Saturday, September 30, 2006

Dr. Miravalle's Response To 7 Common Objections To Mary As Co-Redemptrix: Objection 2

Objection 2: Calling the Blessed Virgin Mary, "Co-redemptrix" is against proper Christian ecumenism, as it leads to division between Catholics and other Christians.

Arguably the most commonly posed objection to the use of Co-redemptrix (let alone any potential definition of the doctrine) is its perceived opposition to Christian ecumenism. Therefore we must begin with an accurate definition of authentic Christian ecumenism and its appropriate corresponding activity as understood by the Catholic Church.

In his papal document on ecumenism, Ut Unum Sint, ("that they all may be one" Jn. 17:21), Pope John Paul II defines authentic Christian ecumenism in terms of prayer "as the soul" and dialogue "as the body" working towards the ultimate goal of true and lasting Christian unity. At the same time, the Catholic imperative to work and strive for Christian unity does not permit in any degree the reduction or dilution of Catholic doctrinal teaching, as such would both lack Catholic integrity and concurrently be misleading in dialogue with other non-Catholic Christians as to what the Catholic Church truly believes.

As the Second Vatican Council clearly teaches in terms of ecumenical dialogue: "It is, of course, essential that doctrine be clearly presented in its entirety. Nothing is so foreign to the spirit of ecumenism as a false conciliatory approach which harms the purity of Catholic doctrine and obscures its assured genuine meaning."

John Paul II further explains:
With regard to the study of areas of disagreement, the Council requires that the whole body of doctrine be clearly presented. At the same time, it asks that the manner and method of expounding the Catholic faith should not be a hindrance to dialogue with our brothers and sisters...Full communion of course will have to come about through the acceptance of the whole truth into which the Holy Spirit guides Christ's disciples. Hence all forms of reductionism or facile "agreement" must be absolutely avoided.

An accurate understanding then of ecumenism from the Catholic perspective is the critical Church mandate to pray, to dialogue, and to work together in charity and in truth in the seeking of true Christian unity among all brothers and sisters in Christ, but without any compromise in presenting the full doctrinal teachings of the Church. The present pope, so personally dedicated to authentic Christian unity, again affirms: "The unity willed by God can be attained only by the adherence of all to the content of revealed faith in its entirety. In matters of faith, compromise is in contradiction with God who is Truth. In the Body of Christ, 'the way, the truth, and the life' (Jn.14:6), who could consider legitimate a reconciliation brought about at the expense of the truth?"

Let us now apply this understanding of ecumenism to the question of Mary Co-redemptrix. The Co-redemptrix title for Mary has been used in repeated papal teaching, and the doctrine of Marian co-redemption as Mary's unique participation with and under Jesus Christ in the redemption of humanity constitutes the repeated doctrinal teaching of the Second Vatican Council:
...She devoted herself totally, as handmaid of the Lord, to the person and work of her Son, under and with him, serving the mystery of redemption, by the grace of Almighty God. Rightly, therefore, the Fathers see Mary not merely as passively engaged by God, but as freely cooperating in the work of man's salvation through faith and obedience.

And further:
Thus the Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in union with her Son unto the cross, where she stood, in keeping with the divine plan, enduring with her only begotten Son the intensity of his suffering, associated herself with his sacrifice in her mother's heart, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this victim which was born of her.

And further:
She conceived, brought forth, and nourished Christ, she presented Him to the Father in the temple, shared her Son's suffering as He died on the cross. Thus, in a wholly singular way she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope, and burning charity in the work of the Savior in restoring supernatural life to souls. For this reason she is a mother to us in the order of grace.

Thereby, there is no question that Marian Co-redemption constitutes the doctrinal teaching of the Catholic Church and as such must be presented in any true articulation of Catholic teaching, which critically includes the domain of true ecumenical dialogue.

To therefore claim that Mary Co-redemptrix in title and doctrine is in any way contrary to the ecumenical mission of the Church is fundamentally to misunderstand the ecumenical mission of the Church itself. Full Catholic doctrine, including the doctrine of Marian co-redemption, must be included for any true dialogue seeking Christian unity. Moreover, the purposeful absence of Mary Co-redemptrix in full ecumenical dialogue and in the overall ecumenical mission of the Church would lack integrity and justice for the Catholic ecumenist towards non-Catholic Christians who have presumably, on their part, brought the full teachings of their particular ecclesial body to the tables of dialogue. To return to the Christian admonition of John Paul II: "In the Body of Christ, 'the way, the truth, and the life' (Jn.14:6), who could consider legitimate a reconciliation brought about at the expense of the truth?"

Therefore calling the Blessed Virgin Mary a "Co-redemptrix" in light of Christian Scripture and Christian Tradition is in no sense contrary to ecumenism, but rather constitutes an essential element of the Christian integrity demanded by true ecumenism, since Marian Co-redemption constitutes a doctrinal teaching of the Catholic Church.

In fact, if the doctrine of Co-redemptrix presently constitutes a source of confusion for some Christians, connoting for some an image of goddess or other concepts of Marian excesses, then it appears all the more appropriate that a clear articulation of this Marian doctrine be given to brother and sister Christians in ecumenical dialogue. There is also the potential benefit of a formal papal definition providing the greatest possible clarity from the highest possible Catholic authority. In the words of the late John Cardinal O'Connor of New York: "Clearly, a formal papal definition would be articulated in such precise terminology that other Christians would lose their anxiety that we do not distinguish adequately between Mary's unique association with Christ and the redemptive power exercised by Christ alone."

Another legitimate ecumenical perspective on Marian co-redemption and her subsequent spiritual motherhood is that as spiritual mother of all peoples, Mary can be a principal means of Christian unity among divided Christian brothers and sisters, rather than being its prime obstacle. Lutheran pastor, Rev. Dr. Charles Dickson, calls on Protestant Christianity to re-examine the documented positive Marian defense and devotion of many of its own founders, as manifested, for example, in the words of Martin Luther in his Commentary on the Magnificat: "May the tender Mother of God herself procure for me the spirit of wisdom profitably and thoroughly to expound this song of hers...May Christ grant us a right understanding...through the intercession and for the sake of His dear Mother Mary...."

Luther goes on to call Mary the "workshop of God," the "Queen of heaven," and states: "The Virgin Mary means to say simply that her praise will be sung from one generation to another so that there will never be a time when she will not be praised."

On the role of Mary's universal spiritual motherhood as an instrument of Christian unity, Dr. Dickson comments further:
"In our time, we are still faced with the tragic divisions among the world's Christians. Yet, standing on the brink of a bright new ecumenical age, Mary as model of catholicity, or universality, becomes even more important. In the course of many centuries from the beginning of the Church, from the time of Mary and the Apostles, the motherhood of the Church was one. This fundamental motherhood cannot vanish, even though divisions occur. Mary, through her motherhood, maintains the universality of Christ's flock. As the entire Christian community turns to her, the possibility of a new birth, a reconciliation, increases. So Mary, the mother of the Church, is also a source of reconciliation among her scattered and divided children."

St. Jerome, The Crotchety Scholar

St. Jerome is one of my favorite saints! He never mixed words when it came to dealing with heretics. Here are a few of his quotes. (I will add more later today when I have more time)

"I am told that some one has been mad enough to put deacons before presbyters, that is, before bishops. For when the Apostles clearly states that presbyters are the same as bishops, must not a mere server of tables and of widows be insane to set himself up arrogantly over men through whose prayers the body and blood of Christ are produced?"

"Let my [detractors] take my answer as follows: I am not so dull-witted nor so coarsely ignorant (qualities which they take for holiness, calling themselves the disciples of fishermen as if men were made holy by knowing nothing) -I am not, I repeat, so ignorant as to suppose that any one of the Lord's words is either in need of correction or is not divinely inspired."

"This is what Marcion asks, and the whole pack of heretics who mutilate the Old Testament, and have mostly spun an argument something like this: Either God knew that man, placed in Paradise, would transgress His command, or He did not know."

"Heretics bring sentence upon themselves since they by their own choice withdraw from the Church, a withdrawal which, since they are aware of it, constitutes damnation."

"He slays a heretic who allows him to be a heretic. But when we rebuke him we give him life; you may die to your heresy, and live to the Catholic faith."

"You are renowned throughout the whole world; Catholics revere and look up to you as the restorer of the ancient faith, and -- which is a token of yet more illustrious glory -- all heretics abhor you."

Friday, September 29, 2006

Mary As Maternal Mediatrix

"A mediator, in general, is a person who intervenes between two other persons for the goal of uniting the two parties. The task of the mediator is not to distance further but to reconcile, to bring together the two parties in question.

In the Christian faith, we know that there is only one unique mediator between God and man: the person of Jesus Christ. As St. Paul says: "For there is one God and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim 2:5). But the perfect mediation of Jesus Christ does not prevent (and in fact provides for) other mediators who are subordinate and secondary to Jesus. Jesus' perfect mediation allows for others to participate in the one and unique mediation of Our Lord. In fact, in the four lines before the passage from 1 Timothy just quoted, St. Paul specifically asks that "supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions..." and states that doing so is "good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim 2:1-4). Supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings made for others are clearly forms of mediation.

We have several examples of secondary mediators in the Old Testament, mediators that were appointed by Almighty God Himself. We have the Old Testament prophets who are inspired by God to mediate between Yahweh and the oftentimes disobedient people of Israel (for the purpose of reconciling Yahweh and Israel). Certainly the patriarchs, like Abraham and Moses, were secondary mediators of the covenant between God and the chosen people of the Old Testament.

In both Old and New Testaments, the glorious mediation of the angels fills the pages of Sacred Scripture as God's special messengers and intercessors; for example, from the Book of Tobit, to the mediation of the Angel Gabriel on behalf of God at the Annunciation (cf. Lk 1:26). St. Thomas Aquinas called the angels "God's secondary causes" since God does so much through the mediation of the angels.

That the one mediation of Jesus Christ is unique, but at the same time allows for the subordinate and secondary mediation of others, is here summarized by St. Thomas Aquinas: "Christ alone is the perfect mediator between God and man...but there is nothing to prevent others in a certain way from being called mediators between God and man in so far as they, by preparing or serving, cooperate in uniting men to God."

Vatican II voices the same truth in these words:
No creature could ever be counted along with the Incarnate Word and Redeemer; but just as the priesthood of Christ is shared in various ways both by his ministers and the faithful, and as the one goodness of God is radiated in different ways among his creatures, so also the unique mediation of the Redeemer does not exclude but rather gives rise to a manifold cooperation which is but a sharing in this one source (Lumen Gentium, No. 62).

Hence, even we, in offering a prayer, or fasting, for a family member or friend, are acting as secondary mediators between God and humanity in the order of spiritual intercession which, rather than detracting from the one mediation of Jesus, in fact, manifests and exercises the power of our one Divine Mediator to the Father.

Theologically, in regards to Mary, the term "mediatrix" refers to a secondary and subordinate female mediator who acts with the same intention as the primary and independent mediator; that is, the reconciliation of individuals. Mary participates in the one mediation of Jesus Christ like no other creature, and hence, she exclusively has the role of "Mediatrix" with Jesus in reconciling humanity with God.

Several scriptural events point to Mary's role as Mediatrix in the order of intercession. It was Mary's intercession at the wedding of Cana (Jn 2:1-11) that led to the first miracle of Our Lord and the beginning of his public ministry. At the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth, Mary's physical intercession in bringing the unborn Christ to his unborn cousin, John the Baptist, led to John's sanctification in the womb of Elizabeth (cf. Lk 1:41).

This role of Mary as "Mediatrix," or secondary and subordinate mediator with Jesus, has a strong foundation in the apostolic tradition as manifested in this fourth century profession by St. Ephraem (d. 373): "After the Mediator, you (Mary) are the Mediatrix of the whole world."

More recently, Vatican II ends its beautiful treatment of Mary as "Mother in the order of grace" by confirming Mary's role and title as "Mediatrix":
Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix. This, however, is so understood that it neither takes away anything from nor adds anything to the dignity and efficacy of Christ the one Mediator (Lumen Gentium, No. 62).

Pope John Paul II explained Mary's unique and exalted sharing in the one mediation of Jesus in his 1987 encyclical, "Mother of the Redeemer":
Mary entered, in a way all her own, into the one mediation "between God and men" which is the mediation of the man Christ Jesus (1 Tim 2:5). (W)e must say that through this fullness of grace and supernatural life she was especially predisposed to cooperation with Christ, the one Mediator of human salvation. And such cooperation is precisely this mediation subordinated to the mediation of Christ. In Mary's case we have a special and exceptional mediation...(Redemptoris Mater, No. 39).

Mary's role as Mediatrix with Jesus, the one Mediator, has two fundamental expressions in the order of grace. First, Mary uniquely participated with Jesus Christ in reconciling God and man through the Redemption. For this role she has been called "Co-redemptrix" (meaning a secondary and subordinate participator in Jesus' Redemption of the world).

Secondly, Mary gave birth to Jesus, source of all grace, and she distributes all the graces merited by Jesus on Calvary to the human family. This role of Mary as the person responsible for the distribution of graces is referred to as "Dispenser of all graces" or oftentimes by the more general title, "Mediatrix of all graces." "

-By Dr. Mark Miravalle (More info can be found here)

Dr. Miravalle's Response To 7 Common Objections To Mary As Co-Redemptrix: Objection 1

Objection 1.
Calling Mary a "Co-redemptrix" places her on an equal level with Jesus Christ, the Divine Son of God, making her something like a fourth person of the Trinity, a goddess or quasi-divine goddess, which is blasphemy for any true Christian.

The Catholic Church's use of the title, "Co-redemptrix" as applied to the Mother of Jesus in no sense places Mary on a level of equality with Jesus Christ, the Divine Redeemer. There is an infinite difference between the divine person of Jesus Christ and the human person, Mary. Rather, papal teaching has used the title, "Co-redemptrix" to refer to the unique participation of the Mother of Jesus with and under her divine son in the work of human redemption.
The term, "co-redemptrix" is properly translated "the woman with the redeemer" or more literally "she who buys back with (the redeemer)." The prefix, "co," comes from the Latin term, "cum," which means "with" and not "equal to." Co-redemptrix therefore as applied to Mary refers to her exceptional cooperation with and under her divine son, Jesus Christ in the redemption of the human family, as manifested in Christian Scripture.

With Mary's free and active "fiat" to the invitation of the angel Gabriel to become the mother of Jesus, "Be it done unto me according to your word" (Lk. 1:38), she uniquely cooperated with the work of redemption by giving the divine Redeemer his body, which was the very instrument of human redemption. "We have been sanctified by the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Heb. 10:10), and the body of Jesus Christ is given to him through the free, active, and unique cooperation of the Virgin Mary. By virtue of giving flesh to the "Word made flesh" (Jn.1:14), who in turn redeems humanity, the Virgin of Nazareth uniquely merits the title Co-redemptrix. In the words of the late Mother Teresa of Calcutta, "Of course Mary is the Co-redemptrix—she gave Jesus his body, and his body is what saved us." (1)

The New Testament prophecy of Simeon in the temple also reveals the suffering, co-redemptive mission of Mary in direct union with her Redeemer son in their one unified work of redemption: "Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary, his mother, 'Behold, this child is set for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and will be a sign of contradiction, and a sword shall pierce through your own soul, too" (Lk. 2:34-35).

But the climax of Mary's role as Co-redemptrix under her divine son takes place at the foot of the Cross, where the total suffering of the mother's heart is obediently united to the suffering of the Son's heart in fulfillment of the Father's plan of redemption (cf. Gal 4:4). As the fruit of this redemptive suffering, Mary is given by the crucified Savior as the spiritual mother of all peoples, "Woman, behold your son!' Then he said to the disciple, 'behold, your mother!" (Jn.19:27). As described by Pope John Paul II, Mary was "spiritually crucified with her crucified son" at Calvary, and "her role as Co-redemptrix did not cease with the glorification of her Son." (2) Even after the accomplishment of the acquisition of the graces of redemption at Calvary, Mary's co-redemptive role continues in the distribution of those saving graces to the hearts of humanity.

The earliest Christian writers and Fathers of the Church explained Marian co-redemption with great profundity in simplicity in the first theological model of Mary as the "New Eve." Essentially, they articulated that as Eve, the first "mother of the living" (Gen. 3:20) was directly instrumental with Adam, the father of the human race, in the loss of grace for all humanity, so too Mary, the "New Eve," was directly instrumental with Jesus Christ, whom St. Paul calls the "New Adam" (Cf. 1 Cor. 15:45-48), in the restoration of grace to all humanity. In the words of 2nd century Church Father, St. Irenaeus: "Just as Eve, wife of Adam, yet still a virgin, became by her disobedience the cause of death for herself and the whole human race, so Mary, too, espoused yet a virgin, became by her obedience the cause of salvation for herself and the whole human race." (3)

In light of her unique and direct cooperation with the Redeemer in the restoration of grace for the human family (cf. Gen. 3:15), Mary became universally known in the early Church as the "New Mother of the Living," and her instrumental co-redemption with Christ was well summed in the succinct expression of 4th century Church Father, St. Jerome: "Death through Eve, life through Mary." (4)

Explicit references to Marian co-redemption as Mary's unique participation with and under Jesus Christ in redeeming or "buying back" humanity from the slavery of Satan and sin is present throughout Christian Tradition. For example, the 7th century Church writer, Modestus of Jerusalem, states that through Mary, we "are redeemed from the tyranny of the devil." (5) St John Damascene (8th century) greets her: "Hail thou, through whom we are redeemed from the curse." (6) St. Bernard of Clairvaux (12th century) preaches that, "through her, man was redeemed." (7) The great Franciscan Doctor, St. Bonaventure (13th century) aptly summarizes Christian Tradition in this teaching: "That woman (namely Eve), drove us out of Paradise and sold us; but this one (Mary) brought us back again and bought us." (8)

Although there was never any question of the total and radical dependency of the Virgin Mary's participation in redemption upon the divine work and merits of Jesus Christ in the minds of the Church fathers and doctors, nonetheless early Christian Tradition did not hesitate to teach and preach the unparalleled intimate participation of the woman, Mary, in the "buying back" or redeeming of the human race from the slavery of Satan. As humanity was sold by a man and a woman, so it was God's will that humanity would be bought back by a Man and a woman.
It is upon this rich Christian foundation that 20th century popes and saints have used the title Co-redemptrix for Mary's unique role in human redemption, as exemplified in the contemporary use of Co-redemptrix for Mary by Pope John Paul II on at least six occasions during his present pontificate. (9) "Co-redemptrix" as used by the popes means no more that Mary is a goddess equal with Jesus Christ than St. Paul's identification of all Christians as "God's co-workers"(1 Cor. 3:9) means that Christians are gods equal to the one God.

All Christians are rightly called to be co-workers or "co-redeemers" with Jesus Christ (cf. Col. 1:24) in the reception and cooperation with grace necessary for our own redemption and the redemption of others—personal subjective redemption made possible by the historic objective redemption or "buying back" accomplished by Jesus Christ, the "New Adam," the Redemptor, and Mary, the "New Eve," the Co-redemptrix.

Time Travel Preferences

I've been tagged by Dilexitprior (who was tagged by Fr. Finigan) for this meme:

If an angel could take me back in time, what five things or occasions would I like to experience?

Since she had this to say, I shall do likewise:
"I'll ignore Biblical events because I don't think I could narrow that down to five. I'll follow his lead and ignore Biblical events - nevertheless, I can't bear to limit the list so I'll do a secular one and a sacred one."

1. Being present at the opening night of Shakespeare's Hamlet with Richard Burbage in the lead role!
2. Be standing alongside Arthur Guinness as he made his first batch of Guinness! (And then enjoying a pint with him.)
3. Be at Yankee Stadium at Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS to watch the Red Sox crush the Yankees 10-3 to advance to the first World Series that they won in 86 years!
4. Be at Game 4 of the 2004 Word Series Games where the Red Sox swept the Cardinals for their first World Series Championship since 1918!
5. Being present at the first performance of Mozart's Requiem!

1. Being on one of St. Brendan's famous voyages!
2. Being present when St. Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland!
3. Having a cup of tea with John Henry Newman to talk about his recent conversion!
4. Taking part of a Bible Study conducted by St. Jerome!
5. Sitting in the classroom at the University of Paris while St. Thomas Aquinas was giving a lecture!

(optional #6). Being at the bottom of the steps in Wittenburg to trip Martin Luther as he walked up to the Cathedral to post his 95 Theses! (sorry, I couldn't resist.)

I hereby tag St. Michael the Archangel (after all it is his feast day!), Thomas the American Papist, and Mike Aquilina the Patristi-blogger extraordinaire.

Feast Of The Archangels

Today is the Feast of Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. These are the only angels mentioned by name in the Scriptures.

You may recall Michael from the Book of Daniel, Jude, and Revelation. His name means "Who is Like God?", which was his battle cry as he went against Lucifer in the rebellion in Heaven.

Gabriel is from the Annunciation of our Lord in Luke's Gospel as well as announcing the birth of John the Baptist. He also appears in the Book of Daniel to explain the vision that Daniel has. His name means "God is Mighty."

Raphael can be found in the Book of Tobit. His name means "Healer of God." In Tobit he travelled with Tobiah and cured a man's blindness.

Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael protect us!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Whether It Is Proper To Christ To Be The Mediator Of God And Man?

Objection 1: It would seem that it is not proper to Christ to be the Mediator of God and man. For a priest and a prophet seem to be mediators between God and man, according to Dt. 5:5: "I was the mediator and stood between God [Vulg.: 'the Lord'] and you at that time." But it is not proper to Christ to be a priest and a prophet. Neither, therefore, is it proper to Him to be Mediator.

Objection 2: Further, that which is fitting to angels, both good and bad, cannot be said to be proper to Christ. But to be between God and man is fitting to the good angels, as Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv). It is also fitting to the bad angels---that is, the demons: for they have something in common with God---namely, "immortality"; and something they have in common with men---namely, "passibility of soul" and consequently unhappiness; as appears from what Augustine says (De Civ. Dei ix, 13,15). Therefore it is not proper to Christ to be a Mediator of God and man.

Objection 3: Further, it belongs to the office of Mediator to beseech one of those, between whom he mediates, for the other. But the Holy Ghost, as it is written (Rm. 8:26), "asketh" God "for us with unspeakable groanings." Therefore the Holy Ghost is a Mediator between God and man. Therefore this is not proper to Christ.

On the contrary, It is written (1 Tim. 2:5): "There is . . . one Mediator of God and man, the man Christ Jesus."

I answer that, Properly speaking, the office of a mediator is to join together and unite those between whom he mediates: for extremes are united in the mean [medio]. Now to unite men to God perfectively belongs to Christ, through Whom men are reconciled to God, according to 2 Cor. 5:19: "God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself." And, consequently, Christ alone is the perfect Mediator of God and men, inasmuch as, by His death, He reconciled the human race to God. Hence the Apostle, after saying, "Mediator of God and man, the man Christ Jesus," added: "Who gave Himself a redemption for all."

However, nothing hinders certain others from being called mediators, in some respect, between God and man, forasmuch as they cooperate in uniting men to God, dispositively or ministerially.

Reply to Objection 1: The prophets and priests of the Old Law were called mediators between God and man, dispositively and ministerially: inasmuch as they foretold and foreshadowed the true and perfect Mediator of God and men. As to the priests of the New Law, they may be called mediators of God and men, inasmuch as they are the ministers of the true Mediator by administering, in His stead, the saving sacraments to men.

Reply to Objection 2: The good angels, as Augustine says (De Civ. Dei ix, 13), cannot rightly be called mediators between God and men. "For since, in common with God, they have both beatitude and immortality, and none of these things in common with unhappy and mortal man, how much rather are they not aloof from men and akin to God, than established between them?" Dionysius, however, says that they do occupy a middle place, because, in the order of nature, they are established below God and above man. Moreover, they fulfill the office of mediator, not indeed principally and perfectively, but ministerially and dispositively: whence (Mt. 4:11) it is said that "angels came and ministered unto Him"---namely, Christ. As to the demons, it is true that they have immortality in common with God, and unhappiness in common with men. "Hence for this purpose does the immortal and unhappy demon intervene, in order that he may hinder men from passing to a happy immortality," and may allure them to an unhappy immortality. Whence he is like "an evil mediator, who separates friends" [*Augustine, De Civ. Dei xv].

But Christ had beatitude in common with God, mortality in common with men. Hence "for this purpose did He intervene, that having fulfilled the span of His mortality, He might from dead men make immortal---which He showed in Himself by rising again; and that He might confer beatitude on those who were deprived of it---for which reason He never forsook us." Wherefore He is "the good Mediator, Who reconciles enemies" (De Civ. Dei xv).

Reply to Objection 3: Since the Holy Ghost is in everything equal to God, He cannot be said to be between, or a Mediator of, God and men: but Christ alone, Who, though equal to the Father in His Godhead, yet is less than the Father in His human nature, as stated above (Question [20], Article [1]). Hence on Gal. 3:20, "Christ is a Mediator [Vulg.: 'Now a mediator is not of one, but God is one']," the gloss says: "Not the Father nor the Holy Ghost." The Holy Ghost, however, is said "to ask for us," because He makes us ask.

-St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa, III, Q.26, a1

Whether Christ's Mother Was A Virgin In His Birth?

Objection 1: It would seem that Christ's Mother was not a virgin in His Birth. For Ambrose says on Lk. 2:23: "He who sanctified a strange womb, for the birth of a prophet, He it is who opened His Mother's womb, that He might go forth unspotted." But opening of the womb excludes virginity. Therefore Christ's Mother was not a virgin in His Birth.

Objection 2: Further, nothing should have taken place in the mystery of Christ, which would make His body to seem unreal. Now it seems to pertain not to a true but to an unreal body, to be able to go through a closed passage; since two bodies cannot be in one place at the same time. It was therefore unfitting that Christ's body should come forth from His Mother's closed womb: and consequently that she should remain a virgin in giving birth to Him.

Objection 3: Further, as Gregory says in the Homily for the octave of Easter [*xxvi in Evang.], that by entering after His Resurrection where the disciples were gathered, the doors being shut, our Lord "showed that His body was the same in nature but differed in glory": so that it seems that to go through a closed passage pertains to a glorified body. But Christ's body was not glorified in its conception, but was passible, having "the likeness of sinful flesh," as the Apostle says (Rm. 8:3). Therefore He did not come forth through the closed womb of the Virgin.

On the contrary, In a sermon of the Council of Ephesus (P. III, Cap. ix) it is said: "After giving birth, nature knows not a virgin: but grace enhances her fruitfulness, and effects her motherhood, while in no way does it injure her virginity." Therefore Christ's Mother was a virgin also in giving birth to Him.

I answer that, Without any doubt whatever we must assert that the Mother of Christ was a virgin even in His Birth: for the prophet says not only: "Behold a virgin shall conceive," but adds: "and shall bear a son." This indeed was befitting for three reasons. First, because this was in keeping with a property of Him whose Birth is in question, for He is the Word of God. For the word is not only conceived in the mind without corruption, but also proceeds from the mind without corruption. Wherefore in order to show that body to be the body of the very Word of God, it was fitting that it should be born of a virgin incorrupt. Whence in the sermon of the Council of Ephesus (quoted above) we read: "Whosoever brings forth mere flesh, ceases to be a virgin. But since she gave birth to the Word made flesh, God safeguarded her virginity so as to manifest His Word, by which Word He thus manifested Himself: for neither does our word, when brought forth, corrupt the mind; nor does God, the substantial Word, deigning to be born, destroy virginity."

Secondly, this is fitting as regards the effect of Christ's Incarnation: since He came for this purpose, that He might take away our corruption. Wherefore it is unfitting that in His Birth He should corrupt His Mother's virginity. Thus Augustine says in a sermon on the Nativity of Our Lord: "It was not right that He who came to heal corruption, should by His advent violate integrity."

Thirdly, it was fitting that He Who commanded us to honor our father and mother should not in His Birth lessen the honor due to His Mother.

Reply to Objection 1: Ambrose says this in expounding the evangelist's quotation from the Law: "Every male opening the womb shall be called holy to the Lord." This, says Bede, "is said in regard to the wonted manner of birth; not that we are to believe that our Lord in coming forth violated the abode of her sacred womb, which His entrance therein had hallowed." Wherefore the opening here spoken of does not imply the unlocking of the enclosure of virginal purity; but the mere coming forth of the infant from the maternal womb.

Reply to Objection 2: Christ wished so to show the reality of His body, as to manifest His Godhead at the same time. For this reason He mingled wondrous with lowly things. Wherefore, to show that His body was real, He was born of a woman. But in order to manifest His Godhead, He was born of a virgin, for "such a Birth befits a God," as Ambrose says in the Christmas hymn.

Reply to Objection 3: Some have held that Christ, in His Birth, assumed the gift of "subtlety," when He came forth from the closed womb of a virgin; and that He assumed the gift of "agility" when with dry feet He walked on the sea. But this is not consistent with what has been decided above (Question [14]). For these gifts of a glorified body result from an overflow of the soul's glory on to the body, as we shall explain further on, in treating of glorified bodies (XP, Question [82]): and it has been said above (Question [13], Article [3], ad 1; Question [16], Article [1], ad 2) that before His Passion Christ "allowed His flesh to do and to suffer what was proper to it" (Damascene, De Fide Orth. iii): nor was there such an overflow of glory from His soul on to His body.

We must therefore say that all these things took place miraculously by Divine power. Whence Augustine says (Sup. Joan. Tract. 121): "To the substance of a body in which was the Godhead closed doors were no obstacle. For truly He had power to enter in by doors not open, in Whose Birth His Mother's virginity remained inviolate." And Dionysius says in an epistle (Ad Caium iv) that "Christ excelled man in doing that which is proper to man: this is shown in His supernatural conception, of a virgin, and in the unstable waters bearing the weight of earthly feet."

-St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa, III, Q. 28, a2

Whether Christ's Mother Remained A Virgin After His Birth?

Objection 1: It would seem that Christ's Mother did not remain a virgin after His Birth. For it is written (Mt. 1:18): "Before Joseph and Mary came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost." Now the Evangelist would not have said this---"before they came together"---unless he were certain of their subsequent coming together; for no one says of one who does not eventually dine "before he dines" (cf. Jerome, Contra Helvid.). It seems, therefore, that the Blessed Virgin subsequently had intercourse with Joseph; and consequently that she did not remain a virgin after (Christ's) Birth.

Objection 2: Further, in the same passage (Mt. 1:20) are related the words of the angel to Joseph: "Fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife." But marriage is consummated by carnal intercourse. Therefore it seems that this must have at some time taken place between Mary and Joseph: and that, consequently she did not remain a virgin after (Christ's) Birth.

Objection 3: Further, again in the same passage a little further on (Mt. 1:24,25) we read: "And" (Joseph) "took unto him his wife; and he knew her not till she brought forth her first-born Son." Now this conjunction "till" is wont to designate a fixed time, on the completion of which that takes place which previously had not taken place. And the verb "knew" refers here to knowledge by intercourse (cf. Jerome, Contra Helvid.); just as (Gn. 4:1) it is said that "Adam knew his wife." Therefore it seems that after (Christ's) Birth, the Blessed Virgin was known by Joseph; and, consequently, that she did not remain a virgin after the Birth (of Christ).

Objection 4: Further, "first-born" can only be said of one who has brothers afterwards: wherefore (Rm. 8:29): "Whom He foreknew, He also predestinated to be made conformable to the image of His Son; that He might be the first-born among many brethren." But the evangelist calls Christ the first-born by His Mother. Therefore she had other children after Christ. And therefore it seems that Christ's Mother did not remain a virgin after His Birth.

Objection 5: Further, it is written (Jn. 2:12): "After this He went down to Capharnaum, He"---that is, Christ---"and His Mother and His brethren." But brethren are those who are begotten of the same parent. Therefore it seems that the Blessed Virgin had other sons after Christ.

Objection 6: Further, it is written (Mt. 27:55,56): "There were there"---that is, by the cross of Christ---"many women afar off, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto Him; among whom was Mary Magdalen, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee." Now this Mary who is called "the mother of James and Joseph" seems to have been also the Mother of Christ; for it is written (Jn. 19:25) that "there stood by the cross of Jesus, Mary His Mother." Therefore it seems that Christ's Mother did not remain a virgin after His Birth.

On the contrary, It is written (Ezech. 44:2): "This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall pass through it; because the Lord the God of Israel hath entered in by it." Expounding these words, Augustine says in a sermon (De Annunt. Dom. iii): "What means this closed gate in the House of the Lord, except that Mary is to be ever inviolate? What does it mean that 'no man shall pass through it,' save that Joseph shall not know her? And what is this---'The Lord alone enters in and goeth out by it'---except that the Holy Ghost shall impregnate her, and that the Lord of angels shall be born of her? And what means this---'it shall be shut for evermore'---but that Mary is a virgin before His Birth, a virgin in His Birth, and a virgin after His Birth?"

I answer that, Without any hesitation we must abhor the error of Helvidius, who dared to assert that Christ's Mother, after His Birth, was carnally known by Joseph, and bore other children. For, in the first place, this is derogatory to Christ's perfection: for as He is in His Godhead the Only-Begotten of the Father, being thus His Son in every respect perfect, so it was becoming that He should be the Only-begotten son of His Mother, as being her perfect offspring.

Secondly, this error is an insult to the Holy Ghost, whose "shrine" was the virginal womb [*"Sacrarium Spiritus Sancti" (Office of B. M. V., Ant. ad Benedictus, T. P.)], wherein He had formed the flesh of Christ: wherefore it was unbecoming that it should be desecrated by intercourse with man.

Thirdly, this is derogatory to the dignity and holiness of God's Mother: for thus she would seem to be most ungrateful, were she not content with such a Son; and were she, of her own accord, by carnal intercourse to forfeit that virginity which had been miraculously preserved in her.

Fourthly, it would be tantamount to an imputation of extreme presumption in Joseph, to assume that he attempted to violate her whom by the angel's revelation he knew to have conceived by the Holy Ghost.

We must therefore simply assert that the Mother of God, as she was a virgin in conceiving Him and a virgin in giving Him birth, did she remain a virgin ever afterwards.

Reply to Objection 1: As Jerome says (Contra Helvid. i): "Although this particle 'before' often indicates a subsequent event, yet we must observe that it not infrequently points merely to some thing previously in the mind: nor is there need that what was in the mind take place eventually, since something may occur to prevent its happening. Thus if a man say: 'Before I dined in the port, I set sail,' we do not understand him to have dined in port after he set sail: but that his mind was set on dining in port." In like manner the evangelist says: "Before they came together" Mary "was found with child, of the Holy Ghost," not that they came together afterwards: but that, when it seemed that they would come together, this was forestalled through her conceiving by the Holy Ghost, the result being that afterwards they did not come together.

Reply to Objection 2: As Augustine says (De Nup. et Concup. i): "The Mother of God is called (Joseph's) wife from the first promise of her espousals, whom he had not known nor ever was to know by carnal intercourse." For, as Ambrose says on Lk. 1:27: "The fact of her marriage is declared, not to insinuate the loss of virginity, but to witness to the reality of the union."

Reply to Objection 3: Some have said that this is not to be understood of carnal knowledge, but of acquaintance. Thus Chrysostom says [*Opus Imperf. in Matth., Hom. 1: among the spurious works ascribed to Chrysostom] that "Joseph did not know her, until she gave birth, being unaware of her dignity: but after she had given birth, then did he know her. Because by reason of her child she surpassed the whole world in beauty and dignity: since she alone in the narrow abode of her womb received Him Whom the world cannot contain."

Others again refer this to knowledge by sight. For as, while Moses was speaking with God, his face was so bright "that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold it"; so Mary, while being "overshadowed" by the brightness of the "power of the Most High," could not be gazed on by Joseph, until she gave birth. But afterwards she is acknowledged by Joseph, by looking on her face, not by lustful contact.

Jerome, however, grants that this is to be understood of knowledge by intercourse; but he observes that "before" or "until" has a twofold sense in Scripture. For sometimes it indicates a fixed time, as Gal. 3:19: The law "was set because of transgressions, until the seed should come, to whom He made the promise." On the other hand, it sometimes indicates an indefinite time, as in Ps. 122:2: "Our eyes are unto the Lord our God, until He have mercy on us"; from which it is not to be gathered that our eyes are turned from God as soon as His mercy has been obtained. In this sense those things are indicated "of which we might doubt if they had not been written down: while others are left out to be supplied by our understanding. Thus the evangelist says that the Mother of God was not known by her husband until she gave birth, that we may be given to understand that still less did he know her afterwards" (Adversus Helvid. v).

Reply to Objection 4: The Scriptures are wont to designate as the first-born, not only a child who is followed by others, but also the one that is born first. "Otherwise, if a child were not first-born unless followed by others, the first-fruits would not be due as long as there was no further produce" [*Jerome, Adversus Helvid. x]: which is clearly false, since according to the law the first-fruits had to be redeemed within a month (Num. 18:16).

Reply to Objection 5: Some, as Jerome says on Mt. 12:49,50, "suppose that the brethren of the Lord were Joseph's sons by another wife. But we understand the brethren of the Lord to be not sons of Joseph, but cousins of the Saviour, the sons of Mary, His Mother's sister." For "Scripture speaks of brethren in four senses; namely, those who are united by being of the same parents, of the same nation, of the same family, by common affection." Wherefore the brethren of the Lord are so called, not by birth, as being born of the same mother; but by relationship, as being blood-relations of His. But Joseph, as Jerome says (Contra Helvid. ix), is rather to be believed to have remained a virgin, "since he is not said to have had another wife," and "a holy man does not live otherwise than chastely."

Reply to Objection 6: Mary who is called "the mother of James and Joseph" is not to be taken for the Mother of our Lord, who is not wont to be named in the Gospels save under this designation of her dignity---"the Mother of Jesus." This Mary is to be taken for the wife of Alphaeus, whose son was James the less, known as the "brother of the Lord" (Gal. 1:19).

-St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa, III, Q.28, a. 3

Whether The Mother Of God Took A Vow Of Virginity?

Objection 1: It would seem that the Mother of God did not take a vow of virginity. For it is written (Dt. 7:14): "No one shall be barren among you of either sex." But sterility is a consequence of virginity. Therefore the keeping of virginity was contrary to the commandment of the Old Law. But before Christ was born the old law was still in force. Therefore at that time the Blessed Virgin could not lawfully take a vow of virginity.

Objection 2: Further, the Apostle says (1 Cor. 7:25): "Concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord; but I give counsel." But the perfection of the counsels was to take its beginning from Christ, who is the "end of the Law," as the Apostle says (Rm. 10:4). It was not therefore becoming that the Virgin should take a vow of virginity.

Objection 3: Further, the gloss of Jerome says on 1 Tim. 5:12, that "for those who are vowed to virginity, it is reprehensible not only to marry, but also to desire to be married." But the Mother of Christ committed no sin for which she could be reprehended, as stated above (Question [27], Article [4]). Since therefore she was "espoused," as related by Lk. 1:27 it seems that she did not take a vow of virginity.

On the contrary, Augustine says (De Sanct. Virg. iv): "Mary answered the announcing angel: 'How shall this be done, because I know not man?' She would not have said this unless she had already vowed her virginity to God."

I answer that, As we have stated in the SS, Question [88], Article [6], works of perfection are more praiseworthy when performed in fulfilment of a vow. Now it is clear that for reasons already given (Articles [1],2,3) virginity had a special place in the Mother of God. It was therefore fitting that her virginity should be consecrated to God by vow. Nevertheless because, while the Law was in force both men and women were bound to attend to the duty of begetting, since the worship of God was spread according to carnal origin, until Christ was born of that people; the Mother of God is not believed to have taken an absolute vow of virginity, before being espoused to Joseph, although she desired to do so, yet yielding her own will to God's judgment. Afterwards, however, having taken a husband, according as the custom of the time required, together with him she took a vow of virginity.

Reply to Objection 1: Because it seemed to be forbidden by the law not to take the necessary steps for leaving a posterity on earth, therefore the Mother of God did not vow virginity absolutely, but under the condition that it were pleasing to God. When, however, she knew that it was acceptable to God, she made the vow absolute, before the angel's Annunciation.

Reply to Objection 2: Just as the fulness of grace was in Christ perfectly, yet some beginning of the fulness preceded in His Mother; so also the observance of the counsels, which is an effect of God's grace, began its perfection in Christ, but was begun after a fashion in His Virgin Mother.

Reply to Objection 3: These words of the Apostle are to be understood of those who vow chastity absolutely. Christ's Mother did not do this until she was espoused to Joseph. After her espousals, however, by their common consent she took a vow of virginity together with her spouse.

-St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa, III, Q. 28, a 4

Professor Quotes

Dr. Regis Martin was on fire today with some great quotes.

Here are a couple:

"Christ is the exegete of God. You may have thought Scott Hahn or Dr. Minto was, but it's Christ!"

"God can only be Triune! Someone should tell the muslims that! They are really atheists. They don't believe in the True God. God has a Son named Christ who is a part of that Trinity. He also has a vicar, who they are trying to kill! What if they thought about that!?"

Just For Clarification

A while back I made a post praising Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts for speaking out against same sex "marriages."

While I do think that is a good thing, I'd like to make it perfectly clear that I do not support Romney in any way, shape, or form in his bid for the presidency in 2008.

Besides the fact that he is Mormon, the main reason can be found here.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Kingdom

The Davidic Kingdom of the Old Testament is a foreshadow of the fulfilled Kingdom of Christ.

To understand Christ's Kingdom and his Kingship, we must first understand the Davidic Kingdom.

In the Davidic Kingdom, the Mother of the King was the Queen. The Queen Mother acted as an advocate and mediator between the people and the King. The King would always listen to the requests of his Mother. Being the Queen she also had a place of honor among the people.

Likewise in Christ's Kingdom, His Mother, Mary, is the Queen Mother. She is our advocate and mediator. She petitions to Christ on our behalf. Christ listens to the requests of Mary (evident at Cana) and honors her. The will of Mary and her Son are identical. So too, we should honor our Queen Mother, Mary, as Christ honors her (and did honor her in her immaculate conception). Mary is to be accorded honor above all, second only to her Son. However, she is not to be adored as Christ is. Adoration is for God and God alone. Mary is venerated as the highest created being.

The Davidic Kingdom also had ministers who helped run the Kingdom. So too, in Christ's Kingdom the bishops are the ministers.

"You are those who have continued with me in my trials; and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel." (Luke 22:28-30)

Just as the Davidic Kingdom has ministers, so to with Christ's Kingdom; and just as David's Kingdom had a Prime Minister, so to does Christ's.

"In that day I will call my servant Eli'akim the son of Hilki'ah, and I will clothe him with your robe, and will bind your girdle on him, and will commit your authority to his hand; and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open." (Isaiah 22:20-22)

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 16:18-19)

When Christ was establishing Peter as His Prime Minister, He quoted directly from Isaiah 22. He gave Peter the keys to the Kingdom. Peter is given the authority that the keys represent, just as Eliakim was given the keys.

As Americans, the idea of Queens and Prime Ministers in a Kingdom might sound foreign because we live in a democratic state and do not have these things. In order to understand what is going on in the Bible, we need to study other cultures not like our own.

If people read this in other countries that do have a monarchy, and they are not hardened to the Truth, then they would clearly realize what is going on. They would see that only the Catholic Church has carried on the Kingdom that Christ gave to the Apostles.

When Christ told the Apostles he was given them the Kingdom "that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom," the eating and drinking at the table referred to the Eucharist. The very place where we encounter the Real Presence of Christ, the Parousia! The Parousia not only meant a "a coming in glory", but it was also used to describe the coming of a king. That is exactly what happens in the Eucharist. Christ the King comes in glory and is fully present!

The Kingdom of Christ is experienced in the Liturgy!

Whether Devotion Is An Act Of Religion?

Objection 1: It would seem that devotion is not an act of religion. Devotion, as stated above (Article [1]), consists in giving oneself up to God. But this is done chiefly by charity, since according to Dionysius (Div. Nom. iv) "the Divine love produces ecstasy, for it takes the lover away from himself and gives him to the beloved." Therefore devotion is an act of charity rather than of religion.

Objection 2: Further, charity precedes religion; and devotion seems to precede charity; since, in the Scriptures, charity is represented by fire, while devotion is signified by fatness which is the material of fire [*Cant. 8:6; Ps. 52:6]. Therefore devotion is not an act of religion.

Objection 3: Further, by religion man is directed to God alone, as stated above (Question [81], Article [1]). But devotion is directed also to men; for we speak of people being devout to certain holy men, and subjects are said to be devoted to their masters; thus Pope Leo says [*Serm. viii, De Pass. Dom.] that the Jews "out of devotion to the Roman laws," said: "We have no king but Caesar." Therefore devotion is not an act of religion.

On the contrary, Devotion is derived from "devovere," as stated (Article [1]). But a vow is an act of religion. Therefore devotion is also an act of religion.

I answer that, It belongs to the same virtue, to will to do something, and to have the will ready to do it, because both acts have the same object. For this reason the Philosopher says (Ethic. v, 1): "It is justice whereby men both will end do just actions." Now it is evident that to do what pertains to the worship or service of God, belongs properly to religion, as stated above (Question [81]). Wherefore it belongs to that virtue to have the will ready to do such things, and this is to be devout. Hence it is evident that devotion is an act of religion.

Reply to Objection 1: It belongs immediately to charity that man should give himself to God, adhering to Him by a union of the spirit; but it belongs immediately to religion, and, through the medium of religion, to charity which is the principle of religion, that man should give himself to God for certain works of Divine worship.

Reply to Objection 2: Bodily fatness is produced by the natural heat in the process of digestion, and at the same time the natural heat thrives, as it were, on this fatness. In like manner charity both causes devotion (inasmuch as love makes one ready to serve one's friend) and feeds on devotion. Even so all friendship is safeguarded and increased by the practice and consideration of friendly deeds.

Reply to Objection 3: Devotion to God's holy ones, dead or living, does not terminate in them, but passes on to God, in so far as we honor God in His servants. But the devotion of subjects to their temporal masters is of another kind, just as service of a temporal master differs from the service of God.

-Thomas Aquinas, Summa, II. II. Q 82. a 2.

Whether Dulia Is A Special Virtue Distinct From Latria?

Objection 1. It seems that dulia is not a special virtue distinct from latria. For a gloss on Ps. 7:1, "O Lord my God, in Thee have I put my trust," says: "Lord of all by His power, to Whom dulia is due; God by creation, to Whom we owe latria." Now the virtue directed to God as Lord is not distinct from that which is directed to Him as God. Therefore dulia is not a distinct virtue from latria.

Objection 2: Further, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. viii, 8), "to be loved is like being honored." Now the charity with which we love God is the same as that whereby we love our neighbor. Therefore dulia whereby we honor our neighbor is not a distinct virtue from latria with which we honor God.

Objection 3: Further, the movement whereby one is moved towards an image is the same as the movement whereby one is moved towards the thing represented by the image. Now by dulia we honor a man as being made to the image of God. For it is written of the wicked (Wis. 2:22,23) that "they esteemed not the honor of holy souls, for God created man incorruptible, and to the image of His own likeness He made him." Therefore dulia is not a distinct virtue from latria whereby God is honored.

On the contrary, Augustine says (De Civ. Dei x), that "the homage due to man, of which the Apostle spoke when he commanded servants to obey their masters and which in Greek is called dulia, is distinct from latria which denotes the homage that consists in the worship of God."

I answer that, According to what has been stated above (Question [101], Article [3]), where there are different aspects of that which is due, there must needs be different virtues to render those dues. Now servitude is due to God and to man under different aspects: even as lordship is competent to God and to man under different aspects. For God has absolute and paramount lordship over the creature wholly and singly, which is entirely subject to His power: whereas man partakes of a certain likeness to the divine lordship, forasmuch as he exercises a particular power over some man or creature. Wherefore dulia, which pays due service to a human lord, is a distinct virtue from latria, which pays due service to the lordship of God. It is, moreover, a species of observance, because by observance we honor all those who excel in dignity, while dulia properly speaking is the reverence of servants for their master, dulia being the Greek for servitude.

Reply to Objection 1: Just as religion is called piety by way of excellence, inasmuch as God is our Father by way of excellence, so again latria is called dulia by way of excellence, inasmuch as God is our Lord by way of excellence. Now the creature does not partake of the power to create by reason of which latria is due to God: and so this gloss drew a distinction, by ascribing latria to God in respect of creation, which is not communicated to a creature, but dulia in respect of lordship, which is communicated to a creature.

Reply to Objection 2: The reason why we love our neighbor is God, since that which we love in our neighbor through charity is God alone. Wherefore the charity with which we love God is the same as that with which we love our neighbor. Yet there are other friendships distinct from charity, in respect of the other reasons for which a man is loved. In like manner, since there is one reason for serving God and another for serving man, and for honoring the one or the other, latria and dulia are not the same virtue.

Reply to Objection 3: Movement towards an image as such is referred to the thing represented by the image: yet not every movement towards an image is referred to the image as such, and consequently sometimes the movement to the image differs specifically from the movement to the thing. Accordingly we must reply that the honor or subjection of dulia regards some dignity of a man absolutely. For though, in respect of that dignity, man is made to the image or likeness of God, yet in showing reverence to a person, one does not always refer this to God actually.

Or we may reply that the movement towards an image is, after a fashion, towards the thing, yet the movement towards the thing need not be towards its image. Wherefore reverence paid to a person as the image of God redounds somewhat to God: and yet this differs from the reverence that is paid to God Himself, for this in no way refers to His image.

-Thomas Aquinas, Summa, II. II. Q 103. a 3.

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Church Fathers And The Primacy Of Peter

Because Protestants wish to contest the Primacy of Peter and his successors and go so far as to deny that Christ established Peter as the first Pope (such as Jeff in the comment below), I have collected a list of quotes from the Church Fathers so that all may know that "Where Peter is, there is the Church" (St. Ambrose).

But first, the comment left by Jeff on my previous post:

Try reading "Holy Scripture: The Ground and Pillar of our Faith" vol II by William Webster 29 major church fathers (3-4 century) and their writings are cited.

They clearly all agreed and attest to the following regarding MT 16:18:

The rock is either:
1. Christ or

2. Peter's confession of faith which pointed to Christ, and that this is the rock and foundation upon which the Church is built. They did not teach that Peter is the rock.

However 3 prominent church fathers (2nd to 3rd century) did refer to Peter as the rock when interpreting MT 16:18: Tertullian, Origen, Cyprian. None of them, however, interpret that in the Roman Catholic sense. Look through this book by Webster and the original church father writings for more info. The RCC historically believed in the unanimous consent of the Fathers. They have, to my knowledge, departed from that position since Cardinal Newman. They would have to regarding this issue. It is quite untenable to to assert a unanimous consent on Peter being the rock when, in actuality, a large number of major fathers agreed with the Eastern Orthodox and Protestant view. Also,Jerome (1 of the 29 above) affirmed that Christ was the rock in his commentary on Mt 7:25 and Mt 16:18.

First of all what Jeff has said is utterly false. If you read the verse in the original Hebrew/Aramaic that it was written in, as many of the Church Fathers did (which is why many of them attest to the Primacy of Peter), there would be no silly argument that "Petros" was a pebble instead of a Rock. In fact, I have heard (and anyone who knows koine Greek can affirm or deny this) that in koine Greek "Petros" only means Rock and not "pebble." If Jesus had called Simon "pebble" in koine Greek the word would have been "lithos."

The translation issue aside, there is still the fact (which no man can deny) that Christ gave Peter the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. Keys denote authority. If you look up Isaiah 22 you will see the keys of the Davidic Kindgom being given to the Prime Minister with the same authority given him as Peter in Matthew (binding and loosing, etc.).

So without further ado, we shall hear from the Fathers of the Church.

"The Church of God which sojourns in Rome to the Church of God which sojourns in Corinth....If anyone disobey the things which have been said by Him through us, let them know that they will involve themselves in transgression and in no small danger." Pope Clement of Rome [regn. c A.D.91-101], 1st Epistle to the Corinthians, 1,59:1 (c. A.D. 96).

Here we have the 4th Pope who says that if anyone disagrees with him, they are in big trouble! Why, because by being the successor to Peter, he is the Vicar of Christ and possesses the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven (which is here on earth in the form of the Catholic Church).

"Simon Cephas answered and said, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah: flesh and blood has not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say unto thee also, that you are Cephas, and on this rock will I build my Church; and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it" Tatian the Syrian (The Diatesseron 23 [A.D. 170]).

Here we see Tatian with a correct translation in the early days of the Church in 170 A.D. saying Peter is the rock. If Protestants didn't go by the Bible alone (of which they use an English translation to base their conclusions) and learned the original languages in which it was written and read the Fathers of the Church who were closer to the time it was being written, they would see clearly that Peter is the first Pope and was established by Christ Himself!

"Was anything withheld from the knowledge of Peter, who is called ‘the rock on which the Church would be built’ [Matt. 16:18] with the power of ‘loosing and binding in heaven and on earth’ [Matt. 16:19]?" Tertullian (Demurrer Against the Heretics 22 [A.D. 200]).

Once again, Peter is the rock.

"[T]he Lord said to Peter, ‘On this rock I will build my Church, I have given you the keys of the kingdom of heaven [and] whatever you shall have bound or loosed on earth will be bound or loosed in heaven’ [Matt. 16:18–19]. . . . What kind of man are you, subverting and changing what was the manifest intent of the Lord when he conferred this personally upon Peter? Upon you, he says, I will build my Church; and I will give to you the keys" Tertullian (Modesty 21:9–10 [A.D. 220]).

Likewise, the rock, not a pebble or little stone.

"Be it known to you, my lord, that Simon [Peter], who, for the sake of the true faith, and the most sure foundation of his doctrine, was set apart to be the foundation of the Church, and for this end was by Jesus himself, with his truthful mouth, named Peter" Letter of Clement to James [A.D. 221].

Peter is the foundation.

"[Simon Peter said to Simon Magus in Rome:] ‘For you now stand in direct opposition to me, who am a firm rock, the foundation of the Church’ [Matt. 16:18]" (Clementine Homilies 17:19 [A.D. 221]).

Here again, Clement saw Peter as the rock.

"Look at [Peter], the great foundation of the Church, that most solid of rocks, upon whom Christ built the Church [Matt. 16:18]. And what does our Lord say to him? ‘Oh you of little faith,’ he says, ‘why do you doubt?’ [Matt. 14:31]" Origen (Homilies on Exodus 5:4 [A.D. 248]).

"Stephen, that he who so boasts of the place of his episcopate, and contends that he holds the succession from Peter, on whom the foundations of the Church were laid...Stephen, who announces that he holds by succession the throne of Peter." Firmilian to Cyprian, Epistle 74/75:17 (A.D. 256).

"The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. And to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven . . . ’ [Matt. 16:18–19]. On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were that also which Peter was [i.e., apostles], but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. . . . If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church? This unity firmly should we hold and maintain, especially we bishops, presiding in the Church, in order that we may approve the episcopate itself to be the one and undivided." Cyprian of Carthage (The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; 1st edition [A.D. 251]).

It doesn't get clearer than this.

"There is one God and one Christ, and one Church, and one chair founded on Peter by the word of the Lord. It is not possible to set up another altar or for there to be another priesthood besides that one altar and that one priesthood. Whoever has gathered elsewhere is scattering" Cyprian of Carthage (Letters 43[40]:5 [A.D. 253]).

"There [John 6:68–69] speaks Peter, upon whom the Church would be built, teaching in the name of the Church and showing that even if a stubborn and proud multitude withdraws because it does not wish to obey, yet the Church does not withdraw from Christ. The people joined to the priest and the flock clinging to their shepherd are the Church. You ought to know, then, that the bishop is in the Church and the Church in the bishop, and if someone is not with the bishop, he is not in the Church. They vainly flatter themselves who creep up, not having peace with the priests of God, believing that they are secretly [i.e., invisibly] in communion with certain individuals. For the Church, which is one and Catholic, is not split nor divided, but it is indeed united and joined by the cement of priests who adhere one to another" Cyprian of Carthage (ibid., 66[69]:8).

”The reason for your absence was both honorable and imperative, that the schismatic wolves might not rob and plunder by stealth nor the heretical dogs bark madly in the rapid fury nor the very serpent, the devil, discharge his blasphemous venom. So it seems to us right and altogether fitting that priests of the Lord from each and every province should report to their head, that is, to the See of Peter, the Apostle." Council of Sardica, To Pope Julius (A.D. 342).

Here we have an entire council professing that the Pope who is a successor of the See of Peter is the head of the Church!

"[Jesus said:] ‘Simon, my follower, I have made you the foundation of the holy Church. I betimes called you Peter, because you will support all its buildings. You are the inspector of those who will build on earth a Church for me. If they should wish to build what is false, you, the foundation, will condemn them. You are the head of the fountain from which my teaching flows; you are the chief of my disciples’" Ephraim the Syrian (Homilies 4:1 [A.D. 351]).

"You cannot deny that you know that in the city of Rome the Chair was first conferred on Peter, in which the prince of all the Apostles, Peter, sat…in which Chair unity should be preserved by all, so that he should now be a schismatic and a sinner who should set up another Chair against that unique one." Optatus of Mileve, The Schism of Donatists, 2:2-3 (c. A.D. 367).

Who ever sits in the Chair of Peter is the head of the Church.

"Why then do you again ask me for the condemnation of Timotheus? Here, by the judgment of the apostolic see, in the presence of Peter, bishop of Alexandria, he was condemned, together with his teacher, Apollinarius, who will also in the day of judgment undergo due punishment and torment. But if he succeeds in persuading some less stable men, as though having some hope, after by his confession changing the true hope which is in Christ, with him shall likewise perish whoever of set purpose withstands the order of the Church. May God keep you sound, most honoured sons." Pope Damasus [regn. A.D. 366-384], To the Eastern Bishops, fragment in Theodoret's EH, 5:10 (c. A.D. 372).

"…I think it my duty to consult the chair of Peter, and to turn to a church whose faith has been praised by Paul…The fruitful soil of Rome, when it receives the pure seed of the Lord, bears fruit an hundredfold…My words are spoken to the successor of the fisherman, to the disciple of the cross. As I follow no leader save Christ, so I communicate with none but your blessedness, that is with the chair of Peter. For this, I know, is the rock on which the church is built! This is the house where alone the paschal lamb can be rightly eaten. This is the ark of Noah, and he who is not found in it shall perish when the flood prevails.” Jerome, To Pope Damasus, Epistle 15:1-2 (A.D. 375).

Jerome professes no leader save Christ. So, the only choice he has is to consult the Chair of Peter, since Peter is the rock on which Christ built his Church! If you profess no leader save Christ, then you must acknowledge Peter as the head of the Church.

"[Christ] made answer: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church. . . . ’ Could he not, then, strengthen the faith of the man to whom, acting on his own authority, he gave the kingdom, whom he called the rock, thereby declaring him to be the foundation of the Church [Matt. 16:18]?" Ambrose of Milan (The Faith 4:5 [A.D. 379]).

No confusion here. Peter is the rock.

"We bear the burdens of all who are heavy laden; nay, rather, the blessed apostle Peter bears them in us and protects and watches over us, his heirs, as we trust, in all the care of his ministry....Now let all your priests observe the rule here given, unless they wish to be plucked from the solid, apostolic rock upon which Christ built the universal Church....I think, dearest brother, disposed of all the questions which were contained in your letter of inquiry and have, I believe, returned adequate answers to each of the cases you reported by our son, the priest Basianus, to the Roman Church as to the head of your body....And whereas no priest of the Lord is free to be ignorant of the statutes of the Apostolic See and the venerable provisions of the canons." Pope Sircius [regn. c A.D. 384-399], To Himerius, bishop of Tarragona (Spain), 1,3,20 (c. A.D. 392).

Pope Sircius, as a successor to Peter recognizes that he is the head of the Church.

"To your inquiry we do not deny a legal reply, because we, upon whom greater zeal for the Christian religion is incumbent than upon the whole body, out of consideration for our office do not have the liberty to dissimulate, nor to remain silent. We carry the weight of all who are burdened; nay rather the blessed apostle Peter bears these in us, who, as we trust, protects us in all matters of his administration, and guards his heirs." Pope Sircius [regn. A.D. 384-399], To Himerius, Epistle 1 (C. A.D. 392).

"It is to Peter that he says: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church’ [Matt. 16:18]. Where Peter is, there is the Church. And where the Church is, no death is there, but life eternal" Ambrose of Milan (Commentary on Twelve Psalms of David 40:30 [A.D. 389]).

"Number the bishops from the See of Peter itself. And in that order of Fathers see who has succeeded whom. That is the rock against which the gates of hell do not prevail" Augustine, Psalm against the Party of Donatus, 18 (A.D. 393).

"I am held in the communion of the Catholic Church by...and by the succession of bishops from the very seat of Peter, to whom the Lord, after His resurrection commended His sheep to be fed up to the present episcopate." Augustine, Against the Letter of Mani, 5 (A.D. 395).

“Carthage was also near the countries over the sea, and distinguished by illustrious renown, so that it had a bishop of more than ordinary influence, who could afford to disregard a number of conspiring enemies because he saw himself joined by letters of communion to the Roman Church, in which the supremacy of an apostolic chair has always flourished.” Augustine, To Glorius, Epistle 43:7 (A.D. 397).

And who has always sat as the Bishop of Rome? Peter and his successors!

"The chair of the Roman Church, in which Peter sat, and in which Anastasius sits today." Augustine, Against the Letters of Petillian, 2:51 (A.D. 402).

"In making inquiry with respect to those things that should be treated ... by bishops ... as you have done, the example of ancient tradition ... For you decided that it was proper to refer to our judgment, knowing what is due to the Apostolic See, since all we who are set in this place, desire to follow that Apostle from whom the very episcopate and whole authority of this named derived ... that whatsoever is done, even though it be in distant provinces, should not be ended without being brought to the knowledge of this See, that by its authority the whole just pronouncement should be strengthened, and that from it all other Churches (like waters flowing from their natal source and flowing through the different regions of the world, the pure streams of one incorrupt head) also show your solicitude for the well being of all, and that you ask for a decree that shall profit all the Churches of the world at once." Pope Innocent I [regn. A.D. 401-417], To the Council of Carthage, 1,2 (A.D. 417).

"Although the tradition of the fathers has attributed to the Apostolic See so great authority that none would dare to contest its judgment, and has preserved this ever in its canons and rules, and current ecclesiastical discipline in its laws still pays the reverence which it ought to the name of Peter...For he himself has care over all the churches, and above all of that which he sat...Since, then Peter is the head of so great authority, and has confirmed the suffrages of our forefathers since his time...and as bishops you are bound to know it; yet; though such was our authority that none could reconsider our decision." Pope Zosimus [regn. A.D. 417-418], To the Council of Carthage (c. A.D. 418).

We just had two examples of Popes addressing the Council of Carthage and the See of Peter has always held Primacy.

"The rising pestilence was first cut short by Rome, the see of Peter, which having become the head to the world of the pastoral office, holds by religion whatever it holds not by arms." Prosper of Aquitaine, Song on the Enemies of Grace, 1 (A.D. 429).

"Joining to yourself, therefore, the sovereign of our See, and assuming our place with authority, you will execute this sentence with accurate rigour: that within ten days, counted from the day of your notice, he shall condemn his [Nestorius'] false teachings in a written confession." Pope Celestine [regn. A.D. 422-432], To Cyril of Alexandria, Epistle 11 (A.D. 430).

What authority? The authority of Peter!

"The Holy Synod said: 'Since most impious Nestorius will not obey our citation, and has not received the most holy and God-fearing bishops whom we sent to him, we have necessarily betaken ourselves to the examination of his impieties; and having apprehended from his letters, and from his writings, and from his recent sayings in this metropolis, which have been reported, that his opinions and teachings are impious, we being necessarily compelled thereto by the canons and by the letter of our most holy father and colleague, Celestine, bishop of the Roman Church, with many tears, have arrived at the following sentence against him:--'Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has been blasphemed by him, defines by this present most holy synod that the same Nestorius is deprived of episcopal dignity and of all sacredotal intercourse." Council of Ephesus, Session I (A.D. 431).

Here we have an entire Council, filled with Church Fathers, affirming the primacy of the bishop of Rome.

"Philip, presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See, said: There is no doubt, and in fact it has been known in all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the apostles, pillar of the faith, and foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour and Redeemer of the human race, and that to him was given the power of loosing and binding sins: Our holy and most blessed Pope Celestine the bishop is according to due order his successor and holds his place...Accordingly the decision of all churches is firm, for the priests of the eastern and western churches are present...Wherefore Nestorius knows that he is alienated from the communion of the priests of the Catholic Church." Council of Ephesus, Session III (A.D. 431).

Here also the Council of Ephesus declares beyond a shadow of a doubt and even asserted that "it has been known in all ages" that Peter is the head of the Church!

“Once on a time then, Agrippinus, bishop of Carthage, of venerable memory, held the doctrine--and he was the first who held it --that Baptism ought to be repeated, contrary to the divine canon, contrary to the rule of the universal Church, contrary to the customs and institutions of our ancestors. This innovation drew after it such an amount of evil, that it not only gave an example of sacrilege to heretics of all sorts, but proved an occasion of error to certain Catholics even. When then all men protested against the novelty, and the priesthood everywhere, each as his zeal prompted him, opposed it, Pope Stephen of blessed memory, Prelate of the Apostolic See, in conjunction indeed with his colleagues but yet himself the foremost, withstood it, thinking it right, I doubt not, that as he exceeded all others in the authority of his place, so he should also in the devotion of his faith. In fine, in an epistle sent at the time to Africa, he laid down this rule: Let there be no innovation--nothing but what has been handed down.’” Vincent of Lerins, Commonitory for the Antiquity and Universality of the Catholic Faith, 6 (A.D. 434).

"After the reading of the foregoing epistle [the Tome of Pope Leo], the most reverend bishops cried out: This is the faith of the fathers, this is the faith of the Apostles. So we all believe, thus the orthodox believe. Anathema to him who does not thus believe. Peter has spoken thus through Leo [regn. A.D. 440-461]. So taught the Apostles. Piously and truly did Leo teach, so taught Cyril. Everlasting be the memory of Cyril. Leo and Cyril taught the same thing, anathema to him who does not so believe. This is the true faith. Those of us who are orthodox thus believe. This is the faith of the fathers." Council of Chalcedon, Session II (A.D. 451).

Another Council affirms that the Faith of the Fathers, and indeed the True Faith, is that which is in communion with the See of Peter.

"Wherefore the most holy and blessed Leo, archbishop of the great and elder Rome, through us, and through this present most holy synod together with the thrice blessed and all-glorious Peter the Apostle, who is the rock and foundation of the Catholic Church, and the foundation of the orthodox faith, hath stripped him of the episcopate, and hath alienated from him all hieratic worthiness. Therefore let this most holy and great synod sentence the before mentioned Dioscorus to the canonical penalties." Council of Chalcedon, Session III (A.D. 451).

"The great and holy and universal the metropolis of the most holy and blessed archbishop of Rome, Leo...being set as the mouthpiece unto all of the blessed Peter, and imparting the blessedness of his Faith unto all...and besides all this he [Dioscorus] stretched forth his fury even against him who had been charged with the custody of the vine by the Savior, we mean of course your holiness..." Chalcdeon to Pope Leo, Epistle 98:1-2 (A.D. 451).

“For the solidity of that faith which was praised in the chief of the Apostles is perpetual: and as that remains which Peter believed in Christ, so that remains which Christ instituted in Peter...The dispensation of Truth therefore abides, and the blessed Peter persevering in the strength of the Rock, which he has received, has not abandoned the helm of the Church, which he undertook. For he was ordained before the rest in such a way that from his being called the Rock, from his being pronounced the Foundation, from his being constituted the Doorkeeper of the kingdom of heaven, from his being set as the Umpire to bind and to loose, whose judgments shall retain their validity in heaven, from all these mystical titles we might know the nature of his association with Christ. And still to-day he more fully and effectually performs what is entrusted to him, and carries out every part of his duty and charge in Him and with Him, through Whom he has been glorified. And so if anything is rightly done and rightly decreed by us, if anything is won from the mercy of God by our daily supplications, it is of his work and merits whose power lives and whose authority prevails in his See.” Pope Leo the Great [regn. A.D.440-461], Sermon 3:2-3 (A.D ante 461).

I could quote many more, but I am tired and I am sure you are tired of reading as well.

Here is the list of all who I have quoted from:

Clement of Rome
Tatian the Syrian
Clement of Alexandria
The Council of Sardica
Ephraim the Syrian
Optatus of Mileve
Pope Damasus
Pope Sircius
Pope Innocent I
Pope Zosimus
Prosper of Aquitaine
Pope Celestine
The Council of Ephesus
Vincent of Lerins
The Council of Chalcedon
Pope Leo

That is 20 individual Fathers, and 3 entire Councils that I have quoted from. The burden of proof is upon anyone who says otherwise!

The fact of the matter is that Christ established Peter as the head of the Church and all the Fathers attest to this. If you are not with the successor of Peter, you are not with the Church that Christ established.

Come Home, so that we all may be One!

The Rock On Which The Church Is Built

"I think it my duty to consult the chair of Peter, and to turn to a church whose faith has been praised by Paul…The fruitful soil of Rome, when it receives the pure seed of the Lord, bears fruit an hundredfold…My words are spoken to the successor of the fisherman, to the disciple of the cross. As I follow no leader save Christ, so I communicate with none but your blessedness, that is with the chair of Peter. For this, I know, is the rock on which the church is built! This is the house where alone the paschal lamb can be rightly eaten. This is the ark of Noah, and he who is not found in it shall perish when the flood prevails.”

-St. Jerome

Irish Saint Of The Day: Saint Finbar

St. Finbar was the son of an artisan and a lady of the Irish royal court. Born in Connaught, Ireland (around 550 A.D.), and baptized Lochan, he was educated at Kilmacahil, Kilkenny, where the monks named him Fionnbharr (white head) because of his light hair; he is also known as Bairre and Barr. He went on pilgrimage to Rome with some of the monks, visiting St. David in Wales on the way back. Supposedly, on another visit to Rome the Pope wanted to consecrate him a bishop but was deterred by a vision, notifying the pope that God had reserved that honor to Himself, and Finbar was consecrated from heaven and then returned to Ireland. At any rate, he may have preached in Scotland, definitely did in southern Ireland, lived as a hermit on a small island at Lough Eiroe, and then, on the river Lee, founded a monastery that developed into the city of Cork, of which he was the first bishop. His monastery became famous in southern Ireland and attracted numerous disciples. Many extravagant miracles are attributed to him, and supposedly, the sun did not set for two weeks after he died at Cloyne about the year 633. [source]

Friday, September 22, 2006

One Year In...

Today is the one year anniversary of this blog! Hip-hip-hooray!

Sub Tuum Praesidium

We fly to your patronage ,
O holy Mother of God,
despise not our
in our necessities,
but deliver us from all dangers.
O ever
glorious and blessed Virgin.

This was one of the first direct prayers to Mary and it comes from 250 A.D.

There are three things to note about this prayer:

1) It refers to the doctrine of the Mother of God 200 years before it is defined as a dogma at Ephesus in 431.

2) It is an obvious example of direct prayer to Mary by early Christians.

3) It is convoking Mary under the most severe time of persecution. This underscores the importance of Mary in the thought of the earliest Christians.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Irenaeus On The Gospels

"It is not possible that the Gospels can be either more or fewer in number than they are. There are four zones of the world in which we live, and four principal winds, and the Church is scattered throughout all the world, and her "pillar and ground" (1 Tm 3, 15) is the Gospel and the Spirit of life; therefore it is fitting that she should have four pillars, breathing out immortality on every side, and vivifying men afresh. The Word, the Shaper of all things, who sits upon the cherubim and upholds all things (Ps 79, 2;He 1,3), who was manifested to men, has given us the Gospel under four aspects, but bound together by one Spirit. David says, when entreating his manifestation, "You that sit between the cherubim, shine forth."(Ps 79,2) For the cherubim, too, were four-faced (Ez 1,6), and their faces were images of the dispensation of the Son of God.

For, as Scripture says, "The first living creature was like a lion," (Rev 4,7) symbolizing his effectual working, his leadership, and royal power; the second was like a calf, signifying his sacrificial and priestly order; but "the third had, as it were, the face as of a man,"-an evident description of his coming as a human being; "the fourth was like a flying eagle," pointing out the gift of the Spirit hovering with its wings over the Church. And therefore the Gospels of John, Luke, Matthew, and Mark are in accord with these living things, among which Christ Jesus is seated.…

Such was the form of the living creatures, so was also the character of the Word of God himself: the Word of God himself conversed with the patriarchs before Moses in accordance with his divinity and glory; but for those under the law he instituted a priestly and liturgical service. Afterwards, being made man for us, he sent the gift of the Spirit over all the earth, protecting us with his wings (Ps 16,8) These things being so, all who reject the form the Gospel has taken that is, those who say the Gospels should be more or fewer in number are futile, ignorant, and presumptuous."


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Italian Bishops Critize Leaders Who Have Not Supported The Pope

And rightly so! Bravo for the Italian Bishops. Here is an excerpt from the story:

"The Italian bishops’ Religious News Service expressed its solidarity with the Pope and its surprise at 'the silence of the heads of state and intellectuals of democratic nations that have their roots in Catholicism or Christianity. The West does not have the courage, apart from a few isolated cases, to defend the same freedom of expression that it will not deny anyone.'"

Read the rest here.

Happy Birthday!

Today is my wife's Birthday! Happy Birthday Laura!

Monday, September 18, 2006

A Critique Of Modernism

I just finished reading the complete lecture that Benedict gave that outraged the muslims.

What a great lecture it was! Benedict talked about not separating Faith and Reason and applied it to modern criticism. If you are one of my classmates in Dr. Hahn's class I would suggest reading it all, since it coincides very nicely with what we have been discussing concerning the misuse of historical criticism.

My favorite quote, and the one I felt that summed the whole lecture up, was:

"The courage to engage the whole breadth of reason, and not the denial of its grandeur – this is the programme with which a theology grounded in Biblical faith enters into the debates of our time."

If The Shoe Fits...

The quote of Benedict XVI that set the muslims aflame was:

"He said, I quote, 'Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached,'"

The muslims got angry and said that the Pope was spreading lies about Muhammed and Islam. Then in the news there was this:

The group said Muslims will be victorious and addressed the pope as "the worshipper of the cross" saying "you and the West are doomed as you can see from the defeat in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya and elsewhere ... We will break up the cross, spill the liquor and impose head tax, then the only thing acceptable is a conversion (to Islam) or (killed by) the sword." (emphasis added. Although, they aren't brave enough to try to kill by the sword. They need to be cowards and bomb innocent people as well as taking out their own in the process)

It's funny how the violent reactions of the muslim world only prove that what Benedict quoted was true.

Muhammed was a Warlord who killed for money. He was not a prophet and he is not a servant of God!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Meritable Quotes

"What we call our merits are the gifts of God. When God crowns our merits, he is only crowning his own gifts."


"The action by which we merit eternal life is less our work than the work that Christ, as Head, accomplishes in us and by us…Hence the words of the Apostle: ‘I live, no not I, but Christ lives in me’ (Gal 2:20). The Christian may say in all truth: ‘I merit, no not I, but Christ in me; I fast, no not I, but Christ in me.’ So it is with all the voluntary actions that the true members of Christ accomplish for God. Hence, the merit of eternal life is attributed, not so much to our works, but to the works that Christ as Head accomplishes in us and by us."


Aquinas, Philosophically Speaking

I'm looking for a good book on the Philosophy of St. Thomas. Any suggestions?