...Protestant says, "You Catholics hold to the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, but it's totally un-Biblical." So we refer them the story of the annunciation where Mary is greeted with the term 'full of grace'. (Luke 1.28) We conclude that if she was 'full of grace' then she had no sin for the Biblical definition of sin is to "fall short of the glory of God." (Rom. 3:23) If she was "full of grace" then we only have to ask when this fullness started and we conclude logically that it must have started when her life started, and life starts at conception so she must have been conceived without sin. We refer to Genesis 3:15 where God says that as a woman has given in to Satan, so a woman will trample the head of Satan, and we refer to Justin Martyr and Irenaeus and teh other Fathers who refer very early on to the Blessed Virgin as 'the second Eve' and conclude that as the first Eve was created perfect, so was the second. Now, we are happy to admit that this does not amount to Jesus Christ himself saying to his apostles, "My mother was conceived without sin and thou shalt believe this and teach it until I come again in glory." We also admit that the doctrine (while implicit in Scripture) was not defined formally until fairly late. That's okay. We believe in the possibility of the development of Doctrine, and we have theologians who help us define how and when that happens validly...Be sure to read the rest of the post about non-biblical basis of sola scriptura.
07 December 2010
In preparation for tomorrow
Father Dwight Longenecker offers a brief Scriptural synopsis of the Immaculate Conception, just in time for tomorrow's Solemnity: