Skip to comments.Why Did Mary Offer a Sin Offering? [Ecumenical]
Posted on 07/19/2009 2:17:43 PM PDT by NYer
Q. Mary, like every other Jew of her time, was born under law. In other words, under the old covenant, she had to obey the 10 Commandments and all the ceremonial laws given by God through Moses. For example, we see her observing the pregnancy and childbirth laws here:
(Luke 2:22-24) When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord She must also bring to the priest a lamb for a burnt offering and a dove for a sin offering. The priest will then offer them to the Lord to make atonement for her.
A. The above quotation of Luke is inaccurate Here is what the NIV actually says:
When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23(as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord 24and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.
Q. Now, if Mary was always pure and sinless, why did she go through the purification period? Why did she offer a sacrifice for sin to the priest? Why would the priest need to make atonement for her to cleanse her?
Leviticus 12:1-8 The LORD said to Moses, A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period… . 8 If she cannot afford a lamb, she is to bring two doves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering
A. These are very good and very legitimate questions. Of course, being ceremonially unclean is not equivalent to being sinful. The laws here are going to apply to everyone. They would not have written these laws with one immaculate virgin in mind. But scripture does seem to indicate in Luke, that Mary offered a sin offering.
Good point about Mary’s sin offering. But the Catholic reply would be that she offered the sin offering out of humility and to avoid scandal and to fulfill all righteousness, (Mt. 3) just as her Divine Son was baptized in the Jordan by John. Johns baptism was for repentance and yet we both agree Jesus did not need to be baptized b/c He did not need to repent of any sin. And yet He submitted to baptism. And Mary offered the sin offering according to the Law. Both fulfilled all righteousness in humility.
Q. As we have seen, Mary was born under law and she observed the Law of Moses with regard to pregnancy and childbirth. But the Bible says that no one can become righteous in Gods sight by observing the law. In fact, the purpose of the law is to increase sin in man and show man his utter sinfulness, hopelessness and, hence, need for Gods grace.
If Mary was born without sin and never sinned, it would mean that she perfectly obeyed the entire Law of Moses (the 10 Commandments and more than 360 ceremonial laws) in thought, word and deed, all of the time, and thus, achieved righteousness by the law!
A. No, she did not achieve righteousness by the law. She was righteous from her conception by the power of God. And yes, she kept the entire law.
Q. So, Mary did not need the righteousness from God, apart from the law that comes through faith in Jesus Christ? In other words, she did not need Jesus to die for her sins because she had none she was not a sinner!
A. She certainly did need Jesus to save her. True, she was not a sinner but she certainly DID have faith in Jesus Christ her Divine Son. She was the first believer. She was saved by Jesus from sin BEFORE she sinned by a unique grace of God Almighty. Surely God could do this if He wanted to do it. Just as Jesus death saves all people, even those who lived and died before His incarnation, so His salvation through His death and resurrection was applied to Mary before it actually happened in time.
Q. Matthew 11:11 I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
Even the most insignificant Christian is greater than the most prominent Old Testament prophet! To be made righteous by the blood of Christ, to be born again as a child of God, and to know Jesus as Lord and Saviour, is far better than being a mighty Old Testament prophet who is not walking in the New Covenant.
A. And Our Blessed Mother would most definitely fall into this category. So, she too, as a Christian and in the kingdom of Heaven is greater than John the Baptist.
Q. Jesus said that among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist.
A. This must be referring to OT people. Because Jesus also was born of woman and yet we both agree He is the greatest of all.
Q. So, if anyone is to be put on a pedestal, why have the Catholics chosen Mary instead of the greater John the Baptist?
A. Because she is the mother of Our Lord and unlike Eve, she was perfectly obedient to God.
Q. I mean no disrespect to Mary or John the Baptist. But Christians should merely give them the same honour and respect they give to any Christian. Only Jesus is to be exalted above all!
A. Jesus is exalted above all. We worship Him. We honor Mary for who she is we do not worship her.
Q. Jesus response when someone called Mary blessed: Luke 11:27,28 As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.
He replied, Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.
The woman in the crowd was impressed with Jesus teaching, but, she gave the glory to Mary. Jesus response did two things. It shifted the focus from one personMaryto ANYONE who hears the Word of God and obeys it. This, in turn, puts Mary on equal footing with anyone who hears the Word of God and obeys it.
A. True. And, of course, Mary also heard the word of God and obeyed it. All who do this are blessed just as Jesus said. This is true. I would submit that Jesus response did redirect the womans focus from honoring His mother to the necessity that this woman attend to her own salvation. But, it in no way indicates that Mary is thus equal in every way to any Christian who hears and obeys Jesus regardless of the perfection of their obedience. But she would be equal to any Christian who believed and obeyed perfectly.
In closing , I would like to say that you have submitted some very good and thoughtful questions. I have also submitted to you a different way to understand the same scriptures. I hope you can see that it is possible to interpret the same scriptures differently. This is the very reason there are over 40,000 different Protestant denominations.
The basic difference between Protestant interpretation of scripture and Catholic is that for us the Faith existed before the NT scriptures were written down. So the NT is a product of the Catholic Faith and is not contrary to any of our beliefs and doctrines.
For instance, no one in the Catholic Church sat down and read the Angelic salutation in Luke 1–”Hail Full of Grace..” thought it over and said, “I know, this must mean that Mary was sinless, immaculate from the first instance of her conception!”
If the Catholic Church had done that Protestant derision would be deserved. But no, that is not why we cite this verse. The Catholic Church has always believed in the immaculate conception of Mary. This was never seriously questioned until some time after the Protestant Reformation. (Even Luther believed in her immaculate conception.)We cite this verse in response to Protestant demands for scripture. And because we know that Protestants will only consider scripture Catholics give the scriptural evidence we have for our beliefs. Protestants will then often scoff because they think we derived our doctrine and dogma from what seems to them insubstantial scriptural evidence. But as I said above, our doctrines do not come out of scripture in the same way Protestants derive their doctrine. Our doctrine comes directly from the teaching of Jesus to the apostles to us.
On the other hand, Protestants, 1500 years later, read scriptures and then decide what is to be believed based on their own private interpretation.
By the way this is proscribed in
2 Peter 1:20 Understanding this first, that no prophecy of scripture is made by private interpretation.
The reason I am Catholic is that for many scriptures there are more than one way to interpret them. I have decided that the oldest Church, the one that can trace her origin back to the apostles, founded by Jesus Christ 2000 years ago, is the one church most likely to KNOW how the scriptures should be interpreted.
Protestant individuals, 1500 2000 years removed from the events in the NT, are pretty much on their own. Their hope is that the Holy Spirit will lead them into all truth but this has not been the case since the differences in Protestant interpretation has spawned thousands of different denominations in direct opposition to Jesus desire that we all be ONE.
thanks for the post.
This thread began an ongoing discussion between the author, BHU and a non-Catholic. It’s worth visiting the discussion at the above link.
Nothing in Scripture indicates Mary is without sin. The notion is a rationalization by people uncomfortable with the notion that a sinless Christ could issue forth from a sinful mother.
If Christ’s sinlessness necessitates Mary be sinless, then her mother need be sinless - and all the way back, reducto ad absurdum.
“Now, if Mary was always pure and sinless, why did she go through the purification period?”
This is a hypothetical which can be easily answered: Mary was not always pure and sinless. In fact, she was not sinless at all. Like everyone except the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, she was born in sin.
How so? Jesus Christ was born into a family that includes sinners, like us. The vessel in which He chose to enter this world, however, was without sin.
Protestant individuals, myself among them, see ourselves as a continuation of the true church from NT times onwards, and Roman Catholics as the aberration.
I do not however hate the RCs, and have enjoyed many good friendships with RCs. Particularly in the pro-life movement, I have gotten to know quite a few.
It is inappropriate, I think, on threads discussing Catholic doctrine like this one, that when someone like me posts their reasons for disagreeing with Catholic doctrine, we are often insulted.
After all, I didn’t bring it up.
A thread yesterday was a good example. I posted in response to someone waiting for “those who hate Mary” to show up. I told them Protestants do not hate Mary, we just don’t think she should be worshiped. Some responded by talking about how they aren’t really worshiping her (I respectfully disagree) - but others just insulted me in perjorative terms.
Hope this thread doesn’t go the same way. But just as I wanted to point out the Protestants don’t hate Mary, we just don’t agree that she has attributes belonging only to God (sinlessness, omniscience...) on this thread I’d like to make the point that Protestants don’t see ourselves as a “new” sect, but as a continuation of the true church.
**Now, if Mary was always pure and sinless, why did she go through the purification period? **
Because she was of Jewish ancestry and followed the laws of Judaism.
If Christs sinlessness necessitates Mary be sinless, then her mother need be sinless - and all the way back, reducto ad absurdum.
Nothing in Scripture indicates the teachings of Christ solely appear in Scripture. The notion is a rationalization by people uncomfortable with the notion that an oral tradition could issue forth from Christ, through the Apostles, to the modern day.
If Scripture necessitates a Scriptural basis, then that basis must itself be in Scripture - and all the way back, reducto ad absurdum.
"Hail Mary, full of grace,"
Now, how can she be full of grace if she had sinned?
Again a simple answer -- right there in Holy Scripture!
I'm curious how you view Angels? Serious question.
For your continued information.
It would be helpful for all to know to which "aberration", you are referring. Thank you for the additional information.
I posted in response to someone waiting for those who hate Mary to show up. I told them Protestants do not hate Mary, we just dont think she should be worshiped. Some responded by talking about how they arent really worshiping her (I respectfully disagree) - but others just insulted me in perjorative terms.
The word "worship" has undergone a change in meaning in English. It comes from the Old English weorthscipe, which means the condition of being worthy of honor, respect, or dignity. To worship in the older, larger sense is to ascribe honor, worth, or excellence to someone, whether a sage, a magistrate, or God. In Scripture, the term "worship" was similarly broad in meaning, but in the early Christian centuries, theologians began to differentiate between different types of honor in order to make more clear which is due to God and which is not.
As the terminology of Christian theology developed, the Greek term latria came to be used to refer to the honor that is due to God alone, and the term dulia came to refer to the honor that is due to human beings, especially those who lived and died in Gods friendshipin other words, the saints. Scripture indicates that honor is due to these individuals (Matt. 10:41b). A special term was coined to refer to the special honor given to the Virgin Mary, who bore JesusGod in the fleshin her womb. This term, hyperdulia (huper [more than]+ dulia = "beyond dulia"), indicates that the honor due to her as Christs own Mother is more than the dulia given to other saints. It is greater in degree, but still of the same kind. However, since Mary is a finite creature, the honor she is due is fundamentally different in kind from the latria owed to the infinite Creator.
All of these termslatria, dulia, hyperduliaused to be lumped under the one English word "worship." Sometimes when one reads old books discussing the subject of how particular persons are to be honored, they will qualify the word "worship" by referring to "the worship of latria" or "the worship of dulia." To contemporaries and to those not familiar with the history of these terms, however, this is too confusing.
Consider how honor is given. We regularly give it to public officials. In the United States it is customary to address a judge as "Your Honor." In the marriage ceremony it used to be said that the wife would "love, honor, and obey" her husband. Letters to legislators are addressed to "The Honorable So-and-So." And just about anyone, living or dead, who bears an exalted rank is said to be worthy of honor, and this is particularly true of historical figures, as when children are (or at least used to be) instructed to honor the Founding Fathers of America.
These practices are entirely Biblical. We are explicitly commanded at numerous points in the Bible to honor certain people. One of the most important commands on this subject is the command to honor ones parents: "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God gives you" (Ex. 20:12). God considered this command so important that he repeated it multiple times in the Bible (for example, Lev. 19:3, Deut. 5:16, Matt. 15:4, Luke 18:20, and Eph. 6:23). It was also important to give honor to ones elders in general: "You shall rise up before the hoary head, and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord" (Lev. 19:32). It was also important to specially honor religious leaders: "Make sacred garments for your brother Aaron [the high priest], to give him dignity and honor" (Ex. 28:2).
The New Testament stresses the importance of honoring others no less than the Old Testament. The apostle Paul commanded: "Pay all of them their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due" (Rom. 13:7). He also stated this as a principle regarding ones employers: "Slaves, be obedient to those who are your earthly masters, with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as to Christ" (Eph. 6:5). "Let all who are under the yoke of slavery regard their masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be defamed" (1 Tim. 6:1). Perhaps the broadest command to honor others is found in 1 Peter: "Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor" (1 Pet. 2:17).
The New Testament also stresses the importance of honoring religious figures. Paul spoke of the need to give them special honor in 1 Timothy: "Let the presbyters [priests] who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching" (1 Tim. 5:17). Christ himself promised special blessings to those who honor religious figures: "He who receives a prophet because he is a prophet shall receive a prophets reward, and he who receives a righteous man [saint] because he is a righteous man shall receive a righteous mans reward" (Matt. 10:41).
So, if there can be nothing wrong with honoring the living, who still have an opportunity to ruin their lives through sin, there certainly can be no argument against giving honor to saints whose lives are done and who ended them in sanctity. If people should be honored in general, Gods special friends certainly should be honored.
Hope this thread doesnt go the same way.
There are fallen angels, as described in the book of Job. Satan is a fallen angel, and the demons he rules are, too.
Some angels fell. Some did not. The ones who did not (like Michael and Gabriel, mentioned in the NT) continue in heaven loving and serving the Lord.
Thus the fallen angels have sinned. The others have not. They are servants of God and are not to be worshiped.
Which is a rather good example, come to think of it. The angels in heaven indeed are sinless. Yet we are not to worship them.
They are not described as omniscient, to my knowledge, so I assume they aren’t.
On the contrary. An implicit reference ca be found in the angels greeting to Mary in Luke 1:28: "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you." The phrase "full of grace" is a translation of the Greek word kecharitomene. This word represents the proper name of the person being addressed by the angel, and it therefore expresses a characteristic quality of Mary. Kecharitomene is a perfect passive participle of charitoo, meaning "to fill or endow with grace." Since this term is in the perfect tense, it indicates a perfection of grace that is both intensive and extensive. This means that the grace Mary enjoyed was not a result of the angels visit, and was not only as "full" or strong or complete as possible at any given time, but it extended over the whole of her life, from conception onward. She was in a state of sanctifying grace from the first moment of her existence to have been called "full of grace."
“It would be helpful to know to which aberration you are referring.”
I was responding to this statement in the original article:
“Protestant individuals, 1500 2000 years removed from the events in the NT, are pretty much on their own.”
I was trying to point out that as the church started out in Acts, and spread hither and yon, and this elder and that bishop became more prominent, and then, as we most of us know from church history, a battle broke out between the eastern and western authorities, starting the first major schism (Eastern Orthodox vs. Roman Catholic), and (from my perspective) the Roman Catholic church went downhill with more and more papal bulls and decrees that frequently (from my perspective) contradict Scripture - for example, the infamous work of Tetzel which Luther railed against, the selling of indulgences - that THEY were the aberrant ones. The further they wandered from Scripture, the more aberrant they became.
This is as opposed to faithful Christians, even before the Reformation (the Waldensians come to mind, as an organized group) which acknowledged Scripture and the authoritative decree of God. I see them, us, the Protestants, as the non-aberrant ones. Not perfectly, but in the main, I see us as the continuation of the early church.
I don’t see the RC church as totally aberrant. For example, they confess the Bible as the true word of God (with the addition of the Apogrypha), the creation of the world by God, the Trinity (very important), the sinfulness of mankind, the fact that Jesus is the Savior, He died for our sins, was buried, resurrected, and will return again - all very true and very important doctrines. So it is important to remember all that we have in common.
One might as well ask, if Jesus was God incarnate, why on earth would he need to go through the rigamarole of being "presented in the temple according to the law of Moses?"
It's not Christ's "sinlessness" that necessitates that Mary be sinless, it's His divinity!
In re: worship, yes, the word can evolve over time. Where I draw the line, as regards to Mary, would be praying to her, asking her to dispense extra grace (which I don’t think she has), falling before an image of her, lighting a candle to her, encouraging people to put faith in her, or putting faith in her myself.
As to “honor,” - to remember her with love, to appreciate her faithfulness, to respect her faithful life and witness, to look forward to meeting her in heaven, to acknowledge the wonderful role she played in being Jesus’ mother and caring for him - yes certainly I do honor her in these senses of the term.
Please see Acts 6:8 - Stephen is not considered sinless, yet the Bible plainly states that he was full of grace and power.
There is no condition on being sinless to receive the grace of God; in fact, God’s grace is what makes us sinless.
Such a statement, dear friend, requires support. From which "Scripture" did the Catholic Church wander? What is the source of your statement?
The angels in heaven indeed are sinless. Yet we are not to worship them.
Agreed 100%. But, when the Psalms command the Angels or beseech their assistance, are the Angels being worshiped?
They are not described as omniscient, to my knowledge, so I assume they arent.
The Psalmist pleads for their assistance though, doesn't he? And as you've said, Angels are in Heaven, serving God. So, that means either (1) Angels are in fact omniscient, and thus that is another trait not applicable solely to God, or (2) the relationship between Heaven and Earth is one that those is Heaven can "see" all of Earth simultaneously. Thus, if (2) is correct and Mary is in Heaven, is she not able to do the same as the Angels?
Excellent point! Salvation made a similar comment with regards to Mary.
I've never encountered "sinlessness" mentioned as a Divine attribute -- God is "All-Good," of course, which would necessarily include sinlessness, but would be so minor a part of it and so overshadowed by the Divine reality as not to be worth mentioning. Put another way, "All-Good" necessarily excludes sin (sort of tautological, or something, since sin is almost by definition that which is opposed to God!), but sinlessness doesn't come anywhere near implying "All-Good"!
No one that I've ever heard of has ever attributed omniscience to a creature -- to any creature. OTH, it's not at all hard to picture someone who knows far more than we do and who is nonetheless unimaginably far from omniscient.
A big difference between the words of those around Stephen in ACTS and the Archangel Gabriel in LUKE.
I don’t follow... Was Stephen filled with grace? Did he need to be sinless to be filled with grace? If Stephen was filled with grace and was not sinless, then being filled with grace does not imply a sinless life.
The point is that traditions should not contradict Scripture. If one must choose between trusting scripture, and trusting the Pope, then one either trusts Scripture (Protestant) or the Pope (Catholic).
When Scripture says (and, BTW, these are quotes from the OT),
“There is no one righteous, not even one;
there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.
All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”
then one can believe it, or believe the Pope’s footnote “No one EXCEPT Mary”.
If you place tradition above Scripture, that is your choice. But one shouldn’t pretend it doesn’t exist as a choice.
I’m not disputing that Mary wasn’t filled with grace; that is clearly expressed in the Bible. That is not in question.
What I am disputing that being filled with grace implies that one is sinless. We have the example of Stephen being filled with grace, but he was not without sin.
As a Catholic, I thank you for your thoughtful responses. You have made your position very clear.
I ask you to consider for a moment that perhaps all your study and inquiry is based on the belief that only Scripture matters. If you have viewed Church history though that prism, you have viewed it with a bias.
I ask you to remember that Christ promised to guide His Church forever. It also states in scripture that the writers of the Gospels couldn’t write down all the wondrous things Christ did and all his teachings. Scripture only records a small percentage of what He did and taught. Christ didn’t tell the Apostles to sit down and write out their teachings and evangelize by having everyone study it. He told them to go and verbally teach His word. He set up a system to do that with a hierarchy. He sent them the Spirit to guide their thinking. This is all Scripture based fact.
If you can imagine studying Scripture from that perspective, from the basis of Christ’s intentions and actions for His Church, I think you would begin to see where Catholics are coming from. We believe in the system Christ set up before He died. He passed on insight, understanding, and knowledge verbally. He didn’t write it down for the Apostles. He sent them to verbally teach others. He began traditions, like the breaking of the bread in Mass, and asked them to continue His traditions. He followed Jewish customs and traditions. He believed in them as the fulfillment of God’s promises to man.
Christ wanted His Church to continue oral teaching and tradition. He wanted us to remember what He taught us and set up a living, breathing body to do that. His message, and His Church, is more than Scripture.
I also ask you to consider that He chastised the Jews who clung to the letter of the Law/Scripture and didn’t want to learn from the living, breathing, acting Man in front of them. They had no respect for Christ’s oral tradition and teaching.
No matter how you slice it, breaking away from a Church after 15 centuries because of disagreements/concerns is still breaking away from an existing Church. It is separating yourself from the original. Only one Church can really trace its roots, leadership, teaching, oral tradition, and written record back to Christ. Various Protestant faiths filtered the Gospels to fit their beliefs.
I hope this clarifies what many Catholics feel for you. We believe that if you go back and research the earliest versions of Scripture, in the original languages, you will find ample reasons for Catholic dogma. I invite you to consider that you are studying Christianity through the prism of what you want to find- that only Scripture matters. Look to the original Scripture with an open mind and heart and you will find that the Catholic Church is the most scripturally accurate Church, from Christ’s time to today.
Thank you for your patience with my long post. I thank you for what you cited that we have in common.
The Sacred Scriptures have revealed the proper names of only three Angels, all of whom belong to the Choir of the Archangels. The names are well known to all, namely: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael. Ancient apocryphal literature of the Old Testament contains several other names of Archangels in addition to the three just mentioned. Like the sources themselves, these other names are spurious. Names like Uriel, Raguel, Sariel, and Jeremiel are not found in the canonical books of Sacred Scripture, but in the apocryphal book of Enoch, fourth book of Esdras, and in rabbinical literature. The Church does not permit proper names of Angels that are not found in the canonical books of the Bible. All such names that were taken from apocryphal writings were rejected under Pope Zachary, in 745. There must have been danger of serious abuses in this regard during that century, because a similar step was taken in a synod held at Aix-la-Chapelle in 789.
The Catholic Church has set apart September 29 as a feast day to honor the archangels. We also acknowledge that each person who walks this earth has a guardian angel. We have prayers, in praise of these illustrious beings.
Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel
Saint Michael, Archangel, defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness
and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
And do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host,
by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all the other evil spirits who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
Guardian Angel Prayer
Angel of God, my guardian dear,
To whom His love commits me here,
Ever this day be at my side,
To light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen
You might also read this:
” The idea that one can read into this word meaning “object of grace/favor” any degree of sinlessness or perfection on the basis of a “perfect” verb form indicates a complete misunderstanding of what “perfect” means in grammatical terms. In verbs, it only means “completed action”; not sinlessness! To go back to the discussion in point 4 above, if the present is a line with an arrow and the aorist is an “x”, then the perfect would be a line with an “x” at the end, that is, action begun in the past and now complete. The action doesn’t have to have begun in eternity nor does the completion of the action impart perfection of any sort on the object. In our case all it would mean is that Mary had received favor from God in the past and was still in His good-graces.”
Also, the perfect past participle is used, I believe, in the preceding verse in Luke (1.27): “...to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph...”
So apparently, if one reads perfect past participles the way Catholics do in verse 28, then in verse 27, Mary perfectly pledged to stay pledged forever to be married, but not to marry. Kind of like always winter, never Christmas.
You know, I'm sure that when anyone touched the "old" Ark of the Covenant mentioned in the Old Testament that they died instantly.
That is one reason that Catholics believe that Mary is "The Ark of the New Covenant and that no one, not even her most chast spouse, St. Joseph, touched her in procreating children.
One does not take lightly the Words from the Creed: We believe.....(soon to be "I believe/Credo"....by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man.
Catholics bow their heads during that phrase of the Creed during Mass because it is so important; bet you didn't know that, huh?
Thank you, most enlightening!
I have yet to find anywhere in the Bible where a precondition of being filled with grace or the Holy Spirit requires one to have always been sinless. Perhaps one of our Catholic friends can educate us?
Because she carried the new Promise of God. Seems simple enough to me.
You know, I'm sure that when anyone touched the "old" Ark of the Covenant mentioned in the Old Testament that they died instantly.
I agree. Yet we have plenty of examples of Mary touching others without them bursting into flames. Clearly she was not the same type of Ark as that which carried the ten commandments, the jar of manna, and Aaron's staff.
That is one reason that Catholics believe that Mary is "The Ark of the New Covenant and that no one, not even her most chast spouse, St. Joseph, touched her in procreating children.
Yes, Catechism 499. But this leaves you with a conundrum: either there were more men and women born of virgin birth, or the Bible is lying - multiple times - when it talks of the brothers and sisters of Jesus (see Matt 12:46, Matt 13:55-56, Mark 3:31, Luke 8:19, John 7:1-10, Acts 1:14 - all four Gospels and the book of Acts).
So did Mary have additional immaculate conceptions? Or did she consummate her marriage to Joseph after the birth of Jesus, as Matthew 1:25 alludes to, meaning she was no longer a virgin?
Sinners need a savior. If Mary was not a sinner, she wouldn't need a savior. Yet in Luke 1 we find she includes herself among those in need of a savior:
"And Mary said: 'My soul exalts the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.'" (Luke 1:46-47 NASV)
If she was perfect, Mary would not have acknowledged anyone as her savior. The reason Mary acknowledged her need for a savior is because, "as it is written, 'there is none righteous, not even one.'" (Romans 3:10)
Additionally, we know the wages of sin is death, so if Mary had no sin, she should would be alive today or there would be some record of her being the third person (after Enoch and Elijah) taken to heaven without dying. But you know as well as I do, there is no such account recorded anywhere in church history.
Finally, Mary's Magnificat shows the Catholic idea of Mary as co-redemptrix is flawed. How could a perfect, co-savior possibly need a savior? If Mary is a co-redemptrix, it would mean sinners are redeemed and come to the Father not just through Jesus, but also through his mother Mary. And if that were true, it would prove Jesus a liar when he said in John 14, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." (John 14:6) And Peter would have been lying when, filled with the Holy Spirit and referring to Jesus, he proclaimed in Acts 4, "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12) "Salvation in no one else" -- you'll have to agree, I think, that the term "no one else" pretty much excludes you, me and Mary. Peace, A
Mary did need a savior and had a savior. She admitted this - My spirit rejoices in God my Savior. She never sinned; that is true. But that is not to say that she did not need a savior. How could she be sinless without a savior? God exists outside of time. See my post #13.
This is a good article overall, NYer. Its a shame it was spoiled by this:
“The Catholic Church has always believed in the immaculate conception of Mary.”
That’s simply untrue. That notion was never held in The Church in the East and isn’t to this day. Many in the West rejected it, +Thomas Aquinas for example. The IC is made necessary by the the West’s conception of both the reality and effects of the Sin of Adam, a conception rejected by all the Fathers save Blessed Augustine. As a matter of dogma in the Latin Church it is less than 200 years old and was proclaimed by no council but by an asserted infallible declaration of Pius IX. There are those among the Orthodox who state that this doctrine, far from being true dogma, is in fact a type of Christological heresy which effectively denies Christ’s human nature as per the Council of Chalcedon.
The Catholic understanding of Grace is that it displaces sin, not merely covers it up. This is why one described as filled with grace no longer has sin.
Further, the Catholic Church does not teach that Mary and Jesus alone were without sin, and that all the rest have committed sins at least once. It is entirely compatible with Catholicism to think that John the Baptist was also without sin. In the case of Noah, for example, the Scripture tells us that he was “perfect in every way”, so even based on the Scripture alone you are required to believe that Noah was without sin.
So, you are setting up a straw man. You presume that we teach that St. Stephen was not in fact without sin as he was martyred. But we don’t teach that. In fact, we teach that everyone who validly received the Holy Communion is likewise free from sin from that moment on till he either dies or commits a sin. Baptism, ditto, frees one from sin. You probably disagree with all or with some of these doctrines, but you cannot say that juxtaposing St. Stephen being “pleres charis” and Our Lady being “kecharitomene” (the underlying Greek is in fact different) you are pointing to some contradiction in Catholic teaching.
Having said that, let us examine the contexts. Our Lady is proclaimed by Archangel Gabriel already filled with grace. This is why the grammatical prefect tense is important: here is a young girl and she is said to be filled with grace already. This the scriptural basis not merely of her sinlessness but also of her immaculate conception: since she had been filled with grace prior to Archangel Gabriel talking to her, it is reasonable to think that she had been that way since the beginning of the life, since Sts Joachim and Anna concieved her.
No similar inference exists with St. Stephen. He is undergoing martyrdom, and martyrdom is like baptism. He is filled with grace at that moment, but nothing can be inferred about his condition prior to that from that verse in Acts.
“all your study and inquiry is based on the belief that only Scripture matters. If you have viewed Church history though that prism, you have viewed it with a bias.”
I admit to that, pretty much. It’s not so much that only Scripture MATTERS, as much as it is the supreme authority on doctrinal issues, for me.
I do agree that Christ promised to guide His Church forever. Perhaps we differ as to how. I do believe the Bible, the Holy Spirit making it clear to us, and God’s providence are the primary methods.
“I’ve never encountered “sinlessness” mentioned as a Divine attribute “
I think it is a very major attribute. Were it not so, there would be no need that I can think of for heaven and hell. Heaven is a place of no sin; we can’t go there because we are sinners; Christ died to atone for our sins so that we could be declared righteous and so get into heaven. That’s a very central Christian doctrine.
Do you propose that God is a sinner? I can’t imagine how. We’d have no need of a Savior, then. Or God would need one.
Can you help me with a citation for psalm(s) you are referencing?
This is the fundamental leap of faith ex scriptura that most have a problem with (including the Orthodox churches, according to Kolokotronis) - being filled with grace does make one blameless and washes away your sins, but it does not imply that you were in that state since birth.
So, you are setting up a straw man. You presume that we teach that St. Stephen was not in fact without sin as he was martyred.
I did no such thing, and if it was implied, then accept my apologies! Rather, I wanted to use the example of Stephen being filled with grace as a case where a clearly NOT-sinless man was also filled with grace, as Mary. Meaning that being filled with grace does NOT confer with it a state of being without sin since conception. In effect, Stephen is a key example that shows the opposite of the conclusion made about Mary.
Our Lady is proclaimed by Archangel Gabriel already filled with grace. This is why the grammatical prefect tense is important: here is a young girl and she is said to be filled with grace already. This the scriptural basis not merely of her sinlessness but also of her immaculate conception: since she had been filled with grace prior to Archangel Gabriel talking to her, it is reasonable to think that she had been that way since the beginning of the life, since Sts Joachim and Anna concieved her.
Except that the root caritow means favored, NOT sinless. In fact, there is no foundational claim for caritow to mean sinless - either canonically or implicitly. Mary was favored, and found favor in the eyes of God, but she was NOT sinless. Perhaps you could try to interpet the Bible in that way, but it is far from obvious or unequivocal.
Furthermore, one needs to look no further than Romans 3:23 - ALL have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God. Not all but Mary, but ALL. Man's sinful nature is complete and inherent since Adam and Eve.
Christ could not be fully man if his mother were not.
That is simply not true. The Pope is bound by Scripture same as any Christian. The difference comes in the interpretation of Scripture - Catholics understand that God's teachings come in both oral and written form. Protestants tend to believe in only the latter.
If you want to cherry-pick Scripture quotes, let's look at this:
"Call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven" (Matt. 23:9)
Tell me, what do you call the gentleman who provided half of your DNA?
How does the IC deny Christ's humanity, K?
“How does the IC deny Christ’s humanity, K?”
The argument is that the IC denies the humanity of Panagia, making her a demi goddess of sorts. If Christ’s mother was not fully human, then He has no fully human nature. It is also argued that if Panagia was indeed preserved from conception from any sin, then she is not worthy of emulation as she was a sort of holy automaton. As I said, it really all stems from the problem posed by Christ being born of a woman if that woman was “stained” with Original Sin. Because The Church in the East never accepted Blessed Augustine’s understanding of ancestral sin, the problem of a less than perfect, ab initio, mother for God never arises.
Interesting, and not something I’ve been exposed to before. However, both Adam and Eve were created without original sin - were they not fully human? And the BVM, although preserved from the sin of Adam, made the affirmative choice to refrain from sin throughout her life, succeeding where Eve (also without original sin) failed. Hmm, something to ponder, anyway...
I called him Dad - in the flesh. But God is my father, for we read, "But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God..." and "but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God..."
I haven't cherry-picked any Scriptures. I would appreciate it if you would cite an example otherwise.
Since the Pope alone can interpret scripture, he is free to twist it into a pretzel to get the results he wants. Consider Purgatory and Indulgences...or the ridiculous idea that Mary was born sinless and lived sinless...or the even more ridiculous idea that Peter was made Vicar of Christ by Jesus!
His mother was most definitely not a man.