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Switch to Forum Live View Why Are So Many Noncatholics Bothered By The Pope?
10 years ago  ::  Apr 10, 2008 - 1:47AM #41
Posts: 320

Recon3rd wrote:

As do I. Catholicism and most of it's 'doctrines' are at odds with Scripture but they have an excuse for the discrepancies. They call it tradition and they think it trumps Gods very own words the Scriptures.

Your statements are flatly untrue.  The Holy Scriptures spring from the heart of the Catholic tradition and are in full concord with the teachings of the Holy Church.  Furthermore, tradition is not an "excuse" for anything.  Tradition is the authority of the Church throughout the ages, which is testified to in the Scriptures (for example, "Upon this rock I shall build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.")  Christ promised to keep His Church free from error throughout the ages, and He has done so.  Catholics believe in Christ's promise, given in the Scriptures.  We do not believe that Tradition trumps Scripture or the other way 'round.  We believe that the two are in full accordance.

I recommend you read some sound Catholic sources before criticizing the Church so as to better understand our position.  No well-catechized Catholic would say that Tradition "trumps Gods very own words."  If you learn a bit more about our position, you may find it a bit less absurd.

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10 years ago  ::  Apr 12, 2008 - 2:20AM #42
Posts: 520

Crickhollow wrote:

I've been reading and watching and listening to the Catholic Church for a few years now.  To date, no one has been able to really explain to me how Marian Theology works.  It's not addressed simply by saying, "We don't worship her, for crying out loud".  There's more to it than that.

From my understanding, the basic problem comes from the question "What is worship?"  "Is praying worship?"  "Is honor and elevation worship?" 

I would say worship is answering the call to love God will your full mind, will, heart and strength.  It is to prefer God above all others, to be willing to make great sacrifices out of love for Him.  In that case, all sin is a form of idoltry.  All sin violates the first commandment.  If I am in a romantic relationship and put that person ahead of following the Lord, I have made that person an idol.  If I have put the pursuit of money ahead of God, I have made money an idol.

Thus when we defend and say we do not worship Mary, we are saying that our devotion to Mary does not compete with our devotion to Christ.  Rather Mary's role is simply the most significant human role in salvation history.  She is more significant than the Apostles, the gospel writers, King David, Abraham, Israel.  All these people have high significant roles of human honor, but Mary has the highest, for it was through her yes to God, that humanity and divinity were brought into union, and that the incarnation of God made flesh took place.  Mary brings Jesus to us in more than one way.  In fact, most of the Marian doctrines were defined to secure the doctrines of Jesus' divinity, to affirm them.

For a pretty good complete approach (though a bit academic) to Marian doctrines check here:

Or how theologically some of the Popes who were rennigade hedonists fit into the picture.  Quite honestly, I want someone to convince me.

Information about the theology behind the Papacy can be found here:
Not because I'm dead set on having a debate, but because I've nowhere else to go.  I want to be proven wrong.  I don't  want to win at the expense of my soul.  But I can't pretend to believe what I don't, so I feel like I'm punished by both sides for being honest.

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10 years ago  ::  Apr 13, 2008 - 1:47PM #43
Posts: 34
I get that official Church teaching is that Mary is not worshipped, though I think for all practical purposes the laity and some of the clergy have so blurred the line there as to make it too fine a distinction to have any real merit, not so much in the US as maybe in other countries.

I can even understand to a point the idea and theology behind the Immaculate Conception/protection from Original Sin, as Mary would very likely need more spiritual protection from the Evil seeking to prevent Christ's redemptive work.  My inability to become Roman Catholic in good conscience is the Church's stance on Mary's lack of Personal sin.  Granted, a person who spent every day with Christ during his childhood would have extra incentive not to sin.  (If Jesus was in your living room, you'd do better at avoiding sin, I think), but to say that she was free from any sort of sin is an anathama to me.  My understanding of Catholic doctrine on this point is that this part of the Marian doctrine is believed in part because in bolsters the doctriine of the divinity of Christ.  That Mary HAD to be completely sinless in order  that Christ would not be contaminated by sin.  Although my study of Catholicism has led me think about Mary alot--her piety and no small amount of heroism--I cannot understand this position.  The whole point behind Christ's coming to earth was to redeem mankind, right?  In order to do that Isaiah says he took on ALL of our sins.  Of course, this is different than actually sinning, but I find it hard to believe that Christ could take on the sins of everyone and defeat Satan, yet not have the strength or ability to circumvent or overpower the sins of one pious Jewish virgin. 

In short, my belief in the divinity of Christ does not in any way rest on the merits of Mary, inherent or granted.  I have great love for the Catholic Church, but cannot join it for this and other less troubling reasons.  For myself, I guess I would consider myself sort of a reformed Catholic.  This leaves me in a quandary as to where to worship, but it's as honest as I can be about my beliefs.
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10 years ago  ::  Apr 14, 2008 - 7:35AM #44
Posts: 1,640
some non-catholics are called protestants for a reason...protest...protest catholicism.  which means not being reconciled.  so many denominations don't realize a lot of non-catholic/christian fellowship is based mostly on rejection of catholism/catholic teaching.  a certain amount of rebellion.  this is a sad situation.  get thee to the apologetics website!  yes relevant radio is wonderful.  i wonder why your link isn't clickable in the first post though.  hmmm  let's try this: … 4&srcid=-2

Risen Lord Jesus' Peace!  e.t./sue ><>*:D (: +
Risen Lord Jesus' Peace!
e.t./sue ><:> *:D (: + 
American Chesterton Society Conference-usually in St Paul, MN Mid-June, but the 2009 Conference is scheduled Aug. 6-8 in Seattle, WA - you go, West Coast...
Some of what Gilbert K. Chesterton says:
"To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it."
"I agree with the realistic Irishman who said he preferred to prophesy after the event."  (Happy St. Patrick's Day!)
"The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him."
"War is not 'the best way of settling differences; it is the only way of preventing their being settled for you."
"If there were no God, there would be no atheists."
"Once abolish the God, and the government becomes the God."
"Men are ruled, at this minute by the clock, by liars who refuse them news, and by fools who cannot govern."
"He is a very shallow critic who cannot see an eternal rebel in the heart of a conservative."
"You can never have a revolution in order to establish a democracy. You must have a democracy in order to have a revolution."
"A citizen can hardly distinguish between a tax and a fine, except that the fine is generally much lighter."
"Men do not differ much about what things they will call evils; they differ enormously about what evils they will call excusable."
"There are some desires that are not desirable."
"Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions."
"Religious liberty might be supposed to mean that everybody is free to discuss religion. In practice it means that hardly anybody is allowed to mention it."
"The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man."
"You cannot grow a beard in a moment of passion."
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10 years ago  ::  Apr 14, 2008 - 8:10AM #45
Posts: 266
Hello Crickhollow,

Let me take the opportunity to correct a few misunderstandings you have expressed.  The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is really a doctrine of grace--Mary's fullness of grace. God offers grace, and we must accept it.  We accept grace through faith, and faith is nurtered and deepened through grace.  Mary was concieved with a fullness of grace-just as Adam and Eve were originally created.  Adam and Eve were tempted and they placed their will over God's will and they sinned.  Mary also had free will, but she submitted to God's will rather than her own when she said, "Let it be done to me according to Your word."  This demonstrates a remarkable act of faith.  It is through faith and grace that each of us submit ourselves to God's will.

Mary continued to live a life of faith.  She faced temptation every day just like the rest of us.  Her remarkable faith, always led her to conform to God's will and to resist temptaion.  Mary remained sinless because she posessed a perfect faith.

This has nothing to do with the divinity of Christ.  It does, however relate to the redemption doctrine.  In adition to redemption Christ also brought a new beginning--a new start, a new creation.  Christ is the New Adam, Mary is the New Eve.  Christ paid for (redeemed) the sins of human kind, and Mary accepted the will of God, unlike Eve who disobeyed.  The kingdom of heaven is restored through Christ.  Although Mary assisted in God's salvation plan we do not credit her with redemption; this was done through Christ.

We look to Mary as our example of faith.  Through her faith and grace she is the epitome of virtue.  Because she is fully human, and not in possession of a divine nature, she shows us what we are capable of when we choose to fully accept God's will over our own.  We do not always accept God's gift of grace, and often we turn away from His will.  Mary never did. 

God Bless!
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10 years ago  ::  Apr 14, 2008 - 12:49PM #46
Posts: 98
Very good information Lady Alice!
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10 years ago  ::  Apr 14, 2008 - 1:01PM #47
Posts: 98

Recon3rd wrote:

The Early church was riddled with false teachers and scripture tells us so and to be aware that just because a man says he's a man of God doesn't mean he is. Just look at the guys/gals that are televangelists if you think their for real think again. I should probably say not all preachers that you see on TV are not good men of God only part of them are good.

Just because there were false teachers and leaders in the Church, does not make the Church itself false.

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10 years ago  ::  Apr 14, 2008 - 9:02PM #48
Posts: 186

dawngordon wrote:

because the pope has false idols in Gods temple for one, and he tore apart the laws the sins,

Jesus said until heaven and earth pass those laws were to be followed,

the Pope likes to think he God,

This is either woeful ignorance or deliberate falsehood.  I choose to believe the former.  I urge you to set aside these lies and inform yourself about the truth.   I personally have a number of issues with Benedict, but neither he nor his successors in my lifetime thought they were God.  Nor to they worship idols or encourage others to do so.

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10 years ago  ::  Apr 14, 2008 - 10:19PM #49
Posts: 34
Thanks for your kind answer, Alice.  I can't say that I agree with you, but it's nice to be taken seriously.  Maybe I'd be more comfortable with the idea of Sacred Tradition if it were called something other than Sacred Tradition.  I've heard other Catholics says pretty much exactly what I've said to you, that Mary had to be sinless for the reasons I mentioned.  Though the Catholic Church has managed to largely avoid the appalling amount of schism found among Protestant Churches, I think that it's fair to say that the existance of the Magesterium is not exactly equivalent to perfect unity in the RC Church either.  There's alot of debate, justified or otherwise, among practicing Catholics too, from what little I've seen and heard.  Protestants are really good at debate too, they just have a bad habit of codifying it.

As far as Mary goes, my understanding is that while Mary was most probably very active in the early Church, the exsistance of a Marian Theology was not sanctioned until the 3rd or 4th century, which to my way of thinking is a little late to introduce a huge chunk of Catholic theology.  I understand that many practicing Catholics are not going to think of this as particularly significant, but I can't speak for someone else, just myself.  I don't understand how it is known by the Catholic Church that Mary was sinless.  The Bible says that no one knows the heart of someone but God.  I don't understand the "full of grace" position as the apostles were "full of the holy spirit", yet no one claims that they are sinless.  It's very true that Mary had the incredible courage and faith to assent to being the virgin mother of Christ, but I don't think this one, admittedly big,  act of obedience proves that she was completely without sin before or after this point. 

I don't really expect you to agree with me, but in the interest of full disclosure and mutual understanding, that is where I am coming from.   Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.  God Bless you too!
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10 years ago  ::  Apr 15, 2008 - 7:31AM #50
Posts: 266
Good morning Crickhollow,

You are very sweet and very polite.  I'd like to offer further explanations.  I'm not asking that you agree.  Since you raised the subject I feel impelled to offer a better understanding of where we are coming from; to you as well as other readers. 

"As far as Mary goes, my understanding is that while Mary was most probably very active in the early Church, the exsistance of a Marian Theology was not sanctioned until the 3rd or 4th century, which to my way of thinking is a little late to introduce a huge chunk of Catholic theology"

Let me take this first.  Nothing dogmatic was officially sanctioned until 325.  This was when the Council of Nicea was convened and the subject of that council was the trinity and the divinity of Christ.  Marian dogmas were addressed in 431 in Ephesus.  This really doesn't matter much because official sanction is always the last step in declaring dogma.  The theology and the teaching of theological principles are always fully developed in practice before they are finalized by a council.

In the case of Mary, the earliest Christian writer we have record of, who drew the parallell between Mary and Eve  and discussed her sinlessness was Justin.  He wrote in 155 A.D., a mere 50 years after the last Gospel was written.  It was St. Paul who dubded Christ as the New Adam.  We know that the early Church concentrated very heavily on redemption, as we still do.  The idea of "newness" brought by Jesus was introduced very early, by Paul himself.  I don't think it is unreasonable to assume that even 1st century Christians began to understand Mary as a New Eve figure even in the time of Paul.  The early writers recorded what they had been taught, and what had been believed in the early Christian communities.  They did not make it up on their own.  In 180 Irenaeus also wrote about Mary in the same vein. And, others followed.  This is what Sacred Tradition is, the written account of belief and practice of the early church communities.  Sacred Tradition begins with oral tradition.  Much of the Christology, including the theological understanding of the divine nature of Christ, as well as our acceptance of a triune God, were first expressed anad had their beginnings in what is known as Sacred Tradition.

"I don't understand the "full of grace" position as the apostles were "full of the holy spirit", yet no one claims that they are sinless."

The Apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit after the resurrection.  Mary's fullness of grace, according to Luke was present in her before she concieved Him in her womb. What is sin?  It is a turning away from God, and acting on our own impulses.  It is a weakening of faith.  Mary carried Him in her womb, held Him in her arms, nursed Him at her breasts, cared for Him, and followed Him. She was closer to Him both physically and emotionally than any other human being, including the Apostles, could possibly be. How could she turn away from Him?  Even before she fully understood the impact of His existance His presence spiritually nurtured her. It is not so much that she never sinned, but that she was always in His presence, even when His physical presence was absent; she never turned away from Him.

St. Paul told the Ephesians that we are saved by grace through faith.  Mary was the first to be saved--by grace through faith.  She was "saved" at the moment she concieved Him.   You will likely find this hard to accept because you have not thought about it this way before.  To me, it makes perfect sense.  His constant presence in her life poured grace into her soul in such abundance that her faith always remained strong.

According to anthropoligist who specialize in 1st century culture the average age for betrothal in marriage is 12-13 years old.  Mary was in this stage of marriage when she concieved Jesus.  Some may make a case that she might have sinned before then, but,  it is also possible to say with conviction that a child whose faith was so fully developed as to accept the Word of God as maturely as she did was not a sinful child.  Anthropoligists also say that the closest, most important family relationship of that time and culture, was not between husband and wife, but between mother and son.  I find this to be an interesting bit of information, especially when applying it to Jesus and Mary.

Protestants generally adhere to a much more literal interpretation of Scripture than do Catholics.  For a Catholic it is easier to view the Fall of humankind in Genesis 3 and see the application to Mary.  We see God as having a salvation plan and easily see Mary's role in that plan. I can't speak for anyone else, but or me, I have dificulty seeing it any other way.

Just one more thing: 

"I've heard other Catholics says pretty much exactly what I've said to you, that Mary had to be sinless for the reasons I mentioned."

Many Catholics have recieved a poor education in the faith, and have a rather lacking foundation in faith formation.  This has been an unfortunate flaw in Cathoicism over the past 50 years or so. It is getting better. 

God Bless,
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