Author Topic: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception  (Read 213672 times)

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Offline Fr. George

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #405 on: April 30, 2009, 03:51:31 PM »
However, like many other Fathers of the Church, only some of his writings are considered excellent theological treatises, and others are considered opinions of his.
But, we as Orthodox, are allowed to have opinions that favor the Immaculate Conception?

Well, as I see it: it's not a part of our dogmatic corpus, so it wouldn't be good to integrate it into one's worship or prayer life.  If one piously believes it, so be it, but they shouldn't teach it to others as an Orthodox Christian.
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Offline PoorFoolNicholas

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #406 on: April 30, 2009, 04:03:44 PM »
Well, as I see it: it's not a part of our dogmatic corpus, so it wouldn't be good to integrate it into one's worship or prayer life.  If one piously believes it, so be it, but they shouldn't teach it to others as an Orthodox Christian.
So what you are saying, and what Met. Kallistos says as well, is that it is not dogma, but can be accepted, and believed by the Orthodox faithful?

Offline Papist

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #407 on: April 30, 2009, 04:27:57 PM »
I didn`t read anything from Palama , i don`t usually treasure post schism fathers as much a the fathers before schism , if he says what you said he says he is a cook , sorry for the expression but i thing your misinterpret it , or i misunderstand cause i don`t speak english that good.
:o St. Gregory Palamas is considered one of the greatest of the Eastern Orthodox theologians.

After reading through most of this thread.  It does appear to me that the RCC position is that Mary somehow didn’t need Jesus in order to be sinless. Am I correct to assume so?
WRONG. The Immaculate Conception was merited by Christ's death on the cross through God's foreknowledge of the saving sacrifice.
As for her personal sinfulness, of course we believe that God's grace aided her in her sanctity. However, it did not force her to be sinless. She still had to choose to cooperate with grace.
"For, by its immensity, the divine substance surpasses every form that our intellect reaches. Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is. Yet we are able to have some knowledge of it by knowing what it is not." - St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra gentiles, I, 14.

Offline Fr. George

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #408 on: April 30, 2009, 05:08:13 PM »
So what you are saying, and what Met. Kallistos says as well, is that it is not dogma, but can be accepted, and believed by the Orthodox faithful?

Well, I guess my position would be more along these lines:

Because it has not been added to the core of beliefs of the Orthodox Christian Church, despite the presentation of the argument and the available resources on the subject, and because it is instead propagated as a dogmatic principle in a Church not in communion with Holy Orthodoxy, I would not suggest either teaching others about the IC, nor would I suggest espousing that belief.  However, holding such a belief as a private devotion will probably not endanger one's salvation, so the belief may be permissible to hold, although I would discourage it (not only because of the non-acceptance by Orthodoxy, but also because the resources related to the belief in the IC are all from {Orthodox POV} heterodox sources).
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Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #409 on: April 30, 2009, 07:25:50 PM »
Well, as I see it: it's not a part of our dogmatic corpus, so it wouldn't be good to integrate it into one's worship or prayer life.  If one piously believes it, so be it, but they shouldn't teach it to others as an Orthodox Christian.
So what you are saying, and what Met. Kallistos says as well, is that it is not dogma, but can be accepted, and believed by the Orthodox faithful?

I would say that the Orthodox teaching is that the Mother of God was conceived in exactly the same state as you were and I was and the Dalai Lama was.  This Orthodox belief is one of the major reasons for the Orthodox rejection of the Immaculate Conception.

However, if people would like to take that to mean we were all conceived immaculately, so be it.   :laugh:

Offline Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #410 on: April 30, 2009, 07:34:43 PM »
So what you are saying, and what Met. Kallistos says as well, is that it is not dogma, but can be accepted, and believed by the Orthodox faithful?

Well, I guess my position would be more along these lines:

Because it has not been added to the core of beliefs of the Orthodox Christian Church, despite the presentation of the argument and the available resources on the subject, and because it is instead propagated as a dogmatic principle in a Church not in communion with Holy Orthodoxy, I would not suggest either teaching others about the IC, nor would I suggest espousing that belief.  However, holding such a belief as a private devotion will probably not endanger one's salvation, so the belief may be permissible to hold, although I would discourage it (not only because of the non-acceptance by Orthodoxy, but also because the resources related to the belief in the IC are all from {Orthodox POV} heterodox sources).

I would add two things:

1. I think it matters if it is a matter of piety by an ordinary Orthodox lay person or if it is matter of belief by Orthodox clergy, bishops, and teachers. If the former, I would say no great harm. But, if it is the latter, it should not be held.

2. In addition to the fact that it comes from a heterodox source (the less important factor IMO), the very doctrine of IC seems to go against basic Christian beliefs, no matter how the RC Church now explains it. I must admit that I am coming to this thread rather late, but I have had discussions on this issue at other times and places. Nothing that I have heard has convinced me that this doctrine (akin to the doctrine of Papal Infallibility) is justifiable, reasonable or believable. In essence, both doctrines create another category--that of a demi-God.

Offline LBK

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #411 on: April 30, 2009, 07:43:32 PM »
I would add two things:

1. I think it matters if it is a matter of piety by an ordinary Orthodox lay person or if it is matter of belief by Orthodox clergy, bishops, and teachers. If the former, I would say no great harm. But, if it is the latter, it should not be held.

2. In addition to the fact that it comes from a heterodox source (the less important factor IMO), the very doctrine of IC seems to go against basic Christian beliefs, no matter how the RC Church now explains it. I must admit that I am coming to this thread rather late, but I have had discussions on this issue at other times and places. Nothing that I have heard has convinced me that this doctrine (akin to the doctrine of Papal Infallibility) is justifiable, reasonable or believable. In essence, both doctrines create another category--that of a demi-God.

Give the man a cigar! The "demigod" analogy is completely apt.
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Offline Tzimis

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #412 on: April 30, 2009, 09:06:05 PM »
I didn`t read anything from Palama , i don`t usually treasure post schism fathers as much a the fathers before schism , if he says what you said he says he is a cook , sorry for the expression but i thing your misinterpret it , or i misunderstand cause i don`t speak english that good.
:o St. Gregory Palamas is considered one of the greatest of the Eastern Orthodox theologians.

After reading through most of this thread.  It does appear to me that the RCC position is that Mary somehow didn’t need Jesus in order to be sinless. Am I correct to assume so?
WRONG. The Immaculate Conception was merited by Christ's death on the cross through God's foreknowledge of the saving sacrifice.
As for her personal sinfulness, of course we believe that God's grace aided her in her sanctity. However, it did not force her to be sinless. She still had to choose to cooperate with grace.

 Lets see if I understand. She was saved before she had to cooperate in order for her to cooperate to be saved.

Offline Mardukm

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #413 on: April 30, 2009, 09:15:34 PM »
Dear brother Demetrios,

Lets see if I understand. She was saved before she had to cooperate in order for her to cooperate to be saved.
Yes, that would be the case.  And it should not surprise you at all, since we ourselves are saved as mere babies before we had a chance to cooperate.

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Offline Mardukm

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #414 on: April 30, 2009, 09:20:54 PM »
Dear brother Mickey,

Brother Papist has given a solid defense to which you did not respond at all, but when your use of a verse was refuted, you just came up with another verse, which is then again refuted, and then you come up with another verse without bothering to refute brother Papist’s statements, and so on and so on.

Like I said, brother Papist has already done an excellent job of refuting your use of these verses, but permit me to add my own comments, a good portion of which has already been presented earlier in this thread to refute your claims. 

Quote
“Of all those born of women, there is not a single one who is perfectly holy, apart from the Lord Jesus Christ, Who in a special new way of immaculate birth-giving, did not experience earthly taint”
(St. Ambrose, Commentary on Luke, ch. 2)

“One Man alone, the Intermediary between God and man, is free from the bonds of sinful birth, because He was born of a Virgin, and because in being born He did not experience the touch of sin”
(St. Ambrose, Against Julian, Book 2)
Brother Papist gave an ample refutation of your use of these verses against the IC – namely, that it refers to the unique conception of Jesus Christ – a conception of the Holy Spirit without a human father.  His Immaculateness was completely natural by virtue of his exceptional birth.  In distinction, Mary’s conception and its immaculateness came about in an altogether different manner – that is, by Grace, as indeed St. Ambrose states in another place that Mary was she “whom Grace has made inviolate, free of every stain.” 

We also need to understand the context of these quotes.  Why was St. Ambrose so concerned about the unique nature of Jesus’ conception? Answer – because he was immersed in the battle against the Arian heresy and its relatives that taught that Jesus was simply a creature.  His statements do not deny in any way the teaching of the IC.  As Father Ambrose himself has pointed out, St. Ambrose maintained that St. Joachim’s seed was immaculate – which would account for Mary’s IC.

Quote
“There is none without stain before Thee, even though his life be but a day, save Thou alone, Jesus Christ our God, Who didst appear on earth without sin, and through Whom we all trust to obtain mercy and the remission of sins.”
(St. Basil the Great, Third Prayer of Vespers of Pentecost.)
Same thing. St. Basil is speaking here of the natural state of Jesus.  Mary’s freedom from every stain was not natural, but was so by virtue of GRACE.  In his treatise on the Holy Spirit, St. Basil states that even the holiness of the angels is “external to their substance.” In another place, St. Basil speaks of continency (the opposite of concupiscence) as a Grace of God, while speaking of Jesus as continency itself.  It is easy to see that St. Basil’s statement here does not dictate against the teaching of the IC of Mary.

Quote
“I am frightened now, seeing that certain of you have desired to change the condition of important matters, introducing a new festival unknown to the Church, unapproved by the reason, unjustified by ancient tradition. Are we really more learned and more pious than our fathers? You will say, ‘One must glorify the Mother of God as much as possible.’ This is true; but the glorification given to the Queen of Heaven demands discernment. This Royal Virgin does not have need of false glorifications, possessing as She does true crowns of glory and signs of dignity. Glorify the purity of her flesh and the sanctity of Her life. Marvel at the abundance of the gifts of this Virgin; venerate Her Divine Son; exalt Her Who conceived without knowing concupiscence and gave birth without knowing pain. But what does one yet need to add to these dignities? People say that one must revere the conception which preceded the glorious birth-giving; for if the conception had not preceded, the birth-giving also would not have been glorious. But what would one say if anyone for the same reason should demand the same kind of veneration of the father and mother of Holy Mary? One might equally demand the same for Her grandparents and great-grandparents, to infinity. Moreover, how can there not be sin in the place where there was concupiscence? All the more, let one not say that the Holy Virgin was conceived of the Holy Spirit and not of man. I say decisively that the Holy Spirit descended upon Her, but not that He came with Her.”
Bernard of Clairvaux
In arguing the “veneration of the father and mother of Holy Mary…the same for Her grandparents and great-grandparents,” St. Bernard seems to have forgotten a VERY important fact.  Mary was not divine, but Jesus IS.  So the honor of the IC need not extend beyond the Theotokos.  Obviously, the “conceived of the Holy Spirit” argument is merely a straw man.  The concupiscence argument I address in the next section.

Quote
“I say that the Virgin Mary could not be sanctified before Her conception, inasmuch as She did not exist. If, all the more, She could not be sanctified in the moment of Her conception by reason of the sin which is inseparable from conception, then it remains to believe that She was sanctified after She was conceived in the womb of her mother. This sanctification, if it annihilates sin, makes holy Her birth, but not Her conception. No one is given the right to be conceived in sanctity; only the Lord Christ was conceived of the Holy Spirit, and He alone is holy from His very conception. Excluding Him, it is to all the descendants of Adam that must be referred that which one of them says of himself, both out of a feeling of humility and in acknowledgement of the truth: Behold I was conceived in iniquities (Ps. 50:7). How can one demand that this conception be holy, when it was not the work of the Holy Spirit, not to mention that it came from concupiscence? The Holy Virgin, of course, rejects that glory which, evidently, glorifies sin. She cannot in any way justify a novelty invented in spite of the teaching of the Church, a novelty which is the mother of imprudence, the sister of unbelief, and the daughter of light-mindedness.”
Bernard of Clairvaux
This excerpt clearly demonstrates the Latin understanding at the time that Mary’s sanctification occurred at some time after the physical conception (the common Latin belief being at the time of her ensoulment which occurrs after physical conception) yet before her birth.  Notice that his argument against a holy conception is that, unlike Christ’s, it was not “of the Holy Spirit.” This demonstrates that he is speaking of the physical conception. But you have been shown several times that the dogma of the IC does not refer to her physical conception, but to her spiritual conception, the moment of her ensoulment.  So St. Bernard’s argument does not even touch upon the dogma of the IC, and – conversely – the dogma of the IC does not violate St. Bernard’s teaching that only Jesus’ physical conception was unique (since it was “of the Holy Spirit”). The only point of contention would be the idea that Mary’s conception came from concupiscence.  Of course, the Eastern Tradition differently taught that Sts. Joachim and Anne did not conceive her in lust. 

You simply have to remember that St. Bernard was opposing the introduction of the EASTERN Feast of the Conception of St. Anne into the West.  In fact, his “conceived by the Holy Spirit” argument may not have been a straw man at all, but something he heard from an Eastern proponent of the IC.  All his arguments against it indirectly demonstrate that the Eastern Fathers believed in the IC, not to mention the direct testimony of Eastern Fathers themselves at the time.

Quote
"And as it pertains to the excellent dignity of Christ, that He is the Redeemer and Savior of all, and that He opens the door to all, and that He alone died for all, the Virgin Mary is not excluded from this generality, lest while increasing the Mother's excellence, the glory of the Son be lessened: and so the mother attests, who wishes the Son to be more extolled and honored than she herself, the Creator than the creature."
Bonaventure (d. 1274)
That coincides exactly with the teaching that Mary received the Grace of the IC by virtue of the merits of Christ’s Sacrifice, which are eternal. Even Mary needed Christ as her Redeemer, as St. Bonaventure stated.

Quote
None of the ancient Holy Fathers say that God in miraculous fashion purified the Virgin Mary while yet in the womb; and many directly indicate that the Virgin Mary, just as all men, endured a battle with sinfulness, but was victorious over temptations and was saved by Her Divine Son.
St John Maximovitch
It would be well to keep our discussion to the sources, instead of the polemics of MODERN EO’xy.  It is plainly evident that this statement by this EO saint is staggeringly false, given the numerous testimonies of the EO Fathers prior to the mid-19th century on the IC of Mary.

Quote
“Despite the righteousness and the immaculateness of life which the Mother of God led, sin and eternal death manifested their presence in Her. They could not but be manifested: Such is the precise and faithful teaching of the Orthodox Church concerning the Mother of God with relation to ancestral sin and death”
(Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov, “Exposition’ of the Teaching of the Orthodox Church on the Mother of God”)
Another MODERN EO witness, which is not patristic, and not very faithful to the teaching of HISTORIC EO’xy (though it *might* be faithful to the teaching of MODERN EO’xy).

Quote
It is not for nothing that the Orthodox Church, in her liturgical texts, calls David 'the ancestor of God' and gives the same name of 'holy and righteous ancestors of God' to Joachim and Anna. The Roman Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception seems to break up this uninterrupted succession of Old Testament holiness, which reaches its fulfillment at the moment of the Annunciation, when the Holy Spirit came down upon the Virgin to make her fit to receive the Word of the Father in her womb. The Orthodox Church does not admit the idea that the Holy Virgin was thus exempted from the lot of the rest of fallen humanity - the idea of a 'privilege' which makes her into a being ransomed before the redemptive work, by virtue of the future merits of her Son.
Vladimir Lossky
As a response, first consider Pope St. Athanasius’ teaching on original sin.  He taught that man was made NATURALLY mortal and corruptible, and that it was by Grace that he was immortal and incorruptible (read the first 6 chapters of Athanasius’ De Incarnatione Verbi Dei).  On the other hand, he had other faculties which were NATURAL to him, such as reason, a knowledge of his own eternity, etc., and other faculties which were also BY GRACE that allowed him to live in communion with the holy ones (read the first 4 chapters of Athanasius’ Contra Gentes). What the Fall did was remove the Grace that made man immortal (making him mortal and corruptible), the various Graces that allowed him to be in communion with the Holy ones (loss of original Justice and Holiness), and also wounded his natural powers (another cause of the loss of original Holiness).  In other words, the Fall caused Man to have spiritual damage (the “stain”), and devolve to his merely natural state of being subject to death and corruption.

What the Grace of the IC did for Mary was PREVENT the SPIRITUAL damage (the “STAIN”) of the Original Sin from touching her SOUL, which returned to Mary the Graces of Original Justice and Original Holiness (the same Graces we receive at Baptism), but nevertheless left Mary in the NATURAL state of man before the Fall (subject to death and corruption, while having an undamaged use of reason).  It is this NATURAL state that Jesus acquired from Mary.  The promise of Jesus’ Resurrection gives to humankind something GREATER than the NATURAL state of mortality and corruptibility.  The promise of Jesus’ Resurrection actually TRANSFORMS our bodies to incorruptibility and immortality (and other spiritual blessings besides).

So the ancestry of God was not broken by the IC, since Mary was still a natural creature.  And like everyone else, Mary had to await the Resurrection of Jesus for its promise to be fulfilled at her Assumption.

Personally, though I fully accept the teaching of the dogma of the IC, I don’t think the “merits of Christ” clause is necessary for my own belief in the dogma.  It was included to satisfy particularly LATIN concerns, but can do fully well without it, IMO.  After all, as Pope St. Athanasius taught, even Sts. Jeremiah and John (the Forerunner) were made holy and clean from all sin from their mothers’ womb – and this even BEFORE the Son of Man was born, died and resurrected.  The ability of God to do so, as expressed by Father Athanasius, is sufficient for me, even without the clause about the “merits of Christ.”

BTW, the relation of St. Athanasius’ teaching on original sin above demonstrates why the dogma of the IC does not take away Mary’s free will.  St. Athanasius, faithfully followed by the Catholic Church, taught that concupiscence is the disordered use of reason (a definition pretty much consistent among all the early Fathers).  Having a lack of concupiscence (as did Adam and Eve before the Fall) does NOT mean that one will not sin – it simply means that one possesses the full, undamaged use of one’s reason, which STRENGTHENS one’s free will against sin, but by no means takes away one’s free will.  The problem is that a lot of people think “concupiscence” SIMPLY means “the propensity to sin.” But that is not how the Fathers defined it, nor is it how the Catholic Church, faithful to the Fathers, defines it.

Nothing you have quoted so far makes a case against the teaching of the IC.  If you don’t accept it, fine, but are you willing to admit that it is not heresy?

Blessings,
Marduk

Offline Mardukm

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #415 on: April 30, 2009, 09:21:45 PM »
Dearest Father Ambrose,

Forgive me for not noticing earlier your request to respond to post #239:

Quote
Catholics place on awful amount of emphasis on the Archangel's greeting to the Mother of God "Hail, FULL  OF  GRACE" and this greeting is a strong plank in their argumentation for the Immaculate Conception.

Now if "Full" in fact means "Full" and not half-full or 7/8ths full does this mean that Mary was necessarily fully deified (as in theosis) from the moment of her conception?   Does it mean that she has existed from the first moment of her existence in the supreme condition of total final theosis?   This is something which the rest of us willl never obtain since theosis is a never-ending journey into the infinity of God.
As a matter of fact “full of grace” as I’m sure you know, is not a transliteration of the original Greek, but an interpretive translation, which seems to be pretty much unanimously accepted, even by members of other apostolic Churches.  It actually really only means that she has been greatly blessed, and in some way this great blessing was completed in the past (according to the grammar). I’m sure that even according to your understanding of theosis, “full of grace” does not in any way equate to a COMPLETION Of theosis.  I think this is an area where the difference between theosis and theopoiesis becomes relevant, but this thread is not the place to discuss that.

In any case, I hope the explanation I gave above to brother Mickey of St. Athanasius’ teaching on original sin helps to answer your question.  Mary only received certain Graces from the IC, and it was by no means the Grace of glorification (which Grace she received at her Assumption).

Quote
If you go back to message #50 in this thread ( http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,20612.msg308255.html#msg308255 ) you will see that his Primate, Patriarch Bartholomew, denies the Immaculate Conception.
I already responded to that.  The Grace of the IC did not preserve Mary from the physical corruption nor death that resulted from the original sin of Adam and Eve. As authoritatively asserted by Pope Alexander VII in 1661, the IC refers to her soul, not her body. So whatever it is that HH Patriarch Bartholomew rejects is not really what the dogma of the IC teaches, is it?  There is, of course, the question of whether one can properly consider the soul separately from the body with regards to sanctification/purification.  I will address that fully this weekend when I respond to brother Mina’s post.

Finally, concerning your comments on St. Palamas:
First, thank you for providing the material. I’m glad I didn’t have to do the research.
Second, and more importantly, the only thing that is --- unique --- about St. Palamas’ understanding of the IC is HOW it came about.  There were several competing theories in the Catholic Church herself regarding the HOW of the matter before the dogma - e.g.: that Mary was born of a virgin (condemned by Pope Benedict XIV); that St. Joachim’s seed was immaculate; that Sts. Joachim and Anne did not conceive in lust; that an unsullied part of Adam was transmitted throughout history; that God through the Holy Spirit prevented the stain of original sin from touching Mary. It was the last one that finally gained the magisterial support of the Church that resulted in the dogma. In any case, you cannot deny that he believed that Mary was immaculately conceived (like many other EO Fathers before the mid-19th century), regardless of the HOW of the matter.

Humbly,
Marduk

Offline Mardukm

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #416 on: April 30, 2009, 09:29:37 PM »
Well, as I see it: it's not a part of our dogmatic corpus, so it wouldn't be good to integrate it into one's worship or prayer life.  If one piously believes it, so be it, but they shouldn't teach it to others as an Orthodox Christian.
So what you are saying, and what Met. Kallistos says as well, is that it is not dogma, but can be accepted, and believed by the Orthodox faithful?

I would say that the Orthodox teaching is that the Mother of God was conceived in exactly the same state as you were and I was and the Dalai Lama was.  This Orthodox belief is one of the major reasons for the Orthodox rejection of the Immaculate Conception.

However, if people would like to take that to mean we were all conceived immaculately, so be it.   :laugh:
Are you the mother of God, charged with the upbringing of God-made-man?  Are you all-Holy, all-pure, free and preserved from every taint of sin? Did even the Forerunner obtain such prerogatives in Tradition?  Why should you, or I, or anyone presume such things?

Humbly,
Marduk

Offline Mardukm

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #417 on: April 30, 2009, 09:31:33 PM »
I would add two things:

1. I think it matters if it is a matter of piety by an ordinary Orthodox lay person or if it is matter of belief by Orthodox clergy, bishops, and teachers. If the former, I would say no great harm. But, if it is the latter, it should not be held.

2. In addition to the fact that it comes from a heterodox source (the less important factor IMO), the very doctrine of IC seems to go against basic Christian beliefs, no matter how the RC Church now explains it. I must admit that I am coming to this thread rather late, but I have had discussions on this issue at other times and places. Nothing that I have heard has convinced me that this doctrine (akin to the doctrine of Papal Infallibility) is justifiable, reasonable or believable. In essence, both doctrines create another category--that of a demi-God.

Give the man a cigar! The "demigod" analogy is completely apt.
WOW!  St. Athanasius says we are to become God.  And Mary, the greatest creation of God, is merely a demi-god. :D

Blessings

Offline Tzimis

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #418 on: April 30, 2009, 09:34:35 PM »
Dear brother Demetrios,

Lets see if I understand. She was saved before she had to cooperate in order for her to cooperate to be saved.
Yes, that would be the case.  And it should not surprise you at all, since we ourselves are saved as mere babies before we had a chance to cooperate.

Blessings
This may sound as a silly question to you, but why than do we need to cooperate if we are saved?

Offline Mardukm

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #419 on: April 30, 2009, 09:47:19 PM »
Dear brother Second Chance,

So what you are saying, and what Met. Kallistos says as well, is that it is not dogma, but can be accepted, and believed by the Orthodox faithful?

Well, I guess my position would be more along these lines:

Because it has not been added to the core of beliefs of the Orthodox Christian Church, despite the presentation of the argument and the available resources on the subject, and because it is instead propagated as a dogmatic principle in a Church not in communion with Holy Orthodoxy, I would not suggest either teaching others about the IC, nor would I suggest espousing that belief.  However, holding such a belief as a private devotion will probably not endanger one's salvation, so the belief may be permissible to hold, although I would discourage it (not only because of the non-acceptance by Orthodoxy, but also because the resources related to the belief in the IC are all from {Orthodox POV} heterodox sources).

I would add two things:

1. I think it matters if it is a matter of piety by an ordinary Orthodox lay person or if it is matter of belief by Orthodox clergy, bishops, and teachers. If the former, I would say no great harm. But, if it is the latter, it should not be held.
Theoretically, what if a group of bishops expresses belief in it?  And what if your own particular Synod expresses belief in it?  Would you accept it, or transfer to another jurisdiction?

Quote
2. In addition to the fact that it comes from a heterodox source (the less important factor IMO), the very doctrine of IC seems to go against basic Christian beliefs, no matter how the RC Church now explains it. I must admit that I am coming to this thread rather late, but I have had discussions on this issue at other times and places. Nothing that I have heard has convinced me that this doctrine (akin to the doctrine of Papal Infallibility) is justifiable, reasonable or believable. In essence, both doctrines create another category--that of a demi-God.
Yet, if you read through the entire thread, no one seems able to prove that it goes "against basic Christian beliefs." Please do take the time to read through the entire thread, and if you have anything else to add, your input would be appreciated (in truth, I am itching to participate in other threads, but I don't have time to do so, and want to focus on this one until all questions have been answered).

Blessings,
Marduk

Offline Mardukm

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #420 on: April 30, 2009, 09:55:21 PM »
Dear brother Demetrios,

Dear brother Demetrios,

Lets see if I understand. She was saved before she had to cooperate in order for her to cooperate to be saved.
Yes, that would be the case.  And it should not surprise you at all, since we ourselves are saved as mere babies before we had a chance to cooperate.
This may sound as a silly question to you, but why than do we need to cooperate if we are saved?
It is not a silly question at all.  Though I admit I am surprised to hear it from an apostolic Christian.  Normally, I get that question from Protestants who deny infant Baptism.  I hope you don't mind, but the following response would be the normal one I would give to a Protestant.

We need to cooperate even though we are saved because salvation is a life-long process.  It is not a one-time event.  Easterns would call it theosis.  Orientals would call it theosis or theopoiesis.  Westerns would call it sanctification.  When one comes to the use of one's reason, then one's culpability to actual sin is activated.  One can in fact lose salvation in this life-long process if one does not repent and renew oneself daily from one's sins.

That is the standard answer I give to Protestants.  To other Protestants who believe in the OSAS heresy (Once-Saved-Always-Saved), the answer is a little more detailed.

Blessings,
Marduk

Offline Tzimis

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #421 on: April 30, 2009, 10:30:14 PM »
Dear brother Demetrios,

Dear brother Demetrios,

Lets see if I understand. She was saved before she had to cooperate in order for her to cooperate to be saved.
Yes, that would be the case.  And it should not surprise you at all, since we ourselves are saved as mere babies before we had a chance to cooperate.
This may sound as a silly question to you, but why than do we need to cooperate if we are saved?
It is not a silly question at all.  Though I admit I am surprised to hear it from an apostolic Christian.  Normally, I get that question from Protestants who deny infant Baptism.  I hope you don't mind, but the following response would be the normal one I would give to a Protestant.

We need to cooperate even though we are saved because salvation is a life-long process.  It is not a one-time event.  Easterns would call it theosis.  Orientals would call it theosis or theopoiesis.  Westerns would call it sanctification.  When one comes to the use of one's reason, then one's culpability to actual sin is activated.  One can in fact lose salvation in this life-long process if one does not repent and renew oneself daily from one's sins.

That is the standard answer I give to Protestants.  To other Protestants who believe in the OSAS heresy (Once-Saved-Always-Saved), the answer is a little more detailed.

Blessings,
Marduk
You seem like a very intelligent person and I know the the further along into theology we go from here the more complex it will be to bring you back. I can tell you now that our difference lies in our understanding of original sin and from there on we start to deviate and end up in different directions. I'll give you an example. let say we both sailed off from New York to London. If one of our compasses were off by 3 degrees one might end up in Spain. It's the same with our theology's. If one is in Spain and the other in London we can never communicate. Hopefully one day the fog can clear between us.

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #422 on: April 30, 2009, 10:42:17 PM »
Dear brother Demetrios

Dear brother Demetrios,

Dear brother Demetrios,

Lets see if I understand. She was saved before she had to cooperate in order for her to cooperate to be saved.
Yes, that would be the case.  And it should not surprise you at all, since we ourselves are saved as mere babies before we had a chance to cooperate.
This may sound as a silly question to you, but why than do we need to cooperate if we are saved?
It is not a silly question at all.  Though I admit I am surprised to hear it from an apostolic Christian.  Normally, I get that question from Protestants who deny infant Baptism.  I hope you don't mind, but the following response would be the normal one I would give to a Protestant.

We need to cooperate even though we are saved because salvation is a life-long process.  It is not a one-time event.  Easterns would call it theosis.  Orientals would call it theosis or theopoiesis.  Westerns would call it sanctification.  When one comes to the use of one's reason, then one's culpability to actual sin is activated.  One can in fact lose salvation in this life-long process if one does not repent and renew oneself daily from one's sins.

That is the standard answer I give to Protestants.  To other Protestants who believe in the OSAS heresy (Once-Saved-Always-Saved), the answer is a little more detailed.

Blessings,
Marduk
You seem like a very intelligent person and I know the the further along into theology we go from here the more complex it will be to bring you back. I can tell you now that our difference lies in our understanding of original sin and from there on we start to deviate and end up in different directions. I'll give you an example. let say we both sailed off from New York to London. If one of our compasses were off by 3 degrees one might end up in Spain. It's the same with our theology's. If one is in Spain and the other in London we can never communicate. Hopefully one day the fog can clear between us.
I would love to hear your understanding of original sin, and how it differentiates from mine. The understanding of original sin I learned as an OO not in communion with Rome is the same one I hold as an OO in communion with Rome.

Blessings,
Marduk

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #423 on: April 30, 2009, 10:56:46 PM »
If he was that great , why don`t the orthodox Church have this dogma according to what "he said" ?

Because he isn't infallible.
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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #424 on: April 30, 2009, 11:09:17 PM »
Papist, I have to tell you that in most of my conversations over the last year, a lot perspectives in the Orthodox Church have been based on a counter-Rome polemic, which is what I experienced all of the time in Protestantism.  In the back of my mind it keeps the gnawing question going of who the schismatics are, because only one identity seems to function as an opposite to the other.

To be fair though, all of the Catholics in my family and in general here in the USA have no idea about Orthodoxy, so how could they have any identity based off of anti-Orthodox polemic?  Also, to be fair, as a minority the Orthodox in America are always confused as Catholics and so they constantly have to emphasize the differences.

Just thinking out loud...
All very fair observations. However, I don't want you to think that I believe that all Orthodox Christians define their faith by "not being Catholic". This is something I see more often in extermely zelous converts that left the Catholic Church.

Left the Catholic Church?  By embracing Orthodoxy, they converted to the One, Holy, CATHOLIC and Apostolic Church.  But then, you already knew that.

On the point of the IC, it wouldn't involve us at all if it wasn't that the Latin apologists, speaking to their own flock or the Protestants, keep repeating that the IC originated in the East and the Orthodoxy believed it unlike the pope proclaimed it, "because they have to be contrary to the magisterium...blah...blah...blah...."  Somewhere on this thread I posted how such Eastern "prooftexts" for the IC are "found," or rather invented (and I don't mean in the sense of relics).  And to that, "well, the Orthodox Church hasn't condemned it, so it's an acceptable theologoumen, Bp. Kallistos says so....blah....blah...blah."  Just another error of the Vatican.  We need not worry ourselves over it.

The mere fact that the Latin doctors condemned the IC when it first appeared, which was in the WEST, not the East, a millenium after the birth of the Church, should be a enough said as to its pseudo-apostolic origin.

Dear brother Demetrios,

Lets see if I understand. She was saved before she had to cooperate in order for her to cooperate to be saved.
Yes, that would be the case.  And it should not surprise you at all, since we ourselves are saved as mere babies before we had a chance to cooperate.

Blessings

Somehow I thought we were of similar age.  I didn't realize you were born before the Crucifixion.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2009, 11:12:59 PM by ialmisry »
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline Tzimis

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #425 on: April 30, 2009, 11:43:57 PM »
Dear brother Demetrios

Dear brother Demetrios,

Dear brother Demetrios,

Lets see if I understand. She was saved before she had to cooperate in order for her to cooperate to be saved.
Yes, that would be the case.  And it should not surprise you at all, since we ourselves are saved as mere babies before we had a chance to cooperate.
This may sound as a silly question to you, but why than do we need to cooperate if we are saved?
It is not a silly question at all.  Though I admit I am surprised to hear it from an apostolic Christian.  Normally, I get that question from Protestants who deny infant Baptism.  I hope you don't mind, but the following response would be the normal one I would give to a Protestant.

We need to cooperate even though we are saved because salvation is a life-long process.  It is not a one-time event.  Easterns would call it theosis.  Orientals would call it theosis or theopoiesis.  Westerns would call it sanctification.  When one comes to the use of one's reason, then one's culpability to actual sin is activated.  One can in fact lose salvation in this life-long process if one does not repent and renew oneself daily from one's sins.

That is the standard answer I give to Protestants.  To other Protestants who believe in the OSAS heresy (Once-Saved-Always-Saved), the answer is a little more detailed.

Blessings,
Marduk
You seem like a very intelligent person and I know the the further along into theology we go from here the more complex it will be to bring you back. I can tell you now that our difference lies in our understanding of original sin and from there on we start to deviate and end up in different directions. I'll give you an example. let say we both sailed off from New York to London. If one of our compasses were off by 3 degrees one might end up in Spain. It's the same with our theology's. If one is in Spain and the other in London we can never communicate. Hopefully one day the fog can clear between us.
I would love to hear your understanding of original sin, and how it differentiates from mine. The understanding of original sin I learned as an OO not in communion with Rome is the same one I hold as an OO in communion with Rome.

Blessings,
Marduk

It's the same as St Gregory Palamas. Let me know if you agree.

Quote
As the separation of the soul from the body is the death of the body, so the separation of God from the soul is the death of the soul. And this death of the soul is the true death. This is made clear by the commandment given in paradise, when God said to Adam, `On whatever day you eat from the forbidden tree you will certainly die.’ And it was indeed Adam’s soul that died by becoming through his transgression separated from God; for bodily he continued to live after that time, even for nine hundred and thirty years. The death, however, that befell the soul because of the transgression not only crippled the soul and made man accursed; it also rendered the body itself subject to fatigue, suffering and corruptibility, and finally handed it over to death. For it was after the dying of his inner self brought about by the transgression that the earthly Adam heard the words, `Earth will be cursed because of what you do, it will produce thorns and thistles for you.’ … Thus the violation of God’s commandment is the cause of all types of death, both of soul and body, whether in the present life or in that endless chastisement. And death, properly speaking, is this: for the soul to be unharnessed from divine grace and to be yoked to sin. This death, for those who have their wits, is truly dreadful and something to be avoided. This, for those who think aright, is more terrible than the chastisement of Gehenna. … As the death of the soul is authentic death, so the life of the soul is authentic life. Life of the soul is union with God, as life of the body is union with the soul. As the soul was separated from God and died in consequence of the violation of the commandment, so by obedience to the commandment it is again united to God and is quickened. … The death of the soul through transgression and sin, is then, followed by the death of the body and by its dissolution in the earth and its conversion into dust; and this bodily death is followed in its turn by the soul’s banishment to Hades. …

After our forefather’s transgression in paradise through the tree, we suffered the death of our soul—which is the separation of the soul from God—prior to our bodily death; yet although we cast away our divine likeness, we did not lose our divine image.

(“Topics on Natural and Theological Science”, Chapters 9-14, Philokalia 4:296-297, 363)


Offline Papist

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #426 on: May 01, 2009, 12:16:04 AM »
Left the Catholic Church?  By embracing Orthodoxy, they converted to the One, Holy, CATHOLIC and Apostolic Church.  But then, you already knew that.
Yes I already knew the EO position on this matter so it was really a waste fo time for you to bring it up again. So in the future, just to make things clear, when I refer to the Catholic Church, I mean those Churches in communion with the Bishop of Rome, Benedict XVI. When I refer to the Eastern Orthodox or Orthodox Church I mean those Churches in communion with Constantinople.
On the point of the IC, it wouldn't involve us at all if it wasn't that the Latin apologists, speaking to their own flock or the Protestants, keep repeating that the IC originated in the East and the Orthodoxy believed it unlike the pope proclaimed it, "because they have to be contrary to the magisterium...blah...blah...blah...."  Somewhere on this thread I posted how such Eastern "prooftexts" for the IC are "found," or rather invented (and I don't mean in the sense of relics).  And to that, "well, the Orthodox Church hasn't condemned it, so it's an acceptable theologoumen, Bp. Kallistos says so....blah....blah...blah."  Just another error of the Vatican.  We need not worry ourselves over it.
Not quite sure if saying "blah... blah... blah or repeating the mantra "errors of rome" actually adds anything to this conversation. But if you don't really wnat to contribute anything substantial to the conversation I suppose that is your decision.
The mere fact that the Latin doctors condemned the IC when it first appeared, which was in the WEST, not the East, a millenium after the birth of the Church, should be a enough said as to its pseudo-apostolic origin.
Not sure If I agree with you on this because I think many quotes have been provided in this thread that suggest that the IC was in the East as well.
Somehow I thought we were of similar age.  I didn't realize you were born before the Crucifixion.
Were you?  :D
"For, by its immensity, the divine substance surpasses every form that our intellect reaches. Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is. Yet we are able to have some knowledge of it by knowing what it is not." - St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra gentiles, I, 14.

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #427 on: May 01, 2009, 12:20:02 AM »
Dear brother Demetrios,

It's the same as St Gregory Palamas. Let me know if you agree.

Quote
As the separation of the soul from the body is the death of the body, so the separation of God from the soul is the death of the soul. And this death of the soul is the true death. This is made clear by the commandment given in paradise, when God said to Adam, `On whatever day you eat from the forbidden tree you will certainly die.’ And it was indeed Adam’s soul that died by becoming through his transgression separated from God; for bodily he continued to live after that time, even for nine hundred and thirty years. The death, however, that befell the soul because of the transgression not only crippled the soul and made man accursed; it also rendered the body itself subject to fatigue, suffering and corruptibility, and finally handed it over to death. For it was after the dying of his inner self brought about by the transgression that the earthly Adam heard the words, `Earth will be cursed because of what you do, it will produce thorns and thistles for you.’ … Thus the violation of God’s commandment is the cause of all types of death, both of soul and body, whether in the present life or in that endless chastisement. And death, properly speaking, is this: for the soul to be unharnessed from divine grace and to be yoked to sin. This death, for those who have their wits, is truly dreadful and something to be avoided. This, for those who think aright, is more terrible than the chastisement of Gehenna. … As the death of the soul is authentic death, so the life of the soul is authentic life. Life of the soul is union with God, as life of the body is union with the soul. As the soul was separated from God and died in consequence of the violation of the commandment, so by obedience to the commandment it is again united to God and is quickened. … The death of the soul through transgression and sin, is then, followed by the death of the body and by its dissolution in the earth and its conversion into dust; and this bodily death is followed in its turn by the soul’s banishment to Hades. …

After our forefather’s transgression in paradise through the tree, we suffered the death of our soul—which is the separation of the soul from God—prior to our bodily death; yet although we cast away our divine likeness, we did not lose our divine image.

(“Topics on Natural and Theological Science”, Chapters 9-14, Philokalia 4:296-297, 363)

Wow!  And DOUBLE Wow!  I really did not know this!  If you spend even a little time discussing this topic with EO over at CAF (Catholic Answers Forums), and even some EC, they have a completely opposite view from St. Palamas.  The EO at CAF have very often asserted that the PRIMARY RESULT of the Original Sin is PHYSICAL death, and fear of it is the source of all manner of sin.  In contrast, I see now that St. Palamas taught that SPIRITUAL death is the primary result of the Original Sin.  This is certainly more in line with my understanding as an Oriental and a Catholic.

In any case, I would say I agree, as an Oriental and a Catholic, with what St. Palamas is teaching.

I guess the next question is - why or how do you feel such an understanding of Original Sin somehow contradicts the teaching of the IC?  I mean, clearly St. Palamas believed in the IC. So if Palamas himself did not see a contradiction, then I repeat - why or how do you feel such an understanding of Original Sin somehow contradicts the teaching of the IC?

Blessings,
Marduk

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #428 on: May 01, 2009, 01:03:43 AM »
Dear brother Demetrios,

It's the same as St Gregory Palamas. Let me know if you agree.

Quote
As the separation of the soul from the body is the death of the body, so the separation of God from the soul is the death of the soul. And this death of the soul is the true death. This is made clear by the commandment given in paradise, when God said to Adam, `On whatever day you eat from the forbidden tree you will certainly die.’ And it was indeed Adam’s soul that died by becoming through his transgression separated from God; for bodily he continued to live after that time, even for nine hundred and thirty years. The death, however, that befell the soul because of the transgression not only crippled the soul and made man accursed; it also rendered the body itself subject to fatigue, suffering and corruptibility, and finally handed it over to death. For it was after the dying of his inner self brought about by the transgression that the earthly Adam heard the words, `Earth will be cursed because of what you do, it will produce thorns and thistles for you.’ … Thus the violation of God’s commandment is the cause of all types of death, both of soul and body, whether in the present life or in that endless chastisement. And death, properly speaking, is this: for the soul to be unharnessed from divine grace and to be yoked to sin. This death, for those who have their wits, is truly dreadful and something to be avoided. This, for those who think aright, is more terrible than the chastisement of Gehenna. … As the death of the soul is authentic death, so the life of the soul is authentic life. Life of the soul is union with God, as life of the body is union with the soul. As the soul was separated from God and died in consequence of the violation of the commandment, so by obedience to the commandment it is again united to God and is quickened. … The death of the soul through transgression and sin, is then, followed by the death of the body and by its dissolution in the earth and its conversion into dust; and this bodily death is followed in its turn by the soul’s banishment to Hades. …

After our forefather’s transgression in paradise through the tree, we suffered the death of our soul—which is the separation of the soul from God—prior to our bodily death; yet although we cast away our divine likeness, we did not lose our divine image.

(“Topics on Natural and Theological Science”, Chapters 9-14, Philokalia 4:296-297, 363)

Wow!  And DOUBLE Wow!  I really did not know this!  If you spend even a little time discussing this topic with EO over at CAF (Catholic Answers Forums), and even some EC, they have a completely opposite view from St. Palamas.  The EO at CAF have very often asserted that the PRIMARY RESULT of the Original Sin is PHYSICAL death, and fear of it is the source of all manner of sin.  In contrast, I see now that St. Palamas taught that SPIRITUAL death is the primary result of the Original Sin.  This is certainly more in line with my understanding as an Oriental and a Catholic.

In any case, I would say I agree, as an Oriental and a Catholic, with what St. Palamas is teaching.

I guess the next question is - why or how do you feel such an understanding of Original Sin somehow contradicts the teaching of the IC?  I mean, clearly St. Palamas believed in the IC. So if Palamas himself did not see a contradiction, then I repeat - why or how do you feel such an understanding of Original Sin somehow contradicts the teaching of the IC?

Blessings,
Marduk

I put in bold what you seem to have missed in the OP.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #429 on: May 01, 2009, 01:47:44 AM »
^ Well I think that would be seen as an Eastern view that is compatible with the western one.

I am intrigued that you should think that Palamas' unique view is compatible with the Western one.

In the first place Palamas saw Joachim as being himself completely purified, and therefore able to produce a daughter of equal purity.

"Palamas’ solution to the problem, of which as far as we know,
he has been the sole supporter, is that God progressively purified all Mary’s ancestors,
one after the other and each to a greater degree than his predecessor so that
at the end, eis telos, Mary was able to grow, from a completely purified root,
like a spotless stem “on the limits between created and uncreated”.


In the second place, there is no theology of Christ reaching back in time and purifying the Mother of God by giving her an advance payment of the merits which He accrued by the Cross.  Instead Palamas believes that her ancestors were one by one gradually and increasingly purified until finally Joachim appeared at the end of this multi-generational process of purification and was the first fully purified man and therefore able, by his immaculate seed, to produce an immaculate daughter. 

However, it has to be noted that Palamas is not speaking of an increase in immaculateness but of increasing purification.    We do him a disservice by trying to impose a modern view of immaculate comception.

Quote
Marduk:  In any case, you cannot deny that he believed that Mary was immaculately conceived (like many other EO Fathers before the mid-19th century), regardless of the HOW of the matter.

He also believed that Joachim himself was completely purified (immaculate, in contemporary RC terminoolgy) and, as Saint Ambrose says, the "immaculate seed" of Joachim was able to produce a completely purified and immaculate daughter.

Offline Mardukm

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #430 on: May 01, 2009, 02:05:57 AM »
I put in bold what you seem to have missed in the OP.
Why not just stop beating around the bush.  Please tell us why you think that excerpt is different from the Catholic understanding?

Blessings

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #431 on: May 01, 2009, 02:08:52 AM »
^ Well I think that would be seen as an Eastern view that is compatible with the western one.

I am intrigued that you should think that Palamas' unique view is compatible with the Western one.

In the first place Palamas saw Joachim as being himself completely purified, and therefore able to produce a daughter of equal purity.

"Palamas’ solution to the problem, of which as far as we know,
he has been the sole supporter, is that God progressively purified all Mary’s ancestors,
one after the other and each to a greater degree than his predecessor so that
at the end, eis telos, Mary was able to grow, from a completely purified root,
like a spotless stem “on the limits between created and uncreated”.


In the second place, there is no theology of Christ reaching back in time and purifying the Mother of God by giving her an advance payment of the merits which He accrued by the Cross.  Instead Palamas believes that her ancestors were one by one gradually and increasingly purified until finally Joachim appeared at the end of this multi-generational process of purification and was the first fully purified man and therefore able, by his immaculate seed, to produce an immaculate daughter. 

However, it has to be noted that Palamas is not speaking of an increase in immaculateness but of increasing purification.    We do him a disservice by trying to impose a modern view of immaculate comception.

Quote
Marduk:  In any case, you cannot deny that he believed that Mary was immaculately conceived (like many other EO Fathers before the mid-19th century), regardless of the HOW of the matter.

He also believed that Joachim himself was completely purified (immaculate, in contemporary RC terminoolgy) and, as Saint Ambrose says, the "immaculate seed" of Joachim was able to produce a completely purified and immaculate daughter.
And???  Did he believe Mary was Immaculately conceived???

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #432 on: May 01, 2009, 02:59:52 AM »
If he was that great , why don`t the orthodox Church have this dogma according to what "he said" ?
I was unware that the Orthodox Church had any dogma on the matter. By the way, are you a supporter of hesychast spirituality?

Yes , I had to check the term cause I wasn`t familiar with it . That is the way I groweth spiritually .
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Offline Dan-Romania

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #433 on: May 01, 2009, 03:27:07 AM »
Dear brother Demetrios,

Lets see if I understand. She was saved before she had to cooperate in order for her to cooperate to be saved.
Yes, that would be the case.  And it should not surprise you at all, since we ourselves are saved as mere babies before we had a chance to cooperate.

Blessings

If she was saved before the Holy Spirit descending on her , than we are all saved and we don`t need a baptise , neighter the sacrifice of Jesus ? If Mary was a demi-god than the humanity of Jesus is a little questionable . Here is something to meditate on :

Luke2:21 And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
 Luke2:22 And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;
Luke2:23 (As it is written in the law of the LORD, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)
 Luke2:24 And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.

You people are so into other sources , that you forgot the fountain of true , and the first authority between all the Bible . What do you IC Mary fanatics have to say about this ?
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Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #434 on: May 01, 2009, 03:35:48 AM »
^ Well I think that would be seen as an Eastern view that is compatible with the western one.

I am intrigued that you should think that Palamas' unique view is compatible with the Western one.

In the first place Palamas saw Joachim as being himself completely purified, and therefore able to produce a daughter of equal purity.

"Palamas’ solution to the problem, of which as far as we know,
he has been the sole supporter, is that God progressively purified all Mary’s ancestors,
one after the other and each to a greater degree than his predecessor so that
at the end, eis telos, Mary was able to grow, from a completely purified root,
like a spotless stem “on the limits between created and uncreated”.


In the second place, there is no theology of Christ reaching back in time and purifying the Mother of God by giving her an advance payment of the merits which He accrued by the Cross.  Instead Palamas believes that her ancestors were one by one gradually and increasingly purified until finally Joachim appeared at the end of this multi-generational process of purification and was the first fully purified man and therefore able, by his immaculate seed, to produce an immaculate daughter. 

However, it has to be noted that Palamas is not speaking of an increase in immaculateness but of increasing purification.    We do him a disservice by trying to impose a modern view of immaculate comception.

Quote
Marduk:  In any case, you cannot deny that he believed that Mary was immaculately conceived (like many other EO Fathers before the mid-19th century), regardless of the HOW of the matter.

He also believed that Joachim himself was completely purified (immaculate, in contemporary RC terminoolgy) and, as Saint Ambrose says, the "immaculate seed" of Joachim was able to produce a completely purified and immaculate daughter.
And???  Did he believe Mary was Immaculately conceived???

Well, we don't yet have the actual words of his sermon.

But what we do have so far says that he believed that Joachim had himself been completely purified and so he was able to provide the pure and immaculate seed to produce a completely purified daughter.

This not the same as either of them being immaculately conceived.    We ought not to impose later Western notions of "immaculate conceptions" on Palamas' thought.

However we 1) need to take time to locate the sermon and 2) keep in mind that Palamas' view is an oddity in patristic thought.

Offline Mardukm

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #435 on: May 01, 2009, 05:13:27 AM »
Dearest Father Ambrose,

Quote
Quote
In the first place Palamas saw Joachim as being himself completely purified, and therefore able to produce a daughter of equal purity.

"Palamas’ solution to the problem, of which as far as we know,
he has been the sole supporter, is that God progressively purified all Mary’s ancestors,
one after the other and each to a greater degree than his predecessor so that
at the end, eis telos, Mary was able to grow, from a completely purified root,
like a spotless stem “on the limits between created and uncreated”.


In the second place, there is no theology of Christ reaching back in time and purifying the Mother of God by giving her an advance payment of the merits which He accrued by the Cross.  Instead Palamas believes that her ancestors were one by one gradually and increasingly purified until finally Joachim appeared at the end of this multi-generational process of purification and was the first fully purified man and therefore able, by his immaculate seed, to produce an immaculate daughter. 

However, it has to be noted that Palamas is not speaking of an increase in immaculateness but of increasing purification.    We do him a disservice by trying to impose a modern view of immaculate comception.

Quote
Marduk:  In any case, you cannot deny that he believed that Mary was immaculately conceived (like many other EO Fathers before the mid-19th century), regardless of the HOW of the matter.

He also believed that Joachim himself was completely purified (immaculate, in contemporary RC terminoolgy) and, as Saint Ambrose says, the "immaculate seed" of Joachim was able to produce a completely purified and immaculate daughter.
And???  Did he believe Mary was Immaculately conceived???

Well, we don't yet have the actual words of his sermon.

But what we do have so far says that he believed that Joachim had himself been completely purified and so he was able to provide the pure and immaculate seed to produce a completely purified daughter.

This not the same as either of them being immaculately conceived.    We ought not to impose later Western notions of "immaculate conceptions" on Palamas' thought.

However we 1) need to take time to locate the sermon and 2) keep in mind that Palamas' view is an oddity in patristic thought.
A little thought will demonstrate that St. Palamas did in fact believe in the Immaculate Conception of Mary.

Though Palamas believed that St. Joachim was purified (i.e., immaculate), he does not admit that Joachim was himself immaculately conceived - i.e., merely that the holiness of his ancestors grew to the point that the seed of Joachim was immaculate.

Thus, when St. Joachim and St. Anna came together, VIOLA!  The Theotokos was indeed IMMACULATELY CONCEIVED, since the seed of man which partly formed Mary, the part that supposedly carried the stain of Original Sin, did not in fact carry the stain.

SO WHAT if there are differences in HOW God achieved the reality of the Immaculate Conception.  The central point of the dogma still remains - that Mary, FROM THE FIRST MOMENT OF HER CONCEPTION, was indeed PREVENTED from having the taint/stain/filth of Original Sin touch her soul.

Humbly,
Marduk 

« Last Edit: May 01, 2009, 05:16:24 AM by Mardukm »

Offline Mardukm

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #436 on: May 01, 2009, 05:31:01 AM »
I put in bold what you seem to have missed in the OP.
Why not just stop beating around the bush.  Please tell us why you think that excerpt is different from the Catholic understanding?
I hope an EO answers this, and I pray everyone who is reading this thread pays careful attention.  TOO often, we hear the notion that the Catholic Church's teaching on original sin is SOOOOOOO different from the Eastern Orthodox teaching on original sin, a myth invented by modern EO polemics, and perpetuated by the disinterest of many EO to even bother to try to find out the actual truth of the matter from the horse's mouth, being content with the hearsay they get from their "apologists."  If this cannot actually be proven, then I hope EO out there will stop and think before giving an ear to statements against the Catholic Church, just because the authors of those statements bear affiliation with the EOC.  In any case, this will be just one more step to help the cause of true unity, which is based neither on lies, accomodation, nor forced uniformity, but rather on genuine understanding and acceptance of each other.

Blessings

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #437 on: May 01, 2009, 06:53:30 AM »
I put in bold what you seem to have missed in the OP.
Why not just stop beating around the bush.  Please tell us why you think that excerpt is different from the Catholic understanding?
I hope an EO answers this, and I pray everyone who is reading this thread pays careful attention.  TOO often, we hear the notion that the Catholic Church's teaching on original sin is SOOOOOOO different from the Eastern Orthodox teaching on original sin, a myth invented by modern EO polemics, and perpetuated by the disinterest of many EO to even bother to try to find out the actual truth of the matter from the horse's mouth, being content with the hearsay they get from their "apologists."  If this cannot actually be proven, then I hope EO out there will stop and think before giving an ear to statements against the Catholic Church, just because the authors of those statements bear affiliation with the EOC.  In any case, this will be just one more step to help the cause of true unity, which is based neither on lies, accomodation, nor forced uniformity, but rather on genuine understanding and acceptance of each other.

Blessings

First, before you get to what the Vatican teaches (and I admit, it's inconsistent here), first I don't recall your explanation of the IC only affecting the spirit and not the body, when the Vatican's documents on the IC and Assumption like the two.  Which indeed would agree with the EO (and Palamas') about death (physical that is) being the result of original sin.  So can you again tell us, how the Theotokos' body has nothing to do with the IC, or better yet, cite the relevant texts?
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Offline Fr. George

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #438 on: May 01, 2009, 07:21:05 AM »
I put in bold what you seem to have missed in the OP.
Why not just stop beating around the bush.  Please tell us why you think that excerpt is different from the Catholic understanding?
I hope an EO answers this, and I pray everyone who is reading this thread pays careful attention.  TOO often, we hear the notion that the Catholic Church's teaching on original sin is SOOOOOOO different from the Eastern Orthodox teaching on original sin, a myth invented by modern EO polemics, and perpetuated by the disinterest of many EO to even bother to try to find out the actual truth of the matter from the horse's mouth, being content with the hearsay they get from their "apologists."  If this cannot actually be proven, then I hope EO out there will stop and think before giving an ear to statements against the Catholic Church, just because the authors of those statements bear affiliation with the EOC.  In any case, this will be just one more step to help the cause of true unity, which is based neither on lies, accomodation, nor forced uniformity, but rather on genuine understanding and acceptance of each other. 

Maybe you should read some of the threads where some of us have already hashed this out ad nauseam before (click the "Immaculate Conception" tag at the bottom).  I know you already started on some of them:

Brother cleveland,

I read two of the links, and they did not give me any information why the dogma of the IC is a heresy, per se.  After that, my attention was occupied by other matters.  So I admit I did not read all of the links.  In any case, the current discussion in the CAF is sufficiently holding my interest, and I think those who have participated have represented the EO position pretty well.  When the hustle and bustle over there finishes, I will come back here to finish the reading.

Thanks for posting the links, btw.  I'm sure you have other things better to do as an admin, so I really do appreciate it.

But I also know you have more to look through.  Please do!

Blessings

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Offline Mardukm

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #439 on: May 01, 2009, 07:54:16 AM »
I put in bold what you seem to have missed in the OP.
Why not just stop beating around the bush.  Please tell us why you think that excerpt is different from the Catholic understanding?
I hope an EO answers this, and I pray everyone who is reading this thread pays careful attention.  TOO often, we hear the notion that the Catholic Church's teaching on original sin is SOOOOOOO different from the Eastern Orthodox teaching on original sin, a myth invented by modern EO polemics, and perpetuated by the disinterest of many EO to even bother to try to find out the actual truth of the matter from the horse's mouth, being content with the hearsay they get from their "apologists."  If this cannot actually be proven, then I hope EO out there will stop and think before giving an ear to statements against the Catholic Church, just because the authors of those statements bear affiliation with the EOC.  In any case, this will be just one more step to help the cause of true unity, which is based neither on lies, accomodation, nor forced uniformity, but rather on genuine understanding and acceptance of each other.

First, before you get to what the Vatican teaches (and I admit, it's inconsistent here), first I don't recall your explanation of the IC only affecting the spirit and not the body, when the Vatican's documents on the IC and Assumption like the two.  Which indeed would agree with the EO (and Palamas') about death (physical that is) being the result of original sin.  So can you again tell us, how the Theotokos' body has nothing to do with the IC, or better yet, cite the relevant texts?
Well, I gave you two references already to the notion that the IC refers to her spiritual conception and not the physical conception - both from the 1917 CE, and one of those quotes references an encyclical by Alexander VII in the 17th century.  If you want to investigate Alexander VII's encyclical, I'm sure you can do it on your own. I have also given you St. Athanasius' teaching on original sin in order to explain the distinction between the spiritual and physical consequences.  I gave you all the proper resources to analyze what I stated.  Address what I've given you already, and we can continue from there.

I don't know what you find inconsistent. Is it the fact that the Catholic teaching on original sin can agree with St. Palamas' own teaching? Perhaps your confusion lies in the modern EO attempts to create a false dichotomy between EO'xy and Catholicism, and when you find that HISTORIC EO'xy is actually quite consistent with Catholicism, it is something of a quandary to you. Perhaps you should seriously consider that modern EO'xy just actually might not be representing historic EO'xy in its attempts to create a wider chasm between Catholicism and EO'xy than there actually is.

Blessings,
Marduk

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #440 on: May 01, 2009, 07:54:46 AM »
Quote
Thus, why do you join a church that doesn't give us the freedom for the IC to be theologemoun?
For several reasons. (1) I personally and wholeheartedly believe in it. (2) There is nothing in my Oriental Tradition that contradicts it,

His Holiness Pope Shenouda appears to contradict what you present as Coptic tradition on the Immaculate Conception. 


"The Divine nature (God the Word) was united with the human nature which He took of the Virgin Mary
by the action of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit purified and sanctified the Virgin's womb so that
the Child to whom she gave birth would inherit nothing of the original sin
; the flesh formed of
her blood was united with the Only-Begotten Son. This Unity took place from the first moment of
the Holy Pregnancy in the Virgin's womb. As a result of the unity of both natures-the Divine and
the human-inside the Virgin's womb, one nature was formed out of both: "The One Nature of God
the Incarnate Logos" as St. Cyril called it.


"The Nature of Christ"
http://www.copticchurch.net/topics/theology/nature_of_christ.pdf

Note what the Pope is saying.  That the Virgin's womb was not purified and sanctified until the time when she conceived the Lord.  Note that she was purifed at that time so that Christ would not inherit anything of original sin, something which it is clear affected her until this time of cleansing when the incarnation took place.





Offline Mardukm

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #441 on: May 01, 2009, 07:57:19 AM »
I put in bold what you seem to have missed in the OP.
Why not just stop beating around the bush.  Please tell us why you think that excerpt is different from the Catholic understanding?
I hope an EO answers this, and I pray everyone who is reading this thread pays careful attention.  TOO often, we hear the notion that the Catholic Church's teaching on original sin is SOOOOOOO different from the Eastern Orthodox teaching on original sin, a myth invented by modern EO polemics, and perpetuated by the disinterest of many EO to even bother to try to find out the actual truth of the matter from the horse's mouth, being content with the hearsay they get from their "apologists."  If this cannot actually be proven, then I hope EO out there will stop and think before giving an ear to statements against the Catholic Church, just because the authors of those statements bear affiliation with the EOC.  In any case, this will be just one more step to help the cause of true unity, which is based neither on lies, accomodation, nor forced uniformity, but rather on genuine understanding and acceptance of each other. 

Maybe you should read some of the threads where some of us have already hashed this out ad nauseam before (click the "Immaculate Conception" tag at the bottom).  I know you already started on some of them:

Brother cleveland,

I read two of the links, and they did not give me any information why the dogma of the IC is a heresy, per se.  After that, my attention was occupied by other matters.  So I admit I did not read all of the links.  In any case, the current discussion in the CAF is sufficiently holding my interest, and I think those who have participated have represented the EO position pretty well.  When the hustle and bustle over there finishes, I will come back here to finish the reading.

Thanks for posting the links, btw.  I'm sure you have other things better to do as an admin, so I really do appreciate it.

But I also know you have more to look through.  Please do!
Yes, I will do so.  Thanks for reminding me.

Quote
Blessings

We Orthodox usually don't get blessings from a balcony.
I don't understand.  Can you explain what you mean?

Blessings,
Marduk

Offline Mardukm

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #442 on: May 01, 2009, 08:07:02 AM »
Quote
Thus, why do you join a church that doesn't give us the freedom for the IC to be theologemoun?
For several reasons. (1) I personally and wholeheartedly believe in it. (2) There is nothing in my Oriental Tradition that contradicts it,

His Holiness Pope Shenouda appears to contradict what you present as Coptic tradition on the Immaculate Conception. 


"The Divine nature (God the Word) was united with the human nature which He took of the Virgin Mary
by the action of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit purified and sanctified the Virgin's womb so that
the Child to whom she gave birth would inherit nothing of the original sin
; the flesh formed of
her blood was united with the Only-Begotten Son. This Unity took place from the first moment of
the Holy Pregnancy in the Virgin's womb. As a result of the unity of both natures-the Divine and
the human-inside the Virgin's womb, one nature was formed out of both: "The One Nature of God
the Incarnate Logos" as St. Cyril called it.


"The Nature of Christ"
http://www.copticchurch.net/topics/theology/nature_of_christ.pdf

Note what the Pope is saying.  That the Virgin's womb was not purified and sanctified until the time when she conceived the Lord.  Note that she was purifed at that time so that Christ would not inherit anything of original sin, something which it is clear affected her until this time of cleansing when the incarnation took place.
Are you not reading all of my posts?  I already addressed this several times.  I am in complete agreement with HH Pope Shenoute.  I believe, like any Oriental, that the specific Grace to be able to bear the FULL, UNVEILED DIVINITY was given to the Theotokos at the Annunciation.  The Grace Mary received at her Conception, in distinction, was different - specifically, it was merely the Grace of Baptism.  And as I've stated several times already, the dogma itself gives no indication that the IC was intended for Mary to BE ABLE to bear Christ.  It SIMPLY states that at the moment of her conception, she was preserved from the stain of original sin.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, every objection I've read here has absolutely NOTHING to do with the dogma itself, but are really straw men EXTRAPOLATIONS of the dogma that the dogma itself never claims.

Also, Father, I feel you are misrepresenting me.  I never claimed that there is a Coptic Tradition on the IC.  All I've ever stated is that in my study of Catholicism, I've never found anything about it that contradicts my Coptic Tradition.  Don't worry, this matter is being fully investigated between brother Mina and myself.  Thank you for your concern, however.

Humbly,
Marduk
« Last Edit: May 01, 2009, 08:13:33 AM by Mardukm »

Offline Fr. George

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #443 on: May 01, 2009, 08:09:30 AM »
Mardukm,

Would you first read the following quoted section (reference coming soon) and indicate whether it is a good summary of your (and, by extension, your understanding of RC) belief concerning the IC?

Quote
The Immaculate Conception is, according to Roman Catholic Dogma, the conception of the Virgin Mary without any stain ("macula" in Latin) of original sin. Under this aspect Mary is sometimes called the Immaculata (the Immaculate One), particularly in artistic contexts. The dogma says that, from the first moment of her existence, she was preserved by God from the lack of sanctifying grace that afflicts mankind, and that she was instead filled with divine grace. It is further believed that she lived a life completely free from sin. Her immaculate conception in the womb of her mother, by sexual intercourse, should not be confused with the doctrine of the virginal conception of her son Jesus.

The feast of the Immaculate Conception, celebrated on 8 December, was established as a universal feast in 1476 by Pope Sixtus IV. He did not define the doctrine as a dogma, thus leaving Roman Catholics freedom to believe in it or not without being accused of heresy; this freedom was reiterated by the Council of Trent. The existence of the feast was a strong indication of the Church's belief in the Immaculate Conception, even before its 19th century definition as a dogma.

In the Roman Catholic Church, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception is a Holy Day of Obligation, except where conferences of bishops have decided, with the approval of the Holy See, not to maintain it as such. It is a public holiday in some countries where Roman Catholicism is predominant.

The Immaculate Conception was solemnly defined as a dogma by Pope Pius IX in his constitution Ineffabilis Deus on 8 December 1854. The Roman Catholic Church believes the dogma is supported by Scripture (e.g., Mary's being greeted by the Angel Gabriel as "full of grace") as well as either directly or indirectly by the writings of Church Fathers such as Irenaeus of Lyons and Ambrose of Milan. Catholic theology maintains that since Jesus became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, it was fitting that she be completely free of sin for expressing her fiat.

The dogma of the Immaculate Conception defined by Pope Pius IX is also viewed as a key example of the use of sensus fidelium shared by the faithful and the Magisterium rather than pure reliance on Scripture and Tradition. The Vatican quotes in this context Fulgens Corona, where Pius XII supported such a faith:

    "If the popular praises of the Blessed Virgin Mary be given the careful consideration they deserve, who will dare to doubt that she, who was purer than the angels and at all times pure, was at any moment, even for the briefest instant, not free from every stain of sin?”

The Roman Catholic tradition has a well-established philosophy for the study of the Immaculate Conception and the veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the field of Mariology, with Pontifical schools such as the Marianum specifically devoted to this.
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Offline Fr. George

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #444 on: May 01, 2009, 08:11:37 AM »
Quote
Blessings

We Orthodox usually don't get blessings from a balcony.
I don't understand.  Can you explain what you mean?

It was a juvenile attempt at humor.  Don't bother yourself with it - it's not all that funny.
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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #445 on: May 01, 2009, 08:25:48 AM »
Brother Papist has given a solid defense to which you did not respond at all, but when your use of a verse was refuted, you just came up with another verse


Hi Mark,

Yes. I came up with many quotes. I did not need to respond to Papist because he did not refute anything--and neither have you. An avalanche of words does nor equate to refutation.

Like I said, brother Papist has already done an excellent job of refuting

And like I said--he has refuted nothing.


His statements do not deny in any way the teaching of the IC. 

He says nothing about the Virgin's Immaculate conception, or conceptional baptism, or salvation at ensoulment.


St. Ambrose maintained that St. Joachim’s seed was immaculate – which would account for Mary’s IC.

The Orthodox use the term "Immaculate" for Our Lady often and they are not referring to the IC. Neither does the language for St Joachim's immaculate seed refer to the Vatican's definition of the IC.

Nice try though Mark!

« Last Edit: May 01, 2009, 08:37:27 AM by Mickey »

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #446 on: May 01, 2009, 08:45:09 AM »
The Grace Mary received at her Conception, in distinction, was different - specifically, it was merely the Grace of Baptism. 

Let me get this straight. You say that Our Lady received the grace to conceive the Saviour at the annuciation and the IC merely refers to a spontaneous divine baptism in the womb at the moment of conception.

Does Rome agree with this explanation?
« Last Edit: May 01, 2009, 08:45:50 AM by Mickey »

Offline Mickey

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #447 on: May 01, 2009, 08:49:02 AM »
It is easy to see that St. Basil’s statement here does not dictate against the teaching of the IC of Mary.

Absolutely! St Basil would never refute such a doctrine because it did not exist.

But he does say:  “There is none without stain before Thee, even though his life be but a day, save Thou alone….

Offline Mardukm

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #448 on: May 01, 2009, 08:55:09 AM »
Dear brother Cleveland,

Would you first read the following quoted section (reference coming soon) and indicate whether it is a good summary of your (and, by extension, your understanding of RC) belief concerning the IC?

Quote
The Immaculate Conception is, according to Roman Catholic Dogma, the conception of the Virgin Mary without any stain ("macula" in Latin) of original sin. Under this aspect Mary is sometimes called the Immaculata (the Immaculate One), particularly in artistic contexts. The dogma says that, from the first moment of her existence, she was preserved by God from the lack of sanctifying grace that afflicts mankind, and that she was instead filled with divine grace. It is further believed that she lived a life completely free from sin. Her immaculate conception in the womb of her mother, by sexual intercourse, should not be confused with the doctrine of the virginal conception of her son Jesus.

The feast of the Immaculate Conception, celebrated on 8 December, was established as a universal feast in 1476 by Pope Sixtus IV. He did not define the doctrine as a dogma, thus leaving Roman Catholics freedom to believe in it or not without being accused of heresy; this freedom was reiterated by the Council of Trent. The existence of the feast was a strong indication of the Church's belief in the Immaculate Conception, even before its 19th century definition as a dogma.

In the Roman Catholic Church, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception is a Holy Day of Obligation, except where conferences of bishops have decided, with the approval of the Holy See, not to maintain it as such. It is a public holiday in some countries where Roman Catholicism is predominant.

The Immaculate Conception was solemnly defined as a dogma by Pope Pius IX in his constitution Ineffabilis Deus on 8 December 1854. The Roman Catholic Church believes the dogma is supported by Scripture (e.g., Mary's being greeted by the Angel Gabriel as "full of grace") as well as either directly or indirectly by the writings of Church Fathers such as Irenaeus of Lyons and Ambrose of Milan. Catholic theology maintains that since Jesus became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, it was fitting that she be completely free of sin for expressing her fiat.

The dogma of the Immaculate Conception defined by Pope Pius IX is also viewed as a key example of the use of sensus fidelium shared by the faithful and the Magisterium rather than pure reliance on Scripture and Tradition. The Vatican quotes in this context Fulgens Corona, where Pius XII supported such a faith:

    "If the popular praises of the Blessed Virgin Mary be given the careful consideration they deserve, who will dare to doubt that she, who was purer than the angels and at all times pure, was at any moment, even for the briefest instant, not free from every stain of sin?”

The Roman Catholic tradition has a well-established philosophy for the study of the Immaculate Conception and the veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the field of Mariology, with Pontifical schools such as the Marianum specifically devoted to this.
That is a pretty good summary of the dogma.  There are three things I would point out for comment and correction:

1) "The dogma says that, from the first moment of her existence, she was preserved by God from the lack of sanctifying grace that afflicts mankind, and that she was instead filled with divine grace."
In the clause "and that she was instead filled with divine grace," I would replace the word "divine" with the word "sanctifying."  Using the word "divine" draws one into the error that Mary was somehow made into some sort of demi-god.  Using the word "divine" instead of "sanctifying" also detracts from the otherwise obvious fact that the Grace Mary received at her conception is simply the Grace we all receive at Baptism - namely, sanctifying Grace.

2) "The Immaculate Conception was solemnly defined as a dogma by Pope Pius IX" This statement on its own would make one think that this "dogma" is just like any other dogma defined by the Church - such as those defined by the Ecumenical Councils. When one looks at the dogmas of the Ecumenical Councils, one discovers that every dogma is accompanied by a very severe proscriptive penalty that redounds to the very salvation of a person - namely, an anathema.  But the dogma of the IC does not contain an anathema, but merely an excommunication.  Given the Catholic Church's dogmatic teaching that the Grace of salvation can be found outside the visible boundaries of the Catholic Church, then this particular proscriptive penalty in the dogma does not really tend to the loss of one's salvation.  Without the foregoing explanation, a non-Catholic reading it (and perhaps even a Catholic reading it) might think, wrongly, that the "dogma" of the IC also contains the normative "loss of salvation" intent that has historically accompanied the dogmas of the Church.  FYI, the dogma of the Assumption does not even contain a proscriptive penalty altogether!!!

3) "Catholic theology maintains that since Jesus became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, it was fitting that she be completely free of sin for expressing her fiat."  As the explanation implies, this is a theologoumenon in the Catholic Church, which is held mainly by Latin Catholic.  I don't have to believe it as an Oriental Catholic.  But really, the subordinate clause ("it was fitting that ...") is very problematic because it is so vague.  What does it mean?  Is it saying that without the IC, she could not have given her fiat?  Does it mean that without the IC, Jesus could not have become incarnate of the Virgin? Does it mean that the IC caused her not to be able to sin (that is, lost her free will)?  Since this is just a theologoumenon, it does not really belong in an explanation of the IC.  This additional clause just confuses people, and might make readers think that this theologoumenon is somehow an inherent part of the dogma.  It should be left out altogether.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to explain.

Blessings,
Marduk

Offline Mickey

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #449 on: May 01, 2009, 09:04:25 AM »
In arguing the “veneration of the father and mother of Holy Mary…the same for Her grandparents and great-grandparents,” St. Bernard seems to have forgotten a very important fact.  Mary was not divine, but Jesus IS.  So the honor of the IC need not extend beyond the Theotokos.  Obviously, the “conceived of the Holy Spirit” argument is merely a straw man.  The concupiscence argument I address in the next section. 

Of course! St Bernard is offering a warning not let such innovations spiral out of control. He says: “…but the glorification given to the Queen of Heaven demands discernment.”

Our Lady is greatly venerated with many dignities. But St Bernard is telling us that the doctrine of the IC has crossed the line when he says:  “But what does one yet need to add to these dignities?”


St. Bernard seems to have forgotten a very important fact.

It is a good thing that you are here to correct him.  ::)