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Archive for the ‘Mary’ Category

Objector: I went to Mass with one of my friends, and I noticed that during the Penitential Rite, Catholics ask for prayers from “the Blessed Mary, ever Virgin.” This is an obvious example of Catholics adding teachings that contradict the clear witness of Scripture.

Catholic: On the contrary, the belief that Mary was always a virgin has been held since the earliest days of Christianity. Many of the early Church Fathers, including Athanasius, Jerome, and Augustine, expressed this belief. To give just one example, Augustine said in A.D. 411 that Mary was “a Virgin conceiving, a Virgin bearing, a Virgin pregnant, a Virgin bringing forth, a Virgin perpetual.”

Objector: Well, I definitely respect Augustine, but just because he said something doesn’t mean that it’s true. He was a great theologian, but he wasn’t infallible. This is one case where I’ll have to disagree with him. By the time Augustine said this, over three hundred years had gone by since Mary had lived.

Catholic: I understand that Augustine was fallible, but I don’t think you should dismiss his testimony so easily, especially because what he says is supported by many other early Fathers. Another source that supports belief in Mary’s perpetual virginity is the Protoevangelium of James . It was written around A.D. 120, when some of those who had known the apostles were still alive. It records that Mary was dedicated before her birth to serve the Lord in the temple, as Samuel had been dedicated by his mother (1 Sam. 1:11). This required perpetual virginity of Mary so that she could completely devote herself to the service of the Lord.

Objector: But if Mary wasn’t supposed to get married, why do we read that that Mary was engaged to Joseph (Luke 1:27)?

Catholic: Again according to the Protoevangelium of James , concerns about ceremonial cleanliness required that Mary have a male protector who would respect her vow of virginity. Joseph was “chosen by lot to take into [his] keeping the Virgin of the Lord.” His duty to guard Mary was taken so seriously that when Mary conceived, Joseph had to answer to the temple authorities. So Mary’s betrothal to Joseph was not in conflict with her vow of virginity.

Objector: This is very interesting, but there were many things written early in the history of Christianity that did not express what Christians actually believed, such as the Gnostic gospels. Like these, the Protoevangelium of James expresses a belief that is contrary to what has been revealed in Scripture.

Catholic: I agree that we should use caution when relying on extrabiblical accounts, but we can also see evidence in the biblical texts that Mary had chosen to be a virgin. When the angel Gabriel tells Mary that she will bear a son, Mary asks, “How shall this be, since I have no husband?” (Luke 1:34). At this point, Mary was engaged to Joseph. Why would she then be so surprised at being told she would conceive? If she were planning on having children with Joseph in the usual way, it wouldn’t make sense for her to ask how she would be able to have a child. This question makes sense only if Mary was already planning to remain a virgin.

Objector: Maybe if you read this in light of the Protoevangelium of James , this passage could be read as an indication that Mary was planning on remaining a virgin. But why should we rely on ambiguous biblical passages and extrabiblical evidence when the Bible itself clearly states that Jesus had siblings? For example, Matthew records that “while [Jesus] was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him” (Matt. 12:46). His listeners ask, “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?” (Matt. 13:55). Jesus is even advised by his siblings: “So his brothers said to him, ‘Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples may see the works you are doing. For no man works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world'” (John 7:3-4).

Catholic: Although the Bible says that Jesus had brothers, this doesn’t mean that they were necessarily sons of Mary. If we accept the theory put forth in the Protoevangelium of Jamesand accepted by many in the early Church, Jesus’ brothers would be stepbrothers, sons of Joseph but not of Mary. This would explain why Jesus’ “brothers” felt that they could admonish him, as they do in John 7:3-4. In Near Eastern society of that time, it was normally unacceptable for younger siblings to give advice to older ones.

Objector: But not all of the early Church Fathers believed that Joseph had children. St. Jerome said, “I claim that Joseph himself was a virgin.”

Catholic: It is interesting that you quote St. Jerome, who adamantly defended the doctrine of Mary’s perpetual virginity. It is certainly possible for Catholics to believe that Joseph did not have children of his own. In this case, the brothers of Jesus could be other relatives, such as cousins. Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus and his apostles, had no word for “cousin,” so cousins and other close relatives were often referred to as brothers. For example, Abraham’s nephew Lot was called his brother (Gen. 14:14).

Objector: There’s a problem with your reasoning here. Although cousins may have been referred to as brothers, it’s clear that in this case, the word brothers means blood brothers of Jesus — sons of Mary. We read in Matthew’s Gospel that Joseph “had no marital relations with her until she had borne her firstborn son” (Matt. 1:25). This implies that Joseph did have relations with her after she had given birth.

Catholic: The word until here just says what happened up to the time of Christ’s birth. It doesn’t imply anything about what happened after that, although our modern use of the word until seems to imply that. For an example of this, look at 2 Samuel 6:23, which says, “Michal the daughter of Saul had no children till the day of her death.” We’re obviously not supposed to assume that she had children after she died.

Objector: In this case, it’s obvious that Michal could not have had children after her death. The situation of Mary and Joseph is quite different. We see that in the same verse, Jesus is called Mary’s firstborn son. If Jesus is designated as Mary’s firstborn son, that shows that she had other children. My mother wouldn’t call me her oldest child if I were her only child.

Catholic: This is another case where our modern understanding of terms interferes with understanding what the Bible meant at the time it was written. In biblical times, the termfirstborn had great importance. The firstborn was to be consecrated to the Lord (Ex. 13:2); the parents were to redeem every firstborn son (Ex. 34:20). They weren’t supposed to wait until they had a second child to redeem the firstborn, and so the first son born to a woman was called the firstborn regardless of whether or not she had other children later on.

Objector: It seems to me like you’re using a lot of complicated reasoning to ignore the obvious statements in Scripture that show that Jesus had brothers and that Mary therefore could not have remained a virgin. You’re going to the passages with the idea that Mary was a virgin, and you’re reading that idea into the passages instead of drawing it from them. Even if the passages in question could be interpreted the way you see them, I don’t see any evidence in Scripture that they should be interpreted that way.

Catholic: On the contrary, I think there is evidence (even beyond what I’ve shown you already) that it is very reasonable to interpret the texts as showing that Jesus did not have brothers. If Jesus did have brothers, why would he have entrusted Mary to the beloved disciple, John, at the foot of the cross (John 19:26-27)? He would have had surviving siblings who would have taken care of her. It would be surprising for Jesus to release his brothers from their obligation to their mother, especially because he criticized the Pharisees for neglecting the support of their own parents in Matthew 15:3-6.

Objector: But how could Mary and Joseph have had a loving marriage if she always remained a virgin?

Catholic: Granted, a life of complete abstinence is not the recommended way for ordinary married couples to interact. But Mary and Joseph were not an ordinary married couple. They were entrusted with raising the Son of God. This circumstance was so unusual that their marriage could not have been an ordinary one, because the child they nurtured was no ordinary child.

Objector: I still don’t see why the Church requires Catholics to believe that Mary remained a virgin instead of allowing them to have their own opinions. Does it really matter if Mary had other children?

Catholic: Actually, it does matter. Every doctrine about Mary tells us something about Christ or something about ourselves or the Church. Mary’s perpetual virginity demonstrates her purity of heart and total love for God. In 388, St. Ambrose of Milan wrote that Mary’s virginity was “so great an example of material virtue” because it demonstrated her total devotion to Jesus. In Mary, we see an example of the purity our own hearts must have in total dedication to God. Her virginity also tells us something about the Church, which, like Mary, is both mother to the faithful and “pure bride to her one husband” (2 Cor. 11:2)

© Catholic Answers, Inc.

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“Blasphemy and false worship”, so is the Catholic relationship with Mary most commonly described by many non-Catholic Christians.   

Not so; the Catholic Catechism states:

II. “HIM ONLY SHALL YOU SERVE”

Adoration

2096 – Adoration is the first act of the virtue of religion. To adore God is to acknowledge him as God, as the Creator and Saviour, the Lord and Master of everything that exists, as infinite and merciful Love. “You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve,” says Jesus, citing Deuteronomy.13

III. “YOU SHALL HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME”

2110 –  The first commandment forbids honouring gods other than the one Lord who has revealed himself to his people. It proscribes superstition and irreligion. Superstition in some sense represents a perverse excess of religion; irreligion is the vice contrary by defect to the virtue of religion.

The Catholic Church honours Mary not only for her gift of Mothering Jesus, our Saviour, but because she was his first and most loyal disciple and because in the Old Testament she is prefigured as the New Ark of the Covenant and The New Eve.

Here is an excellent video with Biblical support of this assertion: Mary the New Eve

The Holy Spirit has guided the Church throughout its history in the understanding of the faith that has been revealed in Jesus. Therefore, the knowledge of the Christian faith did not come to us in one instalment, but through the deepening of the understanding of God’s Revelation to mankind. In the Bible itself we see how the  Apostles, lead by Peter, established the matter of circumcision among believers. As promised by Jesus, the Holy Spirit played a crucial role in this process as the Guide for the Truth.

Mother of God – A Pagan title for a Christian Figure?

Title “Son of God” was used by Pagan leaders long before Jesus. History tells us that according to Near Eastern theology of kingship in Pagan Rome, Caesar Augustus and other Caesars declared themselves as Son of Divine Cesar, the Son of God (CF P. W. v. Martitz, TDNT, Vlll, pp. 334-340 esp. p. 336) … This does not take away from Jesus’ True Divine Sonship. Therefore, the protestant objection against Mary’s title falls short of support.

Unfortunately, many protestants don’t realize that the objection against Mary’s title as Mother of God was the very argument of some serious heresies of the 1st centuries of Christianity which  denied Jesus “Oness” with God the Father. Because of such heresies, the Church Fathers again, guided by the Holy Spirit, determined that Jesus is not divisible. He is TRUE Man And TRUE God. Therefore, to state that Mary is only Mother of Jesus Man, and not of His entire nature is a heresy in itself.

The mother of the King – A Biblical Perspective

In order to understand Mary’s queenship it is crucial to consider that in the OT the Queen was not the King’s wife, but his mother. Thus Mary’s intercessory influence is prefigured in the persons of the queens of the OT, such as in 1 Kgs 2:19-20:

‘Make your request, my mother; for I will not refuse you.’ (1 kgs 2:19-20)

Still on Mary’s Queenship and her prefiguration in the OT, we have to remember that the Scriptural exegesis of the  Church’s Fathers proves that they did realize that the 12 stars on the Woman’s crown takes us to the 12 tribes of Israel. However, they also understood that Our Lord presented himself throughout the Gospels in the light of the O.T, where He had been prefigured in many ways before being fully revealed in the NT. For this reason we should also understand the references used in the Book of revelation, not literally, but as fulfilment of the OT.

Jesus, the New Moses, brought the God of Israel to the world in fulfilment to what had been prophesied in Scriptures, making Israel the light house of the world. Through Jesus’ sacrifice the uncircumcised became adopted children of God. Thus, He established a New Israel, The Bride of the Lamb or His Church on earth.

Furthermore there are 3 points to consider:

  • The woman in Revelation gave birth to the King of the Israelites (Jesus) – who will rule the nations from Heaven.
  • The devil is very interested in destroying her but she is safe.
  • Her *children are all faithful Christians (the Church) who “follow the lamb” (Rev 12:17)

*Many fundamentalist Christians understand the ‘Woman’  in the book of Revelation to be Israel, not Mary. However Rev 12:17 confirms the Catholic understanding that Mary, not the nation of Israel, is the ‘Woman’ and the  Mother of the Church. 

For Catholics all honour given to Mary has the sole aim of coming closer to Jesus, which is Mary’s own purpose:

“His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” (2 Jn 1-5)

Catholics also believe that not only Mary, but all the just and Saints departed, are in heaven –  and not asleep waiting for the second coming of Jesus – from where they  pray for us in a way that we could not do ourselves.  St. James tells us that the prayer of the just (the saints) are powerful and effective.

Fundamentalists will argue that no-one has ascended to Heaven except for Jesus (Jn 3:13), so Mary could not be in Heaven as Catholics claim. But in the Gospel of John we see how the good thief on the cross obtained mercy and was promised heaven that day. Therefore, we should not assume that in John 3:13  Jesus was referring to those who lived before as well as after him.  Personally, I think  Jesus simply meant  that  no-one had gone or could ever go to heaven  by their own means or merit, except he Himself.

As I have discussed on other posts, Catholics believe that Salvation is attained by grace alone, because even the gift of faith comes from God’s grace. Salvation is a “free gift” given by God and only by Him, there is nothing we can do to “earn it”, so to speak. However, those who have already attained the crown of victory never stop  interceding on our behalf, so that we too can enter the glory of God.  As we see in the Lord’s prayer, ALL those in heaven do the will of God, and it is the will of God that all men shall be saved. The souls in heaven sympathise with our sufferings and trials, such as we are told by St Paul to bear  one another suffering and struggles  while here on earth. This applies to Mary, who constantly prays for us.

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The video below is a must see for ALL Christians. Whoever believes in Jesus as their Saviour is ought to ponder at some point on questions regarding the woman who actually brought Him into the world. The one who, unlike Eve, obeyed God and said ‘yes’ to his holy will, for the sake of our Salvation, which comes from her Divine Son, Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ. 
  
This video gives an incredible Scriptural insight on Mary’s role as the New Eve. Just as Jesus is the New Adam. Furthermore, the video will show scriptural evidence that supports  the understanding of Mary as the ‘Woman’ of the Book of Revelation. That’s a must see!!!

 

 

  

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I read an article on Luke 1:28 the other day, and I would like to address a commom, but very stubborn error that most protestants are quick to accept without giving it much thought.

The article was originally posted here, and the author intended to make a case against an alleged ‘mistranslation’ or ‘misinterpretation’ Catholics accept regarding the Angel’s greeting to the Virgin Mary in Luke 1:28.      

In order to make my point clear, I will quote the  author’s own words on two other biblical passages: (John 1:14) & (Acts 6:8):        

“The first citation (John 1:14) refers to Jesus who IS obviously full of grace. Jesus is God in flesh, the crucified and risen Lord, who cleanses us from our sins. In the second citation (Acts 6:8) it is Stephen who IS full of grace”. Matt Slick        

In analyzing the Greek original of John 1:14, Acts 6:8 & Luke 1:28, we will notice that the root word  χάριτος or charitos do appear in all of them;  either as a noun or as a conjugated verb.      

The translation of this Greek word  charitos is grace. This is how John 1:14 is translated, for instance, in the King James Bible and other protestant versions.     

The ‘root’ or ‘base’ word for χάριτος (charitos) is χάρις (charis*).  In Luke 1:14, however, we have χάριτος conjugated as a verb κεχαριτωμένη  (kecharitomene) whereas  in John 1:14 it appears as a noun.  (*Charis is the root for Charisma in English).  

Anyhow, the important point here is that  the original meaning of χάριτος or charitos  is GRACE, and all its ‘derivative’ still refer to this original meaning.  An analogy with English would be the conjugation, for instance, of the noun glory into words such as glorious, gloriousness, glorified, glorying, etc… 

Now,  let us imagine that a person  is described as ‘Glorious’.  Keeping in mind the meaning of the ‘root’  glory, we could  ultimately understand that a glorious person is some-one whose ‘glouriousness’ is appearent or distingued to all, thus  ‘full of glory’ wouldn’t be far off the intended description either.  We could not, however, from the same phrase conclude that  a   ‘glorious’  individual  can mean  higly ‘appreciated’, simply because the ‘root’ word ‘glory’ does not allow such conclusion. I am afraid, that’s exactly what happened with the protestant translation of Luke 1:28, where from  the root charitos or grace, we get  to ‘highly favoured’.   

Χαῖρε, κεχαριτωμένη, ὁ Κύριος μετὰ σοῦ (Lk1:28)   

“It is permissible, on Greek grammatical and linguistic grounds, to paraphrase keCHARITOmene as completely, perfectly, enduringly endowed with grace.” (Blass and DeBrunner, Greek Grammar of the New Testament).  

Please note that the author of the article clearly accepts the translation ‘full of Grace’ in John 1:14 and even in Acts 6:8 , but not for Luke 1:28. Is there a reason for this?   

  

  

The following are the Greek Bibles I used for my research:      

ΠΡΑΞΕΙΣ 6:8 Greek NT: Greek Orthodox Church 
ΠΡΑΞΕΙΣ 6:8 Greek NT: Stephanus Textus Receptus (1550, with accents)  
ΠΡΑΞΕΙΣ6:8 Greek NT: Westcott/Hort with Diacritics 

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I accidentally came across a website the other day with some very disturbing opinions, to say the least, on the Catholic teachings, or what they believed to be the Church’s teachings,  about the Blessed Mary and the Pope. The author, who claims to be a prophet and to be able to cast out demons and to make spiritual trips to places, writes: 

As I was researching and reading last night, I stumbled on some more false teachings of the catholic doctrines. They call it Mariology. They are claiming she is free of sin, mother Mary. It is a very disturbing dogma, and is not true.
Only one is free from sin, and he was nailed to the cross. Mary was chosen is what she was. Everyone is chosen for different things by God. I respect and love the mother of Christ, but she is not free of sin. I mean she is not like JESUS as they are claiming. 

  

Obviously, the statement above is based on some very inaccurate information and does not reflect what the Catholic Church teaches on the Virgin Mary.  Unfortunately, this sort of misconceived ideas spread like a pest these days, in a world made of Twitters and Bloggers, we might feel a bit hopeless and even discouraged to say something in defense of our own faith… I am afraid I am too stuburn to turn a blind eye and pretend it didn’t offend me. 

Since I could not find a place to leave a comment on the website so I thought I should write a  little note to clarify the issue.  

The Official Catholic Catechism teaches that Mary was preserved from all ’original sin’ and that she was wholly united with her Son . “The Virgin Mary . . . is acknowledged and honoured as being truly the Mother of God and of the redeemer…. She is ‘clearly the mother of the members of Christ’ . . . since she has by her charity joined in bringing about the birth of believers in the Church, who are members of its head it is made manifest above all at the hour of his Passion: 

Thus the Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son unto the cross. There she stood, in keeping with the divine plan, enduring with her only begotten Son the intensity of his suffering, joining herself with his sacrifice in her mother’s heart, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this victim, born of her: to be given, by the same Christ Jesus dying on the cross, as a mother to his disciple, with these words: “Woman, behold your son.”503 

By her complete adherence to the Father’s will, to his Son’s redemptive work, and to every prompting of the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary is the Church’s model of faith and charity. Thus she is a “pre-eminent and . . . wholly unique member of the Church”; indeed, she is the “exemplary realization” (typus)508 of the Church. 

968 Her role in relation to the Church and to all humanity goes still further. “In a wholly singular way she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope, and burning charity in the Saviour’s work of restoring supernatural life to souls. For this reason she is a mother to us in the order of grace.”509   

969 “This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfilment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation …. Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix.”510 

Nowhere in the official documents of the Church you will find anything that states that Mary is equal to Jesus. The same applies to the Pope, who is for the Church the Vicar of Jesus on earth, but not equal to Jesus. 

  

   

 

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I found a great website with a wealth of information on many current issues regarding the discrepancies between the Catholic Faith and Protestant views.

You will find a link to the website at the bottom of this page.

Martin Luther, Founder of the Reform, Speaks on Mary

In his sermon of August 15, 1522, the last time Martin Luther preached on the Feast of the Assumption, he stated:

There can be no doubt that the Virgin Mary is in heaven. How it happened we do not know. And since the Holy Spirit has told us nothing about it, we can make of it no article of faith . . . It is enough to know that she lives in Christ.

The veneration of Mary is inscribed in the very depths of the human heart. (Sermon, September 1, 1522).

[She is the] highest woman and the noblest gem in Christianity after Christ . . . She is nobility, wisdom, and holiness personified. We can never honor her enough. Still honor and praise must be given to her in such a way as to injure neither Christ nor the Scriptures. (Sermon, Christmas, 1531).

No woman is like you. You are more than Eve or Sarah, blessed above all nobility, wisdom, and sanctity. (Sermon, Feast of the Visitation, 1537).

One should honor Mary as she herself wished and as she expressed it in the Magnificat. She praised God for his deeds. How then can we praise her? The true honor of Mary is the honor of God, the praise of God’s grace . . . Mary is nothing for the sake of herself, but for the sake of Christ . . . Mary does not wish that we come to her, but through her to God. (Explanation of the Magnificat, 1521).

Luther gives the Blessed Virgin the exalted position of “Spiritual Mother” for Christians:

It is the consolation and the superabundant goodness of God, that man is able to exult in such a treasure. Mary is his true Mother .. (Sermon, Christmas, 1522)

Mary is the Mother of Jesus and the Mother of all of us even though it was Christ alone who reposed on her knees . . . If he is ours, we ought to be in his situation; there where he is, we ought also to be and all that he has ought to be ours, and his mother is also our mother. (Sermon, Christmas, 1529).

Martin Luther had the belief of Mary’s Immaculate Conception, Luther’s words follow:

It is a sweet and pious belief that the infusion of Mary’s soul was effected without original sin; so that in the very infusion of her soul she was also purified from original sin and adorned with God’s gifts, receiving a pure soul infused by God; thus from the first moment she began to live she was free from all sin” (Sermon: “On the Day of the Conception of the Mother of God,” 1527).

She is full of grace, proclaimed to be entirely without sin- something exceedingly great. For God’s grace fills her with everything good and makes her devoid of all evil. (Personal {“Little”} Prayer Book, 1522).

Martin Luther on Mary’s Perpetual Virginity

Here are some of the founders of refom commenting on Mary:

Christ, our Savior, was the real and natural fruit of Mary’s virginal womb . . . This was without the cooperation of a man, and she remained a virgin after that.

{Luther’s Works, eds. Jaroslav Pelikan (vols. 1-30) & Helmut T. Lehmann (vols. 31-55), St. Louis: Concordia Pub. House (vols. 1-30); Philadelphia: Fortress Press (vols. 31-55), 1955, v.22:23 / Sermons on John, chaps. 1-4 (1539) }

Christ . . . was the only Son of Mary, and the Virgin Mary bore no children besides Him . . . I am inclined to agree with those who declare that ‘brothers’ really mean ‘cousins’ here, for Holy Writ and the Jews always call cousins brothers.

{Pelikan, ibid., v.22:214-15 / Sermons on John, chaps. 1-4 (1539) }

    A new lie about me is being circulated. I am supposed to have preached and written that Mary, the mother of God, was not a virgin either before or after the birth of Christ . . .

{Pelikan, ibid.,v.45:199 / That Jesus Christ was Born a Jew (1523) }

    Scripture does not say or indicate that she later lost her virginity . . . When Matthew [1:25] says that Joseph did not know Mary carnally until she had brought forth her son, it does not follow that he knew her subsequently; on the contrary, it means that he never did know her . . . This babble . . . is without justification . . . he has neither noticed nor paid any attention to either Scripture or the common idiom.

{Pelikan, ibid.,v.45:206,212-3 / That Jesus Christ was Born a Jew (1523) }

Editor Jaroslav Pelikan (Lutheran) adds:

    Luther . . . does not even consider the possibility that Mary might have had other children than Jesus. This is consistent with his lifelong acceptance of the idea of the perpetual virginity of Mary.

{Pelikan, ibid.,v.22:214-5}

“. . . she is full of grace, proclaimed to be entirely without sin. . . . God’s grace fills her with everything good and makes her devoid of all evil. . . . God is with her, meaning that all she did or left undone is divine and the action of God in her. Moreover, God guarded and protected her from all that might be hurtful to her.”
Ref: Luther’s Works, American edition, vol. 43, p. 40, ed. H. Lehmann, Fortress, 1968

“. . . she is rightly called not only the mother of the man, but also the Mother of God. . . . it is certain that Mary is the Mother of the real and true God.”
Ref: Sermon on John 14. 16: Luther’s Works (St. Louis, ed. Jaroslav, Pelican, Concordia. vol. 24. p. 107)

“Christ our Savior was the real and natural fruit of Mary’s virginal womb. . . . This was without the cooperation of a man, and she remained a virgin after that.”
(REf: On the Gospel of St. John: Luther’s Works, vol. 22. p. 23, ed. Jaroslav Pelican, Concordia, 1957)

“Men have crowded all her glory into a single phrase: The Mother of God. No one can say anything greater of her, though he had as many tongues as there are leaves on the trees.” (From the Commentary on the Magnificat.)

Commentaries on Luther

“. . . in the resolutions of the 95 theses Luther rejects every blasphemy against the Virgin, and thinks that one should ask for pardon for any evil said or thought against her.” (Ref: Wm. J. Cole, “Was Luther a Devotee of Mary?” in Marian Studies 1970, p. 116:)

“In Luther’s Explanation of the Magnificat in 1521, he begins and ends with an invocation to Mary, which Wright feels compelled to call ‘surprising'”.
(David F. Wright, Chosen by God: Mary in Evangelical Perspecive, London: Marshall Pickering, 1989, p. 178, Cited from Faith & Reason, Spring 1994, p. 6.)

Martin Luther defends the Eucharist

In 1529 Martin Luther engaged the question of transubstantiation in the famous conference at Marburg with Zwingli and other Swiss theologians; he maintained his view that Christ is present in the bread and wine of the Eucharist.

Other Reformers on Mary’s Perpetual Virginity

John Calvin

    Helvidius displayed excessive ignorance in concluding that Mary must have had many sons, because Christ’s ‘brothers’ are sometimes mentioned.

{Harmony of Matthew, Mark & Luke, sec. 39 (Geneva, 1562), vol. 2 / From Calvin’s Commentaries, tr. William Pringle, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1949, p.215; on Matthew 13:55}

    [On Matt 1:25:] The inference he [Helvidius] drew from it was, that Mary remained a virgin no longer than till her first birth, and that afterwards she had other children by her husband . . . No just and well-grounded inference can be drawn from these words . . . as to what took place after the birth of Christ. He is called ‘first-born’; but it is for the sole purpose of informing us that he was born of a virgin . . . What took place afterwards the historian does not inform us . . . No man will obstinately keep up the argument, except from an extreme fondness for disputation.

{Pringle, ibid., vol. I, p. 107}

    Under the word ‘brethren’ the Hebrews include all cousins and other relations, whatever may be the degree of affinity.

{Pringle, ibid., vol. I, p. 283 / Commentary on John, (7:3) }

Huldreich Zwingli

    He turns, in September 1522, to a lyrical defense of the perpetual virginity of the mother of Christ . . . To deny that Mary remained ‘inviolata’ before, during and after the birth of her Son, was to doubt the omnipotence of God . . . and it was right and profitable to repeat the angelic greeting – not prayer – ‘Hail Mary’ . . . God esteemed Mary above all creatures, including the saints and angels – it was her purity, innocence and invincible faith that mankind must follow. Prayer, however, must be . . . to God alone . . . ‘Fidei expositio,’ the last pamphlet from his pen . . . There is a special insistence upon the perpetual virginity of Mary.

{G. R. Potter, Zwingli, London: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1976, pp.88-9,395 / The Perpetual Virginity of Mary . . ., Sep. 17, 1522}

    Zwingli had printed in 1524 a sermon on ‘Mary, ever virgin, mother of God.’

{Thurian, ibid., p.76}

    I have never thought, still less taught, or declared publicly, anything concerning the subject of the ever Virgin Mary, Mother of our salvation, which could be considered dishonourable, impious, unworthy or evil . . . I believe with all my heart according to the word of holy gospel that this pure virgin bore for us the Son of God and that she remained, in the birth and after it, a pure and unsullied virgin, for eternity.

{Thurian, ibid., p.76 / same sermon}

Heinrich Bullinger

    Bullinger (d. 1575) . . . defends Mary’s perpetual virginity . . . and inveighs against the false Christians who defraud her of her rightful praise: ‘In Mary everything is extraordinary and all the more glorious as it has sprung from pure faith and burning love of God.’ She is ‘the most unique and the noblest member’ of the Christian community . . . ‘The Virgin Mary . . . completely sanctified by the grace and blood of her only Son and abundantly endowed by the gift of the Holy Spirit and preferred to all . . . now lives happily with Christ in heaven and is called and remains ever-Virgin and Mother of God.’

{In Hilda Graef, Mary: A history of Doctrine and Devotion, combined ed. of vols. 1 & 2, London: Sheed & Ward, 1965, vol.2, pp.14-5}

John Wesley (Founder of Methodism)

    The Blessed Virgin Mary, who, as well after as when she brought him forth, continued a pure and unspotted virgin.

{“Letter to a Roman Catholic” / In This Rock, Nov. 1990, p.25}

Link to Catholic Bridge www.davidmacd.com

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The Virgin Mary with Angels

Today I thought I’d write about the antagonism expressed by most non-Catholic Christians in regards to the Blessed Virgin Mary and/or the Catholic views on Mary, the Mother of Jesus.  Most protestants tend to become emphatically averted  towards Catholicism because of Mary and it is not uncommon to hear people blaspheme and insult the Virgin Mary, because of their strong opposing opinions on the subject. It seems that however well-meaning and good intentioned they may be, many  fail to acknowledge the importance of the Holiest woman of all times, the one who carried Jesus in her womb. 

One obvious question that comes to my mind is why would any one who loves Jesus choose not to honor His mother? Certainly, God wouldn’t have chosen Mary to become the mother of Jesus,  if she wasn’t very special.  Would God choose any-one else but  the most worthy woman to be  the Mother of Christ, Who comes from the Father and is One with the Father?

The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and will name him Jesus.  Lk 1:30-31 

Anyhow, it seems that  such resentment is caused either because of ignorance or prejudice, or both.  Unfortunately, there are many Christians who believe that Catholics worship Saints, or that we hope to get to Heaven through faith in Mary rather than in God! When in fact,  Catholics hold that salvation is a free gift of God and that there is nothing we can do to for ourselves to ‘deserve’ or ‘earn’ our salvation. In spite of their faith in God, Catholics  rely entirely on His mercy and grace to gain eternal salvation. 

(more…)

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