Papal rejection of Mary's Assumption?

I’m listening to d debate between James White (boo, hiss) and Peter D williams (yea) on Sola Scriptura. At one point in the discussion White says that the one pope rejected the belief in Mary’s Assumption but doesn’t provide any details. Anyone know what he’s talking about?

If he cannot provide details, why does he bother to say it?

One thing I have begun to do is ask anyone who states a supposed fact during a discussion to please provide a reference. It is too easy to just pull stuff out of the air, or misrepresent something heard but only partially understood; so unless someone can cite a reference, or other evidence, I just say check your facts and get back to me. Certainly, during a debate I would challenge someone to give the name of the pope and date. It may be true, but it is important to remember that the church went through a difficult period when there was more than one person claiming the papacy. It might have been said during this time.

Western Schism

Unless he can state the Pope and when this Pope believed or said it, I would consider the source (James White) and chalk it up as his big mouth running again. Since he didn’t name the Pope, then he probably was trying to grasp as straws because he was loosing the argument. Mary’s assumption wasn’t defined as dogma until the 1950s but had always been believed in and supported by Catholic and Orthodox teaching. I’m sure James White can’t explain where Mary’s grave is if she wasn’t assumed into heaven. For some reason, this was one of the first things I accepted coming into the Catholic Church. It made sense, there is no grave, the Bible records other cases of assumption with Enoch and Elijah and it is implied with Moses’s body as well.

Because he is James White. :rolleyes:

Pope John Paul II did say that the Theotokos died before being assumed. Maybe that’s what he meant?

This thread might put you on the right track. I have not researched the matter, so I cannot comment as to it’s validity, but apparently Pope Galasius rejected an apocryphal “gospel” called “Transitus Beatae Mariae". Apparently, it is all about the assumption of Mary, however I do not know why the Pope rejected it- there might have been many reasons he rejected it. It will take more research, but I’m guessing this is what White is talking about.

Also, I found a snippet on this website about this “gospel” saying generally that it supports all the details about the assumption that we know about today, however it says “The account of Pseudo-Melito, like the rest of the Transitus literature, is admittedly valueless as history, as an historical report of Mary’s death and corporeal assumption; under that aspect the historian is justified in dismissing it with a critical distaste.”

Unfortunately no I don’t. However Mr. White has used the affair of Pope Liberius and Pope Zosimus in his back of tricks to attack the Catholic Church for years and it has been refuted countless times, so I guess he has felt the need to make up some other attack. I mean Mr. White was defeated in ever debate he has ever had with Robert Sungenis, but the last debate they had was in 2010, and this debate you are referring to took place in 2013, so I imagine he has some up with some new tactics. (Forgive me I haven’t watched this debate yet, I don’t know if I’m really up to sitting through another debate with Mr. White). I don’t know if Mr. White is still trotting out the Pope Liberius and Pope Zosimus affairs again as if it already had not been answered and rebutted.

Moreover Mr. White has his own thesis of what the magisterium is all about that he calls “Sola Ecclesia” that has absolutely nothing to do with anything you’d read in an adult catechism, so even if some Pope had rejected Mary’s Assumption, my guess is that it would not fit in the criteria of the magisterium as defined in Lumen Gentium 25, but the straw man that Mr. White has created to lead people away from the one true Church and into the doctrines of John Calvin.

Good find! Pope St. Gelasius I and Pope Hormisdas did not condemn the assumption, they condemned a document containing the assumption which had many unorthodox points in it! Wow, another instance of why I don’t have much respect for Mr. White’s commitment to historical truth as a scholar!

Ok so I watched the debate. Frustrating as always. Why can’t Mr. White just answer the question about how I am to know which books are in the Bible via Sola Scriptura instead of going off on marian dogmas, comparing the Catholic Church to the Mormons or the Jehovah’s Witnesses, saying “God-breathed” in greek like a mantra, or pretending that he’s some modern day St. Paul who is able to declare anathema on people? SHEESH! I can see why Scott Hahn never debated him, you’d have to be a very calm person to want to deal with this schtick! I really commend Mr. Williams for being so charitable while Mr. White danced around the question. Pray for Mr. White’s conversion!

If you’re ever wondering why it is that Protestants of Mr. White’s sort are so quick to claim that Catholics “worship” Mary, just read this from St. Louis de Monfort, who puts it nicely, if politically incorrectly:

  1. Just as in natural and bodily generation there is a father and a mother, so in the supernatural and spiritual generation there is a father who is God and a mother who is Mary. All true children of God have God for their father and Mary for their mother; anyone who does not have Mary for his mother, does not have God for his father. This is why the reprobate, such as heretics and schismatics, who hate, despise or ignore the Blessed Virgin, do not have God for their father though they arrogantly claim they have, because they do not have Mary for their mother. Indeed if they had her for their mother they would love and honour her as good and true children naturally love and honour the mother who gave them life.

An infallible and unmistakable sign by which we can distinguish a heretic, a man of false doctrine, an enemy of God, from one of God’s true friends is that the heretic and the hardened sinner show nothing but contempt and indifference for our Lady. He endeavours by word and example, openly or insidiously - sometimes under specious pretexts - to belittle the love and veneration shown to her. God the Father has not told Mary to dwell in them because they are, alas, other Esaus.

Me too, but this was in a podcast of a radio broadcast from last summer so that’s not an option. That’s why I asked here.


As has been said, he’s probably referring to the decree of Gelasius (also attributed to and reaffirmed by other Popes). See here:

As you can see, one of its main concerns is establishing the canon of Scripture. In the list of books it says are not part of the Canon, but are apocryphal, there is a book on the Assumption of Mary. As you can see, there are also books on the infancy of Jesus, for example. That doesn’t mean the Church didn’t believe Jesus was an infant. There are also books about St. Paul. That doesn’t mean we don’t believe in St. Paul, etc.

This is a common practice. Quote only the parts that make your point, and ignore the context that disproves it. It works most of the time because most of us do not have at our fingertips the full context to dispute the claim with.

In the case of a broadcast like this where you can’t ask the speaker for references, all you can do is look it up yourself, or post here for an answer. But if you’re talking to someone face to face, first ask for a reference and whether they cite one or not, if you don’t have an immediate response, give them the John Martignoni response: "I don’t know the answer to that but I’ll find out and get back to you." Then make sure you do!


That would be an odd line of argument since all the popes have taught the same (i.e. that Mary died), including Pius XII in the same document which contains the solemn definition of the Assumption.

While I agree with you completely, that would be news to the many Catholics (including some on this forum) who maintain that Pius XII “left open” the question of whether she died.

He did not include that fact in his solemn definition, but I don’t think that’s the same thing as leaving the question open. There is no reason from either tradition or reason to believe that Mary never died.

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