Really, and I speak as a former Evangelical and anti-Catholic, I don’t think most Protestants have a high enough regard for the glory of the incarnation. It is because of the exalted nature of the Incarnation that Mary is elevated so high. Thus the idea of Mary being like everyone else is not merely accepted, but demanded. But for Catholics (and EO), to suggest Mary was just like everyone else is an affront to the dignity of Jesus. The Ark was not a chest for curios, Mary did not have relations with Joseph, not because sex is bad, but because she was consecrated for a special mission.

    Would you object to people who argue that Jesus was married?

    BTW, the dogma of the Perpetual Virginity states that Mary was Virgin before, after, and during the Birth of Jesus. The proof of His supernatural origin is the fact that His Mother not only conceived as Virgin, but remained Virgin while also being a Mother.

    St Jerome, the same one who used “Frater” in the contested passages about the “Brothers”, in his letter, Against Helvidius, castigates Helvidius for questioning the Perpetual Virginity of Mary. He obviously was well aware of these passages and was in a better position for understanding the idioms of the time, but strongly defended the Perpetual Virginity of Mary.

    Again, Mary is not about Mary, She is about, all about, Jesus!

  62. Pat,

    You wrote in #59:

    1) No mention of her being a perpetual virgin mentioned in Scripture. None of the authors of Scripture claim she was a perpetual virgin.

    I am sorry, but you do not get to use arguments from silence when you deny them to us. :-) There is no explicit mention of her having other children either.

    2) The passage in Luke 1:48 in which Mary says she is a virgin does not mean she took a vow of perpetual virginity. It is only that she is a virgin up to this point in time.

    I am sorry, but that is an assertion, not an argument. Besides proving your own viewpoint, you would also be obliged to explain why your compatriots Calvin and Luther got this wrong (as you must insist, since they agree with the Church, as has been pointed out to you). You will also need to explain why we should accept your word rather than theirs in this case (or any other where you disagree with them, for that matter).

    3) The idea that a person who is about to be married is taking or has taken a vow of perpetual virginity is unheard of Biblically. There is no indication from the OT or NT that it would be acceptable to be married and yet chose to be a perpetual virgin. Married Jewish couples were to be fruitful and multiply. This is OT teaching.

    Um, that is not the only unheard of thing here. There is that (apparently trivial in your opinion, since you ignored it?) business of Mary conceiving while still a virgin that was also “unheard of Biblically.” :-) It seems trivially obvious that this was a major deal. Joseph was ready to divorce her, and the only reason he didn’t is because Gabriel said “Whoa, tiger.” Similarly, if she had not been married she would have been subject to stoning as a fornicator or adulteress.

    The point is that massively, ginormously unusual circumstances call for unusual responses. Mary’s reputation and life had to be protected. Secondly, if she did have other children then the uniqueness of Christ’s conception would absolutely have been subject to rejection. Her perpetual virginity stood as testimony to the uniqueness of her Son and to His miraculous conception. Thirdly, if all she meant was that she was not yet married (as you claim), her response becomes unintelligible. Any sane woman not under an oath of virginity would have thought “I am engaged to be married, so undoubtedly the angel is referring to what will happen after I am married.” That is the blindingly obvious reaction of any average, normal engaged woman being told she will have a son, and it is completely not what Mary’s reply was.

    That this would have been the normal response is supported not only by common sense but by Joseph’s initial reaction to her pregnancy: “she cheated!” A perfectly normal response…but Mary’s response was just nonsensical apart from an oath of virginity, and this is why Joseph had to have things cleared up by an angelic messenger. Special circumstances require special handling.

    4) When brothers and sisters are used in connection with father or mother then it does not mean cousins but actual blood brothers and sisters. See Matthew 13:55-56, Mark 3:31-32; Mark 6:3; John 2:12; Galatians 1:19

    Assertion, not argument. It assumes that the children are Mary’s or Joseph’s when this is not in evidence (and is in fact the point you are trying to make) and when there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for the usage in the Aramaic.

    5) There are only 2 possible meanings for “for adelphos, namely, “either ‘physical brotherhood’ in the strict sense or more generally the ‘spiritual brotherhood’ of Israelites or Christians” (Kittel, 1964, 1:144). A broadened meaning for adelphos (to refer to a cousin) does not exist in the New Testament.”

    The Greek word was not used by Jesus’s family. He and His family spoke Aramaic. So your claim about the Greek word used in the NT has no relevance with respect to the words actually spoken.

    13) His brothers did not believe in Him during His earthly ministry (John 7:5). Also, its possible His brothers were unaware of what was happening to Him at this time and they may have not even been in the city.

    Except that these same men you call His “brothers” went up to Jerusalem for Purim, a lesser festival, and were obliged to go there for Passover. So if they existed, they would surely have been there. Secondly, their presence or absence at the firstborn’s death has no bearing on where responsibility for caring for a widowed mother would rest: it would be with her other children. The fact that Jesus entrusted her to John is not just the last, but every single nail in the coffin for the modern Prot notion that Jesus had siblings of any sort. Sorry, it just won’t fly while Mary is living in John’s house. :-)

    Peace,

    Fred

  63. Fred,
    The gospels are written in Greek and not Aramaic. Jesus could have spoken Aramaic as well as Greek.
    There is mention that Mary had other children in Matt 13:55-56 and John 7:5. This is not an argument from silence but from fact.

    You should accept my view Mary that she other children which means she was not a perpetual virgin because:
    1) Saying she was a virgin when she spoke with the angel in Luke 1:34 that she was a virgin does not mean she took a vow of being a life long virgin.
    2) Other passages in the NT show she had other children.
    3) There is no theological-moral-spiritual impact on the conception of Christ or His life if she had other children.

    It is true that it was unheard of a virgin getting pregnant without a man but the idea of being a perpetual virgin while being married is unheard biblically.

    Your claim “if she did have other children then the uniqueness of Christ’s conception would absolutely have been subject to rejection. Her perpetual virginity stood as testimony to the uniqueness of her Son and to His miraculous conception” is false. No one in Scripture makes this claim and it would not have any impact on the uniqueness of Christ if she had other children. What was required and necessary is that Jesus was to be born of a virgin because Isaiah 7:14 predicted it. It was also necessary that for Jesus to be sinless He could not have been conceived by 2 fallen human beings otherwise He would have inherited the sin of Adam as all men have since the fall.

    It is not an assertion that “When brothers and sisters are used in connection with father or mother then it does not mean cousins but actual blood brothers and sisters.” but a fact that is supported by Scripture. There are Greek words for cousins and they are not the words that the gospel writers use for His brothers.

    How do you know His brothers were in the city and were aware of what happening to Him? Where does the Scripture say this?

    Its best to believe that His brothers were unaware of what was happening.

  64. friar Charles,
    All that we know of Mary is found only in the NT. In the NT it says nothing about “Mary did not have relations with Joseph, not because sex is bad, but because she was consecrated for a special mission.” This denies that she did indeed have other children as the gospels tell us. The perpetual virginity of Mary is a denial of the gospels.

    The greatness of the incarnation is that God took on human form. God used a fallen human being to come into the world.

  65. Pat,

    In #63 you wrote:

    The gospels are written in Greek and not Aramaic. Jesus could have spoken Aramaic as well as Greek.

    The gospels are written in Greek, but that does not imply that Jesus spoke it. He was a poor Jew from the hinterlands (“Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”). The odds of him being bilingual are basically non-existent. Equally important is that Matthew at least may well have been originally written in Aramaic, but either way they’re in Greek because it was the language of the Gentiles in the eastern Empire; that fact has absolutely no bearing on what language(s) Jesus spoke.

    UPDATE: upon receiving counsel from two brothers in Christ I retract the paragraph above. I apologize for the carelessness and ignorance which now only serves to obfuscate the conversation. Please forgive me.

    You should accept my view Mary that she other children which means she was not a perpetual virgin because:
    1) Saying she was a virgin when she spoke with the angel in Luke 1:34 that she was a virgin does not mean she took a vow of being a life long virgin.

    That was not the argument, dude. :-)

    The argument is that her response to Gabriel is unintelligible unless she has taken such a vow, because otherwise the obvious, natural response would have been that Gabriel was talking about what would happen to her after she was married. The fact that she objected the way she did implies the oath.

    3) There is no theological-moral-spiritual impact on the conception of Christ or His life if she had other children.

    Rubbish. If she had other children, the claim that her first was special would be totally undermined without the evidence of her perpetual virginity.

    It is true that it was unheard of a virgin getting pregnant without a man but the idea of being a perpetual virgin while being married is unheard biblically.

    The entire situation is unheard of, Pat! There is no precedent whatsoever for a divine Person being born of a woman, nor of a virgin birth. To pretend that you can draw conclusions about Mary & Joseph’s marriage from what was normal for everyone else is a fish story that I am not about to buy.

    How do you know His brothers were in the city and were aware of what happening to Him? Where does the Scripture say this?

    It’s called an inference :-) If they went to Jerusalem for the lesser feast of Purim, a fortiori they would have gone up for Passover, which was a feast requiring their presence in Jerusalem.

    Its best to believe that His brothers were unaware of what was happening.

    Granting per imposibile that he had actual siblings, their presence, absence, or awareness of Jesus’s death is immaterial with respect to the responsibility for caring for Mom. There is flatly no way that Jesus hands that duty off to John if He has siblings. Period. Secondly, the odds that they would not have known what was up are infinitesimal, because we know that the entire city was in an uproar.

    Once again, John as Mary’s guardian demolishes the notion that she had other children. Period. :-)

    Peace,

    Fred

  66. There is another fact, by the way, about Our Lady’s virginity. In this I am referring to the Greek of Luke. Mary does not ask, “How can this be, seeing I am a virgin” although most modern translations do translate the passage that way. She asks (Luke 1:34):

    “πως εσται τουτο επει ανδρα ου γινωσκω”

    The King James puts this as:

    “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?”

    Two things are noteworthy here:

    Mary doesn’t ask “how can this be?” – as though there were some impossibility with this. She asks “πως εσται” – “how shall this be?” This, I think, underscores the point that if it were simply that she was a virgin at the moment, but would, in future, be married and engage in marital relations, it seems at least an odd question for her to ask.

    But even more interesting is the tense of the Greek verb γινωσκω. It is present tense. Greek present can refer to an ongoing present activity – “I am not at present ‘knowing’ a man” – or to a habitual action, a state of affairs – “I don’t know man – I don’t do that thing.” There is no way that the Greek can mean “I haven’t (yet) known a man.” The aorist is the tense that would be used there – or conceivably the perfect.

    Now it is quite true that Mary, though she may have known Greek, would normally be expected to speak Aramaic. This doesn’t relate to that. It does relate to the Greek Luke used to write his Gospel. And in it he has Our Lady make a statement that, in at least the ordinary linguistic reading of the words, could only mean “that’s not something I do.” And that, it seems to me, is perfectly consistent with the idea of a vow of virginity – with a marriage to Joseph required, because a woman in First Century Jewish culture, not a widow, was not, according to my understanding, able decently to live except under the government of a man – father, brother, or spouse.

    This linguistic argument does not prove it Our Lady’s perpetual virginity; it does, it seems to me, make for a very plausible reading of the Scripture in that direction. This coupled with the very well-known Jewish custom of referring to practical any kin of roughly the same generation as ‘brothers’ (quite apart from whether Aramaic had a way of distinguishing cousins from brothers of the same womb) – like the Jewish practice, familiar from Scripture, of referring to kin of earlier generations as ‘fathers’ (Jesus is the Son of David) – means that there is not, I think, any Scriptural argument from the language used to make it impossible that Our Lady was not only a perpetual virgin, but vowed to that state – and there is, I think, in the Greek of Luke 1:34 a strong linguistic argument in favour of precisely that.

    jj

  67. Fred,
    Again, we can only go by the Greek in the gospels. If any of the authors wanted to say that the brothers of Jesus were really His cousins then they would have used a Greek word for cousins. That word would have been sungenis.

    How does it follow that Jesus having blood brothers would have any impact on His uniqueness? How would it impact His incarnation as the God-man? How would it impact His ministry of salvation?

    There is no indication that Mary made a vow of being a perpetual virgin in any of the gospel accounts. She was stating a fact that she was a virgin and had not known a man sexually up to this point. No one in letters makes the claim she was a perpetual virgin.

    Paul in Galatians 1:19 refers to James as the Lord’s brother.

    Your inference about Jesus’s brothers being in the city is speculation. Even if they were there that doesn’t mean they were aware of what was happening. His trial was done in secret which is why they arrested Him at night and the leadership wanted to kill Jesus as quickly as possible. In that they succeeded. His brothers would not have not necessarily known this was going on given these facts.

  68. Pat (#60)
    Underlying everyone of your answers is the claim (in one form or another) “it’s not in Scripture.” So you think that going to Scripture can settle all these questions. Fine. How then do you account for the fact that two of the greatest Protestant exegetes, Luther and Calvin, both disagree with you on the question of Mary’s perpetual virginity? It is the same scripture alone approach all of you are using and yet there is disagreement. On what basis do you say that you are right and they are wrong?

    And please – answer my question with a statement, not another question, as I think it is incumbent upon you defend your disagreement with Luther and Calvin in the light of sola scriptura. If sola scriptura works, how come you and they do not agree?

    Frank

  69. Frank,
    If Calvin and Luther thought she was a perpetual virgin then you need to tell me on what grounds? What Scriptures could they produce that show this when I have already shown from Scripture that she was not a perpetual virgin?
    I already made my case at #59.

    Sola Scriptura does not mean there will not be disagreements.

  70. The Old Testament is fulfilled in the New, and the New is hidden in the Old. The prophecies of the Old Testament help us to understand better the person of Jesus and His Mission, no? The Passover, the Rock in the desert, the bronze serpent, etc. are all fulfilled in the person of Jesus. Likewise there are corresponding parallels between the Old and the New regarding Mary.

    The first, which some have pointed out, is the Angel telling Mary that the Holy Spirit will overshadow Her, like the Shekinah which filled the Tabernacle and, later, the Holy of Holies. She conceives and carries He who is the fulfillment of the contents of the Ark of the Covenant: the fulfillment of the Law (10 Commandments), the Bread of Life (Manna), and the True High Priest (Aaron’s Staff). Textual parallels between II Sam 6 and Luke 1 portray Mary as the Ark of the Covenant, and, finally, the end of Rev. 11 introduces the revealing of the Ark, which is then shown to be a woman. Finally, consider what happened to poor Uzzah when he merely touched the Ark of the Lord.

    Joseph knew Mary had born within Her God Himself. As a Jew, he would have the characteristic reverence they had toward sacred objects towards Mary.

    And you have yet to prove, past citing several contested bible passages, that the Gospels prove Mary had other children.

    Finally, to bring this back to the “Accidental Catholic,” does the point that from the earliest documents we have up to several generations into the Reformation, everyone affirms the Perpetual Virginity of Mary (and those who don’t are castigated) at least make you stop and consider? Do you think that 1500 years of intense study, hand-copying, and deep prayer over the Scriptures went by, and no one noticed the references to “the brothers of the Lord?” This is the Noltie Conundrum. The question is whether or not we have the luxury to define the Christian faith by our own opinions on Scripture. If we do, then Christianity dissolves into various sects from the Amish to “Twelve Tribes” to Emergent to Fundamentalism to whatever, your “Doctrine of the Essentials” aside.

    The greatness of the incarnation is that God took on human form.

    No, no, no! God didn’t take on Human Form, He became a Man. Fully God, fully man. It may seem a subtle difference, but is an indicator of what I said earlier. Most Protestants don’t appreciate the Incarnation enough. I would suggest it has to do with an implicit gnosticism/docetism (such as pointed out in several articles here, and corroborated by my own experiences and observations).

    Also, with the devaluing of a live of Virginity in Protestantism (in spite of the counsels of Jesus and St. Paul), the Perpetual Virginity of Mary would seem more and more unusual. Again, the value of Consecrated Virginity has held a high place among Christian Spirituality, but it was anathema to the Reformers. The insensitivity of Protestantism to the Perpetual Virginity makes sense when one considers that they lack any understanding of the spirituality of Consecrated Virginity.

    Finally, I would suggest that this discussion is just running in circles, and that everyone spend some time in prayer over the various comments, asking the Holy Spirit to guide our words and prayers in such a way that we may discern the truth of this matter. Without prayer, we are blind.

  71. Failing to observe my own advice, I would suggest this breakdown of the verses surrounding these “Brethren of the Lord”: http://www.philvaz.com/apologetics/a27.htm

    Also, Fred @65, I would disagree with the assertion:

    He was a poor Jew from the hinterlands (“Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”). The odds of him being bilingual are basically non-existent.

    By the hypostatic union, the human mind of Jesus would have known, via “infused knowledge,” everything. He would have been able to speak modern English with a perfect Irish accent, if He so wanted.

    This is hinted to in The Passion. Pilate questions Jesus in halting Aramaic, and Jesus answers in perfect Latin, “A temetipso hoc dicis…”.

  72. Friar Charles,

    My thinking with respect to whether Jesus would have been bilingual was driven by the fact that it is said that He grew in wisdom, etc. In other words there was some sense in which He learned, and it must be related to His human nature. I presume that as a man he would not have known ancient Japanese (for example) although of course as God He certainly would.

    If I am mistaken in my thinking about it (I know it is difficult) I will be happy to be corrected. Thanks!

    Fred

  73. Regarding simply the (almost, but not quite, irrelevant :-)) question of Jesus’s natural linguistic knowledge – I mean, simply from the nature of things in Palestine in the first quarter of the First Century – it seems likely that most literate persons would have known at least rough ‘market Greek.’ The plaque on His Cross was in Hebrew (known to the Jews), Latin (the official language of government), and Greek.

    Jesus was certainly literate in Hebrew. He read the Scriptures in synagogue. I confess to scepticism at Latin being put into His mouth in the film The Passion. Naturally, as God He was and is omniscient. In general, He seems to have acted from His human nature whenever it would not be inappropriate.

    My opinion only.

    Back to your regular programme :-)

    jj

  74. Friar Charles,

    Thank you for alerting me to my error!

    Fred

  75. Friar Charles,
    Of course God took on the form of a man–” 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man,…” Philippians 2

    He was full man and fully God.

    It is not true that “The insensitivity of Protestantism to the Perpetual Virginity makes sense when one considers that they lack any understanding of the spirituality of Consecrated Virginity.” Mary was not a perpetual virgin for the various reasons I have pointed out. What the RCC has done is to make Mary out to be something the Scripture never does.

    The Scripture does not record that Jesus spoke Latin. It is speculation to claim that He did.

  76. Pat (#69)

    If Calvin and Luther thought she was a perpetual virgin then you need to tell me on what grounds?

    On the grounds of sola scriptura, of course. It doesn’t matter which parts of Scripture they used, what matters is that they reached their conclusion on the basis of Scripture alone – same as you. And I am confident they knew where to look – would you not agree with that, at least?

    So I ask you again – why would they come to a different conclusion than you? Did the Holy Spirit not give them inward testimony to the truth – as you claim for yourself? I really want to know why you are certain you got it right and they got it wrong. Is there any possibility that you got it wrong and they got it right? If not, why not?

    Frank

  77. Pat,

    Just a couple of points; first, as Fred says, if Mary were not a Perpetual Virgin, the idea of the Virgin Birth would have been undermined completely.
    As I Isaiah says, “A Virgin” will give birth. Mary remained a virgin in partu. I can’t go into detail here but a Fr. Potterie brings out that in John 1, it says Jesus was not “born of bloods” in the original. Notice the plural. “Bloods” in the OT meant either menstrual or parturition blood. Contact with blood would have rendered Jesus ritually unclean. Virginity in partu proven.

  78. Pat,
    Now to buttress Frank’s assertion about the Holy Spirit being a spouse to Mary, or at least acting as a spouse as we see in the word ” overshadow” ( as Boaz overshadowed Ruth ), Mary would have therefore been off limits ot Joseph.
    Jewish Law prohibited a man from remarrying a wife he had divorced if she in the interim had married again. Even if a wife was violated, she was prohibited to her husband from then on. They were permitted to live together and the husband was to provide for her, but no relations were allowed. We see an example of this in the case of King David and Absalom. To show that he was in control, Absalom had relations with David’s concubines in sight for all to see. Upon recapturing Jerusalem, the concubines were locked away as”widows of a living man”. David took care of them. But they were never touched again.
    We see in the Bible that Gabriel went to Mary BEFORE she and Joseph cohabited. Joseph, an observer of the Law, resolved to put Mary away quietly as he know she had conceived by the Holy Ghost ( if he had suspected infidelity, as a just man and observant Jew, he would not have covered up her crime but would have exposed her to the Law).

  79. Pat,
    Finally, just an argument form common sense; No woman, no matter how coarse, debased or silly, after being set aside for such a holy purpose as carrying God with her body, would have gone on to lead a normal life. What could possible be”normal” after that?
    The Protestant contention that trivializes the Incarnation by claiming Joseph and Mary went on to have a” healthy sex life” reduces both of them to the level of shallow ninnies. This is worse than out and out blasphemy!
    One last point Pat. If Only Jesus, Mary and Joseph went up to Jerusalem for the feast, and Jesus was 12 at the time, do you mean to assert that, after a dozen years of infertility, Mary suddenly popped out James, Joses, Simon ,Jude and Salome? C’mon now Pat!

  80. “By the hypostatic union, the human mind of Jesus would have known, via “infused knowledge,” everything”.

    I don’t think this is true. The Bible says Jesus grew in wisdom (Lk. 2:52), this would be impossible if he simply knew everything as a result of the hypostatic union. Also, Paul says that the Second Person of the Trinity emptied Himself in becoming man…this emptying I believe is a self-withholding of the Second Person of the Trinity in so far as the consciousness of Christ in his human nature was concerned.

    That is not to say that God could not make certain things very clear to Christ if and when it was needed. Also, Christ enjoyed the beatific vision throughout His life and so His relationship to the Father and the Spirit was never in question. But that does not mean that Jesus had a superhuman human consciousness…that seems to me to endanger the fullness of the Incarnation; God made man.

    Jacques.

  81. Frank,
    Until you can show me how Calvin and Luther arrived at the conclusion that Mary was a perpetual virgin then there is no way for me to know how they did that. I have no reason to think “that they reached their conclusion on the basis of Scripture alone..”.

    Where have I claimed: “Did the Holy Spirit not give them inward testimony to the truth – as you claim for yourself?” I based my argument on Scripture and not on some kind of “inward testimony”. If I’m wrong then you or others will have to show me that the facts of Scripture are wrong.

  82. Jim,
    Fred just asserted that “if Mary were not a Perpetual Virgin, the idea of the Virgin Birth would have been undermined completely.” There is nothing in Scripture that says if Mary had other children it would have any impact on the deity of Christ, the incarnation or His life and ministry. What was necessary is that Mary to be a virgin up to the time that Jesus was conceived because the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14 predicted it and so must come to pass.
    I have no idea what this means “Fr. Potterie brings out that in John 1, it says Jesus was not “born of bloods” in the original..
    “ Mary was ritually unclean. See Luke 2:21-23 and Lev 12:1-8
    It is a denial of the created order and Scripture to claim that Joseph and Mary did not have sexual relations after the birth of Jesus. It is false to claim that having a “” healthy sex life” reduces both of them to the level of shallow ninnies. This is worse than out and out blasphemy!” For your claim to be true would mean that sex between husband and wife is unclean and sinful.
    After Jesus was born we don’t know when they had the other children.

  83. From Fr. Hardon (http://bit.ly/1fi1sc9) :

    What kind of knowledge did Christ have?
    Christ had two kinds of knowledge: human and divine.

    What kind of human knowledge did Christ have?
    Christ had three kinds of human knowledge: the immediate vision of God, infused supernatural knowledge, and acquired or experimental knowledge.

    What was Christ’s immediate vision of God?
    Christ’s immediate vision of God was the beatific vision of seeing God face to face.

    What was Christ’s infused supernatural knowledge?
    Christ’s infused supernatural knowledge was knowledge specially communicated to His soul by means of spiritual ideas. It differed from the knowledge of vision in that things were known in their proper nature through infused concepts.

    What was the acquired or experimental knowledge of Christ?
    The acquired or experimental knowledge of Christ was the knowledge He obtained from sense experience and through the abstracting power of His human intellect.

    Was the human knowledge of Christ free from error?
    Yes, the human knowledge of Christ was free from positive ignorance and from all error.

    And also (http://bit.ly/thomistic-christology):

    … Since no created nobility should be denied to Christ’s soul, which of all souls is the most excellent, it is fitting that, in addition to the beatific vision, three other types of knowledge should be possessed.

    The first is the empirical knowledge which other men, also enjoy, for it is proper to human nature that truth should be discovered through the senses. The second is divinely infused, and informs the mind about all truths which human knowledge reaches or can reach, for it is right that the human nature assumed by the Word of God, which restores human nature, should itself lack no human perfection. The third concerns the mystery of grace. Since Christ was not only the restorer of human nature but also the propagator of grace, he also most fully knew those truths exceeding reason which can be perceived by the Gift of Wisdom and the spirit of prophecy.

    To sum up: Christ’s soul was raised to the highest level of knowledge possible to any created mind, first, as regards seeing God’s essence and all things in God, secondly, by knowing the mysteries of grace, and thirdly, all objects of human knowledge. Here no advance was possible. Obviously in course of time Christ’s bodily senses grew more experienced about their environment, and therefore his empirical knowledge could increase. “The boy grew in wisdom and stature.” (35) The text can be differently interpreted, to mean, not that he grew wiser, but that his wisdom grew more manifest and instructive to others. It was a providential dispensation to show that he was like other men, for had he displayed adult wisdom in boyhood, the mystery of the Incarnation might well have appeared a piece of play-acting. (36)

    Finally, from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

    471 Apollinarius of Laodicaea asserted that in Christ the divine Word had replaced the soul or spirit. Against this error the Church confessed that the eternal Son also assumed a rational, human soul. 100

    472 This human soul that the Son of God assumed is endowed with a true human knowledge. As such, this knowledge could not in itself be unlimited: it was exercised in the historical conditions of his existence in space and time. This is why the Son of God could, when he became man, “increase in wisdom and in stature, and in favour with God and man”, 101 and would even have to inquire for himself about what one in the human condition can learn only from experience. 102 This corresponded to the reality of his voluntary emptying of himself, taking “the form of a slave”. 103

    473 But at the same time, this truly human knowledge of God’s Son expressed the divine life of his person. 104 “The human nature of God’s Son, not by itself but by its union with the Word, knew and showed forth in itself everything that pertains to God.” 105 Such is first of all the case with the intimate and immediate knowledge that the Son of God made man has of his Father. 106 The Son in his human knowledge also showed the divine penetration he had into the secret thoughts of human hearts. 107

    474 By its union to the divine wisdom in the person of the Word incarnate, Christ enjoyed in his human knowledge the fullness of understanding of the eternal plans he had come to reveal. 108 What he admitted to not knowing in this area, he elsewhere declared himself not sent to reveal. 109

    It is similar to when Our Lord was plunged into desolation but at the same time retained the Beatific Vision. Perhaps one could make an analogy between “Head Knowledge” and “Practical Knowledge?” In the end, the Incarnation is a mystery we will never fully comprehend.

  84. Gentlemen,

    I’m not planning to really enter the fray here. I have enjoyed the discussion. friar Charles has brought up a few of my favorite justifications. Jim, I really appreciate the point you maker about John 1 and being “born of bloods”, I will have to look into that one.

    My only contribution is to share a take on the story of Uzzah who friar Charles mentioned briefly mentioned in the second paragraph of #70. I heard this somewhere, maybe on a radio show on EWTN. Not trying to steal it, just don’t recall where. The story is in 1 Chronicles 14 and 2 Samuel 6. And Mary’s trip to the Hill Country of Judea to visit Elizabeth is parallel to this story and takes her to the same region.

    So Uzzah put his hand on the Ark of the Covenant to put it from falling off a hillside and he was struck dead. Do you think Joseph (who knew this story) was EVER going to touch Mary??

  85. Pat,

    “Fred just asserted that “if Mary were not a Perpetual Virgin, the idea of the Virgin Birth would have been undermined completely.” There is nothing in Scripture that says if Mary had other children it would have any impact on the deity of Christ, the incarnation or His life and ministry.”

    Imagine a Mary telling Luke that Son number one was born while she was a virgin and the other kids born from Joseph. Luke would have had trouble swallowing that.
    Now, imagine Mary and Joseph scolding, James, Joses, Simon and Jude, ” Why can’t you boys be more like your brother Jesus?” Which sons do you think Joseph would have favored? His? Or “the other guy’s”?

  86. Pat,
    You wrote, ” Mary was ritually unclean. See Luke 2:21-23 and Lev 12:1-8″

    I don’t think so. They offered the doves but not because of actual impurity.

    “It is a denial of the created order and Scripture to claim that Joseph and Mary did not have sexual relations after the birth of Jesus”

    My Gosh Pat! The whole story is a denial of the normal created order!

    .” It is false to claim that having a “ healthy sex life” reduces both of them to the level of shallow ninnies. This is worse than out and out blasphemy!” For your claim to be true would mean that sex between husband and wife is unclean and sinful.”

    You cannot be so mundane as to think that after the Annunciation, Mary did anything in a “normal” way again.
    Of course I am not denigrating marital relations. I am a Catholic after all. And married. Please, remember that we Catholics are the ones who shun contraception as it defiles the sanctity of the marriage bed with poisons and contraptions concocted for use in the brothel. I don’t, for one moment, trivialize marriage or its embrace. I think it is holy and had it not been for Adam’s fall, sanctifying grace would have been transmitted to each subsequent generation via that embrace.
    Please read the inspired Book of Tobit that tells of how Tobias and Sarah spent their wedding night and read how Tobias says men and women are not to behave as horses and mules. You seem to reduce Joseph and Mary to livestock instead of saints with your insistence that they would have been abnormal to live consecrated lives.

    A

  87. He was full man and fully God.

    Of course you don’t deny the Incarnation. But I will still insist that Protestanism doesn’t have a full appreciation of it. For example, Catholics have the various devotions to the Adorable Humanity such as the Sacred Heart, Holy Face, etc. Also, the Incarnation is the reason for statues and icons. Finally, Catholic spirituality is very tactile: the smells and bells, rosary beads, the importance of posture in prayer, sacred architecture, etc.

    The Protestant attitude towards the Incarnation influence their approach to ecclesiology, as this website comments on often, and to Mariology. That is my point here.

    And so I repeat, you do not give the Incarnation the grandeur proper to it. I say this from my own background as well, would any other converts agree they have found a deeper understanding and appreciation for the Incarnation since becoming Catholic?

    It is not true that “The insensitivity of Protestantism to the Perpetual Virginity makes sense when one considers that they lack any understanding of the spirituality of Consecrated Virginity.”

    In regards the the lack of an understanding of the spirituality of Consecrated Virginity, it is obvious. If you don’t believe me, become Catholic and make a vow of celibacy, then see what your Protestant friends and family think of it. Even if they aren’t hostile, they don’t understand it.

    This matters because if one doesn’t appreciate consecrated celibacy, they will definitely not understand why we consider the claim Mary and Joseph had the usual relations of a married couple as proximate to blasphemy.

    Mary was not a perpetual virgin for the various reasons I have pointed out. What the RCC has done is to make Mary out to be something the Scripture never does.

    You point to the Matthew 13 to prove that Mary had other children. We point to the fact that, linguistically, it is not certain this is referring to younger children of Mary. Also, James and Joseph reappear in Matthew 27: 55, and their mother is a different Mary. You haven’t brought up Matthew 1, but the use of the word “until” there does not conclusively mean they had relations after the birth of Jesus (cf. II Sam 6:23, I Tim. 4:13, 1 Cor. 15:25). However, you completely reject any notion that having conceived, borne, and birthed GOD would make Mary a particularly sacred person, worthy of the respect and reverence that sacred objects were treated with by the Jews (for example, the temple vessels, the ark, and the Holy of Holies).

    The RCC has meditated on the mystery of Mary in the Scriptures for 2,000 years. Is it not possible that she arrived at some insights which may not be entirely obvious at first? (A corollary of the Noltie Conundrum) We don’t ask you to accept them on that alone, but we do ask that you give the Church the benefit of the doubt.

    This reminds me when I had a dialogue with someone who believed they had a knock-down argument against the Bible, which was: The animals couldn’t all fit on the ark. When I asked if they believed no one else had ever noticed this, their answer was that “because of the power of the authorities and the potential for social upheaval, anyone who noticed this [from Moses to today] kept quite.”

    The Scripture does not record that Jesus spoke Latin. It is speculation to claim that He did.

    Of course it is. Pious speculation. There’s nothing wrong with such pious speculation while meditating over Our Lord’s life, that is what the Passion is, a video meditation over the Sacrifice of the Cross.

    Ave Maria!
    fra Charles

  88. GNW Paul,

    Another not often sighted reference to Mary’s Virginity in partu is found in Origin. You may or may not know about the confusion caused by Jesus’ cryptic statement about the murder of the prophets from righteous Abel to Zecharia who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. It seems at first glance that Jesus is confounding Zacharia ben Jehoiada with Zacharia ben Berekiah. Nobody has ever been able to unravel this mystery.
    Origin says it was neither of those OT men named Zachary but a third one found in the NT. He says the Jews killed not only John the Baptist but his father Zachary also. Why? Because he admitted Mary, whom he knew to be a virgin after Jesus’ birth, into the part of the temple that was off limits to married women.
    Along with the Gospel of James, it supports a long tradition of Mary remaining a Perpetual Virgin.

  89. From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

    500 Against this doctrine the objection is sometimes raised that the Bible mentions brothers and sisters of Jesus. 157 The Church has always understood these passages as not referring to other children of the Virgin Mary. In fact James and Joseph, “brothers of Jesus”, are the sons of another Mary, a disciple of Christ, whom St. Matthew significantly calls “the other Mary”. 158 They are close relations of Jesus, according to an Old Testament expression. 159</blockquote

    And bringing in the footnotes:
    157 Cf. Mk 3:31-35; 6:3; I Cor 9:5; Gal 1:19

    And his mother and his brethren came; and standing outside they sent to him and called him. And a crowd was sitting about him; and they said to him, “Your mother and your brethren are outside, waiting for you.” And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brethren?” And looking around on those who sat about him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brethren! Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother.” -Mark 3:31-35

    “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. -Mark 6:3

    But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord’s brother. -Galatians 1:19

    158 Mt 13:55; 28:1; cf. Mt 27:56.

    Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brethren James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? -Matthew 13:55

    Now after the sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the sepulchre. -Matthew 28:1

    among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. -Matthew 27:56

    Finally, the article of “The Brethren of the Lord” at the Catholic Encyclopedia is enlightening: http://bit.ly/CE-Brethren

  90. fra Charles,
    The Scripture never teaches us to give any church the “benefit of the doubt” but to test what it says by Scripture. That is what the Bereans did in Acts 17:11. We are commanded to “test” all things carefully and hold fast to that which is good. This is why the the perpetual virginity of Mary fails the biblical and apostolic test because the apostles never taught such a thing. We are not to go beyond what Christ taught in Scripture. 2 John 9

  91. Pat,

    I said I was going to stay out of the fray, but oh well, at least for know.

    RE: 2 John 1:9 not one translation refers to scripture in that verse, most say Doctrine and a few say teaching of Christ. Further, 1 Thessalonians 5:21 clearly refers specifically to prophecy, but it still works very well for me to turn back on you since you brought it up. In order to test anything, there must be a standard by which to test it. What standard to you propose to test by? Scripture alone? But that itself fails the test!!!! Scripture never says that scripture is the final authority. Exactly the opposite, scripture says “The household of God, which is the Church, the pillar and foundation of Truth” (Timothy 3:15). So, yes, by all means, test everything, by the standard Paul explicitly instructs to test things by, the Church.

  92. Pax Christi
    Pat, by benefit of the doubt, I was requesting you grant that at least many Catholics, from the Early Church until today, have been (1) intelligent, (2) Biblically literate, (3) sincerely seeking Christ. That is, when we argue for the Perpetual Virginity of Mary, we are not being Biblically illiterate idiots inventing doctrines to satisfy the itching of our ears.

    II John 1:9 says nothing about the “teaching of Christ in scripture”, but is a warning against denials of the Incarnation. Ironically, I am still claiming that you do not give the Incarnation the significance it deserves, which is what 2 John 1 is warning against.

    Jimmy Akins shows the poverty of that interpretation of the Bereans here: bit.ly/QT6vUQ

    Please stop assuming you have the “teaching of Christ” and we don’t. Your accusation here are the same as the question, “Are you still beating your wife.”

  93. Pat (#81):

    Until you can show me how Calvin and Luther arrived at the conclusion that Mary was a perpetual virgin then there is no way for me to know how they did that. I have no reason to think “that they reached their conclusion on the basis of Scripture alone..”.

    Where have I claimed: “Did the Holy Spirit not give them inward testimony to the truth – as you claim for yourself?” I based my argument on Scripture and not on some kind of “inward testimony”. If I’m wrong then you or others will have to show me that the facts of Scripture are wrong.

    So the two primary figures of the early Reformation – the men whose doctrines of sola fide and sola scriptura basically define the Reformation – did not employ sola scriptura when they interpreted Scripture. This is truly remarkable news, Pat.

    As to the other issue, please correct me if I have misunderstood how you arrive at your interpretations with such confidence. You are saying it is not the inward testimony of the Holy Spirit as you read and interpret Scripture that gives you the assurance that you have done so faithfully andy correctly?

    Frank

  94. Folks,

    I do not think we have gotten out of hand yet, so let me remind y’all about being charitable towards everyone.

    Thank you kindly. :-)

    Fred

  95. Gang, In Galatians Paul goes up to Jerusalem to see the Lord’s brother and Apostle James. There were two among the 12 called James, the brother of John, son of Zebedee and the other, or Lesser James, the son of Alphaeus. Josephus tells us James was the first the Bishop of Jerusalem and that the Apostle Simeon was his kinsman,brother and successor in that see. He says they were Levites. We do know Mary had Levite kin ( Zachary and Elizabeth ) So that explains two of the Lord’s Brothers.
    Next, we can look at Jude’s identification with James in his (Jude’s) epistle where they have a brother/brother bond ( no mention of the more famous Jesus being a brother!) and Luke twice saying Jude and James have a father/son bond proving brother =kinsman and not necessarily brother =brother..
    That leaves only Joses in the famous list of James, Joses, Simon and Jude being the “Lord’s Brothers”. To settle that, check out chapters 15 of Mark where another Mary is said to be Mother of Joses and James the Lesser, ( only in the 12 Apostles do we find 2 and only 2 men named James ). She is also called the “mother of James” and the mother of “Joses” alternatively in chapter 15 and 16 proving that all sons need not be named in every listing.
    This jives with the 3 listings of the 12 Apostles we have. They appear to be grouped according to blood ties ( Andrew and Peter, John and James of Zebedee, James, Simon and Jude ).
    One last point; Simon is called the Canaanite in one list of the 12. Mary and Jesus were at the wedding of Cana and seem to have more prominence than ordinary guests as the order the servants about. Perhaps they had kin there.
    An interesting little morsel from tradition says that the reason Judas was to kiss Jesus in the Garden of Olives was an agreed upon signal to the Jewish soldiers so they wouldn’t accidentally seize James by mistake as they looked alike. From the 4 Gospel accounts it is unclear if all 12 were present or just Peter, John and James of Zebedee ( not Alphaeus/Cleophas ) so I won’t say for sure. Let the reader decide.

  96. Gang, I should mention that at Calvary, the mother of James and John of Zebedee ( Salome ) was present. So was the mother of James the lesser and Joses. She is called Mary and is the sister of the Virgin Mary. Two uterine sisters with the same name? It is possible ( I live in Portugal where most women have Maria incorporated into their names, Maria do Carmo, Maria de Concecao, Maria de Lourdes, Maria Fatima, etc. However, they usually go by their 2nd name, Carmo, Concecao or Lourdes or Fatima ) but not likely they would both be called the same name.
    So, sister =kinswoman and not necessarily sister.
    Since John’s own mother was present it is strange that Jesus gave her son ( John ) to the Virgin Mary. And since the mother of kinsmen James and Joses was also present, it is equally as strange that Jesus gave His own Mother to a non kinsman. Something much more than a son making last minute provision for a widowed mom is going on here!

  97. friar Charles,
    Never claimed nor implied RC’s are “Biblically illiterate idiots”.

    All the teachings of Christ are found in the NT alone. To show this statement to be false you will have to produce a teaching of Christ outside the NT by documentation. It is true that Jesus did other “signs” that are not recorded in the NT (John 20:30) but we don’t know what these signs were. No record of them survives to this day. No record of any teachings of Christ outside the NT.

    Since this is true, we can study the NT to see if He said anything about the perpetural virginity of Mary and we find He did not. Nor did the apostles. Thus I am on solid grounds to claim there is no such teaching in Scripture.
    In this doctrine the RCC does not have the teaching of Christ.

    I read Jimmy Atkins article and this quote says so much–“In other words, we would recognize the authority of all of the traditions passed on from Christ and the apostles, whether they were written or not.” Again, what is a tradition that you have today that was not written down by the apostles and how do you know they said it if its not in the NT?

    I don’t know who you are reading in regards to the incarnation in Protestant churches but I can recommend some excellent books on this issue that proves we do have a high view of the incarnation.

  98. Frank,
    I can look and study the Scripture and arrive at a correct understanding of them on most things. All Christians should be able to do this if they study the Scripture and listen to good teachers on them. If I’m wrong about my conclusions then I expect to be shown wrong via the Scripture. In our discussions here I have no reason to think I am wrong.

    In regards to Calvin and Luther I would need to see the specifics on how they arrived at their conclusions. Sola Scriptura does guarantee everyone who believes it will agree on all things. The same goes for your church. Though it claims to have an infallible pope and magisterium not all RC’s agree and accept their conclusions.

    “the inward testimony of the Holy Spirit” has more to do with assurance of salvation than interpretation of Scripture.

  99. Pat (#98)

    I can look and study the Scripture and arrive at a correct understanding of them on most things. All Christians should be able to do this if they study the Scripture and listen to good teachers on them.

    How do you know who is a good teacher and who is not?

    Pax Christi,
    Frank

  100. Pat, Where in scripture do you find (John 16:12) “I have many things to teach you but you cannot bear them now”? Or Jn 14:26: ” The Holy Spirit will remind you of all I have taught you”?
    However, the clincher would be the promise to make Peter and his successors the final arbiter of questions pertaining to doctrine and morals that will come up in the future.
    At the time of the writing of scripture the Trinitarian and Christological heresies had not arisen yet. It was to take another 4oo years to reflect upon and articulate what scripture has to say about these doctrines. Often, as in the case of Arius, the heretics would use scripture to support their claims and the Catholics would have to rely on the fact that the heretics were innovators going against the Traditional understanding.
    At the Council of Chalcedon, Pope Leo’s letter was written and the faithful cried, “Peter has spoken through Leo!” to settle the dispute. Not scripture.
    In the Council of Jerusalem, to settle the dispute that had arisen over the circumcision of Gentile converts, the council did not appeal to scripture but recognized its own authority ( under Peter ) to decide the issue.
    In the OT we don’t see disputes settle by turning to the Bible. Rather, the High Priest or Chair of Moses was sought out to determine a course of action. The Bible itself points outside the Bible.
    As to your question about how do we know if a Tradition is Apostolic if not written down, Augustine said that if it is something held by the universal Church but can’t be dated to a particular conciliar decree, it must be assumed to come from the Apostles.

  101. Pat – if

    I can look and study the Scripture and arrive at a correct understanding of them on most things. All Christians should be able to do this if they study the Scripture and listen to good teachers on them.

    and if also you

    Never claimed nor implied RC’s are “Biblically illiterate idiots”.

    what is your explanation for the fact that Catholics and you differ on almost every fundamental question of the faith – and both you and Catholics think you have Scripture on their side?

    jj

  102. Another proof that Jesus came from a large ‘extended’ family would be in Luke 2:41 – 48

    “Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. 43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him.”

    How could you be unaware of your son for 24 hours, both parents were ‘unaware’. He obviously wasn’t with older siblings, he must have been with very close relatives.

    Also, “Hail”……. The Archangel Gabriel hasn’t been heard from since Daniel Chapter 9, when he foretold that the new Messiah would be born in “69 weeks of years”, or 483 years (69 x 7). Daniel lived around 500 years before Jesus, so this prophecy was fulfilled by Mary giving birth to Jesus.

    Gabriel was involved not only with the prophecy, but with announcing its fulfillment. Gabriel also used a royal greeting for Mary, when he said “Hail” . It is a term used for royalty. Gabriel did not address her by her name of Mary, but rather by her new title – “Full of Grace” (“gratia plena” in Latin). To be “full of grace” means that there can be NO room for sin anywhere in your body or soul:

    For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. ROM 6:14

    Gabriel is the messanger with some big message …. “The Lord is with you”.
    This is a very powerful statement, coming before she had Jesus in her body. God had handpicked her from all women from all eternity to be the Mother of Jesus. She wasn’t holy just because she had Jesus living in her for 9 months: she was already holy before that. And notice the word “is” – not “was” or “is now, but not forever”, but “IS”. That means that the Lord was with Mary, and still is with Mary. She was not just randomly chosen to be an “incubator” for Jesus.

  103. John,
    Having “vigorous” discussions on matters of faith is worth it to me and hopefully to others. Only by discussing and getting into the details of our beliefs can we determine who has a better case or at least to see how the other thinks.

    I appreciate the CTC bloggers allowing differences to be discussed without being shutdown. I was engaging some pro-homosexuals on a homosexual website and I was presenting my case against homosexuality and I was banned within a day of doing so. Its to bad they are closed minded. Not so here.

  104. Frank,
    As one grows in the knowledge of the Scripture and good theology and listens to various teachers over the course of one’s life then you can discern who is a good teacher. Knowledge of Scripture is paramount to determine if a teacher is teaching true doctrine or not.

  105. Jim,
    The references that you quote from John 14 and 16 is for the apostles alone who Jesus would reveal further things to them. These others things came to be the NT writings.

    Just because someone claims the Scripture does not mean that they have made their case. What Scriptures did Arius use? Did he interpret them in context?
    JW’s use Scripture to but they ignore other things in Scripture and actually change the meanings of some words. Mormons use the Bible also but they add a few more books to the mix. How would you go about determining who is right? Will you say to them “Peter has spoken through Leo!” to settle the dispute. Not scripture.”

    James made the final decision at the first council in Acts 15:19

    Interesting quote: “Augustine said that if it is something held by the universal Church but can’t be dated to a particular conciliar decree, it must be assumed to come from the Apostles.” The church at the time of Augustine didn’t believe a number of things you do. They did not believe in the assumption of Mary for example. They did not believe in papal infallibility is another.

  106. Pat (#104)

    Knowledge of Scripture is paramount to determine if a teacher is teaching true doctrine or not.

    . Could you explain this to me in a little more depth? How would you have previously learned what “true doctrine” is such that you are able to evaluate a given teacher? Would this learning involve reading and interpreting Scripture on your own?

    Frank

  107. Lynn #102
    Absolutely right. I’ve gone through the Bible and looked at every instance where God or an Angel speaks with any individual. The case of Gabriel’s greeting to Mary is shockingly different. In every other instance there is no such show of respect, far from it, and notice Mary is called Full of Grace before she says or does anything. In other cases God or the angel always promise to “make of you a great nation” as in the case of Abraham IF you follow my instructions. Clearly, Mary is far, far greater than Moses, or Abraham, or Noah, or any of the prophets. That the angel of The Lord would appear to a human being and greet them with a clearly royal greeting and address them with a title of high honor even with the toned down translation of “highly favored one.” I really am dumbstruck by how Protestants can’t recognize that just from that one paragraph in scripture the Gospel of Luke shows us that Mary exceeds all of the patriarchs and all of the prophets.

    In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you. But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, an dyou shall call his name Jesus”.

    Clearly:
    1) Gabriel greets her in a way that no one else has ever been greeted by God or an angel and the greeting itself confuses Mary because she recognizes that this greeting is honoring her. “Hail, Full of Grace. The Lord is with you” is not at all like the way she knows that the patriarchs and prophets were addressed.
    2) Mary is Full of Grace, and the Lord is with her, before she has been given any request or task to perform, this is reversed from every other encounter with Angels or with God.
    3) “You have found favor with God” again this is not a promise of a future blessing after she is obedient.

    The only possible inference is that Mary was already greater than any of the patriarchs and prophets and she was already more obedient and had already “found favor with God” because of her holiness, which was of course itself a gift from God because no one can be holy only by their own efforts.

    One last point, unlike every single prophet and patriarch, there is no place in scripture where Mary disobeys God, or stalls or refuses to do what God asks of her. There is not place where God corrects her or scolds her. Rather, we have in the miracle at Cana, God as Man fulfilling her request, and she didn’t beg or bargain like Abraham.

  108. Frank,
    Yes. It does involve reading and interpreting Scripture myself but also others in the church.
    Here are a few Scriptures that deal with this issue:

    “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. ” Colossians 3:16

    “11 Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” Hebrews 5

    Christ also gave the church pastor-teachers for “12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”

    so that “14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,..” Ephesians 4

  109. Pat (#103)

    Having “vigorous” discussions on matters of faith is worth it to me and hopefully to others. Only by discussing and getting into the details of our beliefs can we determine who has a better case or at least to see how the other thinks.

    I appreciate the CTC bloggers allowing differences to be discussed without being shutdown. I was engaging some pro-homosexuals on a homosexual website and I was presenting my case against homosexuality and I was banned within a day of doing so. Its to bad they are closed minded. Not so here.

    OK, so I know why you are here. But you haven’t answered my question. You seem to say that you are able to understand the Scriptures, and that you don’t think Catholics are not able to understand the Scriptures – yet on every important issue below the Trinity and the hypostatic union (assuming we agree on those, which I question), you and the Catholics are in really fundamental, irresolvable, disagreement.

    If you can understand the Scriptures on important issues and if the Catholics can likewise understand the Scriptures on important issues – why is there such fundamental disagreement?

    jj

  110. Thank you for the admonishment Fred. I apologize for the unedifying comments I made. (Pray for me)

    I agree with Pat on the value of “Vigorous Discussion”. The best thing about CTC is the constructive argument (Chesteron said, “I object to a quarrel because it always interrupts an argument.”). It is an online oasis.

    The point I was trying to make in my over the top comment is that you are essentially arguing that for at least 1500 years, saintly scholars such as St. Augustine, St. Anselm, St. Jerome, St. Albert the Great, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Bonaventure, St. Lawrence of Brindisi (who memorized the Bible in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew), etc all missed/misinterpreted Matthew 13. I am not trying to argue from their authority, but such a massive opposition should make one at least consider they may be misinterpreting something. Granted, sometimes many people are wrong, for example, many theologians before Bl. John Duns Scotus rejected the Immaculate Conception, but for valid reasons. It took the subtle reasoning of Scotus to show how Mary could be both Immaculate and Free from all sin, but still have been “saved”. However, this is not a question of such subtly, so I don’t think this would be parallel example.

    It seems that the center of the disagreement is that you are constricting the revelation of Jesus Christ to the New Testament. We insist on unwritten tradition as well as written tradition, but you demand that we show where the unwritten is written!

    This calls to mind what St. Basil (329-379 AD) wrote in “De Spiritu Sancto” about those who would denigrate Unwritten Tradition in their attempt to deny the Holy Spirit was God:
    n. 25:

    The one aim of the whole band of opponents and enemies of “sound doctrine” is to shake down the foundation of the faith of Christ by levelling apostolic tradition with the ground, and utterly destroying it. So like the debtors,— of course bona fide debtors— they clamour for written proof, and reject as worthless the unwritten tradition of the Fathers.

    n. 66

    Of the beliefs and practices whether generally accepted or publicly enjoined which are preserved in the Church some we possess derived from written teaching; others we have received delivered to us “in a mystery” by the tradition of the apostles; and both of these in relation to true religion have the same force … For were we to attempt to reject such customs as have no written authority, on the ground that the importance they possess is small, we should unintentionally injure the Gospel in its very vitals … For instance … Which of the saints has left us in writing the words of the invocation at the displaying of the bread of the Eucharist and the cup of blessing? For we are not, as is well known, content with what the apostle or the Gospel has recorded, but both in preface and conclusion we add other words as being of great importance to the validity of the ministry, and these we derive from unwritten teaching. … And as to the other customs of baptism from what Scripture do we derive the renunciation of Satan and his angels? Does not this come from that unpublished and secret teaching which our fathers guarded in a silence out of the reach of curious meddling and inquisitive investigation? Well had they learned the lesson that the awful dignity of the mysteries is best preserved by silence. What the uninitiated are not even allowed to look at was hardly likely to be publicly paraded about in written documents … the Apostles and Fathers who laid down laws for the Church from the beginning thus guarded the awful dignity of the mysteries in secrecy and silence, for what is bruited abroad random among the common folk is no mystery at all. This is the reason for our tradition of unwritten precepts and practices, that the knowledge of our dogmas may not become neglected and contemned by the multitude through familiarity…

    n. 67

    Time will fail me if I attempt to recount the unwritten mysteries of the Church … While the unwritten traditions are so many, and their bearing on “the mystery of godliness” (1 Tim 3:16) is so important, can they refuse to allow us a single word which has come down to us from the Fathers;— which we found, derived from untutored custom, abiding in unperverted churches;— a word for which the arguments are strong, and which contributes in no small degree to the completeness of the force of the mystery?

    n. 71

    … For I hold it apostolic to abide also by the unwritten traditions. “I praise you,” it is said, “that you remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances as I delivered them to you;” (1 Cor 11:2) and “Hold fast the traditions which you have been taught whether by word, or our Epistle.” (2 Thess 2:15) One of these traditions is the practice which is now before us, which they who ordained from the beginning, rooted firmly in the churches, delivering it to their successors, and its use through long custom advances pace by pace with time. If, as in a Court of Law, we were at a loss for documentary evidence, but were able to bring before you a large number of witnesses, would you not give your vote for our acquittal? I think so; for “at the mouth of two or three witnesses shall the matter be established.” And if we could prove clearly to you that a long period of time was in our favour, should we not have seemed to you to urge with reason that this suit ought not to be brought into court against us? For ancient dogmas inspire a certain sense of awe, venerable as they are with a hoary antiquity. I will therefore give you a list of the supporters of the word … For it did not originate with us. How could it? We, in comparison with the time during which this word has been in vogue, are, to use the words of Job, “but of yesterday.” (Job 8:9)

    I wish I could say more tonight, but I have no time.

  111. Honestly I had no one in mind, Fr. Charles. We have been having a pretty clean convo, which is great, but I was afraid that some hackles were starting to get raised and did not want to let things get away from us all.

    As the awesome Sgt. Esterhaus always said, “Let’s be careful out there.” :-)

    Fred

  112. John,
    I never said Catholics could not understand the Scriptures. There is much they do. Protestants and Catholics agree on some of the “fundamentals” of the faith that are grounded in Scripture. The difference are coming from various doctrines such as the one we are talking about i.e. the Marian dogmas. What I see the RCC doing is reading back into Scripture its doctrines about her. Things like her immaculate conception and being without sin cannot be supported by any good exegesis of Scripture for example. No one knows how she was conceived nor does anyone claim in Scripture that she was sinless. “Full of grace” or a better translation “hail favored” one has nothing to do with being without sin. No NT Greek lexicon would support this greeting as meaning to be sinless. Yet the RCC insists she is sinless based on this text. This is why we have a fundamental difference.

  113. Pat – let’s take me specifically. I started reading the Bible through yearly from when I first became a Christian (evangelical) in 1970. I have continued doing that ever since. As my degrees are in linguistics (and I worked as a linguist for twenty years before moving into my current IT job full-time), I do read other languages. My current annual reading of the New Testament is in Greek, though I have read it a few times in Latin, in French, in Spanish (part-way), and in Yapese (the language I am a specialist in linguistically). I have read the Old Testament a couple of times in Hebrew (and Aramaic for those bits, and in Greek for the bits you don’t recognise as Scripture). I have, in addition, read the Scriptures in English in a large number of translations.

    I have not just read the Scriptures. As I had no Christian upbringing, I had to learn theology for myself. I started out Evangelical, read a lot of Baptist stuff, Lewis Sperry Chafer’s Systematic Theology, a lot of dispensationalist material. Read a lot of church history and came soon to see the inadequacy of this, so read a number of Lutheran systematic theologians, and of course a lot of Luther and Calvin. More and more Calvinist, especially the presuppositionalist school – Van Til especially.

    And I read Catholic writers and came increasingly to see that the Scriptures teach what the Catholic Church teaches, not what the various flavours of Protestantism teach.

    So my point here is this. I am not, I suggest, guilty of a shallow and quick judgement on what the Bible means. I claim to have gone into considerable depth, albeit not to the extent many of the writers on this blog have done, who have earned degrees in theology. Nonetheless, your idea that you can understand the Scriptures, and that a Catholic who is not slack about studying them can, also, seems to imply that, somehow, the Scriptures themselves are not all that clear.

    Or, if that is not the explanation, what do you think it is? Am I a scoundrel? Have I some ulterior motive for claiming that I believe the Bible teaches Catholicism? Am I a fool? Despite all my reading, I am just too thick to understand? Am I a dupe of the Devil? Has he just infiltrated nastiness into my heart and I am now his creature?

    I just don’t understand how you can explain the enormous gap between us.

    jj

  114. Fr. Charles,
    There are major problems with unwritten traditions from so long ago. Here are some of the problems:
    1) As far as I can tell the RCC has never officially produced a list of some kind of what these unwritten traditions of the apostles were. Without this, how can you even identify what an unwritten traditions of the apostles were.
    2) Without any specifics about them, then any thing not in the NT could be said to be an unwritten tradition of the apostles. By such seasonings a person could disprove doctrines of the RCC.
    3) Unwritten traditions would not rise to same level as inspired-inerrant Scripture.

    There is an example of a saying of Jesus not recorded in the gospels that Paul mentions in Acts 20:25-“‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” The only reason we know this is that it was recorded in Acts. If it was not written down then it would not be known to later generations.

  115. Pat,

    You seem to have made christianity so shallow in the sense that anything outside the scripture is unreliable. Did Jesus came down to earth just to slap us with a scripture and just to let us figure it out outselves? (OK, other than redeeming us by dying on the cross :-D). I believe, the era of Acts of the Apostles is still very much alive event up till today.

  116. Pat (#108)

    I am having trouble understanding how this works. On the one hand, you recommend following good teachers who interpret the Bible correctly, but I can’t know if they interpret correctly without a very good knowledge of the Bible – which I must acquire largely on my own. But how can I be sure if I am interpreting the Bible correctly to begin with? What if I misinterpret something and then follow a teacher who has the same misinterpretation as I do? I would be following teaching that is in error, but without knowing that it is in error.

    How do I get myself out this mess? Is there some authority I can absolutely trust? Please don’t say I can trust “Scripture” because that’s just sending me back around in a circle and I’m no better off than when I began. What is the answer to this conundrum?

    Frank

  117. Pat,
    Just a couple of points,
    Firstly, you said”,James made the final decision at the first council in Acts 15:19″.
    James’s made a decree about kosher foods and marriage lines only so as not to scandalize his flock of Jewish converts ( he was Bishop of Jerusalem only remember ). It hardly binds anyone today as anyone who likes his steak rare will attest to.
    Peter’s decision is binding today and forever. Remember, the Council was called only because of a dispute that had arisen as a result of Peter’s unilateral decision to exercise the power of the keys and open the doors of the Kingdom to Cornelius and the Gentiles. Peter’s was the only infallible decree given at that time. I am aware of the Protestant assertion that James or, worse, Paul, wore the pants at the first council. Just read the chapter again.

    Interesting quote: “Augustine said that if it is something held by the universal Church but can’t be dated to a particular conciliar decree, it must be assumed to come from the Apostles.” The church at the time of Augustine didn’t believe a number of things you do. They did not believe in the assumption of Mary for example. They did not believe in papal infallibility is another.

    Pat. Please. You are so wrong on Augustine and the Church! He believed in Papal Supremacy, Mary, the Mass prayers for the dead, charity as the justifying virtue ( not faith alone ), the 7 books not in your Bible, invocation of saints and he denied once saved always saved.

  118. Hello Pat,

    In #112 you wrote:

    No NT Greek lexicon would support this greeting as meaning to be sinless. Yet the RCC insists she is sinless based on this text.

    Please see Bryan’s article The Tradition and the Lexicon.

    Peace,

    Fred

  119. Frank,
    It seems like you want some infallible interpreter to keep you from error. The problem is that none exist and no church has produced an infallible interpretation of the Scriptures. Even if there was one, your interpretations of the infallible interpretation would be fallible.

    Follow the advice that Paul gave Timothy: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15

  120. Jim,
    Peter made no decision at the first council. The reason for the council is found in Acts 15:1-2 “Some men came down from Judea and began teaching the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2 And when Paul and Barnabas had great dissension and debate with them, the brethren determined that Paul and Barnabas and some others of them should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders concerning this issue.”

    In regards to Augustine and the papacy consider this from Roman Catholic historian von Dollinger on papal succession:

    “ Of all the Fathers who interpret these passages (Matthew 16:18; John 21:17), not a single one applies them to the Roman bishops as Peter’s successors. How many Fathers have busied themselves with these three texts, yet not one of them who commentaries we possess–Origen, Chrysostom, Hilary, Augustine, Cyril, Theodoret, and those whose interpretations are collected in catenas–has dropped the faintest hint that the primacy of Rome is the consequence of the commission and promise to Peter!

    Not one of them has explained the rock or foundation on which Christ would build His Church as the office given to Peter to be transmitted to his successors, but they understood by it either Christ Himself, or Peter’s confession of faith in Christ; often both together (Cited in Hunt D. A Women Rides the Beast. Harvest House Publishers, Eugene (OR) p. 146).”

  121. Pat, #119

    I am not asking for an answer from Scripture because this is really a question about Scripture. And please don’t go to the tu quoque again because I am not asking you compare your approach with the Catholic approach.

    I sincerely want to know how you know for certain when you are “accurately” handling the truth? Please tell me that without quoting Scripture or resorting to the tu quoque.

    Frank

    .

  122. Um…Pat.

    Citing Dave Hunt as an authority on Catholicism is not much different from quoting Jack Chick. :-) Do you have a better authority than that for what you are saying in #120? And no, I do not necessarily trust his quotation, because Boettner (another famous one) had some problems with the truth in his book. I trust Hunt less than I trust Boettner (which is not at all), so if you could provide an alternative source for your quotation (or a direct citation for that matter) I would appreciate it. Thanks!

    Peace,

    Fred

  123. Hi Pat,

    In #120 you claim that Peter made no decisions at the Council of Jerusalem.

    In the first place, I would like to point out that St. Peter’s speech basically brought an end to the argument. It is true that we have no record of his having the last word, so to speak, but his opinion carried the day.

    In the second place, no ecumenical council’s validity depends upon either a pope or a papal envoy having the last word (as it appears that St. James did in this case). We do not say that Peter and his successors alone have such a corner on the truth that no other bishop/apostle could ever say anything true or prudent. Rather, we hold that papal approval is necessary for the ecumenicity of a council, and there is no reason at all to think that Peter withheld his approval from the decision of the Jerusalem Council.

    Peace,

    Fred

  124. Pat and Fred,
    Yeah, Dave Hunt. And in a book titled ” A Woman Rides the Beast”. Good old “Whore O’ Babylon” stuff. I assume Dave is still alive. I used to get his Beraean periodical when I lived in Oregon ( where he lives or lived ).
    Pat, like Fred said, you might as well quote Jack Chick. Or Alexander Hislop. Or “Trail of Blood”. You undermine your whole position by using a professional anti-Catholic as a reference. The man deals in caricature and hysteria. At one time I liked his stuff on the New Age and Mormonism. However, after seeing how badly he misrepresents Catholicism in his books and presentations, I quit using him as a legitimate source for anything.
    I used to have that particular book. I used to get stuff like that to see just how much of it I could refute. It has been several years, but I remember it as being ridiculous.

  125. Pat (#112)

    I never said Catholics could not understand the Scriptures. There is much they do. Protestants and Catholics agree on some of the “fundamentals” of the faith that are grounded in Scripture. The difference are coming from various doctrines such as the one we are talking about i.e. the Marian dogmas. What I see the RCC doing is reading back into Scripture its doctrines about her. Things like her immaculate conception and being without sin cannot be supported by any good exegesis of Scripture for example. No one knows how she was conceived nor does anyone claim in Scripture that she was sinless. “Full of grace” or a better translation “hail favored” one has nothing to do with being without sin. No NT Greek lexicon would support this greeting as meaning to be sinless. Yet the RCC insists she is sinless based on this text. This is why we have a fundamental difference.

    OK, so it seems you are saying that, even although Catholics can understand the Scriptures, that in many fundamentals of the faith – such as the Marian doctrines – you think that we are ‘reading back into Scripture’ our doctrines about her.

    In that case, then, my question still is the same: if we are able to understand Scripture, where do we get those doctrines that we read back into Scripture? Is there some kabbal of evil dudes up there whispering those doctrines into my ear, with such hypnotic force that, even although I should be able to understand that they are not Scriptural, I sincerely believe they are?

    I think there is a fundamental contradiction between you idea that Catholics can understand Scripture but that they differ from you in essential matters. If we can understand Scripture, and if you are right about those matters, then somehow we are not understanding Scripture. Why should this be? To say that we are listening to the Church doesn’t help. The Church – in this sense – is just other people who also ought to be able to understand Scripture. Yet those people – and we Catholics – think that these things – Marian doctrines, Papacy, etc – are Scriptural.

    jj

  126. Pat (re: #120)

    You wrote:

    Not one of them has explained the rock or foundation on which Christ would build His Church as the office given to Peter

    The problem is that that claim is easily refuted. Here’s one example. Tertullian writes:

    Was anything withheld from the knowledge of Peter, who is called “the rock on which the church should be built,” who also obtained “the keys of the kingdom of heaven,” with the power of “loosing and binding in heaven and on earth?” (Prescription Against Heretics, 22)

    Here’s another example. St. Cyprian writes:

    [B]oth baptism is one and the Holy Spirit is one, and the Church founded by Christ the Lord upon Peter, by a source and principle of unity, is one also. (Epistle 69)

    And Eusebius, bishop of Caesarea, writes:

    And Peter, on whom the Church of Christ is built, ‘against which the gates of hell shall not prevail,’ (Matt. 16:18) has left one acknowledged epistle; perhaps also a second, but this is doubtful. (History of the Church, VI.25.8)

    Jacob, bishop of Nisibis, of Syria (338), writes:

    And Simon the head of the Apostles, he who denied Christ . . . our Lord received him, and made him the foundation, and called him the rock of the edifice of the Church.

    St. Ambrose writes:

    [Jesus] made answer: ‘Thou are Peter, and upon this Rock will I build My Church, and I will give thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven.’ Could He not then, strengthen the faith of the man to whom, acting on His own authority, He gave the kingdom, whom He called the Rock, thereby declaring him to be the foundation of the Church?

    St. Hilary (315-367/68) provides further examples:

    [B]lessed Simon, who after his confession of the mystery was set to be the foundation-stone of the Church, and received the keys of the kingdom of heaven. (On the Trinity, Bk VI)

    He [Jesus] took up Peter — to whom He had just before given the keys of the kingdom of heaven, upon whom He was about to build the Church, against which the gates of hell should not in any way prevail, who whatsoever he should bind or loose on earth, that should abide bound or loosed in heaven — this same Peter … the first confessor of the Son of God, the foundation of the Church, the doorkeeper of the heavenly kingdom, and in his judgment on earth a judge of heaven. (Tractates on the Psalms)

    O blessed keeper of the gate of heaven, to whose disposal are delivered the keys of the entrance into eternity; whose judgment on earth is an authority prejudged in heaven, so that the things that are either loosed or bound on earth, acquire in heaven too a like state of settlement. (Commentary on Matthew)

    St. Basil the Great (330-379) writes:

    him that was called from amongst fishermen unto the ministry of the Apostleship; him who on account of the pre-eminence of his faith received upon himself the building of the Church. (ad. Eunom. n. 4)

    One also of these mountains was Peter, upon which rock the lord promised to build His Church. (Commnt. in Esai. c.ii. n. 66)

    And At. Augustine writes:

    You know what the Catholic Church is, and what that is cut off from the Vine; if there are any among you cautious, let them come; let them find life in the Root. Come, brethren, if you wish to be engrafted in the Vine: a grief it is when we see you lying thus cut off. Number the Bishops even from the very seat of Peter: and see every succession in that line of Fathers: that is the Rock against which the proud Gates of Hell prevail not.

    But this thread is for the discussion of “ancient Marian devotion.” If you would like to discuss the papacy, please do so on a post devoted to that subject, such as “The Chair of St. Peter.”

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  127. Bryan,
    I agree this should be addressed elsewhere. However here is the issue: ““ Of all the Fathers who interpret these passages (Matthew 16:18; John 21:17), not a single one applies them to the Roman bishops as Peter’s successors. “

  128. Fred,
    Dave Hunt is not the issue. Refute ““ Of all the Fathers who interpret these passages (Matthew 16:18; John 21:17), not a single one applies them to the Roman bishops as Peter’s successors.” Just show a church father who applied Matthew 16:18 and John 21:17 to a bishop of Rome. Do that and that will show the quote to be wrong.

  129. Pat,

    Bryan is right about straying off topic. Please move this question as he requested. Thanks!

    As for Dave Hunt: if we asked you to respond to things said by Robert Tilton or Greg Boyd as representative of conservative Protestantism, you would justly deny the need to do any such thing. I personally feel no need to respond to anything said or asked by Hunt, Chick, or Boettner (among others), and I seriously doubt that the state of Protestant criticism of the Church has degenerated to such an extent that you have no choice but to use these guys. :-)

    Thanks & Peace,

    Fred

  130. Pat ( Is it Patricia or Patrick by the way?),

    As for Church Fathers, and to stay on topic, I think it would be very fruitful for you to read Cardinal Newman’s story. He was an Anglican who studied how doctrine developed from the unanimous testimony of the fathers that Mary was the New Eve. This was instrumental in his entering the Catholic Church.
    Think about it; if Eve was the willing partner of the Devil in seducing Adam, without Mary countering her ( Eve’s ) cooperation in the fall with her ( Mary’s ) cooperation with Jesus, what does that have to say about the female sex? Plus, can we say the Devil has been sufficiently humbled if a woman does not participate in his undoing?

  131. If you do a study of Mary in the Gospels you will find a distancing of Jesus from Mary as he moves into his ministry at one point saying “woman what has this to do with me” This was a customary way of putting someone in their place. In other examples when the crowds tried to bring her undo glory, Jesus wouldn’t have it saying rather behold my mother brothers etc. She plays no significant role in the early church, only being mentioned once in prayer in acts, and Paul saying “born of a Woman” Hardly queen of heaven. The only reference to queen of heaven in scripture is Pagan. The biblical Mary would be embarrassed with the Roman caricature. We are to worship God with all of our heart soul and mind. There should be no room for worship of any other. The marian ego has run wild in Rome and I think it will keep people out of heaven IMHO.

  132. Kevin,
    Sorry, not buying that take on things. “Woman what has this to do with me” was a very idiomatic expression (from what I understand, admitting I’m not an expert). Much like many common sayings today, what it means between two people sometimes comes down to personal history. There are three take aways that count from that story: 1) Mary asked for a favor and Jesus granted it, 2) Mary spoke another of her very, very select and few lines from the Gospels “Do what ever he tells your.” and 3) Jesus went above and beyond, in abundance at Mary’s request, providing a very large quantity of exceptionally good wine to fulfill a pretty simple request.

    The second story you mention, Matthew 12:50 is not a put down to his mother either. That message was for the crowds, not Mary – who always did indeed do the will of his Father.

  133. GNW Paul, Lets see what Mary says about herself. She calls Christ her savior in her beautiful prayer. And she says a bondslave of the Lord. So we see she is a model Christian understanding her sinfulness and her humility. She never thought of herself as any queen of anything. The Marian ego has gone wild in the Roman church. The Pope who in 1950 who made her assumption official had no biblical support and couldn’t find any support among the Magisterium. But he did it anyway.

  134. Kevin (#131)

    This was a customary way of putting someone in their place.

    And you know this because…?

    jj

  135. Kevin,

    Jesus calling Mary “woman” is His way of acknowledging that she is the Woman of Genesis 3:15 between whom God placed enmity of her seed and Satan’s. She is the new “Eve” who corresponds to the new “Adam” – completing the New Creation.

    Jesus would never publicly (or privately) disrespect his mother, because he would never violate the commandment to honor mother and father. Had he done so, he would have sinned – an impossibility.

    Look at the significance of Mary’s appearances in Scripture: annunciation, nativity, presentation, the first miracle, the crucifixion, the upper room with the Apostles immediately after the Ascension. She is undoubtedly the source for much of the opening chapters of the Book of Luke.

    She is addressed as royalty at the annunciation: “Hail!”. She is given a new name by God’s messenger: “full of grace” – an honor reserved only for Abram, Jacob and Peter. These are significant facts overlooked by Protestant exegetes because they’re too “Catholic.”

    There is no Marian “ego.” By venerating (not worshipping) Mary, we follow the prophetic word that “henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.” At the foot of the Cross, when all the Jesus spoke was of profound import, he says to John (representing the Apostles – the Church to come) “behold thy Mother.”

    The Catholic view of Mary is the more scriptural view, Kevin.

    Frank

  136. Fred @111: I accuse myself :). I was becoming impatient, and slipped into exaggerated language.

  137. Frank,
    Here is what the New American Bible (RC translation and approved by your church) footnote says about John 2:4
    ” This verse may seek to show that Jesus did not work miracles to help his family and friends, as in the apocryphal gospels. Woman: a normal, polite form of address, but unattested in reference to one’s mother. Cf also ⇒ John 19:26. How does your concern affect me?: literally, “What is this to me and to you?” – a Hebrew expression of either hostility (⇒ Judges 11:12; ⇒ 2 Chron 35:21; ⇒ 1 Kings 17:18) or denial of common interest (⇒ Hosea 14:9; ⇒ 2 Kings 3:13). Cf ⇒ Mark 1:24; ⇒ 5:7 used by demons to Jesus. My hour has not yet come: the translation as a question (“Has not my hour now come?”), while preferable grammatically and supported by Greek Fathers, seems unlikely from a comparison with ⇒ John 7:6, ⇒ 30. The “hour” is that of Jesus’ passion, death, resurrection, and ascension (⇒ John 13:1).”

  138. Pat @ 114

    There are major problems with unwritten traditions from so long ago. Here are some of the problems:
    1) As far as I can tell the RCC has never officially produced a list of some kind of what these unwritten traditions of the apostles were. Without this, how can you even identify what an unwritten traditions of the apostles were.
    2) Without any specifics about them, then any thing not in the NT could be said to be an unwritten tradition of the apostles. By such seasonings a person could disprove doctrines of the RCC.
    3) Unwritten traditions would not rise to same level as inspired-inerrant Scripture.

    1. These are fair question. I can see how our invoking of Unwritten Tradition seems like a boogie man we pop out whenever we want to. I think this article is a thought-provoking and beautiful reflection over the nature of unwritten tradition, and an explanation of why it seems to hard to pin down (particularly Ratzinger/Pope Benedict’s reflections on the nature of revelation itself): http://bit.ly/unwritten-trad

    2. That is why the Unwritten Tradition and Written Tradition (Scripture) both require a living authority which can infallibly protect and clarify them. This is why we are so insistent on the need for an “infallible interpreter to keep us from error.” Without it, Unwritten Tradition dissipates and the Canon of Scripture itself falls apart. The common illustration is a three-legged stool, remove one leg and the whole thing falls over.

    When we insist on an Infallible Interpreter, we are not asking for an “Official Commentary.” Rather, it is a living authority who can protect the Truth from error. It doesn’t give us an exhaustive commentary on the Gospels, but it does tell us who Jesus is–Fully God, Fully Man, and no admixture. It tells us creation happened ex nihilo and that we must believe that Adam and Eve were real people. It tells us the nature of the Sacraments, the Trinity, etc. The request for an exhaustive commentary (1) is reducing Christianity down to the Bible, and (2) is offensive to the Scriptures, which, as God’s Word, contain an infinity richness.

    Your statement saying that such an interpreter doesn’t exist is begging the question. We say it does to, and without it the promise that “But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will teach you all truth. For he shall not speak of himself; but what things soever he shall hear, he shall speak; and the things that are to come, he shall shew you.” Also note the emphasis that “He shall not speak for himself.” Jesus would constantly, in John, refer to His being “sent,” then He “sent” the Apostles with His name and authority. This also shows the need to be “sent” and not to be “speaking of oneself,” which is the whole point of Apostolic Succession.

    The quotes from St. Basil above were to show that the Early Church recognized that there were unwritten traditions, and that they were Unwritten.

    3. Scripture (NT) came from the Apostles, they were inspired persons. Their oral teachings were also inerrant and inspired, so, no, since the Unwritten Apostolic Tradition comes from the same source as the Written Apostolic Tradition, both are inspired/inerrant.

    Ave Maria!
    friar Charles

  139. Pat @ 137
    The footnotes in the NAB reflect an infatuation with modern biblical scholarship, and as such are not the best indicators of the perennial Catholic tradition. In our friaries, the generally opinion is that the foot-notes in the NAB are not worth much.
    Some better commentaries would be found here:
    http://www.veritasbible.com/
    Pertinent to the discussion:
    http://www.veritasbible.com/resources/articles/The_%22Brethren%22_Of_The_Lord

    Ave Maria!

  140. fra Charles,
    I can see why its hard to pin down.”. And what we call “tradition” is precisely that part of revelation that goes above and beyond Scripture and cannot be comprehended within a code of formulas. (Milestones, p. 127)”
    This is so inferior to the inspired-inerrant Word of God that we have in the Scripture.

    How supposedly does this “Infallible Interpreter” function when it cannot tell you specifically what these unwritten traditions are and has never interpreted the Scriptures officially?

    Jesus did teach His apostles personally while in the flesh and guided them in the production of the NT. After the apostles, there is no more revelation nor is there any needed.

    Those who lived with the apostles and interacted with them knew things about them that we don’t. What they knew personally and found in a few writings of theirs is not considered Scripture and has nothing to do any teachings of theirs that is not found in the NT. They don’t add anything to the NT.

    How can “Unwritten Apostolic Tradition” be ” inspired/inerrant” when you don’t know what it was? How can something you have no evidence for nor examples be considered ” inspired/inerrant”?

  141. fra Charles,
    What? How can you say “The footnotes in the NAB reflect an infatuation with modern biblical scholarship, and as such are not the best indicators of the perennial Catholic tradition…” and not worth much when it is approved by your church?

    Here is some background on this Bible from its website:
    “Released on March 9, 2011, the New American Bible, Revised Edition (NABRE) is the culmination of nearly 20 years of work by a group of nearly 100 scholars and theologians, including bishops, revisers and editors. The NABRE includes a newly revised translation of the entire Old Testament (including the Book of Psalms) along with the 1986 edition of the New Testament.”

    I would think even Fred would have no problem with this Bible and footnotes because it comes from a valid RCC site.

  142. Kevin,
    God bless you for your zeal! I can attest that 9 years ago, I would have said the same things, many other contributors here can say the same thing.

    In order to make the discussion more fruitful, I would suggest you do some reading on what the Catholic Church really teaches about Mary. I would also suggest reading and praying over those same passages and trying to get deeper insight into them. Did Jesus violate the 4th Commandment? Why does Mary show up at every turning place in the New Testament (Annunciation, Nativity, Presentation, First miracle by Jesus [which sparked his public ministry], Crucifixion, Ascension, Pentecost)?

    Some resources you could look through to get a better understanding of what Catholic actually believe about Mary (to be honest, from your post you appear to lack even an elementary knowledge about what Catholic teachings on Mary, but it does seem you have learned from anti-Catholic sources)
    The Bible is Catholic (specifically on Lk 11): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhGR5Wp_OBg
    Mary In Scripture (Scott Hahn): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HQy8XjM51I
    An overview of teachings: http://www.thequeenofangels.com/mary-the-queen/marian-apologetics/
    Various other articles: http://www.ewtn.com/faith/teachings/marymenu.htm
    In-Depth presentation of Mary and Scripture: http://www.ewtn.com/library/mary/maryinsc.htm

    I hope you are able to look through some of those, and I look forward to hearing more from you.

    Ave Maria!
    friar Charles

  143. Mary is the Gebireh of Heaven.

    The natural translation of this Hebrew word into English is “Queen,” although “Queen Mother” might also be a good translation.

    The institution of the Gebireh was a part of the Davidic dynasty from the time of the first “Son of David” onward, right through to the last “Son of David.” And it was even a relatively common role in other kingdoms and empires.

    One difference between the “Queen” in an ancient kingdom and the “Queen” of a medieval European kingdom is: In ancient kingdoms, the king had many wives, whom he usually married in order to form alliances or to cement the vassal status of a vassal state.

    Consequently it was rare for the “Queen” in an ancient kingdom to be the wife of the king; instead, it was usually the king’s mother (at least until the king’s mother died; after this the office or role might be vacant, or it might pass to a favorite wife, or to the mother of the heir-presumptive).

    Also, a king might come into his throne when he was a child. In this case, the “Queen” (his mother) often served as his regent…and thus had some experience of rulership.

    Now this didn’t happen the same way in medieval Europe because of Christianity: Instead of having many wives, the Christian king had one. And thus we moderns associate “Queen” with the king’s wife instead of his mother.

    But the Gebireh in the Davidic kingdom was generally the mother, for good or ill. Whenever the king married some pagan woman for an alliance and her son took the throne, the result was generally bad, whether in Judah or Israel. I suppose everyone recalls names like Athaliah and Jezebel. Some of the worst kings were the sons of a bad Gebireh.

    But, a good and faithful Gebireh produced some of the most righteous kings, like Jedidah the mother of Josiah.

    We should also note that the “First Lady” of a nation — whether a Queen or a Queen Mother or the wife of a president — tends in human societies to fulfill a very humanitarian, charitable, motherly role. Feminists snark at this sort of thing but it’s perfectly natural. Over the years the American “First Lady” tends to advocate for assistance for the people, whether it’s school lunches or educational improvements or mental health coverage or “saying no to drugs.” There is every reason to believe ancient kingdoms were much the same.

    Now Jesus is the “Son of David,” the “Messiah” or Annointed One — all kingly titles for those longing for the restoration of the kingdom to Israel. Jesus comes not merely to restore the kingdom but to fulfill it more gloriously, making it the Kingdom of God. Many aspects of the Davidic kingdom can be expected to return, but to be fulfilled more gloriously in Jesus’ kingdom.

    How, then, will the Son of David honor His mother in the Kingdom of God?

    The answer is pretty obvious if you think like a first century Jew: He’d do something much like Solomon did in 1st Kings 2: He’d set up a throne for her at His right hand, and she’d be honored with regalia fitting her station. This would in no fashion mean that she was ruling instead of Him; but it would obey the commandment “Honor [literally, ‘glorify’] thy [father and thy] mother” in the fashion expected of an ancient monarch.

    Did Jesus obey the Ten Commandments? Was He the proper holder of the title “Son of David” and heir to David’s throne, or not?

    If He did, and if He was, and if His kingdom was not merely an earthly kingdom but the Kingdom of Heaven, what might we expect?

    I think we might expect that his mother, the Gebireh of Heaven, would be fitted out with all the regalia appropriate to such a role, would sit at the right hand of her Son who sits at the right hand of His Father, and would (as a Gebireh tended always to do) intercede with her son for the welfare of the people, advocating for merciful policies towards them. (And if she’s a saint in glory in Heaven, there’s every reason to believe that her mind is very much in tune with that of Her Son: What she asks for is exactly what He’d be likely to give anyway.)

    I said that the Gebireh of Heaven would be “fitted out with regalia appropriate to the role.” We know what kind of crown and mantle and seat an earthly queen-mother might have. What would a “heavenly” queen mother have for her crown and mantle and seat?

    “…there appeared a great wonder in heaven a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.”

    Huh. Her crown is stars, her mantle (or queenly robes, or whatever kind of clothes a female figure in such a vision would be likely to wear) is the sun, and the moon is her throne or footstool or pedestal or something like that. And she’s in heaven.

    I guess we can’t be absolutely sure this is the Gebireh of Heaven…but I kinda doubt it’s the cleaning lady of Heaven.

    Yeah, I know that the woman can represent Israel and the Church.

    But, the child born to her is Jesus (an individual). The dragon is Satan (an individual). Why shouldn’t the woman be Mary, an individual?

    Funny, too: Right before the woman shows up, John claims to have seen the Lost Ark. Instead of going on to describe where the Ark is — remember, the people of Israel have been longing for the restoration of the Ark; the Holy of Holies has been empty for hundreds of years at this point — John announces he’s seen the Ark and then goes on to describe the woman.

    But, no…surely the woman (whose womb contained the Bread from Heaven, the Word of God in Flesh, the High Priest of the New Covenant) couldn’t possibly be considered to be in any way similar to the Ark of the Covenant…which contained the Manna, the Tablets of the Ten Commandments, and Rod of Aaron!

    Personally if I were Our Lady, I might wonder if the Eternal Father couldn’t have worked out a more attractive Old Covenant typological prefigurement for me than…a box. Even if the box is covered in gold and so forth.

    But, she gets to also be prefigured by Eve and by the Gebirehs of the Davidic Dynasty, at least some of whom were good. So there’s that.

  144. Frank, Unfortunately the Catholic church takes it much further. Co mediatrix, gate to heaven. JPII had totally yours Mary sewn into his garments and when he died committed the whole church into her hands. Its like this Frank, God is transcendent in Rome, a tough guy who is always mad, and Jesus he is tough and always mad too, so you go to his mother and she softens Him up and becomes the mediator. This is blasphemous of our compassionate savior who is the one who intercedes with the father on our behalf. Rome makes Jesus the one who is mad and make the mother the savior and the compassionate one. But she usurps the exact position of our compassionate savior who is the only intended mediator. Jesus said come unto me all with heavy burden and I will give you rest. Also the only mention of queen of heaven in scripture is with paganism. And this is where Rome got this idea in the early church. Go back and study it. Whatever dullia you ascribe to it,it is idolatry to worship anyone other than the Father thru Jesus Christ.

  145. Hi Pat,

    You wrote in #141:

    I would think even Fred would have no problem with this Bible and footnotes because it comes from a valid RCC site.

    Heh! :-)

    Well, I have enough trouble with the actual words that come out of my mouth, Pat, so let us just stick with that rather than make guesses as to what I will actually say :-)

    It is a bit late for me to go into this right now, but suffice it to say that the imprimatur and nihil obstat do not imply that a given document is infallible, and neither does the fact that something appears on an officially Catholic website. The exact definition as to when the Church teaches infallibly is rather more limited than that. Consequently if there are errors in the NABRE or its notes, it is irrelevant with respect to the Church’s infallibility.

    Secondly, an enormous amount hinges upon accurately identifying the literary type of a given book or passage of the Bible: if a given passage is not intended to be taken literalistically, it is erroneous to try and do so. If I say for example “Everyone hates the Raiders!” I am obviously being hyperbolic (unfortunately) :-) There are lots of Raiders fans (but not in my house!) My point is that if we miss the hyperbole, we risk misinterpreting what I said.

    So too with the Bible. This is one reason why I think that Bryan’s article The Tradition and the Lexicon is important. It is simply inadequate to suppose (as many people do) that looking up a word in Strong’s is as good as being a translator or Bible scholar. In this respect I think that Strong has done a serious disservice to Christendom (unintentionally, I am sure), by giving people the wrong idea about how easy it is to translate or interpret Scripture. It is not that easy.

    Peace,

    Fred

  146. Fred,
    Strong made it possible for a lot of Christians to understand the Bible better and he is not the only one. I have yet to see anything from your church that has furthered a better understanding of the Scriptures.

  147. Friar Charles, so Mary being in all those places makes her the queen of heaven, co mediatrix, and gateway into heaven? Did Mary die on a cross? The only mention of Mary in the Epistles is when Paul says “born of a woman” She plays no role in the early church. She isn’t even mentioned. Friar Charles allow me to rebuke you in love in the Lord. The scripture is clear, we are to love God with all of our heart soul and mind. There should be no room for anyone else in our heart, We serve a jealous God who said in Isaiah 48 that He shares his Glory with no one else. To give any glory or worship or prayer to anyone else other then the only mediator between man and God is a serious thing. She simply is called the mother of Jesus in Scripture. A woman of respect and favored. She considered herself a bonds lave and a sinner. She had many chidden. I study languages and the word for children can mean nothing else in the language. God Bless.

  148. Jim (#15)
    I may be a few days late in responding, but you write concerning the Immaculate Conception:

    I remember years ago arguing this doctrine with a member of the Greek Orthodox Church. He denied it but I had to remind him that that very day just so happened to be a feast in his Church, the Conception of St. Anne ( St. Anne’s conception of Mary that is ). The Church does not keep the feasts of conceptions nor births of those in sin. So, while the Orthodox officially do not hold to the doctrin.e, they might as well do so.

    Yes, the Orthodox do commemorate the conception of the Theotokos, but we do not understand that she was conceived free from the effects of Adam and Eve’s sin. She was subject to death. Her Son, the Logos of God, received from her the same nature that she received from her parents, Joachim and Anna. Jesus was born subject to the ancestral curse, and subject to death the same as you or I. The Orthodox understanding of the consequences of the sin of Adam does not require the conception of the Theotokos to be any different from the conception of you or I. In fact, it requires that her conception be exactly the same, so that her Divine Son can heal our nature because he assumed our nature in every way, yet he did no sin and perfectly fulfilled the Law during his Earthly life.

  149. Pat, (#137)

    So? One particular Bible translation and one not held in particularly high esteem among Catholics compared to the NRSV or Navarre Bible or Douay-Rheims.

    Here’s what the NRSV has to say, in part:

    When the idiom (“what have you to do with me”) is used in response to a request, either stated or implied, the speaker sometimes capitulates to the the expressed will of the other (2 Kings 3:13) and sometimes not (2 Sam 16:10). Here the former pattern is evident: Jesus complies with Mary’s request and Mary appears perfectly confident that Jesus will respond favorably to her petition. In effect, Jesus would not have initiated the miracle, but neither does he refuse his Mother’s prompting.”

    Jesus, who on his own initiative, appears not to have wanted to perform this miracle, nevertheless is moved to it by the petition of his Mother. This is why Catholics pray for Mary’s intercession, because even in Heaven, Mary is still his Mother and John 2 demonstrates that her intercessions are persuasive. This is entirely Scriptural, Pat.

    Will you be responding to my #121?

    Frank

  150. Kevin,
    “The only reference to queen of heaven in scripture is Pagan. ” Esther means Isis or Astarte. So what?
    Protestants object to honoring Mary with the title “Queen of Heaven” because they feel it robs God of His glory and give it to a creature.
    So silly. The only way calling Mary the “Queen of Heaven” could rob God is if you think only God should be called “Queen of Heaven”.

  151. Hi Pat,

    Strong made it possible for a lot of Christians to understand the Bible better and he is not the only one. I have yet to see anything from your church that has furthered a better understanding of the Scriptures.

    But that is precisely my point with respect to his Greek and Hebrew tack-ons at the end of the concordance (which is useful depending upon the literalness of the translation). The average non-Greek speaker is not in a better position to understand the Bible by looking up some Greek word in Strong’s because he has no idea why (in cases where multiple renderings are provided) one was chosen over another in some context or other. The situation is even worse in Hebrew where different verb forms may have pretty drastic semantic differences.

    Let me offer an example. Let us suppose you have no knowledge of Spanish at all, but you do have a Spanish-English/English-Spanish dictionary. How will you fare in actual conversations with people on the street who use idiomatic Spanish? I think we can safely say the answer is “poorly” and that isn’t a criticism of you. It is a reality of language. Your situation would actually be better than the guy using Strong’s because the Spanish speaker can rephrase and use easier words or non-idiomatic ones; the guy with Strong’s won’t have a clue.

    For what it is worth, I held this same opinion decades ago as a Protestant with a couple years of Greek and enough skill in Hebrew for a Ph.D Hebrew friend to strongly recommend that I pursue the language professionally. In fact, I held (and hold) myself subject to the same criticism as I do the guy with Strong’s. Translation is not so straightforward as looking up a word.

    Peace,

    Fred

  152. Folks,

    We are getting a bit far afield here. I know I have been a major contributor to the problem, so I am not blaming anyone but myself. Please, let us steer things back to the topic of the post.

    It won’t do to pretend that veneration of Mary is a recent novelty, since it goes back to at least 250 AD. If you think that means the Church went off the rails at that time and because of this there are some serious ecclesiological consequences.

    Peace and thanks for the civility of the conversation so far,

    Fred

  153. Frank,
    I know when I am ““accurately” handling the truth when it lines up with Scripture and the teachings of other good teachers and pastors.

    How do you know ” One particular Bible translation and one not held in particularly high esteem among Catholics compared to the NRSV or Navarre Bible or Douay-Rheims”? Just because one translation is not “particularly high esteem among Catholics” does not mean they are right.

    Do you pray to Jarius and Martha also because they asked Jesus to raise their loved ones?

    If what you claim is true: “This is why Catholics pray for Mary’s intercession, because even in Heaven, Mary is still his Mother and John 2 demonstrates that her intercessions are persuasive. This is entirely Scriptural..” then why do we not see one verse, one example of anyone praying to Mary in the NT if its Scriptural?

  154. Fred,
    It may not be a “that veneration of Mary is a recent novelty, since it goes back to at least 250 AD” but it certainly not apostolic. The apostles never taught this which means that it does not have its origins in Scripture but in the minds of men who are not inspired. The church goes “off the rails” when it creates doctrines that are not apostolic in origin or practice.

  155. Hi Pat,

    You said in #154:

    It may not be a “that veneration of Mary is a recent novelty, since it goes back to at least 250 AD” but it certainly not apostolic. The apostles never taught this which means that it does not have its origins in Scripture but in the minds of men who are not inspired. The church goes “off the rails” when it creates doctrines that are not apostolic in origin or practice.

    Your assertion here (which is all it is, really) assumes the validity of sola scriptura, which CtC has repeatedly shown to be unworkable. On the other hand, the Catholic view is fully compatible with what the Church teaches about Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture, Apostolic Succession, the Magisterium, and the nature of the Church itself.

    If you wish to argue for the validity of your position on sola scriptura, you may either take the discussion to the most appropriate thread this one, or to The Accidental Catholic, or (since I have explicitly made the offer) you may show why TAC is wrong in this thread. It is your choice, but the mere assertion of your view is obviously not the same as disproving the Catholic position.

    Thanks,

    Fred

  156. Ave Maria!

    To tie up some loose ends before getting back on topic.

    @ All
    Perhaps it would be good to have an article on the Perpetual Virginity, and also move the debate over whether the NT is the only thing remaining of the teaching of the Apostles (one other possibility it is difficult for Protestants to “get” Tradition is that they are not organically united to it since the Reformation). Two posts which would help the understanding (they did mine) would be:
    http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2013/02/on-the-usefulness-of-tradition-a-response-to-recent-objections/
    http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2010/02/the-tradition-and-the-lexicon/

    @ Kevin
    I will repeat my earlier comment that you don’t understand the basics of Mariology. In Theology in general, one needs work from the foundation up. You can’t understand our salvation unless you understand God Himself died and rose again, you can’t understand God dying unless you understand the Incarnation, and you cannot fathom the Incarnation until you have a general idea of the Trinity. It is similar with you objections to Mary. You have received a caricature of Marian doctrine close enough to be able to object to it, but you have no exposure (I presume) the foundations of those same doctrines.
    To give some general perspectives:
    Any Marian doctrine or devotion that does not ultimately point to Jesus and to the Father is vain, heretical, diabolical, and should be denounced with the utmost vigor.
    Any Marian doctrine or devotion that seeks to elevate Mary to a divine person is vain, heretical, diabolical, and should be denounced with the utmost vigor.
    Any Marian doctrine or devotion that denies the unique role of Jesus as the sole mediator between God and man is vain, heretical, diabolical, and should be denounced with the utmost vigor.
    And I say this as a member of a religious order which is “consecrated” to Mary, whose entire purpose is “to give Mary to souls, to cause them to discover and know Her, to make all Hearts love Her, availing ourselves of every means in order to that She may bring souls to Jesus and transform them into other Christs “in the swiftest, surest, most beautiful way.”
    Mary is the masterpiece of God, and by loving, extolling and glorifying Her, we are loving, extolling, and glorifying God. Mary is the means God chose to come to us, and is the means He chose to bring us to Him. Mary is all about Jesus, entirely from God and for God, Her entire being was created Immaculate, United with God, so that she would be the worthy Mother of God. She cannot be understood apart from Jesus, and without realizing this fundamental fact, you cannot understand Mary.

    Again, Kevin, I understand, appreciate, and applaud your jealousy for the Glory of God, the question, however, is “Does He share His glory and thereby increase it?” Consider the parables of the talents and the servants. The third servant was jealous to protect his talent for his Master, but failed to realize the Master is glorified by his servants to bring return on the gifts they received from God. You say “Soli Deo gloria,” we say “Ad maximum Dei gloriam.”

    Some good articles to get a better understanding on who Mary is in the Catholic understanding:
    Father Hardon on Marian Doctrine
    http://www.therealpresence.org/archives/Mariology/Mariology_044.htm
    Father Hardon on Marian Devotion
    http://www.therealpresence.org/archives/Mariology/Mariology_013.htm

    I think Bl. John Henry Cardinal Newman is very helpful on Mary. As a Protestant, the issue of Mary kept him out of the Catholic Church for almost two decades. His approach is very good, and was instrumental in my own conversion (as well as having my anti-Mary arguments ground to powder by Catholics).
    Father Hardon on Cardinal Newman’s apologetic on Mary (useful since it was addressed to Protestants hostile to Catholic teaching on Mary)
    http://www.therealpresence.org/archives/Mariology/Mariology_039.htm
    Collection of excerpts on Mary from Cardinal Newman
    http://www.christendom-awake.org/pages/mcgovern/newman.html
    The book that helped me a lot “the Mystical Rose” (It also contains reflections over titles such as “Gate of Heaven)
    http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/newman-mary.asp

    Kevin, please do read and consider. A turning point in my life, and many others here, is when I actually learned what the Church taught! I would ask you to try to understand the Catholic teaching on Mary from knowledgeable Catholics, and not simply rely on the mischaracterizations, misunderstandings, and even lies from anti-Catholics apologists. As Christians, we should seek the Truth, and not be satisfied with unTruth.

    Finally, @ George (148), you may be interested in a book our publishing company just sent to the printers. It is an examination of the parallels between Catholic Scotistic thought and Eastern Orthodoxy (particularly Palamas and Mark Eugenicus).
    http://academyoftheimmaculate.com/immaculate-conception-kappes.html

  157. Hi Pat,

    You said in #153:

    I know when I am ““accurately” handling the truth when it lines up with Scripture and the teachings of other good teachers and pastors.

    Don’t you think this is question-begging? How do you know what you say “lines up with Scripture”? The entire exercise is to learn what truths are revealed in the Bible. If you come to it already having an idea of what that would mean, it seems to me that you have clearly prejudiced the answers you will find.

    Similarly, how do you know who qualifies as a good teacher or pastor? Is it not because they teach things that are already in line with the idea that you have of what ought to be found in the Bible? It sure seems like that to me.

    Peace,

    Fred

  158. Pat (#153),

    Fred has already said much of what I would have.

    Your explanation is entirely circular. “When it lines up with Scripture” means “when it lines up with my understanding of Scripture.” I then asked you how do you know your understanding is “accurate”? Your response is “When it lines up Scripture.”

    And with that you travel full circle and (as Bryan Cross so memorably put it) “paint your target around your interpretive arrow.”

    Frank

  159. Friar, Maybe you can help me. Where do the Apostles discuss Mariology?

  160. Kevin, Pat:

    I hope you carefully read Friar Charles’ #156. That describes exactly what I, and all the fellow Catholics I worship with, understand about the proper relation of Mary to Jesus and to the Trinity.

    One further thing I would ask you to think about is this: our elevated language, our honorific titles, our deep love for Mary that you think tarnish and threaten the glory due only to God is a perception you have only because you do not have the Mass. The Mass is an extended, intensely Christocentric prayer of worship and forms the very heart of all Catholic spiritual life.

    You have nothing that corresponds to this and so you are taking what you know – your worship practices (the heart of which is the reading and preaching of Scripture) – and placing Catholic Marian devotion next to that. Of course the Marian devotions would seem excessive if seen in light of those Protestant worship practices and would seem to detract from the glory of God.

    But it is not the case that our Marian devotions are excessive, it is that Protestant worship of Jesus is relatively pale compared with the Mass. If you have never attended a Solemn Catholic (or Orthodox) Mass or are only familiar with some of the unfortunate stripped down Masses said in some parishes nowadays, you simply do not have the framework for understanding the place of Marian devotions in Catholic spiritual life.

    Did you know, for example, that prayers to Mary are completely absent from the Mass and that the “Hail Mary” or other petitions for intercession are only permitted after the Mass is ended (or before it begins) in order that worship of Christ remain the sole focus of the Mass?

    Do you bow your heads at the mention of His Name in your services? Do you fall to your knees at the mention of his Incarnation in the recitation of the Creed? Do you pray “Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof but only say the word and my soul shall be healed”?

    I think if you were immersed in the totality of the Mass weekly (or even daily), you would be able to appreciate how relatively little glory and honor we pay to her compared to the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Frank

  161. Friar,” You said in theology one needs to work form the foundation up” With all due respect friar this in translated as let me explain our added revelation. In theology one must start with proper hermeneutics and exegete scripture correctly. I don’t have objections to Mary friar, i have objections to a theology built on ” the mother of Jesus” into her being the fourth member of the trinity with no biblical evidence. Christ existed before he was incarnated thru an earthly mother. He died on the cross and Colossians tells us that he is to have first place in everything. Mary would be embarrassed with the caricature that has been her thru added revelation. You should know that the Pope who gave her assumption in 1950 said he had no biblical support nor any from the magisterium. But he went ahead anyway. Citing me other Roman scholars does not help me Friar. It has been a constant swelling of the Marian ego to where she is now taken the place of the savior in Roman theology. The verse Timothy should be enough for you sir . There is one mediator between man and God, Christ. Hebrews supports this same truth. And as lovely as Mary was, the fact that she stood at the foot of the cross does not qualify her to propitiate sin of delve out grace. You have Mary up on a throne and still have Jesus on the cross and the altar. Jesus is the king and Mary was a humble servant of her Lord and Savior.

  162. Frank said ” the Protestant worship of Jesus is rather pale compared to the mass” On the contrary sir. You won’t let him off the cross or the altar. He is an eternal victim in the Roman system. The incarnation is finished for us. Remember “he is risen.” Christ said he accomplished all that the father had given him to do. Hebrews says by one offering, at the consummation of the ages, he perfected us for all time. There are no more sacrifices for sin. You are constrained by those words sir. Your mass is does not perfect anyone. You can go to 10000 masses and still not have enough sanctifying grace for heaven. The writer of hebrews said that the Judaizers needed a physical altar, Priesthood , and sacrifice, and that that was shrinking back in one’s faith. OTOH Christ ripped the veil away and his Priesthood, altar, and sacrifice is in heaven where we are seated with him, offering him spiritual praise and sacrifices. This is the good news of Scripture. We sing the amen of a finished act that accomplishesd salvation. Thats why justification is always past tense in Scripture. Something we look back on with peace in our heart. This is the truth of the great gospel go God. Thanks Frank

  163. Kevin,

    You wrote in #161:

    There is one mediator between man and God, Christ.

    Either you must never, ever ask any other human being to pray for you, or you are going to need to try a different argument. :-) Because we are seeking nothing from Mary & the saints but their intercession on our behalf, which is no different in principle from asking your mom to pray for you.

    Peace,

    Fred

  164. Fred,
    In response to #155: Its not about Sola Scriptura per se. We know from Scripture that the apostles never taught Marian devotions or the Marian dogmas. We can examine the Scriptures and look for anything about Mary being prayed to or being a perpetual virgin and we don’t find it. Appealing to sacred traditions (whatever that is) doesn’t help either for getting any apostolic support since all we have is found in the Scripture alone. To disprove this, then you will need to produce some document by an apostle that shows that they did indeed teach Marian devotions and dogmas. Until this happens I am on solid ground for saying the apostles never taught these things.

  165. Frank,
    I don’t get it why you are making this so hard for yourself. Its not that difficult. If I’m using circular reasoning then so are you when you appeal to your church.

  166. Fred,
    It is fundamentally different when you ask prayers from your mom who is alive and from the dead. The living here can understand and hear your requests. The dead cannot. Ecc 9:5-6 bears this truth out:
    “5 For the living know they will die; but the dead do not know anything, nor have they any longer a reward, for their memory is forgotten. 6 Indeed their love, their hate and their zeal have already perished, and they will no longer have a share in all that is done under the sun.”

  167. Kevin, If you would just raise your eyes about half an inch above the passage you quote about the one mediator, you will see Paul telling us to mediate for kings and those in authority.

    You wrote, ” He is an eternal victim in the Roman system. The incarnation is finished for us. Remember “he is risen.”

    Firstly, who told you the Incarnation is over? Secondly, Christ the High Priest must have something to offer in the Heavenly sanctuary. The Lamb standing as slain. Jesus in a victim now and forever. A victim in glory who cannot suffer. A victim with the wounds in His hands and feet forever.

    Who said Mary is the 4th member of the Trinity. No Catholic did. Why are you using uncharitable terminology like that?

    As for Pius XII saying there was no biblical support for the Assumption, you are mistaken. He said “everybody knows the Woman of Rev.12 is Mary”. That sounds like Biblical support to me.

    Mary would be embarrassed? At Fatima she said God wishes to establish devotion to her Immaculate Heart.

  168. Friar Charles,
    Have you read the Glories of Mary by Alphonsus de Liguori Doctor of the Church?

  169. Fred, I didn’t say it, Paul did. Your argument is with him not me.

  170. Frank, We start with the axiom the scripture is the only infallible source and end up with the Roman church is not. You start with the axiom the Roman church is an infallible source and end up with because the Roman church is an infallible source. Your argument is circular not ours.

  171. Kevin,
    You inquired of Friar, “Friar, Maybe you can help me. Where do the Apostles discuss Mariology?”

    May I help you? Friar appears to not be manning his computer so, with his permission, I would like to suggest you turn to the very first few sentences in the Gospel of St. Luke. Luke tells Theophilus that he had done some research before picking up his quill. That means, that although the Holy Spirit is the author, Luke had to talk to someone else to find out about the Angel visiting Mary and all kinds of personal details. Maybe even Our Lady if not the Apostles who actually knew Our Lord?
    Does that help?

  172. Kevin and Pat,
    You base so much of your arguments on the fact that Bible is silent on certain things.Okay, fine. What is sauce for the goose…
    Jesus said, ” The Father and I are One”. Using your logic, Jesus just denied the divinity of the Holy Spirit. He had every opportunity to say, “The Father and I and the Holy Spirit are One” yet He didn’t.
    I rest my case.

  173. Jim,
    in regards to #167. Paul is not “telling us to mediate for kings and those in authority” but asking them to entreat, petition, and pray to God for them. This is not an act of mediation because mediation means: “one who intervenes between two persons who are at variance, with a view to reconcile them….
    Christ is the one and only mediator between God and man (1Ti 2:5; Hbr 8:6; 9:15; 12:24). He makes reconciliation between God and man by his all-perfect atoning sacrifice. Such a mediator must be at once divine and human, divine, that his obedience and his sufferings might possess infinite worth, and that he might possess infinite wisdom and knowledge and power to direct all things in the kingdoms of providence and grace which are committed to his hands (Mat 28:18; Jhn 5:22,25,26,27); and human, that in his work he might represent man, and be capable of rendering obedience to the law and satisfying the claims of justice (Hbr 2:17,18; 4:15,16), and that in his glorified humanity he might be the head of a glorified Church (Rom 8:29).”
    http://www.blueletterbible.org/search/Dictionary/viewTopic.cfm?topic=ET0002461

    Mary being the women of Rev 12 doesn’t fit the details of the chapter nor her history as recorded in the gospels.

  174. Hello Pat,

    In #164 you write:

    In response to #155: Its not about Sola Scriptura per se.

    Heh. Good one. :-) Why do I say that? Because you spend the rest of your comment assuming the legitimacy of sola scriptura. Don’t believe me?

    First:

    We know from Scripture that the apostles never taught Marian devotions or the Marian dogmas.

    No, “we” don’t know anything of the sort unless we have assumed sola scriptura first. Meanwhile the Catholic Church is over here, declaring that divine revelation is not limited to the Bible.

    Second:

    We can examine the Scriptures and look for anything about Mary being prayed to or being a perpetual virgin and we don’t find it.

    This implies nothing whatsoever about either seeking her intercession or her perpetual virginity unless we have assumed sola scriptura first.

    BTW, you asked for examples of people seeking Mary’s intercession in the Bible. I gave you one, which you promptly discarded by further assuming a special, question-begging definition of the word pray. And you still have not addressed (unless I missed it, which is possible since I have plenty to do just getting comments approved, and I might have overlooked something) the difficulty of your theological forebears accepting the perpetual virginity, though they too held to sola scriptura.

    Third:

    Appealing to sacred traditions (whatever that is) doesn’t help either for getting any apostolic support since all we have is found in the Scripture alone.

    Once again you assume the legitimacy of sola scriptura alone, and apparently without even understanding what Sacred Tradition is you have rejected it.

    Fourth:

    To disprove this, then you will need to produce some document by an apostle that shows that they did indeed teach Marian devotions and dogmas. Until this happens I am on solid ground for saying the apostles never taught these things.

    In short, your claim that your rejection of Marian dogmas has nothing to do with sola scriptura per se is really not credible, Pat. Your entire comment #164 is a textbook exercise in assuming the validity of sola scriptura. That is why I referred you to the other articles that I did, since you keep assuming this without interacting with the extensive argumentation on this site refuting sola scriptura.

    Peace,

    Fred

  175. Hello Pat,

    In #166 you write:

    It is fundamentally different when you ask prayers from your mom who is alive and from the dead. The living here can understand and hear your requests. The dead cannot. Ecc 9:5-6 bears this truth out:

    First, those in heaven are not dead. “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”

    “5 For the living know they will die; but the dead do not know anything, nor have they any longer a reward, for their memory is forgotten. 6 Indeed their love, their hate and their zeal have already perished, and they will no longer have a share in all that is done under the sun.”

    Second, your interpretation of this passage does not work. The “dead” in heaven are not actually dead (as Christ said Himself), and so their love and zeal have not perished at all. Furthermore I think you do not want to push too much using the OT as a source of information about the afterlife, since they knew of a single common place of the dead (Sheol). Lastly their memory is not forgotten in eternity, as the rich man in Hell demonstrated by his concern for his brothers (which also demonstrates that they do know something, contrary to your interpretation of verse 5).

    Third, it seems that you assume that the saints hear us by virtue of some power of their own. The Church has never taught this.

    Fourth, the saints are in eternity, where there is no time whatsoever: no before, no after, just one big now. We can barely wrap our heads around this idea because we are still timebound, but I think it would be rather daring to say that life in eternity does not imply some rather important things about the knowledge the saints have of things here on earth.

    Peace,

    Fred

  176. Kevin,

    You wrote in #169:

    Fred, I didn’t say it, Paul did. Your argument is with him not me.

    On the contrary, I pointed out a side effect of claiming that Paul’s words to Timothy prevent us from seeking intercession from the saints. Such a reading of the passage would have the additional affect of forbidding you to ask your mom for prayer. If that is not what you meant, please clarify how the passage applies to the one group (the saints in heaven) but not to the other (the saints on earth).

    Peace,

    Fred

  177. Fred, This is where the Roman argument breaks down. Its like me telling Bryan Cross that Hebrews 10:18 says ” no more sacrifices”, and he tells me that means animal sacrifices, when it says no more sacrifices. Its like Ephesians 2:8 saying ” not of yourselves” Paul eliminates any of salvation as coming from ourselves. Paul eliminates any other sacrifices. Paul eliminates all other mediation with the statement “one”. But Rome tries to smuggle their character into God’s work of grace. and Rome tries to smuggle the sacrifices of the mass. And rome tries to smuggle other mediation. But Paul allows none. The Reformers saved us from the hair splitting academics. Paul’s words constrain Rome. Not of yourselves means nothing. One mediator means one. And no more sacrifices means no other necessary. Not even the quote unquote re presentation which isn’t what Trent says because Trent anathematizes anyone who says the mass isn’t a real sacrifice. Sacrificium.

  178. Fred,
    #174:
    Where in Scripture do we find the apostles teaching the Marian dogmas? Book, chapter, verse please.
    There is no example in Scripture of anyone praying to Mary. This is not the same as someone asking for her help when she was alive as in John 2. No one prayed to her to ask Jesus to help.

    Since the Scripture never teach nor show by example anyone praying to Mary we can now look at the time after the apostles. The earliest claim that you gave was around 200 A.D. However, this is problematic given that no church council approved this nor is there any proof that the entire church embraced this idea either.

  179. Pat,

    I guess I lack whatever it takes to show you how you are assuming sola scriptura, since you reply to a comment demonstrating that you assume it with another post that starts right out with assuming sola scriptura. Perhaps one of the other participants will have more success than I.

    Peace,

    Fred

  180. Fred,
    #175
    No one knows who is in heaven specifically. Such knowledge would require some kind of supernatural revelation. Do you claim to have such knowledge to know specifically who is in heaven?

    Lazurus and the rich man does not support praying for the dead since both were dead ” And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.’ Luke 16:26. Any communication with the and living is forbidden and not possible.

    How do you know what eternity is like? How do you know “there is no time whatsoever: no before, no after, just one big now”?

  181. Fred,
    You don’t need to believe in Sola Scriptura to demonstrate that the Scriptures don’t teach devotion to Mary. All one needs to do is search the Scriptures to see if they do and if there is no evidence for it then that shows its not taught in the Scripture. It does not depend on believing in Sola Scriptura.

  182. Casey Chalk and Miro have been carrying on a great discussion that parallels this one pretty closely. Casey just posted a new comment Here

    Pat, the Marian dogmas and Marian devotion ARE scriptural and are, in undeveloped form, in scripture. Although they are not spelled out – and neither is the trinity, and neither is the doctrine that Christians must answer every question only from scripture, using only the literal sense – Biblicism. Which is what Casey addresses directly in the post linked above.

  183. Pat, Where do the Apostles talk about Marian dogma? John seems to say some rather significant Marian dogma in Chapter 19. In Rev 12 too. He was a Apostle, right? Luke has a hefty amount although not an Apostle. I kinda like Matthew saying she was a Virgin in partu by referencing Isaiah’s parthenos BEARING ( not just conceiving ) a child.
    As for the Assumption, probably not for the same reason we don’t see Peter and Paul martyred in Rome as
    IT HAD NOT HAPPENED YET.
    How’s that?

  184. Frank,
    Thank you for your response #160.
    I’ve tried to be a witness to what happens in the Mass, and the only way for someone to understand is to finally believe that what you are trying to tell them is very real and believable to you and then they have to go for themselves, if only out of curiousity.
    I just got off the phone with someone I took to Adoration a year ago. They just went for the second time last week and could barely contain themselves saying “ohhh, if only I would have known, I didn’t know, why didn’t I know . . “

  185. I don’t have time to respond much, so I will list what I agree with from your post, and then mention what I disagree with.

    I have objections to a theology built on ” the mother of Jesus” into her being the fourth member of the trinity with no biblical evidence.

    I agree with that, I would object too. If you think we are elevating Mary the fourth person of the Trinity, you are wrong. I know some have characterized certain movements such as http://www.FifthMarianDogma.com have been characterized as seeking such, but they are not, and to say that they are is wrong. There is a NY Times News story on this which completely misunderstands the point and sensationalizes it (how often does NY Times report successfully on religion?)

    There is one mediator between man and God, Christ

    AMEN! ALLELUIA!

    Jesus is the king and Mary was a humble servant of her Lord and Savior.

    Yup!

    Now for the not-so-fun part:

    Christ existed before he was incarnated thru an earthly mother. He died on the cross and Colossians tells us that he is to have first place in everything.

    Well, if Jesus Christ is truly Man, then, no, He didn’t exist before the Incarnation. God the Son existed eternally, but only at the Incarnation did the unique union without confusion of Man and God begin. That is the point of the Incarnation, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, the God the Son, assumed a human nature from Mary and became Man. Before Incarnation–only God. After Incarnation–true God and true Man.
    As for the rest, I agree. In fact, we (Franciscans) argue that the whole reason for creation from the very beginning (not dependent on Adam’s sin) was Jesus. For more on this, one of our priests did a video series (Colossians 1 is treated in videos 21-25) on it here: http://bit.ly/absolute-primacy , and has the book he wrote over this online here: http://absoluteprimacyofchrist.org/

    You said in theology one needs to work form the foundation up” With all due respect friar this in translated “as let me explain our added revelation.”

    Then you misunderstood. I mean that you need to establish the foundation issues: Jesus is God, Mary is not; Jesus is the Unique Mediator between God and Man; Jesus, by his self-offering to the Father on the Cross, merited our super-abundant salvation, Jesus is the Savior of ALL. Only once you understand we are not violating these foundation principles, can you start understanding Catholic and Orthodox teachings of Mary.

    Mary would be embarrassed with the caricature that has been her thru added revelation.

    Rather, Jesus is saddened to see those who desire to love Him refuse to grant His Mother the Glory HE granted Her.

    Citing me other Roman scholars does not help me Friar.

    The reason I cite others is because they explain these better than I do, and that there is no purpose that I see of recreating those resources in this comment thread.

    We believe A, B, and C. You think we believe X, Y, and Z, and denounce them. We also denounce X, Y, and Z. I give you those articles to help you understand that we believe A, B, and C–not X, Y, and Z. This way constructive discussion can occur. One of the many great things about this site is that commenters are expected to allow each side to state what they believe, and not to tell the other side that they actually believe something different. You have been telling us that we believe certain things, and we are saying we do not, and I provided links to help explain what we do believe. Continuing to insist that we actually believe what anti-Catholics claim we do will get this discussion nowhere.

    Imagine if I start accusing you of elevating the Bible to a Fourth Person of the Trinity. Ridiculous, no? But that is what you are doing to us. Please, take some time and try to understand what Catholics actually believe. We want your continued input, but so far you have just been regurgitating, from our perspective, nonsense that we don’t believe either.

    It has been a constant swelling of the Marian ego to where she is now taken the place of the savior in Roman theology.

    The verse Timothy should be enough for you sir.

    The doctrine of Mary Coremptrix, properly understood, in no ways intrudes on Jesus as the Sole Mediator between God and Man and the Sole source of Our Salvation.

    You have Mary up on a throne and still have Jesus on the cross and the altar.

    As for Jesus still being on an altar and on the cross, I would suggest trying to understand the difference between Penal Substitutionary Atonement (which I presume to hold to) and Substitutionary Atonement. That is the fundamental disagreement here. Jesus’ throne is the Cross, it is the Altar. He offered sacrifice of himself as the True High Priest, and that sacrifice is eternal. In heaven He is the “Lamb standing as it were slain.” His throne of power is first and foremost a Throne of Love and Mercy manifested in self-sacrifice.

  186. Pat, that has been my exact point. Praying to a saint is found nowhere in Scripture, plus how are we to know who is in heaven.

  187. Pat (#165)

    If I’m using circular reasoning then so are you when you appeal to your church.

    That’s the Tu Quoque. Bryan Cross has nullified that criticism here: http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2010/05/the-tu-quoque/

    His summary is this:

    What the person becoming Catholic discovers in his study of history, tradition and Scripture is not merely an interpretation. If what he discovered were merely an interpretation of history, tradition and Scripture, then what he discovered would have no more authority than any Protestant confession. If his discovery were merely an interpretation, it too would be merely a human opinion. The prospective Catholic finds in his study of history and tradition and Scripture something that does not have a merely human source, either from himself or from other mere humans not having divine authorization. He finds in the first, second and third (etc.) centuries something with a divine origin and with divine authority. He finds the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church and its magisterial authority in succession from the Apostles and from Christ. He does not merely find an interpretation in which the Church has apostolic succession; he finds this very same Church itself, and he finds it to have divine authority by a succession from the Apostles. In finding the Church he finds an organic entity nearly two thousand years old with a divinely established hierarchy preserving divine authority. The basis for the authority of the Church he finds is not its agreement with his own interpretation of Scripture, history or tradition. History, tradition and Scripture are means by which and through which He discovers the Church in reality. The Church he finds in history and in the present has its divine authority from Christ through the Apostles and the bishops by way of succession.

    This is not just a Catholic version of sola scriptura, because the sources of the motives of credibility are scriptural, and historical, and based on the divine authority given to the Apostles as lived out in the early centuries of the Church.

    Protestantism, by design, has no such authority to which its adherents must submit their own views of doctrine for possible correction. You are your own ultimate authority, Pat – whether you’re willing to admit it or not.

    Frank

  188. Dear Lynn (#184) –

    God bless you for your witness and example to your friend. Alleluia!

    Pax Christi,
    Frank

  189. Jim,
    Let me address Rev 12 as being about Mary:
    Raymond Brown and J.A. Fitzmyer (Roman Catholic scholars), editors of the Jerome Biblical Commentary (2:482):
    “a woman: Most of the ancient commentators identified her with the Church; in the Middle Ages it was widely held that she represented Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Modern exegetes have generally adopted the older interpretation, with certain modifications.
    In recent years several Catholics have championed the Marian interpretation. Numerous contextual details, however, are ill-suited to such an explanation. For example, we are scarcely to think that Mary endured the worst of the pains of childbirth (v. 2), that she was pursued into the desert after the birth of her child (6, 13ff.), or, finally, that she was persecuted through her other children (v. 17). The emphasis on the persecution of the woman is really appropriate only if she represents the Church, which is presented throughout the book as oppressed by the forces of evil, yet protected by God. Furthermore, the image of a woman is common in ancient Oriental secular literature as well as in the Bible (e.g., Is 50:1; Jer 50:12) as a symbol for a people, a nation, or a city. It is fitting, then, to see in this woman the People of God, the true Israel of the OT and NT.”

    no doubt this makes the best understanding of who the woman of Rev 12.

  190. Jim,
    Here is something to think about in regards to the assumption of Mary:
    The Roman Catholic writer Eamon Duffy concedes that, ‘there is, clearly, no historical evidence whatever for it …’ (Eamon Duffy, What Catholics Believe About Mary (London: Catholic Truth Society, 1989), p. 17). For centuries in the early Church there is complete silence regarding Mary’s end. The first mention of it is by Epiphanius in 377 A.D. and he specifically states that no one knows what actually happened to Mary. He lived near Palestine and if there were, in fact, a tradition in the Church generally believed and taught he would have affirmed it. But he clearly states that ‘her end no one knows.’ These are his words:
    But if some think us mistaken, let them search the Scriptures. They will not find Mary’s death; they will not find whether she died or did not die; they will not find whether she was buried or was not buried … Scripture is absolutely silent [on the end of Mary] … For my own part, I do not dare to speak, but I keep my own thoughts and I practice silence … The fact is, Scripture has outstripped the human mind and left [this matter] uncertain … Did she die, we do not know … Either the holy Virgin died and was buried … Or she was killed … Or she remained alive, since nothing is impossible with God and He can do whatever He desires; for her end no-one knows.’ (Epiphanius, Panarion, Haer. 78.10-11, 23. Cited by juniper Carol, O.F.M. ed., Mariology, Vol. II (Milwaukee: Bruce, 1957), pp. 139-40).
    In addition to Epiphanius, there is Jerome who also lived in Palestine and does not report any tradition of an assumption. Isidore of Seville, in the seventh century, echoes Epiphanius by saying that no one has any information at all about Mary’s death. The patristic testimony is therefore non-existent on this subject. Even Roman Catholic historians readily admit this fact:
    In these conditions we shall not ask patristic thought—as some theologians still do today under one form or another—to transmit to us, with respect to the Assumption, a truth received as such in the beginning and faithfully communicated to subsequent ages. Such an attitude would not fit the facts…Patristic thought has not, in this instance, played the role of a sheer instrument of transmission’ (Juniper B. Carol, O.F.M., ed., Mariology, Vol. I (Milwaukee: Bruce, 1955), p. 154).

    As you can see how problematic this is. It has no eyewitness or historical support.

  191. Friar, thanks for your response. I listened to your arguments. Have you read De Laguardi’s book which is about 700 pages. I believe it was officially adopted by the RC. Now Friar if you read that book you can’t help but conclude Mary worship IMHO. You said Jesus’s throne is the cross, it is his altar.” Here is the news Friar he is risen. He aint on the cross anymore. Romans 1 says He was declared Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of Holiness.” Romans 4:25″ He was deliver over for our our transgressions and RAISED for our justification. Paul says in 1 corinthians 15 that if Christ wasn’t raised our faith is useless and we are still in our sins. His point is He was raised and we are no longer in our sins. Christ is an eternal victim in your system. You won’t let him off the cross or the altar. But friar he is risen and when he was raised so were we and seated with him in the heavenly places. The already/ not yet. His resurrection was our resurrection. Scripture says he is the first fruits with the rest of the crop to follow. God does not seat people in heave, seal them in the spirit (Ephesians) and describe it as an inheritance reserved in heaven for us that won’t fade away. All this is eschatologically charged. When we believe we pass out of judgment into life. John 5:24. We groan with the saints to put on our glorified body. Now saints that had to go thru a final judgment based on the life lived wouldn’t be waiting for their glorified bodies. The incarnation is finished friar and it perfected us. This is the good news that brings peace. Hebrews 10:14. In Roman theology justification is a recognition of an intrinsic qualification for a reward, but to Paul it was a declaration about someone who was utterly unqualified. Romans 4:5. Justification is always past tense in the scripture and as we look back on it we have true shalom. In rome the incarnation is still going on thru the acts of the church. But in now way could Paul ever meant dikaiou a judgment on the life lived. Thanks Friar I will further consider your words and come back.

  192. When we bring up Rev. 12 and others, we see the reason we are loath to use Scripture like you demand us to.

    We read scripture within the Tradition. Just like one starts with an understanding of Jesus as God, and God as Trinity when reading the Gospels, we come at scripture supported by how the Church has read the Bible, and the insights into it, for 2,000 years.

    So we can point to Rev. 12 to show Mary as the “Woman Clothed with the Sun”, or to the Unburnt Bush, which has long been seen as a prefigurement of Mary’s inviolate virginity by either conceiving or giving birth. The Sign of Isaiah is not that a Virgin will conceive, but that a virgin will conceive and bring forth a son. Mary, holding Jesus, Mary, nursing the Creator, is still a Virgin while being a Mother. This is the Sign of Isaiah.

    Other OT allusions are Ezekiel 44:1-3, and Song of Songs 4:12.

    We can present Scripture that supports our position, but there is no absolute proof verse, which seems to be what you want. We can present it, and you deny we are interpreting it correctly.

    The Perpetual Virginity of Mary matters. It matters for Christology. And it is not just about the physical. Luke 11 dispels that. Mary’s Virginity points to the Spiritual Virginity of a heart that seeks only God, and as such is an essential part of who Mary is, she is the one who is “All God’s”, and, in response, God gave Himself to Her, and through Her, to us!!!

    Since we have pointed out that your arguments about “brothers” is weak. We too have arguments from Scripture (for a recap: http://matt1618.freeyellow.com/mary.html , also, here is a handy series of articles placing the Perpetual Virginity in perspective: http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=9757 ).

    And that your argument about the Tradition only picking up several hundred years later is weak because of (1) you cannot point to a “starting-point” for this belief, it is found already established, (2) St. Basil emphatically points out that there are certain things they don’t write down to protect them, (3) if Mary had other children, there would have been a protest when others started claiming she never did.

    So I ask, why is it so important to you for Mary to have had other children?

  193. Kevin (#162),
    As I suspected, your objection to elements of Catholicism is based on an incomplete or distorted understanding.

    You won’t let him off the cross or the altar. He is an eternal victim in the Roman system.

    He is an eternal victim in Heaven – Rev. 5:6.

    The incarnation is finished for us.

    The Church is the continuation of the Incarnation on Earth. “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself?” 1 Cor 6:15

    Christ is the head, we are the members of his Body here on Earth. “And he is the head of the body, the church” Col. 1:18

    Hebrews says by one offering, at the consummation of the ages, he perfected us for all time. There are no more sacrifices for sin. You are constrained by those words sir.

    Yes, I am – but not by your interpretation of those words. The texts of the Mass emphasize to believers again and again that the sacrifice of the Mass is not a new sacrifice, it is the same sacrifice, the same one sacrifice that Christ offered on the Cross, being re-presented to the Father by Christ Himself in the person of the ordained Priest who acts not out of his own power, but
    “in persona Christi.”

    You can go to 10000 masses and still not have enough sanctifying grace for heaven.

    This is absolutely true, Kevin. What imparts sanctifying grace (after Baptism) is the Eucharist: “he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life in him and I will raise him up on the last day” Jn. 6:56.

    Christ ripped the veil away and his Priesthood, altar, and sacrifice is in heaven where we are seated with him, offering him spiritual praise and sacrifices.

    You are not in Heaven, Kevin. You are on Earth. And for all of us on Earth, Christ gave us the means to worship Him and to never forget His sacrifice for our salvation. 1 Cor 11:26. This is the good news of Scripture.

    Thats why justification is always past tense in Scripture.

    Not so. One example among many: “work out your salvation in fear and trembling.”

    You clearly love God deeply. May you discover the fullness of the “faith once delivered to the saints” so that this love can reach its fullest expression.

    Pax Christi,
    Frank

  194. Pat,
    Raymond Brown is a controversial scholar for his employment of the Historical-Critical method, and does not speak for the tradition of the Catholic Church.

    Please, if you are copy and pasting in excerpts from anti-Catholic sites, please cite where you are getting it from. (189 –> http://www.justforcatholics.org/a131.htm , 190 –>http://www.christiantruth.com/articles/assumption.html)

    Ave Maria!

  195. Friar Charles,
    Its important that Mary had other children because that is exactly what Scripture tells us. Even you know that her having sex and children after the birth of Christ has no bearing on the deity and mission of Christ.

    What is at stake for the RC is that it shows that the church has erred in matters of faith. Its shows your church is not protected from error. This would call into question its claims as the absolute authority for all Christians.

    Peace

  196. Pat @ 168
    My plegmatic temparment is not attracted to St. Alphonsus’ Italianate style, I have not read it all, but am familiar with some of it. Many of the other brothers here are big fans of his.

    As of whether I agree with some of the things he says. Yes, I do, when they are in context and supported by a knowledge of what the Church teaches on Mary. Out of context, whether it be from the rest of the book, not considering the rhetorical style he employs, or failing to understand the needed clarifications he may leave implicit, it could be easily misunderstood.

    I would suggest looking at some of his non-Marian titles such as:
    http://www.goodcatholicbooks.org/alphonsus/uniformity-with-god%27s-will.html

    If you look, what you will find is that the more a person loves Mary, the more they love Jesus. That is the point! Mary leads us, infallibly, to Jesus. This has been borne out time and time again. Ask any convert with a devotion to Mary how that has helped their union with Jesus!

    For a bunch of books by saints:
    http://www.saintsbooks.net/BooksList.html#General

  197. How’s about we take a day off of debating and pray. Prayer is the essential element in ecumenical discussions, without “Plugging in” to Jesus, we are just wasting our time.

    I will not be posting tomorrow, and I will likely post less after this as well–I am not able to fulfill my duties here while spending time typing.

    God Bless you all

    Ave Maria

  198. Frank, Christ said no one took his life form him, he laid it down of his own volition. He never considered himself a victim. Romans 8:3 ” he fulfilled the righteous requirements of the Law” in us” not by us, those who walk by the Spirit, the voice is passive. Romans 7:6 says we have been released form the Law, and Romans 8:1 says we are NOW not condemned. Ephesians 2:5 “even when we were dead in our transgressions, he made us alive together with Christ( by grace you have been saved by faith) and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ jesus.It would seem Paul differs with you, I am seated in heaven, sealed in the Spirit. Work out your salvation with fear and trembling because it is God who is at works in you. Romans 5:1 “therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God. This is the aorist past participle. Its not a cease fire but a past tense justification that brings true shalom. When you say” fulness of faith” of course that is code for a system of a lifetime elevator of doing sacraments to merit increase of grace and justice to perfection. Of course this is the opposite of a simple life of faith. ” For the righteous shall live by faith” Romans 1:17. God justifies the ungodly by faith, not someone who becomes inherently perfect in order to receive heave. ” I’ve come not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. Unfortunately the fatal error for Rome is they confuse what Christ did “for us” with what he does ” in us” Thanks Frank.

  199. Pat (#195)

    Its important that Mary had other children because that is exactly what Scripture tells us.

    Pat, your continuing behaviour of simply making assertions – and some assertions, such as this one, simply false – do not enable any dialogue to take place.

    That Mary had other children is not ‘exactly what Scripture tells us.” What Scripture tells us exactly is that Jesus had brothers and sisters. Scripture may mean ‘brothers and sisters’ in the extended Hebrew sense – or, of course, if the Catholic Church is wrong, it may mean that Mary gave birth multiple times.

    But your repeated flat statements are wearyingly useless. To state that something is the case is not to make an argument for it. And to consider something (for which you may have made actual arguments above – this whole business has gone on so long that I’m not sure) to be settled between you and your interlocutors when it is certainly not settled is simply standing shouting “I’m right! I’m right! I’m right!” Changing the words of that to “Scripture is right!” isn’t the same thing. We all agree Scripture is right; we don’t think you are right. You have made your argument that is, I presume, that the default sense of ‘brothers and sisters’ mean ‘children of the same womb.’ Quite true. No one disputes that. But you have no other argument for your position. So why not try to think of where your opponent actually is – in this case, believing the Church – and deal with that?

    jj

  200. Pat,

    Louis De Montfort’s True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin is about GOING TO JESUS through Mary. It would be a good book for anyone to see Marian devotion does not end in a creature. St. John Paul II took as the theme of his pontificate from Louis Marie de Montfort, Totus Tuus. I guarantee you, JPII was not an idolater or unbalanced in any way. The whole thrust of this devotion is based on the ( Biblical ) fact that Jesus came to us through Mary so we go to Him through Mary.
    As for Alphonsus Ligouri’s book, I love it. It is full of stuff from the Fathers but I would not recommend it to someone who is looking to find ammunition for a fight.
    As for the Assumption of Mary, the strongest Biblical support for it is found in Matthew 16. Roma locuta, causa finita.

  201. Fred, Sorry but I mis-posted this elsewhere so I am pasting it here where I had meant to.

    Pat,
    Today is the feast of St. Joseph the Worker. ( Joseph has another feast, Husband of Mary, on March 19 ). Today in Portugal it is bank holiday as the Day of the Worker. Pius XII wanted to oppose the secularism and socialism that was taking over Europe so he Baptized it with St. Joseph the Worker.
    As for the subject of Mary and her Perpetual Virginity, I think the whole subject can be settled by reflecting upon Joseph.
    The Orthodox say he was an elderly widower and guardian of Mary and the men known as “brothers” were his by the previous marriage.
    Catholics follow in the tradition of Hegessipius and Jerome and says Joseph was a virgin too.
    C’mon Pat. No man on the planet would disregard Ezelial 44:2 that says after God passes through the gate, no man will follow. It just wouldn’t happen. Peter knew enough to say, “Depart from me Lord as I am a sinner”.
    Who in their right mind would steal a chalice from a church and use it as a beer stein? Who would blow their nose or shine their shoes ( both legitimate acts in themselves ) using the Shroud of Turin?

    So, think about St. Joseph, Mary’s Most Chaste Spouse and have a nice day.

  202. John,
    You have yet to present a counter argument that Mary did not have other children. All you can say is that your church says she did not.

  203. Pat,

    That’s because I already provided more than one such argument. Do we really need to repeat it?

    Jesus entrusted His Mother to John. This is simply incontrovertible evidence that there were no other children available to care for her, which is what would have been required if they existed. You retorted that the other so-called kids were not in Jerusalem and so were unaware of what was happening. Given that Passover was a mandatory feast requiring the men to go to Jerusalem, and given that these so-called siblings went for Purim, it is not credible to suggest that they would not go for Passover.

    Lastly, whether they were aware of what was going on at the moment — a highly dubious claim given that the gospels say that the whole city was in an uproar — is irrelevant to their duty, and Jesus would have known it.

    In short, the onus is on you to demonstrate that so-called siblings were there and not obligated to care for their mother or that they in fact did so — despite the fact that John says he took care of her. Have fun with that. :-)

    Fred

  204. Kevin,
    The particular topic being discussed is supposed to be is Mariology, especially as can be dated back to the early Church. Yet you are arguing from Justification,imputation,faith alone. This is interesting. Protestants strain all of scripture through the sieve of a few misunderstood passages in St. Paul.
    This is Luther’s Canon within the Canon theory. Unless he could see “My Gospel” in a particular book, he wanted it relegated to the dustbin. Justification by Faith Alone determined one’s view of everything, saints, merit, vows,sacraments and the Church.
    Mary’s Perpetual Virginity has implications for one’s view of the Church that run counter to Luther ( who believed in this doctrine or just hadn’t put 2+2 together yet ). Like Mary, say Catholics, the Church is focused on Christ and only Christ. For Mary to have other children is to say she was distracted from Him and looked away long enough to fall into heresy or worldliness.
    Protestants say the Church has indeed erred, has fallen from her original purity and has taken her eyes off Christ ( and may do so again ). They say she needed to be reformed back to an original Gospel that did not include such additions as purgatory, good works, the Mass, and other accretions that had accumulated while she was distracted from Christ.
    It is only natural that Protestants would say Mary did not remain a virgin, that the One child was not able to satisfy her interests and she became occupied with Joseph his other children.
    Ponder this; we all serve God indirectly by serving our fellows. For instance, a mother serves God by nursing, washing and brooding over her child. Mary’s case was a bit different, the child she nursed, washed an pondered in her heart was God. She is the only human to serve God directly, with no intermediaries. She needed no other children to fulfill her. The Church has also been occupied only with Jesus and Jesus only.

  205. Fred, the only problem with reading no children into entrusting Mary to John is sea are told she specifically had children. And here is the scripture you can’t escape. Mathew 1:25″ but kept her a virgin UNTIL she gave birth to a son.” after she gave both they had a quiver. God bless them.

  206. Jim, did you really say to have children is to fall into heresy and worldliness. Last time I checked having children is a blessing from God. If you didn’t forbid marriage among your Priests against the Scripture saying not to forbid marriage, its arguable that men would have behaved differently.

  207. Re: Pat (#202) and Kevin (#205),

    Catholic arguments that Mary had no other children are readily available online. If you are interested in those arguments, then here’s a couple of links:

    1. This link explains what the Gospel writers meant when they referred to Jesus’s “brothers” or “brethren”. For instance, in the case of James and Joseph, (brothers of our Lord), the Gospels say explicitly that these brothers did not share the same parents as Jesus. Rather, the parents of James and Joseph are Clopas, and Mary, the wife of Clopas.

    2. This link shows quotations from the Early Church Fathers indicating their belief in Mary’s perpetual virginity.

    Jonathan

  208. Kevin (#205)

    (Credit to Dr. Tim Staples for the following:)

    Until is often used in Scripture as part of an idiomatic expression similar to our own usage in English. I may say to you, “Until we meet again, God bless you.” Does that necessarily mean after we meet again, God curse you? By no means. A phrase like this is used to emphasize what is being described before the until is fulfilled. It is not intended to say anything about the future beyond that point. Here are some biblical examples:

    1 Timothy 4:13: Until I come, attend to the public reading of scripture, to preaching, to teaching. (Does this mean Timothy should stop teaching after Paul comes?)

    1 Corinthians 15:25: For he (Christ) must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. (Does this mean Christ’s reign will end? By no means! Luke 1:33 says, “he will reign over the house of Jacob forever and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”

    Kevin, if you are here because you seek to engage in dialogue to understand why Catholics believe as they do, and – specifically – read Scripture and come to such different conclusions than you do, I strongly recommend this article by Bryan Cross: http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2010/02/the-tradition-and-the-lexicon/.

    Blessings,
    Frank

  209. Kevin (#198)

    Here is the first definition of the word ‘victim’ from the Oxford English Dictionary:
    a. A living creature killed and offered as a sacrifice to some deity or supernatural power
    Christ was the willing victim of the sacrifice on the Cross.

    You wrote

    Unfortunately the fatal error for Rome is they confuse what Christ did “for us” with what he does ” in us”

    . This is a characteristic difference noted by many between Protestant and Catholic thought. I often see Protestants insisting that things must be “either/or”. Catholics tend to see things as “both/and.” This is a perfect example. Can you entertain the possibility that what He did “for us” He also does “in us”?

    Frank

  210. Kevin,
    You asked,”Jim, did you really say to have children is to fall into heresy and worldliness”.

    No Kevin. I did not say that. Having children is to fall into heresy and worldliness only if you have born the Son of God in your womb. Since most of us don’t do that, having kids is a blessing indeed.

    As for celibacy, maybe Paul or Jesus would have behaved differently if they had heard your views.

  211. Fred,
    You are assuming that “hat there were no other children available to care for her..” when Jesus entrusted His mother to John. Yours is only one possibility but it does not account for other verses that clearly demonstrate Jesus had other brothers and sisters. I also show that the word used for brothers means siblings by the same mother. I also showed that if these were not blood brothers then they would have used the word sungenis which is used of a relative in Luke 1:36. This is not the word that is used in Matthew 13:55-56 or Gal 1:19.

    As for it being common knowledge that the whole ” the whole city was in an uproar” at this time is problematic in regards to the trial. Notice what Matthew 26:3-5 says–“3 Then the chief priests and the elders of the people were gathered together in the court of the high priest, named Caiaphas; 4 and they plotted together to seize Jesus by stealth and kill Him. 5 But they were saying, “Not during the festival, otherwise a riot might occur among the people.”

    This was not well known to the populace and the trial was held at night so as to be discreet.

  212. Jim,
    Here is a prayer to Mary from the Glories of Mary:

    “PRAYER OF CONFIDENCE IN MARY
    Most Holy, Immaculate Virgin and my Mother Mary! To thee who art the Mother of my Lord, the Queen of the world, the Advocate, the Hope, and the Refuge of sinners, I have recourse today, I who am the most miserable of all.

    I render thee my most humble homage, O great Queen, and I thank thee for all the graces thou hast conferred on me until now, especially for having delivered me from Hell, which I have so often deserved. I love thee, O most amiable Lady; and for the love which I bear thee, I promise to serve thee always and to do all in my power to make others love thee also. I place in thee all my hopes; I confide my salvation to thy care.
    Accept me for thy servant and receive me under thy mantle, O Mother of Mercy. And since thou art so powerful with God, deliver me from all temptations; or rather, obtain for me the strength to triumph over them until death. Of thee I ask a perfect love for Jesus Christ. Through thee I hope to die a good death. O my Mother, by the love which thou bearest to God, I beseech thee to help me at all times, but especially at the last moment of my life. Leave me not, I beseech thee, until thou seest me safe in Heaven, blessing thee and singing thy mercies for all eternity. Amen. Thus, I hope. Thus, may it be. ”

    Do you think this prayer is appropiate for anyone to pray who claims to be a follower of Christ? After all, there is nothing in Scripture that comes even close to this kind of thing.

  213. Pat,

    In #211 you write:

    You are assuming that “hat there were no other children available to care for her..” when Jesus entrusted His mother to John. Yours is only one possibility but it does not account for other verses that clearly demonstrate Jesus had other brothers and sisters.

    On the contrary your suggestion, which is completely founded upon pursuing the agenda of denying the perpetual virginity of Mary, cannot explain how or why the firstborn would entrust His widowed mother’s care to a non-sibling (if per imposibile) Mary had other children. This is flatly impossible in that culture, where Paul writes that the one who does not take care of his own family is worse than an unbeliever. Even if we assume a fully Hellenized culture, Homer would undermine your argument because he clearly shows the respect with which parents were to be treated.

    You also say:

    I also show that the word used for brothers means siblings by the same mother. I also showed that if these were not blood brothers then they would have used the word sungenis which is used of a relative in Luke 1:36. This is not the word that is used in Matthew 13:55–56 or Gal 1:19.

    Considering that (as I said before) it is a virtual certainty that Aramaic was the common language in the neighborhood, all that you have shown is that whoever translated into Greek did not know how to handle the fact that Aramaic has no word for cousin, and did the best he could.

    You then say:

    As for it being common knowledge that the whole “ the whole city was in an uproar” at this time is problematic in regards to the trial. Notice what Matthew 26:3–5 says–"3 Then the chief priests and the elders of the people were gathered together in the court of the high priest, named Caiaphas; 4 and they plotted together to seize Jesus by stealth and kill Him. 5 But they were saying, “Not during the festival, otherwise a riot might occur among the people.”

    This was not well known to the populace and the trial was held at night so as to be discreet.

    That is some convenient omission of other sources there. :-)

    Mark 15 makes it clear that there was a crowd, and one that was sufficient in bulk as to make Pilate nervous. The Sanhedrin was not large enough to qualify. Luke 23 mentions the chief priests and the crowd. Luke 24 has the fellows on the way to Emmaus saying to Jesus “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who doesn’t know what has been going on.” This obviously indicates that it was broadly known, so any alleged siblings (who would certainly have been there for Passover) would be nearly certain to have heard what happened. Not that this is terribly relevant, since if they did in fact exist (which they didn’t) the responsibility for caring for their mother would have fallen on them. Jesus took care of her after Joseph’s death; His other so-called siblings would have the duty fall to them after His death.

  214. Fred,
    The gospels were written in Greek and not Aramaic. You don’t study the life of Christ on non-existent documents. Paul, refers to James as the Lord’s brother and not a relative in Gal 1:19. If Paul had meant James was a relative he would have used a word like sungenis which is a relative. See Luke 1:36. Instead he uses the word Adelphos- a brother, whether born of the same two parents or only of the same father or mother

    Mark 15 does not change the fact that the trial was done by stealth and was not known to the populace at large. There is reason to believe that there were tens of thousands of people in Jerusalem at this time. Even if His brothers were somewhere in the city does not mean they were aware of it.

  215. Pat, you may already know this, but when RC are challenged on things the retort always comes you Protestants misunderstand things. Now anyone who reads that prayer you just posted to Mary and says that isn’t worship live in Willy Wonka’s land of Pure imagination. ” especially for having delivered me from hell.” O great Queen” “thanks for all the graces you have conferred on me” She is the substitute savior and mediator. No getting around it. And Catholics here will deny that.

  216. Frank, IMHO Christ isn’t Lord and Savior, He is an eternal and perpetual victim in the Roman system. You just won’t let Him off the cross and the altar. Hebrews is very clear one offering, at the consummation of the ages, perfected us for all time. He said he accomplished ALL that the father gave him to do. Romans 5 is clear and Luther called it the most liberating chapter in the bible. Reconciliation was accomplished past tense. We have been justified by His blood. ” Much more now HAVING BEEN justified by his blood” It dosen’t get any clear than that. ” for while we were yet enemies we WERE reconciled.” Its finished. all we have to do is believe.

  217. Pat (#202)

    John,
    You have yet to present a counter argument that Mary did not have other children. All you can say is that your church says she did not.

    The point of my comment that you are responding to was that you did not present any argument that she did. Instead you made a statement that is, in fact, false. You said:

    Its important that Mary had other children because that is exactly what Scripture tells us.

    Because it is precisely not the case that ‘exactly what Scripture tells us’ is that Mary had – as in ‘gave birth to’ – other children.

    Do you acknowledge that Scripture does not say ‘exactly’ that?

    jj

  218. John,
    I have indeed presented arguments that she did have other children. Matthew 13:55-56 is just one the facts that show she did.

    It doesn’t get any clearer than this from Matthew 13–“55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? 56 And His sisters, are they not all with us?”

  219. Kevin (205)

    Fred, the only problem with reading no children into entrusting Mary to John is sea are told she specifically had children. And here is the scripture you can’t escape. Mathew 1:25″ but kept her a virgin UNTIL she gave birth to a son.” after she gave both they had a quiver. God bless them.

    Kevin, Matthew 1:25 says nothing about what she did after Jesus was born. ‘Until’ has no implications one way or another about what happens after. If John swore off pork and did not eat it until he died, you would be unwise to assume that after he died, he did eat pork. ‘Until’ just means ‘up to the time’ and says nothing about what happened after that time.

    jj

  220. Kevin,

    It might be a good idea to extend the same line of credit to St Alphonsus Liguori (and us) that I presume you do to St Paul when he writes, “I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some” (1 Cor 9.22). Even though he claims here — in some sense — to be able to “save” people, you wouldn’t say he’s setting himself up as a “substitute savior,” and you are correct not to do so. Even though he doesn’t feel the need to spell it out in every single situation, Paul knows as well as you or I do that his work of saving only makes sense or means anything insofar as it is refers to Christ. Same goes for Mary. I speak from experience as well as theory. Mary brings me closer to Jesus.

  221. Pat, Yes, I do think the prayer you posted is appropriate for a follower of Jesus. ( Jn 19 ).

    By the way, I don’t know if anyone has brought Mary’s mediation outside of the Cana reference. How about she brought the Holy Spirit to the house of Zachary. All members of that family, Zachary, Elizabeth and John all received the Holy Ghost during her visit.

  222. Pat,

    The gospels were written in Greek and not Aramaic.

    That has zero to do with the language Christ spoke. There are at least three examples of Him speaking Aramaic. Exegesis has to take into account things like this. You simply can’t ignore the issue of what language was likely spoken on any given occasion, because it affects both the author’s word choice and how he should be understood.

    Mark 15 does not change the fact that the trial was done by stealth and was not known to the populace at large.

    Which is perfectly consistent with Luke 24…oh wait. No, it isn’t. :-)

    Even if His brothers were somewhere in the city does not mean they were aware of it.

    Dude. You can repeat this a billion times and it doesn’t change the fact that if these alleged siblings existed the duty for caring for Mary falls to them. Period. Jesus entrusted her to John. QED.

  223. @Frank, Fred, Jim, and John
    ******CATHOLIC TALK*********
    Today is a feast day of St. Joseph and the first day of the Month of Mary. He was the protector of the purity of Our Lady. Let us have recourse to Him in a special way to defend her honor at this time.
    Tomorrow is Friday. As Our Lord said, some require prayer and fasting (Kevin or Pat, if you’re reading this, this is not an insult, please pray for us as well, since you believe we are very wrong). Let us do some special penance and ask for special graces that this discussion may bear fruit in all of us.
    Saturday is the First Saturday of May. I presume that you are familiar with the First Saturday devotion, if not, information is readily available online (http://www.rosary-center.org/firstsat.htm). One of the specific things it is to make reperation for is blasphemies against Her Perpetual Virginity. Let us offer this First Saturday up for this conversation.
    All our work requires prayer and penance to be fruitful, let us not forget that. As St. Francis says, “It is the Lord who edifies and converts”.
    *******END CATHOLIC JARGON**********

  224. Pat (#218)

    John,
    I have indeed presented arguments that she did have other children. Matthew 13:55-56 is just one the facts that show she did.

    It doesn’t get any clearer than this from Matthew 13–”55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? 56 And His sisters, are they not all with us?”

    It certainly could get clearer. It could have said “Is not His mother and the mother of His brothers, James …” etc. In any case, I am challenging your statement that the Scriptures say exactly that Mary had other children. It does not, and nor does this passage. As you have been told, and as you must know from Hebrew usage, ‘brothers and sisters’ does not in every case mean ‘brothers and sisters from the same mother.’

    So, again, do you acknowledge that the text does not say exactly that Mary gave birth to other children than Jesus?

    jj

  225. John,
    You need to show that there are good reasons that we should not understand that the brothers and sisters mentioned in Matthew 13:55-56 should not be taken as His siblings from Mary and Joseph. Give me your evidence then we can see if it holds up.

    Paul also calls James the brother of the Lord in Gal 1:19

  226. Fred,
    Can you recommend a commentary on the gospels that uses a Aramaic manuscript from the 1st century as the basis to understand the gospels? I’d like to see what the comments are for this passage and a few others.

    You didn’t deal with Gal 1:19 where Paul calls James the Lord’s brother.

    Luke 24 is after the fact that it became well known. It was not well known before His arrest and trial because they did it by stealth. Context matters.

  227. @ Prayer by St. Alphonsus

    Beautiful prayer, thanks for posting it. And, before you freak out and start writing a response, take note of the sentence right in the middle (the most important part).

    And since thou art so powerful with God, deliver me from all temptations; or rather, obtain for me the strength to triumph over them until death.

    This whole prayer is in the context of Mary’s special relationship to Jesus as His Mother, and Her intercessory power over Him. To quote from another part of the Glories of Mary:

    And here we say, that although Mary, now in heaven, can no longer command her Son, nevertheless her prayers are always the prayers of a Mother, and consequently most powerful to obtain whatever she asks. “Mary,” says Saint Bonaventure, “has this great privilege, that with her Son she above all the Saints is most powerful to obtain whatever she wills.” And why? Precisely for the reason on which we have already touched, and which we shall later on again examine at greater length, because they are the prayers of a mother. And therefore, says Saint Peter Damian, the Blessed Virgin can do whatever she pleases both in heaven and on earth. She is able to raise even those who are in despair to confidence; and he addresses her in these words: “All power is given to thee in heaven and on earth, and nothing is impossible to thee, who canst raise those who are in despair to the hope of salvation.”” And then he adds that “when the Mother goes to seek a favor for us from Jesus Christ” (whom the Saint calls the golden altar of mercy, at which sinners obtain pardon), “her Son esteems her prayers so greatly, and is so desirous to satisfy her, that when she prays, it seems as if she rather commanded than prayed, and was rather a queen than a handmaid. Jesus is pleased thus to honor His beloved Mother, who honored Him so much during her life, by immediately granting all that she asks or desires. This is beautifully confirmed by Saint Germanus, who addressing our Blessed Lady says: “Thou art the Mother of God, and all powerful to save sinners, and with God thou needest no other recommendation; for thou art the Mother of true life.” — From Glories of Mary, Chapter VI.

    The whole context of this is that, yes, Mary is uniquely powerful, but it is all in reference to Her Divine Son.

    Ave Maria!

  228. Re: Pat (#211),

    I also showed that if these were not blood brothers then they would have used the word sungenis which is used of a relative in Luke 1:36.

    The first link I provided in #207 answers this. The Septuagint and the Gospels contain many examples where the word “adelphos” is used for a cousin.

  229. Re: Pat (#211),

    It doesn’t get any clearer than this from Matthew 13–”55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? 56 And His sisters, are they not all with us?”

    Maybe it becomes more clear that adelphos can also mean kindred when we read that the parents of James and Joseph are Clopas and Mary, the wife of Clopas. Compare John 19:25, Matthew 27:56, and Mark 15:40.

  230. Pat (#225)

    John,
    You need to show that there are good reasons that we should not understand that the brothers and sisters mentioned in Matthew 13:55-56 should not be taken as His siblings from Mary and Joseph. Give me your evidence then we can see if it holds up.

    Paul also calls James the brother of the Lord in Gal 1:19

    Why do I need to show that Jesus’s brothers and sisters were not the offspring of Mary in order to show that the passages in question do not say exactly that they were?

    jj

  231. Jonathan,
    In Matthew 13:55-56 is best understood as blood brothers from the same parent. Gal 1:19 Paul calls James the brother of the Lord.

    When brothers and sisters are used in connection with father or mother then it does not mean cousins but actual blood brothers and sisters. This is what we see in Matthew 13

  232. One of my fellow CtCers pointed this out to me: Reformer Turretin’s defense of Mary’s perpetual virginity.

    Hence Helvidius and the Antidicomarianites (so-called because they were opponents of [antidikoi] Mary)are deservedly rebuked by the fathers for denying that Mary was always a virgin (aei Parthenon). They held that she cohabited with Joseph after delivery; yea, also bore children from him. As Augustine remarks, they rely on the shallowest arguments, i.e., because Christ is called the ‘firstborn’ of Mary (cf. De Haeresibus 56, 84 [PL 42.40, 46]). For as Jerome well remarks, she was so called because no one was begotten before him, not because there was another after him. Hence among lawyers: ‘He is the first whom no one precedes; he is last, whom no one follows.’ The Hebrews were accustomed to call the firstborn also only begotten; Israel is called ‘the first-born of God’ (Ex 4:22), although the only people chosen of God. Thus ‘the firstborn’ is said to be ‘holy unto God’ (Ex 13:2), who first opened the womb, whether others followed or not. Otherwise the firstborn would not have to be redeemed until after another offspring had been procreated (the law shows this to be false because it commands it to be redeemed a month after birth, Num. 18:16).

    Not more solidly have they been able to elicit this from the fact that in the New Testament certain ones are called ‘the brothers of Christ.’ It is common in Scripture not only for one’s own and full brothers by nature to be designated by this name, but also blood relatives and cousins (as Abraham and Lot, Jacob and Laban). Thus James and Joses, Simon and Judas are called brothers of Christ (Mt. 13:55) by a relation of blood. For Mary (who is called their mother by Matthew and Mark) is called by John the sister of the Lord’s mother. However what is said in Jn. 7:5 that ‘neither did his brethren believe him’ must be understood of more remote blood relations.

    Nor is it derived better from this-that Joseph is said ‘not to have known Mary till she had brought forth her firstborn son’ (Mt. 1:25). The particles ‘till” and ‘even unto’ are often referred only to the past, not to the future (i.e., they so connote the preceding time, concerning which there might be a doubt or which it was of the highest importance to know, as not to have a reference to the future-cf. Gen 28:15; Pss 122:2; 110:1;Mt.28:20, etc.). Thus is shown what was done by Joseph before the nativity of Christ (to wit, that he abstained form her); but it does not imply that he lived with her in any other way postpartum. When therefore she is said to have been found with child ‘before they came together’ (prin e synelthein autous), preceding copulation is denied, but not subsequent affirmed.

    Although copulation had not take place in that marriage, it did not cease to be true and ratified (although unconsummated) for not intercourse, but consent makes marriage. Therefore it was perfect as to form (to wit, undivided conjunction of life and unviolated faith, but not as to end (to wit, the procreation of children, although it was not deficient as to the raising of the offspring.”

    [Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology, vol. 2, 345–346.]

    Fred

  233. Friar Charles,
    We know from Scripture that it never attributes to her things like:
    ” can do whatever she pleases both in heaven and on earth”
    ” deliver me from all temptations; or rather, obtain for me the strength to triumph over them until death.”
    ““her Son esteems her prayers so greatly”
    “all powerful to save sinners, and with God thou needest no other recommendation; for thou art the Mother of true life.”

    This is all made up since no apostle ever taught this nor was believed officially by the church for centuries. These are false statements about her.

  234. John,
    You believe she was a perpetual virgin. You need to show from Scripture where it says this or implies this.

  235. JDS, ” Mary brings me closer to Jesus” Why? Jesus is a compassionate High Priest. We are told he is the only mediator between us and God. Is Christ not a sufficient and perfect mediator. Hebrews says ” For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, therefore let us draw near to him with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Listen JDS, for you to not go directly Mary and not to Jesus who is the only compassionate and understanding mediator, it is is a repudiation of who Christ is. This notion that Christ is a tough guy and mad and transcendent, and we must go to his earthly mother to soften him up is a direct attack on the intended position of only Christ. God bless

  236. JDS, I meant to say for you to go directly to Mary and not to Christ…. Mary replacing Christ as the compassionate mediator takes Christ out of his intended position sympathetic and compassionate savior and mediator who alone removed the barriers between us and God. Mary the mother of Jesus would be up-hauled at this.

  237. Jim (#216)

    IMHO

    This is where we get to the nub of the problem. Your view that “Christ isn’t Lord and Savior, He is an eternal and perpetual victim in the Roman system” is your opinion and carries no divine authority, so why should I or anyone else believe it? And once again, you seem to think that these are incompatible descriptions for Jesus. Again, I cite Rev. 5:6.

    The belief that Christ is BOTH Lord and Savior and eternal and perpetual victim is testified to by the Church founded by Jesus Christ for 2,000 years in her liturgy (which is one of most significant components of the Sacred Tradition). As early as ca. 107 A.D. there is written documentation of this liturgical Tradition, from St. Ignatius of Antioch.

    Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God… They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the Flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, Flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes. —Letter to the Smyrnaeans, Ch 6

    Christ in the Eucharist is the whole Christ: body, blood, soul and divinity – the flesh that suffered and died AND rose again from the dead where he is seated at the right hand of the Father.

    http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2010/10/st-ignatius-of-antioch-on-the-church/

    Frank

  238. Pat (#231)

    When brothers and sisters are used in connection with father or mother then it does not mean cousins but actual blood brothers and sisters. This is what we see in Matthew 13

    This is not what we see in Matthew 13. We do not see ‘brothers and sisters’ used in connexion with father or mother here. We see ‘brothers and sisters’ used in connexion with the brother – Jesus:

    And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? 56 And are not all his sisters with us?

    The word ‘mother’ is here associated only with Jesus:

    Is not his mother called Mary?

    jj

  239. Can anyone here tell me how Mary having any other children via her relationship with Joseph would have any negative impact on the person and ministry of Christ?

    Do any OT passages forbid the mother of the Messiah from having her own children? Any that the Messiah would be an only child?

    Can you think of any reasons why sex between Mary and Joseph would be unclean, unholy or sinful?

  240. Excuse me, but I meant to address Kevin in my #233, not Jim. Kevin was the author of #216, upon which my comment was based.

    Sorry for the confusion.

    Frank

  241. I guess what I would like to know is why is the issue of Mary’s Virginity of such interest to our Protestant friends. Is it a salvation issue? If the original reformers didn’t focus on it, how has it morphed into being the shibboleth of the anti-Catholic ( as opposed to the simply non-Catholic )?
    You know, it is a wonderful thing to be a convert to the Church. Names like Tim Staples, Scott Hahn, Jimmy Akin, etc. not to mention the authors on this blog are true blessings to us cradle Catholics. They bring their experience, enthusiasm, and knowledge of the Bible in with them and we all richer for it.
    However, because they have read, studied and prayed their way into the Church as adults perhaps they miss something we not so erudite cradle Catholics might know or feel. I am talking about the feeling of being insulted.
    We who learned our prayers and catechism at our mother’s knee, are old enough to remember the Kennedy election and the snickers about Bobby’s large family, grew up with all the kitschy glow-in-the dark crucifixes and statues of Mary, were educated by nuns we loved, nativity scenes at Christmas and because we were identifiable by our school uniforms were heckled or bullied by public school kids, maybe, just maybe we can sense old fashion bigotry while our convert brothers remain cool and objective. Perhaps our convert brothers were once anti Catholic themselves and so have greater patience than those of us who are bit more thin skinned.
    Okay, I just wish certain bloggers would be decent enough to remember that when talking about Mary’s virginity, they are talking about our mother’s or at least our sister’s virginity. I suspect some of them do realize we Catholics have a visceral reaction and that actually amuses them. And I wish our convert brothers who modify blogs would be as sensitive enough to brook no nonsense from bloggers who are playing games.

  242. Pat,

    You said to Jonathan,”In Matthew 13:55-56 is best understood as blood brothers from the same parent. Gal 1:19 Paul calls James the brother of the Lord.”

    Read the passage again. Paul says James was an Apostle. Two Apostles were named James. One, son of Zebedee, the other son of Alphaeus. Neither of Joseph.

    “When brothers and sisters are used in connection with father or mother then it does not mean cousins but actual blood brothers and sisters. This is what we see in Matthew 13″

    Pat, just because the Jews said the they knew Jesus’ siblings, could they have been wrong? They also said he was the carpenter’s son and were quite mistaken.

    Elsewhere, the Jews (may have) mocked Jesus by saying, “We know who our father is” implying he was a bastard. There is a reason, you know, why the Talmud was burned by Christians in the middle ages.

  243. Folks,

    Once again, because I am a softie, we are way off the beaten path for this post. Its subject is ancient Marian devotion. I will try do better about more strictly enforcing this. I apologize for being overly indulgent.

    Fred

  244. Jim,

    I think modern Protestants sometimes object to the doctrine of perpetual virginity because 1) They think the doctrine is unbliblical, and 2) they think it unnecessarily elevates Mary.

    In a sense, they are right to take the doctrine seriously. Our primary witness for this doctrine is tradition. (Very early and strongly attested tradition.) And once you admit that extra-scriptural tradition can be an authentic bearer of divine revelation, well, then, the game is up, isn’t it?

    -David

  245. Pat, Re: #239

    In light of Fred’s admonition in #243, I will try to bring this discussion back closer to the main subject of the post and answer your question at the same time, because, really, it goes back to the Ancient Fathers of the Church and beyond, IMO. Please excuse in advance my inability to write this clearly enough. I am trying to communicate something I have a “sense of” that has developed over 20 years of dabbling in the Church History and reading the Fathers. I am not a scholar or a theologian.

    My thought is that this is largely a “World View” or base philosophical foundation question. Actually, it is even a bigger concept, it comes right down to the structures of how the Church Fathers thought and likely even the actual structure of their brains. This was a culture entirely unfamiliar with modern nominalism and reductionism much less scientific materialism. As Scott Hahn develops in his recent book “The Politicizing the Bible: The Roots of Historical Criticism and the Secularization of Scripture 1300-1700 how we philosophize about reality does interact deeply with our understanding of Theology. It is beyond just difficult to set aside our modern views, even if we reject many aspects of modern philosophy and materialism, and understand the world as did the Ancient Church Fathers, particularly the Eastern Fathers. However, if we want to understand them we have to try to adjust our frame of thinking.

    As I mentioned, the fathers were never exposed the idea of reductionism. The modern scientific approach of breaking things down, narrowing focus, looking at things in isolation. Indeed, that reductionism has been an incredibly useful tool, and it is one reason some, secularists in particular, look down on the ancients. However, the ancients weren’t stupid and their understanding of reality has other strengths. To keep it brief I will focus on just one aspect, Unity / Synthesis. Here is one published article I googled up that at least shows someone on the same general track as I am: The “External Philosophy”:
    The Fathers and Platonism
    .

    I am speaking for myself here. I may (and probably am) be echoing something I read at some time, but mainly this is my sense of things. I see the ECFs looking at the Church and Salvation History and God, and Scripture and Creation as a great Unity. Indeed, I propose that we moderns need to expand our thinking about what Unity even means as a word when reading the Fathers, and as a result when talking about theological Unity in the NT. Unity to them is completeness, wholeness, and a fundamental aspect of the Church, Revelation and their Christology.

    How the Early Church Father’s Approached Christianity
    To the ECFs Christianity is a whole package. All of reality, everything which is true, is related to Christianity and God. Truth is true, whether it seems like a small thing or a big thing, there is no concept of “essential” and “non-essential” in the ECF theology, although of course Jesus and salvation are at the center of everything and that is the Gospel .

    With that I will attempt to draw an imperfect analogy. Think of it like a large painting by a great master artist in the original frame. The center of the painting may be the subject, but removing any element will subtract from what the painter intended. To trim the painting down (very modern of us in our Photoshop age) and toss away the ornate gilded frame that the painter chose specific for that painting and put it in a simple modern frame would destroy the harmony of what the master intended.

    So, within that frame of reference, the ECFs were trying to understand and explain the entirety of a very large, living, multi dimensional painting. Many of them were incredible masters of the OT and the NT. Another thing we forget is how much material a scholar in that time would have memorized, verbatim. Anyway, they were also much more in touch with the Jewish tradition than we are. When they studied scripture they used what we now call Typology, they used more than the literal sense and in fact the used what the Catholic Church now refers to as the 4 senses of scripture. They also looked at the God’s Masterpiece, the way an artist looks at a painting, they looked for symbolism, they noticed not only what was shown, but what was hidden, or omitted.

    So why were the ECFs quick to develop devotion to Mary? Firstly, they saw her as one part of The Master’s painting. Yes, Jesus was the center, absolutely, but Mary was everywhere in the painting as well. She was at the center of The Annunciations, she was at the center at The Nativity, she requested the first public miracle, she was there at the Cross, She was there at Pentecost. They also, and this is quite ancient, recognized here as the New Eve (typology) and The Woman Clothed with the Sun from Revelation and the Ark of the New Covenant. When Mary doesn’t show up running to the tomb to see the stone rolled away, they notice that too. Why didn’t Mary go? Mary is present at every other major event in Jesus’s earthly existence, why wasn’t she at the resurrection? Because she already knew about it, and Jesus at already appeared to her (not recorded in scripture) but obvious because Mary was Jesus mother who had been is obedient servant on the entire journey. Of course, obviously, upon his resurrection the first thing Jesus would do is “call his mom!” Jesus and Mary were probably sharing breakfast while Peter and John were racing to the tomb.

    So now, to your question, the ECFs knew to think Jewish and they knew the OT, inside and out . In this thread we have talked about Uzzah and the Ark of the Covenant. We mentioned the Holy of Holies which only the priests could enter after ritual purification and many stories in the OT about contact by profane and impure people with what is Holy. They knew the Biblical and Rabbinical insistence on reserving vessels and vestments for temple use and not profaning them. For the 1st century Jews and the ECFs the idea that God’s own mother could then bear ordinary children would have been offensive, and that wasn’t just cultural baggage, that was something God had taught them repeatedly over the entire history of the Mosaic covenant. So, I can simply turn the question around on you: “Why, given the OT history of the Ark of the Covenant, the Holy of Holies, the divine punishment of those who violated the slightest rules, etc. would any ECF think Mary who was visited by an Angle and addressed with an royal greeting and honored with the title “Full of Grace,” overshadowed by the Holy Spirit and conceived The Son of God incarnate within her womb, carried him for 9 months, and became his mother, Why, why would any ancient think she could even conceivably go on to have ordinary relations with Joseph and have ordinary children in the same womb that held God Incarnate? To the ECFs the idea that Mary would have other Children would have been ludicrous.

    Corollary to the Nolte Conundrum
    I have long had this idea that I think is a corollary to Fred’s “Nolte Conundrum.” Why was Jesus born at this precise moment in history? This ties in to the ECFs in several ways. One, they would not have thought it as an accident at all. To them it was obvious that Jesus had chosen this very time in history, that God had prepared the world, had created this moment in time specifically for the incarnation and God’s formation of the Jewish people, their history, scripture, culture and theology in order to provide the setting for His most precious gem, His own Son. So if the ECFs got it entirely wrong, or even a tiny bit wrong, what does that say about the whole story?

  246. David, Protestants object because the Scripture says Mary had other children. Not cousins or kinsmen, children.

  247. Kevin,

    That is the last off-topic post I will approve. Ancient Marian devotion (the actual subject of the article, though one could hardly tell that from the combox is not within the purview of the article, which is focused principally upon Marian devotion being definitely established in the mid-3rd century AD. It is not focused upon her perpetual virginity, which I know we have all been writing about. I am not blaming anyone but myself for it, but it needs to stop now and we need to return to the actual subject at hand.

    Please and thank you, and again my apologies for not being firmer about this from the beginning.

    Peace,

    Fred

  248. If there is still a desire to discuss the Blessed Virgin Mary’s perpetual virginity, perhaps the conversation could continue under Taylor Marshall’s CtC blog post Augustine on the Perpetual Virginity of Mary in Scripture?

    Kevin, I’m sure David would be happy to engage with you there, and I’d be willing to spend some time with you on the topic of “the brethren of the Lord.”

  249. **chirp, chirp**

    Wow, that got quiet quickly.

    @245
    I would agree. I think the Protestant tendency is to divide and divorce where Catholicism has always defined and distinguished. This is often stated as either/or vs. both/and. Since the reformation, more and more of the Catholic Truth preserved in Protestantism has been getting hacked away at by the desire to have Christ, and Christ alone. It got to the point that all that was left was the head, but then the liberal theologies discarded of the God-Man as well.

    I also think that, as Mary is the type of the Church and the person in whom we see the Redemption and Divinization expressed in perfectly (Scotus’ defense for the Immaculate Conception as the “Perfect fruit of the Perfect Redemption of the Perfect Redeemer”– It is in Mary God triumphs completely over the devil).

    I also think all the debate over Mary is essential, because in Her are the questions of Ecclesiolgy (as Mother of the Church), Justification/Redemption (as Coredemptrix, Immaculate Conception), Grace (as Mediatrix of All Graces and Full of Grace), etc. She is hailed as the Destroyer of Heresies, and it was by appealing to Her that the Christological heresies were defeated (divinity of Christ – Her Perpetual Virginity; Humanity of Christ – Mother of God; that we begin in God, and His grace is supreme – the Immaculate Conception; that our end is to be with God in Heaven – Assumption).

    I am currently reading one of the books we publish, “She is Our Response” which is precisely about modernity being defined Pope Benedict as “dis-integration” and Mary as the “Integrated One” that we find God’s answer to our ages ills.

  250. Ok, that prayer in #212 does it.

    Since there does not appear to be any movement in the Roman Catholic Church to correct this, I am now going to ask all Roman Catholics to pray to the Lord Jesus Christ alone on whether or not they should leave the Roman Catholic Church.

    D

  251. David,

    The mariology in that prayer is rather subdued compared to what you’ll find in Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox liturgical prayers, so you might want to broaden your appeal. Of course, as someone deeply devoted to Mary, I am not about to exclude her from my prayer life by leaving the Catholic and Orthodox tradition in favor of–what?–your own private religion?

    Andrew

  252. Hello David,

    You write (#250):

    Since there does not appear to be any movement in the Roman Catholic Church to correct this, I am now going to ask all Roman Catholics to pray to the Lord Jesus Christ alone on whether or not they should leave the Roman Catholic Church.

    Setting aside for the moment the impetus for your petition, there is still a problem: you can’t beat something with nothing. Protestantism is internally self-contradictory and its professed means for discerning what the Bible reveals do not work. That is why I stopped being a Protestant months before I even gave the Catholic Church a glimpse. So if we say for purposes of argument that your complaint about the prayer in #212 is legitimate and that Catholics should leave the Church, the one place we absolutely cannot go is to any of the various branches of Protestantism: it has been broken from its very beginning. Again, as I said in the article and repeatedly in the comments: see here.

    That leaves the Orthodox, whose prayers to the Blessed Virgin would, I am quite sure, be no less troublesome to the Protestant who judges them from a Protestant perspective. See here for a starting point.

    So that basically wipes out Christianity entirely, for no better reason that I can see than that you insist upon judging Catholic expressions of piety on Protestant terms, which is simple question-begging.

    Now, getting back to the impetus for your petition: it seems to me that it springs from a genuine charity towards us, and I can respect and appreciate that concern. But exactly what kind of answer are you expecting us to receive? Mormons claim a burning in the bosom, but that is entirely subjective. And I do not see how the answer you expect us to receive would avoid subjectivism. If we Catholics are going to offer such a prayer, you would need to specify an objective means by which we might discern the Lord’s reply. Appeals to sola scriptura don’t count, since that would beg the question. Lastly, you would have to have a working alternative. I think I have adequately shown in The Accidental Catholic that Protestantism does not work, and so even if I were to assume that your criticisms were valid (and I don’t) you would still need to show us what is true.

    Peace,

    Fred

  253. David (#250)

    Since there does not appear to be any movement in the Roman Catholic Church to correct this…

    To correct what?? I thought it was a wonderful prayer! The whole prayer to Our Lady is wholly Christ-oriented (because all that she obtains for us by her prayers she obtains from her Son). Thus the prayer asks her to obtain for us “…a perfect love for Jesus Christ.”

    jj

  254. Fred,

    I would think that David’s comment, though irrelevant to the post, could be responded to on how Ancient Marian devotion appeared in comparison or in contrast to modern Marian devotion. Or perhaps you can explain how that prayer from the 3rd century bears not much of a difference, conceptually, from the quote from #212.

  255. “Mary also freely ascribes all to God’s grace, not to her merit. For though she was without sin, yet that grace was too surpassing great for her to deserve it in any way. How should a creature deserve to become the Mother of God!

    “May the tender Mother of God herself procure for me the spirit of wisdom, profitably and thoroughly to expound this song of hers, so that your Grace as well as we all may draw therefrom wholesome knowledge and a praiseworthy life, and thus come to chant and sing this Magnificat eternally in heaven.

    “That is why I said Mary does not desire to be an idol; she does nothing, God does all. We ought to call upon her, that for her sake God may grant and do what we request. Thus also all other saints are to be invoked, so that the work may be every way God’s alone.

    “We pray God to give us a right understanding of this Magnificat, an understanding that consists not merely in brilliant words, but I glowing life in body and soul. May Christ grant us this through the intercession and for the sake of His dear Mother Mary. Amen.” Martin Luther 1521, THE MAGNIFICAT, from Dave Armstrong blog.

  256. The timing of the mid 3rd c. Sub tuum prayer is consistent with the natural clouding of the Gospel at that time shortly following on the heels of “sacerdos” first being instituted, sewing back up the torn curtain that separated the people from full access to God and forces them to rely on the institution.

    Nevertheless the Assyrian Christians of the East did not have such prayers, and liturgies in the West did not have them until later medieval times as can be seen by all who read the ancient liturgies of the West. Mozarabic, Didascalia, Apostolic Constitution, Testamentum Domini, Canons of Hippolytus, Libelli Missarum, Gelasianum, Ordines Romani (7th c.), Sarum and York rites (early versions) plainly show the injection of the dangerously approaching adoration of Mary (if not adoration itself) are on the overwhelming whole, late accretions. Perhaps not coincidentally we see Waldensians and other proto-Evangelicals being raised up about the same time.

    To all here sincerely seeking truth and a relationship with the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ:

    As “working alternatives” I recommend the following churches:

    A good orthodox United Methodist (yes there are some), Church of the Nazarene, Wesleyan, Lutheran LCMS, Calvary Chapel, Presbyterian – American and OPC, Anglican Realignment movement, Southern Baptist, Assemblies of God, or non-denom Bible church. Without doubt there are many more beautiful expressions of the Holy Spirit than these, but these brothers and sisters are some I am familiar with and can recommend.

    Leave the subtleties behind and pray to the Spirit.

    Farewell and may God guide and protect us on our way,
    David

    1 John 2:27
    1 John 4:1
    Gospel of John 14:26-27

  257. Hello David,

    You write (#256):

    As “working alternatives” I recommend the following churches:

    A good orthodox United Methodist (yes there are some), Church of the Nazarene, Wesleyan, Lutheran LCMS, Calvary Chapel, Presbyterian – American and OPC, Anglican Realignment movement, Southern Baptist, Assemblies of God, or non-denom Bible church. Without doubt there are many more beautiful expressions of the Holy Spirit than these, but these brothers and sisters are some I am familiar with and can recommend.

    These groups you list all have wildly varying notions about truths which cannot rationally be described as matters of indifference. Therefore it is flatly impossible to identify which (if any) of them possesses the truth, except possibly by appeal to subjectivism. But then, subjectivism is as good a surrender to any claim of objective truth as there is, right?

    So my former remarks stand with respect to these examples of yours: Protestantism is broken, and these alternatives you suggest do not work at all. Indeed, given that Luther himself apparently endorsed Marian intercession (as seen in comment #255), it is not even clear whether he or his heirs should be considered correct about the very question at hand. Sorry, David, but you can’t beat something with nothing, as I said.

    Peace,

    Fred

  258. David (re: #256),

    If Marian devotion is a late accretion, and late accretions are bad, the “churches” you recommended… Talk about late accretions…

    Best,
    Brian

  259. David,

    As Tim Troutman has shown in his article, “Holy Orders and the Sacrificial Priesthood,” the sacerdotal ministry is Apostolic. It is not a third century development in the sense of originating in the third century, but rather originates in Christ, by whom the Apostles are given a distinct participation in the priestly ministry (John 20:21-23; Romans 15:16; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20), which they passed on by way of Holy Orders, as discussed in Tim’s article.

    Contra the ecclesial deism implicit in your commentary, the Holy Spirit did not give the universal Church over to error on the Gospel and ministry in the mid third century or at any subsequent time. Thus, your “working alternatives” to those historical Churches that venerate Mary are precisely alternatives to the principle of the Holy Spirit guiding the Apostolic Church into all truth. Your recommendation, contrary to your intention, amounts to preferring the teachings of men to the divine authority of the Holy Spirit in the Church.

    The Spirit’s guidance may involve, on the human side, making subtle distinctions in order to separate truth from error (e.g., homoousion versus homoiousion), but mariology is in spirit and practice as unsubtle and spontaneous as the greeting of Elizabeth to the Blessed Virgin and Mother of God, recorded in Luke Chapter 1.

    Andrew

  260. Pax+Christi,
    If it makes you feel better, David, St. Alphonsus also wrote this in his work “History of Heresies”:

    78. Among the followers of Apollinaris were the Anti-dicomarianites or adversaries of Mary. These said, following Elvidius, that she did not remain a virgin, but after the birth of Christ had other children by St. Joseph. St. Epiphanius (13), hearing that this error was prevalent in Arabia, refuted it in a long letter directed to all the faithful of that region. At the same time, and in the same country, another error altogether opposed to this was broached, that the Blessed Virgin was a sort of Deity. The followers of this sect were called Collyridians (14), because they worshipped the Virgin by offering her a certain sort of cakes called, in Greek, Collyrides. This superstition came from Thrace and Upper Sythica, and passed into Arabia. The women, especially, were almost all followers of this sect.
    (12) N. Alex. t. S. c. 3, a. 1481. (13) St. Epip. Her. 77, n. 26 & 78. (14) St. Epip. Her. 79
     On certain fast days every year they ornamented a car, and placed on it a square bench covered with a cloth; on this a loaf was placed, and, being offered to the Virgin, was then divided among the
    worshippers. St. Epiphanius, in combating this superstition, showed that women can never take any part in the priesthood, and that the worship they offered to the Virgin was idolatrous; for, although the most perfect of all creatures, she was still but a creature, and should not be honored like God with that oblation (15).

    Like Scripture, one must interpret St. Alphonsus in his totality. As Bl. Henry Cardinal Newman stresses, one must be able to distinguish the Marian doctrine from the Marian Devotion which flows from it. If you fail to do this, you are not able to get a clear idea of either the Doctrine or the Devotion.

  261. David,

    You said that there was errors creeping into the Church around the 3rd century (200-299 AD). Is there any early Christian writer who you think was not corrupted by false doctrine? And if so, which ones? Of course, we understand you believe the NT writers to have been infallible in their writings, and do I would be asking about those Christians who immediately followed the Apostolic age.

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