Ex Cathedra Debate
Phase 3b - Rebuttal
I asked: "When I say "sanctifying grace," what does that mean to you?"
You responded: “I am not well acquainted with the term, but I will take a stab at it: Sanctifying grace is God's favor upon undeserving mankind that permits us to have righteousness attributed to us due to our faith in Jesus Christ, resulting in God's ability to accept us as sons due to the blotting out of our sins.” Your “stab” at sanctifying grace was close. To put it in simple terms, it is “saving grace.” Grace given by God which saves. The Catholic belief/teaching regarding Mary here is:
The Blessed Virgin Mary was preserved from original sin in view of the merits of her Divine Son; and this privilege is called her Immaculate Conception.
In the first instant of her conception the Blessed Virgin Mary possessed the fullness of sanctifying grace, the infused virtues, and the gifts of the Holy Ghost. She was, however, subject to pain and suffering, as was her Divine Son.
The Baltimore Catechism, no. 3, Lessons 1 and 5.
I asked: "Do you believe that God Himself would allow Himself/His Son, to be born from a corrupted vessel? Please explain, if you do." And you responded: “Mary was human. Mary inherited the same degree of original sin as every other human, with the one exception of Jesus himself. The Father of Jesus, who overshadowed Mary, leading to the conception of Christ, saw fit to use an imperfect human to carry out his plan, and I have no need or reason to question his judgment.” Actually, Jesus was not the first human without Original Sin! Adam and Eve were created in sanctifying grace, without sin. Whereas they COMMITTED the Original Sin, they did not inherit it. For them it was an ACTUAL SIN, and it was by their act that God punished mankind, driving Adam and Eve from the perfect garden and they brought death upon mankind. So Mary is not the first creation to be spared the stain of Original Sin. Which is another point demonstrating the LACK of contradiction on this point to Scripture.
Regarding Munificentissimus Deus and the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, you said: “I am not well acquainted with it. Perhaps you would like to make it the topic of the next debate.” I find it a bit ironic that you made such a defiant statement regarding ex cathedra statements and that they (without distinguishing) were contrary to Scripture, and you’re not well acquainted with one of the two definitive ex cathedra statements! Are there more ex cathedra statements? Perhaps, I believe it is arguable for several others, but the two we’ve discussed thus far are the only two which are definitively declared to be ex cathedra. Before engaging in THIS debate I would have hoped you would have well acquainted yourself with at least these two!
You continue: “That being said, I am unaware of anything in scripture that supports the assumption that Mary was assumed body and soul into heaven at the end of her life. I doubt that it took place. I expect that there would have been early mention of it from one of the writers of scripture who outlived her.” Now keep in mind the question of our debate! I don’t need to show support for the teaching in Scripture, but you must find where the teaching is CONTRARY to Scripture. Now, since there are at least TWO OTHERS who were bodily taken into Heaven, (Enoch, Gen. 5:24, Heb. 11:5; and Elijah, 2 Kings 2:11) you would be forced to concede, a bodily assumption is NOT contrary. I would add Abraham to this list too - for “Abraham your father rejoiced that he might see my day: he saw it, and was glad.” (John 8:56). How could Abraham “see” His day if he did not have physical eyes to see with and was not in Heaven? So again, THIS ex cathedra teaching is clearly NOT contrary to Scripture. Whether or not YOU believe or accept it is not the issue of this debate. I believe all you have left on this point is to concede, it is not contrary to Scripture.
I asked: "You consistently ask, "If Mary were sinless, why should she be required to pay the penalty for sin, which is death?" Are you willing to admit that the ex cathedra statement does not make mention of the penalty of Original Sin, only the stain?" And you responded: “Why not?” Thank you, that was all I wanted from that question.
I asked: "Are you cognizant of the fact that the angel's declaration to Mary was PRIOR to her accepting of her role? Before she had done anything, she was already graced by God!?" You responded: “Indeed, she was highly favored beforehand, as she was chosen for the honor. She was chosen long before she was born.” So you agree that Mary was graced before the Angel Gabriel made the Annunciation - and even went further to say that she was so graced “long before she was born!” Well, there you have it! You AGREE with the Catholic teaching!
When I brought up St. Augustine’s teaching on the sinlessness of the Blessed Virgin, you were “not aware” he said those things. You are now. You deflected and changed the topic within your single paragraph response to “full of grace” and St. Stephen.
Does Scripture say St. Stephen was “full of grace?” Well, it actually says he was “full of grace and fortitude (power)” - so logically speaking that’s 50% grace and 50% power! Now THAT being said, the same words are not even used. As I pointed out earlier, kecharitomene is the perfect past participle - wherein it was completed in the past and continues. The wording used in Acts 6:8 is “Stephanos de plērēs charitos kai dynameōs” which is literally, “Stephan, moreover full of grace and power.” So, while the same root word is used (charitoo) in Acts 6:8 the subject (performing miracles) is a past action, not a continuing one, the descriptive words describing Stephan describe something in the past. Neither the Greek grammar nor even a plain reading of the English allows us to read the two statements (Luke 1:28 and Acts 6:8) to have equivalent meaning - and that is what you are attempting to impose into your argumentation here.
Word Count: 1076 (including quotes)