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August 15, 2007


Anthony OPL

It's a Day of Obligation in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and the UK as well. Happy feast day everyone!


Thanks for the reminder!


Scripture shows great correlation between the Old Testament Ark and the New Testament Ark which is Mary!

In Exodus 40:35, the Scriptures tell us of the Shekinah glory, the cloud overshadowing the tent where the ark was where the glory of God filled the tabernacle. In the great angelic annunciation, in Luke's gospel Mary was greeted by the angel Gabriel, Luke 1:28 Hail full of Grace!

In Luke 1:35, the angel says to Mary, "the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you." Mary was overshadowed by the power of the Most High. The correlation is the shadow of the Most High overshadowed the ark where the commandments of God were. Mary was overshadowed by the power of Most High. Mary is the tabernacle of the Incarnate Word!

In 2 Samuel 6:3 David brought the ark out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. In Luke 1:39 the visitation, Mary went up to the hill country to visit Elizabeth. In 2 Samuel 6:9 David says, "How could the ark of the Lord come to me?" In Luke 1:43 Elizabeth greeted Mary saying, "Who am I that the mother of my Lord shall come to me." In 2 Samuel 6:5 the Scripture says that David leaped in joy being merry before the ark.

In the visitation in Luke 1:44 Elizabeth confirms that at the sound of Mary's greeting reaching her ears, that John the Baptist leaped in her womb with joy. In 2 Samuel 6:10-13 Scripture states, that David brought the ark to the house of Obededom the Gittite, the ark remained at the house of Obededom for three months and the house of Obededom was blessed.

In Luke 1:56 Scripture states, Mary stayed with Elizabeth for three months.

"A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, the moon beneath her feet, and a crown of twelve stars on her head." (Rv 12:1)


I guess this might send the James White types runnibg for the hills!


Thank you, PrincessJ! Beautiful and a fruitful source for rosary meditations!
God bless, all & happy feast day!



I'm putting the video link separate. Watch it!



I enjoyed the video. Though I am not a Beatles fan, I think Let It Be would be another song that would make a nice video like the one you linked.

Have a Blessed Feastday!

Take care and God bless,

J.R. Stoodley

GAKGHGK! Another forgotten Holy Day of Obligation! Well, I probably couldn't have gotten to a mass anyway. Certainly now it's impossible. Good thing you are excused if you miss it out of invincible ignorance or an honest mistake or you just can't reasonably find a way to get there. In my defense I'm still sort of new to Catholicism and I'm pretty sure they didn't announce it last Sunday which they should have. Still, it's never good to miss out on an important part of the life of the Church.


Doh! I'm glad you said something Jimmy. It didn't get mentioned in my parish last Sunday and I certainly would have forgotten it!

Thankfully, I can get to an evening Mass, since now that I'm informed I can't claim the above mentioned invincible ignorance!

Tim J.

I know how you feel, J.R..

I have been a Catholic for 15 years, now, and I am doing better, but as a new Catholic I often remembered Holy Days only after it was too late to keep them (like the next day).

There are a lot of great Catholic traditions that we converts miss out on because we just don't know about them. Then, when we find out, we think "D'oh! This is cool! I wish someone had told me about this a decade ago!".

I made it to vigil Mass last night, and was very grateful to sing the Marian hymns.

Tim J.

Wow. Two posts in a row using the word "D'oh!".

Thanks, Matt Groening.


I decided to look up all the holy days of obligation and take vacation on them just so I would remember.


Since the universal Church... has expressed its own belief many times over the... centuries, and since the bishops... are almost unanimously petitioning that the truth of the bodily Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven should be defined as a dogma of divine and Catholic faith... we believe that the moment appointed in the plan of divine providence for the solemn proclamation of this outstanding privilege of the Virgin Mary has already arrived... We rejoice greatly that this solemn event falls, according to the design of God's providence, during this Holy Year

Was any objective criteria used to determine the year 1950 was to be the year? If not, how did they know it was the right time?



You can probably find a calendar at your local Catholic bookstore with all of the holy days of obligation marked in red. I have one (handed out free by our local parish, in fact) and it's wonderful. It even has little color-coded fishes on it telling us if it's Ordinary Time or not, what color vestments the priest will wear that Sunday, etc.


Ellisa - the reason I have heard that it was proclaimed in 1950 is that WWII was recently over. (5 years is a short time to the Church) The messages (at least in caricature)of the major ideologies in peoples minds were something like:

Nazism - you are vermin and unworthy of life; your destiny is the gas chamber and oven

Communism - you are clever mud nothing more, there is no God; your destiny is to serve the state and die

capitalism - God, we can take or leave, but your purpose is to consume greedily to drive the economy and die

Fascism - The state is all, your destiny is to serve the state and die

Catholic Church - you are a child of God; your destiny is Heaven - Mary is the exemplar


FYI, the two holy days in the US between now and Christmas are Nov. 1 (All Saints' Day) and Dec. 8 (Immaculate Conception). This has been a public service announcement. :-)


J.R. Stoodley,

Excuses, excuses, excuses.... for shame! ;^)

Actually, there should be an Evening Mass available.

Alls you need to do is consult the Church Bulletin -- you know, that piece of paper that would've let you know that today was a Holy Day of Obligation and, in turn, would provide the schedule of Masses for today! ;^)

M. Jordan Lichens

Oddly enough, my home parish didn't put today's holy day of obligation on the calender. I only knew about it because one of my Eastern friends invited me to the Dormition vigil last night, then my brain kicked in and actually remembered a holy day! I feel for you guys, as a 3 year old convert, I can't tell you how many times I was in ignorance of a holy day.


Hey, here's a question:

Did Mary die before the Assumption, or was she alive during the event?


The dogma doesn't say.

Did Mary die before the Assumption, or was she alive during the event?

Well, gee, did Elias die before he went up by a whirlwind into heaven or was he alive during the event?

2 KINGS 2:11
11 And as they went on, walking and talking together, behold, a fiery chariot and fiery horses parted them both asunder: and Elias went up by a whirlwind into heaven.


The Feast of the Assumption

The commemoration of the death of the Blessed Virgin Mary (the Dormition, or falling asleep, as it was known in the East) is known as the Assumption because of the tradition that her body did not decay but that she was raised up, body and soul, into heaven. This tradition was already present in the sixth century; by the beginning of the twentieth century it was widespread (for details, see this article in the Catholic Encyclopaedia); and after consulting the views of bishops all over the world, the Pope formally and infallibly declared the doctrine of the Assumption to be part of the authentic and ancient doctrine of the universal Church.

The Feast of the Assumption


As Elsa pointed out, the Church has not defined that as part of the dogma; therefore, we are free to believe that Mary did die, or that Mary did not die. I have heard sound arguments, on both sides, that one would be more fitting than the other.



Is it a pre-requisite that somebody die in order to enter into the after-life (in this case, Heaven)?

That is, since God is GOD, I would think that He would be capable of enabling somebody to enter into Heaven both body and soul without them actually suffering death.


No argument, Esau.

Faith Seeking Understanding

I have this difficulty in understanding the Assumption - why soul and BODY, without natural post-mortem decay?

The answer I have generally been given is that because the Theotokos was free from Original Sin (Immaculate Conception) she did not suffer one of the consequences of the Fall, namely bodily decay.

But this seems to me to be an invalid reason in the light of evolution. We know, from fossils, that before there were any humans (to sin and Fall), that animals had illnesses, ate each other (pain), had diseases, died and their bodies decayed as ours do now. I conclude that physical suffering, physical death and post-mortem decay are not part of the Fall, but part of the pre-lapsarian natural cycle and therefore irrelevant as a reason. (Please, no evolution denial as a way round this).

I can accept that sometimes God might prevent or delay natural decay in order to show that someone was a saint, but this does not address the reason given for Mary's bodily Assumption.

And a less important puzzle. Are the atoms that constituted Mary's body (which occupy space and subject to change) in heaven (outside of time and space?).


You are confusing the natural and the supernatural and expecting the supernatural to obey natural laws. Under the natural law, dead bodies don't resurrect. But Jesus did, and He raised atleast 3 people from the dead during His earthly ministry. Later, Sts. Peter and Paul raised the dead.

Another way to look at it is to understand that, assuming evolution to be a fact, God is the Lord of evolution, as He is the Lord of nature. His creation obeys Him.

Or it could be that it is part of nature that one who is created free of original sin and never commits an actual sin does not suffer decay.


Are the atoms that constituted Mary's body (which occupy space and subject to change) in heaven (outside of time and space?).

IF God were GOD, I would imagine that God would be capable of transmuting the molecules that comprised Mary into a high energy state such that what once was matter ultimately became energy capable, transcending the physical state which belies our existence, enablinlg her to enter into the other world, which goes beyond space and time.



IF God were GOD, I would imagine that God would be capable of transmuting the molecules that comprised Mary into a high energy state such that what once was matter ultimately became energy capable OF transcending the physical state which belies our existence, enabling her to enter into the other world, which goes beyond space and time.

(Well -- that's all I can muster at this point -- doing other stuff at the moment)


The document in which the Dogma of the Assumption is proclaimed repeatedly asserts Mary's death, as do the Saints, and unbroken Catholic tradition. The Dogma itself doesn't use the word death, but in the context of the document it's quite clear that "completed the course of her Earthly life" means she died. The idea that Mary didn't die is entirely novel, and is apparently based solely on the fact that the Dogma doesn't explicitely say "she died" in so many words.

You can read the full document here:




DO you believe Enoch died?

Mary Kay

Perfect timing for this. I intended to look up tonight if Mary actually died or was assumed into heaven before death. At the neighborhood dissident parish today, nearly the entire focus of the homily was that Mary died, with a little bit of fiat tossed in.


"The idea that Mary didn't die is entirely novel..." is not correct. It goes back to the early Church.

"completed the course of her Earthly life" is intentionally ambiguous.

Ann Margaret Lewis

You all should check out what's happening at Steve Ray's blog with this whole thing now. Holy cow.


This is confusing me, too. I always thought Mary didn't die, but then I watched a TV program on portraits of Mary where they showed one depicting Mary's death. It was done by a Protestant in the early days of Protestantism, however, the voice over said that the artist had done something different to the traditional Virgin Mary's Death Scene that had been done in art for centuries. Centuries? How come?

Also, the church bulletin in my parish gave me the impression that the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary was this Sunday that just passed. Maybe it's different in the US (I live in Puerto Rico).


""The idea that Mary didn't die is entirely novel..." is not correct. It goes back to the early Church."

You'll have to show me where in the Early Church this was held. St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Doctor of the Church, writing in the 4th Century explicitely talked about her death, as did other early figures such as Melito of Sardis.

Here's a link to St. Cyril's homily:


"DO you believe Enoch died?"

I don't have a belief one way or another on Enoch, since there's no long-running tradition on his state before being taken up. He may have died, he may not have. The traditions of Mary say that she died, however, and I believe the testimony of the Saints on this subject.

Peace and God bless!


The early Church was mostly of the opinion that Mary died, but with a strong minority opinion that she didn't. Nor was she the only one. People rumored this about St. John the Evangelist (not true), and many believed that all "the saints" resurrected at Christ's resurrection ascended into Heaven in Jesus' wake. (Some even thought this included all the patriarchs and matriarchs that Jesus had freed from Sheol.)

If you look at medieval and Renaissance paintings even from the West, you will mostly see depicted the scene from one apocryphal account where St. Thomas gets back from India too late to attend Mary's deathbed, asks to have her sarcophagus opened to get a look at her, and he and the other apostles find the tomb empty (and angels announcing why).

One big reason this account made traction was that Mary's sarcophagus was allegedly found in Jerusalem, and then moved to Constantinople's church of St. Mary at Blachernae.

However, lots of theologians and mystics in the West were of opinion that if Jesus loved his beloved (mother) enough that she wouldn't know decay, he would bloody well not let her die, either. (Especially if one was of the opinion that St. John didn't die.)

So your choice is dead first (more like Moses in Talmud tradition) or alive (more like Enoch and Elijah).

tau gamma pi

The assumption of Mary is the church's response to Sputnik.

Watch the video here:


Make sure you watch it all the way to the end, where Mary's standing on the moon and wait for the words to come up.

PS Bad Catholics = ordinary sinful but faithful Catholics like us

I highly recommend The Bad Catholic's Guide to Good Living.

Matheus F. Ticiani

Regarding the subject of Our Lady's Assumption, Mark Shea talks about it in the episodes of his podcast for both Monday and today. They are very short, 10 minutes each. Click to listen; or right-click, then click in Save Link As, to download.
And by the way, here in Brazil the Assumption isn't a holy day of obligation. We have only four of them, as far as I know: Christmas, Corpus Christi (this one's easier, because it's also a civil holiday), Mary Mother of God, and the Immaculate Conception. Have a nice day, everyone.

J.R. Stoodley

It seems there is more historical support for Mary having died, but more common sense in the idea that she didn't. Surely she need not have, so those who think she died before her Assumption have to come up with a reason why she would have died. The only one I have heard of is that she willingly chose to die in union with Christ's death, but I don't completely buy it.

Anyway, in response to the question of how death could be the result of Original Sin I have this thought. Yes, of course animals died and decayed previous to humanity. However when the first human beings were created they were exempted from this general rule of creation by supernatural means. With their fall they became susceptible to things like disease and ageing and death like all other animals. Since there were probably still nearly identical hominins around at the time diseases and parasites could have then easily jumped to true humans, explaining how some human diseases and parasites go back genetically to beyond what could reasonably be considererd the begining of true humanity. It is really quite simple, though the forgotten details of what happened may be more complicated. A more interesting question to me is what would have been our ultimate destany if man had never fallen. Would we have lived a certain amount of time here on earth and then be assumed into heaven without death to experience the beatific vision, or would we have lived an eternal life on earth and never experienced the greater happiness of heaven nor the adoption into the "Divine Family" of the Trinity (deification, theosis)? If the latter is true this helps explain why the fall was allowed to happen.

"O felix culpa, quae talum ac tantum meruit habere Redemptorem"

J.R. Stoodley

Oh yes, also I meant to mention that glorified bodies, such as that of Mary in heaven, Christ's ressurected body or our future bodies in heaven (if all goes well), are the same physical bodies as we had on earth, yet glorified and in some sense of the word spiritualized. It is a very mysterious and sublime idea. Examples of the nature of this body are demonstrated in the risen Christ, who appeared and disappeared, walked through walls, and looked different than how he had before his death, yet also ate and could be touched to prove he was a real, physical human being.

Whether they are composed of atoms or something else (presumably derived from atoms at least since it is the same body) I don't think anyone can know at this point and ultimately I don't think it really matters.

Oh and Esau, I couldn't have gotten to an evening mass today even if there was one nearby which there wasn't. I'm in a rather remote and not very Catholic area for the time being and can't drive. There was a vigil mass last night that I may have been able to get to with some arrangement but it was too late by the time I saw this post.


Mortal sin or not, did her body not age and get old? If her body aged, why wouldn't she die?

J.R. Stoodley

Mary certainly commited no mortal sin, nor any sin whatsoever, nor did she inherit Original Sin. Never did sin of any sort touch her.

Because of this there was no need for her to get old and die. If she did so it was through her own free, good choice, presumably to be able to suffer with Christ since otherwise by right she had no need or opportunity to suffer exept perhaps through empathy.

J.R. Stoodley

In case some Protestant or somesuch comes along and misinterprets the idea of Mary suffering with Christ, though it wearies me I'll point out that of course Mary was just a creature who was and is nothing compared to or apart from God and like any creature her suffering could not have saved us and our salvation is from Christ, the one mediator between God and man. We all agree on this. The point is that we all can, though the generosity of Christ, add our own sufferings to the completely sufficient sufferings of Christ for the salvation of souls. I could go on but I have to go to bed so I'll just say don't go in some crazy illogical direction with this as some Protestants tend to. Just try to understand the actual idea, which takes nothing whatsoever away from Christ.


Because of this there was no need for her to get old and die.

Let's treat the "old" part by itself first. Did her body not age and get old? Otherwise, is that not evidence of deterioration?


Elder Care for Jesus' Aging Mother

"We don't know what her declining years were like. She may have been toothless and dim toward the end. John may have fed her soup from a spoon, settled her head on fresh pillows, turned her and changed her dressings."


Claudia, most of the things you quote are the fruit of Original Sin, from which Mary was exempt. Care to reconsider what you posted?

Mr. Spock

But this seems to me to be an invalid reason in the light of evolution. We know, from fossils, that before there were any humans (to sin and Fall), that animals had illnesses, ate each other (pain), had diseases, died and their bodies decayed as ours do now. I conclude that physical suffering, physical death and post-mortem decay are not part of the Fall, but part of the pre-lapsarian natural cycle and therefore irrelevant as a reason. (Please, no evolution denial as a way round this).

Faith Seeking Understanding:

I appreciate your efforts to rationalize modern scientific inquiry and theory with the teachings of the Church. However, I think you’ve overlooked an important detail that no one has pointed out at the time of this posting. Primarily, you make the assumption that both Man and animals were created in the same initial state of being and thus were/are created for the same end (eventual death). It is true that animals, while remaining both sinless and incapable of sin (due to a lack of soul), do experience pain and death. However, it can be successfully argued that this is the fundamental nature of animals as instituted by God. Humankind’s origin and purpose contrasts those of animals in that we are not only created in the image and likeness of God (animals are not), but we were created to experience eternal life in a loving relationship with Him as well. Simply put, WE weren’t created for death, we ARE created for life. Thus, the fall (from life to death) still carries the same ramifications for us as usual, regardless of whether animals experience(d) pain and death. It’s simply a matter of nature as intended by God. Based on this, Mary’s Assumption and all it entails still holds in the presence of evolution. Hope this helps!

On a side note to Ann Margaret, the anti-Assumption allegations that are flying over at Mr. Ray's blog all seem to have a common foundation on James White's recent blog posts. Needless to say, these posts are not without error, and while it's fully possible to refute them on Mr. Ray's blog, such an effort would seem to be laborious and time consuming (an inconvenience and deterrent to the average layperson commenter). It would be nice to treat the problem at its source, but alas, no comment section...

God Bless,

Carson Weber

Jimmy, just to let you know, the image you posted is "The Immaculate Conception" by Murillo.

Tim J.

I don't see any reason to suppose that Mary did not age like the rest of us. The fact that she was sinless did not mean that she would not suffer. In fact, through the prophecy of Simeon, she knew she would suffer, though she was sinless.

Jesus was sinless, and more, yet he suffered... "a man of sorrows, and well acquainted with grief".

Seeing Mary as preserved from all the consequences of sin is a nice thought, a pious thought, but doesn't necessarily jibe with what we know of Mary. Is there any kind of constant tradition in the Church that Mary was perpetually, say, thirty-ish? Not that I am aware of.

Mary Kay

But Tim, it wasn't personal sin that Jesus suffered (and I'm guessing Mary also), but the sins of others.

Thomas E. Vaughan

Faith Seeking Understanding and Mr.Spock,

I should like to point out another possibility.

Physical evil can be defined as any aspect of nature that brings harm to a human person. A hurricane can therefore be a physical evil. In order for human persons to live in the physical universe at any point in history (and the universe appears to be billions of years old), but not to suffer and die because of natural processes, would require some very special rules that would need, before the Fall, to apply only to human bodies. According to one simplistic view, physical evil enters the world merely by the removal of some grace from the first human persons (and so their offspring). But this idea, while possible, seems forced, asymmetric, and inelegant, at least to me.

After all, even in Genesis, the Fall is depicted as bringing an actual change to the natural world, where thorns would thereafter grow, etc. Granted, there are different views which incorporate the idea that the physical world was changed by the Fall, but I should like to point out one that I find fascinating.

Imagine that the Fall broke the physical universe in a fundamental way, affecting all of time and changing even what we think of as the laws of physics. This would imply that the Garden was a different physical environment from the one in which we now live, perhaps with a different history, though in its entirety the Garden must be at least logically prior to the physical universe in which we live. The connection between the Garden and our physical universe is that they are one and the same nature, but the Garden is the unbroken version. Perhaps the Garden was even without time in a sense. In any event, the Garden was a physical reality in which nature would not harm a human person, for whom nature was designed. But because the human person is a spiritual being connected to a physical body, the morally evil decision to disobey God had a physically evil consequence of breaking nature into what we see now.

One can imagine that Adam and Eve after the Fall suddenly found themselves in a different world (perhaps with a different history in which bodies had evolved through animal forms over immense spans of time).

How this would apply to the view of Mary is that Mary's body, like every human body in our broken world, was subject to the consequences of sin, even if Mary were granted the preternatural grace freely to choose a life free from moral evil.


Mortal sin or not, did her body not age and get old? If her body aged, why wouldn't she die?

Are you telling me that God is confined to Physical Law?

What kind of pathetic God is bound to such limitations?

If this is the god you woship, it is certainly not mine.

The God I worship is the one who created the Universe.

Why should He, the Creator of All Things, be bound to the very laws that dictate the created world when, in fact, it was He who created it?

As in the Office for today:

Isaiah 40

"Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and arranged the heavens with his palms?

Who has measured the dust of the earth, weighed out the mountains, weighed the hills on the balance? Who directed the spirit of the Lord? Who gave him advice in his task?

With whom did he consult? Who taught him? Who led him in the paths of justice, gave him knowledge, showed him the way of understanding?"

And, in particular:

Job 38

4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? tell me if thou hast understanding.
5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest or who hath stretched the line upon it?
6 Upon what are its bases grounded? or who laid the corner stone thereof,
7 When the morning stars praised me together, and all the sons of God made a joyful melody?
8 Who shut up the sea with doors, when it broke forth as issuing out of the womb:
9 When I made a cloud the garment thereof, and wrapped it in a mist as in swaddling bands?
10 I set my bounds around it, and made it bars and doors:

Mr. Flapatap


I talked to my mom (in Puerto Rico) a couple of nights ago and she told me that the Feast of the Assumption is not a Holy Day of Obligation there and is celebrated the previous Sunday. Similar to how the Epiphany or "Fiesta de los Reyes Magos" is not a Holy Day of Obligation in the US and is celebrated on the previous Sunday.

Tim J.

No, God is not bound by physical laws. It does not logically follow that Mary did not suffer.

If she suffered at all, which we are informed she did, then she suffered as a result of the sins of others, just as Jesus did. Each of us is able - by the grace of God and the merits of Christ - to offer our suffering for the sake of others, as well as for our own sake.

If we can suffer for others, then Mary could also. This does not touch on her sinlessness at all.


Even if she didn't "suffer," why should it mean she didn't experience pain and body aches of aging?


Tim J.,

My post was in connection with Mary being assumed into Heaven both body and soul.

Certainly, she must have suffered as she was alive, living here on earth.

But I was referring specifically to her Assumption.

Why must Mary need 'die' in order for her to enter into Heaven?

God being GOD, I believe He is capable of enabling her to enter Heaven without actually experiencing death, as with Enoch and Elijah.

Tim J.

Esau -

Gotcha. Sorry, I haven't had time to read all the comments and sift out who said what to whom.

I agree that it is certainly not NECESSARY that Mary die in order to enter heaven. It is also possible that she did die. I don't see it as a very profitable question to argue about, especially when the real controversy is between those who believe she was assumed and those who see that belief as rank superstition. That is where, IMO, we should be expending our ammo.

There would be a certain symmetry to the idea that she was assumed at the very MOMENT of her natural death (not before or after), just as she was sanctified at the very moment of her conception.

Tim J.

I can't find a reference right now, but I think C.S. Lewis touched on the topic of humor and bullying at some point... how there are those who bully under the cover of "humor" and when called on it come over as misunderstood and say to their victims, "I was only kidding. Where's your sense of humor?".

Seems to me like White is just passing off meanness under the cover of humor, as if that excuses all.


What does that have to do with the Assumption of Mary?

Steve Camp

Dear RCC'ers:

I do have a key question for you all that I would like to have your wisdom on. It does not deal with the assumption of Mary, but it does deal with salvation in the order of the decrees.

Is the following an accurate representation of the order of decrees in salvation according to RCC teaching:

1. Baptism
2. Confirmation
3. Eucharist
4. Penance
5. Good Works
6. Extreme Unction
7. Purgatory

FYI, I did not pull this down from a Googled link on RCC doctrine. :-).

Help me understand if this is accurate and if not, please correct me.

Grace and peace,
Steve Camp
2 Cor. 4:5-7

J.R. Stoodley

I bet Tim J. just posted that last thing on the wrong thread accidentally. I did that once and have seen it done by others.

Regarding Mary, first can we all agree that all suffering including aging is the result of Original Sin? If we can grant that, the first question becomes did Mary need to suffer or age or die. If she did then she somehow inherited some of the effects of Original Sin. It is true that when in fallen humanity someone's Original Sin is taken away by baptism the effects remain, but that is because their human nature was wounded from their conception by Origial Sin, so someone without ever having Original Sin I would think would not have any of those effects.

We know she did not inherit the spiritual effects (how else could she have remained free from even the slightest venial sin?) so why should she have inherited the physical effects? Because she lived in a fallen physical universe or because her body was derived from fallen parents as opposed to her soul which was made directly by God? Maybe, but it doesn't seem plausible to me.

I'm one who thinks physical evil wasn't brought about by any physical change in the universe around us but by a change in humanity. The earth is cursed because it doesn't provide for us as it ought and instead produces things that harm us, but this is due to no fault of its own (physical creation always fulfills the will of God perfectly) but because of us.

The arguement that she inherited fallen flesh and therefore lacked the exemption from the normal rules of the physical universe while remaining spiritually pure is more plausible but seems to me like a huge injustice. She had done nothing wrong and was preserved from Original Sin, so my sense of jusitice says that any suffering of any kind had to be by her own choice, either by sin (which as it happened she avoided, the merits of which shouldn't be dismissed due to her lack of Original Sin because just as Adam, Eve, and Jesus were tempted she no doubt was too and could have fallen but didn't) or by generosity.

By this idea one would think that as an infant no suffering could come to the unfallen person. It would have to wait for them to be old enough to make a generous choice. However we know Jesus was circumsized as an infant, which had to have hurt intensely. Perhaps the undarkened nature of an unfallen human soul is such that it can make decisions in infancy (unlikely) or perhaps only his divine will making the decision was sufficient to allow that suffering. Certainly later in life Christ chose, though submitting his own human will to the divine will, to suffer for all humanity. He had no need to suffer physically at all, but he chose to out of generousity.

Mary however had no such divine will, thus I strongly suspect she did not suffer in any was as an infant, and I have a hard time believing she suffered, except possibly emotionally through empathy for others, as a young girl. The suffering spoken of by Simon was pretty clearly emotional suffering from empathy with the sufferings of her son. Perhaps the capacity for this kind of emotional suffering had nothing to do with Original Sin except that in an unfallen world there would have been no one to feel sorry for except maybe the demons, so we would have been free from it, but as things are an unfallen person living amongst us would feel empathy and also grief over death.

It could also be pointed out that Mary lived in poverty, but I suspect that between being free from greed and from physical harm or discomfort this would not have been a negative thing for her, except again though empathy for her husband Joseph who was a fallen man suffering from poverty.

John Paul II pointed out somewhere that because of her lack of original sin there was no need for her to die, but if she did (which he thought she did) it was by her own free choice, in union with the death of Christ. This seems strange to me though. We are not supposed to want to die. Death is an evil and a result of Original Sin, and as St. Augustine points out a basic part of the love for ourselves that we are supposed to have is the strong desire to preserve our life. Jesus willingly died because it was the will of the Father that humanity be redeemed by His blood, but His human will did not want to die. Why then should or could Mary want to die without that being a sin? Maybe I'm just missing something.

Similarly if she suffered, and indeed if she aged at all in the sense of the cellular damage from the sun and mutations and so forth, it was by her own free will, presumably in adulthood and I would imagine begining only at the moment she saw Christ on the Cross.

A few aspects of aging are not based on damage but are "intentionally" brought about by the body, such as the deepening of the voice (not other aspects of voice aging). However there was no reason in her own nature for her skin, hair, etc. to have aged at all.

St. Thomas Aquinas I hear thought 30 was the perfect age which is why Christ died at about that age. If he was right Mary would have looked about 30 all her life unless she asked God to let her age. However Aquinas didn't understand what aging was scientifically so I think he was wrong. Even teenagers often have a little bit of something starting in the corners of their eyes. An unfallen human being would not even have something like that, while again his or her voice and some aspects of facial features would mature.

Actually, unlike men, the bulk of non-damage voice aging occurs in women only at and after menopause. Is menopause something that an unfallen woman like Mary would have gone though (in a manner that included no suffering)? I don't know. If it did by the end Mary could have had a fairly deep voice for a woman and perhaps even a different (but still healthy) body-fat distribution and slightly larger ears and nose than when she was a teen (since they continue growing througout life) while still looking young in other ways like skin and hair.

J.R. Stoodley

Steve Camp,

I've never encountered the term "decrees of salvation" in Catholic literature, and I have no idea where your order is coming from, except that it seems to follow in a vague sort of way what will happen to a person through the course of his or her life.

In my next post I'll address the issues.

Mr. Spock

Hi Thomas,

As a fan of good fiction (and science fiction as you might have guessed), I found your post regarding the interpretation of Genesis very interesting (parallel worlds/universes are always cool). That said, I’m having a bit of trouble in making that particular interpretation jive with Genesis itself. Perhaps you can help me?

Here’s where my train of thought typically derails: For starters, I’m hesitant to define physical evil as “any aspect of nature that brings harm to a human person”. For instance, say I’m walking through the woods, and heaven forbid, but a tree should fall on me. Ker-slam! I’m not dead, but I’m pretty badly smooshed. Is the tree physically evil? Is the gravity that made it fall? I’m not really sure about that. To take it further, what if God willed that tree to bop me one so that I’m forced to change an aspect of my lifestyle that was unhealthy? What if He is bringing a greater good out of a misfortune? Does that mean God authors physical evil? Perhaps I’ve overlooked a detail or caveat to the theory you posted.

Also, while I’m no Genesis expert, the book itself seems pretty explicit that the world created by God in seven days is the same one we sit in today. To that effect, I seem to see that the fall corresponds to a negative change in mankind’s relation to the world (as well as God and himself) and vice versa, rather than the purely the world in relation to mankind. All this seems to be corroborated by the language employed in the passages themselves. For instance the fact that Gen 3:16 speaks of Adam and Eve being sent out of the Garden to “till the earth from which he was taken” suggests that it’s still the same planet/earth. Also, I can’t seem to find a reason to believe that thistles and thorns didn’t exist prior to the fall outside the garden, it seems to me that now Adam is merely forced to contend with them as he works for his food (thorns and thistles aren’t a problem you have to deal with if God’s your gardener).

Also, as a minor addendum to my previous post, it also appears that pain is not the specific inheritance of sin, rather, that inheritance is spiritual death. When Gen 3:23 tells of God greatly multiplying Eve’s pain in childbirth, it seems to suggest that there was at least a bit more than negligible pain to begin with. I’d argue that pain and suffering are two often related yet different concepts, and that there’s something reasonable to be said about both unfallen and redeemed man feeling pain. In any case, I’d love to hear what you or anyone else thinks on the topic!

God Bless


can we all agree that all suffering including aging is the result of Original Sin?

Suffering and aging are not the same. One can be old as the hills, lost all her teeth and walk with a limp and still not be suffering.

J.R. Stoodley

Our ultimate salvation is based on our love for God. This love is impossible without faith, which is how faith leads to salvation. This love is also impossible without good works, which is why works are necessary for salvation without in any way earning salvation.

Sin is an act of rebellion and unlove, which is why it separates us from God and deprives us of his presence in our souls and our ability to be open to the beatific vision after death, thus consigning us to hell. Only sin that is grave enough deprives us of God in this total manner, lesser "venial" sins only bring our hearts a bit farther from God and predispose us to commit mortal sin. They should be forgiven too, so if one dies without unforgiven mortal sin but with unforgiven venial sin those venial sins will also be forgiven before entering heaven.

Original sin is a myserious thing but ultimately involved a congenital wounded nature and separation from God. Ultimately though no one goes to hell except by their own choice, so those who die with Original Sin but not personal mortal sin will, by the merits of Christ not their own, ultimately enter heaven.

Baptism takes away Original Sin and incorporates one into the Church. It is the first step on the Christian journey, and is necessary to be in a state of grace on earth. This is generally done at infancy for those born into the Catholic Church (or most other forms of Christianity, whose baptisms we also generally recognize as valid). With baptism the Holy Spirit enters into the soul of the child. It is not the baptizer who does all this, but God who instituted baptism and promised that he would do these things when we performed the basic external signs. That's basically what sacraments are, external symbolic signs we do which God has promised to act in certain ways when we do them, so that we may have greater surity of his actions. He is, of course, not limited to the sacraments in his salvific grace.

The next thing on your list is Confirmation. Confirmation "completes" baptism and with it the Holy Spirit decends in another way into the soul of the person. It is the biblical reception of the holy spirit by laying on of hands. Since the Holy Spirit is indivisiable and original sin was taken away and the person incorporated into the Church at baptism it is a bit mysterious in what sense Confirmation completes baptism. Indeed it has been called a sacrament in need of a theology. Today in the Latin Rite Church it is often actually performed after first communion, often for teenagers, and seen as a symbol of Christian maturity, but this is not a historically or theologically accurate belief.

There is not nearly enough time or space to do the Eucharist justice, so I'll just say along with a whole lot more it also like all the sacraments gives (remember, it is God doing the giving) sanctifying grace, the grace from Christ that makes us holy children of God.

By Penance I'm not sure if you mean the Sacrament of Penance (now more accurately usually called the Sacrament of Reconciliation) or acts of penance. The sacrament of Reconciliation involves Christ forgiving your sins. Christ can forgive sins outside of this sacrament of course but this confession and absolution gives greater surity to the penitant and the confession part helps them psycologically and spiritually. Also there is an element of reconciliation with the Church, which is why it is neccessary to confess mortal sins before receiving communion again, even if you think you have been forgiven by Christ.

If you mean physical acts of penance, these are to, after your repentance and forgivness, to rid yourself of the spiritual side effects of sin like any continued fondness for the sin and help you stop commiting the sin. It can also help bring you to a deeper repentance and to transform your life for the better. It is entirely by the grace of God and takes nothing whatsoever from the forgivness or power of Christ.

Good works flow naturally and necessarily from the love of God and neighbor we are all called to. Neglect of good works is a sin, an offence against God and a refusal to love, thus good works of some sort are going to be necessary for the salvation of an adult excepting cases of deathbed conversions. Again this takes nothing away from the power of God and in no way suggests we somehow could earn our way to heaven, a ridiculous thought.

The sacrament formerly know as Extreme Unction, now given the more friendly and accurate name "Annointing of the Sick" is another sacrament of forgiveness. If the individual is repentant it again is a time of the reception of sanctifying grace. It is useless for someone who refuses to repent of mortal sin and love God.

Purgatory is simply the purification from any remaining imperfections a person may have after death before entering heaven. Someone who goes through this purification is already justified and assured of their salvation (those who are not go strait to hell) but they may still have some attachment to sin, uncharible attitudes toward others, venal sins that they did not repent of, etc. Purgatory just means all such things are taken away by God before you enter Heaven. Images of fire and great suffering are metaphorical, mythical, or optional beliefs.

I hope this gave you a somewhat more accurate view of Catholic belief regarding salvation and those things you mentioned. Obviously because of time and space this is all very abbreviated, but if you want to know more you can look it up in things like the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

J.R. Stoodley

Alice, aging is the result of being harmed by nature. Unfallen humanity was not harmed by nature nor did their bodies disintegrate over time, therefore they did not age. This as far as I know is the traditional belief held by practically all Christians of the past.


Alice, aging is the result of being harmed by nature.

You label it "harm." I say aging is simply the flow of nature.

Faith Seeking Understanding

I am grateful to all those who have been kind enough to address my difficulty regarding evolution/natural growth and decay/entropy and for providing some interesting speculations which I must reflect upon and even wrestle with.

Ultimately all these questions fall back upon Bill 912's and Esau’s point regarding God's sovereign will to do as He chooses (within His rational loving nature), including choosing to assume the Theotokos, soul and body into His presence. But I want to push my understanding as far as I can before falling back on God's omnipotence/sovereignty. I want to understand why is Mary's transition from this life to the next different to the other saints; and so far the explanations have always taken (in my view) inadequate account of our evolution, natural growth and ageing from embryo to old age and natural death and natural decay. None of which I see as being part of the Fall – this might be where I am getting unstuck …

To put her in history, if Mary was 14 in 4BC, she would have been 48 in 30AD (crucifixion), and 90 in 72AD. I think we have to start with the presumption that, unless salvation history requires otherwise, Mary was a biologically normal female human. She grew/aged from a zygote. She would have started to menstruate at about the 'normal' age. I'm assuming here that menstruation is not an effect of the Fall and that she would have started to menstruate again after birth and breastfeeding as healthy normal women do. She would have stopped menstruating at about the 'normal' age. Assuming menopause is not part of the Fall. Would she have ever gotten ill? Would she have started to get wrinkles around her eyes (from about age 25?)? Would her hair have started to go gray? Would her joints have become less supple? Would her skin have become less elastic? Would she need have needed less sleep as she got older? When her own body cells regenerated would the DNA telomeres have shortened as part of the ageing process? My ‘common sense’ says ‘yes’.

I don't see these processes as part of the Fall, but as part of the normal maturation process, like puberty etc. Starting as a zygote we mature/age through ‘old age’ to physical death and bodily decay. Hence my difficulty in explaining Mary’s bodily Assumption as a consequence of her being specially protected from the Fall.

J.R. Stoodley

Mr. Spock,

If a tree hits you as you walk though the woods that is a clear case of physical evil. It is not moral evil as there was no disobedience of God on the part of the tree or gravity, and sure God can and will bring good out of that evil. While that evil was part of that plan and both the tree and the gravity were obeying God's will, I wouldn't say God was the author of that evil because it is only because of moral evil, the sin of Adam if nothing else, that a good thing like a tree falling would be evil, that is would harm you who God loves. If there had been no moral evil either you wouldn't have been under that tree or it's hitting you would not have harmed you.

J.R. Stoodley

In my opinion all this about physical aging and injury (by aging I'm not talking devolopment, but actual damage done to the body by its own imperfections or by the environment) being ok is taking an overly spiritual view of things. Human beings aren't just souls, we are bodies too. Harm to the body is harm to the person, and harm to the person is not something God would allow without moral evil.

I'm afraid I'm neglecting other duities so I'm going to have to drop this for now.


Harm to the body is harm to the person, and harm to the person is not something God would allow without moral evil.

Mary suffered, which is harm. Why, therefore, should she not grow old?


Human beings aren't just souls, we are bodies too.

I don't have any problem with that. And I don't have a problem with bodies changing in flux with nature, even if you choose to label it as "harm".

Harm to the body is harm to the person

What you call "harm" is simply your subjective interpretation.


harm to the person is not something God would allow without moral evil.

Jesus and Mary wore sandals so their feet wouldn't get hurt. If they didn't, their feet would "suffer" like anyone else's.


Ultimately all these questions fall back upon Bill 912's and Esau’s point regarding God's sovereign will to do as He chooses (within His rational loving nature), including choosing to assume the Theotokos, soul and body into His presence.

Faith Seeking Understanding:

"Suffering" and the "Assumption" (as I have interpreted it) are not mutually-exclusive.

You seem to be saying that in order for Mary to have assumed to Heaven, both body and soul, she would not necessarily endure suffering?

Why should that be the case?


Faith Seeking Understanding:

When her own body cells regenerated would the DNA telomeres have shortened as part of the ageing process?

Actually, the aging process isn't just a matter of the DNA telomere having been shortened.

Amongst other things, there is also the matter of the oxidation process.

In addition, have you even considered the fact that Jesus, a divine being, was also human? and, in fact, did age?

Justin West

A holy day of non-blogation....



Steve Camp,

If you really want to understand the actual teachings of the Church then you should search the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

The search feature is very helpful and my hope is that you will quote what the Church actually teaches and not what you mistakenly claim it teaches.

Take care and God bless,

Steve Camp

I have read the Catechism of the Catholic Church (invigorating - Article 9, #963=975 on The Assumption of Mary); Trent; V1 and V2 doc's. I did not posit the questions on the decrees of God in salvation because I didn't know the answer to my inquiry. I posted it to see if anyone on this forum knew what Rome teaches by its own assertions as to the decree of God in salvation. I also posted to see if anyone disagreed with the order of the RCC decrees, if they would kindly correct me and thus be correcting Rome.

I find it interesting that no one here knows even what the order of the decrees of God in salvation are according to RCC doctrine and that some didn't even know of what the phrase the decrees of God even meant.

But on another note. Here is a quote from a email circulated by Karl Keating and sent out a few days ago. A friend of mine received this (Dr. James White) and posted it on his website. Remember, this is from Catholics Answers--one of your cherished own.

Here is the quote:
"Tomorrow is the Feast of the Assumption, best known to Evangelicals and Fundamentalists as "the Marian dogma that isn't mentioned in Scripture." We can concede that point--it is true that Scripture nowhere mentions the Assumption--while noting the antiquity of the belief plus the fact that nothing in Scripture contradicts the Assumption."

As James noted and so do I that this is Rome's apologetic in a nutshell. "It's not in the Bible BUT nothing in the Bible speaks against it." How convenient! As James pointed out, there is nowhere in the Word of God that prohibits using a 4 gig jump drive either... BUT according to Rome it doesn't matter and it hasn't stopped them in the past.

If that is Rome's apologetic, then it is easy to see why She is so far removed from sound doctrine and the biblical gospel.

What say you? Can you at least be honest to admit that Rome's apologetic is flawed and unbiblical AND that there is no Scriptural support for yet another skewed and specious teaching by Rome, as in this case, The Assumption of Mary?

Sola Scriptura,
2 Cor. 4:5-7


there is no Scriptural support for yet another skewed and specious teaching by Rome, as in this case, The Assumption of Mary?

Here's a decree for you:

"If anyone, which God forbid, should dare willfully to deny or to call into doubt that which we have defined, let him know that he has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith... It is forbidden to any man to change this, our declaration, pronouncement, and definition or, by rash attempt, to oppose and counter it. If any man should presume to make such an attempt, let him know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul... I, PIUS, Bishop of the Catholic Church, have signed, so defining."


Steve Camp,

What I wholeheartedly admit is that you enjoy hearing yourself talk (I guess that has to do with your self-proclaimed license) and I accept all that the Church teaches because she was instituted by Christ Himself with His authority. Nothing you say or do can take away the Magisterium's God-given authority to teach all that He commanded. Or that what the Church teaches will be guaranteed by the Spirit of Truth.

So please continue your conversation with yourself. You really seem to enjoy that the most.

Take care and God bless,


Steve Camp:

Please post on topic. It is poor netiquette to subvert threads with unrelated subjects, especially nonpolemical threads like this one. You may or may not care about netiquette, but for the sake of charity we should all seek to avoid giving unnecessary offense. (While I'm on the subject, you may wish to check out Da Rulz.)

A few quick points to bear in mind.

1. When you speak of the "order of decrees in salvation" please understand that you are not speaking of anything in Catholic theology or catechesis. You are trying to fit Catholic teaching into boxes that you brought with you, not trying to understand it as it is taught by the Church and believed by Catholics.

2. The core Catholic understanding of salvation is very simple. To be saved, one must (a) be born anew, regenerated as a child of God animated by the divine life of sanctifying grace, and (b) by God's grace so persevere in the life of grace as to die in God's friendship, die in the state of grace.

3. In this regard, (a) normatively involves baptism, though God's grace is not limited to the sacrament and He can visit His grace on whomsoever He wishes.

4. In regard to (b), the sacramental economy strengthens and supports the life of grace and aid us in persevering. One sacrament in particular, penance, can restore us to the life of grace if we have "fallen from grace" and been "severed from Christ" (cf. Gal 5:4) through mortal sin. However, once again, the sacraments are aids that God has instituted, but He is not obligated to act only through them.

5. Everyone in purgatory is "saved" already, even though in another sense we might also say that they are in the process of being saved. Please remember that the Bible speaks of salvation in past, present and future tenses: We have been saved, we are being saved, we will be saved. Cf. Jimmy's book The Salvation Controversy to understand this better.

6. In all of the foregoing please remember that Jesus alone atones for the guilt of our sins, not we.

the warrior

Hey Steve look at Revelations 12

Rev 12:1 And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars:


Here's another

Genesis 5:24 And he walked with God, and was seen no more: because God took him.

Assumption of Mary prefigured

1 Machabees 2 58 Elias, while he was full of zeal for the law, was taken up into heaven.

Oh, bloody hell where do I stop.

Jdt 13:18-20; 15:10 Blessed art thou of the most high God above all the women upon the earth; and blessed be the Lord God, which hath created the heavens and the earth, which hath directed thee to the cutting off of the head of the chief of our enemies. ... Thou hast done all these things by thine hand: thou hast done much good to Israel, and God is pleased therewith: blessed be thou of the Almighty Lord for evermore. And all the people said, So be it.

Again, another reference to the assumption

1 Corinthians 15:55 O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?

Read the bible again Steve. I will be sure and pray for you.

Mr. Spock

Mr. Steve Camp,

As to your first point regarding the Decree of Salvation, I had planned on answering your question at my first available moment, yet I see you’ve jumped the gun somewhat and gone straight to playing the final card in your hand, namely:

“I find it interesting that no one here knows even what the order of the decrees of God in salvation are according to RCC doctrine and that some didn't even know of what the phrase the decrees of God even meant.”

Surely you didn’t come to the conclusion that several hours without an answer meant that no one who regularly reads Jimmy’s page had an answer for you? To give a comparative illustration: That would be like a marine-life enthusiast going on a whale watching tour, and after seeing no whales, concluding that none really exist and that they’re simply mythical creatures. Patience is a virtue, and I hope next time you’ll grant some of us the benefit of a few days to respond before making any decisions. That said, I think part of the reason you received such an ill response was due to the murky wording of your question itself. I myself am still a bit baffled by it. To begin, you ask what the “RCC” teaches on the “Order of Decrees”. To me, this initially sounds like you want to know what the Catholic stance is on the logical preceding of God’s decrees, to which I would respond that there is a spectrum of acceptable views allowed in the Church. We allow anything from what might be called a Moderate Infralapsarian view right on down to a standard Arminian vantage point. I think the most versatile in terms of Catholic theology is the Amyraldian school of thought (though that’s only my opinion). All have their respective philosophical and theological strengths and weaknesses, but all three are allowed in the Catholic Church. Both Semi-Pelagian and Pelagian heresies have been condemned (as you no doubt know), and I think you’d be hard pressed to find a good Catholic supporter of Supralapsarianism, not that I rule out possibility of their existence entirely. (For those who just read the above and had their eyes glaze over, here’s a primer: http://www.theopedia.com/Order_of_God's_decrees )

I say your post was confusing because after this reasonable request, you then went on to concoct a list of what appeared to be five sacraments, two random theological concepts, and a whole lot of confusion. So do you want the Catholic equivalent of the Ordo Salutis as well? Or a list of the typical order in which sacraments are received? Your phrasing is really quite unclear. I’d be happy to provide you with my approximation of either, but in the interest of saving space, I’ll wait to hear back from you on what you really were looking for. (Also, I sense a pending discussion on justification looming, so in order to keep the comments from sidetracking, perhaps it'd be better if we corresponded via email. (Invective free email only though, please))

In the future, it might behoove you to wait a bit before triumphantly declaring victory over us dirty Papists. This brings me to the subject of your quotations from both Mr. Keating and Mr. White. Yes, our dirty little secret is out. The Catholic Church has no scriptural support that explicitly mentions Mary’s assumption. However, the Magisterium of the Catholic Church bases her teachings purely off of Apostolic Tradition, of which Scripture is a subcategory. Therefore if a teaching is rooted more firmly in the Oral portion of tradition and merely confirmed in a peripheral sense in the Scriptural portion, it really doesn’t give us a case of doctrinal indigestion. We didn’t just make it up on a whim, and the actual Church documents themselves serve to as evidence that it was a long standing belief of the faithful prior to its formal declaration. Mr. White’s snappy remark about the 4-Gig Jump Drive is somewhat crass, as it is not only a flawed comparison at heart, but it’s merely thrown in there for cheap psychological shock value. The dogma of Mary’s Assumption is a concept whose origins can be traced to antiquity through faithful witness and preaching while a 4-Gig Jump drive is a modern computer chip based invention designed to store data. The two are incompatible comparatively speaking, and to suggest that the two can somehow be related in the mind of the Church is to venture into incoherence and drivel. If I’m wrong and the Church has recently made any infallible statements regarding jump drives, please bring it to my attention.

Finally, I have a personal request. Since you insist upon and seem to enjoy ending all your posts save for one by signing off under the illogical and self-defeating premise of Sola Scripture, could you at least make my life a bit more interesting? Perhaps you could spice it up a bit by changing to other sundry non-sequiturs and logical mishaps like “my favorite color is three” or “I enjoy the singing of the clams”. I figure one logical fallacy is as good as another, and at least it’d make me chuckle a bit! :)

Faithfully I remain your Brother in Christ,
Mr. Spock

Steve Camp

Spoken by someone who has nothing to say doctrinally in return. Thank you for proving my point.

Thank you for your decree, but that is not what is being asked. It is the decrees of God found biblically in the Ordo Salutis (the order of the decrees in regards to salvation).

I began my first post by saying that I realized that this was not on theme with this thread brother. Secondly, my second post here does specifically deal with Rome's apologetic directly related to The Assumption of Mary.

The Warrior
None of those verses taken in context, or even out of context as you have done, come close to even remotely describing the admitted non-biblical claim of The Assumption of Mary.

Mr. Spock
You said, "However, the Magisterium of the Catholic Church bases her teachings purely off of Apostolic Tradition, of which Scripture is a subcategory. Therefore if a teaching is rooted more firmly in the Oral portion of tradition and merely confirmed in a peripheral sense in the Scriptural portion, it really doesn’t give us a case of doctrinal indigestion."

You are making my case for me---thank you. My point exactly.

Still Pounding on Wittenberg's Door,
Gal. 1:6-9


Hi, Steve!

Can you please point to the place in the Bible where the Bible says which ancient writings, Gospel accounts, epistles etc. were to be considered the inspired word of God and therefore worthy of being included in the Bible? Why, for instance, we have four Gospels and not six or eight? Where in the Bible does it tell us what is authentic Scripture and what isn't?



In deciding which ancient writings are inspired, different groups of people have made different decisions, with each group claiming divine guidance.

A Non


You also forgot, where in the Bible

1) Does it allow translation into English. The Apocalypse says not to tamper with the text. Translation removes ALL of the original and replaces with new text. I say that it's verbotem unless someone can show where this translation into English is allowed in the text.

2) Where the text allows versification and chapters? Originally this was not done, either. These were Catholic additions to the text.

3) Where the text allows one to attack Catholics. I mean, nowhere does it tell people to do so. Yet James White thinks it is mandated by the text.


Steve Camp,
I used to be like you. I could never conceive of being a Catholic. I actually own and have read both the Forgotten Trinity and the Roman Catholic Controversy by James White. I couldn't understand how Catholics could muck things up when all they had to do was go right to Jesus.

What happened was I had to be honest with myself and realize that my "theology" over my 32 years as a born again Christian kept changing. Or, if wasn't changing, the preacher in the pulpit was saying something that didn't line up with scripture, as I saw it. By way of example, we were in the AOG when I was a teen, and that denom teaches THE evidence of being baptised in the HS is speaking in tongues. Well, my Bible didn't say that. There are only around 7 verses talking about tongues, and none of them say this.

My other problem was I believed OSAS, but whenever I would read the Gospels, this isn't what Jesus taught. So, I just avoided reading those scriptures.

I didn't know at the time that I was inching toward Catholicism. NEVER NEVER NEVER would I be a Roman Catholic.

I don't want to sabotage this thread, but you are free to email me to talk further.

Here's the thing. The Asumption of Mary isn't really a big deal doctrine. Protestant basically believe the same thing....that Mary is in Heaven. You know how we crazy Catholics are always trying to attain "relics" from this saint or that saint, or the actual cross of Jesus? Early Christians did that too. But they couldn't do that with Mary, because her body wasn't there. Early Christians would keep relics from those who died for the faith and would place them under their altars (actually, we still do this in the Catholic church). Protestants do a variation of it...like those "prayer cloths" sent out by TV faith healers, in the order of Peter and the cloth that healed people in the book of Acts.

The harder doctrine for me was the Immaculate Conception. The Assumption is kind of like a "well, of course!" doctrine. The Immaculate Conception was probably my last hurdle.

Anyway, I appreciate your vigor, but be careful not to get smug. Some of us Catholics can be smug too. We all can be like pre-conversion Paul(Saul). You obviously really believe what you believe, but so do we. I did not come to the Catholic faith lightly, nor did ANYONE push me. This was a solitary pursuit, coupled obviously with many prayer of others, taken at my own pace (10 years). It was the Holy Spirit guiding me. It wasn't Catholic Answers or Scott Hahn. I just found myself eventually backed into a corner, with only one place to go...and it wasn't easy. It wasn't what I wanted. It was foreign. It didn't seem to fit. But I obediently walked in. And funny...the very first time I walked into the Catholic Church after I decided this was where I needed to go was a random Thursday summer morning. But unbeknownst to me, it was the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul. We stood for the gospel reading and the deacon said, "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it." I looked heavenward, and through my tears, I just laughed.

But that was last year. The inevitable "journey" began years earlier. It really started in earnest with the simple, nagging constant question that would come to me as I sat in the seat of my Calvary Chapel church. As the communion elements were being passed around, quickly consumed, and "passed to the end of your row," I asked myself, "Why are we doing this?"

Mr. Spock

Hi Steve,

Thanks for your response. However, I don’t think you’ve adequately addressed the issue at hand regarding the Assumption. You claim that the Catholic Church’s “apologetic” is flawed. I argue that you are either unaware of the specifics regarding that apologetic, or that you’re basically dead set on the concept of Catholicism being wrong, so you haven’t taken the opportunity to rationalize our doctrinal claims. So I pose a challenge to you, if you’re up for it! Could you show me the logical flaw in “Rome’s apologetic”? To be more specific, assuming that the Catholic Magisterium has binding doctrinal authority (which is a completely separate debate, one that I’d be willing to discuss via email if you like) can you show us which portion of our reasoning does not logically follow? Make a list of premises and follow it through, and I think you’ll see that with the above postulate granted, our argument makes sense.

Also, I’m wondering why I find my mouth full of words that are not my own… You comment about the “admitted non-biblical claim of The Assumption of Mary”, yet nowhere did I or anyone else say that the Assumption was “non-biblical”. In fact, I stated that there is no explicit Biblical reference to the dogma in question, and I even went through the trouble to italicize it in order to draw attention to the distinction. Apparently that was too subtle a gesture, so let me rephrase with added emphasis: There is no explicit Biblical text to support the Assumption (read: nowhere in the Bible does it plainly state “Mary was then assumed body and soul into heaven”). However, the Assumption is firmly rooted in Oral Tradition and can be found to be buttressed implicitly in Scripture. (Read: there is a hunk of precedent for it as a Church teaching, and there are Scriptures that would seem to confirm the dogma if it is indeed true) I don’t know why Protestants typically choke on this line or type of reasoning, as it seems to be exactly the same process by which Sola Scriptura is deduced (no passage actually says “The Bible is the sole rule for directing how we may glorify and enjoy God”, but plenty would be in agreement if it were true. The difference being that the Bible doesn’t speak against Mary’s assumption, whereas it could be argued that it does protest against Sola Scriptura). Ultimately however, it comes back to the question of Authority, which I believe is not within the scope of these comments. Perhaps you could clarify your position some?

I’m still waiting to hear a clarification on exactly what you were looking for in your “decrees” comment as well. I also wish to take the opportunity to apologize if my previous posts came off as condescending or smug. Please know that in responding, it’s not my intent to judge, condemn or attack, but to explain.

Your Brother in Christ,

Mr. Spock

P.S. Wittenberg called. They asked that you respectfully stop pounding your head against their door, and suggest that it could be put to better use studying the merits of the Catholic arguments. (What’s the point of being Spiritual Brothers if you can’t pick on each other.)


Mr. Spock,

P.S. Wittenberg called. They asked that you respectfully stop pounding your head against their door, and suggest that it could be put to better use studying the merits of the Catholic arguments.

Thank you for the laugh! I pray Steve Camp will actually engage in a discussion with you because he has not shown that ability up to this point. Steve admitted that his authority comes from the Sacred Scriptures "rightly divided" but offers no proof that he has the authority to interpret the Sacred Scriptures or that he has done so correctly. He sure tells everyone else they are wrong (again his Korah license) but never looks at his own preconceived assumptions or clearly man-made traditions.

Steve Camp,

You have proved that you don't read what people actually write. You pat yourself on the back for ignoring others and then offer nothing but the usual charges against the Church with lots of sarcasm. If you cannot understand how boorish that is, it is time to learn.

Take care and God bless,

Thomas E. Vaughan

Mr. Spock. I have time at the moment only to respond to your issue with my definition of "physical evil". It is found, for example, in the Catholic Encyclopedia, under the entry for "evil". Here is an excerpt:

With regard to the nature of evil, it should be observed that evil is of three kinds -- physical, moral, and metaphysical. Physical evil includes all that causes harm to man, whether by bodily injury, by thwarting his natural desires, or by preventing the full development of his powers, either in the order of nature directly, or through the various social conditions under which mankind naturally exists. Physical evils directly due to nature are sickness, accident, death, etc. Poverty, oppression, and some forms of disease are instances of evil arising from imperfect social organization.

Steve Camp

First of all, Mr. Spock--great writing and come back--a pleasure to dialogue with you. Secondly, what I am looking for in mentioning the decrees on this thread about the Assumption of Mary was to see how in RCC theology you view God's eternal decree for salvation? One of the assertions of RCC is that Mary somehow "avoided original sin" and thus, by extension, RCC has evolved to create the Fifth Marian Dogma.

The decrees of God in salvation in RCC theology must begin with baptism, for it is through baptism that RC'ers are indoctrinated by Popes and Magisteriums to believe that is how original sin is absolved. Again, a nonbiblical assertion; or to keep with the theme of this thread, a nonbiblical "assumption."

That is why I posited the decrees of God and asked about RCC theology in those decrees.

Question for all:
Gerry Matatics said, "We have the exact same warrant to believe in the bodily assumption of Mary as we have to believe in the resurrection!"

Do you believe this? Where is Scripture are the two equated and given equal weight of truth? Mary, by her own confession, a sinner as you and I, in need of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ the Lord - her Savior (Luke 1:46-55) but in RCC theology is now elevated to a place of sinlessness?

This goes to the decrees of God; goes to the sufficiency of Christ Jesus the Lord; and it goes to the sufficiency of God's Word as the final rule and authority over all- even over all Popes and Magisteriums.

As the Day Draws Near,
Is. 53


Gerry Matatics said, "We have the exact same warrant to believe in the bodily assumption of Mary as we have to believe in the resurrection!"

Do you believe this?

Yes and no.

No, in the sense that the Resurrection is central to the Christian message while the Assumption of Mary is a much more tangential and less important article in the hierarchy of truths.

Yes, in the sense that both are attested by the Word of God -- the Resurrection of Christ by the word of God in sacred scripture, the Assumption of Mary by the word of God in sacred tradition -- yes. St. Paul makes no difference between his inspired epistles and the traditions he handed on by word of mouth (1 Thes 2:15); it is your unbiblical teaching of sola scriptura, contrary to St. Paul's teaching, that is the real issue here.

Mary, by her own confession, a sinner as you and I, in need of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ the Lord - her Savior (Luke 1:46-55) but in RCC theology is now elevated to a place of sinlessness?

Every believer who dies in God's friendship is "elevated to a place of sinlessness" -- God willing, Steve, someday you too will be free, the weight of sin will be released. That is what salvation ultimately does for us: It renders us free from sin.

In this respect, Mary is no different from us -- she too is saved from sin by God's grace through the merit's of Christ's (future) sacrifice, but at the beginning of her earthly life rather than at the end. Is not the sovereign God capable of saving in this fashion, if He so chooses? No wonder Mary could praise God for so great a salvation!

Steve Camp

As a follow up:
1. Can anyone on this thread point to any Apostle, early church father, any of the church councils, or anyone in the pre-Nicene period of the church that would assert the doctrine of "The Assumption of Mary?"

2. Can anyone here point to anyone in the patristic period where Mary is recognized and functions as Queen of Heaven, Mediatrix of all graces (titled as well as of Advocate, Auxiliatrix, Adiutrix) and that all grace accrues to men by God's will through Mary alone?

3. When was this affirmed "in RCC tradition"? At what point in redemptive history are these claims codified?

4. Who, in RCC theology, is the nemesis os Satan?

Thank you,


One of the assertions of RCC is that Mary somehow "avoided original sin"

Mary was saved from original sin. Grace does, after all, free us from original sin, and the angel Gabriel addressed Mary as "full of grace" -- the exact term is used nowhere else in the Bible and means one who possesses grace perfectly.


Mary, by her own confession, a sinner as you and I, in need of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ the Lord - her Savior (Luke 1:46-55) but in RCC theology is now elevated to a place of sinlessness?

Paul informs us that God chose between Jacob and Esau when they had done nothing, either good or evil. But many, many, many children die when that age, before they were born? Do you maintain that such children do not need Jesus?


If that is Rome's apologetic, then it is easy to see why She is so far removed from sound doctrine and the biblical gospel.

Steve Camp

Have you ever even examined your faith?

Does it even bother you the fact that your faith is quite different than those of the first Christians?

Let's just take one, for example -- the Real Presence -- The Holy Eucharist!

(If I were to go all out in demonstrating all Sacraments of the Church, there would just be too much evidence to cover in one shot here!)

Among many of the prominent beliefs of the early Christians that are strikingly Catholic, they believed in Petrine Authority. The early Christians believed in the Real Presence.

There are as many as 63 Fathers and eminent ecclesiastical writers from the 1st to 6th centuries, all of whom proclaim the Real Presence.

St Ignatius in the 1st century was a disciple of St. Peter himself and when he addressed the Gnostics, he even said:

"They abstain from the Eucharist and prayer, because they confess not that the Eucharist and prayer is the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ."

St. Justin Martyr wrote an Apology to the Emperor Anotoninus in the 2nd century:

"We do not receive these things as common bread and drink; but as Jesus Christ our Saviour was made flesh by the word of God, even so we have been taught that the Eucharist is both the flesh and the blood of the same incarnate Jesus."

Origen in the 3rd century wrote:

"If thou wilt go up with Christ to celebrate the Passover, He will give to thee that bread of Benediction, His own body, and will vouchsafe to thee His own blood."

St. Cyril of Jerusalem in the 4th century instructed the Catechumens:

"He Himself having declared, 'This is My Body', who shall dare to doubt henceforward? And He having said, 'This is My Blood', who shall ever doubt, saying: This is not His blood? He once at Cana turned water into wine, which is akin to blood; and is He underserving of belief when He turned wine into blood?"

St. John Chrysostom preached on the Eucharist:

"If thou wert indeed incorporeal, He would have delivered to thee those same incorporeal gifts without covering. But since the soul is united to the body, He delivers to thee in things perceptible to the senses the things to be apprehended by the understanding. How many nowadays say: 'Would that they could look upon His (Jesus') form, His figure, His raiment, His shoes. Lo! Thou Seest Him, touchest Him, eatest Him.'"

St. Augustine in the 5th century addressed the newly-baptized, saying:

"I promised you a discourse wherein I would explain the sacrament of the Lord's table, which sacrament you even now behold, and of which you were last night partakers. You ought to know wat you have recieved. The bread which you see on the altar, after being sanctified by the word of God, is the Body of Christ. That chalice, after being sanctified by the word of God, is the Blood of Christ."

And, of course, Saint Paul said, "The Cup of blessing that we bless, is it not the Communion of the Blood of Christ? and the bread which we break, is it not the partaking of the body of the Lord? ...

For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night in which he was betrayed, took bread, and giving thanks, brake it, and said: 'Take and Eat: This is My Body which shall be delivered for you. This do for the commemoration of Me'. In like manner also the cup, after the Supper, saying: 'This Cup is the New Covenant in My Blood. This do ye, as often ye shall drink, for the commemoration of Me. For as often ye shall eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye shall show the death of the Lord until He come. Therefore, whoever shall eat this bread, or drink the cup of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord.

But let a man prove himself; and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.

For, he who eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord. (1 Cor 10:16, 1 Cor 11:23-29)

Why is it, Steve Camp, that you don't believe in the very same things the Apostles and those who came after them believed but, instead, accept whole-heartedly an innovation that came 1500 years afterwards?

If that is PROTESTANT apologetic, then it is easy to see why THEY are SO FAR REMOVED from sound doctrine and the biblical gospel!


Of all the 'strawmen' here in Steve Camp's comments, this one takes the cake:

2. Can anyone here point to anyone in the patristic period where Mary is recognized and functions as Queen of Heaven, Mediatrix of all graces (titled as well as of Advocate, Auxiliatrix, Adiutrix) and that all grace accrues to men by God's will through Mary alone?

Steve Camp,

Here's some advice --

Why don't you first learn what the Catholic Church teaches prior to accusing it of teaching something it doesn't?

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