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Source: (consider it) Thread: Purgatory: Perpetual virginity and vaginal birth
Ad Orientem
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Anselmina:
Too late now, of course, but if there had been healthier and better informed attitudes towards sex and women back in the day, there wouldn't've been a 'need' for an ever-virgin concept.

This is of course Bulverism. You have no evidence that the concept arose because there was a "need," let alone that the "need" was based on unhealthy attitudes towards sex.
That's because some people have a real big chip on their shoulder, that is certain breeds of feminists, mainly the rabid kind. They're unable to see things in any other terms except "You're a man, you're oppressing me." So, if you like women to be feminine, "Fuck of and die, mysoginist!" Or if you believe in the perpetual virginity of the Theotokos, "Virginity infantilises women and leads to oppression."
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loggats
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quote:
Originally posted by Jade Constable:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyda*Rose:
loggats:
quote:
Women giving birth while being virgins doesn't ever happen.

In these days of artificial insemination, that might be an unwarranted assumption.

But in terms of miracles, I agree that the BVM has it locked up.

Indeed, this actually has happened:

14yo girl forced to get pregnant by donor semen

As the first Christian (ergo Catholic), the BVM wouldn't have had anything to do with artificial insemination thank you very much.


[Two face]

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EtymologicalEvangelical
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quote:
Originally posted by loggats
It just seems weird that, in order to find Mary acceptable, you've got to make her just like you - otherwise the standard expected of us by God is too high.

I really don't understand what you are getting at here. In order to find Mary acceptable, we've got to make her into a normal human being?

Like I've said twice now (with no response from you), Jesus referred to Himself as "the Son of Man" (ho huios tou anthropou). Anthropos means "human being", therefore Mary was fully human, no more, no less. Otherwise, she would not have been an "anthropos".

quote:
However I don't think that by denying Mary's perpetual virginity, immaculate conception and unique role in relation to the Trinity we get any closer to the truth of what it means to express complete obedience to the will of God.
But we don't get any closer to the truth of what it means to express complete obedience to the will of God by affirming Mary's perpetual virginity, immaculate conception and unique role in relation to the Trinity (whatever that might be).

For example, the flagrantly discriminatory immaculate conception (if God can just protect Mary from the influence of original sin by fiat of authority, then why not simply do it for everyone?) has nothing to do with expressing complete obedience to God, and if it has, all it demonstrates is that Mary has an unfair advantage over everyone else, and thus she is a complete irrelevance, as far as our own Christian lives are concerned. (I speak as someone who doesn't believe in original sin anyway - at least in the way it has been traditionally formulated).

quote:
We come to know her Son a lot more authentically if we make the effort to know her.
Please explain.

(Especially taking into account the lack of biblical support for such an idea).

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loggats
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quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
quote:
Originally posted by loggats
It just seems weird that, in order to find Mary acceptable, you've got to make her just like you - otherwise the standard expected of us by God is too high.

I really don't understand what you are getting at here. In order to find Mary acceptable, we've got to make her into a normal human being?

Like I've said twice now (with no response from you), Jesus referred to Himself as "the Son of Man" (ho huios tou anthropou). Anthropos means "human being", therefore Mary was fully human, no more, no less. Otherwise, she would not have been an "anthropos".

quote:
However I don't think that by denying Mary's perpetual virginity, immaculate conception and unique role in relation to the Trinity we get any closer to the truth of what it means to express complete obedience to the will of God.
But we don't get any closer to the truth of what it means to express complete obedience to the will of God by affirming Mary's perpetual virginity, immaculate conception and unique role in relation to the Trinity (whatever that might be).

For example, the flagrantly discriminatory immaculate conception (if God can just protect Mary from the influence of original sin by fiat of authority, then why not simply do it for everyone?) has nothing to do with expressing complete obedience to God, and if it has, all it demonstrates is that Mary has an unfair advantage over everyone else, and thus she is a complete irrelevance, as far as our own Christian lives are concerned. (I speak as someone who doesn't believe in original sin anyway - at least in the way it has been traditionally formulated).

quote:
We come to know her Son a lot more authentically if we make the effort to know her.
Please explain.

(Especially taking into account the lack of biblical support for such an idea).

Nobody's saying Mary wasn't fully human.

Sola Scriptura is a heresy.

Happy Feast of St Joseph the Worker!

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LeRoc

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quote:
loggats: I don't know why, unless she's your (pl.) definition of "ordinary", Our Lady would be unworthy as a role model.
We are humans. If we want to aspire to a role model -any role model, whether we want to excel in sports, or aspire to a religious or moral ideal- we have to struggle. It doesn't come easy to us.

Someone who has this ideal handed to him/her on a silver plate, without having to take part in this struggle, can't be a very good role model for us. Whe can just say "duh, it was easy for him/her".

Take Spiderman. If I wanted to learn how to climb walls, he isn't a very good role model. He was bitten by a spider and then he could do it. Easy-peasy.

Films in which he would just climb another building and catch the bad guy would be very boring. What makes the Spiderman films interesting are the moment in which the spider magic fails, and Peter Parker has to struggle like the rest of us. That is something we can relate to. Superman without kryptonite is thoroughly boring.

In my faith, the same is true with God. He could just sit on his ivory tower clouds, twist His beard and say: "Why can't you be more like Me?" We could rightly reply to this: "Well, it's easy when you're Allmighty You, but we down here actually had to suffer and struggle for it."

To me, incarnation means that God actually got His ass down here and experienced in the flesh that it isn't easy after all. Until the point that He had to die for it.

THe same is true with Mary. Sexuality is a wonderful thing, but it also can be a struggle with many pitfalls. Having a super-woman who by definition had no problems with it from the start, doesn't help us in that struggle.

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The Rhythm Methodist
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ISTM that Mary's perpetual virginity is rather akin to other claims made about her, e.g. the Immaculate Conception, Queen of Heaven, Co-redemptrix with Christ. It is difficult to avoid the perception that she has effectively been elevated to the status of goddess, in some quarters....even if that title is carefully avoided.

I think the eminent theologian known as 'The Apostle' (from the film Dogma) pretty-much sums up my view of her perpetual virginity: "The nature of God and the virgin birth - those are leaps of faith. But to believe a married couple never got down - well, that's just plain gullibility!"

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loggats
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rhythm Methodist:
ISTM that Mary's perpetual virginity is rather akin to other claims made about her, e.g. the Immaculate Conception, Queen of Heaven, Co-redemptrix with Christ. It is difficult to avoid the perception that she has effectively been elevated to the status of goddess, in some quarters....even if that title is carefully avoided.

I think the eminent theologian known as 'The Apostle' (from the film Dogma) pretty-much sums up my view of her perpetual virginity: "The nature of God and the virgin birth - those are leaps of faith. But to believe a married couple never got down - well, that's just plain gullibility!"

The Immaculate Conception is a Catholic dogma. Queen of Heaven is a title given to Mary, and possibly doesn't translate well to a post-Catholic culture but it doesn't imply she is a goddess at all. She is a creature just like you and me. Mary as Co-Redemptrix is (as I've already posted) rejected by the Catholic Church.

Kevin Smith is a funny guy, but he wouldn't be my first (second or third) port of call when it comes to information about the Holy Family.

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Ad Orientem
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rhythm Methodist:
ISTM that Mary's perpetual virginity is rather akin to other claims made about her, e.g. the Immaculate Conception, Queen of Heaven, Co-redemptrix with Christ. It is difficult to avoid the perception that she has effectively been elevated to the status of goddess, in some quarters....even if that title is carefully avoided.

Well, no. For instance in Orthodoxy we believe that the Theotokos remained a virgin but we do not believe in the Immaculate Conception, which we would dismiss as scholastic speculation. Neither do we use the title Co-redemptrix.
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EtymologicalEvangelical
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quote:
Originally posted by loggats
Nobody's saying Mary wasn't fully human.

Sola Scriptura is a heresy.

Happy Feast of St Joseph the Worker!

In other words, by these terse and rather smug one-liners you're admitting that you cannot answer my questions.

As for 'Sola Scriptura', even tradition recognises the role of the Bible, and so one would have thought the Magisterium would be able to shed light on Holy Scripture, such that we could interpret it correctly. But, of course, you cannot interpret something that just is not there!

I suspect "Sola Scriptura is a heresy" is a standard comment that amateur novice Catholic apologists (who are rather an embarrassment to their Church) make, when the going gets tough in discussions with Protestants.

But even if you think that tradition can add to the Bible, it certainly cannot take away from it. Therefore if there are passages of the Bible which show that we do not come to Jesus through Mary, then no amount of tradition can expunge them. One such passage is Mark 3, in which Jesus actually sidelines his mother, and puts the focus firmly on God:

quote:
Then His brothers and His mother came, and standing outside they sent to Him, calling Him. And a multitude was sitting around Him; and they said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are outside seeking You.”

But He answered them, saying, “Who is My mother, or My brothers?” And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.”



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You can argue with a man who says, 'Rice is unwholesome': but you neither can nor need argue with a man who says, 'Rice is unwholesome, but I'm not saying this is true'. CS Lewis

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by LeRoc:
Suppose that all of us wanted to learn to do the high jump. Some of us can jump 2 feet high, others perhaps 3 or 4.

Enter Mary. A couple of men decide that she had rocket-powered turbo shoes, and with them easily jumped 30 feet. Then they say to all women: see, you're failing because you can't jump as high as her.

Two points:

1. You've conflated two issues:

A. Mary's ever-virginity
B. Using (A) as a club to beat women with.

(A) can be true without (B). That it wasn't necessarily so does not change this fact. This is potential baby-with-the-bathwater territory.

2. Since when has the Catholic Church ever held up perpetual virginity as a requirement for all women?

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loggats
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Honestly (not to my credit at all) I find your posts a little obnoxious and your general attitude difficult to get a handle on.

Engaging with you would probably be very interesting, but having aggressive conversations with somebody who obviously doesn't much care for a thing I have to say (except to cleverly go "aha! this is why you're completely wrong") isn't my idea of a good time.

Hopefully there are Catholic apologists (I've never been called one of those before, awful or not!) around here better equipped to offer you the kind of debate you seem to need.

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LeRoc

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I have sexual standards. I may put them on a different height than the RCC does, but I believe it is important to have them. It isn't that anything goes.

My problem with the RCC picture of the BVM isn't that it sets standards (although I disagree on where it puts them), it's that it presents us with a role model of someone who by their definition didn't have to struggle to attain those standards, and uses this as a criterium to judge women by.

I picture a woman from a Brazilian favela. She ran away from her first man because he abused her. Her second man just left her. She has children with both of them, and she is worried that her daughter will fall into the hands of a violent guy in the favela. There are literally millions of women like this in Latin America.

Now, suppose a Catholic priest would go to her and say "why can't you be more like Mary?" (the Catholic priests I personally know in Brazil wouldn't do that), she could rightly spit in his face: "Well, it was easy for immaculate, whole-hymen her! Let her start by suffering birth pains for a while, then maybe we could talk."

I would wholeheartedly agree with her.

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I know why God made the rhinoceros, it's because He couldn't see the rhinoceros, so He made the rhinoceros to be able to see it. (Clarice Lispector)

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loggats
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quote:
Originally posted by LeRoc:
I have sexual standards. I may put them on a different height than the RCC does, but I believe it is important to have them. It isn't that anything goes.

My problem with the RCC picture of the BVM isn't that it sets standards (although I disagree on where it puts them), it's that it presents us with a role model of someone who by their definition didn't have to struggle to attain those standards, and uses this as a criterium to judge women by.

I picture a woman from a Brazilian favela. She ran away from her first man because he abused her. Her second man just left her. She has children with both of them, and she is worried that her daughter will fall into the hands of a violent guy in the favela. There are literally millions of women like this in Latin America.

Now, suppose a Catholic priest would go to her and say "why can't you be more like Mary?" (the Catholic priests I personally know in Brazil wouldn't do that), she could rightly spit in his face: "Well, it was easy for immaculate, whole-hymen her! Let her start by suffering birth pains for a while, then maybe we could talk."

I would wholeheartedly agree with her.

She watched her only Son humiliated and tortured, hung on a Cross and left to die.

Our Lady was no stranger to pain.

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LeRoc

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quote:
mousethief: 2. Since when has the Catholic Church ever held up perpetual virginity as a requirement for all women?
It holds up the standard of an asexual Mary, every time it says "You live with a man you're not married to, why can't you be like Mary?", "You are divorced, why can't you be like Mary?", "You have children with different men, why can't you be like Mary?"

Every time it does this, it holds up a standard of someone who got a free "you don't have to struggle with sexuality" card the moment she passed Start.

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I know why God made the rhinoceros, it's because He couldn't see the rhinoceros, so He made the rhinoceros to be able to see it. (Clarice Lispector)

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LeRoc

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quote:
loggats: She watched her only Son humiliated and tortured, hung on a Cross and left to die.

Our Lady was no stranger to pain.

Yes, this is something that brings her closer to women in the favela. Many of them have seen their sons die, so they can definitely relate to that.

But this image of Mary has never struggled with sexuality. That disqualifies her as a sexual role model in my eyes.

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I know why God made the rhinoceros, it's because He couldn't see the rhinoceros, so He made the rhinoceros to be able to see it. (Clarice Lispector)

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loggats
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By your logic, Christ is the worst role model going.

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Alisdair
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Perhaps it is safe to say that whatever else they are in God's sight Mary and Jesus were/are ordinary human beings, both apparently blessed with a good deal of humility.

Everything beyond that is speculation and/or superstition from other ordinary human beings who too easily look for idols and heroes to compensate/justify their own short-comings and give them hope that `not everyone is like me'.


If either Mary or Jesus were not ordinary human beings, just like us, then they have nothing to say to us, they might as well come from another planet. Isn't it by God's grace that either of them fulfilled their callings---not by their own strength or any special exceptional powers they might call their own?

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loggats
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Jesus is the Incarnate Word!

I can't agree that Jesus is just "ordinary". If he were, you wouldn't see me here (or in a Christian church of any description) for dust.

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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There seems to be a divide between those who accept a particular doctrine or dogma about Mary, and those who don't. I get it that there is a litmus test for acceptable belief in some traditions. Those with those traditions dear to their heart defend them, and label contrary ideas as Bulverism or some other heretical moniker.

Those who deal less with ideas and more with real human beings tend to find doctrine less important. I've appreciate LaRoc's posts in this regard. The essentials of Christianity don't hinge on Mary, they hinge on other things. If the doctrine of her ever-virginness moves someone closer to God in their faith they may well emphasize it. It is not necessary to do a black-white, this is true and you better accept it or you are anathema. The party line must be accepted or it's time for re-education? How far from that? I think a long way, because no-one is nearly as strident about this as I read here.

On another point, the doctrine that Mary never had sex does seem to raise this concept to the level of something to aspire to. Of course we don't have any words from Mary to determine if she ever discussed her ideas about sex and the merits of not having it ever. Thus, I'm back to the question of how important it really is, and if anyone really believes that God will do any damning of those who don't hold this belief. I suspect not. And further, if it alienates real people, divert focus from it please, particularly if you're a man talking to a woman.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet:
Those with those traditions dear to their heart defend them, and label contrary ideas as Bulverism or some other heretical moniker.

It might do you well to learn the names of the various informal logical fallacies, so that when somebody names one, you don't think they're naming a heresy. Saving face and all that.

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LeRoc

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quote:
loggats: By your logic, Christ is the worst role model going.
No, because I believe that He was without sin, but He actually had to struggle for it. That's what the story of His temptation tells me. It didn't come magically by itself.

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I know why God made the rhinoceros, it's because He couldn't see the rhinoceros, so He made the rhinoceros to be able to see it. (Clarice Lispector)

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Cara
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Actually, Le Roc, surely in a way Mary did "struggle with sexuality."

The angel told her she would become pregnant even though she had never had intercourse with a man. She accepted this as God's will, even though she knew that in her society an apparently illegitimate pregnancy would mean disgrace. Even though she knew that Joseph might well reject her (as he almost did).
She had to accept a possible future as a pregnant girl alone, in disgrace.

Then of course she did suffer-or anyway we've no reason to suppose otherwise-- the pains of birth as well.

I am a bit surprised about the attitude you report among these women in the favelas, as I thought that traditionally, in poor countries--rural Italy, Spain, etc--Mary has been especially dear to women--a sort of sister/mother figure who could understand them, and bring some femininity to place alongside Jesus and God the Father...

To sidetrack slightly and comment on the rest of what's being said, I was brought up Catholic and so with the full Marian theology. Now I have more of an Anglican point of view about her...but (or "and") I very much appreciate the richness that she, and ideas/art/poems etc about her, has brought to Christianity through the centuries. It would be a shame to lose her as an important figure...I think some early strict Protestants did indeed go too far in rejection of her.

As for virginity, I think it absolutely makes sense theologically that she was a virgin when Christ was conceived within her.
I think it's also likely that she and Joseph had normal marital relations after that, and that the "brothers" were real brothers and sisters. This would in no way diminish my respect for her.

It's true that in the early church, a very high premium was put on virginity--marriage good, virginity far better. Early stories of the saints show this clearly. And yes, I think too high a premium was put on virginity vs marriage. Sometimes a saintly couple was praised to the skies because they decided to live together but in celibacy. Sheesh.

But in at least one saint's legend, advisers trying to persuade a girl not to marry, but to dedicate herself to God as a virgin, also point out that husbands can be trouble, can abuse you, can sleep with the maids, can bring in a mistress, can greatly restrict your freedom and autonomy....

Throughout Christianity, virginity has also been a way to escape the demands of men. (Of course, those demands were often unjust, patriarchal etc etc....in such societies one can better understand the appeal of virginity, perhaps?)

And yet, I can see how early Christians might have felt that, to be chosen as the one who carried the unborn child Jesus, gave birth to him, and was his mother, she would have to have been someone really special herself....

I agree, though, that the recently formalized Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception takes her away from us somewhat--if she was free of original sin, that means being obedient and good and holy was easy for her. So that's one reason why I would not subscribe to this doctrine.

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loggats
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quote:
Originally posted by LeRoc:
quote:
loggats: By your logic, Christ is the worst role model going.
No, because I believe that He was without sin, but He actually had to struggle for it. That's what the story of His temptation tells me. It didn't come magically by itself.
We are taught that Mary had a consistent desire to choose a holy and pure life. She had free will and exercised it - the Church doesn't teach that Mary was some kind of robot who could only do good.

Her Immaculate Conception (ie. Mary "at the first instant of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace of the Omnipotent God, in virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of mankind, was preserved immaculate from all stain of original sin")* means that Mary was blessed with sanctifying grace (allowed to share in the life and love of God) from the first instant of her existence. She was saved by Christ, not through her own merits.


*Pope Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus

[ 01. May 2013, 19:48: Message edited by: loggats ]

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mousethief

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(The Plot™ does not believe in the Immaculate Conception because we do not have the Augustinian understanding of original sin as a heritable stain. No macula, no need for immacula. We now return to our regularly-scheduled mud fight.)

(ETA: Indeed Augustinian original sin is one place where the Orthodox see the Catholics and Protestants as opposite sides of the same coin.)

[ 01. May 2013, 19:49: Message edited by: mousethief ]

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Alisdair
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loggats -- I'm not sure why being the `Incarnate Word' prevents Jesus being `ordinary'. He breathed, bled, got tired, was subject to temptation. All the evidence we have points to Jesus being an `ordinary man'---a `son of man'.

Clearly he was also not `blinded' as we are, but through his insight and obediance that `wholeness' is apparently also open to us. So even there Jesus is what we may be also---his `brothers and sisters', his `friends'.

If God has truly `humbled' Himself, I see no reason why, in that humility, God should choose, in the person of Christ, to somehow remain aloof from our reality. Everything we know about Jesus says, at least it seems to me, that he truly took the form of a servant and became one with us.

Is there any reason why the same should not also be the case for Mary; she played her part with a good heart and humble trust---surely that is all that matters.

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LeRoc

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quote:
Cara: She had to accept a possible future as a pregnant girl alone, in disgrace.
Yes, this is a Mary I a can relate much more to. But I guess this in this case, she would be struggling with prejudice, not directly with her sexuality.

If this were held up as a role model: "Even Mary, who had no sexual fault, faced prejudice, but through her faith she managed to overcome it. This can give you strength to overcome prejudice as well", then I would have no problem with this.

quote:
Cara: I am a bit surprised about the attitude you report among these women in the favelas, as I thought that traditionally, in poor countries--rural Italy, Spain, etc--Mary has been especially dear to women--a sort of sister/mother figure who could understand them, and bring some femininity to place alongside Jesus and God the Father...
Yes, this is true. They see her as Mary the mother, who understands us, who can talk to God for us instead of all those men... But she needs to be a little bit of flesh and blood to achieve that.

quote:
loggats: We are taught that Mary had a consistent desire to choose a holy and pure life. She had free will and exercised it - the Church doesn't teach that Mary was some kind of robot who could only do good.
This already sounds a bit better.

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mousethief

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Interestingly, one of our hymns about Mary

--but first a bit of background: many of our hymns take the form of imagined conversations between biblical or hagiographical characters--

One of our hymns about Mary has her saying to Gabriel, "How can this be, since I have not known pleasure?"

Thus recognizing that sex is fun, and that Mary would have known this. Just sayin'.

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Anselmina
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Anselmina:
Too late now, of course, but if there had been healthier and better informed attitudes towards sex and women back in the day, there wouldn't've been a 'need' for an ever-virgin concept.

This is of course Bulverism. You have no evidence that the concept arose because there was a "need," let alone that the "need" was based on unhealthy attitudes towards sex.
Well, I'll have to google Bulverism, so thanks for the new word, Mousethief! [Big Grin]

But I'd say it was pretty obvious that our early Church Fathers had a rather prejudiced view about sex and women, really from the get-go. I'm not blaming them. Those were the times that were in it. But these prejudices most definitely influenced developing and evolving issues in Church life. Such as eg, sex, procreation obviously trumping carnal pleasure even between husband and wife. The Church, for centuries, promoted sexual relations as nothing better than a necessary evil to produce children. Now, I would call that 'unhealthy'. Of its time, arguably, but definitely unhealthy. And even unnatural.

And once you get into the groove of how nasty all that sex business is, even in legitimate contexts, and then take into the account the old saw - that it's the woman's fault for tempting a bloke - it's only a matter of time before someone has to take on the role as the antithesis of the typical sinful woman, through whom the whole world originally fell, and by whose wiles the world continues to be damned. A second Adam to the fight, wasn't enough. Eve had to be cleaned up, too.

I think Mary's an incredible woman. I think her story is unique, and her experience is unique - clearly, it must be. She wasn't ordinary in her choices, her obedience. But she was utterly human in her extraordinariness, including in her openness to the work of the Holy Spirit. In fact, if we deny that Mary's starting off point was the same as most other people's - to an ordinary human extent - we're denying her the credit for her incredible submission to God.

I have no wish to make Mary 'like the rest of us' either. Quite the opposite; when she decided to give to God what he requested, by her own words and actions she became worthy of exaltation. The post-mortem makeover given her by the Church, into some kind of immutable plaster-cast SuperVirgin just seems, at best, unnecessary, and the result of simply not permitting her to be what she was: a woman, albeit one stonking great mensch of a woman.

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LeRoc

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quote:
mousethief: One of our hymns about Mary has her saying to Gabriel, "How can this be, since I have not known pleasure?"

Thus recognizing that sex is fun, and that Mary would have known this. Just sayin'.

I think I like that hymn.

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mousethief

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I appreciate what you are saying, Anselmina, but you're still Bulverizing. You're saying, "The church had such-and-such characteristics. This belief is in keeping with those charcteristics. Therefore the reason they put forth this belief is because of those characteristics." It's psychologizing away the belief, which is Bulverism.

(Oh, and you're welcome, and brava to you for actually looking it up and not whining about not knowing the word, as some do (not naming names but they know who they are).)

[ 01. May 2013, 20:12: Message edited by: mousethief ]

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EtymologicalEvangelical
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quote:
Originally posted by loggats
Honestly (not to my credit at all) I find your posts a little obnoxious and your general attitude difficult to get a handle on.

Engaging with you would probably be very interesting, but having aggressive conversations with somebody who obviously doesn't much care for a thing I have to say (except to cleverly go "aha! this is why you're completely wrong") isn't my idea of a good time.

I apologise, loggats. [Hot and Hormonal]

I've been doing the hell-purgatory two-step and I seem to have got the choreography wrong.

Obviously I stand by the theological content of my comments here, but I acknowledge that my tone has been a bit aggressive (although I do think it's good to have strong feelings about these subjects, because they matter.)

You may be interested to know that I went through a stage of having a great interest in Mariology - in fact, it became almost an obsession. I bought a couple of books on the subject:

The Mother of the Saviour and our Interior Life - Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange O.P

All Generations Will Call Me Blessed - Jim McManus C.Ss.R.

The first one is a bit dense, to say the least, but the other one is more readable. Perhaps I'll share a few things from them in due course.

All the best,

Al

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LeRoc

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quote:
mousethief: I appreciate what you are saying, Anselmina, but you're still Bulverizing. You're saying, "The church had such-and-such characteristics. This belief is in keeping with those charcteristics. Therefore the reason they put forth this belief is because of those characteristics." It's psychologizing away the belief, which is Bulverism.
Suppose there is a church in which all preachers want to drive a Mercedes. Lo and behold, in the faith statements of that church there is one that says "Every preacher is entitled to a Mercedes."

Of course, logically it is possible that this faith statement was divinely inspired and has nothing to do with the preachers' wish. But wouldn't you at least have a suspicion that these characteristics had something to do with it?

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Alisdair
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Surely it's against reason and experience to suggest, or imagine, that somehow the `early church' was any less influenced by the prejudices, fears, and blindesses, of its members than the church today. We have no evidence that people then were any different in their humanity than people today. We also know full well that the early church was at various times heavily influenced and infiltrated by all sorts of `beliefs' that were washing around the Mediterranean at that time. We onl need to explore all the various `heresies' to see the reality of the period.

God seems willing to work through our foolishness, and propensity for repeatedly grabbing the wrong end of the stick and then poking someone else in the eye with it. The whole OT story is of God's faithfulness to work with us where we are. Is there any question that faithfulness continues---through the NT and on until now, and beyond---including within the `body' that bears Christ's name and has repeatedly misunderstood and abused `the word' that it is called to proclaim.

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loggats
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quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
quote:
Originally posted by loggats
Honestly (not to my credit at all) I find your posts a little obnoxious and your general attitude difficult to get a handle on.

Engaging with you would probably be very interesting, but having aggressive conversations with somebody who obviously doesn't much care for a thing I have to say (except to cleverly go "aha! this is why you're completely wrong") isn't my idea of a good time.

I apologise, loggats. [Hot and Hormonal]

I've been doing the hell-purgatory two-step and I seem to have got the choreography wrong.

Obviously I stand by the theological content of my comments here, but I acknowledge that my tone has been a bit aggressive (although I do think it's good to have strong feelings about these subjects, because they matter.)

You may be interested to know that I went through a stage of having a great interest in Mariology - in fact, it became almost an obsession. I bought a couple of books on the subject:

The Mother of the Saviour and our Interior Life - Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange O.P

All Generations Will Call Me Blessed - Jim McManus C.Ss.R.

The first one is a bit dense, to say the least, but the other one is more readable. Perhaps I'll share a few things from them in due course.

All the best,

Al

Thanks Al, I appreciate that.

I guess I was feeling a little bit raw since I've never really had to play apologist like this. It's actually quite a burden trying to faithfully transmit the Church's teachings, and I don't know how people do it without becoming nervous wrecks (wondering if they're making a mess or actually push people away etc). So I'm trying to do my best while still expressing a personal opinion, and enjoying the experience.

I'll look into the books you've suggested, and look forward to hearing more from you about this subject.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by LeRoc:
quote:
mousethief: I appreciate what you are saying, Anselmina, but you're still Bulverizing. You're saying, "The church had such-and-such characteristics. This belief is in keeping with those charcteristics. Therefore the reason they put forth this belief is because of those characteristics." It's psychologizing away the belief, which is Bulverism.
Suppose there is a church in which all preachers want to drive a Mercedes. Lo and behold, in the faith statements of that church there is one that says "Every preacher is entitled to a Mercedes."

Of course, logically it is possible that this faith statement was divinely inspired and has nothing to do with the preachers' wish. But wouldn't you at least have a suspicion that these characteristics had something to do with it?

Yes. But it's an inept comparison, because there's no chicken-egg possibility. Imagine instead a church where they hold up a certain person as an exemplar, AND proclaim one of their characteristics to be exemplary. Is this person exemplary because they have that characteristic? Or is that characteristic exemplary because that person has it? Just given those two facts, there's no way to know.

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LeRoc

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It would have been Bulverism if Anselmina had said:

- The church fathers claimed that virginal birth is true.
- Because of sexism, the church fathers desired virginal birth to be true.
- Therefore, virginal birth is false.

Instead, she seems to be saying something like:

- The church fathers claimed that virginal birth is true.
- Because of sexism, the church fathers desired virginal birth to be true.
- Therefore, we have to be careful about sexist elements that might still be present in the virginal birth idea.

I see no Bulverism there.

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet:
Those with those traditions dear to their heart defend them, and label contrary ideas as Bulverism or some other heretical moniker.

It might do you well to learn the names of the various informal logical fallacies, so that when somebody names one, you don't think they're naming a heresy. Saving face and all that.
The point is that when you give something a name, you can therefore dismiss it. As you have now done again.

[ 01. May 2013, 21:06: Message edited by: no prophet ]

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Kaplan Corday
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It is interesting to read examples of coy reluctance to countenance any discussion of Mary's hymen, given the many centuries of veneration of the Holy Prepuce, including Christ's slipping it onto the finger of Catherine of Siena at her mystical marriage to him.
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Lyda*Rose

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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
It is interesting to read examples of coy reluctance to countenance any discussion of Mary's hymen, given the many centuries of veneration of the Holy Prepuce, including Christ's slipping it onto the finger of Catherine of Siena at her mystical marriage to him.

Ew.

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Gamaliel
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EE has shamed me into an apology too. I've been rather aggressive in my attitude towards him.

[Hot and Hormonal]

Meanwhile, Catherine of Siena? Yes ... I don't know much about her but what little I know makes me feel uncomfortable. I only found out the other day that she is a 'Doctor of the Church'.

I know the Orthodox feel uncomfortable about her too ... but then some of them feel uncomfortable about St Francis of Assisi whilst others wish he was one of theirs ...

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George Spigot

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I saw this and thought of this thread: Vaginal corona Myths surrounding virginity

Never heard the phrase corona used in this context before.

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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
It is interesting to read examples of coy reluctance to countenance any discussion of Mary's hymen, given the many centuries of veneration of the Holy Prepuce, including Christ's slipping it onto the finger of Catherine of Siena at her mystical marriage to him.

It is not normal to discuss any woman's hymen in polite society.

I would be very suspicious of anyone these days of either sex who claimed to have a special devotion to the Holy Prepuce.

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EtymologicalEvangelical
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OK, loggats, on a more positive note re Catholic teaching about Mary ...

In 2005 I went through a stage when I was seriously pissed off with Prot Evangelicalism, especially the personality cult aspect that seemed to affect many churches (I was working for a so called parachurch organisation at the time, and involved in various aspects of mission both in the UK and overseas). I started to think about the Catholic Church, having been brought up to believe it was basically dodgy, but I suppose my rebellious streak at the time opened me up to considering that perhaps it wasn't quite as dodgy as I had been effectively brainwashed into believing. The media coverage of the death of John Paul II and the election of Benedict XVI stirred up interest.

I even enquired from a Catholic website as to what to expect if I ever darkened the door of a Catholic Church. Unfortunately I have never done so, apart from slinking in to the back of a service in Westminster Cathedral in London and just observing.

I went through a stage of buying Catholic books, and I certainly won't list them all, but they include works by John Paul II, Benedict XVI (including one about him), and even The Catholic Controversy by St. Francis de Sales. I also have a number of Catholic Bible versions, including the Douay Version, the New Jerusalem and the Latin Vulgate.

So I'm not completely averse to things Catholic, and I must admit I'm a bit surprised at myself that I have pitched into you on this thread, as I am certainly not anti-Catholic.

One aspect of the life of Mary that I thought quite a lot about, but about which I didn't actually really come to a settled conclusion, concerns some of the words of Jesus from the cross:

quote:
Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son! Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.
(John 19:25-27)

It occurred to me that there are three sets of people Jesus addressed - or referred to - from the cross:

The unbelievers who had crucified Him: "Forgive them Father for they do not know what they do."

The new convert (the thief on the cross): "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

Established believers - i.e. the Church (as represented by the beloved disciple and Mary His mother): "Woman, behold your son!" ... "Behold your mother".

Now, I cannot deny that there must be some spiritual significance in this. The standard Protestant interpretation is that Jesus was just sorting out His mother's personal care with one of the disciples. I find this interpretation untenable.

It is hard to believe that the Church would not have taken care of Mary if Jesus had not made any such arrangement. Furthermore, there were the 'adelphoi' of Jesus, whose responsibility it was to look after her anyway.

But, for me, the most compelling reason is that the words of Jesus from the cross are for us all. This is the very centre of the work of God in salvation. Paul said that "I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." Therefore it is not unreasonable to assume that the words of Jesus from the cross - from the very heart of God's salvific work and from the depths of God's suffering - possess great weight and which speak down the ages to all mankind.

So while Jesus caring for the well-being of his mother after His departure is commendable, and speaks in general terms about the practical love of God, somehow this doesn't seem to me to have much weight.

As I said, Jesus addressed or referred to three categories of people from the cross, and we can see that the distinction between these categories makes sense in terms of the Christian life: unbelievers (even those who persecute us), new converts and established (and therefore more mature) believers. Jesus prayed for forgiveness for the persecuting unbelievers, he promised salvation for the new convert, and he promised a mother - son relationship to the beloved disciple and to Mary.

Somehow the sequence of forgiveness - salvation - looking after Mary after I've gone doesn't seem to make much sense. Are we really to believe that Jesus' only words to the Church from the cross concern a domestic arrangement, which would have been taken care of anyway?

But the sequence of forgiveness - salvation - some significant spiritual blessing on the Church does seem to make logical sense.

This is a mystery to me, but this is what Jim McManus says about it in this book All Generations Will Call Me Blessed:

quote:
Jesus entrusts his beloved disciple to the maternal care of his mother. This is a clear sign that Jesus is not just trying to find a home for his mother after his death. This is not simply a private domestic arrangement that Jesus is making for his mother. He is entrusting to her a new responsibility. From now on she will be the mother, the true, spiritual mother of the disciples. ...

Through the power of the word of God Mary becomes the mother of the disciple; she becomes the mother of all the disciples. Her God-given mission from now on is to be the mother of all disciples. The beloved disciple too receives a new mission from Jesus. To him Jesus says, "She is your mother." Jesus' very last word to his disciple entrusts Mary to him as his own mother. The disciple must live by that word of God spoken by Jesus. We see how he responds. "From that hour the disciple took her into his own home." Receiving Mary as his own mother from the hands of Jesus on the cross is the last thing that the beloved disciple did before Jesus proclaimed, "It is fulfilled" (John 19:30). It is what every beloved disciple must do.

I acknowledge that what he is saying must be the truth. But I have no idea at all what this really means in practice. If the spiritual interpretation of John 19:25-27 is the Catholic one, then the Catholic position is correct, in my opinion.

Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange in his book The Mother of the Saviour and our Interior Life explains this incident:

quote:
...it was on Calvary that Jesus proclaimed Mary our mother, when He addressed to Mary the words: 'Woman, behold thy son', and to St John, who personified all the redeemed, the words: 'Behold thy mother.' Tradition has always understood the words in that sense: they do not refer to a grace peculiar to St John alone, but go beyond him to all who are to be regenerated by the Cross.

The words of the dying Saviour, like sacramental words, produce what they signify: in Mary's soul they produced a great increase of charity and of maternal love for us; in John a profound filial affection, full of reverence for the Mother of God. There is the origin of devotion to Mary.

So even though I have problems with the doctrines of the Immaculate Conception (which really concerns my problem with the idea of original sin) and the idea of perpetual virginity, because it contradicts Catholic teaching on marriage, I have no problem with the idea of Mary as the Mother of the Church. I just do not know what it really means in practice.

Perhaps you could explain...

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Gamaliel
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On the Catherine of Siena and the apparent medieval pre-occupation with Christ's foreskin and other parts of various Saints' anatomy ...

Grotesque as all this sort of thing can become, I can understand how this could come about with an emphasis on the Incarnation - there's a very fleshly aspect to Christianity which cuts against some of the neo-Platonic elements that are definitely there too.

On one level Christianity as we know it now is a Hellenised offshoot of Judaism - so we can expect hybrid Hebrew/Hellenistic elements. They're there in the NT too, particularly in John's Gospel.

They weren't quite so squeamish about these things in medieval times, of course. Read Chaucer.

And John Donne uses the analogy of God raping or 'ravishing' him in one of his poems - surely an image equally as shocking as anything in medieval hagiography.

Hmmm ...

Coming back to EE's points - and yes, I was over hasty in shooting my gob off at him earlier. I s'pose what I was rankled about was the disconnect in EE demanding (as it seemed to me) a sola-scriptura response from someone who doesn't operate within a sola-scriptura paradigm.

It's unreasonable, not to say impossible, to demand a sola-scriptura response from an RC or an Orthodox Christian as this isn't how they operate. It's not how they approach nor use the scriptures.

I'd also cheekily suggest that it isn't the way that Protestants approach or use the scriptures either. We all of us receive and use scripture in the context of a particular tradition or other. It comes filtered to us in that way. How could it be otherwise?

You could no more expect a sola-scriptura answer from Loggats than it would be reasonable for him to expect an answer from EE or ken or any other evangelical-ish Protestant couched in scripture and Tradition (Big T). It wouldn't be unreasonable, though, for Loggats to expect an answer from a Protestant couched in terms of scripture and tradition (small t) because that's how Protestants approach the scriptures - through the lens of whatever small t tradition they represent or have imbibed - be it Reformed, Wesleyan, evangelical, Pentecostal or whatever else.

That's how these things work. There's no way round it.

That said, and I do sincerely apologise to EE, I'm glad EE asked the question because it did elicit a response that has led, it seems to me, to the more measured and thoughtful exchange that we appear to be having now. It's taken the heat out of things to some extent.

Or so it seems to me.

[Smile]

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

Posts: 15997 | From: Cheshire, UK | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
loggats
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# 17643

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To me it means reflecting on the great mystery of Mary - of herself she is nothing, and God has for our sake manifested His glory and His love in her.

She's the most perfectly poor and the most perfectly hidden saint, the one who has absolutely nothing whatsoever that she tries to possess as her own so that she can completely communicate to the rest of us the grace of our infinitely selfless God. The more we resemble her by empty ourselves and become poor and hidden, the more we resemble Him.

Her motherhood extends beyond the person of Christ to the faithful, all Christian people.

(Also for anybody interested: Catechism of the Church: Mary - Mother of Christ, Mother of the Church, a pretty perfect summation of Catholic teaching about Mary.)

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"He brought me into the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love."

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Moo

Ship's tough old bird
# 107

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quote:
Originally posted by loggats:
quote:
Originally posted by LeRoc:
I picture a woman from a Brazilian favela. She ran away from her first man because he abused her. Her second man just left her. She has children with both of them, and she is worried that her daughter will fall into the hands of a violent guy in the favela. There are literally millions of women like this in Latin America.

Now, suppose a Catholic priest would go to her and say "why can't you be more like Mary?" (the Catholic priests I personally know in Brazil wouldn't do that), she could rightly spit in his face: "Well, it was easy for immaculate, whole-hymen her! Let her start by suffering birth pains for a while, then maybe we could talk."

I would wholeheartedly agree with her.

She watched her only Son humiliated and tortured, hung on a Cross and left to die.

Our Lady was no stranger to pain.

But she was almost certainly treated with loving respect all her life. That makes pain easier to bear.

Moo

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Kerygmania host
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See you later, alligator.

Posts: 20365 | From: Alleghany Mountains of Virginia | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
loggats
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# 17643

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quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
quote:
Originally posted by loggats:
quote:
Originally posted by LeRoc:
I picture a woman from a Brazilian favela. She ran away from her first man because he abused her. Her second man just left her. She has children with both of them, and she is worried that her daughter will fall into the hands of a violent guy in the favela. There are literally millions of women like this in Latin America.

Now, suppose a Catholic priest would go to her and say "why can't you be more like Mary?" (the Catholic priests I personally know in Brazil wouldn't do that), she could rightly spit in his face: "Well, it was easy for immaculate, whole-hymen her! Let her start by suffering birth pains for a while, then maybe we could talk."

I would wholeheartedly agree with her.

She watched her only Son humiliated and tortured, hung on a Cross and left to die.

Our Lady was no stranger to pain.

But she was almost certainly treated with loving respect all her life. That makes pain easier to bear.

Moo

And having a car makes getting from point A to point B easier than having a unicycle with a puncture.

People who play the "I've suffered more than you and you can't ever understand my suffering" game are unfortunately very tedious. And pitiable, but still. Tedious.

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"He brought me into the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love."

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Lamb Chopped
Ship's kebab
# 5528

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I'm not so sure about the loving respect. When she and her sons show up to take Jesus away to the funny farm, I can't help thinking that her heart was not in it--after all, she knew the facts of his birth, she remembered the various prophecies, visit to the temple at 12, etc. So why was she there at all? (particularly when we see her back on the "right" side at the crucifixion and resurrection, etc.)

I can only make sense of it by supposing that Jesus' brothers (cousins, if you must!) who were downright unbelievers had forced her to go along. And that doesn't sound very respectful to me.

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

Posts: 20059 | From: off in left field somewhere | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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quote:
Originally posted by loggats:
People who play the "I've suffered more than you and you can't ever understand my suffering" game are unfortunately very tedious. And pitiable, but still. Tedious.

Unless it is true.

I've noticed that it is rather typical to dismiss suffering in some situations because it is really hard to face the reality of it. The full on, terrible story of it, particularly when told to you in a situation of no escape from the hearing.

Calling it tedious or pitiable may be dismissive but it may also be a psychological defence against truly understanding on the emotional level - empathy - the suffering. We are not all the same, some have suffered much more than others. I have wondered how it is that Christ identified with the suffering so well, and we so often fail to properly try to follow his example.

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Out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety.
\_(ツ)_/

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Moo

Ship's tough old bird
# 107

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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
I'm not so sure about the loving respect. When she and her sons show up to take Jesus away to the funny farm, I can't help thinking that her heart was not in it--after all, she knew the facts of his birth, she remembered the various prophecies, visit to the temple at 12, etc. So why was she there at all? (particularly when we see her back on the "right" side at the crucifixion and resurrection, etc.)

I can only make sense of it by supposing that Jesus' brothers (cousins, if you must!) who were downright unbelievers had forced her to go along. And that doesn't sound very respectful to me.

The woman LeRoc spoke of was physically abused repeatedly. I very seriously doubt that that happened to Mary.

Moo

[ 01. May 2013, 23:23: Message edited by: Moo ]

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Kerygmania host
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See you later, alligator.

Posts: 20365 | From: Alleghany Mountains of Virginia | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged



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