Ex Cathedra Debate Windsor v. Rosenthal

Ex Cathedra Debate

Scott Windsor

Opening Response

My purpose in this debate is to demonstrate that ex cathedra statements from popes are not inconsistent with Scripture using the arguments put forth by Mr. David Rosenthal.  I was hoping for a bit more substance from Rosenthal, but perhaps his brevity will provide me some opportunity to help him build better arguments for future rounds of this debate.  So, without further ado, I will begin addressing his statements.

> We who are about to die salute you.

Interesting (uncited and unquoted) quote to open with!  The gladiators as they went into the arena would declare in Latin “Ave ceasar!  Morituri te salutamus.” (http://history-world.org/gladiator.htm and http://www.proz.com/kudoz/latin_to_english/art_literary/55143-moriturus.html).  Perhaps an attempt to be humorous, but signing in with a salute to Ceasar?

> The example I put forward is that of the Immaculate Conception,
> which is a contradiction of scripture, as it states that Mary was
> born free from the stain of original sin.

This is true, the encyclical Ineffabilis Deus does define that the Blessed Virgin Mary was conceived (not born) free of the stain of Original Sin.   The part of that encyclical which is considered ex cathedra is:

We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful.

It does not say she was conceived or born free of the penalty of Original Sin, only the stain.

> According to Wikipedia: The Immaculate Conception is a
> dogma of the Catholic Church maintaining that the Blessed
> Virgin Mary was kept free of original sin from her moment of
> conception and was filled with the sanctifying grace normally
> conferred during baptism.

I must caution you about using Wiki sources.  While this “encyclopedia” does contain many good facts, it is also editable by ANYONE, and added commentary can be questionable.  Yes, the IC is a dogma of the Catholic Church - stick to the ex cathedra statement (quoted above) for the purpose of this debate.  The Sacrament of Baptism is not the subject of this debate, and I agree with the part stating the IC is dogma.

> Mary's parents passed on the stain of original sin just as all
> other parents pass it on to their children. Nothing in scripture
> states or suggests otherwise.

Actually, Scripture states in the Angel Gabriel’s greeting to her at the Annunciation:  “Hail, Full of Grace!”  (Luke 1:28)  The Greek word here is Kecharitomene the root of which is charitoo or “grace.” (Source).  To be full of grace leaves no room for anything else - in other words, no actual sin.  I realize you may (or do) disagree with the Catholic interpretation - but the Catholic interpretation is based upon Scripture and thus Scripture does say otherwise and the teaching of the IC is therefore not contradictory to Scripture.  It is not my duty to argue against the non-Catholic interpretation of Scripture - only to present the fact that the ex cathedra teaching is not contrary to a valid reading of Scripture.  Again, I am not expecting Mr. Rosenthal to accept the Catholic interpretation - only that he acknowledge our view is indeed not contrary to Scripture.

> (In contradiction of the encyclical on her sinlessness, Mary stated
> that she had a savior, which only sinners require. [Luke 1:46,47]
> And scripture also states that all have sinned and fallen short of
> God's glory. [Romans 3:23])

As I stated earlier, the ex cathedra definition only states she was preserved from the stain of Original Sin, not the penalty.  Thus, inheriting the penalty still made her in need of the Savior and again, no contradiction.  

I believe I have sufficiently argued and documented that the one ex cathedra statement Mr. Rosenthal quoted for his opening statement is not contrary to Scripture.

Word Count: 689

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