The Immaculate Conception: An Eastern Doctrine


#1

Here is PhilVaz’s excellent summary of the history of the development of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception:

bringyou.to/apologetics/a28.htm

Phil notes that it was the Syrians who first instituted a local feast of the IC. And it was Syrian popes who later championed the doctrine at Rome.

Syrians. Hmmm. Sounds pretty Eastern to me. :smiley:

ZT


#2

And yet, oddly enough there was no consensus among the Church Fathers of the West. It is impossible to say that the Church always and everywhere believed in Mary’s sinlessness since some of the Fathers obviously did not…

Augustine Bishop of Hippo. “Whatever flesh of sin Jesus took, He took of the flesh of the sin of his mother. Jesus did not partake of sin, but took of his mother, which came under the judgment of sin.”

Tertullian 215 AD “God alone is without sin. The only man who is without sin is Christ; for Christ is also God” (The Soul 41:3

**Pope Leo 1 (440 AD) **“ The Lord Jesus Christ alone among the sons of men was born immaculate.”(sermon 24 in Nativ. Dom.)

Pope Gelasius (492 AD) “ It belongs alone to the immaculate lamb to have no sin at all.”(Gellasii papae dicta, vol. 4, col 1241, Paris, 1671)

Pope Innocent the Third (1216 AD) “ She (Eve) was produced without sin, but she brought forth in sin, she Mary was produced in sin, but she brought forth without sin.” ( De festo Assump.,sermon 2)

Moving over to the Eastern Fathers… **Clement of Alexandria **“ The Word Jesus Christ alone was born without sin.”

From the renowned Ludwig Ott’s Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, “Greek Fathers - Origen, St. Basil. St John Chrysostom, St Cyril of Alexandria - taught that Mary suffered from venial personal faults, such as ambition and vanity, doubt about the message of the Angel, and lack of faith under the Cross.”


#3

[quote=Fr Ambrose]**Pope Leo 1 (440 AD) **“ The Lord Jesus Christ alone among the sons of men was born immaculate.”(sermon 24 in Nativ. Dom.)

Pope Gelasius (492 AD) “ It belongs alone to the immaculate lamb to have no sin at all.”(Gellasii papae dicta, vol. 4, col 1241, Paris, 1671)

Pope Innocent the Third (1216 AD) “ She (Eve) was produced without sin, but she brought forth in sin, she Mary was produced in sin, but she brought forth without sin.” ( De festo Assump.,sermon 2)
[/quote]

Three Popes made statements contrary to the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Can I presume that they were not speaking from the “chair of St. Peter” in this case?

How can I make the distinction between an infallible statement and one that is not?

Thanks! :slight_smile:


#4

Fr. Ambrose,

Based on your quote of the popes a,nd the ones enclosed in ( ), obviously it’s just a sermon and not a dogmatic declaration of the faith?

Pio


#5

You guys just lit the fuse on a firecracker ! :eek:

I’m just going to sit back and watch (at a safe distance).


#6

:wave: :wave: :wave:


#7

Jesus is God, and God couldn’t be born by a human being with a sin. Holy Virgin at Lourdes saied that “I’m that borned without sin.” (maybe i didn’t translate good, but you understand).
Mary was a human being born by a mother with sins so that’s why Pope Innocent III saied this, but she never had a sin (Pope can mistake if he don’t spean ex-cathedra).

PS: please tell us where Augustine mentioned this.


#8

[quote=theodorro]Jesus is God, and God couldn’t be born by a human being with a sin. Holy Virgin at Lourdes said that “I’m that borned without sin.” (maybe i didn’t translate good, but you understand).
[/quote]

Theodorro,
Coming from the background of the Orthodox faith you will know that no private relevation can establish dogma. Is it not the same for Roman Catholics?

Forgive the personal question but you have already told us something about your own faith journey. I am curious why you, Romanian Orthodox, now want to convert to Roman Catholicism. Why not to the Romanian Byzantine Catholic Church? Would this not be more congenial to your heritage?


#9

[quote=theodorro]Jesus is God, and God couldn’t be born by a human being with a sin. Holy Virgin at Lourdes saied that “I’m that borned without sin.” (maybe i didn’t translate good, but you understand).
[/quote]

That’s how the RCC teaches was her meaning, but she didn’t say that.

She said she was the Immaculate Conception not that she had had an immaculate conception.

She said “I am the Immaculate Conception”

If conception in the language She used has the same meanings as in English, then she could be saying that she is God’s Immaculate Plan, Immaculate Idea, and so on, created in the mind of God.

In the Orthodox Divine Liturgy she is always referred to as Immaculate, which has meanings such as faultless perfection. It’s meaning as ‘without stain’ has been taken by the RCC to refer to the ‘stain of original sin’ which it teaches that everyone is born with, guilty of Adam’s sin, this is not an Orthodox teaching and so Orthodox use of Immaculate shouldn’t be confused as referring to the RCC dogma. In fact, the Orthodox say that dogma is unnecessary because it solves a problem created by the RCC doctrine of original sin which problem the Orthodox don’t have.

unicorne.org/orthodoxy/articles/alex_roman/originalsin.htm
unicorne.org/orthodoxy/articles/alex_roman/theimmaculateconception.htm


#10

[quote=Fr Ambrose]Augustine Bishop of Hippo. “Whatever flesh of sin Jesus took, He took of the flesh of the sin of his mother. Jesus did not partake of sin, but took of his mother, which came under the judgment of sin.”
[/quote]

Are you sure about this quote’s authenticity? It seems kind of hard to reconcile with chapter 42 of De Natura & Gratia.

**Pope Leo I (440 AD) **“ The Lord Jesus Christ alone among the sons of men was born immaculate.”(sermon 24 in Nativ. Dom.)

Seeing as Mary is not a “son of men,” it is not obvious to me that this quote is really relevant to the subject.

Pope Gelasius I (492 AD) “ It belongs alone to the immaculate lamb to have no sin at all.”(Gellasii papae dicta, vol. 4, col 1241, Paris, 1671)

It is not obvious to me that this quote is entirely relevant either. After all, St. Gelasius could not mean to say that *only *God is without sin. All of those blessed saints who rejoice at the eternal banquet right now are completely cleansed of all sin. Indeed, at this very moment, Gelasius himself has no taint of sin about him! As such, there are plenty besides the Lamb who have no sin at all. It seems to me that the most that we could understand St. Gelasius to mean here is that only the Lamb was sinless by virtue of His own power and accomplishment, and that fact, while no doubt true, is irrelevant to the matter of Our Lady being conceived without sin, as no one contends that Our Lady is sinless by Her own power.


#11

[quote=GrzeszDeL]…it is not obvious to me that this quote is really relevant to the subject.

…It is not obvious to me that this quote is entirely relevant either.
[/quote]

Thanks GrzeszDeL! This does shed some light on the matter. Do you (or anyone else) have anything to share on Pope Innocent III’s comments?

Thanks for your particpation everyone. These insights are great to share. Much appreciated.:slight_smile:


#12

[quote=Myhrr]She said “I am the Immaculate Conception”

If conception in the language She used has the same meanings as in English, then she could be saying that she is God’s Immaculate Plan, Immaculate Idea, and so on, created in the mind of God.
[/quote]

Well, what the heck, if folks want to do a deep textual analysis on the Lourdes miracle, the exact words which Our Lady spoke are rather lost to posterity. Ste. Bernadette was a peasant girl without much education, so she did not recognize either the words “Immaculate” or “Conception” and simply repeated the sounds which she had heard Our Lady say over and over again until she reached Fr. Peyramale. The words as she presented them to Fr. Peyramale were “Soy era immaculada councepciou.”

“Councepciou” has all of the same senses as its English cognate, so Myhrr’s alternative readings are certainly possible. That said, the generative sense of the word (as in “she cannot conceive because she is sterile”) is the primary and most common sense, so I would submit that the standard Catholic take on the sentence is, if not the only possible reading, at least the most likely.

In the Orthodox Divine Liturgy she is always referred to as Immaculate, which has meanings such as faultless perfection. It’s meaning as ‘without stain’ has been taken by the RCC to refer to the ‘stain of original sin’ which it teaches that everyone is born with, guilty of Adam’s sin, this is not an Orthodox teaching and so Orthodox use of Immaculate shouldn’t be confused as referring to the RCC dogma. In fact, the Orthodox say that dogma is unnecessary because it solves a problem created by the RCC doctrine of original sin which problem the Orthodox don’t have.

Arrrrrrrrgh.:banghead:

Here we go again


#13

[quote=GrzeszDeL]Well, what the heck, if folks want to do a deep textual analysis on the Lourdes miracle, the exact words which Our Lady spoke are rather lost to posterity. Ste. Bernadette was a peasant girl without much education, so she did not recognize either the words “Immaculate” or “Conception” and simply repeated the sounds which she had heard Our Lady say over and over again until she reached Fr. Peyramale. The words as she presented them to Fr. Peyramale were “Soy era immaculada councepciou.”

“Councepciou” has all of the same senses as its English cognate, so Myhrr’s alternative readings are certainly possible. That said, the generative sense of the word (as in “she cannot conceive because she is sterile”) is the primary and most common sense, so I would submit that the standard Catholic take on the sentence is, if not the only possible reading, at least the most likely.
[/quote]

…but how is:

“Soy era immaculada councepciou.”

actually translated?

Arrrrrrrrgh.:banghead:

Here we go again

Yeah, here we go again, the Immaculate Conception dogma is based on the RCC doctrine of Original Sin as it was understood and taught and believed and incorporated into the baptism AT THAT TIME.

So, the RCC has tweaked a few things in the last decades borrowing from the Orthodox, fine, I approve, but you can’t use its present explanation (and I’m by no means convinced that the original is not still in force) to argue against the actual base for the reasoning behind the dogma. Which is, that everyone born is born guilty of Adam’s sin. Guilty being the operative word, as used by the RCC for rather a lot of centuries. It was because the RCC couldn’t get its head around a guilty of Adam’s sin, completely without grace, Mother of God, that it developed this response. Them’s the facts.

:sleep:

Good night.


#14

[quote=GrzeszDeL]That said, the generative sense of the word (as in “she cannot conceive because she is sterile”) is the primary and most common sense,
[/quote]

Hmm, maybe it’s because it’s late and I’m a bit tired but firstly I missed this, but it’s an interesting take on this; “is the primary and most common sense”

Perhaps She is saying that the dogma you have created of her makes her sterile.

so I would submit that the standard Catholic take on the sentence is, if not the only possible reading, at least the most likely.

If this sterility is the result of the dogma then another possible reading would be that this ‘Mary’ of your dogma’s creation could never have given birth to Christ.


#15

[quote=Myhrr]…but how is “Soy era immaculada councepciou” actually translated?
[/quote]

I assume you mean “what is the likeliest translation?”. I am not entirely certain. This is not French, but rather a dialect of langue d’Oc, so I can only sort of pick at it. “Soy” is definitely “I am” and “immaculada councepciou” is definitely “Immaculate Conception” (as if there were any doubt :)). I am not certain what “era” is in this sentence. Perhaps it is a curious form of the definite article (?) in which case “I am the Immaculate Conception” would be the correct translation. Alternatively, the word looks to me like the third-person-singular imperfect of “to be,” in which case perhaps the translation would be better given as “I am the one who was conceived immaculately.” If anyone here is especially fluent in langue d’Oc, I would be curious to read what you can make of it.

Yeah, here we go again, the Immaculate Conception dogma is based on the RCC doctrine of Original Sin as it was understood and taught and believed and incorporated into the baptism AT THAT TIME.

So, the RCC has tweaked a few things in the last decades borrowing from the Orthodox, fine, I approve, but you can’t use its present explanation (and I’m by no means convinced that the original is not still in force) to argue against the actual base for the reasoning behind the dogma. Which is, that everyone born is born guilty of Adam’s sin. Guilty being the operative word, as used by the RCC for rather a lot of centuries. (emphasis my own)

Well, sir, it seems that you are making an affirmative claim here, namely that the Cathoilc Church has for many centuries positively taught that we inherit Adam’s guilt. Can you cite a source for this claim? Certainly not Trent or Florence, both of whom constitute the highest teaching authority of the Church on matters concerning the subject of “original sin.” I am curious to know how you conclude that your depiction of the Catholic teaching on original sin is the actual teaching of the Church, and not merely the teaching of certain prominent theologians.


#16

[quote=Myhrr]Perhaps She is saying that the dogma you have created of her makes her sterile. If this sterility is the result of the dogma then another possible reading would be that this ‘Mary’ of your dogma’s creation could never have given birth to Christ.
[/quote]

Uh-huh…

:rolleyes:


#17

Thank you guys for the chuckle! I needed that!

:rotfl:


#18

Well, sir, it seems that you are making an affirmative claim here, namely that the Cathoilc Church has for many centuries positively taught that we inherit Adam’s guilt. Can you cite a source for this claim? Certainly not Trent or Florence, both of whom constitute the highest teaching authority of the Church on matters concerning the subject of “original sin.” I am curious to know how you conclude that your depiction of the Catholic teaching on original sin is the actual teaching of the Church, and not merely the teaching of certain prominent theologians.

The Council of Trent
The Fifth Session

The canons and decrees of the sacred
and oecumenical Council of Trent
,
Trans. J. Waterworth (London: Dolman, 1848), 21-24.

Hanover Historical Texts Project
Scanned by Hanover College students in 1995.
The page numbers of Waterworth’s translation appear in brackets.

http://history.hanover.edu/pictures/longline.jpg
[Page 21]
Celebrated on the seventeenth day of the month of June, in the year MDXLVI.

DECREE CONCERNING ORIGINAL SIN

That our Catholic faith, without which it is impossible to please God, may, errors being purged away, continue in its own perfect and spotless integrity, and that the Christian people may not be carried about with every wind of doctrine; whereas that old serpent, the perpetual enemy of mankind, amongst the very many evils with which the Church of God is in these our times troubled, has also stirred up not only new, but even old, dissensions touching original sin, and the remedy thereof; the sacred and holy, ecumenical and general Synod of Trent,–lawfully assembled in the Holy Ghost, the three same legates of the Apostolic See presiding therein,–wishing now to come to the reclaiming of the erring, and the confirming of the wavering,–following the testimonies of the sacred [Page 22] Scriptures, of the holy Fathers, of the most approved councils, and the judgment and consent of the Church itself, ordains, confesses, and declares these things touching the said original sin:

  1. If any one does not confess that the first man, Adam, when he had transgressed the commandment of God in Paradise, immediately lost the holiness and justice wherein he had been constituted; and that he incurred, through the offence of that prevarication, the wrath and indignation of God, and consequently death, with which God had previously threatened him, and, together with death, captivity under his power who thenceforth had the empire of death, that is to say, the devil, and that the entire Adam, through that offence of prevarication, was changed, in body and soul, for the worse; let him be anathema.

  2. If any one asserts, that the prevarication of Adam injured himself alone, and not his posterity; and that the holiness and justice, received of God, which he lost, he lost for himself alone, and not for us also; or that he, being defiled by the sin of disobedience, has only transfused death, and pains of the body, into the whole human race, but not sin also, which is the death of the soul; let him be anathema:–whereas he contradicts the apostle who says; By one man sin entered into the world, and by sin death, and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned.

CONTINUED


#19

CONTINUED TO GrzeszDeL

  1. If any one asserts, that this sin of Adam,–which in its origin is one, and being transfused into all by propogation, not by imitation, is in each one as his own, --is taken away either by the powers of human nature, or by any other remedy than the merit of the one mediator, our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath reconciled us to God in his own blood, made unto us justice, santification, and redemption; or if he denies that the said merit of Jesus Christ is applied, both to adults and to infants, by the sacrament of baptism rightly administered in the form of the church; let him be anathema: For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be [Page 23] saved. Whence that voice; Behold the lamb of God behold him who taketh away the sins of the world; and that other; As many as have been baptized, have put on Christ.

  2. If any one denies, that infants, newly born from their mothers’ wombs, even though they be sprung from baptized parents, are to be baptized; or says that they are baptized indeed for the remission of sins, but that they derive nothing of original sin from Adam, which has need of being expiated by the laver of regeneration for the obtaining life everlasting,–whence it follows as a consequence, that in them the form of baptism, for the remission of sins, is understood to be not true, but false, --let him be anathema. For that which the apostle has said, By one man sin entered into the world, and by sin death, and so death passed upon all men in whom all have sinned, is not to be understood otherwise than as the Catholic Church spread everywhere hath always understood it. For, by reason of this rule of faith, from a tradition of the apostles, even infants, who could not as yet commit any sin of themselves, are for this cause truly baptized for the remission of sins, that in them that may be cleansed away by regeneration, which they have contracted by generation. For, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

continued


#20

Continued to GrzeszDeL

  1. If any one denies, that, by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is conferred in baptism, the guilt of original sin is remitted; or even asserts that the whole of that which has the true and proper nature of sin is not taken away; but says that it is only rased, or not imputed; let him be anathema. For, in those who are born again, there is nothing that God hates; because, There is no condemnation to those who are truly buried together with Christ by baptism into death; who walk not according to the flesh, but, putting off the old man, and putting on the new who is created according to God, are made inno-**[Page 24]**cent, immaculate, pure, harmless, and beloved of God, heirs indeed of God, but joint heirs with Christ; so that there is nothing whatever to retard their entrance into heaven. But this holy synod confesses and is sensible, that in the baptized there remains concupiscence, or an incentive (to sin); which, whereas it is left for our exercise, cannot injure those who consent not, but resist manfully by the grace of Jesus Christ; yea, he who shall have striven lawfully shall be crowned. This concupiscence, which the apostle sometimes calls sin, the holy Synod declares that the Catholic Church has never understood it to be called sin, as being truly and properly sin in those born again, but because it is of sin, and inclines to sin. This same holy Synod doth nevertheless declare, that it is not its intention to include in this decree, where original sin is treated of, the blessed and immaculate Virgin Mary, the mother of God; but that the constitutions of Pope Sixtus IV., of happy memory, are to be observed, under the pains contained in the said constitutions, which it renews.

CCC vatican.va/archive/catechism/p1s2c1p7.htm

406 The Church’s teaching on the transmission of original sin was articulated more precisely in the fifth century, especially under the impulse of St. Augustine’s reflections against Pelagianism, and in the sixteenth century, in opposition to the Protestant Reformation. Pelagius held that man could, by the natural power of free will and without the necessary help of God’s grace, lead a morally good life; he thus reduced the influence of Adam’s fault to bad example. The first Protestant reformers, on the contrary, taught that original sin has radically perverted man and destroyed his freedom; they identified the sin inherited by each man with the tendency to evil (concupiscentia), which would be insurmountable. The Church pronounced on the meaning of the data of Revelation on original sin especially at the second Council of Orange (529)296 and at the Council of Trent (1546).297

It seems Pope Pius VI has added many changes to the RCC, but regardless of those changes, which are interesting, the basic teachings remain the same as they have done since Augustine and his ilk’s imput. So the arguments still hold good.

newadvent.org/cathen/15030c.htm

In the fifth session (17 June, 1546) the decree on the dogma of original sin was promulgated with five canons (anathemas) against the corresponding erroneous doctrines; and the first decree on reform (de reformatione) was also promulgated.


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