OrthodoxChristianity.net
November 28, 2014, 08:37:19 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: « 1 2 3 »  All   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: More about Mary  (Read 16069 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Linus7
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,780



« Reply #45 on: September 03, 2003, 11:27:50 PM »

Quote
The Orthodox Church teaches that Mary is without personal sins.

Now that statement is confusing to me, since it comes from the OCA web site, which I respect as a reliable source of information.

According to St. John Maximovitch such is not the teaching of the Orthodox Church.

Here is an excerpt from Chapter VI of his book The Orthodox Veneration of Mary the Birthgiver of God, "Zeal Not According to Knowledge", which deals with excessive Marian devotion, especially of the RC variety.

"Thus the Roman Church, in its strivings to exalt the Most Holy Virgin, is going on the path of complete deification of Her. And if even now its authorities call Mary a complement of the Holy Trinity, one may soon expect that the Virgin will be revered like God.

There have entered along this same path a group of thinkers who for the time being, belong to the Orthodox Church, but who are building a new theological system having as its foundation the philosophical teaching of Sophia, Wisdom, as a special power binding the Divinity and the creation. Likewise developing the teaching of the dignity of the Mother of God, they wish to see in Her an Essence which is some kind of mid-point between God and man. In some questions they are more moderate than the Latin theologians, but in others, if you please, they have already left them behind. While denying the teaching of the Immaculate Conception and the freedom from original sin, they still teach Her full freedom from any personal sins [underlining mine for emphasis], seeing in Her an Intermediary between men and God, like Christ: in the person of Christ there has appeared on earth the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, the Pre-Eternal Word, the Son of God; while the Holy Spirit is manifest through the Virgin Mary" (pp. 52-53).


In identifying and describing this new false teaching, St. John notes that the false teachers deny the Immaculate Conception yet "still teach Her [Mary's] full freedom from any personal sins".

He goes on to note in the same chapter that the only perfectly holy and sinless person who ever lived was our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, noting that "The teaching of the complete sinlessness of the Mother of God (1) does not correspond to Sacred Scripture . . . (2) This teaching contradicts also Sacred Tradition . . ." (pp. 57-58).

Believe me, I have the highest respect for the Blessed Mother of God. I ask her daily to pray for me and I honor her with praise.

I am not trying to bad-mouth her at all.

So, what does the Orthodox Church actually teach regarding Mary's freedom from personal sins?

Is it what the OCA web site proclaims or what St. John Maximovitch says in his book?
« Last Edit: September 03, 2003, 11:44:20 PM by Linus7 » Logged

The first condition of salvation is to keep the norm of the true faith and in no way to deviate from the established doctrine of the Fathers.
- Pope St. Hormisdas
Joe T
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 15


Are we there, yet?


« Reply #46 on: September 04, 2003, 12:14:52 AM »

//I personally doubt that "through the Son and in the Holy Spirit" was the original phrasing given the baptismal formula proclaimed by our Lord Himself in Matthew 28:19:

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" .//

Go and check a critical apparatus or two.  Codex Vaticanus (4th C.) has the doxology in Matthew 28:19 as well as Bezae Cantabrigiensis.  Unfortunately, not many other old manuscripts have the words following "Go baptize."  St. Basil defends the subordinationist doxology in his work on the Holy Spirit.  The switch from a subordinated doxology (to-through-in) to a co-ordinated one (to-to-to) was in response to Arian attacks against the Nicene Christians.  The Arians were using the catholic liturgy (lex orandi) to contradict catholic teachings (lex credendi).  Though the liturgy expressed until then, especially in the West and Cappadocia, a more 'soteriological' approach with its seemingly subordinationist language, the Arians were forcing an 'ontological' argument, thus making any subordinationist claim sound like heresy.  The Syrians were already accustomed to the co-ordinated language in their doxology.  Even Ambrose responds to the Arian charge why the liturgical doxology is different to catholic theology.

//How does one separate what a person is from what they do?
If Mary is not primarily and essentially the Mother of God, what is she?//

Mary is the Mother of God.  That is not the issue.

It is not a matter of what Mary did, but what God does.  The 'economia' of salvation is the unfolding of the eternal plan.  God is always our ultimate focus.  How did/does Mary fit into that plan?  What is absolutely necessary for salvation?  Is it absolutely necessary for our salvation to know the 'how' of Mary's assumption, if bodily?  We sing on he feast that Mary "fell asleep."  These phrase is deeply theological.  Do we have a theological system of thought that needs an escape hatch for Mary to get out of the Western sindom problem?  We have become more focused on Mary's "immaculate conception" than on the "miraculous conception" of Jesus.  We have become distracted.  The Miraculous Conception tells us about the plan of salvation.  The Immaculate Conception tells us about a theological hangup in a particular church.

As for your most recent quote above, you must consider the Sophia/Wisdom movement.  Bulgakov comes to mind here.  This is a totally different issue.  Many have tried to deny the role of the Holy Spirit.  In the past, some hymns addressed to the Holy Spirit were edited and "Holy Spirit" was replaced by "Pope" and/or "Mary."

Joe Thur

« Last Edit: September 04, 2003, 12:22:16 AM by Joe T » Logged

Isaiah 1:10-20; 2:10-12 (LXX)
Hypo-Ortho
Guest
« Reply #47 on: September 04, 2003, 12:20:18 AM »

For  an answer to that question, Brother Linus, I would go to the Festal Menaion for the texts of the Divine Services, more specifically Vespers and Matins, for the Great Feasts of the Most Holy Theotokos, e.g., her Dormition, Nativity, Entry into the Temple.  "Lex orandi, lex credendi est," "The rule of prayer is the rule of belief."  The Divine Services are part of Holy Tradition for Orthodox believers, so one can safely go them as to an authoratative source for answers to such questions.

Earlier Wednesday evening I went to a choir rehearsal for this Saturday evening and Sunday morning's Services for the Pre-feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos, and for the All-Night Vigil for the Feast on Sunday evening and Divine Liturgy Monday morning.   The special Stikhera, Apostikha, Litya verses and Festal Troparion from the Vespers portion of the Vigil alone are sufficient to render unto us the Church's teaching of the special role of Mary in salvation history as from a fount, and we haven't even considered the Troparia after each Irmos within the Canon of Matins yet.

Hypo-Ortho
« Last Edit: September 04, 2003, 12:32:25 AM by Hypo-Ortho » Logged
Joe T
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 15


Are we there, yet?


« Reply #48 on: September 04, 2003, 12:31:26 AM »

For  an answer to that question, Brother Linus, I would go to the Festal Menaion for the texts of the Divine Services, more specifically Vespers and Matins, for the Great Feasts of the Most Holy Theotokos, e.g., her Dormition, Nativity, Entry into the Temple.  "Lex orandi, lex credendi est," "The rule of prayer is the rule of belief."  The Divine Services are part of Holy Tradition for Orthodox believers, so one can safely go them as to an authorative source for answers to such questions.

Hypo-Ortho is correct.  Even St. Ann's Conception is celebrated on December 9 (one day less than a full nine months).  "The barren Anne leaped for joy when she gave birth to Mary ..." we sing at Psalm 140 (vespers).  The Genesis-connection is often overlooked by our attention to ontological discourse on Mary's person.  How many "barren" women in Genesis gave birth?  This shows one major thing about God: GOD IS IN CONTROL.  God determines who and when and how the plan will unfold.  Sarah can only laugh.  Elizabeth, in the Gospel, shared the news with Mary.  There is so much theology, connection with Old Testament tradition, and mystery to contemplate in a barren woman miraculously giving birth.  Did we miss it?

Joe Thur
Logged

Isaiah 1:10-20; 2:10-12 (LXX)
Robert
"Amazing"
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,442



« Reply #49 on: September 04, 2003, 12:37:10 AM »

Linus,

I've read the book as well, however as Paradosis reiterated earlier, one saint isn't the end all-be all of Christian belief.

I personally don't see what is wrong per se with saying the Theotokos was free from personal sin.  In fact, I agree with this point and I do not think it puts me at odds with Orthodox theology. I think the question in this debacle is not whether or not she was sinless, but whether in fact our belief in Mary's sinlessness impedes our salvation?

We could critique Orthodox doctrinal development to no end here on this board.  The question I pose is thus: What is the bare minimum of belief required in order to remain an Orthodox Christian?

Mor Ephrem and I in discussion agreed on the fact that it is a package deal. That is, it is all-or-nothing. You either accept the entire deposit of faith or you don't.  Any insight on this?

Bobby

Logged
afanasiy
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 69



WWW
« Reply #50 on: September 04, 2003, 02:06:56 AM »


Quote
Inasmuch as I haven't kept up with this topic, I will simply respond to the (I believe) first posting, specifically
Quote
The reason I bring this up is that this apparent OVER-emphasis of the Virgin Mary is still a "stumbling block" in further pursuing the Orthodox church for myself and especially for my wife.

Note (1):  In an ontological scheme, the Theotokos is an essential link.  In a juridical scheme (that of the West), the Incarnation and therefore the Theotokos as well as the Resurrection are incidental to the Crucifixion--the main topic of much Christianity.   (For the Latins, see what the authoritative L. Ott says.  I needn't refer a Protestant to his/her own Reformers.)  Why?  The Incarnation and Resurrection are ontological; also, the Life-giving Crucifixion in the Eastern view is ontological too, but is juridical in the West, it satisfyies the demands of justice, "redeeming" (in Latin:  a buying back), a commercial transaction.   Where the Incarnation is a basic item of soteriology, it follows that the all-holy Theotokos is also an indispensable link.

Note (2) In Luke 1:43, the mother of John the Baptizer, St Elizabeth, called the Theotokos the Mother of YHWH--well the rules of Jewish discourse required her to say "my Lord" instead of YHWH, which could not be uttered.  (Scribes even washed their hands after writing it.)   Jesus himself claimed to be YHWH in John 8:58 by applying Exod. 3:14 to Himself.  Orthodoxy hymnody mentions a large number of theophanies of YHWH-Christ in the Old Testament, beginning with His walking in the Garden of Eden in the cool of the evening.

This is a small sample to show why the Mother of YHWH is so important in an ontological scheme of soteriology.  If you look at her from a Protestant juridical framework, you'll never understand her ontological-soterial importance, or why we Orthodox accord her hyperduly (superveneration).  When we say "the Theotokos and Saints," we are not denying she's a Saint.  Are the Evangelicals who say "God and Jesus" denying that Jesus is God?  That's for them, not me, to say.  But why would so many icons in America have healing myrrh streaming from the weeping eyes of the Theotokos,  if she were not above other humans?  Ask Orthodox who have been witness to such healings--say, of a women in a coma for three months and diagnosed never to speak again, having been anointed, speaking pretty well, walking down to dinner, etc.

    Of course, I know some Protestant clergy (On TV, I've seen one knock people rather hard on the forehead and heal them immediately from incurable or hard-to-cure diseases—not just one, but a whole row of them.  I am not out to take issue with them—all religions have miracles.)  I simply wish to explain to the originator of this thread the rationale of something he cannot understand unless he steps outside of his paradigm into the (energy-)ontology paradigm of the two-millennium-old (and consistent) consensus of the Eastern Fathers.  
Afanasiy B., sinner
« Last Edit: September 04, 2003, 02:23:17 AM by afanasiy » Logged

afanasiy
Robert
"Amazing"
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,442



« Reply #51 on: September 04, 2003, 02:16:16 AM »

Excellent post Afanasiy!

Bobby
Logged
afanasiy
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 69



WWW
« Reply #52 on: September 04, 2003, 02:26:02 AM »

Thanks Bobby.  I had hoped to correct some misspellings before anyone saw it.  They are now corrected (I hope).

I admit I never answered the question of why Jesus de-emphasized her role (if He did).  I just wrote what came off the top of my head . . . also not having read the other posts . . . as I should have.

Mea goopha, mea goophissima!   Afanasiy
Logged

afanasiy
prodromos
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Posts: 1,463

Sydney, Australia


« Reply #53 on: September 04, 2003, 03:15:25 AM »

I am thoroughly enjoying this thread. Though it is probably note going in quite the direction you hoped for, thanks for starting the topic DT.

unworthy John
Logged
TomS
Banned
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA
Posts: 3,186


"Look At Me! Look At Me Now! " - Bono


« Reply #54 on: September 04, 2003, 07:55:03 AM »

Mor Ephrem and I in discussion agreed on the fact that it is a package deal. That is, it is all-or-nothing. You either accept the entire deposit of faith or you don't.  Any insight on this?

Geez... I can see that I am NOT going to get any work done today either!  Grin

Well, the question is what is the "entire deposit of faith"? What Orthodox Church's do we follow? During what time period?

If we were to take your statement at its face value, then I guess we have to say that those Orthodox Saints who continued to venerate Icons during the period when it was forbidden by a Canon of the Church to do so were "outside the faith"?

My opinion is that the WHOLE DEPOSIT OF FAITH we MUST believe was finalized in Nicene and begins with:

I BELIEVE IN ONE GOD....

« Last Edit: September 04, 2003, 08:05:20 AM by TomS » Logged
Doubting Thomas
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 874

Anglican (but not Episcopagan)


« Reply #55 on: September 04, 2003, 08:04:56 AM »

I am thoroughly enjoying this thread. Though it is probably note going in quite the direction you hoped for, thanks for starting the topic DT.

unworthy John

Not at all--I find it very interesting!  Thanks, everyone, for your responses.
Logged

"My Lord and My God!"--Doubting Thomas, AD 33
Keble
All-Knowing Grand Wizard of Debunking
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 3,436



« Reply #56 on: September 04, 2003, 08:08:37 AM »


We could critique Orthodox doctrinal development to no end here on this board.  The question I pose is thus: What is the bare minimum of belief required in order to remain an Orthodox Christian?

Mor Ephrem and I in discussion agreed on the fact that it is a package deal. That is, it is all-or-nothing. You either accept the entire deposit of faith or you don't.  Any insight on this?


Well, Bobby, the Anglicans have already floated a trial balloon about your first question: the Quadrilateral. The quadrilateral puts this "bare minimum" as a very small thing indeed.

But when anyone starts talking about "the entire deposit of faith", my alarm bells go off. Here's what happens with controversialist groups:

  • What we teach is the Deposit of Faith.
  • You either accept the entire deposit of faith or you don't.
  • Therefore, if you disagree with us in any detail, you're aren't in any way a Christian.
What happens when you express The Deposit of Faith in a series of propositions (or anathemas, if that's your preference) is that you invalidate the second clause. Individuals and churches do[/b] dissent from specific propositions, because many of these propositions are conclusions and not first principles. On the other hand, some of these conclusions are so deeply ingrained that they might as well be first principles. At any rate, if you want to talk about the entire deposit of faith, and at the same time talk about a "minimum", the consequence is accepting the possibility of adiaphora: conflicting tenets which can be accepted as differences of opinion.
Logged
Doubting Thomas
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 874

Anglican (but not Episcopagan)


« Reply #57 on: September 04, 2003, 08:14:50 AM »

Linus brings up a good point:  How does one determine what the official Orthodox teaching on Mary's "sinlessness" is?  He quoted St. John Maximovitch saying that the Orthodox position was that she was not sinless.  I've quoted St. John Chrysostom and have read quotes from other early church fathers saying/implying the same thing.  It seems, then, that it is not only one saint who disagrees with this belief. OTOH, the OCA site and several posters here say that Orthodox does teach Mary was sinless.  How do you decide who is right?  If there is no way of doing so, and if one can't trace this doctrine to the apostolic deposit, how can one honestly say that the sinlessness of Mary is part of the "package deal" one is required to accept in order to become Orthodox?
Logged

"My Lord and My God!"--Doubting Thomas, AD 33
Keble
All-Knowing Grand Wizard of Debunking
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 3,436



« Reply #58 on: September 04, 2003, 08:17:03 AM »


My opinion is that the WHOLE DEPOSIT OF FAITH we MUST believe was finalized in Nicene and begins with:

I BELIEVE IN ONE GOD....


GREAT SCOTT!!  :cwm24:

Tom, you're turning into an Anglican!!  Shocked
Logged
TomS
Banned
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA
Posts: 3,186


"Look At Me! Look At Me Now! " - Bono


« Reply #59 on: September 04, 2003, 08:28:50 AM »

GREAT SCOTT!!  :cwm24:

Tom, you're turning into an Anglican!!  Shocked


<sigh> See the trouble I get into when I try to keep things simple!  :badhairday:

« Last Edit: September 04, 2003, 08:37:11 AM by TomS » Logged
Mor Ephrem
"Mor is right, you are wrong."
Section Moderator
Hoplitarches
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 18,381


"Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee..."


WWW
« Reply #60 on: September 04, 2003, 09:28:02 AM »

I personally don't see what is wrong per se with saying the Theotokos was free from personal sin.  In fact, I agree with this point and I do not think it puts me at odds with Orthodox theology. I think the question in this debacle is not whether or not she was sinless, but whether in fact our belief in Mary's sinlessness impedes our salvation?

Perhaps I am not clear whether this distinction is being made or not.  When I say that the Virgin Mother of God was free of personal sin, I do not mean that somehow she was "preserved" from it, that she didn't have the capacity, the will, etc. to commit sin.  What I mean is simply that she cooperated fully with Divine Grace (which, if I'm not mistaken, is identical to the Uncreated Energies of God), and so chose always not to commit such sins.  There was a perfect synergy there (if I'm using that word right) between God and the Virgin.  That's what I've always been given to believe was the Orthodox belief, whether or not this or that saint (who, however holy and venerable, does not constitute "The Church") personally believed that.  Now the present struggle seems to be what exactly the Church teaches: does she agree with the saints quoted above, or does she not follow them in this?  Like Joe and Hypo, I prefer to look at the liturgical texts, and speaking for myself, I prefer this to the writings of the saints, simply because the liturgical texts are, in a very important sense, the voice of the Church.  Can we derive the teaching of Mary's personal sinlessness from those texts, or do the texts support the saints quoted above who depart from this idea?  

We could critique Orthodox doctrinal development to no end here on this board.  The question I pose is thus: What is the bare minimum of belief required in order to remain an Orthodox Christian?

Mor Ephrem and I in discussion agreed on the fact that it is a package deal. That is, it is all-or-nothing. You either accept the entire deposit of faith or you don't.  Any insight on this?


Perhaps we already have an answer to this question, at least as regards Mary's personal sinlessness.  The above quoted saints rejected this belief, and yet are venerated as saints, one of them (Chrysostom) enjoying a very high place in Orthodox theology.  Obviously their salvation is not in jeopardy, and was not, by their rejection of this belief.

It is my opinion that because the Orthodox Church teaches the personal sinlessness of Mary, that this is a part of the teaching of the Church, and must be assented to by her members.  That is what I mean when I call it a package deal.  You cannot just pick and choose what "lesser elements" of Orthodox teaching you will adopt when those lesser elements are pretty much taught by everyone (toll houses, for example, are one of those lesser elements that you can choose to reject because, to my knowledge, it is not and was not a widespread, constant belief of the Church).  When you embrace the faith, you must embrace the whole faith, and not just the bare minimum.  

However, can there be a hierarchy within that package deal?  Even though we accept all of it as true, are some things more important than others?  I would think so, at least in some regards.    

Well, the question is what is the "entire deposit of faith"? What Orthodox Church's do we follow? During what time period?

If we were to take your statement at its face value, then I guess we have to say that those Orthodox Saints who continued to venerate Icons during the period when it was forbidden by a Canon of the Church to do so were "outside the faith"?


But there is one Orthodox Church from Pentecost until the present moment.  And those who have preserved and handed down the Orthodox faith are part of that Church.  So the saints who continued to venerate icons when it was forbidden by a canon of the Church were right, and those who introduced the canon were wrong.  Or am I mistaken?
Logged

The Mor has spoken. Let his word endure unto the ages of ages.
TomS
Banned
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA
Posts: 3,186


"Look At Me! Look At Me Now! " - Bono


« Reply #61 on: September 04, 2003, 09:45:19 AM »

But there is one Orthodox Church from Pentecost until the present moment.  And those who have preserved and handed down the Orthodox faith are part of that Church..

Phil, I apologize if I offend, but I only bring this up to support my earlier statement.

I agree that there is one Orthodox Church from Pentecost until the present moment, but according to my Church and the EP -- your church is not a part of it.

According to the EP, as a Monophysite church, your church is in schism and has rejected one of the Canons that my Church says is one of those "minimum beliefs of the faith" that you speak of.

So who is right?
Logged
Linus7
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,780



« Reply #62 on: September 04, 2003, 10:12:16 AM »

Quote
From Joe T: Go and check a critical apparatus or two.

Better yet, since you are the one making the assertion that the doxology was altered from subordinationist to one emphasizing the equality of the Persons of the Trinity, cite some sources with pages numbers, etc.

I think you are wrong.

The original formula was as given in Matthew 28:19 and The Didache. No special emphasis was needed. The Persons of the Trinity are co-equal and co-eternal, and the Church always knew that.

Quote
From Joe T:Codex Vaticanus (4th C.) has the doxology in Matthew 28:19 as well as Bezae Cantabrigiensis.  Unfortunately, not many other old manuscripts have the words following "Go baptize."  St. Basil defends the subordinationist doxology in his work on the Holy Spirit.  The switch from a subordinated doxology (to-through-in) to a co-ordinated one (to-to-to) was in response to Arian attacks against the Nicene Christians.  The Arians were using the catholic liturgy (lex orandi) to contradict catholic teachings (lex credendi).  Though the liturgy expressed until then, especially in the West and Cappadocia, a more 'soteriological' approach with its seemingly subordinationist language, the Arians were forcing an 'ontological' argument, thus making any subordinationist claim sound like heresy.  The Syrians were already accustomed to the co-ordinated language in their doxology.  Even Ambrose responds to the Arian charge why the liturgical doxology is different to catholic theology.

I don't see this as making your case at all.

We still have the baptismal formula as given in Matthew 28:19 and The Didache, unless you are saying the text of Matthew has been altered (not an Orthodox position, BTW).

Can we return to the actual topic now?
« Last Edit: September 04, 2003, 10:14:22 AM by Linus7 » Logged

The first condition of salvation is to keep the norm of the true faith and in no way to deviate from the established doctrine of the Fathers.
- Pope St. Hormisdas
Linus7
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,780



« Reply #63 on: September 04, 2003, 10:20:11 AM »

Quote
As for your most recent quote above, you must consider the Sophia/Wisdom movement.  Bulgakov comes to mind here.  This is a totally different issue.  Many have tried to deny the role of the Holy Spirit.  In the past, some hymns addressed to the Holy Spirit were edited and "Holy Spirit" was replaced by "Pope" and/or "Mary."

The point in what I quoted from St. John Maximovitch was not what the Sophia/Wisdom movement or Bulgakov believes per se but the way in which St. John describes their errors, among which he includes the belief that Mary was free from personal sins.

That point is not "a totally different issue."
Logged

The first condition of salvation is to keep the norm of the true faith and in no way to deviate from the established doctrine of the Fathers.
- Pope St. Hormisdas
Mor Ephrem
"Mor is right, you are wrong."
Section Moderator
Hoplitarches
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 18,381


"Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee..."


WWW
« Reply #64 on: September 04, 2003, 10:22:54 AM »


Phil, I apologize if I offend, but I only bring this up to support my earlier statement.

I agree that there is one Orthodox Church from Pentecost until the present moment, but according to my Church and the EP -- your church is not a part of it.

According to the EP, as a Monophysite church, your church is in schism and has rejected one of the Canons that my Church says is one of those "minimum beliefs of the faith" that you speak of.

So who is right?


Well, from all that the traditionalists say, I would've never known that the EP regards us as heretics.  Tongue

This is where the issue can get hairy.  I agree that your Church still technically views my Church as heretical and schismatic, and thus outside the Church (Joint Agreements notwithstanding, because they have no official force).  And, technically, our Church still views your Church and those who split from it (like the Roman Catholics) as schismatic and heretical (I would presume).  As to whether the Joint Agreements are correct in their assessment that the faith is the same in both Churches, that is a big question, not very easy, and one that I struggle with and study as much as I'm able (and not just in wondering whether I'm wrong and you're right, but wondering whether we are right and you, who for so long I regarded as right, are wrong).  That is a different issue, in my opinion, and we don't need to concern ourselves with it now.  It is a conversation for a different thread.  Wink

But go ahead for arguments' sake, and assume that my Church is in error and yours is correct.  

Can you actually say that your Church ("the True Church") teaches that Mary committed personal sins?  I'm sure you can find Church Fathers and other saints who thought so (two are quoted above).  But they do not constitute in and of themselves the Church.  Does your Church believe this?  That is the important question.
Logged

The Mor has spoken. Let his word endure unto the ages of ages.
Linus7
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,780



« Reply #65 on: September 04, 2003, 10:31:21 AM »

Linus brings up a good point:  How does one determine what the official Orthodox teaching on Mary's "sinlessness" is?  He quoted St. John Maximovitch saying that the Orthodox position was that she was not sinless.  I've quoted St. John Chrysostom and have read quotes from other early church fathers saying/implying the same thing.  It seems, then, that it is not only one saint who disagrees with this belief. OTOH, the OCA site and several posters here say that Orthodox does teach Mary was sinless.  How do you decide who is right?  If there is no way of doing so, and if one can't trace this doctrine to the apostolic deposit, how can one honestly say that the sinlessness of Mary is part of the "package deal" one is required to accept in order to become Orthodox?

It's good to see that at least one person read my post and got the point.

What is the Orthodox teaching regarding the sinlessness of Mary?

I have no problem with Mary's being sinless, if she really was and that is what the Church actually and authoritatively teaches.

Has any council unequivocally spoken on this issue?

It seems to me St. John Maximovitch was a pretty learned and powerful authority for the Orthodox faith.

Did St. John Damascene say anything on this issue in his On the Orthodox Faith (De Fide Orthodoxa)?

Did any of the other Fathers say explicitly that Mary never sinned?

I am not arguing, brothers. I am trying to learn.
Logged

The first condition of salvation is to keep the norm of the true faith and in no way to deviate from the established doctrine of the Fathers.
- Pope St. Hormisdas
Hypo-Ortho
Guest
« Reply #66 on: September 04, 2003, 12:23:15 PM »


My opinion is that the WHOLE DEPOSIT OF FAITH we MUST believe was finalized in Nicene and begins with:

I BELIEVE IN ONE GOD....


GREAT SCOTT!!  :cwm24:

Tom, you're turning into an Anglican!!  Shocked


He is indeed!  Embarrassed :'(

Hypo-Ortho
Logged
Joe T
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 15


Are we there, yet?


« Reply #67 on: September 04, 2003, 12:35:34 PM »

//GǪ since you are the one making the assertion that the doxology was altered from subordinationist to one emphasizing the equality of the Persons of the Trinity, cite some sources with pages numbers, etc.//

Be careful.  This is where one can get confused.  Subordinationist in what?  Economia or God’s being?  I just mentioned St. Basil’s work on the Holy Spirit and Ambrose’s letter to the Emperor.  I advise that you read up on the First Ecumenical Council and learn what the argument was all about.

//I think you are wrong.//

You are entitle to your opinion.

//The original formula was as given in Matthew 28:19 and The Didache. No special emphasis was needed. The Persons of the Trinity are co-equal and co-eternal, and the Church always knew that.//

Why do so many early New Testament manuscripts not contain it?  Many jump from “Go baptize” to verse 20 with no doxological formula.  I can’t change ancient manuscripts, my friend.  The Arian’s argument, and it was a good one, jumped on the subordinationism in the liturgy at that time and used it to defend their theology.  Arius confused the subordinationism in soteriology, which is still orthodox, with subordinationism within being of the Triune God.  Such logic led to the natural conclusion that Jesus was subordinated to the Father and was, therefore, inferior or little less than God.

//GǪ unless you are saying the text of Matthew has been altered (not an Orthodox position, BTW).//

The Gospels DID go through some process until they were in their final form.  Take a look at the ending of Mark’s Gospel.  Do you know that there are at least five different endings to his Gospel text?  Interesting how the Eastern Church doesn’t prescribe the reading of the longer ending in its lectionary.  Why?  Probably for the same reason why Revelation isn’t included.  By the time both were accepted by the Church (the longer ending in Mark’s Gospel and Revelation by the Eastern Church), the lectionary was already ‘carved in stone.’

//Can we return to the actual topic now?//

Again, I point to the relentless need of some to ontologize Mary at the expense of soteriology.  The West celebrates her “Immaculate Conception” and the East celebrates the “Conception of St. Anne,” and on different days.

Joe Thur

Logged

Isaiah 1:10-20; 2:10-12 (LXX)
afanasiy
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 69



WWW
« Reply #68 on: September 04, 2003, 03:13:19 PM »

Dear in Christ Hypo-Ortho

      I agree with the implication behind your comment.

      Let's lay out the choices:

     The Bible (in a given interpretation) is all there is to it.
     The Creed is the final item in tradition.
     The nine Orthodox Ecumenical Synods are what count.
     The tradition embraces the entire consensus of the Fathers, including the nine Synods.

     The last is of course the Orthodox position, if you leave out the 4.5 centuries of the Latin captivity of Orthodoxy--i.e. the way Greek books were censored and altered in Venice when the Turks disallowed the printing of religous books (including the Pedalion or universal canons) on Muslim territory--and the stuff emerging from the Slavic arena (even before Tsar Peter I invited in the Jesuits to run the education system)--Mogila (His Confession was penned before he died--not long before his intended to submit to the papacy), Dositheus, etc., etc.  Some of this stuff is still published by the Uniates, I gather.  The pope apparently gets his ideas about Orthodoxy from such materials.

     Beware of doctrinal materials made during the Latin Captivity, which still reigns in many Orthodox quarters!  The Devotional materials, Saints' lives, etc. are not so debilitated with a foreign paradigm.  But, misread in a Western paradigm, the energy view of Salvation can be misread as Salvation by works alone--just as bungled translations of LOGOS, 'omoiosis, theosis, and energeia (as in Philp. 2:13) and much else lead to misreadings of Orthodox writings.  If you see Deification (apotheosis, what was supposed to happen to a emperor of ROme), beware.  Theosis is Divinization.  We are stuck with a tradition of terminology set by early theologions who were not native-speakers of English.  If you want  a correct translation of the New Testament and have $50+ to spare, you can get two volumes from the sisters of the Holy Apostles Monastery (Buena VIsta, CO); it's loaded with Patristic comments on many of the verses.

     And what can be said of the ecumenism that reigns in some quarters?  One either does not realize that when we say the same things, we are not sayin' the same things; or else, one doesn't know how to get around that problem.  Just treating doctrines as a laundry list of beliefs won't get around the problem.  Only getting to the axioms of our paradigms that deteremine what our words must and cannot mean will cut the mustard--combined with a consideriation of the system derived from a given paradigm.  But that takes rather more finesse than some display.  (I speak of ideas; I am not qualified to judge persons and have no desire to do so.)  

      If you don't start at the right place, you'll end up at the wrong place!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Y'all can quote me on that (or as we say in our creole--with dakine!)

afanasiy, sinner

Logged

afanasiy
Joe T
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 15


Are we there, yet?


« Reply #69 on: September 04, 2003, 04:48:02 PM »

//And what can be said of the ecumenism that reigns in some quarters?//

Was Jesus foolish for wanting us to be one?
Logged

Isaiah 1:10-20; 2:10-12 (LXX)
Linus7
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,780



« Reply #70 on: September 04, 2003, 10:53:57 PM »

Quote
From Joe T: Why do so many early New Testament manuscripts not contain it?  Many jump from “Go baptize” to verse 20 with no doxological formula.  I can’t change ancient manuscripts, my friend.

You seem to be implying that somebody did, though.

You also cannot change the canon, which includes the "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" formula of Matthew 28:19. Taken together with the appearance of the same baptismal formula in The Didache, which is the oldest extra-biblical Christian document, that is a pretty powerful argument that the formula of Matthew 28:19 is the original.

I was aware of the different endings for the Gospel According to St. Mark. They do not trouble me.
Logged

The first condition of salvation is to keep the norm of the true faith and in no way to deviate from the established doctrine of the Fathers.
- Pope St. Hormisdas
Linus7
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,780



« Reply #71 on: September 04, 2003, 11:01:37 PM »

//And what can be said of the ecumenism that reigns in some quarters?//

Was Jesus foolish for wanting us to be one?

Is that really the question?

Or is it "Who is us?"

Logged

The first condition of salvation is to keep the norm of the true faith and in no way to deviate from the established doctrine of the Fathers.
- Pope St. Hormisdas
Joe T
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 15


Are we there, yet?


« Reply #72 on: September 05, 2003, 10:32:26 AM »

You also cannot change the canon,

Are you implying that the Church can't change the canon?
Logged

Isaiah 1:10-20; 2:10-12 (LXX)
Joe T
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 15


Are we there, yet?


« Reply #73 on: September 05, 2003, 10:33:23 AM »

//And what can be said of the ecumenism that reigns in some quarters?//

Was Jesus foolish for wanting us to be one?

Is that really the question?

Or is it "Who is us?"


Then who is us?
Logged

Isaiah 1:10-20; 2:10-12 (LXX)
Hypo-Ortho
Guest
« Reply #74 on: September 05, 2003, 10:44:34 AM »

Can we get back on topic?   MORE ABOUT MARY!!!!

Hypo-Ortho
Logged
Αριστοκλής
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese
Posts: 10,026


« Reply #75 on: September 05, 2003, 11:36:53 AM »

    The nine Orthodox Ecumenical Synods are what count.
     The tradition embraces the entire consensus of the Fathers, including the nine Synods.

     The last is of course the Orthodox position, if you leave out the 4.5 centuries of the Latin captivity of Orthodoxy--i.e. the way Greek books were censored and altered in Venice when the Turks disallowed the printing of religous books...
afanasiy, sinner
 

Thanks, afanasiy.  A good history lesson; I tire so much at the 'Church of the Seven Councils' label. Do you have any recommended reading on this period?
Demetri
Logged

"Religion is a neurobiological illness and Orthodoxy is its cure." - Fr. John S. Romanides
Linus7
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,780



« Reply #76 on: September 05, 2003, 12:15:52 PM »

    The nine Orthodox Ecumenical Synods are what count.
     The tradition embraces the entire consensus of the Fathers, including the nine Synods.

     The last is of course the Orthodox position, if you leave out the 4.5 centuries of the Latin captivity of Orthodoxy--i.e. the way Greek books were censored and altered in Venice when the Turks disallowed the printing of religous books...
afanasiy, sinner
 

Thanks, afanasiy.  A good history lesson; I tire so much at the 'Church of the Seven Councils' label. Do you have any recommended reading on this period?
Demetri

Is there any kind of an authoritative statement of the Church's position on whether or not the Mother of God was completely sinless?
Logged

The first condition of salvation is to keep the norm of the true faith and in no way to deviate from the established doctrine of the Fathers.
- Pope St. Hormisdas
Hypo-Ortho
Guest
« Reply #77 on: September 05, 2003, 12:37:48 PM »

Dogmatically, the Church teaches only three things about Mary: 1) She is Ever-Virgin, 2) She is All-Holy, i.e., "Panagia," and 3) She is Theotokos.

From the above, because she is considered to be the most perfect flowering of the Old Testament, and also because She is "full of Grace," the Mother of God, while she could have sinned, she chose not to of her own free will in synergestic cooperation with the Holy Spirit and remained in constant communion with God.

Hypo-Ortho
Logged
TomS
Banned
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA
Posts: 3,186


"Look At Me! Look At Me Now! " - Bono


« Reply #78 on: September 05, 2003, 12:45:30 PM »

... while she could have sinned, she chose not to of her own free will in synergestic cooperation with the Holy Spirit and remained in constant communion with God.

From what point in her life? From Birth, or as some say, only from the Annunciation forward?
Logged
Linus7
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,780



« Reply #79 on: September 05, 2003, 12:50:50 PM »

Dogmatically, the Church teaches only three things about Mary: 1) She is Ever-Virgin, 2) She is All-Holy, i.e., "Panagia," and 3) She is Theotokos.

From the above, because she is considered to be the most perfect flowering of the Old Testament, and also because She is "full of Grace," the Mother of God, while she could have sinned, she chose not to of her own free will in synergestic cooperation with the Holy Spirit and remained in constant communion with God.

Hypo-Ortho

Thanks, Brother.

I have no problem accepting all of that, even the part about the complete sinlessness of the Mother of God, except that that part of it seems to contradict what St. John Maximovitch wrote in Chapter VI of his book, The Orthodox Veneration of Mary the Birthgiver of God.

Perhaps I have misunderstood St. John, but I don't think so, since I have read his book more than once and that chapter several times.

I realize St. John Maximovitch could very well have been wrong; but I would like to see that established from an authoritative source.
Logged

The first condition of salvation is to keep the norm of the true faith and in no way to deviate from the established doctrine of the Fathers.
- Pope St. Hormisdas
Justin Kissel
Formerly Asteriktos
Protospatharios
****************
Offline Offline

Posts: 30,238


that is not the teaching of...


« Reply #80 on: September 05, 2003, 12:57:07 PM »

FWIW, here's a quote from Pelikan:

Quote
Mary was a special case, "for of her we are obliged to grant that her piety had no sin in it." Augustine, too, was obliged to grant this, refusing "out of honor to the Lord" even to raise the question of sin where she was involved; "for from him we know what abundance of grace for overcoming sin in every particular was conferred upon her who had the merit to conceive and bear him who undoubtedly had no sin." (Augustine, On Nature and Grace, 42; cf also paragraphs 37-38 ) - Jaroslav Pelikan, The Christian Tradition: Volume 1, The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition, (The University of Chicago Press, 1971), p. 314

The sinlessness issue was also discussed, briefly, in this thread at the Cafe last December.
Logged

"I haven't done anything wrong, and I won't be hounded by you and your soulless minions of orthodoxy! I haven't broken any laws... except perhaps the laws of nature." - Dr. Elias Giger
Hypo-Ortho
Guest
« Reply #81 on: September 05, 2003, 01:04:23 PM »

... while she could have sinned, she chose not to of her own free will in synergestic cooperation with the Holy Spirit and remained in constant communion with God.

From what point in her life? From Birth, or as some say, only from the Annunciation forward?

Tom, I don't think that the Theotokos became "full of Grace" automatically at or because of the Annunciation, but that She was already so.

Once again, I would refer you to the Divine Services of the Church.  The hymnody for the Feast of the Entry of the Theotokos into the Temple (when she was herself being prepared to be the human Temple of the Savior) is quite striking, and the hymnology is part of our Holy Tradition, as are the Bible, the dogmatic decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, the consensus of the Holy Fathers, etc.

Hypo-Ortho
Logged
Justin Kissel
Formerly Asteriktos
Protospatharios
****************
Offline Offline

Posts: 30,238


that is not the teaching of...


« Reply #82 on: September 05, 2003, 01:13:41 PM »

For those who don't know about it, Holy Apostles Convent publishes the best book in English on Mary, The Life of the Virgin Mary, The Theotokos. It's 640 pages of joy, with all the wonderful details of the Orthodox belief concerning Mary. Unfortunately, I don't have my copy here (it's in storage), or I'd most likely be able to give a few references for the sinlessness of Mary. But then, you could probably Google for it and find some quotes, considering all the apologetic sites that are up online.
Logged

"I haven't done anything wrong, and I won't be hounded by you and your soulless minions of orthodoxy! I haven't broken any laws... except perhaps the laws of nature." - Dr. Elias Giger
Linus7
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,780



« Reply #83 on: September 05, 2003, 05:46:38 PM »

I have been looking back over Chapter VI of St. John Maximovitch's book, The Orthodox Veneration of Mary the Birthgiver of God.

It is quite possible that when St. John spoke about the error of teaching that the Mother of God was free of personal sins he was speaking about the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception and its notion that she was preserved from the possibility of committing sin.

St. John's language is somewhat confusing on this point and certainly makes it sound as if he believed that the Mother of God sinned at some time.

Upon re-examining what he had to say, however, I am becoming convinced that when St. John wrote "freedom from any personal sins" he was talking about complete freedom from the possibility of sin. That was the error St. John was opposing, the idea that the Mother of God was kept even from the possibility of committing a sin.

Chapter VI of St. John's book has as a subtitle or summary description the following: "The corruption by the Latins, in the newly invented dogma of the 'Immaculate Conception,' of the true veneration of the Most Holy Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary."

St. John chiefly addresses the Immaculate Conception in that chapter.

In this connection he writes (p. 60):

"The grace-given sinlessness of the Virgin Mary denies Her victory over temptations; from a victor who is worthy to be crowned with crowns of glory, this makes Her a blind instrument of God's Providence."

St. John also wrote:

"If She [the Mother of God] could have been placed in the state of being unable to sin, and did not sin, then for what did God glorify Her? If She, without any effort, and without having any kind of impulses to sin, remained pure, then why is She crowned more than everyone else? There is no victory without an adversary" (p. 59).

These statements imply that, although she was tempted, the Mother of God was victorious over temptation; although she faced "impulses to sin", she "remained pure"; although she was able to sin, she did not sin. In other words, St. John Maximovitch evidently did believe in the sinlessness of the Mother of God!

He just did not believe she was completely free from the possibility of sin.

I am now convinced that that is what St. John meant, NOT that he believed the Mother of God had ever been guilty of actual sin.

His language could have been clearer (or perhaps Fr. Seraphim Rose's translation could have been clearer), but I think a careful reading reveals that St. John did in fact believe the Mother of God never committed any sins.

Logged

The first condition of salvation is to keep the norm of the true faith and in no way to deviate from the established doctrine of the Fathers.
- Pope St. Hormisdas
afanasiy
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 69



WWW
« Reply #84 on: September 05, 2003, 07:19:45 PM »

The prayers called Mary all-holy and all-pure; the common name for her among Greeks is Panayia "all holy."

If that doesn't mean sinless, what could?  Let speculation cease; let's get real!

The Orthodox differ on the Theotokos  from the Romans in two respects:

1. Since all infants are born sinless, Mary needed no immaculate conception.   She did receive the uncreated Grace of the Assimilation to God (Gen. 1:26 in Greek; it had been lost by the first humans through sinning, a loss that has been inherited ever since by newborns) to become God's Mother, to lead a sinless life, and to enjoy a precursive resurrection.  (The Orthodox don't believe in inherited guilt, nor do Deut. 24:16, etc. and Gal. 6:5.)

2. Since the Orthodox don't believe that God imposed death or that it is a penalty for sin, we don't have the problem the Latins have with her dying--just like Jesus and you 'n me.  THe Orthodox believe that God let satan impose death so that no person could go on sinning perpetually.

Conclusion:   The Latins are incoherent.  For  if a sinless person died (the Pope has left the door cracked open for this position). that conflicts with the Latin teaching that death is penal; but if they say she didn't die, how is that consistent with sinless Jesus's dying?  A real conundrum either way you choose.  

If beliefs are approached as a laundry list that can be added to or subtracted from without usually affecting all of the others in the system, one will get nowhere.  The systematic mind will see how beliefs follow from the conflicting premises of Eastern and Western paradigms.

Let's get real!!!!!!  Smiley

Afanasiy



Logged

afanasiy
Doubting Thomas
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 874

Anglican (but not Episcopagan)


« Reply #85 on: September 05, 2003, 08:34:45 PM »

The prayers called Mary all-holy and all-pure; the common name for her among Greeks is Panayia "all holy."

If that doesn't mean sinless, what could?  Let speculation cease; let's get real!



Perhaps the prayers refer to her sinless state in heaven when they call Mary "all-holy and all-pure".  After all, the prayers are addressed "to" her being in heaven, not on earth.

(Of course, what do I know about Orthodoxy--I'm just a Baptist! :cwm12: :cwm29: :cwm30: )
« Last Edit: September 05, 2003, 08:37:39 PM by Doubting Thomas » Logged

"My Lord and My God!"--Doubting Thomas, AD 33
Saint Polycarp
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 243



« Reply #86 on: September 05, 2003, 09:16:57 PM »

Ok what does it mean to be full of grace?
28 And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
Logged

Peace
Doubting Thomas
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 874

Anglican (but not Episcopagan)


« Reply #87 on: September 05, 2003, 09:33:40 PM »

Ok what does it mean to be full of grace?
28 And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

Luke 1:28 --"And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women."  (KJV)

So is Mary "highly favored" or "full of grace"?  Anyone know the original Greek?  Grin
Logged

"My Lord and My God!"--Doubting Thomas, AD 33
TomS
Banned
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA
Posts: 3,186


"Look At Me! Look At Me Now! " - Bono


« Reply #88 on: September 05, 2003, 10:02:52 PM »

According to "The Orthodox New Testament, Holy Apostles Convent"

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0944359175/ref=cm_custrec_gl_acc/102-1995270-9216155?v=glance&s=books

"And the angel entered and said to her, "Rejoice thou who hast been shown grace, the Lord is with thee; blessedart thou among women"

And the notes attached to this passage (note from Tom: I will replace the greek letters with their english parallels):

---

Literally "Be rejoicing ("xaire", present active imperative), thou who hast been shown grace ("kexaritomene", perfect passive parrticle of "xaritoo"). Blessed Theophylact: "Thou didst find grace before the face of God"; this is the meaning of 'to be shown grace', 'to find favor before God', that is 'to be pleasing to God'. But this indeed is common. For many other women found grace before the face of God, but that which follows was not yet heard of." [P.G. 123:275DA]

Saint Basil the Great: "The first fruit of the Spirit is peace and joy. Therefore, ...the holy Virgin had received within herself every grace of the Holy Spirit." ["On Psalm 32, " Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers, Toal, IV:415.]

Saint Photios the Great: "The Virgin found favor with God because she had made herself worthy before her Creator, for, having adorned her soul with the fairness of purity, she had prepared herself as an agreeable habitation of Him....She found favor with Him not only because she had kept her virinity inviolate, but also because she had maintained her desires unsullied." ["Homily V, On the Annunciation, " The Homilies of Photius, Patriarch of Constantinople, 116]


----

« Last Edit: September 05, 2003, 10:06:10 PM by TomS » Logged
Keble
All-Knowing Grand Wizard of Debunking
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 3,436



« Reply #89 on: September 06, 2003, 09:49:16 AM »


The Orthodox differ on the Theotokos  from the Romans in two respects:

1. Since all infants are born sinless, Mary needed no immaculate conception.   She did receive the uncreated Grace of the Assimilation to God (Gen. 1:26 in Greek; it had been lost by the first humans through sinning, a loss that has been inherited ever since by newborns) to become God's Mother, to lead a sinless life, and to enjoy a precursive resurrection.

Not to put to fine a point on it, this does not seem in the least coherent to me.

In the first place, we all have available to us an on-line resource with more-or-less definitive answers on what the Catholic Church teaches, and failing that, one can go to the Vatican website itself for the definitive versions of many texts. At least in Orthodoxy there is some excuse for confusion about what exactly is taught; in Catholicism there is no excuse. I have no compunction about wading in and taking up the Roman cause, though by and large I don't have time to do so.

I've looked at the verse in Genesis to which you refer, and, while my Greek isn't that good, it's good enough for me to tell that the LXX, the Vulgate, and nearly every English version translate this passage in the same way, practically word-for-word. It doesn't say anything about "uncreated energies". Indeed, the the very phrase you use is a misleading archaicism.  Modern English almost never uses "energy" in the plural, because in modern usage the scientific sense of the word has become the standard. As you use the word, it has become a sort of theological jargon, a bubble terminology floating free from the grey swamp of plain meaning. It seems to me that, as you use the words, the phrase "created energies" can have no meaning in reference to God.

Unfortunately the phrase "original sin" has suffered the same fate. Even in the Catholic Encyclopedia one can see the phrase losing its juridical sense. In talking about these things, we are entering a world of mysteries. Giving ourselves the liberty of having our own words mean whatever we like, while telling our opponents what they mean with their words, isn't proper. All words, in this context, slip loose of the bonds of earthly meaning and speak their significances through indirection and rhetorical tropes.

One way or another, one is forced to deal with the fact that infants die, often within minutes or days of birth. The understanding is ancient that this has something to do with the sin of Adam. I do not think Orthodoxy would deny this. But after that the word games begin. From a theological point of view I am not all that interested in whether Mary sinned personally or not. But it seems necessary on your part that attributing some sort of error to Catholicism is necessary. From my very Anglican perspective, the actual differences between Orthodox and Catholic positions aren't all that great. There are differences, to be sure, but what I see are differences of degree, not kind.

Even so thorough an Anglican as Lewis is willing to place Mary in a special position among the saints. But historically this has tended to get out of control. Jesus tends to get turned into a superman, and if anything the process gets taken further with Mary. The idea of a genuinely human birth with its attendant pain and mess and a placenta to dispose of offends, so it is shoved out of the stable. A Jesus who wakes Mary in the night so that he can be fed and his stinky diapers changed is put out of mind.

Indeed, the problem is that we cannot conceive of how a sinless childhood should appear; so instead of admitting this, we erect idols of this childhood which quickly get to be laughable in their hyperpiety. And then the same process gets dumped on Mary. An ordinary woman isn't good enough to be the Theotokos; she has to be extraordinary. So she acquires a life which is fabulous in both senses of the word. I suppose this "precursive resurrection" falls into this, if I believed it actually had some definite meaning.

But beyond that, there seems to be a push to take Mary beyond being merely the vessel of salvation. The (thus far) ultimate expression of this is Co-redemption, an idea which I think is wrong anyway but which is embedded in such outrageously misleading language as to practically constitute a theological fraud. It comes as close as it can to the heresy that Mary is not just a conduit of grace, but is an originator of grace.

Orthodoxy, to its credit, has resisted this excess, but it still falls into gilding the lily, as it were. For instance, we have the legend that Mary lived in the Holy of Holies for some years. Leaving aside the practicalities of such an arrangement, there is the problem that for her to do so would have been a pretty dire sin.

No doubt Protestants as a rule go too much the opther way. But it is easy enough to understand heir overreaction. There seems to be litle restraint in the elevation of Mary; she does seem to be being elevated to a state of such near divinity that she becomes practically a demigod.
Logged
Tags: Theotokos 
Pages: « 1 2 3 »  All   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.151 seconds with 72 queries.