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Immaculate Conception #417896
01/09/18 08:06 AM
01/09/18 08:06 AM
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Osaka, Japan
Mamo Offline OP
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Hello. I would like understood why the immaculate conception dogma was formulate.

Actually in the sacred scriptures one can not to find something like that. And, even if there were popular beliefs in that sense, for many siecles Roma didn't approved it as dogma. Also very important saints and theologians as Saint Bernard, who is not suspected of heresy, refuted it.

But by XIX century something new happen: the girl Catherina Laboure had a Virgin Mary vision. In that vision the Virgin herself shows to the girl a patron for to make a medal which contained a pray confirming this dogma. Some years after that, as the medal was made and seem to be very miraculous, the dogma was approved.

Is an individual vision enought to establish a dogma? perhaps other considerations were involved .. which? Someone can teach me about it, or tell me where can I study the topic?

Thank you very much.
(Warning: I am not denying the dogma, just trying to understand how it was established)

Re: Immaculate Conception [Re: Mamo] #417909
01/11/18 03:23 AM
01/11/18 03:23 AM
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Mamo Offline OP
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Hi. I found an interesting article by Lev Gillet about the Immaculate Conception topic. I put here a link for whose are interested in it.

https://afkimel.wordpress.com/2015/09/01/the-immaculate-conception-and-the-orthodox-church/

Lev Gillet born in a Roman Catholic family but finally he embraced the Orthodox Church. As I can see he had a balanced point of view on this topic.

He doens't explain how the dogma was established (which was my original question) but I found something interesting: from Gillet understanding there isn't and insoluble contradiction between Romans and Orthodox if we are willing to find the common points about it along the both traditions.

Re: Immaculate Conception [Re: Mamo] #417993
02/13/18 11:36 PM
02/13/18 11:36 PM
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Dear Mamo,

Good afternoon in the other side of the globe!

It is a theological speculation elevated to dogma, a "theologumenon" (theological opinion), based on a reasoning that turns a hypothesis into truth: "If [God] could do it... he did it" The foundation of this argument would be the "exaggeration" of God's grace, which would always be super-abundant, and would always exhaust all possibilities. His author has been the "Doctor Subtilis", Duns Scotus, a medieval theologian from Scholasticism - a very peculiar philosophical-theological stream, as you may know.

The millennial tradition of the undivided Western-Eastern Church (from the first millennium - and even from a big part of the western second millenial tradition) recognizes this possibility as ... mere possibility, mere theological reflection or mere devotional-affective truth of free adherence. In fact, St. Gregory Palamas, the bastion of (Eastern) Orthodoxy, freely defended it, and in a very particular way.

But the assumptions of the idea of ​​the Immaculate Conception seem to carry complicated biases in relation to anthropology and sin (to the themes of freedom and humanity). And the fact that it has been "dogmatized" brings very serious consequences for ecumenical dialogue and any chance of re-union of the Churches.

You can read more about the origin of the dogma in Theology Manuals or Dictionaries, in a more western or more ecumenical view, depending on the book.

Last edited by Philippe Gebara; 02/13/18 11:42 PM.
Immaculate Conception #418071
03/25/18 12:51 AM
03/25/18 12:51 AM
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The Franciscans were strong supporters of the Dogma and it was said to have been part of the sensus fidei or deposit of the Faith. The biggest support for the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception actually is Biblical. At the Annunciation the Archangel Gabriel uses the angelic salutation "Ave, gratia plena". In Latin this is pretty strong. I can't speak of the Greek, but I'm sure it would be the same case. Hail, full of grace. Fullness of God's grace. The plenitude of grace. This could not exclude sanctifying grace. Neither do we read of the baptism of the Blessed Virgin in Sacred Scripture. She is understood to be the new Eve as Christ is the New Adam. It is fitting in her role of our redemption that the new Adam would come into the world through a most pure vessel conceived without the stain of Original Sin. If she was full of Grace, she was not conceived in Sin by a special miracle of God.

She was full of grace (sanctifying grace), therefore she needed no baptism; therefore she had no stain of Original Sin.

Re: Immaculate Conception [Re: Mamo] #418133
04/17/18 11:39 PM
04/17/18 11:39 PM
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The concept of the Immaculate Conception is born of a Augustinian view of original sin, a concept which is alien to Orthodox theology as well as many western Church Fathers.

May I respectfully point out that even so great a Church Father as St Benard of Clairvaux (referred to as "the last of the Church Fathers" by Pope Pius XII and "the last of the Church Fathers in the West" by Father Alexander Schmemann) had serious problems regarding the developing concept of the Immaculate Conception:

"Are we really more learned and more pious than our fathers? You will say, ‘One must glorify the Mother of God as much as Possible.’ This is true; but the glorification given to the Queen of Heaven demands discernment. This Royal Virgin does not have need of false glorifications, possessing as She does true crowns of glory and signs of dignity. Glorify the purity of Her flesh and the sanctity of Her life. Marvel at the abundance of the gifts of this Virgin; venerate Her Divine Son; exalt Her Who conceived without knowing concupiscence and gave birth without knowing pain. But what does one yet need to add to these dignities? People say that one must revere the conception which preceded the glorious birth-giving; for if the conception had not preceded, the birth-giving also would not have been glorious. But what would one say if anyone for the same reason should demand the same kind of veneration of the father and mother of Holy Mary? One might equally demand the same for Her grandparents and great-grandparents, to infinity. Moreover, how can there not be sin in the place where there was concupiscence? All the more, let one not say that the Holy Virgin was conceived of the Holy Spirit and not of man. I say decisively that the Holy Spirit descended upon Her, but not that He came with Her…I say that the Virgin Mary could not be sanctified before Her conception, inasmuch as She did not exist. if, all the more, She could not be sanctified in the moment of Her conception by reason of the sin which is inseparable from conception, then it remains to believe that She was sanctified after She was conceived in the womb of Her mother. This sanctification, if it annihilates sin, makes holy Her birth, but not Her conception. No one is given the right to be conceived in sanctity; only the Lord Christ was conceived of the Holy Spirit, and He alone is holy from His very conception. Excluding Him, it is to all the descendants of Adam that must be referred that which one of them says of himself, both out of a feeling of humility and in acknowledgement of the truth: Behold I was conceived in iniquities (Ps. 50:7). How can one demand that this conception be holy, when it was not the work of the Holy Spirit, not to mention that it came from concupiscence? The Holy Virgin, of course, rejects that glory which, evidently, glorifies sin. She cannot in any way justify a novelty invented in spite of the teaching of the Church, a novelty which is the mother of imprudence, the sister of unbelief, and the daughter of lightmindedness.”

Re: Immaculate Conception [Re: Protopappas76] #418135
04/18/18 01:01 AM
04/18/18 01:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Protopappas76
The concept of the Immaculate Conception is born of a Augustinian view of original sin, a concept which is alien to Orthodox theology as well as many western Church Fathers.
Who are the "many western Church Fathers" ?

Originally Posted by Protopappas76
May I respectfully point out that even so great a Church Father as St Benard of Clairvaux (referred to as "the last of the Church Fathers" by Pope Pius XII and "the last of the Church Fathers in the West" by Father Alexander Schmemann) had serious problems regarding the developing concept of the Immaculate Conception:
In the Catholic Church, though the thoughts of the "Fathers" are held in esteem, they do not thereby speak for the Church.

Originally Posted by Protopappas76
"... How can one demand that this conception be holy, when ... it came from concupiscence?
What is the view of "Orthodox theology" on this "concupiscence"? Does Bernard (reading the entire quote) not support the "Augustinian view of original sin"?

Re: Immaculate Conception [Re: ajk] #418138
04/18/18 02:57 AM
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1. Try St. Irenaeus of Lyons, or even St. Bonaventure or St. Thomas Aquinas.

2. The Church Fathers are a constituent element of Holy Tradition by which God reveals Himself to us. And it is consistency with the voice of the Fathers in that Holy Tradition that allows the Church to proclaim its Catholicity throughout the ages.

3. As I understand him, St. Bernard would not accept an understanding that would see man as the inheritors of original sin but would, like the Eastern Fathers, see man as an heir of the sin but of tne effects of that original sin. I would also point out that although he denied the concept of original sin as then being proposed, there was at the same time no Church Father who more eloquently praised the Theotokos in his works. "Respice ad Mariam" "Salve, Regina..." etc. etc.

While I do not disbelieve the Immaculate Conception of the Theotokos, I do so coming from an Orthodox understanding consistent also with what St. Bernard also preached, that the teaching of the immaculate conception is unecessary inasmuch as none of us are born with original sin but with the effects of original sin, and that te blessed Mother of God, like all of us, are the recipients of the salvific acts of her Son.

May I also humby point oit that confining even Western Catholic theology to only one school and strain of theology (Thomistic, neo-Thomistic, etc.) does a terrible disservice to the totality of Catholic teaching. The existence of other "schools" of legitimate Catholic theology may be the very bridges which heal the terrible rift that separates East and West.

Re: Immaculate Conception [Re: Protopappas76] #418140
04/18/18 09:00 AM
04/18/18 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Protopappas76
1. Try St. Irenaeus of Lyons, or even St. Bonaventure or St. Thomas Aquinas.
Depends. According to one view:
Quote
The concept of original sin was first alluded to in the 2nd century by Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyon in his controversy with certain dualist Gnostics.[4] Other church fathers such as Augustine also developed the doctrine,[2] seeing it as based on the New Testament teaching of Paul the Apostle (Romans 5:12–21 and 1 Corinthians 15:21-22) and the Old Testament verse of Psalms 51:5.[5][6][7][8][9] Tertullian, Cyprian, Ambrose and Ambrosiaster considered that humanity shares in Adam's sin, transmitted by human generation
Original sin

As to Aquinas, this is what he actually has written (showing that context is important):
Quote
Reply to Objection 3. Although the Church of Rome does not celebrate the Conception of the Blessed Virgin, yet it tolerates the custom of certain churches that do keep that feast, wherefore this is not to be entirely reprobated. Nevertheless the celebration of this feast does not give us to understand that she was holy in her conception. But since it is not known when she was sanctified, the feast of her Sanctification, rather than the feast of her Conception, is kept on the day of her conception.
Summa Theologiae Article 2. Whether the Blessed Virgin was sanctified before animation?

So in his day Aquinas here defers to the "Church of Rome" at a time when there was no clear pronouncement. Since 1854 there has been a clear pronouncement and, being consistent, he would again so defer in that now "the Church of Rome" does "celebrate the Conception of the Blessed Virgin ."

Regarding St. Bonaventure and others, here is a concise explanation: Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

Re: Immaculate Conception [Re: Protopappas76] #418141
04/18/18 10:01 AM
04/18/18 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Protopappas76
While I do not disbelieve the Immaculate Conception of the Theotokos, I do so coming from an Orthodox understanding ...
That is good.

Originally Posted by Protopappas76
...consistent also with what St. Bernard also preached, that the teaching of the immaculate conception is unecessary inasmuch as none of us are born with original sin but with the effects of original sin, and that te blessed Mother of God, like all of us, are the recipients of the salvific acts of her Son.
"St. Bernard also preached, ... none of us are born with original sin..."?


Originally Posted by Protopappas76
May I also humby point oit that confining even Western Catholic theology to only one school and strain of theology (Thomistic, neo-Thomistic, etc.) does a terrible disservice to the totality of Catholic teaching. The existence of other "schools" of legitimate Catholic theology may be the very bridges which heal the terrible rift that separates East and West.
Yes! The dogma of Immaculate Conception, against the opinion of St. Thomas, is in fact a perfect example of what you are advocating here: the "school" of Bl. John Duns Scotus prevailed over the "school" of St. Thomas Aquinas. So the often presumed caricature that Catholic Church theology is just Thomism is not the case.

Re: Immaculate Conception [Re: Protopappas76] #418144
04/18/18 04:20 PM
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Is an effect of original sin, in the Eastern POV, a loss of "sanctifying grace?"

I attempt to understand the Immaculate Conception as saying she was in communion with God from the first moment of her existence, that is, she had the grace of baptism from the first moment of her conception.

Is that "orthodox" from an Eastern perspective?

Re: Immaculate Conception [Re: Gueranger] #418147
04/19/18 07:12 AM
04/19/18 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Gueranger
Is an effect of original sin, in the Eastern POV, a loss of "sanctifying grace?"
I hesitate to give an unequivocal "yes" only because it is not the customary vocabulary of the east. The Byzantine funeral service, Parastas*, is a good example of the eastern perspective: man made in the image and likeness of God, after the fall, retained the image but lost the likeness. The likeness is given back to us in baptism, putting-on Christ [Χριστὸν ἐνεδύσασθε (Gal 3:27)] who saves us, so that it can ever grow to its perfection, the union with God, theosis, deification, becoming through grace what God is by nature. Thus the

CCC1999 "sanctifying or deifying grace received in Baptism..."

Originally Posted by Gueranger
I attempt to understand the Immaculate Conception as saying she was in communion with God from the first moment of her existence, that is, she had the grace of baptism from the first moment of her conception.
Yes, and in its fullness: κεχαριτωμένη (Luke 1:28), gratia plena.

Originally Posted by Gueranger
Is that "orthodox" from an Eastern perspective?
It is from mine.

A decree arising from the controversies concerning the very western issue of "justification" presents the issue in words that transcends east and west:

Chapter 4

In which words is given a brief description of the justification of the sinner, as
being a translation from that state in which man [homo] is born a son [filius] of
the first Adam, to the state of grace and of the adoption of the sons [filiorum] of
God through the second Adam, Jesus Christ, our Savior. This translation
however cannot, since the promulgation of the Gospel, be effected except
through the laver of regeneration or its desire, as it is written: Unless a man be
born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of
God.


Quibus verbis justificationis impii descriptio insinuatur, ut sit translatio ab
eo statu, in quo homo nascitur filius primi Adae, in statum gratiae et adoptionis
filiorum Dei [Rom. 8:23] per secundum Adam Jesum Christum salvatorem
nostrum; quae quidem translatio post evangelium promulgatum sine lavacro
regenerationis aut ejus voto fieri non potest, sicut scriptum est: Nisi quis renatus
fuerit ex aqua et Spiritu Sancto, non potest introire in regnum Dei.[John 3:5].

“Decree Concerning Justification” of the sixth session of Trent, “celebrated on the thirteenth day of January, 1547.” The decree is presented in 16 short Chapters and 33 Canons, of which Chapter 4 can be considered the essence. H. R. Schroeder, Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent (St. Louis: B. Herder Book Co., 1950), 31 (English with slight modifications by me); 310 (Latin).

------------------------------------------------------

For Mary that "translation" (see above Chapter 4 ) was "at the first instant of her Conception" ("in primo instanti suae Conceptionis"; from Ineffabilis Deus (Latin for "Ineffable God") ,Apostolic Constitution by Pope Pius IX, December 8, 1854).


==============================================================
*Parastas
Quote
Of old, You created me from nothing and honored me with Your divine image (εἰκόνι). But when I disobeyed Your commandment, You returned me to the earth from which I was taken. Lead me back again to Your likeness (ὁμοίωσιν), so that the ancient beauty may be refashioned.
The Eulogetos (Εὐλογητός) Service

Also: Parastas,The Evlogitaria of the Deceased, p 16.

Referring to LXX: κατ᾽ εἰκόνα ἡμετέραν καὶ καθ᾽ ὁμοίωσιν (Gen 1:26)

Last edited by ajk; 04/19/18 09:08 AM. Reason: Parastas text added
Re: Immaculate Conception [Re: ajk] #418152
04/19/18 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by ajk

The likeness is given back to us in baptism, putting-on Christ [Χριστὸν ἐνεδύσασθε (Gal 3:27)] who saves us, so that it can ever grow to its perfection, the union with God, theosis, deification, becoming through grace what God is by nature.


From an Eastern perspective, is recovery of that likeness or the beginning of deification possible for those who die without baptism? What is the state of a baby that dies unbaptized? Or is that simply a mystery, beyond our knowledge?

Re: Immaculate Conception [Re: Gueranger] #418153
04/19/18 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Gueranger
Originally Posted by ajk

The likeness is given back to us in baptism, putting-on Christ [Χριστὸν ἐνεδύσασθε (Gal 3:27)] who saves us, so that it can ever grow to its perfection, the union with God, theosis, deification, becoming through grace what God is by nature.


From an Eastern perspective, is recovery of that likeness or the beginning of deification possible for those who die without baptism? What is the state of a baby that dies unbaptized? Or is that simply a mystery, beyond our knowledge?


Quote
CCC 1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation.60 He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them.61 Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament.62 The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are "reborn of water and the Spirit." God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.
[emphasis added]

Re: Immaculate Conception [Re: Philippe Gebara] #418154
04/19/18 04:57 PM
04/19/18 04:57 PM
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First time poster here. But in response to your post I would like to simply ask, is it really so hard to believe that the Blessed Mother, the Holy Theotokos was born without sin? Certainly such was within God's power and as God had set aside Mary from the beginning for the purpose of salvation, and as she is the Ark of the New Covenant, does it not make sense that she must be pure? Jesus Christ's nature is fully human and fully divine. Were the Blessed Mother not set aside from the touch of original sin, Jesus' human nature would have acquired it and certainly none would believe Christ was sinful. That would be impossible. And if it's believable that Christ could set Himself aside without ever bearing the consequences of the fall of Adam and Eve, ie original sin as it's called in the west, then is it really so hard to believe that Christ wouldn't set His Mother aside? Perhaps I'm rambling at this point, but I never really understood why some Christians from Eastern traditions reject or struggle with this dogma. I understand that it was never part of Eastern tradition and so in that regard, is quite alien. And as others have posted, even the EO can find common ground with the dogma should they seek it. Where does the trouble come from, theologically speaking, from Eastern perspective. Thanks in advance for your consideration. God Bless.


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