A Couple Questions

Hi. I’ve been “around” for years but never posted much. I am a born Protestant who has, for lack of a better way to put this, been all over the theological spectrum. I am also a student of history who has spent many years researching the ancient world and, and first century Judaism, Palestine (Judea), Greece and Rome. I’ve learned, of course, of the many controversies and interpretations of doctrine over the two millennia of the church, as well as the “schisms.” Some things are clear to me, and some are not “fixed” yet in my mind as to the most accurate portrayal of the early church’s position on some hot button issues, mentioned below. Here is where I am right now:

At this point in my life it is obvious to me that the early church was liturgical, apostolic, and had an organization which could variously be described as Catholic and/or Orthodox in outlook. I am very close to contacting a Catholic priest to begin RCIA classes, but I have a couple questions. :confused:

I am also familiar to a great extent with the Orthodox perspective on Mary, filioque, the Creed, and the whole “purgatory/toll houses” comparison thing. I need definitive proof that the Catholic church has the strongest argument on two things: Papal Primacy and Immaculate Conception doctrines. Once these issues are firmly settled in my mind, I will feel I am on firmer ground theologically as to where I go next. I do know that with the knowledge base I have so far, Protestantism is out of the question in the future. :wink: I guess my basic quandary now is to resolve the differences between Catholic and Eastern Orthodox branches of Christianity. The filioque thing is not a big stumbling block to me because I understand there is some “give” there even among Orthodox about how that was traditionally interpreted.

So, what I’m asking is, can any of you point me to some references that will help me understand the development of the Immaculate Conception doctrine, especially intimations in the early church fathers? As for papal primacy, again, I am seeking early church fathers’ writings which would be helpful in putting this issue to rest once and for all. To clarify, this is because the Orthodox view the bishop of Rome as “first among equals” and rely so much on church councils, thus don’t recognize Papal Primacy in authority, only in honor. Ok…so…help! This is getting confusing… :confused:

Since the positions of the Orthodox and Catholic faith are so similar in many respects, I also want to be sure I have a correct understanding of the differences, since I am devoted to learning and following the true, original faith of the Apostles.

I appreciate any assistance you may provide, and God bless all of you for helping me stumble through this. :blush: Please also forgive me if these issues have been discussed recently in another post. You have so many wonderful forums here I could spend literally weeks browsing all of them, and will. :thumbsup:

Thank you again.

When I first started RCIA I had no idea what the immaculate conception was, I had WAY more questions than you did as well. I think you should go ahead and contact a priest because there comes a point when one must make a leap of faith it will be the first of many rejoice in God and ask that the Holy Spirit guide you as He already has.

A quick run down of the immaculate conception would be like this, Mary is the mother of Jesus. Jesus is true God true man. For Jesus to be the purest man he must be born of the purest mother. Therefore original sin is suspended in her case by divine grace allowing Mary to lead a sinless life and able to give birth to Jesus our God. It would be like arriving to prom in a limo versus an old beat up gremlin (which I think is still cool I don’t care what anyone thinks but that is beside the point).

The first step is to humble yourself to prayer in silence. Sincere, ardent, heartfelt and not in vain. Pray the rosary. Every Christian, whatever, should pray the rosary. Our Lady is the great teacher of humility. The one who prays unceasingly is never lonely. Prayer leads to wisdom and guidance. Everything that comes from God, comes through prayer. Our Lady of Medjugorje: Pray, pray, pray

I don’t know where you live. But, if you live in an urban area, try to find a parish, or a University that have priests of either the Jesuit or the Dominican Orders. These Religious Orders are the intellectual giants of the Roman Catholic Clergy. They would be far better equipped intellectually to answer your questions in depth than your average Parish Priest.
Yes, you could get an answer from any Catholic Priest, but not in the depth you indicate.
If you are not in an urban area, I would either contact the Bishops office of your local Catholic Diocese and inquire there. You also might go on line to locate your nearest Dominican or Jesuit institution.


I don’t Church Father documents at my hands right now, but I can tell you this:

The Orthodox Church does not believe in Original Sin which is clearly taught in Romans 5:12. So likewise they do not believe that Mary was Immaculate (meaning created without the stain of Original Sin).

Mary had to be Immaculate though because she is the Second Eve just as Jesus is the Second Adam. Adam and Eve were created without sinful tendencies, so likewise the Second Adam and Second Eve must have been without sinful tendecies. Also, Adam came from ground which was not yet cursed in the Fall, likewise the Second Adam must have come from a dwelling (being Mary) who was not cursed (by Original Sin).

As far as Papal Infallibility, Jesus told Simon his name would be Rock and that on that Rock He would build His Church and then He gave Him the keys to heaven. If the Pope is not still infallible then Jesus’ words were not true.

Another big difference between Catholics and Orthodox is that the Orthodox believe in Consubstantiation which is an incorrect view of the Euchastist because Catholics believe in Transubstantiation. I can explain that more if you have questions.

I hope the following links can help you in your search to understand the doctrine on the Immaculate Conception and Papal Primacy. Pray for the Holy Spirit to open your mind and heart to all that He would like to reveal to you in the fullness of His Grace and Truth that is only found in His Catholic Church. Amen.






Happy reading and may God’s peace find you and guide you on your journey home.

That’s news to me–do you have a source?

I will address The Primacy and authority of Peter(the pope)

Jesus, when speaking to the apostles and Jews, is constantly quoting scripture for the old testament. The men Jesus speaks to would have known these quotes when Jesus spoke them. I will begin in Matthew.

-Matthew 16:16-19
Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

And here is the verse Jesus quotes.

-Isaiah 22:22-24
And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. And I will fasten him like a peg in a sure place, and he will become a throne of honor to his father’s house. And they will hang on him the whole weight of his father’s house, the offspring and issue, every small vessel, from the cups to all the flagons.
----Note the opening and shutting, binding loosing and the keys. And not to mention hanging the whole weight of his fathers house, the offspring, and issue, small to large.

Also, some insight on Simon “Bar-Jona”. Bar Jona literally means, “son of Jona”.
But we know that Simon-peter’s fathers name is not Jona, it’s Simply John

John 1:39, 42
He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying; and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him, and said, “So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).
And also in John 21:15,16,17

So the question is, what is Matthew trying to show here by using the Greek word “Bariona”
If we turn to the Greek we find that “Bar-Jona” is the transliteration of “Bariona” - “iona” being the part we translate “Jona.” This is identical to the name of the Old Testament prophet Jonah - “Iona.” Iona in Hebrew means “Dove” the biblical symbol of the Holy Spirit.
Another way it is discussed is that Jesus refers to himself in a way, as another Jona.

Matthew 12:39-40
But he answered them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign; but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

So, when Jesus says “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona,” Jesus may have been saying one of three things,
“blessed are you, Simon, son of the sign of Jona”
“blessed are you, Simon, son of mine”
“blessed are you, Simon, son of the Holy Spirit”
It’s still being debated to this day. Many have simply argued that John and Jonah are the same name because the Greek used is “Iona”(Jona)vs “Ioannou”(John).

Good luck with your search brother.

Once you have humbled yourself and you feel you are ready, read “The Fathers Know Best” by Jimmy Akin… It is a very valuable reference so I have heard :manvspc:


I am having trouble finding a link. They believe it is a mystery so do not term it as Transubstatiation. I have heard it described as Consubstatiation, but they probably would not use that term. I do not believe though that they would say that the bread and wine are no longer present but rather that it is just a mystery.

Here are some links that discuss the difference between the Catholic Latin Rite and the Catholic Eastern Rite:





The Wikipedia article “Eucharistic theologies summarized” has a section on the Eastern Orthodox view, which does not appear to be consubstantiation (good references are provided).


I am not an expert on the Orthodox faith. I know that they do not accept Transubstantition but that does not mean they don’t believe that it could be the correct explanation. I do know though that Orthodox priests would say that bread and wine remain, which is Consubstantiation. I don’t know if all would say that but I have heard one who did. I choose to accept the Catholic Church who explicitly teaches Transubstantiation because in my view it is the best explanation of the Eucharist. It may be an issue that you should discuss with people of the Orthotdox faith though because I am not entirely sure.

Ahh, thanks for the clarification. I’ll be able to raise the issue with a priest or devout layperson pretty soon, and will post in this thread what I learn. :slight_smile:

hope this helps : )

immaculate conception

papal authority

otha stuff

GOD BLESS YOU on your journey!!! : )

Thank you so very much to all of you. I plan to read all of the above links this weekend, and I do have a copy of Jimmy Akin’s book, which I recently got from Catholic Answers when I subscribed to the magazine. I have looked through it, and as soon as I finish another book I’m working on, I will dive into that one. It looks to be very helpful in answering my questions. :coffeeread:

Again, thanks to all of you for your kind replies, and best wishes and advice. I appreciate all of you and may God bless you.


You’re welcome. :smiley:

Shalom. :ocean:

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