Author Topic: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception  (Read 231044 times)

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Offline Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #540 on: May 01, 2009, 06:57:50 PM »
Dear brother Second Chance,

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

I will give it a shot, starting with a single source, Apostle Paul's letter to the Romans, Chapter 3. My overall point is that the main thrust of the history of mankind has been the mercy shown to men (and women) by God as we cannot be saved except through His salvific actions. I firmly believe that there is so much authoritative information coming to us from the Lord and His disciples through the Holy Scriptures that there is hardly any room for adding to His Word in this instance. I already conceded that the belief in IC may be tolerated as a matter of piety. When you cross over into doctrine and dogma, you must prove that His Word is not contradicted, not that this and that Saint said something in the affirmative. Again, piety does not equal dogma. That being the case, the opening salvo is:

Romans Chapter 3
Verses 9-10: "What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin.

As it is written:
   "There is no one righteous, not even one;"

Also, verses 21-24

 "But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.

This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."


Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #541 on: May 01, 2009, 08:19:03 PM »
Yet you can't respond when I ask you how it is that historic EO'xy (represented by St. Palamas) coincides with Catholicism on the issue of Original Sin and the IC, while MODERN EO'xy claims otherwise. ???

It's a bit illogical of you to say that, Marduk. You promised that you would give us the writings of Saint Gregory Palamas where he teaches the Immaculate Conception.

You have not done so.  But now you act as if you have and you have the temerity to take us to task for not agreeing - with something you have not been able to provide!

Where are the Palamas quotes?

The bottom line for the Orthodox is simple once we cut through the masses of sophisicated theological argumentation from Catholics who try to coerce the Orthodox into accepting the IC -  Mary was conceived in the same state as every other human being.  This is the teaching of the Byzantine Orthodox.  This is the teaching of our brothers and sisters in the Coptic Church.

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #542 on: May 01, 2009, 08:57:02 PM »
Yet you can't respond when I ask you how it is that historic EO'xy (represented by St. Palamas) coincides with Catholicism on the issue of Original Sin and the IC, while MODERN EO'xy claims otherwise. ???

It's a bit illogical of you to say that, Marduk. You promised that you would give us the writings of Saint Gregory Palamas where he teaches the Immaculate Conception.

You have not done so.  But now you act as if you have and you have the temerity to take us to task for not agreeing - with something you have not been able to provide!

Where are the Palamas quotes?

The bottom line for the Orthodox is simple once we cut through the masses of sophisicated theological argumentation from Catholics who try to coerce the Orthodox into accepting the IC -  Mary was conceived in the same state as every other human being.  This is the teaching of the Byzantine Orthodox.  This is the teaching of our brothers and sisters in the Coptic Church.
Well then I will just have to accept that the EO position has changed over time.
"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 #543 on: May 01, 2009, 08:57:35 PM »
Dear brother Second Chance,

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

I will give it a shot, starting with a single source, Apostle Paul's letter to the Romans, Chapter 3. My overall point is that the main thrust of the history of mankind has been the mercy shown to men (and women) by God as we cannot be saved except through His salvific actions. I firmly believe that there is so much authoritative information coming to us from the Lord and His disciples through the Holy Scriptures that there is hardly any room for adding to His Word in this instance. I already conceded that the belief in IC may be tolerated as a matter of piety. When you cross over into doctrine and dogma, you must prove that His Word is not contradicted, not that this and that Saint said something in the affirmative. Again, piety does not equal dogma. That being the case, the opening salvo is:

Romans Chapter 3
Verses 9-10: "What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin.

As it is written:
   "There is no one righteous, not even one;"

Also, verses 21-24

 "But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.

This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."


So you believe that Mary was a sinner?
"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 #544 on: May 01, 2009, 09:41:45 PM »
[The bottom line for the Orthodox is simple once we cut through the masses of sophisicated theological argumentation from Catholics who try to coerce the Orthodox into accepting the IC -  Mary was conceived in the same state as every other human being.  This is the teaching of the Byzantine Orthodox.  This is the teaching of our brothers and sisters in the Coptic Church.
Well then I will just have to accept that the EO position has changed over time.

Please substantiate this extraordinary claim with references to official statements from earlier centures where Synods or Councils promulgated the Immaculate Conception.


Offline ialmisry

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #545 on: May 01, 2009, 10:19:28 PM »
Grace and Peace,

Would Blessed Bernard's views on Our Lady or the views of Blessed Gregory Palamas' views of Our Lady be condemned by the East? If not I am comforted to say that I may be able to continue my inquiry into Orthodoxy. If not, and they are in fact, condemned views then I will continue to be unable to be a modern practicing Orthodox.

Peace and God Bless.

What views, since we agree with everything Bernard writes on the subject, and Bernard conflicts with the views imputed here to St. Gregory?
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #546 on: May 01, 2009, 10:34:19 PM »
You shouldn't call something a dodge when a person brings up a relevant point for comparison.

Apples and oranges.
Look, your fruit salad is not helping the discussion. What really happened is that he brought up a valid point and you dodged it by calling his valid point a dodge rather than addressing it.

No, its not a valid point.

I admit, iconoclasm, and gnosticism for that matter, have a more ancient lineage in theological discussion than the IC, but then again, the IC is so late, that's not saying much.

So, can we have some meat on that bone?  Some gnostic text that preaches iconoclasm, as it seems is claimed?

Look, your fruit salad is not helping the discussion. What really happened is that he brought up a valid point and you dodged it by calling his valid point a dodge rather than addressing it.
Sorry bud. Bringing up the Iconoclast controversy, (which was settled by a council of the undivided Church), is apples and oranges.


You sure love your fruit. Its not apples and oranges. The debate about iconoclasm exited for hundreds of years in one form or another and was not settled until the seventh ecumenical council. In the same way the issue surrounding how Mary was preserved from original sin was really not settled until the feast day was established.

You are begging the question, or actucally in this case, answering a question no one asked.  No one in the early Church asked how the Theotokos was preserved from original sin, as no one believed it.  We still don't.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2009, 10:40:09 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.
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if you spit on it, it will be put out;
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Offline ignatius

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #547 on: May 01, 2009, 10:53:13 PM »
Grace and Peace,

Would Blessed Bernard's views on Our Lady or the views of Blessed Gregory Palamas' views of Our Lady be condemned by the East? If not I am comforted to say that I may be able to continue my inquiry into Orthodoxy. If not, and they are in fact, condemned views then I will continue to be unable to be a modern practicing Orthodox.

Peace and God Bless.

What views, since we agree with everything Bernard writes on the subject, and Bernard conflicts with the views imputed here to St. Gregory?

Blessed Bernard wrote and argued that Our Lady was infused with Sanctifying Grace within the Womb of Blessed Anna as Blessed Gregory. Personally I hold this view and in fact Blessed Gregory seems to articulate the view presented by later Latin Fathers and seems to be at odds with Blessed John Maximovitch in his opinion that it 'denies all Her virtue'.

Personally I believe that within Orthodoxy there is room for these views and that opposition to it's dogmatization by the Roman Pontiff should not go to the lengths it does, in my humble opinion.

Peace.
St Basil the Great (330-379 A.D.): “I think then that the one goal of all who are really and truly serving the Lord ought to be to bring back to union the churches who have at different times and in diverse manners divided from one another.”

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #548 on: May 01, 2009, 11:04:42 PM »
Grace and Peace,

Would Blessed Bernard's views on Our Lady or the views of Blessed Gregory Palamas' views of Our Lady be condemned by the East? If not I am comforted to say that I may be able to continue my inquiry into Orthodoxy. If not, and they are in fact, condemned views then I will continue to be unable to be a modern practicing Orthodox.

Peace and God Bless.

What views, since we agree with everything Bernard writes on the subject, and Bernard conflicts with the views imputed here to St. Gregory?

Blessed Bernard wrote and argued that Our Lady was infused with Sanctifying Grace within the Womb of Blessed Anna as Blessed Gregory.

That's not what he had to say about the IC here:

So everyone knows what Bernard of Clairveaux had to say:
Quote
6. Whence, then, was the holiness of that conception? Shall it be said that Mary was so prevented by grace that, being holy before being conceived, she was therefore conceived without sin; or that, being holy before being born, she has therefore communicated holiness to her birth? But in order to be holy it is necessary to exist, and a person does not exist before being conceived. Or perhaps, when her parents were united, holiness was mingled with the conception itself, so that she was at once conceived and sanctified. But this is not tenable in reason. For how can there be sanctity without the sanctifying Spirit, or the co-operation of the Holy Spirit with sin? Or how could there not be sin where concupiscence was not wanting? Unless, perhaps, some one will say that she was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and not by man, which would be a thing hitherto unheard of. I say, then, that the Holy Spirit came upon her, not within her, as the Angel declared: The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee (S. Luke i. 35). And if it is permitted to say what the Church thinks, and the Church thinks that which is true, I say that she conceived by the Holy Spirit, but not that she was conceived by Him; that she was at once Mother and Virgin, but not that she was born of a virgin. Otherwise, where will be the prerogative of the Mother of the Lord, to have united in her person the glory of maternity and that of virginity, if you give the same glory to her mother also? This is not to honour the Virgin, but to detract from her honour. If, therefore, before her conception she could not possibly be sanctified, since she did not exist, nor in the conception itself, because of the sin which inhered in it, it remains to be believed that she received sanctification when existing in the womb after conception, which, by excluding sin, made her birth holy, but not her conception.



7. Wherefore, although it has been given to some, though few, of the sons of men to be born with the gift of sanctity, yet to none has it been given to be conceived with it. So that to One alone should be reserved this privilege, to Him who should make all holy, and coming into the world, He alone, without sin should make an atonement for sinners. The Lord Jesus, then, alone was conceived by the Holy Ghost, because He alone was holy before He was conceived. He being excepted, all the children of Adam are in the same case as he who confessed of himself with great humility and truth, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin hath my mother conceived me (Ps. li. 6).

8. And as this is so, what ground can there be for a Festival of the Conception of the Virgin? On what principle, I say, is either a conception asserted to be holy which is not by the Holy Ghost, not to say that it is by sin, or a festival be established which is in no wise holy? Willingly the glorious Virgin will be without this honour, by which either a sin seems to be honoured or a sanctity supposed which is not a fact. And, besides, she will by no means be pleased by a presumptuous novelty against the custom of the Church, a novelty which is the mother of rashness, the sister of superstition, the daughter of levity. For if such a festival seemed advisable, the authority of the Apostolic See ought first to have been consulted, and he simplicity of inexperienced persons ought not to have been followed so thoughtlessly and precipitately. And, indeed, I had before noted that error in some persons; but I appeared not to take notice of it, dealing gently with a devotion which sprang from simplicity of heart and love of the Virgin. But now that the superstition has taken hold upon wise men, and upon a famous and noble Church, of which I am specially the son, I know not whether I could longer pass it over without gravely offending you all. But what I have said is in submission to the judgment of whosoever is wiser than myself; and especially I refer the whole of it, as of all matters of a similar kind, to the authority and decision of the See of Rome, and I am prepared to modify my opinion if in anything I think otherwise than that See.
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/bernard/letters.lxviii.html

Bernard is also an opponent of the absolute papal power in the Church. As certainly as he recognizes the papal authority as the highest in the Church, so decidedly does he reprove the effort to make it the only one. Even the middle and lower ranks of the Church have their right before God. To withdraw the bishops from the authority of the archbishops, the abbots from the authority of the bishops, that all may become dependent on the curia, means to make the Church a monster (De consideratione., iii, 8).

Btw, he's no friend of ours:
I, for one, shall speak about those obstinate Greeks [i.e. Orthodox], who are with us and against us, united in faith and divided in peace, though in truth their faith may stray from the straight path.
De Consideratione, iii, 1. (btw, he refers to Ephraim as "diligent doctor," so he likes him).

But besides Bernard, II Corinthians 5:21 "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" renders all this potuit, decuit ergo fecit nonsense gibberish.

Since the Sinless one became Sin for us, all this talk about that, of course His mother had to be sinless, is rather unnecessary.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
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Offline ignatius

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #549 on: May 01, 2009, 11:23:25 PM »
Quote
6. Whence, then, was the holiness of that conception? Shall it be said that Mary was so prevented by grace that, being holy before being conceived, she was therefore conceived without sin; or that, being holy before being born, she has therefore communicated holiness to her birth? But in order to be holy it is necessary to exist, and a person does not exist before being conceived. Or perhaps, when her parents were united, holiness was mingled with the conception itself, so that she was at once conceived and sanctified. But this is not tenable in reason. For how can there be sanctity without the sanctifying Spirit, or the co-operation of the Holy Spirit with sin? Or how could there not be sin where concupiscence was not wanting? Unless, perhaps, some one will say that she was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and not by man, which would be a thing hitherto unheard of. I say, then, that the Holy Spirit came upon her, not within her, as the Angel declared: The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee (S. Luke i. 35). And if it is permitted to say what the Church thinks, and the Church thinks that which is true, I say that she conceived by the Holy Spirit, but not that she was conceived by Him; that she was at once Mother and Virgin, but not that she was born of a virgin. Otherwise, where will be the prerogative of the Mother of the Lord, to have united in her person the glory of maternity and that of virginity, if you give the same glory to her mother also? This is not to honour the Virgin, but to detract from her honour. If, therefore, before her conception she could not possibly be sanctified, since she did not exist, nor in the conception itself, because of the sin which inhered in it, it remains to be believed that she received sanctification when existing in the womb after conception, which, by excluding sin, made her birth holy, but not her conception.



7. Wherefore, although it has been given to some, though few, of the sons of men to be born with the gift of sanctity, yet to none has it been given to be conceived with it. So that to One alone should be reserved this privilege, to Him who should make all holy, and coming into the world, He alone, without sin should make an atonement for sinners. The Lord Jesus, then, alone was conceived by the Holy Ghost, because He alone was holy before He was conceived. He being excepted, all the children of Adam are in the same case as he who confessed of himself with great humility and truth, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin hath my mother conceived me (Ps. li. 6).

8. And as this is so, what ground can there be for a Festival of the Conception of the Virgin? On what principle, I say, is either a conception asserted to be holy which is not by the Holy Ghost, not to say that it is by sin, or a festival be established which is in no wise holy? Willingly the glorious Virgin will be without this honour, by which either a sin seems to be honoured or a sanctity supposed which is not a fact. And, besides, she will by no means be pleased by a presumptuous novelty against the custom of the Church, a novelty which is the mother of rashness, the sister of superstition, the daughter of levity. For if such a festival seemed advisable, the authority of the Apostolic See ought first to have been consulted, and he simplicity of inexperienced persons ought not to have been followed so thoughtlessly and precipitately. And, indeed, I had before noted that error in some persons; but I appeared not to take notice of it, dealing gently with a devotion which sprang from simplicity of heart and love of the Virgin. But now that the superstition has taken hold upon wise men, and upon a famous and noble Church, of which I am specially the son, I know not whether I could longer pass it over without gravely offending you all. But what I have said is in submission to the judgment of whosoever is wiser than myself; and especially I refer the whole of it, as of all matters of a similar kind, to the authority and decision of the See of Rome, and I am prepared to modify my opinion if in anything I think otherwise than that See.

Although Blessed Bernard didn't believe in the Immaculate Conception he did believe in the Sanctification of Her Pre-birth.

All I can say is during the Dormition of our most Holy Lady we sang; "The Spotless Bride, the Mother of Him in whom the Father was well pleased, she who was foreordained by God to be the dwelling place of His union without confusion, delivers today her blameless soul to her Creator and her God...."
 
The fact that "by God... she... was foreordained...." spoke much of what we have been taught as Roman Catholics concerning Our Most Blessed Virgin Mary. It was shocking to me after hearing so much polemical argument against this 'preordination' by Orthodox Apologists that it really shocked me during the Liturgy.
 
In essence, alarm bells went off inside me and the rest of the Liturgy was a struggle. As I walked to my Jeep afterwards I was pretty convinced that the foundation for St. John Maximovitch in The Orthodox Veneration of Mary the Birthgiver of God was false. To ordain is to anoint for an office. To 'fore' ordain is to anoint for an office pre-existence.... before time.
 
From the standpoint of Orthodox Liturgical Theology there is no grounds to refute Mary's 'pre-ordination' to the Office of Mother of God which is the entire premise which St. John Maximovitch used to refute the grounds of the Catholic teaching concerning Mary.
 
This is the reason for the radical turn of events that I left out. I don't want to get into a formal debate about this with you because it's not going to go well for either of us. As a Catholic I can appreciate Orthodoxy because my own Popes and Bishops and Priests appreciate it. As an Orthodox I have to continue to rationalize the break between Catholicism and Orthodoxy. I completely love a wonderful Liturgy and I love the ascesis. My problem is I don't really disagree with the Doctrines of the Catholic Church. I can live without their dogmatic declarations but I don't disagree with them.
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #550 on: May 01, 2009, 11:53:55 PM »
Quote
6. Whence, then, was the holiness of that conception? Shall it be said that Mary was so prevented by grace that, being holy before being conceived, she was therefore conceived without sin; or that, being holy before being born, she has therefore communicated holiness to her birth? But in order to be holy it is necessary to exist, and a person does not exist before being conceived. Or perhaps, when her parents were united, holiness was mingled with the conception itself, so that she was at once conceived and sanctified. But this is not tenable in reason. For how can there be sanctity without the sanctifying Spirit, or the co-operation of the Holy Spirit with sin? Or how could there not be sin where concupiscence was not wanting? Unless, perhaps, some one will say that she was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and not by man, which would be a thing hitherto unheard of. I say, then, that the Holy Spirit came upon her, not within her, as the Angel declared: The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee (S. Luke i. 35). And if it is permitted to say what the Church thinks, and the Church thinks that which is true, I say that she conceived by the Holy Spirit, but not that she was conceived by Him; that she was at once Mother and Virgin, but not that she was born of a virgin. Otherwise, where will be the prerogative of the Mother of the Lord, to have united in her person the glory of maternity and that of virginity, if you give the same glory to her mother also? This is not to honour the Virgin, but to detract from her honour. If, therefore, before her conception she could not possibly be sanctified, since she did not exist, nor in the conception itself, because of the sin which inhered in it, it remains to be believed that she received sanctification when existing in the womb after conception, which, by excluding sin, made her birth holy, but not her conception.



7. Wherefore, although it has been given to some, though few, of the sons of men to be born with the gift of sanctity, yet to none has it been given to be conceived with it. So that to One alone should be reserved this privilege, to Him who should make all holy, and coming into the world, He alone, without sin should make an atonement for sinners. The Lord Jesus, then, alone was conceived by the Holy Ghost, because He alone was holy before He was conceived. He being excepted, all the children of Adam are in the same case as he who confessed of himself with great humility and truth, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin hath my mother conceived me (Ps. li. 6).

8. And as this is so, what ground can there be for a Festival of the Conception of the Virgin? On what principle, I say, is either a conception asserted to be holy which is not by the Holy Ghost, not to say that it is by sin, or a festival be established which is in no wise holy? Willingly the glorious Virgin will be without this honour, by which either a sin seems to be honoured or a sanctity supposed which is not a fact. And, besides, she will by no means be pleased by a presumptuous novelty against the custom of the Church, a novelty which is the mother of rashness, the sister of superstition, the daughter of levity. For if such a festival seemed advisable, the authority of the Apostolic See ought first to have been consulted, and he simplicity of inexperienced persons ought not to have been followed so thoughtlessly and precipitately. And, indeed, I had before noted that error in some persons; but I appeared not to take notice of it, dealing gently with a devotion which sprang from simplicity of heart and love of the Virgin. But now that the superstition has taken hold upon wise men, and upon a famous and noble Church, of which I am specially the son, I know not whether I could longer pass it over without gravely offending you all. But what I have said is in submission to the judgment of whosoever is wiser than myself; and especially I refer the whole of it, as of all matters of a similar kind, to the authority and decision of the See of Rome, and I am prepared to modify my opinion if in anything I think otherwise than that See.

Although Blessed Bernard didn't believe in the Immaculate Conception he did believe in the Sanctification of Her Pre-birth.

Then finding a citation where he says so shouldn't be so hard.

Quote
All I can say is during the Dormition of our most Holy Lady we sang; "The Spotless Bride, the Mother of Him in whom the Father was well pleased, she who was foreordained by God to be the dwelling place of His union without confusion, delivers today her blameless soul to her Creator and her God...."
 
The fact that "by God... she... was foreordained...." spoke much of what we have been taught as Roman Catholics concerning Our Most Blessed Virgin Mary. It was shocking to me after hearing so much polemical argument against this 'preordination' by Orthodox Apologists that it really shocked me during the Liturgy.

You are reading things into "foreordained," much like the IC being read into "full of grace."  It's not there.

Quote
In essence, alarm bells went off inside me and the rest of the Liturgy was a struggle. As I walked to my Jeep afterwards I was pretty convinced that the foundation for St. John Maximovitch in The Orthodox Veneration of Mary the Birthgiver of God was false. To ordain is to anoint for an office. To 'fore' ordain is to anoint for an office pre-existence.... before time.

So the Immaculate preconception?  Back to that immaculate semen....

Quote
From the standpoint of Orthodox Liturgical Theology there is no grounds to refute Mary's 'pre-ordination' to the Office of Mother of God which is the entire premise which St. John Maximovitch used to refute the grounds of the Catholic teaching concerning Mary.
 
This is the reason for the radical turn of events that I left out. I don't want to get into a formal debate about this with you because it's not going to go well for either of us. As a Catholic I can appreciate Orthodoxy because my own Popes and Bishops and Priests appreciate it. As an Orthodox I have to continue to rationalize the break between Catholicism and Orthodoxy. I completely love a wonderful Liturgy and I love the ascesis. My problem is I don't really disagree with the Doctrines of the Catholic Church. I can live without their dogmatic declarations but I don't disagree with them.

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

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #551 on: May 02, 2009, 12:06:57 AM »
Quote
6. Whence, then, was the holiness of that conception? Shall it be said that Mary was so prevented by grace that, being holy before being conceived, she was therefore conceived without sin; or that, being holy before being born, she has therefore communicated holiness to her birth? But in order to be holy it is necessary to exist, and a person does not exist before being conceived. Or perhaps, when her parents were united, holiness was mingled with the conception itself, so that she was at once conceived and sanctified. But this is not tenable in reason. For how can there be sanctity without the sanctifying Spirit, or the co-operation of the Holy Spirit with sin? Or how could there not be sin where concupiscence was not wanting? Unless, perhaps, some one will say that she was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and not by man, which would be a thing hitherto unheard of. I say, then, that the Holy Spirit came upon her, not within her, as the Angel declared: The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee (S. Luke i. 35). And if it is permitted to say what the Church thinks, and the Church thinks that which is true, I say that she conceived by the Holy Spirit, but not that she was conceived by Him; that she was at once Mother and Virgin, but not that she was born of a virgin. Otherwise, where will be the prerogative of the Mother of the Lord, to have united in her person the glory of maternity and that of virginity, if you give the same glory to her mother also? This is not to honour the Virgin, but to detract from her honour. If, therefore, before her conception she could not possibly be sanctified, since she did not exist, nor in the conception itself, because of the sin which inhered in it, it remains to be believed that she received sanctification when existing in the womb after conception, which, by excluding sin, made her birth holy, but not her conception.



7. Wherefore, although it has been given to some, though few, of the sons of men to be born with the gift of sanctity, yet to none has it been given to be conceived with it. So that to One alone should be reserved this privilege, to Him who should make all holy, and coming into the world, He alone, without sin should make an atonement for sinners. The Lord Jesus, then, alone was conceived by the Holy Ghost, because He alone was holy before He was conceived. He being excepted, all the children of Adam are in the same case as he who confessed of himself with great humility and truth, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin hath my mother conceived me (Ps. li. 6).

8. And as this is so, what ground can there be for a Festival of the Conception of the Virgin? On what principle, I say, is either a conception asserted to be holy which is not by the Holy Ghost, not to say that it is by sin, or a festival be established which is in no wise holy? Willingly the glorious Virgin will be without this honour, by which either a sin seems to be honoured or a sanctity supposed which is not a fact. And, besides, she will by no means be pleased by a presumptuous novelty against the custom of the Church, a novelty which is the mother of rashness, the sister of superstition, the daughter of levity. For if such a festival seemed advisable, the authority of the Apostolic See ought first to have been consulted, and he simplicity of inexperienced persons ought not to have been followed so thoughtlessly and precipitately. And, indeed, I had before noted that error in some persons; but I appeared not to take notice of it, dealing gently with a devotion which sprang from simplicity of heart and love of the Virgin. But now that the superstition has taken hold upon wise men, and upon a famous and noble Church, of which I am specially the son, I know not whether I could longer pass it over without gravely offending you all. But what I have said is in submission to the judgment of whosoever is wiser than myself; and especially I refer the whole of it, as of all matters of a similar kind, to the authority and decision of the See of Rome, and I am prepared to modify my opinion if in anything I think otherwise than that See.

Although Blessed Bernard didn't believe in the Immaculate Conception he did believe in the Sanctification of Her Pre-birth.

Then finding a citation where he says so shouldn't be so hard.

Does he not suggest this very thing in the last sentence of section 6 of your quote?

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All I can say is during the Dormition of our most Holy Lady we sang; "The Spotless Bride, the Mother of Him in whom the Father was well pleased, she who was foreordained by God to be the dwelling place of His union without confusion, delivers today her blameless soul to her Creator and her God...."
 
The fact that "by God... she... was foreordained...." spoke much of what we have been taught as Roman Catholics concerning Our Most Blessed Virgin Mary. It was shocking to me after hearing so much polemical argument against this 'preordination' by Orthodox Apologists that it really shocked me during the Liturgy.

You are reading things into "foreordained," much like the IC being read into "full of grace."  It's not there.

I believe in a synergism between what God's wills and Man's will. I don't believe that we need deny one for the other or visa versa.

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In essence, alarm bells went off inside me and the rest of the Liturgy was a struggle. As I walked to my Jeep afterwards I was pretty convinced that the foundation for St. John Maximovitch in The Orthodox Veneration of Mary the Birthgiver of God was false. To ordain is to anoint for an office. To 'fore' ordain is to anoint for an office pre-existence.... before time.

So the Immaculate preconception?  Back to that immaculate semen....

Now that you mention it, it does seem that Blessed Bernard is arguing the passage of Original Sin through intercourse....
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Offline Mardukm

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #552 on: May 02, 2009, 12:17:24 AM »
"In the first instance of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin."

Markud does not accept the "merits of Christ" part.  :-\
I think this is a perfect example of what brother Cleveland was saying about "talking-past-each-other-itis."  I stated that "I don't think it is necessary," and you transform that into "Marduk does not accept."  This is sadly typical of EO rhetoric - take a little part of what Catholics or Catholicism say, then extrapolate some unimaginable straw man out of it.

Let me explain my position to you AGAIN, and I hope you will have the decency to not misrepresent me next time.

I believe every word in the dogma as taught by the Catholic Church.  In respect to the clause about the "merits of Christ," it is not necessary for my own belief in the IC because I have Pope St. Athanasius' own words to ensure me that God can indeed in some mysterious way grant the Grace of sinlessness, even before the advent of Christ's Incarnation, death and resurrection.  The "merits of Christ" clause is an explanation of HOW God is able to grant that Grace of sinlessness.  On my part, I would be content with the dogma without a clause delving into the mystery of HOW God does it.  But it is there, and I accept it, and the explanation itself does not contradict my own Oriental belief that Christ is the source of all sinlessness in a creature.

Blessings

Offline Mardukm

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #553 on: May 02, 2009, 12:23:22 AM »
[The bottom line for the Orthodox is simple once we cut through the masses of sophisicated theological argumentation from Catholics who try to coerce the Orthodox into accepting the IC -  Mary was conceived in the same state as every other human being.  This is the teaching of the Byzantine Orthodox.  This is the teaching of our brothers and sisters in the Coptic Church.
Well then I will just have to accept that the EO position has changed over time.

Please substantiate this extraordinary claim with references to official statements from earlier centures where Synods or Councils promulgated the Immaculate Conception.
[/quote]
"Official statements" for whom?  The EO?  EO are CONSTANTLY up in arms about the idea of dogmatization, and now you claim that EO beliefs must be promulgated by Synods and Councils before it can be said that the belief exists in the EO Church - or at least the HISTORIC EO Church?  You are just being inconsistent, Father, for no other reason than to try to score points.  It's best to focus on the meat of the matter - the actual dogma, which no one so far has been able to refute.

Humbly,
Marduk

Offline ignatius

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #554 on: May 02, 2009, 12:27:56 AM »
"In the first instance of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin."

Markud does not accept the "merits of Christ" part.  :-\
I think this is a perfect example of what brother Cleveland was saying about "talking-past-each-other-itis."  I stated that "I don't think it is necessary," and you transform that into "Marduk does not accept."  This is sadly typical of EO rhetoric - take a little part of what Catholics or Catholicism say, then extrapolate some unimaginable straw man out of it.

Let me explain my position to you AGAIN, and I hope you will have the decency to not misrepresent me next time.

I believe every word in the dogma as taught by the Catholic Church.  In respect to the clause about the "merits of Christ," it is not necessary for my own belief in the IC because I have Pope St. Athanasius' own words to ensure me that God can indeed in some mysterious way grant the Grace of sinlessness, even before the advent of Christ's Incarnation, death and resurrection.  The "merits of Christ" clause is an explanation of HOW God is able to grant that Grace of sinlessness.  On my part, I would be content with the dogma without a clause delving into the mystery of HOW God does it.  But it is there, and I accept it, and the explanation itself does not contradict my own Oriental belief that Christ is the source of all sinlessness in a creature.

Blessings

Grace and Peace Marduk,

Would you agree that before the Dogma was declare the Church held this belief with 'room' for other views, such as Bless Bernard's.
St Basil the Great (330-379 A.D.): “I think then that the one goal of all who are really and truly serving the Lord ought to be to bring back to union the churches who have at different times and in diverse manners divided from one another.”

Offline Mardukm

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #555 on: May 02, 2009, 12:34:07 AM »
Dear brother Ignatius,

Now that you mention it, it does seem that Blessed Bernard is arguing the passage of Original Sin through intercourse....
I'm not fully apprised of the exact details of the belief about Original Sin being passed through the male seed.  According to St. Augustine, the conception of individuals is tainted because of the sin of lust - which is not the same as mere sexual desire (lust is a DISORDERED sexual desire).  Of course, there is a Tradition in the East that Sts. Anna and Eliakim did not conceive Mary in lust.  In distinction, St. Ambrose is one who probably believed that original sin was passed through the male seed.  He accounted for Mary's IC by stating that the seed of St. Joachim was immaculate.  I guess there are different theories on how original sin is passed down.  And there were different theories of HOW the IC came about (St. Palamas having his own unique theory).  But regardless of the HOW of the matter, the matter itself (that Mary from the first moment of her conception was preserved from the stain of original sin) seems to have been near-unanimous.

Blessings

Offline Mardukm

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #556 on: May 02, 2009, 01:08:22 AM »
Dear brother Ignatius,

Would you agree that before the Dogma was declare the Church held this belief with 'room' for other views, such as Bless Bernard's.
Yes, I would agree.  Of course, I am of the opinion that St. Bernard's (along with St. Bonaventure and St. Aquinas) belief does not contradict the teaching of the IC.  Latin theologians in those days made a distinction between the physical conception (the moment the body is created) and spiritual conception (i.e. ensoulment, the moment the soul is created).  Those medieval theologians did not believe in an immaculate physical conception, but only in an immaculate spiritual conception, which occurred at a time later than the physical conception.  Pope Alexander VII authoritatively declared in the 17th century that the matter of the doctrine refers to the moment of her spiritual conception (creation of her soul by God), whence the soul is immediately infused into the body by God.  One can see that Pope Alexander's statement per se did not contradict the belief of the medieval Latin Saints.  Eventually, it was understood that physical conception and spiritual conception occurred at the same moment.  Thus, the dogma of the IC is worded in such manner.  But the dogma itself preserves the authoritative teaching of Pope Alexander in the 17th century - that the object of the sanctification is the soul of Mary, which is thence immediately infused into the body by God.

The Catholic Encyclopedia (1917) indicates that the word "conception" has a more metaphysical meaning than what secularists might imagine.  "Conception" refers to the CREATION OF A PERSON.  Now, a person is defined as a human being with a soul.  So, strictly speaking, when the dogma states "from the first instant of her conception," it is actually stating "from the first instant of her creation as a person."  Given that understanding, the dogma does not at all contradict or condemn the medieval Latin theologians, because the Medieval Latin theologians ALSO believed that the moment of ensoulment (when Mary was sanctified) was the first moment a true "PERSON" is created.

Now, I have spoken already of the several theories concerned with the HOW of the matter of the IC.  The only one that has been definitely condemned by the Catholic Church (by Pope Benedict XIV in the 17th century) is the idea that Mary was conceived of a virgin (i.e., that Mary was not conceived naturally like the rest of humanity - which is, btw, the same one condemned by HH Pope Shenoute in the COC). In my understanding, theories such as those proposed by St. Palamas or the "immaculate seed" theory of St. Ambrose have not been condemned at all.  There is nothing in those theories that inherently contradicts the dogmatic teaching that the prevention of the stain of original sin was (1) done by God, and (2) by virtue of the supernatural merits of Christ.

I hope that explains it, and I would love to read your own thoughts on what I wrote.

Blessings,
Marduk
« Last Edit: May 02, 2009, 01:10:03 AM by Mardukm »

Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #557 on: May 02, 2009, 01:26:52 AM »
All I can say is during the Dormition of our most Holy Lady we sang; "The Spotless Bride, the Mother of Him in whom the Father was well pleased, she who was foreordained by God to be the dwelling place of His union without confusion, delivers today her blameless soul to her Creator and her God...."
 
The fact that "by God... she... was foreordained...." spoke much of what we have been taught as Roman Catholics concerning Our Most Blessed Virgin Mary. It was shocking to me after hearing so much polemical argument against this 'preordination' by Orthodox Apologists that it really shocked me during the Liturgy.
 
In essence, alarm bells went off inside me and the rest of the Liturgy was a struggle. As I walked to my Jeep afterwards I was pretty convinced that the foundation for St. John Maximovitch in The Orthodox Veneration of Mary the Birthgiver of God was false. To ordain is to anoint for an office. To 'fore' ordain is to anoint for an office pre-existence.... before time.

Yeah, a lot of the anti-Catholic polemic can start to unravel if you start actually paying attention to what the hymnography says.  I brought this up in another thread about the role of the Pope of Rome, because I have attended several Matins when the saint of the day happened to be a western Roman Pope, and man-alive, is that stuff loaded down with papal supremacy.  I should type some of that material out of the service books and give it to Catholics as ammo; they'd be foaming at the mouth.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2009, 01:27:07 AM by Alveus Lacuna »

Offline Mardukm

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #558 on: May 02, 2009, 01:35:33 AM »
Quote

Yes, another attempt to project your church's development of doctrine onto the Orthodox.

Modern Orthodox teaching is the same as Historical/Traditional/Ancient Orthdoox Teaching.  That's why it is ORTHODOX (and hence, CATHOLIC).
Yet you can't respond when I ask you how it is that historic EO'xy (represented by St. Palamas) coincides with Catholicism on the issue of Original Sin and the IC, while MODERN EO'xy claims otherwise. ???
Once again, a chance for you to demonstrate how the Catholic teaching on Original sin is SOOOOOOOOO different from the historic EO teaching on Original Sin (as represented by St. Palamas).  And yet, again, another glaring failure to be able to do so.  Catholics are only responding to the modern EO polemic myth that Catholicism and EO'xy are so different on the issue of original sin.  The onus is on you, as a modern EO, to establish your claim.  Just admit it - YOU CAN'T.

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Let's just assume, for the sake of argument, that St. Palamas coincides with what the Vatican says (problematic to begin with, as Fr. Ambrose has shown).  Does he cite the Fathers, the Liturgies of the Church, etc. to support his view?  Does he represent the consensus of the Fathers, or just a "proof-text" of a idiosyncretic idea, which is being twisted out of context to be moulded to later purposes?
Yeah, his explanation of HOW the IC came about is pretty unique.  But the fact of a consensus on the IC itself (regardless of theories on HOW it was achieved) is demonstrably evident from historic EO sources.

Quote
I've already answered this:
Btw, quoting from the services etc. of the EO and OO (quoting which thus far you have not done) are a rather tricky business when the Vatican tries to prove its dogmas, and those who have submitted in the East chime in.  An egregious example would be the use of the quote of St. Ephraim of Syrian by the Chaldeans under the Vatican: they will dismiss St. John of Chrisostom's (an Antiochian in origin, btw) on the immaculateness of the Holy Theotokos, saying that "it wasn't proclaimed as dogma.  It wasn't binding."  They will, however, latch onto the earlier "You alone and your Mother are more beautiful than any others, for there is no blemish in you nor any stains upon your Mother. Who of my children can compare in beauty to these?" (Nisibene Hymns 27:8 [A.D. 361])," and, because the IC, according to the Vatican, is binding on them, will say "a-HA! Immaculate Conception."
NO YOU DID NOT.  I quoted several statements by EO Fathers earlier with an explicit belief in the IC (regardless of the HOW of the matter, and they were not merely statements about "all-holy" or "immaculate"), but you failed to respond.  You are referring to brother Papist's own statements.  You have not responded to mine at all.

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Besides, I'm not the one that expressed puzzlement.  You were. ::)

My only puzzlement thus far is how you continue claim, for instance, that the Armenians teach it while an "untranslated" Armenian Orthodox, the All Armenian Catholicos' website and the website of the Armenian diocese to which your friend the subdeacon belongs to, states otherwise.
Again, consistent misrepresentations of what I stated.  I won't go so far as to call you a liar (like sister Salpy does when she's mad).  I HAVE NEVER stated, as you claim, that "the Armenians teach it." All I've ever stated is that it is a theologoumenon in the Armenian Church (while fully admitting it is not a belief as far as the AMERICAN Armenian Church is concerned).  Please do us all a favor and provide an exact quote from me stating what you claimed.  Theologoumenon does not normally start as a teaching of a Church, but are personal pious beliefs of individuals. Sadly typical of what Father Ambrose and brother Mickey has done with my statements, you are misrepresenting what I stated just to score useless points for arguments' sake.

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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.

Or you might consider, as has been told to you by numberous members of those apostolic (including those with the Vatican) that you are misrepresenting official Church teaching.
Yet after having had at least two opportunities to tell everyone here how the quote from St. Palamas somehow contradicts the Catholic teaching on Original Sin, you haven't and in fact can't do so. ::)

This idea of a line of purified ancestors does reveal the problem of infinite regression.  If you want that problem, go for it.  The Vatican does seem to want to.

The "quote" reminds me of the Muslim idea of the "light of Muhammad" passing from Adam through the loins down to Muhammad (the Sirah goes into some detail of how it was still in Muhammad's father: a woman propositioned him, but in the meantime Abd Allah had sex with Aminah, the light went out, and the woman thereupon lost interest in Abd Allah.  St. Gregory was kidnapped by the Turks.  Maybe that's where he got the idea, because it's not in the Fathers.
Another one of your typical evasive answers.  I'm talking about the Original Sin issue, and you bring up "infinite regression."  ??? ???  Your modern EO myth that the Catholic understanding of original Sin is SOOOOOO different from the historic EO understanding of original sin really can't be defended, can it?

Blessings,
Marduk
« Last Edit: May 02, 2009, 01:41:57 AM by Mardukm »

Offline Dan-Romania

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #559 on: May 02, 2009, 06:22:56 AM »
Grace and Peace,

Would Blessed Bernard's views on Our Lady or the views of Blessed Gregory Palamas' views of Our Lady be condemned by the East? If not I am comforted to say that I may be able to continue my inquiry into Orthodoxy. If not, and they are in fact, condemned views then I will continue to be unable to be a modern practicing Orthodox.

Peace and God Bless.

What views, since we agree with everything Bernard writes on the subject, and Bernard conflicts with the views imputed here to St. Gregory?

Blessed Bernard wrote and argued that Our Lady was infused with Sanctifying Grace within the Womb of Blessed Anna as Blessed Gregory.

That's not what he had to say about the IC here:

So everyone knows what Bernard of Clairveaux had to say:
Quote
6. Whence, then, was the holiness of that conception? Shall it be said that Mary was so prevented by grace that, being holy before being conceived, she was therefore conceived without sin; or that, being holy before being born, she has therefore communicated holiness to her birth? But in order to be holy it is necessary to exist, and a person does not exist before being conceived. Or perhaps, when her parents were united, holiness was mingled with the conception itself, so that she was at once conceived and sanctified. But this is not tenable in reason. For how can there be sanctity without the sanctifying Spirit, or the co-operation of the Holy Spirit with sin? Or how could there not be sin where concupiscence was not wanting? Unless, perhaps, some one will say that she was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and not by man, which would be a thing hitherto unheard of. I say, then, that the Holy Spirit came upon her, not within her, as the Angel declared: The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee (S. Luke i. 35). And if it is permitted to say what the Church thinks, and the Church thinks that which is true, I say that she conceived by the Holy Spirit, but not that she was conceived by Him; that she was at once Mother and Virgin, but not that she was born of a virgin. Otherwise, where will be the prerogative of the Mother of the Lord, to have united in her person the glory of maternity and that of virginity, if you give the same glory to her mother also? This is not to honour the Virgin, but to detract from her honour. If, therefore, before her conception she could not possibly be sanctified, since she did not exist, nor in the conception itself, because of the sin which inhered in it, it remains to be believed that she received sanctification when existing in the womb after conception, which, by excluding sin, made her birth holy, but not her conception.



7. Wherefore, although it has been given to some, though few, of the sons of men to be born with the gift of sanctity, yet to none has it been given to be conceived with it. So that to One alone should be reserved this privilege, to Him who should make all holy, and coming into the world, He alone, without sin should make an atonement for sinners. The Lord Jesus, then, alone was conceived by the Holy Ghost, because He alone was holy before He was conceived. He being excepted, all the children of Adam are in the same case as he who confessed of himself with great humility and truth, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin hath my mother conceived me (Ps. li. 6).

8. And as this is so, what ground can there be for a Festival of the Conception of the Virgin? On what principle, I say, is either a conception asserted to be holy which is not by the Holy Ghost, not to say that it is by sin, or a festival be established which is in no wise holy? Willingly the glorious Virgin will be without this honour, by which either a sin seems to be honoured or a sanctity supposed which is not a fact. And, besides, she will by no means be pleased by a presumptuous novelty against the custom of the Church, a novelty which is the mother of rashness, the sister of superstition, the daughter of levity. For if such a festival seemed advisable, the authority of the Apostolic See ought first to have been consulted, and he simplicity of inexperienced persons ought not to have been followed so thoughtlessly and precipitately. And, indeed, I had before noted that error in some persons; but I appeared not to take notice of it, dealing gently with a devotion which sprang from simplicity of heart and love of the Virgin. But now that the superstition has taken hold upon wise men, and upon a famous and noble Church, of which I am specially the son, I know not whether I could longer pass it over without gravely offending you all. But what I have said is in submission to the judgment of whosoever is wiser than myself; and especially I refer the whole of it, as of all matters of a similar kind, to the authority and decision of the See of Rome, and I am prepared to modify my opinion if in anything I think otherwise than that See.
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/bernard/letters.lxviii.html

Bernard is also an opponent of the absolute papal power in the Church. As certainly as he recognizes the papal authority as the highest in the Church, so decidedly does he reprove the effort to make it the only one. Even the middle and lower ranks of the Church have their right before God. To withdraw the bishops from the authority of the archbishops, the abbots from the authority of the bishops, that all may become dependent on the curia, means to make the Church a monster (De consideratione., iii, 8).

Btw, he's no friend of ours:
I, for one, shall speak about those obstinate Greeks [i.e. Orthodox], who are with us and against us, united in faith and divided in peace, though in truth their faith may stray from the straight path.
De Consideratione, iii, 1. (btw, he refers to Ephraim as "diligent doctor," so he likes him).

But besides Bernard, II Corinthians 5:21 "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" renders all this potuit, decuit ergo fecit nonsense gibberish.

Since the Sinless one became Sin for us, all this talk about that, of course His mother had to be sinless, is rather unnecessary.

Here is a saint of my liking . He is worthy of the name of a Church Father and saint . I have a simpathy for Bernard and I think i`m gonna look some of his writings .
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Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #560 on: May 02, 2009, 07:58:53 AM »
You are reading things into "foreordained," much like the IC being read into "full of grace."  It's not there.

Christ is Risen!

Now and again the Orthodox, who have the privilge of being the custodians of the original New Testament in Greek, ought to remind ourselves that the terms "full of grace" and "gratia plena" are in fact mistranslations of the original text.

The trouble is that in the West we have become so used to the term "full of grace" that we ignore its incorrectness and some even spin theology off it.   ::)  That is building a house on sand.

Not intending to get into a great discussion about the term... it's probably be done to death in previous threads.

Hieromonk Ambrose

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #561 on: May 02, 2009, 07:58:54 AM »
[The bottom line for the Orthodox is simple once we cut through the masses of sophisicated theological argumentation from Catholics who try to coerce the Orthodox into accepting the IC -  Mary was conceived in the same state as every other human being.  This is the teaching of the Byzantine Orthodox.  This is the teaching of our brothers and sisters in the Coptic Church.
Well then I will just have to accept that the EO position has changed over time.

Please substantiate this extraordinary claim with references to official statements from earlier centures where Synods or Councils promulgated the Immaculate Conception.
"Official statements" for whom?  The EO?  EO are CONSTANTLY up in arms about the idea of dogmatization, and now you claim that EO beliefs must be promulgated by Synods and Councils before it can be said that the belief exists in the EO Church - or at least the HISTORIC EO Church?  You are just being inconsistent, Father, for no other reason than to try to score points.

Christ is Risen!

No, I am not being inconsistent.

Papist has emphasized in past messages that he has a very logical Latin brain and he sees matters concretely - this was in reference to the term "immaculate" in Orthodox liturgy - he saw it as some sort of "definition" whereas the East, Orthodox or Cathlic, sees it as honouring the Mother of God in a metaphorical and poetic way. For that discussion with Papist please see
 http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,20612.msg308327.html#msg308327

Now if he wishes to assert that the Orthodox "position has changed over time" then he needs to apply his own exacting standard to this claim and substantiate it at a level which satifies his own criteria.

You yourself are being inconsistent with your criticisms on the Orthodox, saying that we deny the teaching of the IC although you asswet Palamas taught it.  You promised us the words of Palamas to prove your point.  So far you have not sent us nothing from Palamas. 

Both you and Papist are putting out unfounded claims and accusations. 

Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #562 on: May 02, 2009, 07:58:54 AM »
In respect to the clause about the "merits of Christ," it is not necessary for my own belief in the IC because I have Pope St. Athanasius' own words to ensure me that God can indeed in some mysterious way grant the Grace of sinlessness, even before the advent of Christ's Incarnation, death and resurrection.  

Priceless!    You could go thorugh the IC definition clause by clause and you could locate previous Popes who can be interpreted to have written of such matters prior to the definition.  Then, following your "logic", you can say that the entire definition is not necessary.   :laugh:

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #563 on: May 02, 2009, 07:58:55 AM »

St. Ambrose.....  accounted for Mary's IC by stating that the seed of St. Joachim was immaculate.

"... Accounted for Mary's IC...."  ??!!

Does he indeed?  You should substantiate that before putting words in Saint Ambrose's mouth.

Hieromonk Ambrose

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #564 on: May 02, 2009, 07:58:55 AM »
[Your modern EO myth that the Catholic understanding of original Sin is SOOOOOO different from the historic EO understanding of original sin really can't be defended, can it?

Christ is Risen!

The problem is that some of Catholicism's theology is in a state of flux and there are divergent teachings.  So Catholics may use one argument one day and the next day use another if it is more appropriate.

For a post about the confusing reductionism and reconstruction which is at work in contemporary Catholicism please see this message

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13820.msg306110.html#msg306110


Offline ialmisry

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #565 on: May 02, 2009, 08:10:57 AM »
[The bottom line for the Orthodox is simple once we cut through the masses of sophisicated theological argumentation from Catholics who try to coerce the Orthodox into accepting the IC -  Mary was conceived in the same state as every other human being.  This is the teaching of the Byzantine Orthodox.  This is the teaching of our brothers and sisters in the Coptic Church.
Well then I will just have to accept that the EO position has changed over time.

Please substantiate this extraordinary claim with references to official statements from earlier centures where Synods or Councils promulgated the Immaculate Conception.
"Official statements" for whom?  The EO?  EO are CONSTANTLY up in arms about the idea of dogmatization, and now you claim that EO beliefs must be promulgated by Synods and Councils before it can be said that the belief exists in the EO Church - or at least the HISTORIC EO Church?  You are just being inconsistent, Father, for no other reason than to try to score points.  It's best to focus on the meat of the matter - the actual dogma, which no one so far has been able to refute.

Humbly,
Marduk

If dear Father hasn't (and I disagree with your assessment) it is because it is hard to nail down gello, not from any lack of meat.

Father and I have posted official, authoritatitve doctuments of your "magisterium" that you are supposed to believe.  What we get in return in more and more of your particular bent on dogma which, as Father pointed out, often mystifies your own co-religionists on CAF.  Since, as far as we know, you have no magisterial credentials (and the Vatican's emphais on that versus sensus fidelorum pulls the authority a lay Orthodox has from under you), it is not too much to ask to have what we are asked to refute.

Instead we get texts cherry picked from the Orthodox services and served on top of the Vatican Sundae, and are told "you've changed."  I know where you got it, we can see it even in your magisterium's documents. Never mind the denunciations in the West on, for instance, the IC when it first appeared,in the West, in the Middle Ages.  But as we point out, only the breaking of Lex orandi, lex credendi in the unitization process makes that possible: those who remained Orthodox or Nestorian still don't see it although they continue to sing the hymns of their/our forefathers.

So you claim we have changed just to score points, "dis" the pope of Rome, clinging to our "schism," blah....blah....blah.  It's not hard to put that to the test.  Your pope also issued his "infallible" declaration on the Dormition/Assumption of the Holy Mother of God. We didn't take the Dormition off our calendar, cease to believe it, deny that her Son took her body and soul, etc.  Much diffferent reaction from when the IC was proclaimed, because NEITHER we, NOR any Orthodox BELIEVED IN THE IC.

So Father simply wants a firm piece of jello to nail.  You claim that "historic" EOxy believed something different from modern EOxy.  They did not.  If you have a claim to the contrary, then substatiate it from THEIR OWN words, not more of your interpretation putting words in their mouths.

Btw, Bernard of Clairveaux refuted the IC nicely.  And Pope St. Leo.


You are reading things into "foreordained," much like the IC being read into "full of grace."  It's not there.

Christ is Risen!

Now and again the Orthodox, who have the privilge of being the custodians of the original New Testament in Greek, ought to remind ourselves that the terms "full of grace" and "gratia plena" are in fact mistranslations of the original text.

The trouble is that in the West we have become so used to the term "full of grace" that we ignore its incorrectness and some even spin theology off it.   ::)  That is building a house on sand.

Not intending to get into a great discussion about the term... it's probably be done to death in previous threads.

Hieromonk Ambrose

Just another choice bit: the mistranslation of Genesis 3:15, which went into Ineffibilis Deus as a "proof," as I posted above.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2009, 08:16:16 AM by ialmisry »
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Offline Mardukm

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #566 on: May 02, 2009, 08:45:18 AM »
[The bottom line for the Orthodox is simple once we cut through the masses of sophisicated theological argumentation from Catholics who try to coerce the Orthodox into accepting the IC -  Mary was conceived in the same state as every other human being.  This is the teaching of the Byzantine Orthodox.  This is the teaching of our brothers and sisters in the Coptic Church.
Well then I will just have to accept that the EO position has changed over time.

Please substantiate this extraordinary claim with references to official statements from earlier centures where Synods or Councils promulgated the Immaculate Conception.
"Official statements" for whom?  The EO?  EO are CONSTANTLY up in arms about the idea of dogmatization, and now you claim that EO beliefs must be promulgated by Synods and Councils before it can be said that the belief exists in the EO Church - or at least the HISTORIC EO Church?  You are just being inconsistent, Father, for no other reason than to try to score points.

Christ is Risen!

No, I am not being inconsistent.

Papist has emphasized in past messages that he has a very logical Latin brain and he sees matters concretely - this was in reference to the term "immaculate" in Orthodox liturgy - he saw it as some sort of "definition" whereas the East, Orthodox or Cathlic, sees it as honouring the Mother of God in a metaphorical and poetic way. For that discussion with Papist please see
 http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,20612.msg308327.html#msg308327

Now if he wishes to assert that the Orthodox "position has changed over time" then he needs to apply his own exacting standard to this claim and substantiate it at a level which satifies his own criteria.

You yourself are being inconsistent with your criticisms on the Orthodox, saying that we deny the teaching of the IC although you asswet Palamas taught it.  You promised us the words of Palamas to prove your point.  So far you have not sent us nothing from Palamas. 

Both you and Papist are putting out unfounded claims and accusations. 
No the unfounded accusation is this:  The Catholic understanding of original sin is SOOOOOO different from the Eastern Orthodox  understanding of oriignal sin.  You can't defend it when one goes to historic sources, instead of MODERN EO sources.  Right now, we're talking about the Original Sin issue, and as is typical of your evasive tactic, now you want to go back to the matter of the IC, just so you can avoid having to deal with the fact that St. Palamas' own understanding of Original Sin is practially identical to the Catholic (and OO) understanding.  You, and a very few other EO here, just can't deal with the fact that St. Palamas' understanding of original sin is practically identical to the Catholic teaching, and he believed that Mary was IC'd (regardless of HOW he thought it came about).  Some here have asserted that the problem with the IC is this "difference" between MODERN EO'xy's teaching on original sin and Catholicism's teaching on original sin.  There is truth in that claim.  It's just that MODERN EO'xy is not the same as HISTORIC EO'xy's teaching on original sin - probably why St. Palamas did not have any problem with his own belief that Mary was IC'd.  In any case, it just exposes how different modern EO'xy is from historic EO'xy.

Of course, not all EO are modern EO.  A lot, and I personally know a few, are more faithful to historic EO'xy than others.

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #567 on: May 02, 2009, 09:05:40 AM »

Yes, another attempt to project your church's development of doctrine onto the Orthodox.

Modern Orthodox teaching is the same as Historical/Traditional/Ancient Orthdoox Teaching.  That's why it is ORTHODOX (and hence, CATHOLIC).
Yet you can't respond when I ask you how it is that historic EO'xy (represented by St. Palamas) coincides with Catholicism on the issue of Original Sin and the IC, while MODERN EO'xy claims otherwise. ???
Once again, a chance for you to demonstrate how the Catholic teaching on Original sin is SOOOOOOOOO different from the historic EO teaching on Original Sin (as represented by St. Palamas).  And yet, again, another glaring failure to be able to do so.  Catholics are only responding to the modern EO polemic myth that Catholicism and EO'xy are so different on the issue of original sin.  The onus is on you, as a modern EO, to establish your claim.  Just admit it - YOU CAN'T.

St. Gregory elaborates the link between death of the soul and the death of the body and original sin.

You above dissassociated them above in this "stain" business applying only to the soul of the Virgin.

The Vatican's teaching on original sin may not be at odds with St. Gregory (but you haven't shown that yet), but your interpretation certainly is.

Since you Modern partisans of the Vatican are ever changing, and your Medieval forebares and yourselves have set your ingenuity to solve a non-existant problem, hence the IC, I don't think the onus is on us to explain your change.  Between Bernard of Clairveaux and Pius IX, a change obviously occured.


Let's just assume, for the sake of argument, that St. Palamas coincides with what the Vatican says (problematic to begin with, as Fr. Ambrose has shown).  Does he cite the Fathers, the Liturgies of the Church, etc. to support his view?  Does he represent the consensus of the Fathers, or just a "proof-text" of a idiosyncretic idea, which is being twisted out of context to be moulded to later purposes?
Yeah, his explanation of HOW the IC came about is pretty unique.  But the fact of a consensus on the IC itself (regardless of theories on HOW it was achieved) is demonstrably evident from historic EO sources.

Then you shouldn't have any problem providing texts (and not your interpretation thereof) that are not so "unique."  And don't bring up the jesuitry of "All-Holy," "Immaculate" etc., unless you have something that specifically links that title to an absence of Original sin or its stain or however you want to state your claim.

I've already answered this:
Btw, quoting from the services etc. of the EO and OO (quoting which thus far you have not done) are a rather tricky business when the Vatican tries to prove its dogmas, and those who have submitted in the East chime in.  An egregious example would be the use of the quote of St. Ephraim of Syrian by the Chaldeans under the Vatican: they will dismiss St. John of Chrisostom's (an Antiochian in origin, btw) on the immaculateness of the Holy Theotokos, saying that "it wasn't proclaimed as dogma.  It wasn't binding."  They will, however, latch onto the earlier "You alone and your Mother are more beautiful than any others, for there is no blemish in you nor any stains upon your Mother. Who of my children can compare in beauty to these?" (Nisibene Hymns 27:8 [A.D. 361])," and, because the IC, according to the Vatican, is binding on them, will say "a-HA! Immaculate Conception."
NO YOU DID NOT.  I quoted several statements by EO Fathers earlier with an explicit belief in the IC (regardless of the HOW of the matter, and they were not merely statements about "all-holy" or "immaculate"), but you failed to respond.  You are referring to brother Papist's own statements.  You have not responded to mine at all.

Post a link to the post I have allegedly ignored, and maybe I'll get around to it.   I may have missed it.  This thread and this topic is not one of vital concern to me.

Btw, when I said I answered it, I meant that the explanation for these "proof" texts had been given.

Besides, I'm not the one that expressed puzzlement.  You were. ::)

My only puzzlement thus far is how you continue claim, for instance, that the Armenians teach it while an "untranslated" Armenian Orthodox, the All Armenian Catholicos' website and the website of the Armenian diocese to which your friend the subdeacon belongs to, states otherwise.

Again, consistent misrepresentations of what I stated.  I won't go so far as to call you a liar (like sister Salpy does when she's mad).  I HAVE NEVER stated, as you claim, that "the Armenians teach it." All I've ever stated is that it is a theologoumenon in the Armenian Church

Theologoumen=something we don't teach but believe.  LOL.  Now does make the word into a fancy term for BS, as Salpy astutely noted.

Is that what theologoumenon means?  Is it a fancy Greek word for BS?  If that is the case, then yes, it's theologoumenon.  What it is not, however, is a legitimate teaching of my Church.
Theologoumenon, simply put, means that members are free to believe it or reject it  Theologoumenon means that it is not an article of Faith.  Theologoumenon also means, however, that the belief is NOT CONDEMNED.

The IC has been condemened ever since the idea appeared, even by the Latins.


Quote
(while fully admitting it is not a belief as far as the AMERICAN Armenian Church is concerned).

LOL.  Hedging, hedging, hedging.  My, my, the lengths of jesuitry.  I posted the statement on the IC from the Armenian Catholicos' website.  He's not in America, if you don't know, but Armenia.  Has been for the last, say, 17 centuries.

Yes, I know that you claim that he didn't mean what it said, but for those of us who follow lex orandi, lex credendi and say what we mean and mean what we say, he was crystal clear enough.


Quote
Please do us all a favor and provide an exact quote from me stating what you claimed.  Theologoumenon does not normally start as a teaching of a Church, but are personal pious beliefs of individuals.


You really have to stop projecting "development of doctrine" on us, it is leading to rather unfortunate and embarrassing results for your side.

Quote
Sadly typical of what Father Ambrose and brother Mickey has done with my statements, you are misrepresenting what I stated just to score useless points for arguments' sake.

Nailing gello is rather hard.

Quote
quote author=Mardukm link=topic=20612.msg316172#msg316172 date=1241196331]
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.

Or you might consider, as has been told to you by numberous members of those apostolic (including those with the Vatican) that you are misrepresenting official Church teaching.
Yet after having had at least two opportunities to tell everyone here how the quote from St. Palamas somehow contradicts the Catholic teaching on Original Sin, you haven't and in fact can't do so. ::)

This idea of a line of purified ancestors does reveal the problem of infinite regression.  If you want that problem, go for it.  The Vatican does seem to want to.

The "quote" reminds me of the Muslim idea of the "light of Muhammad" passing from Adam through the loins down to Muhammad (the Sirah goes into some detail of how it was still in Muhammad's father: a woman propositioned him, but in the meantime Abd Allah had sex with Aminah, the light went out, and the woman thereupon lost interest in Abd Allah.  St. Gregory was kidnapped by the Turks.  Maybe that's where he got the idea, because it's not in the Fathers.
Another one of your typical evasive answers.  I'm talking about the Original Sin issue, and you bring up "infinite regression."  ??? ???  Your modern EO myth that the Catholic understanding of original Sin is SOOOOOO different from the historic EO understanding of original sin really can't be defended, can it?
The infinite regression problem is brought up by your IC solution to original sin's "stain."
can your modern understanding of original Sin be defended to have anything to do with historic Latin understanding of original sin, let alone the Orthodox one?  It seems to be a myth that has nothing to do with what is the official Vatican teaching, as quoted above to you.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2009, 09:06:59 AM by ialmisry »
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #568 on: May 02, 2009, 09:20:08 AM »
[The bottom line for the Orthodox is simple once we cut through the masses of sophisicated theological argumentation from Catholics who try to coerce the Orthodox into accepting the IC -  Mary was conceived in the same state as every other human being.  This is the teaching of the Byzantine Orthodox.  This is the teaching of our brothers and sisters in the Coptic Church.
Well then I will just have to accept that the EO position has changed over time.

Please substantiate this extraordinary claim with references to official statements from earlier centures where Synods or Councils promulgated the Immaculate Conception.
"Official statements" for whom?  The EO?  EO are CONSTANTLY up in arms about the idea of dogmatization, and now you claim that EO beliefs must be promulgated by Synods and Councils before it can be said that the belief exists in the EO Church - or at least the HISTORIC EO Church?  You are just being inconsistent, Father, for no other reason than to try to score points.

Christ is Risen!

No, I am not being inconsistent.

Papist has emphasized in past messages that he has a very logical Latin brain and he sees matters concretely - this was in reference to the term "immaculate" in Orthodox liturgy - he saw it as some sort of "definition" whereas the East, Orthodox or Cathlic, sees it as honouring the Mother of God in a metaphorical and poetic way. For that discussion with Papist please see
 http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,20612.msg308327.html#msg308327

Now if he wishes to assert that the Orthodox "position has changed over time" then he needs to apply his own exacting standard to this claim and substantiate it at a level which satifies his own criteria.

You yourself are being inconsistent with your criticisms on the Orthodox, saying that we deny the teaching of the IC although you asswet Palamas taught it.  You promised us the words of Palamas to prove your point.  So far you have not sent us nothing from Palamas. 

Both you and Papist are putting out unfounded claims and accusations. 
No the unfounded accusation is this:  The Catholic understanding of original sin is SOOOOOO different from the Eastern Orthodox  understanding of oriignal sin.  You can't defend it when one goes to historic sources, instead of MODERN EO sources. 
What about going to MODERN Vatican sources (you know, your magisterium), and compare them to historic Vatican sources.

Quote
Right now, we're talking about the Original Sin issue, and as is typical of your evasive tactic, now you want to go back to the matter of the IC, just so you can avoid having to deal with the fact that St. Palamas' own understanding of Original Sin is practially identical to the Catholic (and OO) understanding.  You, and a very few other EO here, just can't deal with the fact that St. Palamas' understanding of original sin is practically identical to the Catholic teaching, and he believed that Mary was IC'd (regardless of HOW he thought it came about).  Some here have asserted that the problem with the IC is this "difference" between MODERN EO'xy's teaching on original sin and Catholicism's teaching on original sin.  There is truth in that claim.  It's just that MODERN EO'xy is not the same as HISTORIC EO'xy's teaching on original sin - probably why St. Palamas did not have any problem with his own belief that Mary was IC'd.  In any case, it just exposes how different modern EO'xy is from historic EO'xy.

Of course, not all EO are modern EO.  A lot, and I personally know a few, are more faithful to historic EO'xy than others.

The question is, how faithful are you in portraying the Vatican's teaching, through history or in the modern era?

It is interesting how now you claim that discussing the IC is evasion, when your dogma states "We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which holds that the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the first instant of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace of the Omnipotent God, in virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of mankind, was preserved immaculate from all stain of original sin, has been revealed by God, and therefore should firmly and constantly be believed by all the faithful."

Btw, please let the OO speak for the OO.  In particular as you never back up your claims of Vatican-OO agreement.

Because of lack of interest, I may have missed it: have you provided any authoritative substantiation of the understanding of St. Gregory matching the Vatican's present understanding?


I know Father has asked for your citations of St. Gregory on the IC, have you provided them?
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Offline Mardukm

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #569 on: May 02, 2009, 09:24:27 AM »
No, I am not being inconsistent.

Papist has emphasized in past messages that he has a very logical Latin brain and he sees matters concretely - this was in reference to the term "immaculate" in Orthodox liturgy - he saw it as some sort of "definition" whereas the East, Orthodox or Cathlic, sees it as honouring the Mother of God in a metaphorical and poetic way. For that discussion with Papist please see
 http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,20612.msg308327.html#msg308327

Now if he wishes to assert that the Orthodox "position has changed over time" then he needs to apply his own exacting standard to this claim and substantiate it at a level which satifies his own criteria.
No. For the sake of consistency and fairness, one party should respect the paradigm of the other party.  That is why brother Papist originally quoted your Liturgy, because THAT is what is important to you (of course, I agree with you that calling Mary "Immaculate", "All-holy" and the like does not necessitate a belief in the IC).  Similarly, that is why we quote EO Saints, because in the EO paradigm, synodal approval is not absolutely necessary for a belief to be standardized.  So it IS inconsistent, as far as rhetorical fairness is concerned, for you to expect him to cite Synodal statements.  

We only wish you would grant us the same consideration.  You know very well that as Catholics, we adhere to MAGISTERIAL teachings, not merely statements from great theologians or Saints, which can be mistaken.  So the inconsistency lies with your own rhetorical method.  You apply a rule of rhetorical engagement to brother Papist that you yourself are not willing to adhere to - proven by the fact that you keep citing our Saints and feel like you have won an argument.  You yourself do not agree with St. Palamas' belief in the IC, nor the several other EO Saints that I've quoted, yet you expect people here to go goo-goo ga-ga when you cite two or three Catholic Saints in your favor.  Stick to magisterial documents if you want to be consistent when debating Catholics.

Quote
You yourself are being inconsistent with your criticisms on the Orthodox, saying that we deny the teaching of the IC although you asswet Palamas taught it.
No, I never stated he taught it.  I said he believed it (along with a lot of other members of the EOC who are regarded as Saints, btw).  Though I'll admit that since so many of your Saints (prior to the promulgation of the dogma of the IC) expressed belief in it, it's possible it was actually taught.

Quote
You promised us the words of Palamas to prove your point.  So far you have not sent us nothing from Palamas.
No. I promised a citation, which you already provided, and I assume from an EO source, which is why I did not feel the need to do so.  Since your source discussed it, did your own source give any texts from Palamas aside from explanation?

Offline Mardukm

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #570 on: May 02, 2009, 09:32:07 AM »
The question is, how faithful are you in portraying the Vatican's teaching, through history or in the modern era?

It is interesting how now you claim that discussing the IC is evasion, when your dogma states "We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which holds that the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the first instant of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace of the Omnipotent God, in virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of mankind, was preserved immaculate from all stain of original sin, has been revealed by God, and therefore should firmly and constantly be believed by all the faithful."
Yes, "all stain of original sin" means just that "all stain of original sin" which refers to the spiritual consequences.  What's you point?

Quote
Btw, please let the OO speak for the OO.  In particular as you never back up your claims of Vatican-OO agreement.
I know exactly what the OO teach on Original Sin, thank you, because I stick to my OO Traditions (and the only thing I reject are MISconceptions of the Catholic Church).  There is no Vatican-OO agreement on the matter because there is none to be had.  Our teachings are substantially identical, with minor variations in terminology. 

Quote
Because of lack of interest, I may have missed it: have you provided any authoritative substantiation of the understanding of St. Gregory matching the Vatican's present understanding?
Your group is the one who INVENTED the myth that the EO and CC understandings of original sin are so different to the point of divisiveness, so the onus is on YOU, having made the claim first, to prove that St. Gregory Palamas' teaching is not substantially identical to the Catholic teaching on original sin.  You can, btw, easily do that by looking at the magisterial documents from Trent or Vatican I.

Quote
I know Father has asked for your citations of St. Gregory on the IC, have you provided them?
I already explained that to Father above, but thanks for asking.

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #571 on: May 02, 2009, 09:34:15 AM »
I'll be giving an explanation for Fr. Ambrose in a moment.

Blessings

Dear Marduk,

This is embarrassing.  A web search will turn up Coptic Orthodox sites denying the Immaculate Conception.  It is more than clear that this very ancient Church founded by the Apostle Mark has never had and does not now have a teaching of the Immaculate Conception.  The Coptic Church shares the authentic teaching of the other Orthodox Churches both Chalcedonian and non-Chalcedonian on this matter

What about the Armenian Orthodox?  How do they stand on this matter?

LOL.  Don't ask.

If you want to go to CAF, there is a father deacon there named Diak who has had contact with an Armenian priest who personally believes in the IC.  As your Catholicos states, it is not an article of Faith in your Church, but that's all he says about it.

So there's this discussion forum where someone says they know a priest who believes in IC.  That means nothing.  I wish I had a dollar for every Protestant I know who says they know someone who knows a priest who forbids people from reading the Bible.  

Even if this "father deacon" (obviously not an Armenian Orthodox--we don't call our deacons that) really does know a priest who said he believes that, it means nothing.  One priest doesn't represent the Church.  Also, as I said, a lot of Armenians mistake the phrase "Immaculate Conception" to mean something other than what it means in your Church.  Indeed the title of this thread indicates that it is misunderstood by many.  Especially with non-native speakers of English, you get people who think it means the Mother of God was conceived in a miraculous way (as in her parents were very old and infertile,) or they think it means the Virgin Birth of Christ.  I wasn't there for the conversation that took place between this deacon and the priest.  So I can't tell you what he really believes.  All I know is that this is not a teaching of our Church.  

Quote
Do you think the words "do not accept as an article of faith" precludes anyone believing it, albeit as theologoumenon (i.e., not as an article of Faith)?

My problem here is that I don't know what the word "theologoumenon" means.  I've seen the word a few times since I have been here, but I don't know what it is.  I've only seen it used by EO's.

With regard to what individual Armenians believe, there are Armenians out there who believe in just about anything.  There was a guy at my church a few years ago who got involved with some Oneness Pentecostals and then started going around telling people that it is acceptable in the Armenian Church to not believe in the Holy Trinity.  I am also sure that the Armenian Vassula crowd believes in IC, as well as all the other Latin innovations that my Church has rejected over the centuries.  One of those ladies likes to go around telling people that the Pope in Rome is the "vicar of Christ," whatever that means.

Is that what theologoumenon means?  Is it a fancy Greek word for BS?  If that is the case, then yes, it's theologoumenon.  What it is not, however, is a legitimate teaching of my Church.

If this comment by me gets me banned from this website like you banned me from the Oriental Orthodox forum, while I was trying to point an inquirer to hierarchical OO documents - well, so be it.  Small minds, here.

Goodness gracious.  I haven't banned you from anything.  I don't think I could ban a person, even if I wanted to.  In fact, in all the years I've been a moderator, I've never even warned anyone.  I usually find another way of dealing with the problem.  For example, in the case of people who lie about my Church (you are not the first,) I usually just kick their lying posts down into the private forum where I can have it out with them.  That's probably what I will eventually do with you, if you don't stop.
LOL.
Now I know why the Turks are terrified of the Armenians.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #572 on: May 02, 2009, 09:45:38 AM »
The question is, how faithful are you in portraying the Vatican's teaching, through history or in the modern era?

It is interesting how now you claim that discussing the IC is evasion, when your dogma states "We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which holds that the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the first instant of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace of the Omnipotent God, in virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of mankind, was preserved immaculate from all stain of original sin, has been revealed by God, and therefore should firmly and constantly be believed by all the faithful."
Yes, "all stain of original sin" means just that "all stain of original sin" which refers to the spiritual consequences.  What's you point?

That you still haven't made yours.  Remember your friend St. Gregory Palamas?
It's the same as St Gregory Palamas. Let me know if you agree.

Quote
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.

I put in bold what you seem to have missed in the OP.

Quote
Btw, please let the OO speak for the OO.  In particular as you never back up your claims of Vatican-OO agreement.
Quote
I know exactly what the OO teach on Original Sin,

I've yet to see evidence of that knowledge.


Quote
thank you, because I stick to my OO Traditions

OO Copts have disputed that.

Quote
(and the only thing I reject are MISconceptions of the Catholic Church). 

or adopted the double entendre when you were "translated."

Quote
There is no Vatican-OO agreement on the matter because there is none to be had.  Our teachings are substantially identical, with minor variations in terminology.

Again, a OO have told you otherwise on the IC, which would include original sin (see Minasoliman's excellent posts again).

Quote
Because of lack of interest, I may have missed it: have you provided any authoritative substantiation of the understanding of St. Gregory matching the Vatican's present understanding?
Quote
Your group is the one who INVENTED the myth that the EO and CC understandings of original sin are so different to the point of divisiveness, so the onus is on YOU, having made the claim first, to prove that St. Gregory Palamas' teaching is not substantially identical to the Catholic teaching on original sin.  You can, btw, easily do that by looking at the magisterial documents from Trent or Vatican I.

I have looked at Trent and Vatican I.  Have you?

Quote
I know Father has asked for your citations of St. Gregory on the IC, have you provided them?
Quote
I already explained that to Father above, but thanks for asking.

What's the excuse of lack of citation. You seem rather dogamatic that he believed it: what's the basis of that belief?
« Last Edit: May 02, 2009, 09:46:13 AM 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 Dan-Romania

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #573 on: May 02, 2009, 02:00:46 PM »
Wich is the Greek translation of "full of grace" please ?
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Offline Fr. George

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #574 on: May 02, 2009, 02:23:49 PM »
I still think it would be best if the supporters of IC would look at and accept/modify/critique the info I posted (a page or two ago), in order to establish a clear definition of what is meant, and then allow users to then support or attack that approved statement.
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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #575 on: May 02, 2009, 03:09:21 PM »
Which is the Greek translation of "full of grace" please ?

Yes, could someone please clarify this?

Offline Michał

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #576 on: May 02, 2009, 03:21:24 PM »
Wich is the Greek translation of "full of grace" please ?

A footnote from EOB (The Eastern / Greek Orthodox Bible):

Offline Dan-Romania

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #577 on: May 03, 2009, 06:43:21 AM »
Here is how i consider the dogma of IC being true . If Mary is the daughter of Zion , God makes reference to the daughter of Zion a couple of times in the Bible .  In one of them is talking at present time in Isaia 37:22 . So at the time of Sanherib Mary was not born . But Mary is born a couple of centuries later . I consider this dogma as Mary being outside time , like Jesus , she being born like the Eve was , before her falling . So Mary being outside of time and not being born yet , God mentions it to Sanhedrin and "trought" her He beats the camp of Asiria . The name Zion \zion\ is of Hebrew origin, and its meaning is "highest point .In the Christian religion, Zion is the name for heaven.The name Sion \sion\ is of Hebrew origin. Refers to the fortified hill of pre-Israelite Jerusalem. After the Israelites captured this hill, it became the official residence of king David and other kings. To Christians, Sion is a symbol of heaven. So if that verse refers to Mary she is the daughter of heavens , the daughter of the fortified hill , like Eve was , and she benefits of the same grace as Eve first was . Therefore Mary being born from heavens from God`s grace , and the salute the angel greated Hail Mary , full of grace , shows that she was a gracefull woman , a special vessel , blessed among the women , let us remmeber the "blessed among the women" term .In OT in Judges this term is used for Jael , i`m not sure if i spelled the name right anyway, she was called like that cause She was the women who gave Israel Salvation at that point . There are some chosen vessels of God , trough wich He choses to give Salvation , in the Scriptures . The signification of Mary being the daughter of Zion and being born from heaven signafice that Mary was born with the same grace Eve was born . Mary represents therefore the scale trough wich the women are restaurated in the grace of God , cause trought a woman , because she ate first and she gave Adam from the words of Adam , and Adam sinned also , God choses to bring Salvation to the world , trough a woman , trough the New Eve , reinstaurating Eve and the women to the grace of God and making women the object trough wich we earn Salvation . As Paul says woman from man , and man from(trought) woman . Cause the women gave birth to life . Also in Tradition says that Mary enter the Saint of Saint , I can`t remmeber wich year , where only the High Priest could enter once of year ! The Saint of Saint represents heaven , and even the High Priest wich came into the Saint of Saint enter there and bringeth first offerings for his sins and then for the sins of the people . I haven`t read the book wich speaks about the life of Mare , and I`m not familiar with her birth. I`m interesting in hering opinions about the IC dogma from the perspective I presented . Cheers .
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #578 on: May 03, 2009, 09:06:34 AM »
Here is how i consider the dogma of IC being true . If Mary is the daughter of Zion , God makes reference to the daughter of Zion a couple of times in the Bible .  In one of them is talking at present time in Isaia 37:22 . So at the time of Sanherib Mary was not born . But Mary is born a couple of centuries later . I consider this dogma as Mary being outside time , like Jesus , she being born like the Eve was , before her falling . So Mary being outside of time and not being born yet , God mentions it to Sanhedrin and "trought" her He beats the camp of Asiria . The name Zion \zion\ is of Hebrew origin, and its meaning is "highest point .In the Christian religion, Zion is the name for heaven.The name Sion \sion\ is of Hebrew origin. Refers to the fortified hill of pre-Israelite Jerusalem. After the Israelites captured this hill, it became the official residence of king David and other kings. To Christians, Sion is a symbol of heaven. So if that verse refers to Mary she is the daughter of heavens , the daughter of the fortified hill , like Eve was , and she benefits of the same grace as Eve first was . Therefore Mary being born from heavens from God`s grace , and the salute the angel greated Hail Mary , full of grace , shows that she was a gracefull woman , a special vessel , blessed among the women , let us remmeber the "blessed among the women" term .In OT in Judges this term is used for Jael , i`m not sure if i spelled the name right anyway, she was called like that cause She was the women who gave Israel Salvation at that point . There are some chosen vessels of God , trough wich He choses to give Salvation , in the Scriptures . The signification of Mary being the daughter of Zion and being born from heaven signafice that Mary was born with the same grace Eve was born . Mary represents therefore the scale trough wich the women are restaurated in the grace of God , cause trought a woman , because she ate first and she gave Adam from the words of Adam , and Adam sinned also , God choses to bring Salvation to the world , trough a woman , trough the New Eve , reinstaurating Eve and the women to the grace of God and making women the object trough wich we earn Salvation . As Paul says woman from man , and man from(trought) woman . Cause the women gave birth to life . Also in Tradition says that Mary enter the Saint of Saint , I can`t remmeber wich year , where only the High Priest could enter once of year ! The Saint of Saint represents heaven , and even the High Priest wich came into the Saint of Saint enter there and bringeth first offerings for his sins and then for the sins of the people . I haven`t read the book wich speaks about the life of Mare , and I`m not familiar with her birth. I`m interesting in hering opinions about the IC dogma from the perspective I presented . Cheers .

These are prefigurements of things that were going to happen.  The IC requires that salvation already have been achieved.  Past, not future.  Trecut, nu viitor.
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,
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Offline Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #579 on: May 03, 2009, 09:13:15 AM »
Dear brother Second Chance,

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

I will give it a shot, starting with a single source, Apostle Paul's letter to the Romans, Chapter 3. My overall point is that the main thrust of the history of mankind has been the mercy shown to men (and women) by God as we cannot be saved except through His salvific actions. I firmly believe that there is so much authoritative information coming to us from the Lord and His disciples through the Holy Scriptures that there is hardly any room for adding to His Word in this instance. I already conceded that the belief in IC may be tolerated as a matter of piety. When you cross over into doctrine and dogma, you must prove that His Word is not contradicted, not that this and that Saint said something in the affirmative. Again, piety does not equal dogma. That being the case, the opening salvo is:

Romans Chapter 3
Verses 9-10: "What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin.

As it is written:
   "There is no one righteous, not even one;"

Also, verses 21-24

 "But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.

This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."


So you believe that Mary was a sinner?

Yes, she was a sinner because of her humanity, that is she, as with any one of us, had the potential to sin. It would help to think of what people who kicked off the addiction habit say: I am an alcoholic/drug addict/etc.. who is in recovery. They are addicts who do not use. Some are able to maintain the non-use state because of will power, others because of treatment and participation in 12-step programs, and still others by the Grace of God. Saint Paul was very clear on this point: the necessity of separating mankind's propensity to sin from their potential to overcome this propensity through the Grace of God, through Christ our Lord. Indeed, this is the central tenet of our faith is it not?

Now, I answered the plain meaning of your question. If you had asked whether "Mary sinned" rather than "Mary was a sinner," my answer would have been different, but still in consonance with the Holy Scriptures.  

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #580 on: May 03, 2009, 09:21:26 AM »
Dear brother Second Chance,

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

I will give it a shot, starting with a single source, Apostle Paul's letter to the Romans, Chapter 3. My overall point is that the main thrust of the history of mankind has been the mercy shown to men (and women) by God as we cannot be saved except through His salvific actions. I firmly believe that there is so much authoritative information coming to us from the Lord and His disciples through the Holy Scriptures that there is hardly any room for adding to His Word in this instance. I already conceded that the belief in IC may be tolerated as a matter of piety. When you cross over into doctrine and dogma, you must prove that His Word is not contradicted, not that this and that Saint said something in the affirmative. Again, piety does not equal dogma. That being the case, the opening salvo is:

Romans Chapter 3
Verses 9-10: "What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin.

As it is written:
   "There is no one righteous, not even one;"

Also, verses 21-24

 "But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.

This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."


So you believe that Mary was a sinner?

Yes, she was a sinner because of her humanity, that is she, as with any one of us, had the potential to sin. It would help to think of what people who kicked off the addiction habit say: I am an alcoholic/drug addict/etc.. who is in recovery. They are addicts who do not use. Some are able to maintain the non-use state because of will power, others because of treatment and participation in 12-step programs, and still others by the Grace of God. Saint Paul was very clear on this point: the necessity of separating mankind's propensity to sin from their potential to overcome this propensity through the Grace of God, through Christ our Lord. Indeed, this is the central tenet of our faith is it not?

Now, I answered the plain meaning of your question. If you had asked whether "Mary sinned" rather than "Mary was a sinner," my answer would have been different, but still in consonance with the Holy Scriptures.  

Excellent analogy.
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 Mardukm

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #581 on: May 03, 2009, 12:11:28 PM »
Yes, she was a sinner because of her humanity, that is she, as with any one of us, had the potential to sin. It would help to think of what people who kicked off the addiction habit say: I am an alcoholic/drug addict/etc.. who is in recovery. They are addicts who do not use. Some are able to maintain the non-use state because of will power, others because of treatment and participation in 12-step programs, and still others by the Grace of God. Saint Paul was very clear on this point: the necessity of separating mankind's propensity to sin from their potential to overcome this propensity through the Grace of God, through Christ our Lord. Indeed, this is the central tenet of our faith is it not?

Now, I answered the plain meaning of your question. If you had asked whether "Mary sinned" rather than "Mary was a sinner," my answer would have been different, but still in consonance with the Holy Scriptures.  
Brother Papist and myself have stated, and I have demonstrated according to the Athanasian understanding, that it is not the case that Mary was not able to sin.  She truly did use her free will not to sin.  That is the misunderstanding that you have imposed on the dogma. The dogma properly interpreted simply means that Mary had all the Graces to enable her not to sin, not that the Graces forced her not to sin.  But we all know that Grace can be resisted by man.  So even your explanation here does not make the slightest dent in the dogma.

As suggested many times already, even by brother Cleveland, you should make your assessment of the dogma based on WHAT IT IS, not on your own misconceptions of it.

Blessings,
Marduk

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #582 on: May 03, 2009, 05:06:14 PM »
Yes, she was a sinner because of her humanity, that is she, as with any one of us, had the potential to sin. It would help to think of what people who kicked off the addiction habit say: I am an alcoholic/drug addict/etc.. who is in recovery. They are addicts who do not use. Some are able to maintain the non-use state because of will power, others because of treatment and participation in 12-step programs, and still others by the Grace of God. Saint Paul was very clear on this point: the necessity of separating mankind's propensity to sin from their potential to overcome this propensity through the Grace of God, through Christ our Lord. Indeed, this is the central tenet of our faith is it not?

Now, I answered the plain meaning of your question. If you had asked whether "Mary sinned" rather than "Mary was a sinner," my answer would have been different, but still in consonance with the Holy Scriptures.  
Brother Papist and myself have stated, and I have demonstrated according to the Athanasian understanding, that it is not the case that Mary was not able to sin.  She truly did use her free will not to sin.  That is the misunderstanding that you have imposed on the dogma. The dogma properly interpreted simply means that Mary had all the Graces to enable her not to sin, not that the Graces forced her not to sin.  But we all know that Grace can be resisted by man.  So even your explanation here does not make the slightest dent in the dogma.

As suggested many times already, even by brother Cleveland, you should make your assessment of the dogma based on WHAT IT IS, not on your own misconceptions of it.

Blessings,
Marduk

Did you make that statement Cleaveland asked for on "what it is," or rather, what you claim it is?
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;
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Offline Mardukm

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #583 on: May 03, 2009, 05:45:19 PM »
Dear brother Mina,

Get some coffee. This is a long one. ;D

Quote
Nevertheless, I don't understand why you would criticize the belief of death as the cause of all things we do as merely a Byzantine, Eastern Orthodox belief.  I really can care less what they believe (although I agree with their beliefs), but based on what I read, this is very Alexandrian, and very Severian.  Fr. Peter Theodore will even agree with me on this one, as he is a scholar on St. Severus' writings.  I've actually had this discussion recently with other Copts who misunderstand the belief of the Original Sin and what it is.
To be perfectly clear, I am not criticizing the belief that physical death and fear of it can cause sin.  Rather, I am criticizing the EXCESSIVE attachment of physical death as the cause of sin in modern EO’xy, to the point that these modern EO assert that a belief that SPIRITUAL death is the cause of sin (which is [part of] the Catholic viewpoint, and the historic EO viewpoint as represented by St. Palamas) is so incompatible with the former belief that they actually use it as a justification for division.  I personally accept the reasoning that fear of death can cause one to sin, but by no means do I (as an Oriental and a Catholic) accept the idea that death is the MAIN cause of sin, nor that such a view is incompatible with the primary understanding that it is sin that is the cause of death (which is the notion that modern EO apologists like to present in their attempts to create a further division between EO and CC).

Quote
For instance, the Greek for Romans 5:12 is read differently.  If you go back and read St. John Chrysostom's commentaries, he writes very clearly, "for that all have sinned," not "because all sinned."  The meaning here is very different.  Through one man's sin, death entered into the world, and because of death, all sinned.
As stated, I accept BOTH viewpoints (that spiritual death is the primary cause of sin, and that physical death and corruption can also be a cause of sin). I simply reject the modern EO rhetoric that emphasizes one to the detriment of the other.  As far as St. Chrysostom, I must disagree. We don’t have to surmise an interpretation for the statement “for that all have sinned” because he himself gives it: But what means “for that all have sinned?” This: he having once fallen (even they that had not eaten of the tree) did from him, all of them, become mortal.

Contrary to what you stated, the clause is used by St. Chrysostom not to indicate that death is the cause of sin, but the very opposite – that a person who sins (“has fallen”) acquires the penalty of death (i.e., is mortal). And, btw, “because all sinned” is the translation HH Pope Shenoute used in his work on Adam and Eve, as I quoted to you in a previous post.  Both translations are used by Copts (and Catholics) to teach the reality of death from sin, not the other way around.  The other view (that death is the cause of sin) I have not heard from any of my Coptic teachers growing up. I have only heard it from modern EO, and – strangely - a few Eastern Catholics.

Btw, may I ask why you think the verse as translated by St. Chrysostom is to be interpreted as you did?  I mean, didn’t you read St. Chrysostom’s own explanation? Did you gain your interpretation from some other source?

Quote
Second, I agree with you that spiritual death causes us to sin.  However, for the sake of this discussion, the terminology "stain" does not indicate death, but an addition, a sin.  Death is separation, a corruption, something missing in one's life.  A stain is something added to one's life, something like the act of sinning.  This is why I interpret your quotes differently.  For instance, if I met one who did not sin at all in his/her life, I can say of this person he/she is without stain.  That doesn't mean the curse is removed from them, that they are not under this curse of death, spiritual or physical.  I don't think that's what St. Ephrem meant, and I'll share with you a quote by St. Jacob of Serugh in a little bit now that I have the book in my hand again.
I wholeheartedly agree with you that death and corruption is not a “stain” – that’s what I’ve always said. I base my belief on Pope St. Athanasius’ teaching that death and corruption are NATURAL to the human condition (Adam and Eve were physically immortal BY GRACE – their physical immortality was NOT NATURAL; their NATURAL condition was to be able to die and be corruptible).  Sin and sinfulness are SPIRITUAL consequences of the Fall, and sin and sinfulness are “stains” insofar as they are NOT natural to the human condition.  That is why I have constantly stated that the “STAIN of Original Sin” does not refer to death or any of the other physical/temporal penalties of the Fall, but only to the SPIRITUAL consequences.  As I understand it, death is a curse insofar as it is the result of a deprivation of the GRACE of physical immortality. But it is not a curse as if it was ADDED to our nature by virtue of the Fall (in this we agree, as you stated earlier that “a stain is something added” and “’stain’ does not indicate death”). What the Fall did was cause the Grace of physical immortality to be lost and – without this Grace- man simply reverted back to his NATURAL state of being susceptible to death and corruptibility.  

What I just related on Original Sin is what I imbibed as a Copt, which is what the Catholic Church also teaches (and especially the Latin portion), in accord with Pope St. Athanasius.  That is why my acceptance of the dogma of the IC was easy enough.  All I had to do was reject my MISconceptions of the dogma.  I did not have to reject anything of what I believed as a Copt in order to accept the IC. For example, HH Pope Shenoute rejects the IC because it makes it seem as if Mary was not conceived naturally (i.e., of both father and mother). I grew up thinking likewise. In truth, I never bothered to investigate Catholic sources, but was merely “towing the party line” so to speak, in my rejection of the IC.  But upon actually going to Catholic sources, I discovered that the Catholic Church also explicitly rejects the view that Mary was not naturally conceived (an idea officially condemned as far back as the 17th century by Pope Benedict XIV). I had other misconceptions about the dogma, besides (not to mention misconceptions about a whole lot of other Catholic teachings), but by reading Catholic sources on Catholic teaching, instead of through the lens of NON-Catholic sources, my misconceptions were, by the Grace of God, removed.  

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In addition, physical death and spiritual death in my opinion are only separated (if I may use a Christological terminology) "in thought alone."  What St. Paul says in Romans 5:12, he meant both.  The psychological ramifications of corruption and death, physically as well as spiritually, lead all to sin.  Christ came and killed death, separating the two.  He partook of physical death without spiritual death, rendering death dead in its power against us.  So, yes we are raised alive again in Christ, but partaking of the Life of Christ, physical death is no longer what it used to be the punishment it was, but a blessing, a grace to look forward to.  We die in Christ that we may live.
IMO, this is the whole crux of the matter in our disagreement. It seems to me all other matters pale before this central interpretation of whether we can make a real distinction between spiritual death and physical death. Forthwith, I’ll give my reasons why spiritual death and physical death are distinguished not merely epistemologically (“in thought alone”) but rather truly ontologically (i.e., by their very substance), and if you still disagree, then we will have to agree to disagree as brothers in Christ.

Once again, I base my understanding on our common Father Pope St. Athanasius. Athanasius taught that humanity BY NATURE was subject to physical death and corruption. When God created man, he made him NATURALLY subject to physical death and corruption, but BY GRACE, he clothed him with immortality and incorruption.  BY GRACE, according to Athanasius, God also permitted man to be in communion with the Holy Ones. This latter Grace, to be able to be in communion with the Holy Ones, the Catholic Church calls Sanctifying Grace, which is strictly different from the Grace of physical immortality. Now, we Orientals do not have distinctive names for different types of Grace, but we nevertheless fully recognize that the Graces of the Holy Spirit are many and varied, and not all of the same kind, nor all of the same effect.  The idea that physical immortality is a Grace that is not NATURAL to humankind is asserted EVERYWHERE in Scripture and by the Fathers through the image of this immortality as a CLOTHING, or as a COVERING, that is put on man by God.

So when the Fall came about, it resulted in several things:
(1) Man lost the Grace of physical immortality and reverted back to his NATURAL state of physical death and corruption (not that death and corruption were added to his nature, but simply that he reverted back to it).  This is, strictly speaking, the PHYSICAL DEATH (and corruption, along with all other temporal ailments). This is always what I meant when I referred to the physical/temporal/tactile consequences of Original Sin;
(2) Man lost the Sanctifying Grace to be in communion with the Holy Ones (of course, including God).  This is, strictly speaking, the SPIRITUAL DEATH, or separation from God. This is always what I MAINLY meant when I referred to the spiritual consequences of Original Sin;
(3) Man’s NATURAL powers (his reason and his vision of eternity) were damaged.  This, strictly speaking, resulted in what is known as concupiscence.

When I speak of “stain,” I have strictly and consistently stated that it refers to the SPIRITUAL consequences of original sin.  Now the SPIRITUAL consequences (the “stain”) of Original Sin refer not only to the state of sinfulness, but also to the act of sinning, as well as lack of original holiness, lack of original justice, and spiritual death (which is separation from God).  These are exactly what are referred to in the dogma as “all stain of original sin.

Now considering this Athanasian understanding of original sin, can we indeed distinguish between the spiritual death and the physical death?  I truly believe so. Why?  Because it is clear that physical death is a NATURAL consequence of the Fall, whereas spiritual death is a SUPERNATURAL consequence of the Fall. Likewise, it is evident that the Grace of physical immortality is distinguished from the Grace of Spiritual Life (i.e., the opposite of Spiritual Death, which is separation from God).  In other words, the natural corollary of the belief that there can be no actual, ontological distinction between physical death and spiritual death is that there is no actual, ontological distinction between the Grace of Spiritual Life and the Grace of physical immortality.  One cannot be taken without the other. But since there is indeed an ontological distinction between the Grace of Spiritual Life and the Grace of physical immortality- hence, there must also be a distinction between spiritual death and physical death.

This distinction between natural and supernatural is everywhere evident in Christian anthropology.  The body of man is created by NATURAL means, whereas the soul of man is created by SUPERNATURAL means.  Further, if the physical and spiritual are so drastically linked, then why is it that after Baptism, we are still liable to death?  When a Christian dies a physical death, his soul and body are not linked so drastically that one could possibly imagine that his soul dies the spiritual death as well.  The reason for this is a lot simpler than claiming that “Christ came and killed death, separating the two.” The reason was alluded to earlier – it is the simple fact that the Grace of Spiritual Life (one of the Graces we receive at Baptism, and likewise one of the Graces Mary received at her IC) is different from the Grace of Physical immortality.  Mary, though she received the Grace of Spiritual Life at the IC (among other Graces), did not receive this particular Grace of Physical immortality until her Dormition.  Likewise, that it is a separate Grace from the Grace of Spiritual Life is proven by the fact that we ourselves, who were baptized and received the Grace of Spiritual Life, will not receive the Grace of Physical immortality until the Endtime (i.e., we still die).  This proves that the distinction between physical and spiritual death is not merely “in thought alone,” but is a truly ontological reality – to repeat, the Grace of Spiritual Life can be acquired without necessarily acquiring the Grace of Physical immortality (at least, immediately).

Still, I must consider your theory that “Christ came and killed death, separating the two.” I suppose this was your way of accommodating your belief with the fact that Baptism, where we receive the Grace of Spiritual Life, does not AUTOMATICALLY grant us the Grace of Physical immortality (i.e., we still die).  What you’re saying, presumably, is that one can only consider this separation AFTER the death and resurrection of Christ; whereas before that time, they were inseparable. But some thought will hopefully prove to you that your theory is not viable.  The main reason I believe that physical death and spiritual death are ontologically separable is because, once again, according to our Father Athanasius, Sts. Jeremiah and John (the Forerunner) were – even before Christ’s death and resurrection – sanctified unto sinlessness in their mothers’ wombs. At this point, I’ll stop, because the natural course of this particular topic needs to be continued below where you bring up the question of sanctification.

In any case, from our discussion so far, it is evident that from man’s beginning to man’s end one cannot escape the fact that the spiritual and physical aspects of man can indeed be distinguished, and, THEREFORE, that physical death can be distinguished from spiritual death, and, likewise, the Grace of Physical immortality from the Grace of Spiritual Life.

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Nevertheless, Satan continues to bring death back into the battlefield.  By our sinning, we are recharging death unfortunately.  By our life in Christ, we are keeping death dead.  It is why we sing "Christ is risen from the dead, and trampled death by death, bestowing life to those who were in the tombs."  He did not bestow righteousness to sinners, but life to those who were dead, so that sinners may be righteous.
I would be in 100% agreement with your statement above if the highlighted portion was revised to “but spiritual life to those who were spiritually dead.” Otherwise, we cannot be said to be righteous until we have gained the Grace of Physical immortality at the Endtime.

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It is the central teaching in Athanasius, Cyril, and Severus.  I cannot accept the terminology "stain."  Trust me, I understand what you mean when you say we shouldn't war over words (in the spirit of ecumenism, I try my best not to war over words in Christological debates, and in this case, I don't reject differences in the meaning of the word "stain" either).  But when it comes to quotes by Church fathers who say that the Virgin was "stainless," in this particular discussion with you, I avoid the term "stain" so that I can show you why I reject it.  Nevertheless, I misunderstood your use, seeing that it might mean "spiritual death."
Fair enough. I just don’t want you to think that I am somehow being unfaithful to my Oriental roots just because I use the word.

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When it comes to the conception of the Virgin Mary, I cannot accept this.  As I mentioned before, many people in the Old Testament were sanctified by the Holy Spirit without removing "spiritual death."  Many prophets spoke through the "Holy Spirit."  That doesn't mean "spiritual death" was removed.  They may have well been stainless.  After all, Romans 5:14 alludes to people who have not sinned that even experience death (spiritual and physical).
(It is at this point that I continue our discussion from above regarding Sts. Jeremiah and John the Baptist.)

I respectfully disagree.  First of all, as I stated before, sanctification is merely a generic term for the action of the Holy Spirit.  The Graces received through sanctification, on the other hand, and their effects on individuals, are many and varied, as Scripture states in Romans 12 and I Corinthians 12. So, yes, many people were sanctified in the OT.  But we have to distinguish between the Graces that were dispensed through such sanctification.  The Prophets spoke through the Holy Spirit.  Being able to give the commands and directives of God is a particular Grace, and certainly does not require, for example, the Grace of sinlessness (recall Jonah or Saul or David), nor the Grace of physical Immortality, nor the Grace of Virginity (recall Saul or David or Solomon), nor the Grace of Spiritual Life nor any other particular Graces.  Again, we know that by the Holy Spirit, Solomon was given the Grace of Wisdom, yet that certainly did not give him the Grace of Virginity, nor the Grace of Sinlessness, etc. The point is, once again, that the sanctification of the Holy Spirit results in many and varied Graces or Gifts, different for each individual as the Spirit wills.

According to our Father Athanasius, St. Jeremiah and the Forerunner were (among other Graces) given the Grace of sinlessness from their mothers’ womb (“they were made pure and without sin”). Since we know that babies, much less when they are in their mothers’ womb, cannot sin, then St. Athanasius must have been referring to Original Sin.  Would you agree? Now, Scripture readily asserts that sin results in death (physical and spiritual).  Does it not then follow that sinlessness will result in breaking the bonds of physical and spiritual death?  The difference is that the Grace of Spiritual Life is immediately obtained from the state of sinlessness, whereas the Grace of physical immortality is obtained at the Resurrection, while only the PROMISE of physical immortality is the immediate result of the state of sinlessness.  Are you willing to claim that Sts Jeremiah and John, just because they experienced physical death, were spiritually “separated from God?” Were they not holy and in constant communion, with God?

I confess that I find it strange that you can so readily assert the inseparability of physical death and spiritual death, yet somehow cannot see the propriety of the INseparability of the Grace of sinlessness and the Grace of Spiritual Life (i.e., “spiritual death is removed”).

This discussion is not yet finished, and will be continued below in response to another excerpt from your post.

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You call it IC, I call it sanctification, but we both know we don't mean the same thing.
Isn’t sanctification what we receive at Baptism?  Does not the Grace of sanctification at Baptism remove Spiritual Death from us?  Does not Baptism grant us Original Holiness and Original Justice? All the effects that we receive at Baptism were received by Mary at her conception.  Why would not the IC properly be called sanctification?  Is it because you don’t believe that Mary was freed from the bonds of Spiritual Death at the IC?  If so, why is that? Is it because she died?  Well, we also die.  Does that mean we were never freed from the bonds of Spiritual Death at our Baptism?

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So I suppose there's a belief of St. John's IC brewing in Catholic circles as well?
That would never happen, because Scripture and Tradition are already clear when the Forerunner received his own sanctification – it was in his mother’s womb when St. Elizabeth met St. Mary.

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I sorta agree with this.  But know that I also do not separate physical and spiritual death when it comes to the time before Christ, including the Virgin Mary and John the Forerunner.  When talking about St. Paul, St. Athanasius, etc. they never distinguished between spiritual and physical death.  They talked about death as a whole.
This is the final part of the discussion we’ve been having on the topic of the separability of physical death and spiritual death.

I already demonstrated above that St. Athanasius did not so intimately connect spiritual and physical death so as to insist that just because one physically dies, that automatically means that one is also spiritually dead. Sts. Jeremiah and St. John are prime examples to this rule in the time before Christ’s death and resurrection. Even the Old Testament saints themselves recognized that spiritual death can be distinguished from physical death.  David wrote, “What profit is there in my death if I go down to the Pit?” while simultaneously recognizing that the Lord could “bring up my soul from Sheol.” The greatest authority himself, greater than St. Paul and St. Athanasius, exhorted: “do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.” St. Paul himself taught us, “to be out of the body is to be at home with the Lord,” and that death in the flesh is life in the spirit. “What you sow does not come in life unless it dies.” For the righteous, physical death does not mean spiritual death. Rather, for the righteous, physical death means spiritual life. This has ALWAYS been the case to the people of God, regardless of whether it referred to OT Saints or to NT Saints.  God does not change and neither does his spiritual law and order.  The NT revealed to us what was hidden in the Old, but by no means was there a change in the substance of God’s spiritual law and order.  That physical death means spiritual life for the righteous is the natural order of things, whether it was before Christ’s death and resurrection or after.

It’s puzzling that you have claimed that the distinction between physical death and spiritual death was only instituted after Christ’s death and resurrection. However, here it seems you claim exactly the opposite – that St. Paul and St. Athanasius made no such distinction.  You have expressed your belief that the distinction is “only in thought.” However, I think I have shown that is not the case.

In conclusion, I would just like to repeat a statement I wrote earlier, with one addition: It is evident that from man’s beginning to man’s end, whether before or after the death and resurrection of Christ, one cannot escape the fact that the spiritual and physical aspects of man can indeed be distinguished, and, THEREFORE, that physical death can be distinguished from spiritual death, and, likewise, the Grace of Physical immortality from the Grace of Spiritual Life.

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Agree to disagree here as well.  As you say, one was under physical death, and one wasn't.  Yet the latter sinned, and the former didn't.  I like to think the same for spiritual death before the Annunciation.  I mean think of it this way.  What makes something "utterly equal"?  Surely, if "utterly," why draw the line on only spiritual death, and not physical death like other Latins do?  It would seem to me they are more consistent when using this quote…
I wasn’t raised as a Latin Catholic, so I’ve never been exposed to the immortalist mindset. I have to draw the line because the other option (to believe Mary did not die) would be against my Oriental Tradition. In any case, there are magisterial documents from popes that admit Mary died.

Second, I don’t recall ever stating that “one was under physical death, and one wasn’t.” I would say that physically speaking, BOTH were NATURALLY subject to death and corruption, and BOTH were aware that sinning/disobedience leads to death. As St. Ephrem stated death “makes equal the bodies of men.” What is unique about St. Ephrem is that he did not see physical death as inherently evil.  This would be perfectly in line with St. Athanasius teaching that death is simply a NATURAL part of our condition. To St. Ephraim, physical death is seen as a minister to the weary, and an agent of God.

So the “utter equality” of Eve and Mary did indeed extend to both the spiritual and the physical. I am just saying that in that particular passage, St. Ephrem was focusing on spiritual matters.

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Let's understand from St. Jacob of Serugh how this comparison is made not because of a grace similar to that of baptism, but solely of her own will to which she is compared to Christ as spotless:
First of all, let me thank you for being attentive enough to my statements that you recognize that what I stated was that Mary received “a grace similar to that of baptism.” Father Ambrose and brother Mickey misrepresented what I was saying by claiming that I stated the IC is an actual baptism.  

In any case, perhaps you mean to say something else here, for as it is, I strongly disagree with your statement.  Here’s why: The teaching of the IC grants to St. Mary the Grace of original Holiness and original Justice as well as the Grace to be free from concupiscence (remember, if you’ve been reading through the entire thread, I gave to brother Mickey the patristic and Catholic definition of “concupiscence” – it is NOT the “propensity to sin,” contrary to the popular belief of many, but rather “the disordered use of reason”; consequently, the lack of concupiscence simply means that Mary had the perfect use of reason, just like Adam and Eve did; it does NOT mean that she – once, again, like Adam and Eve – could not sin). These are the Graces that permitted her, by use of her free will, to lead a sinless life. Every moment of her life was a free and volitional cooperation with these Graces in her life.

But, according to you, St. Mary did not receive these Graces until the Annunciation.  YET, and this is the part I disagree with the most, you claim that St. Jacob’s statements mean that she remained sinless “solely of her own will.” Brother, that’s the heresy of Pelagianism, that was condemned by the Third Ecumenical Council of Ephesus, a teaching that states man can attain to a holiness acceptable to God WITHOUT the Grace of God and SOLELY by his own free will.  I have to strongly protest any intimation that St. Jacob was a Pelagian in any way or form.  He cannot have meant what you say without exposing him to a charge of heresy.  The only other option is to believe that St. Jacob wrote these praises in view of the fact that Mary had, even before the Annunciation, already received Graces that permitted her to remain pure, sinless, without stain, etc.  Indeed a careful reading of the excerpts you provided proves exactly what I have just stated: He searched her and found humility and holiness in her,and limpid impulses and a soul desirous of divinity.And a pure heart and every reckoning of perfection,because of this He chose her, the pure and most fair one.

Note that St. Jacob states that the Lord FOUND humility, holiness, and every reckoning of perfection in her.  Is it even possible that God did not already know that Mary had these attributes?  He MUST have known, because He was the one who gave her these Graces.   Of course, both our Churches teach that man always has the free will to reject the Graces given to him/her by God. It is on THAT basis, that Mary used her free will to completely respond to these Graces, whereby God chose her, not that she was able to be sinless by her free will alone.  Besides that consideration, it would be impossible that Mary’s “holiness” was something completely intrinsic in her, and not rather that it was a Grace given to her by Him Who is the Source of all holiness.

But more than this.  St. Jacob in fact explicitly states that Mary was given these Graces: This is beauty, when one is beautiful of one's own accord; glorious graces of perfection are in her will.

But even more than this, St. Jacob actually asserts that these Graces were received by Mary even BEFORE the Annunciation (which would be the moment she was “chosen”): If another had pleased more than her, He would have chosen that one,for the Lord does not respect persons since He is just and right. If there had been a spot in her soul or a defect,He would have sought for Himself another mother in whom there is no blemish.

Notice also the phrase “If there had been a spot in her soul or a defect…” This is not merely about not sinning.  This is a statement about the ontological condition her very soul.  And, I repeat, this was her condition EVEN BEFORE the Annunciation.

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In anticipation of something you might answer back with, let me just tell you I agree with you that free will is not taken away if one is baptized, or has a grace similar to that (as the IC).  But here, we're arguing that she reached a measure of purity not by her state of nature, but by her own doing, her own will.  This leads us to believe that when the Syrian poets speak of her "stainless" life, they speak of her as a women without doing sin, not without spiritual death.
Don’t worry, I wasn’t even thinking of the free will issue at this point. I was just thinking about any scriptural or patristic rationale I could use by which to give you the benefit of the doubt on your idea that the Grace of a sinless (“stainless”) life is not intimately and inseparably bound to the Grace of Spiritual Life or communion with God (i.e., “without spiritual death”).  Unfortunately, I have not been able to recall such a notion in Scripture or the Fathers (after wracking my mind). So perhaps you can help me out and give some scriptural and/or patristic quotes that support your viewpoint.

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You misunderstood my question.  I understood previously from you as if you implied the Virgin Mary was "made immaculate" twice.  One at her conception, and one at the Annunciation.  I'm not talking about two conceptions of two different people.  I'm only talking about the Theotokos.
Oh, OK.  Yes, it could be stated that Mary was made immaculate twice – the first time was when her soul was made immaculate (which is exactly what the dogma of the IC teaches).  And the second would be when her body was made immaculate in some mysterious way in order to bear the FULL, UNVEILED DIVINITY when the Holy Spirit overshadowed her. Also, I think it was St. Ephraim who opined that THIS was the moment of Mary’s actual Baptism (recall that all I have stated is that at the moment of the IC, Mary received a Grace similar to what is received at Baptism).

There are two more parts of your post to which I need to respond: 1) the comparison between Eve and Mary; 2) Your lengthy (and worthy) post from St. Jacob on Mary at the Annunciation.  I confess that it has been about 4 years since I read that book. When I last read it, I did not recall anything in it that could have prevented me from joining the Catholic communion.  In fact, there were several verses that strengthened my resolve to become Catholic (some of those verses were mentioned above). I have that book stashed somewhere in one of my many, many boxes of books.  I will have to look for it.  I just want to verify that some of the quotes you gave in fact refer to Graces she received AT the Annunciation, and not before. I hope you understand that I am seriously concerned about preserving St. Jacob from even the slightest appearance of the Pelagian heresy.

Well, until next time. Thank you so much for a great conversation so far. You have indeed inspired my thoughts.

Abundant Blessings,
Marduk

P.S. I won't be back until next weekend.

Offline Mickey

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Re: Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #584 on: May 04, 2009, 08:27:11 AM »
 I stated that "I don't think it is necessary," and you transform that into "Marduk does not accept."  This is sadly typical of EO rhetoric


This is sadly typical of the type of spin and back peddling that you are famous for.  :laugh:

If you do not think it is necessary--then it goes without saying that you (personally) do not feel that you have to accept it. Or maybe I did misunderstand you. Perhaps you are saying that you do not agree with it--but you accept it nonetheless.  ???