Questions from your friendly neighborhood Protestant


#1

Greetings to all of you. This is my very first post on this board, though I have been browsing topics for the last few days. I suppose my intent with this post is to ask a few questions about Catholicism. I realize that you have probably seen and answered these questions many times, so please bear with me, and feel free to direct me to other posts.

To help you better understand where I’m coming from, I’ll give a little info about myself. I am a Christian and have been since the age of five. I believe the Bible is absolutely true. Some would call me a Fundamentalist Evangelical (a commonly referred to group on these forums, it seems). Growing up, I attended a church that was very conservative in regard to political and moral issues, but placed very little importance on ceremony.

Anyway, an e-mail from a Catholic friend of mine from college got me thinking about Catholicism. She didn’t mention anything in the e-mail, but it reminded me of conversations we had had back in college. My previous contact with Catholics had been very limited and instruction about them was often negative, but it was obvious from talking to her that her Christian faith was genuine and true. So, I decided to do a little research on the internet to try to find out what I could about Catholicism. So, here I am!

I suppose there has long been something about me that has been drawn to the Catholic Church. The history, the tradition, the beauty of everything from stained glass windows to Gregorian chants, and, most of all, the solid doctrinal stands on every issue. Having been to many Protestant churches, I have become sick of buffet-style Christianity.

All of that, being said, there are still a number of Catholic beliefs I have a difficult time accepting. So, my long preamble complete, here are my objections/questions:

The Immaculate Conception. I realize this has been dealt with by Catholic apologists many times, but I find it difficult to believe that any person has been sinless. Some may have said that for Christ to be sinless, he would have to have come from a sinless womb, but if that was the case, a sinless Mary would have had to have had a sinless mother as well.

Going on further with the same issue, I have trouble accepting the belief that Mary and Joseph never “came together” as a husband and wife. As they were married, there would have been no sin in them doing so. The last mention of Joseph in Jesus’ life is when he was twelve, so we know Mary and Joseph were married for at least twelve years (and probably longer). It seems more than a little odd that they would go all this time without consumating their marriage.

The issue of Jesus’ brothers and sisters being his step brothers/sisters or cousins is a minor issue in my mind, but it still seems odd. Why couldn’t Joseph and Mary have had other children after Jesus?

Transubstantiation in the Eucharist. Though I absolutely do believe in miracles, it is difficult to accept that wine and bread literally become the blood and body of Christ. While I understand the ceremony as a way to remember Christ’s sacrifice, I fail to see what ingesting his physical body (which, so far as I understand it, was not divine in and of itself) does for the human soul.

Papal Infallibility. Seeing as how popes are men also, it seems that they would be very capable of making a wrong judgment on an issue. I guess that is why Protestants are drawn to sola scriptura, as we are reluctant to trust the word of any human (though, admittedly, the Bible was written by them…) on spiritual matters.

I guess those are the primary issues I have. There are others I do not fully understand, such as praying to the saints, praying for the dead (though I admit, I have often done so), the need to confess to a priest (though I see this as a good thing), the labeling of certain sins as “mortal sins,” and the existence of Purgatory. Anyway, those are some questions I have. Please understand none of this is an attack, but rather a desire to learn more about Catholicism. I look forward to your answers. God Bless!


#2

Welcome lambic pen!

An in-depth search of this forum will give you many answers to the questions you asked. However, if you are looking for fresh discussions on these subjects, may I recommend that you start one thread at a time to address each specific inquiry.

God bless you.


#3

[quote=Mickey]However, if you are looking for fresh discussions on these subjects, may I recommend that you start one thread at a time to address each specific inquiry.

I thank you for your welcome! Yes, that probably would be for the best. I’m a little pressed for time at the moment, unfortunately, but perhaps later I’ll pick one of these and try the “one at a time” approach. The Lord be with you!

[/quote]


#4

Hi Iambic Pen, welcome to the forum!

You ask some honest questions that have clearly given more than a few people difficulty. While I’m sure you’ll get better answers here, as a former, poorly-formed Cradle Catholic-turned-non-denom-revert, I thought I’d put in my two cents.

The Immaculate Conception is surely one of the most difficult doctrines, but it has to be recalled that Christ didn’t need to be born of a sinless woman, it just makes a certain sense that the Father would want it that way. We often refer to Mary as the Ark of the New Covenant. Consider the nature of the older Ark- overlaid with pure gold, inside and out (Ex 25:11) that could not be touched by any, as I recall, but the High Priest (here, I believe, a stand-in for God). Consider also Mary’s reception by her (perhaps much) older kinswoman. Elizabeth aks, “why am I so favored that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Now in Hebrew culture, surely Elizabeth would be the normal superior in the relationship, yet here the positions are quite reversed. Remeber too that God had done great things for the elder lady as well, and she could not have missed the scriptural implications of an older, barren woman, suddenly becoming pregnant with the Lord’s help. Still, she treats her younger cousin with deference, a remarkable thing for the time. Reading through this, the Magnificat, the Presentation at the Temple, the Wedding and Christ’s words to Mary and John in His final hour(Behold thy mother…), it shows a remarkable role for the Mother of God. True, this does not scripturally* prove* she was sinless, but for that we have to turn to Sacred Tradition, which has always held it to be so.

Going on further with the same issue, I have trouble accepting the belief that Mary and Joseph never “came together” as a husband and wife. As they were married, there would have been no sin in them doing so. The last mention of Joseph in Jesus’ life is when he was twelve, so we know Mary and Joseph were married for at least twelve years (and probably longer). It seems more than a little odd that they would go all this time without consumating their marriage.

You have probably read the apologetics paper on this site, dealing with the Tradition in regards to Mary’s likely vow of lifelong virginity. If not, it is certainly worthwhile. Also, keep in mind that tradition holds that Joseph was considerably older than Mary, and a widower. If the marriage were simply for the purpose of mutual support, it would not be so strange. Also, I can’t remember who said it, but it’s a fine quote, “if you knew for what purpose the Lord had used Mary, would you touch her?” Think about it. This was not a normal relationship to begin with. Joseph was told by an angel that his wife-to-be was pure. That being the case, would he really then say, “well even though she was a virgin before, during and after her pregnancy and has given birth to the Lord, I suppose now that God is done with her, I may as well…” Hmmmm. It pays to recall what happened to Uzzah who touched the older Ark of the Covenant at Kidon (1 Ch 13:9) - and he was just trying to keep it steady!

Transubstantiation in the Eucharist. Though I absolutely do believe in miracles, it is difficult to accept that wine and bread literally become the blood and body of Christ. While I understand the ceremony as a way to remember Christ’s sacrifice, I fail to see what ingesting his physical body (which, so far as I understand it, was not divine in and of itself) does for the human soul.

It was not until I learned some Church teaching, that I truly understood certain aspects of the Old Testament. Keep in mind that the Jews *had to eat *the pascal lamb, not simply sacrifice it. Why? And why do we need to eat the Lord’s Body? I believe we need as strong a reminder of our pure dependence on the Lord as possible- emotional, spiritual, intellectual and, yes, physical. We also need to remember that the body too is of creation. We are beings of flesh, utterly carnal in our way. The union with the Lord’s flesh is necessary to elevate us, and without it, there is no other way. Could the Lord have set up the situation differently? Of course! But He didn’t. He told us, in no uncertain terms, that this is the way it is (John 6). That we couldn’t fully understand it in a human way (“the flesh availeth not”), but must rely for our understanding on the spirit (“the spirit is all”). This quote is often abused, but you may want to look up what the early fathers said about it. The word “spirit” here is never used in the Bible to mean that which is merely symbolic.

Papal Infallibility.

You seem to answer your own question here. If God could use man to infallibly write scripture, why couldn’t he allow a man to infallibly interpret it? And its clear from both scripture and tradition which man it is. (Mt 16:18-19, Lk 22:32, Jn 21:17, etc…). It should also be pointed out that the Pope *can *be wrong, sinful, pig-headed etc. Just not when he is pronouncing on dogma and is, hence, protected by the charism of the Holy Spirit. Recall also, that the interpretation of Scripture by someone infallible or not, is unavoidable.

Hope this helps.


#5

Welcome to the forums, lambic.

The authoritative place to look for answers is the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This happens to be available online - there is an index at the end, and there is a search function. You might want to check it out.
scborromeo.org/ccc/ccc_toc.htm

But to take on one of your questions in a summary fashion: The doctrine of papal infallibility is widely misunderstood. This infallibility exists only in very limited circumstances - when the pope is speaking “ex cathedra” on issues of faith or morals. This may happen, for example, when the church is speaking out with one voice on an important matter, and the pope makes it official. No one thinks the pope, a human being, is personally infallible.


#6

Pen,

I commend you for looking into the Church. I myself am a convert; I was raised Lutheran and was an evangelical for awhile. I think Newvert did a good job explaing the scriptural backing for the papacy and papal infallibility, I will try to give the common sense side of the argument, though my attempt probably leaves much to be desired:

As Newvert said, if God would use men to infallibly write scripture, then why wouldn’t he also set up an institution to infalliby interpret it? If he didn’t then all we humans would have is a book, the truths of which would remain shrouded in mystery until the end of time. Look around you. There are thousands of different protestant denominations, all claiming that the Bible is their only authority for instruction in faith and morals. They are all coming to different conclusions, and whether they admit it or not, they are going by human interpretations. Since I’m assuming you believe in absolute truths, doesn’t this create a bit of a dilemma for you? To make an analogy, what if the U.S. had no Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution, but left it up to every citizen to determine the law for himself, individually. This would result in anarchy. Similarly, protestant acceptance of sola scriptura has resulted in anarchy, as there is no central, unifying authority among these sects to tell them what’s what when they don’t agree with each other. They could look to Rome, the center of the only Christian Church that existed for 1500 years after the death of Christ, but they have cut off all ties with the historic church. Additionally, they are guilty of double standards though they may not realize this: they tend to accept the historic (Catholic) church’s definitions on matters like the Trinity and Christ’s resurrection, but when it comes to praying to the saints or the immaculate conception (which have scriptural backing, even if only implicitly), all of a sudden, the attitude shifts to “well, let’s just believe what we want to believe.”


#7

lambic, welcome. Every single question you ask except for the one about the pope can be summed up with a couple of simple concepts having to do with the covenant of the Lord. These are the Sacrifice of the Lamb and Ark of the Covenant.

To start, the sacrifices of the old covenant demanded that the subject sacrificed by a pure lamb, completely unspoiled and untouched. in this way we know for fact that Christ was never married (as garbage like the da vinci code FICTION asserts) and that He was completely without sin. Further, we know from tradtion that the lamb had to have no deformities or broken bones. accordingly, Jesus’ legs were not broken as was traditional for the victims of crucifixion in the day. Further, the sacrificial lamb had to be consumed by all the members who were party to the sacrifice. In the same way, Jesus tells us that we are to consume His Flesh and Blood when He tells us “Do this in rememberance of Me.” The real clincher, though, is when Christ tells His followers “Unless you eat My Flesh and drink My Blood you cannot have life within you.” This caused distress to His followers precisely because He wasnt speaking metaphorically. Thus the answer to your question, what benefit does partaking of the Flesh and Blood of the Lamb of God provide is that it fills us with eternal life and hope for salvation through the sacrifice of Christ. Without partaking of the Lamb, the sacrifice is incomplete on our part.

As to the immaculate conception… Here is the idea of the Ark of the Covenant. The womb of mary is the tabernacle of the Lord. Remember, only the high priest of the jewish church was allowed to enter into the tabernacle. so it goes, Jesus is OUR High Priest, and He alone could grace the tabernacle with His holy presence. As such, we know that Mary had no more children of her own, it would have violated the sacred nature of her womb which was tabernacle only for the Lord. She even declares herself handmade to the Lord. Back then, a handmade for a particular deity would pledge themselves to a lifelong virginity. Joseph would then be placed as a guardian of that virginity. it was not so uncommon as one might think.

Further, the rules regarding the tabernacle demand that it be made from pure substance only. As such, a tainted flesh of the womb of Mary would be an unsuitable dwelling place of the Lord. Of course God could have sprang forth from sinful flesh, so it does not follow that mary needed to be born from a perfect woman either. what DID happen is that Jesus had a purely unblemished tabernacle in which to rest… as such, mary was without sin. HOWEVER being that Mary is not our High Priest, she would not need to enter the ark of the covenant. therefore she did not need a pure mother in order to be born pure.


#8

Welcome!

The previous posters all spoke very well on these things. I double the previous poster’s recommendation to look some things up in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. While there are many very learned people here on these forums, we all technically speak of our own accord, and not with the authority of the Catholic Church herself.

I’ll only add some small things regarding the Immaculate Conception.

There are many things in the Old Testament that foreshadow and act as types of Mary, for it is through her obedience in faith that God came into the world. It is true that God did not need to do anything as He did regarding Mary, nor regarding how we would be redeemed. Yet He chose a way, and we can only strive to understand what it means to us. I firmly believe that through ancient Israel, God was constantly preparing the world for the coming of His Son, and so it is through an understanding of salvation history that we can come to understand the newest, last, and perfect covenant that God has made with mankind through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. Because many of the first Christians were steeped in the Old Testament Jewish Scriptures, they understood it very well. They were also privvy to the teachings of Christ and the Apostles themselves. And so it is important for any student of Christ so see what they taught, and what their understanding was, as it bridges the old and the new, and makes light of Jesus’ statement that He came not to abolish the Law, but to complete it.

So use the Old testament as your guide in your understanding of the New, and look to the wisdom of the early Church Fathers as a guide in your search.

Sorry I got a bit long-winded…one more thing on Mary.

Consider what the Angel Gabriel meant when he called Mary “Full of Grace”. The translation does not do justice to the original Greek. The text more closely means “with the fullness of Grace”. This signifies that Mary had already, and perfectly, received God’s sanctifying Grace, making her sinless and pure. Through this fullness of Grace she was able to persevere without sin for all her life.

This tract explains it much better than I:

Catholic Answers on the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption

Peace be with you.
javelin


#9

Iambic Pen,

WELCOME! May God bless you richly as you search for His Truth! Here are a couple of links on Mary - ever Virgin, in case you haven’t read them yet:
catholic.com/library/mary_ever_virgin.asp
catholic.com/library/Bre…of_the_Lord.asp

I will stick with Mary in my response, and if you would like to start a new thread about the Blessed Mother, please feel free to copy and past whatever you don’t understand from my post as an opener! :thumbsup:

We’ll start with “ever Virgin”. Q: Why couldn’t Joseph and Mary have had other kids? A: Because she belonged to another. I will use Sacred Scripture, Jewish Midrash, and Jewish Targum to support (remember: Mary was a Jew first!).

We also have to take into consideration that when Mary was told by the archangel Gabriel “Behold, you shall conceive in your womb, and bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus” (Lk 1:31), he also added that this was to come about because “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the Holy one to be born shall be called the Son of God” (Lk 1:35). By stating it in those terms the archangel declared to Mary that God would enter into a marital relationship with her, causing her to conceive His Son in her womb, For “to lay one’s power <(reshuth)> over a woman” <(Targum to Dt> 21:4) was a euphemism for “to have a marital relationship with her.” Likewise “to overshadow” (Lk 1:35) by spreading the “wing” or “cloak” over a woman was another euphemism for marital relations. Thus, the rabbis commented <(Midrash Genesis Rabbah> 39.7; 3.9) that Ruth was chaste in her wording when she asked Boaz to have marital relations with her by saying to him “I am Ruth you handmaid, spread therefore your cloak ( literally, “wing”: over your handmaid for you are my next-of-kin” (Ruth 3:9). , another Aramaic-Hebrew word for cloak, is derived from = shadow. Thus, “to spread one’s cloak <(tallith)> over a woman” means to cohabit with her <(Kiddushin)> 18b, see also . Did not the Lord say to His bride Israel: “I am married to you” (Jr 3:14) and “your Maker is your husband”? (Is 54-5:5; Jr 31:32)? And what is more intimate than what the Lord said to His bride: “You developed, you grew, you came to full womanhood; your breasts became firm and your hair grew… you were naked… and I saw that you were now old enough for love so I spread my cloak over you… I gave you My oath, I entered into a covenant with you and you became Mine, says the Lord God” (Ezk 16:7, 8).

You see, unless God (through the person of the Holy Spirit) was married to Mary (on a spiritual / heavenly level), Jesus would be illigitimate. If the Holy Spirit is denied as the spouse of Mary, Jesus becomes a bastard. Again, this is possible, but it is not fitting. I believe that this would not be allowed by God, however, and in order for it not to be the case, the Holy Spirit must have been the spouse of Mary (again, a “heavenly spouse” and not an “earthly spouse”).

This is why St. Joseph wanted to “put her away” - because she belonged to another. Remember, St. Joseph was a “righteous and just man”, and if he wanted to divorce Mary because of suspicions of adultry, the “right and just” thing to do would have been to have Mary stoned to death. To disobey this would have been to violate Levitical Law - not something a “righteous and just man” would do. Rather, St. Joseph knew that once God “overshadowed” Mary, she no longer belonged to him as his wife in the full sense. Not knowing what to do (since God had claimed St. Joseph’s wife), he was going to release her from their betrothal - that is when the angel appears to St. Joseph and says, “Fear not to take Mary as your wife!”. St. Joseph was to be her protector, and the head of the Holy Family, but as with King David (when his several of his wives were “known” by his son, Absalom, in an attempted coup), he knew that he could never “know” Mary (for David, never “know” his wives again) because she belonged to another. So, just like King David before him, St. Joseph takes Mary into his home where hekept her, protected her, and “knew her not”.

…cont’d…


#10

…cont’d…
And, in case you never knew (I didn’t, before I came to this site!):

** Luther **wrote on the Virginity of Mary:

It is an article of faith that Mary is Mother of the Lord and still a virgin. … Christ, we believe, came forth from a womb left perfectly intact. (Weimer’s The Works of Luther, English translation by Pelikan, Concordia, St. Louis, v. 11, pp. 319-320; v. 6. p. 510.)

** Calvin **also up held the perpetual virginity of Mary, as did the Swiss reformer, **Ulrich Zwingli **(1484-1531), who wrote:

I firmly believe that Mary, according to the words of the gospel as a pure Virgin brought forth for us the Son of God and in childbirth and after childbirth forever remained a pure, intact Virgin. (Zwingli Opera, Corpus Reformatorum, Berlin, 1905, v. 1, p. 424.)

   Finally,

Here is a link (forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=56167&page=1&pp=100 ) to a lengthy discussion about the perpetual virginity of Mary, where I make the following arguments regarding Mary’s perpetual Virginity and the argument about Jesus’ “brothers”:

  1. Brother does not mean “full uterine brother with same father”. It can (and does) mean many familial relationships within the Bible - Biblical citations given. You have acknowledged that you do not believe “brother” means “brother” within this very context.
  2. None of the “brothers” are refered to as “children of Mary”, which is a title applied to Jesus and no one else.
  3. Jesus, who knew these “brothers” of His would repent and follow Him within 3 days, still gave His mother to the apostle John at the foot of the cross - a gross violation of Levitical Law, which Christ *never *broke (as that would be a sin).
  4. The apostle James, who is called “the Lord’s brother”, is elsewhere described as being the son of Zebedee. Zebedee is not Mary’s husband. Biblical citations given.
  5. Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant, a position held by the Fathers of the Church from as near to the apostles’ teaching as we can find written evidence. All evidence within the Bible points to this being the case, and the apostle John, who took Mary into his home for the rest of her earthly life, places her in Rev 12 - immediately following the unveiling of the old Ark of the Covenant - linking the two yet again. As the Ark was missing for the last several hundred years, any Jew who read Rev 11 would have immediately payed attention - and he would have found Mary in the next sentence. Being the Ark of the New Covenant, Mary was “pure” and “not to be touched”, and Joseph would have known this. Biblical citations given.
  6. Mary was the spouse of the Holy Spirit, and as such was forbidden to Joseph to know. Biblical citations given.
  7. “Until” does not necessissarily imply change - infact, sometimes change would be impossible following “until”. Biblical citations given.
  8. Mary was concecrated to God, and in being so concecrated, she took a vow of celebacy. This is asserted as the only way to make sense of her response, “how can this be, since I know not man?” As no one who was planning on having a ‘regular’ marriage would question the statement, “You will have kids,” it makes no sense for her to do so without a vow being in place.

May the Peace of Christ be with you always,
RyanL


#11

Iambic Pen (and others),

Please forgive me for taking so much space, but this is a subject I really enjoy talking about! Since some people have spoken about the Ark of the Covenant and Mary, I thought it might be helpful to walk through it step by step (initially given here: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=4325 ) :

Why did they need the ark in the OT? What happened when the ark was present during battles? Mary is fulfillment of what the OT ark pointed to. It was a prefigurement of our Blessed Mother. As great as a shadow is in the OT, what it points to in fulfillment is even greater. The ark was honored and couldn’t even be touched. The ark swayed battles against evil. How much more the fulfillment of this shadow?

Luke shows very clearly how the ark is a shadow of Mary as its fulfillment.

The ark goes to the hill country.
Mary goes to the hill country.

David asks, "who am I that the ark of the Lord should come to me?"
Elizabeth asks “who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”

The ark stays in the house for three months.
Mary stays in Elizabeth’s house for three months.

David lept for joy at the presnece of the ark.
John the Baptists leaps for joy at the sound of Mary’s voice.

The ark was housed in a tabernacle overshadowed by the glory cloud.
The angel tells Mary that the power of the Most High will overshadow her.

The ark contained the written Word of God.
Mary contained the Word made flesh.

The ark contained bread from Heaven.
Mary contained true bread from Heaven.

The ark contained the rod of the true priesthood.
Mary contained the true Priest.

Add to that, the ark was built with an emphasis on purity because of what it would hold. What it held - SYMBOLS of Jesus.

Mary held the fulfillment of these symbols - Jesus - so why would there be less emphasis on her purity being that she had the fulfillment of the symbols the ark carried?

Hence, the Immaculate Conception. The Purity of the Ark which contained not a symbol of Jesus but Jesus himself in fulfillment.

Also, the ark could not be touched by man, which points to the perpetual virginity of Mary.

Now, whether or not Mary should be honored, and whether her fulfillment of these shadows is worthy of recognition. If God deemed the ark of the OT worthy of honor and deemed the shadows it represented worthy of recogonition, what kind of reasoning concludes that this should not be the case for the fulfillment and perfection of the ark?

We must also remeber the intercession of the ark was necessary for the battle and victory against evil, AND disaster when the ark wasn’t present. What is the fulfillment of that?

Mary fights evil for us. God put enmity between the serpent and the woman in Genesis and this is exactly what takes place in Revelation 12.

Furthermore, as St. Louis DeMonfort related in “The Secret Of The Rosary”, the demons fear Mary because she defeats them. Unblblical? Hardly. The OT has several shadows that point to this.

The Bible shows instances of a woman destroying evil rulers in the OT:

Judges 4:21: Then Jael Heber’s wife took a nail of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died.

So, we indeed have a woman delivering a fatal blow to the head of an evil rulere. Look what happens after that:

Judges 5:24: Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be, blessed shall she be above women in the tent.

The woman who delivers the fatal blow to the evil head is called blessed above women.

More:

Judges 9:53: And a certain woman cast a piece of a millstone upon Abimelech?s head, and all to brake his skull.

Here we have a woman literally crushing the head of evil.

This is an OT foreshadowing - the verse in Genesis begining to be played out - not final because the devil isn’t crushed, but a foreshadowing as prefigures of evil receive fatal blows to the head. This is God’s Word being fulfilled.

If this sounds strange, consider that in Genesis, the enmity is personal between the woman who gives birth to Jesus and the devil. Jesus, her offspring is at war with the devil’s offspring.

THIS TAKES NOTHING FROM JESUS, but just offers consideration of what the verse in Genesis actually says, and how its played out in scripture. Scripture clearly shows women as prefigures delivering fatal blows to the head of prefigured evil, and scripture clearly shows direct enmity between the woman and the devil and the devil at war with her.

If the shadows of Mary were needed, interceded, destroyed evil, and were honored, what does this point to? We NEED Mary.

If they needed the ark, then we need Mary. The Bible shows us this very clearly. Never forget that not only did good things happen when the ark was present, but also disaster when there was no ark present. Don’t leave Mary out of your life.


#12

Ryan…I love reading what you put together…you have great flow…you should think about writing a book someday.

How is your wife? Please post briefly after the baby is born…

:blessyou:


#13

[quote=Lillith]Ryan…I love reading what you put together…you have great flow…you should think about writing a book someday.

How is your wife? Please post briefly after the baby is born…

:blessyou:
[/quote]

Lillith,

My fast friend! I am actually considering writing a book on Catholic Typology for Beginners…funny you should say that.

My wife is extremely pregnant! We’re going in to the baby-doc tomorrow to schedule an induction (we didn’t want to induce, but the baby is getting too big!). I’ll let you know!

he beams with pride, the new father
RyanL


#14

RyanL :wave:

Wow Ryan … unreal … what a beautiful explaination! :thumbsup: :thumbsup:


#15

[quote=The Iambic Pen] here are my objections/questions:

The Immaculate Conception. I realize this has been dealt with by Catholic apologists many times, but I find it difficult to believe that any person has been sinless. Some may have said that for Christ to be sinless, he would have to have come from a sinless womb, but if that was the case, a sinless Mary would have had to have had a sinless mother as well.

Going on further with the same issue, I have trouble accepting the belief that Mary and Joseph never “came together” as a husband and wife. As they were married, there would have been no sin in them doing so. The last mention of Joseph in Jesus’ life is when he was twelve, so we know Mary and Joseph were married for at least twelve years (and probably longer). It seems more than a little odd that they would go all this time without consumating their marriage.
[/quote]

Welcome to the forum, I hope you enjoy it here. For a brief forum discussion on Mary try:
(forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=11145) There are some wonderful books and articles available on Mary at the main Catholic Answers web page.


#16

Ryan, I realize you were quoting someone else when you wrote,

[quote=RyanL]“The apostle James, who is called “the Lord’s brother”, is elsewhere described as being the son of Zebedee. Zebedee is not Mary’s husband. Biblical citations given.”
[/quote]

This is not to negate the truth of Mary’s perpetual virginity, but the previous poster of this quote was inaccurate. James, son of Zebedee, was a different person than James the Righteous, who was step-brother or cousin of Christ and who "because of his outstanding virtue, was the first, as the record tells us, to be elected to the episcopal throne of the Jerusalem Church (Eusebius, The History of the Church).

Clement writes in his Outlines Book VIII, “There were two Jameses, one the Righteous, who was thrown down from the parapet and beaten to death with a fuller’s club, the other the James who was beheaded.”

You are absolutely right that if James the Righteous was Christ’s half brother (son of Mary) Christ would have been obligated to entrust Mary’s care to him or any other living sons she may have had. But Jesus did not do this. He entrusted Mary to John because by this time, Joseph had passed away and her only child Jesus would soon be gone.


#17

Since we are adopted brothers into the mystical Body of Christ, then it seems like Mary is our mystical Mother, too.

Christ saved her by His cross and resurrection in advance, so His Mother would be without sin. If you were God, isn’t that the kind of Mother you’d be inclined to choose? After all, the Word built the world including the Mother of the Word, right?

Let’s all go over to Our Father’s house and go see our Brother Jesus the Christ. Be sure to listen to His Mother while you’re there; She always knows what’s best and can help us brothers get along better.

Alan


#18

[quote=The Iambic Pen]Greetings to all of you. This is my very first post on this board, though I have been browsing topics for the last few days. I suppose my intent with this post is to ask a few questions about Catholicism.

I decided to do a little research on the internet to try to find out what I could about Catholicism. So, here I am!

. . .here are my objections/questions:

The Immaculate Conception. I realize this has been dealt with by Catholic apologists many times, but I find it difficult to believe that any person has been sinless. Some may have said that for Christ to be sinless, he would have to have come from a sinless womb, but if that was the case, a sinless Mary would have had to have had a sinless mother as well.
[/quote]

Greetings and welcome.

In order to avoid confusion, I would , in future, ask only one question at a time and ask the others in future posts. I will attempt to answer your first question first.

You said “Some may have said that for Christ to be sinless, he would have to have come from a sinless womb, but if that was the case, a sinless Mary would have had to have had a sinless mother as well.”

The vessel carrying the Divinity had to be pure, not the one carying the vessel. It is the Divinity which requires perfection.

May the grace of God, the love of Christ and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you always.


#19

[quote=The Iambic Pen]Greetings to all of you.

The Immaculate Conception. I realize this has been dealt with by Catholic apologists many times, but I find it difficult to believe that any person has been sinless. Some may have said that for Christ to be sinless, he would have to have come from a sinless womb, but if that was the case, a sinless Mary would have had to have had a sinless mother as well.

[/quote]

Greetings to you too. I am a convert to the Catholic Church, so I know what you are going through in your search. Good thing you happened upon this site, you’ll get good info here (for the most part). However, take what you receive with a small grain of salt-- after all a public internet forum can also attract answers from people who have no idea what they are talking about as well as those that do. So, I’d suggest you buy a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church-- the definitive guide to “what the church teaches”.

That said, I have time for only one answer so I picked one of your questions.

Immaculate Conception. The thing that is so often overlooked, and you nailed it with your discomfort at thinking of anyone as sinless, is the fact that Adam and Eve were both created sinless. Sinlessness is our natural state. We are defective in that we do not have sanctifying grace from the moment we come into existence. Adam and Eve did. They were made in the image of God, the image intended for all of us.

So, actually, there is nothing unnatural about sinless people-- we are the unnatural ones!

Mary is sinless from the moment of her conception because by a special Grace she was preserved from the defect the rest of us were not preserved from-- what Catholics call Original Sin. Therefore, Mary was also able to remain sinless from personal sins as well.

There are many apologetic tracts (on this site and others) that discuss the “why” from both Scripture and Tradition. And, to me they make perfect sense. Mary was the holy Ark of the Covenant, she literally bore God in her womb. Her intimate contact with God Incarnate gives her the singular gift of true purity and sanctifying grace.

These are my ramblings, not church teaching per se: I would imagine God gave her this singular grace for a number of reasons. First to assist her in being able to say “yes” freely. A “free” yes requires full knowledge and consent-- her sinless nature likely allowed her to fully comprehend what was being asked of her. Secondly, it prepared her for direct contact with the Divine. Remember what happened to those who touched the Ark in the OT (because it contained the presence of God)… smote! I have an image of the cherubim touching coals to our lips to burn away all that is unholy-- infusing Mary with sanctifying grace was purifying her pre-emptively. Third, what a task-- raising God as your own son. The mission embarked on required singular and special grace to carry out. She went with Christ to Calvary, literally, and I would imagine God would have to give her special grace to be able to unite her will fully with Christ’s in all things.


#20

[quote=RyanL]Lillith,

My fast friend! I am actually considering writing a book on Catholic Typology for Beginners…funny you should say that.

My wife is extremely pregnant! We’re going in to the baby-doc tomorrow to schedule an induction (we didn’t want to induce, but the baby is getting too big!). I’ll let you know!

he beams with pride, the new father
RyanL
[/quote]

Yes! You should write such a book. I recently read Pathways in Scripture and want more, more, more of the same! Your arguments are as pregnant with meaning as, um, oh, I don’t know.


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