May 23, 2005

Mary Musings

Peter Sean had a thread on his blog about Mary and the paper that was released recently in regards to Roman Catholics and Anglicans coming to some sort of arrangement on the matter. I'd pretty much said my piece at the time, but today, I was visiting Huw's always excellent blog, and came upon a link to the Orthodox viewpoint. I found it very illuminating.

Posted by Ithildin at May 23, 2005 3:55 PM | PROCURE FINE OLD WORLD ABSINTHE

I think that the Anglicans probably did "fudge" on the Marian issues. I think they basically said that RC Marian doctrines weren't inconsistent with Anglican doctrines, but the Anglicans didn't precisely endorse the validity of those doctrines.

On the other hand, I'm confused about the significance of the Orthodox perspective in your thinking. I am not sure whether you know that the Orthodox are firm adherents of the doctrine of the Assumption (Dormition) of Mary, which is, all things being equal, less biblical than the Immaculate Conception. For example, here's the site to the Greek Orthodox Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which also contains this statement:

In the Orthodox church, Mary, being the Mother of God, is very important. Mary was the first Christian, as she whole-heartedly accepted God's mission for her. The name of our church, the Assumption, or Dormition (falling asleep in the Lord), of Mary, is significant because the Assumption of Mary into Heaven shows us that she was sinless. While not free from immaculate conception as she was of the lineage of David, Mary had no sin her whole life. Really, how could God be born of a woman with sin? Mary's pure body was the vessel through which Christ our Lord entered the world through the power of the Holy Spirit

Which sounds awfully similar to the Immaculate Conception. This is Orthodox doctrine and can be found elsewhere. (Here is the Orthodox Church of America site that affirms what to a Protestant should be the bizarre notion that Mary was sinless.

By the way, the Ukrainian Orthodox site also has an essay on the "Immaculate Conception", which seems to acknowledge "original sin" in Orthodox theology, but says original sin is not viewed to be as devastating in Orthodoxy as it is in the West. Interestingly, the actual RC position on original sin seems to be identical to the Othodox position. (See RCC para. 405 "...human nature has not been totally corrupted; it is wounded...")

I don't intend to persuade you about anything, but it can't hurt to get more of the relevant facts.

Posted by: Peter Sean Bradley at May 23, 2005 9:27 PM

Lord, my head is quite full of theological bits and pieces already! I should add that the reason I found finding the Orthodox link so interesting is due to a long conversation on the subject I had with an Evangelical minister friend of mine a few days back. So it was excellent timing. As for Mary, I haven't come across anything to make me change my mind -- Anglican/Catholic papers not withstanding :)

Posted by: Ith at May 23, 2005 10:23 PM