|Marian Debate, Timothy Ouellette vs Jason Vanezia
Timothy Ouellette, Roman Catholic
Jason Vanezia, Evangelical Protestant
The Mary of Roman Catholicism is not the Mary of the Bible
Debate#1 - The Immaculate Conception, Divine Maternity, & Mediatorship of Mary
||Debate Proposition & Rules
||Post-Debate Addendum (as of 4/11/01)
Debate Proposition and Rules
Internet E-Mail (Written) Dialogue --- Timothy Ouellette vs. Jason Vanezia
Resolution: " The Mary of Roman Catholicism is not the Mary of the Bible."
Debate#1 - The Immaculate Conception, Divine Maternity, & Mediatorship of Mary
Affirm: Jason Vanezia
Deny: Timothy Ouellette
Rules for the Internet E-Mail (Written) Dialogue:
1. Each writer agrees to send his essay to his opponent via E-Mail (biweekly),
agreeing to the time limitation to complete the necessary essay of one submission
due once every two weeks, on a Sunday of the month, with the proposed schedule
of opening statements and rebuttal essays being as follows:
Schedule for Dialogue:
Opening Remarks due on August 6, 2000
First Rebuttal due on August 20th, 2000
Second Rebuttal due on September 3rd, 2000
Closing Statements due on September 17th, 2000
2. Each writer agrees that all rebuttals will be limited to the material
of his opponent. Small quotes from others, of course, are
allowed. However, the opponents agree to defend what they, themselves,
have written, not what someone else has written.
3. Each writer agrees that his essays will be in simple text,
with no graphics or links.
4. As to the content of the dialogue, the writers agree to keep the discussion focused upon revelation recorded in Sacred Scripture. Basically, what does the inerrant, infallible, inspired Word of God have to say about the justification/salvation of sinners----the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Secondarily, each writer agrees to conduct the debate in English and not primarily in Greek. Small quotes from Greek Lexicons or Greek Scholars, of course, will be allowed. However, the debate is to be conducted for the benefit of the average person.
5. Each writer agrees that no new material shall be added in the fourth
and final essay.
6. Each writer agrees that they will conduct themselves in such a way as
to demonstrate the Spirit of Christ, i.e., no personal
attacks, no name calling, etc.
7. Each writer agrees that the time and page limitations of essays cannot
be exceeded without the prior written
acknowledgment of the opponent.
8. Each writer agrees that if either one wishes to discontinue the
written debate, for whatever reasons, a letter stating his
reasons for ending the debate be sent to his opponent.
9. Each writer agrees to the page limitations for each essay of no more
than seven single-spaced 8 x 11 pages, 12 point font
size, with all margins of one inch only.
10. Each writer agrees to use any of the following Translations:
Catholic Edition-Revised Standard Version,
The New American Standard Version,
The New King James Version.
Agreed to by Timothy Ouellette on July 26th, 2000
Agreed to by Jason Vanezia on July 26th, 2000
Jason Vanezia's Opening Remarks
1) THE UNNAMED MAN OF GOD
Romans 15:4 tells us, that whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning." That being the case, I would like to begin this discussion by referring to the story of the man with no name in 1 Kings 13. I shall call him Casper, and what happens in a nutshell is that God tells Casper to go do such and such, but do not under any circumstances, eat or drink when you get there. After his business was done, someone invites Casper to dine with him, but Casper adamently refuses as the Lord instructed. A little while later he meets another man who also invites him to dine, but once again he rejects the invitation. But then the man tells Casper that, "I too am a prophet like you, and an angel came to me and said that the Lord wishes you to come into my house for dinner." Our text then tells us that, "But he lied unto (Casper)." Unfortunately, Casper was deceived and gave in to the man's request to have dinner. We then read of God's punishment on Casper, and it is a lesson dripping with meaning and significance when we turn our attention to discuss the Immaculate Conception of Mary......the belief which alleges that she was conceived without original sin.
2) "I CHANGE NOT' saith the Lord.
Because our Creator is "not the author of confusion" (1 Cor 14:33) and in Him there is "no shadow of turning" (Jms 1:17), we may rightly conclude that when He tells us something, we can rely on it the first time and not worry that He will confound the issue and change His mind later. Thus, it appears that this debate is over even before it has begun, because God has explicity told us (after Mary was born by the way) that, "THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS: NO, NOT ONE" (Rms 3:10). Please notice that the Lord has already anticipated the Roman Catholic exception to Mary (or anyone else's exception) by qualifying His statement with the most simplistic and yet forceful terminology: "NO, NOT ONE". I would like to ask my opponent, what is it about "NO, NOT ONE" that you do not understand? If God says what He means and means what He says, then there cannot possibly be an exception in the case of the marvelous maiden of Nazareth. Let us therefore seek to embrace the wonderful virtue of Casper who virtuously opposed anyone who would come along and sway him away from his original marching orders. But let us also weep (and LEARN) by the consequences he suffered by being drawn in by someone claiming to be a messenger of God. The urgent call and lesson here is to be on our guard at all times!
3) PIUS IX
Let's face it. Men in religious costumes can be very convincing, yet extremely deceptive. As if Casper's downfall wasn't enough to shake us up into reality, we notice God's further frustration, described as a violent whirlwind, in Jeremiah 23: "I have not sent these prophets...I have not spoken to them (who) ...prophesy in my name....Indeed they are prophets, (but) of the deceit of their own heart." We furthermore know that Satan is not going to try and beguile us by dressing in a red cape and pitchfork. He will be, "transformed into an angel of light; therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness." (2 Cor 11:15).
Almost 2,000 years after God Almighty dismissed the possibility of there even being one exception to a member of the human race as being sinless (aside from Christ) Pope Pius IX enters the picture and had this to say: "By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (and) by the authority of Jesus Christ...we declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception...was preserved free from all stain of original sin..." (Ineffabilis Deus).
Now dear reader, I submit to you that this is a CLASSIC example of the type of religious deceit we are to be on the lookout for! I care not how eloquently dressed the Pope may have been when he wrote the above, or how many diamonds were in his tiara, or how many halos were floating around his head. The fact of the matter is that he has in no uncertain terms, grossly contradicted the plain words of Holy writ and he is to be rejected!
4) GENESIS 3:15 and PIUS IX
The Catholic Douay-Rheims version translates Genesis 3:15 as follows: "I will put emnity between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed; SHE shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for HER heel." (TAN Books, 1971). This translation followed the Latin Vulgate of Jerome (from Greek and Hebrew originals into the common Latin of the day), but Mr J mistakenly translated the pronouns IPSA (feminine)......instead of translating them IPSE (masculine). However, BOTH the original Hebrew and Greek Septuagint (the translation of the Hebrew Old Testament that predates the time of Christ) have them as MASCULINE pronouns! Mr. J's erroneous translation leaves the impression that a WOMAN would crush the seed of Satan...but this is of course, baloney, because we know that, "...the Son of God appeared that HE might destroy the works of the devil." (1 Jn 3:8).
If Mr. Ouellette disagrees that Jerome was in error, then let him provide the list of scholars who will agree to his position. If he cannot, then my objection stands. This is a very critical point because in the aforementioned document written by Pius IX, he also said something else. Please watch carefully because these are supposedly the infallible words of Almighty God to mankind: "...THE MOST BLESSED VIRGIN...HAS CRUSHED THE POISONOUS HEAD OF THE MOST CRUEL SERPENT..." Now there is absolutley no doubt that Pius IX was alluding to Jerome's faulty Latin translation in referring to Mary as the crusher of Satan's head. And that being so, there can also be no doubt that our wonderful Lord and Savior, through the means of the Holy Spirit, would NEVER overshadow the pope to use this sort of typology, grounded in an inaccurate translation that is diametrically opposed to His word!
5) ADDING INSULT TO INJURY
As if Pius IX hadn't done enough damage, he concluded his Immaculate Conception decree with a warning, that "if anyone shall dare - which God forbid! - to think otherwise than as has been defined by us, let him know and understand that he is condemned by his own judgment; that he has suffered shipwreck in the faith; that he has separated from the unity of the Church, and that furthermore, by his own action, he incurs the penalties established by law if he should dare to express in words or writing, or by any other outward means, the errors he thinks in his heart."
WOW. Talk about ecclesiastical tyranny! The Word of God, on the other hand, does not demand punishment for anyone who would question in their hearts, a dogma provided by a religious system on a non-salvific issue it does not, and did not address for almost 2,000 years! Truly, Isaiah the prophet swings the wrecking ball at such nonsense when he says, "If they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." (8:20).
6) LABOR PAINS AND GENESIS 3:16
Apparently, it is Roman Catholic belief that the woman of Revelation 12, "clothed with the sun and crowned with stars", who also, "wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth", is Mary of Nazareth (see Footnote #1). Bu it does not appear that Roman Catholicism has considered the ramifications of assingning the identity of this woman to Mary. What I mean is, is that in Genesis 3:16, the Lord specifically told Eve that because of her disobedience, her female progeny would henceforth bring forth children, but instead of "slipping out" quite comfortably, He would initiate the added inconvenience of pain in childbirth. Thus, if the RCC insists that the woman of Revelation 12 is Mary, so be it. Will Mr. Ouellette please explain to me why Mary is suffering the CONSEQUENCES of sin (namely, labor pains) if she was not a sinner??? And when you have finished explaining that, kindly inform me what I am to do with the supposedly "infallible" declaration made by Pius XII, where he DENYS she had any labor pains at all. "The sword of sorrow which SHE HAD ESCAPED in the act of giving birth to him..." (Munificentissimus Deus, which infallibly declared the Assumpion of Mary in 1950). In Footnote #1, you will notice that John Paul II, Catholic apologist magazine, "This Rock", and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, all agree that the woman of Revelation 12 is Mary who wailed aloud in pain. But excuse me, Pius XII says she did not wail aloud. Who, pray tell, is correct? Let me forewarn you to choose your answer carefully, because if you tell me the first set of contestants hold the true interpretation, there is going to be trouble brewing. If you tell me the second papal contestant deserves the blue ribbon, there will also be flames in the furnace. If you choose to tell me it all just doesn't matter, I think you will lose the respect of this audience. And of course, if you choose to ignore the question totally, that would be inexcuseable.
7) DIVINE MATERNITY?
It grieves me to notice that RC theology presents an obnoxious tug of war between the allegedly "Divine Maternity" of Mary, often portrayed as "Queen of Mercy" ... and the Divine Fatherhood of God, often portrayed as a stern judge. This ought not to be so! The fact of the matter is that we have utterly no need for a "Queen of Mercy" because there is not a shred of biblical evidence that Mary engages in such a role. On the other hand, we are told that we have need only for the "Father of Mercies", who is the "God of ALL comfort" (2 Cor 1:3).
Our Roman Catholic acquaintances certainly do have a problem in understading the words, "ALL", "NO ONE", "NONE GREATER", , and "ALONE". Here is why: "For ALL have sinned and come short of he glory of God." (Rms 3;23).... "NO!" protests the RCC. "Mary was an exception!" ----- "For thou ALONE knowest the hearts of all men" (1 Kngs 8:39)....."NO!" dictates the RCC. "She can hear our prayers also!" ----- "NO ONE is good except God alone" (Luke 18:19)......"NO!" laments the RCC. "Mary is unique!" ----- "Among those born of women, there has not risen a greater than John the Baptist" (Matt 11:11)......"NO!" objects the RCC. "She is worthy of a superority over the other saints!" ------- "Thou ALONE are holy" (Rev 15:4)..... "NO!" cries the RCC. "She is impeccable!"
Can the reader then comprehend my astonishment when one thinks of the stark literalism the RCC demands when it comes to "This is my Body" when speaking of the Eucharist.......but OH how quickly they abandon their literalistic ship when it comes to "the God of ALL comfort", "ALL have sinned", "NO ONE is good", "NONE is greater than John" and "Thou ALONE are holy".
In any case, the numerous examples pertaining to the mercy and compassion of Jesus abound. "He felt compassion for them and healed their sick" (Matt 14:14)... "I feel compassion for the multitude..." (15:32).... "For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses...let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy..." (Heb 4;15). This merciful female counterpart to Jesus is simply a bad case of eisegesis (which is reading something into Scripture that simply isn't there). This is merely one more step on the ladder of Marian demagoguery the RCC wishes us to climb, but I will have none of it. It is not the "Queen of Mercy" who dispenses heavenly graces upon us, but God Himself: "EVERY good thing bestowed and EVERY perfect gift is from above, coming down from the FATHER OF LIGHTS..." (Jms 1:17).
The Bible simply and directly informs us that, "there is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim 2:5). Could anything be more clear? If there is exclusively one God, then there is exclusively one mediator......end of story! I am saddened by the fact that Catholicism is relentless in flexing her "apologetic muscles" to portray Mary as being beyond sin altogether; spotless, undefiled, innocent and stainless in every way....she being the "divine aqueduct from which all graces flow"; the "celestial ocean wherein all the streams of divine gifts converge"; "the ladder to paradise", "the gate of heaven", "the portal of salvaton"......"Advocate", "Auxiliatrix", "Adjutrix", "Mediatrix", ad nauseum!!! Scripture decidely gives us another view, and that is that we should "not think of men above that which is written" (1 Cor 4:6). Certainly, if the RCC insists on assingning these never-ending parade of unbiblical titles to this admittedly special person, they are indeed thinking of men above that which is written, and it must be stopped! We are reminded that the only "Queen of Heaven" that is recorded for us is found in Jeremiah 7 and 44, and God was FURIOUS that the people were giving her due homage. But they, like Roman Catholicism today, refuse to listen.
I am well aware that the RCC will retort that as long as Mary is viewed as subordinate and not equal with God, then seemingly every office, title and function of Jesus Christ can justifiably be paralled in her without in any way compromising the singular glory and honor due to our Lord alone. WE THINK NOT!!! I submit that Roman Catholic piety ultimately detracts from and unavoidably interfers with, one's unparalled devotion to Christ. Having not even begun to discuss the continual ARMY of other intermediaries present in the RC hall of fame, they only add to the ammunition I have displayed in proving that the Mary of Catholicism has long ago ceased to resemble the Mary of the Bible.
Footnote #1....A) Of Mary, John Paul II said, "Behold! Here is what was spoken about in the book of Revelation..." (Homily recorded in "La Documentation Catholique", 9/83....and his "Redemtoris Mater", #24.
B) "This Rock", 7/96, p.44
C) Catechism of the Catholic Church, footnote in #501.
Timothy Ouellette's Opening Remarks
1] In the debate between Catholics and Protestants regarding the Catholic Church's teachings about Mary, there have historically been at least six points of contention for the Protestant - they are 1)The Immaculate Conception; 2)Her Divine Maternity; 3)Mary's Perpetual Virginity; 4) Mary's Bodily Assumption into Heaven; 5)Her Coronation as Queen of Heaven; and 6)The Mediatorship of Mary. In this particular debate I will focus on three of the six points - 1)The Immaculate Conception; 2)Mary's Divine Maternity; and 3)The Mediatorship of Mary - showing that each of these points are taught in Sacred Scripture, thus refuting my opponents proposition that "The Mary of Roman Catholicism is not the Mary of the Bible."
2] The Immaculate Conception, simply stated, teaches that Mary was conceived without the stain of original sin. In Luke's Gospel, Chapter 1 verse 28, we read the following regarding the angel Gabriel's announcement to Mary:
"And he came to her and said, 'Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!' "
Depending on the translation used, in place of 'full of grace' may be found 'highly favoured one' or 'most favoured daughter'. Yet regardless of the translation used, the greek word applied here is kecharitomene. Luke here employs a form of the verb charitoo, as does St. Paul in his Letter to the Ephesians (Eph 1:6 - "...to the praise of his glorious grace which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved" - 'of grace', translated from echaritosen).
This has special meaning here, as the following quote indicates:
3] "The verbs in 'oo' are causative; they indicate an action which effects something in the object. Thus, for example, 'leukoo', to whiten; 'douloo', to reduct to slavery, to ensnare; 'eleutheroo', to render free, to free. These verbs, then, effect a change of something in the person or the thing affected. Thus, the radical of the verb 'charitoo' being 'charis' (grace), the idea which is expressed is that of a change brought about by grace. In addition, the verb used by Luke is in the past perfect participial form. 'Kecharitomene' signifies then, in the person to whom the verb relates, that is, Mary, that the action of the grace of God has already brought about a change. It does not tell us how that came about. What is essential here, is that it affirms that Mary has been transformed by the grace of God." (1).
4] Gabriel's announcement to Mary, therefore, is "Hail, you who have already been fully graced, the Lord is with thee!" The fact that the verb used is a perfect passive participle indicates that this quality of being 'fully graced' is a present condition which has already taken place, at some point before the announciation by Gabriel.
5] In Genesis 3:15, commonly referred to as the'Protoevangelium', we see a certain parallel between the person and work of Mary and the person and work of Eve:
"I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel."
This passage is often understood in a couple of different ways: first, the woman spoken of is Eve; God has placed enmity between Eve and her posterity and Satan and his followers. Second, the phrase 'he shall bruise you head, and you shall bruise his heel', has very definite messianic tones, indicating that the Messiah, who is definitely included in Eve's posterity, will win the battle over Satan, thus securing victory for humanity. Thus the seed of the woman is seen to be Jesus, and therefore Mary is also sen here in 'the woman'.
6] Essentially, Eve is pictured here as a 'type' of Mary, just as Adam is a 'type' of Christ (Romans 5:14); and, as is the norm, the 'fulfillment' of the 'type' always surpasses the original 'type' in a far greater way. Romans 5:18 tells us:
"Then as one man's trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man's act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men."
In the Old Testament, we read that Adam and Eve's sin brought spiritual and physical death to mankind - inversely, Jesus, as the 'fulfillment' of His 'type' (Adam), brings life and acquittal for mankind. This inverse relationship between Adam and Jesus as 'type' and 'fulfillment' holds just as true for Eve and Mary. In order for Mary to surpass the sinfullness of Eve as a 'fulfillment' of the 'type', she could not have been under his dominion as Eve was; therefore she could not have been affected by original sin.
7] Mary's Divine Maternity - Mary as 'The Mother of God' - This article of faith for the Catholic is based in part on the Divinity of Jesus Christ and on the fact that Mary is His mother. The fact that Jesus is truly God is attested to in numerous places in the Bible (John 1:1; Phil 2:4-11; John 20:28; etc.); the fact that Mary is His mother is also attested to in the Bible (John 2:1; Mt. 1:18, 2:11&13; etc.).
However, the Scripture tells us that Jesus is also truly man (1 Timothy 2:5; Romans 5:15; 1 Cor 15:21), and they also point to the human origin of Christ (Romans 1:3, 9:5; 2 Tim 2:8; Gal 3:16, 4:4).
This union of the two natures (human and Divine) in the one Person of Jesus Christ is known as the Dogma of the Incarnation; in other words, Jesus is the God-Man - He is the Word of God who became flesh (John 1:14) - He is the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity who assumed a human nature to Himself, thus making it His own (Phil 2:5-8). He is not 50% God and 50% man; He is 100% God and 100% man (in all things but sin).
8] For some reason, the fact that the Incarnation took place within the womb of Mary seems to have been glossed over by non-Catholics who deny her the title 'Mother of God', which is what her 'divine maternity' indicates. This is most unfortunate, for denial of the divine maternity of Mary is a tacit denial of the Incarnation. Allow me to explain.
9] Luke 1:30 & 31 tells us "And the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.' "
Mary answers in reply, "How can this be, since I have no husband?" (Lk 1:34).
"And the angel said to her, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.' " (Lk 1:35).
Within the very womb of Mary, the Word of God assumed a human nature, making it His own in the Person of Jesus Christ - therefore, from the moment of His conception, the man Christ Jesus was, and is, Divine. Given this biblical fact, Mary has historically been given the title 'theotokos' which is a greek term meaning 'bearer of God' - she bore God in her womb.
10] The following argument is generally raised at this point:
"Mary bore only Jesus' human nature; she was the mother of His human nature only, not His Divine nature."
This would seemingly change her title to 'anthropotokos', or 'bearer of man'. Yet this is just that denial of the Incarnation I made mention of earlier - to say that Mary gave birth to Christ's human nature only is to deny the very passages, quoted above, which attest to Christ's Divinity within the very womb of Mary. It is therefore very biblical to state that Mary bore within her womb and gave birth to the God-Man, Jesus Christ - and it is for this reason that we should rightly call her 'Mother of God'.
11] The Mediatorship of Mary - After the Announciation to Mary, Scripture records her as answering:
" 'Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.' And the angel departed from her.' "(Lk 1:38).
Before I begin this 'last leg of the journey', I'd like to explain just what the mediatorship of Mary does not teach.
The mediatorship of Mary does not teach that Mary died for our sins; nor does it teach that Mary in any way 'takes the place' of Jesus on the cross; nor does it teach that her mediatorship is in any way equal to or greater than Christ's Mediation.
12] The mediatorship of Mary should be understood in a double sense:
1. "Mary gave the Redeemer, the Source of all graces, to the world, and in this way she is the channel of all graces. (Sent. certa); and
2. Since Mary's Assumption into Heaven no grace is conferred on man without her actual intercessor co-operation. (Sent. pia et probabilis)." (2)
13] Regarding the first sense (channel of all graces):
Mary is rightly termed 'mediatrix of all graces' by her co-operation in the Incarnation. As we've already seen from Scripture, the Incarnation did, in fact, take place within the very womb of Mary; yet this divine action did not take place against her will - God 'forces' no-one to assent to His will. Yet Mary, upon hearing the wondrous words of the angel, freely assented to be the Mother of God:
"Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be according to your word" (Lk 1:38).
Thus "the Incarnation of the Son of God and the Redemption of mankind were dependent of her assent." (3)
14] Regarding the second sense (intercessor co-operation in conferring grace to man):
That Mary co-operates in conferring grace to men is based also on her 'yes' to God in assenting to the Incarnation - thus it was through her co-operation that Jesus Christ, the source of grace, came into the world.
15] Mary's position as mediatrix of all graces, in virtue of her intercession in heaven, is inextricably linked to her 'spiritual matenity' - that is, the idea of Mary as the 'mother of all humanity'; and it's based in part of a deeper, more sublime understanding of John 19:25-27 :
"...But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved, standing near, he said to his mother, 'Woman, behold your son!' Then he said to the disciple, 'Behold, your mother!' And from that hour the disciple took her tohis own home."
In this passage we see Jesus speaking of a maternal relationship between His mother and the beloved disciple - 'Behold, your son' - 'Behold, your mother'. This maternal relationship extends also to Christ's 'Mystical Body', the Church, again by virtue of her having assented to the Incarnation and objective Redemption of all mankind - thus her 'spiritual maternity'.
Therefore, just as God chose her and her alone to be the 'channel of grace' in bearing Jesus, the Son of God, for the objective Redemption of mankind, God has chosen her to be the 'channel of grace' for the subjective Redemption of individual souls: God is the source of the grace and, just as in the Incarnation, Mary is the divinely chosen 'channel'.
The Catholic Church's teachings regarding the person of Mary are clearly rooted in Sacred Scripture, and thus my opponents proposition "The Mary of Roman Catholicism is not the Mary of the Bible" is refuted.
* * *
1)Mary in the Mystery of the Covenant, Ignace de la Potterie, S.J.; pg. 18, c 1992 by the Society of St. Paul; Alba House Publishing, New York.
2)Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, Ludwig Ott; pg. 212.
3)Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, Ludwig Ott, pg. 212
Jason Vanezia's First Rebuttal
NOTE: The capital letter P with a number after it indicates the paragraph of my opponent's work.
Needless to say, I am of the persuasion that the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is rank heresy. We read in 1 Cor 11:19 that Paul had heard that there were divisions among the Corinthians and he had too much reason to believe it. And he further adds that, "for there must also be heresies among you." The apostle recognized that God in His sovereign purposes may actually use dissension, disorder and heresy to advance His own particular objectives. Thus He deliberately permits heresies (such as, I would suggest, the Immaculate Conception) to arise, so that, "they which are approved" - those who have the more convincing argument in light of the Word of God - "will be made manifest among you" - and religious seducers such as Pius IX will be put to shame. In any case, I am delighted to be taking part in this debate because I am motivated that the evidence against the Immaculate Conception is so breathtakingly convincing, that hopefully Catholics everywhere who have not normally taken the time to scrutinize these issues, will see that this dogma is nothing but an heretical snowball rolling down the slopes of Catholic fantasy.
2) GABRIEL'S GREETING
At the end of my opponent's opening remarks, he quipped quite confidently that the teachings of the Catholic Church regarding Mary are so clearly rooted in Scripture, that my position stated above, is refuted by the evidence he has served us from his theological table. Yet personally, I found so many holes in Mr. Ouellette's main dish, that I could not help but be reminded of a slice of swiss cheese.
Ladies and gentlemen, were you as dumbfounded as I was to realize that the bulk of my rival's defense of the Immaculate Conception, centers on the simple greeting of the angel announcing God's gracious choice of Mary to be the mother of the Messiah? So let us examine the relevance of this greeting at once and see if it is worthy of the weight being placed upon it. We are informed in P3 that the verb used by Luke (kecharitomene) is in the past perfect participle form, and this signifies that the action of the grace of God has ALREADY brought about a change in the subject; that is, at some point prior to the annunciation. Therefore, says my opponent, we should read the salutation of Gabriel as, "Hail, you who have ALREADY BEEN fully graced."
My immediate reaction to this interesting tidbit is that we should all stand in amazement that Roman Catholicism has the nerve to convince the world of her tyrannical dogma based primarily on the PAST PERFECT PASSIVE PARTICPLE FORM OF A VERB! This speaks volumes to the fact that Mr. Ouellette's position is so precarious that he may as well be walking a tightrope with a wooden leg. Nevertheless, I am happy to interact with his proof-text so an honest assessment of the criteria may be made.
To begin with, Mr. Ouellette admits in P2 that the Greek word above is ALSO used in Ephesians 1:6...."to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has GIVEN us in the One He loves" - referring to the elect of God. Need it be said that if the Greek term is used in similar fashion and somewhere else other than in Luke, will my opponent try to convince us that the elect of God have ALREADY been fully graced throughout THEIR lives also and were born without original sin? Of course he won't. Consequently, his argument tumbles to the ground for lack of support.
Anticipating Mr. O's objection, he might attempt to point out that Eph 1:6 does not use the perfect tense of "charitoo", whereas Luke 1:28 does. Unfortunately for him, this will not bolster his position in the least. The perfect tense utilized in Luke speaks only of the CURRENT STATE of the subject without any reference to how long Mary of Nazareth has been in that state. And because he does not know how long, it would be wise for him to, "NOT go above that which is written" (1 Cor 4:6).....which of course that wolf in sheep's clothing Pius IX did by telling us Mary was preserved free from all stain of original sin from the INSTANT of her conception. To the contrary, the plain simple crux of the matter is that God favored Mary by choosing her to bear His Son....period. She was blessed AMONG women, says Luke....not ABOVE women.
As a matter of fact, the term "blessed ABOVE women" goes one step further in notoriety, and could have been used by Elizabeth if what all Catholicism would have us believe is true. But the Holy Spirit did not lead her to say it. This is important to realize because we read of Jael's being, "blessed ABOVE women" in Judges 2:4. And since Jael is not considered sinless resulting from this loftier "ABOVE" women expression, then neither should Mary be considered as having the, "splendor of an entirely unique holiness" (CCC #492) when the lower "AMONG" women term is used.
4) FULL OF GRACE
Sadly, the church at Rome has treacherously inflated the Greek word, "kecharitomene" far beyond its semanic range. How do I know this? Because if Roman Catholicism insists that in this word, "full of grace" signifies that Mary was sinless, then there would have to be many in Scripture who were sinless as well. The inescapable reality is this:
"Now Stephen, full of grace and power, was working great wonders...but he, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked to heaven and saw the glory of God." (Acts 6:8; 7:55).
It may be startling for many Catholics to discover that the expressions, "full of grace" and "full of the Holy Spirit", ARE SYNONYMOUS TERMS! What does this mean? It means that Mary could not have been sinless because...
A) David was full of the Holy Spirit (Psalm 51:11) but was a sinner!
B) Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:42) but was a sinner!
C) Zacharias was full of the Holy Spirit (vs. 67) but was a sinner!
D) Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:8) but was a sinner!
E) Barnabas was filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 11:24) but was a sinner!
F) Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas were all filled with the Holy Spirit, but were sinners! (Acts 6:3-5).
5) IGNANCE de la POTTERIE
In P2, Mr. Ouellette has provided a quote from the aforementioned named person, in his book, "Mary in the Mystery of the Covenant". I have never heard of this gentleman before, nor have I heard of any reputable Greek scholar who attaches the meaning of "kecharitomene" as does Mr. D.L.P. This author bids us to believe that the Greek word denotes that Mary has been TRANSFORMED by the grace of God...supposedly proving her sinlessness.
I submit that the suggestion of the Greek word conveying a transformation of the subject, is nothing but a pretentious interpretation that Mr. D.L.P. has read back INTO the text, motivated by his own preconceived Catholic theology. Now if Mr. Ouellette disagrees, I want him to let this audience know just WHAT REFERENCES did this author use to substantiate his claim? Surely they would be listed in a footnote or a parenthetical aside. Tell us. But if you do not, then let it be resolved that the conclusions of D.L.P. be considered as nothing more than the height of speculative nonsense.
6) WILD IMAGININGS
In P6, we are instructed that "essentially, Eve is pictured as a 'type' of Mary, just as Adam is a 'type' of Christ (Rms 5:14)". The careful observer should be aware that Romans 5:14 does indeed refer to the Adam typology, but certainly nothing about Eve and Mary which my oppenent has taken the liberty of pulling right out of a hat. Building on this figment of his imagination, he concludes that because Mary was the "fulfillment of the type", she could not have been affected by original sin. However, this most assuredly cannot be true because he is overlooking the fact that if one is not affected by original sin, one does not die. And guess what?
7) MARY DIED!
"Upon her death, she was assumed bodily into heaven" (Catholic Encyclopedia, R. Broderick, editor, p. 374). Or from canonized saint Alphonsus de Liguori, we read, "As the Son died, it was becoming that the mother should also die..." (The Glories of Mary", p. 407).
The truth that Mary died is proof enough that she was subject to the full penalty of sin and was NOT immaculately conceived. As 1 Cor 15:22 confirms, the sentence of physical death has, "passed upon ALL men, for that ALL sinned". But once again, Roman Catholics have been taught that "ALL" simply cannot mean just that....."ALL". Hence, the ringing indictment Jesus made to others, must equally be made to Mr. Ouellette: "Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition." (Matt 15:6).
8) MOTHER OF GOD
This title (henceforth referred to as "M.O.G.") first became prominent around the 5th century when there were many controversies surrounding the diety of Christ, which instigated the Councils of Chalcedon and Ephesus to converge. While it is true that M.O.G. was a functioning term for various church fathers during the controversies, it is extremely significant that both councils chose not to use it. Instead they used, "Theotokos" ("God-bearer") in their attempt to uphold the diety of Christ. Happily though, they did not just leave it at that. They qualified the use of this term by stating, "...as regards (Jesus's) MANHOOD, begotten...of Mary the virgin, the Theotokes." Notice that they were sensitive not to grant Mary credit for having given birth to Christ's diety. Evidently, they must have realized that the logo M.O.G. would be fraught with misunderstandings, resulting in an ill-advised and improper distinction between the human and divine nature of Christ. Mary did indeed give birth to Christ's human nature, but it would be going out of bounds to accenuate this truth utilizing a term which suggests she was in some way responsible for producing His diety, which she was not. Paul took the safer, more sensible view when he says that Jesus was the Son of David, ACCORDING TO THE FLESH." (Rms 1:3) and left it at that.
In P8, my opponent postulates that my disregard for the title M.O.G. manifests a "tacit denial of the Incarnation". This is patently false! While it is true that Mary did indeed give birth to a person who was both God AND man, I object to the title M.O.G. because the minute one alleges that she was the mother of...GOD! there is an immediate, unbalanced influence which tips the scales in favor of His diety, without any reference to His humanity. Afterall, "God" is merely descriptive of ONE part of Jesus's nature. You see, because the Bible repeatedly affirms that one gives birth not only to something or someone, but also to its NATURE, the M.O.G. epithet conveys a misleading impression one should wish to avoid in seeking to portray the true Mary of the Bible....because she did NOT give birth to His divinity, per se. For example, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures AFTER THEIR KIND..." (Gen 1:24). "And the earth brought forth...plants yielding seed AFTER THEIR KIND....(vs. 24). Abraham is "forefather (to the Jews) ACCORDING TO THE FLESH"...(Rms 4:1).
In other words, since Mary was not diety and Christ was, it would not be accurate to say that He was born "after His kind"....because Mary did not contribute anything to His diety. She gave birth to the physical body of Jesus which had never existed before ("But a body hast thou prepared me" ...Heb 10:15) but did not give birth to His divinity, which always existed ("Before Abraham was, I AM" ...John 8:58). If we are really concerned about staying within biblical parameters, (as the rules of this debate stipulate on this website) then let us be content with terminology that does not overstep those boundaries. A better choice to give "Maria Magnificent" would be "Mother of Christ" (an eloquent title that encompasses BOTH natures of the Lord Jesus). I would like to ask Mr. Ouellette that if I personally prefer to use the caption, "Mother of Christ" instead of M.O.G., would you still say that I am guilty of "tacitly denying the Incarnation"? If your answer is no, then your previous accusation fades into nothingness....wouldn't you agree?
9) ENDING THOUGHTS
I feel I have given my opponent enough to deal with as he prepares for rebuttal, so I will address the issue of our subject as Mediatrix, in my next essay.
Timothy Ouellette's First Rebuttal
1] I'd like to begin my first rebuttal by thanking Mr. Vanezia for alluding to 1 Kings chapter 13 in his opening remarks - this passage is, as he puts it, 'dripping with meaning and significance'; yet not only for our discussion of the Immaculate Conception, but for all that God has spoken to us. Divine revelation is binding on the conscience of every Christian, and the just punishments of God will be meted out to those who teach false doctrine - but it will also be meted out to those who have hardened their hearts and refuse to assent to the full counsel of God.
2] My opponent begins his formal remarks by quoting, in part, 1 Cor 14:33 and James 1:17, correctly stating that 'we may rightly conclude that when He tells us something, we can rely on it the first time and not worry that He will confound the issue and change His mind later" (Mr. Vanezia, opening remarks, #2). He then makes the following statement:
"Thus, it appears that this debate is over even before it has begun, because God has explicitly told us (after Mary was born by the way) that, 'THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS: NO, NOT ONE' (Rms 3:10). Please notice that the Lord has already anticipated the Roman Catholic exception to Mary (or anyone else's exception) by qualifying His statement with the most simplistic and yet forceful terminology: 'NO, NOT ONE.' I would like to ask my opponent, what is it about 'NO, NOT ONE' that you do not understand? If God says what He means and means what He says, then there cannot possibly be an exception in the case of the marvelous maiden of Nazareth." (Mr. Vanezia, opening remarks, #2).
3] Let's look at this carefully, starting with a reading of St. Paul's letter to the Romans, Chapter 3, verse 9-18:
"What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all; for I have already charged that all men, both Jews and Greeks, are under the power of sin, as it is written:
'None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands, no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside, together they have
no one does good, not even one.
Their throat is an open grave,
they use their tongues to deceive.
The venom of asps is under their lips.
Their mouth is full of curse and bitterness.
Their feet are swift to shed blood,
in their paths are ruin and misery,
and the way of peace they do not know.
There is no fear of God before their eyes."
4] It is a common practice among certain protestant apologists to quote Romans 3:10 in an effort to 'destroy' any notion whatsoever of an exception to the 'universal law of sin' as defined here by St. Paul. Yet is this what St. Paul is stating? That absolutely, no-one, not one, is righteous? Absolutely no one understands? Absolutely, without exception, no one seeks for God? Absolutely all have turned aside? Absolutely no one does good, not even one?
According to this particular hermeneutic principle, even one exception to this idea of 'absoluteness', in terms of the 'universal law of sin', would render this particular principle ineffectual.
Can we find such a person, other than the one presently under discussion?
Yes...in the person of Jesus Christ.
"For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin..." (2 Cor 5:21).
"For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sinning" (Heb 4:15).
"Which of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me?" (John 8:46).
5] The list of citations could go on, but my point is this: Mr. Vanezia's position demands that Romans 3:10 be applied to absolutely all, without exception - yet this hermeneutic principle would have to include Jesus Christ as well! Yet scripture tells us that Jesus was, and is, without sin. Therefore there is an exception to the 'universal law of sin'. Granted, my opponent alludes to this 'exception', albeit briefly, in a later paragraph in his opening remarks (paragraph #3), but this just proves my point - St. Paul is not stating that 'absolutely all, without exception, have sinned', because scripture tells us that Jesus was without sin; and, in my opening remarks, I showed from scripture that Mary was fully and completely graced, and was therefore free from sin.
In answer to my opponents question from paragraph #2 of his opening remarks: "What is it about 'NO, NOT ONE' that you do not understand?", I would simply refer his to the above discussion on Romans 3:10.
6] Aside from stating the Church's teaching regarding The Immaculate Conception, Mr. Vanezia's subjective analysis of Pope Pius IX in paragraph #3 of his opening remarks simply has no bearing in this debate - I would simply refer to the brief allusion to the 'exception' spoken of previously regarding Romans 3:10 and the Person of Jesus. I would also encourage Mr. Vanezia to focus on the topic at hand, and not on whether or not there are halos floating around a given Pope's head.
7] In paragraph #4 of his opening remarks, entitled 'Genesis 3:15 and Pius IX", Mr. Vanezia embarks on a somewhat lengthy, though inaccurate, discussion regarding the Douay Rheims translation, St. Jerome, and Pope Pius IX's pronouncement of The Immaculate Conception. The error in translation regarding IPSA and IPSE cannot be attributed to St. Jerome, who faithfully followed the Hebrew text in the original edition of the Latin Vulgate; rather, "The variant probably originated as a copyist error when a scribe failed to take note that the subject of the verse had shifted from the woman to the seed of the woman." (IQB, Genesis 3:15 and Mary, James Akin, Nazareth Resource Center Web Site -cin.com).
It seems a 'straw man' argument is in the making here; my opponent has, in this paragraph, attempted to set up the following 'proofs' in the readers mind:
1. St. Jerome is the originator of the error regarding IPSA and IPSE;
2. Pope Pius IX quotes from St. Jerome's faulty translation in his definition of the Dogma of The Immaculate Conception, basing the definition, in part, on this translation.
8] The conclusion Mr. Vanezia desires the reader to come to is expressed in the last sentence of paragraph #4 of his opening remarks:
"Now there is absolutely o doubt that Pius IX was alluding to Jerome's faulty Latin translation in referring to Mary as the crusher of Satan's head. And that being so, there can also be no doubt that our wonderful Lord and Savior, through the means of the Holy Spirit, would NEVER overshadow the pope to use this sort of typology, grounded in an inaccurate translation that is diametrically opposed to His word!" (emphasis mine).
9] Is this an accurate conclusion?
Not at all.
That the Virgin Mary crushed the head of the serpent is taught in Ineffabilis Deus is certain; yet this idea did not originate from an erroneous translation of the Vulgate. The idea that Mary is the New Eve and Jesus the New Adam, and that both crushed the head of the serpent, that is, undid what Adam and Eve did, is clearly held by the early Church, well before the time of St. Jerome and the first edition of the Latin Vulgate:
10] "Consequently, then, Mary the Virgin is found to be obedient, saying: 'Behold, O Lord, your handmaid; be it done to me according to your word.' Eve, however, was disobedient, and when yet a virgin, she did not obey. Just as she, who was then still a virgin although she had Adam for a husband, - for in Paradise they were both naked but were not ashamed; for, having been created only a short time, they had no understanding of the procreation of children and it was necessary that they first come to maturity before beginning to multiply, - having become disobedient, was made the cause of death for herself and for the whole human race; so also Mary, betrothed to a man but nevertheless still a virgin, being obedient, was made the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race...Thus, the knot of Eve's disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. What the virgin Eve had bound in unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosed through faith." (Faith of the Early Fathers, Vol 1, pg. 93; St. Irenaeus' Against Heresies, AD 180-199; c 1970, The Order of St. Benedict. Inc.)
Thus the 'straw man' argument falls, having no foundation upon which to stand.
11] Mr. Vanezia's comments regarding Pope Pius IX's prohibition against disbelieving the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception belie a lack of understanding regarding the nature of Truth; Truth is, in fact, to be assented to, to be held and believed; in fact, one should be willing to die rather than deny even one revealed Dogma of the Faith. In fact, St. Paul clearly teaches that Truth is to be taught and believed, even to the point of death:
"For I am already on the point of being sacrificed; the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing" (2 Tim 4:6-8).
My opponent wraps up paragraph #5 of his opening remarks with the following statement:
"The Word of God, on the other hand, does not demand punishment for anyone who would question in their hearts, a dogma provided by a religious system on a non-salvific issue it does not, and did not address for almost 2,000 years! Truly, Isaiah the prophet swings the wrecking ball at such nonsense when he says, 'If they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them' (8:20)."
12] This is interesting, considering the fact that Mary's Immaculate Conception and role as the 'New Eve' are clearly expressed in the writings of early Christians such as St. Justin the Martyr in his Dialogue with Trypho the Jew (ca AD 155), St. Irenaeus (already quoted); and Tertullian in his treatise The Flesh of Christ (ca AD 208/212).
These are just a few examples of the historicity of the Dogmas regarding Mary; granted, their formal definitions came much later, but as beliefs per se they've been held as Truth passed on and received from the mouths of the Apostles themselves.
The 'wrecking ball' of Isaiah does, in fact, swing...and in doing so it demolishes the Protestant myth which denies the historicity of Catholic Dogma.
13] In paragraph #6 of Mr. Vanezia's opening remarks, he discusses Revelation Chapter 12: 'the woman clothed with the sun, and crowned with stars', who also 'wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth', and the Church's application of this descriptive passage to Mary.
Mr. Vanezia asks the question, "Will Mr. Ouellette please explain to me why Mary is suffering the CONSEQUENCES of sin (namely, labor pains) if she was not a sinner??? And when you have finished explaining that, kindly inform me what I am to do with the supposedly 'infallible' declaration made by Pius XII, where he DENYS she had any labor pains at all. 'The sword of sorrow which SHE HAD ESCAPED in the act of giving birth to him...' (Munificentissimus Deus, which infallibly declared the Assumption of Mary in 1950). In footnote #1, you will notice that John Paul II, Catholic apologist magazine, 'This Rock', and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, all agree that the woman of Revelation 12 is Mary who wailed aloud in pain. But excuse me, Pius XII says she did not wail aloud. Who, pray tell, is correct?"
14] The Book of Revelation, as my opponent knows, is a book filled with much in the way of prophecy and symbolism - in fact, much of the imagery is, as James Akin (apologist for Catholic Answers, who publishes the magazine 'This Rock') calls it, 'fusion imagery' - that is, certain elements from one object in scripture are 'fused' with elements from another object in scripture.
Here's a quote from Mr. Akin's website regarding this idea of 'fusion imagery':
"For example, the living creatures he sees in chapter 4 are a fusion of elements from the cherubim seen in Ezekiel and the seraphim seen in Isaiah. The priest-elders he sees in that chapter are most likely numbered twenty-four because they are a fusion of the twelve patriarchs of Israel and the twelve apostles of Jesus--a symbolism which occurs at the end of the book, in chapter 21, where the heavenly city of New Jerusalem is seen to have twelve foundations with the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb and twelve gates with the names of the twelve patriarchs of Israel." (Internet Question Box (IQB), cin.org/users/james/questions/q.116.htm; c 1997 by James Akin).
15] This 'fusion' principle, coupled with the fact that John's vision is replete with polyvalent symbolism (the idea that some symbolic passages in scripture can refer to more than one object or idea), shows that the woman in Revelation Chapter 12 is actually symbolic of at least three different objects or ideas: Israel, The Church, and Mary:
16] "In that day, says the Lord, I will assemble the lame and gather those who have been driven away, and those whom I have afflicted; and the lame I will make the remnant; and those who were cast off, a strong nation; and the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion from this time forth and for evermore."
"And you, O tower of the flock, hill of the daughter of Zion, to you shall it come, the former dominion shall come, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem."
"Now why do you cry aloud? Is there no king in you? Has your counselor perished, that pangs have seized you like a woman in travail? Write and groan, o daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail; for now you shall go forth from the city and dwell in the open country; you shall go to Babylon. There you shall be rescued, there the Lord will redeem you from the hand of your enemies." (Micah 4:6-10; emphasis mine).
"Hark, an uproar from the city! A voice from the temple! The voice of the Lord, rendering recompense to His enemies!"
"Before she was in labor she gave birth; before her pain came upon her she was delivered of a son. Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall a land be born in one day? Shall a nation be brought forth in one moment? For as soon as Zion was in labor she brought forth her sons. Shall I bring to the birth and not cause to bring forth? says the Lord; shall I, who cause to bring forth, shut the womb? says your God."
"Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice with her in joy, all you who mourn over her." (Isaiah 66:6-10; emphasis mine).
These passages clearly point to the woman in Revelation 12 as symbolic of Israel...yet the Church is also referred to, given the text of Revelation 12:17 -
"Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus."
Clearly, Christians (in this particular passage, referred to as those who bear testimony to Jesus), members of Christ's Church, are mentioned here in this passage - yet they're mentioned in reference to the woman, of whom they are her offspring - her children.
18] Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is also referred to in this chapter, as is quite obvious - yet because this chapter refers to at least three different symbolic referents, certain aspects of the woman in Revelation 12 are applied to different referrents. The phrase 'she was with child and she cried out in her pangs of birth, in anguish for delivery' (Rev 12:2), refers, not to Mary, but to Israel, who has been described in Micah 4:6-10 as a woman 'writhing and groaning, like a woman in travail'.
19] Finally, regarding Mr. Vanezia's comments in quoting a portion of Munificentissimus Deus, two points of correction: First, Mr. Vanezia attributes the statement 'The sword of sorrow which she had escaped in the act of giving birth to him' to Pope Pius XII; in fact, the statement, while certainly within the text of the document, is actually a quote from St. John Damascene. Second, the statement just discussed, 'The sword of sorrow which she had escaped in the act of giving birth to him', seemed to be taken somewhat out of context, possibly giving the reader the misimpression that Mary suffered no pain whatsoever, not even pain such as sorrow of the heart. To put this in perspective, allow me to quote this passage from the document in its entirety:
20] "Thus St. John Damascene, an outstanding herald of this traditional truth, spoke out with powerful eloquence when he compared the bodily Assumption of the loving Mother of God with her other prerogatives and privileges. 'It was fitting that she, who had kept her virginity intact in childbirth, should keep her own body free from all corruption even after death. It was fitting that she, who had carried the Creator as a child at her breast, should dwell in the divine tabernacles. It was fitting that the spouse, whome the Father had taken to Himself, should live in the divine mansions. It was fitting that she, who had seen her Son upon the Cross and who had thereby received into her heart the sword of sorrow which she had escaped in the act of giving birth to Him, should look upon Him as He sits with the Father. It was fitting that God's Mother should possess what belongs to her Son, and that she should be honored by every creature as the Mother and as the Handmaid of God' "(In Dormit, B.V.M., hom 11,14 from Munificentissimus Deus, 1950, paragraph #502).
21] If Mr. Vanezia is going to quote from official Church documents, I would encourage him to quote liberally and completely, and not simply cull sentences from a document, which can lead to a misapplication of their authorship.
22] I am at somewhat of a loss in responding to Mr. Vanezia's statements in paragraph #7 of his opening remarks, entitled 'Divine Maternity?', for the simple reason that not once did Mr. Vanezia address the issue of Mary's divine maternity in the text. He certainly titled the paragraph appropriately, but never made reference to Mary's divine maternity in the paragraph, i.e., Mary as 'Mother of God'. He makes reference to Mary as 'Queen of Mercy', but that's the extend of his use of titles in reference to Mary.
23] Mr. Vanezia then proceeds to give the reader his own rendition of a theological 'deulling banjos', attempting to pit the words of Scripture against Roman Catholic beliefs regarding Mary. This is, of course, an effort in futility, due to the fact that the issue under consideration in this paragraph (Mary as the 'Mother of God') is never addressed.
If this is a sincere case of my opponent simply misunderstanding the phrase 'Divine Maternity', that's fine - I welcome him to address this issue in one of his rebuttals.
24] My opponent then closes this paragraph with the following statement:
"This merciful female counterpart to Jesus is simply a bad case of eisegesis (which is reading something into Scripture that simply isn't there). This is merely one more step on the ladder of demagoguery the RCC wishes us to climb, but I will have none of it. It is not the 'Queen of Mercy' who dispenses heavenly graces upon us, but God Himself: 'EVERY good thing bestowed and EVERY perfect gift is from above, coming down from the FATHER OF LIGHTS...'(Jms 1:17)".
25] First of all, there's no such thing as 'a bad case of eisegesis' - exegesis is simply a critical explanation or analysis of a text; one does not have 'a bad case of exegesis' as one has 'a bad case of the mumps'...rather, the analysis or explanation would be considered bad or inaccurate, but exegesis, as a principle of explanation or analysis, cannot be labeled as 'bad'.
26] Second of all, the term 'demagoguery' is another form of the word 'demagogue', which is defined as "A leader who obtains power by means of appeals to emotions and prejudices"...this from the Greek term demagogos, popular leader. Given the definition of the word and the context in which the word is used, Mr. Vanezia seems driven to apply it to Mary, as if the Church sought to replace Jesus with Mary through the use of emotional appeals, etc...this is, of course, false, as the Church has always taught that Mary receives her graces from Jesus, is subordinate to Jesus, and cannot possibly be understood in any way outside of Her Son, Jesus.
Granted, some may think I'm 'splitting hairs' regarding the use of terms, but I believe it's warranted - after all, people have been deceived in the past and given erroneous information regarding the Catholic Church's teachings based on just this sort of confusion regarding the definition and application of both theological and secular terms.
27] In paragraph #8 of his opening statement, Mr. Vanezia again expresses confusion regarding the use of terms - Mary's mediatorship in no way violates the mediatorship of Jesus in 1 Tim 2:5, for the simple reason that Catholics do not teach that Mary died for our sins...end of story!
My opponent writes "If there is exclusively one God, then there is exclusively one mediator" -yet this statement would seemingly deny that a man can mediate between God and a fellow man through an act of prayer, which is what St. Paul expresses when he encourages us to pray for one another. Given my opponents position, if he were living in the time of St. Paul, and asked by this writer of much of the New Testament to pray for him to the Lord our God, Mr. Vanezia would have to answer "I'm sorry, but you are sadly mistaken...I cannot possibly come between you and your God, to mediate your needs to the Lord...that would be, well, blasphemy."
I don't mean to sound flippant, but this is exactly the sort of basic, Christian practice that Mr. Vanezia would have to deny is biblical, if he holds to the view that there is absolutely, exclusively, one mediator...keep in mind, the Catholic Church teaches, in accord with Scripture, that Jesus alone died for our sins, and that in this way He is the only Mediator between God and men, 'the man Christ Jesus'...yet Mary, in saying 'yes' to God, freely assented to bear the God-Man in her womb for the salvation of souls, and in this way her answer to God, her prayer, was the beginning of an act of mediation between God and the entire human race.
28] Mr. Vanezia is in a quandary here - his understanding of the term 'mediator' allows him to apply it to Jesus only, without exception...yet the fact that Mary 'mediated' between God and the human race in saying 'yes' to the Incarnation, as well as the numerous scriptural proofs as to the wholesomeness and goodness of praying for others (which is a form of mediation), leaves him with two choices from which to choose from:
1. Accept that his understanding, objectively speaking, of the term 'mediator' is erroneous and that the Catholic Church's understanding is correct;
2. Deny the clear teaching of Scripture on this very important point.
29] Mr. Vanezia concludes his opening remarks with an implied appeal to reject Roman Catholic piety regarding Mary because it "detracts from and unavoidably interferes with one's unparalleled devotion to Christ."
However, true piety regarding the Mother of God always sees her in light of her Son, Jesus Christ - in other words, all the teaching's regarding Mary have, as their source, the Lord Jesus Christ - and thus the Mary of Roman Catholicism is once again proven to be the Mary of the Bible.
Jason Vanezia's Second Rebuttal
NOTE: The letter "R" with a number after it, refers to either one of the rebuttal essays.....mine or his. Also, the letter "F" designates a footnote......and all enlarged words are my own emphasis.
1) DIVINE REVELATION & PIUS IX
Mr. Ouellette began R1 by reminding us that divine revelation is binding on the conscience of every Christian. I agree. But in P6 I am told that my analysis of Pius IX has no bearing in this debate, and I could not disagree more. The crux of our discussion includes the topic of the Immaculate Conception, which the Roman Catholic Church asserts was....(hello!)....DIVINE REVELATION given to Pius IX in 1854 and which is binding on every Christian. In view of the fact that my experience has shown that 9 out of 10 Catholics would not know offhand WHO defined this doctrine, WHAT it means, or the year it was proclaimed, I do not think it was out of order for me to include a recitation of this criteria along with the reasons why it is the object of my discontent. I leave it to the reader to decide if I am guilty of "foul play".
2) "NO, NOT ONE!" saith the Lord
A) If it weren't so sad, I would actually think it funny when we read in R1-P4 that it is a common practice among Protestant apologists to use Romans 3:10 to buttress their case that all have sinned including Mary... (as if we were most unreasonable to do so). However, I will not apologize for its usage in the least because it is indeed one of the main torpedos that sinks this "Titanic Immaculate Ship". Dear Reader, my opponent's position creates so many theological difficulties, it is hard to believe he could be satisfied with it. He argues along these lines: "Even though God said there is none righteous, no not one, and that ALL have sinned, we know right away there was an exception to these rules in Jesus Christ; and that being so, since I showed that Mary was fully graced in my opening remarks, that means that there is another exception in the person of Mary."
B) In R1-P5, Mr. O maintains that if my position were true, the way I understand "ALL have sinned" must be applied to absolutely ALL.....including Jesus Christ. And since everyone agrees the Savior was sinless, he triumphantly concludes that "ALL" does not mean "ALL"....after all, and by extension, we may include Mary as well. Now, it gives me no pleasure to say (yet I must) but the logic of my opponent is worse than ridiculous. It is both fitting and proper to believe that if there are any exceptions to the exclusivistic term "ALL", that God will be most gracious to tell us about it AT THE TIME of its use. Witness that, "They were ALL scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, EXCEPT the apostles" (Acts 8:1).
we are told that EVERYONE who gets a divorce and marries another, is guilty of adultery....EXCEPT if the spouse has been unfaithful (Matt 5:32/Mk 10:11). Therefore, when we read in the Catholic New American Bible that there is, "BUT ONE who has been similarly tested in every way, yet without sin" (Heb 4:15), it is clear as the noon day sun... since He has not cautioned us with any parenthetical red lights within the territorial bounds of His exclusivistic statement, then there are simply no further exceptions whatsoever. To have the RCC propose that Mary was an exception to the exception, is a type of interpretation that is both arbitrary and tendentious, and we should very well reject it. Furthermore, while this debate does not pertain to her perpetual virginity, the same line of reasoning simply begs to be mentioned......namely, that if God were kind enough to tell us directly of other women in Holy Writ who remained celibate (2 Sam 13;20, Judg 11:37) ---
then, if it were true of Mary, He would have told us even more so. But He did not.
Because I had read on occasion pertaining to the inaccuracy of the Latin translation in Genesis 3:15, I naturally assumed Jerome in particular was responsible for this mishap, when in fact it could very well have been a copyist error as Mr. Ouellette suggests. However, this does not detract from my argument in the slightest. It must first be noted that this error, on whomever's part, was a LONG time in being corrected, since I had quoted from a 1971 version of the Douay-Rheims. Since my opponent agrees that it was a faulty translation, he should also bow his knee to the fact that the God of TRUTH, would never have motivated Pius IX to utilize this abysmal and defective Christology in the allegedly infallible, "Ineffabilis Deus". Apparently realizing this situation brings into disrepute the very infallibility of Pius IX himself, Mr. Ouellette attempts to salvage the Pope's reputation by asserting that the concept of Mary crushing the serpent's head and being considered the "New Eve" are found in documents such as "Against Heresies" by Irenaeus. So it appears he is suggesting that the Pope was influenced by the writings of Irenaeus instead of the Vulgate. But was my noble opponent aware that in this very same document (F1) Irenaeus argued, "appealing to the tradition derived from the apostles", that Christ must have been 50 years old when He died? We may well assume the RCC does not wish to have anything to do with THAT "apostolic tradition". Additionally, Mr. O informs us that Tertullian had similar thoughts to Irenaeus. But Tertullian believed that Mary had a normal married life and children! (F2) Thus, every Catholic has no choice but to view the opinions of these gents with extreme discretion. They should also be alerted to the fact of how haphazardly their church officials pick and choose which traditions suit them best, and discard the leftovers like chicken bones.
4) "NEW EVE HEAD CRUSHER"
A) We must dispense with the supposed parallel between the disobedience of Eve and the obedience of Mary in the Fall of man. Here is the quote furnished to us by Irenaeus in R1-P10 : "The knot of Eve's disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary." Fortunately, S. Lewis Johnson is able to UNTIE this knotty parallel (F3) and shake us all up into reality: "Irenaeus overlooked the sense of Genesis 3:6-7. A careful examination of the text indicates that when Eve ate of the fruit, NOTHING HAPPENED. When she gave to Adam and HE ate, we read in verse 7, 'THEN the eyes of BOTH of them were opened.' The Holy Spirit regards Adam as the covenantal head of the race and it is HIS action that is determinative. THAT is why the N.T. accurately picks up on this and speaks, not of a balancing of Eve and Mary as the cause of death and salvation, but of Adam and Christ!" (Rom 15:12-21, 1 Cor 15:22).
B) You will recall in my opening remarks (P4) that Scripture unequivocally and categorically demands that Jesus ALONE be given the title of "Crusher of Satan's Head" as per 1 John 3:8 and Heb 2:14. Mr. Ouellette winds up in an exercise in futility by postulating that BOTH Jesus and Mary crushed the head of the serpent (R1-P9). Sadly for him, this is not what Pius X believed! In his encyclical, "AS DIEM ILLUM", dated 2/7/04, he wrote, "Adam saw NONE OTHER than Mary crushing the serpent's head." The problem my opponent now faces is who does he pledge his allegiance to? Pius X or the "infallible" Vatican II? The Council stated that Catholics are to loyally submit their will and intellect to the authentic teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff, EVEN WHEN HE DOES NOT SPEAK EX-CATHEDRA, so that his supreme teaching authority be acknowledged and that one sincerely adhere to decisions made by him (F4). Dear reader, do you think it makes sense for God to inspire Vatican II with instruction to believe a Pope no matter what, and in this case, one who holds an entirely unbiblical position? I submit it would be the height of lunacy! Remember, when the religious leaders told the apostles to shut up, they replied, "We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29). So which will it be Mr. Ouellette? Will you renounce your former position and be in agreement with Pius X, or will you refuse to recant and be at odds with Vatican II?
5) THE WOMAN OF REV. 12
A) Beginning in R1-P15 , my opponent submits the thought that the entity of Rev. 12 is actually symbolic of at least three different objects or ideas: Israel, the Church and Mary. In response to my concern that the woman of Rev. 12 was experiencing labor pains and suffering the consequences of sin (thus indicating she was a sinner), we are told in P18 that because there are three different symbolic referents in play here, he has concluded that while Mary may be seen as the woman of Rev. 12 in general, the labor pain passage should not be attributed to her in particular......but rather, to Israel because of the "fusion principle" found in Micah 4:6-10. Let's face it, rampant Roman Catholic piety has put HEAVY emphasis on this woman being Mary, to the exclusion of every other idea, and then when they are faced with the fact that a contradiction exists in labor pains = being a sinner, they allow the alternative view to have a voice and conveniently transfer any discrepancies TO that view, so cartoon characters of Mary standing over a globe with 12 stars around her head in halo fashion can continually feed the emotional craving for a mother figure who channels grace to the world. I invite readers to go and investigate, as I did, what Christian scholars say about Rev 12, and let me assure you that the majority DO NOT see Mary in play here at all......a loud shout of confirmation to the thesis of this debate, that indeed, the Mary of Roman Catholicism is not the Mary of the Bible. Happily, RC commentators are beginning to wake up and I am glad to report that the Catholic NAB footnote reads simply, "The woman adorned with the sun, the moon and the stars symbolizes God's people in the Old and New Testament. The Israel of old gave birth to the Messiah and then became the new Israel, the church, which suffers persecution by the dragon."
B) Unfortunately, Mr. Ouellette accuses me of leaving the mis-impression that Mary suffered no pain whatsoever in delivery (R1-P19). Excuse me, but it certainly was not I who left that imprint on the world's forehead. It was/is the Roman Catholic Church that has bidden us to believe that if Mary and Joseph were playing poker at the time of Jesus' birth, she wouldn't have stopped the game with so much as even a grunt when the babe was set to enter the scene. Witness the following: "To Eve it was said, 'In sorrow shalt thou bring forth children'. Mary was exempt from this law." (F5). "Mary conceived without detriment to her virginity, gave birth to her Son without pain, and departed hence without being subject to corruption." (F6). "Mary gave birth in miraculous fashion...consequently also without pains." (F7). And of course, Pius XII quoting J. Damascene (opening essay, P6) making a distinction between the "sword of sorrow she received into her heart" per Luke 2:34, and that childbirth sorrow which "she had ESCAPED in the ACT of giving birth to Him."
6) POPES SAY THE LADY SINNED!
A) Pope Leo 1 (440)..."The Lord Jesus Christ ALONE among the sons of men was born immaculate." (Sermon 24 in "Nativ.Dom)
B) Pope Gelasius (492)...."It belongs ALONE to the Immaculate Lamb to have no sin at all." ("Gelassii Papae Dicta, vol. 4, col. 1241).
C) Pope Innocent III (1216)...."She (Eve) was produced without sin, but she brought forth in sin; she (Mary) was produced in sin, but she brought forth without sin." (De Festo Assump., sermon 2).
D) Now that you know that there were popes who couldn't have possibly believed in any immaculate conception, do you think the Lord could actually be behind the inspiration of "Ineffabilis Deus" which defined this doctrine and reinvented history by bogusly claiming
E) "This doctrine ALWAYS existed in the church as a doctrine that has been received from our ancestors" (under, "Testimonies of Tradition").
F) "(The Roman Pontiffs) have in NO WAY EVER allowed this doctrine to be censured or changed..." (under, "The Roman Doctrine").
G) "The Catholic Church...has EVER held as divinely revealed...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." (under, "Liturgical Argument")
H) "This has been the CONSTANT care of the popes." (footnote 6, from the para., "The Roman Doctrine")
I) "...the Roman Pontiffs, our predecessors gloried (in her) exception from the hereditary taint (and) distinctly affirmed it." (under, "Ordinary Teaching of the Roman Church").
J) Worse still is the claim that the Dogma was, "the UNANIMOUS opinion of the Fathers." ... (under, "Mary compared with Eve"). A reality check is in order here. Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origin, Hilary of Poitiers, Marius Victorinus, Ambrosiaster, Basil the Great, Bernard of Clairvaux, Augustine, Anselm, Chrysostom and Cyril of Alexandria ALL stated that the mother of Jesus was NOT sinless. And should you doubt it, please pick up a copy of RC author Juniper Carol's, "Mariology", where we read, "From the extant philological data, it does not seem that the personal sinlessness of Mary or her Immaculate Conception were explicitly taught as catholic doctrine in the patristic west." (Volume 1, p. 147). And Ludwig Ott confirms, "Neither the Greek nor the Latin fathers explicitly teach the Immaculate Conception of Mary". ("Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma", p. 201).
A) In my opening essay (P8), I reminded our readers that if there is exclusively one God, then there is exclusively one mediator between God and man, per 1 Tim 2:5. Evidently, this left a bad taste in my opponent's mouth because he laments that it appears I am denying that a man can mediate between God and a fellow man through an act of prayer (R1-P27). I am glad I was denounced at this point because it shows a complete misunderstanding on his part as to why Evangelicals dismiss the mediorship of Mary. Mr. Ouellette, there is not an Evangelical Protestant on the face of the earth who would say that it is not appropriate to pray for one another. More to the point, it needs to be mentioned that in 1 Tim 2:5, Paul uses the Greek word "HEIS" meaning "ONE". He says that there is ONE (heis) God, AND ONE (heis) mediator. Thayer's Greek Lexicon and Friberg's Greek Lexicon agree that one of the major uses of "HEIS" is emphatic, carrying the idea, "so that others are excluded...emphatically, in contrast to more than one." Now if the apostle is using the emphatic sense of "heis" to convey that there is only one God (which you must agree with), ON WHAT BASIS, sir, do you insist that in the very next phrase, the word SWITCHES its meaning to a non-exclusive mediorship? If you tell me you simply have to make room for all those hundreds of mediators in the RC hall of fame and must throw the Greek lexicons out the window to vindicate catholic theology, then I would tell you that you have been grossly deceived "from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers" (1 Peter 1:18).
B) As a matter of fact, I do not present any contradiction in believing in one mediator and also believing it is a good thing to pray for one another. The problem is that the RCC is not saying that Mary is an intercessor AS WE ARE when we pray for each other. We are talking about someone who, "ABOVE all creatures did God so love her" (F8) ... who is far ABOVE all the angels and saints" (F9) ... and who "FAR surpasses all creatures in heaven and earth" (F10)... "hiding and covering our poverty with YOUR merits and those of your divine Son" (F11)... so that, "all who are saved are saved ONLY by the means of this divine Mother." (F12)
C) THIS is the type of wholly unwarranted mediation we are talking about, and not the mediatorial aspect of praying for one another. The previous quotes are so far removed from anything the Bible itself declares, that it is well within reason to conclude that the Lord has allowed the Catholic populace to be overcome by delusion.......for they, refusing to accept the biblical parameters placed upon Mary, have become a victim of God's own curse....who shall "send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie." (2 Thess 2;11). James White says, "The reason that Christ is the only mediator is that He is the only one with a ground of mediation. His perfect and complete work of atonement upon the cross...is the REASON the Father can and will be merciful. Hence, He is the only mediator and none can join in his work." (F13).
1) "Against Heresies" 3:3:2, in Anti-Nicene Fathers, 1:1415-416.
2) See his, Against Marcion 4.19; De Monog. 8.
3) "Evangelical Protestants Analyze What Divides and Unites Us", p. 137.
4) Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, #25
5) "The Roman Catechism" (Tan Books) p. 46.
6) cited in, "Virgin Wholly Marvelous" Praises of Our Lady from the Popes, Councils, Saints and Doctors of the Church, by Peter Brookby, 1981.
7) Ott, "Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma", p. 205
8) "Ineffabilis Deus"....first paragraph
10) Lumen Gentium, paragraph 53
11) John Paul II, "Insegnamenti" 5/12/82
12) Ligouri, "The Glories of Mary", p.32
13) cited in, "Mary, Another Redeemer?" p. 140
Timothy Ouellette's Second Rebuttal
1] In Mr. Vanezia's first rebuttal, he unfortunately spends an inordinate amount of time attempting to deflect the arguments I presented regarding the use of the term 'kecharitomene' in Luke 1:28 and the comparative verb 'echaritosen' in Eph 1:6. (I say 'inordinate' simply because the majority of his rebuttal is spent in repeating the basic arguments I'd already presented in my opening remarks).
In the first three paragraphs of his first rebuttal, the closest he comes to actually attempting to engage in active refutation of the arguments presented is in paragraph #3, entitled 'Kecharitomene'. He states the following regarding Ephesians 1:6 -
"To begin with, Mr. Ouellette admits in P2 that the Greek word above is ALSO used in Ephesians 1:6...'to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has GIVEN us in the One He Loves' - referring to the elect of God. Need it be said that if the Greek term is used in similar fashion and somewhere else other than in Luke, will my opponent try to convince us that the elect of God have ALREADY been fully graced throughout THEIR lives also and were born without original sin? Of course he won't. Consequently, his argument tumbles to the ground for lack of support." (JV, First Rebuttal, P#3).
2] It's unfortunate that Mr. Vanezia's above statement hinges on the assumption that kecharitomene appears elsewhere in Scripture; for kecharitomene in Luke 1:28 and echaritosen in Eph 1:6 are the only two instances of a form of the verb charitoo - it appears nowhere else in the New Testament!
My reason for including echaritosen, from Eph 1:6, in the argument regarding kecharitomene was to show by implication that the grace received by 'the elect,' as it's presented in the context of Eph 1:1-7, is a grace given by the Lord Jesus Christ after His Passion; whereas the grace given to Mary is a grace given to her before the Lord Jesus is even conceived within her womb!
3] And what is it that this grace performs in the soul?
"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace which he lavished upon us" (Eph. 1:7,8).
The grace given to the Christians spoken of in Eph 1:7,8 is a grace which, when lavished upon them, brought about redemption through Christ's blood, the forgiveness of sins. Now, if this is the effect of grace echaritosen, given as a gift and bestowed by Christ after His Passion, I ask Mr. Vanezia: Q-What is the effect of grace kecharitomene, given to Mary before the Lord Jesus is even conceived? Remember, "All Scripture is inspired by God" (2 Tim 3:16), and therefore God inspired the use of this particular verb in Luke 1:28 to describe a present condition (redemption and forgiveness of sins) caused by a past action.
4] Therefore Mr. Vanezia's statement in paragraph #2, that "Roman Catholicism has the nerve to convince the world of her tyrannical dogma based primarily on the PAST PERFECT PASSIVE PARTICIPLE FORM OF A VERB!", should be viewed as an affront to the inspiration of Sacred Scripture. Rather than dodge the issue of Luke 1:28 and it's clear import, Mr. Vanezia would do well to address it head on by answering the above challenge/question regarding the nature and effect of grace in the soul on Mary.
5] My opponent ended his thoughts in paragraph #3 regarding the term 'kecharitomene' by stating the following:
"...the plain simple crux of the matter is that God favored Mary by choosing her to bear His Son...period. She was blessed AMONG women, says Luke...not ABOVE women. As a matter of fact, the term 'blessed ABOVE women' goes one step further in noteriety, and could have been used by Elizabeth if what all Catholicism would have us believe is true. But the Holy Spirit did not lead her to say it. This is important to realize because we read Jael's being 'blessed ABOVE women' in Judges 2:4. And since Jael is not considered sinless resulting from this loftier 'ABOVE' women expression, then neither should Mary be considered as having the 'splendor of an entirely unique holiness' (CCC #492) when the lower 'AMONG' women term is used." (P#3, JV, First Rebuttal).
6] The argument above is nothing more than a 'grasping at straws' - for Mary is not considered sinless because of Elizabeth's statement 'Blessed are you among women', any more than Jael should be considered sinless because of the statement in Judges 5:24. Mary is sinless due to the grace already given to her before the conception of Jesus in her womb! Certainly, a case could be made regarding Jael as a 'type' of Mary, in that Scripture records her as having killed Sisera, who was King Jabin's army commander, and who had 'oppressed the people of Israel cruelly for twenty years' (Judges 4:3).
Deborah the prophetess tells Barak that God will deliver Sisera and his army 'into your hand'; but also that Sisera will be sold 'into the hand of a woman'. Judges 4:17-22 describes this event, whereby Jael drives a tent peg through Sisera's temple, killing him. The passage quoted by Mr. Vanezia in Judges 5:24 is simply a part of the song, sung by Deborah and Barak, blessing the Lord for saving them from Sisera at the hand of Jael, who 'struck Sisera a blow, she crushed his head' (Judges 5:26).
7] Yet 'types' in the Old Testament are always fulfilled in a far greater way in their 'anti-types' in the New Testament - therefore, my opponents argument that 'because Jael is a sinner and given the lofty title of 'Blessed ABOVE women', then Mary, who is given a lower title of 'Blessed AMONG women' must also be a sinner', is an illogical argument, and one based on a subjective, private interpretation, as opposed to the clear, objective teaching of Scripture.
8] Mr. Vanezia, in paragraph #4 titled 'Full of Grace', falls once again into the same error previously discussed - his 'word study' regarding the terms 'full of grace' and 'full of the Holy Spirit' is very limited in its scope, due to the fact that he's only comparing the words as they've been translated into English. The example he gave in Acts 6:8 is very telling; as he's quoted it, it reads:
"Now Stephen, full of grace and power, was working great wonders..." (Acts 6:8).
It's interesting to note that not all translations use the term 'grace' here in Acts 6:8; in fact, Strongs Exhaustive Concordance, a decidedly protestant work, uses the Greek term 'pistos',or faith, in place of charitos, or grace; and the Greek term for 'full' in Acts 6:8 is 'pleres'. Yet even in those translations which do use the phrase 'full of grace' in Acts 6:8, it's evident from the Greek language that it is not the same word used in Luke 1:28, 'kecharitomene', or 'you who have already been fully graced'.
9] Mr. Vanezia has attempted to use this 'word study' comparing 'full of grace' and 'full of the Holy Spirit' in an effort to prove, as he says, that
"Rome has treacherously inflated the Greek word, 'kecharitomene' far beyond its semantic range",
and he cites several passages (Psalm 51:11, Luke 1:42, Luke 1:67, Acts 13:8, Acts 11:24, and Acts 6:3-5) which he says 'prove' that Mary could not have been sinless. I would, in answer to this argument, again challenge Mr. Vanezia to show me in Scripture where any one of the people referenced in the passages quoted above are said to be 'kecharitomene' - already fully graced - just as Mary was; that is, before the conception of Jesus Christ.
10] Mr. Vanezia dismisses Ignace de la Potterie's statements regarding the term 'kecharitomene', in paragraph #5 of his first rebuttal, as nothing more than "the height of speculative nonsense", basing this dismissal on a supposed lack of references on the part of Fr. de la Potterie. However, Fr. de la Potterie's study is based, not on any given translation, but on the original languages themselves - throughout the book mentioned (Mary in the Mystery of the Covenant), Fr. de la Potterie does cite numerous articles, early writings of the Church Fathers, etc - but the source of his statements regarding the Greek language come from his own knowledge of the language itself.
In other words, he's explaining and defining the term 'kecharitomene' as the Greek language demands that it be defined. The definition given is simply based on it's root 'charitoo', which has already been seen to be a word which denotes change or transformation.
Mr. Vanezia states that "I have never heard of this gentleman before, nor have I heard of any reputable Greek scholar who attaches the meaning of 'kecharitomene' as does Mr. D.L.P."; yet Mr. Vanezia himself has failed to produce any of these reputable Greek scholars he speaks of; until he does so, he really has not begun to refute the arguments presented regarding the term 'kecharitomene'.
11] In paragraph #6 of his first rebuttal, Mr. Vanezia dismisses the Eve/Mary typology as a "figment of my imagination", and one which I had "taken the liberty of pulling right out of a hat". This is, of course, not the case, as I've already cited St. Irenaeus' Against Heresies, Vol. 1, pg. 93, in paragraph #9 of my first rebuttal - the quote deals with just this typological relationship, and should stand as ample historical proof of this belief already present in the Church.
Mr. Vanezia continues regarding his typological conclusion:
"Building on this figment of his imagination, he concludes that because Mary was the 'fulfillment of the type', she could not have been affected by original sin. However, this most assuredly cannot be true because he is overlooking the fact that if one is not affected by original sin, one does not die. And guess what? Mary Died! The truth that Mary died is proof enough that she was subject to the full penalty of sin and was NOT immaculately conceived. As 1 Cor 15:22 confirms, the sentence of physical death has, 'passed upon ALL men, for that ALL sinned.' But once again, Roman Catholics have been taught that 'ALL' simply cannot mean just that...'ALL'. (P#6&7, JV, First Rebuttal).
12] In Mr. Vanezia's above statement "...he is overlooking the fact that if one is not affected by original sin, one does not die.", he undermines his very position regarding his understanding of both 1 Cor 15:22 and Romans 3:10, as well as Romans 3:23 and Romans 6:23, for the simple reason that Scripture in fact records at least two instances of human beings being 'drawn' into heaven without experiencing physical death!! Elijah, in 2 Kings 2:11, is brought up by a whirlwind into heaven; and Enoch, in Gen. 5:24, is said to have "walked with God; and he was not, for God took him."
Hebrews 11:5 confirms Enoch's passage:
"By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death; and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was attested as having pleased God."
13] These biblical citations should put an end to Mr. Vanezia's views regarding the universal application of physical death and the stain of original sin to all, absolutely; Enoch and Elijah were, by the grace of God, exempt from physical death - Scripture is clear on this. Yet Mr. Vanezia would have no compunction in stating that both men were 'sons of Adam', human beings - and thus should have experienced the just punishment for sin: death.
Yet God did, in fact, allow these men passage into heaven - and not passage only, but a special grace by which they were taken up 'without seeing death'.
Therefore it is biblically sound to state that God can, by a singular act of grace, exempt a human being from a punishment due to them by virtue of being 'sons of Adam', human beings.
14] Mr. Vanezia concludes his first rebuttal in paragraph #8, entitled 'Mother of God', with a historical 'flight of fancy', in which he states:
"While it is true that M.O.G. was a functioning term for various church fathers during the controversies, it is extremely significant that both councils chose not to use it. Instead they used, 'Theotokos'('God-bearer') in their attempt to uphold the diety of Christ."
Mr. Vanezia seems determined to prove to the reader that, while some church fathers may have applied the title 'Mother of God' to Mary, the official church, through the councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon, decided against the use of this title, using only the term 'theotokos', God-bearer, for they were, as my opponent writes,
"sensitive not to grant Mary credit for having given birth to Christ's diety." (P8, JV, First Rebuttal)
The above 'explanation' of the Councils 'supposed' decision not to use the title 'Mother of God' follows on the heels of the following quote from my opponent:
"They qualified the use of this term (theotokos) stating '...as regards (Jesus') MANHOOD, begotten...of Mary the virgin, the Theotokos.' "
15] We have again passages culled from documents and taken out of context - Mr. Vanezia does not supply any references to this statement, nor does he supply the surrounding text from which this sentence has been removed. He's obviously attempting to prove that the Councils mentioned are in agreement with his own position.
This is, of course, not the case.
Included in its Acts of The Council of Ephesus were the second and third letters of St. Cyril of Alexandria to Nestorius, who's heretical theology led to the convocation of the Council of Ephesus, 431 A.D. And included with the third letter to Nestorius was St. Cyril's The Twelve Anathemas, which anathematized any who did not confess that Mary is the Mother of God:
"If anyone does not confess that the Emmanuel is in truth God, and that the Holy Virgin is Mother of God, because she bore according to the flesh the Word of God when he became flesh: let him be anathema." (Faith of the Early Fathers, Vol. 3; para.#2132a, The Twelve Anathema's, St. Cyril of Alexandria; emphasis mine).
16] While St. Cyril's letters did not receive a formal note of ratification, it seems odd that the Council should have included these letters and The Twelve Anathema's of St. Cyril of Alexandria, which use the title 'Mother of God' for Mary, in it's official Acts of the Council if as a council they were as set against the use of this title as my opponent claims that they were!
17] The simple fact of the matter is that theotokos means 'Mother of God': Mary 'bore' Christ who is God in her womb; she did not 'produce' His deity, as though His Divinity did not exist until His physical body had been created - rather, Jesus, who is eternally the Word of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, assumed a human nature within the womb of Mary and became Man.
18] Mr. Vanezia recognizes this truth, as is evidenced in the second part of paragraph#8:
"While it is true that Mary did indeed give birth to a person who was both God AND MAN, I object to the title M.O.G. because the minute one alleges that she was the mother of...GOD! there is an immediate, unbalanced influence which tips the scales in favor of His diety, without any reference to His humanity." (emphasis mine)
Yet, he then denies an essential aspect of the Incarnation in the very next sentence:
"After all, 'God' is merely descriptive of ONE part of Jesus' nature." (P8, JV, first rebuttal)
19] The above statement implies that Jesus had only one nature, and that His Divinity and Humanity were simply 'parts' of the one nature - this is, in part, an extension of an early heresy knows as Monophysitism, which sought to establish in the Person of Christ one nature.
20] It might surprise my opponent to hear that, in reality, Jesus is not a human person - He is a Divine Person (the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity), who assumed a human nature in the womb of Mary, and thus became the God-Man...yet He did so without losing His Divine Nature...thus Jesus is a Divine Person with both a Human Nature and a Divine Nature.
21] Mr. Vanezia then states that Mary "did NOT give birth to His divinity, per se"...he then quotes passages such as Gen 1:24 and Romans 4:1, which speak of God creating animals and plants after their kind, and of Abraham as 'forefather according to the flesh', respectively; evidently these passages are meant to 'prove' that Mary gave birth to Jesus' physical body only - in fact, Mr. Vanezia states this in the very next sentence:
"In other words, since Mary was not diety and Christ was, it would not be accurate to say that He was born 'after His kind'...because Mary did not contribute anything to His diety. She gave birth to the physical body of Jesus which had never existed before ('But a body hast thou prepared me'...Heb 10:15) but did not give birth to His divinity, which always existed ('Before Abraham was, I AM'...John 8:58)." (Emphasis mine).
22] Mr. Vanezia has failed to grasp the connection between person and nature, which I've outlined briefly in the past few paragraphs. Essentially, what Mr. Vanezia is saying is that Christ's physical, human body was born of Mary, but that His Divine Nature was not.
The problem is that the Word of God Himself became man in the womb of Mary; at the moment of Jesus' conception God existed as Man in the womb of Mary...and He did so without laying aside His Divine Nature. God did not choose Mary to simply 'provide' Him with a physical body and a human nature, which he would take to Himself at some later point in time, after the birth of Jesus - no, God became man, became flesh, without lessening or laying aside His Divine Nature.
Scripture says it best:
"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father" (John 1:14).
Jesus, who is God and Man, existed as such from the moment of His conception - both His Human and Divine Natures existed, in the Person of Jesus Christ at the moment of His conception. Again, this does not mean that Mary 'created' His Divine Nature; that's a red herring, it's false; rather, she conceived, in her womb, the One Person of Jesus Christ, who is at the same time both God and Man.
23] In order for Mr. Vanezia's assertions to be valid, he would have to at this time concede two points:
1. While in Mary's womb, Jesus was not God, was not Divine, and did not have a Divine Nature;
2. Mary is not Jesus' Mother.
It is unfortunate, but it is the logical conclusion to my opponents assertions; for if Mary is not the Mother of God, then she is not the Mother of Jesus; for Jesus, from the moment of His conception, was, and always will be, God. This is the reason that it is not a 'better choice', as my opponent writes, to refer to Mary simply as 'Mother of Christ'. Certainly she is the 'Mother of Christ'; however, it is a fact that there are people who affirm Jesus as the christos, the Christ, and Mary as His Mother, yet still deny His Deity (Jehovah's Witnesses, for one).
24] To affirm Mary as the 'Mother of God' is to affirm all that Jesus, the God-Man, came to do: to be born, to live, to teach, to heal, to suffer and to die, and to rise again. It is to proclaim boldly the biblical truth that God became Man in the Person of Jesus Christ: God was 'born'; God walked the earth; God 'died' on the Cross for the salvation of mankind. To deny this truth is to deny that Jesus is God.
Or, as St. John writes:
"For many deceivers have gone out into the world, men who will not acknowledge the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh; such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist" (2 John 7; emphasis mine).
25] Let us rather acknowledge Jesus as fully God and fully Man, conceived in the womb of Mary, the Mother of God; that we might joyfully proclaim with St. John:
"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life - the life was made manifest, and we saw it, and testify to it, and proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and was made manifest to us - that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us; and our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing this that our joy may be complete" (1 John 1:1-4; emphasis mine).
Jason Vanezia's Closing Statements
1) Mr. Ouellette's herculeon effort to debunk my first rebuttal began with the lamentation that I had spent an inordinate amount of time responding to the "kecharitomene" issue and that I was guilty of repeating the basic arguments he'd already presented in his opening essay. Well first of all, that's what debates are all about -- interacting with the data presented and dissecting it from every angle. Second, what my opponent seems to be saying is that what he exhibited in his opening essay should have been more than enough to convince us all to leave the issue at rest. On the contrary, I still insist that Roman Catholicism has deviously inflated kecharitomene into such a big hot air balloon, that I am compelled to take my theological pin and pop this doctrinal windbag so it may never fly again. Anyway, I certainly can't be accused of beating a dead horse because right after he bemoans my spending too much time in this area, I am told in P-4 that I would do well to (say what?) answer his challenge question regarding kecharitomene!
2) Because I had stated that the RCC gives much credit to the past participle form of a verb to build its case, my opponent thinks this is an affront to Scripture, as if I was denigrating the power of the Holy Spirit to be able to make His intentions known by the use of one word. No, I merely submit that the formation of Christian doctrines are not based primarily on the use of one word alone. They are CONFIRMED with other surrounding data, which is decidedly NOT the case with the monolithic Marian doctrines we are now discussing. Be that as it may, Mr. O is determined to believe that the meaning of kecharitomene is "CLEARLY imported" into the text (R2-P4) and I say he is deluding himself.
3) IGNACE de la Potterie
A) After quoting Mr. D.L.P. in support of his view, I asked Mr. Oullette to reveal to this audience WHAT RELIABLE REFERENCE guide D.L.P. used to come to his conclusions. And just as I suspected, we were furnished with NO references! Thus we may triumphantly establish that the Roman Catholic proposed meaning of the word has NOT come from the text, but from Rome's preconceived theology! In the service of her own aggrandizement, the RCC deceitfully and eisegetically, places a meaning onto this word that cannot be vindicated from any resource guide, either grammatically, lexically, syntactically, contextually or in any other way! I could not care less that D.L.P. "cites numerous articles and early writings of the church" (R2-P10). The fact remains that all......(let me say that again) ALL, Greek scholarship will attest to the surety that there is no way to catapult from the perfect tense of a participle, to the idea that the Greek would indicate a cradle to the grave vestibule of grace that has transformed the subject. Consequently, what I submitted in R1-P3 still stands: "The perfect tense speaks only of the CURRENT STATE of the subject without any reference to how long Mary has been in that state."
B) Desperately trying to twist himself out of the web of deceit he is entangled in, my Roman Controversialist staunchly maintains in R2-P10 that "the Greek language DEMANDS that it be defined (as D.L.P. stated). NONSENCE! I am sorry to say that this is willful ignorance at its worst. As James White correctly observes, "Greek participles derive their time element from the main verb of the sentence, and in this case, there IS NO MAIN VERB in what is in actuality, simply a greeting." (F1). Going back then to Mr. O's belief that God can easily build an entire doctrine around the use of one word: Yes, He could. But we know that He didn't based on the fait accompli that it is only the current state of Mary than can be observed from the text and there is no main verb to specify this unknown time element of bestowing grace, which the RCC merely ASSUMES happened at conception. Add to this the stark reality that no known Greek scholar on planet Earth will vouch for the Catholic interpretation, then the case is closed.
4) SHOW ME THE MONEY!
A) Realizing the linguistic circumstantial evidence is bankrupt to vindicate his position, my opponent then turns the tables and demands I myself produce a reputable Greek scholar to support my view, for until I do, "I have not even begun to refute his arguments regarding kecharitomene." (R2-P10). Gladly. But by the way, I am once again being asked to answer a question about kecharitomene after being repremanded for languishing on it too long. Remember HE asked for it.
B) When we look in Bauer's "A Greek-English Lexicon of the N.T. and Other Early Christian Literature", the usage in Luke 1:28 is simply "favored one" (in God's sight) with no RC alternative meaning anywhere in sight. Also, Dana and Mantey's, "A Manual Grammar of the Greek N.T." (p. 202) says the participle can be defined as one that emphatically states that something IS..... (and of course Mary WAS indeed favored). What we basically need to remember is that it simply does not follow that just because Mary has been transformed by the grace of God at some unknown point prior to the announciation, that this, ipso facto, means she was sinless, let alone immaculately conceieved. Not even the standard Greek lexicon used by scholars everywhere (BAGD, A Greek-English Lexicon of the N.T.) will allow any sort of intrinsic, transforming, "you-who-have-already-been-graced concept, rear its ugly head in their definitions. Mr. Ouellette piously proclaims in his opening remarks P-3, that just because we do not know HOW this could be done, is hardly a reason that it COULD NOT be done (R2-P13). But such slippery argumentation would have to allow for the possible legitimacy of any and EVERY heretical belief imaginable, and we should all utterly despair of such unruly debate tactics.
5) THE EFFECT OF GRACE
Mr. Ouellette asks me in R2-P3 that if the grace given to the Christian shown in Eph 1:7 is a grace which brings about redemption and forgiveness of sins AFTER Christ's passion, what is the effect of this "you-who-have-already-been" grace given to Mary BEFORE Jesus is even conceived? Answer: The kecharitomene usage was nothing more than a simple greeting, easily understood in its context, that refers to the virgin maiden of Nazareth having found favor in God's eyes to bear the Christ child. Not content with the simplicity of that answer, Roman Catholicism pushes the bounds of scriptural integretity to the breaking point by wringing like a dishrag, from this word, the resultant effect that Mary would become "Protectress, Reparatrix, Auxiliatrix, Adjutrix, Co-Redemptrix, Benefactress, Conciliatrix, and Dispensatrix of all graces!!! Spare us these leap-frog conclusions! Nevertheless, to respond to Mr. O's queston more directly, the effect of grace given to Mary before Jesus was born, amounts to this: She was not, as the RCC teaches, chosen because she was CONSIDERED highly favored -- rather, she BECAME highly favored ("all generations shall call me blessed") BECAUSE she had been chosen for such a task ("for He who is mighty has done great things for me"). Ergo, the true Mary of the Bible must rightly be compared with John the Baptist, who, after he accomplished his prepatory purposes, said, "He must increase, while I must decrease". This is EXACTLY the picture we get concerning our subject: After her maternal responsibilities were accomplished, she recedes into the background and we read little of her.
6) MADRID and OTT
A) In my last rebuttal, I elaborated on the point that because Mary was called "blessed among women" by Elizabeth, that this was no reason to believe that she possesses the "splendor of an entirely unique holiness" per the CCC # 492. Mr. Ouellette was infuriated that my "argument was nothing more than a grasping of straws - for Mary is NOT considered sinless because of the Elizabethan statement" (R2-P6).
B) Most readers of this debate are likely aware that "Catholic Answers" (and the magazine they produce, "This Rock") is the top-gun apologetics organization for the RCC, and Patrick Madrid has since began publishing his own artillery in defence of RCism, "Envoy" magazine. However, when Mr. Madrid wrote the cover story for "This Rock" in December 1991, we read this: "ELIZABETH'S WORDS MEAN MARY WAS THE HOLIEST OF ALL WOMEN." Likewise, Ludwig Ott reports that when Elizabeth said, "blessed are you among women, this means that the blessing of God which rests upon Mary is made parallel to the blessing of God which rests upon Christ in His humanity. This parallelism suggests that Mary, just like Christ, was from the beginning of her existence, free from all sin." ("Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma", p. 201.)
Let it then be resolved that I did in no way misrepresent RC theology, but was relying on the respected word of two of its most prominent spokesmen to help define my thesis.
7) ENOCH and ELIJAH
A) My Roman Rival brings up the case that since E and E were both sinners (and the Bible says all sinners die), the word "all" cannot mean "absolutely all" because E and E were taken to heaven before the normal course of their life was through. This means, we are told, that they were an exception, and that means we may believe Mary was air-lifted to heaven as well. However, one should notice at once the difficulties this analogy has going for it. E and E were taken BEFORE the course of their life was through, without seeing death.......and Mary is allegedly taken "AFTER completing her course of life on earth." ("Munificentissimus Deus", the document which defined "The Assumption"). As previously cited (R1-P7) Roman Catholic tradition is replete with allusions to Mary having died and THEN assumed, so the two situations are not identical. Furthermore, the analogies are also incompatible because we are informed of E and E's assumption into heaven WITHIN the bounds of Holy Writ, just where we would expect God to tell us...... but not even a hint within those bounds pertaining to Mary's "divine dispatch". In addition, modern Roman Catholic dogmatism comes crashing down on the rocks of reality when we recall that the author of the gospel of John was the same apostle who took Mary in to live with him after Jesus died. What an opportunity for the Hoy Spirit to utilize the inspired pen of John to dictate Mary's exclusion from sin or any of the other peculiar attributes the RCC says she has. But the silence is deafening!!!
B) If all this were not enough, a gent by the name of Epiphanius, writing in the 4th century, resided in the same geographical area in which Mary lived, yet he had written, "For her end, no one knows." (F2). Surely if there was a popular tradition associated with her death and consequent assumption, aside from John, this man would be the ideal second candidate to record such a happening But we do not find even a RUMOR. And I will push my point to the limits by mentioning that the case for all these bizarre Marian doctrines wilts like an aged dandellion when we consider the mindset of Catholic tradition right up to the 19th century! We read from Catholic bishop Milner, who admits, "the church does not decide the controversy concerning the conception of the Blessed Virgin and several other disputed points, because she sees nothing clear and certain concerning them, either in the written or unwritten word, and therefore, leaves her children to form their own opinion concerning them." (F3).
C) Hence, the incongruous analogy between Mary and the two O.T. saints must be abandoned. Never forget that the N.T. letters were written specifically for the spiritual guidance of the church and had a great deal to say about doctrine and worship. If the handmaiden of the Lord really does perform these lofty and VITAL spiritual functions as the RCC claims, how is it possible that her name be entirely and conspicuously absent from the very heart of the N.T. teaching, exactly where one would expect her to be most celebrated? I will tell you why. Because the Mary of Roman Catholicism is a complete fabrication and has nothing whatsoever to do with the real Mary of the Bible.
A) In previous discussions with Catholics, after I would quote a particular council, I would occasionally be admonished that such and such was "not ratified", so therefore it was not official church teaching. So after going through this a few times, I would try to see if certain statements were ratified or not (although it ain't easy!). Nevertheless, when I mentioned that the Council of Ephesus did not use the term "Mother of God", I made it in light of the view that, as Mr. Ouellette points out, its usage "did not receive a formal note of ratification" (R2,P-6). Thus, since it was not "set in stone", I assumed it would be proper to indicate that they chose not to use it at all, lest I be accused of submitting non-ratified statements, even though this would be in my opponent's favor. As it turns out, Mr. O deemed my statement inaccurate because Ephesus DID use the term, even though it wasn't finally ratified! So my life experience now consists of being condemned by Catholics for advancing as evidence non-ratified clauses, and then when I try to be sensitive to my opponent's view and eliminate it altogether because it was not ratified, I am told that I should have used it afterall even though it wasn't ratiied!!! All I can say to this, is God save us from all this ratifying hocus-pocus dominocus! Are we really to believe that God Almighty has ordained that the average Catholic can only discern if He has spoken through a Council unless the paperwork is ratified later on? If that's the case, let Mr. Ouellette lead me to the book of officially ratified statements. I know full well that it would be a very long journey into oblivion because as he well knows, NO SUCH BOOK EXISTS.
A) It appears to me that Mr O spent an....."inordinate"... amount of time leading to his essay's finish that I must either affirm Mary is the Mother of God in just the way he has defined it, or deny Jesus is God (R2-P24). In my opinion, to spend time here analyzing the deeper aspects of Christ's nature, would be steering into a topic that would be going off course to our thesis. Suffice it to say that we both agree Jesus was God AND Man, and if anyone sincerely wishes to use the title M.O.G., so be it. It's a pity Mr. O cannot give me the same liberty to embrace the logo "Mother of Christ". To suggest my refusal of his term is the same as denying that Jesus is God, is unnecessarily harsh and downright ludicrous since I AM THE ONE USING THE BIBLICAL TERM AND HE IS NOT!!!
B) While no one is going to hell as a result of using the title M.O.G., we can just about sense the despair Jesus must feel in its usage. His words in Matt 12:46 are an eloquent, yet stinging rebuke to all M.O.G. advocates. "WHO IS MY MOTHER, and who are my brothers? Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother." Additonally, the Bible never calls Mary M.O.G. and for good reason. God has no mother or father. As someone has perceptively observed, just as Christ's human nature had no father, so his divine nature had no mother. Doesn't it make sense to stay on safer ground and resort to the biblical usage? She is called the "Mother of Jesus" (John 2:1, Acts 1:14).......end of story!
C) It also needs to be pointed out what Professor of Theology at Notre Dame, Richard McBrien, says: He notes that the M.O.G. definition was "NOT a Marian definition, but a Christological one. It was intended to safeguard, not the motherhood of Mary, but the true unity of Christ in one divine person" (F4). That being said, we have only to notice the historically improper and theologically flawed way the term M.O.G. has been predominantly utilized. We note that the, "MOTHERHOOD of Mary continues unceasingly in the church as the mediation which intercedes..." (F5) and, "Oh MOTHER of men and people...take the entire human family under your maternal protection" (F6). Frustratingly, this "maternal, motherhood, mama-mia" impression, circumvents the truth of the gospel, and worse still, IT IS USED IN A COMPLETELY FOREIGN SENSE TO THE BIBLICAL TRUTHS THAT GAVE RISE TO ITS USE IN THE FIRST PLACE. We must then soberly conclude that since the original intent and purpose of the term has become obsolete, it only makes sense for the Catholic to abandon it forever and without regret!
10) SUMMARY STATEMENT
A) Should anyone have any doubt that the document which defined the "Immaculate Conception" ("Ineffabilis Deus") was an ignominious fraud, one need only read under the section, "The Council of Trent". We are shocked to read there that, "The Council of Trent very CLEARLY signified that NOTHING could be reasonably cited from the sacred scriptures, or from tradition, or from the authority of the Fathers, which would in ANY WAY be opposed to so great a prerogative of the Blessed Virgin." First of all, let the uninformed reader of the above document be told that when it is said the Council very CLEARLY signified the virtues of Mary, they did not expound on their thoughts in the least, but in ONE sentence tells us "that it is not (our) intention to include in this decree...the blessed and immaclate Virgin Mary".....and then refers us to the thoughts of Sixtus IV which they agree with. Second, it is quite simply laughable, after all I have said throughout this debate, that the Council would find, "NOTHING...IN ANY WAY opposed to the RC viewpoint. Excuse me, but I have labored to present reasonable proofs that EASILY militates against the Marian doctrines, and that it did not have early apostolic witness in tradition, the early church fathers OR papal approval. "Ineffabilis Deus", as written by Pius IX, is filled with specious arguments, gratuitous assumptions, guesses, surmises, conjectures and downright falsehoods. It almost takes one's breath away that anyone could really believe it, but believe it came from God they do! And how does modern America thank Pius IX for this conundrum of confusion? On September 3, 2000, the Catholic Church chose to beatify Pius IX....saint of saints, model of holines, and now someone we can turn to in our prayers!
B) In this dispute, I sincerely do not want to leave the impression that I might wish to in some way take way from the dignity of the Mother of Christ, whom all generations would call blessed, as she herself affirmed. The Greek word for "blessed" is "makarizo", which literally means to "pronounce happy". And indeed she was! Unfortunately, the RCC has FAR exceeded the limits in Scripture concerning this woman and blatantly violates our instruction to, "NOT TO THINK OF MEN ABOVE THAT WHICH IS WRITTEN" (1 Cor 4:6). Every which way we turn in Catholic theology, we are bombarded with pious platitudes which extol this child of God far above that which is written (my R2-P7B) and it is inexcuseable. Mary does NOT possess the "splendor of an entirely unique holiness" as previously cited because Revelation 15:4 unambiguously proclaims that....(watch it!)...."THOU (GOD) ALONE ART HOLY". This future unfolding scene in heaven would definitely include Mary as being present as every Catholic will admit. Yet the implication is crystal clear: Only God is recognized as holy by nature, and only HE "knowest the hearts of men" (2 Chron 6:30). But Pope John Paul II has the audacity to pray and petition her to, "LOOK INTO OUR HEARTS!" ("Insegnamenti", 12/8/79).
C) Dear reader, Scripture defines three leading characteristics of latter day delusion: 1) Great Power (2 Tim 3;8, Matt 7;22, 23:2, 24:24, 2 thess 2:9..... 2) Great Deception (Rev 3:14, 2 Thess 2;10) and 3) Great Success (Matt 24:11, 2 thess 2:3, 1 Tim 5:1, 2 Tim 3:3, 2 Pet 2:1). People have the erroneous idea that the success of a teaching is evidence of God's approval and they resent one's making any attacks upon it. Do not forget, however, that the success of false teaching is distinctly prophesied and the great strides of these religious movements have parted company with the fundamentals of Scripture, and are therefore only an indication of their infernal origin. The devil oils the tongues of his servants, charges them with Satanic magnatism and gives them power over the minds of whole bodies of men. Thus we must deduce from the preponderance of evidence heretofore presented, that the blunderous Marian doctrines foisted upon the world cumulate in..."ANOTHER MARY". And if this be true, then it does indeed follow that the misguided allegiance of the RCC is to "ANOTHER JESUS" and "ANOTHER GOSPEL" per 2 Cor 11:4. The devastating and chilling outcome is that all devotees of this "Dispensatrix of All Graces" have been deceived and are eternally lost!
"Beware, lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ". (Col 2:8).
1) "The Roman Catholic Controversy" p. 202
2) Panarion, Haer. 78.23
3) cited in George Salmon's, "The Infallibility of the Church", p. 182
4) "Catholicism", p. 1084. Amusingly, on p. 1086, McBrien despairs of the Mariology of the West, citing such concepts as Mary appeasing the wrath of God; theology which he says was increasingly divorced from the Bible....such as "arguments of convenience" which would play, he reports, a large role in the develop-ment of Mariology. Beautifully and honestly said. This was EXACTLY my point in P-4B above, where Mr. Ouellette asserts that if God CAN do something, then He did!
5) "Redemptoris Mater", section 40.
6) "Insegnamenti" 5/9/82
Timothy Ouellette's Closing Remarks
1] Ecclesiastes 1:9 tells us "What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; and there is nothing new under the sun."
The same could rightly be said about my opponents arguments against the Catholic teachings regarding Mary - there simply is nothing new under the sun, where anti-Catholic arguments are concerned.
The resolution of this debate, The Mary of Roman Catholicism is not the Mary of the Bible, essentially set the tone and the 'burden on proof' at the outset; however, my opponent, who has been affirming the above statement, failed to recognize an important debating principle: the burden of proof rests on the affirmative.
Throughout my opponents many and varied arguments, he has failed to establish any sort of a basis for his affirmation; from biblical meanderings through the Old Testament, to misunderstandings and misapplications of New Testament texts, to outright historical inaccuracies, Mr. Vanezia has utterly failed to prove that The Mary of Roman Catholicism is not the Mary of the Bible.
2] Mr. Vanezia, in his second rebuttal, paragraph #2, draws the reader once again through his faulty interpretation of Romans 3:10. He tells us:
"It is both fitting and proper to believe that if there are any exceptions to the exclusivistic term 'ALL,' that God will be most gracious to tell us about it AT THE TIME of its use. Witness that, 'They were ALL scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, EXCEPT the apostles' (Acts 8:1). Or, we are told that EVERYONE who gets a divorce and marries another, is guilty of adultery...EXCEPT if the spouse has been unfaithful (Matt 5:32/Mk 10:11). Therefore, when we read in the Catholic New American Bible that there is, 'BUT ONE who has been similarly tested in every way, yet without sin' (Heb 4:15), it is clear as the noon day sun...Since He has not cautioned us with any parenthetical red lights within the territorial bounds of His exclusivistic statement, then there are simply no further exceptions whatsoever." (JV, 2nd Rebuttal, P#2B).
This particular understanding of God's Word would, unfortunately, effectively render null and void the biblical principle of the development of dogma, enunciated in part in the following passage:
"In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world" (Heb 1:1,2).
3] In the paragraph quoted, Mr. Vanezia rests his view of Romans 3:10 on the following argument: 'If God intended there to be an exception other than Jesus, He would have told us so in Scripture.' Yet I've already addressed this very argument in y Opening Remarks (P#2-6), my First Rebuttal (P#2-5), and finally in my Second Rebuttal (P#1-10).
In these paragraphs regarding the term 'kecharitomene' and Romans 3:10, I brought forth solid proof pertaining to the exclusive use of this term in the New Testament, as well as the application of this term as a 'causitive' term, i.e., one which causes a change in the recipient. Yet in response, Mr. Vanezia's only rebuttal has been an illogical argument from the Book of Judges in the OT and subjective statements such as:
"To the contrary, the plain simple crux of the matter is that God favored Mary by choosing her to bear His Son...period. She was blessed AMONG women, says Luke...not ABOVE women"(JV, First Rebuttal, P#3).
4] Readers' of this debate should keep this fact in mind: Mr. Vanezia has failed to refute the biblical proof regarding the first point of this debate - The Immaculate Conception. Thus, on this first point, The Mary of Roman Catholicism is, in fact, the Mary of the Bible.
5] In paragraph #3 of his Second Rebuttal, Mr. Vanezia writes the following regarding St. Jerome, the Douay-Rheims, and Pope Pius IX:
"Since my opponent agrees that it was a faulty translation, he should also bow his
knee to the fact that the God of TRUTH, would never have motivated Pius IX to utilize this abysmal and defective Christology in the allegedly infallible, "Ineffabilis Deus". Apparently realizing this situation brings into disrepute the very infallibility of Pius IX himself, Mr. Ouellette attempts to salvage the Pope's reputation by asserting that the concept of Mary crushing the serpent's head and being considered the "New Eve" are found in documents such as "Against Heresies" by Irenaeus. So it appears he is suggesting that the Pope was influenced by the writings of Irenaeus instead of the Vulgate. But was my noble opponent aware that in this very same document (F1) Irenaeus argued, "appealing to the tradition derived from the apostles", that Christ must have been 50 years old when He died? We may well assume the RCC does not wish to have anything to do with THAT "apostolic tradition". (JV, Second Rebuttal, P#3, italics mine).
6] In the above quote, Mr. Vanezia seems to have lost his historical bearings, for in the whole of St. Irenaeus' Against Heresies, not a single word is mentioned regarding this supposed belief that Jesus "must have been 50 years old when he died." My opponent references Against Heresies, 3:3:2, in support of this claim, attempting to drag St. Irenaeus' name through the mud, and, by extension, Pope Pius IX.
For the sake of clarity, here is what Against Heresies, 3:3:2, actually says:
"But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the successions of all the Churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient Church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul, that Church which has the tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the Apostles. For with this Church, because of its superior origin, all Churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world; and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the Apostolic tradition."
There's absolutely nothing in this paragraph about Jesus dying at the age of fifty; yet perhaps Mr. Vanezia intended to quote the following:
"He came to save all through Himself, - all, I say, who through Him are reborn in God, - infants, and children, and youths and old men. Therefore He passed through every age, becoming an infant for infants, sanctifying infants; a child for children, sanctifying those who are of that age, and at the same time becoming for them an example of piety, of righteousness, and of submission; a young man for youths, becoming an example for youths, and sanctifying them for the Lord. So also He became an old man for old men so that He might be the perfect teacher in all things, - perfect not only in respect to the setting forth of truth, but perfect also in respect to relative age, - sanctifying the elderly and at the same time becoming an example to them. Then He even experienced death itself, so that He might be the firstborn from the dead, having the first place in all things, the originator of life, before all and preceding all" (Against Heresies, St. Irenaeus, 2,22,4; Faith of the Early Fathers, P#201, Vol I).
This paragraph comes the closest to Mr. Vanezia's statement, that "Irenaeus argued 'appealing to the tradition derived from the apostles', that Christ must have been 50 years old when He died." Given the fact that the paragraph my opponent actually referenced makes absolutely no mention of the above statement, I must assume he meant to reference this paragraph - yet even a cursory reading of the above quote from St. Irenaeus shows that the Saint merely wished to demonstrate that the saving action of Jesus is extended to all men, women, and children of any age.
8] If, however, I have inadvertently missed this quote in my reading, I will gladly publish a post-debate addendum on this site, with references, once my opponent shows me where this quote is located.
9] Mr. Vanezia concludes paragraph #3 with reference to Tertullian and his views regarding Mary's virginity:
"Additionally, Mr. O informs us that Tertullian had similar thoughts to Irenaeus. But Tertullian believed that Mary had a normal married life and children! Thus, every Catholic has no choice but to view the opinions of these gents with extreme discretion. The should also be alerted to the fact of how haphazardly their church officials pick and choose which traditions suit them best, and discard the leftovers like chicken bones."
Mary's Perpetual Virginity is not the issue of this debate, so I will respond as briefly as possible.
10] To begin, Mr. Vanezia's footnote regarding Tertullian's views references his Against Marcion, 4:19; however, Against Marcion makes no mention whatsoever of Mary's Perpetual Virginity. Most likely, Mr. Vanezia meant to reference Tertullian's treatise entitled The Flesh of Christ, in which Tertullian does, in fact, deny Mary's virginity in partu, believing that the birth of Christ occurred in the natural way, and that her womb was thus opened. Tertullian seems also to have denied her virginity post partum, believing that Mary and Joseph had later children. Here is his statement from the treatise in question, The Flesh of Christ:
"[Mary] was a virgin, in so far as a husband is concerned; and not a virgin, in so far as child-bearing is concerned...Although she was a virgin when she conceived, she became a wife by bearing her child...Indeed, she ought to be said to be not a virgin rather than a virgin, because she became a mother at a leap, as it were, before she became a wife." (The Flesh of Christ, A.D. 208/212; Faith of the Early Fathers, Vol I, P#359).
11] Mr. Vanezia refers to this statement in an obvious attempt to offset the Church's historical and theological claims; suffice it to say, not all of Tertullians's writings bear the stamp of orthodoxy. The introduction to Tertullian in The Faith of the Early Fathers might help to clarify this:
"Tertullian's literary activities embrace the years 197 to 220 A.D. Within this span of nearly twenty-five years, his numerous writings are marked by orthodoxy of opinion. The semi-Montanist period, from 206 A.D. to 212 A.D., it must be understood, represents a period of transition. There is no heresy or schism called Semi-Montanism. The term simply indicates that in this period he is wavering. He is virtually a Montanist, without yet having mad a definitive break with the Catholic Church. The period is marked by rigorist tendencies and a developing attitude of anticlericalism."
"From 213 to 220 A.D. (some extend the period of his writings as far as 223 A.D.) his literary remains indicate that he has passed outright into the camp of the Montanists. His rigorism has become extreme, his anti-clericalism has reached the point of invective, while he takes an exaggerated view of the priestly role of the layman; and he clearly admits the new charismatic prophets and prophetesses of the Montanists." (Faith of the Early Fathers, Vol I, pg. 111; intr. to Tertullian).
12] The treatise in question, The Flesh of Christ, was composed during Tertullian's 'semi-Montanist' phase; he was wavering in his Catholic Faith, but not to the point of formal departure. My reference to Tertullian regarding Mary as the 'New Eve' was not meant to endorse the absolute orthodoxy of all Tertullian's writings, but simply to add yet another historical log to the fire.
13] In paragraph #4 of my opponents Second Rebuttal, under the heading 'new Eve Head Crusher', Mr. Vanezia provides the following quote from a S.Lewis Johnson; written in refutation of Irenaeus' position regarding Mary as the 'New Eve':
"Irenaeus overlooked the sense of Genesis 3:6-7. A careful examination of the text indicates that when Eve at of the fruit, NOTHING HAPPENED. When she gave to Adam and HE at, we read in verse 7, 'THEN the eyes of BOTH of them were opened.' The Holy Spirit regards Adam as the covenantal head of the race and it is HIS action that is determinative. THAT is why the N.T. accurately picks up on this and speaks, not of a balancing of Eve and Mary as the cause of death and salvation, but of Adam and Christ! (Evangelical Protestants Analyze What Divides and Unites Us, pg. 137)."
Here is the text in question, Genesis 3:6-7:
"So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons."
And here are the punishments meted out to Adam and Eve:
"To the woman he said,
'I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.' "
"And to Adam he said,
'Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, 'You shall not eat of it,' cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth to you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.' " (Genesis 3:16-19).
14] Adam and Eve both sinned, and were both punished; the fact that Adam was the 'covenantal head of the race' does not remove Eve's culpability in original sin. The very next verse in Genesis Chapter 3 is very telling:
"The man called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living" (Gen 3:20).
Now here's the breakdown:
1. Adam and Eve are mankinds first parents.
2. Romans 5:18 tells us that one mans trespass (Adam) led to condemnation for all men.
3. Genesis 3:6 tells us that the woman (Eve) sinned first, and then her husband (Adam).
4. Genesis 3:17 tells us that Adam sinned when he listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree
5. Genesis 3:16 indicates Eve was also culpable in this sin, for God has punished her with pain in childbearing.
6. Genesis 3:20 indicates that Eve was the mother of all living.
7. Romans 5:14 indicates that Adam was a type, or foreshadowed, one who was to come namely, Jesus Christ.
From the above breakdown we have the following comparisons:
Eve Mother of all living
Adam type of Christ
Mary Mother of Christ, who is God and the source of all supernatural grace
15] From Eves decision not to serve God, there comes Adams sinful decision not to serve as well and Adams sin came after Eve presented him with the fruit.
From Marys decision to serve God there came Jesus Christ, the God-Man.
Scripture explicitly teaches that a typological relationship exists between Adam and Christ, and that Adams sinful actions are countered by Jesus (Romans 5:18,19):
Type Anti-type (fulfillment)
Yet Scripture also teaches, perhaps more implicitly than explicitly, that the same relationship exists between Eve and Mary that is, just as Eve was the mother of all living by being our first mother in the natural order, Mary, by virtue of being fully graced and bearing Jesus, the source of grace for all the living, is the mother of all the living in the supernatural order:
Type Anti-type (fulfillment)
Thus it is biblically sound to state that the effect of Adam and Eves sin is countered by the grace bestowed on us by Jesus, through Mary.
17] Mr. Vanezia stumbles badly through paragraph #4, sub-section B of his Second Rebuttal; having already regaled us with a number of erroneous historical musings, he now seeks to pit Pope Saint Pius X against Vatican II.
You will recall in my opening remarks (P4) that Scripture unequivocally and categorically demands that Jesus ALONE be given the title of "Crusher of Satan's Head" as per 1 John 3:8 and Heb 2:14. Mr. Ouellette winds up in an exercise in futility by postulating that BOTH Jesus and Mary crushed the head of the serpent (R1-P9). Sadly for him, this is not what Pius X believed! In his encyclical, "AS DIEM ILLUM", dated 2/7/04, he wrote, "Adam saw NONE OTHER than Mary crushing the serpent's head." The problem my opponent now faces is who does he pledge his allegiance to? Pius X or the "infallible" Vatican II? (JV, Second Rebuttal, P#4, section B).
18] Its unfortunate that my opponent continues to cite church documents out of context; had he actually read the document in its entirety, he would have seen that Pope Pius X in no way denies that Jesus is the principle serpent head crusher. Here is the quote cited above, taken from the document in question, which is actually titled Ad Diem Illum Laetissimum, and dated February 2, 1904:
6. How think otherwise? Could not God have given us, in another way than through the Virgin the Redeemer of the human race and the Founder of the Faith? But, since Divine Providence has been pleased that we should have the Man-God through Mary, who conceived Him by the Holy Ghost and bore Him in her breast, it only remains for us to receive Christ from the hands of Mary. Hence whenever the Scriptures speak prophetically of the grace which was to appear among us, the Redeemer of mankind is almost invariably presented to us as united with His mother. The Lamb that is to rule the world will be sent-but He will be sent from the rock of the desert; the flower will blossom, but it will blossom from the root of Jesse. Adam, the father of mankind, looked to Mary crushing the serpent's head, and he dried the tears that the malediction had brought into his eyes. Noe thought of her when shut up in the ark of safety, and Abraham when prevented from the slaying of his son; Jacob at the sight of the ladder on which angels ascended and descended; Moses amazed at the sight of the bush which burned but was not consumed; David escorting the arc of God with dancing and psalmody; Elias as he looked at the little cloud that rose out of the sea. In fine, after Christ, we find in Mary the end of the law and the fulfillment of the figures and oracles. (Ad Diem Ilum Laetissimum, Pope Pius X, 1904; italics mine).
Notice the above underlined quote:
Adam, the father of mankind, looked to Mary crushing the serpents head, and he dried the tears that the malediction had brought into his eyes.
Now compare this quote with what my opponent wrote regarding this same sentence:
In his encyclical, As Diem Illum, dated 2/7/04, he wrote, Adam saw NONE OTHER than Mary crushing the serpents head.
19] Early on in this debate, I had encouraged my opponent to quote liberally from church documents; however, I meant it in the sense of including the entire quote, from start to finish, as well as related surrounding text. I did not mean for him to quote liberally in the sense that he has done with this and other quotes; that is, to take quotes out of context; to misapply authorship; and even to go so far as inserting words into a quote which are not in the original document.
20] In his next paragraph, entitled The Woman of Rev. 12, from his Second Affirmation, my opponent utterly failed to interact with any of the biblical citations I provided to back up the idea that there are three different symbolic referents in Revelation Chapter 12.
In my first rebuttal, paragraph #16, I quoted passages such as Micah 4:6-10, Isaiah 66:6-10, and Revelation 12:17, each of which refer to the woman of Rev. 12 as symbolizing Israel, the Church, and Mary; Mr. Vanezias failure to interact with these passages, as well as his reliance on his rampant Roman Catholic piety argument, indicates to me that he has backed himself into a theological corner.
All I have to say regarding section B of paragraph 5 is that I would by shocked to read this crudity written about anyones mother, much less about the Mother of God.
21] I would like at this time to point out to the reader of this debate an unfortunate pattern. The thesis of this debate is The Mary of Roman Catholicism is not the Mary of the Bible; and, as general debates go, the burden of proof rests with the affirmative, who happens to be my opponent. Yet in each rebuttal, a pattern has emerged: rather than presenting solid, positive biblical proof of the thesis, my opponent has resorted to a cut and past application of Scripture and early Church documents he has not presented incontrovertible proof as to the historical or theological validity of the thesis, and continues in his attempts to pit the Church of the 1st to the 19th Centuries against the Church of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Such is the case regarding paragraph #6 of his Second Rebuttal, entitled Popes Say the Lady Sinned!. We are treated to quotes from several Popes, and are supposed to come to the conclusion that these Popes did not believe in the Immaculate Conception. The fact of the matter is that these quotes simply affirmed a specific quality of Jesus Christ, and made no mention of the Blessed Virgin Mary, much less denying her Immaculate Conception; in fact, the quote from Pope Innocent III, from section C in P#6:
She (Eve) was produced without sin, but she brought forth in sin; she (Mary) was produced in sin, but she brought forth without sin.(De Festo Assump., sermon 2)
speaks more about the state of Marys mother than it does Mary
its not saying that Mary was conceived with sin; rather, its making the statement that Eve was created in original justice, before the Fall, while Mary was born of a woman with original sin, after the Fall, though the sinful state of Marys mother in no way affected Mary herself, as weve already seen in this debate.
My opponent then references a number of Church fathers, writing that ALL stated that the mother of Jesus was NOT sinless. Yet the absence of said quotes should put to rest any question of the orthodoxy of such learned men as Irenaeus, Augustine, or Chrysostom.
22] He then closes this paragraph with the following statement:
And Ludwig Ott confirms, Neither the Greek nor the Latin fathers explicitly teach the Immaculate Conception of Mary. (Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, p.201).
Had my opponent read Otts statement in its entirety, he would have seen that Mr. Ott did not stop there. Here is what Ludwig Ott actually wrote regarding the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception:
Neither the Greek nor the Latin Fathers explicitly (explicite) teach the Immaculate Conception of Mary. Still, they teach it implicitly (implicite), in two fundamental notions:
a) Marys most perfect purity and holiness.
St. Ephrem says: Thou and thy mother are the only ones who are totally beautiful in every respect; for in thee, O Lord, there is no spot, and in thy Mother no stain. (Carm.Nisib.27). St. Augustine says that all men must confess themselves sinners, except the Holy Virgin Mary, whom I desire, for the sake of the honour of the Lord, to leave entirely out of the question, when the talk is of sin (excepta sancta virgine Maria, de qua propter honorem Domini nullam prorsus, cum de peccatis agitur, haber; volo quaestionem: De nature et gratia 36,42). According to the context however, this must be taken as referring to freedom from personal sins.
b) The similarity and contrast between Mary and Eve.
Mary, is on the one hand, a replica of Eve in her purity and integrity before the Fall, on the other hand, the antitype of Eve, in so far as Eve is the cause of corruption, and Mary the cause of salvation. St. Ephrem teaches: Mary and Eve, two people without guilt, two simple people, were identical. Later, however, one became the cause of our death, the other the cause of our life. (Op.Syr.II 327). Cf. St. Justin, Dial.100, St. Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. III 22,4; Tertullian, de carne Christi, 17).
(Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, Ludwig Ott, Chapter 2, Section 3; Marys Immaculate Conception; pg. 201).
The above is an example of a full and complete quote, and one which disproves my opponents erroneous historical claims.
23] My opponent rounds off his Second Rebuttal with a very weak rejoinder to my arguments regarding Mary as Mediatrix of course Jesus is the one Mediator between God and man, the only one who died for our sins this is the Catholic teaching. Yet my opponent still seems confused about this issue Mary does not take the place of Christ, none of the saints in Heaven take the place of Christ their mediatorship is secondary to Christ, and is only possible because of Christ, and their relationship to us through His Mystical Body, the Church.
24] I would like to extend a word of thanks to Mr. Vanezia for accepting this debate challenge, as well as a word of encouragement: further your study by incorporating into your relationship with Jesus His Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary.
I would also ask that Mr. Vanezia read and ponder the following quote from the Second Vatican Counsels Lumen Gentuim (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church):
We have but one Mediator, as we know from the words of the Apostle: For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, himself man, Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all (1 Tim 2:5-6). The maternal duty of Mary toward men in no way obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows its power. For all the saving influences of the Blessed Virgin on men originate, not from some inner necessity, but from the divine pleasure. They flow forth from the superabundance of the merits of Christ, rest on His mediation, depend entirely on it, and draw all their power from it. In no way do they impede the immediate union of the faithful with Christ. Rather, they foster this union.(Lumen Gentium, #60; from The Documents of Vatican II, c 1966 by The America Press; Walter M. Abbott, S.J., General Editor).
25] The humility and holiness of Mary should direct the reader to Christ, who shines forth in His Immaculate Mother:
And Mary said,
My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has regarded the low estate
of his handmaiden.
For behold, henceforth all generations
Will call me blessed;
For he who is mighty has done great
Things for me,
And holy is his name.
We are of the generations to call Mary blessed
let us do so with certainty of faith.
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