Author Topic: A question on the Immaculate Conception  (Read 313833 times)

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Offline FatherGiryus

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #450 on: May 07, 2010, 02:57:13 PM »

Thank you...The activity of the Indwelling is what the Catholic teaching refers to as deification.  AND we do not teach it is a one time moment either.  But we do teach that it is a UNIQUE moment in the ONE baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

So in fact there CAN be a spiritual healing AND a new nature ....and we can still die!!

SO one does not need to separate consequences of sin to have the Mystery of Baptism  and to teach it in its fullness.

Thank you Father.  I was aware that you over-spoke initially and forgot to ask me whether or not deification meant a one time moment to me or not.  I forgive you the oversight.

Mary

Dear Mary,

I don't think it was as much that I 'over-spoke' as you 'under-understood,' for which I forgive you as well!  :laugh:

However, that is OK given the circumstances.

Getting back to the original topic, you can see now why Orthodoxy does not have the capacity to embrace such a concept as the Immaculate Conception, becuase we do not teach that any part of our humanity is fully healed in this life, and so to say that the Virgin Mary experienced some sort of involuntary segmentary healing of her human nature is beyond what we teach and makes her humanity very different from ours, and thus separates us from Christ Jesus.
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Offline elijahmaria

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #451 on: May 07, 2010, 03:02:13 PM »

As I was taught, the Fall effects all aspects of humanity, and is a total change in humanity that cannot be separated.  It is not an addition to humanity, but a change to it.  Therefore, Jesus Christ has to take all of it, including the inclination to sin, and destroy it so that this inclination can be destroyed.  Of course, He destroyed it without falling to those temptations, but He was tempted nonetheless.  However, if the Virgin Mary herself did not have the inclination, then His death did not indeed destroy this aspect: remember, He was human in every aspect as we are.  The difference comes with His actions.  He did not sin.

There is a further issue of a ‘special salvation’ for the Theotokos, which I won’t get into in detail, but I will say this: any attempt to mitigate or alter the humanity of the Virgin Mary that makes her different from us necessarily calls into question the extent of Christ Jesus’ humanity, which then leaves Him open to the charge that He only put to death within Himself those aspects of humanity that He actually bore.  If He did not die with the ability to be tempted, then His death was with a type of humanity very different from ours.  His experience of humanity, by this theory, was only partial, since we believe that the totality of human experience includes the inclination to sin as a result of the Fall[/i].


Also, before we get too far away from it, I wanted to ask based upon the highlighted text above if Orthodoxy teaches that Jesus's nature was no different from our own?

The Catholic Church teaches that Jesus was fully human, but that unlike us, and because of his divine Person, his nature was perfect from his conception, unlike our own.

Mary

Offline Mickey

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #452 on: May 07, 2010, 03:03:56 PM »
Yes. I've read Father Gabriel's book and I do know that he has asserted many things.  I don't see that he has successfully demonstrated them but he has made the assertions that you quote from above.

You are free to question whomever you please.  But I think he was quoting Bishop Athanasius Yevtich.

Offline FatherGiryus

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #453 on: May 07, 2010, 03:05:08 PM »

Also, before we get too far away from it, I wanted to ask based upon the highlighted text above if Orthodoxy teaches that Jesus's nature was no different from our own?

The Catholic Church teaches that Jesus was fully human, but that unlike us, and because of his divine Person, his nature was perfect from his conception, unlike our own.

Mary

Dear Mary,

What do you mean by 'perfect?'
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Offline elijahmaria

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #454 on: May 07, 2010, 03:06:26 PM »
Getting back to the original topic, you can see now why Orthodoxy does not have the capacity to embrace such a concept as the Immaculate Conception, becuase we do not teach that any part of our humanity is fully healed in this life, and so to say that the Virgin Mary experienced some sort of involuntary segmentary healing of her human nature is beyond what we teach and makes her humanity very different from ours, and thus separates us from Christ Jesus.[/font][/size]



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

http://www.stgeorgegoc.org/baptism2.html

In Orthodox Christian teaching, our baptism is not merely cleansing but it is a change in our human nature. We receive the new sanctified and holy human nature given by Christ. Even more so, we are mystically united to Christ in both His death and Resurrection. Likewise, just as the Holy Spirit descended upon Christ, when a person is Chrismated the Holy Spirit descends upon him/her too. The Holy Spirit bestows grace and power to live the new life in Jesus Christ. This divine grace is transmitted through the “myroma,” a specially mixed and blessed oil, and is administered by the priest immediately after baptism. Having received both of these Mysteries or Sacraments we become full members of the Body of Christ—the Church and are able to participate in the other sacramental mysteries, especially the Eucharist—Holy Communion.

Offline elijahmaria

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #455 on: May 07, 2010, 03:10:36 PM »

Also, before we get too far away from it, I wanted to ask based upon the highlighted text above if Orthodoxy teaches that Jesus's nature was no different from our own?

The Catholic Church teaches that Jesus was fully human, but that unlike us, and because of his divine Person, his nature was perfect from his conception, unlike our own.

Mary

Dear Mary,

What do you mean by 'perfect?'


 :) thank you!

By perfect my Church means whole and holy as Adam was when God created him.  The Fathers refer to Christ as the New Adam.  He did not carry the disintegrated human nature of his fallen ancestors: He could not because he was the Son of God and fully divine, as well as, fully human, so his nature was perfect, he had perfect knowledge, and his will was perfectly ordered, as the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.

The Fathers also refer to the Most Holy Virgin as the New Eve.

M.

Offline FatherGiryus

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #456 on: May 07, 2010, 03:13:55 PM »

Also, before we get too far away from it, I wanted to ask based upon the highlighted text above if Orthodoxy teaches that Jesus's nature was no different from our own?

The Catholic Church teaches that Jesus was fully human, but that unlike us, and because of his divine Person, his nature was perfect from his conception, unlike our own.

Mary

Dear Mary,

What do you mean by 'perfect?'


 :) thank you!

By perfect my Church means whole and holy as Adam was when God created him.  The Fathers refer to Christ as the New Adam.  He did not carry the disintegrated human nature of his fallen ancestors: He could not because he was the Son of God and fully divine, as well as, fully human, so his nature was perfect, he had perfect knowledge, and his will was perfectly ordered, as the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.

The Fathers also refer to the Most Holy Virgin as the New Eve.

M.

Is this before or after the Cross?
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Offline elijahmaria

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #457 on: May 07, 2010, 03:17:13 PM »

Also, before we get too far away from it, I wanted to ask based upon the highlighted text above if Orthodoxy teaches that Jesus's nature was no different from our own?

The Catholic Church teaches that Jesus was fully human, but that unlike us, and because of his divine Person, his nature was perfect from his conception, unlike our own.

Mary

Dear Mary,

What do you mean by 'perfect?'


 :) thank you!

By perfect my Church means whole and holy as Adam was when God created him.  The Fathers refer to Christ as the New Adam.  He did not carry the disintegrated human nature of his fallen ancestors: He could not because he was the Son of God and fully divine, as well as, fully human, so his nature was perfect, he had perfect knowledge, and his will was perfectly ordered, as the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.

The Fathers also refer to the Most Holy Virgin as the New Eve.

M.

Is this before or after the Cross?

From the moment of his conception.  A divine Person cannot be flawed.  Perhaps if he were two Persons then one could have a flawed human person and a perfect divine person, but there is only one Person in Christ and the person is divine.

All of this has already been worked out in general Council.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2010, 03:18:05 PM by elijahmaria »

Offline FatherGiryus

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #458 on: May 07, 2010, 03:23:43 PM »
From the moment of his conception.  A divine Person cannot be flawed.  Perhaps if he were two Persons then one could have a flawed human person and a perfect divine person, but there is only one Person in Christ and the person is divine.

All of this has already been worked out in general Council.

Dear Mary

So what you are saying is that when Christ Jesus dies on the Cross, our 'fallen' human nature is not there?
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Offline Papist

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #459 on: May 07, 2010, 03:25:04 PM »
From the moment of his conception.  A divine Person cannot be flawed.  Perhaps if he were two Persons then one could have a flawed human person and a perfect divine person, but there is only one Person in Christ and the person is divine.

All of this has already been worked out in general Council.

Dear Mary

So what you are saying is that when Christ Jesus dies on the Cross, our 'fallen' human nature is not there?

Are you saying that Christ had the same damaged and weakend will that we are born with?
"For, by its immensity, the divine substance surpasses every form that our intellect reaches. Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is. Yet we are able to have some knowledge of it by knowing what it is not." - St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra gentiles, I, 14.

Offline FatherGiryus

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #460 on: May 07, 2010, 03:38:54 PM »

Are you saying that Christ had the same damaged and weakend will that we are born with?

Dear Mary,

Yes, otherwise He could not have been tempted, right?

He just like us in every way except sin.  Therefore, He put to death every bit of our flawed nature on the Cross.  Nothing was left out.  He even died as one guilty of sin, but because He did not deserve death (i.e. He did not sin as we did), His death was redemptive: He could not be held by death, and so He was resurrected with the new humanity which He then shares with us.

He had to bear the Adamic curse to the Cross.  And, He did without sinning.


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Offline Papist

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #461 on: May 07, 2010, 03:47:09 PM »

Are you saying that Christ had the same damaged and weakend will that we are born with?

Dear Mary,

Yes, otherwise He could not have been tempted, right?

He just like us in every way except sin.  Therefore, He put to death every bit of our flawed nature on the Cross.  Nothing was left out.  He even died as one guilty of sin, but because He did not deserve death (i.e. He did not sin as we did), His death was redemptive: He could not be held by death, and so He was resurrected with the new humanity which He then shares with us.

He had to bear the Adamic curse to the Cross.  And, He did without sinning.



So you don't believe that Christ was perfect??? Wow. All I have to say is that I am glad that I am a Catholic.
"For, by its immensity, the divine substance surpasses every form that our intellect reaches. Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is. Yet we are able to have some knowledge of it by knowing what it is not." - St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra gentiles, I, 14.

Offline FatherGiryus

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #462 on: May 07, 2010, 03:57:52 PM »
So you don't believe that Christ was perfect??? Wow. All I have to say is that I am glad that I am a Catholic.

Dear Papist,

Then please explain to me what was the difference between Christ before the Cross and after the Cross?

I think you are misunderstanding 'perfect' in the case of His humanity.  We believe He was 'perfectly' human at the Cross in that He shared all aspects of human nature in the fallen state.  He died and was Resurrected with the 'perfected' humanity without the damage done to it by the Fall.  Thus, He is the New Adam, what we were not but can now become through Him because He renewed our old humanity on the Cross.

This is His perfection as I understand it.

He is perfect in that He bore all aspects of our nature except sin.  Being broken is not a sin.  What we do with that brokenness can be a sin.  Our birth as fallen humans is not a sin itself, it is what we do with that gift of life that can be and is.  He did not sin even though He bore our brokenness.

Is that clearer?

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Offline Papist

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #463 on: May 07, 2010, 04:32:42 PM »
So you don't believe that Christ was perfect??? Wow. All I have to say is that I am glad that I am a Catholic.

Dear Papist,

Then please explain to me what was the difference between Christ before the Cross and after the Cross?

I think you are misunderstanding 'perfect' in the case of His humanity.  We believe He was 'perfectly' human at the Cross in that He shared all aspects of human nature in the fallen state.  He died and was Resurrected with the 'perfected' humanity without the damage done to it by the Fall.  Thus, He is the New Adam, what we were not but can now become through Him because He renewed our old humanity on the Cross.

This is His perfection as I understand it.

He is perfect in that He bore all aspects of our nature except sin.  Being broken is not a sin.  What we do with that brokenness can be a sin.  Our birth as fallen humans is not a sin itself, it is what we do with that gift of life that can be and is.  He did not sin even though He bore our brokenness.

Is that clearer?


But to say that Christ had the same inclination towards sin that we do? That sounds blasphemous.
"For, by its immensity, the divine substance surpasses every form that our intellect reaches. Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is. Yet we are able to have some knowledge of it by knowing what it is not." - St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra gentiles, I, 14.

Offline FatherGiryus

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #464 on: May 07, 2010, 04:59:07 PM »
But to say that Christ had the same inclination towards sin that we do? That sounds blasphemous.

Dear Papist,

Since our exchange, I called a well-educated friend on the matter.  His advice could be summarized as this: "Stop before you leap off into unsounded water."  That's what I'm going to do.  I'm going to stop on this topic.

Let's be frank: we don't know all there is to know about what Jesus Christ experienced.  Nor will we ever, because no one but Him knows what it is to be fully God and fully Man.

I would not go so far as to say that He had an 'inclination' to sin.  However, I am very concerned that we not slip into the idea that Jesus Christ's humanity was different from ours.  That's pretty much all I can can comfortably say.

Bye, y'all.   :-*
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Offline elijahmaria

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #465 on: May 07, 2010, 05:54:03 PM »
But to say that Christ had the same inclination towards sin that we do? That sounds blasphemous.

Dear Papist,

Since our exchange, I called a well-educated friend on the matter.  His advice could be summarized as this: "Stop before you leap off into unsounded water."  That's what I'm going to do.  I'm going to stop on this topic.

Let's be frank: we don't know all there is to know about what Jesus Christ experienced.  Nor will we ever, because no one but Him knows what it is to be fully God and fully Man.

I would not go so far as to say that He had an 'inclination' to sin.  However, I am very concerned that we not slip into the idea that Jesus Christ's humanity was different from ours.  That's pretty much all I can can comfortably say.

Bye, y'all.   :-*

I think we are wise, Father, to stop at this point in such an informal and unmediated setting!

There is a sect called the Christadelphians who believed that Jesus had a sin nature as it has been described here.  It might be useful to examine those teachings in a critical light.

The most obvious argument against Christ having a sin nature is that only a pure and unblemished sacrifice can be offered to God, the Father.   

So I am now wondering if the Cross is not seen as the altar of sacrifice in Orthodoxy.  That may well be something that I've missed in my travels over the years.

Mary

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #466 on: May 07, 2010, 08:22:20 PM »
I am aware of all this actually.  In fact I have years of formation in a western religious order as a secular, many years ago now, and what you describe is the core of that spirituality.

I'm glad to hear it.  I knew of something similar in Western ascetic spirituality from the Benedictines that taught at my HS.

But we do call the Baptized the newly illumined and we do speak of redemption as a one time event, and Baptism is a one time event as well...why? 

We can speak of Redemption as a one-time event because it was; and we affirm it in the prayers of preparation of the gifts (which is repeated near the end of Holy Week): "You have redeemed us from the curse of the Law by Your precious Blood.  By being nailed to the Cross and pierced with a lance, You have become a fountain of immortality for all the people.  Glory to You, our Savior."  We can speak of Baptism as a one-time event because it was - being born from above with water and the Spirit, one natural (physical) birth, one spiritual birth.

However, we also know that those who have been redeemed, those who have been born from above, can also stain the white garment of their souls, and can pollute the purity rendered by Baptism.  Baptism (w/ Chrismation, never separated in Orthodoxy) isn't merely the washing of sins, and isn't merely entry into the Communion of the Faithful; it is also participation in Christ's Death and Resurrection, anointing into the Royal Priesthood and Family of God, the Sealing of the Holy Spirit to us, the gift of ourselves to God, the expelling of all hostile powers, the first step on the path to divinization/theosis.

If Baptism renders no ontological change in the soul, why not repent and rebaptize when our sins pile up? 

What do you mean by "ontological change in the soul?"  We are united to God in a unique way, we put ourselves on the correct path to eternal union with Him, we participate in His Baptism, Death, and Resurrection; but are you saying that the soul given to us by the Lord at our conception is changed in some way?  Yes, there is a major change wrought by baptism - but it is spiritual birth, birth from above, one birth, one time.  We cannot be born again of the flesh, and we cannot be born again of the Spirit.

However, some of the fathers call Confession a gift greater than Baptism, because it allows the flowing of the waters of repentance (tears) after Baptism - the renewal of our garment, and progress in the Spiritual Life.  Repentance deserves its own topic, though.

Is illumination not a characteristic of the sanctified?

Is dirtying of that which is clean not a characteristic of how we've behaved in the world?  Humanity was given multiple major changes in total existence: Incarnation, Baptism, Transfiguration, Passion, Death, Resurrection, Ascension, and Pentecost.  We have been given the potential to unite ourselves to the Immortal, to wash away all sin, to participate in His Death and Resurrection, to partake of His Body and Blood, to have the Holy Spirit sealed to us - and yet, we can still fall away, still destroy our relationship with God, still reject His love so vehemently that it will burn us like fire (because we cannot escape it, even if we reject it).

Yes, those baptized are illumined.  And then, for every moment thereafter, they are tempted.

And if we are redeemed by Christ's Pascha....Why do we need Baptism at all?

If?  Why?  We are redeemed by Christ's Pascha.  We are illumined by His Baptism.  We are promised Theosis by His Incarnation.  We have to see each act as inter-connected, not to be separated from one another, but certainly not to be misunderstood, either - each one served a role through ontological change and example set.  Christ chose to accomplish these things through separate actions, even though He could have accomplished all things through no action, or through one action; He could have redeemed us, saved us, united to us, cleansed us, all without our knowing.  However, He did what He did, not only to accomplish the major changes in universal existence, but also to help us change ourselves.

How was Adam freed?  Should we say at the Crucifixion?  Should we say at the harrowing of Hades?  How about the Resurrection?  If we choose one of these more conventional choices, why do we affirm that Jesus "freed Adam in the Jordan?"

Which was the greater act, destroying death by death, or bridging the chasm between the Infinite and the finite?  Which was greater, conquering the place of the dead and freeing those bound there, or uniting the Immortal with the mortal?  Which was greater, opening the gates to Paradise, or uniting the Creator of Paradise with His creation?  The philosopher, inquirer, observer - they may all try to answer these questions.  But the Orthodox see them all as a continuum - events that cannot be separated, not only because they operated together to accomplish the ultimate salvation of man, but also because while they may have been separate events from our POV, but they are done by the One Who Exists (and is beyond existence) outside of Time & Space - one sacrifice, one self-limitation, one Love.

What does Orthodoxy say redemption is?

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Offline akimel

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #467 on: May 07, 2010, 08:41:08 PM »

The dogma of the Immaculate Conception severs Mary from her ancestors, from the forefathers, and from the rest of mankind. It marginalizes the preparatory history and economy of the Old Testament as well as the true meaning and holiness of the Theotokos herself. By severing her from fallen mankind and any consequences of the fall, this legalistic mechanism makes her personal holiness and theosis nonessential in the economy of salvation and, for that matter, even in her own salvation. Moreover, “it places in doubt her unity of nature with the human race and, therefore, the genuineness of salvation and Christ’s flesh as representative of mankind.”
http://www.orthodoxtupelo.com/writings/Mary:_The_untrodden_Portal.htm


Mickey, IMHO this may be the strongest objection to the Latin formulation of the IC, and it needs to be taken seriously by Catholic theologians.  As often pointed out by Orthodox theologians, the medieval Latin formulation suffers from excessive speculation and dependence upon contingent scholastic construal of created grace.  The IC doctrine makes no sense within an Eastern understanding of theosis, which, rightly or wrongly, has no category of created grace.  

I did not understand the fundamental Eastern objection to the Immaculate Conception until I read Bulgakov's The Burning Bush and The Friend of the Bridegroom.  Though I am sympathetic to the Eastern complaint of the apparent lateness of the IC formulation ("Did the Church have to wait 1300 years for Duns Scotus to invent the idea?"), the simple fact is that a Protestant can raise similar objections to many catholic dogmatic formulations ("Did the Church have to wait 300 years for Athanasius to invent the homoousion)?  As far as we know, we are still living in the early Church.  

So what really is at stake?  Some Orthodox seem eager to attribute sinfulness to the Virgin Mary, yet I suggest that the Eastern tradition ultimately stands against any such attribution.  As Bulgakov writes:

Quote
In its countless divine services dedicated to the Mother of God, the Holy Orthodox Church firmly and clearly teaches the absolute sinlessness of Mary in her birth, her holy childhood and adolescence, in the Annunciation, in the birth of her Son and throughout her entire life. We shall pause at only the most important dogmatic witnesses borrowed from the services of Theotokos feasts. As is evident from these witnesses, the Most Holy Virgin is called in her very birth "Holy of Holies," "living heaven," "temple of all kings and thrones," "sole immaculate one," "the true temple pure from infancy on," "hostile to the course of sin," etc. The question arises: is the idea of any sort of assault of sin, which even some fathers of the church, and with them other orthodox theologians, allow, compatible with this veneration? Obviously not. The Mother of God was sinless, not a single attack of sin approached her most pure soul, the bearer of perfect virginity. But in that case is she not made equal "to the one sinless" Lord Jesus? No, and therein is the whole point. Sinlessness belongs in a unique and exclusive sense to the Son of God conceived without seed from a virgin who had never known a man, in that He was a stranger not only to every personal sin but also to original sin. The latter had absolutely no power over the new Adam. ... It is quite the opposite in the case of the Most Pure and Immaculate One: in her, original sin preserved its entire power with all its fatal consequences--weakness and mortality of the body (for death is only the final revelation of this weakness). The Theotokos died a natural death in fulfilment of the natural law, which she bore in her human nature. Death was defeated only by the salvific power of Christ's resurrection and was ultimately annulled by it. The Lord Jesus is in this sense the Saviour for the entire human race, and in it of His mother as well.

Earlier in this thread I cited Met Kallistos's presentation of the Damascene's understanding of the sinlessness of the Theotokos:

Quote
Mary underwent a special purification and hallowing at the moment of the annunciation, when "the sanctifying power of the Spirit overshadowed, cleansed and consecrated her."  But this does not signify that, in John's view, she was sinful prior to the annuncation; on the contrary, he clearly considers that she was always pure and guiltless.  Moreover, he also states clearly that she was predestined from all eternity to be the Mother of God incarnate.

If an Eastern Christian can affirm Mary's purity from the earliest moments of her existence, then what is the Eastern Christian's real and fundamental objection to the Immaculate Conception?  Here, I think, we come to Fr Gabriel's criticism that the IC separates Mary from Israel.  Bulgakov puts it this way:

Quote
But grace was not scarce even in the Old Testament, for it likewise knows great righteous people, holy prophets, who spoke, acted, and wrote by the Holy Spirit.  To be sure, the action of the Holy Spirit in the world was other than it is after Pentecost.  It was preparatory, preliminary, like the action of the Word in the world before His incarnation.  None the less Old Testament humanity was not in the least deprived of the grace of the Holy Spirit, and in particular, the Old Testament Church, with its God-established priesthood and divine worship, was not deprived of it either.  All of this had only a prototypical character, it spoke about the future; however, prototypes are not allegories but symbols, religious significances and realities.  The feats of Old Testament faith, about which the letter to the Hebrews (chapter 11) speaks, bears witness to the presence of grace, for such faith is a gift of grace.  The host of forebears and fathers of the Saviour, of prophets and righteous ones, clearly testifies to this abundance of preliminary grace: the fulfillment of these promises concerned the New Testament, the Resurrection and Pentecost, but it was foretold in the Old Testament Church.  In other words, would Enoch and Noah, Moses and David, Elijah and Elisha, Isaiah and Jeremiah, and the other prophets, not have had the Holy Spirit? Consider what was proclaimed by the angel about John the Forerunner, about whom it was said that he was the greatest of those born of woman and yet less than the least of those in the Kimgdom of God: "he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit already in the sob of his mother" (Lk 1.15).  The holy prophet Jeremiah bears witness to the same thing about himself (Jer 1.5).  So why is it possible, generally speaking, to deny the effect of sanctifying divine grace in unredeemed and still unregenerate humanity, as a pledge of future blessings?  (Burning Bush, p 36)

Within this understanding of the presence of grace within the history of Israel, it is indeed possible to conceive of a person achieving personal sinlessness, says Bulgakov, despite the continuing power of original sin:

Quote
When original sin as infirmity is kept in force, personal freedom from sins or personal sinlessness can be realized by the grace of God.  In harmony with the firm and clear consciousness of the Church, John the Forerunner already approaches such personal sinlessness.  The most holy Virgin Mary the all-pure and all-immaculate, possesses such sinlessness.  Only by virtue of this sinlessness was she able to say with her entire will, with her whole undivided essence, behold the handmaid of the Lord, to speak so that the answer to this full self-giving to God was the descent of the Holy Spirit and the seedless conception of the Lord Jesus Christ. (p. 41)

What personally challenges me is the Orthodox insistence that the Theotokos must be comprehended in union with John the Baptist, that John, like Mary, also lived a life of personal sinlessness.  One rarely, if ever, hears about the sinlessness of John in the Latin Church.  I believe that the Eastern Church rightly challenges the Latin Church on this point.  

On the other hand, I think the Latin Church has a legitimate question to pose to the Eastern Church:  If Mary and John were able to achieve personal sinlessness before the atoning work of Christ and the Pentecostal outpouring of the Spirit, without an exceptional bestowing of divine grace, how is this not a form of Pelagianism?  It is here, I propose, that the real discussion must take place.  

Perhaps we might put the question thusly:  How do we properly understand the Virgin Mary's relationship to the Old and New Covenants?  When the question is put this way, then the speculations of the scholastics look irrelevant and unhelpful, precisely because they abstract from the biblical narrative.  The one important Catholic theologian who, I think, understands the necessity of reflecting on the Theotokos as a dramatic biblical persona is the nonscholastic Hans Urs von Balthasar.    

  


  
« Last Edit: May 07, 2010, 08:42:09 PM by akimel »

Offline elijahmaria

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #468 on: May 07, 2010, 09:06:18 PM »
I am aware of all this actually.  In fact I have years of formation in a western religious order as a secular, many years ago now, and what you describe is the core of that spirituality.

I'm glad to hear it.  I knew of something similar in Western ascetic spirituality from the Benedictines that taught at my HS.

Sorry to break up your note into pieces but I am AWFUL with the code in this software... :P...dumb-head!!

So onward:  Yes.  I am formally formed in Carmelite spirituality and it is apophatic and very much in line with St. Symeon and his spiritual son Nicetas, with his 'light that is darkness.'  In fact that is how I am now an eastern Catholic...or at least one of the major precipitating events.  It is thought that perhaps I have a religious vocation so I am not currently a Carmelite since I did not seem to belong with the seculars, and have taken a quite different path than the one I had anticipated years ago.

There are few orders or monastic houses in the Church that are not contemplative to a greater degree than active, though the last sixty years has seen some strange divergences.  The good news is that those oddities are dying on the vines...no vocations.

This is a happy topic for me.

M.


Offline elijahmaria

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #469 on: May 07, 2010, 09:16:54 PM »
We can speak of Redemption as a one-time event because it was; and we affirm it in the prayers of preparation of the gifts (which is repeated near the end of Holy Week): "You have redeemed us from the curse of the Law by Your precious Blood.  By being nailed to the Cross and pierced with a lance, You have become a fountain of immortality for all the people.  Glory to You, our Savior."  We can speak of Baptism as a one-time event because it was - being born from above with water and the Spirit, one natural (physical) birth, one spiritual birth.

However, we also know that those who have been redeemed, those who have been born from above, can also stain the white garment of their souls, and can pollute the purity rendered by Baptism.  Baptism (w/ Chrismation, never separated in Orthodoxy) isn't merely the washing of sins, and isn't merely entry into the Communion of the Faithful; it is also participation in Christ's Death and Resurrection, anointing into the Royal Priesthood and Family of God, the Sealing of the Holy Spirit to us, the gift of ourselves to God, the expelling of all hostile powers, the first step on the path to divinization/theosis.

Your whole presentation here is so beautifully done...all of it...not just these paragraphs.  I wanted to say that I appreciated it and enjoyed reading it.

Here you note of course the synergy of the sacraments of Initiation that had been lost to the west for many generations as the rituals were divided and spread out over the early lifetime of the young Catholic.

One of the things that is very interesting to me is that there is a chrismation in the Baptism ritual of the Catholic Church.  There is a second anointing after the actual Baptism, and it is clearly an invocation of the Holy Spirit, and all of the senses are anointed.

It is VERY difficult to try to teach that segment of the Baptism without calling it what it actually is.  So I didn't bother hedging, and called it what it is.  Chrismation.

So then, it becomes ever so much more difficult to explain Confirmation as a separate and separated mystery without speaking of Chrismation and Confirmation as two separate things with the same goals in mind.   8)

It is best when all of the sacraments of initiation come together as they were meant to be.  Mystagogy becomes much more comprehensible!!

M.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2010, 09:38:06 PM by elijahmaria »

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #470 on: May 07, 2010, 09:29:36 PM »
We can speak of Redemption as a one-time event because it was; and we affirm it in the prayers of preparation of the gifts (which is repeated near the end of Holy Week): "You have redeemed us from the curse of the Law by Your precious Blood.  By being nailed to the Cross and pierced with a lance, You have become a fountain of immortality for all the people.  Glory to You, our Savior."  We can speak of Baptism as a one-time event because it was - being born from above with water and the Spirit, one natural (physical) birth, one spiritual birth.

However, we also know that those who have been redeemed, those who have been born from above, can also stain the white garment of their souls, and can pollute the purity rendered by Baptism.  Baptism (w/ Chrismation, never separated in Orthodoxy) isn't merely the washing of sins, and isn't merely entry into the Communion of the Faithful; it is also participation in Christ's Death and Resurrection, anointing into the Royal Priesthood and Family of God, the Sealing of the Holy Spirit to us, the gift of ourselves to God, the expelling of all hostile powers, the first step on the path to divinization/theosis.

You whole presentation here is so beautifully done...all of it...not just these paragraphs.  I wanted to say that I appreciated it and enjoyed reading it.

Here you note of course the synergy of the sacraments of Initiation that had been lost to the west for many generations as the rituals were divided and spread out over the early lifetime of the young Catholic.

One of the things that is very interesting to me is that there is a chrismation in the Baptism ritual of the Catholic Church.  There is a second anointing after the actual Baptism, and it is clearly an invocation of the Holy Spirit, and all of the senses are anointed.

It is VERY difficult to try to teach that segment of the Baptism without calling it what it actually is.  So I didn't bother hedging, and called it what it is.  Chrismation.

So then, it becomes ever so much more difficult to explain Confirmation as a separate and separated mystery without speaking of Chrismation and Confirmation as two separate things with the same goals in mind.   8)

It is best when all of the sacraments of initiation come together as they were meant to be.  Mystagogy becomes much more comprehensible!!

M.
I have noticed this as well.  :)
"For, by its immensity, the divine substance surpasses every form that our intellect reaches. Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is. Yet we are able to have some knowledge of it by knowing what it is not." - St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra gentiles, I, 14.

Offline elijahmaria

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #471 on: May 07, 2010, 09:34:41 PM »

What do you mean by "ontological change in the soul?"  We are united to God in a unique way, we put ourselves on the correct path to eternal union with Him, we participate in His Baptism, Death, and Resurrection; but are you saying that the soul given to us by the Lord at our conception is changed in some way?  Yes, there is a major change wrought by baptism - but it is spiritual birth, birth from above, one birth, one time.  We cannot be born again of the flesh, and we cannot be born again of the Spirit.

However, some of the fathers call Confession a gift greater than Baptism, because it allows the flowing of the waters of repentance (tears) after Baptism - the renewal of our garment, and progress in the Spiritual Life.  Repentance deserves its own topic, though.

Is illumination not a characteristic of the sanctified?

Is dirtying of that which is clean not a characteristic of how we've behaved in the world?  Humanity was given multiple major changes in total existence: Incarnation, Baptism, Transfiguration, Passion, Death, Resurrection, Ascension, and Pentecost.  We have been given the potential to unite ourselves to the Immortal, to wash away all sin, to participate in His Death and Resurrection, to partake of His Body and Blood, to have the Holy Spirit sealed to us - and yet, we can still fall away, still destroy our relationship with God, still reject His love so vehemently that it will burn us like fire (because we cannot escape it, even if we reject it).

Yes, those baptized are illumined.  And then, for every moment thereafter, they are tempted.


I am getting sleepy and need to be cautious that I don't mis-speak and send us down a useless rabbit trail.  Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz..... :)

The ontological change that I speak of, or that the Church speaks of better said, is essentially the effects of what we call sanctifying or justifying grace...I believe it would be called the grace of Baptism in Orthodoxy.  That is the grace that illuminates the intellect and strengthens the will and renders us open to God's grace for all time...whether we avail ourselves of that grace or not...too often not, of course, so your point about Confession is well taken.  What makes sanctifying grace or justifying grace unique is the fact that it is specifically intended to heal the spiritual death consequent to the ancestral sin, and once that is done, it never needs to be done again.  For better and perhaps for worse, in the case of the reprobate, the Indwelling will be with us eternally.  Once Christ through his life, passion, death, resurrection and ascension into heaven redeemed us for all time, he paved the way for us to die with him and be re-born, in water and the Spirit, and as you say it is a spiritual regeneration!

That's the kernel in the nutshell I think...and I would love to speak more of repentence!  And I think there is a good bit more to be said about redemption but not when one is bleary eyed!!  :angel:

M.


Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #472 on: May 07, 2010, 11:07:43 PM »


And I believe that Thomas Aquinas agrees with me.


"Certainly Mary was conceived with original sin, as is natural. . . . If she
would not have been born with original sin, she would not have needed to be
redeemed by Christ, and, this being so, Christ would not be the universal
Redeemer of men, which would abolish the dignity of Christ."

Chapter CCXXXII bis. Thomas Aquinas, Compendio do Teologia, Barcelona, 1985.

Blessed Scotus already answered St. Thomas' objection.

And who is the Dunce Scotus and his heavily artificial and contrived argument in comparison to the Doctor Angelicus?  :laugh:
I think your statement would be classified as asinine.

Not as asinine as having to wait 1300 years before a Scotsman worked out a formula which made it possible to accept a belief in the Immaculate Conception.  What if nobody had fallen upon his cunning solution about the pre-application of the merits of Christ?  You  wouldn't have been able to dogmatize it.  The Immaculate Conception would still be hanging in the realm of a possible theory and nothing more.
1300 years? That's not true. It had already been in the Byzantine Liturgy for centuries.  :D

We ere speaking of course of Scotus' dodgy formula which he created in the 13th century.

If you can find one phrase in the Byzantine Liturgy where Mary calls herself the Immaculate Conception ("I am the Immaculate Conception") I will agree with you.

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #473 on: May 07, 2010, 11:14:53 PM »
We ere speaking of course of Scotus' dodgy formula which he created in the 13th century.

If you can find one phrase in the Byzantine Liturgy where Mary calls herself the Immaculate Conception ("I am the Immaculate Conception") I will agree with you.

To which I would add: If you can find the phrase "immaculately conceived" or "immaculate conception" in ANY Orthodox hymnography pertaining to the Mother of God (Vigil texts, Theotokia, troparia, canons, akathists, prayers, etc) ....
« Last Edit: May 07, 2010, 11:17:12 PM by LBK »
Am I posting? Or is it Schroedinger's Cat?

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #474 on: May 07, 2010, 11:17:21 PM »
;D  This was addressing the issue of how a corrupt body could be without stain of sin.  Surely the saints who have achieved a high degree of theosis are purified, and SOME of them have even been preserved from corruption. 

Then the statement has nothing to do with the immaculate conception?

Gotta keep track of those contexts or you loose track.... :laugh:

Indeed. It gets dizzying sometimes.  :laugh:

 ;D  Still off the track here.  My response was with the question of how could the Immaculate Conception be spiritually purified and still die.  The answer is that we are all spiritually purified at Baptism and we all still die.  Some are purified far more than others in life...and they STILL die.  So it does not matter WHEN a human being is prufied...We all die!!



I guess I must be one of those dim witted Orthodox Catholics, because I don't get the connection between our baptism and the so called immaculate conception of the Theotokos.  Yes, we are what you might see as being spiritually purified through baptism, but baptism does not take away the consequence of Adam & Eves sin which is our mortality.

Orthodoc

Again there are both spiritual and bodily consequences to the ancestral sin.  One can be spiritually pure without being bodily purified.  So it is not just mortality which is the consequence of the Ancestral Sin.

It is mortality AND the loss of original sanctification.  Baptism restores us to our state of original sanctification.  So that is the connection.  She was preserved from a spiritual death, while we are cured from it in Baptism.

M.

Mardukm makes quite a point (either here or on CAF or both) of the need to keep the distinction of spiritual and physical conception.  Apparently when the Immaculate Conception was conceived it was only the spiritual side which was purified and received the complete remission (absence if you like in this case) of the guilt of original sin but the physical side of the Immaculate Conception was conceived with corruptibility and sickness and death intact.  Of course for Catholics who take the immortalist position for Mary that makes no sense but the majority of Catholics seem to be mortalists.

Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #475 on: May 07, 2010, 11:20:37 PM »

This is interesting.  Deification is not a state, it is a process. 
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In Orthodoxy is there a way of knowing if one is deified?  Or do we just always say "Oh...I am in process."

M.

Deification is the process, as Saint Peter says, of "becoming by grace what God is by nature."  Since it is quite impossible for a created being to attain to the fulness of divinity the process of deification is never-ending. 

Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #476 on: May 07, 2010, 11:27:16 PM »
Sleeping? That explains it.... :D

LOL!  :laugh:
Nah, just getting bored with worn out and week arguments on the EO side of the debate.

Yeah, worn out like a well beaten path. The narrow one.

We, on the other hand have to deal with the weak arguments of the Vatican.
Why would you compare your worn out road with our narrow path?  ;D

Our path is worn out and trodden down because it has been the vehicle by which millions of souls have reached salvation. 

Your path on the other hand is bright and shiny because in many ways the Catholic Church has made itself into the vehicle of damnation, creating new rules (meat on Fridays as  mortal sin, contraception as a mortal sin, remarriage as a mortal sin) which have placed millions of otherwise good Catholics on the other path, the path to Hell.

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #477 on: May 07, 2010, 11:32:15 PM »

The following is the same as Catholic teaching on Baptism.  Can you tell us whether or not this truly Orthodox teaching?

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

http://www.stgeorgegoc.org/baptism2.html

In Orthodox Christian teaching, our baptism is not merely cleansing but it is a change in our human nature. We receive the new sanctified and holy human nature given by Christ. Even more so, we are
mystically united to Christ in both His death and Resurrection. Likewise, just as the Holy Spirit descended upon Christ, when a person is Chrismated the Holy Spirit descends upon him/her too. The Holy Spirit bestows grace and power to live the new life in Jesus Christ. This divine grace is transmitted through the “myroma,” a specially mixed and blessed oil, and is administered by the priest immediately after baptism. Having received both of these Mysteries or Sacraments we become full members of the Body of Christ—the Church and are able to participate in the other sacramental mysteries, especially the Eucharist—Holy Communion.

This teaching seems quite distinct from Catholic baptism.

In Catholic baptism the Holy Spirit is not given but is withheld from those baptized until they reach the age of about 12.


Offline elijahmaria

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #478 on: May 07, 2010, 11:39:20 PM »
Sleeping? That explains it.... :D

LOL!  :laugh:
Nah, just getting bored with worn out and week arguments on the EO side of the debate.

Yeah, worn out like a well beaten path. The narrow one.

We, on the other hand have to deal with the weak arguments of the Vatican.
Why would you compare your worn out road with our narrow path?  ;D

Our path is worn out and trodden down because it has been the vehicle by which millions of souls have reached salvation. 

Your path on the other hand is bright and shiny because in many ways the Catholic Church has made itself into the vehicle of damnation, creating new rules (meat on Fridays as  mortal sin, contraception as a mortal sin, remarriage as a mortal sin) which have placed millions of otherwise good Catholics on the other path, the path to Hell.

I protest this formally and vehemently.  There is not need to do this at all.  There is really no cause.

Mary

Offline elijahmaria

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #479 on: May 07, 2010, 11:40:57 PM »

The following is the same as Catholic teaching on Baptism.  Can you tell us whether or not this truly Orthodox teaching?

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

http://www.stgeorgegoc.org/baptism2.html

In Orthodox Christian teaching, our baptism is not merely cleansing but it is a change in our human nature. We receive the new sanctified and holy human nature given by Christ. Even more so, we are
mystically united to Christ in both His death and Resurrection. Likewise, just as the Holy Spirit descended upon Christ, when a person is Chrismated the Holy Spirit descends upon him/her too. The Holy Spirit bestows grace and power to live the new life in Jesus Christ. This divine grace is transmitted through the “myroma,” a specially mixed and blessed oil, and is administered by the priest immediately after baptism. Having received both of these Mysteries or Sacraments we become full members of the Body of Christ—the Church and are able to participate in the other sacramental mysteries, especially the Eucharist—Holy Communion.

This teaching seems quite distinct from Catholic baptism.

In Catholic baptism the Holy Spirit is not given but is withheld from those baptized until they reach the age of about 12.



I also protest this formally.  It is a false presentation of Catholic teaching.  Given the source I expect that fact is well known.

Mary

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #480 on: May 08, 2010, 12:00:11 AM »
In Catholic baptism the Holy Spirit is not given but is withheld from those baptized until they reach the age of about 12.

Now you know that's not true! They're already full members, the Confirmation simply makes their membership "more perfect."  :D
« Last Edit: May 08, 2010, 12:01:20 AM by Alveus Lacuna »

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #481 on: May 08, 2010, 12:24:34 AM »
Sleeping? That explains it.... :D

LOL!  :laugh:
Nah, just getting bored with worn out and week arguments on the EO side of the debate.

Yeah, worn out like a well beaten path. The narrow one.

We, on the other hand have to deal with the weak arguments of the Vatican.
Why would you compare your worn out road with our narrow path?  ;D

Our path is worn out and trodden down because it has been the vehicle by which millions of souls have reached salvation. 

Your path on the other hand is bright and shiny because in many ways the Catholic Church has made itself into the vehicle of damnation, creating new rules (meat on Fridays as  mortal sin, contraception as a mortal sin, remarriage as a mortal sin) which have placed millions of otherwise good Catholics on the other path, the path to Hell.

I protest this formally and vehemently.  There is not need to do this at all.  There is really no cause.

Let me give you cause, by way of anecdotal evidence.

A young woman, a good Catholic and secretary at an industrial company, fell in love with a married Catholic man who was one of the owners of the company.

He divorced his Catholic wife for the sake of the secretary.  They married, in a civil marriage.

The mother of the Catholic girl was in tears for many years believing that her daughter was going to hell for this marriage.

The local Catholic priest (in fact a relative of mine) supported the mother and himself visited this couple on not a few occasions to tell them they would go to hell unless they separated or lived as brother and sister.

The woman concerned herself believed she and her husband were going to hell.  It was what they had been taught in school by both the nuns and the priests.

Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #482 on: May 08, 2010, 12:43:11 AM »
Meat on Fridays is a mortal sin?

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #483 on: May 08, 2010, 12:45:08 AM »
Meat on Fridays is a mortal sin?

It was for many centuries.

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #484 on: May 08, 2010, 03:00:29 AM »

Are you saying that Christ had the same damaged and weakend will that we are born with?

Dear Mary,

Yes, otherwise He could not have been tempted, right?

He just like us in every way except sin.  Therefore, He put to death every bit of our flawed nature on the Cross.  Nothing was left out.  He even died as one guilty of sin, but because He did not deserve death (i.e. He did not sin as we did), His death was redemptive: He could not be held by death, and so He was resurrected with the new humanity which He then shares with us.

He had to bear the Adamic curse to the Cross.  And, He did without sinning.



So you don't believe that Christ was perfect??? Wow. All I have to say is that I am glad that I am a Catholic.

In that case neither was Saint Paul a Catholic since he writes:

"For we have not a high priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but he was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."
~ Hebrews 4:15.



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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #485 on: May 08, 2010, 04:13:27 AM »

The following is the same as Catholic teaching on Baptism.  Can you tell us whether or not this truly Orthodox teaching?

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

http://www.stgeorgegoc.org/baptism2.html

In Orthodox Christian teaching, our baptism is not merely cleansing but it is a change in our human nature. We receive the new sanctified and holy human nature given by Christ. Even more so, we are
mystically united to Christ in both His death and Resurrection. Likewise, just as the Holy Spirit descended upon Christ, when a person is Chrismated the Holy Spirit descends upon him/her too. The Holy Spirit bestows grace and power to live the new life in Jesus Christ. This divine grace is transmitted through the “myroma,” a specially mixed and blessed oil, and is administered by the priest immediately after baptism. Having received both of these Mysteries or Sacraments we become full members of the Body of Christ—the Church and are able to participate in the other sacramental mysteries, especially the Eucharist—Holy Communion.

This teaching seems quite distinct from Catholic baptism.

In Catholic baptism the Holy Spirit is not given but is withheld from those baptized until they reach the age of about 12.



I also protest this formally.  It is a false presentation of Catholic teaching.  Given the source I expect that fact is well known.

Mary

The cymbals of protestatation clang rather hollowly.

While it is true that a small group of Catholics of the Eastern Rites (about 15 million in all) do confer the Holy Spirit at the time of baptism, the overwhelming majority of over 1 billion Catholics hold off the conferral until around the age of 12.

Some of the Eastern Rite Churches have even adopted the Roman model and also withhold the conferral of the Spirit at the time of baptism and allow it only with the approach of the teenage years, imitating their Roman brethren.  I have read some sad protests about this by members of these Eastern Rite Churches.

Offline elijahmaria

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #486 on: May 08, 2010, 08:47:03 AM »

The following is the same as Catholic teaching on Baptism.  Can you tell us whether or not this truly Orthodox teaching?

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

http://www.stgeorgegoc.org/baptism2.html

In Orthodox Christian teaching, our baptism is not merely cleansing but it is a change in our human nature. We receive the new sanctified and holy human nature given by Christ. Even more so, we are
mystically united to Christ in both His death and Resurrection. Likewise, just as the Holy Spirit descended upon Christ, when a person is Chrismated the Holy Spirit descends upon him/her too. The Holy Spirit bestows grace and power to live the new life in Jesus Christ. This divine grace is transmitted through the “myroma,” a specially mixed and blessed oil, and is administered by the priest immediately after baptism. Having received both of these Mysteries or Sacraments we become full members of the Body of Christ—the Church and are able to participate in the other sacramental mysteries, especially the Eucharist—Holy Communion.

This teaching seems quite distinct from Catholic baptism.

In Catholic baptism the Holy Spirit is not given but is withheld from those baptized until they reach the age of about 12.



I also protest this formally.  It is a false presentation of Catholic teaching.  Given the source I expect that fact is well known.

Mary

The cymbals of protestatation clang rather hollowly.

While it is true that a small group of Catholics of the Eastern Rites (about 15 million in all) do confer the Holy Spirit at the time of baptism, the overwhelming majority of over 1 billion Catholics hold off the conferral until around the age of 12.

Some of the Eastern Rite Churches have even adopted the Roman model and also withhold the conferral of the Spirit at the time of baptism and allow it only with the approach of the teenage years, imitating their Roman brethren.  I have read some sad protests about this by members of these Eastern Rite Churches.

I formally then protest the ignorance of this statement if not the intent.  It is a false representation of the sacrament of Baptism in the Latin Church.  The explanation of Latin rite Baptism occurs within this page of the discussion.  So again you suggest that I speak falsely or that my Church acts falsely and neither one of those is true so:

I maintain a formal protest against your inflammatory statements, in the notes that I marked, in the name of truth, nevermind charity.  False charity is no charity but the truth shines without need of intent!!...

All of the ones I marked, I sustain!!   They are false witness.

M.

Offline elijahmaria

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #487 on: May 08, 2010, 01:55:45 PM »

Are you saying that Christ had the same damaged and weakend will that we are born with?

Dear Mary,

Yes, otherwise He could not have been tempted, right?

He just like us in every way except sin.  Therefore, He put to death every bit of our flawed nature on the Cross.  Nothing was left out.  He even died as one guilty of sin, but because He did not deserve death (i.e. He did not sin as we did), His death was redemptive: He could not be held by death, and so He was resurrected with the new humanity which He then shares with us.

He had to bear the Adamic curse to the Cross.  And, He did without sinning.



So you don't believe that Christ was perfect??? Wow. All I have to say is that I am glad that I am a Catholic.

In that case neither was Saint Paul a Catholic since he writes:

"For we have not a high priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but he was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."
~ Hebrews 4:15.

Are you suggesting that the Author of Hebrews is suggesting or asserting that Christ was possessed of concupiscence?  

Are you suggesting that the Author of Hebrews is suggesting or asserting that the Temptations were received by Christ in the same manner as those received by the rest of humanity?  

Are you suggesting that the human will of Christ was not fully conformed to the will of the Father at the moment of his human conception?  Because if you are suggesting that then the Person of Christ is clearly divided...and thereby not fully divine.

Are you suggesting that the intellect of Christ was not fully illumined at the moment of his human conception?  Because if you are suggesting that then the Person of Christ is clearly divided...and thereby not fully divine.

Are you suggesting that Christ cannot trample down death by death without taking the sins of Adam and the sins of mankind up on the Cross with him in order to redeem us?  Because if you are then you are teaching substitutionary atonement, and I will grant you it is not Catholic.

So if the Author of Hebrews is teaching any or all of these things then no, indeed, he is not Catholic.

M.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2010, 01:56:49 PM by elijahmaria »

Offline elijahmaria

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #488 on: May 08, 2010, 02:01:05 PM »
Bump


The dogma of the Immaculate Conception severs Mary from her ancestors, from the forefathers, and from the rest of mankind. It marginalizes the preparatory history and economy of the Old Testament as well as the true meaning and holiness of the Theotokos herself. By severing her from fallen mankind and any consequences of the fall, this legalistic mechanism makes her personal holiness and theosis nonessential in the economy of salvation and, for that matter, even in her own salvation. Moreover, “it places in doubt her unity of nature with the human race and, therefore, the genuineness of salvation and Christ’s flesh as representative of mankind.”
http://www.orthodoxtupelo.com/writings/Mary:_The_untrodden_Portal.htm


Mickey, IMHO this may be the strongest objection to the Latin formulation of the IC, and it needs to be taken seriously by Catholic theologians.  As often pointed out by Orthodox theologians, the medieval Latin formulation suffers from excessive speculation and dependence upon contingent scholastic construal of created grace.  The IC doctrine makes no sense within an Eastern understanding of theosis, which, rightly or wrongly, has no category of created grace.  

I did not understand the fundamental Eastern objection to the Immaculate Conception until I read Bulgakov's The Burning Bush and The Friend of the Bridegroom.  Though I am sympathetic to the Eastern complaint of the apparent lateness of the IC formulation ("Did the Church have to wait 1300 years for Duns Scotus to invent the idea?"), the simple fact is that a Protestant can raise similar objections to many catholic dogmatic formulations ("Did the Church have to wait 300 years for Athanasius to invent the homoousion)?  As far as we know, we are still living in the early Church.  

So what really is at stake?  Some Orthodox seem eager to attribute sinfulness to the Virgin Mary, yet I suggest that the Eastern tradition ultimately stands against any such attribution.  As Bulgakov writes:

Quote
In its countless divine services dedicated to the Mother of God, the Holy Orthodox Church firmly and clearly teaches the absolute sinlessness of Mary in her birth, her holy childhood and adolescence, in the Annunciation, in the birth of her Son and throughout her entire life. We shall pause at only the most important dogmatic witnesses borrowed from the services of Theotokos feasts. As is evident from these witnesses, the Most Holy Virgin is called in her very birth "Holy of Holies," "living heaven," "temple of all kings and thrones," "sole immaculate one," "the true temple pure from infancy on," "hostile to the course of sin," etc. The question arises: is the idea of any sort of assault of sin, which even some fathers of the church, and with them other orthodox theologians, allow, compatible with this veneration? Obviously not. The Mother of God was sinless, not a single attack of sin approached her most pure soul, the bearer of perfect virginity. But in that case is she not made equal "to the one sinless" Lord Jesus? No, and therein is the whole point. Sinlessness belongs in a unique and exclusive sense to the Son of God conceived without seed from a virgin who had never known a man, in that He was a stranger not only to every personal sin but also to original sin. The latter had absolutely no power over the new Adam. ... It is quite the opposite in the case of the Most Pure and Immaculate One: in her, original sin preserved its entire power with all its fatal consequences--weakness and mortality of the body (for death is only the final revelation of this weakness). The Theotokos died a natural death in fulfilment of the natural law, which she bore in her human nature. Death was defeated only by the salvific power of Christ's resurrection and was ultimately annulled by it. The Lord Jesus is in this sense the Saviour for the entire human race, and in it of His mother as well.

Earlier in this thread I cited Met Kallistos's presentation of the Damascene's understanding of the sinlessness of the Theotokos:

Quote
Mary underwent a special purification and hallowing at the moment of the annunciation, when "the sanctifying power of the Spirit overshadowed, cleansed and consecrated her."  But this does not signify that, in John's view, she was sinful prior to the annuncation; on the contrary, he clearly considers that she was always pure and guiltless.  Moreover, he also states clearly that she was predestined from all eternity to be the Mother of God incarnate.

If an Eastern Christian can affirm Mary's purity from the earliest moments of her existence, then what is the Eastern Christian's real and fundamental objection to the Immaculate Conception?  Here, I think, we come to Fr Gabriel's criticism that the IC separates Mary from Israel.  Bulgakov puts it this way:

Quote
But grace was not scarce even in the Old Testament, for it likewise knows great righteous people, holy prophets, who spoke, acted, and wrote by the Holy Spirit.  To be sure, the action of the Holy Spirit in the world was other than it is after Pentecost.  It was preparatory, preliminary, like the action of the Word in the world before His incarnation.  None the less Old Testament humanity was not in the least deprived of the grace of the Holy Spirit, and in particular, the Old Testament Church, with its God-established priesthood and divine worship, was not deprived of it either.  All of this had only a prototypical character, it spoke about the future; however, prototypes are not allegories but symbols, religious significances and realities.  The feats of Old Testament faith, about which the letter to the Hebrews (chapter 11) speaks, bears witness to the presence of grace, for such faith is a gift of grace.  The host of forebears and fathers of the Saviour, of prophets and righteous ones, clearly testifies to this abundance of preliminary grace: the fulfillment of these promises concerned the New Testament, the Resurrection and Pentecost, but it was foretold in the Old Testament Church.  In other words, would Enoch and Noah, Moses and David, Elijah and Elisha, Isaiah and Jeremiah, and the other prophets, not have had the Holy Spirit? Consider what was proclaimed by the angel about John the Forerunner, about whom it was said that he was the greatest of those born of woman and yet less than the least of those in the Kimgdom of God: "he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit already in the sob of his mother" (Lk 1.15).  The holy prophet Jeremiah bears witness to the same thing about himself (Jer 1.5).  So why is it possible, generally speaking, to deny the effect of sanctifying divine grace in unredeemed and still unregenerate humanity, as a pledge of future blessings?  (Burning Bush, p 36)

Within this understanding of the presence of grace within the history of Israel, it is indeed possible to conceive of a person achieving personal sinlessness, says Bulgakov, despite the continuing power of original sin:

Quote
When original sin as infirmity is kept in force, personal freedom from sins or personal sinlessness can be realized by the grace of God.  In harmony with the firm and clear consciousness of the Church, John the Forerunner already approaches such personal sinlessness.  The most holy Virgin Mary the all-pure and all-immaculate, possesses such sinlessness.  Only by virtue of this sinlessness was she able to say with her entire will, with her whole undivided essence, behold the handmaid of the Lord, to speak so that the answer to this full self-giving to God was the descent of the Holy Spirit and the seedless conception of the Lord Jesus Christ. (p. 41)

What personally challenges me is the Orthodox insistence that the Theotokos must be comprehended in union with John the Baptist, that John, like Mary, also lived a life of personal sinlessness.  One rarely, if ever, hears about the sinlessness of John in the Latin Church.  I believe that the Eastern Church rightly challenges the Latin Church on this point.  

On the other hand, I think the Latin Church has a legitimate question to pose to the Eastern Church:  If Mary and John were able to achieve personal sinlessness before the atoning work of Christ and the Pentecostal outpouring of the Spirit, without an exceptional bestowing of divine grace, how is this not a form of Pelagianism?  It is here, I propose, that the real discussion must take place.  

Perhaps we might put the question thusly:  How do we properly understand the Virgin Mary's relationship to the Old and New Covenants?  When the question is put this way, then the speculations of the scholastics look irrelevant and unhelpful, precisely because they abstract from the biblical narrative.  The one important Catholic theologian who, I think, understands the necessity of reflecting on the Theotokos as a dramatic biblical persona is the nonscholastic Hans Urs von Balthasar.    

  


  

Offline elijahmaria

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #489 on: May 08, 2010, 02:12:56 PM »
Dear Father Al,

I bumped you post up because I think it is most worthwhile.  I would like to add an article to the mix, where the author speaks of the boggle of meanings inaccurately attributed to the original and appropriate meaning of created grace.  The article is by Father Addison Hart, the Catholic one...
not Father Robert the Grump  :)  or David the Brother who is an accomplished Orthodox theological thinker... :) 

PS: I would also recommend a quite detailed historical text by Allester E. McGrath called "Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification"  That clears up a great deal by detailed descriptions of many of the speculative texts that have fed into the current confusion, and also indicates historically that the formal teaching of the Catholic Church never uses the concept of created grace per se.  So you could have set your discussion up without any mention of the little "beastie"... :angel:

http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=16-06-047-f

Turning Our Hearts to the Cross

A Response to Metropolitan Maximos

by Addison H. Hart

I regard it an honor to be asked to respond to the address of Metropolitan Maximos, a hierarch who is widely respected for both his graciousness and his learning.

I must begin by stating that on most of the points made and issues raised by Metropolitan Maximos I find myself in full agreement, especially in his conviction that a return to the Fathers is imperative for Christians of all stripes, and also in his concern for the contemporary “culture wars” in which we find ourselves engaged. Nonetheless, I think it important to offer two points of difference with comments made in the otherwise fine talk we have heard.

The Understanding of Grace

My first disagreement has to do with the persistent Eastern Orthodox misunderstanding of what the Western Church means by “Created Grace.” Admittedly, this is an ambiguous term, open to misunderstanding, so I cannot fault Metropolitan Maximos for unintentionally misrepresenting the concept when he stated the following:

    Unfortunately, there is a great difference in the understanding of this mystery of grace between the Eastern and Western Churches. In the Eastern Church, in following the Fathers, theologians understand “grace” as “relation”. . . .

    In contrast, the West speaks of grace in “essentialistic” terms, that is, a “created reality,” when it speaks of “created grace” (gratia creata), a reality allegedly created by God to connect human and divine reality. The Christian East finds it impossible to understand grace in any way other than relational; it is a “relational entity” which enables humans to participate in the life of God. The image used by the Greek Fathers (such as St. Basil) is that of iron in the fire: in the same way in which iron gains the properties of the fire while in it, man, in the life of grace, acquires the spiritual qualities of God’s Holy Spirit in whom he lives.

Now, the irony is that what Metropolitan Maximos here contends to be the uniquely Eastern understanding of grace, “greatly different” from and “in contrast” to the Western teaching, is exactly the meaning of the Western doctrine of “Created Grace” (gratia creata). There is no great difference or contrast on this point, only a difference of language (Latin) and theological terminology (what we would call “Thomistic” or “Scholastic”). When it comes to the understanding of grace itself, Western theologians are in virtual agreement with their Eastern counterparts—employing, in fact, the same analogies from the Fathers (e.g., that of the iron in the fire). In addition, no Western theologian worth his salt would ever regard Created Grace as anything other than essentially “relational.”

The term, though, requires some explaining. “Created Grace” is also called “Habitual Grace” (from habitus—an endowment) and “Sanctifying Grace.” The central theological issue is one with which we are all familiar: How do we, who are creatures, become (as 2 Pet. 1:4 puts it) “partakers of the divine nature”? When King Charles I proclaimed from the scaffold that “a subject and a sovereign are clean different things,” he was tragically mistaken. But when we finite mortals speak of God—infinite, immortal, invisible, incomprehensible, uncreated—we are speaking of One clean different from us. Yet, we are told, it is his intention that we human creatures, through Christ, are meant to participate in the inner life of the Holy Trinity. How can such a deification of human nature be accomplished? In what terms can our human minds even grasp it? Obviously, this is a mystery to human thought. Still, some definitions and distinctions must be made, precisely to protect the mystery and revelation from real error.

The Western Church has used the phrase “Beatific Vision” to express the ultimate joy of heaven and deification, based on the apostolic witness of 1 John 3:2—“Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” In this foundational testimony, we should note three important truths.

First, by grace we creatures are made “God’s children”—in other words, this grace is unquestionably relational.

Second, this relational grace is “the seed of glory”: “We shall see [God] as he is,” and thus discover in that Beatific Vision that we have been transformed, glorified, deified, made “like him.” As the great Sulpician theologian Fr. Adolphe Tanquerey (1854–1932) put it: “Habitual [created] grace and the Beatific Vision are . . . one in kind and one in nature.”1 If these are indeed “one in nature,” then it should go without saying that grace cannot be a created substance—cannot be (in Metropolitan Maximos’s phrase) “essentialistic.”

Third, put in the vitally important terms of dogmatic theology, ours is not a “hypostatic union,” as is the uniting of human nature to the Divine Person of the Son. Our creaturely partaking of the divine nature can only, ever be a relation of likeness, and thus it must be acknowledged that infinite grace can only be operative in us as befits finite creatures. Unlike Christ, we have no substantial union with the divine nature—we are human persons, not divine persons. We need to be made capable of the Beatific Vision—we cannot possess it by nature. On the other hand, deification is not assimilation into the Godhead (a creature can never become uncreated in substance!). “God-likeness” is the most we can hope for—but that’s quite a hope! Our union with God is therefore what is called, in Latin theology, accidental.

St. Thomas Aquinas gets to the heart of what this means when he quotes the words of an unknown ancient Christian writer (he ascribes the words—wrongly—to Boethius): “Accidentis esse est inesse”—“The being of an accident is to be-in.”2 To be-in what, exactly? To be in a substance, obviously. And the substance in which grace ultimately is is the uncreated essence of God himself.

The Eastern Church, whether speaking of the original creation or the work of regeneration and deification in Christ, uses the time-honored language of “essence” and “energies” to make the necessary distinction between God in himself and God in his operations in the created order. Western, Latin-language theology has used the term gratia creata in its own attempt to make the same necessary distinction. The word “created” refers not to the substance of grace (which is God himself), but to that same grace as it is infused and at work in our created natures accidentally. The Thomist scholar, Timothy McDermott, is therefore surely correct in rendering, if a bit loosely, the words of the Angelic Doctor on this matter in the following way: “Strictly speaking, a supervening quality is not so much in existence itself, as a way in which something else exists; and so grace is not created, but men are created in it, established in a new existence out of nothing, without earning it.”3

Far from this constituting some great divergence of West from East, I think it is safe to say that here we have—potentially, at least—a real point of doctrinal convergence, despite our differing terminologies.

The Cross as an End in Itself?

My other concern is perhaps not so much a disagreement with Metropolitan Maximos as merely a matter of differing emphases and therefore complementary to his own observations.

I appreciated the Metropolitan’s remarks concerning the meaning of the Cross of Christ in Eastern Christianity. However, I was somewhat surprised by his perception of the Cross in Western theology. Here are his words:

    In the West, the Cross of Christ seems to be an end in itself.

How does he support this statement? He continues:

    I remember the vacuum that I felt in my soul when watching Godspell a few years ago. The play ended with the Cross and Burial of Christ. It seems that the play Jesus Christ Superstar was conceived in a similar way. This treatment is inconceivable in the spirituality of the East.

I sincerely regret that the rich Christian Tradition of the West is seemingly confused here with Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar—examples merely of desiccated modernism. The Western Church does not regard the Cross of Christ as “an end in itself.” It does not forget the glory and triumph of the Resurrection as it looks upon “the breadth and length and height and depth” (Eph. 3:18) of Christ’s love revealed on the Cross. In God’s wisdom, the Cross can only be seen clearly in the splendor of the Resurrection, and yet the joy of the Resurrection can only be known by passing through the dark doorway of the Cross.

It is possible that the particular stress on the Resurrection that took shape in Greek Christianity was the outcome of the church’s apologetics during the earliest centuries. Cardinal Jean Daniélou suggested as much in his book, Gospel Message and Hellenistic Culture.4 He wrote:

    Of all the dogmas of Christianity, that of the resurrection was without doubt the most difficult for a Greek to accept—a fact which is already apparent in the account of St. Paul’s Areopagus speech. Hence it is understandable that it should be this doctrine for which we find the earliest justifications in apologetic writing.

The West, in comparison, has tended to emphasize the centrality of the Cross in its homiletics, liturgy, and piety. The roots of this can already be found in the New Testament: “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2); also, “Far be it from me to glory, save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal. 6:14). Biblical references could be multiplied, each indicating how the Cross, always viewed in the radiance of the Resurrection, is forever placed before our eyes by the apostles: “Before your eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed (prosgraphe) as crucified” (Gal. 3:1).

The Only True Standard

Metropolitan Maximos has reminded us of the extent of the culture wars in which we are presently engaged. This is now compounded by the reality of terrorism at home and a war of civilizations abroad. In addition, we Christians still must face with dismay the fact of our scandalous ecclesiastical divisions before a world that judges our faith in relation to that fact.

With such things in mind, I am reminded of a sermon of John Henry Newman, preached at St. Mary’s, Oxford, before his conversion to the Roman Catholic Church. It can be found in volume VI of his Parochial and Plain Sermons, and its very title is worth pondering in light of the matters just enumerated: “The Cross of Christ the Measure of the World.” I want to conclude by reflecting on a few lines from this sermon of Newman’s, not to address issues associated with the doctrine of the Cross, such as the Atonement and Justification, but as a reminder to us of how the Cross is our standard above all else.

Newman begins his sermon by positing that the world we inhabit is a perplexity to the human mind, requiring an interpretation—a disclosure of meaning. He then moves to what he knows to be that means by which the Christian alone is able to begin to see the truth behind “all that smiles and glitters around us” in this world:

    What is given us by revelation to estimate and measure this world by? . . . [T]he crucifixion of the Son of God.

    It is the death of the Eternal Word of God made flesh, which is our great lesson how to think and how to speak of this world. His cross has put its due value upon every thing which we see, upon all fortunes, all advantages, all ranks, all dignities, all pleasures; upon the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. It has set a price upon the excitements, the rivalries, the hopes, the fears, the desires, the efforts, the triumphs of mortal man.

The Cross, as Newman goes on to say, is that which weighs man’s politics, governments, sciences, arts, and miseries: “It is their center,” he claims, “and their interpretation.” Furthermore—

    If we will not acknowledge that this world has been made miserable by sin, from the sight of Him on whom our sins were laid, we shall experience it to be miserable by the recoil of those sins upon ourselves.

    It may be granted, then, that the doctrine of the Cross is not on the surface of the world . . . for truth is not on the surface of things, but in the depths.

The Cross is both the hidden heart of the world and the revealed heart of Christianity, leading us inexorably into all the truths of the faith. “The sacred doctrine of Christ’s Atoning Sacrifice,” says Newman, “is the vital principle on which the Christian lives, and without which Christianity is not.”

    [The gospel] bids us begin with the Cross of Christ [which], telling us of our redemption as well as of his sufferings, wounds us indeed, but so wounds as to heal [us] also.

    And thus, too, [through the Cross] all that is bright and beautiful, even on the surface of this world . . . is a figure and promise of that true joy which issues out of the Atonement . . . the true victory to come . . . the true joy which comes with Easter-Day.

Newman’s sermon is an example to us both of a Western “public portrayal of Christ crucified” and how this is definitely not “an end in itself.” It shows us another sort of “end,” though, an end indicated by the words of Christ: “Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the ruler of this world be cast out” ( John 12:31). As “the measure of the world,” it is the already accomplished endpoint of human history, and—through the Resurrection—an end of evil yet to be realized. Its shadow is permanently cast over our contemporary culture wars, and all our wars and ills. Most crucial to our concerns, and why we are gathered here—literally crucial for us—is that we divided Christians cannot possibly look together upon Christ crucified and, measured by that only true standard, sustain our divisions. 

Notes:

1. The Spiritual Life (Rockford Illinois: TAN Publishers, reprinted 2000 [original English translation published in 1930]), cf. pp. 56–66.

2. Summa, Ia 2ae. 110, 3.

3. Summa Theologiae: A Concise Translation (Westminster Maryland: Christian Classics, 1989). This is a rendering of Summa, Ia 2ae. 110, 3, the original of which is: Et secundum hoc etiam gratia dicitur creari ex eo quod homines secundum ipsam creantur, idest in novo esse constituuntur ex nihilo, idest, non ex meritus.

4. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Westminster Press, 1973, p. 24.

Addison H. Hart is a Roman Catholic priest, ordained under the Pastoral Provision for former Anglican Priests. He resides with his wife and two children in DeKalb, Illinois, where he is Associate Pastor at Christ the Teacher University Parish and the Newman Catholic Center for Northern Illinois University. He is a contributing editor for Touchstone.

Offline akimel

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #490 on: May 08, 2010, 02:21:21 PM »
Fr George, I simply want to commend you on this thoughtful and well-written post.  I find myself in strong agreement with it, and I think that all Catholics, as well as most Lutherans and Anglicans would agree with it also. 

I am aware of all this actually.  In fact I have years of formation in a western religious order as a secular, many years ago now, and what you describe is the core of that spirituality.

I'm glad to hear it.  I knew of something similar in Western ascetic spirituality from the Benedictines that taught at my HS.

But we do call the Baptized the newly illumined and we do speak of redemption as a one time event, and Baptism is a one time event as well...why? 

We can speak of Redemption as a one-time event because it was; and we affirm it in the prayers of preparation of the gifts (which is repeated near the end of Holy Week): "You have redeemed us from the curse of the Law by Your precious Blood.  By being nailed to the Cross and pierced with a lance, You have become a fountain of immortality for all the people.  Glory to You, our Savior."  We can speak of Baptism as a one-time event because it was - being born from above with water and the Spirit, one natural (physical) birth, one spiritual birth.

However, we also know that those who have been redeemed, those who have been born from above, can also stain the white garment of their souls, and can pollute the purity rendered by Baptism.  Baptism (w/ Chrismation, never separated in Orthodoxy) isn't merely the washing of sins, and isn't merely entry into the Communion of the Faithful; it is also participation in Christ's Death and Resurrection, anointing into the Royal Priesthood and Family of God, the Sealing of the Holy Spirit to us, the gift of ourselves to God, the expelling of all hostile powers, the first step on the path to divinization/theosis.

If Baptism renders no ontological change in the soul, why not repent and rebaptize when our sins pile up? 

What do you mean by "ontological change in the soul?"  We are united to God in a unique way, we put ourselves on the correct path to eternal union with Him, we participate in His Baptism, Death, and Resurrection; but are you saying that the soul given to us by the Lord at our conception is changed in some way?  Yes, there is a major change wrought by baptism - but it is spiritual birth, birth from above, one birth, one time.  We cannot be born again of the flesh, and we cannot be born again of the Spirit.

I do not understand the last clause ("and we cannot be born again of the Spirit").  I imagine you do not intend it to mean what it seems to mean, for taken literally it would seem to deny Jesus' teaching in John 3 on the necessity of rebirth in the Spirit.  Perhaps you might elaborate for us on how you understand the regeneration effected in the Sacrament of Holy Baptism.  Thanks!


Offline FormerReformer

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #491 on: May 08, 2010, 02:52:39 PM »


So you don't believe that Christ was perfect??? Wow. All I have to say is that I am glad that I am a Catholic.

In that case neither was Saint Paul a Catholic since he writes:

"For we have not a high priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but he was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."
~ Hebrews 4:15.

Are you suggesting that the Author of Hebrews is suggesting or asserting that Christ was possessed of concupiscence?  

Are you suggesting that the Author of Hebrews is suggesting or asserting that the Temptations were received by Christ in the same manner as those received by the rest of humanity?  

Are you suggesting that the human will of Christ was not fully conformed to the will of the Father at the moment of his human conception?  Because if you are suggesting that then the Person of Christ is clearly divided...and thereby not fully divine.

Are you suggesting that the intellect of Christ was not fully illumined at the moment of his human conception?  Because if you are suggesting that then the Person of Christ is clearly divided...and thereby not fully divine.

Are you suggesting that Christ cannot trample down death by death without taking the sins of Adam and the sins of mankind up on the Cross with him in order to redeem us?  Because if you are then you are teaching substitutionary atonement, and I will grant you it is not Catholic.

So if the Author of Hebrews is teaching any or all of these things then no, indeed, he is not Catholic.

M.

Statements like that are why I never really considered RC (the church, not the cola, which is tasty).

Quote
Are you suggesting that the human will of Christ was not fully conformed to the will of the Father at the moment of his human conception?  Because if you are suggesting that then the Person of Christ is clearly divided...and thereby not fully divine.

Then apparently 3/4 of the Evangelists are in the same boat as the author of Hebrews (Matt 26:39, Mark 14:36, Luke 22:42 "Not my will but yours be done").  The human will had a different desire, which our Lord subjected to the will of the Father.


I do not understand the last clause ("and we cannot be born again of the Spirit").  I imagine you do not intend it to mean what it seems to mean, for taken literally it would seem to deny Jesus' teaching in John 3 on the necessity of rebirth in the Spirit.  Perhaps you might elaborate for us on how you understand the regeneration effected in the Sacrament of Holy Baptism.  Thanks!



I'd hate to speak for the father but his meaning is quite clear:

Quote
Yes, there is a major change wrought by baptism - but it is spiritual birth, birth from above, one birth, one time.  We cannot be born again of the flesh, and we cannot be born again of the Spirit.

The last statement must be taken with the preceding sentence.  We can be born once to each, the birth of flesh (which is the natural birth of every man) and the birth of the Spirit (being "born again").
« Last Edit: May 08, 2010, 02:54:43 PM by FormerReformer »
"Funny," said Lancelot, "how the people who can't pray say that prayers are not answered, however much the people who can pray say they are."  TH White

Oh, no: I've succumbed to Hyperdoxy!

Offline elijahmaria

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #492 on: May 08, 2010, 03:05:57 PM »

Quote
Are you suggesting that the human will of Christ was not fully conformed to the will of the Father at the moment of his human conception?  Because if you are suggesting that then the Person of Christ is clearly divided...and thereby not fully divine.

Then apparently 3/4 of the Evangelists are in the same boat as the author of Hebrews (Matt 26:39, Mark 14:36, Luke 22:42 "Not my will but yours be done").  The human will had a different desire, which our Lord subjected to the will of the Father.

3/4 of the non-Catholic Evangelists, I expect.  

Catholic evangelists know that Christ shed blood, sweat and tears in the Garden.  This is true.  But that does not detract from the fact that the Person of Christ was divine, not human.

Catholic evangelists know that Christ grew in human and temporal awareness of his own being, as the Son of God, a divine person, because His nature was fully human and passed through the temporal stages of every human nature born to this vale of tears.  In this way he was able to feel the real range of human emotions, but that did not detract from the fact that His will was ruled by a divine intellect fully illumined.

Catholic evangelists know that there was no concupiscence in him: that there was no taint of original sin in him: and therefore that His human will was inclined in perfect conformation with the will of the Father the moment he came, begotten, into Incarnate being, one in essence with the Father.

Apparently there is a wide range of beliefs among Christians.

M.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2010, 03:09:09 PM by elijahmaria »

Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #493 on: May 08, 2010, 05:33:38 PM »

The following is the same as Catholic teaching on Baptism.  Can you tell us whether or not this truly Orthodox teaching?

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

http://www.stgeorgegoc.org/baptism2.html

In Orthodox Christian teaching, our baptism is not merely cleansing but it is a change in our human nature. We receive the new sanctified and holy human nature given by Christ. Even more so, we are
mystically united to Christ in both His death and Resurrection. Likewise, just as the Holy Spirit descended upon Christ, when a person is Chrismated the Holy Spirit descends upon him/her too. The Holy Spirit bestows grace and power to live the new life in Jesus Christ. This divine grace is transmitted through the “myroma,” a specially mixed and blessed oil, and is administered by the priest immediately after baptism. Having received both of these Mysteries or Sacraments we become full members of the Body of Christ—the Church and are able to participate in the other sacramental mysteries, especially the Eucharist—Holy Communion.

This teaching seems quite distinct from Catholic baptism.

In Catholic baptism the Holy Spirit is not given but is withheld from those baptized until they reach the age of about 12.



I also protest this formally.  It is a false presentation of Catholic teaching.  Given the source I expect that fact is well known.

Mary

The cymbals of protestatation clang rather hollowly.

While it is true that a small group of Catholics of the Eastern Rites (about 15 million in all) do confer the Holy Spirit at the time of baptism, the overwhelming majority of over 1 billion Catholics hold off the conferral until around the age of 12.

Some of the Eastern Rite Churches have even adopted the Roman model and also withhold the conferral of the Spirit at the time of baptism and allow it only with the approach of the teenage years, imitating their Roman brethren.  I have read some sad protests about this by members of these Eastern Rite Churches.

I formally then protest the ignorance of this statement if not the intent.  It is a false representation of the sacrament of Baptism in the Latin Church.  The explanation of Latin rite Baptism occurs within this page of the discussion.  So again you suggest that I speak falsely or that my Church acts falsely and neither one of those is true so:

I maintain a formal protest against your inflammatory statements, in the notes that I marked, in the name of truth, nevermind charity.  False charity is no charity but the truth shines without need of intent!!...

All of the ones I marked, I sustain!!   They are false witness.

Could you please stop this now incessant accusation that I am lying.  I speak as I see and as I understand.  This is after all a discusssion forum and we bring different views, different experiences, different educations, and so we see things from different angles.

As to whether your Church speaks falsely..... do you not complain frequently that the Pope and the Magisterium have lied to your Eastern Rite Churches, deceived them, latinized them, made agreements with them which have not been kept.

Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: A question on the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #494 on: May 08, 2010, 05:40:13 PM »

Are you suggesting that the Author of Hebrews is suggesting or asserting that Christ was possessed of concupiscence? 

Christ is Risen!

In the words of the Catholic Encyclopedia,  "In its widest acceptation, concupiscence is any yearning of the soul for good..."   We may see an example of this in the tears of Christ over Jerusalem,  in his fervent prayer thast Satan would not be able to sift His disciples.