THINKING ANGLICANS

General Synod – February 2011 – more on the agenda

Margaret Duggan has a detailed preview of next month’s General Synod agenda in the Church Times: Synod to debate Mary, and divorced bishops.

In my earlier article on pre-synod press reports I linked to two articles about a motion on Common Worship baptism texts. The one in the Mail Online in particular has come in for much criticism, as the following examples show.
Doug Chaplin in his Clayboy blog: Today’s English Baptism and the nasty net
The Church Mouse: Baptism lite – the low God version?
Ann Fontaine at the Episcopal Café: New language for baptismal rites requested

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Simon KershawHector_St_ClareRobert ian WilliamsLaurence RobertsJCF Recent comment authors
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JCF
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JCF

“a debate will follow on the theology, how far Anglicans and Roman Catholics can share a common faith concerning Mary, and the authority and status of the two RC dogmas of the immaculate conception of Mary, promul­gated in 1854, and her assumption, promulgated as recently as 1950”

Um…we CAN “share a common faith concerning Mary” UNLESS the RCC insists upon these two (non-Biblical, non-Ecumenical Council, unilateral) dogmas?

Holy Mary, Mother of God, PRAY that you not be *dehumanized* by your admirers!

Susannah
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Susannah

Interesting that only 2 out of the 21 ARCIC commission members (who produced this ARCIC report on ‘Mary’) were women, particularly when you consider the significance and influence that devotion to Mary has had on women’s lives, for good or for bad. In fact I find it astonishing in these days that a Commission can be that slanted with such a gender disparity.

Hector_St_Clare
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Re: Um…we CAN “share a common faith concerning Mary” UNLESS the RCC insists upon these two (non-Biblical, non-Ecumenical Council, unilateral) dogmas? Nonsense. The Assumption of Mary was very widely held by the ancient church, was extensively written on by St. John of Damascus and others, and wasn’t seriously challenged until the Calvinists started nihilistically tearing down every aspect of Christian tradition they didn’t like. as for the bible, it’s alluded to in Revelation 12:14, “And to the woman were given two wings of the great eagle, that she might fly from the serpent’s wrath’, as well as being prefigured in… Read more »

Hector_St_Clare
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Re: non-Ecumenical Council Actually, the council of Chalcedon did implicitly acknowledge the Assumption/Dormition of Mary. During the council, the Emperor Marcian asked Juvenal, Patriarch of Jerusalem, for the relics of Mary, and was told that the relics didn’t exist since she had been corporeally assumed into heaven. While of course the topic wasn’t debated at the Council, that itself is evidence that it was uncontroversially believed by most at the council. It is inconceivable that the bishops at the meeting, given that this statement had been made, would not have debated and included it in their deliberations if it was… Read more »

Malcolm French+
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Hector, while the assumption as a matter of pious opinion is not particularly controversial, that is quite a different thing than the Roman decision to make it de fide.

Further, my understanding is that the Orthodox use of “dormition” is and is intended to be a trifle less precise than “bodily assumed into heaven.”

JCF
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JCF

“But the idea that the body of Our Lady was left to decay in the ground just like any other average Joe, makes me roll my eyes at the absurdity.” Oh brother. Let me state, for the record, that I don’t have a problem w/ the Assumption—I just think INSISTING upon it, w/ this paper-thin evidence (you heard me!), it… {what’s the phrase}… “makes me roll my eyes at the absurdity.” …but upon further consideration, I certainly would PREFER she “decay[ed] in the ground just like any other average Joe” (the way Blessed JHN did? ;-/) Especially in this day… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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As a devotee of Our Lady of Walsingham, I have also found the concept difficult of her personal *Immaculate Conception* in the womb of her mother Anna. There is no biblical record of Gabriel visiting Anna with the message of a Virgin Birth to produce Mary. On the other hand, it is quite possible, from the Scriptural account, to deduce that the person of Mary, naturally born, could have been God’s chosen vessel for the ‘Immaculate Conception’ of Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit – as decribed by Gabriel at the Visitation. Regarding the entirely unscripted, but widely… Read more »

Simon Kershaw
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Hector St Clare recites the usual Marian arguments. But it is worth noting that the passage he cites (Revelation, Wisdom, Esther) do not obviously refer to the Mother of Jesus, the Mother of God. To write as if they do obviously so refer is to assume 🙂 the answer you are looking for. Just plain daft. All this detracts from the proper honour that should be due to Mary, the handmaid or slavegirl of the Lord — the honour of being Jesus’s mother, a very simple honour, but a profound one nevertheless. We do not need to dress her up… Read more »

Malcolm French+
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I may be misreading him, but Fr. Smith seems to be misinterpreting “immaculate conception” to mean “virgin birth.” The idea of immaculate conception does not mean that Mary was not the product of sexual congress between her parents, but rather that, while conceived in the usual way, she was not infected with the taint of original sin.

Wilf
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Wilf

It is interesting to note that the immaculate conception (and I agree with Malcolm that Fr Ron seems to have confused two doctrines) was not particularly controversial in the early years of the post-Reformation Church of England.

The objections to the Marian doctrines are largely the product of the nineteenth century, and in particular to the prevalent Victorian views of the right role for a woman to be as a wife and mother. Thus, ideas such as the immaculate conception, or the perpetual virginity of Mary became deeply unpopular.

JCF
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JCF

“The objections to the Marian doctrines are largely the product of the nineteenth century, and in particular to the prevalent Victorian views of the right role for a woman to be as a wife and mother.” As long as you don’t think that’s the source of MY objection, Wilf! :-0 In the 21st century, it seems rather more consonant that *proponents* of the Immaculate Conception who believe/propagandize that the *sole* role of a woman (excepting religious celibates) is as “wife and mother”! *** Hector makes the rather telling point (re the Assumption) that it “wasn’t seriously challenged until the Calvinists… Read more »

Laurence Roberts
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Laurence Roberts

There are a number of assumptions here surely ? I could nt resist saying that ! I can’t ‘bear the thought’ that my Aunty Maisie ‘was laid in the earth like any common Jo’. But my sensitivities cannot alter that reality. Just as well really. Dr Freud called this having-to-get-on- with-life-as-it-is – ‘the reality principle’. Could we do with a good dose of it here ! Also a bit more respect for common Jos and Joes wouldnt go amiss either. Surely, this is about our hunger for archetypes and archetypal experiences – but for that the Mary stories and indeed… Read more »

Robert ian Williams
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Robert ian Williams

I think they are approaching this the wrong way…establish the Petrine claims..show how infallibility is even demonstrated in the New Testament and then you see that the Marian doctrins are the infallible teaching of the Church. So simple really.

Simon Kershaw
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Will (Wilf) suggests that “objections to the Marian doctrines are largely the product of the nineteenth century” and “the right role for a woman to be as a wife and mother”. I’m not sure that it’s true that they are the product of the 19th century. But undoubtedly we are made much more aware of them by the advances in scientific understanding of sexual reproduction that occurred at that time and subsequently. The idea, for example, that the father implanted a homunculus into the mother, and the mother’s role was to feed the foetus until it could live on its… Read more »

Hector_St_Clare
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Hector_St_Clare

Simon Kershaw, Perhaps they didn’t mention it because it was simply so bleeding obvious? It seems highly unlikely to me (and that’s an understatement) that Mary and Joseph would have had sexual relations after she had conceived the Incarnate Word. As it’s said of the temple, so too must it be said of Mary: “The gate by which the LORD has entered shall remain ever shut.” If Mary had had other children, then why would our Lord asked John to care for her? It’s equally inconceivable to me that Our Lord had biological brothers and sisters: it was fitting that… Read more »

Hector_St_Clare
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Hector_St_Clare

Robert Ian Williams,

That’s ridiculous. I don’t believe in the Marian teachings because I accept papal supremacy: I believe them because they’re true. They were true long before the papacy had ever begun to propound them, and they don’t depend on the papacy for their authority. That the Catholic church has not fallen into error regarding Mary, as some other churches have sadly done, is an argument in favour of Roman Catholicism, but it’s not a very good argument: Rome has surely fallen into errors regarding some other things.

Simon Kershaw
Admin

I’m not sure there is really any point in continuing this discussion — but that doesn’t usually stop me! Yes, technically you are correct: it is possible that the gospel writers did not mention the Marian dogmas because they thought they were obvious. This is a possibility. But I consider it so vanishingly unlikely as to be not worth considering. Hmm: considering that the idea of original sin was not propounded for several centuries after the birth of Christ, it is rather hard to see how a dogma that proclaims that someone was preserved from original sin could have been… Read more »