Skip to comments.[Catholic/Orthodox/Anglican Caucus]Scott Hahn: "If We Ignore the Mother, We Can't See the Child"
Posted on 04/11/2008 8:33:54 PM PDT by markomalley
ROME, DEC. 25, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Scholar Scott Hahn roundly rejects the idea held by some outside the Church that Catholics, by honoring Mary, somehow detract from God.
"The glories we honor in Mary are merely her own reflections of God's glory," says the author of books such as "Rome Sweet Home" and "Hail, Holy Queen." Here, the one-time Presbyterian minister spells out his ideas.
Q: Why do you say that Catholics should love Mary a lot more than they do?
Hahn: Because God does! And he wants us to love her as much as he does.
At the time of the annunciation, the angel Gabriel prophesied that all generations would call Mary blessed. In our generation, we need to fulfill that prophesy. We need to call her blessed. We need to honor her -- again, because God did.
Jesus himself, as a faithful Jew, kept the Fourth Commandment and honored his mother. Since Christ is our brother, she is our mother too. Indeed, at the end of John's Gospel, Jesus named her as the mother of all of us beloved disciples. So we too have a duty to honor her.
If we look back into the biblical history of ancient Israel, we discover that the Chosen People always paid homage not only to their king, but also to the mother of the king. The "gebirah," the queen mother, loomed large in the affections of Israelites. And the evangelists are very much aware of this.
In Matthew's Gospel especially, we find Jesus portrayed as the royal Son of David and Mary as queen mother. The Wise Men, for example, traveled far to find the Child King with his mother.
We find the mother of the Son of David portrayed in a similar way in the Book of Revelation, Chapter 12. There she is shown to be crowned with 12 stars, for the 12 tribes of Israel. The New Testament writers, you see, were careful to show us Mary's important place in the kingdom, and how we should love and honor her.
In my personal life, I've found the Blessed Mother to be a great intercessor, as she was at the wedding feast in Cana.
Why should we love Mary more? Because of God's grace -- she exemplifies it! Because of God's Word -- she teaches it! And because she is God's masterpiece. The Scriptures provide too many reasons to love her; I couldn't list them in so short a space.
Q: What are the main objections that non-Catholics present against Marian doctrine and devotion?
Hahn: Some non-Catholics believe that, by honoring Mary, we're somehow detracting from God. We're not. The glories we honor in Mary are merely her own reflections of God's glory.
St. Bonaventure put it very well when he said that God created all things not to increase his glory, but to show it forth and to share it. Mary's sinlessness itself was a grace from God.
St. Augustine said: When God rewards us for our labors, he is only crowning his work in us. When God exalted the lowly virgin of Nazareth, he was crowning the greatest of his creations. When we honor Mary, we recognize God's work, and we praise him.
Others object to the Church's dogma of the immaculate conception -- that Mary was without sin from the very first moment of her life. They claim that, if this were true, she would have no need of a redeemer, no need for Jesus. But that's not true. Mary's immaculate conception was itself a fruit of Jesus' redemption.
Even today, we can see that Christ saves some people by deliverance and others by preservation -- some turn away from a life of crime, others are preserved from it by their good upbringing. Mary was preserved by a singular grace. Mary, you see, is dependent upon God for everything. She, by her own admission, is his handmaid.
Some very misguided people try to claim that Catholics make a goddess of the Blessed Virgin. But that is an abominable fiction. As much as we exalt Mary above our own sinful selves, we recognize that she is more like us than she is like God. She is still a creature, though a most wonderful creature. God himself exalted her to show us both the greatness of our human nature and the all-surpassing greatness of divine grace.
Even the early Protestant reformers never called for a wholesale rejection of the Marian dogmas. Luther and Calvin believed, for example, in Mary's perpetual virginity. Luther even believed in the Assumption and the Immaculate Conception, centuries before the Church solemnly defined it. Not until later generations would Christians come to such a far-reaching rejection of Mary's place in salvation history.
Q: How does Mary help us to understand the mystery of Christmas?
Hahn: Well, it's impossible for us to imagine the Christmas story without her. Her consent, her "yes," made that day possible. When God became man, he was born of a woman, born under the law. Christ is at the center of Christmas, but he chose not to be alone at the center. As a baby, he needed a mother to hold him. If we choose to ignore the mother, we can't see the Child.
In the stories leading up to Christmas, we encounter Mary as the model disciple. God found her humility irresistible, and we have to imitate her. God empowered her to love his Son as much as he deserves to be loved. And so we imitate her in that as well. Mary helps us to understand the mystery of Christmas because she received the greatest Christmas present ever, and she gave it to the world, just as we should.
Q: Why do you most converts to Catholicism have such an intense devotion to the Blessed Virgin?
Hahn: I can only speak for myself. I discovered the Catholic Church as not only the family of God, but as my family too. Mary is not only the mother of Jesus, but my mother too.
That's a wonderful discovery to make so late in one's life. So maybe we're making up for lost time! Or maybe we have a special affection for the practices that are distinctive to the ancient Christian faith -- the practices that we missed in our own upbringing.
Challenge the Caucus designation of this thread:
Non Caucus members should be able to refute misrepresentation:
Article states that “Luther and Calvin believed, for example, in Mary’s perpetual virginity.”
‘It is said that Joseph knew her not till she had brought forth her first-born son: but this is limited to that very time. What took place afterwards, the historian does not inform us. Such is well known to have been the practice of the inspired writers. Certainly, no man will ever raise a question on this subject, except from curiosity; and no man will obstinately keep up the argument, except from an extreme fondness for disputation.’
Calvin’s COMMENTARY ON A HARMONY OF THE EVANGELISTS, MATTHEW, MARK, AND LUKE
I would have to agree. Which means this thread will not be a free-fire zone. Standby with Extinguishers and Water Hoses.
Mary is...there aren't enough words. Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee!
Wonderful article. Marking it for my saves page of bookmarks.
“Blessed are thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.”
You got a link for that? :-)
It’s in Luke.
Nice. When I want a link I can’t get one. :-)
Click on the verse numbers or the footnote numbers. It’s all there.
Sorry, I thought the verse numbers were linked. They aren’t. My mistake.
How is that a misrepresentation? The very source you quoted verifies Hahn's claim in Calvin's case. Here's a link to Jerome's defense against Helvidius that Calvin referenced: The Perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It's certainly worth the read, especially if you can enjoy a caustic wit:
If I choose to say, the apostle Paul before he went to Spain was put in fetters at Rome, or (as I certainly might) Helvidius, before he repented, was cut off by death, must Paul on being released at once go to Spain, or must Helvidius repent after death, although the Scripture says In sheol who shall give thee thanks?
John Calvin also wrote this:
“There have been certain STRANGE folk who have wished to suggest from this passage [Matt 1:25] that the Virgin Mary had other children than the Son of God, and that Joseph had then dwelt with her later; BUT WHAT FOLLY THIS IS!
“For the gospel writer did not wish to record what happened afterwards; he simply wished to make clear Joseph’s obedience and to show also that Joseph had been well and truly assured that it was God who had sent his angel to Mary. He had therefore NEVER dwelt with her nor had he shared her company....
“And besides this, our Lord Jesus Christ is called the first-born. This is NOT because there was a second or a third, but because the gospel writer is paying regard to the precedence. Scripture speaks thus of naming the first-born whether or no there was any question of the second. Thus we see the intention of the Holy Spirit. This is why to lend ourselves to FOOLISH SUBTLETIES WOULD BE TO ABUSE HOLY SCRIPTURE....” (Sermon on Matthew 1:22-25, published 1562)
“We have already said in another place that according to the custom of the Hebrews all relatives were called ‘brethren.’ Still Helvidius [a 4th century heretic] has shown himself to be IGNORANT of this by stating that Mary had many children just because in several places they are spoken of as ‘brethren’ of Christ.” (Commentary on Matthew 13:55)
“Concerning what has happened since this birth the writer of the gospel SAYS NOTHING...certainly it is a matter about which NO ONE will cause dispute unless he is somewhat curious; on the contrary there never was a man who would contradict this in obstinacy unless he were a PIG-HEADED and FATUOUS [i.e. foolish and stupid] person.” (Commentary on Matthew 1:25)
As a Catholic apologist noted:
Max Thurian, who was a Calvinist when he wrote MARY, MOTHER OF ALL CHRISTIANS (NY: Herder and Herder, 1963) but later converted to the Catholic faith, summarizes the views of the Protestant Reformers —
“A very ancient tradition of the Church affirms a perpetual virginity of Mary; and the Reformers of the sixteenth century themselves confessed ‘-Mariam semper virginem-’ [Mary ever-Virgin].....
“The entire tradition of the Church has held to the perpetual virginity of Mary as a sign of her dedication and of the fullness of God’s gift of which she was the object. The Reformers themselves respected this belief.”
“For Calvin and the other Reformers accept the traditional view that Mary had only one son, the Son of God, who had been to her the fullness of grace and joy.”
“In regard to the Marian doctrine of the Reformers, we have already seen how UNANIMOUS they are in all that concerns Mary’s holiness and perpetual virginity.”
(Max Thurian, MARY, MOTHER OF ALL CHRISTIANS, p. 37-40, 197)
Apparently there is no mirepresentation of Calvin’s views. He believed in the perpetual virginity of Mary.
Excellent. Thank you.
It seems more than likely that James the Just, “the brother of The Lord”, was the same person as James the son of Alphaeus, who was not the child Mary and Joseph, and was a relative (cousin?), of Jesus, but not what we would call our “blood brother” (but it is altogether possible they were raised so closely that they were, in essence, brothers.)
If Mary had other children, why would Jesus instruct the Apostle John to take care of her? Surely St. James the Just, the man who was held in such high regard by the other Apostles that they left the final say during the Council of Jerusalem to him, would be capable of taking care of his own family. That is, of course, if Mary of Nazareth was his mother.
Why the Evangelical crowd on FR presses this point is beyond me. It seems to be just a sheer hatred of anything “Catholic”.
Exodus 32: 4 And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt! 5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made proclamation and said, Tomorrow shall be a feast to the Lord. 6 And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.
Compare the two passages. "God just isn't enough. Bring out the idols." Some things never change, do they?
Sadly the Protestants are going to have fits about how the reformers viewed the BVM.
Scott Hahn will be speaking here next month. I’m encouraging my husband to go, since I’ve seen Dr. Hahn before, but he keeps mumbling about Boy Scouts.
>> That’s about like me praying to my grandmother that passed on. <<
Yeah, it is. Most Americans are Protestant, and yet most have talked to dead people. The difference is that saints in heaven have been purified of anything which separates their will from Christ, and are no longer subject to temptation. So, you can have a best of both worlds when you pray for a saint’s intervention:
1. Like when you ask an earthly person to pray for you, you have the power of praying in unison with another soul.
2. On the other hand, you have the assurance that the other person you are praying with is praying for something that is fruitful towards your own salvation, since being in union with Christ in Heaven, they cannot pray for evil.
And that’s why Catholics call certain saints, “Saints.” It’s not denying that there are saints on Earth. It’s just that there are certain individuals that we are know are in Heaven, and so we know it’s good to ask them to pray for us. You’d want to know you weren’t praying to a soul in Hell amongst the demons to pray for you.
If you’re quite confident of your grandmothers’ salvation, why not ask her to pray for you? But then, wouldn’t it be better still to ask the perfect mother to pray for you?
>> And Aaron made proclamation and said, Tomorrow shall be a feast to the Lord. 6 And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play. Compare the two passages. “God just isn’t enough. Bring out the idols.” Some things never change, do they? <<
The difference, of course, was that the Golden calf was an alien god. Catholics pray primarily with SAINTS because we can have full confidence that their wills are united with God. Moses had the Israelites craft a staff with a seraph on it, and the people bowed to the staff, and were healed. How is this not idolatry? Because seraphim are servants of God Most High, and their will is in unison with God’s; the people did not obey the seraph, they obeyed God Most High.
It's called 'double-speak'...Saying one thing and doing another...
No, the difference is no one builds a cememt statue of their grandmother and drops to their knees to pray to the statue...
Protestants don't put their statues (of granny, or anyone else) in a lighted bathtub and stick it in their front yard...
The one thing in common is to elevate something/one to where they are not to be.
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>> The one thing in common is to elevate something/one to where they are not to be. <<
But, then, that’s the commonality YOU find, not what’s in the bible.
It speaks for itself.
Only in a minority view of the Christian faith and only among those who treasure their own opinion over Scripture and Tradition.
Protestant's statues are mostly software, rather than hardware, which makes things tough because physical idols are all Protestants will acknowledge.
“I hold Mary in high regard, just as I do all the Saints of the Bible, but none of them are Deity, so how come people pray to them?”
Because they’re misguided by MAN regarding what the Scripture says. There’s NOTHING instructing us to pray to Mary or any other “saint” but plenty instructing us on how and who to pray to.
Gk Chesterton said the following so beautifully and it pretty much shows that the puritans were bizarre fundamentalists in understanding Christianity,it’s only gotten worse these days
“”When I was a boy a more Puritan generation objected to a statue upon my parish church representing the Virgin and Child. After much controversy, they compromised by taking away the Child. One would think that this was even more corrupted with Mariolatry, unless the mother was counted less dangerous when deprived of a sort of weapon. But the practical difficulty is also a parable. You cannot chip away the statue of a mother from all round that of a newborn child. You cannot suspend the new-born child in mid-air; indeed you cannot really have a statue of a newborn child at all. Similarly, you cannot suspend the idea of a newborn child in the void or think of him without thinking of his mother. You cannot visit the child without visiting the mother, you cannot in common human life approach the child except through the mother. If we are to think of Christ in this aspect at all, the other idea follows I as it is followed in history. We must either leave Christ out of Christmas, or Christmas out of Christ, or we must admit, if only as we admit it in an old picture, that those holy heads are too near together for the haloes not to mingle and cross.””
This is the Theotokos of Holy Tenderness Icon which hung in the cell of the very great and much loved Russian saint +Seraphim of Sarov. He was praying before this icon when he fell asleep in Christ in 1833.
1. “as has been said, thinks that eloquence consists in loquacity and considers speaking ill of anyone to be the witness of a good conscience, would begin to blaspheme worse than ever if opportunity of discussion were afforded him.”
This can be applied far and wide around here.
If Scripture told me to do that, I would, but I can't find any Scripture guiding me to pray to any human that has passed on, I direct my prayers to our Hevenly Father though Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.
Compare the two passages. "God just isn't enough. Bring out the idols." Some things never change, do they?
So, the reformers weren’t perfect.
Boy, is that an understatement.
I think they would agree with the statement too. I know they would. The thing is, when they were wrong it was due to their walking away from Sola Scriptura. They had the remnants of what they had come through upon them. Unfortunately, they didn’t get it all right - just the essential stuff.
“The thing is, when they were wrong it was due to their walking away from Sola Scriptura.”
But sola scriptura isn’t scriptural. There’s not a single verse that says Bible alone or even infers Bible alone.
“They had the remnants of what they had come through upon them. Unfortunately, they didnt get it all right - just the essential stuff.”
There’s no logical reason to think they got even the essential “stuff” right since they were clearly inventing a new gospel previously unknown.
Completely and wholly disagree. 2 Timothy 3:16 John 5:39 Acts 17:11 all tell us where to go for our answers. During the time of the apostles, some Scripture was still in formation so of course, some of what they would learn would be by word of mouth. However, when John finished Revelation, God’s revelation was complete and no verse in Scripture tells us to go to the councils or opinions of men when they are contrary to Scripture to solve disputes. i.e., tradition is only valid when it conforms to Scripture which is what Sola Scriptura is all about - not Scripture alone exclusive of all else - but Scripture alone as the sole determiner of what is true.
As far as precedent goes, that’s where the Lord’s life & Words themselves also shine forth that the Scripture is the place we should be going...
Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, ...
Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God...
But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled....
I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not: but the scriptures must be fulfilled...
And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself....
Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures...
Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me....
Further, the lives of the apostles show that where truth lies is within the scripture. Where other instruction was given, it was never in contradiction to Scripture as much of the tradition of man has been...
And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily,
And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures...
For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ....
(Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)...
For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
1 Corinthians 15:3
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures...
1 Corinthians 15:4
And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures...
2 Timothy 3:15
And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus...
2 Timothy 3:15
And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book...
“Completely and wholly disagree.”
Doesn’t matter that you do or don’t since the problem is the same in any case.
“2 Timothy 3:16 John 5:39 Acts 17:11 all tell us where to go for our answers.”
Neither one of them touts scripture alone. Neither one of them:
2 Timothy 3:16, for instance: http://matt1618.freeyellow.com/2tim316.html
“During the time of the apostles, some Scripture was still in formation so of course, some of what they would learn would be by word of mouth. However, when John finished Revelation, Gods revelation was complete and no verse in Scripture tells us to go to the councils or opinions of men when they are contrary to Scripture to solve disputes.”
Your mistakes and straw men:
1) You assume councils are contrary to scripture.
2) Tradition was taught by St. Paul as he makes clear.
3) The Church taught authoritatively: http://matt1618.freeyellow.com/authority.html
“i.e., tradition is only valid when it conforms to Scripture which is what Sola Scriptura is all about - not Scripture alone exclusive of all else - but Scripture alone as the sole determiner of what is true.”
Sola scriptura is still only a 16th century doctrine of men and no verse in the Bible supports it - including all those verses you listed.
Do not ascribe my assumptions. Nobody said that councils are contrary to Scripture. The council of Jerusalem, for example, is found within Scripture. It consisted of the apostles, the elders, and THE WHOLE CHURCH making decisions about sending out missionaries. I know what Scripture teaches. NOTHING in Scripture backs up the idea of a leader aside from Christ being a Vicar over His church. NOTHING in Scripture teaches us to venerate Mary. As a matter of fact, many of the traditions of the Catholic church are in stark contrast and contradiction to Scripture. Again, I say it is not Scripture alone with no tradition. Rather, it is Scripture alone as the judge and jury over all traditions. With that as the perspective the Catholic faith fails miserably.
“Do not ascribe my assumptions. Nobody said that councils are contrary to Scripture.”
You implied they could be.
“The council of Jerusalem, for example, is found within Scripture.”
Are those not in scripture less real?
“It consisted of the apostles, the elders, and THE WHOLE CHURCH making decisions about sending out missionaries. I know what Scripture teaches.”
The whole church OF JERUSALEM. Obviously it was not the whole world wide Church. No such meeting was possible.
“NOTHING in Scripture backs up the idea of a leader aside from Christ being a Vicar over His church.”
Actually there is plenty in scripture that shows Peter was the vicar: http://cfpeople.org/Apologetics/page51a066.html
“NOTHING in Scripture teaches us to venerate Mary.”
Nothing in scripture teaches us not to venerate her.
“As a matter of fact, many of the traditions of the Catholic church are in stark contrast and contradiction to Scripture.”
Actually, none of them are.
“Again, I say it is not Scripture alone with no tradition.”
Then you can’t even make up your mind.
“Rather, it is Scripture alone as the judge and jury over all traditions.”
If there are traditions then there isn’t scripture alone. THINK. TRY.
“With that as the perspective the Catholic faith fails miserably.”
No, what fails are your poor attempts to put yourself above the Church (not to mention scripture and tradition) when you can’t even get basic concepts right.
Yeah, that’s worth a bookmark.
John 5: 23 that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.
1 John 2:23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
rev 22: 18 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book;
The RCC is guilty of adding scripture!!! If God wanted to hold people accountable to knowing Mary it would be there a we see the relationship between knowing the Son and the Father is there. But the Bible always falls short of proving RCC doctrine doesn't it.
Jesus is no longer a child.
It is not common practice (or biblically encouraged practice) to relate to any mature adult ... through his/her mother.