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Author Topic: Immaculate Conception, Purgatory, Filioque & Papal Infallibility  (Read 7655 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: May 31, 2012, 10:10:04 PM »

Ok, so it is my understanding that the big 4 (as I will refer to them as) are Dogma in the RC church.  I just spent the past 2 hours reading through old threads on all 4 & I cant find anything that deals directly with my question:

I was recently informed that (for example) the I.C. Is a dogma, as declared in the 4th Lateran.  BUT it is not dogmatic in the sense that it is necessary to believe for our salvation.  Is this true for all 4??  How does that even work??
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« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2012, 10:26:17 PM »

In your church, you call them theologoumena. Seems pretty similar to that. They are popular beliefs, but you don't have to profess them in order to be baptized.
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« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2012, 10:31:40 PM »

In your church, you call them theologoumena. Seems pretty similar to that. They are popular beliefs, but you don't have to profess them in order to be baptized.

Wrong. A proclaimed dogma is essential teaching, theologoumena are educated, pious opinions. Or is the IC no longer a dogma of the RCC?
« Last Edit: May 31, 2012, 10:32:23 PM by LBK » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2012, 10:40:59 PM »

In your church, you call them theologoumena. Seems pretty similar to that. They are popular beliefs, but you don't have to profess them in order to be baptized.

Um... what?

Immaculate Conception as defined by the encyclical Ineffabilis Deus
Quote
The Definition

Wherefore, in humility and fasting, we unceasingly offered our private prayers as well as the public prayers of the Church to God the Father through his Son, that he would deign to direct and strengthen our mind by the power of the Holy Spirit. In like manner did we implore the help of the entire heavenly host as we ardently invoked the Paraclete. Accordingly, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, for the honor of the Holy and undivided Trinity, for the glory and adornment of the Virgin Mother of God, for the exaltation of the Catholic Faith, and for the furtherance of the Catholic religion, by the authority of Jesus Christ our Lord, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own: "We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful."[29]

Hence, if anyone shall dare -- which God forbid! -- to think otherwise than as has been defined by us, let him know and understand that he is condemned by his own judgment; that he has suffered shipwreck in the faith; that he has separated from the unity of the Church; and that, furthermore, by his own action he incurs the penalties established by law if he should are to express in words or writing or by any other outward means the errors he think in his heart.
http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius09/p9ineff.htm

Papal Infallibility as defined by Pastor Aeternus from Vatican I
Quote
Chapter 1:
6. Therefore, if anyone says that blessed Peter the apostle was not appointed by Christ the lord as prince of all the apostles and visible head of the whole Church militant; or that it was a primacy of honor only and not one of true and proper jurisdiction that he directly and immediately received from our lord Jesus Christ himself: let him be anathema.

Chapter 2:
5. Therefore, if anyone says that it is not by the institution of Christ the lord himself (that is to say, by divine law) that blessed Peter should have perpetual successors in the primacy over the whole Church; or that the Roman Pontiff is not the successor of blessed Peter in this primacy: let him be anathema.

Chapter 3:
9. So, then, if anyone says that the Roman Pontiff has merely an office of supervision and guidance, and not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the whole Church, and this not only in matters of faith and morals, but also in those which concern the discipline and government of the Church dispersed throughout the whole world; or that he has only the principal part, but not the absolute fullness, of this supreme power; or that this power of his is not ordinary and immediate both over all and each of the Churches and over all and each of the pastors and faithful: let him be anathema.

Chapter 4:
So then, should anyone, which God forbid, have the temerity to reject this definition of ours: let him be anathema.

Filioque was defined multiple times as a tenant of faith, the last being the Council of Florence (which is a RC Ecumenical Council)
Quote
the dogmatic letter of St. Leo I to Turribius, Bishop of Astorga, Epistle 15 (447);
the so-called Athanasian Creed;
several councils held at Toledo in the years 447, 589 (III), 675 (XI), 693 (XVI);
the letter of Pope Hormisdas to the Emperor Justius, Ep. lxxix (521);
St. Martin I's synodal utterance against the Monothelites, 649-655;
Pope Adrian I's answer to the Caroline Books, 772-795;
the Synods of Mérida (666), Braga (675), and Hatfield (680);
the writing of Pope Leo III (d. 816) to the monks of Jerusalem;
the letter of Pope Stephen V (d. 891) to the Moravian King Suentopolcus (Suatopluk), Ep. xiii;
the symbol of Pope Leo IX (d. 1054);
the Fourth Lateran Council, 1215;
the Second Council of Lyons, 1274; and the
Council of Florence, 1439.

Purgatory is considered dogma by a teaching of the Magisterium
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« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2012, 10:43:19 PM »

Kind of funny: filioque invented in the Fifth Century.

Schism: not until the Eleventh Century.

 Lips Sealed

That's interesting.
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« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2012, 11:07:54 PM »

Kind of funny: filioque invented in the Fifth Century.

Schism: not until the Eleventh Century.

 :-x

That's interesting.

It's interesting how simplistic and lacking in important details that is (like how Rome condemned the filioque in the Fifth Century).

:-x
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« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2012, 11:08:46 PM »

Kind of funny: filioque invented in the Fifth Century.

Schism: not until the Eleventh Century.

 :-x

That's interesting.

It's interesting how simplistic and lacking in important details that is (like how Rome condemned the filioque in the Fifth Century).

:-x

Ha ha ha. Doesn't change the fact that what I said was true.
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« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2012, 11:40:30 PM »

Ha ha ha. Doesn't change the fact that what I said was true.

It's true, from a certain point of view.

^Youtube link
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« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2012, 11:41:42 PM »

Sigh.  Lips Sealed

Should have known.
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« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2012, 11:54:41 PM »

Sigh.  Lips Sealed

Should have known.

What the problem is?

1. Joe is a bad driver.
2. Joe died.

Two statements related by one element but lacking critical details linking them.

Plus, it gave me the opportunity to post that video.  Smiley
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« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2012, 12:02:52 AM »

Ok, so it is my understanding that the big 4 (as I will refer to them as) are Dogma in the RC church.  I just spent the past 2 hours reading through old threads on all 4 & I cant find anything that deals directly with my question:

I was recently informed that (for example) the I.C. Is a dogma, as declared in the 4th Lateran.  BUT it is not dogmatic in the sense that it is necessary to believe for our salvation.  Is this true for all 4??  How does that even work??
It doesn't, Father.
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« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2012, 12:05:23 AM »

Ha ha ha. Doesn't change the fact that what I said was true.

It's true, from a certain point of view.

^Youtube link

I normally can't stand this stuff, whatever this stuff is, but this produced a very welcomed laugh.

Thanks man.

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« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2012, 12:38:40 AM »

Kind of funny: filioque invented in the Fifth Century.

Schism: not until the Eleventh Century.

 :-x

That's interesting.

It's interesting how simplistic and lacking in important details that is (like how Rome condemned the filioque in the Fifth Century).

:-x

Ha ha ha. Doesn't change the fact that what I said was true.

Ok? It doesn't prove anything.
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« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2012, 08:17:08 AM »

In your church, you call them theologoumena. Seems pretty similar to that. They are popular beliefs, but you don't have to profess them in order to be baptized.

Wrong. A proclaimed dogma is essential teaching, theologoumena are educated, pious opinions. Or is the IC no longer a dogma of the RCC?

When I first read Biro's post, I thought she was saying that you guys consider the IC a theologoumenon. But now that I re-read her post, it looks more like she's saying that we Catholics do.

I don't recall any announcement from the Vatican that the IC isn't a dogma any more, so I'm rather confused here.  Huh
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« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2012, 08:19:42 AM »

Ok, so it is my understanding that the big 4 (as I will refer to them as) are Dogma in the RC church.  I just spent the past 2 hours reading through old threads on all 4 & I cant find anything that deals directly with my question:

I was recently informed that (for example) the I.C. Is a dogma, as declared in the 4th Lateran.  BUT it is not dogmatic in the sense that it is necessary to believe for our salvation.  Is this true for all 4??  How does that even work??

I don't know what Lateran IV said about the matter, but the IC was dogmatically defined in 1854 -- see Aindriú's post.
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« Reply #15 on: June 01, 2012, 10:01:24 AM »

In your church, you call them theologoumena. Seems pretty similar to that. They are popular beliefs, but you don't have to profess them in order to be baptized.

Wrong. A proclaimed dogma is essential teaching, theologoumena are educated, pious opinions. Or is the IC no longer a dogma of the RCC?

When I first read Biro's post, I thought she was saying that you guys consider the IC a theologoumenon. But now that I re-read her post, it looks more like she's saying that we Catholics do.

I don't recall any announcement from the Vatican that the IC isn't a dogma any more, so I'm rather confused here.  Huh

I always thought it's not quite as important as it's portrayed here. When you're going to have a baby baptized, they baptize it- they don't insist that you wait until it can write a report on the IC.

When Roman Catholics recite the Creed, they don't talk about the IC. The filioque is there, yes, and I understand why that's problematic- but the Roman Catholics don't seem to stake the whole faith on the IC alone, as some here seem to believe. They haven't put it in the creed; it's not the most crucial part of the faith.

Hence, why it seems more like a theologoumena to me. If you don't want the opinions of Roman Catholics, why did you ask for them?
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« Reply #16 on: June 01, 2012, 10:11:43 AM »

In your church, you call them theologoumena. Seems pretty similar to that. They are popular beliefs, but you don't have to profess them in order to be baptized.

Wrong. A proclaimed dogma is essential teaching, theologoumena are educated, pious opinions. Or is the IC no longer a dogma of the RCC?

When I first read Biro's post, I thought she was saying that you guys consider the IC a theologoumenon. But now that I re-read her post, it looks more like she's saying that we Catholics do.

I don't recall any announcement from the Vatican that the IC isn't a dogma any more, so I'm rather confused here.  Huh

I always thought it's not quite as important as it's portrayed here. When you're going to have a baby baptized, they baptize it- they don't insist that you wait until it can write a report on the IC.

When Roman Catholics recite the Creed, they don't talk about the IC. The filioque is there, yes, and I understand why that's problematic- but the Roman Catholics don't seem to stake the whole faith on the IC alone, as some here seem to believe. They haven't put it in the creed; it's not the most crucial part of the faith.

Hence, why it seems more like a theologoumena to me. If you don't want the opinions of Roman Catholics, why did you ask for them?

I'm still not sure I understand you. Can something be both a dogma and a theologoumenon?
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« Reply #17 on: June 01, 2012, 10:13:30 AM »

In your church, you call them theologoumena. Seems pretty similar to that. They are popular beliefs, but you don't have to profess them in order to be baptized.

Wrong. A proclaimed dogma is essential teaching, theologoumena are educated, pious opinions. Or is the IC no longer a dogma of the RCC?

When I first read Biro's post, I thought she was saying that you guys consider the IC a theologoumenon. But now that I re-read her post, it looks more like she's saying that we Catholics do.

I don't recall any announcement from the Vatican that the IC isn't a dogma any more, so I'm rather confused here.  Huh

I always thought it's not quite as important as it's portrayed here. When you're going to have a baby baptized, they baptize it- they don't insist that you wait until it can write a report on the IC.

When Roman Catholics recite the Creed, they don't talk about the IC. The filioque is there, yes, and I understand why that's problematic- but the Roman Catholics don't seem to stake the whole faith on the IC alone, as some here seem to believe. They haven't put it in the creed; it's not the most crucial part of the faith.

Hence, why it seems more like a theologoumena to me. If you don't want the opinions of Roman Catholics, why did you ask for them?

I'm still not sure I understand you. Can something be both a dogma and a theologoumenon?

I think many posters here have a different understanding of both.
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« Reply #18 on: June 01, 2012, 10:13:42 AM »

Ok, so it is my understanding that the big 4 (as I will refer to them as) are Dogma in the RC church.  I just spent the past 2 hours reading through old threads on all 4 & I cant find anything that deals directly with my question:

I was recently informed that (for example) the I.C. Is a dogma, as declared in the 4th Lateran.  BUT it is not dogmatic in the sense that it is necessary to believe for our salvation.  Is this true for all 4??  How does that even work??

Uh...how can a *dogma* not be *dogmatic*??  Huh

I was recently informed that pigs can fly.  Does that mean they really can? Pretty unlikely.  My point is--who informed you of this and what is the source of *their* information?  I find that when it comes to questions about dogma and doctrine of the Catholic Church it really is best to refer to reliable Catholic resources, such as the Catechism of the Catholic Church or various Vatican documents such as were posted earlier on this thread.

(If your source was a priest, well...hey, even a priest can be wrong--Catholic OR Orthodox.)
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« Reply #19 on: June 01, 2012, 10:15:31 AM »

In your church, you call them theologoumena. Seems pretty similar to that. They are popular beliefs, but you don't have to profess them in order to be baptized.

Wrong. A proclaimed dogma is essential teaching, theologoumena are educated, pious opinions. Or is the IC no longer a dogma of the RCC?

When I first read Biro's post, I thought she was saying that you guys consider the IC a theologoumenon. But now that I re-read her post, it looks more like she's saying that we Catholics do.

I don't recall any announcement from the Vatican that the IC isn't a dogma any more, so I'm rather confused here.  Huh

 If you don't want the opinions of Roman Catholics, why did you ask for them?

Now, *there's* a loaded question  Grin  Wink Grin!
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« Reply #20 on: June 01, 2012, 10:37:36 AM »

Ok, so it is my understanding that the big 4 (as I will refer to them as) are Dogma in the RC church.  I just spent the past 2 hours reading through old threads on all 4 & I cant find anything that deals directly with my question:

I was recently informed that (for example) the I.C. Is a dogma, as declared in the 4th Lateran.  BUT it is not dogmatic in the sense that it is necessary to believe for our salvation.  Is this true for all 4??  How does that even work??

Uh...how can a *dogma* not be *dogmatic*??  Huh

I was recently informed that pigs can fly.  Does that mean they really can? Pretty unlikely.  My point is--who informed you of this and what is the source of *their* information?  I find that when it comes to questions about dogma and doctrine of the Catholic Church it really is best to refer to reliable Catholic resources, such as the Catechism of the Catholic Church or various Vatican documents such as were posted earlier on this thread.

(If your source was a priest, well...hey, even a priest can be wrong--Catholic OR Orthodox.)

My source was a Dominican scholar I met the other day.  BELIEVE me I'm having. The same issue you're.  The brief discussion we had led to him saying "yes its dogmatic, but not in the sense that it is required for salvation.  We just understand dogma differently & there are degrees of dogmati statements.".

I didn't have time to pursue it further, & it's been REALLY bothering me, so I thought I'd ask the rest of you for some help here.  Are there degrees of dogmatics in RC?  I would have no idea where to start with that
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« Reply #21 on: June 01, 2012, 10:38:28 AM »

In your church, you call them theologoumena. Seems pretty similar to that. They are popular beliefs, but you don't have to profess them in order to be baptized.

Wrong. A proclaimed dogma is essential teaching, theologoumena are educated, pious opinions. Or is the IC no longer a dogma of the RCC?

When I first read Biro's post, I thought she was saying that you guys consider the IC a theologoumenon. But now that I re-read her post, it looks more like she's saying that we Catholics do.

I don't recall any announcement from the Vatican that the IC isn't a dogma any more, so I'm rather confused here.  Huh

I always thought it's not quite as important as it's portrayed here. When you're going to have a baby baptized, they baptize it- they don't insist that you wait until it can write a report on the IC.

When Roman Catholics recite the Creed, they don't talk about the IC. The filioque is there, yes, and I understand why that's problematic- but the Roman Catholics don't seem to stake the whole faith on the IC alone, as some here seem to believe. They haven't put it in the creed; it's not the most crucial part of the faith.

Hence, why it seems more like a theologoumena to me. If you don't want the opinions of Roman Catholics, why did you ask for them?

I'm still not sure I understand you. Can something be both a dogma and a theologoumenon?

That's what I'm trying to figure out
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« Reply #22 on: June 01, 2012, 10:40:14 AM »

Ok, so it is my understanding that the big 4 (as I will refer to them as) are Dogma in the RC church.  I just spent the past 2 hours reading through old threads on all 4 & I cant find anything that deals directly with my question:

I was recently informed that (for example) the I.C. Is a dogma, as declared in the 4th Lateran.  BUT it is not dogmatic in the sense that it is necessary to believe for our salvation.  Is this true for all 4??  How does that even work??

Uh...how can a *dogma* not be *dogmatic*??  Huh

I was recently informed that pigs can fly.  Does that mean they really can? Pretty unlikely.  My point is--who informed you of this and what is the source of *their* information?  I find that when it comes to questions about dogma and doctrine of the Catholic Church it really is best to refer to reliable Catholic resources, such as the Catechism of the Catholic Church or various Vatican documents such as were posted earlier on this thread.

(If your source was a priest, well...hey, even a priest can be wrong--Catholic OR Orthodox.)

My source was a Dominican scholar I met the other day.  BELIEVE me I'm having. The same issue you're.  The brief discussion we had led to him saying "yes its dogmatic, but not in the sense that it is required for salvation.  We just understand dogma differently & there are degrees of dogmati statements.".

I didn't have time to pursue it further, & it's been REALLY bothering me, so I thought I'd ask the rest of you for some help here.  Are there degrees of dogmatics in RC?  I would have no idea where to start with that

Sorry to put it this way, but why do you care?

 Huh
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« Reply #23 on: June 01, 2012, 10:41:02 AM »

Ok, so it is my understanding that the big 4 (as I will refer to them as) are Dogma in the RC church.  I just spent the past 2 hours reading through old threads on all 4 & I cant find anything that deals directly with my question:

I was recently informed that (for example) the I.C. Is a dogma, as declared in the 4th Lateran.  BUT it is not dogmatic in the sense that it is necessary to believe for our salvation.  Is this true for all 4??  How does that even work??
It doesn't, Father.

I didn't want to go there yet with the people I was dialoging with, but I do agree.  Rather confusing to have something proclaimed a dogma & then say its not dogmatic.  I just REALLY want a justification for that which would make sense.  It could be the key to our mutual dialogue.  If the big 4 aren't dogmatic, the there is no problem...right?
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« Reply #24 on: June 01, 2012, 10:43:13 AM »

Ok, so it is my understanding that the big 4 (as I will refer to them as) are Dogma in the RC church.  I just spent the past 2 hours reading through old threads on all 4 & I cant find anything that deals directly with my question:

I was recently informed that (for example) the I.C. Is a dogma, as declared in the 4th Lateran.  BUT it is not dogmatic in the sense that it is necessary to believe for our salvation.  Is this true for all 4??  How does that even work??

Uh...how can a *dogma* not be *dogmatic*??  Huh

I was recently informed that pigs can fly.  Does that mean they really can? Pretty unlikely.  My point is--who informed you of this and what is the source of *their* information?  I find that when it comes to questions about dogma and doctrine of the Catholic Church it really is best to refer to reliable Catholic resources, such as the Catechism of the Catholic Church or various Vatican documents such as were posted earlier on this thread.

(If your source was a priest, well...hey, even a priest can be wrong--Catholic OR Orthodox.)

My source was a Dominican scholar I met the other day.  BELIEVE me I'm having. The same issue you're.  The brief discussion we had led to him saying "yes its dogmatic, but not in the sense that it is required for salvation.  We just understand dogma differently & there are degrees of dogmati statements.".

I didn't have time to pursue it further, & it's been REALLY bothering me, so I thought I'd ask the rest of you for some help here.  Are there degrees of dogmatics in RC?  I would have no idea where to start with that

Sorry to put it this way, but why do you care?

 Huh

Read ^

Plus, if we find put that all we have to do is reconfigure our definition of dogmatic, that changes the whole dialogue, just like when we finally agreed on terms with the OO's it changed our whole perspective on 1600 years of schism. 

Like I said above, if the big 4 are some weird kind of dogma that isn't really dogma, then there's nothing to fight about....right?
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« Reply #25 on: June 01, 2012, 10:44:05 AM »

There is no key, because there should be no more 'mutual' dialogue.
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« Reply #26 on: June 01, 2012, 10:46:03 AM »

There is no key, because there should be no more 'mutual' dialogue.

Tell that to the holy trinity.  They are in perfect & constant dialogue by their very nature as one God.  That is the perfect solution to our fragmentation.  Perfect, constant dialogue.  The only thing missing is to be of one mind, one will, like the HT
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« Reply #27 on: June 01, 2012, 10:48:51 AM »

There is no key, because there should be no more 'mutual' dialogue.

Tell that to the holy trinity.  They are in perfect & constant dialogue by their very nature as one God.  That is the perfect solution to our fragmentation.  Perfect, constant dialogue.  The only thing missing is to be of one mind, one will, like the HT

I meant between our churches.
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« Reply #28 on: June 01, 2012, 10:58:58 AM »

Ok, so it is my understanding that the big 4 (as I will refer to them as) are Dogma in the RC church.  I just spent the past 2 hours reading through old threads on all 4 & I cant find anything that deals directly with my question:

I was recently informed that (for example) the I.C. Is a dogma, as declared in the 4th Lateran.  BUT it is not dogmatic in the sense that it is necessary to believe for our salvation.  Is this true for all 4??  How does that even work??

Uh...how can a *dogma* not be *dogmatic*??  Huh

I was recently informed that pigs can fly.  Does that mean they really can? Pretty unlikely.  My point is--who informed you of this and what is the source of *their* information?  I find that when it comes to questions about dogma and doctrine of the Catholic Church it really is best to refer to reliable Catholic resources, such as the Catechism of the Catholic Church or various Vatican documents such as were posted earlier on this thread.

(If your source was a priest, well...hey, even a priest can be wrong--Catholic OR Orthodox.)

My source was a Dominican scholar I met the other day.  BELIEVE me I'm having. The same issue you're.  The brief discussion we had led to him saying "yes its dogmatic, but not in the sense that it is required for salvation.  We just understand dogma differently & there are degrees of dogmati statements.".

I didn't have time to pursue it further, & it's been REALLY bothering me, so I thought I'd ask the rest of you for some help here.  Are there degrees of dogmatics in RC?  I would have no idea where to start with that

I should have added, "Even scholars can be wrong".  Go to reliable, magisterial sources for your information.  Scholars, even Dominicans, even extremely eminent ones, are not the Magisterium of the Church, and do not define doctrine or dogma.  And, depending on their "politics" may have agendas and axes to grind. 

My wife was educated for 12 years in the Catholic educational system.  During the 1960's a group of very highly educated Jesuit (eeek!) priests and scholars were brought into her high school to teach them religion.  One of the first things they "taught" was--"You can forget everything that was written in the Bible.  We'll teach you what's what."  OY VEY IST MIR!!  Yeah, priests and scholars (of any communion), regardless of the extent of their knowledge and education, most certainly *can* be wrong!

If something is a defined *dogma*, it is, by definition and regardless of how any given Joe Schmoe individual, scholar or otherwise, may "understand" it, *dogmatic*. 

You may want to read, from here; http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p1s1c2a2.htm#88, about dogma in the Catholic Church.
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« Reply #29 on: June 01, 2012, 11:00:53 AM »

There is no key, because there should be no more 'mutual' dialogue.

Tell that to the holy trinity.  They are in perfect & constant dialogue by their very nature as one God.  That is the perfect solution to our fragmentation.  Perfect, constant dialogue.  The only thing missing is to be of one mind, one will, like the HT

I meant between our churches.

Thats what I'm saying too.  Our theology tells us that the HT is perfect dialogue between the 3 persons of the trinity.  That theological principle is the cornerstone of any schisms or breaks in the church. The way to coexist perfectly is in perfect love & dialogue.  Our existence is to be dialogical beings.  The Logos made incarnate.  These are he principles of our humanity & theology.  So no more mutual dialogue doesn't make sense in that paradigm
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« Reply #30 on: June 01, 2012, 11:10:50 AM »


If something is a defined *dogma*, it is, by definition and regardless of how any given Joe Schmoe individual, scholar or otherwise, may "understand" it, *dogmatic*. 

Well said.

Just because the Church is filled with cafeteria Catholics doesn't mean the issues are matters of theologoumenon.

I know plenty of Catholics who don't believe in the Real Presence but still consider themselves devout, practicing Catholics.  So, if we're siding with common concensus on what is or isn't doctrine, I suppose the Eucharist will soon be theologoumenon.
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« Reply #31 on: June 01, 2012, 11:17:40 AM »

There is no key, because there should be no more 'mutual' dialogue.

Tell that to the holy trinity.  They are in perfect & constant dialogue by their very nature as one God.  That is the perfect solution to our fragmentation.  Perfect, constant dialogue.  The only thing missing is to be of one mind, one will, like the HT

I meant between our churches.

Thats what I'm saying too.  Our theology tells us that the HT is perfect dialogue between the 3 persons of the trinity.  That theological principle is the cornerstone of any schisms or breaks in the church. The way to coexist perfectly is in perfect love & dialogue.  Our existence is to be dialogical beings.  The Logos made incarnate.  These are he principles of our humanity & theology.  So no more mutual dialogue doesn't make sense in that paradigm

You are a more compassionate person than I am. It gives me hope.

I am sorry I am not a better representative of the faith. Thank you.
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« Reply #32 on: June 01, 2012, 11:28:36 AM »


If something is a defined *dogma*, it is, by definition and regardless of how any given Joe Schmoe individual, scholar or otherwise, may "understand" it, *dogmatic*. 

Well said.

Not only that, but we might go on to say that, if something is a pork chop, it is, by definition and regardless of how any given Joe Schmoe individual, scholar or otherwise, may understand it, a pork chop.
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« Reply #33 on: June 01, 2012, 11:34:01 AM »


If something is a defined *dogma*, it is, by definition and regardless of how any given Joe Schmoe individual, scholar or otherwise, may "understand" it, *dogmatic*. 

Well said.

Not only that, but we might go on to say that, if something is a pork chop, it is, by definition and regardless of how any given Joe Schmoe individual, scholar or otherwise, may understand it, a pork chop.

And I loves pork chops!!!  Mm, mmm, mmmmmmmmm!!!

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« Reply #34 on: June 01, 2012, 12:09:08 PM »

I've been thinking a lot about this thread this morning. It seems like the underlying issue here is also one of the main frustrations I have as a Catholic. Let me put it this way: my job is essentially to assume that certain statements from various popes are true (e.g. the statement from Pius IX that the IC is not only true, but is in fact a dogma), and then to reconcile them. It isn't always easy.
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« Reply #35 on: June 01, 2012, 12:14:08 PM »

I've been thinking a lot about this thread this morning. It seems like the underlying issue here is also one of the main frustrations I have as a Catholic. Let me put it this way: my job is essentially to assume that certain statements from various popes are true (e.g. the statement from Pius IX that the IC is not only true, but is in fact a dogma), and then to reconcile them. It isn't always easy.

You want "easy"?  Atheism and relativism are "easy".  So are pork chops  Grin.

Who ever said being a Christian of any variety would be easy?
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« Reply #36 on: June 01, 2012, 12:22:33 PM »

I've been thinking a lot about this thread this morning. It seems like the underlying issue here is also one of the main frustrations I have as a Catholic. Let me put it this way: my job is essentially to assume that certain statements from various popes are true (e.g. the statement from Pius IX that the IC is not only true, but is in fact a dogma), and then to reconcile them. It isn't always easy.

Peter, for me the problem has always been very simple.  What separates us are the big 4.  They are separations ONLY because they are Dogmas & necessary for salvation. If they were theologoumena then who the heck cares!  But they are not.  Then I find out from a Dominican...they kind of are..not dogma? 

WTH(eck) is going on!  And while he may just be totally wrong, that would make me sick BC here is a very well educated RC who does not understand the dogmatic statements of his church?! 

Honestly too, I'm wondering if he's right.  If there are degrees & variances of dogma, as the RC considered that word/topic
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« Reply #37 on: June 01, 2012, 12:28:07 PM »

I've been thinking a lot about this thread this morning. It seems like the underlying issue here is also one of the main frustrations I have as a Catholic. Let me put it this way: my job is essentially to assume that certain statements from various popes are true (e.g. the statement from Pius IX that the IC is not only true, but is in fact a dogma), and then to reconcile them. It isn't always easy.

Peter, for me the problem has always been very simple.  What separates us are the big 4.  They are separations ONLY because they are Dogmas & necessary for salvation. If they were theologoumena then who the heck cares!  But they are not.  Then I find out from a Dominican...they kind of are..not dogma? 

WTH(eck) is going on!  And while he may just be totally wrong, that would make me sick BC here is a very well educated RC who does not understand the dogmatic statements of his church?! 

Honestly too, I'm wondering if he's right.  If there are degrees & variances of dogma, as the RC considered that word/topic

Why are you so (apparently) eager to assume that your Dominican scholar is right?  Have you researched the issue any further and deeper than on an *Orthodox* internet discussion board?

I may be grossly under-informed but I've *never* heard of "degrees & variances of dogma".  Ever.
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« Reply #38 on: June 01, 2012, 01:07:52 PM »


Who ever said being a Christian of any variety would be easy?

The IC isn't about being Christian at all.

The calendar is full of Christian saints who never believed in any dogma pertaining to the Blessed Mother.
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« Reply #39 on: June 01, 2012, 01:17:53 PM »


Who ever said being a Christian of any variety would be easy?

The IC isn't about being Christian at all.

The calendar is full of Christian saints who never believed in any dogma pertaining to the Blessed Mother.

The calendar is also full of Christian saints who did.  Neither of which makes being a Christian any easier, though, does it? 
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« Reply #40 on: June 01, 2012, 01:34:20 PM »

The calendar is also full of Christian saints who did.  Neither of which makes being a Christian any easier, though, does it? 

No - but to Peter's point, why should any Christian have to try to explain something like the IC?
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« Reply #41 on: June 01, 2012, 01:43:17 PM »

The calendar is also full of Christian saints who did.  Neither of which makes being a Christian any easier, though, does it?  

No - but to Peter's point, why should any Christian have to try to explain something like the IC?

Why should any Christian have to try to explain something like the Trinity?  Or a virgin giving birth to God?  Now, *that* ain't easy, is it?  And yet, we are sometimes/oftentimes/occasionally called to do so, are we not?  As for the IC, you as an OC are under no obligation to try to explain it.  Catholics, on the other hand, may be called to do so.  Depending on our catechesis and understanding and the willingness of those hearing it to hear and understand, it may be more or less difficult.  

If a Catholic is struggling with an understanding of any particular Catholic dogma it's usually good advice for them to pray, seek counsel with a good priest or spiritual director, pray some more, and read and try to understand.  Sometimes that makes it a little easier--but not always.
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« Reply #42 on: June 01, 2012, 01:52:51 PM »

Why should any Christian have to try to explain something like the Trinity?  Or a virgin giving birth to God? 

I thought that would be your rebuttal.

Because those topics are at the heart of Christian faith and therefore essential for man's salvation.  The IC, however, is not.

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« Reply #43 on: June 01, 2012, 02:23:35 PM »

Why should any Christian have to try to explain something like the Trinity?  Or a virgin giving birth to God? 

I thought that would be your rebuttal.

Because those topics are at the heart of Christian faith and therefore essential for man's salvation.  The IC, however, is not.



And I thought that would be *your* rebuttal  Grin Grin

If acceptance of a dogma is essential for one's salvation (is it?) and the (Catholic) Church has defined the IC as a dogma.....  By the way, I, for one, am in *no* position whatsoever to comment on anyone else's salvation.  That's between them and God.

I can certainly accept that you and other Orthodox are unable/unwilling to accept the IC as dogma but it does sadden me somewhat, especially (but not solely) to the extent that it keeps our One Church from being truly unified.
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« Reply #44 on: June 01, 2012, 02:31:02 PM »

Why should any Christian have to try to explain something like the Trinity?  Or a virgin giving birth to God? 

I thought that would be your rebuttal.

Because those topics are at the heart of Christian faith and therefore essential for man's salvation.  The IC, however, is not.



And I thought that would be *your* rebuttal  Grin Grin

If acceptance of a dogma is essential for one's salvation (is it?) and the (Catholic) Church has defined the IC as a dogma.....  By the way, I, for one, am in *no* position whatsoever to comment on anyone else's salvation.  That's between them and God.

I can certainly accept that you and other Orthodox are unable/unwilling to accept the IC as dogma but it does sadden me somewhat, especially (but not solely) to the extent that it keeps our One Church from being truly unified.
I guess my question is which dogma. There are times that there are conflicting dogmas, such as:

*from Unam Sanctum*
Quote
Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.

Now, from Vatican II:
Quote
It follows that the separated Churches and Communities as such, though we believe them to be deficient in some respects, have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Church

So it seems kind of contradictory. So I can understand the question about dogma and salvation mentioned earlier.


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« Reply #45 on: June 01, 2012, 02:43:56 PM »

Why should any Christian have to try to explain something like the Trinity?  Or a virgin giving birth to God? 

I thought that would be your rebuttal.

Because those topics are at the heart of Christian faith and therefore essential for man's salvation.  The IC, however, is not.



And I thought that would be *your* rebuttal  Grin Grin

If acceptance of a dogma is essential for one's salvation (is it?) and the (Catholic) Church has defined the IC as a dogma.....  By the way, I, for one, am in *no* position whatsoever to comment on anyone else's salvation.  That's between them and God.

I can certainly accept that you and other Orthodox are unable/unwilling to accept the IC as dogma but it does sadden me somewhat, especially (but not solely) to the extent that it keeps our One Church from being truly unified.
I guess my question is which dogma. There are times that there are conflicting dogmas, such as:

*from Unam Sanctum*
Quote
Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.

Now, from Vatican II:
Quote
It follows that the separated Churches and Communities as such, though we believe them to be deficient in some respects, have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Church

So it seems kind of contradictory. So I can understand the question about dogma and salvation mentioned earlier.


PP

I can understand the confusion and experience it myself on and off.  I'm not qualified to discuss or dissect Unam Sanctum, but I do recall a discussion somewhere (maybe even on this board) about it in which someone explained or tried to explain what was meant by every human creature being subject to the Roman Pontiff.  I can't remember what precisely they said but it made it sound like at some point every human creature *would* be subject to the Roman Pontiff.  How and when this would occur I can't recall, but it made sense to me at the time I read it.  Sorry I can't be more specific about that  Sad.

Life and life in the Church is full of paradoxes and apparent contradictions.  I don't pretend to be able to reconcile them all or even understand them all, much as I might try.  What I do, though, is pray, study when I can, attend Mass as often as possible, and try with varying degrees of success or failure, to live a Christian life and to put my trust in God and hope for the best.
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« Reply #46 on: June 01, 2012, 02:58:52 PM »

The calendar is also full of Christian saints who did.  Neither of which makes being a Christian any easier, though, does it? 

No - but to Peter's point, why should any Christian have to try to explain something like the IC?

Actually, my point was more about explaining the statement "The IC is a dogma". (Keep in mind of course that not every truth is a dogma.) That's where questions like "Is it central to the faith?" "Is it necessary for salvation?" etc. come in.
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« Reply #47 on: June 01, 2012, 03:08:03 PM »



If acceptance of a dogma is essential for one's salvation (is it?) and the (Catholic) Church has defined the IC as a dogma.....  By the way, I, for one, am in *no* position whatsoever to comment on anyone else's salvation.  That's between them and God.

And I thought that would be your rebuttal!  Ha!   Cheesy

No, but seriously...

If dogma isn't considered essential for one's salvation then why must catechumen/candidates preparing to enter the Catholic Church make the profession of faith ("I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God")?  Perhaps that's your point.

Still, I've never understood why the Blessed Mother has so many dogmas pertaining to her.  I have heard Catholics explain these dogmas so that they always refer back to Christ, which may be true, and if so, makes them even more superfluous considering the dogmas that are in place concerning Christ.



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« Reply #48 on: June 01, 2012, 03:08:17 PM »

I've been thinking a lot about this thread this morning. It seems like the underlying issue here is also one of the main frustrations I have as a Catholic. Let me put it this way: my job is essentially to assume that certain statements from various popes are true (e.g. the statement from Pius IX that the IC is not only true, but is in fact a dogma), and then to reconcile them. It isn't always easy.

Peter, for me the problem has always been very simple.  What separates us are the big 4.  They are separations ONLY because they are Dogmas & necessary for salvation. If they were theologoumena then who the heck cares!  But they are not.  Then I find out from a Dominican...they kind of are..not dogma? 

WTH(eck) is going on!  And while he may just be totally wrong, that would make me sick BC here is a very well educated RC who does not understand the dogmatic statements of his church?! 

Honestly too, I'm wondering if he's right.  If there are degrees & variances of dogma, as the RC considered that word/topic

Why are you so (apparently) eager to assume that your Dominican scholar is right?  Have you researched the issue any further and deeper than on an *Orthodox* internet discussion board?

I may be grossly under-informed but I've *never* heard of "degrees & variances of dogma".  Ever.

I'm absolutely NOT eager to assume anything:  hence why I brought it to a wider audience, to garner information.  

To be perfectly frank with you I have absolutely NO idea where to even start researching something like this.  Not that i'm not capable (i've done indepth research before), but I am a member of this community, which speaks to each other about these subjects, so I thought i'd start here.  Further research pending my results here.  
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« Reply #49 on: June 01, 2012, 03:11:44 PM »

Why should any Christian have to try to explain something like the Trinity?  Or a virgin giving birth to God? 

I thought that would be your rebuttal.

Because those topics are at the heart of Christian faith and therefore essential for man's salvation.  The IC, however, is not.



And I thought that would be *your* rebuttal  Grin Grin

If acceptance of a dogma is essential for one's salvation (is it?) and the (Catholic) Church has defined the IC as a dogma.....  By the way, I, for one, am in *no* position whatsoever to comment on anyone else's salvation.  That's between them and God.

I can certainly accept that you and other Orthodox are unable/unwilling to accept the IC as dogma but it does sadden me somewhat, especially (but not solely) to the extent that it keeps our One Church from being truly unified.

Again...how do you understand dogma?  As essential for one's salvation?  And why is the IC essential for our salvation?  (I know that's a much bigger discussion, and we've had it before, but it's the heart of what i'm trying to ascertain here)
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« Reply #50 on: June 01, 2012, 03:13:08 PM »

The calendar is also full of Christian saints who did.  Neither of which makes being a Christian any easier, though, does it?  

No - but to Peter's point, why should any Christian have to try to explain something like the IC?

Actually, my point was more about explaining the statement "The IC is a dogma". (Keep in mind of course that not every truth is a dogma.) That's where questions like "Is it central to the faith?" "Is it necessary for salvation?" etc. come in.

P.S. Another thing I find troubling is that in Catholic circles, it is often assumed that even people who don't believe the IC (or any of those others) still regard it as a dogma. This is quite troubling since, logically, anything that isn't true can't possibly be a dogma.
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« Reply #51 on: June 01, 2012, 03:21:22 PM »

What I don't get about the Immaculate Conception is if God has the ability to be able to create us humans without original sin why doesn't he do it for all of us? I mean Jesus was begotten from the Father so how he remains sinless makes sense but it doesn't (to me) make any sense about Mary.

Can a Catholic explain this to me?
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« Reply #52 on: June 01, 2012, 03:25:22 PM »

Why should any Christian have to try to explain something like the Trinity?  Or a virgin giving birth to God? 

I thought that would be your rebuttal.

Because those topics are at the heart of Christian faith and therefore essential for man's salvation.  The IC, however, is not.



And I thought that would be *your* rebuttal  Grin Grin

If acceptance of a dogma is essential for one's salvation (is it?) and the (Catholic) Church has defined the IC as a dogma.....  By the way, I, for one, am in *no* position whatsoever to comment on anyone else's salvation.  That's between them and God.

I can certainly accept that you and other Orthodox are unable/unwilling to accept the IC as dogma but it does sadden me somewhat, especially (but not solely) to the extent that it keeps our One Church from being truly unified.
I guess my question is which dogma. There are times that there are conflicting dogmas, such as:

*from Unam Sanctum*
Quote
Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.

Now, from Vatican II:
Quote
It follows that the separated Churches and Communities as such, though we believe them to be deficient in some respects, have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Church

So it seems kind of contradictory. So I can understand the question about dogma and salvation mentioned earlier.


PP

I can understand the confusion and experience it myself on and off.  I'm not qualified to discuss or dissect Unam Sanctum, but I do recall a discussion somewhere (maybe even on this board) about it in which someone explained or tried to explain what was meant by every human creature being subject to the Roman Pontiff.  I can't remember what precisely they said but it made it sound like at some point every human creature *would* be subject to the Roman Pontiff.  How and when this would occur I can't recall, but it made sense to me at the time I read it.  Sorry I can't be more specific about that  Sad.

Life and life in the Church is full of paradoxes and apparent contradictions.  I don't pretend to be able to reconcile them all or even understand them all, much as I might try.  What I do, though, is pray, study when I can, attend Mass as often as possible, and try with varying degrees of success or failure, to live a Christian life and to put my trust in God and hope for the best.

Thanks for taking something that's already confusing to me & then adding the supreme pontiff stuff.  Let's handle one issue at a time ok  Wink Grin

What PP laid out here is really what i'm trying to figure out.  Can someone explain in further detail the Unam Sanctum, and how it works?  Especially with with other aspect of Vatican II?
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« Reply #53 on: June 01, 2012, 03:25:31 PM »



Again...how do you understand dogma?  As essential for one's salvation?  And why is the IC essential for our salvation?  (I know that's a much bigger discussion, and we've had it before, but it's the heart of what i'm trying to ascertain here)
[/quote]

Simple fact is: The IC is NOT essential for salvation.  Neither are the other later day dogmas of the church e.g. Filioque, Papal Supremacy, Infallibility.   Otherwise the ECC would be in a lot of hot water adhering to their Eastern Paternal beliefs.
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« Reply #54 on: June 01, 2012, 03:27:26 PM »

The calendar is also full of Christian saints who did.  Neither of which makes being a Christian any easier, though, does it?  

No - but to Peter's point, why should any Christian have to try to explain something like the IC?

Actually, my point was more about explaining the statement "The IC is a dogma". (Keep in mind of course that not every truth is a dogma.) That's where questions like "Is it central to the faith?" "Is it necessary for salvation?" etc. come in.

P.S. Another thing I find troubling is that in Catholic circles, it is often assumed that even people who don't believe the IC (or any of those others) still regard it as a dogma. This is quite troubling since, logically, anything that isn't true can't possibly be a dogma.

That is troubling, indeed.  Personally, I haven't come across it, but have heard others, like you, mention it.  To me that demonstrates lack of understanding and poor catechesis.  Unfortunately, there's been an overwhelming amount of inadequate and poor catechesis amongst Catholics in this country.  That's not to say that I'm a poster-boy for good catechesis--not by any means.
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« Reply #55 on: June 01, 2012, 03:29:19 PM »

What I don't get about the Immaculate Conception is if God has the ability to be able to create us humans without original sin why doesn't he do it for all of us? I mean Jesus was begotten from the Father so how he remains sinless makes sense but it doesn't (to me) make any sense about Mary.

Can a Catholic explain this to me?

Perhaps this should be a separate thread?  Not fobbing you off, but it seems we've got enough on this thread to keep us busy without adding that into the mix, too.  But, hey...what do I know?
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« Reply #56 on: June 01, 2012, 03:33:42 PM »

You might read Dr. Anthony Dragani's http://www.east2west.org/doctrine.htm#IC
which says, in part,

Quote
There are two terms used in the definition that are completely foreign to Eastern Christian theology: "merits" and "stain." Both of these terms are of very late origin, and came to mean very specific things in the scholastic system. But to us Eastern Christians, who still use only the theological expressions of the Church Fathers, these terms are completely alien. So is this a problem, or isn't it?

I don't believe that this a problem at all. If something is written in a language that you can't understand, you simply TRANSLATE it! With some very basic knowledge of scholastic theological terminology, what Pope Pius IX is saying becomes very obvious: From the very first moment of her existence, Mary was miraculously preserved from all sin. We Easterns would go even a step further: she wasn't just preserved from sin, but was graced with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

(His use of "Eastern Christian theology", "We Easterns", etc. actually brings to mind something else that's a big problem for me, but I'll leave that aside.)
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« Reply #57 on: June 01, 2012, 03:38:07 PM »

Why should any Christian have to try to explain something like the Trinity?  Or a virgin giving birth to God? 

I thought that would be your rebuttal.

Because those topics are at the heart of Christian faith and therefore essential for man's salvation.  The IC, however, is not.



And I thought that would be *your* rebuttal  Grin Grin

If acceptance of a dogma is essential for one's salvation (is it?) and the (Catholic) Church has defined the IC as a dogma.....  By the way, I, for one, am in *no* position whatsoever to comment on anyone else's salvation.  That's between them and God.

I can certainly accept that you and other Orthodox are unable/unwilling to accept the IC as dogma but it does sadden me somewhat, especially (but not solely) to the extent that it keeps our One Church from being truly unified.

Again...how do you understand dogma?  As essential for one's salvation?  And why is the IC essential for our salvation?  (I know that's a much bigger discussion, and we've had it before, but it's the heart of what i'm trying to ascertain here)

To be perfectly honest with you, I don't know if dogma is essential for one's salvation.  JoeS2 above says not, at least with regard to the more recently defined dogmas, and I'm inclined to agree with him.  But I do not *know* with absolute certainty one way or the other.  I've done some cursory searching and apart from what was quoted from Unam Sanctum, which as I said I'm not qualified to discuss, can find nothing that specifically says that acceptance of dogma is required for one's salvation and that without said acceptance one is surely not going to be saved.
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« Reply #58 on: June 01, 2012, 08:02:01 PM »

Sigh...

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« Reply #59 on: June 01, 2012, 08:15:01 PM »

Someone linked to this above, but I found this of particular interest: http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p1s1c2a2.htm#88

Quote
"In Catholic doctrine there exists an order or hierarchy of truths, since they vary in their relation to the foundation of the Christian faith."

Maybe it's just that simple.  But it's also extremely confusing b/c to me dogma is dogma is dogma.  Why are we using this work with various hierarchy of its truthfulness?  That just seems all kinds of bad. 

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« Reply #60 on: June 01, 2012, 08:24:10 PM »

Just to add more to this salad:

Quote
Despite popular opinion, however, purgatory is still an official dogma of the Roman Catholic Church and an essential part of the Roman Catholic plan of salvation.
  http://www.reachingcatholics.org/purgatory.html
(Anyone have time for this nice bibliography?)  IBID. 
Quote
i. Council of Trent, session 25, "Decree Concerning Purgatory."
ii. First Vatican Council, session 2, "Profession of Faith."
iii. Second Vatican Council, "Dogmatic Constitution on the Church" no. 49 and no. 51.
iv. Second Vatican Council, "Sacred Liturgy," "Apostolic Constitution on the Revision of Indulgences," no. 2.
v. Second Vatican Council, "Sacred Liturgy," "Apostolic Constitution on the Revision of Indulgences," no. 3.
vi. Pope John Paul II offers Mass for John Paul I and Paul VI on September 28, the anniversary of the death of John Paul I ("The Lord Gives Us Confidence." L’Osservatore Romano, October 7, 1992, p. 1.)

I know the SSPX are not the greatest source, but it's their point that is important here:
http://sspx.org/Catholic_FAQs/catholic_faqs__liturgical.htm#removaloffilioque
Quote
The doctrine of the procession of the Holy Ghost from the Father and the Son was infallibly defined by the two Ecumenical Councils which brought about temporary union of the Eastern rite churches with the Roman Catholic Church. It was also defined that this has always been the unchangeable teaching of the Fathers and Doctors of both the Latin and Greek churches.


Infallibly defined?  I think that's a key point too.  Once these things are declared Ex Cathedra by a pope, don't they automatically become Dogma (again that word) & infallible? 

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« Reply #61 on: June 01, 2012, 09:59:37 PM »

What I don't get about the Immaculate Conception is if God has the ability to be able to create us humans without original sin why doesn't he do it for all of us? I mean Jesus was begotten from the Father so how he remains sinless makes sense but it doesn't (to me) make any sense about Mary.

Can a Catholic explain this to me?

Here's a hint: Mary gave birth to Jesus.

Nobody else in history has ever had to go through something like that.

Not even one of the angels.

That is why it was believed by some that she needed grace more than anybody. Although many people have children, there was only one Theotokos.
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« Reply #62 on: June 01, 2012, 10:09:04 PM »

Infallibly defined?  I think that's a key point too.  Once these things are declared Ex Cathedra by a pope, don't they automatically become Dogma (again that word) & infallible? 

Well, yes, although the way you put it is strangely round-about. Part of the definition of "ex cathedra" is that he defines something to be believed by all Christians.
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« Reply #63 on: June 03, 2012, 12:39:05 AM »

Of course the Immaculate Conception is a de fide dogma of the Catholic Church.  Anyone who says otherwise doesn't know what they are talking about.  The Catholic Church teaches that the dogma belongs to the apostolic deposit of faith.  Period.  It was magisterially and irreformably defined by Pope Pius in the papal bull Ineffabilis Deus:

Quote
We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which holds that the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the first instant of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace of the Omnipotent God, in virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of mankind, was preserved immaculate from all stain of original sin, has been revealed by God, and therefore should firmly and constantly be believed by all the faithful.
 

What the dogma precisely means is debated by Catholic theologians, but all Catholics are expected to profess and believe the truth of the Immaculate Conception (whatever it really means). 

The Catholic Church does teach a hierarchy of revealed truths--the dogma of the Incarnation, for example, enjoys a greater centrality and decisiveness than, say, the dogma of Purgatory--but that does not mean that the Catholic Church considers the "less important" dogmas as optional or negotiable.  That's just not how the Catholic Church thinks about these kinds of matters.   If you are not yet persuaded, check out canon 750 of the Code of Canon Law:

Quote
Can. 750 §1. A person must believe with divine and Catholic faith all those things contained in the word of God, written or handed on, that is, in the one deposit of faith entrusted to the Church, and at the same time proposed as divinely revealed either by the solemn magisterium of the Church or by its ordinary and universal magisterium which is manifested by the common adherence of the Christian faithful under the leadership of the sacred magisterium; therefore all are bound to avoid any doctrines whatsoever contrary to them.

§2. Each and every thing which is proposed definitively by the magisterium of the Church concerning the doctrine of faith and morals, that is, each and every thing which is required to safeguard reverently and to expound faithfully the same deposit of faith, is also to be firm-ly embraced and retained; therefore, one who rejects those propositions which are to be held definitively is opposed to the doctrine of the Catholic Church.
   
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« Reply #64 on: June 03, 2012, 06:21:25 AM »

It should be added that there's no contradiction between saying "It's a dogma" and saying "Making it a dogma was unwise" -- in fact, Cardinal Newman said that about Papal Infallibility.
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« Reply #65 on: June 03, 2012, 07:01:52 AM »

It should be added that there's no contradiction between saying "It's a dogma" and saying "Making it a dogma was unwise" -- in fact, Cardinal Newman said that about Papal Infallibility.

WTH? *exploding head smiley*
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« Reply #66 on: June 03, 2012, 08:34:54 AM »

It should be added that there's no contradiction between saying "It's a dogma" and saying "Making it a dogma was unwise" -- in fact, Cardinal Newman said that about Papal Infallibility.

WTH? *exploding head smiley*

Oh yes! In fact, he spoke pretty harshly against those who dogmatically defined it.
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« Reply #67 on: June 03, 2012, 10:58:32 AM »

To be perfectly frank with you I have absolutely NO idea where to even start researching something like this.  Not that i'm not capable (i've done indepth research before), but I am a member of this community, which speaks to each other about these subjects, so I thought i'd start here.  Further research pending my results here.

If you are really intent on doing research on the questions raised, you will need to read up on the Roman Catholic understanding of doctrine and magisterium.  A book that is often read in seminaries is Francis Sullivan's Magisterium: Teaching Authority in the Catholic Church.  The book is somewhat dated, given recent debate on the ordinary magisterium and the release of Ad Tuendam; but it will give you a good start.

The following pieces may be of interest:

Hierarchy of Truths and Four Levels of Meaning

Categories of Belief
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« Reply #68 on: June 03, 2012, 04:02:36 PM »

It should be added that there's no contradiction between saying "It's a dogma" and saying "Making it a dogma was unwise" -- in fact, Cardinal Newman said that about Papal Infallibility.

An interesting position, I think, depending especially on how one defines dogma. Is there such a thing as a dogma that is not necessary for salvation? Awkward sentence, I know, but I hope you (general you) can gather my meaning.

If you can have dogmas that do not require belief for salvation, then what is the point of dogma to begin with?
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« Reply #69 on: June 03, 2012, 04:44:25 PM »

To be perfectly frank with you I have absolutely NO idea where to even start researching something like this.  Not that i'm not capable (i've done indepth research before), but I am a member of this community, which speaks to each other about these subjects, so I thought i'd start here.  Further research pending my results here.

If you are really intent on doing research on the questions raised, you will need to read up on the Roman Catholic understanding of doctrine and magisterium.  A book that is often read in seminaries is Francis Sullivan's Magisterium: Teaching Authority in the Catholic Church.  The book is somewhat dated, given recent debate on the ordinary magisterium and the release of Ad Tuendam; but it will give you a good start.

The following pieces may be of interest:

Hierarchy of Truths and Four Levels of Meaning

Categories of Belief
IOW, Father, Hairsplitting 101
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« Reply #70 on: June 03, 2012, 05:03:46 PM »

It should be added that there's no contradiction between saying "It's a dogma" and saying "Making it a dogma was unwise" -- in fact, Cardinal Newman said that about Papal Infallibility.

An interesting position, I think, depending especially on how one defines dogma. Is there such a thing as a dogma that is not necessary for salvation? Awkward sentence, I know, but I hope you (general you) can gather my meaning.

If you can have dogmas that do not require belief for salvation, then what is the point of dogma to begin with?

An example to clarify my train of thought-

One might say that defining the divinity of Christ was unwise regarding ecumenical relations with the Arians ( Wink tongue in cheek, I'm aware the turmoil the argument wrought) but a dogma it is. It is a necessary belief, and saving souls is more important than ecumenical relations. So fast-forwarding to Cardinal Newman, if papal infallibility is dogma, then it needs to be dogma. Defining it draws a line in the sand that needs to be there, if it is, again, actually a dogma.

I'm having a hard time appreciating the position that "It's definitely a dogma but it wasn't the wisest idea to define/clarify that it is actually a dogma."

I feel like I've said dogma a few too many times.
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« Reply #71 on: June 03, 2012, 05:10:57 PM »

I feel like I've said dogma a few too many times.

And that's without saying "My karma ran over my dogma."
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« Reply #72 on: June 03, 2012, 08:32:45 PM »

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« Reply #73 on: June 03, 2012, 09:11:50 PM »

To be perfectly frank with you I have absolutely NO idea where to even start researching something like this.  Not that i'm not capable (i've done indepth research before), but I am a member of this community, which speaks to each other about these subjects, so I thought i'd start here.  Further research pending my results here.

If you are really intent on doing research on the questions raised, you will need to read up on the Roman Catholic understanding of doctrine and magisterium.  A book that is often read in seminaries is Francis Sullivan's Magisterium: Teaching Authority in the Catholic Church.  The book is somewhat dated, given recent debate on the ordinary magisterium and the release of Ad Tuendam; but it will give you a good start.

The following pieces may be of interest:

Hierarchy of Truths and Four Levels of Meaning

Categories of Belief
IOW, Father, Hairsplitting 101

That's part II of the conversation.  Would it be possible to just redefine the definition? Or even just reevaluating the complexity
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« Reply #74 on: June 04, 2012, 02:14:11 PM »


That's part II of the conversation.  Would it be possible to just redefine the definition? Or even just reevaluating the complexity

Contemporary Catholic theologians are very much aware of the contextual nature of all dogmatic formulations.  Dogmas don't just fall from heaven.  They are formulated by bishops within specific historical situations to address specific questions and correct specific false teachings.  The historical, philosophical, theological, and pastoral context is critical to the proper interpretation of any and every dogmatic formulation.  Unfortunately, Orthodox theologians have not given the topic of dogmatic hermeneutics much attention, at least not that I have seen.  But they will have to at some point.  How else, for example, can there be a reconciliation between EO and OO on the dogmatic definition of Chalcedon or on the Palamite distinction between the divine essence and energies?   All dogmas require interpretation within the wider context of the Church's life and worship--that is the point. 

The Latin dogma of the Immaculate Conception is really quite fascinating.  What precisely is the alleged binding truth of this dogma?  This is a more complex, difficult question than non-Catholics know; it's a more complex, difficult question than most Catholics know.  The dogma seems clear enough:  the Virgin Mary was conceived without the stain of original sin.  But what the heck is the "stain of original sin"?  The definition doesn't say.  The matter becomes even more complicated when one realizes that different understandings of original sin exist in the Catholic Church.  Magisterial Catholic teaching on original sin is actually quite modest, allowing a lot of latitude in interpretation (a fact that Orthodox polemics seem to pointedly ignore).  The Tridentine teaching on original sin (which is not identical to the views of St Augustine) was formulated within a scholastic idiom; but what happens when Catholic theologians stop theologizing as scholastics?  And the Tridentine teaching was never intended to exclude the Byzantine understanding of ancestral sin nor to impose scholastic categories of sanctifying and actual grace.  Is it even possible to translate the Tridentine dogma of original sin into Eastern conceptuality? 

As I say, it's all very complicated and nearly impossible to say precisely what the IC dogma asserts.  My best guess:  it says that at no point in her life did the Virgin Mary live in a state of spiritual death and personal alienation from God.  Do we Orthodox want to say otherwise?  Maybe some do but I don't; and I don't think St Gregory Palamas, whose Marian homilies I have read, would want to say otherwise either.  This doesn't mean that I affirm the Immaculate Conception.  It just means that I see no need to deny it.  It is irrelevant both to my understanding of the Theotokos and my devotion to her.       

All this seems quite foreign and even laughable to we Orthodox; but we need to be careful.  Orthodox theology has had its own forms of scholasticism, as well as its own debates on what is and is not dogma and what its dogmas mean.  Does Orthodoxy even have an irreformable doctrine of ancestral or original sin, for example?             
 
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« Reply #75 on: June 04, 2012, 02:38:06 PM »


That's part II of the conversation.  Would it be possible to just redefine the definition? Or even just reevaluating the complexity

Contemporary Catholic theologians are very much aware of the contextual nature of all dogmatic formulations.  Dogmas don't just fall from heaven.  They are formulated by bishops within specific historical situations to address specific questions and correct specific false teachings.  The historical, philosophical, theological, and pastoral context is critical to the proper interpretation of any and every dogmatic formulation.  Unfortunately, Orthodox theologians have not given the topic of dogmatic hermeneutics much attention, at least not that I have seen.  But they will have to at some point.  How else, for example, can there be a reconciliation between EO and OO on the dogmatic definition of Chalcedon or on the Palamite distinction between the divine essence and energies?   All dogmas require interpretation within the wider context of the Church's life and worship--that is the point. 

The Latin dogma of the Immaculate Conception is really quite fascinating.  What precisely is the alleged binding truth of this dogma?  This is a more complex, difficult question than non-Catholics know; it's a more complex, difficult question than most Catholics know.  The dogma seems clear enough:  the Virgin Mary was conceived without the stain of original sin.  But what the heck is the "stain of original sin"?  The definition doesn't say.  The matter becomes even more complicated when one realizes that different understandings of original sin exist in the Catholic Church.  Magisterial Catholic teaching on original sin is actually quite modest, allowing a lot of latitude in interpretation (a fact that Orthodox polemics seem to pointedly ignore).  The Tridentine teaching on original sin (which is not identical to the views of St Augustine) was formulated within a scholastic idiom; but what happens when Catholic theologians stop theologizing as scholastics?  And the Tridentine teaching was never intended to exclude the Byzantine understanding of ancestral sin nor to impose scholastic categories of sanctifying and actual grace.  Is it even possible to translate the Tridentine dogma of original sin into Eastern conceptuality? 

As I say, it's all very complicated and nearly impossible to say precisely what the IC dogma asserts.  My best guess:  it says that at no point in her life did the Virgin Mary live in a state of spiritual death and personal alienation from God.  Do we Orthodox want to say otherwise?  Maybe some do but I don't; and I don't think St Gregory Palamas, whose Marian homilies I have read, would want to say otherwise either.  This doesn't mean that I affirm the Immaculate Conception.  It just means that I see no need to deny it.  It is irrelevant both to my understanding of the Theotokos and my devotion to her.       

All this seems quite foreign and even laughable to we Orthodox; but we need to be careful.  Orthodox theology has had its own forms of scholasticism, as well as its own debates on what is and is not dogma and what its dogmas mean.  Does Orthodoxy even have an irreformable doctrine of ancestral or original sin, for example?             
 


Great post, Fr.!!!!  It raises another question for me, but I'll hold my fire until I see what else develops here.
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« Reply #76 on: June 04, 2012, 02:45:27 PM »

I agree, good points there.
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« Reply #77 on: June 04, 2012, 02:54:57 PM »


That's part II of the conversation.  Would it be possible to just redefine the definition? Or even just reevaluating the complexity

Contemporary Catholic theologians are very much aware of the contextual nature of all dogmatic formulations.  Dogmas don't just fall from heaven.  They are formulated by bishops within specific historical situations to address specific questions and correct specific false teachings.  The historical, philosophical, theological, and pastoral context is critical to the proper interpretation of any and every dogmatic formulation.  Unfortunately, Orthodox theologians have not given the topic of dogmatic hermeneutics much attention, at least not that I have seen.  But they will have to at some point.  How else, for example, can there be a reconciliation between EO and OO on the dogmatic definition of Chalcedon or on the Palamite distinction between the divine essence and energies?   All dogmas require interpretation within the wider context of the Church's life and worship--that is the point. 

The Latin dogma of the Immaculate Conception is really quite fascinating.  What precisely is the alleged binding truth of this dogma?  This is a more complex, difficult question than non-Catholics know; it's a more complex, difficult question than most Catholics know.  The dogma seems clear enough:  the Virgin Mary was conceived without the stain of original sin.  But what the heck is the "stain of original sin"?  The definition doesn't say.  The matter becomes even more complicated when one realizes that different understandings of original sin exist in the Catholic Church.  Magisterial Catholic teaching on original sin is actually quite modest, allowing a lot of latitude in interpretation (a fact that Orthodox polemics seem to pointedly ignore).  The Tridentine teaching on original sin (which is not identical to the views of St Augustine) was formulated within a scholastic idiom; but what happens when Catholic theologians stop theologizing as scholastics?  And the Tridentine teaching was never intended to exclude the Byzantine understanding of ancestral sin nor to impose scholastic categories of sanctifying and actual grace.  Is it even possible to translate the Tridentine dogma of original sin into Eastern conceptuality? 

As I say, it's all very complicated and nearly impossible to say precisely what the IC dogma asserts.  My best guess:  it says that at no point in her life did the Virgin Mary live in a state of spiritual death and personal alienation from God.  Do we Orthodox want to say otherwise?  Maybe some do but I don't; and I don't think St Gregory Palamas, whose Marian homilies I have read, would want to say otherwise either.  This doesn't mean that I affirm the Immaculate Conception.  It just means that I see no need to deny it.  It is irrelevant both to my understanding of the Theotokos and my devotion to her.       

All this seems quite foreign and even laughable to we Orthodox; but we need to be careful.  Orthodox theology has had its own forms of scholasticism, as well as its own debates on what is and is not dogma and what its dogmas mean.  Does Orthodoxy even have an irreformable doctrine of ancestral or original sin, for example?             
 

Great post, Father.
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« Reply #78 on: June 04, 2012, 02:59:40 PM »

I agree, good points there.

It is my understanding that Ancestral Sin is the world that we are born into.  A fallen and sinful world made possible by our first parents.  Original Sin as the RCC teaches, is a guilt that is inherited by all humans which I do not ascribe to.  

The holy innocents are part of the pure in heart for they shall see God-no purgatory-no baptism of blood-no original sin here. They didnt inherit Original sin as defined by the RCC, and they did not commit any sin by being born into a fallen world.   If they had grown up a little more then they would have attained the 'age of reason' thereby exposing themselves to temptations and to sin. We believe that the Theotokos was born no differently than any of ourselves.



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« Reply #79 on: June 04, 2012, 03:14:02 PM »

I agree, good points there.

It is my understanding that Ancestral Sin is the world that we are born into.  A fallen and sinful world made possible by our first parents.  Original Sin as the RCC teaches, is a guilt that is inherited by all humans which I do not ascribe to.

Uh...not quite.  Have you read the Catechism of the Catholic Church, #396-421? 

The holy innocents are part of the pure in heart for they shall see God-no purgatory-no baptism of blood-no original sin here. They didnt inherit Original sin as defined by the RCC, and they did not commit any sin by being born into a fallen world.   If they had grown up a little more then they would have attained the 'age of reason' thereby exposing themselves to temptations and to sin. We believe that the Theotokos was born no differently than any of ourselves.

I think you may slightly misunderstand the Catholic doctrine of Purgatory.  But that dead horse has been beaten to a pulp on this board.
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« Reply #80 on: June 04, 2012, 04:02:15 PM »

I agree, good points there.

It is my understanding that Ancestral Sin is the world that we are born into.  A fallen and sinful world made possible by our first parents.  Original Sin as the RCC teaches, is a guilt that is inherited by all humans which I do not ascribe to.

Uh...not quite.  Have you read the Catechism of the Catholic Church, #396-421?

The holy innocents are part of the pure in heart for they shall see God-no purgatory-no baptism of blood-no original sin here. They didnt inherit Original sin as defined by the RCC, and they did not commit any sin by being born into a fallen world.   If they had grown up a little more then they would have attained the 'age of reason' thereby exposing themselves to temptations and to sin. We believe that the Theotokos was born no differently than any of ourselves.

I think you may slightly misunderstand the Catholic doctrine of Purgatory.  But that dead horse has been beaten to a pulp on this board.

So they changed since I was in Catholic school?  Talk about your flip flopping.
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« Reply #81 on: June 04, 2012, 04:14:51 PM »

I agree, good points there.

It is my understanding that Ancestral Sin is the world that we are born into.  A fallen and sinful world made possible by our first parents.  Original Sin as the RCC teaches, is a guilt that is inherited by all humans which I do not ascribe to.

Uh...not quite.  Have you read the Catechism of the Catholic Church, #396-421?

The holy innocents are part of the pure in heart for they shall see God-no purgatory-no baptism of blood-no original sin here. They didnt inherit Original sin as defined by the RCC, and they did not commit any sin by being born into a fallen world.   If they had grown up a little more then they would have attained the 'age of reason' thereby exposing themselves to temptations and to sin. We believe that the Theotokos was born no differently than any of ourselves.

I think you may slightly misunderstand the Catholic doctrine of Purgatory.  But that dead horse has been beaten to a pulp on this board.

So they changed since I was in Catholic school?  Talk about your flip flopping.

It's entirely possible that you misunderstood it in Catholic school, too.  Or that you were taught a misunderstanding of it--nuns and priests and lay teachers in Catholic schools have been known to get things wrong here and there. 
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« Reply #82 on: June 04, 2012, 05:40:11 PM »

It is my understanding that Ancestral Sin is the world that we are born into.  A fallen and sinful world made possible by our first parents.  Original Sin as the RCC teaches, is a guilt that is inherited by all humans which I do not ascribe to.

It is always necessary, whether one is Catholic or Orthodox, to ask whether popular teaching accurately reflects the authoritative dogmatic teaching of the Church. 

I do not dispute that in the Catholic Church original sin has often been communicated, especially at the parochial level, as the imputation of Adam's original sin to subsequent generations (thus St Augustine); but following St Thomas Aquinas and the Council fo Trent, most Catholic theologians have understood original sin as the privation of sanctifying grace.  It is this privation that humanity inherits.  In addition to reading the relevant sections of the Catholic Catechism, also see the catechetical instruction of Pope John Paul II.   

Now whether the Latin construal of the privation of sanctifying grace is acceptable to Orthodoxy is a separate question; but if it is not, then very different objections will need to be adduced.  Popular Orthodox polemics simply miss the point.  One Orthodox theologian who did see the point was Sergius Bulgakov (see his book The Burning Bush: On the Orthodox Veneration of the Mother of God).  Bulgakov rejects the IC dogma because he rejects what he sees to be an unwarranted separation of nature and supernature in the Tridentine formulation of grace and on this basis rejects the scholastic notion of sanctifying grace.  This separation has itself been severely critiqued by modern Catholic theologians (e.g., Henri de Lubac, Karl Rahner, and Hans Urs von Balthasar). 

As I have repeatedly argued on this forum, Orthodox polemicists need to stop accusing Catholics of being guilty of "original guilt."  It's just irresponsible.  See this series of blog articles on original sin that I wrote several years ago when I was Catholic. 

May I also suggest that the real question here is one with which both Latin and Eastern Christians have struggled, namely, the salvific necessity of Holy Baptism.  Thus we read in the Orthodox Confession of Dositheus:

Quote
We believe Holy Baptism, which was instituted by the Lord, and is conferred in the name of the Holy Trinity, to be of the highest necessity. For without it none is able to be saved, as the Lord says, "Whoever is not born of water and of the Spirit, shall in no way enter into the Kingdom of the Heavens." {John 3:5} And, therefore, baptism is necessary even for infants, since they also are subject to original sin, and without Baptism are not able to obtain its remission. Which the Lord showed when he said, not of some only, but simply and absolutely, "Whoever is not born [again]," which is the same as saying, "All that after the coming of Christ the Savior would enter into the Kingdom of the Heavens must be regenerated." And since infants are men, and as such need salvation, needing salvation they need also Baptism. And those that are not regenerated, since they have not received the remission of hereditary sin, are, of necessity, subject to eternal punishment, and consequently cannot without Baptism be saved. So that even infants should, of necessity, be baptized. Moreover, infants are saved, as is said in Matthew; {Matthew 19:12} but he that is not baptized is not saved. And consequently even infants must of necessity be baptized. And in the Acts {Acts 8:12; 16:33} it is said that the whole houses were baptized, and consequently the infants. To this the ancient Fathers also witness explicitly, and among them Dionysius in his Treatise concerning the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy; and Justin in his fifty-sixth Question, who says expressly, "And they are guaranteed the benefits of Baptism by the faith of those that bring them to Baptism." And Augustine says that it is an Apostolic tradition, that children are saved through Baptism; and in another place, "The Church gives to babes the feet of others, that they may come; and the hearts of others, that they may believe; and the tongues of others, that they may promise;" and in another place, "Our mother, the Church, furnishes them with a particular heart."

Orthodox today are, as we know, reluctant to say that children who die without baptism will be eternally separated from God--contemporary Catholics are also reluctant to say this (see, e.g., this report of the International Theological Commission)--but this does not mean that Orthodoxy has not taught this at some point in its history, even at the highest levels.  It is precisely here that the notion of original guilt was, and is, invoked, namely, to justify this terrible situation.  Once the possibility of the salvation of unbaptized infants is admitted there is no need to speak of original guilt.                 
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« Reply #83 on: June 04, 2012, 07:22:48 PM »

Fr. Aidan,

     Since becoming Orthodox, how has your belief in Purgatory changed?
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« Reply #84 on: June 04, 2012, 08:30:03 PM »

I agree, good points there.

It is my understanding that Ancestral Sin is the world that we are born into.  A fallen and sinful world made possible by our first parents.  Original Sin as the RCC teaches, is a guilt that is inherited by all humans which I do not ascribe to.

Uh...not quite.  Have you read the Catechism of the Catholic Church, #396-421?

The holy innocents are part of the pure in heart for they shall see God-no purgatory-no baptism of blood-no original sin here. They didnt inherit Original sin as defined by the RCC, and they did not commit any sin by being born into a fallen world.   If they had grown up a little more then they would have attained the 'age of reason' thereby exposing themselves to temptations and to sin. We believe that the Theotokos was born no differently than any of ourselves.

I think you may slightly misunderstand the Catholic doctrine of Purgatory.  But that dead horse has been beaten to a pulp on this board.

So they changed since I was in Catholic school?  Talk about your flip flopping.

I am older than you are Joe and I never was taught that original sin was any kind of personal sin guilt, so I expect...hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.....that you had your hearing aide turned off.
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« Reply #85 on: June 04, 2012, 08:40:03 PM »

Fr. Aidan, Since becoming Orthodox, how has your belief in Purgatory changed?

Actually, it hasn't changed much at all; but that is because when I was Catholic I understood purgatory in medicinal, therapeutic, purificatory terms (think C. S. Lewis and Peter Kreeft).  This is how most Catholic theologians understand purgatory today, including the present Pope.  But, quite frankly, I never felt comfortable with the traditional language of the temporal punishment of sin and the practice of indulgences (see my comments in this thread).  The Catholic Church has moved away in recent decades from the juridical model of purgatory, which simply means that it has in fact embraced a more Eastern understanding; but there are still many Catholics today, particularly of a traditionalist stripe, who understand purgatory in punitive, retributive terms.  The juridical model remains a legitimate Catholic option.  It's an option with which I strongly disagree.   
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« Reply #86 on: June 04, 2012, 08:43:53 PM »

Fr. Aidan, Since becoming Orthodox, how has your belief in Purgatory changed?

Actually, it hasn't changed much at all; but that is because when I was Catholic I understood purgatory in medicinal, therapeutic, purificatory terms (think C. S. Lewis and Peter Kreeft).  This is how most Catholic theologians understand purgatory today, including the present Pope.  But, quite frankly, I never felt comfortable with the traditional language of the temporal punishment of sin and the practice of indulgences (see my comments in this thread).  The Catholic Church has moved away in recent decades from the juridical model of purgatory, which simply means that it has in fact embraced a more Eastern understanding; but there are still many Catholics today, particularly of a traditionalist stripe, who understand purgatory in punitive, retributive terms.  The juridical model remains a legitimate Catholic option.  It's an option with which I strongly disagree.   

I grew up around Irish and French Catholics, Father Aidan, and frankly what you describe above is mostly interpretive of a very penitential approach to sin and its consequences.  If you want juridical language, may I refer you all to the Great Apostle Paul...who also took a rather catholic approach to the penitential life.  There are others <smile> too numerous to mention....

As far as juridical goes...we were never taught that God's judgment was anything less than his mercy.
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« Reply #87 on: June 05, 2012, 04:50:16 PM »

As I say, it's all very complicated and nearly impossible to say precisely what the IC dogma asserts.  My best guess:  it says that at no point in her life did the Virgin Mary live in a state of spiritual death and personal alienation from God.  Do we Orthodox want to say otherwise?  Maybe some do but I don't; and I don't think St Gregory Palamas, whose Marian homilies I have read, would want to say otherwise either.  This doesn't mean that I affirm the Immaculate Conception.  It just means that I see no need to deny it.  It is irrelevant both to my understanding of the Theotokos and my devotion to her.       

There is a tendency, especially here on this site, of former Roman Catholic Orthodox and current Roman Catholics to trivialise the differences between the two Churches' doctrines regarding the Theotokos. I don't understand how one can not deny the IC as an Orthodox Christian when the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom requires a priest to pray "let us worship the Holy Lord Jesus, the only Sinless one" (after the Great Entrance on Sundays and after Holy Communion). Could St. John Chrysotom have affirmed the IC? I cannot imagine it based on his liturgy.

I know many Roman Catholics who seemingly have no limits in their Marian hypertrophy. I should hope that Orthodox Christians are more circumspect.
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« Reply #88 on: June 05, 2012, 06:08:28 PM »

There is a tendency, especially here on this site, of former Roman Catholic Orthodox and current Roman Catholics to trivialise the differences between the two Churches' doctrines regarding the Theotokos.

I'm pretty surprised that you say "especially here on this site". Compared with another forum that I'm on (or, more precisely, will be on as of tomorrow night) this forum makes a pretty big deal of the differences.

I don't understand how one can not deny the IC as an Orthodox Christian when the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom requires a priest to pray "let us worship the Holy Lord Jesus, the only Sinless one" (after the Great Entrance on Sundays and after Holy Communion). Could St. John Chrysotom have affirmed the IC? I cannot imagine it based on his liturgy.

I know many Roman Catholics who seemingly have no limits in their Marian hypertrophy. I should hope that Orthodox Christians are more circumspect.

I take it that question was directed toward your fellow Orthodox, but regarding your last paragraph I don't mind telling you Yes, there really are some RCs who overdo the Marian hypertrophy.
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« Reply #89 on: June 05, 2012, 06:21:59 PM »


That's part II of the conversation.  Would it be possible to just redefine the definition? Or even just reevaluating the complexity

Contemporary Catholic theologians are very much aware of the contextual nature of all dogmatic formulations.  Dogmas don't just fall from heaven.  They are formulated by bishops within specific historical situations to address specific questions and correct specific false teachings.  The historical, philosophical, theological, and pastoral context is critical to the proper interpretation of any and every dogmatic formulation.  Unfortunately, Orthodox theologians have not given the topic of dogmatic hermeneutics much attention, at least not that I have seen.  But they will have to at some point.  How else, for example, can there be a reconciliation between EO and OO on the dogmatic definition of Chalcedon or on the Palamite distinction between the divine essence and energies?   All dogmas require interpretation within the wider context of the Church's life and worship--that is the point.               
 

Ok maybe, but then do they become dogmas within dogmas?  I'm sorry Father, but i'm not really 100% with you.  Firstly, I disagree that we HAVE to give more attention to dogmatic hermeneutics.  The dogmas are the dogmas are the dogmas.  I believe our hermeneutics are pretty clear.  What would be the reason for clarification, if they are clear?  Sorry...maybe we are just not understanding each other. 

Quote
The Latin dogma of the Immaculate Conception is really quite fascinating.  What precisely is the alleged binding truth of this dogma?  This is a more complex, difficult question than non-Catholics know; it's a more complex, difficult question than most Catholics know.  The dogma seems clear enough:  the Virgin Mary was conceived without the stain of original sin.  But what the heck is the "stain of original sin"?  The definition doesn't say.  The matter becomes even more complicated when one realizes that different understandings of original sin exist in the Catholic Church.  Magisterial Catholic teaching on original sin is actually quite modest, allowing a lot of latitude in interpretation (a fact that Orthodox polemics seem to pointedly ignore).  The Tridentine teaching on original sin (which is not identical to the views of St Augustine) was formulated within a scholastic idiom; but what happens when Catholic theologians stop theologizing as scholastics?  And the Tridentine teaching was never intended to exclude the Byzantine understanding of ancestral sin nor to impose scholastic categories of sanctifying and actual grace.  Is it even possible to translate the Tridentine dogma of original sin into Eastern conceptuality? 

I think you perhaps should take a stab at the answer to that last question, as I have NO IDEA what the Tridentine Dogma of Original Sin is.  I'm even confused that there's a Tridentine Dogma vs. a Magersterial Catholic Teaching Dogma, vs. whatever other kinds of dogmas there are in the RC church.  This is my first real time dealing with this subject, so someone better versed in those areas should take a stab at that one. 

Quote
As I say, it's all very complicated and nearly impossible to say precisely what the IC dogma asserts.  My best guess:  it says that at no point in her life did the Virgin Mary live in a state of spiritual death and personal alienation from God.  Do we Orthodox want to say otherwise?  Maybe some do but I don't; and I don't think St Gregory Palamas, whose Marian homilies I have read, would want to say otherwise either.  This doesn't mean that I affirm the Immaculate Conception.  It just means that I see no need to deny it.  It is irrelevant both to my understanding of the Theotokos and my devotion to her.       

All this seems quite foreign and even laughable to we Orthodox; but we need to be careful.  Orthodox theology has had its own forms of scholasticism, as well as its own debates on what is and is not dogma and what its dogmas mean.  Does Orthodoxy even have an irreformable doctrine of ancestral or original sin, for example?

I've never encountered anyone who has recommended anything OTHER than Romanides' text on this subject, but I know he's not the only one to deal with it, & he's not necessarily THE authoritative figure, but he does a pretty darn good job addressing it.  Anything wrong with that?  Not enough? 
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« Reply #90 on: June 05, 2012, 07:06:42 PM »

I think you perhaps should take a stab at the answer to that last question, as I have NO IDEA what the Tridentine Dogma of Original Sin is.  I'm even confused that there's a Tridentine Dogma vs. a Magersterial Catholic Teaching Dogma, vs. whatever other kinds of dogmas there are in the RC church. 

I think he just said "Tridentine dogma" because that particular dogma come from Trent (whereas e.g. the dogma of papal infallibility comes from Vatican I).
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« Reply #91 on: June 05, 2012, 07:17:18 PM »


There is a tendency, especially here on this site, of former Roman Catholic Orthodox and current Roman Catholics to trivialise the differences between the two Churches' doctrines regarding the Theotokos. I don't understand how one can not deny the IC as an Orthodox Christian when the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom requires a priest to pray "let us worship the Holy Lord Jesus, the only Sinless one" (after the Great Entrance on Sundays and after Holy Communion). Could St. John Chrysotom have affirmed the IC? I cannot imagine it based on his liturgy. I know many Roman Catholics who seemingly have no limits in their Marian hypertrophy. I should hope that Orthodox Christians are more circumspect.

This is an unfair and inaccurate statement.  The belief in the purity and sinlessness of the Theotokos long antedates Catholic teaching on the Immaculate Conception.  It is hardly a Latin innovation.  I suggest that you read the Marian homilies of St Gregory Palamas.  Also see the following

The Sinlessness of the Theotokos

Veneration of the Mother of God

In his book The Burning Bush Bulgakov specifically addresses the objection that Mary cannot be sinless because Christ alone is the sinless one:

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.

So please do not accuse faithful Orthodox who acclaim the purity of the Most Holy and Immaculate Panagia of corruptive Latin influence.  We celebrate her life-long sinlessness because we believe this is the Orthodox tradition.  As far as the Immaculate Conception ... well, as Fr John Meyendorff wrote, if Byzantine Christians had held an Augustinian understanding of original sin, they would probably have confessed the immaculate conception of the Theotokos, too.   
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« Reply #92 on: June 06, 2012, 12:26:17 AM »

Firstly, I disagree that we HAVE to give more attention to dogmatic hermeneutics.  The dogmas are the dogmas are the dogmas.

That's like saying, the Bible is the Bible is the Bible. 

Protestants argue that the plain meaning of Scripture is clear and perspicuous.  Orthodox argue, not so.  The Bible needs to be interpreted.  The literal meaning of the text is not always its canonical and theological meaning.

Precisely the same holds for dogmatic statements.  They need to be interpreted.   

Quote
I believe our hermeneutics are pretty clear.  What would be the reason for clarification, if they are clear?

How can it be clear when the matter is hardly ever discussed by Eastern theologians?  The best (though brief) discussion I have come across was written over 75 years ago:  "Dogmas and Dogmatic Theology" by Sergius Bulgakov.  Also see Met Hilarion's essay "The Reception of Ecumenical Councils in the Early Church."  I'm sure the topic has been addressed by others (so much of Orthodox theology has not been translated into English); but I do think it fair to say that Orthodox theology simply has not devoted much time and energy to hermeneutics.  It's had other fish to fry.

What are the dogmas of the Orthodox Church?  Are dogmas restricted to the dogmatic definitions of the seven Ecumenical Councils?  Is the Palamite distinction between the divine essence and energies, as defined by several local councils in Constantinople in the 14th century, dogma?  Did these councils speak the final word about this distinction?

How are dogmas interpreted?  When we read the Chalcedonian definition, do we take St Leo or St Cyril as our guide?  When the 5th Ecumenical Council condemned universal salvation (apocatastasis), did it also intend to exclude the views of St Gregory Nyssen and St Isaac the Syrian? 

Etc., etc.  There is no escaping interpretation.  When the Council of Nicaea declared that Jesus Christ was homoousios with the Father, that did not end debate--quite the contrary.  The question then became, what the heck does homoousios mean? 

Quote
I've never encountered anyone who has recommended anything OTHER than Romanides' text on this subject, but I know he's not the only one to deal with it, & he's not necessarily THE authoritative figure, but he does a pretty darn good job addressing it.  Anything wrong with that?  Not enough? 

I honestly do not know how reliable Romanides's treatment of ancestral sin is.  When I read it a few years ago, I was not impressed.  He struck me as someone with an ideological axe to grind.  My unscholarly impression is that he gives us an homogenized presentation of the Eastern Fathers.  One thing for sure, I do not trust anything he says about St Augustine or any other Western writer.  I am not saying that folks should not be encouraged to read Ancestral Sin; but I certainly would be hesitant to grant it quasi-magisterial authority. 

The mention of Romanides raises an important question:  What precisely is the authority of the Latin Fathers in Orthodoxy?  My impression is that they functionally have no authority.  They are quoted when they agree with our favorite Eastern Fathers and are ignored when they disagree.  Now that is a hermeneutical decision, but on what grounds do we justify it?

I don't have the answers to these questions.  All I have are the questions.           
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« Reply #93 on: June 06, 2012, 10:56:42 AM »


There is a tendency, especially here on this site, of former Roman Catholic Orthodox and current Roman Catholics to trivialise the differences between the two Churches' doctrines regarding the Theotokos. I don't understand how one can not deny the IC as an Orthodox Christian when the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom requires a priest to pray "let us worship the Holy Lord Jesus, the only Sinless one" (after the Great Entrance on Sundays and after Holy Communion). Could St. John Chrysotom have affirmed the IC? I cannot imagine it based on his liturgy. I know many Roman Catholics who seemingly have no limits in their Marian hypertrophy. I should hope that Orthodox Christians are more circumspect.

This is an unfair and inaccurate statement. 

In his book The Burning Bush Bulgakov specifically addresses the objection that Mary cannot be sinless because Christ alone is the sinless one:

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.

So please do not accuse faithful Orthodox who acclaim the purity of the Most Holy and Immaculate Panagia of corruptive Latin influence.  We celebrate her life-long sinlessness because we believe this is the Orthodox tradition.  As far as the Immaculate Conception ... well, as Fr John Meyendorff wrote, if Byzantine Christians had held an Augustinian understanding of original sin, they would probably have confessed the immaculate conception of the Theotokos, too.   

I wonder Father if my statement is "unfair". You have provided a quote by Sergei Bulgakov, someone who was far from uncontroversial. In fact, as I am sure you know, John Maximovitch, who was glorified, wrote in his book The Orthodox Veneration of the Mother of God, why the sophianism of Sergius Bulgakov is heresy. So I am not sure if citing Bulgakov is "fair". St. John Maximovitch did believe that Bulgakov's view on the Immaculate Conception was a corruptive Latin influence. He wrote:

Quote
“vain deceit” is the teaching of the Immaculate Conception by Anna of the Virgin Mary, which at first sight exalts, but in actual fact belittles Her. Like every lie, it is a seed of the “father of lies” (John 8:44), the devil, who has succeeded by it in blaspheme the Virgin Mary. Together with it there should also be rejected all the other teachings which have come from it or are akin to it. " http://preachersinstitute.com/2010/06/24/the-error-of-the-immaculate-conception/

He argued that the Immaculate Conception should be rejected because it:

Quote
(1) does not correspond to Sacred Scripture, where there is repeatedly mentioned the sinlessness of the
One Mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ (I Tim. 2:5);
(2) This teaching contradicts also Sacred Tradition, which is contained in numerous Patristic writings, where there is mentioned the exalted sanctity of the Virgin Mary from Her very birth, as well as Her cleansing by the Holy Spirit at Her conception of Christ, but not at Her own conception by Anna.
(3) The teaching that the Mother of God was purified before Her birth, so that from Her might be born the Pure Christ, is meaningless; because if the Pure Christ could be born only if the Virgin might be born pure, it would be necessary that Her parents also should be pure of original sin, and they again would have to be born of purified parents, and going further in this way, one would have to come to the conclusion that Christ could not have become incarnate unless all His ancestors in the flesh, right up to Adam inclusive, had been purified beforehand of original sin. But then there would not have been any need for the very Incarnation of Christ, since Christ came down to earth in order to annihilate sin.
(4) The teaching that the Mother of God was preserved from original sin, as likewise the teaching that She was preserved by God’s grace from personal sins, makes God unmerciful and unjust; because if God could preserve Mary from sin and purify Her before Her birth, then why does He not purify other men before their birth, but rather leaves them in sin? It follows likewise that God saves men apart from their will, predetermining certain ones before their birth to salvation.
(5) This teaching, which seemingly has the aim of exalting the Mother of God, in reality completely denies all Her virtues.

In fact, I think it is fair to say that Orthodoxy Christianity stands considerably apart from the RC dogma of the IC. For an Orthodox Christian, affirming this belief would mean satisfying three conditions:

1. Believing that the Theotokos was sinless from birth. Clearly some Orthodox affirm this, including evidently you. But Orthodoxy is not monolithic in this respect, as there is a wide spectrum of views supported by the Fathers including that the Theotokos was sinless from the Annunciation, that she committed some involuntary sins, or that she committed some minor sins. St. John Chrysostom and St. John Maximovitch did not affirm the view that the Theotokos was sinless from birth. Here on Orthodox Christianity.net, evidently only 50% of Orthodox Christians hold this view. http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=28645.0

2. Holding an Augustinian understanding of original sin. I suspect that of the 50% that satisfy #1, relatively few Orthodox Christians would have an Augustinian understanding of original sin; and

3. Believing that the IC is not just theologoumenon but rather dogma. I suspect that almost no Orthodox who accept #1 and #2 would also require belief in the IC to be considered in communion with Christ's church. This would in fact suggest that St. John Chrysostom, whose liturgy we so often celebrate, was outside of the Church! (I don't know how Eastern Catholics handle this seeming contradiction of following the liturgy of someone who would reject RC dogma).

So, I think it is in fact fair to say that anyone who believes the IC is easily compatible with Orthodoxy may be trivialising the differences in between Orthodoxy and the Roman Church. Please correct me if I am wrong.
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« Reply #94 on: June 06, 2012, 11:46:32 AM »

Clemente, you have misunderstood what I have written.  At no point have I defended the Immaculate Conception.  What I have done is to affirm the purity and sinlessness of the Theotokos.  I do not need the Immaculate Conception in order to do so, just as St John Damascene and St Gregory Palamas did not need the doctrine in order to do so.

Nor did Sergius Bulgakov support the IC dogma.  Quite the contrary.  He emphatically rejected it.  He rejected it because of its dependence on a formulation of grace which he deemed un-Orthodox.  He rejected it because it severs Mary from the holiness of Israel.  But Bulgakov did strongly affirm, as have many Orthodox through the centuries, the sinlessness of the Theotokos.  He also affirmed the sinlessness of the Forerunner.   

It appears to me that the promulgation of the IC dogma has led some Orthodox into a false dilemma:  if the IC dogma is false, then the Virgin Mary must be a sinner just like the rest of us. How very Protestant, if I may say so. Curiously, this dilemma seems more Western than Eastern.  If one does not uphold a Latin view of original sin (whether Augustinian or Thomist), then why is it impossible that the Theotokos may have led, by the grace of God, a sinless, immaculate life?  Again I refer the brethren to the Marian homilies of St Gregory Palamas.  Read these sermons and then tell me that St Gregory would have entertained, even for one moment, the possibility that the Theotokos was ever guilty of personal sin, that she ever lived in a state of spiritual alienation from the Holy Trinity.  I'll close with this passage from Met Kallistos Ware: 

Quote
In Orthodox devotion Mary is constantly termed panagia, 'all-holy,' panamomitos, 'without blemish,' and achrantos, 'without spot' or 'immaculate.' ... Orthodoxy understands this title [panagia]to mean that Mary is free from all actual sin, although she was born subject to the effects of original sin, in common with the other holy men and women of the Old Covenant. Thus the Orthodox Church sees in her the supreme fulfilment of sanctity in a human person--the model and paradigm of what it means by God's grace, to be authentically human.
 
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« Reply #95 on: June 06, 2012, 12:09:33 PM »

Clemente, you have misunderstood what I have written.  At no point have I defended the Immaculate Conception.  What I have done is to affirm the purity and sinlessness of the Theotokos.  I do not need the Immaculate Conception in order to do so, just as St John Damascene and St Gregory Palamas did not need the doctrine in order to do so.

Nor did Sergius Bulgakov support the IC dogma.  Quite the contrary.  He emphatically rejected it.  He rejected it because of its dependence on a formulation of grace which he deemed un-Orthodox.  He rejected it because it severs Mary from the holiness of Israel.  But Bulgakov did strongly affirm, as have many Orthodox through the centuries, the sinlessness of the Theotokos.  He also affirmed the sinlessness of the Forerunner.   

It appears to me that the promulgation of the IC dogma has led some Orthodox into a false dilemma:  if the IC dogma is false, then the Virgin Mary must be a sinner just like the rest of us. How very Protestant, if I may say so. Curiously, this dilemma seems more Western than Eastern.  If one does not uphold a Latin view of original sin (whether Augustinian or Thomist), then why is it impossible that the Theotokos may have led, by the grace of God, a sinless, immaculate life?  Again I refer the brethren to the Marian homilies of St Gregory Palamas.  Read these sermons and then tell me that St Gregory would have entertained, even for one moment, the possibility that the Theotokos was ever guilty of personal sin, that she ever lived in a state of spiritual alienation from the Holy Trinity.  I'll close with this passage from Met Kallistos Ware: 

Quote
In Orthodox devotion Mary is constantly termed panagia, 'all-holy,' panamomitos, 'without blemish,' and achrantos, 'without spot' or 'immaculate.' ... Orthodoxy understands this title [panagia]to mean that Mary is free from all actual sin, although she was born subject to the effects of original sin, in common with the other holy men and women of the Old Covenant. Thus the Orthodox Church sees in her the supreme fulfilment of sanctity in a human person--the model and paradigm of what it means by God's grace, to be authentically human.
 


What do you do with the Fathers who assert that she was never touched by the blemish of any sin...ever...and who assert that her holiness is unique among all others of mankind...and that she does not carry "spot or stain"....etc.  Some of that is liturgical language.  When I point out the extreme language of holiness contained in the Feast of the Presentation of the Theotokos in the Temple, I am told that is only a minor feast.  Does that mean that lex orandi only applies to major feasts?  etc.

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« Reply #96 on: June 06, 2012, 12:20:36 PM »

Clemente, you have misunderstood what I have written.  At no point have I defended the Immaculate Conception.  What I have done is to affirm the purity and sinlessness of the Theotokos.  I do not need the Immaculate Conception in order to do so, just as St John Damascene and St Gregory Palamas did not need the doctrine in order to do so.

Nor did Sergius Bulgakov support the IC dogma.  Quite the contrary.  He emphatically rejected it.  He rejected it because of its dependence on a formulation of grace which he deemed un-Orthodox.  He rejected it because it severs Mary from the holiness of Israel.  But Bulgakov did strongly affirm, as have many Orthodox through the centuries, the sinlessness of the Theotokos.  He also affirmed the sinlessness of the Forerunner.   

It appears to me that the promulgation of the IC dogma has led some Orthodox into a false dilemma:  if the IC dogma is false, then the Virgin Mary must be a sinner just like the rest of us. How very Protestant, if I may say so. Curiously, this dilemma seems more Western than Eastern.  If one does not uphold a Latin view of original sin (whether Augustinian or Thomist), then why is it impossible that the Theotokos may have led, by the grace of God, a sinless, immaculate life?  Again I refer the brethren to the Marian homilies of St Gregory Palamas.  Read these sermons and then tell me that St Gregory would have entertained, even for one moment, the possibility that the Theotokos was ever guilty of personal sin, that she ever lived in a state of spiritual alienation from the Holy Trinity.  I'll close with this passage from Met Kallistos Ware: 

Quote
In Orthodox devotion Mary is constantly termed panagia, 'all-holy,' panamomitos, 'without blemish,' and achrantos, 'without spot' or 'immaculate.' ... Orthodoxy understands this title [panagia]to mean that Mary is free from all actual sin, although she was born subject to the effects of original sin, in common with the other holy men and women of the Old Covenant. Thus the Orthodox Church sees in her the supreme fulfilment of sanctity in a human person--the model and paradigm of what it means by God's grace, to be authentically human.
 


What do you do with the Fathers who assert that she was never touched by the blemish of any sin...ever...and who assert that her holiness is unique among all others of mankind...and that she does not carry "spot or stain"....etc. 
The same thing we do with St. John Chrysostom's assertions on the matter.

Some of that is liturgical language.  When I point out the extreme language of holiness contained in the Feast of the Presentation of the Theotokos in the Temple, I am told that is only a minor feast.  Does that mean that lex orandi only applies to major feasts?  etc.
You talking about the Orthodox texts, or the Vatican's?

It's the Immaculate Conception.  Not the Immaculate Presentation.
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« Reply #97 on: June 06, 2012, 12:37:16 PM »

I never argue against extremely correct Orthodox positions unless I use Orthodoxy sources...
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« Reply #98 on: June 06, 2012, 12:39:06 PM »

I never argue against extremely correct Orthodox positions unless I use Orthodoxy sources...
You use sources?  Haven't seen much of that...

So, what proof text from the service of the Presentation do you have?
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« Reply #99 on: June 06, 2012, 01:06:04 PM »

Firstly, I disagree that we HAVE to give more attention to dogmatic hermeneutics.  The dogmas are the dogmas are the dogmas.

That's like saying, the Bible is the Bible is the Bible. 

Perhaps serb1389's point can be phrased this way (forgive me if I misinterpret what you were getting at Fr.):
If Orthodoxy does not have a clear dogmatic hermeneutic (and I beleive that is what you are are asserting Fr. Aidan), then we have apparently gotten along for 2000 years without one. What in particular about the present time would make us need something we didn't need previously (particularly as compared to, say, the conciliar period when dogmatic controversies regularly shook the Church)? The only logical alternative to this would be that if we have not gotten along for 2000 years without a clear dogmatic hermeneutic, then we must have (or at some point have had) such a hermeneutic and the goal would be to understand/recover that rather than invent it.

(Personally, I think I'd suggest that while we do not have a 'clear' hermeneutic, we do have a practical, functional one born of the experiential nature of the Church that produces clear 'enough' dogmas. But that would take a lot more time and space to defend than I currently have, so I'll just leave it there as a suggestion).


Quote
The mention of Romanides raises an important question:  What precisely is the authority of the Latin Fathers in Orthodoxy?  My impression is that they functionally have no authority.  They are quoted when they agree with our favorite Eastern Fathers and are ignored when they disagree.  Now that is a hermeneutical decision, but on what grounds do we justify it?        

Forgive me, but I think you are making this question more complicated than it needs to be. A Father's individual authority rests on his witness to the common tradition and his place within the community of the Church (as a whole over time). The further any Father pushes into individual/idiosyncratic interpretation/speculation, the less authority his words carry on that matter. If St. Athanasius and St. Basil and St. Ambrose and St. Maximus all say the same (or similar) thing, that their words have a lot of authority. On the other hand, if St. Athanasius is the only person who says X, then it has considerably less authority--but because St. Athanasius is recognized throughout the Church as one of the most authoritative fathers, his personal opinion would still more weight than if St. John of Kronstadt (a widely beloved and respected saint but not one generally recognized as a doctrinal powerhouse) is the only person who says X. And in turn, St. John's personal opinion still carries more weight than that of random layman Y.

As far as the Latin Fathers go, we know where their particular current in the Tradition ended up--in the schism of the West and the eventual adoption of multiple innovations. It was not a case that the West was perfectly Orthodox in 1053 and became perfectly unorthodox in 1054. Clearly the seeds of the schism were sown earlier and developed over time. So when one looks at a Western Father and what he says is in agreement with Eastern Fathers (either directly or as different but complementary perspective), then we can see how his statement witnesses to the common tradition. But when what he says is not reflected at all in the Eastern, we approach it more cautiously. And that's true whether it's a dozen Latin Fathers or just one. Because the witness of a dozen Eastern Fathers is a broad witness to the flow of Tradition that has literally and directly been handed down to us from their time to this; whereas the the witness of a dozen Latin Fathers might be a witness to the deviation that would eventually carry the West out of the Church entirely.
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« Reply #100 on: June 06, 2012, 01:24:13 PM »

Clemente, you have misunderstood what I have written.  At no point have I defended the Immaculate Conception.  What I have done is to affirm the purity and sinlessness of the Theotokos.  I do not need the Immaculate Conception in order to do so, just as St John Damascene and St Gregory Palamas did not need the doctrine in order to do so.

Nor did Sergius Bulgakov support the IC dogma.  Quite the contrary.  He emphatically rejected it.  He rejected it because of its dependence on a formulation of grace which he deemed un-Orthodox.  He rejected it because it severs Mary from the holiness of Israel.  But Bulgakov did strongly affirm, as have many Orthodox through the centuries, the sinlessness of the Theotokos.  He also affirmed the sinlessness of the Forerunner.   

It appears to me that the promulgation of the IC dogma has led some Orthodox into a false dilemma:  if the IC dogma is false, then the Virgin Mary must be a sinner just like the rest of us. How very Protestant, if I may say so. Curiously, this dilemma seems more Western than Eastern.  If one does not uphold a Latin view of original sin (whether Augustinian or Thomist), then why is it impossible that the Theotokos may have led, by the grace of God, a sinless, immaculate life?  Again I refer the brethren to the Marian homilies of St Gregory Palamas.  Read these sermons and then tell me that St Gregory would have entertained, even for one moment, the possibility that the Theotokos was ever guilty of personal sin, that she ever lived in a state of spiritual alienation from the Holy Trinity.  I'll close with this passage from Met Kallistos Ware: 

Quote
In Orthodox devotion Mary is constantly termed panagia, 'all-holy,' panamomitos, 'without blemish,' and achrantos, 'without spot' or 'immaculate.' ... Orthodoxy understands this title [panagia]to mean that Mary is free from all actual sin, although she was born subject to the effects of original sin, in common with the other holy men and women of the Old Covenant. Thus the Orthodox Church sees in her the supreme fulfilment of sanctity in a human person--the model and paradigm of what it means by God's grace, to be authentically human.
 


What do you do with the Fathers who assert that she was never touched by the blemish of any sin...ever...and who assert that her holiness is unique among all others of mankind...and that she does not carry "spot or stain"....etc.  Some of that is liturgical language.  When I point out the extreme language of holiness contained in the Feast of the Presentation of the Theotokos in the Temple, I am told that is only a minor feast.  Does that mean that lex orandi only applies to major feasts?  etc.



When saints disagree, we follow the Vincentian canon and look to the oldest Fathers to see what the original belief was. And the oldest clear statements (by some of the most respected and learned authorities) are pretty clear that the idea that the Theotokos was completely sinless is a later development. This is particularly true when one considers that the mechanism for its development is pretty obvious*, whereas its decidely unclear how an original tradition of sinlessness could have faded to the point that St. John Chrysostom in the 4th century could speak of the Theotokos sinning without it being controversial (one would think his enemies would have leapt at the chance to add accusations of impiety against the Mother of God against him if the idea of her sinlessness had any currency at all at the time).

*Everyone loves the Theotokos. Indeed, the more one enters into union with Christ, the more one loves His Mother who becomes *our* mother, just as His Father becomes Our Father. Normal people think their mother is a saint when she's just a nice lady. But our mother in Christ actually is a saint, and not just a saint but the greatest saint that ever lived. If normal people think their normal human mother is practically perfect, where is there to take that emotion applied to the Theotokos but exaggerate her from greatest saint to completely immaculate. And at the same time, the fastest way to start a fight with most people is to say something disparaging about their mom--in many cases, you can start a fight by saying something absolutely and objectively true about their mother, if you simply put it crudely enough. So everyone has an incentive to praise the Theotokos. No one has an incentive to tick their fellow Christians off by saying something negative about her, even if the statement were to be true. So lots of people compete to praise her as extravagantly as possible--while no one 'competes' or even wants to say 'well, yes, she was purer than any other human being ever (i.e., the purest), but she wasn't sinless.'
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« Reply #101 on: June 06, 2012, 01:38:18 PM »

As far as the Latin Fathers go, we know where their particular current in the Tradition ended up--in the schism of the West and the eventual adoption of multiple innovations. It was not a case that the West was perfectly Orthodox in 1053 and became perfectly unorthodox in 1054. Clearly the seeds of the schism were sown earlier and developed over time. So when one looks at a Western Father and what he says is in agreement with Eastern Fathers (either directly or as different but complementary perspective), then we can see how his statement witnesses to the common tradition. But when what he says is not reflected at all in the Eastern, we approach it more cautiously. And that's true whether it's a dozen Latin Fathers or just one. Because the witness of a dozen Eastern Fathers is a broad witness to the flow of Tradition that has literally and directly been handed down to us from their time to this; whereas the the witness of a dozen Latin Fathers might be a witness to the deviation that would eventually carry the West out of the Church entirely.

I meant to add here, that I think you can see a similar dynamic if you look at the 'Antiochian school' post-Nestorius, although we've had a much longer time to work that out. That is, until Nestorius became infamous, Theodore of Mopsuestia and Diodorus, for example, were widely respected figures and authorities. But after their school of thought was shown to lead to Nestorianism, their writings came under increasing suspicion (ending with the 5th Ecumenical council's anathematization of Theodore). Now, you can't quote Theodore or Diodorus as authorities except to the extent that you can show whatever they were saying was in line with fully Orthodox Fathers. Similarly, Theodoret was not personally anathematized, but one has to be careful in quoting him as an authority because his Christology was associated with Nestorius's. St. John Chrysostom, on the other hand, while having connections to all these figures has been recognized as fully within the Orthodox tradition, and one can quote him without double-checking if this or that particular thought is 'Orthodox' or 'crypto-Nestorian' because of his place in the overall Tradition of the Church.
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« Reply #102 on: June 06, 2012, 01:44:05 PM »

Clemente, you have misunderstood what I have written.  At no point have I defended the Immaculate Conception.  What I have done is to affirm the purity and sinlessness of the Theotokos.  I do not need the Immaculate Conception in order to do so, just as St John Damascene and St Gregory Palamas did not need the doctrine in order to do so.

Nor did Sergius Bulgakov support the IC dogma.  Quite the contrary.  He emphatically rejected it.  He rejected it because of its dependence on a formulation of grace which he deemed un-Orthodox.  He rejected it because it severs Mary from the holiness of Israel.  But Bulgakov did strongly affirm, as have many Orthodox through the centuries, the sinlessness of the Theotokos.  He also affirmed the sinlessness of the Forerunner.   

It appears to me that the promulgation of the IC dogma has led some Orthodox into a false dilemma:  if the IC dogma is false, then the Virgin Mary must be a sinner just like the rest of us. How very Protestant, if I may say so. Curiously, this dilemma seems more Western than Eastern.  If one does not uphold a Latin view of original sin (whether Augustinian or Thomist), then why is it impossible that the Theotokos may have led, by the grace of God, a sinless, immaculate life?  Again I refer the brethren to the Marian homilies of St Gregory Palamas.  Read these sermons and then tell me that St Gregory would have entertained, even for one moment, the possibility that the Theotokos was ever guilty of personal sin, that she ever lived in a state of spiritual alienation from the Holy Trinity.  I'll close with this passage from Met Kallistos Ware: 

Quote
In Orthodox devotion Mary is constantly termed panagia, 'all-holy,' panamomitos, 'without blemish,' and achrantos, 'without spot' or 'immaculate.' ... Orthodoxy understands this title [panagia]to mean that Mary is free from all actual sin, although she was born subject to the effects of original sin, in common with the other holy men and women of the Old Covenant. Thus the Orthodox Church sees in her the supreme fulfilment of sanctity in a human person--the model and paradigm of what it means by God's grace, to be authentically human.
 


What do you do with the Fathers who assert that she was never touched by the blemish of any sin...ever...and who assert that her holiness is unique among all others of mankind...and that she does not carry "spot or stain"....etc.  Some of that is liturgical language.  When I point out the extreme language of holiness contained in the Feast of the Presentation of the Theotokos in the Temple, I am told that is only a minor feast.  Does that mean that lex orandi only applies to major feasts?  etc.



When saints disagree, we follow the Vincentian canon and look to the oldest Fathers to see what the original belief was. And the oldest clear statements (by some of the most respected and learned authorities) are pretty clear that the idea that the Theotokos was completely sinless is a later development. This is particularly true when one considers that the mechanism for its development is pretty obvious*, whereas its decidely unclear how an original tradition of sinlessness could have faded to the point that St. John Chrysostom in the 4th century could speak of the Theotokos sinning without it being controversial (one would think his enemies would have leapt at the chance to add accusations of impiety against the Mother of God against him if the idea of her sinlessness had any currency at all at the time).

*Everyone loves the Theotokos. Indeed, the more one enters into union with Christ, the more one loves His Mother who becomes *our* mother, just as His Father becomes Our Father. Normal people think their mother is a saint when she's just a nice lady. But our mother in Christ actually is a saint, and not just a saint but the greatest saint that ever lived. If normal people think their normal human mother is practically perfect, where is there to take that emotion applied to the Theotokos but exaggerate her from greatest saint to completely immaculate. And at the same time, the fastest way to start a fight with most people is to say something disparaging about their mom--in many cases, you can start a fight by saying something absolutely and objectively true about their mother, if you simply put it crudely enough. So everyone has an incentive to praise the Theotokos. No one has an incentive to tick their fellow Christians off by saying something negative about her, even if the statement were to be true. So lots of people compete to praise her as extravagantly as possible--while no one 'competes' or even wants to say 'well, yes, she was purer than any other human being ever (i.e., the purest), but she wasn't sinless.'

Interesting.  Did you just say the Theotokos "...was purer than any other human being ever (i.e., the purest), but she wasn't sinless.'"?  Grin  I wonder how many people you just "ticked off"  Grin?

On a slightly different note, I'd be interested to see, if you or anyone else is able to provide it, some kind of chronology/time line, with the appropriate Church Fathers referenced, indicating the "development" of the beliefs that the Theotokos was first not sinless to then she was sinless.  Is that a reasonable request?  In other words, who said what when?
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« Reply #103 on: June 06, 2012, 02:00:00 PM »

Interesting.  Did you just say the Theotokos "...was purer than any other human being ever (i.e., the purest), but she wasn't sinless.'"?  Grin  I wonder how many people you just "ticked off"  Grin?

Difficult to say. There certainly are a lot human beings who get "ticked off" when someone say something they disagree with. However, we don't know how many of those people even read witega's post (or anything on this forum for that matter).
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« Reply #104 on: June 06, 2012, 02:08:07 PM »

Clemente, you have misunderstood what I have written.  At no point have I defended the Immaculate Conception.  What I have done is to affirm the purity and sinlessness of the Theotokos.  I do not need the Immaculate Conception in order to do so, just as St John Damascene and St Gregory Palamas did not need the doctrine in order to do so.

Nor did Sergius Bulgakov support the IC dogma.  Quite the contrary.  He emphatically rejected it.  He rejected it because of its dependence on a formulation of grace which he deemed un-Orthodox.  He rejected it because it severs Mary from the holiness of Israel.  But Bulgakov did strongly affirm, as have many Orthodox through the centuries, the sinlessness of the Theotokos.  He also affirmed the sinlessness of the Forerunner.   

It appears to me that the promulgation of the IC dogma has led some Orthodox into a false dilemma:  if the IC dogma is false, then the Virgin Mary must be a sinner just like the rest of us. How very Protestant, if I may say so. Curiously, this dilemma seems more Western than Eastern.  If one does not uphold a Latin view of original sin (whether Augustinian or Thomist), then why is it impossible that the Theotokos may have led, by the grace of God, a sinless, immaculate life?  Again I refer the brethren to the Marian homilies of St Gregory Palamas.  Read these sermons and then tell me that St Gregory would have entertained, even for one moment, the possibility that the Theotokos was ever guilty of personal sin, that she ever lived in a state of spiritual alienation from the Holy Trinity.  I'll close with this passage from Met Kallistos Ware: 

Quote
In Orthodox devotion Mary is constantly termed panagia, 'all-holy,' panamomitos, 'without blemish,' and achrantos, 'without spot' or 'immaculate.' ... Orthodoxy understands this title [panagia]to mean that Mary is free from all actual sin, although she was born subject to the effects of original sin, in common with the other holy men and women of the Old Covenant. Thus the Orthodox Church sees in her the supreme fulfilment of sanctity in a human person--the model and paradigm of what it means by God's grace, to be authentically human.
 


What do you do with the Fathers who assert that she was never touched by the blemish of any sin...ever...and who assert that her holiness is unique among all others of mankind...and that she does not carry "spot or stain"....etc.  Some of that is liturgical language.  When I point out the extreme language of holiness contained in the Feast of the Presentation of the Theotokos in the Temple, I am told that is only a minor feast.  Does that mean that lex orandi only applies to major feasts?  etc.



When saints disagree, we follow the Vincentian canon and look to the oldest Fathers to see what the original belief was. And the oldest clear statements (by some of the most respected and learned authorities) are pretty clear that the idea that the Theotokos was completely sinless is a later development. This is particularly true when one considers that the mechanism for its development is pretty obvious*, whereas its decidely unclear how an original tradition of sinlessness could have faded to the point that St. John Chrysostom in the 4th century could speak of the Theotokos sinning without it being controversial (one would think his enemies would have leapt at the chance to add accusations of impiety against the Mother of God against him if the idea of her sinlessness had any currency at all at the time).

*Everyone loves the Theotokos. Indeed, the more one enters into union with Christ, the more one loves His Mother who becomes *our* mother, just as His Father becomes Our Father. Normal people think their mother is a saint when she's just a nice lady. But our mother in Christ actually is a saint, and not just a saint but the greatest saint that ever lived. If normal people think their normal human mother is practically perfect, where is there to take that emotion applied to the Theotokos but exaggerate her from greatest saint to completely immaculate. And at the same time, the fastest way to start a fight with most people is to say something disparaging about their mom--in many cases, you can start a fight by saying something absolutely and objectively true about their mother, if you simply put it crudely enough. So everyone has an incentive to praise the Theotokos. No one has an incentive to tick their fellow Christians off by saying something negative about her, even if the statement were to be true. So lots of people compete to praise her as extravagantly as possible--while no one 'competes' or even wants to say 'well, yes, she was purer than any other human being ever (i.e., the purest), but she wasn't sinless.'

That is very interesting.  Then there is no lex orandi with the following festal text:

Taken from The Festal Menaion translated from the original Greek by
Mother Mary and Archimandrite Kallistos Ware.


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

The Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple


At Orthros the Magnificat is replaced by these words:

"Beholding the entry of the All-Pure, the angels were struck with
amazement, seeing how the Virgin entered into the Holy of Holies" (p.
190 Menaion )

The kontakion of the feast:

"The All-pure Temple of the Saviour, the precious Bridal Chamber and
Virgin, the sacred treasure of the glory of God, is led today into the
house of the Lord, and with her she brings the grace of the divine
Spirit. Of her God's angels sing in praise: "She is indeed the
heavenly Tabernacle." (P. 195 Menaion)

From Small Vespers:

O ye gates of the sanctuary, into the Holy of Holies receive ye a Virgin,
the spotless Tabernacle of God the Almighty.

Ye virgins, joyfully bearing torches, attend the pure Virgin on her way, as
she enters the Holy of Holies, the Bride of the King of all.

The living Bridal Chamber of God the Word receives bread from the hands of a
divine angel, as she dwells in the Holy of holies.

From Great Vespers:

Led by the Holy Spirit, the holy Maid without spot is taken to dwell in the
Holy of Holies. By an angel is she fed, who is in truth the most holy Temple
of our Holy God. He has sanctified all things by her entry, and has made
godlike the fallen nature of fallen men.

After thy birth, O Lady and Bride of God, thou hast gone to dwell in the
temple of the Lord, there to be brought up in the Holy of Holies, for thou
art thyself holy: and Gabriel then was sent to thee, O Virgin all-undefiled,
to bring thee food. All the powers of heaven stood amazed, seeing the Holy
Spirit dwell in thee. Therefore, O Mother of God without stain or blemish,
glorified in heaven and on earth, save our kind.

Ann, truly blessed by God's grace, led with gladness into the temple of the
Lord the pure and ever-Virgin, who is full of grace, and she called the
young girls to go before her, lamps in hand. `Go, Child,' she said, `to Him
who gave thee unto me; be unto Him an offering and a sweet smelling incense.
Go into the place which none may enter: learn its mysteries and prepare
thyself to become the pleasing and beautiful dwelling-place of Jesus, who
grants the world great mercy.'

From Matins:

From Eve of old the transgression came upon mankind, and now from Eve's
stock has flowered forth our restoration and incorruption, even the
Theotokos, who is brought today into the house of God.

Be glad today, O Joachim, and rejoice exceedingly in spirit, O Ann, who now
present unto the Lord your daughter, as a three-year old victim of
sacrifice, holy and utterly without spot.

The ewe-lamb of God without spot, the dove without blemish, the tabernacle
that is to hold God, the sanctuary of the glory, has chosen to dwell in the
holy temple.

Three years old in the flesh and many years old in the spirit, more spacious
than the heavens and higher than the powers above, let the Bride of God be
praised in song.

Seeing the beauty of thy soul, O undefiled Virgin, Zacharias cried out with
faith: `Thou art our deliverance, thou art the joy of all. Thou art our
restoration, through whom the Incomprehensible appears comprehensible to
me.'

O Virgin all-undefiled, past understanding is thy wonders! Strange is the
manner of thy birth: strange is the manner of thy growing. Strange and most
marvellous are all things concerning thee, O Bride of God, and they are
beyond the telling of mortal men.

A child in the flesh but perfect in soul, the holy Ark enters into the house
of God, there to feed upon divine grace.

The ranks of angels rejoiced exceedingly and spirits of the righteous were
glad, when the Mother of God was led into the sanctuary.

Mary without spot rejoiced in body and spirit, dwelling as a sacred vessel
in the temple of the Lord.

Receiving heavenly food, she who was to become the Mother of Christ the
Saviour according to the flesh, increased in wisdom and grace.

O pure Theotokos, thou hast a clean and shining beauty of soul, and art
filled from heaven with the grace of God. Thou dost ever enlighten with
eternal light those who cry aloud in gladness: O pure Virgin, thou art truly
high above all.

Beholding the entry of the All-Pure, the angels were struck with amazement,
seeing how she entered marvelously into the Holy of Holies.

Thy wonders, O pure Theotokos, surpass the power of words. For in thee I see
something beyond speech; a body that was never subject to the taint of sin.
Therefore in thanksgiving I cry to thee: O pure Virgin, thou art truly high
above all.

Angels and men, let us honour the entry of the Virgin, for in glory she has
gone into the Holy of Holies.
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« Reply #105 on: June 06, 2012, 02:13:46 PM »

Interesting.  Did you just say the Theotokos "...was purer than any other human being ever (i.e., the purest), but she wasn't sinless.'"?  Grin  I wonder how many people you just "ticked off"  Grin?

Difficult to say. There certainly are a lot human beings who get "ticked off" when someone say something they disagree with. However, we don't know how many of those people even read witega's post (or anything on this forum for that matter).

Well, if the Theotokos did not have extra grace her whole life, how did she get from age 1 to age 14 (or however old she was when she bore Jesus) without sinning? We believe that she did no active sin in her life, correct? How does one resist voluntary sin when even involuntary sin is beyond hope for most of us?

Not trying to pound the desk or anything. I'm just asking.  Undecided
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« Reply #106 on: June 06, 2012, 02:25:07 PM »

Interesting.  Did you just say the Theotokos "...was purer than any other human being ever (i.e., the purest), but she wasn't sinless.'"?  Grin  I wonder how many people you just "ticked off"  Grin?

Difficult to say. There certainly are a lot human beings who get "ticked off" when someone say something they disagree with. However, we don't know how many of those people even read witega's post (or anything on this forum for that matter).

Well, if the Theotokos did not have extra grace her whole life, how did she get from age 1 to age 14 (or however old she was when she bore Jesus) without sinning? We believe that she did no active sin in her life, correct? How does one resist voluntary sin when even involuntary sin is beyond hope for most of us?

Not trying to pound the desk or anything. I'm just asking.  Undecided

I know it's too early for your vodka, biro, but................how 'bout a beer? Grin Grin Grin
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« Reply #107 on: June 06, 2012, 02:32:48 PM »

Quote
Well, if the Theotokos did not have extra grace her whole life, how did she get from age 1 to age 14 (or however old she was when she bore Jesus) without sinning?
Does it matter? There is no need to make her something less than human to explain it.

PP
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« Reply #108 on: June 06, 2012, 02:36:27 PM »

Well, if the Theotokos did not have extra grace her whole life, how did she get from age 1 to age 14 (or however old she was when she bore Jesus) without sinning?

You realize witega is Eastern Orthodox, right? (Not saying you don't realize that, just asking.)
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« Reply #109 on: June 06, 2012, 02:37:08 PM »

Clemente, you have misunderstood what I have written.  At no point have I defended the Immaculate Conception.  What I have done is to affirm the purity and sinlessness of the Theotokos.  I do not need the Immaculate Conception in order to do so, just as St John Damascene and St Gregory Palamas did not need the doctrine in order to do so.

Nor did Sergius Bulgakov support the IC dogma.  Quite the contrary.  He emphatically rejected it.  He rejected it because of its dependence on a formulation of grace which he deemed un-Orthodox.  He rejected it because it severs Mary from the holiness of Israel.  But Bulgakov did strongly affirm, as have many Orthodox through the centuries, the sinlessness of the Theotokos.  He also affirmed the sinlessness of the Forerunner.   

It appears to me that the promulgation of the IC dogma has led some Orthodox into a false dilemma:  if the IC dogma is false, then the Virgin Mary must be a sinner just like the rest of us. How very Protestant, if I may say so. Curiously, this dilemma seems more Western than Eastern.  If one does not uphold a Latin view of original sin (whether Augustinian or Thomist), then why is it impossible that the Theotokos may have led, by the grace of God, a sinless, immaculate life?  Again I refer the brethren to the Marian homilies of St Gregory Palamas.  Read these sermons and then tell me that St Gregory would have entertained, even for one moment, the possibility that the Theotokos was ever guilty of personal sin, that she ever lived in a state of spiritual alienation from the Holy Trinity.  I'll close with this passage from Met Kallistos Ware: 

Quote
In Orthodox devotion Mary is constantly termed panagia, 'all-holy,' panamomitos, 'without blemish,' and achrantos, 'without spot' or 'immaculate.' ... Orthodoxy understands this title [panagia]to mean that Mary is free from all actual sin, although she was born subject to the effects of original sin, in common with the other holy men and women of the Old Covenant. Thus the Orthodox Church sees in her the supreme fulfilment of sanctity in a human person--the model and paradigm of what it means by God's grace, to be authentically human.
 


What do you do with the Fathers who assert that she was never touched by the blemish of any sin...ever...and who assert that her holiness is unique among all others of mankind...and that she does not carry "spot or stain"....etc.  Some of that is liturgical language.  When I point out the extreme language of holiness contained in the Feast of the Presentation of the Theotokos in the Temple, I am told that is only a minor feast.  Does that mean that lex orandi only applies to major feasts?  etc.



When saints disagree, we follow the Vincentian canon and look to the oldest Fathers to see what the original belief was. And the oldest clear statements (by some of the most respected and learned authorities) are pretty clear that the idea that the Theotokos was completely sinless is a later development. This is particularly true when one considers that the mechanism for its development is pretty obvious*, whereas its decidely unclear how an original tradition of sinlessness could have faded to the point that St. John Chrysostom in the 4th century could speak of the Theotokos sinning without it being controversial (one would think his enemies would have leapt at the chance to add accusations of impiety against the Mother of God against him if the idea of her sinlessness had any currency at all at the time).

*Everyone loves the Theotokos. Indeed, the more one enters into union with Christ, the more one loves His Mother who becomes *our* mother, just as His Father becomes Our Father. Normal people think their mother is a saint when she's just a nice lady. But our mother in Christ actually is a saint, and not just a saint but the greatest saint that ever lived. If normal people think their normal human mother is practically perfect, where is there to take that emotion applied to the Theotokos but exaggerate her from greatest saint to completely immaculate. And at the same time, the fastest way to start a fight with most people is to say something disparaging about their mom--in many cases, you can start a fight by saying something absolutely and objectively true about their mother, if you simply put it crudely enough. So everyone has an incentive to praise the Theotokos. No one has an incentive to tick their fellow Christians off by saying something negative about her, even if the statement were to be true. So lots of people compete to praise her as extravagantly as possible--while no one 'competes' or even wants to say 'well, yes, she was purer than any other human being ever (i.e., the purest), but she wasn't sinless.'

That is very interesting.  Then there is no lex orandi with the following festal text:

Taken from The Festal Menaion translated from the original Greek by
Mother Mary and Archimandrite Kallistos Ware.


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

The Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple


At Orthros the Magnificat is replaced by these words:

"Beholding the entry of the All-Pure, the angels were struck with
amazement, seeing how the Virgin entered into the Holy of Holies" (p.
190 Menaion )
Lex orandi: no IC.

The kontakion of the feast:

"The All-pure Temple of the Saviour, the precious Bridal Chamber and
Virgin, the sacred treasure of the glory of God, is led today into the
house of the Lord, and with her she brings the grace of the divine
Spirit. Of her God's angels sing in praise: "She is indeed the
heavenly Tabernacle." (P. 195 Menaion)
Lex orandi: No IC.

From Small Vespers:

O ye gates of the sanctuary, into the Holy of Holies receive ye a Virgin,
the spotless Tabernacle of God the Almighty.

Ye virgins, joyfully bearing torches, attend the pure Virgin on her way, as
she enters the Holy of Holies, the Bride of the King of all.

The living Bridal Chamber of God the Word receives bread from the hands of a
divine angel, as she dwells in the Holy of holies.
Lex orandi: No IC.

From Great Vespers:

Led by the Holy Spirit, the holy Maid without spot is taken to dwell in the
Holy of Holies. By an angel is she fed, who is in truth the most holy Temple
of our Holy God. He has sanctified all things by her entry, and has made
godlike the fallen nature of fallen men.

After thy birth, O Lady and Bride of God, thou hast gone to dwell in the
temple of the Lord, there to be brought up in the Holy of Holies, for thou
art thyself holy: and Gabriel then was sent to thee, O Virgin all-undefiled,
to bring thee food. All the powers of heaven stood amazed, seeing the Holy
Spirit dwell in thee. Therefore, O Mother of God without stain or blemish,
glorified in heaven and on earth, save our kind.

Ann, truly blessed by God's grace, led with gladness into the temple of the
Lord the pure and ever-Virgin, who is full of grace, and she called the
young girls to go before her, lamps in hand. `Go, Child,' she said, `to Him
who gave thee unto me; be unto Him an offering and a sweet smelling incense.
Go into the place which none may enter: learn its mysteries and prepare
thyself to become the pleasing and beautiful dwelling-place of Jesus, who
grants the world great mercy.'
Lex orandi: No IC.

From Matins:

From Eve of old the transgression came upon mankind, and now from Eve's
stock has flowered forth our restoration and incorruption, even the
Theotokos, who is brought today into the house of God.

Be glad today, O Joachim, and rejoice exceedingly in spirit, O Ann, who now
present unto the Lord your daughter, as a three-year old victim of
sacrifice, holy and utterly without spot.

The ewe-lamb of God without spot, the dove without blemish, the tabernacle
that is to hold God, the sanctuary of the glory, has chosen to dwell in the
holy temple.

Three years old in the flesh and many years old in the spirit, more spacious
than the heavens and higher than the powers above, let the Bride of God be
praised in song.

Seeing the beauty of thy soul, O undefiled Virgin, Zacharias cried out with
faith: `Thou art our deliverance, thou art the joy of all. Thou art our
restoration, through whom the Incomprehensible appears comprehensible to
me.'

O Virgin all-undefiled, past understanding is thy wonders! Strange is the
manner of thy birth: strange is the manner of thy growing. Strange and most
marvellous are all things concerning thee, O Bride of God, and they are
beyond the telling of mortal men.

A child in the flesh but perfect in soul, the holy Ark enters into the house
of God, there to feed upon divine grace.

The ranks of angels rejoiced exceedingly and spirits of the righteous were
glad, when the Mother of God was led into the sanctuary.

Mary without spot rejoiced in body and spirit, dwelling as a sacred vessel
in the temple of the Lord.

Receiving heavenly food, she who was to become the Mother of Christ the
Saviour according to the flesh, increased in wisdom and grace.

O pure Theotokos, thou hast a clean and shining beauty of soul, and art
filled from heaven with the grace of God. Thou dost ever enlighten with
eternal light those who cry aloud in gladness: O pure Virgin, thou art truly
high above all.

Beholding the entry of the All-Pure, the angels were struck with amazement,
seeing how she entered marvelously into the Holy of Holies.

Thy wonders, O pure Theotokos, surpass the power of words. For in thee I see
something beyond speech; a body that was never subject to the taint of sin.
Therefore in thanksgiving I cry to thee: O pure Virgin, thou art truly high
above all.

Angels and men, let us honour the entry of the Virgin, for in glory she has
gone into the Holy of Holies.
Lex orandi: No IC.

Then there is that lex orandi that while her Birth and Presentation are major feasts of the Holy Theotokos, but the conception of St. Anne is not.

Btw, somewhere here we have the Byzantine Texts which the Vatican has produced with the IC in it.  Anyone recall where they are?
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« Reply #110 on: June 06, 2012, 02:40:19 PM »

Quote
Well, if the Theotokos did not have extra grace her whole life, how did she get from age 1 to age 14 (or however old she was when she bore Jesus) without sinning?
Does it matter? There is no need to make her something less than human to explain it.

PP

I find it fascinating that you think of the Immaculate Conception as being "less than" human.  Very indicative, I think.
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« Reply #111 on: June 06, 2012, 02:46:37 PM »

Quote
I find it fascinating that you think of the Immaculate Conception as being "less than" human.  Very indicative, I think.
Shielding her somehow from a problem indicative of the human condition? Yes, I do think the IC makes her something elss than human.

Constantly having to rationalize everything, even to the point of such rationalization being completely silly is also indicative I believe.

PP
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« Reply #112 on: June 06, 2012, 02:55:07 PM »

For Emergency Use ONLY!!

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« Reply #113 on: June 06, 2012, 02:57:37 PM »

Where can I order this kit? I have my credit card out.
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« Reply #114 on: June 06, 2012, 03:09:04 PM »

Where can I order this kit? I have my credit card out.

You can private message me your credit card #, along with expiration date, and 3 digit i.d. number from the back.  Also send your address.  Once I receive these, I'll print you a copy and mail it to you.  Then I'll go shopping  Grin Grin Grin Grin!
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« Reply #115 on: June 06, 2012, 03:11:50 PM »

Aw you'll do that for me!! Thank you Smiley
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« Reply #116 on: June 06, 2012, 03:18:12 PM »

Aw you'll do that for me!! Thank you Smiley

Anytime.  Anytime, at all!  Grin Wink.

But wait.......if you send me the info in the next 5 minutes, I'll include a *second kit* !!!!! absolutely FREE!  (That is, until I go shopping  laugh laugh).
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« Reply #117 on: June 06, 2012, 03:19:43 PM »

This is better than the paid previews I spend hours watching!!
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« Reply #118 on: June 06, 2012, 03:21:54 PM »

This is better than the paid previews I spend hours watching!!

LOL!!!

Just wait until we get to the really long posts and pretty maps!!!  You ain't seen nothin' yet, brother!  Grin
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« Reply #119 on: June 06, 2012, 03:37:12 PM »

That is very interesting.  Then there is no lex orandi with the following festal text:

Taken from The Festal Menaion translated from the original Greek by
Mother Mary and Archimandrite Kallistos Ware.


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

The Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple


At Orthros the Magnificat is replaced by these words:

"Beholding the entry of the All-Pure, the angels were struck with
amazement, seeing how the Virgin entered into the Holy of Holies" (p.
190 Menaion )

The kontakion of the feast:

"The All-pure Temple of the Saviour, the precious Bridal Chamber and
Virgin, the sacred treasure of the glory of God, is led today into the
house of the Lord, and with her she brings the grace of the divine
Spirit. Of her God's angels sing in praise: "She is indeed the
heavenly Tabernacle." (P. 195 Menaion)

From Small Vespers:

O ye gates of the sanctuary, into the Holy of Holies receive ye a Virgin,
the spotless Tabernacle of God the Almighty.

Ye virgins, joyfully bearing torches, attend the pure Virgin on her way, as
she enters the Holy of Holies, the Bride of the King of all.

The living Bridal Chamber of God the Word receives bread from the hands of a
divine angel, as she dwells in the Holy of holies.

From Great Vespers:

Led by the Holy Spirit, the holy Maid without spot is taken to dwell in the
Holy of Holies. By an angel is she fed, who is in truth the most holy Temple
of our Holy God. He has sanctified all things by her entry, and has made
godlike the fallen nature of fallen men.

After thy birth, O Lady and Bride of God, thou hast gone to dwell in the
temple of the Lord, there to be brought up in the Holy of Holies, for thou
art thyself holy: and Gabriel then was sent to thee, O Virgin all-undefiled,
to bring thee food. All the powers of heaven stood amazed, seeing the Holy
Spirit dwell in thee. Therefore, O Mother of God without stain or blemish,
glorified in heaven and on earth, save our kind.

Ann, truly blessed by God's grace, led with gladness into the temple of the
Lord the pure and ever-Virgin, who is full of grace, and she called the
young girls to go before her, lamps in hand. `Go, Child,' she said, `to Him
who gave thee unto me; be unto Him an offering and a sweet smelling incense.
Go into the place which none may enter: learn its mysteries and prepare
thyself to become the pleasing and beautiful dwelling-place of Jesus, who
grants the world great mercy.'

From Matins:

From Eve of old the transgression came upon mankind, and now from Eve's
stock has flowered forth our restoration and incorruption, even the
Theotokos, who is brought today into the house of God.

Be glad today, O Joachim, and rejoice exceedingly in spirit, O Ann, who now
present unto the Lord your daughter, as a three-year old victim of
sacrifice, holy and utterly without spot.

The ewe-lamb of God without spot, the dove without blemish, the tabernacle
that is to hold God, the sanctuary of the glory, has chosen to dwell in the
holy temple.

Three years old in the flesh and many years old in the spirit, more spacious
than the heavens and higher than the powers above, let the Bride of God be
praised in song.

Seeing the beauty of thy soul, O undefiled Virgin, Zacharias cried out with
faith: `Thou art our deliverance, thou art the joy of all. Thou art our
restoration, through whom the Incomprehensible appears comprehensible to
me.'

O Virgin all-undefiled, past understanding is thy wonders! Strange is the
manner of thy birth: strange is the manner of thy growing. Strange and most
marvellous are all things concerning thee, O Bride of God, and they are
beyond the telling of mortal men.

A child in the flesh but perfect in soul, the holy Ark enters into the house
of God, there to feed upon divine grace.

The ranks of angels rejoiced exceedingly and spirits of the righteous were
glad, when the Mother of God was led into the sanctuary.

Mary without spot rejoiced in body and spirit, dwelling as a sacred vessel
in the temple of the Lord.

Receiving heavenly food, she who was to become the Mother of Christ the
Saviour according to the flesh, increased in wisdom and grace.

O pure Theotokos, thou hast a clean and shining beauty of soul, and art
filled from heaven with the grace of God. Thou dost ever enlighten with
eternal light those who cry aloud in gladness: O pure Virgin, thou art truly
high above all.

Beholding the entry of the All-Pure, the angels were struck with amazement,
seeing how she entered marvelously into the Holy of Holies.

Thy wonders, O pure Theotokos, surpass the power of words. For in thee I see
something beyond speech; a body that was never subject to the taint of sin.
Therefore in thanksgiving I cry to thee: O pure Virgin, thou art truly high
above all.

Angels and men, let us honour the entry of the Virgin, for in glory she has
gone into the Holy of Holies.


But this makes all sorts of presuppositions about the texts of the feast which need to be made clear. First one has to take for granted that this feast is meant to be understood as an historical event. Secondly, one would have to assume that, if it is an historical event, the event is portrayed with complete historical accuracy. How do we know, for example, that the entry of the theotokos was not meant to be understood in virtue of typology? Certainly, the medieval Christians would likely have understood the Old Testament Temple, the dwelling place of God, to be a type of the Theotokos, in whom God dwelled and from whom God took on flesh. And with the new temple entering the old one, the connection certainly would have been hard to miss. We also know that the feast is likely drawn from the pseudepigraphical infancy gospels. These factors at the very least make it plausible that the feast of the Entry of the Theotokos was not meant to be understood historically, so it is hard to accept the claim that the hymns of this feast support the Immaculate Conception without at least some justification for reading them as historical texts.
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« Reply #120 on: June 06, 2012, 03:50:36 PM »

Interesting.  Did you just say the Theotokos "...was purer than any other human being ever (i.e., the purest), but she wasn't sinless.'"?  Grin  I wonder how many people you just "ticked off"  Grin?

Difficult to say. There certainly are a lot human beings who get "ticked off" when someone say something they disagree with. However, we don't know how many of those people even read witega's post (or anything on this forum for that matter).

Well, if the Theotokos did not have extra grace her whole life, how did she get from age 1 to age 14 (or however old she was when she bore Jesus) without sinning? We believe that she did no active sin in her life, correct? How does one resist voluntary sin when even involuntary sin is beyond hope for most of us?

Not trying to pound the desk or anything. I'm just asking.  Undecided

I know it's too early for your vodka, biro, but................how 'bout a beer? Grin Grin Grin

Thank you.
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« Reply #121 on: June 06, 2012, 03:54:56 PM »

That is very interesting.  Then there is no lex orandi with the following festal text:

Taken from The Festal Menaion translated from the original Greek by
Mother Mary and Archimandrite Kallistos Ware.


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

The Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple


At Orthros the Magnificat is replaced by these words:

"Beholding the entry of the All-Pure, the angels were struck with
amazement, seeing how the Virgin entered into the Holy of Holies" (p.
190 Menaion )

The kontakion of the feast:

"The All-pure Temple of the Saviour, the precious Bridal Chamber and
Virgin, the sacred treasure of the glory of God, is led today into the
house of the Lord, and with her she brings the grace of the divine
Spirit. Of her God's angels sing in praise: "She is indeed the
heavenly Tabernacle." (P. 195 Menaion)

From Small Vespers:

O ye gates of the sanctuary, into the Holy of Holies receive ye a Virgin,
the spotless Tabernacle of God the Almighty.

Ye virgins, joyfully bearing torches, attend the pure Virgin on her way, as
she enters the Holy of Holies, the Bride of the King of all.

The living Bridal Chamber of God the Word receives bread from the hands of a
divine angel, as she dwells in the Holy of holies.

From Great Vespers:

Led by the Holy Spirit, the holy Maid without spot is taken to dwell in the
Holy of Holies. By an angel is she fed, who is in truth the most holy Temple
of our Holy God. He has sanctified all things by her entry, and has made
godlike the fallen nature of fallen men.

After thy birth, O Lady and Bride of God, thou hast gone to dwell in the
temple of the Lord, there to be brought up in the Holy of Holies, for thou
art thyself holy: and Gabriel then was sent to thee, O Virgin all-undefiled,
to bring thee food. All the powers of heaven stood amazed, seeing the Holy
Spirit dwell in thee. Therefore, O Mother of God without stain or blemish,
glorified in heaven and on earth, save our kind.

Ann, truly blessed by God's grace, led with gladness into the temple of the
Lord the pure and ever-Virgin, who is full of grace, and she called the
young girls to go before her, lamps in hand. `Go, Child,' she said, `to Him
who gave thee unto me; be unto Him an offering and a sweet smelling incense.
Go into the place which none may enter: learn its mysteries and prepare
thyself to become the pleasing and beautiful dwelling-place of Jesus, who
grants the world great mercy.'

From Matins:

From Eve of old the transgression came upon mankind, and now from Eve's
stock has flowered forth our restoration and incorruption, even the
Theotokos, who is brought today into the house of God.

Be glad today, O Joachim, and rejoice exceedingly in spirit, O Ann, who now
present unto the Lord your daughter, as a three-year old victim of
sacrifice, holy and utterly without spot.

The ewe-lamb of God without spot, the dove without blemish, the tabernacle
that is to hold God, the sanctuary of the glory, has chosen to dwell in the
holy temple.

Three years old in the flesh and many years old in the spirit, more spacious
than the heavens and higher than the powers above, let the Bride of God be
praised in song.

Seeing the beauty of thy soul, O undefiled Virgin, Zacharias cried out with
faith: `Thou art our deliverance, thou art the joy of all. Thou art our
restoration, through whom the Incomprehensible appears comprehensible to
me.'

O Virgin all-undefiled, past understanding is thy wonders! Strange is the
manner of thy birth: strange is the manner of thy growing. Strange and most
marvellous are all things concerning thee, O Bride of God, and they are
beyond the telling of mortal men.

A child in the flesh but perfect in soul, the holy Ark enters into the house
of God, there to feed upon divine grace.

The ranks of angels rejoiced exceedingly and spirits of the righteous were
glad, when the Mother of God was led into the sanctuary.

Mary without spot rejoiced in body and spirit, dwelling as a sacred vessel
in the temple of the Lord.

Receiving heavenly food, she who was to become the Mother of Christ the
Saviour according to the flesh, increased in wisdom and grace.

O pure Theotokos, thou hast a clean and shining beauty of soul, and art
filled from heaven with the grace of God. Thou dost ever enlighten with
eternal light those who cry aloud in gladness: O pure Virgin, thou art truly
high above all.

Beholding the entry of the All-Pure, the angels were struck with amazement,
seeing how she entered marvelously into the Holy of Holies.

Thy wonders, O pure Theotokos, surpass the power of words. For in thee I see
something beyond speech; a body that was never subject to the taint of sin.
Therefore in thanksgiving I cry to thee: O pure Virgin, thou art truly high
above all.

Angels and men, let us honour the entry of the Virgin, for in glory she has
gone into the Holy of Holies.


But this makes all sorts of presuppositions about the texts of the feast which need to be made clear. First one has to take for granted that this feast is meant to be understood as an historical event. Secondly, one would have to assume that, if it is an historical event, the event is portrayed with complete historical accuracy. How do we know, for example, that the entry of the theotokos was not meant to be understood in virtue of typology? Certainly, the medieval Christians would likely have understood the Old Testament Temple, the dwelling place of God, to be a type of the Theotokos, in whom God dwelled and from whom God took on flesh. And with the new temple entering the old one, the connection certainly would have been hard to miss. We also know that the feast is likely drawn from the pseudepigraphical infancy gospels. These factors at the very least make it plausible that the feast of the Entry of the Theotokos was not meant to be understood historically, so it is hard to accept the claim that the hymns of this feast support the Immaculate Conception without at least some justification for reading them as historical texts.

A couple of things.  I know the literal meaning of "lex orandi", but what does it mean in the context in which Mary has used it?

Secondly, you could be right about what you say, but is there any way to establish that you are?  Is it not somewhat presumptive on your part to state "Certainly, the medieval Christians would likely have understood the Old Testament Temple, the dwelling place of God, to be a type of the Theotokos, in whom God dwelled and from whom God took on flesh"?  How might we know this?

Thirdly, **without knowing the historical development of the liturgical texts in question** it occurs to me (perhaps erroneously) that it's at least as plausible to think the opposite of this: "These factors at the very least make it plausible that the feast of the Entry of the Theotokos was not meant to be understood historically, so it is hard to accept the claim that the hymns of this feast support the Immaculate Conception without at least some justification for reading them as historical texts.", i.e. that it *was* meant to be understood historically as well as typologically.

Just a few random thoughts.  I have them every once in a while  Wink.  Consider them at your own risk  Grin.
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« Reply #122 on: June 06, 2012, 03:56:13 PM »

Interesting.  Did you just say the Theotokos "...was purer than any other human being ever (i.e., the purest), but she wasn't sinless.'"?  Grin  I wonder how many people you just "ticked off"  Grin?

Difficult to say. There certainly are a lot human beings who get "ticked off" when someone say something they disagree with. However, we don't know how many of those people even read witega's post (or anything on this forum for that matter).

Well, if the Theotokos did not have extra grace her whole life, how did she get from age 1 to age 14 (or however old she was when she bore Jesus) without sinning? We believe that she did no active sin in her life, correct? How does one resist voluntary sin when even involuntary sin is beyond hope for most of us?

Not trying to pound the desk or anything. I'm just asking.  Undecided

I know it's too early for your vodka, biro, but................how 'bout a beer? Grin Grin Grin

Thank you.

On me!

Also, see posts #112 and #114 above.  Wink
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« Reply #123 on: June 06, 2012, 04:04:02 PM »

I expect the kit will come in handy.  Smiley
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« Reply #124 on: June 06, 2012, 04:11:26 PM »

I expect the kit will come in handy.  Smiley

Its usefulness grows exponentially when you accompany it with a beer or 3, although vodka is an admirable substitute, if preferred.

I keep mine on my desk, right next to my keyboard.  Since I started participating on this discussion board, I've worn through about 9 of them.  That might help explain a thing or two about some of my posts  Grin.
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« Reply #125 on: June 06, 2012, 04:13:14 PM »


But this makes all sorts of presuppositions about the texts of the feast which need to be made clear. First one has to take for granted that this feast is meant to be understood as an historical event. Secondly, one would have to assume that, if it is an historical event, the event is portrayed with complete historical accuracy. How do we know, for example, that the entry of the theotokos was not meant to be understood in virtue of typology? Certainly, the medieval Christians would likely have understood the Old Testament Temple, the dwelling place of God, to be a type of the Theotokos, in whom God dwelled and from whom God took on flesh. And with the new temple entering the old one, the connection certainly would have been hard to miss. We also know that the feast is likely drawn from the pseudepigraphical infancy gospels. These factors at the very least make it plausible that the feast of the Entry of the Theotokos was not meant to be understood historically, so it is hard to accept the claim that the hymns of this feast support the Immaculate Conception without at least some justification for reading them as historical texts.


A couple of things.  I know the literal meaning of "lex orandi", but what does it mean in the context in which Mary has used it?

Secondly, you could be right about what you say, but is there any way to establish that you are?  Is it not somewhat presumptive on your part to state "Certainly, the medieval Christians would likely have understood the Old Testament Temple, the dwelling place of God, to be a type of the Theotokos, in whom God dwelled and from whom God took on flesh"?  How might we know this?

Thirdly, **without knowing the historical development of the liturgical texts in question** it occurs to me (perhaps erroneously) that it's at least as plausible to think the opposite of this: "These factors at the very least make it plausible that the feast of the Entry of the Theotokos was not meant to be understood historically, so it is hard to accept the claim that the hymns of this feast support the Immaculate Conception without at least some justification for reading them as historical texts.", i.e. that it *was* meant to be understood historically as well as typologically.

Just a few random thoughts.  I have them every once in a while  Wink.  Consider them at your own risk  Grin.

All very good and interesting hermeneutical questions and considerations. Wink
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« Reply #126 on: June 06, 2012, 04:16:47 PM »


But this makes all sorts of presuppositions about the texts of the feast which need to be made clear. First one has to take for granted that this feast is meant to be understood as an historical event. Secondly, one would have to assume that, if it is an historical event, the event is portrayed with complete historical accuracy. How do we know, for example, that the entry of the theotokos was not meant to be understood in virtue of typology? Certainly, the medieval Christians would likely have understood the Old Testament Temple, the dwelling place of God, to be a type of the Theotokos, in whom God dwelled and from whom God took on flesh. And with the new temple entering the old one, the connection certainly would have been hard to miss. We also know that the feast is likely drawn from the pseudepigraphical infancy gospels. These factors at the very least make it plausible that the feast of the Entry of the Theotokos was not meant to be understood historically, so it is hard to accept the claim that the hymns of this feast support the Immaculate Conception without at least some justification for reading them as historical texts.


A couple of things.  I know the literal meaning of "lex orandi", but what does it mean in the context in which Mary has used it?

Secondly, you could be right about what you say, but is there any way to establish that you are?  Is it not somewhat presumptive on your part to state "Certainly, the medieval Christians would likely have understood the Old Testament Temple, the dwelling place of God, to be a type of the Theotokos, in whom God dwelled and from whom God took on flesh"?  How might we know this?

Thirdly, **without knowing the historical development of the liturgical texts in question** it occurs to me (perhaps erroneously) that it's at least as plausible to think the opposite of this: "These factors at the very least make it plausible that the feast of the Entry of the Theotokos was not meant to be understood historically, so it is hard to accept the claim that the hymns of this feast support the Immaculate Conception without at least some justification for reading them as historical texts.", i.e. that it *was* meant to be understood historically as well as typologically.

Just a few random thoughts.  I have them every once in a while  Wink.  Consider them at your own risk  Grin.

All very good and interesting hermeneutical questions and considerations. Wink

Thanks, Fr.!  And here I wasn't even certain of the meaning of hermeneutics until, well....say a day or so ago.  Grin  (Sheesh, it's hard enough to *type* let alone understand!)

I look forward to someone addressing them.
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« Reply #127 on: June 06, 2012, 04:29:26 PM »

But this makes all sorts of presuppositions about the texts of the feast which need to be made clear. First one has to take for granted that this feast is meant to be understood as an historical event. Secondly, one would have to assume that, if it is an historical event, the event is portrayed with complete historical accuracy. How do we know, for example, that the entry of the theotokos was not meant to be understood in virtue of typology? Certainly, the medieval Christians would likely have understood the Old Testament Temple, the dwelling place of God, to be a type of the Theotokos, in whom God dwelled and from whom God took on flesh. And with the new temple entering the old one, the connection certainly would have been hard to miss. We also know that the feast is likely drawn from the pseudepigraphical infancy gospels. These factors at the very least make it plausible that the feast of the Entry of the Theotokos was not meant to be understood historically, so it is hard to accept the claim that the hymns of this feast support the Immaculate Conception without at least some justification for reading them as historical texts.

A couple of things.  I know the literal meaning of "lex orandi", but what does it mean in the context in which Mary has used it?

Secondly, you could be right about what you say, but is there any way to establish that you are?  Is it not somewhat presumptive on your part to state "Certainly, the medieval Christians would likely have understood the Old Testament Temple, the dwelling place of God, to be a type of the Theotokos, in whom God dwelled and from whom God took on flesh"?  How might we know this?

Thirdly, **without knowing the historical development of the liturgical texts in question** it occurs to me (perhaps erroneously) that it's at least as plausible to think the opposite of this: "These factors at the very least make it plausible that the feast of the Entry of the Theotokos was not meant to be understood historically, so it is hard to accept the claim that the hymns of this feast support the Immaculate Conception without at least some justification for reading them as historical texts.", i.e. that it *was* meant to be understood historically as well as typologically.

Just a few random thoughts.  I have them every once in a while  Wink.  Consider them at your own risk  Grin.

Sorry, I'm being guarded with my language here because my only knowledge of the Virgin Mary being a type of the Old Temple is second hand, coming from Fr. Meyendorff who mentioned it in his Book Byzantine Theology: Historical Trends and Doctrinal Themes:

Quote
The Bible was always understood not simply as a source of revealed doctrinal propositions, or as a description of historical facts, but as a witness to a living Truth which had become dynamically present in the sacramental community of the New Testament Church. The veneration of the Virgin, Mother of God, for example, was associated once and for all with a typological interpretation of the Old Testament temple cult: the one who carried God in her womb was the true "temple," the true "tabernacle," the "candlestick," and God's final "abode." Thus, a Byzantine who, on the eve of a Marian feast, listened in church to a reading from the Book of Proverbs about "Wisdom building her house" (Pr. 9:1ff.) naturally, and almost exclusively, thought of the "Word becoming flesh"—i.e., finding His abode in the Virgin.

pg 21.

He does not directly provide a source for this particular claim, so I cannot be positive that he is correct. That being said, his scholarship is usually excellent, so I don't find any particular motivation to question his claim.
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« Reply #128 on: June 06, 2012, 04:40:44 PM »

I was not aware that Orthodoxy now submits its liturgical texts to the critical historical method before deciding on whether or not it stands up to lex orandi....good to know.   Does anyone know if that how they set up their Scriptural exegesis as well?

M.
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« Reply #129 on: June 06, 2012, 05:04:58 PM »

But this makes all sorts of presuppositions about the texts of the feast which need to be made clear. First one has to take for granted that this feast is meant to be understood as an historical event. Secondly, one would have to assume that, if it is an historical event, the event is portrayed with complete historical accuracy. How do we know, for example, that the entry of the theotokos was not meant to be understood in virtue of typology? Certainly, the medieval Christians would likely have understood the Old Testament Temple, the dwelling place of God, to be a type of the Theotokos, in whom God dwelled and from whom God took on flesh. And with the new temple entering the old one, the connection certainly would have been hard to miss. We also know that the feast is likely drawn from the pseudepigraphical infancy gospels. These factors at the very least make it plausible that the feast of the Entry of the Theotokos was not meant to be understood historically, so it is hard to accept the claim that the hymns of this feast support the Immaculate Conception without at least some justification for reading them as historical texts.

A couple of things.  I know the literal meaning of "lex orandi", but what does it mean in the context in which Mary has used it?

Secondly, you could be right about what you say, but is there any way to establish that you are?  Is it not somewhat presumptive on your part to state "Certainly, the medieval Christians would likely have understood the Old Testament Temple, the dwelling place of God, to be a type of the Theotokos, in whom God dwelled and from whom God took on flesh"?  How might we know this?

Thirdly, **without knowing the historical development of the liturgical texts in question** it occurs to me (perhaps erroneously) that it's at least as plausible to think the opposite of this: "These factors at the very least make it plausible that the feast of the Entry of the Theotokos was not meant to be understood historically, so it is hard to accept the claim that the hymns of this feast support the Immaculate Conception without at least some justification for reading them as historical texts.", i.e. that it *was* meant to be understood historically as well as typologically.

Just a few random thoughts.  I have them every once in a while  Wink.  Consider them at your own risk  Grin.

Sorry, I'm being guarded with my language here because my only knowledge of the Virgin Mary being a type of the Old Temple is second hand, coming from Fr. Meyendorff who mentioned it in his Book Byzantine Theology: Historical Trends and Doctrinal Themes:

Quote
The Bible was always understood not simply as a source of revealed doctrinal propositions, or as a description of historical facts, but as a witness to a living Truth which had become dynamically present in the sacramental community of the New Testament Church. The veneration of the Virgin, Mother of God, for example, was associated once and for all with a typological interpretation of the Old Testament temple cult: the one who carried God in her womb was the true "temple," the true "tabernacle," the "candlestick," and God's final "abode." Thus, a Byzantine who, on the eve of a Marian feast, listened in church to a reading from the Book of Proverbs about "Wisdom building her house" (Pr. 9:1ff.) naturally, and almost exclusively, thought of the "Word becoming flesh"—i.e., finding His abode in the Virgin.

pg 21.

He does not directly provide a source for this particular claim, so I cannot be positive that he is correct. That being said, his scholarship is usually excellent, so I don't find any particular motivation to question his claim.

I appreciate your candor and honesty, and am familiar with what you quote from Fr. Meyendorff, although not directly from him.  Be that as it may, to accept what you (and he) write at face value would be a mistake on my part, not because he's not an excellent scholar (I cannot judge that) or because you've misunderstood him (I've no idea, really) but because it doesn't really answer my questions and there's no other independent verification of the information you've given and/or hinted at.  (Gee, I hope *that* made sense!)
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« Reply #130 on: June 06, 2012, 05:10:47 PM »

But this makes all sorts of presuppositions about the texts of the feast which need to be made clear. First one has to take for granted that this feast is meant to be understood as an historical event. Secondly, one would have to assume that, if it is an historical event, the event is portrayed with complete historical accuracy. How do we know, for example, that the entry of the theotokos was not meant to be understood in virtue of typology? Certainly, the medieval Christians would likely have understood the Old Testament Temple, the dwelling place of God, to be a type of the Theotokos, in whom God dwelled and from whom God took on flesh. And with the new temple entering the old one, the connection certainly would have been hard to miss. We also know that the feast is likely drawn from the pseudepigraphical infancy gospels. These factors at the very least make it plausible that the feast of the Entry of the Theotokos was not meant to be understood historically, so it is hard to accept the claim that the hymns of this feast support the Immaculate Conception without at least some justification for reading them as historical texts.

A couple of things.  I know the literal meaning of "lex orandi", but what does it mean in the context in which Mary has used it?

Secondly, you could be right about what you say, but is there any way to establish that you are?  Is it not somewhat presumptive on your part to state "Certainly, the medieval Christians would likely have understood the Old Testament Temple, the dwelling place of God, to be a type of the Theotokos, in whom God dwelled and from whom God took on flesh"?  How might we know this?

Thirdly, **without knowing the historical development of the liturgical texts in question** it occurs to me (perhaps erroneously) that it's at least as plausible to think the opposite of this: "These factors at the very least make it plausible that the feast of the Entry of the Theotokos was not meant to be understood historically, so it is hard to accept the claim that the hymns of this feast support the Immaculate Conception without at least some justification for reading them as historical texts.", i.e. that it *was* meant to be understood historically as well as typologically.

Just a few random thoughts.  I have them every once in a while  Wink.  Consider them at your own risk  Grin.

Sorry, I'm being guarded with my language here because my only knowledge of the Virgin Mary being a type of the Old Temple is second hand, coming from Fr. Meyendorff who mentioned it in his Book Byzantine Theology: Historical Trends and Doctrinal Themes:

Quote
The Bible was always understood not simply as a source of revealed doctrinal propositions, or as a description of historical facts, but as a witness to a living Truth which had become dynamically present in the sacramental community of the New Testament Church. The veneration of the Virgin, Mother of God, for example, was associated once and for all with a typological interpretation of the Old Testament temple cult: the one who carried God in her womb was the true "temple," the true "tabernacle," the "candlestick," and God's final "abode." Thus, a Byzantine who, on the eve of a Marian feast, listened in church to a reading from the Book of Proverbs about "Wisdom building her house" (Pr. 9:1ff.) naturally, and almost exclusively, thought of the "Word becoming flesh"—i.e., finding His abode in the Virgin.

pg 21.

He does not directly provide a source for this particular claim, so I cannot be positive that he is correct. That being said, his scholarship is usually excellent, so I don't find any particular motivation to question his claim.

I appreciate your candor and honesty, and am familiar with what you quote from Fr. Meyendorff, although not directly from him.  Be that as it may, to accept what you (and he) write at face value would be a mistake on my part, not because he's not an excellent scholar (I cannot judge that) or because you've misunderstood him (I've no idea, really) but because it doesn't really answer my questions and there's no other independent verification of the information you've given and/or hinted at.  (Gee, I hope *that* made sense!)

That makes sense. That is the very reasoning behind my reticence to make any absolute statements.
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« Reply #131 on: June 06, 2012, 05:14:37 PM »

But this makes all sorts of presuppositions about the texts of the feast which need to be made clear. First one has to take for granted that this feast is meant to be understood as an historical event. Secondly, one would have to assume that, if it is an historical event, the event is portrayed with complete historical accuracy. How do we know, for example, that the entry of the theotokos was not meant to be understood in virtue of typology? Certainly, the medieval Christians would likely have understood the Old Testament Temple, the dwelling place of God, to be a type of the Theotokos, in whom God dwelled and from whom God took on flesh. And with the new temple entering the old one, the connection certainly would have been hard to miss. We also know that the feast is likely drawn from the pseudepigraphical infancy gospels. These factors at the very least make it plausible that the feast of the Entry of the Theotokos was not meant to be understood historically, so it is hard to accept the claim that the hymns of this feast support the Immaculate Conception without at least some justification for reading them as historical texts.

A couple of things.  I know the literal meaning of "lex orandi", but what does it mean in the context in which Mary has used it?

Secondly, you could be right about what you say, but is there any way to establish that you are?  Is it not somewhat presumptive on your part to state "Certainly, the medieval Christians would likely have understood the Old Testament Temple, the dwelling place of God, to be a type of the Theotokos, in whom God dwelled and from whom God took on flesh"?  How might we know this?

Thirdly, **without knowing the historical development of the liturgical texts in question** it occurs to me (perhaps erroneously) that it's at least as plausible to think the opposite of this: "These factors at the very least make it plausible that the feast of the Entry of the Theotokos was not meant to be understood historically, so it is hard to accept the claim that the hymns of this feast support the Immaculate Conception without at least some justification for reading them as historical texts.", i.e. that it *was* meant to be understood historically as well as typologically.

Just a few random thoughts.  I have them every once in a while  Wink.  Consider them at your own risk  Grin.

Sorry, I'm being guarded with my language here because my only knowledge of the Virgin Mary being a type of the Old Temple is second hand, coming from Fr. Meyendorff who mentioned it in his Book Byzantine Theology: Historical Trends and Doctrinal Themes:

Quote
The Bible was always understood not simply as a source of revealed doctrinal propositions, or as a description of historical facts, but as a witness to a living Truth which had become dynamically present in the sacramental community of the New Testament Church. The veneration of the Virgin, Mother of God, for example, was associated once and for all with a typological interpretation of the Old Testament temple cult: the one who carried God in her womb was the true "temple," the true "tabernacle," the "candlestick," and God's final "abode." Thus, a Byzantine who, on the eve of a Marian feast, listened in church to a reading from the Book of Proverbs about "Wisdom building her house" (Pr. 9:1ff.) naturally, and almost exclusively, thought of the "Word becoming flesh"—i.e., finding His abode in the Virgin.

pg 21.

He does not directly provide a source for this particular claim, so I cannot be positive that he is correct. That being said, his scholarship is usually excellent, so I don't find any particular motivation to question his claim.

I appreciate your candor and honesty, and am familiar with what you quote from Fr. Meyendorff, although not directly from him.  Be that as it may, to accept what you (and he) write at face value would be a mistake on my part, not because he's not an excellent scholar (I cannot judge that) or because you've misunderstood him (I've no idea, really) but because it doesn't really answer my questions and there's no other independent verification of the information you've given and/or hinted at.  (Gee, I hope *that* made sense!)

That makes sense. That is the very reasoning behind my reticence to make any absolute statements.

So, I guess we're back to square one.  Or, to be more precise, reply #121 above.   Wink
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« Reply #132 on: June 06, 2012, 05:21:01 PM »

I was not aware that Orthodoxy now submits its liturgical texts to the critical historical method before deciding on whether or not it stands up to lex orandi....good to know.   Does anyone know if that how they set up their Scriptural exegesis as well?

M.

Must something correspond to history in order to be true? Is the truth of the Entry of the Theotokos  or of the Dormition to be found in their historical accuracy?
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« Reply #133 on: June 06, 2012, 05:25:02 PM »

I was not aware that Orthodoxy now submits its liturgical texts to the critical historical method before deciding on whether or not it stands up to lex orandi....good to know.   Does anyone know if that how they set up their Scriptural exegesis as well?

M.

Must something correspond to history in order to be true? Is the truth of the Entry of the Theotokos  or of the Dormition to be found in their historical accuracy?

I do not think so by any means.  Perhaps I was misreading some of the responses to my publishing the texts from the feast.

Mary
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« Reply #134 on: June 06, 2012, 05:29:20 PM »

I was not aware that Orthodoxy now submits its liturgical texts to the critical historical method before deciding on whether or not it stands up to lex orandi....good to know.   Does anyone know if that how they set up their Scriptural exegesis as well?

M.

Must something correspond to history in order to be true? Is the truth of the Entry of the Theotokos  or of the Dormition to be found in their historical accuracy?

If something is true, and is said to have occurred in human history, how can there *not* be some kind of historical correspondence? 
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« Reply #135 on: June 06, 2012, 05:33:44 PM »

I was not aware that Orthodoxy now submits its liturgical texts to the critical historical method before deciding on whether or not it stands up to lex orandi....good to know.   Does anyone know if that how they set up their Scriptural exegesis as well?

M.

Must something correspond to history in order to be true? Is the truth of the Entry of the Theotokos  or of the Dormition to be found in their historical accuracy?

If something is true, and is said to have occurred in human history, how can there *not* be some kind of historical correspondence? 

For all the historical evidence we have there may never have been a Virgin Mother of God.  I am missing your point.
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« Reply #136 on: June 06, 2012, 05:41:17 PM »

I was not aware that Orthodoxy now submits its liturgical texts to the critical historical method before deciding on whether or not it stands up to lex orandi....good to know.   Does anyone know if that how they set up their Scriptural exegesis as well?

M.

Must something correspond to history in order to be true? Is the truth of the Entry of the Theotokos  or of the Dormition to be found in their historical accuracy?

If something is true, and is said to have occurred in human history, how can there *not* be some kind of historical correspondence? 

For all the historical evidence we have there may never have been a Virgin Mother of God.  I am missing your point.

I don't believe J Michael's statement was in regard to historical evidence.
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« Reply #137 on: June 06, 2012, 05:46:20 PM »

I was not aware that Orthodoxy now submits its liturgical texts to the critical historical method before deciding on whether or not it stands up to lex orandi....good to know.   Does anyone know if that how they set up their Scriptural exegesis as well?

M.

Must something correspond to history in order to be true? Is the truth of the Entry of the Theotokos  or of the Dormition to be found in their historical accuracy?

If something is true, and is said to have occurred in human history, how can there *not* be some kind of historical correspondence? 

For all the historical evidence we have there may never have been a Virgin Mother of God.  I am missing your point.

I don't believe J Michael's statement was in regard to historical evidence.

Indeed.  That is why I explicitly said that I was missing his point.  I'm sure he'll get back to me as he has time.
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« Reply #138 on: June 06, 2012, 06:19:10 PM »

I was not aware that Orthodoxy now submits its liturgical texts to the critical historical method before deciding on whether or not it stands up to lex orandi....good to know.   Does anyone know if that how they set up their Scriptural exegesis as well?

M.

Must something correspond to history in order to be true? Is the truth of the Entry of the Theotokos  or of the Dormition to be found in their historical accuracy?

If something is true, and is said to have occurred in human history, how can there *not* be some kind of historical correspondence? 

That is the very question at the heart of the conflict between the Alexandrian and Antiochene methods of exegesis. It is not a tension that Orthodoxy has ever fully resolved, nor do I really think that it should be resolved.
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« Reply #139 on: June 06, 2012, 06:28:42 PM »

I am not surprised that the question of the historical accuracy of the claim that the Theotokos was raised in the Temple has been invoked in this thread.  This is a sensitive but ultimately unavoidable topic. Christianity is a historical religion.  It is therefore always appropriate to ask, Did it happen?  Modernity has posed this question in an especially acute manner regarding many of the Christian claims (the Exodus, the virginity of Mary, the resurrection of Jesus, etc.), and the the various Churches have answered in various ways.  How do we distinguish between fact and legend?  Is historical and scientific evidence irrelevant to faith?  I do not have the answers.

On 2 September 2006, the distinguished Orthodox theologian Andrew Louth published the following article in The Times:

Quote
"There is nothing untrue in the Protevangelion's joyful, inaccurate tales"

Next Friday, September 8, Christians celebrate the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. For Eastern Orthodox Christians, this is one of the 12 great feasts of the liturgical year. Like several other feasts of the Virgin, it draws its inspiration not from any of the canonical gospels, but from a late 2nd-century gospel, the so-called First Gospel of St James, the Protevangelion of St James.

This is one of the apocryphal gospels that attract perennial interest, often alleged to contain traditions of the "real truth of Christianity" and consequently to have been suppressed by the Church. The Protevangelion was not included in the canon of the Gospels, probably because of doubts about the historical accuracy of the stories it contained, which tell of the early life of the Blessed Virgin, from her conception by aged and barren parents, through her life in the temple, to her betrothal to Joseph and her giving birth, as a virgin, to the Son of God.

It is clearly a work of imagination; the meaning of the stories lies in their significance, not in their historical truth.

What is particularly striking about the Protevangelion is the way it associates the Virgin Mary with the Jewish Temple. In a wonderful scene, depicted unforgettably in the mosaic of the life of the Virgin in the inner narthex of Constantinople's Church of the Chora (Kariye Camii), the six-month-old Mary is placed by her mother, Anna, on the ground, and walks seven steps towards her mother. Anna vows that Mary will no more walk on the earth until she goes to the temple. She is presented at the temple, and lives there until the age of 12, when she is betrothed to Joseph. Later she is one of the virgins chosen to weave the cloth for the veil of the temple.

Much of this is historically implausible, but its significance lies in the fact that Mary is destined to be a living temple, in which God will dwell, and that she will weave in her womb the human nature of Christ: the flesh, called in the Epistle to the Hebrews the veil (Heb. x, 20). By her "Yes" to God, the Jewish girl Mary becomes God's dwelling place, a living temple. Or, to change the imagery, she becomes Paradise restored: as one of our Orthodox liturgical hymns puts it: "Her womb is shown to be the spiritual paradise, in which is the divine plant, eating of which we live, not like Adam who died. Christ is born, to raise up the fallen image."

Though there are many songs and hymns about the Virgin throughout Christendom, the West has often seemed to hanker after something more definite, either dismissing devotion to Mary on historical grounds, or expressing it in terms of defined dogmas: the Immaculate Conception, or the Assumption. The Christian East has remained content with celebration in song. The most famous Byzantine hymn to the Mother of God, the Akathist, cries out to her:

Hail, you through whom joy will shine out, Hail, you through whom the curse will cease.
Hail, recalling of fallen Adam, Hail, redemption of the tears of Eve.
Hail, height hard to climb for human thoughts, Hail, depth hard to scan even for angels' eyes.
Hail, for you are a throne for the King, Hail, for you carry the One who carries all.


There is perhaps a deeper reason behind the way the Christian East expresses its devotion to the Mother of God in song rather than in intricate theological definition. For song and celebration foster a fundamental attitude to the world and life of joy and thanksgiving. In contrast, one of the most insidious effects of sin, very evident in society today, is the way it leads to an approach to life characterised by suspicion, resentment and fear.

The attitude of thanksgiving was characteristic of one of the great saints of the early Church, St John Chrysostom, the patriarch of Constantinople, who experienced in his life much opposition and misunderstanding, and died in exile. According to his biographer, his constant response, whatever happened, was: "Glory to God for everything."

I am personally more comfortable with the approach of Fr Andrew than I am with the fundamentalist approach that elides historical questions altogether.  Who was it that said, in opposition to the Catholic understanding of infallibility, "Orthodoxy doesn't ask anyone to believe anything that isn't true"?   In any case, these kinds of hermeneutical questions must eventually be addressed, fully, competently, and courageously, by Orthodox theology.  
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« Reply #140 on: June 06, 2012, 06:29:13 PM »



All very good and interesting hermeneutical questions and considerations. Wink

Father, I plan on getting back to you on this soon, but perhaps in the meantime can you explain what the hermeneutical model is for the RC church?  Or is that part of the study links you put on page 2? 

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« Reply #141 on: June 06, 2012, 06:30:48 PM »

Firstly, I disagree that we HAVE to give more attention to dogmatic hermeneutics.  The dogmas are the dogmas are the dogmas.

That's like saying, the Bible is the Bible is the Bible. 

Perhaps serb1389's point can be phrased this way (forgive me if I misinterpret what you were getting at Fr.):
If Orthodoxy does not have a clear dogmatic hermeneutic (and I beleive that is what you are are asserting Fr. Aidan), then we have apparently gotten along for 2000 years without one. What in particular about the present time would make us need something we didn't need previously (particularly as compared to, say, the conciliar period when dogmatic controversies regularly shook the Church)? The only logical alternative to this would be that if we have not gotten along for 2000 years without a clear dogmatic hermeneutic, then we must have (or at some point have had) such a hermeneutic and the goal would be to understand/recover that rather than invent it.

(Personally, I think I'd suggest that while we do not have a 'clear' hermeneutic, we do have a practical, functional one born of the experiential nature of the Church that produces clear 'enough' dogmas. But that would take a lot more time and space to defend than I currently have, so I'll just leave it there as a suggestion).


Quote
The mention of Romanides raises an important question:  What precisely is the authority of the Latin Fathers in Orthodoxy?  My impression is that they functionally have no authority.  They are quoted when they agree with our favorite Eastern Fathers and are ignored when they disagree.  Now that is a hermeneutical decision, but on what grounds do we justify it?        

Forgive me, but I think you are making this question more complicated than it needs to be. A Father's individual authority rests on his witness to the common tradition and his place within the community of the Church (as a whole over time). The further any Father pushes into individual/idiosyncratic interpretation/speculation, the less authority his words carry on that matter. If St. Athanasius and St. Basil and St. Ambrose and St. Maximus all say the same (or similar) thing, that their words have a lot of authority. On the other hand, if St. Athanasius is the only person who says X, then it has considerably less authority--but because St. Athanasius is recognized throughout the Church as one of the most authoritative fathers, his personal opinion would still more weight than if St. John of Kronstadt (a widely beloved and respected saint but not one generally recognized as a doctrinal powerhouse) is the only person who says X. And in turn, St. John's personal opinion still carries more weight than that of random layman Y.

As far as the Latin Fathers go, we know where their particular current in the Tradition ended up--in the schism of the West and the eventual adoption of multiple innovations. It was not a case that the West was perfectly Orthodox in 1053 and became perfectly unorthodox in 1054. Clearly the seeds of the schism were sown earlier and developed over time. So when one looks at a Western Father and what he says is in agreement with Eastern Fathers (either directly or as different but complementary perspective), then we can see how his statement witnesses to the common tradition. But when what he says is not reflected at all in the Eastern, we approach it more cautiously. And that's true whether it's a dozen Latin Fathers or just one. Because the witness of a dozen Eastern Fathers is a broad witness to the flow of Tradition that has literally and directly been handed down to us from their time to this; whereas the the witness of a dozen Latin Fathers might be a witness to the deviation that would eventually carry the West out of the Church entirely.

That all about sums it up, with a few additions I plan on adding.  but I think this draws me to a bigger issue:  I need to be more clear about what i'm saying & be more in depth.  I plan on doing that in this thread from now on. 
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« Reply #142 on: June 06, 2012, 06:36:37 PM »

I am not surprised that the question of the historical accuracy of the claim that the Theotokos was raised in the Temple has been invoked in this thread.  This is a sensitive but ultimately unavoidable topic. Christianity is a historical religion.  It is therefore always appropriate to ask, Did it happen?  Modernity has posed this question in an especially acute manner regarding many of the Christian claims (the Exodus, the virginity of Mary, the resurrection of Jesus, etc.), and the the various Churches have answered in various ways.  How do we distinguish between fact and legend?  Is historical and scientific evidence irrelevant to faith?  I do not have the answers.

On 2 September 2006, the distinguished Orthodox theologian Andrew Louth published the following article in The Times:

Quote
"There is nothing untrue in the Protevangelion's joyful, inaccurate tales"

Next Friday, September 8, Christians celebrate the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. For Eastern Orthodox Christians, this is one of the 12 great feasts of the liturgical year. Like several other feasts of the Virgin, it draws its inspiration not from any of the canonical gospels, but from a late 2nd-century gospel, the so-called First Gospel of St James, the Protevangelion of St James.

This is one of the apocryphal gospels that attract perennial interest, often alleged to contain traditions of the "real truth of Christianity" and consequently to have been suppressed by the Church. The Protevangelion was not included in the canon of the Gospels, probably because of doubts about the historical accuracy of the stories it contained, which tell of the early life of the Blessed Virgin, from her conception by aged and barren parents, through her life in the temple, to her betrothal to Joseph and her giving birth, as a virgin, to the Son of God.

It is clearly a work of imagination; the meaning of the stories lies in their significance, not in their historical truth.

What is particularly striking about the Protevangelion is the way it associates the Virgin Mary with the Jewish Temple. In a wonderful scene, depicted unforgettably in the mosaic of the life of the Virgin in the inner narthex of Constantinople's Church of the Chora (Kariye Camii), the six-month-old Mary is placed by her mother, Anna, on the ground, and walks seven steps towards her mother. Anna vows that Mary will no more walk on the earth until she goes to the temple. She is presented at the temple, and lives there until the age of 12, when she is betrothed to Joseph. Later she is one of the virgins chosen to weave the cloth for the veil of the temple.

Much of this is historically implausible, but its significance lies in the fact that Mary is destined to be a living temple, in which God will dwell, and that she will weave in her womb the human nature of Christ: the flesh, called in the Epistle to the Hebrews the veil (Heb. x, 20). By her "Yes" to God, the Jewish girl Mary becomes God's dwelling place, a living temple. Or, to change the imagery, she becomes Paradise restored: as one of our Orthodox liturgical hymns puts it: "Her womb is shown to be the spiritual paradise, in which is the divine plant, eating of which we live, not like Adam who died. Christ is born, to raise up the fallen image."

Though there are many songs and hymns about the Virgin throughout Christendom, the West has often seemed to hanker after something more definite, either dismissing devotion to Mary on historical grounds, or expressing it in terms of defined dogmas: the Immaculate Conception, or the Assumption. The Christian East has remained content with celebration in song. The most famous Byzantine hymn to the Mother of God, the Akathist, cries out to her:

Hail, you through whom joy will shine out, Hail, you through whom the curse will cease.
Hail, recalling of fallen Adam, Hail, redemption of the tears of Eve.
Hail, height hard to climb for human thoughts, Hail, depth hard to scan even for angels' eyes.
Hail, for you are a throne for the King, Hail, for you carry the One who carries all.


There is perhaps a deeper reason behind the way the Christian East expresses its devotion to the Mother of God in song rather than in intricate theological definition. For song and celebration foster a fundamental attitude to the world and life of joy and thanksgiving. In contrast, one of the most insidious effects of sin, very evident in society today, is the way it leads to an approach to life characterised by suspicion, resentment and fear.

The attitude of thanksgiving was characteristic of one of the great saints of the early Church, St John Chrysostom, the patriarch of Constantinople, who experienced in his life much opposition and misunderstanding, and died in exile. According to his biographer, his constant response, whatever happened, was: "Glory to God for everything."

I am personally more comfortable with the approach of Fr Andrew than I am with the fundamentalist approach that elides historical questions altogether.  Who was it that said, in opposition to the Catholic understanding of infallibility, "Orthodoxy doesn't ask anyone to believe anything that isn't true"?   In any case, these kinds of hermeneutical questions must eventually be addressed, fully, competently, and courageously, by Orthodox theology.  

That about sums up my own feelings on the matter too.
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« Reply #143 on: June 06, 2012, 06:39:14 PM »

I am not surprised that the question of the historical accuracy of the claim that the Theotokos was raised in the Temple has been invoked in this thread.  This is a sensitive but ultimately unavoidable topic. Christianity is a historical religion.  It is therefore always appropriate to ask, Did it happen?  Modernity has posed this question in an especially acute manner regarding many of the Christian claims (the Exodus, the virginity of Mary, the resurrection of Jesus, etc.), and the the various Churches have answered in various ways.  How do we distinguish between fact and legend?  Is historical and scientific evidence irrelevant to faith?  I do not have the answers.

On 2 September 2006, the distinguished Orthodox theologian Andrew Louth published the following article in The Times:

Quote
"There is nothing untrue in the Protevangelion's joyful, inaccurate tales"

Next Friday, September 8, Christians celebrate the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. For Eastern Orthodox Christians, this is one of the 12 great feasts of the liturgical year. Like several other feasts of the Virgin, it draws its inspiration not from any of the canonical gospels, but from a late 2nd-century gospel, the so-called First Gospel of St James, the Protevangelion of St James.

This is one of the apocryphal gospels that attract perennial interest, often alleged to contain traditions of the "real truth of Christianity" and consequently to have been suppressed by the Church. The Protevangelion was not included in the canon of the Gospels, probably because of doubts about the historical accuracy of the stories it contained, which tell of the early life of the Blessed Virgin, from her conception by aged and barren parents, through her life in the temple, to her betrothal to Joseph and her giving birth, as a virgin, to the Son of God.

It is clearly a work of imagination; the meaning of the stories lies in their significance, not in their historical truth.

What is particularly striking about the Protevangelion is the way it associates the Virgin Mary with the Jewish Temple. In a wonderful scene, depicted unforgettably in the mosaic of the life of the Virgin in the inner narthex of Constantinople's Church of the Chora (Kariye Camii), the six-month-old Mary is placed by her mother, Anna, on the ground, and walks seven steps towards her mother. Anna vows that Mary will no more walk on the earth until she goes to the temple. She is presented at the temple, and lives there until the age of 12, when she is betrothed to Joseph. Later she is one of the virgins chosen to weave the cloth for the veil of the temple.

Much of this is historically implausible, but its significance lies in the fact that Mary is destined to be a living temple, in which God will dwell, and that she will weave in her womb the human nature of Christ: the flesh, called in the Epistle to the Hebrews the veil (Heb. x, 20). By her "Yes" to God, the Jewish girl Mary becomes God's dwelling place, a living temple. Or, to change the imagery, she becomes Paradise restored: as one of our Orthodox liturgical hymns puts it: "Her womb is shown to be the spiritual paradise, in which is the divine plant, eating of which we live, not like Adam who died. Christ is born, to raise up the fallen image."

Though there are many songs and hymns about the Virgin throughout Christendom, the West has often seemed to hanker after something more definite, either dismissing devotion to Mary on historical grounds, or expressing it in terms of defined dogmas: the Immaculate Conception, or the Assumption. The Christian East has remained content with celebration in song. The most famous Byzantine hymn to the Mother of God, the Akathist, cries out to her:

Hail, you through whom joy will shine out, Hail, you through whom the curse will cease.
Hail, recalling of fallen Adam, Hail, redemption of the tears of Eve.
Hail, height hard to climb for human thoughts, Hail, depth hard to scan even for angels' eyes.
Hail, for you are a throne for the King, Hail, for you carry the One who carries all.


There is perhaps a deeper reason behind the way the Christian East expresses its devotion to the Mother of God in song rather than in intricate theological definition. For song and celebration foster a fundamental attitude to the world and life of joy and thanksgiving. In contrast, one of the most insidious effects of sin, very evident in society today, is the way it leads to an approach to life characterised by suspicion, resentment and fear.

The attitude of thanksgiving was characteristic of one of the great saints of the early Church, St John Chrysostom, the patriarch of Constantinople, who experienced in his life much opposition and misunderstanding, and died in exile. According to his biographer, his constant response, whatever happened, was: "Glory to God for everything."

I am personally more comfortable with the approach of Fr Andrew than I am with the fundamentalist approach that elides historical questions altogether.  Who was it that said, in opposition to the Catholic understanding of infallibility, "Orthodoxy doesn't ask anyone to believe anything that isn't true"?   In any case, these kinds of hermeneutical questions must eventually be addressed, fully, competently, and courageously, by Orthodox theology.  

Are the Gospels more historically true that the Protoevangelium?  It would seem so from the text above.

M.
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« Reply #144 on: June 06, 2012, 06:51:42 PM »

I am not surprised that the question of the historical accuracy of the claim that the Theotokos was raised in the Temple has been invoked in this thread.  This is a sensitive but ultimately unavoidable topic. Christianity is a historical religion.  It is therefore always appropriate to ask, Did it happen?  Modernity has posed this question in an especially acute manner regarding many of the Christian claims (the Exodus, the virginity of Mary, the resurrection of Jesus, etc.), and the the various Churches have answered in various ways.  How do we distinguish between fact and legend?  Is historical and scientific evidence irrelevant to faith?  I do not have the answers.

On 2 September 2006, the distinguished Orthodox theologian Andrew Louth published the following article in The Times:

Quote
"There is nothing untrue in the Protevangelion's joyful, inaccurate tales"

Next Friday, September 8, Christians celebrate the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. For Eastern Orthodox Christians, this is one of the 12 great feasts of the liturgical year. Like several other feasts of the Virgin, it draws its inspiration not from any of the canonical gospels, but from a late 2nd-century gospel, the so-called First Gospel of St James, the Protevangelion of St James.

This is one of the apocryphal gospels that attract perennial interest, often alleged to contain traditions of the "real truth of Christianity" and consequently to have been suppressed by the Church. The Protevangelion was not included in the canon of the Gospels, probably because of doubts about the historical accuracy of the stories it contained, which tell of the early life of the Blessed Virgin, from her conception by aged and barren parents, through her life in the temple, to her betrothal to Joseph and her giving birth, as a virgin, to the Son of God.

It is clearly a work of imagination; the meaning of the stories lies in their significance, not in their historical truth.

What is particularly striking about the Protevangelion is the way it associates the Virgin Mary with the Jewish Temple. In a wonderful scene, depicted unforgettably in the mosaic of the life of the Virgin in the inner narthex of Constantinople's Church of the Chora (Kariye Camii), the six-month-old Mary is placed by her mother, Anna, on the ground, and walks seven steps towards her mother. Anna vows that Mary will no more walk on the earth until she goes to the temple. She is presented at the temple, and lives there until the age of 12, when she is betrothed to Joseph. Later she is one of the virgins chosen to weave the cloth for the veil of the temple.

Much of this is historically implausible, but its significance lies in the fact that Mary is destined to be a living temple, in which God will dwell, and that she will weave in her womb the human nature of Christ: the flesh, called in the Epistle to the Hebrews the veil (Heb. x, 20). By her "Yes" to God, the Jewish girl Mary becomes God's dwelling place, a living temple. Or, to change the imagery, she becomes Paradise restored: as one of our Orthodox liturgical hymns puts it: "Her womb is shown to be the spiritual paradise, in which is the divine plant, eating of which we live, not like Adam who died. Christ is born, to raise up the fallen image."

Though there are many songs and hymns about the Virgin throughout Christendom, the West has often seemed to hanker after something more definite, either dismissing devotion to Mary on historical grounds, or expressing it in terms of defined dogmas: the Immaculate Conception, or the Assumption. The Christian East has remained content with celebration in song. The most famous Byzantine hymn to the Mother of God, the Akathist, cries out to her:

Hail, you through whom joy will shine out, Hail, you through whom the curse will cease.
Hail, recalling of fallen Adam, Hail, redemption of the tears of Eve.
Hail, height hard to climb for human thoughts, Hail, depth hard to scan even for angels' eyes.
Hail, for you are a throne for the King, Hail, for you carry the One who carries all.


There is perhaps a deeper reason behind the way the Christian East expresses its devotion to the Mother of God in song rather than in intricate theological definition. For song and celebration foster a fundamental attitude to the world and life of joy and thanksgiving. In contrast, one of the most insidious effects of sin, very evident in society today, is the way it leads to an approach to life characterised by suspicion, resentment and fear.

The attitude of thanksgiving was characteristic of one of the great saints of the early Church, St John Chrysostom, the patriarch of Constantinople, who experienced in his life much opposition and misunderstanding, and died in exile. According to his biographer, his constant response, whatever happened, was: "Glory to God for everything."

I am personally more comfortable with the approach of Fr Andrew than I am with the fundamentalist approach that elides historical questions altogether.  Who was it that said, in opposition to the Catholic understanding of infallibility, "Orthodoxy doesn't ask anyone to believe anything that isn't true"?   In any case, these kinds of hermeneutical questions must eventually be addressed, fully, competently, and courageously, by Orthodox theology.  

Are the Gospels more historically true that the Protoevangelium?  It would seem so from the text above.

M.

If the Protoevangelium were as historically true as the Gospels, it would presumably have made it into the actual canon.
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« Reply #145 on: June 06, 2012, 06:56:55 PM »

I am not surprised that the question of the historical accuracy of the claim that the Theotokos was raised in the Temple has been invoked in this thread.  This is a sensitive but ultimately unavoidable topic. Christianity is a historical religion.  It is therefore always appropriate to ask, Did it happen?  Modernity has posed this question in an especially acute manner regarding many of the Christian claims (the Exodus, the virginity of Mary, the resurrection of Jesus, etc.), and the the various Churches have answered in various ways.  How do we distinguish between fact and legend?  Is historical and scientific evidence irrelevant to faith?  I do not have the answers.

On 2 September 2006, the distinguished Orthodox theologian Andrew Louth published the following article in The Times:

Quote
"There is nothing untrue in the Protevangelion's joyful, inaccurate tales"

Next Friday, September 8, Christians celebrate the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. For Eastern Orthodox Christians, this is one of the 12 great feasts of the liturgical year. Like several other feasts of the Virgin, it draws its inspiration not from any of the canonical gospels, but from a late 2nd-century gospel, the so-called First Gospel of St James, the Protevangelion of St James.

This is one of the apocryphal gospels that attract perennial interest, often alleged to contain traditions of the "real truth of Christianity" and consequently to have been suppressed by the Church. The Protevangelion was not included in the canon of the Gospels, probably because of doubts about the historical accuracy of the stories it contained, which tell of the early life of the Blessed Virgin, from her conception by aged and barren parents, through her life in the temple, to her betrothal to Joseph and her giving birth, as a virgin, to the Son of God.

It is clearly a work of imagination; the meaning of the stories lies in their significance, not in their historical truth.

What is particularly striking about the Protevangelion is the way it associates the Virgin Mary with the Jewish Temple. In a wonderful scene, depicted unforgettably in the mosaic of the life of the Virgin in the inner narthex of Constantinople's Church of the Chora (Kariye Camii), the six-month-old Mary is placed by her mother, Anna, on the ground, and walks seven steps towards her mother. Anna vows that Mary will no more walk on the earth until she goes to the temple. She is presented at the temple, and lives there until the age of 12, when she is betrothed to Joseph. Later she is one of the virgins chosen to weave the cloth for the veil of the temple.

Much of this is historically implausible, but its significance lies in the fact that Mary is destined to be a living temple, in which God will dwell, and that she will weave in her womb the human nature of Christ: the flesh, called in the Epistle to the Hebrews the veil (Heb. x, 20). By her "Yes" to God, the Jewish girl Mary becomes God's dwelling place, a living temple. Or, to change the imagery, she becomes Paradise restored: as one of our Orthodox liturgical hymns puts it: "Her womb is shown to be the spiritual paradise, in which is the divine plant, eating of which we live, not like Adam who died. Christ is born, to raise up the fallen image."

Though there are many songs and hymns about the Virgin throughout Christendom, the West has often seemed to hanker after something more definite, either dismissing devotion to Mary on historical grounds, or expressing it in terms of defined dogmas: the Immaculate Conception, or the Assumption. The Christian East has remained content with celebration in song. The most famous Byzantine hymn to the Mother of God, the Akathist, cries out to her:

Hail, you through whom joy will shine out, Hail, you through whom the curse will cease.
Hail, recalling of fallen Adam, Hail, redemption of the tears of Eve.
Hail, height hard to climb for human thoughts, Hail, depth hard to scan even for angels' eyes.
Hail, for you are a throne for the King, Hail, for you carry the One who carries all.


There is perhaps a deeper reason behind the way the Christian East expresses its devotion to the Mother of God in song rather than in intricate theological definition. For song and celebration foster a fundamental attitude to the world and life of joy and thanksgiving. In contrast, one of the most insidious effects of sin, very evident in society today, is the way it leads to an approach to life characterised by suspicion, resentment and fear.

The attitude of thanksgiving was characteristic of one of the great saints of the early Church, St John Chrysostom, the patriarch of Constantinople, who experienced in his life much opposition and misunderstanding, and died in exile. According to his biographer, his constant response, whatever happened, was: "Glory to God for everything."

I am personally more comfortable with the approach of Fr Andrew than I am with the fundamentalist approach that elides historical questions altogether.  Who was it that said, in opposition to the Catholic understanding of infallibility, "Orthodoxy doesn't ask anyone to believe anything that isn't true"?   In any case, these kinds of hermeneutical questions must eventually be addressed, fully, competently, and courageously, by Orthodox theology.  

Are the Gospels more historically true that the Protoevangelium?  It would seem so from the text above.

M.

I think with the gospels, they are at least more credible (or the Fathers regarded them as being so). I also get the feeling that unlike the Dormition and the Entry of the Theotokos, the historical existence of an incarnate God born of a virgin is something central to our salvation. Whether the account of His mother going into the holy of holies at the age of three and being ministered to by angels until she turned 12 is an historical fact or is supposed to reflect some sort of typology is probably less central.
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« Reply #146 on: June 06, 2012, 07:10:51 PM »

I am not surprised that the question of the historical accuracy of the claim that the Theotokos was raised in the Temple has been invoked in this thread.  This is a sensitive but ultimately unavoidable topic. Christianity is a historical religion.  It is therefore always appropriate to ask, Did it happen?  Modernity has posed this question in an especially acute manner regarding many of the Christian claims (the Exodus, the virginity of Mary, the resurrection of Jesus, etc.), and the the various Churches have answered in various ways.  How do we distinguish between fact and legend?  Is historical and scientific evidence irrelevant to faith?  I do not have the answers.

On 2 September 2006, the distinguished Orthodox theologian Andrew Louth published the following article in The Times:

Quote
"There is nothing untrue in the Protevangelion's joyful, inaccurate tales"

Next Friday, September 8, Christians celebrate the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. For Eastern Orthodox Christians, this is one of the 12 great feasts of the liturgical year. Like several other feasts of the Virgin, it draws its inspiration not from any of the canonical gospels, but from a late 2nd-century gospel, the so-called First Gospel of St James, the Protevangelion of St James.

This is one of the apocryphal gospels that attract perennial interest, often alleged to contain traditions of the "real truth of Christianity" and consequently to have been suppressed by the Church. The Protevangelion was not included in the canon of the Gospels, probably because of doubts about the historical accuracy of the stories it contained, which tell of the early life of the Blessed Virgin, from her conception by aged and barren parents, through her life in the temple, to her betrothal to Joseph and her giving birth, as a virgin, to the Son of God.

It is clearly a work of imagination; the meaning of the stories lies in their significance, not in their historical truth.

What is particularly striking about the Protevangelion is the way it associates the Virgin Mary with the Jewish Temple. In a wonderful scene, depicted unforgettably in the mosaic of the life of the Virgin in the inner narthex of Constantinople's Church of the Chora (Kariye Camii), the six-month-old Mary is placed by her mother, Anna, on the ground, and walks seven steps towards her mother. Anna vows that Mary will no more walk on the earth until she goes to the temple. She is presented at the temple, and lives there until the age of 12, when she is betrothed to Joseph. Later she is one of the virgins chosen to weave the cloth for the veil of the temple.

Much of this is historically implausible, but its significance lies in the fact that Mary is destined to be a living temple, in which God will dwell, and that she will weave in her womb the human nature of Christ: the flesh, called in the Epistle to the Hebrews the veil (Heb. x, 20). By her "Yes" to God, the Jewish girl Mary becomes God's dwelling place, a living temple. Or, to change the imagery, she becomes Paradise restored: as one of our Orthodox liturgical hymns puts it: "Her womb is shown to be the spiritual paradise, in which is the divine plant, eating of which we live, not like Adam who died. Christ is born, to raise up the fallen image."

Though there are many songs and hymns about the Virgin throughout Christendom, the West has often seemed to hanker after something more definite, either dismissing devotion to Mary on historical grounds, or expressing it in terms of defined dogmas: the Immaculate Conception, or the Assumption. The Christian East has remained content with celebration in song. The most famous Byzantine hymn to the Mother of God, the Akathist, cries out to her:

Hail, you through whom joy will shine out, Hail, you through whom the curse will cease.
Hail, recalling of fallen Adam, Hail, redemption of the tears of Eve.
Hail, height hard to climb for human thoughts, Hail, depth hard to scan even for angels' eyes.
Hail, for you are a throne for the King, Hail, for you carry the One who carries all.


There is perhaps a deeper reason behind the way the Christian East expresses its devotion to the Mother of God in song rather than in intricate theological definition. For song and celebration foster a fundamental attitude to the world and life of joy and thanksgiving. In contrast, one of the most insidious effects of sin, very evident in society today, is the way it leads to an approach to life characterised by suspicion, resentment and fear.

The attitude of thanksgiving was characteristic of one of the great saints of the early Church, St John Chrysostom, the patriarch of Constantinople, who experienced in his life much opposition and misunderstanding, and died in exile. According to his biographer, his constant response, whatever happened, was: "Glory to God for everything."

I am personally more comfortable with the approach of Fr Andrew than I am with the fundamentalist approach that elides historical questions altogether.  Who was it that said, in opposition to the Catholic understanding of infallibility, "Orthodoxy doesn't ask anyone to believe anything that isn't true"?   In any case, these kinds of hermeneutical questions must eventually be addressed, fully, competently, and courageously, by Orthodox theology.  

Are the Gospels more historically true that the Protoevangelium?  It would seem so from the text above.

M.

I think with the gospels, they are at least more credible (or the Fathers regarded them as being so). I also get the feeling that unlike the Dormition and the Entry of the Theotokos, the historical existence of an incarnate God born of a virgin is something central to our salvation. Whether the account of His mother going into the holy of holies at the age of three and being ministered to by angels until she turned 12 is an historical fact or is supposed to reflect some sort of typology is probably less central.

This is not the question I am asking.  Witega answered the question directly.  He says that the Gospels must be more historically true because they made it into the Canon and the Protoevangelium did not.

What evidence is there that the Gospels are historically true?

C'mon...the Jesus Seminar is not ancient history.

You are telling me that the Feast of the Entrance into the Temple is exempt from lex orandi because it is not historically true. [You...generic here...not anyone in particular: but rather than deal with the text we are now dealing with the historical critical method of assessing the what?...accuracy of something?...it's truth value?...etc.  To me it looks like a slide...or it is telling me that lex orandi only applies to those texts that are more palatable than others.]

Back it up with evidence or admit that liturgically the feast is quite open to lex orandi.

M.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2012, 07:22:57 PM by elijahmaria » Logged

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« Reply #147 on: June 06, 2012, 07:54:12 PM »

I am not surprised that the question of the historical accuracy of the claim that the Theotokos was raised in the Temple has been invoked in this thread.  This is a sensitive but ultimately unavoidable topic. Christianity is a historical religion.  It is therefore always appropriate to ask, Did it happen?  Modernity has posed this question in an especially acute manner regarding many of the Christian claims (the Exodus, the virginity of Mary, the resurrection of Jesus, etc.), and the the various Churches have answered in various ways.  How do we distinguish between fact and legend?  Is historical and scientific evidence irrelevant to faith?  I do not have the answers.

On 2 September 2006, the distinguished Orthodox theologian Andrew Louth published the following article in The Times:

Quote
"There is nothing untrue in the Protevangelion's joyful, inaccurate tales"

Next Friday, September 8, Christians celebrate the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. For Eastern Orthodox Christians, this is one of the 12 great feasts of the liturgical year. Like several other feasts of the Virgin, it draws its inspiration not from any of the canonical gospels, but from a late 2nd-century gospel, the so-called First Gospel of St James, the Protevangelion of St James.

This is one of the apocryphal gospels that attract perennial interest, often alleged to contain traditions of the "real truth of Christianity" and consequently to have been suppressed by the Church. The Protevangelion was not included in the canon of the Gospels, probably because of doubts about the historical accuracy of the stories it contained, which tell of the early life of the Blessed Virgin, from her conception by aged and barren parents, through her life in the temple, to her betrothal to Joseph and her giving birth, as a virgin, to the Son of God.

It is clearly a work of imagination; the meaning of the stories lies in their significance, not in their historical truth.

What is particularly striking about the Protevangelion is the way it associates the Virgin Mary with the Jewish Temple. In a wonderful scene, depicted unforgettably in the mosaic of the life of the Virgin in the inner narthex of Constantinople's Church of the Chora (Kariye Camii), the six-month-old Mary is placed by her mother, Anna, on the ground, and walks seven steps towards her mother. Anna vows that Mary will no more walk on the earth until she goes to the temple. She is presented at the temple, and lives there until the age of 12, when she is betrothed to Joseph. Later she is one of the virgins chosen to weave the cloth for the veil of the temple.

Much of this is historically implausible, but its significance lies in the fact that Mary is destined to be a living temple, in which God will dwell, and that she will weave in her womb the human nature of Christ: the flesh, called in the Epistle to the Hebrews the veil (Heb. x, 20). By her "Yes" to God, the Jewish girl Mary becomes God's dwelling place, a living temple. Or, to change the imagery, she becomes Paradise restored: as one of our Orthodox liturgical hymns puts it: "Her womb is shown to be the spiritual paradise, in which is the divine plant, eating of which we live, not like Adam who died. Christ is born, to raise up the fallen image."

Though there are many songs and hymns about the Virgin throughout Christendom, the West has often seemed to hanker after something more definite, either dismissing devotion to Mary on historical grounds, or expressing it in terms of defined dogmas: the Immaculate Conception, or the Assumption. The Christian East has remained content with celebration in song. The most famous Byzantine hymn to the Mother of God, the Akathist, cries out to her:

Hail, you through whom joy will shine out, Hail, you through whom the curse will cease.
Hail, recalling of fallen Adam, Hail, redemption of the tears of Eve.
Hail, height hard to climb for human thoughts, Hail, depth hard to scan even for angels' eyes.
Hail, for you are a throne for the King, Hail, for you carry the One who carries all.


There is perhaps a deeper reason behind the way the Christian East expresses its devotion to the Mother of God in song rather than in intricate theological definition. For song and celebration foster a fundamental attitude to the world and life of joy and thanksgiving. In contrast, one of the most insidious effects of sin, very evident in society today, is the way it leads to an approach to life characterised by suspicion, resentment and fear.

The attitude of thanksgiving was characteristic of one of the great saints of the early Church, St John Chrysostom, the patriarch of Constantinople, who experienced in his life much opposition and misunderstanding, and died in exile. According to his biographer, his constant response, whatever happened, was: "Glory to God for everything."

I am personally more comfortable with the approach of Fr Andrew than I am with the fundamentalist approach that elides historical questions altogether.  Who was it that said, in opposition to the Catholic understanding of infallibility, "Orthodoxy doesn't ask anyone to believe anything that isn't true"?   In any case, these kinds of hermeneutical questions must eventually be addressed, fully, competently, and courageously, by Orthodox theology.   

Are the Gospels more historically true that the Protoevangelium?  It would seem so from the text above.

M.

I think with the gospels, they are at least more credible (or the Fathers regarded them as being so). I also get the feeling that unlike the Dormition and the Entry of the Theotokos, the historical existence of an incarnate God born of a virgin is something central to our salvation. Whether the account of His mother going into the holy of holies at the age of three and being ministered to by angels until she turned 12 is an historical fact or is supposed to reflect some sort of typology is probably less central.

This is not the question I am asking.  Witega answered the question directly.  He says that the Gospels must be more historically true because they made it into the Canon and the Protoevangelium did not.

What evidence is there that the Gospels are historically true?

C'mon...the Jesus Seminar is not ancient history.

You are telling me that the Feast of the Entrance into the Temple is exempt from lex orandi because it is not historically true. [You...generic here...not anyone in particular: but rather than deal with the text we are now dealing with the historical critical method of assessing the what?...accuracy of something?...it's truth value?...etc.  To me it looks like a slide...or it is telling me that lex orandi only applies to those texts that are more palatable than others.]

Back it up with evidence or admit that liturgically the feast is quite open to lex orandi.

M.

Mary, you made the assertion that the liturgical text proves the Immaculate Conception. The burden of proof falls upon you to demonstrate that interpreting the text as an historical account is justifiable. You should know well enough that shifting the burden of proof upon the skeptic is a fallacy.

That being said, I never said that the doubts surrounding the historical truth of the Entrance into the Temple disqualified that particular feast from the rule of lex orandi lex credendi (I am curious where you got this particular false dilemma from). Truth is not correspondence, and not every single liturgical hymn was meant to be read as an historical account. What I mean to say is that we must take these factors into consideration when we are deciding how to interpret a text and extract its meaning. Just as an icon is not made true by its accuracy to the physical form of the person depicted (otherwise, we would venerate photographs of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco in lieu of icons), a liturgical or Scriptural text is not necessarily made true by its historical accuracy.

If the truth of the feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos is to be found in the typology of the Theotokos as the archetype of the Old Temple, then it is hard to say that the texts describing her as being pure and immaculate must necessarily support the Immaculate Conception. Even if we are to admit your fallacious attempt to shift the burden of proof on me, and acknowledge without any demonstration that interpreting the text as an historical text is justifiable, it still offers poor support for the Immaculate Conception, just as St. Cyril's affirmation of one incarnate nature of the word offers poor support for Eutychianism. There is a big jump to make between 'immaculate' and 'free of the stain of Original sin, meaning the state of spiritual separation from God present at the moment of biological conception.'
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« Reply #148 on: June 06, 2012, 08:00:03 PM »

I am not surprised that the question of the historical accuracy of the claim that the Theotokos was raised in the Temple has been invoked in this thread.  This is a sensitive but ultimately unavoidable topic. Christianity is a historical religion.  It is therefore always appropriate to ask, Did it happen?  Modernity has posed this question in an especially acute manner regarding many of the Christian claims (the Exodus, the virginity of Mary, the resurrection of Jesus, etc.), and the the various Churches have answered in various ways.  How do we distinguish between fact and legend?  Is historical and scientific evidence irrelevant to faith?  I do not have the answers.

On 2 September 2006, the distinguished Orthodox theologian Andrew Louth published the following article in The Times:

Quote
"There is nothing untrue in the Protevangelion's joyful, inaccurate tales"

Next Friday, September 8, Christians celebrate the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. For Eastern Orthodox Christians, this is one of the 12 great feasts of the liturgical year. Like several other feasts of the Virgin, it draws its inspiration not from any of the canonical gospels, but from a late 2nd-century gospel, the so-called First Gospel of St James, the Protevangelion of St James.

This is one of the apocryphal gospels that attract perennial interest, often alleged to contain traditions of the "real truth of Christianity" and consequently to have been suppressed by the Church. The Protevangelion was not included in the canon of the Gospels, probably because of doubts about the historical accuracy of the stories it contained, which tell of the early life of the Blessed Virgin, from her conception by aged and barren parents, through her life in the temple, to her betrothal to Joseph and her giving birth, as a virgin, to the Son of God.

It is clearly a work of imagination; the meaning of the stories lies in their significance, not in their historical truth.

What is particularly striking about the Protevangelion is the way it associates the Virgin Mary with the Jewish Temple. In a wonderful scene, depicted unforgettably in the mosaic of the life of the Virgin in the inner narthex of Constantinople's Church of the Chora (Kariye Camii), the six-month-old Mary is placed by her mother, Anna, on the ground, and walks seven steps towards her mother. Anna vows that Mary will no more walk on the earth until she goes to the temple. She is presented at the temple, and lives there until the age of 12, when she is betrothed to Joseph. Later she is one of the virgins chosen to weave the cloth for the veil of the temple.

Much of this is historically implausible, but its significance lies in the fact that Mary is destined to be a living temple, in which God will dwell, and that she will weave in her womb the human nature of Christ: the flesh, called in the Epistle to the Hebrews the veil (Heb. x, 20). By her "Yes" to God, the Jewish girl Mary becomes God's dwelling place, a living temple. Or, to change the imagery, she becomes Paradise restored: as one of our Orthodox liturgical hymns puts it: "Her womb is shown to be the spiritual paradise, in which is the divine plant, eating of which we live, not like Adam who died. Christ is born, to raise up the fallen image."

Though there are many songs and hymns about the Virgin throughout Christendom, the West has often seemed to hanker after something more definite, either dismissing devotion to Mary on historical grounds, or expressing it in terms of defined dogmas: the Immaculate Conception, or the Assumption. The Christian East has remained content with celebration in song. The most famous Byzantine hymn to the Mother of God, the Akathist, cries out to her:

Hail, you through whom joy will shine out, Hail, you through whom the curse will cease.
Hail, recalling of fallen Adam, Hail, redemption of the tears of Eve.
Hail, height hard to climb for human thoughts, Hail, depth hard to scan even for angels' eyes.
Hail, for you are a throne for the King, Hail, for you carry the One who carries all.


There is perhaps a deeper reason behind the way the Christian East expresses its devotion to the Mother of God in song rather than in intricate theological definition. For song and celebration foster a fundamental attitude to the world and life of joy and thanksgiving. In contrast, one of the most insidious effects of sin, very evident in society today, is the way it leads to an approach to life characterised by suspicion, resentment and fear.

The attitude of thanksgiving was characteristic of one of the great saints of the early Church, St John Chrysostom, the patriarch of Constantinople, who experienced in his life much opposition and misunderstanding, and died in exile. According to his biographer, his constant response, whatever happened, was: "Glory to God for everything."

I am personally more comfortable with the approach of Fr Andrew than I am with the fundamentalist approach that elides historical questions altogether.  Who was it that said, in opposition to the Catholic understanding of infallibility, "Orthodoxy doesn't ask anyone to believe anything that isn't true"?   In any case, these kinds of hermeneutical questions must eventually be addressed, fully, competently, and courageously, by Orthodox theology.  

Are the Gospels more historically true that the Protoevangelium?  It would seem so from the text above.

M.

I think with the gospels, they are at least more credible (or the Fathers regarded them as being so). I also get the feeling that unlike the Dormition and the Entry of the Theotokos, the historical existence of an incarnate God born of a virgin is something central to our salvation. Whether the account of His mother going into the holy of holies at the age of three and being ministered to by angels until she turned 12 is an historical fact or is supposed to reflect some sort of typology is probably less central.

This is not the question I am asking.  Witega answered the question directly.  He says that the Gospels must be more historically true because they made it into the Canon and the Protoevangelium did not.

What evidence is there that the Gospels are historically true?

C'mon...the Jesus Seminar is not ancient history.

You are telling me that the Feast of the Entrance into the Temple is exempt from lex orandi because it is not historically true. [You...generic here...not anyone in particular: but rather than deal with the text we are now dealing with the historical critical method of assessing the what?...accuracy of something?...it's truth value?...etc.  To me it looks like a slide...or it is telling me that lex orandi only applies to those texts that are more palatable than others.]

Back it up with evidence or admit that liturgically the feast is quite open to lex orandi.

M.
So we have to insist on the specific existence of a pharisee and a publican who actually went to the Temple at the same time, otherwise the Sunday of the Pharisee and Publican make no sense?  Because we sing the hymns of Judgement Sunday, the Last Judgement has now become subject to history, and historical scrutiny?  The hymns of the Annuciation record verbatum the dialogue between Gabriel and the Holy Theotokos?  St. Paul was present with the other Apostles-despite what the Book of Acts records-because he is in the icon with them? Christ really has a orb around His head with a Cross in it with "I AM" written (in what language?)?  St. John the Forerunner preached in the desert with a bowl with his head in it at his feet? And with wings?

Interesting the applications that lex orandi can be put to. Roll Eyes
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« Reply #149 on: June 06, 2012, 08:01:45 PM »

I am not surprised that the question of the historical accuracy of the claim that the Theotokos was raised in the Temple has been invoked in this thread.  This is a sensitive but ultimately unavoidable topic. Christianity is a historical religion.  It is therefore always appropriate to ask, Did it happen?  Modernity has posed this question in an especially acute manner regarding many of the Christian claims (the Exodus, the virginity of Mary, the resurrection of Jesus, etc.), and the the various Churches have answered in various ways.  How do we distinguish between fact and legend?  Is historical and scientific evidence irrelevant to faith?  I do not have the answers.

On 2 September 2006, the distinguished Orthodox theologian Andrew Louth published the following article in The Times:

Quote
"There is nothing untrue in the Protevangelion's joyful, inaccurate tales"

Next Friday, September 8, Christians celebrate the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. For Eastern Orthodox Christians, this is one of the 12 great feasts of the liturgical year. Like several other feasts of the Virgin, it draws its inspiration not from any of the canonical gospels, but from a late 2nd-century gospel, the so-called First Gospel of St James, the Protevangelion of St James.

This is one of the apocryphal gospels that attract perennial interest, often alleged to contain traditions of the "real truth of Christianity" and consequently to have been suppressed by the Church. The Protevangelion was not included in the canon of the Gospels, probably because of doubts about the historical accuracy of the stories it contained, which tell of the early life of the Blessed Virgin, from her conception by aged and barren parents, through her life in the temple, to her betrothal to Joseph and her giving birth, as a virgin, to the Son of God.

It is clearly a work of imagination; the meaning of the stories lies in their significance, not in their historical truth.

What is particularly striking about the Protevangelion is the way it associates the Virgin Mary with the Jewish Temple. In a wonderful scene, depicted unforgettably in the mosaic of the life of the Virgin in the inner narthex of Constantinople's Church of the Chora (Kariye Camii), the six-month-old Mary is placed by her mother, Anna, on the ground, and walks seven steps towards her mother. Anna vows that Mary will no more walk on the earth until she goes to the temple. She is presented at the temple, and lives there until the age of 12, when she is betrothed to Joseph. Later she is one of the virgins chosen to weave the cloth for the veil of the temple.

Much of this is historically implausible, but its significance lies in the fact that Mary is destined to be a living temple, in which God will dwell, and that she will weave in her womb the human nature of Christ: the flesh, called in the Epistle to the Hebrews the veil (Heb. x, 20). By her "Yes" to God, the Jewish girl Mary becomes God's dwelling place, a living temple. Or, to change the imagery, she becomes Paradise restored: as one of our Orthodox liturgical hymns puts it: "Her womb is shown to be the spiritual paradise, in which is the divine plant, eating of which we live, not like Adam who died. Christ is born, to raise up the fallen image."

Though there are many songs and hymns about the Virgin throughout Christendom, the West has often seemed to hanker after something more definite, either dismissing devotion to Mary on historical grounds, or expressing it in terms of defined dogmas: the Immaculate Conception, or the Assumption. The Christian East has remained content with celebration in song. The most famous Byzantine hymn to the Mother of God, the Akathist, cries out to her:

Hail, you through whom joy will shine out, Hail, you through whom the curse will cease.
Hail, recalling of fallen Adam, Hail, redemption of the tears of Eve.
Hail, height hard to climb for human thoughts, Hail, depth hard to scan even for angels' eyes.
Hail, for you are a throne for the King, Hail, for you carry the One who carries all.


There is perhaps a deeper reason behind the way the Christian East expresses its devotion to the Mother of God in song rather than in intricate theological definition. For song and celebration foster a fundamental attitude to the world and life of joy and thanksgiving. In contrast, one of the most insidious effects of sin, very evident in society today, is the way it leads to an approach to life characterised by suspicion, resentment and fear.

The attitude of thanksgiving was characteristic of one of the great saints of the early Church, St John Chrysostom, the patriarch of Constantinople, who experienced in his life much opposition and misunderstanding, and died in exile. According to his biographer, his constant response, whatever happened, was: "Glory to God for everything."

I am personally more comfortable with the approach of Fr Andrew than I am with the fundamentalist approach that elides historical questions altogether.  Who was it that said, in opposition to the Catholic understanding of infallibility, "Orthodoxy doesn't ask anyone to believe anything that isn't true"?   In any case, these kinds of hermeneutical questions must eventually be addressed, fully, competently, and courageously, by Orthodox theology.   

Are the Gospels more historically true that the Protoevangelium?  It would seem so from the text above.

M.

I think with the gospels, they are at least more credible (or the Fathers regarded them as being so). I also get the feeling that unlike the Dormition and the Entry of the Theotokos, the historical existence of an incarnate God born of a virgin is something central to our salvation. Whether the account of His mother going into the holy of holies at the age of three and being ministered to by angels until she turned 12 is an historical fact or is supposed to reflect some sort of typology is probably less central.

This is not the question I am asking.  Witega answered the question directly.  He says that the Gospels must be more historically true because they made it into the Canon and the Protoevangelium did not.

What evidence is there that the Gospels are historically true?

C'mon...the Jesus Seminar is not ancient history.

You are telling me that the Feast of the Entrance into the Temple is exempt from lex orandi because it is not historically true. [You...generic here...not anyone in particular: but rather than deal with the text we are now dealing with the historical critical method of assessing the what?...accuracy of something?...it's truth value?...etc.  To me it looks like a slide...or it is telling me that lex orandi only applies to those texts that are more palatable than others.]

Back it up with evidence or admit that liturgically the feast is quite open to lex orandi.

M.

Mary, you made the assertion that the liturgical text proves the Immaculate Conception. The burden of proof falls upon you to demonstrate that interpreting the text as an historical account is justifiable. You should know well enough that shifting the burden of proof upon the skeptic is a fallacy.

That being said, I never said that the doubts surrounding the historical truth of the Entrance into the Temple disqualified that particular feast from the rule of lex orandi lex credendi (I am curious where you got this particular false dilemma from). Truth is not correspondence, and not every single liturgical hymn was meant to be read as an historical account. What I mean to say is that we must take these factors into consideration when we are deciding how to interpret a text and extract its meaning. Just as an icon is not made true by its accuracy to the physical form of the person depicted (otherwise, we would venerate photographs of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco in lieu of icons), a liturgical or Scriptural text is not necessarily made true by its historical accuracy.

If the truth of the feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos is to be found in the typology of the Theotokos as the archetype of the Old Temple, then it is hard to say that the texts describing her as being pure and immaculate must necessarily support the Immaculate Conception. Even if we are to admit your fallacious attempt to shift the burden of proof on me, and acknowledge without any demonstration that interpreting the text as an historical text is justifiable, it still offers poor support for the Immaculate Conception, just as St. Cyril's affirmation of one incarnate nature of the word offers poor support for Eutychianism. There is a big jump to make between 'immaculate' and 'free of the stain of Original sin, meaning the state of spiritual separation from God present at the moment of biological conception.'

In all of the time that I've presented these texts I have NEVER EVER EVER said that they "prove" the Immaculate Conception.  So please go over your response with that fact in mind.
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« Reply #150 on: June 06, 2012, 08:05:03 PM »



 Even if we are to admit your fallacious attempt to shift the burden of proof on me, and acknowledge without any demonstration that interpreting the text as an historical text is justifiable...

Please note that I made an especial effort to go back into my note and say EXPLICITLY that the YOU in my note did not belong at all to YOU specifically...I did do that.  It's on the record.
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« Reply #151 on: June 06, 2012, 08:09:52 PM »

Several times in the text that I presented for the Feast of the Presentation of the Theotokos there is reference to her having no "spot" and no "stain" of sin...AND...no sin in her body...at the age of three I doubt the latter is a reference to her Virginity.

IF IF IF those texts are derived from references in the Holy Fathers to "spot" and "stain" when talking about sin then one might reasonably surmise that they are ALSO references to no spot or stain of original sin.

The reference to the spot or stain of original sin began with the Holy Fathers and NOT in the west.

There are other things that are strong markers indicating that Virgin was never touched by sin on her  person...And then one may presume that would be since the time of her becoming a person. 

Frankly I don't really give a rat's toot what you call it.

I call it free from all stain of sin...different from all others of her kind...as the hymns say.
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« Reply #152 on: June 06, 2012, 08:12:38 PM »

In all of the time that I've presented these texts I have NEVER EVER EVER said that they "prove" the Immaculate Conception.  So please go over your response with that fact in mind.


Very well, but then what was your purpose in posting that text? Were you trying to ask how we can understand that text if we deny the IC? If so, then I think you got your answer, so there's no real point in disputing it any further. Were you trying to demonstrate that the IC is a justifiable belief within Orthodoxy? Then I wouldn't disagree with you, except for the objection that if the belief is acceptable within Orthodoxy, then there is not need for you to raise any dispute over it. So what exactly was your purpose in posting that text?
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« Reply #153 on: June 06, 2012, 08:14:49 PM »

In all of the time that I've presented these texts I have NEVER EVER EVER said that they "prove" the Immaculate Conception.  So please go over your response with that fact in mind.


Very well, but then what was your purpose in posting that text? Were you trying to ask how we can understand that text if we deny the IC? If so, then I think you got your answer, so there's no real point in disputing it any further. Were you trying to demonstrate that the IC is a justifiable belief within Orthodoxy? Then I wouldn't disagree with you, except for the objection that if the belief is acceptable within Orthodoxy, then there is not need for you to raise any dispute over it. So what exactly was your purpose in posting that text?

what?  Is there a straight line that we can follow to get to the same message.  See my note above...in any event.
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« Reply #154 on: June 06, 2012, 08:22:37 PM »

In all of the time that I've presented these texts I have NEVER EVER EVER said that they "prove" the Immaculate Conception.  So please go over your response with that fact in mind.


Very well, but then what was your purpose in posting that text? Were you trying to ask how we can understand that text if we deny the IC? If so, then I think you got your answer, so there's no real point in disputing it any further. Were you trying to demonstrate that the IC is a justifiable belief within Orthodoxy? Then I wouldn't disagree with you, except for the objection that if the belief is acceptable within Orthodoxy, then there is not need for you to raise any dispute over it. So what exactly was your purpose in posting that text?

what?  Is there a straight line that we can follow to get to the same message.  See my note above...in any event.

So what were you attempting to demonstrate by posting that liturgical text? If you are attempting to demonstrate the truth of the IC, then I can hardly see how you are not attempting to use the hymnography of the feast of the Entry of the Theotokos as evidence for the IC.
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« Reply #155 on: June 06, 2012, 08:23:42 PM »

With respect to the quoted text:  One of the major objections raised among some Orthodox who speak out against the Immaculate Conception is that the teaching makes the Mother of God different from all other human beings.  

Yet right there in a liturgical text is the clear assertion that she is in fact unique and not like the rest of us...

These are the points I am trying to raise.  The very arguments you make are refuted by your own liturgical hymns.

YOU BEING GENERIC HERE
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« Reply #156 on: June 06, 2012, 08:29:02 PM »

In all of the time that I've presented these texts I have NEVER EVER EVER said that they "prove" the Immaculate Conception.  So please go over your response with that fact in mind.


Very well, but then what was your purpose in posting that text? Were you trying to ask how we can understand that text if we deny the IC? If so, then I think you got your answer, so there's no real point in disputing it any further. Were you trying to demonstrate that the IC is a justifiable belief within Orthodoxy? Then I wouldn't disagree with you, except for the objection that if the belief is acceptable within Orthodoxy, then there is not need for you to raise any dispute over it. So what exactly was your purpose in posting that text?

what?  Is there a straight line that we can follow to get to the same message.  See my note above...in any event.

So what were you attempting to demonstrate by posting that liturgical text? If you are attempting to demonstrate the truth of the IC, then I can hardly see how you are not attempting to use the hymnography of the feast of the Entry of the Theotokos as evidence for the IC.

I am specifically trying to point out that even if you cannot get patristic consensus out of some of the statements of the Holy Fathers concerning the ever-sinlessness of the Virgin:  Orthodox liturgical hymnography actually weakens most of the standard arguments used against the so-called Immaculate Deception.

So if the hymns of that feast do not PROVE an Immaculate Conception they certainly do make it more difficult to argue against.

Believing that the Mother of God has never been touched by sin of any kind is a matter of faith, and a matter of choice in which of the Fathers to be best suited to make the claims as to her personal state of being human.  I will spend my time with those who stress the uniqueness of her sinlessness.  But that is a choice that I make...in faith...not by rational argumentation.  I am happy always to sing the Hymns of the Feast of the Presentation.

 Smiley

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« Reply #157 on: June 06, 2012, 08:29:25 PM »

I call it free from all stain of sin...different from all others of her kind...as the hymns say.

What is that even supposed to mean? I presume you are not saying that she was not consubstantial with us--which would land you in thoroughly condemned Eutychian territory. So if she's consubstantial with us then that means there are certain things she shares with every other human, and certain things in which she is different from all others of her kind--which is true of every human individual and doesn't take us anywhere theologically.
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« Reply #158 on: June 06, 2012, 08:31:29 PM »

I call it free from all stain of sin...different from all others of her kind...as the hymns say.

What is that even supposed to mean? I presume you are not saying that she was not consubstantial with us--which would land you in thoroughly condemned Eutychian territory. So if she's consubstantial with us then that means there are certain things she shares with every other human, and certain things in which she is different from all others of her kind--which is true of every human individual and doesn't take us anywhere theologically.

It is your set of liturgical hymns.  You worry with it. 

I am just a simple woman who prays.
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« Reply #159 on: June 06, 2012, 08:32:59 PM »

My issue has always been with the IC:  "why stop there"?  If the blemish or stain or any other such word of original sin (or whatever you would like to call it) affected Christ b/c it affected the Virgin Mary, and so we can't have that, so we make the Theotokos without sin....then why stop there?  

Perhaps i'm being too simplistic, but I know I need an answer to that question before I can move on with any kind of more intense conversation.  
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« Reply #160 on: June 06, 2012, 08:34:34 PM »

Several times in the text that I presented for the Feast of the Presentation of the Theotokos there is reference to her having no "spot"