Ex Cathedra Debate Windsor v. Rosenthal

Ex Cathedra Debate

David Rosenthal

Phase 4 - Closing Arguments

Popes in exercise of ex cathedra pronouncements have contradicted scripture. Although an ex cathedra pronouncement of a Catholic pope states that Mary was conceived free of the stain of original sin, this is not true. Mary was not conceived free of the stain of original sin. Nothing in scripture indicates that she was conceived free of the stain of original sin. To the contrary, scripture states that all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God. [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+3:23&version=NKJV] Mary's parents passed on the stain of original sin to her just as all other parents have passed it on to their children since Adam and Eve. Nothing in scripture states or suggests otherwise. Therefore, the ex cathedra statement of the pope in question directly contradicts scripture.

Nobody in the earliest generations of church history advocated the view that Mary was conceived free of the stain of original sin, and dozens of church fathers and Roman bishops denied that Mary was sinless from conception onward. [http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?18341-Was-Mary-sinless-from-conception] And [http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?18341-Was-Mary-sinless-from-conception]

Although the Douay version of the Bible states that Mary was "full of grace", most versions state that Mary was "highly favored". Therefore, the majority of qualified translators of the scriptures concluded that "highly favored" was the correct translation of the phrase used with respect to Mary in Luke 1:28. In addition, the Reina-Valera version, published prior to the Douay version, also translates the phrase as "highly favored". [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+1:28&version=RVA]

And according to CatholicReference.net, grace is not that of which one is full, leaving no room for sin, but is favor one enjoys from God. [http://www.catholicreference.net/index.cfm?id=33791]

In any case, being "full of grace" does not mean that one is sinless, which is supported by the use of the phrase in the Douay version, in Acts 6:8, with regard to Stephen, who was not sinless. [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=acts%206:8&version=DRA] Since Stephen was "full of grace" but not sinless, then it cannot be concluded that Mary, whether full of grace or highly favored, was sinless. Grace is God's favor, enjoyed by sinful people. Those who have sinned, all who accept God's Son, enjoy God's grace. Therefore, to say that Mary is full of grace does not in any sense define Mary as sinless.

Early Catholic writers, such as Augustine, were not aware of Mary's having been conceived free of the stain of original sin (as she was not, and as scripture does not mention that she was). Augustine specified his correct belief that among humanity only Jesus Christ was sinless and only Jesus was conceived in an immaculate fashion, expressed thus by Augustine: "For the Lord Jesus alone of those who are born of woman is holy, inasmuch as He experienced not the contact of earthly corruption, by reason of the novelty of His immaculate birth; nay, He repelled it by His heavenly majesty." No mention is made of Mary's allegedly similar condition. http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?18341-Was-Mary-sinless-from-conception]

While Mary is a beneficiary of God's grace and is highly favored by God, the same is true of all Christians.

Whereas various alleged experts in ancient languages offer conflicting views regarding the meaning of the phrase that appears in Luke 1:28, rendering it either as "full of grace" or "highly favored", I did not elaborate further on this in the final arguments. But the consideration of what grace actually means, and that other than Mary has been characterized as being "full of grace", yet also sinful, seems more meaningful and pertinent to this discussion than whether the phrase itself should be rendered one way or the other.

The other elements mentioned during the course of the debate may be more or less interesting, but they have no bearing on the central issue, which is that the ex cathedra statement with respect to the Immaculate Conception is erroneous and not supported by scripture.

In addition, the other ex cathedra statement brought up by Mr. Windsor, that of the Assumption, has no support in scripture. And as Mr. Windsor recognizes only two statements as having been made ex cathedra, both of which contradict scripture, it seems unnecessary to bring up the others, as 100% of the ex cathedra statements that Mr. Windsor recognizes as being ex cathedra have contradicted scripture.

It is absurd to suggest that God would require a sinless person to pay the penalty of sin. The only sinless one to pay this penalty, and not obliged to do so, was Jesus Christ. God is just, and does not punish the one who is not guilty. It is not up to us to determine whom God would require to pay the penalty for sin, but God has already made it known in the scriptures, so that speculation is unnecessary. He clearly outlines the principles of this in chapter 18 of Ezekiel. [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=eze%2018&version=DRA]

Since all of the foregoing is true, then the original statement is true: Popes in exercise of ex cathedra pronouncements have contradicted Scripture.

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