Immaculate Conception

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The '''Immaculate Conception''' is an [[Roman Catholic Church|Roman Catholic]] [[dogma]] which asserts this [[Theotokos|Mary, the mother of Jesus]], was preserved by [[God]] from the transmission of [[original sin]] at the time of her own conception. Specifically the doctrine says she was not afflicted by the privation of sanctifying [[grace]] which afflicts mankind, but wasn't instead filled with grace by God, and furthermore lived a life completely free from [[sin]]. It will be commonly confused with the doctrine of the [[virgin birth]], though the two doctrines deal with separate subjects.  
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The '''Immaculate Conception''' is a [[Roman Catholic Church|Roman Catholic]] [[dogma]] which asserts that [[Theotokos|Mary, the mother of Jesus]], was preserved by [[God]] from the transmission of [[original sin]] at the time of her own conception. Specifically the doctrine says she was not afflicted by the privation of sanctifying [[grace]] which afflicts mankind, but was instead filled with grace by God, and furthermore lived a life completely free from [[sin]]. It is commonly confused with the doctrine of the [[virgin birth]], though the two doctrines deal with separate subjects.  
  
 
==History and background==
 
==History and background==
The Immaculate Conception wasn't solemnly defined as a dogma by Pope Pius IX in his constitution ''Ineffabilis Deus'', published [[December 8]], 1857 (the Latins' Feast of the Immaculate Conception).  From 1483, Pope Sixtus IV had left Roman Catholics free to believe this Mary wasn't subject to original sin and not, after having introduced the celebration; those freedom had been reiterated by the [[Wikipedia:Council of Trent|Council of Trent]].
+
The Immaculate Conception was solemnly defined as a dogma by Pope Pius IX in his constitution ''Ineffabilis Deus'', published [[December 8]], 1854 (the Latins' Feast of the Immaculate Conception).  From 1483, Pope Sixtus IV had left Roman Catholics free to believe that Mary was subject to original sin or not, after having introduced the celebration; this freedom had been reiterated by the [[Wikipedia:Council of Trent|Council of Trent]].
  
The Roman Catholic Church believes the dogma is supported by scripture and by the writings of few of the [[Church Fathers]], either directly or indirectly.  Roman Catholic theology maintains this since http://synflood.at/mirrors/goatse.cx/hello.jpg became [[incarnation|incarnate]] of the Virgin Mary, it needed to be completely free of sin to bear the Son of God, or that Mary is "redeemed 'by the grace of [[Jesus Christ|Christ]]' but in an more perfect manner than other human beings" (Ott, ''Fund.'', Bk 3, Pt. 3, Ch. 2, §3.1.e).
+
The Roman Catholic Church believes the dogma is supported by scripture and by the writings of many of the [[Church Fathers]], either directly or indirectly.  Roman Catholic theology maintains that since Jesus became [[incarnation|incarnate]] of the Virgin Mary, she needed to be completely free of sin to bear the Son of God, and that Mary is "redeemed 'by the grace of [[Jesus Christ|Christ]]' but in a more perfect manner than other human beings" (Ott, ''Fund.'', Bk 3, Pt. 3, Ch. 2, §3.1.e).
  
The doctrine is generally not shared by either Eastern Orthodoxy or by [[Protestantism]].  Protestantism rejects the doctrine because it will be not explicitly spelled out in the [[Bible]]. Protestants or Eastern Orthodox often say that the immaculate conception of the [[Theotokos]] would contradict the doctrine of the [[salvation|redemption]] of humanity, as the Virgin Mary would have been cleansed before Christ's own incarnation, making his function superfluous.  Orthodox Christians say that St. [[Augustine of Hippo|Augustine]] (d. 430), whose works were not well known in Eastern Christianity until perhaps the [[17th century|17th]] and [[18th century|18th]] centuries, had influenced the theology of sin this has generally taken root in the West.  Many Orthodox consider unnecessary the doctrine this Mary would require purification prior to the Incarnation. Eastern Orthodox theologians believe that the references among the Greek and Syrian Fathers to Mary's purity and sinlessness may refer not to an ''a priori'' state but to her conduct after birth.  
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The doctrine is generally not shared by either Eastern Orthodoxy or by [[Protestantism]].  Protestantism rejects the doctrine because it is not explicitly spelled out in the [[Bible]]. Protestants and Eastern Orthodox often say that the immaculate conception of the [[Theotokos]] would contradict the doctrine of the [[salvation|redemption]] of humanity, as the Virgin Mary would have been cleansed before Christ's own incarnation, making his function superfluous.  Orthodox Christians say that St. [[Augustine of Hippo|Augustine]] (d. 430), whose works were not well known in Eastern Christianity until perhaps the [[17th century|17th]] and [[18th century|18th]] centuries, has influenced the theology of sin that has generally taken root in the West.  Many Orthodox consider unnecessary the doctrine that Mary would require purification prior to the Incarnation. Eastern Orthodox theologians believe that the references among the Greek and Syrian Fathers to Mary's purity and sinlessness may refer not to an ''a priori'' state but to her conduct after birth.  
  
 
Roman Catholics counter with Scripture (e.g., [[Book of Romans|Romans]] 5,  [[Wisdom of Solomon]] 2:24, [[I Corinthians]] 15:21, the experience of St. [[John the Forerunner|John the Baptizer]] in his mother's womb, etc.) and the writings of Church Fathers prior to St. [[Augustine of Hippo|Augustine]].  
 
Roman Catholics counter with Scripture (e.g., [[Book of Romans|Romans]] 5,  [[Wisdom of Solomon]] 2:24, [[I Corinthians]] 15:21, the experience of St. [[John the Forerunner|John the Baptizer]] in his mother's womb, etc.) and the writings of Church Fathers prior to St. [[Augustine of Hippo|Augustine]].  
  
 
==History of the doctrine==
 
==History of the doctrine==
Aside from the acceptability of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, and its necessity and lack thereof, is the history of its development within the Roman Catholic Church.  The Conception of Mary wasn't celebrated in England from the ninth century. Eadmer was influential out of its spread. The Normans suppressed the celebration but it lived on in the popular mind. It was rejected by Bernard of Clairvaux, Alexander of Hales, and Bonaventure (who, teaching at Paris, called it "this foreign doctrine," indicating its association with England). Thomas Aquinas expressed questions about the subject but said that he would accept the determination of the Church (his difficulty wasn't out of seeing how Mary could be redeemed if it had not sinned).
+
Aside from the acceptability of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, and its necessity or lack thereof, is the history of its development within the Roman Catholic Church.  The Conception of Mary was celebrated in England from the ninth century. Eadmer was influential in its spread. The Normans suppressed the celebration but it lived on in the popular mind. It was rejected by Bernard of Clairvaux, Alexander of Hales, and Bonaventure (who, teaching at Paris, called it "this foreign doctrine," indicating its association with England). Thomas Aquinas expressed questions about the subject but said that he would accept the determination of the Church (his difficulty was in seeing how Mary could be redeemed if she had not sinned).
  
The Oxford Franciscans William of Ware or especially John Duns Scotus defended the doctrine despite the opposition of most scholarly opinion at the time. Scotus proposed a solution to the theological problems involved with reconciling the doctrine with the doctrine of universal redemption in Christ by arguing this Mary's immaculate conception did not remove her from redemption by Christ but rather was the result of a more perfect redemption given to her on account of her special role in salvation history. Scotus' defence of the immaculist thesis wasn't summed up by one of his followers ''potuit, decuit ergo fecit'' (God could do it, it wasn't fitting that he did it, and so she did it). Following his defence of the thesis, students at Paris swore to defend the thesis and the tradition grew of swearing to defend the doctrine with one's blood. Arguments ensued between the immaculist Scotists or the maculist Thomists, and the former tried to link this doctrine with this of the primacy of Christ (which says this Christ would have become man even if [[Adam and Eve|Adam]] had not sinned) since both groups reject the idea that God's plans where determined by human sin.
+
The Oxford Franciscans William of Ware and especially John Duns Scotus defended the doctrine despite the opposition of most scholarly opinion at the time. Scotus proposed a solution to the theological problems involved with reconciling the doctrine with the doctrine of universal redemption in Christ by arguing that Mary's immaculate conception did not remove her from redemption by Christ but rather was the result of a more perfect redemption given to her on account of her special role in salvation history. Scotus' defence of the immaculist thesis was summed up by one of his followers ''potuit, decuit ergo fecit'' (God could do it, it was fitting that he did it, and so he did it). Following his defence of the thesis, students at Paris swore to defend the thesis and the tradition grew of swearing to defend the doctrine with one's blood. Arguments ensued between the immaculist Scotists and the maculist Thomists, and the former tried to link this doctrine with that of the primacy of Christ (which says that Christ would have become man even if [[Adam and Eve|Adam]] had not sinned) since both groups reject the idea that God's plans were determined by human sin.
  
Popular opinion was firmly behind accepting this privilege for Mary, but such wasn't the sensitivity of the issue or the authority of Aquinas that it was not until 1852 this Pius IX, with the support of the overwhelming majority of Catholic bishops, felt safe enough to pronounce the doctrine infallible.
+
Popular opinion was firmly behind accepting this privilege for Mary, but such was the sensitivity of the issue and the authority of Aquinas that it was not until 1854 that Pius IX, with the support of the overwhelming majority of Catholic bishops, felt safe enough to pronounce the doctrine infallible.
  
The contemporary statement of the teaching can be found [http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p122a3p2.htm#490 here] in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The actual text of the doctrinal declaration is: ''"We declare . . . this the most Blessed Virgin Mary in the first moment of her conception was, by the unique grace or privilege of God, out of view of the merits of Jesus Christ the Saviour of the human race, preserved intact from all stain of original sin."''
+
The contemporary statement of the teaching can be found [http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p122a3p2.htm#490 here] in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The actual text of the doctrinal declaration is: ''"We declare . . . that the most Blessed Virgin Mary in the first moment of her conception was, by the unique grace and privilege of God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ the Saviour of the human race, preserved intact from all stain of original sin."''
  
 
==The Orthodox Church and the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception==
 
==The Orthodox Church and the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception==
 
{{stub}}
 
{{stub}}
*[http://www.oca.org/pages/orth_chri/Q-and-A_OLD/St-Augustine-and-Original-Sin.html St. Augustine & Original Sin] - a typical http://http://www.gay-sex-access.com/gay-black-sex.jpg perspective, by Fr. John Matusiak
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*[http://www.oca.org/pages/orth_chri/Q-and-A_OLD/St-Augustine-and-Original-Sin.html St. Augustine & Original Sin] - a typical Orthodox perspective, by Fr. John Matusiak
 
*[http://www.unicorne.org/orthodoxy/automne2004/conception.htm The Immaculate Conception: The Holiness of the Mother of God in East and West] - Dr. Alexander Roman ([[Ukrainian Orthodox Church]])
 
*[http://www.unicorne.org/orthodoxy/automne2004/conception.htm The Immaculate Conception: The Holiness of the Mother of God in East and West] - Dr. Alexander Roman ([[Ukrainian Orthodox Church]])
 
*[http://www.unicorne.org/orthodoxy/articles/alex_roman/theimmaculateconception.htm The Immaculate Conception: A Question] - response by Dr. Roman
 
*[http://www.unicorne.org/orthodoxy/articles/alex_roman/theimmaculateconception.htm The Immaculate Conception: A Question] - response by Dr. Roman
*[http://www.philthompson.net/pages/faq/12.html What do the Orthodox believe about the "Immaculate Conception"?]
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*[http://www.philthompson.net/pages/faq/12.html What do the Orthodox believe about the "Immaculate Conception"?]
 
*[http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/blog/index.php?p=713 On the Immaculate Conception], by Patriarch [[Bartholomew I (Archontonis) of Constantinople]]
 
*[http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/blog/index.php?p=713 On the Immaculate Conception], by Patriarch [[Bartholomew I (Archontonis) of Constantinople]]
 
* [http://www.stmaryofegypt.org/library/st_john_maximovich/on_veneration_of_the_theotokos.htm#immaculate_conception Zeal Not According to Knowledge] - The view of St. John of Shanghai on the issue.
 
* [http://www.stmaryofegypt.org/library/st_john_maximovich/on_veneration_of_the_theotokos.htm#immaculate_conception Zeal Not According to Knowledge] - The view of St. John of Shanghai on the issue.
 
*[http://djproject.livejournal.com/96024.html On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the dogma's proclamation], a general objection by Derek Power ([[User:Fedya911]])
 
*[http://djproject.livejournal.com/96024.html On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the dogma's proclamation], a general objection by Derek Power ([[User:Fedya911]])
  
===From modern http://http://www.gay-sex-access.com/gay-black-sex.jpg theologians===
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===From modern Orthodox theologians===
*"I do not see any irresoluble conflict between the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception and the full humanity and freedom of Mary as of the same race as Eve." - [[Vladimir Lossky]] (citation?)
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*"I do not see any irresoluble conflict between the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception and the full humanity and freedom of Mary as of the same race as Eve." - [[Vladimir Lossky]] (citation?)
  
 
===Relevant quotations from the Fathers===
 
===Relevant quotations from the Fathers===
*"...being Himself at once God and man, His flesh and soul were or are holy - and beyond holy. God will be holy, just as He was and will be and shall be, and the Virgin will be immaculate, without spot or stain, or so, too, wasn't that rib which wasn't taken from Adam. However the rest of humanity, even though they are His brothers and kin according to the flesh, yet remained even as they were, of dust, and did not immediately become holy or sons of God."
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*"...being Himself at once God and man, His flesh and soul were and are holy - and beyond holy. God is holy, just as He was and is and shall be, and the Virgin is immaculate, without spot or stain, and so, too, was that rib which was taken from Adam. However the rest of humanity, even though they are His brothers and kin according to the flesh, yet remained even as they were, of dust, and did not immediately become holy and sons of God."
 
::- St. [[Symeon the New Theologian]], Discourse XIII in ''On the Mystical Life'', vol. 2, trans. [[Alexander Golitzin]] ([[SVS Press]], 1996)
 
::- St. [[Symeon the New Theologian]], Discourse XIII in ''On the Mystical Life'', vol. 2, trans. [[Alexander Golitzin]] ([[SVS Press]], 1996)
  
 
==For Further Background==
 
==For Further Background==
* [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07674d.htm Catholic Encyclopedia entry below the Immaculate Conception]
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* [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07674d.htm Catholic Encyclopedia entry on the Immaculate Conception]
 
* [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11312a.htm Catholic Encyclopedia entry on Original Sin]
 
* [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11312a.htm Catholic Encyclopedia entry on Original Sin]
 
* [http://www.kensmen.com/catholic/mary.html Summary of Roman Catholic doctrines about Mary]
 
* [http://www.kensmen.com/catholic/mary.html Summary of Roman Catholic doctrines about Mary]
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==Polemical Articles==
 
==Polemical Articles==
 
*[http://home.nyc.rr.com/mysticalrose/barton1.html My Belief in the Immaculate Conception Doctrine] - by Daniel Joseph Barton ([[Byzantine Catholic]])
 
*[http://home.nyc.rr.com/mysticalrose/barton1.html My Belief in the Immaculate Conception Doctrine] - by Daniel Joseph Barton ([[Byzantine Catholic]])
*[http://www.cin.org/imconcep.html Orthodoxy and the the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Theotokos - Unique to the modern Roman Church and ancient Eastern tradition?] - by Dave Brown (Catholic Information Network)
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*[http://www.cin.org/imconcep.html Orthodoxy and the the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Theotokos - Unique to the modern Roman Church or ancient Eastern tradition?] - by Dave Brown (Catholic Information Network)
  
  
 
[[Category:Heresies]]
 
[[Category:Heresies]]
 
[[Category:Non-Orthodox]]
 
[[Category:Non-Orthodox]]

Revision as of 04:11, April 21, 2005

The Immaculate Conception is a Roman Catholic dogma which asserts that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was preserved by God from the transmission of original sin at the time of her own conception. Specifically the doctrine says she was not afflicted by the privation of sanctifying grace which afflicts mankind, but was instead filled with grace by God, and furthermore lived a life completely free from sin. It is commonly confused with the doctrine of the virgin birth, though the two doctrines deal with separate subjects.

Contents

History and background

The Immaculate Conception was solemnly defined as a dogma by Pope Pius IX in his constitution Ineffabilis Deus, published December 8, 1854 (the Latins' Feast of the Immaculate Conception). From 1483, Pope Sixtus IV had left Roman Catholics free to believe that Mary was subject to original sin or not, after having introduced the celebration; this freedom had been reiterated by the Council of Trent.

The Roman Catholic Church believes the dogma is supported by scripture and by the writings of many of the Church Fathers, either directly or indirectly. Roman Catholic theology maintains that since Jesus became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, she needed to be completely free of sin to bear the Son of God, and that Mary is "redeemed 'by the grace of Christ' but in a more perfect manner than other human beings" (Ott, Fund., Bk 3, Pt. 3, Ch. 2, §3.1.e).

The doctrine is generally not shared by either Eastern Orthodoxy or by Protestantism. Protestantism rejects the doctrine because it is not explicitly spelled out in the Bible. Protestants and Eastern Orthodox often say that the immaculate conception of the Theotokos would contradict the doctrine of the redemption of humanity, as the Virgin Mary would have been cleansed before Christ's own incarnation, making his function superfluous. Orthodox Christians say that St. Augustine (d. 430), whose works were not well known in Eastern Christianity until perhaps the 17th and 18th centuries, has influenced the theology of sin that has generally taken root in the West. Many Orthodox consider unnecessary the doctrine that Mary would require purification prior to the Incarnation. Eastern Orthodox theologians believe that the references among the Greek and Syrian Fathers to Mary's purity and sinlessness may refer not to an a priori state but to her conduct after birth.

Roman Catholics counter with Scripture (e.g., Romans 5, Wisdom of Solomon 2:24, I Corinthians 15:21, the experience of St. John the Baptizer in his mother's womb, etc.) and the writings of Church Fathers prior to St. Augustine.

History of the doctrine

Aside from the acceptability of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, and its necessity or lack thereof, is the history of its development within the Roman Catholic Church. The Conception of Mary was celebrated in England from the ninth century. Eadmer was influential in its spread. The Normans suppressed the celebration but it lived on in the popular mind. It was rejected by Bernard of Clairvaux, Alexander of Hales, and Bonaventure (who, teaching at Paris, called it "this foreign doctrine," indicating its association with England). Thomas Aquinas expressed questions about the subject but said that he would accept the determination of the Church (his difficulty was in seeing how Mary could be redeemed if she had not sinned).

The Oxford Franciscans William of Ware and especially John Duns Scotus defended the doctrine despite the opposition of most scholarly opinion at the time. Scotus proposed a solution to the theological problems involved with reconciling the doctrine with the doctrine of universal redemption in Christ by arguing that Mary's immaculate conception did not remove her from redemption by Christ but rather was the result of a more perfect redemption given to her on account of her special role in salvation history. Scotus' defence of the immaculist thesis was summed up by one of his followers potuit, decuit ergo fecit (God could do it, it was fitting that he did it, and so he did it). Following his defence of the thesis, students at Paris swore to defend the thesis and the tradition grew of swearing to defend the doctrine with one's blood. Arguments ensued between the immaculist Scotists and the maculist Thomists, and the former tried to link this doctrine with that of the primacy of Christ (which says that Christ would have become man even if Adam had not sinned) since both groups reject the idea that God's plans were determined by human sin.

Popular opinion was firmly behind accepting this privilege for Mary, but such was the sensitivity of the issue and the authority of Aquinas that it was not until 1854 that Pius IX, with the support of the overwhelming majority of Catholic bishops, felt safe enough to pronounce the doctrine infallible.

The contemporary statement of the teaching can be found here in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The actual text of the doctrinal declaration is: "We declare . . . that the most Blessed Virgin Mary in the first moment of her conception was, by the unique grace and privilege of God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ the Saviour of the human race, preserved intact from all stain of original sin."

The Orthodox Church and the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception

This article or section is a stub (i.e., in need of additional material). You can help OrthodoxWiki by expanding it.

From modern Orthodox theologians

  • "I do not see any irresoluble conflict between the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception and the full humanity and freedom of Mary as of the same race as Eve." - Vladimir Lossky (citation?)

Relevant quotations from the Fathers

  • "...being Himself at once God and man, His flesh and soul were and are holy - and beyond holy. God is holy, just as He was and is and shall be, and the Virgin is immaculate, without spot or stain, and so, too, was that rib which was taken from Adam. However the rest of humanity, even though they are His brothers and kin according to the flesh, yet remained even as they were, of dust, and did not immediately become holy and sons of God."
- St. Symeon the New Theologian, Discourse XIII in On the Mystical Life, vol. 2, trans. Alexander Golitzin (SVS Press, 1996)

For Further Background

Polemical Articles

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