Why do non-Catholics distort history to prove their point?


Dear brother Edwin,

As already noted, the dogma of the IC actually refers first and foremost to the SPIRITUAL conception of Mary. This is exactly what St, Thomas believed. So he did NOT reject the IC.



I must have missed Aquinas’ papacy.

What name did he adopt when he became Pope and received the charism of infallibility?


Nobody has asserted that Aquinas was infallible. What is at issue is a claim that a specific webpage article distorts history by saying Aquinas rejected the Immaculate Conception. It does not distort because, as quoted previously, Aquinas stated that Mary did contract original sin. Whether you take it as spiritual conception or not, and for whatever reason he might have written it, Aquinas says Mary was subject to original sin, the doctrine of Immaculate Conception states that she was not.

Do some Protestants distort history? Certainly, but so do some Catholics. The specific Protestant article quote does not.


History is written by the victors.


Yes, there is a controversy over whether St Thomas did or did not reject it, he having said contradictory things in different writings and apparently struggling with the notion of the Blessed Mother requiring redemption without sin.

The distortion comes in the implication some attempt to draw that his objection amounted to the notion that she was a sinner just like the rest of us, or even that he may have agreed with some ECFs who erroneously thought had been “pierced by the sword of doubt” before Christ’s death.

My point is that in the end it does not matter; St Thomas not having the charism of infallibility. While some may try to spin this into an “a-ha”, as they do as well with St Augustine’s corpus, I don’t think such distortions hold a candle to the rest of the Protestant myths about the history of the Church.

Perhaps I’m simply jaded by having read the odious “Trail of Blood” pamphlet.


You must not be an American Civil War buff.


In fact, they held it was their duty not only to uphold and defend with all their power the Feast of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin but also to assert that the true object of this veneration was her conception considered in its first instant.

What Ineffabilis Deus defines is that Mary “was preserved free from all stain of original sin”. Aquinas stated that she did contract original sin. The two statements just cannot be reconciled, particulairly when Pius specifically approves the condemnation of those who held their were two conceptions.


Pope Pius IX lived in the 1800’s much later than St Bernard and St Aquinas. Although their way of thinking about Mary and orginal sin is different that Pope Pius’s, you cannot really say thay they were not in agreement with his definition.

That is like saying that the Old Testament believers were not in agreement with the New Testament gospel.

When St Bernard and St Thomas taught, the Church had not yet officially defined this doctrine. So they had more freedom than we do now in teaching on this subject. But through Pope Pius IX, the Church has now officially defined it. So to go against this doctrine now would be heresy.

St Bernard and St Thomas were wrong (and no one said that they were infallible), but they did not teach heresy, since the doctrine was not yet officially defined by the Church. They thought differently back then than what Pope Pius IX
taught, but since they were not aware that in the future the Pope would teach this, it is a bit far-fetched to say that they were not in agreement with him.


Indeed, it would be a distortion to say so.

What makes for a distortion of history is to dishonestly read the record.

Protestants do the same with the writings of St Augustine, who they reimagine through selective quotation and semantic legerdemain to be an ur-Baptist.

Both Augustine and Aquinas were very orthodox Catholics, obedient to the Church, and canonized saints for their faithfulness.

THAT is historical fact.


But, as evidenced by the dead sea scrolls, is confirmed by archaeology!!!

For instance, Catholics claim that the Church has baptized infants since the 1st century.

You can respond: **History is written by the victors.

**So, Catholics can believe that they’ve baptized infant for 2000 years, and other faiths can believe that Catholics simply made this fact up. Both camps are happy that they dwell in the truth.

Very Well, but then in the last century, there has surfaced numerous proofs of the Catholic teaching that infants were baptized in the 1st century and no proofs that the church invented it in (insert your own moving-goal-post-of-a-date, here).

The practice of sprinkling of water in baptism? The Didache and Greek archaeological sites have confirmed that the Church has also done this since the first century.

The Dead Sea Scrolls? Prove that several (I think 6 of the 7) Deuterocanonicals were written in Hebrew as well (this is one of the reasons that they were rejected by the Reformists - the now-disproven-‘fact’ that the Deutero’s were only written in Greek).

So yes, History is written by the victors, but confirmed by archaeology!!!

Can you show me any point that the Church has been proven to have “rewritten” history to accommodate her innovative teachings?


Pius did not specifically approve the condemnation of those who held there were two conceptions. He merely related the history of the debate on the issue. IIRC, he actually cited another Pope who specifically indicated that the Immaculate Conception refers to the SPIRITUAL conception. Thus, there is no dogmatic distinction between what St, Thomas believed and what the dogma states.

You just have to keep in mind that the dogma refers to the SPIRITUAL conception first and foremost, which is what St, Thomas believed.



DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.