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.
You really stepped in it now.....
Incoming....... (I'm sure).....
I haven’t been on these threads for a long time. I’m sorry that I did...I forgot how many engage in ad homimen discussions, rather than a discussion.
Do rules matter to you?Do you know what the posting rules are here??
If that were the case, then the same miracle which kept Mary sinless while being carried in the womb of her sinful mother could have kept Jesus sinless as He was carried in the womb of His sinful mother.
Sin doesn't rub off on people. It's not contagious with physical contact.
What rule are you claiming has been broken?
Interesting logic, I guess this means Jesus sinned then right? For is he not part of All?
Paul didn’t think it necessary to point out the exception of Jesus in this Romans passage. Probably had something to do with the multiplicity of other passages that explicitly claimed Jesus’ sinlessness. It would be redundant. However, if Mary was indeed sinless, it would have been very logical to claim her as an exception here, as there are no explicit (or even valid implicit) claims to her sinlessness elsewhere in scripture.”
So then my only question is for someone to say scripture only then imply a unwritten meaning is that not doublespeak and what they accuse Catholics of?
No, the Immaculate Conception means that Mary was conceived without (original) sin.
Jesus IS God. Mary is not God.
Also - 2 Corintians 5:21 - God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.
Let me know if the passage confuses you. I'd be happy to explain that "Trinity thingy."
and rule breaking ..but hey if you are trying to slander a protestant all things are fair I guess
Oh, please. That is NOT “trashing”.
I happen to think that Mary was faithful to God, and was probably a kind, wonderful, loving woman, since God chose her to raise His Son, but she wasn’t perfect. Only God is perfect.
God thinks that saving we fallible human beings was worth the life of His Son. Why would he think a fallible human being wasn’t worthy of being His Son’s mother?
I also don’t think that God would reward her faithfulness by requiring her to relinquish having other children, especially in a culture which judged the worth of a woman by how many children she had.
David was a man after God’s own heart, but he was an adulterous murderer.
Please, stop the thread hopping.
Martin Luther, Weimar edition of Martin Luthers Works
So? Or do you now recognize Luther as infallible when speaking on matters of faith and morals?
You bless me so
The first time I've ever been this ticked off to leave.
If I would have been in the same room with you, you'd be in the hospital, and I would be in jail.
As you know, salvation is entirely dependent upon the finished work of Christ - the only One Who can save. Mary - like other biblical figures of faith are great examples for us in our daily walk with Him.
Do Catholics really believe that Jesus sinned now?
Which post was that in?