Skip to comments.Was Mary Sinless?
Posted on 12/05/2010 6:14:57 PM PST by RnMomof7
............The Historical Evidence
The Roman Catholic Church claims that this doctrine, like all of their other distinctive doctrines, has the unanimous consent of the Fathers (contra unanimen consensum Patrum). They argue that what they teach concerning the Immaculate Conception has been the historic belief of the Christian Church since the very beginning. As Ineffabilis Deus puts it,
The Catholic Church, directed by the Holy Spirit of God has ever held as divinely revealed and as contained in the deposit of heavenly revelation this doctrine concerning the original innocence of the august Virgin and thus has never ceased to explain, to teach and to foster this doctrine age after age in many ways and by solemn acts.
However, the student of church history will quickly discover that this is not the case. The earliest traces of this doctrine appear in the middle ages when Marian piety was at its bloom. Even at this time, however, the acceptance of the doctrine was far from universal. Both Thomas Aquinas and Bernard of Clairvaux rejected the immaculate conception. The Franciscans (who affirmed the doctrine) and the Dominicans (who denied it, and of whom Aquinas was one) argued bitterly over whether this doctrine should be accepted, with the result that the pope at the time had to rule that both options were acceptable and neither side could accuse the other of heresy (ironic that several centuries later, denying this doctrine now results in an anathema from Rome).
When we go further back to the days of the early church, however, the evidence becomes even more glaring. For example, the third century church father Origen of Alexandria taught in his treatise Against Celsus (3:62 and 4:40) that that the words of Genesis 3:16 applies to every woman without exception. He did not exempt Mary from this. As church historian and patristic scholar J.N.D. Kelly points out,
Origen insisted that, like all human beings, she [Mary] needed redemption from her sins; in particular, he interpreted Simeons prophecy (Luke 2.35) that a sword would pierce her soul as confirming that she had been invaded with doubts when she saw her Son crucified.
Also, it must be noted that it has been often pointed out that Jesus rebuke of Mary in the wedding of Cana (John 2:1-12) demonstrates that she is in no wise perfect or sinless. Mark Shea scoffs at this idea that Mary is sinfully pushing him [Jesus] to do theatrical wonders in John 2, arguing that there is no reason to think [this] is true. However, if we turn to the writings of the early church fathers, we see that this is precisely how they interpreted Marys actions and Jesus subsequent rebuke of her. In John Chrysostoms twenty-first homily on the gospel of John (where he exegetes the wedding of Cana), he writes,
For where parents cause no impediment or hindrance in things belonging to God, it is our bounden duty to give way to them, and there is great danger in not doing so; but when they require anything unseasonably, and cause hindrance in any spiritual matter, it is unsafe to obey. And therefore He answered thus in this place, and again elsewhere Who is My mother, and who are My brethren? (Matt. xii.48), because they did not yet think rightly of Him; and she, because she had borne Him, claimed, according to the custom of other mothers, to direct Him in all things, when she ought to have reverenced and worshiped Him. This then was the reason why He answered as He did on that occasion He rebuked her on that occasion, saying, Woman, what have I to do with thee? instructing her for the future not to do the like; because, though He was careful to honor His mother, yet He cared much more for the salvation of her soul, and for the doing good to the many, for which He took upon Him the flesh.
Now why on earth would Jesus care for the salvation of Marys soul at this point in time if she was already preventatively saved through having been immaculately conceived, as was claimed earlier? That does not make any sense, whatsoever. Likewise, Theodoret of Cyrus agrees with John Chrysostom in saying that the Lord Jesus rebuked Mary during the wedding at Cana. In chapter two of his Dialogues, he writes,
If then He was made flesh, not by mutation, but by taking flesh, and both the former and the latter qualities are appropriate to Him as to God made flesh, as you said a moment ago, then the natures were not confounded, but remained unimpaired. And as long as we hold thus we shall perceive too the harmony of the Evangelists, for while the one proclaims the divine attributes of the one only begottenthe Lord Christthe other sets forth His human qualities. So too Christ our Lord Himself teaches us, at one time calling Himself Son of God and at another Son of man: at one time He gives honour to His Mother as to her that gave Him birth [Luke 2:52]; at another He rebukes her as her Lord [John 2:4]. And then there is Augustine of Hippo, whom many Roman Catholic apologists attempt to appeal to for their belief in the immaculate conception. They like to quote a portion of chapter 42 of his treatise, On Nature and Grace, where Augustine states,
We must except the holy Virgin Mary, concerning whom I wish to raise no question when it touches the subject of sins, out of honour to the Lord; for from Him we know what abundance of grace for overcoming sin in every particular was conferred upon her who had the merit to conceive and bear Him who undoubtedly had no sin.
However, those who quote this passage miss the point of what Augustine is trying to communicate. He was trying to refute the Pelagian heretics (who were the ones who were claiming that Maryamong other biblical characterswere sinless, since they denied the depravity of man). The article explaining Augustines view of Mary on Allan Fitzgeralds Augustine Through the Ages helps clear up misconceptions regarding this passage:
His [Augustine's] position must be understood in the context of the Pelagian controversy. Pelagius himself had already admitted that Mary, like the other just women of the Old testament, was spared from any sin. Augustine never concedes that Mary was sinless but prefers to dismiss the question Since medieval times this passage [from Nature and Grace] has sometimes been invoked to ground Augustines presumed acceptance of the doctrine of the immaculate conception. It is clear nonetheless that, given the various theories regarding the transmission of original sin current in his time, Augustine in that passage would not have meant to imply Marys immunity from it.
This same article then goes on to demonstrate that Augustine did in fact believe that Mary received the stain of original sin from her parents:
His understanding of concupiscence as an integral part of all marital relations made it difficult, if not impossible, to accept that she herself was conceived immaculately. He specifies in [Contra Julianum opus imperfectum 5.15.52] that the body of Mary although it came from this [concupiscence], nevertheless did not transmit it for she did not conceive in this way. Lastly, De Genesi ad litteram 10.18.32 asserts: And what more undefiled than the womb of the Virgin, whose flesh, although it came from procreation tainted by sin, nevertheless did not conceive from that source.
As can be seen here, these and many other early church fathers did not regard Mary as being sinless or immaculately conceived. It is quite clear that the annals of church history testify that Rome cannot claim that this belief is based upon the unanimous consent of the fathers, since the belief that Mary was sinless started out among Pelagian heretics during the fifth century and did not become an acceptable belief until at least the beginning of the middle ages.
As has been demonstrated here, neither scripture nor church history support the contention of the Roman Catholic Church that Mary was sinless by virtue of having been immaculately conceived. In fact, Rome did not even regard this as an essential part of the faith until the middle of the nineteenth century. This should cause readers to pause and question why on earth Rome would anathematize Christians for disbelieving in a doctrine that was absent from the early church (unless one wants to side with the fifth century Pelagians) and was considered even by Rome to be essential for salvation until a century and a half ago. Because Rome said so? But their reasons for accepting this doctrine in the first place are so demonstrably wrong. After all, they claim that this was held as divinely revealed from the very beginning, even though four and a half centuries worth of patristic literature proves otherwise. This ought to be enough to cast doubt not only on Romes claims regarding Mariology, but their claims to authority on matters of faith and morals in general.
Only Jesus was without sin. Everyone else is human.
>>Was Mary Sinless?<<
The Jesuits have spent a lot of time, effort and booze to undermine base Catholic teachings.
God chose Mary because she was sinless — and He absolved her of Original Sin (As the Creator of the Universe this wasn’t too tough for Him).
WHAT sins did she commit?? LIES?? CHEATING??? CURSING?? MURDER??? Please tell me what sins she committed.....please tell us all..yeah.....SO MANY you can't name them, I guess. Yeah...MAry was a HUGE sinner!
Does the condition of Marys soul matter to our salvation?
The bible says if you break ONE of the commandments you have broken them all (Jam 2:10)... so if she every talked back to her mother, she would be an adulterer and murder and a thief.. just as we all are..
My question was does the state of HER soul affect our salvation??
That applies to EVERYONE on the planet born of a human father.
How do you know that for sure.. AND does it matter in your salvation??
God chose Mary because of her blood lines.
She had the right pedigree.....
I agree, like all of us she needed a Savior
Man is intrinsically a sinner, no?
“Yeah, Jesus was a Jew, but only on his mother’s side...”
No. Jesus was sinless because of His divine nature. Sin comes from within, not from without.
Matthew 15:17-20 Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone."
Jesus is not defiled with physical contact with sinful people. If that were the case, He would have been defiled the first time he touched anyone but his mother.
>>How do you know that for sure.. AND does it matter in your salvation??<<
CCD - I have no reason to think the nuns altered the storyline.
And my salvation is between me and my God, thank you very much.
You should be concerned about YOUR salvation since you choose to disparage the Mother of Christ. She is much more active than a lot of other saints.
Although not currently popular in Catholic, or even most Evangelical circles, there is a way to understand the Messianic prophecies that allows for the coming of both a male and a female Messiah, or one, or the other depending on the circumstances at the time chosen.
This approach actually plays to the Immaculate Conception, and recognizes that as part of the process of delivering up a Messiah to this world.
Alas, the concept of a female Messiah runs counter to all those arguments about why God decided that only men should be Catholic priests.
We'll need to schedule that debate for another age ~
Exactly ! Jesus inherited His divinity FROM HIS DADS SIDE OF THE FAMILY..:)
Mom did not contribute to His divinity, She contributed His humanity.. and we do run ino a problem here..for if mom was a goddess and we know his Father is a Holy and Righteous God.. from where did Jesus get His humanity.. ...Just askin
The first refuge of the Catholic-haters.
And where did the nuns learn it? Have you ever read the bible for yourself to see if God tells us that is true?
Does mary NEED to be sinless for us to be saved?
Ah, insults. The first refuge of Catholics.....
LUKE 1:48 “Because He hath regarded the humility of His Handmaid; for behold from henceforth ALL GENERATIONS SHALL CALL ME BLESSED.”
She also had the right bloodlines, as did Joseph.
What does your Church (and what variety of Presbyterian are you?) say?
I do not intend to participate in yet another forum established for the sole purpose of giving you a platform for blaspheming the Blessed Virgin and Catholic baiting. Take your charade of honest discourse and shove it.
John the Baptist . . . Born Without Original Sin?
A reader writes:
I heard this for the first time last night and do not know the answer.
I was told that the Catholic Church teaches that John the Baptist was Born without original sin, is this the teaching of the church if so can you please explain why.
This is not something that the Catholic Church teaches, but it is what may be called a pious and probable belief among Catholics.
The reason is that in Luke 1:13-15, when an angel prophecies the birth of John the Baptist, he says:
Do not be afraid, Zechari’ah, for your prayer is heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.
And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth;
for he will be great before the Lord,and he shall drink no wine nor strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.
It is commonly understood that the Holy Spirit does not fill those who are still in a state of original sin. As Catholics use the term, “original sin” refers to the privation of the sanctifying grace which unites us with God. A soul filled with the Holy Spirit seems unquestionably to be united with God and thus not deprived of sanctifying grace. Hence, it has not original sin as the term is commonly used among Catholics, just as every person who has been baptized or otherwise justified has not original sin as Catholics use the term.
(N.B., Protestants have a different and more expansive definition of the term “original sin,” which includes the corrupt nature we inherit from Adam and which remains with us after we are justified. Consequently, it would sound very improbable to them that any person in this life does not have original sin, but this is because of the way the term is used in their circles, not because of a substantive theological difference.)
(N.B.B., If it is granted that John the Baptist was freed from original sin before birth, it does not follow that he was immaculate, as was the Blessed Virgin Mary. This is firstly because he may have been freed of original sin after his conception and before birth, whereas Mary was preserved from her conception from contracting original sin. And it secondly is because Mary was not only free of original sin, as is posited in the case of John the Baptist, but also utterly free of the stain of original sin, which includes more than just the deprivation of sanctifying grace. It also includes, for example, the later tendency to sin—concupiscience—to which we are subject in this life.)
Posted by Jimmy Akin
Hail Mary, full of grace
the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus
The word, Jesus, is added when Catholics pray the Hail Mary. The angel Gabriel stopped with the word, "womb."
Now, why would the angel Gabriel use the words, "full of grace" -- doesn't that mean with no sin on one's soul? In other words, being full of grace allows no room for sin.
Nobody is bashing Mary by telling the truth about her.
Problem is, those spreading the fantasies about Mary don’t like it when those fantasies are exposed as the unsupportable nonsense they are.
Mary was a virgin Jewish girl who happened to be of the correct lineage, who lived in the right time and place where circumstances would enable all the prophecy about Jesus birth and childhood to be fulfilled.
Making up stories about her being sinless, immaculately conceived, perpetually virgin, assumed and whatever else their fancy conjures up, and passing them off as truth does no one any favors, especially those duped into praying to her for favors as if she can do anything for them.
Does the condition of Marys soul matter to our salvation?I ask, again, what does YOUR Church teach? You claim to be Presbyterian, which flavor are you?
Yeah, thats right. Its all about YOU.
>>And where did the nuns learn it? Have you ever read the bible for yourself to see if God tells us that is true?<<
Of course I have: “Hail Mary full of grace the Lord is with thee,” et. seq.
But I leave you to the bashing which you so clearly enjoy. Far be it from me to stand in the way...
I’ll comment on this topic. But, first let me get my welding goggles.
>>Yeah, thats right. Its all about YOU.<<
I am not Catholic — and your statement is a non sequitur anyway.
I don’t think the Catholic nastiness has died down.
How long you want to guess before this thread gets locked by it?
Can you provide the scripture that says that she was “the ark of the covenant?”
Blessed is not sinless it is blessed.. All the Jewish girls wanted to be the mother of Israels savior.. so she was blessed by the honor.. The blesser is sinless not the blessed ... Luk 11:27 And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed [is] the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. [Select for Copy; Double click to (de-)select all] Luk 11:28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed [are] they that hear the word of God, and keep it.
Hey, if you find happiness by trashing the Mother of Our Lord and Savior, I won’t stand in the way.
Thousands of years of theological study and discussion give way to your prejudice.
You win the thread, I suppose.
And theologically wrong.
The Temple with the Ark was still in Jerusalem and the temple sacrifices were still being performed. The Old Covenant had not passed until Christs death and the veil torn. Christ himself went to the temple and observed the law.
Mary herself offered a guilt offering to the priest.
All of mankind needed saving after sin was found in Adam.
In Luke 2:47 Mary says “And my Spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.”
but it is what may be called a pious and probable belief among Catholics.
A "probable" belief? The more the RCC opens her mouth to explain her beliefs, the worse it gets for anyone who tries to make sense of this 2000-year-old-2-BILLION-plus group of "representatives" of Christ. But keep going. You have 2000 years of tradition to back up your claims...and lots of implicit scripture to decode for the 'faithful'.
Actually the Catholic church itself teaches that only Jesus could keep the whole law perfectly..and THAT is a description of sinless:)