Common Ground on Mary

So, after morning Mass (Presentation of Virgin Mary), I ran into a couple of friends at the coffee shop. I often have ecumenical discussions with these two.

So, to my non-denom Evangelical and my Pentecostal friend, I brought up Mary, having just attended a wonderful Mass.

I found it fascinating that a Roman Catholic (myself), and these other two men agreed on the opinion that Mary is more blessed in receiving the faith of Christ, than in conceiving the flesh of Christ.

Interestingly they thought it odd that a Catholic would buy into this position, as much as I had trouble seeing them accept this premise without a battle!

Well, praise God, we have common ground to work forward from!

Evangelical/Pentecostals generally hold to the heresy that claims the flesh is totally corrupt, which is why they have a hard time giving honor to human beings, no matter how holy. This idea is wrong, of course. Humans and the flesh (body) is not totally corrupt–our flesh pays the penalty of sin–death, but that doesn’t mean that our bodies are nothing but trash before God. If that were the case God would not resurrect our bodies from corruption to glorification–he’d simply make new ones from nothing. This may be too theologically esoteric for your friends, but it’s important because what they think about the body colors everything they believe, and which is why they have a hard time with veneration of Mary and the saints, and why they were surprised to hear your support of basic Catholic teaching that Mary’s faith is of more importance that her physical motherhood. Jesus himself stated this on various occasions.

:thumbsup:

When fringe protestant areas disregard the teachings of the Church such as above or the Swaggarts of the world and most important in this regard as Della touched on, then what I see is a complete break in the nature of Jesus Christ and the Mother of God, in a word the Incarnation of the Word of God and grace bestowed. I see a constant tendency towards condemned teaching of the eastern and western Church. For example Nestorius was condemned by the Catholic Church at the Council of Ephesus, in 431. Nestorius claimed that there were two persons in Christ, not one, a divine person and a human person, and that Mary was mother only of the human person. Course no one will deny the divinity of Jesus Christ in the manner suggested, however Nestorius didn’t either but by implication of his theology. To quote Della above…

why they were surprised to hear your support of basic Catholic teaching that Mary’s faith is of more importance that her physical motherhood. Jesus himself stated this on various occasions.

This is true but Catholic teaching in regards to the Mother of God as opposed to “Mary is just like the rest of us a sinner” is a severe break in the Incarnation as defined by the Churches and in a few areas as mentioned. In other words basic Christianity of the ecumenical councils, and a few of the more important areas are rejected. We have a issue here as the logical continuity of the non historic claim is Mary was mother only of the human person/nature. And if all sinned and Mary was a sinner than the implications abound such as a duel personality of Christ. Further the Mother of God is denied and the implications extend to disregarded dogmas of the Church. So while the claim is Jesus Christ is God, the understanding they profess is at odds with the Church and the natural consequence is the further denial of what they can’t explicitly find in the Bible.

themostholyrosary.com/mystical-city.htm

I would say that this is more true for Catholicism than Evangelicalism due to the inability for Catholics to take a stance officially on what happens to unbaptized infants. If it were as you say, the CC by now would have said that babies are on a one way ticket ride to Heaven at death no matter what.

Evangelicals believe that all babies go to Heaven; no argument to be had. That’s our stance. We believe humans are prone to sin and that’s what makes us ‘trash’ before God. But Jesus recycles and brings us back! (sorry for the bad analogy, but I had to play on it)

Where can the Evangelical stance be read in scripture? Prone to actual sin? That seems to ignore “original sin” whats does Evangelism say of original sin, and of Jesus Christ uncorrupt with no sin which then the questions of the Incarnation just jump out at us.

“He died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures”

601 The Scriptures had foretold this divine plan of salvation through the putting to death of “the righteous one, my Servant” as a mystery of universal redemption, that is, as the ransom that would free men from the slavery of sin.397 Citing a confession of faith that he himself had “received”, St. Paul professes that "Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures."398 In particular Jesus’ redemptive death fulfills Isaiah’s prophecy of the suffering Servant.399 Indeed Jesus himself explained the meaning of his life and death in the light of God’s suffering Servant.400 After his Resurrection he gave this interpretation of the Scriptures to the disciples at Emmaus, and then to the apostles.40

602 Consequently, St. Peter can formulate the apostolic faith in the divine plan of salvation in this way: "You were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers. . . with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was destined before the foundation of the world but was made manifest at the end of the times for your sake."402 Man’s sins, following on original sin, are punishable by death.403 By sending his own Son in the form of a slave, in the form of a fallen humanity, on account of sin, God "made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."404

603 Jesus did not experience reprobation as if he himself had sinned.405 But in the redeeming love that always united him to the Father, he assumed us in the state of our waywardness of sin, to the point that he could say in our name from the cross: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"406 Having thus established him in solidarity with us sinners, God “did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all”, so that we might be “reconciled to God by the death of his Son”.407

What an astonishing mystery! There is one Father of the universe, one Logos of the universe, and also one Holy Spirit, everywhere one and the same; there is also one virgin become mother, and I should like to call her “Church.”

Paragraph 3. The Church Is One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic

811 "This is the sole Church of Christ, which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic."256 These four characteristics, inseparably linked with each other,257 indicate essential features of the Church and her mission. The Church does not possess them of herself; it is Christ who, through the Holy Spirit, makes his Church one, holy, catholic, and apostolic, and it is he who calls her to realize each of these qualities.

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It took the Catholic Church’s Tradition to separate the authentic Gospels from those that were not. In fact the Church had already decided by the second century that only four of the 25 Gospels were authentic - canonical and inspired. Unless there had been the Church’s authority, under the Pope, to decide that these were the four Gospels, we wouldn’t even have the New Testament to quote from. Fr Hardin

I didn’t say that the Church teaches that the flesh isn’t fallen–it is. Rather, it is not totally corrupt. The difference is huge. :slight_smile: The theological question regarding unbaptized infants is still an open one–because Jesus never taught us about it. Theologians have put forward their ideas on the subject down through the centuries, as is their calling, but the Church has not adopted any particular stance. The CCC tells us this:

1261 As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus’ tenderness toward children which caused him to say: “Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,” allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church’s call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.

Evangelicals believe that all babies go to Heaven; no argument to be had. That’s our stance. We believe humans are prone to sin and that’s what makes us ‘trash’ before God. But Jesus recycles and brings us back! (sorry for the bad analogy, but I had to play on it)

But what makes us “prone to sin” if not original sin?–sin which is passed on through our parents. Jesus commanded we be baptized for the remission of sin–all sin, including and most importantly original sin. The Church’s position is much more theologically sound, if you’ll pardon me for saying so. :wink:

To stay on topic, in Mary’s case God preserved her from all stain of original sin because she was to be the Mother of God–since original sin is not actual sin Mary could not claim that she did anything to merit her salvation since it was God’s action and none of hers–which fits in with the Church’s teaching that salvation is by God’s grace and not by works of the Law. Getting back on track here, God applied the merits of Mary’s Son’s death to her at her conception. Why would he need to do that if all babies are born totally innocent–with no taint of original sin on their souls? He wouldn’t have. But we cannot have it both ways. Either man is fallen and in need of redemption and salvation or he isn’t no matter what age we might be. This is also why we don’t venerate Mary for her motherhood but for her faith–because she remained faithful to God her entire life.

John 2:21…Jesus was speaking about the temple of his body.

I think its incarnate now on earth and historically called the Catholic Church, so the temple of His body is understood in reality as the Church and everlasting covenant. Jesus Christ can and does convict whomever He wills through the Holy Spirit and the Church He established agrees per Council. However we would have to synthesis the Divinity of Christs nature in content/context not pretext and the redemptive act of Himself as Divinity. Through the Hypostatic Union the Nature of Christ, He established an Everlasting Covenant with the temple of His body. So I guess what I am saying is His body though mortal too, was not corruptible. And according to my reading neither is His everlasting covenant, His Church and a good deal of His Saints, and historically. Physical mortality/immortality in relation. Sin is in relation to mortality. Which is the why He states “Do this in memory of Me”. He made His flesh divine and then offered it for our salvation.

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The Entrance of the Blessed Virgin into the Temple signifies her total dedication to God and her readiness for her future vocation as the Mother of the Incarnate Lord.

You cannot group all “Evangelicals” into a single camp. Evangelical is a broad term which for all practical purposes just means non-mainline Protestant. The opinion your espousing is similar to Pelagianism and it is certainly not held by all Evangelical Protestants. Contrast this with the language of the Reformers who made fun of the Catholic writers for down-playing the total corruption of humanity by sin. You see statements (for example, in the Westminster Confession) that everything man does (even materially good things like feeding the hungry) is so tainted with sin that it merits damnation in God’s sight. There are also many Evangelicals who practice infant baptism. Many of the most prominent speakers and writers within Evangelicalism are very much of a Calvinist bent.

To give an example about infant baptism, I was speaking with an Evangelical friend about baptism who is studying at a Reformed seminary. He did not disagree with the practice of infant baptism although he rejected its regenerating effect. When I asked him about the fate of the unbaptized infants, he said that the elect infants go to heaven and the reprobate infants go to hell (smart answer). Evidently, though he did not believe that all infants were elect.

You cannot group all “Evangelicals” into a single camp. Evangelical is a broad term which for all practical purposes just means non-mainline Protestant. The opinion your espousing is similar to Pelagianism and it is certainly not held by all Evangelical Protestants. Contrast this with the language of the Reformers who made fun of the Catholic writers for down-playing the total corruption of humanity by sin. You see statements (for example, in the Westminster Confession) that everything man does (even materially good things like feeding the hungry) is so tainted with sin that it merits damnation in God’s sight. There are also many Evangelicals who practice infant baptism. Many of the most prominent speakers and writers within Evangelicalism are very much of a Calvinist bent.

To give an example about infant baptism, I was speaking with an Evangelical friend about baptism who is studying at a Reformed seminary. He did not disagree with the practice of infant baptism although he rejected its regenerating effect. When I asked him about the fate of the unbaptized infants, he said that the elect infants go to heaven and the reprobate infants go to hell (smart answer). Evidently, though he did not believe that all infants were elect.

In short, what you say may be true of your individual church, but it is definitely not true of all the ones I have met.

Right, I wonder if the question can be reduced to a specific contemplation in the area discussed, how does inspired scripture effect what we should expect from scripture alone in this realm of evangelicalism? The Incarnation is a very good example in relation to redemption thus the Cross. I mean to say that at the end of the day we still need fruitful dialogue from orthodoxy to the far realms of fringe Christianity in the understanding of the mystery of both the incarnate Church and the Incarnation itself.

But Catholics and Orthodox raise the stakes in their use
of incarnation theology to make the claim that the union of divine and human
in the Church actually makes a new single acting subject: one person with two
natures. The immanence of Christ with his people through the Holy Spirit
is the mechanism for this claim as Christ’s spirit is literally fashioned as the
soul of the body, the Church. Through the Spirit, Christ is organically united
to his body, the Church, so that he is with her totus Christus, caput et membra,
(“the whole Christ, head and members”) Saucy

Human and divine also interact with interpretation of inspired scripture. In other words this interaction I have been speaking of is the truth illuminating the truth.

You have it, Gary. Evangelicals want to be with Jesus in heaven, and their loved ones, too, but they don’t understand the incarnational unity in the body of Christ as unitive between man and God. They don’t have that understanding, and thus they pick and choose theology that sounds good to them–that they are comfortable assenting to.

Union with God entails much more than a one time acceptance of Chrst–it’s becoming one with him and his Church. There are no “Lone Rangers” for Jesus in the Church, which is the body of Christ, and thus divine and human just as her Lord is divine and human. This is why they have such a difficult time with Mary–because she embodies this unity in the Church, quite literally, a unity they don’t acknowledge nor understand.

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