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Alex Roman and the Immaculate Conception #418669 12/06/18 12:25 PM
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Fr_Kimel Offline OP
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I'd like to bring to everybody's attention that I have republished on my blog a piece on the Immaculate Conception of the Theotokos written by Dr Roman back in 2004. Read and be edified.

The Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God in Both East and West

Re: Alex Roman and the Immaculate Conception [Re: Fr_Kimel] #418672 12/06/18 05:57 PM
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There is a great deal more to this idea of Original Sin than the author mentioned in this otherwise excellent article. It is not a far step at all from all human beings are guilty of the sin of Adam to all human beings are totally depraved, worthless, piles of dung (Luther's admonition) and thus of no value to God unless they submit to Christ. Original Sin as proposed by the West makes us enemies of God instead of His children who are sick and need to be healed.

From that point (being enemies of God) then the idea of the rightness of a fiery, eternal hell of torment is the next step, both logical and just. Who does not deal in the most severe manner possible with his enemies, and God is no exception. Perhaps the epistemological end of this thinking is Dante's ridiculous pictures of hell. There is no doubt that if we are "totally depraved" and therefore nothing more than God's enemies and rebels in our unredeemed ontology, then the picture Dante provided is utterly righteous of God to bring down upon His enemies.

From there, the next logical impasse is getting the unborn dead (as in aborted babies) or unbaptized into heaven. Thus the fatuous doctrine of Limbo becomes a necessity.

And it gets worse and worse. If Augustine's musings on the soul and the effect of Original Sin are correct, then inasmuch as all the unredeemed are the "enemies of God," then they should be treated as enemies. Thus you have the Puritans rejoiced over the murder of 600 Native American women and children because they are wretched sinners who richly deserve hell. What a fine Christian way to treat other human beings!! In like manner, when the Dutch Calvinists landed in South Africa, they found a nation filled with pagan idol worshipers, and within the context of their Augustinian-based anthropology, these too were enemies of God (instead of children of God) and were to be treated as such (i.e. enslaved and made second-class citizens) rather than to be treated with the dignity they deserved as children of God, evangelized and taken out of their errors.

Bad doctrine leads to bad religion.

One other thing that the author did not mention. If the Theotokos was conceived immaculately, then Her flesh, from which Christ receives His salvific and sacrificial Flesh, is not the same as ours. In other words, She is not of the same type as we are, and thus Christ, who receives His Flesh from Her, is not in toto one of us, thus creating havoc with the doctrine of salvation by the adoption of our similar nature and the healing of it by His complete obedience.

Bad doctrine leads to bad theology.

Re: Alex Roman and the Immaculate Conception [Re: Fr_Kimel] #418673 12/06/18 10:19 PM
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Irish Ruthenian:

Being "guilty of the sin of Adam" means that we inherit the effects of Adam's sin.

Keep in mind that the word "guilt" as used by the Latins carries with it a meaning that it does not carry in English.

Joe commits theft, is caught, tried, and sent to jail. Joe alone is guilty of his sin. But, because Joe is in prison and cannot work, his wife and children are destitute and also suffer from his crime. The term "guilt" is used to describe both Joe's "guilt" in having committed the crime" as well as the families "guilt" (suffering) that his family inherits from his crime. The "guilt of sin of Adam" that his wife and children inherit is suffering (his crime affects many).

The total depravity stuff is from John Calvin. You can find some in the Church who seem to be stepping that way, but that teaching is condemned by the Church.

--------

I remember this article from when Dr. Roman originally posted it. It's mostly an attempt to lay some ground for what the East and West hold in common regarding the conceptional status of Mary, the Mother of God. That alone is useful. Overall, it is very good. Dr. Roman does not really get into it in this article, but the major differences is the starting point - what is the inheritance from the sin of Adam and how is the Virgin Mary affected or preserved from this inheritance? The East and West both acknowledge that our inheritance from Adam and Eve is both death and the tendency towards sin. The East seems to place more emphasis on our inheritance of death, and how that affects man. The West seems to place more emphasis on the inherited tendency towards sin, and how that affects man.

What needs to happen, I think, is that someone in the East needs to do the theology to specifically address the West's definition of the Immaculate Conception in light of the West's understanding of the inheritance from Adam to see if the same journey can be taken from the East's understanding of that inheritance.

John

Re: Alex Roman and the Immaculate Conception [Re: Administrator] #418674 12/08/18 04:48 AM
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Dear Friends,

Glory be to Jesus Christ!

I too remember that article i wrote! smile I have grown in my theological understanding of the Christian East since and I would say a number of things differently today. It was an incomplete article to be sure. Perhaps one way to establish a bridge between East and West on this matter is for both sides to simply agree that the Mother of God was conceived in holiness. The issue revolves more around how East and West sees Original Sin, as the Administrator correctly (as always) affirms. I'm sure both sides could work out a mutually acceptable formula that would be mutually agreeable. smile . I wish you all every blessing from on High!

Your sinful servant,

Alex

Re: Alex Roman and the Immaculate Conception [Re: Irish_Ruthenian] #418680 12/10/18 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Irish_Ruthenian
It is not a far step at all from all human beings are guilty of the sin of Adam to all human beings are totally depraved, worthless, piles of dung (Luther's admonition) and thus of no value to God unless they submit to Christ.
That's a step not taken by orthodox -- Catholic and Orthodox -- doctrine.

Originally Posted by Irish_Ruthenian
Original Sin as proposed by the West makes us enemies of God instead of His children who are sick and need to be healed.
We incurred death (Gen 2:17; 3:19) and were banished from Eden (Gen 3:2) -- harsh treatment for "His children who are sick and need to be healed." As for being enemies, St. Paul is a reality check:

Romans 5:10 for if, being enemies (ἐχθροὶ), we have been reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved in His life.

Originally Posted by Irish_Ruthenian
From that point (being enemies of God) then the idea of the rightness of a fiery, eternal hell of torment is the next step, both logical and just. Who does not deal in the most severe manner possible with his enemies, and God is no exception. Perhaps the epistemological end of this thinking is Dante's ridiculous pictures of hell.
Apart from a poetic license, Dante's depth of hell is ice, not fire.

Originally Posted by Irish_Ruthenian
There is no doubt that if we are "totally depraved" and therefore nothing more than God's enemies and rebels in our unredeemed ontology ...
Not "totally depraved," and not "nothing more than" but yes, "God's enemies and rebels in our unredeemed ontology" until save by Christ as St. Paul says.

Originally Posted by Irish_Ruthenian
From there, the next logical impasse is getting the unborn dead (as in aborted babies) or unbaptized into heaven. Thus the fatuous doctrine of Limbo becomes a necessity.
Limbo is not "de fide" doctrine and much more nuanced; see, e.g. Limbo.

Originally Posted by Irish_Ruthenian
And it gets worse and worse. If Augustine's musings on the soul and the effect of Original Sin are correct, then inasmuch as all the unredeemed are the "enemies of God," then they should be treated as enemies. Thus you have the Puritans rejoiced over the murder of 600 Native American women and children because they are wretched sinners who richly deserve hell. What a fine Christian way to treat other human beings!! In like manner, when the Dutch Calvinists landed in South Africa, they found a nation filled with pagan idol worshipers, and within the context of their Augustinian-based anthropology, these too were enemies of God (instead of children of God) and were to be treated as such (i.e. enslaved and made second-class citizens) rather than to be treated with the dignity they deserved as children of God, evangelized and taken out of their errors.

Bad doctrine leads to bad religion.
Even if so, bad interpretation of doctrine does not infer bad doctrine.


Originally Posted by Irish_Ruthenian
One other thing that the author did not mention. If the Theotokos was conceived immaculately, then Her flesh, from which Christ receives His salvific and sacrificial Flesh, is not the same as ours. In other words, She is not of the same type as we are, and thus Christ, who receives His Flesh from Her, is not in toto one of us, thus creating havoc with the doctrine of salvation by the adoption of our similar nature and the healing of it by His complete obedience.
But Christ died in that flesh as did Mary. Using this kind of logic then, Mary's perpetual virginity means she's not "the same type as we are," not a real woman.

Originally Posted by Irish_Ruthenian
Bad doctrine leads to bad theology.
Also, poorly interpreted "doctrine leads to bad theology."

Re: Alex Roman and the Immaculate Conception [Re: ajk] #418748 01/04/19 07:38 PM
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Some cents of mine from another post (Immaculate Concepction):

Quote
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.

Re: Alex Roman and the Immaculate Conception [Re: Fr_Kimel] #418762 01/07/19 08:37 PM
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I think we should go back to what our Esteemed Administrator said earlier about how the Churches understand Original Sin and its impact on humanity. There can be no doubt that both East and West agree that the Most Holy Theotokos was conceived in holiness even though she grew in holiness throughout her life and indeed continues to do so dynamically in Heaven.

The Immaculate Conception COULD be defined by the West as something pertaining to the Western Latin Church only given its particular (even peculiar) understanding of Original Sin via St Augustine. It should never be something to be imposed on the East which follows the great Patristical tradition of the Cappadocian and Alexandrian Fathers etc. The same is true of the dogma of the Assumption. So with respect to both East and West on the Theotokos - they are and always were united as one in their understanding of her mysterious and grace-filled Person.

Alex


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