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Catholic Analysis: Mariology is Biblical
Vivificat! - A Catholic Blog of Commentary and Opinion ^ | 27 December 2005 | Teˇfilo

Posted on 12/27/2005 8:38:08 AM PST by Teˇfilo

Folks, my blogger colleague, Oswald Sobrino of Catholic Analysis, has written a good essay regarding "Mariology," that is, the theological study and liturgical recognition of the place of Mary, the Mother of the Lord, the Theotokos, in the economy of salvation. It is entitled Mariology is Biblical. Here's an extract:

Mater Ter Admirabilis - SchoenstattOne of the great stumbling blocks for our Protestant brethren who are on the verge of crossing the Tiber, i.e., entering into full communion with the Catholic Church, is the great attention paid to the Mother of Jesus by Catholics. This hesitation is understandable: Protestantism is a reaction against Catholicism, and one of the reactions has been, historically, to exile the Mother of Jesus from salvation history. In recent times, some Protestants have sought to correct this strange exile of the Mother of God by looking back to the writings of the Church Fathers and to the early ecumenical councils, especially the fifth century Council of Ephesus. Yet, even Catholics can have a hard time responding to the insistent Protestant plea that to venerate Mary is to somehow detract from the one Mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:5).

...

The crux of the matter is that Mary's extraordinary mediation as Mother of Jesus derives from and is included in the unique mediatorship of Christ himself. What we ask our Protestant brethren to consider prayerfully, and, yes, quite biblically, is that the mediatorship of Christ is inclusive and admits of and even insists upon our participation. If we participate, as Paul did, then certainly the one whom the ecumenical Council of Ephesus termed the "Mother of God" or "God-bearer" in 431 A.D. does also. Interestingly, today, even some conservative evangelical Protestant scholars openly refer to Mary as "Mother of God" based on the significance they ascribe to the Council of Ephesus. They are discovering the riches of the faith preserved for them through the centuries preceding the Reformation by none other than the Catholic Church.

- I urge all of you to read the entire piece at Catholic Analysis.


TOPICS:
KEYWORDS: mariology; prayingatajewishmama; theotokos; virginmary
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To: P-Marlowe

>>I think this would be a good thread to avoid.<<

Wow, We Anti-Catholic Troll Hunters have been saying this for years.

Please avoid all threads that have the words, "Mary", "Pope" or "Rosary" in the title. Do us all a favor.


61 posted on 12/27/2005 6:37:50 PM PST by netmilsmom (God blessed me with a wonderful husband.)
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To: netmilsmom; Buggman; xzins
Wow, We Anti-Catholic Troll Hunters have been saying this for years. Please avoid all threads that have the words, "Mary", "Pope" or "Rosary" in the title. Do us all a favor.

Well if you are going to blatantly accuse me of being an anti-Catholic Troll, then I think I might just stick around. The fact of the matter is that this thread was posted as an anti-Protestant (please cross the Tiber you Protestant heretics) flame bait thread. That is why I suggested that Buggman should avoid it.

The fact of the matter is that the extrabiblical practice of Mariology and Marian Worship is a darn good reason why Protestants clearly ought not to cross the Tiber, as it is so close to idolatry that one cannot objectively tell the difference -- if there is any difference.

There is no scriptural authority for Marian Worship and unless and until the Pope either changes the Bible or eliminates the practice, then I guess there never will be.

Give em scripture Buggman.

62 posted on 12/27/2005 6:54:05 PM PST by P-Marlowe
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To: P-Marlowe

>> Well if you are going to blatantly accuse me of being an anti-Catholic Troll....<<

No my FRiend, I am an Anti-Catholic Troll Hunter. Look at my homepage. I was refering to that.

And yes, I will call someone an Anti-Catholic Troll, but I don't remember calling you one.


63 posted on 12/27/2005 6:58:36 PM PST by netmilsmom (God blessed me with a wonderful husband.)
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To: netmilsmom
And yes, I will call someone an Anti-Catholic Troll, but I don't remember calling you one.

Then who were you referring to when you suggested that I avoid all threads with the words Mary, Pope and Rosary?

64 posted on 12/27/2005 7:14:22 PM PST by P-Marlowe
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 63 | View Replies]

To: Buggman; NYer; netmilsmom
http://www.cathinsight.com/apologetics/mother_of_god.htm

Mary is the Mother of God
Answering the Challenges of James McCarthy and Eric Svendsen  
by MARIO DERKSEN
 
 

Protestants do not like to refer to Mary as the Mother of God. They believe it elevates Mary too much. They say Mary is only the Mother of Jesus. In his anti-Catholic book The Gospel According to Rome, James McCarthy notes:
 

    The Bible...never calls Mary the Mother of God for a very simple reason:
    God has no mother. As someone has rightly said, just as Christ’s human nature had
    no father, so His divine nature had no mother. [1]

There is some truth in this statement. By calling Mary the Mother of God, we make it clear that Jesus is fully divine, and this first of all elevates Jesus! The fact alone that God has chosen a woman to be the Mother of His only Son, who is divine, already elevates Mary to a status that no human being could transgress by simply venerating her (of course we may not adore her!). After all, Jesus drew His humanity from Mary. Christ was Mary’s real son; He was her child!

Jesus Christ is God. Women who give flesh to and bear people are called mothers. If the person a woman gives flesh to and bears is God, then, consequently, that woman is the mother of God. It’s that simple. Mr. McCarthy claims that Jesus’ divine nature had no mother. This is true, of course, but the Church does not teach otherwise. We say that Mary is the Mother of God; mothers are not mothers of natures, but of persons, and Jesus was a divine person who took on a human nature. We may explain it this way: "Was your mother the mother of your human nature? No, she was the mother of you. It is a person who is conceived and born, not a nature [only]. What person was born of Mary? A divine Person only – not a human person – but a divine Person who took on human nature. The one born of Mary ‘shall be called the son of God’ (Lk 1:35), and ‘God sent his son, made of a woman’ (Gal 4:4)" (Karl Keating, Catholicism and Fundamentalism [San Francisco: Ignatius, 1988], p. 277).

So if we do believe that Jesus is God, and that ever since He became incarnate He has had a human and a divine nature united in one person --namely, a divine person--, which many Protestants do believe, then we must conclude that Mary is the Mother of God. There is no way out. Even Martin Luther used and defended the title “Mother of God.” [3]

Beyond all that, we can prove Mary being the Mother of God very simply by using deductive logic. Let us say that a=Mary, b=Jesus, and c=God; the symbol ----> represents "gives birth to." Our syllogism then looks like this:
 

      a ----> b
      b = c
 
    Translation for the philosophically challenged:
    a bears b  (we all agree)
    b is c  (we all agree)
    therefore, a bears c
The entire issue, then, is proven by simple deductive logic. Protestants try to hold fast to their belief that Mary is not the Mother of God against sound reasoning.

Lately, an evangelical by the name of Eric Svendsen has made a fresh attempt to discredit all evidence for the divine motherhood of Mary.

Svendsen argues that the titles "God-bearer" and "Mother of God" are not the same and imply something different. Catholics, so he says, are wrong to equate theotokos with meter theou, "God-bearer" with "Mother of God." Mr. Svendsen claims that neither the Council of Chalcedon nor that of Ephesus used the title "Mother of God" but merely the title "God-bearer" (theotokos in Greek). We will have to disappoint Mr. Svendsen with the facts:

 

Council of Ephesus (431)
Canon 1: "If anyone does not confess that God is truly Emmanuel, and that on this account the Holy Virgin is the Mother of God (for according to the flesh she gave birth to the Word of God become flesh by birth), let him be anathema." (Denzinger #113, emphasis added)

Council of Chalcedon (451)
"We all teach that with one accord we confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, ... indeed born of the Father before the ages according to divine nature, but in the last days the same born of the virgin Mary, Mother of God according to human nature...." (Denzinger #148; emphasis added)

Well, if the two councils had been in the late 20th century, I would agree with Svendsen that "God-bearer" differs from "Mother of God," since nowadays someone who merely "bears" someone else is, alas, not necessarily his mother. Unfortunately there is such a thing as surrogate motherhood now, after all. However, the Christians of the 5th century did not know that it was theoretically possible to bear someone and yet not to be this person's mother. That would have been unthinkable. It is an affront against proper order and morality. And for this reason I reject Mr. Svendsen's assertion that "God-bearer" in the 5th century differs from "Mother of God." Furthermore, in the 6th century, we have the Second Council of Constantinople exclaim:

Second Council of Constantinople (553)
Canon 6: "If anyone says that the holy glorious ever-virgin Mary is falsely but not truly the Mother of God...let such a one be anathema" (Denzinger #218; emphasis added)

And all of this happened 1,000 years before the Reformation. It says a lot if the Christians of the 6th century were full-blooded Catholics.

However, for the sake of argument, I will grant Svendsen this difference between God-bearer and God-mother and argue that Mary is not merely the God-bearer but also the very Mother of God. In his 1997 book Evangelical Answers, he raises four questions:


First, is it [the title "Mother of God"] a legitimate title since the original intent for the title changed from one that upheld the deity of Christ to one that honors Mary? Second, is the title based on sound logic? Third, does the title leave the distinction between the natures of Christ intact? And fourth, does the title imply an ongoing relationship? [4]

We will answer all four of Svendsen's concerns:
1.) It is simply not true that the "purpose" of the title has changed. Obviously, the title "Mother of God" affirms the divinity of Christ while it automatically confers some dignity upon Mary as well. But this is not due to some later "change of purpose" of the title but rather due to the nature of the reality the title expresses. Of course it glorifies Mary. But not because of the use of the title, but because of who Mary is. Mary is the Mother of God, whether we use that title or not. The glory that she possess does not come from us, conferred by some title, but from God by making her whom she has made her! The title merely recognizes and expresses this incredible reality.

2.) Mr. Svendsen reasons that if we accept the logical syllogism presented above (If Jesus is God and Mary is the Mother of Jesus, then Mary is the Mother of God), then we must also accept his syllogism, which goes as follows:


1st premise: God is a Trinity.
2nd premise: Mary is the Mother of God.
Conclusion: Mary is the Mother of the Trinity.

This conclusion, of course, is heretical. Mary is not the mother of the Triune God, that is, of Father, Son and Holy Ghost, but of the Son only. Svendsen tries to force the Catholic to this heretical conclusion, however, by means of this logical syllogism. But is this sound logic? Svendsen says that "if one is able to confirm both premises, then no charge of unsoundness can prevail against the conclusion" (Evangelical Answers, 178). This statement needs important qualification, however. What is missing is that there must be an inferential link between the premises and the conclusion. Otherwise, the argument is invalid, even though both premises be true and the conclusion as well. Let me illustrate. The following argument is invalid, and therefore unsound, even though both premises are true and the conclusion as well:

1st premise: Pope Pius XI reigned from 1922-1939.
2nd premise: Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.
Conclusion: There are 24 hours in one day.

Of course, this is an extremely obvious example; but things get tougher when we have fallacies of equivocation, which make premises and conclusion seem related, even though they are not. For instance, the following is an argument that contains a fallacy of equivocation (this is still a very obvious example):

1st premise: Any law can be repealed.
2nd premise: The law of gravity is a law.
Conclusion: The law of gravity can be repealed.

Of course, the conclusion is false. But why? Because the word "law" is used differently in the first premise than in the second. And I claim the same for Eric Svendsen's use of the word "God" in his syllogism that if Mary is the Mother of God and God is a Trinity, then Mary is the Mother of the Trinity. While both premises are true, they are not true in the exact same sense. The problem here lies in the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. While the Trinity consists of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, undivided, yet distinct, each of these persons is fully God Himself, though not vice versa (this is where the equivocation of "God" comes in). Thus, while Jesus is not a Trinity, He is nevertheless fully divine and of one substance with the Father, undivided. Since Mary bore Jesus, who is fully God, Mary is the Mother of God. No other conclusion is possible. Jesus is fully God, though the full God is not only Jesus. Mysterious? Hard to understand? It certainly is. But then again, the creation of the world is not any less mysterious.

3.) Svendsen continues: "The third objection to the title ‘Mother of God’ is that it does not properly distinguish between the natures of Christ" (Evangelical Answers, 180). But this statement reveals that Mr. Svendsen is uninformed about an important ontological distinction, namely that of nature and person. The title "Mother of God" does not refer to either the human nature nor the divine nature of Jesus. It refers to His personhood, which is divine only. Again, mothers are mothers of persons, not natures; hence "Mother of God" can hardly refer to the divine nature. It refers instead to the divine person.

On page 179 Svendsen acknowledges the fact that mothers are mothers of persons and not of natures (strangely enough, he denies the same on page 217), but then he goes on to say: "The instant one says that Mary is the mother of God, one has violated that distinction [of nature and person]; for then one is affirming that Mary is the mother of deity but not of humanity. In other words, ‘God’ is merely descriptive of one of Jesus’ natures" (ibid., 179). Christian history disagrees, however. Mary is not the mother of "the God-nature of Jesus," as Svendsen would have it, but of the divine person of Jesus. Jesus is only one person (if He were two persons, we would have two "Jesuses"), and He is a divine person. He is not a human person, as the Second Council of Constantinople teaches. He is a divine person with a human and a divine nature; this is called the "hypostatic union." Since mothers bear persons, not natures, as Svendsen concedes, Mary is the Mother of God. Here we see how easily the rejection of a title of Mary leads into christological heresy, that is, false beliefs about Jesus.

Svendsen, like the heretic Nestorius, instead endorses the title "Mother of Christ," or Christotokos, a title that was deliberately rejected by the Second Council of Constantinople as not conveying the completely accurate truth of Jesus’ divinity and Mary’s part in the Incarnation. Here is what Svendsen himself says. Make sure you’re seated: "Was she [Mary] in any way responsible for producing deity? If not, then is it not more accurate . . . to call her ‘mother of man’? And is it not even more accurate . . . to call her ‘mother of Christ’ (a blanket term encompassing both natures)? This is exactly what Nestorius attempted to do by introducing the term Christokos [sic] . . . , literally, ‘Christ-bearing one’" (ibid., 181).

Aside from the fact that Nestorius actually used the term Christotokos and not Christokos (cf. John Laux, Church History [Rockford: TAN Books, 1989], p. 153), of course Mary was not responsible for "producing" deity. God was not produced. Jesus already existed before His conception in Mary’s womb. And the efficient cause of the Incarnation of Jesus is God Himself. Why could we not call Mary the "mother of man"? Because Jesus was not a human person, only a divine person. Again, the title "Mother of God" has nothing to do with the natures of Jesus, only with His personhood, which happened to be divine—only. The Protestant denial of Marian doctrines and their different aspects always results in a diminishing of christological doctrine and that of the Incarnation and hypostatic union. To call Mary only "Mother of Christ" does not in itself suffice to make clear that Christ is true God--in fact, even an Arian, who denies that Christ is divine, could then call Mary the "Mother of Christ." But by calling her what she truly is, namely, "Mother of God," no one who denies Christ's divinity can call her by that title. Once again, giving the Blessed Virgin Mary nothing less than her most proper title is what guarantees orthodoxy about the person of Jesus Christ!

4.) In his last point, Svendsen argues that "Mother of God" implies an on-going relationship. This is true — almost redundantly true. That’s precisely what the Incarnation means, after all: on-going relationship — with all of humanity, but especially and more significantly (from an ontological point-of-view at least), with the Blessed Virgin Mary. Yet Svendsen claims that even if we agree that Mary was the Mother of God, she certainly is not the Mother of God any longer (Evangelical Answers, 181). What could that mean, though? "Not a mother anymore"? Once a mother, always a mother! Mothers cannot be mothers "for a while only." If Mary was Jesus’ mother when Jesus was born, then she always remains His mother! A mother loves, cares, helps, intercedes, protects, suffers with, etc. But above all, she gives flesh to her child (as does the father, of course, but this is beside the point right now). This is what it means to be a mother. The Blessed Virgin either did or did not give flesh to Jesus. And she did. Hence she remains His mother for all eternity. So, is it "shocking" that Christ chose to have a mother? It certainly is, in a way, but not because Catholics "dare to attribute such a special role to Mary," but because this is what the Incarnation means and implies. This is the shock of the Incarnation, a stumbling block to all who do not know who Jesus really is. Protestants are shocked about what Catholics teach about Mary because they are actually confused about who Jesus Christ is--as Svendsen has wonderfully demonstrated!

He continues: "It is evident from many New Testament passages that Jesus effectively severed all biological ties with Mary" (ibid.). Honestly, how could one ever try to sever from a biological tie? To me this seems impossible. My mother will always remain my mother, no matter what I do. If Jesus had indeed not fostered any biological ties with His mother but instead denied them, how come He was so concerned about her well-being at the foot of the Cross (cf. John 19:26-27)? To say Jesus wanted to "sever" from biological ties is to say Jesus wanted to deny His own Incarnation! This is blasphemy! Protestants will have to understand that Jesus did not simply come to earth in a human veil and happened to be born into this world through the passive "vessel" of Mary, who had nothing to do with Him. Jesus had in fact drawn flesh from Mary, that is, He looked like her. From pure reason, Mr. Svendsen’s argument is completely untenable. The Holy Virgin Mary was not simply an "opening" through which Christ had to come into the world, since He could have come in any way He could have chosen, even as an adult simply coming out of the desert! No, Jesus Christ deigned to become the real Son of the Blessed Virgin Mary--with all this means and implies!

In order to support his argument from Scripture, Svendsen refers to Matthew 12:46-50 and the parallel account in Mark 3:31-35: "And his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside they sent to him and called him. And a crowd was sitting about him; and they said to him, ‘Your mother and your brothers are outside, asking for you.’ And he replied, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ And looking around on those who sat about him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother.’"

Is Jesus trying to tell people here Mary is not His mother? This would be absurd, because both Testaments confirm that she is (eg. Isaiah 7:14, Luke 1:31). In fact, if this passage proved Mary was not Jesus’ mother, as Svendsen would have it, it would prove too much, for it would prove that Mary is not the mother of Jesus’ humanity even, which is what Protestants insist on. So what do we do with this passage? First, let us note that the passage was not written in order to discuss whether Mary should be called Mother of God or whether she had an ongoing relationship with Jesus. If we read Mark in context, we see that Jesus had just returned home (Mark 3:20), and His mother and relatives were waiting to see Him. Jesus never denied that Mary was His mother or the others His relatives. He did not say, after all, "No, these aren’t my true relatives" or, "No, Mary is not my Mother (anymore)." Rather, Jesus wanted to make the point that, yes, while they were certainly His physical mother and relatives, one can just as well belong to Jesus’ family in a spiritual bond, by doing His will. Obviously, the spiritual bond is more important than the merely physical one. But Mary, being the great and humble servant of God that she was, had both a physical and a spiritual bond with Christ.

In fact, it is appropriate here to contrast this passage with Mark 10:17-18: "As he [Jesus] was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, 'Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?' Jesus answered him, 'Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone....'" Protestants and Catholics agree that this response of Jesus is neither a denial of His goodness nor a denial of His divinity. Rather, Jesus speaks in this strange way to make the rich man realize that Jesus can be truly good only if He is God! In the same way, neither Matthew 12:46-50 nor Mark 3:31-35 suggest that Mary is not the Mother of God. Rather, it shows that the Holy Virgin was chosen the Mother of God because of her perfect obedience, which, of course, springs from her sinlessness, which Christ's redemptive Sacrifice made possible before It was ever offered. Thus, the Catholic position is vindicated because Jesus' statement shows that Mary was perfectly obedient, and became the Mother of God for that very reason.

Svendsen asks: "How does Jesus respond? Does he single her [Mary] out, make his way over to her, and point to her as Co-Redemptress, who is worthy of honor, praise and veneration?" (ibid., 182). The answer, obviously, is no. But why not? Svendsen concludes that "Jesus says that no one has special relations with him by virtue of biological ties" (ibid.). But this is not the case. He nowhere says that. The reason Jesus does not call attention to Mary for all to venerate her and exult her is simply that the right time had not yet come. It wouldn’t have made sense. Jesus had not even told anyone yet that He was the Messiah. Why, then, would He tell anyone that His mother is the co-redemptrix and mediatrix of all graces? They would not have understood anything. What graces? What redemption? Jesus, much rather, emphasized at this point His spiritual family, something certainly a lot more fitting at this point. He knew that later, after everyone had found out He was the Messiah, which He had not yet stated because He wanted them to see His works and believe on account of them, Christ knew that everyone would also attribute a special role to His mother. Christ knew that His followers would see that she was the one who humbly said yes to God at the Annunciation, who would follow Him all the way to the foot of the Cross when almost all of His Apostles had forsaken Him. He knew that people would recognize, with Elizabeth’s voice, that she is the "Mother of my Lord" (Luke 1:43) and that "all generations shall call me blessed" (Luke 1:48). Svendsen’s attack, then, is unfounded.

Next, he switches to the Cana event, where Mary intercedes for the people and begs Jesus to work a miracle because they had run out of wine. Not surprisingly, Mr. Svendsen picks on Jesus’ response, "O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come" (John 2:4). He says that Jesus called her "woman" to make clear that she had no special relation to Him. But this is nonsense; as if your own mother did not have any special relationship with you! In fact, if Jesus had meant to convey, "Get away, you’re nothing special," He would have sinned, because the Law says, "Honor your father and mother." No, the reason Jesus called her "woman" was to show the special place she had in the history of the two covenants. Look at Genesis 3:15, John 19:26-27 and Revelation 12:1 – each time, the term "woman" is used. It would be absurd to suggest that the term does not refer to an extraordinary woman in those instances. In each example, Our Lady is mentioned as somehow intimately associated with the destiny of her Son, with the plan of salvation: in Genesis 3:15, she is the woman who is to bring forth the Messiah; in John 2:4, through her intercession, Christ brings about His first public miracle even though He was not ready for it yet; in John 19:26-27, she is given the spiritual maternity of the whole human family; and in Revelation 12:1, she is pictured as crowned in heaven. Jesus calls His mother "woman" in order to subtly point to all this.

Svendsen proceeds, saying that the phrase "What do I have to do with you?" appears as a distancing of Jesus towards Mary. This is true. But now the question appears, why? Why is Jesus reacting surprised? It is significant to note here that Jesus couples His surprise "What do I have to do with you?" immediately with an explanation: "My hour has not yet come." This obviously indicates that as soon as the hour is there, Jesus will certainly honor Mary’s every request. Yet, the hour had not yet come and so Jesus was surprised. The Blessed Mother, apparently knowing what her Son would do, simply said to the servants: "Do whatever he tells you." This is hardly the kind of reaction to come after a rebuff. So, we must disagree with Svendsen’s conclusion that "Jesus is rebuking Mary in this passage" (ibid., 183). Svendsen says that the construction "What do I have to do with you," ti emoi kai soi in Greek, is used as a rebuke wherever it appears elsewhere in Scripture (eg. Judges 11:12, 1 Kings 17:18, Luke 8:28). But Svendsen is reading too much into the text. Let us look at Luke 8:28 to see whether this could be classified as a rebuke: "When he [the man possessed by demons] saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him, and said with a loud voice, ‘What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beseech you, do not torment me.’" Certainly Jesus would not allow Himself to be rebuked by demons! It seems more likely that the demons, speaking through their victim, were surprised to see the Son of God in front of them--and then were forced to pay Him homage (they begged Him not to torment them!)! So it is not true that the construction ti emoi kai soi is necessarily always a rebuke; sometimes it is a surprise, and this is the case at the marriage of Cana in John 2.

Mr. Svendsen goes on to make his case against honoring the Blessed Virgin as Mother of God with Luke 11:27-28: "A woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, ‘Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked!’ But he said, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!’" Svendsen says that Jesus made it crystal clear here that he detests someone honoring His mother and shows that no honor is due her (ibid., 184-85). Is that the case? No. It is surprising that Svendsen does not deal with the Catholic interpretation of this passage in his book, as he usually tries to refute the Catholic position on a given subject. Yet here he doesn’t even bother to mention how a Catholic responds to his accusation.

The response is fairly simple: Jesus was not saying Mary is not blessed; rather, He was saying that the true reason for her blessedness lies not so much in her biological ties with Him but in the fact that she heard the word of God and obeyed it--and besides, we know that Mary was blessed as St. Gabriel the Archangel already had told her, "thou hast found grace with God" (Luke 1:30) and she herself later exclaimed, "behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed" (Luke 1:48).

Besides, we must be careful to properly translate the word rendered here as "rather." The Greek term is menoun. The Protestant (!) theologian Margaret E. Thrall, who can hardly be accused of Catholic bias, suggests the following interpretation of Luke 1:28: "What you have said is true as far as it goes. But the blessedness of Mary does not consist simply in the fact of her relationship towards myself, but (menoun) in the fact that she shares in the blessedness of those who hear the word of God and keep it, and it is in this that true blessedness lies" (Thrall, Greek Particles in the New Testament [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1962], 35).

James Cardinal Gibbons gives a beautiful rendering of the passage in question: "She [Mary] is blessed indeed in being the chosen instrument of My incarnation, but more blessed in keeping My word. Let others be comforted in knowing that though they cannot share with My Mother in the privilege of her maternity, they can participate with her in the blessed reward of them who hear My word and keep it" (Gibbons, The Faith of Our Fathers [Rockford: TAN Books, 1980], 147-48).

This way, the passage makes perfect sense and does not fly in the face of other scriptural portions, as would have been the case had we accepted Mr. Svendsen’s interpretation. Also, let me allude a second time to Mark 10:17-18: "As he [Jesus] was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, 'Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?' Jesus answered him, 'Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone....'" Protestants and Catholics agree that this response of Jesus is neither a denial of His goodness nor a denial of His divinity. Rather, Jesus speaks in this strange way to make the rich man realize that Jesus can be good only if he is God! In the same way, Jesus points out in Luke 11:27-28 that Mary is blessed because she heard the Word of God and obeyed it -- perfectly. The teaching here, then, is what we could be if we were sinless and perfect followers of Christ, and, more realistically, what we can be each time we obey God's holy will.

Finally, we move on to John 19:26-27: "When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home." The Catholic interpretation of this passage has always been that Jesus made Mary the mother of all Christians at this point. Svendsen disagrees: "The plain sense of the passage is that Jesus is here providing Mary with a means of continued support" (Evangelical Answers, 185). He’s right. Of course Jesus was doing that. But he wasn’t only doing that. It would be absurd to think that whereas all the other words Christ uttered on the Cross were related to His Mission, to His Redemptive Work, somehow those He spoke to His mother were an exception. The passage has a richer and deeper meaning (which is the case throughout St. John’s mystical Gospel), and this can only be fully known and appreciated through Sacred Tradition, which has always held that Jesus made Mary the mother of all the faithful at the foot of the Cross, where St. John represented the entire body of the faithful, the Church, as Mary was given him as his mother.

Mr. Svendsen has to realize, in practice, that Catholics do not purport to get all their teachings from Scripture but from the Deposit of Faith entrusted to the Apostles. Therefore, he cannot claim that the Catholic interpretation is not clearly visible from the Scriptures — the Church has never claimed it needs to be.

Aside from what Mr. McCarthy or Mr. Svendsen might think, the early Christian theologians called the Blessed Virgin Mary the Mother of God and affirmed that Mary bore God, not merely a human nature of God:

Irenaeus of Lyons wrote, “The Virgin Mary, being obedient to his word, received from an angel the glad tidings that she would bear God.” [4]

St. Hippolytus testifies:

    To all generations they [the prophets] have pictured forth the grandest
    subjects for contemplation and for action. Thus, too, they preached of the advent
    of God in the flesh to the world, His advent by the spotless and God-bearing
    (theotokos) Mary in the way of birth and growth, and the manner of His life and
    conversation with men, and His manifestation by baptism, and the new birth that
    was to be to all men, and the regeneration by the laver [of baptism]. [5]

Gregory the Wonderworker tells us that “Luke, in the inspired Gospel narratives, delivers a testimony not to Joseph only, but also to Mary the Mother of God, and gives this account with reference to the very family and house of David” [6] and that “[i]t is our duty to present to God, like sacrifices, all the festivals and hymnal celebrations; and first of all, [the feast of] The Annunciation to the holy Mother of God, to wit, the salutation made to her by the angel, ‘Hail, full of grace!’” [7]

Peter of Alexandria says:

The early Christians, then, clearly affirm Mary’s divine motherhood, that is, that she was truly the Mother of God. The Catholic Church has kept this teaching through its Sacred Tradition for 2,000 years.



 Footnotes

(1) McCarthy, Gospel According to Rome, 190-91
(2) Keating, Catholicism, 277
(3) Jaroslav Pelikan, ed., Luther’s Works (St. Louis: Concordia), 24:107
(4) Svendsen, Evangelical Answers, 176
(4) Against Heresies, 5:19:1 (AD 189)
(5) Discourse on the End of the World, 1 (AD 217)
(6) Four Homilies, 1 (AD 262)
(7) ibid., 2
(8) The Genuine Acts of Peter of Alexandria (AD 305)


65 posted on 12/27/2005 7:20:03 PM PST by Frank Sheed ("Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions." ~GK Chesterton.)
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To: Buggman; netmilsmom
Re: My supposed heresy, you might try arguing from a source of authority that I actually recognize, like the Bible. Can you show that anything I've said is Biblically or logically inaccurate?

I will answer your question further if and only if you will demonstrate to me where in the Bible the Canon is defined. Since you want to "sola scriptura" for the duration, find the books of the Canon first since that is your sole appeal to Authority (which is not biblical itself).

Further, can you answer my charge that by making Mary the mother of the Messiah's God-nature, you make her a goddess and He no longer Eternal?

If the answer to both questions is wrong, then it is you, not I, who are in a state of heresy.

As for Nestorianism, I do not claim that Yeshua was two persons, but that He had two natures, or essences--which you yourself admit. The human nature, the mortal body, had a point of origin in time and space, that being the womb of Mary. The God nature, which I would generally associate with His Mind (Soul) and Spirit, is Eternal, having neither beginning nor end, and did not come from Mary. Thus, Mary is the mother of the Messiah, the living, visible embodiment of the invisible God, but not the mother of God.

This was answered in the long post preceding which was posted above. The same comments were made in the post from New Advent. This is a more direct answer relating to your Protestantism.

Frank

66 posted on 12/27/2005 7:29:31 PM PST by Frank Sheed ("Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions." ~GK Chesterton.)
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To: Frank Sheed
Denial that Mary is the Mother of God has been anathemized at Ephesus in AD 431.
CANON I

If anyone will not confess that the Emmanuel is very God, and that therefore the Holy Virgin is the Mother of God ([theotokos]), inasmuch as in the flesh she bore the Word of God made flesh [as it is written, "The Word was made flesh"] let him be anathema.

(The XII. Anathematisms of St. Cyril Against Nestorius)


67 posted on 12/27/2005 7:33:24 PM PST by annalex
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To: annalex

Deo gratias, Brother in Christ! Pax vobiscum!

F


68 posted on 12/27/2005 7:41:40 PM PST by Frank Sheed ("Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions." ~GK Chesterton.)
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To: annalex; Buggman; Frank Sheed
If anyone will not confess that the Emmanuel is very God, and that therefore the Holy Virgin is the Mother of God ([theotokos]), inasmuch as in the flesh she bore the Word of God made flesh [as it is written, "The Word was made flesh"] let him be anathema.

Calling Mary the "mother of God" is a wholly different thing than calling her the MOTHER of God. Inasmuch as she bore the body of the incarnation and is the fleshly mother of Jesus I believe there is no disagreement in regard to her title as the mother of Emmanuel, God with us -- and in that sense (and that sense alone - she is properly referred to as the mother of God.

The problem is that when many Catholic's refer to Mary as the Mother of God, they appear to attach some spiritual significance such that Jesus (as the son of Mary) becomes subject to the will of Mary rather than Mary being subject to the will of her Lord, Jesus.

A Certain unmentionable sect in Utah believes that Jesus had a heavenly Mother and they used to teach (they now deny that they ever taught it) that Jesus was begotten in the Flesh by God the Father and thus Mary is the literal Wife of the Father (both Spiritually and physically) and the Mother of Jesus. So when we get into this "Mother of God" stuff one clearly has to tiptoe through the Heresies so that it is clear that God does not exist simply because he was the physical child of Mary.

I have actually seen posts here that suggest that if Mary had not been faithful, if it were not for Mary's part in the redemption, that Jesus would have been powerless to save the world. That is the kind of Marian Worship heresy that will keep protestants away from full communion with Rome for a long time.

69 posted on 12/27/2005 8:34:48 PM PST by P-Marlowe
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To: vimto

Wow, what an intelligent response. Let's try it again without the mindless knee-jerk.


70 posted on 12/27/2005 8:56:01 PM PST by Conservative til I die
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To: XeniaSt
v>>You do Mary no favors by this idolatry<< You do yourself no favors by looking this stupid.

10 posted on 12/27/2005 12:09:08 PM MST by netmilsmom >

You do not display a very good Christian witness.

Mt. 5:44 But I tell you: Love your enemies [Some late manuscripts enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those hate you] and pray for those who persecute you,

b'shem Y'shua

You've got to be the biggest phony on this forum.
71 posted on 12/27/2005 8:57:36 PM PST by Conservative til I die
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To: Mr. Lucky
Then, perhaps, you should keep it between you and Her.

You mean like every Prot that loves to fart all over Catholic threads and stick their noses in everyone else's business?
72 posted on 12/27/2005 8:59:11 PM PST by Conservative til I die
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To: Frank Sheed
I will answer your question further if and only if you will demonstrate to me where in the Bible the Canon is defined.

Nope, I'm not playing that game. What you fail to realize is that even if the Roman Catholic institution were the definer rather than merely a recognizer of the canon, you still lose since even in the canon that you supposedly selected your practices are condemned.

But moreover, the RCC is not the arbiter of the canon. To swipe a page from Geisler and Nix's A General Introduction to the Bible (page 221, to be exact):

The Incorrect View

The Correct View

The Church is Determiner of Canon

The Church is Discoverer of Canon

The Church is Mother of Canon

The Church is Child of Canon

The Church is Magistrate of Canon

The Church is Minister of Canon

The Church is Regulator of Canon

The Church is Recognizer of Canon

The Church is Judge of Canon

The Church is Witness of Canon

The Church is Master of Canon

The Church is Servant of Canon

As I've explained on other threads and on my blog, I have no trouble with tradition, and in fact spend much of my time studying everything from the ECF to the Talmud. However, all tradition, all councils, and all rulings are subordinate to the written Word of God.

73 posted on 12/27/2005 9:14:19 PM PST by Buggman (L'chaim b'Yeshua HaMashiach!)
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To: Buggman

You're a heretic if you're of the mind that Mary was just the mother of Jesus the human. Sorry. This was settled centuries ago. Feel free to recreate the wheel though.


74 posted on 12/27/2005 9:14:54 PM PST by Conservative til I die
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To: Mr. Lucky

Which protestant groups refute that Jesus is holy?


75 posted on 12/27/2005 9:21:28 PM PST by GOPPachyderm
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To: Buggman
Further, can you answer my charge that by making Mary the mother of the Messiah's God-nature, you make her a goddess and He no longer Eternal?

Why should anyone answer such nonsense? You obviously don't have any understanding of Christian or Catholic theology...or logic.
76 posted on 12/27/2005 9:21:31 PM PST by Conservative til I die
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To: P-Marlowe

>> Then who were you referring to when you suggested that I avoid all threads with the words Mary, Pope and Rosary?<<

Why, the Anti-Catholic Trolls, of course!
You were the poster who stated that it is best to avoid this thread, correct?
I stated that we would appreciate anyone who comes to slam our doctrine (i.e. Anti-Catholic Trolls) do just that, avoid this thread.
Are you calling yourself an Anti-Catholic Troll? All I saw was that you stated that it would be best for someone who IS slamming our doctrine to avoid it. Are you putting yourself in the same catagory?


77 posted on 12/27/2005 9:22:56 PM PST by netmilsmom (God blessed me with a wonderful husband.)
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To: Gamecock

How does the RC view of Grace differ from your view?


78 posted on 12/27/2005 9:23:38 PM PST by GOPPachyderm
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To: P-Marlowe

>>Calling Mary the "mother of God" is a wholly different thing than calling her the MOTHER of God<<

I'm sorry but this statement made me laugh out loud.
I can just imagine some preacher in my old days of Protestantism saying this and shouting the word in capital letters!!! LOL!

Oh my, that is a good one.


79 posted on 12/27/2005 9:28:39 PM PST by netmilsmom (God blessed me with a wonderful husband.)
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To: netmilsmom; Buggman
I stated that we would appreciate anyone who comes to slam our doctrine (i.e. Anti-Catholic Trolls) do just that, avoid this thread.

So anyone who points out the flaws in Catholic Doctrine is an anti-Catholic Troll? This thread and hundreds like them every week on Free Republic slam the Protestant doctrines and we don't go around calling you guys Anti-Protestant Trolls.

These threads obviously get posted so that we can discuss the differences. If you can't handle the discussions without assumning that everyone who does not agree with you is a troll, them perhaps you should go to a catholic only forum. This is a public forum. You post stuff like this thread which is a slam on Protestantism, and then you complain when protestants come on to scripturally counter it or to point out its errors.

Perhaps if you read a little scripture with an open mind instead of filtered through the Magisterium, you might have some arguments and you ust might see the error of your ways. It seems to me your principle argument is to call those who disagree with you or your church Trolls and Anti-Catholics.

This is not a Catholic Forum, it is a religion forum. If you can't stand watching your precious unscriptural doctrines criticized, then I'd suggest you find another place to hang out.

80 posted on 12/27/2005 9:35:31 PM PST by P-Marlowe
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