Assumption of Mary - tough teaching

I am having a hard time with this one.

How can the church say we know infallibly Mary was assumed to Heaven, we just don’t know if she died first or not? If you had enough evidence on the assumption to know it happened - wouldn’t you know if she was dead or alive?

And, you can believe either she died and was assumed, or was assumed while alive - it’s your choice, and can still be Catholic. But if you don’t believe there is sufficient evidence of the assumption you are not allowed to receive communion, that’s not your choice, you are not Catholic?


The general consensus was that Mary did die first. Just because it’s not spelled out doesn’t mean it’s not what happened. I fail to see the problem here I mean I don’t understand what you’re asking because you’re kind of unclear in that might not be intentional that might not be entirely your fault I might be culpable on not understanding it. I had this discussion with an Orthodox priest that had no problem with the Church saying allowing you to accept either one. Seriously after that the only issue he had with Catholicism was papal infallibility.

What I am asking is, if I don’t accept the Assumption teaching as fact, am I no longer in line with the Church enough to be a practicing member and receive communion?

Your difficulty is not insurmountable. You must first establish what exactly is the cause of your difficulty with the Assumption of Mary. Try and probe to the heart of the difficulty. Then you may find the path to answers that are convincing.

Your first post suggested that the encyc. M.D. was sure of the Assumption but not of the death of the BVM. That is not so.

The Church is not hasty. It took almost 2000 years to dogmatically declare the Assumption (which is an ancient doctrine.) It is GOD’s plan that these Divine truths unfold gradually. Heresy is all about impatience. :wink:

I think you’re approaching this backwards.

Once I realized that the evidence from Sacred Scripture is that Jesus promised that his Church would never bind the faithful to believe a falsehood, I knew that EVERY definitive teaching of the Church had to be true because Jesus sad it would be. So if I wasn’t willing to accept even the teachings I found most difficult, that meant my problem was with my trust in Christ.

That’s one of the reasons that, when becoming a Catholic, the catechumen is asked if he accepts all of the teachings of Christ’s Church. If I wasn’t able to say yes, then I wasn’t really in communion. In a number of cases understanding came later, but I was willing to accept what I didn’t understand because Christ promised that it was true.

It’s not really so different than accepting some crazy-sounding thing a professor of quantum mechanics will tell you, because you accept that he’s qualified to know what he’s talking about and you’re not.

Thank you - I’ll keep reading. I read your link and it helps.

Munificentissimus Deus states, regarding the Assumption dogma:

  1. Hence if anyone, which God forbid, should dare willfully to deny or to call into doubt that which we have defined, let him know that he has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith.

It was called to be defined by the Church:

  1. Thus, when it was solemnly proclaimed that Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, was from the very beginning free from the taint of original sin, the minds of the faithful were filled with a stronger hope that the day might soon come when the dogma of the Virgin Mary’s bodily Assumption into heaven would also be defined by the Church’s supreme teaching authority.

  2. Actually it was seen that not only individual Catholics, but also those who could speak for nations or ecclesiastical provinces, and even a considerable number of the Fathers of the Vatican Council, urgently petitioned the Apostolic See to this effect.

  1. In the liturgical books which deal with the feast either of the dormition or of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin there are expressions that agree in testifying that, when the Virgin Mother of God passed from this earthly exile to heaven, what happened to her sacred body was, by the decree of divine Providence, in keeping with the dignity of the Mother of the Word Incarnate, and with the other privileges she had been accorded.

  1. Thus St. John Damascene, an outstanding herald of this traditional truth, spoke out with powerful eloquence when he compared the bodily Assumption of the loving Mother of God …

  2. … St. Albert the Great …

  3. … the Angelic Doctor [St. Thomas Aquinas] …

  4. … the Seraphic Doctor [St Bonaventure] …

  5. … St. Bernardine of Siena …
    35 … St. Francis de Sales … St. Alphonsus …
    37 … the great Suarez …

  6. All these proofs and considerations of the holy Fathers and the theologians are based upon the Sacred Writings as their ultimate foundation. …

Dear friend,

I also struggled with this, and I think that researching more what the Church teaches will dispose you belief in this.

Here’s what Tim Staples (Former Assembly of God member, and former antiCatholic)

You’ll see relevant posts on the right hand part of the page.

However, apologetics aside, it’s enough to make an act of Faith. We believe because, God revealing this to the Catholic Church, can neither deceive nor be deceived. If we believe in the Catholic Faith (And seeing you want to receive the Holy Eucharist and be Catholic indicates so), we have to “hear the church” and (Referencing Matthew 18:17-19, not to be confused with Mattew 16:18-19–which also talks about this), as Jesus said in the Gospels.

All the best to your journey to the Faith!

No, you would not necessarily know if she died first or not, and here’s why.

Dogma is nothing more than an infallible interpretation of Scripture.

Scripture reveals that Mary is in heaven bodily.

But Scripture does not reveal if she at any point died.

Therefore the Church can very reasonably know that Mary was assumed into heaven without knowing whether she died before being assumed.

The problem that many will have is that they will deny the first premise, and, IMO, thereby usurp for themselves an interpretive authority they don’t really have.

See here for more information: (Sorry, I just noticed this was already posted. I’m leaving it up as a double-endorsement. I know Tim’s brother, Fr. Terry, and I feel somewhat obliged to endorse Tim’s excellent material. ;))

I wonder if Jesus had in mind a plan for an institution where not believing this or that could get you expelled and potentially lost eternally? If Mary died and was carried physically to heaven by invisible forces, angelic forces, what difference does that make in a believer’s life/faith? I wake up one day giving my unreserved assent to Mary’s Assumption, how am I different from yesterday when I thought it was just myth? A party line is what politicians usually get rid of first when they leave politics. Why is the Church so adamant on her do or die party line? Why does she feel so threatened by pluralism?

The Church proclaims the truth that is given to her. And remember, Jesus IS the Truth. So rejection of truth is rejection of Him.

Mary’s Assumption is important first because it is true, second because it is theologically important. Mary is the ark of the new covenant, and we see her in Revelation in heaven. You can travel to various basilicas and find the remains/bones of all of the apostles and many other early christians, but there is NOT ONE basilica/church/monastery/etc anywhere EVER that has claimed to house the remains of Mary.

God lifted Mary up as the first Christian, raised her into heaven because she was incorrupt and sinless, so she was promised to not see decay. Even Scripture prophesied that God would protect His ark from corruption.

The Church declares what is true given from God. The way is narrow, that is why sin is literally “missing the mark”. The path to hell is wide.

I was taught the Blessed Mother was taken alive into heaven without dying.

It is not a Church teaching. Catholics are free to believe Mary did or did not die first before the Assumption.
It is her Assumption that is dogma.

Dogma is nothing more than an infallible interpretation of Scripture.

Is Dogma limited to this, or can it include tradition as well?

Yet the idea that Our Lady did not die is a modern novelty unheard of in the Church prior to the last few centuries. Tradition is very clear - West and East - that Our Lady first died and then shared in the resurrection of Her Son to be assumed bodily into heaven. Yes, the dogmatic declaration itself does not state that She died, but consider the following:
*]The ancient Eastern tradition upon which our tradition is built speaks of her Dormition, or falling asleep in the flesh. The entire tradition of the Assumption is based on the ancient Eastern account of the Apostles opening her tomb and finding her body gone.
*]To this day, Eastern Catholics (and Orthodox) celebrate the feast of the Dormition, or Falling Asleep, of the Mother of God. Liturgy reflects faith…this important feast of the Eastern Church would be meaningless if she did not first die before She rose.
*]Latin / Western iconography testifies to the tradition of her death. At St. Mary’s Major, the most important church dedicated to Mary in all of Western Christendom, there is a grand depiction of the Dormition (Mary falling asleep in the flesh and then being raised to heavenly glory).
*]Pope Pius XII himself, in the very enclycical in which he proclaimed the dogma of the Assumption, refers to her Dormition (falling alseep / physical death).
*]If Our Lord is the firstborn from among the dead, as Scripture says, and if Our Lady is the perfect type of the Church and in Her assumption reflects the ultimate glory of the Church itself, how can we theologically justify the notion that Our Lady did not share in the resurrection as all of us will? How can we deny Our Lady this glory? One cannot share in the resurrection without first dying.

No, it is not dogma that She first died…but the very novel notion that she did not has absolutely zero support from tradition…you simply can’t find it prior to a couple centuries ago. All the Fathers who speak on this matter agreed that she died. No one in the Church doubted it prior to modern times. Why does this matter to me? It is a point of contention with our Orthodox brethren…those few but vocal Latins who insist that She did not die create a stumbling block in our relations with them. It is very central to Eastern theology (which, I remind you again is the very basis of our tradition of the Assumption…we inherited it from their tradition of the Dormition) that Our Lady first died and then shared in the resurrection of Her Son.

I am sure that the Orthodox have more issues with the Roman church, not just papal infallibility.

It depends. You have a wide spectrum of Orthodox views towards Catholicism. Some dismiss us completely as heretics with empty sacraments devoid of grace. Others believe that, properly understood, little is actually at odds with Orthodox doctrine…the role and nature of the papacy being the most obvious.

Elijah was assumed into heaven. He was living when the Lord took him to heaven in a whirlwind. Why not Jesus’s own mother? :confused:

Yes - but his assumption is documented in scripture - I don’t second guess it at all.

Why not? At one time before things were written down, ALL of what we now hold as Scripture was tradition. The same Church that said all these books are inspired Scripture, that you admit that you accept, also says Mary was assumed into Heaven. To me, it is just as easy to reject Scripture as the Assumption. If the Catholic Church is wrong about any of the Marian dogmas, then I have no doubt that She was also wrong on saying the New Testament is Scripture.

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