A few days ago, I was talking with a friend that left his Catholic faith. He said something that shocked me: the Catholic Church confessed (in either the 17th or 18th century–I don’t remember which) to essentially “combining” all of the pure and holy traits found in other women originially recorded throughout the Bible, and infused them into one character: the Virgin Mary, while cutting out the portions containing the other women from the Bible who originally had those pure traits. He also stated that Mary Magdelene was a formed out of the same method.
I’ve never heard of anything like this before. Is there an event that sounds even relatively close to this in our church’s history?
He said to the woman, "Did God say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden’?"
2 And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden;
3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’"
4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die.
5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
I suggest you ask him for source documentation. Otherwise you should take him to a restaurant, buy him some buffalo wings, and demonstrate thereby that buffalo can fly - otherwise they would not have wings. Would he believe that, which is based on more evidence?
I don’t have the time to read the whole thing at the moment, but here’s where the search terms were highlighted:
…the Queen of Heaven is a great example: the goddess was referred to by many names including Semiramis, Isis, Mama, Hera, Ishtar, (Easter), and others. The Queen of Heaven had such a strong cult following at the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. that the Roman Catholic Church re-invented Mary in her image- completely embracing polytheism & pagan goddess worship. Even though they persecuted Pagans, Roman Catholicism combined Christianity with Paganism and many Protestant Churches retain her polythestic doctrines to this day. The Protestant Reformation was more about where the money went than doctrine. “De’esse et chime’re” below from the Book of Revelation portrays a mystic vision of this Christian/Pagan hybrid (For more related spititual art & themes visit the World Mythology or Symbolist Art Galleries below.) By the mid 20th Century Western Paganism was widely thought to have faded into history.
Your friend’s story is absolutely false. Ask him to show you the “confession”.
In studying Scripture, there is typology. Are you familiar with that? It is where one can see a similarity between persons and/or events - usually between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Eg. Isaac carrying the wood to be used for the sacrifice up the hill where he was to be sacrificed is a “type” of Our Lord carrying His cross of wood up the hill of Calvary where He would be crucified. In the same way, there are “types” of Mary in the OT. Perhaps the most well known one is the Ark of the Covenant, which isn’t even a person. But some of the OT women are also found to be types of Mary. Perhaps that is what your friend is referring to. Only thing is, there would be nothing like a confession involved with that - it’s normal Scripture study.
In that neither our Lord Jesus nor the Apostles spoke of Mary in anything other than normal terms, that is they never said she was sinless, immaculately conceived or assumed into heaven, it is indisputable that these beliefs in the Catholic Church arose later (with conclusive declaration over 1800 years later).
If by “The Catholic Church created Mary,” one means the doctrines about Mary as we know and acknowledge them today, the answer has to be “yes,” because neither Jesus nor the Apostles commended these doctrines to us. If Peter, the keeper of the keys, did not commend these teachings onward, then the Marian doctrines were indeed created later by the Church, n’est-ce pas?
In the Old Testament, the Mothers of the Kings of Judea, the descendants of David were the power or Queen if you wish behind the throne. The wives of the King did not have that power as there were often more than one. Jesus is the descendant of King David and the King of heaven and earth. Mary is his Queen Mother and obviously would be very influential as all Queen Mothers were. Any resemblance between Mary, “The Queen of Heaven,” and the Queen of Heaven of ancient myth is strictly a coincidence. Many may have called their Dad “Papa” at one time or another, but that didn’t make him a Pope.
An early indirect reference to the purity of the Virgin Mary can be found in the writings of St. Irenaeus of Lyons about A.D. 189.
Again, there are those who say, “He is a man, and who shall know him?” and, “I came unto the prophetess, and she bare a son, and His name is called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God;” and those [of them] who proclaimed Him as Immanuel, [born] of the Virgin, exhibited the union of the Word of God with His own workmanship, [declaring] that the Word should become flesh, and the Son of God the Son of man (the pure One **opening purely that pure womb **which regenerates men unto God, and which He Himself made pure); and having become this which we also are, He [nevertheless] is the Mighty God, and possesses a generation which cannot be declared. (Against Heresies, book 4, chap. 33, paragraph 11.)
By the same logic the doctrine of hypostatic union (that Jesus was fully human and fully divine, united inextricably in one divine person) is also a later creation of the church. Because it was declared doctrine round about the same time that we find ALL of the Marian dogmas referenced, in the face of some pretty stiff opposition from the Arian heretics, I may add.
Look, Christ is precisely who the Church (and Christianity) claims he is, and is so regardless of the fact that the Church proclaims it. That they have done so hundreds of years after his death doesn’t make it a church invention or creation. For that matter, my mother is who she is regardless of whether my birth certificate evidencing it is lost for 400 years or not.
Mary IS the Mother of God, perpetually virgin, conceived without original sin and assumed into heaven. There is scripture and written tradition supporting all of these doctrines - evidence at least as strong as for the hypostatic union or the Trinity or many other things we believe.
Ignatius of Antioch, that disciple instructed by St John himself, wrote of how people flocked to visit Mary in a manner reminiscent of today’s rock stars, to the point where they wanted to ‘touch the breasts that had suckled Our Lord’ :bigyikes: Clearly she was far from an ordinary woman and was acclaimed as such by angels and men.
There are plenty of threads here on all of the Marian doctrines, I don’t intend to spend unnecessary energy rehashing them. Click on ‘search’ at the top of the page, type in ‘assumption’ or ‘immaculate conception’ or your doctrine de jour, and you’ll find as much information as your heart could desire.
Alternatively, there’s plenty of information on these doctrines, complete with backup from Scripture and the Early Church Fathers, at the Catholic Answers Library here. Might be best to read it first and then delve into the robust debate on the many threads that have gone on here in the forums.
I am an Anglican priest inquiring into Catholicism. I am not trying to be difficult, only to understand what is not clear to me as an inquirer. My questions are sincere and I feel like you are stonewalling me.
When I ask you (or anyone) to comment on my point about Jesus and pollution, I want to know beneath that what is at stake with the doctrine of the immaculate conception. If Mary were not immaculately conceived, what would be lost? Are you (and the Catholic Church) concerned that Jesus would, therefore, have a sin nature? Is the concern something else? Please stay with me on this.
Forgive me for having been a bit offhand with you, but someone who begins by in their very first post saying that that our doctrine of the Immaculate Conception must of necessity be an invention doesn’t sound particularly sincere in their enquiries. It’s a somewhat dismissive and insulting attitude for you to take to start with.
Nonetheless I respect the sincerity of your following questions and comments, so as far as time and my feeble abilities allow, I will attempt to answer them. You asked, if Mary was not immaculately conceived then what are the implications?
Well, put it this way for starters. Sin did not just come into the world through Adam, with all due respect to St Paul, but through Adam AND Eve. Eve played a significant role in bringing it about, though Adam justly receives the lion’s share of the blame.
The process of our salvation must of necessity, in order to be the perfect remedy for the Fall, mirror it precisely. As Christ is the New Adam, so Mary must be the new Eve, in order that the work of both be undone. This is not to imply that Mary is at all Christ’s equal or divine, or anything other than a creature, though one graciously exercising her free will, in terms of her role in our salvation.
To be the counterpart to Eve that she needed to be, therefore, Mary had to begin from the same point that Eve did - namely to be without original sin. Immaculately Conceived.
And why do we say she was sinless throughout life as well? Both of these had to be so, to complete the prophecy made by God at the very time of the fall in Genesis - his promise to put ENMITY between the Devil and his seed and the woman and hers.
Who is the seed? Clearly Christ.
Who is the woman he is seed of? Clearly it is Mary, because, after the fall, Eve never had and never could have ENMITY (complete opposition) to the devil, now could she? None of us ordinary mortals do, slaves as we are to original and actual sin. None of us are capable of crushing the head of the serpent as the woman does, are we? Neither was Eve herself.
But Mary, the immaculately conceived and sinless through life, WAS and IS that woman spoken of in Genesis. She is the one who crushes the serpent’s head. And if she is not sinless then she can’t do so, and the promise made in Genesis will fail.
Hope this helps, I don’t pretend to be a huge theological expert, so there may be others who can develop this discussion further.
Thanks very much M. I actually read your first citation yesterday. That leads to my next question. If indeed Mary didn’t need to be immaculately conceived (for example, due to other doctrines that might hinge on this one), why was it necessary to make this a dogma that Catholic Christians are obliged to obey. It seems to make this an unnecessary stumbling block for other Christians who are examining Catholicism.
Welcome to CAF, Padreden. As “mlldrl” has already mentioned, the argument from “fittingness” can be applied to the Church’s teaching re the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary; it was most fitting that God’s Son be conceived and born to a woman preserved from the stain of Original Sin. This fittingness was recognized quickly by the Fathers who so readily see her as the New Eve and the Ark of the New Covenant. For a fuller presentation on this and other topics relating to Marian theology, I highly recommend Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange’s The Mother of the Saviour and Our Interior Life, TAN Books.
thanks lilly, that kinda made some kind of sense to me… i ften spy on Mary threads without saying anything lol… I’m reading a book on Mary at the moment but it all got a bit complex… that seemed a bit more simple and logical