Why Was the Virgin Mary Assumed Bodily into Heaven, Unlike the Rest of Us? An article for the Feast of the Assumption, August 15

The Catholic Church professes that when Mary’s time on earth came to an end, her body was placed in a tomb but her body didn’t decay on earth. Instead, her son, Jesus Christ, assumed her bodily into heaven.

image http://rs.catholic365.com/images/articles/jumbo/3168-8341365b-e034-47a8-a9fe-071a821b8f72.jpg

Photo Credit: Flickr/ Loci Lenar-Assumption of Mary into Heaven

This was a wonderful article to read!

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I mean EO and OO also believe in it, Dormiton. But they are less formal about it.

I don’t know about less formal. The Dormiton is
one of the 12 Great Feasts. Outside of the proclamation of an Ecumenical Council, it doesn’t get more formal in Orthodoxy.

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Because God Willed it.

Mary is God’s choice of woman to be mother of His Son JESUS - via God’s Holy Spirit

Amongst all Women Mary is Blessed.


Pope Pius XII did not specify whether Mary was alive or had died before her assumption into heaven. The Vatican states ‘when the course of her earthly life was over’. This was made very clear to us in the Homily for the Solemnity of the Assumption.

I am responding to the first sentence of the link you have included.

‘on the Catholic calendar, Assumption Day observes the day Mary died and rose’

We cannot say whether Mary died or not, because the Catholic Church has not stated whether Mary did or not.

This isn’t really true. The narrow papal dogmatic definition of the specific revealed truth does not, but elsewhere in Pius XII’s Apostolic Constitution containing that definition did say she died. It is also the unquestioned and unanimous tradition of the Church, East and West, that she died. So the Church has certainly stated it. To say she didn’t die would be a total novelty. The dogmatic definition only leaves open whether her death should be considered a directly revealed truth or not (just because a fact is not directly revealed by God, doesn’t mean it is not a true fact).

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Not to mention that the Eastern liturgies for the Feast explicitly refer to her death in numerous places. Lex orandi, lex credendi.

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Can you link that please, the Priest in the EF High Mass stated definitively and for a good few minutes , that Pope Pius XII had never , nor has the Church ever, stated whether Mary died or not.
The Priest went on to say We cannot assume that being free from sin, Mary was free from death, nor that Mary did not die, as we have the example of Christ, being free from sin, dying on the Cross. Which is an excellent point.

The words being ‘when the course of her earthly life was over’ are as far into this as the Church gets at this point in time.

I am going to state, that this is the Latin Rite Roman Catholic Church we are discussing in my posts.

Here is the entire document in which the dogma is contained. I have quoted a few, but not all, of the places in which her death is explicitly mentioned. It is worth noting that those theologians who deny that the Theotokos suffered physical death are not given any particular consideration in the document. The Church teaches in many ways, not just in dogmatic statements. While I will reluctantly agree that the Church does not require the belief that Mary died, it is abundantly clear that she teaches it.


  1. In the liturgical books which deal with the feast either of the dormition or of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin there are expressions that agree in testifying that, when the Virgin Mother of God passed from this earthly exile to heaven, what happened to her sacred body was, by the decree of divine Providence, in keeping with the dignity of the Mother of the Word Incarnate, and with the other privileges she had been accorded. Thus, to cite an illustrious example, this is set forth in that sacramentary which Adrian I, our predecessor of immortal memory, sent to the Emperor Charlemagne. These words are found in this volume: “Venerable to us, O Lord, is the festivity of this day on which the holy Mother of God suffered temporal death, but still could not be kept down by the bonds of death, who has begotten your Son our Lord incarnate from herself.”(11)


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What is here indicated in that sobriety characteristic of the Roman liturgy is presented more clearly and completely in other ancient liturgical books. To take one as an example, the Gallican sacramentary designates this privilege of Mary’s as “an ineffable mystery all the more worthy of praise as the Virgin’s Assumption is something unique among men.” And, in the Byzantine liturgy, not only is the Virgin Mary’s bodily Assumption connected time and time again with the dignity of the Mother of God, but also with the other privileges, and in particular with the virginal motherhood granted her by a singular decree of God’s Providence. “God, the King of the universe, has granted you favors that surpass nature. As he kept you a virgin in childbirth**, thus he has kept your body incorrupt in the tomb and has glorified it by his divine act of transferring it from the tomb.”(12)**

This one speaks to the reality that what is contained in the liturgy comes from the faith already believed. Therefore, what is contained in Eastern liturgies, which are Catholic liturgies, is entirely relevant to the conversation. While you might wish to exclude all but the Latin Rite, this isn’t really how the Church works. The Latin Rite got this feast from the East and the Pope repeatedly references the Eastern tradition and liturgies in making his case for the dogma. For you to exclude the teaching of the East seems problematic.

  1. However, since the liturgy of the Church does not engender the Catholic faith, but rather springs from it, in such a way that the practices of the sacred worship proceed from the faith as the fruit comes from the tree, it follows that the holy Fathers and the great Doctors, in the homilies and sermons they gave the people on this feast day, did not draw their teaching from the feast itself as from a primary source, but rather they spoke of this doctrine as something already known and accepted by Christ’s faithful. They presented it more clearly. They offered more profound explanations of its meaning and nature, bringing out into sharper light the fact that this feast shows, not only that the dead body of the Blessed Virgin Mary remained incorrupt, but that she gained a triumph out of death, her heavenly glorification after the example of her only begotten Son, Jesus Christ-truths that the liturgical books had frequently touched upon concisely and briefly.
  1. Thus St. John Damascene, an outstanding herald of this traditional truth, spoke out with powerful eloquence when he compared the bodily Assumption of the loving Mother of God with her other prerogatives and privileges. "It was fitting that she, who had kept her virginity intact in childbirth, should keep her own body free from all corruption even after death. It was fitting that she, who had carried the Creator as a child at her breast, should dwell in the divine tabernacles. It was fitting that the spouse, whom the Father had taken to himself, should live in the divine mansions…(17)

Thanks Babushka.

I am still going with what the Priest said in his Homily at Assumption Mass as he was very specific in his statements on this. And I will ask him to explain this further , next time I see him. I am sure he has read all the documentation. He is not a theologian, he is a very traditional priest who is also a Dominican Monk.

Okay. Please return to this thread after you have talked to him and let us know what he said.



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Yes I definitely will. He was very adamant, and would have had significant reason for including this in the homily. HIs homily was great, it included quite a list of what the Catholic Church considers to be sin.

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