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Author Topic: A question on the Immaculate Conception  (Read 98641 times) Average Rating: 0
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elijahmaria
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« Reply #855 on: May 17, 2010, 10:43:41 AM »


5.  I have challenged your assertion that the Immaculate Conception depends on some western form of understanding original sin.  You have yet to demonstrate that one.


Fess up, are you Ruthenian Catholic or really Roman Catholic?  Huh   Eastern Catholics are very clear that the Immaculate Conception depends on a Western understanding of original sin.  And for that reason it plays no part in Eastern Catholic theology.

I would have thought that a clued up Ruthenian Catholic would be able to demonstrate in the twinkling of an eye why her own Church's bishops and theologians hold this opinion?   

I am an educated Catholic, Father, and in so far as any say that the Immaculate Conception is predicated on a particular western understanding of original sin...they are wrong regardless of their origin.


So why do we hear from Eastern Catholics, again and again like an endless mantra:  "We do not teach the Immaculate Conception.  It is based on a Western understanding of original sin which we do not share with the Church of Rome."

If you run up to message #840 Father Kimel addresses this point very nicely.


Father Kimel has asserted the point.  He has yet to address the point.

Here is an eastern Catholic who addresses the points:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

MY BELIEF IN THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION DOCTRINE
Part I

By Daniel Joseph Barton

"The Blessed Virgin Mary was preserved pure from every stain of original sin in the first instance of her conception through a singular gift of grace and priviledge of Almighty God with a view to the merits of Christ, the Redeemer of the human race."

(Doctrine proclaimed as "Dogma of the Church" by Pope Pius IX in 1854)
Eastern Catholics are urged by Rome to return to authentic Eastern customs and tradition.

My purpose here, as a Byzantine Catholic, is to defend this doctrine that is not an official part of Eastern Orthodoxy (the majority of Eastern Christianity). One must first ask, what does Orthodoxy say about the Immaculate Conception doctrine? In the words of Timothy Ware (known as Greek Orthodox Bishop Kallistos) in The Orthodox Church, (1993 edition, Penguin Press, pages 259-260) he states:

    "The Orthodox Church calls Mary all-holy, immaculate, free from actual sin. The Orthodox Church has never made any formal and definitive pronouncement on the matter of the Immaculate Conception. In the past, individual Orthodox theologians have made statements that, if not definitively affirming the Doctrine of Immaculate Conception, at any rate closely approach it. But since 1854, the great majority of Orthodox reject it as necessary; as implying a false understanding of original sin; as suspecting the doctrine because it seems to separate Mary from the rest of the descendants of Adam and Eve, putting her in a different class. However, if an individual Orthodox today felt impelled to believe it, he could not be termed a heretic for doing so."

Bishop Kallistos is a Spaulding Lecturer of Eastern Christianity at Oxford University of England. He has not been "corrected" by his Patriarchs (presently, His Holiness Bartholomew), or the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, for his words. Other Orthodox theologians have stated that the doctrine of Immaculate Conception might be an unrevealed mystery within the Church; that is, a "theologeuma". There has never been a definitive pronouncement by the seven original Ecumenical Councils (the only ones Eastern Orthodoxy recognize as "Ecumenical") declaring this long-known theology a heresy.

I shall first explain why each reason listed in Bishop Kallistos' book, as well as others, can be rejected. Then I shall give other reasons and logic why I believe the doctrine. Let us examine the stated reasons for not believing the doctrine. I use the common phrase of "Catholic" to indicate the Catholic Church in communion and unity with the Pope of Rome.

A."..reject it as necessary.." Certainly it is not as necessary as in believing Jesus Christ is Lord & Savior. It is true that the Catholic Church defines the belief as a dogma (meaning it MUST be believed by Catholics). The Eastern & Oriental Orthodox claim that dogma must be Christ-centered, but one can easily sidestep such by simply asking if the perpetual virginity of Mary is Christ-centered (Mary's perpetual virginity after Jesus' birth was proclaimed as dogma for the Catholic Church at the Third Ecumenical Council of Constantinople of AD 681). Within the Byzantine Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, we often proclaim "ever-Virgin Mary", which adds a liturgical tradition to this subject.

B. "...implying a false understanding of original sin.." This is certainly the biggest stated reason why Eastern Orthodox cannot accept the doctrine of Immaculate Conception of Mary. Original sin is that suffering the consequences/effects of Adam and Eve's separation from God; that is, mankind deprived himself/herself from the sanctifying grace of God. (Original sin must not be confused with actual sin - those committed by a person after having entered this world, under his own free will, for even Adam & eve had free will before being tainted by the original sin). It also has been described as a "stain or taint" on the soul. The Western tradition lists it more as an inherited "tainting" or a "stain"; whereas much Eastern tradition lists it more as an "inheritance of consequences/effects".

Both East and West accept that physical death results from original sin. Both views still need the sanctifying grace of God to overcome original sin, its taint on the soul and its effect of death (because we recognize that there is no spiritual death if we're sanctified by God). However, the terms "taint" or "stain" as to sin, are not foreign terms to Orthodoxy. St Maximos the Confessor (580-662) wrote about "the mark of original sin on all". St Symeon the New Theologian (949-1022) wrote, "We are all born sinners from our forefather Adam who sinned… subject to the curse and death from him who was subject to the curse and death". St Cyprian of Carthage (d.258) wrote about the "contagion of original sin passed to us from Adam". So it’s certainly an inheritance, but is it also an effect, a taint, or both? Maybe St Gregory of Nyssa (335-395) answers this when he wrote about the Mother of God, as "Mary without stain" (of sin).

A thought shared by some Orthodox and Protestants is that Mary would not have had need of Jesus' redemption if she was not tainted by original sin. However, neither Mary nor Early Church doctrines have claimed that Mary never needed the sanctifying grace of God. In fact, she herself stated, "My spirit rejoices in God my savior" (Luke 1:47). It is important here to refresh our memory that God the Holy Trinity has always existed. Jesus as the Word, existed before being conceived in the womb of Mary to become human. Jesus is the salvation of all mankind, and not limited only to those born after Jesus' crucifixion. All those people physically dead in the grave were spiritually awaiting Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. God transcends space and time, and the Hebrews/Jews have shown this to us via the points on the Star (Shield) of David, ("north, east, south, west, up, down" and "past, present, future"). Jesus' grace and merits given specially to Mary, His own mother, even at the time of her being conceived, does not violate the "time dimension" of God the Trinity, which has and does exist in all time-frames (past, present, future).

Here's an analogy of Mary's Immaculate Conception: You are walking on a jungle path, and are approaching a covered up and camouflaged pit which is right in front of you. You fall in, and after awhile a stranger comes by, reaches in, and pulls you out. You have mud all over your feet due to mud in the bottom of the pit. But the stranger had a bucket of water to wash your feet for you. On another path also with a hidden pit, a woman is walking. Just at the verge of tumbling over the edge of the pit, the same stranger grabs her and pulls her back from the edge. She too is saved from the pit and the mud, but in anticipation instead of after the fact. Both of you were saved from the pit and the mud (original sin) and both of you had a savior (God). But in the woman's case, she was saved before being tainted. Hence Mary has every right to proclaim "God my savior", even though she did not know about God's special love for her.

Mary was the chosen handmaiden of God...He knew she would not refuse even though she had free-will to do so (this statement does not mean we can accept some "Christian" beliefs that everything is pre-destined, an unacceptable doctrine to us...we recognize that God knows all, yet He allows all humans to have free-will). We must accept that God fully knew that Adam and Eve would suffer the Fall.

The usual listed consequences of original sin includes an inheritance of "death", coming from Genesis 3:19. Orthodox claim that if Mary was not tainted by original sin, she would not have died. They point to the Council of Carthage (AD 419), which rejected the Pelagian heretical thesis of Adam’s "created mortality" (ie that he would have died even if he had not committed Original Sin) (see Canon CIX of the African Code). The Canons of this Carthage Council were explicitly adopted by the "Quinisext" Council (aka Council of Trullo of 692 AD), which is the font of Eastern Canon Law, and later "affirmed" by an Ecumenical Council of Constantinople.

We must remember that these Eastern thoughts do differentiate between physical death and spiritual death. God's statement "You are made from dust and will return to dust" (to Adam and Eve after they had sinned), cannot have meant spiritual death (eternal separation from God). It meant physical death, because since God is timeless, we realize that God the Father knew His Son would atone for Adam & Eve’s sins, thereby defeating spiritual death even for them as for us. In Eastern iconography, we even have an icon that shows Jesus trampling down the doors of death and giving a hand to Adam & Eve.

We must also realize that the Blessed Mary had total conformity to her Divine Son, even to physical pain (Luke 2:35). He died - had to die. Therefore she died - had to die. Adam and Eve died, so Jesus (the NEW Adam - 1 Cor 15:45) and Mary died, and so we die the physical death. Jesus died and ascended, and Mary (the NEW Eve) died was assumed into life in Heaven, so that we may know that we can have spiritual life in Heaven after physical death. Mary died the "physical death" because she was fully part of the human race as per God’s plan, but not the "spiritual death" (something we ourselves also overcome by Baptism & Chrismation, regular partaking of the Sacraments of Holy Communion and Confession/Forgiveness, and perseverance in following God's Commandments). Further, anyone who claims Mary did not die a physical death would therefore be placing her on a level higher than Jesus (who had to die the physical death per God's plan).

Some people mistakenly believe that the Catholic Church teaches that Mary did not die. Catholic doctrine is that there is no proof anywhere as to her physical death, but that the physical death of Mary is by people's (therefore the Church's) tradition of faith. The Catholic doctrine of Mary’s Immaculate Conception stresses that she, from her very beginning, was preserved from the estrangement from God, an unmerited gift from God, a special grace, an exception to the law which no other created person received. Catholic teaching is that all human beings are subject to death (the inheritance from Adam/Eve), but for those justified by grace (ie Baptism) death loses its penal character and becomes a mere consequence of the first sin. However, in the cases of Jesus and Mary, because of their freedom from sin, death was not even a consequence, but was a natural ending based on the will of God.

In fact, the Vatican II Council document Lumen Gentium is pretty clear as to Mary dying. It states: "For these reasons, Mary is immaculate, all-holy, spotless, most highly blessed and ever virgin from her conception, through all her earthly life, death (my emphasis) and Assumption into Heaven and for all eternity." Pope John Paul II also reiterated in 1997 that Mary’s ending of her time on earth was a peaceful death, a falling asleep (ie: Dormition) that was free of any pain, and an act of love by God so that she could enter into immortality body & soul with her Son. He fully stated that wherein some Catholic theologians have tried to claim that Mary did not die a physical death, that such is a mistaken notion.

The Catholic Church does see two possible locations, Jerusalem and Ephesus, as places Mary may have been when "her physical time on this world ended" (the phrase the Church prefers, differentiating between "normal physical death" and "death without a penal character, based on a natural ending by God's will"). In ref Mary's temporary tomb, the Catholic Church points to Sts Irenaeus and Eusebius, who wrote about St John, saying that he went from Jerusalem (after the Council of Jerusalem - 49 AD), to Ephesus, to govern the community of Christians there sometime after St Paul left Ephesus in AD 60. Since the city of Jerusalem was destroyed in 69-70 AD, we can certainly surmise that St John would not have stayed in Jerusalem! Since St John was entrusted with the care of the Virgin Mother, we must assume that she went with him wherever he went.

Simply, there is no written history, the Catholic Church points out, that mentions a tomb of the Blessed Virgin in Jerusalem, prior to the 6th century. The Church then points to an apocryphal text, attributed to St Melito of Sardis (2d cen) which dates the Assump-tion only two years after Christ’s Ascension, and places it at Ephesus, where there is a house venerated by Christians and Muslims as the home of St Mary. It may have been deemed apocryphal due to its claim of the Assumption happening only two years after Christ's death, or it may have been based on the listed location of Ephesus, the reasons seemingly have been lost to history. But in any case, the ruins of the St John Basilica, which held his tomb until the 4th century, is at Selcuk, near Ephesus, and certainly supports the thought of Mary living in Ephesus.

Ironically, however, there is the Roman Catholic Basilica of the Dormition (in Jerusalem), which means the "falling asleep", a euphemism for "dying". Indeed, since Mary is the only person to have a special holyday of Dormition, this indicates that the East especially has held that her death was a special death, closely tied in fact to her Assumption. In all my travels, I have never anywhere else encountered a Roman Catholic church named after the Dormition (but one regular comes upon Roman Catholic churches named after the Assumption).

Eastern Orthodox tradition teaches that Mary physically died and was laid in a Jerusalem tomb, concluding she had to die since death is an effect of original sin. Some Fathers of the Church believed that Jesus, if not having been crucified, would not have died a human physical death because He was not tainted with original sin, just as the Council of Carthage had taught about Adam. Therefore, Orthodox common thought is that even though Jesus was truly human, He would not have died a natural physical death (if not crucified).

The discussion truly remains a Mystery of the Church since He was crucified, and not around to die a natural physical death. Common thought also is that He made Himself die by His last words of "I entrust my soul to you, Father" and "It is done". Jesus certainly did not suffer a taint of original sin on the soul, but He suffered the consequences of a human world tainted with original sin, to include pain, hunger, injuries and death. In Eastern Orthodox eyes, these suffered effects come from the original sin, rather than a "stain" on the soul, but yet no Orthodox will claim that Christ was imbued with original sin! If one can accept that Jesus had no original sin but had physical death based on the will of God, then why is it so hard to accept the same for the Blessed Virgin Mary as part of God's will?

Yes, many Orthodox reject the possibility that original sin could be a stain or tainting...yet both of us proclaim in the Creed, "one Baptism for the remission of sin". Since we baptize babies, and babies cannot have sinned (actual sin), in essence we are having the taint/mark of original sin remised (washed away), as well as restoring God's grace to our soul. St Cyril of Jerusalem (315-386) writes in his Lectures of the Holy Mysteries (2d Lecture on Baptism) that "Baptism is not simply the remission of sin and gives us the grace of the Holy Spirit, but also that it is a counter-part of Christ’s sufferings" (dying to this life and being born-again by coming out of the water as Christ came out of the grave). Adults being Baptized obtain remission of original sin as well as a washing away of any actual sins committed up to that point. Since infant babies could not have done actual sin, they have only original sin remised by virtue of grace as well as undergoing the symbolic death (to sin) and rebirth (born again) which represents Christ's death and resurrection. Baptism remitting sin is already proclaimed by St Peter in Acts 2:38.

Baptism does not eliminate free-will to do actual sin at a later date in the person’s life. Baptism restores the sanctifying grace of God, and we Easterners loudly proclaim that "all who have been Baptized in Christ have put on Christ." This happens on a plane higher than our physical senses allow us to understand and see. Hence Baptism rightfully remains a Mystery. One must be Baptized in Trinitarian-formula (In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit - as Jesus told us to do) before partaking of any other Sacraments (Mysteries), it is the Gateway to the Church. We know the sanctifying grace of God has been given in Baptism, but cannot be sure how God gives His graces outside of the Catholic and Orthodox contexts. Within the Christian context, Orthodox may or may not come to the conclusion that any Christian Trinitarian-formula Baptism is valid and grace-giving (as the Catholic Church teaches).

I disagree with the many Orthodox who claim a non-Orthodox Baptism is merely an empty shell which is filled with grace only after being Chrismated into the Orthodox Church. Indeed, Orthodox call Emperor Constantine (d.337) as "Saint and Christian", but he only accepted Baptism near his death, and then it was done by a heretical Arian bishop...leading one to understand that "economia" (a phrase Eastern Christians use which means "through God's grace for the good of the whole Church") gave Constantine's Baptism validity and grace. In essence, can anyone fully claim to know and understand all the mysterious effects of Baptism? The answer is, of course, no.

The whole traditional Eastern Orthodox point is that Mary must have died a physical death, therefore she must have been tainted with original sin and vice versa (a circular argument). But I can see wherein God does as He pleases and actually caused Mary’s "time on earth" to end. Again, original sin can be called an estrangement from God, which humanity inherits from the sin of Adam & Eve. Yet we know that St John the Forerunner was sanctified while still in the womb of St Elizabeth (Luke 1:15 & 41) and the Church Fathers confirm this. Could the All-Holy, the Ever Virgin Mother of God have been granted less a privilege than St John? I say that she was granted even more of a privilege, sanctified and free of original sin at her conception!

C. "...seems to separate Mary from the rest of the descendants of Adam/Eve.." Orthodox and Protestants who reject Immaculate Conception often point to "all have sinned" (Romans 3:23 & 5:12). But Christ Jesus was fully a human man, and yet he did not sin. Ortho-dox and Catholics believe that Mary led a sinless, immaculate life per her own choice by her own strong will. Certainly she had the constant struggle between the two forces of natural desires of the flesh, and the delight one finds in obedience to God's Laws (St Paul's writings in Romans 7). We must also admit that infants and very small children do not sin, and if they die at that tender age, then they "never sinned".

Since the Bible does not lie, one must search for proper interpre-tation. Since the Bible canons of the New Testament must have been written after Jesus' death, and most likely after Mary's death, it's quite possible the writers never meant that Jesus and Mary were to be added to the "all have sinned". Even though the writers did not exclude Jesus, we would have to disagree with any Christian who tried to claim that Jesus must have sinned since He was not literally excluded in the text (Muslims have used this text to downgrade Jesus to mere human, in discussion with me).

Some Biblical translations lists the phrase as "both Jew and pagan have sinned" which puts this into a corporate sense, and that St Paul means that both Jews and pagans can be saved by Christ's death. Clearly, Paul believes, however, that not each individual person has sinned as he states in Romans 5:14, "death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those that had not sinned.." Surely he included the Blessed Virgin Mary here. Also, the "all have sinned" Biblical phrases could be understood as "all are subject to free-will to sin", or "all are subject to the effects of original sin". One can be subject to it on this earth, but not tainted or stained on the soul by it (ie as Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary were not).

Some Orthodox believe that Mary, before her Annunciation, was a woman who sinned just as all other humans, but that after the Annunciation she was without personal sin. These Orthodox point to the Catholic statement of: "Mary was not conceived like others, at a distance from God, but was wholly encompassed from the beginning by God's love and grace, a grace which helped her in her later life to live without personal sin However, "later life" here should be interpreted to mean "life after being born". But again, the traditional thought by both Orthodox and Catholic alike is that she led a sin-less life even before the Annunciation due to her own strong and God-fearing free-will. She was chosen by God to be the Mother of God (recognizing that Jesus is God the Son, part of the Trinity) because God knew that she would be totally faithful, even before she was born! And, she was raised body and soul into Heaven at the time of her death here on Earth!

All of this sounds like a very special and different lady to me, since no other human has been chosen by God for so much. I understand Elijah and Moses were probably raised body and soul as the two appeared to Jesus at His Transfiguration. Muslims claim their prophet Mohammed was raised body and soul. The point is, someone has to have been considered special by God to be raised body and soul into Heaven. Mary surpassed even these men in glory by being chosen by God the Father as the birth-giver of God the Son.

In reality, Mary's Immaculate Conception and sinless life (via her own Free Will) made her perfectly human in the way Adam and Eve were intended to be perfectly human. Mary is called the "New Eve", yet she was no less human than the rest of us. Her rejection of sin under her own free-will, and her total obedience to God, glorifies her as Mother of the Church, Mother of God and Queen of Heaven. She's the New Eve, being fully human as the Old Eve was meant to be, just as Jesus is the New Adam, His human nature being what the Old Adam’s human nature was meant to be. St Anselm of Canterbury (1033 - 1109) points out her uniqueness when he stated: "O woman marvelously unique and uniquely marvelous." Interestingly, the Latin phrase "Ave Maria" shows the significance of Mary as the New Eve. "Ave" backwards is "Eva", Latin for "Eve"!

This covers my rebuttals to the reasons listed by Bishop Kallistos as to why the majority of Orthodox refuse to accept the belief. In my various readings of other Orthodox writers whom reject the belief, I have begun to see a set-group of stated reasons, which I shall recount next.
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« Reply #856 on: May 17, 2010, 10:46:20 AM »


5.  I have challenged your assertion that the Immaculate Conception depends on some western form of understanding original sin.  You have yet to demonstrate that one.


Fess up, are you Ruthenian Catholic or really Roman Catholic?  Huh   Eastern Catholics are very clear that the Immaculate Conception depends on a Western understanding of original sin.  And for that reason it plays no part in Eastern Catholic theology.

I would have thought that a clued up Ruthenian Catholic would be able to demonstrate in the twinkling of an eye why her own Church's bishops and theologians hold this opinion?   

I am an educated Catholic, Father, and in so far as any say that the Immaculate Conception is predicated on a particular western understanding of original sin...they are wrong regardless of their origin.


So why do we hear from Eastern Catholics, again and again like an endless mantra:  "We do not teach the Immaculate Conception.  It is based on a Western understanding of original sin which we do not share with the Church of Rome."

Probably for the same reason that I continuously hear Orthodox faithful say that Orthodoxy is silent on the question of whether or not the Theotokos sinned....claiming the old tried and true "Mystery Thesis"....

Or hear Orthodox clergy challenge the traditional meaning of "Real Presence"....

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« Reply #857 on: May 17, 2010, 11:01:55 AM »

Quite an army of straw men you have raised there.

The fact remains that the hymnody mentions great purity, but it does not say how the Theotokos was purified and to what degree and at what stage.  The Orthodox leave those mattered unanswered, while the RCC struggles to give defining language and clear instruction.

The fact remains that the terminology 'Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary' does not exist in Eastern Christianity.  You can argue until you are blue in the face, but the fact we don't even see signs of a spirited debate on the topic throughout any age prior to its adoption in the RCC should tell us volumes.  Let us not forget that Greeks argue about everything!  laugh  No argument means that it never, ever really came up as an idea, either to be agreed or disagreed with.

Since there isn't sign of any debate on the topic, then we really do need a 'smoking gun' text that says, 'Yes, the Universal Church accepted this doctrine.'  Mary can come up with any number of obscure quotes and ambiguous hymns, but in the end it leaves us with the same problem: no sign that the Orthodox Church ever accepted this teaching at a Synodal level.

I think this is fair and accurate.  IMHO, Mary has over-stated her case significantly.  One cannot and should not expect to find the "doctrine" of the Immaculate Conception in the Eastern tradition, because the "doctrine" is itself predicated upon a specific and historically conditioned construals of original sin and sanctifying grace.  These specific construals simply are not available to Eastern theological reflection.  Catholics, therefore, over-state their case when they assert that the Eastern Church at one time believed in the Immaculate Conception.  This is historically anachronistic, and the Orthodox rightly deny the claim.
  

I beg to differ, Father.

1.  Orthodox faithful tend to indicate that the Immaculate Conception is not human.  I have argued against that fact and demonstrated the illogic of that reasoning.

you have frequently asserted, never demonstrated. The IC, unlike the Incarnation, depends on a deus ex machina inserting itself into the human condition.

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2. Orthodox faithful indicate that the Virgin is human just as we are and struggles just as we do against sin, and perhaps sinned herself during life.   I have taken their own hymnody and indicated that Orthodoxy liturgically proclaims the exceptional holiness of the Virgin for ALL TIME and in GREATEST MEASURE.

Yes, unfortunatly for you that doesn't >=IC.  And you still haven't explained why the IC necessitated the interpolations into the liturgical texts. You all in submission to the Vatican supposedly aren't supposed to tamper with that (beyond sticking the "supreme pontiff"'s name into the DL, an innovation never know in the first millenium Church).

I've dealt with aspects of this already:
The Armenians do NOT believe in the IC, as a dogma or as a theologoumenon. I have already quoted from their Catholicos' OFFICIAL (you raised the issue of "non-official Catholic sites") on that issue.  Please quote SOMETHING to make your case.

It is also rather odd for you to worry about the Armenians being heretics in the OO communion, when you have been downplaying disbelief in the IC as grounds for heresy in your communion.

Btw, quoting from the services etc. of the EO and OO (quoting which thus far you have not done) are a rather tricky business when the Vatican tries to prove its dogmas, and those who have submitted in the East chime in.  An egregious example would be the use of the quote of St. Ephraim of Syrian by the Chaldeans under the Vatican: they will dismiss St. John of Chrisostom's (an Antiochian in origin, btw) on the immaculateness of the Holy Theotokos, saying that "it wasn't proclaimed as dogma.  It wasn't binding."  They will, however, latch onto the earlier "You alone and your Mother are more beautiful than any others, for there is no blemish in you nor any stains upon your Mother. Who of my children can compare in beauty to these?" (Nisibene Hymns 27:8 [A.D. 361])," and, because the IC, according to the Vatican, is binding on them, will say "a-HA! Immaculate Conception."

Now, none of the Eastern (or for that matter Western) Syrians believed in the IC. For the Easterners, this is especially relevant, as they denied her the title Theotokos. Use of that title is still a little, shall we say, uncommon among them.

Now along comes the emessaries from the Vatican after a millenium of hymn writing, theology etc. and part (the majority?) of the Assyrians submit to the Vatican and become Chaldeans. No changes are made in the liturgy, hymns etc except to stick the name of the pope of Rome in the commemoration.

So they go off blissfully unaware that things have changed. Some of the brightest go off to Rome, where of course they emulate the ways of the big sister (as Rome didn't give the Faith to Syria, mother sounds strange). When in Rome, do as the Romans do. So they pick up the idea of, say, the IC, along with other latinizations, and, eager to please, start reading it into things of their own tradition which they try to keep.

Of course then, everything becomes crystal clear! Of course this referes to the IC! Ignoring, of course, that none of their forebares, who sang those same hymns, saw anything of the sort. Nor do those who remain outside of the Vatican's jurisdiction (the situation for all but the Maronites), who, because THEY have not changed their theology, and because the Vatican breaks lex orandi lex credendi, sing the same hymns, don't see the Vatican's theology in their common hymns.

So then the accusation is that these change their theology just to spite the pope of Rome, as if they care what he says or thinks. The projection of this obsession with the Vatican sometimes knows no bounds.
You would think that with all those proof texts for the IC laying around in the East, someone would have come up with it.  And yet that didn't happen: England had to dream it up, export it to the Vatican, who imposed it on the East.  No Copt, no Armenian, no Syriac, no Assyrian, no Ruumi believed the IC until they submitted to Rome.  Since they continue to say the same liturgical texts as their ancestors, it seems to reason their ancestors didn't see the IC in there either.

Btw, on a Eastern believer in the IC: Greek tradition and Latin influence in the work of George Scholarios: alone ... By Christopher Livanos
http://books.google.com/books?id=OACDBUzQJYMC&pg=PA20&dq=Bonaventure+this+foreign+doctrine+immaculate&cd=8#v=onepage&q=Bonaventure%20this%20foreign%20doctrine%20immaculate&f=false

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3.  I have presented indicators that there are 20th century clergy, one of them who was Orthodox, who have indicated that there is a tradition stretching back hundreds of years prior to the western dogmatic constitution that attest to the spiritual purity of the Virgin that extends to the generation of the Theotokos from the inception of her being.  

You would have done better to produce Orthodox clergy hundreds of years prior to pontification of 1853 who attested to such a tradition of the IC: that spiritual purity extending to the generation of the Panagia isn't enough for your purposes, just as the eisogesis of "full of grace" isn't enough.  You have to show that fullness of grace would necessitate your deus ex machina.

Btw, did you explain the condemnation of the IC by the letter of the Patriarchs?


Quote
4.  I have challenged the need to find the term Immaculate Conception in the ancient Church IF hymns and other teachings indicate that she has been full of the Holy Spirit for all time...indicating that she has never been touched by sin of any kind.

Did I miss something? Did someone require you to find the term?  The term trinity isn't in the Bible, which teaches the dogma none the less.  Your problem is that the IC isn't in the hymns only if you read it into them.

Quote
5.  I have challenged your assertion that the Immaculate Conception depends on some western form of understanding original sin.  You have yet to demonstrate that one.

Aren't you the one always yapping about "origial justice?"  I've only heard that in the West.

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« Reply #858 on: May 17, 2010, 11:06:01 AM »

Dear Fr. Alvin,

I have appreciated your participation in this discussion and your overall sincerity.

In response to your post, I think it is difficult for the Orthodox to 'respond' in a manner that would please you because, again, the problem boils down to individual opinions within the Church versus official teachings/doctrine of the Church.

Most of us Orthodox here have been arguing that:

1) ICVM is not an officially recognized doctrine.
2) ICVM in the modern era has been opposed on the grounds that it dehumanizes the Theotokos and also makes the Annunciation an involuntary response.
3) The evidence presented from Orthodox hymnography has been ambiguous due in large part to:
     3a) The lack of direct reference to the Theotokos' conception.
     3b) The lack of direct reference to the means by which Mary's state of purity can either be ontologically measured or how it came to be.
4) ICVM would result, based on taking it to its logical conclusion, the the Theotokos would not have died given that her nature was purified of 'Original Sin.'
5) That individual references from either saints or even hymnography that are out of the norm for general Orthodox teaching do not constitute evidence that Orthodox Christianity accepts the premise.

In summary, you and Mary are, while asking different questions for different reasons, are asking the Orthodox Church to clarify a doctrinal position that we have avoided for 2,000 and see no need to.  We are perfectly happy with the ambiguity of Mystery, despite whatever difficulties come with it, because the 'solution' of the ICVM brings with it far more questions and problems.
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« Reply #859 on: May 17, 2010, 11:10:31 AM »


I am an educated Catholic, Father, and in so far as any say that the Immaculate Conception is predicated on a particular western understanding of original sin...they are wrong regardless of their origin.


Anthony Dragani of "Final Theosis" fame  Smiley:

Answer by Anthony Dragani on 9/6/2003:

"The dogma of the Immaculate Conception, as definied by Pope Piux IX, is only concerned with the Western definition of original sin..."

http://origin.ewtn.com/vexperts/showmessage.asp?number=374646&Pg=Forum25&Pgnu=1&recnu=4
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« Reply #860 on: May 17, 2010, 11:29:41 AM »

So why do we hear from Eastern Catholics, again and again like an endless mantra:  "We do not teach the Immaculate Conception.  It is based on a Western understanding of original sin which we do not share with the Church of Rome."

Probably for the same reason that I continuously hear Orthodox faithful say that Orthodoxy is silent on the question of whether or not the Theotokos sinned....claiming the old tried and true "Mystery Thesis"....


I have had four parishes in my life, three Russian and one Serbian.  I would be astounded if any parishioner had ever said that the Mother of God is not sinless.  As I have mentioned, the minority opinion of two 4th century Catholic Church Fathers is completely unknown except to internet cleverclogs such as thee and me.

Quote
Or hear Orthodox clergy challenge the traditional meaning of "Real Presence"....


This was something you and I discovered on Orthodox-Forum,.  It concerned, IIRC, two or three convert priests who pushed the view that Scripture teaches only the Body and Blood in the Eucharist and not Soul and Divinity.   This horrible aberration arose from two sources.... 1) convert priests who had been insufficiently educated when they were ordained as Orthodox priests... and 2) convert priests from a Protestant and anti-Catholic background who reacted badly to what they saw as the Roman formula of "Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity."

So they comprised a handful of poorly schooled convert clergy in America.

Now if we look at the other side of the coin and refer to surveys of Roman Catholic priests who do not believe in any presence of Christ in the Eucharist....!  That level of unbelief and denial is truly appalling.  And these gentlemen have been through their 7 years of seminary and cannot plead ignorance.
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« Reply #861 on: May 17, 2010, 11:32:04 AM »


Now if we look at the other side of the coin and refer to surveys of Roman Catholic priests who do not believe in any presence of Christ in the Eucharist....!  That level of unbelief and denial is truly appalling.  And these gentlemen have been through their 7 years of seminary and cannot plead ignorance.

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« Reply #862 on: May 17, 2010, 11:39:12 AM »

Now if we look at the other side of the coin and refer to surveys of Roman Catholic priests who do not believe in any presence of Christ in the Eucharist....!  That level of unbelief and denial is truly appalling.  And these gentlemen have been through their 7 years of seminary and cannot plead ignorance.

Dear Fr. Ambrose,

That seems really over the top, and I just cannot believe it.  Can you provide a source for that, because that that statement is really insindiary.

I have never, ever heard of an Orthodox or a RC priest with such beliefs.  Fr. Malachi appeared to imply this was behind the Novo Ordo (I recall, I don't know where, his appraisal that the 'new' sacramental prayers are indeed non-sacramental).
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« Reply #863 on: May 17, 2010, 11:42:00 AM »

Fr Alvin, you wrote:

Quote
I do not believe that the Eastern participants in this thread have begun to address the historical and liturgical evidence that has been cited in this thread, both by myself, Mary, and others.

Really? Then what were posts #660, 662, 668, 669, 740, 781, 796, 798, and 827 about? The first cited post is on page 15 of this thread.

I have followed this thread closely and have read all these comments--and no, the evidence has not been adequately addressed.  The Orthodox disputants in this thread seem to think that because the term "immaculate conception" is not mentioned the matter is therefore settled; but of course it's not, not even close.  Everyone seems content simply to deal with the matter at a polemical and verbal level rather than trying to understand and assess the essential claims of the IC dogma.  Does the dogma attest to nothing that is found in the Eastern tradition?  Does no common ground exist whatsoever?  As I said, this is a difficult and complicated matter, because the 19th dogma depends upon late medieval/post-Tridentine Western formulations of original sin and sanctifying grace.  Precisely for this reason the dogma, as it stands, does not make sense in an Eastern context.  One must therefore attempt to "translate" it into language that might make sense within an Eastern theological framework.  To this end, I quoted a passage from Karl Rahner, again ignored.

No, we do not.  Like the Filioque, we have no need for the IC.  If you want to submit to the Vatican and her innovations, that is your problem, not ours.

Quote
WHERE?  It seems that you are doing what you did in this same discussion on ByzCath during the Great Fast.  You gave a list of 13 Byzantine works referenced by Kucharek (from the 9th to 13th century if I remember correctly), but without a single supporting quotation from those works.   When I asked for specifics you made fun of me and said that you would not supply them, that it was the Fast and I could go and find them for myself as a penance.  No, Father, you are a long way from providing evidence for your assertions, or Kucharek's assertions.  

Actually, several interesting quotations are provided in the Lev Gillet article.  We are all at a disadvantage here because none of us read Byzantine Greek and the relevant texts have yet to be translated into English.  Nor has Martin Jugie's book, L'immaculee conception, which apparently analyzes the Byzantine tradition in some depth on this matter, been translated from the original French into English.  Mary Cunningham briefly discusses Jugie's book in her article "'All-Holy Infant': Byzantine and Western Views on the Conception of the Virgin Mary" (SVTQ [2006]: 127-148), but unfortunately she does not address the sources cited by Kucharek and Gillet.
   

Don't you find that the slightest bit odd, dealing, as it is, with the same subject and the same object, i.e. trying to create a lineage of the IC in the East?

Quote
In my opinion, the key to this issue is the conviction, shared by both Orthodox and Catholic, that Mary was personally sinless throughout her life and that this purity exceeded even the sanctity of John the Baptist.  How do we understand and explain this?
 

We don't, and we keep silent and in fear and trembling stand.

Quote
Gregory Palamas attempted to ground Mary's sinlessness in the sanctity of her parents and forebears, combined with upbringing in the Temple, protected from the evils and sins of the world.  The fact that he felt it necessary to stress this so strongly in his homilies attests to the same concern that drove those who eventually formulated the IC teaching.

Showing that St. Gregory erred, if indeed he led others off the Path onto this dead end.

Quote
Both traditions are loath to identify the Theotokos as a sinner in the same category as the rest of us.  Yes, she did share in our mortality, and if our fallen condition is exhaustively identified with our mortality, then one must say that she shared in our fallen condition; yet that is not the whole story.  Again I reference the quotations from Bulgakov, Maria Skobtsova, and Kallistos Ware.  
 

someone condemned for heresy, and someone reverting to Anglican accomodation to heresy. That Mother Maria took Bulgakov as her confessor shows even saints can err. Just for curiosity, what was her quote you gave?

Quote
I can well understand Reformed and Lutherans rejecting the IC because it is important in their theologies to affirm that Mary was a selfish and egotistical sinner just like the rest of us.  But unlike Protestantism, neither Orthodoxy nor Catholicism is willing to celebrate the sinfulness of Mary.
 

And you complain of the Orthodox "misrepreseting" the Vatican's theology. Roll Eyes

Quote
Quite the contrary.   A number of Orthodox saints and writers insist that God chose Mary because of her unparalleled holiness and purity, a holiness and purity that apparently no believing Christian, despite the gift of the Holy Spirit given in Holy Baptism, has been able to achieve.  If the two traditions agree on this, then remaining disagreements on the IC would seem to be relatively minor.
 

Then drop the IC, if it is so "minor."

As St. John, whom the Vatican wishes to claim as a doctor of theirs, warns us "a small thing is not a small thing, if it leads to something great." That we both say the bolded, the fact that the Catholic Church and the Vatican come to different conclusions means we don't mean the samething by it.

Quote
I am not going to repeat arguments already advanced.  As I said, I have no desire to win polemical victory points.  It's not about victory.  It's not about winning a debate or proving whose side is right.  It's not about proving anything.  It's about grasping the essential witness of the Sacred Tradition to the sanctity and purity of the Mother of God.  
And her role in salvation, a thing the IC sidesteps.
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« Reply #864 on: May 17, 2010, 11:46:15 AM »


5.  I have challenged your assertion that the Immaculate Conception depends on some western form of understanding original sin.  You have yet to demonstrate that one.


Fess up, are you Ruthenian Catholic or really Roman Catholic?  Huh   Eastern Catholics are very clear that the Immaculate Conception depends on a Western understanding of original sin.  And for that reason it plays no part in Eastern Catholic theology.

I would have thought that a clued up Ruthenian Catholic would be able to demonstrate in the twinkling of an eye why her own Church's bishops and theologians hold this opinion?   

I am an educated Catholic, Father, and in so far as any say that the Immaculate Conception is predicated on a particular western understanding of original sin...they are wrong regardless of their origin.


So why do we hear from Eastern Catholics, again and again like an endless mantra:  "We do not teach the Immaculate Conception.  It is based on a Western understanding of original sin which we do not share with the Church of Rome."

Probably for the same reason that I continuously hear Orthodox faithful say that Orthodoxy is silent on the question of whether or not the Theotokos sinned....

not silent at all.

Quote
claiming the old tried and true "Mystery Thesis"....


....you keep on counting them angels on that pin....


Quote
Or hear Orthodox clergy challenge the traditional meaning of "Real Presence"....

....and we'll keep listening to the advice of the Brother of God, head of the Mother Church, and keep silent.
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« Reply #865 on: May 17, 2010, 11:52:30 AM »

Now if we look at the other side of the coin and refer to surveys of Roman Catholic priests who do not believe in any presence of Christ in the Eucharist....!  That level of unbelief and denial is truly appalling.  And these gentlemen have been through their 7 years of seminary and cannot plead ignorance.

Dear Fr. Ambrose,

That seems really over the top, and I just cannot believe it.  Can you provide a source for that, because that that statement is really insindiary.

I have never, ever heard of an Orthodox or a RC priest with such beliefs.  Fr. Malachi appeared to imply this was behind the Novo Ordo (I recall, I don't know where, his appraisal that the 'new' sacramental prayers are indeed non-sacramental).


It's an old survey, at least in terms of internet time, and it concerned statistics comparing major aspects of Catholic life and standards of belief in 1965 (Vatican II and the 'old' Church) with the time of the survey several decades later  (although I do not remember the specific year.)  I'll see if I can locate it on the Net.

Of course I can just resort to what seems to be sufficient for Mary and say --- it's in my memory banks or I was told it by a group of Catholic nuns who keep tabs on these things! 
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« Reply #866 on: May 17, 2010, 12:04:49 PM »

[
Probably for the same reason that I continuously hear Orthodox faithful say that Orthodoxy is silent on the question of whether or not the Theotokos sinned....claiming the old tried and true "Mystery Thesis"....



Mary,

If you are going to force us into accepting the belief of Saint John Chrysostom and Saint Basil the Great (two great Doctors of the Roman Catholic Church) that the Mother of God sinned, then I am going to have to ask you to accept the teaching of Saint Augustine (Doctor Supremissimus)  in his City of God book 16--"Whether We are to Believe in the Antipodes." 

I am here living quite happily in a place which Saint Augustine asserted could not exist! 
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« Reply #867 on: May 17, 2010, 01:46:30 PM »

Father Ambrose, I have learned so much from reading you!  laugh 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antipodes#Historical_significance


[
Probably for the same reason that I continuously hear Orthodox faithful say that Orthodoxy is silent on the question of whether or not the Theotokos sinned....claiming the old tried and true "Mystery Thesis"....



Mary,

If you are going to force us into accepting the belief of Saint John Chrysostom and Saint Basil the Great (two great Doctors of the Roman Catholic Church) that the Mother of God sinned, then I am going to have to ask you to accept the teaching of Saint Augustine (Doctor Supremissimus)  in his City of God book 16--"Whether We are to Believe in the Antipodes." 

I am here living quite happily in a place which Saint Augustine asserted could not exist! 
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« Reply #868 on: May 17, 2010, 02:08:22 PM »

Father Ambrose, I have learned so much from reading you!  laugh 

Three cheers for the Antipodeans!  laugh
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« Reply #869 on: May 17, 2010, 07:17:11 PM »


The fact remains that the hymnody mentions great purity, but it does not say how the Theotokos was purified and to what degree and at what stage.  The Orthodox leave those mattered unanswered, while the RCC struggles to give defining language and clear instruction.

The fact remains that the terminology 'Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary' does not exist in Eastern Christianity.  You can argue until you are blue in the face, but the fact we don't even see signs of a spirited debate on the topic throughout any age prior to its adoption in the RCC should tell us volumes.  Let us not forget that Greeks argue about everything!  laugh  No argument means that it never, ever really came up as an idea, either to be agreed or disagreed with.

Since there isn't sign of any debate on the topic, then we really do need a 'smoking gun' text that says, 'Yes, the Universal Church accepted this doctrine.'  Mary can come up with any number of obscure quotes and ambiguous hymns, but in the end it leaves us with the same problem: no sign that the Orthodox Church ever accepted this teaching at a Synodal level.

I think this is fair and accurate.  IMHO, Mary has over-stated her case significantly.  One cannot and should not expect to find the "doctrine" of the Immaculate Conception in the Eastern tradition, because the "doctrine" is itself predicated upon a specific and historically conditioned construals of original sin and sanctifying grace.  

Could you be more specific about this.  You seem to know what it means.  The Orthodox seem to know what it means but I can't think of a time, in any Internet discussions,  when these specific construals of original sin and sanctifying grace that are not available to the east are actually itemized and established as different as well as distinct.  

I ask because, if what you say here is true, then Orthodox and Catholic confessions have radically different and opposing understandings of Baptism.  And I cannot imagine that is true and nobody has noticed or made a major issue out of that particular heresy.

Also for Orthodoxy the argument for Infant Baptism would fall apart entirely if what you are saying here is true.

Mary
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« Reply #870 on: May 17, 2010, 08:50:18 PM »

Must I state the following again?

The fact remains that the hymnography of the Orthodox Vespers and Matins services for the Conception of the Mother of God dates to no later than the early to mid-800s, i.e. more than 1200 years ago. I have raised the tradition of hymnographic repetition of certain events or aspects of a feast (such as that of Righteous Symeon the God-receiver taking the infant Christ in his arms; I could come up with other such themes from many other feasts, of various ranks) which, if the IC were truly "originally" Orthodox doctrine, the Conception feast would be stuffed full of references to it, a point which has been met with deafening silence by those on this forum who believe in the IC and have tried to pin the IC as once having been Orthodox doctrine.

As for Fr Lev Gillet and anyone else (saint, cleric, elder, or pious layman of the Orthodox faith) who may have expressed or suggested that the IC is legitimate Orthodox doctrine: I have stated this, perhaps ad nauseam , on this forum, but I'll do it again:

1. Saints are not infallible.

2. Orthodox hymnography and canonical iconography is the gold standard by which Orthodox doctrine can be measured.

Or, to put it a different way:

What the Orthodox Church teaches and proclaims is expressed in its liturgical services (Divine Liturgy, Vespers, Matins, Compline, etc), and, in visual form, in its icons. Individual fathers may well contradict each other (even saints are not infallible), but the liturgical material is the distillation, the essence, the core of scripture, patristic writings, of Apostolic teachings, and other accepted sources such as the ecumenical councils. Even the prayers in an Orthodox prayer book are stuffed full of scripture, they are not merely "the words of men". Liturgics and iconography are the most accessible and clearest means what the whole Orthodox Church espouses and proclaims, irrespective of geographic location or jurisdiction. If one were to spend a year attending as many Orthodox services as possible, keeping one's ears open to what is read, said and sung, and one's eyes open to see the actions of clergy and to absorb what is depicted in iconography, one would learn practically all that was necessary about the faith. Lex orandi, lex credendi.

Has the Orthodox Church ever taught the IC of the Virgin? NO. Has the Byzantine Catholic church modified Orthodox hymnography to proclaim the IC as doctrine, as it turns out, against papal decree? YES. If you agree with this, all well and good. If you don't, then it's your bad. No amount of hairsplitting over definitions of "sanctifying grace" and "original justice" will help to further your cause. Fr Giryus put it very well:

The fact remains that the hymnody mentions great purity, but it does not say how the Theotokos was purified and to what degree and at what stage.  The Orthodox leave those mattered unanswered, while the RCC struggles to give defining language and clear instruction.

The fact remains that the terminology 'Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary' does not exist in Eastern Christianity.  You can argue until you are blue in the face, but the fact we don't even see signs of a spirited debate on the topic throughout any age prior to its adoption in the RCC should tell us volumes.  Let us not forget that Greeks argue about everything!  No argument means that it never, ever really came up as an idea, either to be agreed or disagreed with.


Since there isn't sign of any debate on the topic, then we really do need a 'smoking gun' text that says, 'Yes, the Universal Church accepted this doctrine.'  Mary can come up with any number of obscure quotes and ambiguous hymns, but in the end it leaves us with the same problem: no sign that the Orthodox Church ever accepted this teaching at a Synodal level.


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« Reply #871 on: May 17, 2010, 09:15:05 PM »

AFAIAC your opinion carries about as much weight as my own with respect to any kind of formal bilateral dialogue.

Telling me what is NOT in Orthodox hymnography in an informal setting such as this one is nice but it does NOTHING to explain the extraordinary holiness that is sung on other and greater feasts.

And I am still interested in knowing about this heterodox understanding of Baptism for Catholics and the loss of any real foundation for Infant Baptism for Orthodoxy...based upon the fact that there is no original sin forgiven in Baptism.

Also there are two formal catechetical teachings that I posted...with references...that have been ignored for most of the day.  They claim to be Orthodox but I can't see how based upon the opinions offered here about original sin.

Mary




Must I state the following again?

The fact remains that the hymnography of the Orthodox Vespers and Matins services for the Conception of the Mother of God dates to no later than the early to mid-800s, i.e. more than 1200 years ago. I have raised the tradition of hymnographic repetition of certain events or aspects of a feast (such as that of Righteous Symeon the God-receiver taking the infant Christ in his arms; I could come up with other such themes from many other feasts, of various ranks) which, if the IC were truly "originally" Orthodox doctrine, the Conception feast would be stuffed full of references to it, a point which has been met with deafening silence by those on this forum who believe in the IC and have tried to pin the IC as once having been Orthodox doctrine.

As for Fr Lev Gillet and anyone else (saint, cleric, elder, or pious layman of the Orthodox faith) who may have expressed or suggested that the IC is legitimate Orthodox doctrine: I have stated this, perhaps ad nauseam , on this forum, but I'll do it again:

1. Saints are not infallible.

2. Orthodox hymnography and canonical iconography is the gold standard by which Orthodox doctrine can be measured.

Or, to put it a different way:

What the Orthodox Church teaches and proclaims is expressed in its liturgical services (Divine Liturgy, Vespers, Matins, Compline, etc), and, in visual form, in its icons. Individual fathers may well contradict each other (even saints are not infallible), but the liturgical material is the distillation, the essence, the core of scripture, patristic writings, of Apostolic teachings, and other accepted sources such as the ecumenical councils. Even the prayers in an Orthodox prayer book are stuffed full of scripture, they are not merely "the words of men". Liturgics and iconography are the most accessible and clearest means what the whole Orthodox Church espouses and proclaims, irrespective of geographic location or jurisdiction. If one were to spend a year attending as many Orthodox services as possible, keeping one's ears open to what is read, said and sung, and one's eyes open to see the actions of clergy and to absorb what is depicted in iconography, one would learn practically all that was necessary about the faith. Lex orandi, lex credendi.

Has the Orthodox Church ever taught the IC of the Virgin? NO. Has the Byzantine Catholic church modified Orthodox hymnography to proclaim the IC as doctrine, as it turns out, against papal decree? YES. If you agree with this, all well and good. If you don't, then it's your bad. No amount of hairsplitting over definitions of "sanctifying grace" and "original justice" will help to further your cause. Fr Giryus put it very well:

The fact remains that the hymnody mentions great purity, but it does not say how the Theotokos was purified and to what degree and at what stage.  The Orthodox leave those mattered unanswered, while the RCC struggles to give defining language and clear instruction.

The fact remains that the terminology 'Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary' does not exist in Eastern Christianity.  You can argue until you are blue in the face, but the fact we don't even see signs of a spirited debate on the topic throughout any age prior to its adoption in the RCC should tell us volumes.  Let us not forget that Greeks argue about everything!  No argument means that it never, ever really came up as an idea, either to be agreed or disagreed with.


Since there isn't sign of any debate on the topic, then we really do need a 'smoking gun' text that says, 'Yes, the Universal Church accepted this doctrine.'  Mary can come up with any number of obscure quotes and ambiguous hymns, but in the end it leaves us with the same problem: no sign that the Orthodox Church ever accepted this teaching at a Synodal level.



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« Reply #872 on: May 17, 2010, 09:30:30 PM »

My dear Mary, you are yet again avoiding the central matter that the IC has never, repeat, never, been part of Orthodox doctrine, no matter how dearly you would wish it to be so.

Further to Fr Lev Gillet's article you linked to:

1. All of the saints, fathers and others whom he quoted lived several centuries past the establishment of the Orthodox hymnography for the Conception of the Mother of God.

2. Fr Lev's comment of "If they knew the history of Russian theology a little better they would know that from the middle ages to the seventeenth century the Russian Church has, as a whole, accepted belief in the Immaculate Conception" flies in the face of the liturgical deposit of the Russian Orthodox Church. The Vigil liturgical text as used by the Russian Church is a faithful translation from the original 8th-9th century Greek, the bulk of which was written by St Andrew of Crete. Neither versions of this text, nor the English version I have, could possibly be construed as supporting the IC.

I have both the Greek and Slavonic text in full of this feast  on file, and I would be happy to make it available to anyone who is interested.

Attempting to deflect this discussion into tangents concerned with baptism is ducking the issue at hand, I'm afraid.



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« Reply #873 on: May 17, 2010, 09:38:40 PM »

My dear Mary, you are yet again avoiding the central matter that the IC has never, repeat, never, been part of Orthodox doctrine, no matter how dearly you would wish it to be so.

Further to Fr Lev Gillet's article you linked to:

1. All of the saints, fathers and others whom he quoted lived several centuries past the establishment of the Orthodox hymnography for the Conception of the Mother of God.

2. Fr Lev's comment of "If they knew the history of Russian theology a little better they would know that from the middle ages to the seventeenth century the Russian Church has, as a whole, accepted belief in the Immaculate Conception" flies in the face of the liturgical deposit of the Russian Orthodox Church. The Vigil liturgical text as used by the Russian Church is a faithful translation from the original 8th-9th century Greek, the bulk of which was written by St Andrew of Crete. Neither versions of this text, nor the English version I have, could possibly be construed as supporting the IC.

I have both the Greek and Slavonic text in full of this feast  on file, and I would be happy to make it available to anyone who is interested.

Attempting to deflect this discussion into tangents concerned with baptism is ducking the issue at hand, I'm afraid.

Fear not.

The arguments against the IC are legion and most of them lead to some very strange distortions of other teachings both Catholic and Orthodox.

So however brilliant your insistence on focusing on one feast may be, it does not negate the fact that there are other issues at stake in this discussion.

Trying to shut it down unilaterally is ok...but it resolves nothing, solves nothing, and ultimately leaves you with a whole lot of other liturgical hymns that attest to what is apparently an exaggerated holiness for the Theotokos.

Mary
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« Reply #874 on: May 17, 2010, 10:17:01 PM »

The point is, my dear Mary, is that in none of the Orthodox feasts of the Mother of God is there any hint of an immaculate conception. Extraordinary, almost unimaginable holiness is one thing (why is it that an icon of the Mother of God is traditionally painted high above the altar in the apses of Orthodox churches? but one example of the immense Orthodox regard for her as the bridge between heaven and earth, the bridge between human and divine, graced with Divinity in that she conceived, gave birth to, and nurtured the very Son of God, who took His human nature from her, though she herself remained always fully human and mortal), but to suggest that the Orthodox Church has ever proclaimed as part of its teaching that the Virgin was immaculately conceived is historically and liturgically indefensible.
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« Reply #875 on: May 18, 2010, 12:55:37 AM »

I have been politely challenged to defend my claim that the Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception presupposes a specifically Western understanding of grace and original sin.  It's not clear to me why Mary denies this, as the point seems obvious to me.  All dogmatic definitions must first be interpreted within their specific historical context.  Hence when Pope Pius IX declared that the Virgin Mary "was preserved free from every stain of original sin," we must ask what this "stain of original sin" might have meant to the Pope and Catholic theologians in the 19th century.  As I have noted in earlier comments, in post-Tridentine Catholicism original sin had come to be understood as the privation of sanctifying grace.  This is not precisely how St Augustine and the Latin Fathers understood original sin.  They appear to have identified original sin with what later would be known as its the material element, i.e., as concupiscence (see Henri Rondet, Original Sin).  Late medieval and post-Tridentine theologians, however, ultimately found this identification unsatisfactory and came to identify original sin as the formal absence of sanctifying grace.  Hence, it seems likely that by his solemn definition the Pope intended to declare that the Blessed Virgin enjoyed the gift of sanctifying grace from the first moment of her existence.  This is certainly how the dogma of the Immaculate Conception is understood and taught today by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, as I have amply and sufficiently demonstrated.

If original sin is a privation of sanctifying grace, what is sanctifying grace?  The notion of sanctifying, or created, grace has a long and complex history in Western theological reflection.  Though one can no doubt find antecedents for it in patristic theology, the concept appears to have emerged in the 13th century, as theologians wrestled with the claim of Peter Lombard, following Augustine, that grace is the uncreated gift of the Holy Spirit: God himself, indwelling and operating in the hearts of believers, is our justification.  Scholastic theologians like Thomas Aquinas and Bonaventure criticized Lombard's position as too simplistic.  If grace does not have a created dimension, if it is not a created habitus of the soul, then we are reduced to passive spectators: our love for God would not be a voluntary and willed act of the believer but rather God acting directly within and through us.  Aquinas and others thus posited that divine grace alters and transforms the human soul, thereby making possible both the indwelling of the Spirit and our active and free participation in the life of grace.  The notion of created grace was thus assimilated into Latin theology, simultaneously enabling further clarification of the Church's understanding of original sin.  To put the matter bluntly, until theologians "invented" the notion of sanctifying grace, the understanding of original sin as a privation of sanctifying grace was simply inexpressible. 

For these reasons I stand by my claim that the 19th century dogma of the Immaculate Conception is dependent upon Western construals original sin and created grace.  This, I believe, is one good reason why Eastern Christians have difficulty understanding what the dogma even means.  It's difficult, though by no means impossible, to translate the dogma into Eastern categories.  Contemporary Catholic theology, which has sought to move beyond scholastic ways of expressing the faith, has itself had to struggle with the meaning of the dogma.  Earlier in this thread I quoted Karl Rahner on the Immaculate Conception:

Quote
The Immaculate Conception means that Mary possessed grace from the beginning. What does it signify, though, to say that someone has sanctifying grace? This dry technical term of theology makes it sound as though some thing were meant. Yet ultimately sanctifying grace and its possession do not signify any thing, not even merely some sublime, mysterious condition of our souls, lying beyond the world of our personal experience and only believed in a remote, theoretical way. Sanctifying grace, fundamentally, means God himself, his communications to created spirits, the gift which is God himself. Grace is light, love, receptive access of a human being’s life as a spiritual person to the infinite expenses of the Godhead. Grace means freedom, strength, a pledge of eternal life, the predominant influence of the Holy Spirit in the depths of the soul, adoptive sonship and an eternal inheritance. (Mary, Mother of the Lord [1963], p. 48)

I find this explanation far more satisfying than the negative formulation of Pius IX, and I believe it opens up possibilities for fruitful Catholic-Orthodox dialogue on the Immaculate Conception.   

Fr Kimel

                   
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« Reply #876 on: May 18, 2010, 01:19:02 AM »

Quote
I believe it opens up possibilities for fruitful Catholic-Orthodox dialogue on the Immaculate Conception.


I admire your optimism, Fr Alvin. I can't see the Orthodox Church rewriting large portions of the Menaion, Theotokarion, Lenten Triodion, Okhtoechos, the Book of Needs, or the Canons and Akathists  to the Mother of God and her icons (of which there are numerous) any time soon to remotely accommodate the spurious and unnecessary teaching of the immaculate conception. If ever.
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« Reply #877 on: May 18, 2010, 01:27:41 AM »

The attempt to use patristic and liturgical texts to "prove" the Immaculate Conception  amounts to "zeal without understanding."

As another example of this mistaken zeal, using the patristic and liturgical texts we can immediately "prove" that other apostles such as Saint John have a superior position to Peter.

Here are some quotes from St. John Chrysostom which "prove" that Saint John is the prince of all the Apostles.

Saint John Is:

1. the pillar of all the Churches

2. the holder of the Keys

3. the earthly mouthpiece of the Almighty

4. infallible !!

5. the Rock

6. supreme pastor, not subject to anyone



“For the son of thunder, the beloved of Christ, the pillar of the Churches throughout the world, who holds the keys of heaven, who drank the cup of Christ, and was baptized with His baptism, who lay upon his Master's bosom with much confidence, this man comes forward to us now…. By this Apostle stand the powers from above, marveling at the beauty of his soul, and his understanding, and the bloom of that virtue by which he drew unto him Christ Himself, and obtained the grace of the Spirit. For he hath made ready his soul, as some well-fashioned and jeweled lyre with strings of gold, and yielded it for the utterance of something great and sublime to the Spirit”

~St. John Chrysostom, First Homily on the Gospel of St. John

“Were John about to converse with us, and to say to us words of his own, we needs must describe his family, his country, and his education. But since it is not he, but God by him, that speaks to mankind, it seems to me superfluous and distracting to enquire into these matters. And yet even thus it is not superfluous, but even very necessary. For when you have learned who he was, and from whence, who his parents, and what his character, and then hear his voice and all his heavenly wisdom, then you shall know right well that these (doctrines) belong not to him, but to the Divine power stirring his soul…. Not so this fisherman; for all he saith is infallible; and standing as it were upon a rock, he never shifts his ground. For since he has been thought worthy to be in the most secret places, and has the Lord of all speaking within him, he is subject to nothing that is human”

~St. John Chrysostom, Second Homily on the Gospel of St. John
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« Reply #878 on: May 18, 2010, 01:44:36 AM »

Similar terminology can be found in Orthodox hymnography for Apostle Andrew the First-called, and of other apostles. The vigil for St Nicholas of Myra also has similar imagery of utmost praise. Some folks here may recall my efforts on a thread  called, IIRC, "The Supremacy of Peter", where it was attempted to prove papal supremacy from patristic and scriptural sources. Needless to say, I provided large amounts of hymnography from the feast of Sts Peter and Paul, and that of Apostle Andrew, to prove the fatuity of this notion of "one apostle being supreme over all others", which, as we should know, forms the basis of the notion of papal supremacy.

However, let's not derail this thread too much, as it is, after all, concerned with the notion of the IC.
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« Reply #879 on: May 18, 2010, 02:27:36 AM »


However, let's not derail this thread too much, as it is, after all, concerned with the notion of the IC.

Just pointing out the fatuity of the approach being used here to bolster the IC from a misuse of patristic and liturgical sources.    When you see the methodology applied to other matters its vacuity becomes more obvious..
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« Reply #880 on: May 18, 2010, 02:29:26 AM »

Father Ambrose, I have learned so much from reading you!  laugh 

Three cheers for the Antipodeans!  laugh

Thank you, Mickey!   And thank you, Fr Giryus!
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« Reply #881 on: May 18, 2010, 02:32:11 AM »

From the article of the Byzantine Catholic priest Daniel Joseph Barton, from post #856:

Quote
Simply, there is no written history, the Catholic Church points out, that mentions a tomb of the Blessed Virgin in Jerusalem, prior to the 6th century. The Church then points to an apocryphal text, attributed to St Melito of Sardis (2d cen) which dates the Assumption only two years after Christ’s Ascension, and places it at Ephesus, where there is a house venerated by Christians and Muslims as the home of St Mary. It may have been deemed apocryphal due to its claim of the Assumption happening only two years after Christ's death, or it may have been based on the listed location of Ephesus, the reasons seemingly have been lost to history. But in any case, the ruins of the St John Basilica, which held his tomb until the 4th century, is at Selcuk, near Ephesus, and certainly supports the thought of Mary living in Ephesus.

Much of the hymnography of the Orthodox feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God is based on the document known as The Death of Mary, a document part of Orthodox tradition which has similar status to the Protoevangelion of James, the latter having been invaluable in providing the bulk of the theology, imagery and hynmnography of the feasts of the Mother of God not referred to in the Gospels. Here are selections from the Orthodox Dormition feast:

Vespers, at Lord, I have cried:

O, marvellous wonder! The source of Life is laid in a grave, and the tomb becomes a ladder to heaven. Be glad, O Gethsemane, the holy shrine of the Mother of God. Let us the faithful cry, with Gabriel as our captain: Lady full of grace, hail! The Lord is with you, who grants the world through you His great mercy.

Matins Exaposteilarion:
O Apostles, assembled here from the ends of the earth, bury my body in Gethsemane; and You, my Son, receive my spirit.

From Fr Daniel's article:

Quote
Indeed, since Mary is the only person to have a special holyday of Dormition, this indicates that the East especially has held that her death was a special death, closely tied in fact to her Assumption.

Not at all true. It is an ancient Orthodox tradition that the feast day of saints is held on the day of their death, be it by martyrdom, or "repose". Some saints, such as St John the Baptist, St Nicholas of Myra, etc, have additional feastdays commemorating particular events from their lives, or events after their deaths such as the uncovering or translation of their relics.
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« Reply #882 on: May 18, 2010, 06:57:25 AM »

I have been politely challenged to defend my claim that the Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception presupposes a specifically Western understanding of grace and original sin.  It's not clear to me why Mary denies this, as the point seems obvious to me.  All dogmatic definitions must first be interpreted within their specific historical context.  Hence when Pope Pius IX declared that the Virgin Mary "was preserved free from every stain of original sin," we must ask what this "stain of original sin" might have meant to the Pope and Catholic theologians in the 19th century.  As I have noted in earlier comments, in post-Tridentine Catholicism original sin had come to be understood as the privation of sanctifying grace.  This is not precisely how St Augustine and the Latin Fathers understood original sin.  They appear to have identified original sin with what later would be known as its the material element, i.e., as concupiscence (see Henri Rondet, Original Sin).  Late medieval and post-Tridentine theologians, however, ultimately found this identification unsatisfactory and came to identify original sin as the formal absence of sanctifying grace.  Hence, it seems likely that by his solemn definition the Pope intended to declare that the Blessed Virgin enjoyed the gift of sanctifying grace from the first moment of her existence.  This is certainly how the dogma of the Immaculate Conception is understood and taught today by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, as I have amply and sufficiently demonstrated.


I think you would be well served:

1.  To find other sources for your understanding of the Catholic understanding of concupiscence both ancient and modern.

2.  To invest a bit of time exploring what I think is the more fruitful way to mutual understanding between Orthodoxy and the Catholic Church which is the drawing of common lines of thought between St. Gregory Palamas and St. Thomas Aquinas, rooted in a necessarily identical experience of the mystical life in Christ...I say experience, not expression.

Mary
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« Reply #883 on: May 18, 2010, 07:21:09 AM »

The attempt to use patristic and liturgical texts to "prove" the Immaculate Conception  amounts to "zeal without understanding."

We can speak of preponderance of evidence as well as kind, so that you may comfort yourself with this rebuttal to the observations of the content of the hymns for Marian feasts but it does not really address the very real preponderance of textual evidence.

Nor do your comments on petrine primacy address the preponderance of evidence in Scripture and Tradition that indicates that Peter and his successor in Rome were set apart and charged differently from the other Apostles.

Mary
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« Reply #884 on: May 18, 2010, 07:50:11 AM »


5. I have challenged your assertion that the Immaculate Conception depends on some western form of understanding original sin.  You have yet to demonstrate that one.


Fess up, are you Ruthenian Catholic or really Roman Catholic?  Huh   Eastern Catholics are very clear that the Immaculate Conception depends on a Western understanding of original sin.  And for that reason it plays no part in Eastern Catholic theology.

I would have thought that a clued up Ruthenian Catholic would be able to demonstrate in the twinkling of an eye why her own Church's bishops and theologians hold this opinion?  

I am an educated Catholic, Father, and in so far as any say that the Immaculate Conception is predicated on a particular western understanding of original sin...they are wrong regardless of their origin.


So why do we hear from Eastern Catholics, again and again like an endless mantra:  "We do not teach the Immaculate Conception.  It is based on a Western understanding of original sin which we do not share with the Church of Rome."

If you run up to message #840 Father Kimel addresses this point very nicely.


Father Kimel has asserted the point.  He has yet to address the point.

Here is an eastern Catholic who addresses the points:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

MY BELIEF IN THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION DOCTRINE
Part I

By Daniel Joseph Barton

Dear Mary,  I am sorry that you have not bothered  to send us the complete monograph by Daniel Barton because the rest of the article brings significant matters to light.

You must have read the complete thing and would know that he speaks quite openly of the Eastern Catholics who reject the dogma because it is based on what Fr Kimel would call Western and Augustinian construals of original sin.

Barton writes:

"I have given my reasons for coming to fully believe and to defend the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, yet do not criticize other Eastern Christians whom do not accept it or remain skeptical."

Read on... he goes on to speak of Western original sin which is not accepted by Eastern Catholics.

Barton is, like you, a member of the Ruthenian Catholic Church but he is not at all defensive over the fact that members of your Church deny the Immaculate Conception.

He also makes a very telling remark about his private correspondence with Bishop Kallistos where the Bishop acknowledges his personal disbelief.  It is interesting that Bishop Kallistos advances the same reason for his denial as is advanced by Metropolitan Athanasios (Yevtich) in Victoria Kimball's essay referenced by Fr Kimel (go back to message #846.)

Barton writes:

"In sharing my thoughts with Greek Orthodox Bishop Kallistos Ware, he informed me by letter that he "personally does not believe the doctrine as it changes all of history of mankind".

That should knock on the head the common misapprehension which Roman Catholics like to foster that Bishop Kallistos is a believer in the IC.

Taken from MY BELIEF IN THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION DOCTRINE
DANIEL JOSEPH BARTON (Of the Byzantine Ruthenian Catholic Church of America)

http://mysticalrose.tripod.com/barton3.html

What can we say?  The very authority whom you bring forward to support your contention actually works against you!



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« Reply #885 on: May 18, 2010, 08:26:34 AM »

Must I state the following again?

The fact remains that the hymnography of the Orthodox Vespers and Matins services for the Conception of the Mother of God dates to no later than the early to mid-800s, i.e. more than 1200 years ago. I have raised the tradition of hymnographic repetition of certain events or aspects of a feast (such as that of Righteous Symeon the God-receiver taking the infant Christ in his arms; I could come up with other such themes from many other feasts, of various ranks) which, if the IC were truly "originally" Orthodox doctrine, the Conception feast would be stuffed full of references to it, a point which has been met with deafening silence by those on this forum who believe in the IC and have tried to pin the IC as once having been Orthodox doctrine.

As for Fr Lev Gillet and anyone else (saint, cleric, elder, or pious layman of the Orthodox faith) who may have expressed or suggested that the IC is legitimate Orthodox doctrine: I have stated this, perhaps ad nauseam , on this forum, but I'll do it again:

1. Saints are not infallible.

2. Orthodox hymnography and canonical iconography is the gold standard by which Orthodox doctrine can be measured.

Or, to put it a different way:

What the Orthodox Church teaches and proclaims is expressed in its liturgical services (Divine Liturgy, Vespers, Matins, Compline, etc), and, in visual form, in its icons. Individual fathers may well contradict each other (even saints are not infallible), but the liturgical material is the distillation, the essence, the core of scripture, patristic writings, of Apostolic teachings, and other accepted sources such as the ecumenical councils. Even the prayers in an Orthodox prayer book are stuffed full of scripture, they are not merely "the words of men". Liturgics and iconography are the most accessible and clearest means what the whole Orthodox Church espouses and proclaims, irrespective of geographic location or jurisdiction. If one were to spend a year attending as many Orthodox services as possible, keeping one's ears open to what is read, said and sung, and one's eyes open to see the actions of clergy and to absorb what is depicted in iconography, one would learn practically all that was necessary about the faith. Lex orandi, lex credendi.

Has the Orthodox Church ever taught the IC of the Virgin? NO. Has the Byzantine Catholic church modified Orthodox hymnography to proclaim the IC as doctrine, as it turns out, against papal decree? YES. If you agree with this, all well and good. If you don't, then it's your bad. No amount of hairsplitting over definitions of "sanctifying grace" and "original justice" will help to further your cause. Fr Giryus put it very well:

The fact remains that the hymnody mentions great purity, but it does not say how the Theotokos was purified and to what degree and at what stage.  The Orthodox leave those mattered unanswered, while the RCC struggles to give defining language and clear instruction.

The fact remains that the terminology 'Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary' does not exist in Eastern Christianity.  You can argue until you are blue in the face, but the fact we don't even see signs of a spirited debate on the topic throughout any age prior to its adoption in the RCC should tell us volumes.  Let us not forget that Greeks argue about everything!  No argument means that it never, ever really came up as an idea, either to be agreed or disagreed with.


Since there isn't sign of any debate on the topic, then we really do need a 'smoking gun' text that says, 'Yes, the Universal Church accepted this doctrine.'  Mary can come up with any number of obscure quotes and ambiguous hymns, but in the end it leaves us with the same problem: no sign that the Orthodox Church ever accepted this teaching at a Synodal level.

Great post, LBK. Thank you.
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« Reply #886 on: May 18, 2010, 08:29:52 AM »

For these reasons I stand by my claim that the 19th century dogma of the Immaculate Conception is dependent upon Western construals original sin and created grace. 

Your honesty and charity is much appreciated.  Smiley
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« Reply #887 on: May 18, 2010, 08:34:15 AM »

So however brilliant your insistence on focusing on one feast may be, it does not negate the fact that there are other issues at stake in this discussion.

Uh...you mean issues such as the non existence in the East of the IC teaching throughout history?  Wink
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« Reply #888 on: May 18, 2010, 08:38:11 AM »

The attempt to use patristic and liturgical texts to "prove" the Immaculate Conception  amounts to "zeal without understanding."

We can speak of preponderance of evidence as well as kind, so that you may comfort yourself with this rebuttal to the observations of the content of the hymns for Marian feasts but it does not really address the very real preponderance of textual evidence.

so much that those in submission felt the need to tamper with the text to make it evident. Roll Eyes

Quote
Nor do your comments on petrine primacy address the preponderance of evidence in Scripture and Tradition that indicates that Peter and his successor in Rome were set apart and charged differently from the other Apostles.
And you have not addressed the infallibilty of St. John: gives a new angle to his successor in Ephesus, St. Mark.

Just because you want to see your supreme pontiff in the texts doesn't put him there.
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« Reply #889 on: May 18, 2010, 09:29:37 AM »

Quote
I believe it opens up possibilities for fruitful Catholic-Orthodox dialogue on the Immaculate Conception.


I admire your optimism, Fr Alvin. I can't see the Orthodox Church rewriting large portions of the Menaion, Theotokarion, Lenten Triodion, Okhtoechos, the Book of Needs, or the Canons and Akathists  to the Mother of God and her icons (of which there are numerous) any time soon to remotely accommodate the spurious and unnecessary teaching of the immaculate conception. If ever.

The re-writing of the Eastern Tradition is not the ecumenical point.  The Latin Church is not asking this of the Eastern Church; it is not asking the Eastern Church to believe or do anything differently regarding the Theotokos.   
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« Reply #890 on: May 18, 2010, 09:57:03 AM »

Does anyone know of a book by the Roman Catholic Bishop of Bruges, Jean Baptiste Malou (d. 1865) titled “The Immaculate Conception”? 

Apparently he made comments in reference to the Virgin Mary being “exalted to a certain equality with the Father” and to “a certain superiority over the Son”. 
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« Reply #891 on: May 18, 2010, 10:37:01 AM »

Nor do your comments on petrine primacy address the preponderance of evidence in Scripture and Tradition that indicates that Peter and his successor in Rome were set apart and charged differently from the other Apostles.
Scripture tells me that the apostles received the gift of the Holy Spirit at the same time.

There is NO scriptural evidence regarding the supremacy of Peter's successors in Rome, none.
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« Reply #892 on: May 18, 2010, 02:01:04 PM »

Does anyone know of a book by the Roman Catholic Bishop of Bruges, Jean Baptiste Malou (d. 1865) titled “The Immaculate Conception”? 

Apparently he made comments in reference to the Virgin Mary being “exalted to a certain equality with the Father” and to “a certain superiority over the Son”. 
Why you looking for infomration on what Catholic do not believe about Mary? That sounds like a waste of time.
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« Reply #893 on: May 18, 2010, 02:12:46 PM »

Why you looking for infomration on what Catholic do not believe about Mary?

So he was a legitimate RC bishop?
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« Reply #894 on: May 18, 2010, 02:16:00 PM »

In the "Catechism of Perseverance", I found some interesting teaching on the IC.

It says that the Virgin Mary is the spouse of the Holy Spirit.

It says that the Pontiff will grant great indulgences to those who celebrate the feast properly.

Celebrating the feast properly entails:

1. Thanking God for having preserved the Blessed Virgin from the stain of original sin.

2. Congratulate Mary on her glorious privilege.

3. Form a resolution to avoid the slightest faults.

4. Perform some act of mortification.

Is the Catechism of Perseverance still recognized in the RCC?
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« Reply #895 on: May 18, 2010, 02:18:40 PM »

Why you looking for infomration on what Catholic do not believe about Mary?

So he was a legitimate RC bishop?
Who knows. But if he said what you are saying (and that is a big if ) then he said something that the Church does not teach officially.
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« Reply #896 on: May 18, 2010, 02:19:14 PM »

In the "Catechism of Perseverance", I found some interesting teaching on the IC.

It says that the Virgin Mary is the spouse of the Holy Spirit.

It says that the Pontiff will grant great indulgences to those who celebrate the feast properly.

Celebrating the feast properly entails:

1. Thanking G

Spouse by analogy, not literally. she never married the Holy Spirit.
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« Reply #897 on: May 18, 2010, 02:23:31 PM »

Who knows.

In France and Belgium the dogmatic theology of Cardinal Gousset (d. 1866) of Reims and the writings of Bishop Malou of Bruges (d. 1865) exerted great influence.
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« Reply #898 on: May 18, 2010, 02:24:40 PM »

Who knows.

In France and Belgium the dogmatic theology of Cardinal Gousset (d. 1866) of Reims and the writings of Bishop Malou of Bruges (d. 1865) exerted great influence.
(New Advent)
Cool. If he said what you said he said, then he was wrong. What's the big deal.
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« Reply #899 on: May 18, 2010, 05:56:23 PM »

I confess that I have never integrated the language of Mary as spouse of the Holy Spirit into my own speaking.  At some level it makes me uncomfortable, but that discomfort is probably due to residual Protestantism within me.  I am particularly uncomfortable, as are a number of Catholics, with the speculations of St Maximilian Kolbe. 

But Marian bridal imagery has roots in the tradition and antedates the the acclamation of the Immaculate Conception.  Mary is spoken of a bride of Christ, bride of the Father, bride of God, bride of the Holy Spirit.  Clearly such language needs to be interpreted figuratively and mystically.  Examples I have found on the internet (I cannot vouch for their authenticity):

Prudentius:  "The unwed Virgin espoused the Spirit."

St Augustine:  "The divine Spirit, the love itself of the Father and the Son, came corporally into Mary, and enriching her with graces above all creatures, reposed in her and made her his Spouse, the Queen of heaven and earth."

St John of Damascus:  "There was need that the bride whom the Father had betrothed to Himself should live in the bridal chamber in heaven."

Conrad of Saxony:  "This Lord (God the Holy Ghost) Who is so singularly with Mary is the Lord Whose most beautiful spouse Mary is. To this Lord, as to this spouse, we can apply the words of Osee: I will espouse you to Myself in justice, and in commiserations, and I will espouse you to me in faith; and you shall know that I am the Lord. (Osee 2:19-20). Behold a beautiful spouse, beautiful in justice, and in the judgment of her looks, beautiful in compassion and in mercy in the regard of her neighbors, and beautiful in faith in the sight of God...Of how great sweetness and beauty is that spouse of the Supreme Consoler (the Paraclete)! Because, as Augustine, say, 'Who is this Virgin, so holy that the Holy Spirit deigns to come to her? So beautiful, that God chooses her for His spouse?'"


 
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