Need help on Mary debate


#1

I am in a heavy debate on Mary on an evangelical forum. Would you mind reading this and telling me if there are any holes to poke in it? Thanks, Gene

It might be helpful for everyone who has been following the discussion about Mary, to know that Marian devotion arose in the eastern part of the Church.

It was in the East, that Mary was first invoked in prayer in the third-fourth century. In the East, legends of Mary were first related, hymns composed, and churches named (fourth century), feasts of Mary introduced and images of Mary produced (fifth century).

Above all it was in the fifth century at the Council of Ephesus, that Mary, regularly called the "mother of Jesus in Scripture, was defined “Mother of God”. This was a new, post-biblical title, attested with certainty only in the previous century, after Cyril’s intervention, and taken up with great enthusiasm by the people of Ephesus, the city of the ancient “Great Mother” (originally, the virgin goddess, Diana),

Eastern forms of devotion became established eventually in the West but not without opposition. Even Augustine, does not mention any hymns or prayers to Mary, nor does he speak of feasts of Mary. The first appearance of a Latin hymn addressed to Mary appears only in the fifth century.

In Rome, it was only in the sixth century that Mary’s name was introduced into the Canon of the Mass (that of Joseph by John XXIII in the twentieth century). Only in the seventh century were the Eastern feasts of Mary (annunciation, visitation, nativity, purification) taken over. And only toward the end of the tenth century did the legends start about the miraculous power of prayer to Mary.

From the definition of “Mother of God” in the fifth century up to the twelfth century the emphasis came to be laid less on Mary’s past action as mother of Jesus and more to her present role for Christians as the ever-virgin Mother of God and Queen of Heaven.

While the older Church Fathers had still spoken of Mary’s moral faults, she now began to be credited with perfect sinlessness and the doctrine of her sanctity even before birth. As a result, her preservation from original sin began to be taught expressly in the West from the twelfth century on.

Yet at the same time in other respects, like Jesus himself, Mary was regaining more human features, especially under the influence of scripturally minded men like Bernard of Clairvaux and Francis of Assisi.

From the twelfth century the biblical Ave Maria - in the present form, with her plea for her aid at the hour of death, only from 1500 - became the most widespread form of prayer linked with the Our Father.

The Angelus stems from the thirteenth century. The Rosary was introduced from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century, but it has only been in the nineteenth and twentieth century that there have been May and October devotions, some apparitions of Mary and Marian pilgrimages to Lourdes and Fatima, national and international Marian conferences and associations.

The reformers in the sixteenth century were opposed to these developments and went back to the biblical roots. In his interpretation of the Magnificat in relation to Christ, Luther venerated Mary as the model of faith and humility; J. S. Bach set the Magnificat to music. But Protestant veneration of Mary declined with the Enlightenment.

During the Counter Reformation, mainly the Jesuits, in an anti-Protestant spirit, propagated Marian devotion. After a temporary setback through the Enlightenment, it was again revived in Catholic Romanticism.

From the time of Pius IX, who after the definition of the Immaculate Conception (1854) had papal primacy and infallibility defined at Vatican I - the popes have promoted Marian devotion by every means.

The peak of the Marian age was reached in the year 1950 when Pius XII, against all Protestant, Orthodox, and even Catholic misgivings, defined the dogma of the bodily assumption of Mary into heavenly glory at the end of her life. There is nothing about this in Scripture or even in the tradition of the first five centuries. It appeared at first only in the apocryphal sources, in legends, pictures and feasts.

This was reinforced by Pius XII’s consecration of the whole human race to the immaculate heart of Mary in 1942 (under the influence of Fatima) and by the Marian Year of 1954 - came to a sudden end a few years later.


#2

I am going to suggest that you read this tract:

catholic.com/library/Mary_Ever_Virgin.asp

and see how you may incorporate its arguments into your statement. It supports the idea that Mary as ever-virgin is an idea that was supported by first century Early Church Fathers.


#3

Furthermore, understand Mary, Ark of the Covenant, if you want to understand the sinlessness part, and the assumption a bit better. And if they supposedly show credence to the earliest Church fathers, they can’t explain their beliefs if they aren’t Orthodox or Catholic, so I’m not sure what to make of that.


#4

[quote=LSK]I am going to suggest that you read this tract:

catholic.com/library/Mary_Ever_Virgin.asp

and see how you may incorporate its arguments into your statement. It supports the idea that Mary as ever-virgin is an idea that was supported by first century Early Church Fathers.
[/quote]

LSK, i don’t believe Gene is really interested in finding items
to defend devotion to Mary…

:slight_smile:


#5

Oh, am I misunderstanding this?

I thought he wanted to know how to present this better…and the fact is, devotion to her and the idea that she was discussed and important from the very beginning is not addressed by him.

Sometimes I miss the points…


#6

It all presupposes that marian devotion just popped out of nowhere in the 4th century. That may very well be when we start seeing the first clear historical records of it, but is perfectly reasonable to believe it was earlier.

Also it says that it was “not without opposition” and then cites Augustine’s alleged silence on the matter. Silence is not opposition.

And finally, when someone starts in with the idea that later explicit appearances of a practice or teaching somehow casts doubt on them, then the fact that not a single ECF correctly identified all the books of Scripture until much later casts alot of doubt on things like the Trinity, and certainly casts doubt on novelties like Sola Scriptura.

Scott


#7

[quote=Gene C.]It was in the East, that Mary was first invoked in prayer in the third-fourth century. In the East, legends of Mary were first related, hymns composed, and churches named (fourth century), feasts of Mary introduced and images of Mary produced (fifth century).
[/quote]

Most christian developments took place in the east - since this was where 90% of the early Christians lived.

The other fallacy here is to take the earliest surviving evidences of devotion, and then say that this is when such-and-such a devotion began. We have very little evidence of Christian practice before the 4th century because Christianity was mortally persecuted and Christian writings were systematically destroyed. So the earliest complete records come from after this period. Actually one of the earliest written christian prayers found - the Sub Tuum, is a Marian prayer.

Eastern forms of devotion became established eventually in the West but not without opposition

What opposition? From whom?

Even Augustine, does not mention any hymns or prayers to Mary, nor does he speak of feasts of Mary. The first appearance of a Latin hymn addressed to Mary appears only in the fifth century.

Augustine did not write Liturgies or hymns. In fact he writes often of Mary, saying, for example that she was without original sin.

In Rome, it was only in the sixth century that Mary’s name was introduced into the Canon of the Mass (that of Joseph by John XXIII in the twentieth century). Only in the seventh century were the Eastern feasts of Mary (annunciation, visitation, nativity, purification) taken over. And only toward the end of the tenth century did the legends start about the miraculous power of prayer to Mary.

Again this is largely nonsense. The writer is leaping from the earliest survibing written evidence of many of these things, to stating that this date was when the practice started. You cannot do this for a period without surviving documentation. In any case, prayers to Mary are noted from as early as the second century. The feast of the Assumption was established before the date for Christmas was finally settled

From the definition of “Mother of God” in the fifth century up to the twelfth century the emphasis came to be laid less on Mary’s past action as mother of Jesus and more to her present role for Christians as the ever-virgin Mother of God and Queen of Heaven.

No. Irenaeus in the 2nd century wrote of Mary in terms of her being co-redemptrix of the human race with Christ. This is advanced Marian doctrine coming from one of the earliest Church fathers

While the older Church Fathers had still spoken of Mary’s moral faults, she now began to be credited with perfect sinlessness and the doctrine of her sanctity even before birth. As a result, her preservation from original sin began to be taught expressly in the West from the twelfth century on.

Rubbish. Mary’s sinlessness was held by most of the church fathers, who called her Panagia (The All-holy One). Augustine expressly excluded her from original sin.

The peak of the Marian age was reached in the year 1950 when Pius XII, against all Protestant, Orthodox, and even Catholic misgivings, defined the dogma of the bodily assumption of Mary into heavenly glory at the end of her life.

Nonsense. The Assumption is held by Catholic, Orthodox and all the Ancient Churches. And has been, from the earliest times. What happened in 1950 was a formal dogmatic pronouncement of this ancient doctrine.


#8

Hi John Shelby,

You said:

“LSK, i don’t believe Gene is really interested in finding items
to defend devotion to Mary :slight_smile:

ME: You are wrong! Why are you questioning my motives? Please read a few of my posts and you will see that I am looking to defend the faith.

Hi LSK,

You said:

“I thought he wanted to know how to present this better…and the fact is, devotion to her and the idea that she was discussed and important from the very beginning is not addressed by him.”

ME: LSK, you are correct! Why John said that, I don’t know. Unless he was just exhibiting a little friendly irony.

Grace and peace to you both,

Gene


#9

Oh good. Sometimes I get a little confused.

I thought maybe the link would help because it does address the devotions to Mary that were present in the very early Church, first Century, and how important she has been from the very beginning. What I have found is that many of our separated brethren don’t like looking at Early Church Fathers because it forces them to acknowledge that there was an organized Church, it was functioning as a unit, albeit a primitive one, and that our core doctrines and dogmas are as evident then as today.

Rod Bennet’s book, Four Witnesses, addresses this issue quite well.


#10

Sigh…This is a Catholic site. I get a little weary of posters that pretend that they are seeking genuine questions about the Holy Mother but really intend to undermine the importance of Marian devotion. If they have a genuine question, they should be forthright and just ask it.


#11

[quote=Gene C.]Hi John Shelby,

You said:

“LSK, i don’t believe Gene is really interested in finding items
to defend devotion to Mary :slight_smile:

ME: You are wrong! Why are you questioning my motives? Please read a few of my posts and you will see that I am looking to defend the faith.

Hi LSK,

You said:

“I thought he wanted to know how to present this better…and the fact is, devotion to her and the idea that she was discussed and important from the very beginning is not addressed by him.”

ME: LSK, you are correct! Why John said that, I don’t know. Unless he was just exhibiting a little friendly irony.

Grace and peace to you both,

Gene

[/quote]

well, i read this post… from beginning to end… several times…
if you are defending Marian devotion, then you are picking
odd phrases to do it…

if i’m wrong, i am sorry, and truly apologize…

read Axion’s post… maybe then you will see why
i reached the conclusion i did…

again, if i was wrong, i apologize… :slight_smile:

:slight_smile:


#12

My thought was when I read the OP was, “Well, that’s a good argument against Marian devotion. I told you Catholics created it.”

I suggest you look into what the early church did say as others have already suggested.
So if your intent is to defend Marian devotion, your argument is sadly lacking.

If your intent was to accurately present history of Marian devotion, it is sadly lacking.

I suggest you start over by reading some of the tracts suggested by others if your intent is really to educate non-Catholics. First you need to educate yourself.

God Bless,
Maria


#13

As a general rule, even if a poster gives complete indications that he is insincere (that is, he already has answers to his questions loaded up in his howitzer ready for firing), answer as if he were sincere. This will benefit any lurkers, who will duly note the duplicity of the original poster, as well as our reaction to it which should not be cat-and-mouse responses.

Scott


#14

defend shemend. you cannot convince someone who does not want to be convinced. pray for them instead. i was a protestant, and Mary was the last thing on my mind. slowly, my attitudes began to change, and i do not know why. i am ceratin someone was praying for me. i said to my wife the other night,

“you know, since i have become Catholic, i think about Mary everyday. i have always thought about Jesus, even before my feet hit the floor when i get out of bed, but now I think about Mary, too. when we were protestants, i never really thought of the Holy Spirit either. that aspect of Christianity [the Holy Spirit] was reserved for the Pentecostals, not us Baptists, but as a Catholic, I find myself thinking of the Holy Spirit all the time, too.”

Now don’t get me wrong, and misinterpet what I am saying. I am NOT saying Mary is equal with the Trinity. I am saying my devotion to Mary has NOT deminished my devotion to the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit; It [my devotion to Mary] has only increased it. and, my devotion to Mary, I

know has brought my faith to a different level than when i was a
Protestant. i say all this to say sometimes an argument is a waste of time. instead of writing a defense to someone who does not care, sit down with a piece of paper and write a letter “back home” to your family: Jesus and Mary.


#15

To all,

Thanks for your comments and site links! It has been a great help.

You should know that the arguments against Marian devotion were not mine. They were word for word from and evangelical minister. Becuase of the length I had to cut a few things out, including the title. But those were his thoughts, not mine.

Peace,
Gene


#16

[quote=Gene C.]The peak of the Marian age was reached in the year 1950 when Pius XII, against all Protestant, Orthodox, and even Catholic misgivings, defined the dogma of the bodily assumption of Mary into heavenly glory at the end of her life.
[/quote]

It is, at best, deceptive to lump together Protestant and Orthodox misgivings as if they are one and the same.


#17

[quote=Gene C.]I am in a heavy debate on Mary on an evangelical forum. Would you mind reading this and telling me if there are any holes to poke in it? Thanks, Gene

. . . . . .

While the older Church Fathers had still spoken of Mary’s moral faults,

. . . .

[/quote]

I find this highly doubtful. I would be very interested in seeing a real citation by one of the early Church writers for this.


#18

[quote=Gene C.]To all,

Thanks for your comments and site links! It has been a great help.

You should know that the arguments against Marian devotion were not mine. They were word for word from and evangelical minister. Becuase of the length I had to cut a few things out, including the title. But those were his thoughts, not mine.

Peace,
Gene
[/quote]

Well that makes more sense. I thought this was supposed to be **your **arguments trying to support Marian devotion. From your OP it appeared as if this was your argument you wanted to present and were looking for any possible areas that could be attacked before you posted it.

posted by Gene C.
I am in a heavy debate on Mary on an evangelical forum. Would you mind reading this and telling me if there are any holes to poke in it? Thanks, Gene


#19

hi just share my ideas:

The Church declares its stands thru the differents councils when its doctrines is being questioned and misinterpreted.

Thats is why the church officially declares what has been already practiced and believed before by the early Christians. example, Virginity of Mary, Mother of God , Jesus as true God and true Man etc…

:slight_smile:


#20

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