Marian Doctrines

Let me start by saying that I am not a Roman Catholic, but a conservative Anglican (Reformed Episcopal Church). I am “interested” in “crossing the Tiber” but everytime I consider it seriously I cannot do it. One obstacle, and the biggest one is Marian Dogma. I cannot help but think that if Rome had not defined them as absolute infallible teachings, but kept them where I feel they belong as optional “Pious Belief” would have been better. What important Christological doctrine required Rome to say that Mary was “Immaculately Conceived” or to say that she remained “ever-Virgin” or that she was assumed “body and soul” into Heaven? Not only that but that she is “Queen of Heaven”. Sacred Scripture is either silent or not clear on these Dogmas, so why is it they are “required belief” for Catholics? It would be sufficient to say that Mary was a Virgin before and just after Christ was born as Scripture clearly says and the Creeds affirm, why is “more” required outside of that? If one wants to believe that Mary was immaculately conceived, that she remained a Virgin for the rest of her life, or that she was assumed into Heaven then fine, one can be a Catholic, if one does not affirm these things about Mary then fine, they too can be a Catholic. Too me it seems an issue of pious belif not dogma, since 1. Scripture is silent on these points, and 2. Whether one believes them or not has nothing to do with what Scripture says about salvation and how one must be saved, in other words when the Philipian Jailer asks St. Paul how to be saved, St Paul says to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, not “well believe in Jesus Christ but you also must believe that Mary, Jesus mother, was Immaculately Conceived, that she remained a Virgin her whole life, that she was sinless, and that she was assumed into heaven”. (maybe not the last point, Mary may still have been alive on Earth when Acts was written). I am not posting this not to “bash Catholic belief” this is an honest inquiry and I need to resolve it before I go any further as to possible “reversion”(yes I was Baptised and Confirmed a Catholic) but left when I was in college thanks to “anti-Catholic” fundamentalist propaganda. I have come a long way from that to being an Anglican, at this point it’s a short, but to me, difficult trip across the Tiber. In Christ, jurist12

Somebody may be able to answer this more specifically, but in general they must be held by all the faithful because they are true. I know that sounds simplistic, but once you believe that the Church is what she claims to be, then you will easily assent to these beliefs. You claim you are looking to join the Church. Something must be leading you to believe that she has the full Truth.

In order to understand why Marian dogmas must be held, you must believe that the Church is the authority founded by Jesus and guided by the Holy Spirit and that she will never require the faithful to believe flasehoods. Once you believe that this is the case, you will have no problem with any doctrines or dogmas. Good luck on your journey!

If you’r serious about comming home you’ll need to accept that Tradition is as important as Scripture. Scripture even says so.

Are you serious? Marian dogmas held you back from Anglicanism? really? I can understand that coming from other branches of protestantism, but don’t we differ in matter of authority – pope versus the King of England – or am I misinformed in this? I can’t honestly say I understand why Marian dogmas would hinder an Anglican who is already steeped toward Catholicism.

At any rate, contrary to what some understand, Marian dogmas are essentially – many posts already on this, so others might help me here – Christological. The Church wouldn’t declare a dogma if it is not tied to the centre of our Christian Faith – Christ Himself.

I think there may be some clarification needed here. Marian Dogma did not keep me from being Anglican, it is keeping me from “crossing the Tiber” IE coming to Rome. It was a long step from being an Evangelical/Fundamentalist Protestant to being a conservative Anglican. Yes as an Anglican I am much closer to Rome than being a Baptist or “non-Denominational” Evangelical. But Anglicanism, at least the variant of it I am coming from is not “Anglo-Catholic” IE Roman in all but name. The REC is a conservative Anglican body and they would be against Marian Dogma as Rome understands it. In Christ, jurist12

[quote=jurist12]I think there may be some clarification needed here. Marian Dogma did not keep me from being Anglican, it is keeping me from “crossing the Tiber” IE coming to Rome. It was a long step from being an Evangelical/Fundamentalist Protestant to being a conservative Anglican. Yes as an Anglican I am much closer to Rome than being a Baptist or “non-Denominational” Evangelical. But Anglicanism, at least the variant of it I am coming from is not “Anglo-Catholic” IE Roman in all but name. The REC is a conservative Anglican body and they would be against Marian Dogma as Rome understands it. In Christ, jurist12
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Have you checked the article in the Catholic Encyclopedia on Mary? It contains many scriptural references that help explain the Catholic beliefs about Mary.
newadvent.org/cathen/15464b.htm

These are easier to understand if they are explained wholly, in a forum format like this it is, difficult to really explain succintley in a quickie post. Heck it took a long time for the Church to define, this usually is the last doctrines to understand for people coming into the Church, easier for some, harder for others.

What really helped me was listening to Tim Staples’s tape on this. There are many resources out there but it depends on what format is easier for you. I read a lot, but also drive a lot. So I buy many audio CD’s to study and get books to help further my studies of the faith. I really believe there is an inexhaustible supply of stuff for Catholics to learn and enjoy. That’s what 2000 years does. Oh, it’s great to be Catholic…
Anyways, many baptized Catholics do not do this and just accept it since they grew up with it. This is too bad as there is such a rich faith available to them and they usually end up going for some watered down faith. If you grow up Catholic and learn why you are Catholic then you see the logic in it all and have no problem believing the Marian Doctrines, as they reinforce the deity of Christ and allow a more deeper relationship with Jesus.

So I say this, as a convert, revert or someone who wants a good explanation, these forums are great or go to www.saintjoe.com
Here are some links to get cd’s if you would like

Basic Free! John M. easy to understand explanation
www.biblechristiansociety.com

Deep very informative 9 CD’s! Tim Staples 40.00 Dollar explanation!
saintjoe.com/p/prod_desc.pl?id=479

If you would like more insight, I will check back.
God Bless.

[quote=Maranatha]If you’r serious about comming home you’ll need to accept that Tradition is as important as Scripture. Scripture even says so.
[/quote]

First, I want to point out that the above quote is very true. Revelation consists of Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium. Much like Anglicanism’s three legged stool, except that “reason” is replaced by the authority of St. Peter’s successor. Since my conversion from Anglicanism last year, I have come to see the wisdom of that.

Second, someone else said that all Marian doctrines are somehow related to Christ. That is also true. From the outside, I full well know that Marian doctrines look huge. But from the inside, they are not. The Mass, the central act of the Church, is all about the pure unadulterated worship of the Trinity. Also, the Church recognizes a hierarchy of truths. They are all true, and all must be believed. But they are not all central. The central belief, according to the catechism, is the Trinity.

Mother of God - must be believed because Jesus is God, and was God when in the womb.

Immaculate Conception - Mary is the new Eve, as Jesus is the new Adam. God recapitulated the fall in our salvation. As Eve was sinless at the time of the fall, so the New Eve is sinless at the time of the redemption. She is Full of Grace. And her sinless flesh was the flesh from which Christ would derive his sinless humanity. And her flesh was the tabernacle which held Christ for 9 months. She is thus the Ark of the New Covenant. The OT Ark of the Covenant was also all-holy.

Perpetual Virginity - no other siblings for Jesus. He is unique. And she is the ideal of the life completely devoted to Christ, as St. Paul says in 1 Cor. 7:7. And quite frankly, with siblings, one then gets into a whole slew of DaVinci code type thoughts…maybe I am Jesus’ long lost relative!

Assumption - The ark of the Covenant is now in heaven (Rev. 11:19), as is the Ark of the New Covenant (Rev. 12:1). Quite frankly, this follows on the Immaculate Conception. An immaculate life will be assumed. Period.

I honestly have experienced the thoughts you are experiencing. But the Church proclaims things because they are true, however practical or impractical they are. There are any number of good books out there on these topics. But they must be read with an open mind, realizing that the Church is not slowly trying to take our eyes off Jesus, but is legitimately trying to help us grasp this incredible depth of truth concerning him and the events that surrounded him.

As we begin to approach the holy season of Lent, it is also the time of year when many people make or remake their Marian consecration. Some use the 33 day formula of St. Lousi de Montfort or it could be as St. Maximilian formulated. In thinking of this for myself, I read these thoughts on Marian consecration from St. Maximilian and from the de Montfort fathers and wished to share them with you too.
Ave Maria!


Catechism on Marian Consecration
48. WHAT EXACTLY DOES “CONSECRATE” MEAN?
When something or someone is said to be consecrated, this means it is set apart by God for his exclusive use; it becomes holy. The word comes from the Latin consecrare: con-together + secrare-sacred.

We were all consecrated at Baptism when the priest poured holy water on our heads and baptized us “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” That is, we were “set apart” for the Holy Trinity. We are changed forever and pledged to the exclusive service of God, by God.

However, baptismal consecration represents only the germ of consecration. God has chosen us to a lifetime of Christian holiness, and “his call is irrevocable” (Rom 11:29). But God does not do anything in us or to us without our cooperation. We must continually give ourselves to God, to ask for, and to seek, holiness on a daily basis, until it becomes a natural habit that lasts a lifetime.

  1. WHY SHOULD WE CONSECRATE OURSELVES TO MARY? God willed that Mary would have a special role in our Christian life when he gave her to us as our spiritual mother at the foot of the Cross (In 19:27). It is a universal role assigned to her by God: All Christians of every age are to “take her into his home”-into our hearts, minds and every aspect of our lives. This is why we pray to her and through her, asking for her assistance.

In perfect union with her Son and subordinate to him, Mary is called by the Second Vatican Council “our mother in the order of grace” (Lumen Gentium, no. 61). Mary became the prototype of total consecration when, at the beginning of the New Testament, she said “yes” to becoming the Mother of God (Lk 1 :37). She was chosen to help us in our consecration through her maternal intercession as Mediatrix of All Graces, thus disposing us to develop the gifts of God that we received in Baptism. As such, Mary will enlighten your mind, guide your will, empower your efforts and intercede for you in a special way before the throne of the Father.

Finally, in her perfect spiritual sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s inspiration as the Immaculate Conception and “Spouse of the Spirit,” she is the “Daughter of the Father” - his creaturely masterpiece prepared by him for all eternity to be the tabernacle of the Living God. By linking our lives to the Immaculata’s through total consecration, taught Maximilian, we too become channels of grace and “spouses” of the Holy Spirit, “overshadowed by the power of the Most High” (Lk 1:35). Like Mary, we become intimately united to the Ttinity and powerful co-redeemers with Jesus in bringing about the salvation of the world.

  1. DOES MARIAN CONSECRATION TAKE AWAY FROM MY RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS? On the contrary, consecration to Mary heightens the depth of our commitment to Christ. It is a way to express explic*itly that our ultimate goal and end is God.

St. Maximilian made it very clear that Marian consecration does not stop at Mary: "In reality, we are entirely, completely and exclusively consecrated to the Immaculata; in her and through her entirely, completely and exclusively to the Lord Jesus; in him, finally and through him entirely, completely and exclusively to our Father in heaven." And also, “Devotion to Mary is a direct means to this end. We pass with Mary to the Other.”

By consecrating ourselves to Mary, she will always point us to the heart of Jesus, for "her will is so perfect that in nothing does it differ from God’s." Marian consecration thus becomes the ideal way to fulfill our baptismal promises, which we renewed at our Confirmation. Maximilian summarized our Christian mission in the beautiful expression: “To win the world for the Immaculata, and as soon as possible.”

As Vatican II teaches, calling upon Mary’s intercession “does nor hinder in any way the immediate union of the faithful with Christ, but on the contrary fosters it.” (Lumen Gentium, no. 60). Therefore, coming “to Jesus through Mary” through our Marian consecration is not an extraordinary way of worshipping God and bringing about our final sanctifica*tion - it is the best way!

Great summary John Henry!

Jurist12:

I’d say two things: one, study as much as you can on what Catholics say about Mother Mary and reflect on them…but more importantly, try getting to know her as a person and not as a concept or a bunch of ideas. Coming to understand the CC’s claims for Mary will eventually make intellectual sense…but it is often through the backdoor of the heart in which the Holy Queen enters.

As a cradle Catholic growing up I had a devotion but not a deep love for her…then I saw the Seven Sorrows of Mary—a picture. She has tears flowing and her exposed heart has 7 daggers piercing it, bleeding, then in her arms and hands are the crown of thorns and three nails. At that point, I fell in love with her. She is the MOTHER of Jesus!!! I’ve known that all along but that visual of her holding the means of her son’s death explained to my heart what my brain couldn’t wrap around. All of the virtues that we stumble to improve she has for her love for Christ is complete. And just like the saints we adore, she’s got them all beat in all of the virtues that we admire in them.

To understand and love Mary is to get closer to Christ…no two ways about it.

Hope your eventual journey to Rome is filled with blessings and in the company of His mother.

in XT.

[quote=jurist12]I think there may be some clarification needed here. Marian Dogma did not keep me from being Anglican, it is keeping me from “crossing the Tiber” IE coming to Rome. It was a long step from being an Evangelical/Fundamentalist Protestant to being a conservative Anglican. Yes as an Anglican I am much closer to Rome than being a Baptist or “non-Denominational” Evangelical. But Anglicanism, at least the variant of it I am coming from is not “Anglo-Catholic” IE Roman in all but name. The REC is a conservative Anglican body and they would be against Marian Dogma as Rome understands it. In Christ, jurist12
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Well, this explains a lot. :slight_smile: I too came from an Evangelical/Fundamentalist/Pentecostalist background and had all the questions you have. I had been brought up Episcopalian (back in the days when it still stood for most of the things the RCC still does). After my dad died my mom took us with her into the Assemblies of God where I learned all the things about the RCC you no doubt did–misinformation, hyperbole surrounding its teachings, and outright lies. I returned to the ECUSA but it had changed too much for me. Along with that I had been looking into the teachings of the RCC to see what it really taught, and was surprised at how reasonable and right they were.

My main hang up was also the teachings about Mary, though. Then I went on a Crusillo which ended with the Stations of the Cross. When we got to Mary at the foot of the cross, everything I’d read about Marian teaching fell into place. I understood that the foot of the cross is what Mary’s whole existence was about. The Church teaches that her life was planned by God with singular graces because she was to be the first of a new creation in Christ, full of grace and completely committed to him, and him alone–the perfect 2nd Eve whose yes to God canceled the 1st Eve’s no.

I agree with the poster who urged you to get to know her personally. Get a rosary and say the prayers. She will meet you there and help you open not only your mind, but your heart to her, who, as the 2nd Eve is our mother in the new creation brought about by the life, death and resurrection of Christ, her Son.

I think the best answer for why the Church decided to make these issues required belief is that they were found to be critical to the keeping of the Faith on other points.

You know, it only takes three points in geometry to define a circle. However, someone with no concept of a circle may likely take it to be a triangle. Once it becomes apparent that a lot of people think it means a triangle, we can dispel that notion by adding another point outside of the triangle but still on the perimeter of the circle. But soon people unfamiliar with a circle will make that into a square. So eventually another point is added. Each time, people who did not understand the true form will be challenged on their thinking.

So the Church is telling us that for a proper Faith, especially one to survive the misrepresentations manifested in the world at the time, we must hold also to the points of belief regarding Mary.

However, if you are working towards Rome, then there may be even bigger issues than Mary. For example, Catholic understandings of justification and what it means for Jesus to have “died for us” are very different from the various Protestant perspectives, and it affects what one is willing to believe in other areas of the Faith.

hurst

Two places for you to look into for info

udayton.edu/mary/resources/virofmary.htm
udayton.edu/mary/resources/kimmac.html
udayton.edu/mary/resources/theassumption.html

Then here
scripturecatholic.com/blessed_virgin_mary.html
contains Scriptura plus ECF quotes

Ok then one more

scborromeo.org/ccc/p4s1c2a2.htm#2679

bottom of the page

scborromeo.org/ccc/p123a9p6.htm#963

scborromeo.org/ccc/p1s2c3a8.htm#721

[quote=jurist12] What important Christological doctrine required Rome to say that Mary was “Immaculately Conceived”
[/quote]

Gods mercy and love are the wonder of wonders. It is this mercy and love which drew forth son from His eternal dwelling in the Father, to this sinful world, that He might redeem that which had fallen. God, in His divine nature is incorruptible and therefore incapable of being touched by sin. It was for this reason that the Eternal Wisdom created a vessel through which His incorruptible nature could take on human flesh. This vessel itself had to be free from all sin, for if even the slightest hint of sin was in her, the moment the divine nature entered into her she would have died. For inevitably that all powerful incorrutp nature would have, by its very essence, repelled sin with such force as to destroy the vessel which contained sin. For this very reason God created the Immaculate Conception. Thus at her proper age the son of the most High entered into her through the power of the Holy Spirit, and through her He took on flesh, so as to be able to take on the sins of the world, from beginning to end, and suffer Himself as payment for those sins.

This is not a doctrine, but rather my understanding, through reading the old and new testaments.

Everyone has given great answers. I would just like to add to the reason the Assumption must be true.

If Mary was not assumed into Heaven then her bones would still be here on earth. Now, since we Catholics like to venerate the relics of Saints, don’t you think we would have her bones somewhere in a shrine where thousands upon thousands of pilgrims would come to visit every single day?

Just my two cents worth.

Maranatha,
Hans

IHS XP - King of Kings

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