... & upon this rock


You raise some good, probing questions. Keep pushing these inquiries, and definitely continue reading in this area. For my own part, I’m firmly convinced that the Church subsists in both the Orthodox and Catholic communions. I haven’t heard any good arguments to the contrary, and I’ve gone looking for such arguments!

You raise the issue of the difference between the two communions regarding the immaculate conception. It’s an important question. But, following Metropolitan Ware on this issue, his claim is that the Catholic dogma is based on the tacit acceptance of the Augustinian doctrine of original sin. Ware claims that the Orthodox do not teach that doctrine—they do not teach that culpability for wrongs passes on from generation to generation, simply by being a descendant of Adam. So, Ware argues, the immaculate conception, as a dogma, is not so much ‘wrong’ as it is unnecessary. Once one does away with the Augustinian doctrine of original sin, there is no need to proclaim that the Blessed Mother is exempted from this stain of original sin. The question dissolves more than it is resolved. At least, this is how one ecumenically-minded Orthodox (Ware) argues. And it is an interesting approach. For me, whatever gets these two camps (Catholic and Orthodox) in dialogue is what is worth exploring…

Best to you in your earnest pursuits!


Additionally, Munificentissimus Deus clearly and repeatedly refers to the death (and resurrection) of the Theotokos. While the dogmatic proclamation did not mention her death, it is significant that the document which contains (and explains) her Assumption references her bodily death and/or resurrection in ten separate places.

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