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Catholic Defenses - Issue 1 - Praying to Mary

Discussion in 'Christianity and World Religion' started by Chris†opher Paul, Aug 27, 2002.

  1. suzie

    suzie Senior Member

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    Many of it was quotes from prior Popes --
     
  2. VOW

    VOW Moderator

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    To Suzie:

    Every word uttered by a Pope is not to be considered as Gospel. Only when he makes a pronouncement with regards to FAITH or MORALS is he considered to be infallible, and there are some very rigid requirements before he can speak "ex cathedra."

    Many Popes (and John Paul II is one of them) have felt an affinity for Mary. In their personal writings, they could have expressed their own private devotions to her. If you have the sources for the quotes you gave, perhaps we can tell exactly what the circumstances were behind the statements.


    Peace,
    ~VOW
     
  3. Wolseley

    Wolseley Beaucoup-Diên-Cai-Dāu

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    Popes are Catholics like every other Catholic. Most Catholics have devotions of one sort or another. But a devotion is a devotion, just that; it is not doctrine, it is not dogma, and it is certainly not part of the Apostolic Deposit. Devotion is the lowest rung of Catholic faith and practice, and it does not have to be adhered to by every Catholic.
     
  4. suzie

    suzie Senior Member

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    So you are saying that this is not what the Catholic Church holds as truth?
    That the words are not representative of the Catholic Church teachings? That is an interesting thought......
     
  5. Wolseley

    Wolseley Beaucoup-Diên-Cai-Dāu

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    Let's go through your list, one by one. :)
    This is a dogma, defined by Vatican Council I and affirmed by Pope Pius IX. It can be found as a doctrine in the Patristic writings as far back as 373 AD or before. It is held as a rule of faith that all Catholics must believe.
    Doctrine of Co-Redemptrix; it is borderline devotional thought. It has not been defined by the Church and does not have to be believed in or adhered to.
    Devotional thought; not doctrines. They do not have to be believed in or adhered to. "Mediatrix of all graces" is a doctrinal title, but again, the thoughts themselves are devotional.
    Ties in with the doctrine of the Communion of Saints; it must be taken within the larger context of Catholic teaching regarding salvation, which is that salvation comes from Christ alone; saints (including Mary) merely help by intercessory prayer.
    Definitely devotional thought, along the lines of Alphonsus Ligouri. No where near doctrine, and actually bordering on devotional abuse. Any higher treatise on Catholic Marian theology will not give much credence to this, although if taken within the proper context, it's just within the perameters of legitimacy. This, also, does not have to be adhered to or believed in. It is a devotion, nothing more.

    I think you can see by this that not all writings concerning Mary have the same amount of punch. Out of the batch, you have one dogma that is required belief among Catholics, and a couple of undefined doctrines; the rest are pretty much take 'em or leave 'em as you choose. :)

    Does this help?
     
  6. suzie

    suzie Senior Member

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    I am not about to go into the Catholic Dogma, I was giving an overview of the type of exaltation that Mary is given within the Catholic church and would be viewed as God-like characteristics that the noncatholics do not hold. I really didnt mean to delve into it more than I did. I simply have a grasp on Catholic structure and I also have the eyes of the noncatholic and how it appears to them. I was trying to say that it is very difficult to discuss issues between the two sects as per this example. It doesnt make it any more agreeable if you take each sentance apart and divide it into categories. The basis for your approach is and will always be different from the noncatholic. Thus, explaining catholic doctrine that is traditionally based doesnt hold any water to the noncatholic christian. They base all their truth from the scriptures and all things are sifted through the scriptures for truth. They have to be in harmony with the Word or they arent.
     
  7. Wolseley

    Wolseley Beaucoup-Diên-Cai-Dāu

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    Yes, I am aware of that. However, I try my best to explain the Catholic viewpoint for the benefit of the dozens of lurkers who read these threads but never post. :) If even one person gains an understanding of Catholic thought which they didn't have before (or even better yet, loses the idea that all Catholics have horns and spiked tails, carry trident pitchforks and stink of sulphur and brimstone), it's worth it. At best, what I hope for is the non-Catholic to be able to say, "Yes, I see how you arrive at that conclusion. I don't agree with it, but at least I can see how you got there."
     
  8. LightBearer

    LightBearer Veteran

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    Viewing tradition in the basic sense of “information handed down by word of mouth or by example,” the information that Paul had received directly from the Lord Jesus Christ could be handed on to the congregations as “tradition.” Note these expressions of the apostle: “You are holding fast the traditions just as I handed them on to you.” “For I received from the Lord that which I also handed on to you,” relative to celebrating the memorial of Christ’s death. “For I handed on to you, among the first things, that which I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” “Maintain your hold on the traditions that you were taught, whether it was through a verbal message or through a letter of ours.” 1 Cor. 11:2, 23; 15:3; 2 Thess. 2:15.

    Besides handing on the inspired teachings of Christ Jesus, Paul was himself inspired to transmit many precepts for the upbuilding of the Christian congregation, which, as beneficial traditions, were later committed to writing by him, to become part of the inspired Scriptures. So Paul could write to the congregation at Thessalonica: “Now we are giving you orders, brothers, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, to withdraw from every brother walking disorderly and not according to the tradition you received from us.” 2 Thess. 3:6.

    To establish the proper perspective as to traditions in relation to the Bible, consider what the same apostle, Paul, wrote at 2 Timothy 3:15-17: “From infancy you have known the holy writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through the faith in connection with Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.” No mention here of oral tradition in addition to Scripture as being indispensable for salvation and faith and for one’s being fully competent and completely equipped as a Christian. What, then, are we to conclude when we see human tradition being given an equal rating with God’s inspired Word, and when, even though contrary to the Bible, tradition is accepted and followed instead of the Bible? Could such a situation be compatible with true worship?

    The traditions or precepts that were transmitted orally at first by Jesus and the apostles and that were to be considered part of God’s revelation of truth for following generations were committed to writing under the direction of the holy spirit, so that before the death of John, the last of the twelve apostles, the canon of the Scriptures was completed. Appropriately John wrote shortly before his death: “If anyone makes an addition to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this scroll.” Rev. 22:18


    Your right about Marian theology not being fully understood by those outside the Catholic Faith. Please could you explain what exactly is meant by "Imaculate Conception". I'd rather get your veiws than those of a third party, avoid missunderstandings.

    By the way, Thank you for your veiws on these matters, some are very interesting arguments (In the nice way) that I've not encountered before. The advantage of getting it first hand from those who practice their faith.
     
  9. Chris†opher Paul

    Chris†opher Paul Based on a True Story

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    That Mary was born sinless.
     
  10. Wolseley

    Wolseley Beaucoup-Diên-Cai-Dāu

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    Very true; but Paul makes no mention of the exclusivity of Scripture to the exclusion of all other forms of revelation.
    2 Timothy 3:16 is often used as a "proof text" for sola Scriptura, with the idea that it plainly shows that only Scripture is needed as a rule for faith and doctrine. Notice what this verse says, though: "All Scripture is inspired, beneficial, etc." Catholics will agree heartily that "all Scripture is" inspired, beneficial, and so forth. However, also notice what the verse doesn't say: it does not say, "Only Scripture is inspired, beneficial, etc. Again, Paul makes no argument for the exclusivity of Scripture over other forms of revelation; and if one takes the remainder of Paul's writings in context, the argument seems to go against sola Scriptura rather than for it. And without doubt, if one studies the development of the New Testament within the framework of the earliest Church, sola Scriptura falls completely apart.

    The New Testament was not written as a sort of "Christian Handbook" containing every single item about Christianity that the believer needed to know; it was written as a collection of instructions and first and second-hand memories about Christ's ministry, and addressed to people who already knew the Faith through oral instruction. Even Luke mentions this in his prologue to his Gospel (Luke 1:1-4); he's telling Theophilus, "You already know this stuff, and there's a lot of histories out there right now, but I decided I'd start from scratch, research the whole thing thoroughly, and write down an entirely new history so you get the story in an orderly sequence." Verse 4 is the zinger: "So that you may realize the certainty of the teachings you have recieved." Theophilus already knows the teachings about Christ; the only thing Luke is doing is writing things down in an orderly sequence to corroborate what Theophilus already knows. The Gospel of Luke was written about 60 AD, meaning that the only other Gospel was Mark's (55 AD), which is relatively short and not quite as extensive as the other three. And even at that, even John plainly says that not everything Jesus did was written down (John 21:25).
    The dichotomy here is that you see Catholic Tradition as the "traditions of men", similar to the Pharisaic traditions which Jesus condemned; we see Tradition as the fully inspired Word of God, equal to Scripture. The Holy Spirit inspired the Apostles to recall everything that Jesus taught them (John 16:13-15); some of these they wrote down, some of them they did not. But simply because it wasn't written down does not negate the Divine origin of the teaching itself---it still came from God.

    I realize how hard it is for a non-Catholic to assimilate this idea, since you have been schooled forever in the concept of "Scripture alone"; but you have to realize that "Scripture alone" is a fairly new phenomenon, which has only been around for a little less than 500 years. Prior to that, such an idea did not exist. It also has to be borne in mind that the man who popularized the concept (Martin Luther), only did so because he needed something to use as a rule of faith and doctrine to replace the authority of the Church. He didn't want to use himself, lest he just end up being a Protestant pope, and he refused to use Tradition, since Tradition contained a lot of the doctrines he personally was having trouble with. So he settled for Scripture, and so has every Protestant ever since.
    But it was not so from the very beginning. :)
    The dogma of the Immaculate Conception states that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was preserved, by a special action of God, from Original Sin. The reason for this has to do with Christ, not Mary. Since children always inherit the characteristics of both parents, it was necessary to preserve Mary from Original Sin so that Christ would not contract it as well from His mother's side of the family. You may now say, "Why couldn't God have simply chosen to preserve Christ from Original Sin? Why bother with Mary?" and that's a good question. The reason involves a great deal of theological explanation, but stripped to its most basic form, it boils down to the fact that Jesus is God, and nothing impure may come into contact with God; it was therefore only fitting that God Himself, in the incarnate form of Christ, be borne into the world in a sinless vessel, rather than a stained, sinful, impure one.

    That argument may not suffice for you, and that's fine; nobody says you have to agree with it. But I think the relevant point in all this is that even though Mary was preserved from sin, that does not mean that she is some sort of goddess or demi-goddess. She was fully human as we all are, and she needed a Savior the same as we all do. The only difference is that Mary was preserved from sin by Christ, while the rest of us are cleansed of sin by Christ. And again, this preservation was for His benefit, not hers.
    You're welcome. I hope it helps. :)
     
  11. VOW

    VOW Moderator

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    To Suzie:

    Please understand that Catholics hold Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture as equal in authority. One is not held above the other. Further, they do NOT contradict one another, either. According to Catholic interpretation of Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition complements Sacred Scripture. Anything you find in Sacred Tradition will be upheld when viewed from Sacred Scripture.


    Peace be with you,
    ~VOW
     
  12. LightBearer

    LightBearer Veteran

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    There does appears to be a difference of opinion with the dogma of Imaculate Conception and scripture.

    ACCORDING to the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, the Catholic doctrine of the Assumption states: “The Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, when her earthly life was over.” This teaching has led some Catholic theologians to claim that Mary “did not die and was immediately raised from earthly life to heavenly glory,” says the paper.

    Pope John Paul II cast a different light on the matter. At the General Audience at the Vatican on June 25, 1997, he said: “The New Testament provides no information on the circumstances of Mary’s death. This silence leads one to suppose that it happened naturally, with no detail particularly worthy of mention. . . . The opinions that wish to exclude her from death by natural causes seem groundless.”

    Pope John Paul’s statement opens a deep crack in the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. If Jesus’ mother was “preserved free from all stain of original sin,” how could Mary die from “natural causes,” which result from sin passed on by sinful Adam? (Romans 5:12) This theological dilemma is due to the Catholic Church’s distorted view of Jesus’ mother. Little wonder that division and confusion have arisen within the Catholic Church over the matter.

    While the Bible portrays Mary as being humble, faithful, and devout, it does not ascribe these qualities to an “immaculate conception.” (Luke 1:38; Acts 1:13, 14) The Bible simply says: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23). Nowhere does it teach—or even hint—that Mary was the product of “immaculate conception.” On the contrary, it indicates that Mary was an imperfect human in need of redemption. For this reason, after the birth of Jesus, she went to the temple and made a sin offering to God. (Leviticus 12:1-8; Luke 2:22-24) Like all other imperfect humans, Mary eventually died. Romans 3:23; 6:23.

    Yes, Mary inherited sin and imperfection as did the rest of humankind, and there is no evidence that she died from anything other than natural causes. Compare 1 John 1:8-10.
     
  13. Wolseley

    Wolseley Beaucoup-Diên-Cai-Dāu

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    Actually, I think you're mixing the dogmas of the Assumption (which states that Mary was assumed, body and soul, into heaven at the moment of her death), and the Immaculate Conception (which states that she was preserved from Original Sin).

    In any event, the fact that Mary's death was entirely natural does not negate either dogma. As for Romans 3:23, this is yet another Protestant 'proof text" used to deny the Immaculate Conception of Mary, but again, simple use of the word "all" means nothing divorced from all context as this verse is being used. Romans 3:11-12 flatly says "There is no one who seeks God; all have gone astray". But that can't be what the verses mean, because if that were the case, you and I wouldn't be here as practicing Christians, seeking to do God's will---we'd be out there enjoying the high life. ;) But you can only make Romans 3:11-12 "fit" that definition by taking it out of context; Romans 3:23 is the same.

    For the rest of your post, again, you refer repeatedly to "The Bible never mentions this". I know that. But as I already explained to you, Catholics do not base their entire rule of faith and doctrine on the Bible alone; so, whether a Catholic doctrine is found within the pages of Scripture or not is more or less irrelevant. Sola Scriptura is your rule, not ours. ;)
     
  14. LightBearer

    LightBearer Veteran

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    I can appreciate the way your are reasoning but on what basis did Mary die if she was sinless.

    What of the fact that a  "Sin Offering" was made for her. (Leviticus 12:1-8; Luke 2:22-24)

    The Scriptures also state that redemption for “all mankind” came only through Christ’s death. (Hebrews 2:9, JB) If the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary were true, Mary would have been redeemed before Christ died, in fact, even years before he came to earth.
     
  15. VOW

    VOW Moderator

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    To LB:

    Mary still benefitted from the Sacrifice of Christ. She was PRESERVED from Sin by His future actions.

    All things are possible to God. He is not bound by the dimensions of our earthly existence, or of our human understanding. In Eternity, there is no time or space. Mary's unique status is a miracle of God.


    Peace be with you,
    ~VOW
     
  16. suzie

    suzie Senior Member

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    Vow-

    The Noncatholics believes that everything necessary, everything binding on our consciousness, and everything God requires of us is given to us in Scripture. We are forbidden to add or to take away from Scripture-(Deut. 4:2; Rev. 22:18).

    We then believe that scipture is therefore the perfect and only standard of spiritual truth, revealing infallibly all that we must believe to be saved and all we must do to bring glory to God--that is what sola Scriptura is--

    It then becomes difficult to agree with such things as the Assumption and Immaculate Conception of Mary. For their is no Biblical basis for these. We cannot see this as being in harmony with scripture for it isnt in scripture at all.
     
  17. VOW

    VOW Moderator

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    To Suzie:

    I am aware of what Protestants believe. I used to be a Protestant before converting to Catholicism.

    Please see some of the threads about Sacred Tradition in the Protestant, Catholic and Jewish Discussion board. You might be surprised to learn that until the New Testament canon was approved in the fourth century, Sacred Tradition was all the Early Church had!


    Peace be with you,
    ~VOW
     
  18. suzie

    suzie Senior Member

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    I am not surprised by the oral teachings that the church held. I am well aware. The Christian New Testament was gradually determined by the church over several centuries, and not by a single council or person. The gradual unanimity that the church achieved is indicitive of God's hand in the guiding process. From the earliest recorded days of the church the church held to a canon almost identical to the final 27 NT books. The 4th Century Councils did not set the canon, but confirmed what was already church practice. Even though the church was slipping into practices such as veneration of Mary, there is a complete absence of these in the NT, thus giving evidence that the church did not corrupt the bible.
    The church did have and use Scripture , it just more generally relied on oral teachings. We know the church used the apostles writings as Scripture from a very early stage. The church consistently used the 4 gospels and never any others--by the middle of the 2nd century, the usage of the 4 gospels was unanimous in the church. Also around the late part of the 2nd century, the letters of Paul were gathered. Irenaeus is familiar with 24 of the 27 NT books...
    The earliest church Fathers placed strong emphasis on the authority of Scipture over verbal tradition....crucial matters such as the deity of Christ, Trinity, doctrine of original sin were settled by appealing to Scripture as the highest of all authorities. They reasoned things out by Scripture and made their rulings accordingly. The understanding of tradition is not the same between Catholics and Noncatholics. We believe that Scripture is sufficient...the fact that everything Jesus did and taught was not recorded or that most of the apostles actual sermons were not preserved does not diminish the truth of biblical sufficiencly to us . We believe that all that is necessary is in Scripture--and that we are forbidden to "exceed what is written"(1 Cor 4:6)
     
  19. ServantOfTheLord

    ServantOfTheLord Seeking His Face

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    I did not read every post here I only read the first post. There is a big push in the Catholic church to name Mary as "co-intercessor". Jesus is our only intercessor! Praying to Mary and the saints is idol worship.

    1wor•ship \"wer-shep\ n [ME worshipe worthiness, respect, reverence paid to a divine being, fr. OE weorthscipe worthiness, respect, fr. weorth worthy, worth + -scipe -ship, suffix denoting quality or condition] 1 chiefly Brit : a person of importance — used as a title for officials 2 : reverence toward a divine being or supernatural power; also : the expression of such reverence 3 : extravagant respect or admiration or devotion <~ of the dollar>
    (c)2000 Zane Publishing, Inc. and Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. All rights reserved.

    worship vb -shiped or -shipped; -ship•ing or -ship•ping 1 : to honor or reverence as a divine being or supernatural power 2 : idolize 3 : to perform or take part in worship — wor•ship•er or wor•ship•per n
    (c)2000 Zane Publishing, Inc. and Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. All rights reserved.

    I know because I am a recovering catholic and was deceived for many years. But Praise God! I am now free in the truth of Christ no longer in bandage to the "doctrine" of men!

    I will pray.

    In His Service,

    Sandy
     
  20. isshinwhat

    isshinwhat Pro Deo et Patria

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    Sandy, Jesus is the one mediator, but we Christians are all called to be intercessors. There is a difference between mediation and intercession.

    I believe the term you are looking for is Co-Redemptrix. This does not put Mary on equal footing with Christ, nor does it make her in any way divine. It means only that she was a co-worker with Jesus in redemption of souls. You can say the same thing of yourself if you bring a person to Christ, just as Paul did.

    Notice here Paul says he saves people. We all know that only Christ saves, but Paul was the chosen co-worker of God to lead certain souls to their salvation. Paul worked with Jesus to save souls, to redeem them, therefore Paul was co-redeemer with Jesus. That term means nothing other than Paul worked with God, and God through Paul. It means the same thing of Mary.

    And no faithful Catholic worships anyone but God. We respect Mary and the other Saints and ask for their prayers, just as a I respect all my Christian brothers and sisters who are alive in Christ and ask for their prayers. We worship God alone.

    God Bless,

    Neal
     
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