Mary's Assumption


#1

Concerning a discussion with an anti-Catholic, the following statements were made about supposed opposition of the doctrine of Mary’s assumption:

–in 495 A.D., Pope Gelasius issued a decree which rejected this teaching as heresy and its proponents as heretics.

–In the sixth century (520 A.D.), Pope Hormisdas reaffirmed the condemnation of this doctrine, proving that the early Church viewed the assumption teaching, not as a legitimate expression of the pious belief of the faithful but as a heresy worthy of condemnation.

–in comment on the following quote from Epiphanius said in A.D. 377:

"Let them search the scriptures. They will not find Mary’s death; they will not find whether she died or did not die; they will not find whether she was buried or was not buried. More than that: John journeyed to Asia, yet nowhere do we read that he took the holy Virgin with him. Rather, Scripture is absolutely silent [on Mary’s earthly end] because of the extraordinary nature of the prodigy, in order not to shock the minds of men. . . . Neither do I maintain stoutly that she died. . . .

“Did she die? We do not know. At all events, if she was buried, she had no carnal intercourse. . . . Or she remained alive, since nothing is impossible with God and he can do whatever he desires” (Panarion, haer. 78, nn. 10-11,23: G.C.S., 37, 461-462; 474).

The anti-Catholic comments, saying that Epiphanius as a supposed proof that this doctrine was taught, but did not include in his quote, saying, “Either the holy Virgin died and was buried … Or she was killed…”, and therefore Epiphanius did not teach this doctrine because he had no grounds to do so, and thus decalring that he could not support it from Scripture, nor did he have any other reliable sources to turn to either.

And thus, his ‘crux’ question was, “How can a Church which is supposedly infallible promote teachings which the early Church condemned as heretical?” His conclusionis then that teachings such as Mary’s assumption are the teachings and traditions of men, not the revelation of God.

Please help me find some way to respond to this with decent resources, etc.

Pax Tecum,

John


#2

In fact, many Chuch Fathers positively teach the Assumption of Mary, as seen in the following quotes: “If therefore it might come to pass before the power of your grace, it has appeared right to us your servants that, as you, having overcome death does reign in glory, so you should raise up the body of your mother and take her with you, rejoicing into heaven. Then said the Savior [Jesus]: 'Be it done according to your will” (Pseudo-Melito The Passing of the Virgin 16:2-17; 300 AD).

“Therefore the Virgin is immortal to this day, seeing that he who had dwelt in her transported her to the regions of her assumption” (Timothy of Jerusalem Homily on Simeon and Anna; 400 AD).

“And from that time forth all knew that the spotless and precious body had been transferred to paradise” (John the Theologian, The Falling Asleep of Mary; 400 AD)

“The Apostles took up her body on a bier and placed it in a tomb; and they guarded it, expecting the Lord to come. And behold, again the Lord stood by them; and the holy body having been received, He commanded that it be taken in a cloud into paradise: where now, rejoinedd to the soul, [Mary] rejoices with the Lord’s chosen ones…” (Gregory of Tours, Eight Books of Miracles, 1:4; 575-593 A.D.)

“As the most glorious Mother of Christ, our Savior and God and the giver of life and immortality, has been endowed with life by him, she has received an eternal incorruptibility of the body together with him who has raised her up from the tomb and has taken her up to himself in a way known only to him.” (Modestus of Jerusalem, Encomium in dormitionnem Sanctissimae Dominae nostrae Deiparae semperque Virginis Mariae (PG 86-II,3306, before A.D. 634) “It was fitting…that the most holy-body of Mary, God-bearing body, receptacle of God, divinized, incorruptible, illuminated by divine grace and full glory…should be entrusted to the earth for a little while and raised up to heaven in glory, with her soul pleasing to God.” (Theoteknos of Livias, Homily on the Assumption; before 650 A.D:blessyou:


#3

A good place to start reading is newadvent.org/cathen/15459a.htm.

It won’t answer all your question, in fact it will raise some, but it will get you started.


#4

Not to skirt the question but the Popes you mention did not declare the assumption heresy but rather an apocraphal book that contained the story of Mary’s assumption heresy. That does not nullify the Assumption the rest of the book I Beleive had some gnostic touches that deemed the book apocraphal that doesn’t necessarily nullify the assumption. That is another matter all together. For example in the book of Jude referes to the story of the Assumption of Moses where Saint Micheal and the Devil fight over the body of Moses who was eventually assumed into heaven by Michael. WE know this story to be true by its inclusion by Jude but the church also deemed to Assumption of Moses as Apocraphal so although the book contains some truth it was not an entirely true book. THe same goes for the Gospel of James which contained some valid traditions of Mary that we still hold today but was deemed apocraphal it contained some truth but not all truth. THese are rather high standards to live up to only the cream of the crop made the canon many useful stories that contained some truth and some error did not make the canon. The ever virginity of Mary can be found in these books but just becuase these books were deemed apocraphal does not negate the ever virginity of mary rather it negates other aspects of the story that are not turth that have nothing to do with the ever virginity of Mary.

As for Epiphanius I don’t get what they are trying to do here.
He is basically saying he doesn’t know whether Mary died or not?
Instead of proiving the catholic postion false it supports it. It points to the end of Mary’s life of being supernatural in nature or why would he say this?
I think the protestant doesn’t know what he’s talking about either the Assumption of Mary in catholic dogma does not say Mary died or not it simply says at the end of her earthlly life she was assumed into heave. In fact the catholic postion supports Epiphanius for it does not state wheter she lived or died.
I will admit the stronger tradition is that she died but the catholic dogma leaves this an open question as per Pope Pius the XII definition. There is nothing in Epiphanius that would contradict catholic dogma in fact its very catholic what protestant ask himself did Mary die or not? They don’t assume her earthly end had a supernatural occurence so they don’t think about it. Epiphanius being a good catholic thinks about it. And he says its not found in scripture well we would agree its not found explicitly nor is it denied.

THe protestant postion can be carried to an extreme here. Many truths can be mixed in with heresey the book of Mormon has Jesus as the Son of God is this not ture becuase the book is apocraphal?
THe Quran has Jesus as the son of the virgin Mary is this not true becuase the Quran is apocraphal?
Even a grossply heretical book like the Da Vinic Code will have truth was not Leornardo Davinic and Renaissance painter and scientist? Sure he was but that doesn’t make the other claims of the book true.
It is entirely possible that gnostics picked up on popular stories of Mary and Jesus many of them ture however that doesn’t make those books altogether ture becuase there are some true stories.
The protestant postion is illogical when you think about it.


#5

[font=Arial]–in 495 A.D., Pope Gelasius issued a decree which rejected this teaching as heresy and its proponents as heretics.

[/font]This is a lie. It comes from a fictitious document found only on a few hate sites. The so called document they are referring to is called “Gelasii Papae Dicta”, and it is followed by an impressive looking reference, which does not exist. Tell your friend there never was a Pope called “Gelasii”, and neither Papae or dicta can be found in any Latin dictionary. Pope Gelasius never issued a decree on the Assumption whatsoever, and if I am mistaken, tell your friend to prove it.

Pope Gelasius condemned certain parts of certain writings on the Assumption, but they were never definitive teachings. Ask you anti-Catholic friend for the reference on such a ridiculous “decree”. Pope Gelasius never condemned the teaching of the Assumption. Never.

[font=Arial]–In the sixth century (520 A.D.), Pope Hormisdas reaffirmed the condemnation of this doctrine, proving that the early Church viewed the assumption teaching, not as a legitimate expression of the pious belief of the faithful but as a heresy worthy of condemnation.

[/font]Another lie. Hate sites will invent anything they want by quoting the Encyclopedia Britannica. They use 100 year old editions so they don’t have to comply with copywrite laws, and twist and distort to their liking. There is no reference to this anywhere but from lying propagandists, and if there is, Britannica is in error, but ask to see it. I checked the on-line Britannica, and there is no mention of such nonsense, but they do have a link to www.newadvent.org on his biography:)


#6

"Let them search the scriptures. They will not find Mary’s death; they will not find whether she died or did not die;

Whether she died or not, and the Church is silent on this matter, is irrelevant to the Assumption.

they will not find whether she was buried or was not buried.

The Epistles had already been written by this time, and the Apostles would not write about devotions to a living person. That is not what the Epistles were for.

More than that: John journeyed to Asia, yet nowhere do we read that he took the holy Virgin with him. Rather, Scripture is absolutely silent [on Mary’s earthly end] because of the extraordinary nature of the prodigy, in order not to shock the minds of men. . . . Neither do I maintain stoutly that she died.

Nowhere does Epiphanius deny the Assumption, he calls it an extraordinary prodigy.

[font=Arial]Your friends conclusions about the early church are not just erroneous, they are satanic. Based on the sites I have just seen in researching the answers, the level of hate, lies, bigotry, and falsehoods is the worst kind of anti-Catholicism. Your best defense is to go to Mass more than once a week, go to confession once a month, and say the rosary every day, or you will be wasting your time. Your friend is in serious danger wallowing in all that spiritual pornography. Find out who he is reading, be it Dave Hunt, or Jack Chick, or William Webster. There is a long list of professional anti-Catholics, who make a living out of deceiving the ignorant.

Chances are you friend, who likes to quote Popes and Church Fathers in an effort to dispove the Church, doesn’t have a clue as to how the Church proved her infallibility, nor does he have a clue about the history of the bible and how we got it. Try and steer any conversations towards the authority of the Church, because without some kind framework to work with, the topic of Mary will just leave you to be a target. But I will give you some great sites on Mary, since you asked.
Keep in mind, Dave Armstrong, an unbeatable apologist, says he tried talking to anti-Catholics for years, and gave up, because they are too hostile.

kepha1
[/font]


#7

http://www.mariology.com/***

http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=21576 post #29, 34, 40, 41 (good ones from others in there too)

catholic-legate.com/articles/whiteman.html.**

http://www.scripturecatholic.com/blessed_virgin_mary.html**

http://ic.net/~erasmus/ERASMUS9.HTM***

http://www.catholic.net/rcc/Periodicals/Faith/00MarApr/Mariology.html ***

http://www.envoymagazine.com/planetenvoy/072104-OurBlessedMother-Ludwig-Full.htm ****

What’s that box doing in Rev. 11:19?:hmmm:


#8

Tell your friend that even the early Protestant Reformers like Luther and Calvin also believed that Mary was Assumed into Heaven. In Christ, jurist12


#9

Thanks everyone. The comments helped in some ways. Some of you may be right. It is impossible to get through to various anti-Catholics. Now, he has asked of me the following:

In regards to your response, I would like to re-post a prayer that you agree with. Please explain, specifically, how this glorifies God, and does not violate the Scriptures which declare that eternal life is found in the Son. Mediation is revealed only in Him. Please demonstrate exegetically how Scripture exalts Mary into these positions.

“O Mother of Perpetual Help…I recommend myself to thee. IN THY HANDS I PLACE MY ETERNAL SALVATION and to thee do I entrust my soul… Obtain for me, then, the pardon of my sins… O Mother of Perpetual Help.”

Thus far, my response was:

If Mary, being considered in places as a figure of the ‘mother church’ is considered perpetual help, it would be that the Church itself is figured as the ‘body of Christ’. Mary herself also carried Jesus in here womb, so God placed our ‘eternal salvation’ of Jesus in the hands of Mary and her saying yes to God’s plan. Jesus Pardons sins, and Mary as a queen mother may petition Jesus as Bethesheba did with another ‘king of the Jews’. Because Mary is willing to come to our aid and pray for us, she indeed is our perpetual help.

If you guys know any other way to defend Mary, or know more about this prayer, this would be great too.

Pax Tecum,

John


#10

[quote=jcrawf]Thanks everyone. The comments helped in some ways. Some of you may be right. It is impossible to get through to various anti-Catholics. Now, he has asked of me the following:

In regards to your response, I would like to re-post a prayer that you agree with. Please explain, specifically, how this glorifies God, and does not violate the Scriptures which declare that eternal life is found in the Son. Mediation is revealed only in Him. Please demonstrate exegetically how Scripture exalts Mary into these positions.

“O Mother of Perpetual Help…I recommend myself to thee. IN THY HANDS I PLACE MY ETERNAL SALVATION and to thee do I entrust my soul… Obtain for me, then, the pardon of my sins… O Mother of Perpetual Help.”

Thus far, my response was:

If Mary, being considered in places as a figure of the ‘mother church’ is considered perpetual help, it would be that the Church itself is figured as the ‘body of Christ’. Mary herself also carried Jesus in here womb, so God placed our ‘eternal salvation’ of Jesus in the hands of Mary and her saying yes to God’s plan. Jesus Pardons sins, and Mary as a queen mother may petition Jesus as Bethesheba did with another ‘king of the Jews’. Because Mary is willing to come to our aid and pray for us, she indeed is our perpetual help.

If you guys know any other way to defend Mary, or know more about this prayer, this would be great too.

Pax Tecum,

John
[/quote]

You’re on the right track with your response. The prayer is asking for Mary’s help in our salvation, which is perfectly acceptable. I would, however, make a point of emphasizing the last line: “…obtain for me, then, the pardon of my sins”. If Catholics considered her a savior, then the prayer would simply say “pardon our sins”. By placing eternal salvation in her hands, the person making the prayer is placing his or her complete trust in Mary to petition Jesus for their salvation (and obtain it), not for her to save them. It is simply a prayer asking for Mary’s intercession.


#11

[quote=jcrawf]Concerning a discussion with an anti-Catholic, the following statements were made about supposed opposition of the doctrine of Mary’s assumption:

–in 495 A.D., Pope Gelasius issued a decree which rejected this teaching as heresy and its proponents as heretics.

–In the sixth century (520 A.D.), Pope Hormisdas reaffirmed the condemnation of this doctrine, proving that the early Church viewed the assumption teaching, not as a legitimate expression of the pious belief of the faithful but as a heresy worthy of condemnation.

–in comment on the following quote from Epiphanius said in A.D. 377:

"Let them search the scriptures. They will not find Mary’s death; they will not find whether she died or did not die; they will not find whether she was buried or was not buried. More than that: John journeyed to Asia, yet nowhere do we read that he took the holy Virgin with him. Rather, Scripture is absolutely silent [on Mary’s earthly end] because of the extraordinary nature of the prodigy, in order not to shock the minds of men. . . . Neither do I maintain stoutly that she died. . . .

“Did she die? We do not know. At all events, if she was buried, she had no carnal intercourse. . . . Or she remained alive, since nothing is impossible with God and he can do whatever he desires” (Panarion, haer. 78, nn. 10-11,23: G.C.S., 37, 461-462; 474).

[/quote]

Hmm, I got hunting online for resources - I was always taught the doctrine of Mary’s assumption was garbage but am now on RCIA and need resources!

Here’s a little link:

reachingforchrist.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=168

The original post of no use for demonstrating the assumption took place - but the text may seem surprisingly familiar in light of the above quote - and some of the catholics posting to the site and answering the article look to be doing a good job in their apologetics. Their posts may be of help in answering your friend as he brings up the same objections to the doctrine.

Whoever you’ve been discussing the subject with, it looks as though they are skilled at the use of copy and paste. The words were written by William Webster - who I haven’t heard of - who seems to be an ex-catholic and anti-catholic. He has a site too but you may care not to look at it. The section of Church Father quotes on Peter as the Rock is impressive though.

christiantruth.com/

Blessings

Asteroid


#12

In spite of the fact that there were records of the places where the apostles died & were buried, no such records exist for Our Lady (or so I’ve heard or read somewhere). I thought about this & came to the conclusion that it may well have been a ploy of the early church to protect her remains from desecration or from people going nuts w/ devotion. I can imagine that the Romans might’ve considered the descration of Our Lady’s body a real PR coup back then, hence the concealment.

Also, the assumption just seems like something that Our Lord would have done for His beloved mother, for many reasons, not the least of which was his love for her and in consideration for all she endured w/ Him. (The Passion of the Christ brought that out really well). If God assumed guys like Enoch & Moses, then WHY NOT the Blessed Virgin?

I grant that this is not really much of an empirical answer, but it just makes sense to me.

Totus tuus,
Mike


#13

Why to the same people who believe in their own Rapture
have so much trouble with the Rapture of the mother of Jesus?


#14

Why to the same people who believe in their own Rapture
have so much trouble with the Rapture of the mother of Jesus?


#15

Why do the same people who believe in their own Rapture
have so much trouble with the Rapture of the mother of Jesus?


#16

If the Holy Virgin had died and was buried, her falling asleep would have
been surrounded with honour, death would have found her pure, and her
crown would have been a virginal one…Had she been martyred according to
what is written: ‘Thine own soul a sword shall pierce’, then she would shine
gloriously among the martyrs, and her holy body would have been declared
blessed; for by her, did light come to the world."
Epiphanius,Panarion,78:23(A.D. 377),in PG 42:737As the most glorious Mother of Christ,our Savior and God and the giver of
life and immortality, has been endowed with life by him, she has received an
eternal incorruptibility of the body together with him who has raised her up
from the tomb and has taken her up to himself in a way known only to him."
Modestus of Jerusalem,Encomium in dormitionnem Sanctissimae Dominae
nostrae Deiparae semperque Virginis Mariae(PG 86-II,3306),(ante A.D.634) from Munificentis simus Deus

"It was fitting … that the most holy-body of Mary, God-bearing body,
receptacle of God, divinised, incorruptible, illuminated by divine grace and
full glory … should be entrusted to the earth for a little while and
raised up toheaven in glory, with her soul pleasing to God."
Theoteknos of Livias,Homily on the Assumption(ante A.D. 650),in THEO,57

"You are she who, as it is written, appears in beauty, and your virginal body
is all holy, all chaste, entirely the dewlling place of God, so that it is
henceforth completely exempt from dissoultion into dust. Though still human,
it is changed into the heavenly life of incorruptibility, truly living and
glorious, undamaged and sharing in perfect life."
Germanus of Constantinople,Sermon I(PG 98,346),(ante A.D. 733),from Munificentis simus Deus:blessyou:


#17

christiantruth.com is an evil web site, a tool of the devil. stay out of it.

Truth does not demand a defense. Truth never seeks to disprove. If a person or group is compelled to prove their truth by disproving something, then that in itself proves they haven’t got truth. It’s self-defeating to ther cause.

The internet is a good example of this. There are millions of such anti-Catholic web sites that not only seek to disprove the Catholic Church, but make no bones about using lies and misrepresentations to support their “truth”, as I have indicated with the above explanations of the Popes that christiantruth.com has misquoted and distorted.

The challenge for any funnymentalist is to find one Catholic web site that formally misrepresents their beliefs with lies and misrepresentations. There aren’t any.

Truth is not subjective. It represents the objective order of things. The person who comes to know something of the truth, then should experience humility, not vanity, for he discovers something that is not his.

Christ was emphatic in his denunciation of the Pharisees who claimed to know something of the truth but behaved with a pretentious snobbery. Truth is not he cause of Pharisaism, vanity is.

And both Christ and his Church are unrelenting in their advocacy of humility and in their condemnation of vanity.
[font=Times New Roman][/font]
There is an absense of humility in “christiantruth.com”, as there is an absense of truth. And there is no absense of pharisaical vanity. They say, “We teach the truth, therefore we must prove Catholicism does not.” They claim truth to be something that is theirs to teach, even Jesus didn’t do that. [font=Times New Roman][size=3][size=4] “My teaching is not mine, but His who sent me” (John 17:6) [/size]
[/size][/font][font=Times New Roman][/font]
Stay out of hate sites. Truth is more nourishing than error.
[font=Times New Roman][/font]
kepha1


#18

[quote=gus]Why do the same people who believe in their own Rapture
have so much trouble with the Rapture of the mother of Jesus?
[/quote]

They elevate themselves or at the very least equal to the mother of God. A heresey to say the least most of the Refromers would gag at the way Protestants refer to Mary.


#19

[list=1]
*]Catholics consider Jesus and Mary equal because they believe that both of them ascended into heaven.

Mary did not ascend into heaven; she was assumed into heaven. Jesus ascended by His own power, Mary was taken up into heaven by God. The Assumption is essentially the same as what Evangelicals call the “rapture”; we could even say that Mary was “raptured” into heaven at the end of her life.

*]But the Bible does not say that she was raptured into heaven.

The Bible is also silent on how the lives of most of Jesus’ disciples ended. Many Evangelicals accept the witness of Church history that Saint Peter was crucified upside-down in Rome, that Paul was beheaded, etc., even though Scripture does not record these events. Why then do they refuse to believe, as the early Christians did, that Jesus raptured Mary into heaven at the end of her life on earth?

*]But Mary is dead.

Where does the Bible say that? Nowhere. That’s an unbiblical assertion.

*]Do Catholics believe that Mary died?

Some do, some don’t. Scripture is silent on how Mary’s life ended, and the Church has never declared whether she died and was raised or was raptured up without ever dying. So Catholics are free to believe either one.

*]Doesn’t I Corinthians 15:23 disprove the Assumption? Not necessarily. First of all, it refers to those who have died in Christ. If Mary did not die, then this verse would not apply to her. Second, there is a chance that Mary was still alive when Saint Paul wrote this epistle (some say she lived to the age of seventy-two!). So Paul may not have known of God’s plan to rapture her up early, and since Mary herself surely did not know, it would not have been appropriate to reveal it in the Epistle santa maria madre de dios ruega por nosotros…:amen:

[/list]


#20

[quote=gus]Why to the same people who believe in their own Rapture
have so much trouble with the Rapture of the mother of Jesus?
[/quote]

That is a question I’d also want to ask them. If they believe they are already assured of being raptured, why can’t it be more so for the Blessed Mother herself, who is certainly far more holy and as His mother, closer to her Son than any of us ever were. As another poster already pointed out, ff Enoch and Elijah were assumed, why not Mary herself?

Perhaps what they believe is that she would be “raptured” along with them at the end of time.

Gerry :slight_smile:


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