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Assumption of Mary and dogmatic statement

Discussion in 'One Bread, One Body - Catholic' started by OpenDoor, Oct 7, 2012.

  1. OpenDoor

    OpenDoor Faith + Hope + Love

    I also posted this in the Mariology section of GT, but I know many of you no longer visit that board.


    For those who are unaware the Assumption of Mary is a belief held by the RCC which teaches that Mary was bodily assumed (taken up) to Heaven.

    One of the issues of debate among Roman Catholic regarding this teaching, is the question of whether or not Mary was alive or dead at the time of the assumption.

    This is because of the dogmatic teaching, "having completed the course of her (Mary) earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory." The "having completed the course of her earthly life" statement (according to Catholics) leaves open the debate to whether Mary was alive or not.

    The statement "having completed the course of her earthly life", was said by Pope Pius XII during the Munificentissimus Deus Nov 1, 1950 when he dogmatically declared the Assumption of Mary.

    My question is, if Catholics were unsure of the meaning of "having completed the course of her earthly life", why didn't anyone ask?

    Admittedly, I don't entirely understand how Papal Infallibility works but I have been told by Catholics that it is not a form of prophecy, or a vision, etc. So I would think that Pope Pius XII would know what he was talking about.

    So why not ask? Did anyone ask? He did not die until Oct 9, 1958 (eight years later) so there was time to ask.

    One possibility that I can think of (do to my admitted lack of understanding on Papal Infallibility) is that a pope does not remember what they said after speaking infallibly. However, like I said before I do not think that is how Papal Infallibility works.

    Does anyone know anything on the subject and this specific issue?
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  2. FullyMT

    FullyMT Veni Sancte Spiritus

    It is a debated issue and up to the individual believer as to whether or not Mary died and was immediately taken up or simply that God decided just prior to her death to bring her up.
    A good question to ask is: what does it mean to die? What does it mean to be a physical presence in Heaven?
    The Eastern Orthodox celebrate the "dormition" of Mary, which, as i understand it, means she fell asleep and was taken up. The Church hasn't really specified.
    I have a friend taking a course on Mary and they were studying the Assumption. There is, apparently, a papal homily where John Paul II mentions "Mary's last breathe" but this could mean either death, or simply the last breathe she took prior to being brought into Heaven.
  3. QuantaCura

    QuantaCura Rejoice always.

    I've never seen anyone of any weight say she did not die. All say she died. The Fathers seem unanimous on this. The Constitution definitively proclaiming her Assumption as a dogma of faith in the rest of the text speaks of her death, etc. Seeing as we're bound by at lease religious submission to those things taught by the ordinary Magisterium, there doesn't seem to be, generally speaking, any real debate available here.

    As to why she died despite being free from sin, see Part II, Discourse VII here of Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus Liguori, a Doctor of the Church:

  4. OpenDoor

    OpenDoor Faith + Hope + Love

    So is it your understanding that Mary was assumed after her death?

    As for all Catholics saying she died. About a year ago when watching tv and flipping through the channels. There was a cartoon on EWTN (the Catholic channel) where Mary was alive, standing up, and talking as she was being taken up to heaven. So I would presume that means at least one person at EWTN believes Mary was alive.

    Regardless, I don't think you (or the poster before) really answered my question. My question is basically, if there was some level of misunderstanding on what the Pope meant by his statement, why didn't he clarify it?

    I recognize that the answer might be connected to the issue of Papal Infallibility, which I admit my understand of how Papal Infallibility works is lacking (to be honest I don't know if anyone know "how" PI works).

    If you like think of my question as one being asked by a child at sunday school, "why didn't anyone just ask the Pope what he meant?" or "why didn't the Pope clarify what he meant when he saw people were confused?"
  5. Rhamiel

    Rhamiel Member of the Round Table

    papal infalability is a gift from God
    through the teachings of the Church God gives us what we need to know
    since there is not a firm doctrine on if the Blessed Mother died before she was assumed into Heaven, then it must not be of great importance

    as for why the Pope did not specify about this when he made this teaching a dogma, well it is not like he made up this doctrine out of whole cloth, this was allready a teaching in the East and the West for many many years, it was only when some Catholics were teaching that this was not an important teaching did the Pope make it a dogma to show how important it was
    the Holy Spirit inspired the writting of the Bible and in a similar way the Holy Spirit protects the teachings of the Church from error
    obviously the Pope did not feel moved by the Holy Spirit to speak on the state Mary was in when she was taken up into heaven anymore then it was the "end of her life"
  6. FullyMT

    FullyMT Veni Sancte Spiritus

    Why didn't he clarify? Probably because he wasn't sure and didn't want to make a statement on it.
    It's okay to say "I (or we) don't know for sure."
    Also, this is at the level of Dogma, so it is going to be stated very simply, generally allowing for some room of interpretation underneath it for application further theological reflection and development.
  7. Fantine

    Fantine Dona Quixote Supporter

    I never lose any sleep worrying over it. I always find it somewhat astonishing that people do.

    But I lost a little sleep last night because my daughter and her bf were returning from a very long car trip and didn't get in until 2 a.m. so I suppose everything is relative.
  8. tadoflamb

    tadoflamb no identificado

    United States
    I think the mistake you are making is 'assuming' ;) that the pope, through some sort of mystic vision, invented the dogma of the Assumption. This is not true. The pope, like the rest of us Catholics, relies on Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the teaching Magisterium of the Church. The dogma of the Assumption is nothing new, it was simply defined dogmatically by the pope. The reason the question as to whether the Blessed Mother was alive or dead at her assumption has not been answered because the answer has not been passed down to us. It's not like we make this stuff up as we go along, usually the Church defines articles of the faith dogmatically as objections and heresies rise against it. The question as to the status of the BVM at her assumption is one that is left to the Catholic as 'pious opinion'. We can hold either view (or none) and still be in good standing with the Church.

    I, for one, believe that Our Lady followed her Son in every way so that she too probably 'tasted death'. On the other hand, since Jesus spared his mother from the stain of original sin, perhaps he spared her from the pains fo death. Who knows? As I said, it's a matter of pious opinion.
  9. Angeldove97

    Angeldove97 In the Lord, my labor is not in vain Supporter

    United States
    Traditional. Cath.
    Good resource to review: Did Mary Die Before Her Assumption? It does bring up the conflict that the Pope did not clarify if she did or did not die, but the earliest records indicate that she did and it is okay for Catholics to use these records as a way to formulate the faith.

    I think perhaps the Pope did not directly say Yes, Mary did die because the belief of the Assumption doesn't matter if she did or did not die- what matters is the belief that Mary's body went to heaven. That is the focus of the belief :)