Skip to comments.Three Reasons the Church’s Enemies Hate The Immaculate Conception
Posted on 12/12/2006 10:51:32 PM PST by Coleus
The following text is adapted from a lecture Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira gave on June 15, 1973. It has been translated and edited for publication without his revision. Note, in this text, he uses the words Revolution and Counter-Revolution as he defined them in his book Revolution and Counter-Revolution. In this sense, the Revolution is a centuries-old process, motivated by pride and sensuality, and therefore egalitarianism and liberalism, that dominates the modern world and seeks to destroy Christian civilization. Counter-Revolutionaries are those dedicated to defeating this process and defending the rights of God. Ed.
One of the truly Counter-Revolutionary acts of Pope Pius IXs pontificate was the proclamation of the Immaculate Conception.
There are three reasons the definition of this dogma was especially Counter-Revolutionary and therefore hateful to the enemies of the Church.
First Reason: An Anti-Egalitarian Dogma
As you know, this dogma teaches that Our Lady was immaculate at her conception, meaning that, at no moment, did she have even the slightest stain of Original Sin. Both she, and naturally Our Lord Jesus Christ, were exempt from that rigid law that subjugates all other descendants of Adam and Eve. Thus, Our Lady was not subject to the miseries of fallen man. She did not have bad influences, inclinations and tendencies. In her, everything moved harmonically towards truth, goodness and therefore God. In this sense, Our Lady is an example of perfect liberty, meaning that everything her reason, illuminated by Faith, determined as good, her will desired entirely. She had no interior obstacles to impede her practice of virtue.
Being full of grace increased these effects. Thus, her will advanced with an unimaginable impetus towards everything that was true and good. Declaring that a mere human creature had this extraordinary privilege makes this dogma fundamentally anti-egalitarian, because it points out an enormous inequality in the work of God. It demonstrates the total superiority of Our Lady over all other beings. Thus, its proclamation made Revolutionary egalitarian spirits boil with hatred.
Second Reason: The Unsullied Purity of Our Lady
However, there is a more profound reason why the Revolution hates this dogma. The Revolution loves evil and is in harmony with those who are bad, and thus tries to find evil in everything. On the contrary, those who are irreproachable are a cause of intense hatred. Therefore, the idea that a being could be utterly spotless from the first moment of her existence is abhorrent to Revolutionaries. For example: Imagine a man who is consumed with impurity. When besieged by impure inclinations, he is ashamed of his consent to them. This leaves him depressed and utterly devastated.
Imagine this man considering Our Lady, who, being the personification of transcendental purity, did not have even the least appetite for lust. He feels hatred and scorn because her virtue smashes his pride. Furthermore, by declaring Our Lady to be so free from pride, sensuality and the desire for anything Revolutionary, the proclamation of the Immaculate Conception affirmed that she was utterly Counter-Revolutionary. This only inflamed the Revolutionary hatred of the dogma all the more.
Disputing the Doctrine: A Counter-Revolutionary Struggle
|Declaring that Our Lady was so free from pride, sensuality and the desire for anything Revolutionary, affirmed that she was utterly Counter-Revolutionary and inflamed the Revolutionary hatred of the dogma all the more.|
For centuries, there were two opposing currents of thought about the Immaculate Conception in the Church. While it would be an exaggeration to suggest that everyone who fought against the doctrine was acting with Revolutionary intentions; it is a fact that all those who were acting with Revolutionary intentions fought against it. On the other hand, all those who favored its proclamation, at least on that point, expressed a Counter-Revolutionary attitude. Thus, in some way the fight between the Revolution and Counter-Revolution was present in the fight between these two theological currents.
Third Reason: The Exercise of Papal Infallibility
There is still another reason this dogma is hateful to Revolutionaries: it was the first dogma proclaimed through Papal Infallibility. At that time, the dogma of Papal Infallibility had not yet been defined and there was a current in the Church maintaining that the Pope was only infallible when presiding over a council. Nevertheless, Pius IX invoked Papal Infallibility when he defined the Immaculate Conception after merely consulting some theologians and bishops. For liberal theologians, this seemed like circular reasoning. If his infallibility had not been defined, how could he use it? On the contrary, by using his infallibility, he affirmed that he had it.
This daring affirmation provoked an explosion of indignation among Revolutionaries, but enormous enthusiasm among Counter-Revolutionaries. In praise of the new dogma, children all over the world were baptized under the name: Conception, Concepcion or Concepta to consecrate them to the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady.
Pius IX: Bringing the Fight to the Enemy
It is not surprising that Pius IX so adamantly affirmed Papal Infallibility. Very different from those who succeeded him, he was ever ready to bring the fight to the enemy. He did this in Geneva, Switzerland, which then was the breeding ground of Calvinism, which is the most radical form of Protestantism. When Swiss laws changed to allow a Catholic Cathedral in Geneva, Pius IX ordered that a statue of the Immaculate Conception be placed in the middle of the city, to proclaim this dogma in the place where Calvinists, Lutherans and other Protestants denied it more than anywhere else. This is an example of Pius IXs leadership in the fight against the Revolution. It is therefore entirely proper that all Catholics entertain a special affection for the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, which is so detested by the enemies of the Church today.
To read another commentary on the Immaculate Conception, click here.
To read Fr. Saint-Laurent's commentary on the Immaculate Conception, click here.
To order your free copy of a picture of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, click here.
...the Revolution is a centuries-old process, motivated by pride and sensuality, and therefore egalitarianism and liberalism, that dominates the modern world and seeks to destroy Christian civilization. Counter-Revolutionaries are those dedicated to defeating this process and defending the rights of God.
Defending the rights of God? What does this mean?
Can you answer the question I asked in post #2?
Defending the right of God to receive due worship from all mankind, and honor and glory from all human institutions.
Thanks for the reply, Andrew. I guess I don't recall having heard the word 'rights' used in relation to God. It sounds odd.
What is puzzeling is that there are seemingly intelliegent people that believe this fairy tale...
There's not a human being ever been born ('cept Jesus Christ) who ever had an infallable 'second' during his/her lifetime...
Shouldn't there be a reason 4; Because the basis for it wasn't articulated until St Augustine in 300-something, even he advised against using it to state something like the doctrine of Immaculate conception, was debated as recently as the 1200s be renowned Catholic Saints like Thomas Aquinas, and was not even officially made a Roman Catholic teaching until 1854?
Noting that it's hardly right to call all who reject the notion of the Immaculate Conception as 'enemies of the Roman Catholic Church'...
The "doctrine of the Nicolaitans" involved sexual promiscuity, so I have no idea why you think it's relevant here. Do you?
How do you know it is false?
This is a good example of the truism that those who refuse to venerate Mary as the pinnacle of God's creation end up venerating Jesus as the pinnacle of creation, instead.
... thus demoting him severely.
Jesus Christ is not, and never was, a "human being". He's a Divine Person with a human nature. To call him a "human being" makes him less than God.
Just to clarify: With all due respect, Mary is not believed to have been "infallible" (unable to sin or make mistakes). She is, after all, human, and throughout her earthly life was surely tempted and quite able to sin.
Instead, we believe that Mary, "in the first instant of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of Almighty God, and in view of the foreseen merits of Jesus Christ, the savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin." We also believe that, with God's grace, Mary preserved this purity throughout her life and did not commit any actual sin. This doesn't mean that she could not sin (infalliblity), but that she did not sin.
I see....so Jesus was born of a stained vessle?
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Watch it with descriptions of the Holy Trinity, and Christ nature... it's easy to come to close to phraseology that appears to concur with the ancient heresies (i run into this myself when trying to describe it).
"You tell me what is the unbegottenness of the Father, and I will explain to you the physiology of the generation of the Son and the procession of the Spirit, and we shall both be frenzy-stricken for prying into the mystery of God"
-St Gregory the Theologian.
The difference between the Catholic Church and Protestants here is that Protestants look at the literal sense of Scripture ALONE, completely missing that interpretation of these Scriptures goes beyond the literal - otherwise, how could the first Christians see Christ in the OT? By taking a spiritual view of the Bible, it is plain to see that the Church sees in Mary a type of ITSELF. Rather than the "either/or" of Protestantism that refuses to see the spiritual and literal co-exist in a verse, they discount the spiritual.
But is that what the Bible itself does? No. Paul uses analogy. And Peter says that the Israeli crossing of the Red Sea is a TYPE of Baptism. Thus, the bible itself uses analogy and typology to further God's revelation to mankind in a gradual manner. As such, Catholics see in Mary a type of Church. They see in Gen 3:15 not only the Church, but Mary. Same in Rev 12. Same in Song of Songs. We call Mary our Mother and we call the Church our Mother. Through our Mother comes the Savior of the World - whether literally, or spiritually. They both are our Mother - Mary giving birth literally to the Body of Christ, the Church mystically giving birth to the Body through Baptism. Furthermore, the relationship between mother and child does NOT end with birth! The mother continues to nurture the child - in the Church's case, through the Word and Sacrament.
Until Protestants can learn to contemplate Scriptures in a more fuller sense, trying to understand what God has said to us (the Bible is not only a historical book), they won't understand the doctrines of Mary, which are merely recognition of Mary's special place in salvation history that reflects on Christology and Ecclesiology.