Join Michael Patton, Tim Kimberley, JJ Seid and Sam Storms as they continue their series on Roman Catholicism by continuing the topic of Mariology.

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    21 replies to "Theology Unplugged: Roman Catholicism – Part 12 – Mariology (Part 2)"

    • Irene

      There are not enough characters in a hundred comments…

      First I want to distinguish between two types of comments: some are intended to prove a point and convince another person that your own point of view is correct; another type of comment is intended to communicate an accurate presentation of your own point of view and help another person see where you are coming from. This second type of comment is what I am intending. I cannot “prove” anything to a Protestant, because what proves something to the Catholic is different than what proves something to a Protestant. But I can give explanation, to Protestants of good will, so that they could say, “Oh, now I see how it fits together for you!” and, “I don’t agree, but I see where you’re coming from.”

      The Marian dogmas you cannot just “proof text”. If you search the Scriptures for them with a microscope, you will not see them. But that doesn’t mean they are not there. If you zoom way out, and look at the big picture through the eyes of Tradition, then the Scriptures about Mary will come into focus, and you can trace her story from Genesis, through the OT, through the NT, and all the way to Revelation.

      And it is only with Tradition that you can really see this “big picture”, as if Tradition is a setting for the jewels that are the books of the Bible. If you take a sola Scriptura posture, you are limited, as if you are a tiny person walking around on the pages of Scripture, but can’t see what the Scriptures are resting on. Sure, you may be able to read all the Scriptures, and try to put them together, but you’ll still be missing the Tradition that holds the books of the Bible together in the first place. And it’s only with the perspective of Tradition that you can see the Marian dogmas sketched out in Scripture.

      Sheesh. I’m afraid only another woman will be able to understand that…

    • Irene

      To put it another way-
      Remember those posters that used to be popular? Where you had to stare a certain way at them for a while, then a 3D image would pop out at you? Mary in the Scriptures is kind of like that. When you look at the Bible as a Protestant, you don’t see it. It’s only when you look at the Bible with the eyes of Tradition (as they were made to be read! just as those posters were made to be viewed a certain way) that you see Mary was really there all along.

      Again, I’m not trying to prove anything to Protestants here. Just pointing out that the reason you don’t see these Marian doctrines in Scripture is because Protestants and Catholics don’t read Scripture the same way.

    • Aaron Walton

      Irene, thanks for posting comments.

    • Pete again

      Michael Patton, Tim Kimberley, JJ Seid and Sam Storms are walking a very thin line. There were several sections of this “Mariology” podcast that could be interpreted as blasphemous.

      If God the Father chose her; God the Holy Spirit descended upon her; and God the Son dwelt in her, submitted to her in the days of His youth, and was concerned for her when hanging on the Cross – then should not everyone who confesses the Holy Trinity greatly respect and honor her?

      In the womb of Mary, God and man were joined. She was the one who served as the ladder for the Son of God, who descended from heaven. To strike a blow against her honor in any way is a strike against Christianity at its root, at its foundation.

      Would people have believed that Jesus was the Messiah if his mother had any blemish in the eyes of society? Wouldn’t the Pharisees have jumped on the opportunity to reproach Christ for any poor conduct of his mother? The contrary is the testimony of the Bible and the Church. Mary enjoyed great respect! At Cana she was an honored guest.

      Even when her Son was condemned and crucified on the cross, no one allowed himself to ridicule or censure His mother. Some of the comments on this podcast were more crude and vulgar than those of the mob that mocked our Savior during His dying hours.

      Lord have mercy on our souls.

    • Irene

      So, here are some places in Scripture you can see Mary, if you have eyes to see.

      Gen 3. Of course, the protoevangelium. God says ”the woman”, and this is understood to be Mary. When Jesus calls Mary “woman,” this connection is understood.

      Rev 11-12. Skipping to the end, we see, at the end of ch. 11, a reference to the ark of the covenant, and at the beginning of ch. 12, a woman clothed with the sun. This is understood to be Mary (yes, also the Church, for which Mary is the symbol, mother, and firstfruit).

      Ark of the Covenant. The OT ark contained the commandments on stone tablets, manna, and Aaron’s priestly rod. Mary carried in her womb the very Word of God Himself (not just stone tablets), the very Bread of Life (not just manna), and the most High Priest (not just the rod of Aaron). The OT ark of the covenant was just a crude foreshadowing of the true ark, Mary. Yet, it was made to God’s specifications, covered inside and out with gold, and too holy to touch. God took much more care creating the living ark. She was created perfect and sinless, and too holy to touch. (Perpetual virginity of Mary: Uzzah was immediately struck dead for reaching out to try to keep the ark from falling down. He loved and respected God and his ark, yet was killed by God. Do you really think Joseph, a good and God-fearing man, would really dare to touch Mary? after God has been in her womb? No way! Joseph knew Mary’s womb had already been used for a higher purpose. Eating dinner is fine and good, but you don’t eat dinner on the gold ark of the covenant. Marital relations are fine and good, but not with the woman who has already conceived by the Holy Spirit!

    • Irene

      Additional Biblical correlations between Mary and the ark.
      2 Sam 6. David says, “How can the ark of the Lord come to me?” Compare with Elizabeth’s words when Mary visits her.
      The ark stays for *3 months* in the house of Obededom. David dances before the ark, and John leaps in Elizabeth’s womb when Mary approaches.
      Also, the connection of Mary being “overshadowed” by God and the glory cloud of God in the OT overshadowing the tent of meeting, Mt. Sinai (Israelites couldn’t touch the mountain, either, or they would die), etc.

      Other important designations for Mary include the New Eve and the perfect daughter of Israel. I could add more about those later.

    • Irene

      And yes, I agree with Pete again.

      You were talking about Mary in ways you wouldn’t talk about your own mother.
      How DO you honor Mary in Evangelicalism? Does she who trained and taught little Jesus even get a portrait on the wall of your coffee house? (I have no idea, but it would be highly appropriate, wouldn’t it?)

      Mary, though, is like all good and loving mothers in this way –they can take being underappreciated. They are not in it for the glory, but for love of their children. Only when children grow up do they realize what a treasure their loving mother is to them.

    • Chad Dougless


      If Mary was indeed “created perfect and sinless, and too holy to touch”, why did she not die on the cross to absolve us of sin? How do you reconcile other verses like Romans 3:23-24? We have explicit verses that exempt Jesus from Romans 3, yet nothing for Mary. Further, in Revelation 12:2, it describes the woman as having “agony” during birth. If she was perfect, she wouldn’t she be exempt from the curse given upon the fall to greatly increase her pain in child birth? This also goes back into why would she die if she is perfect.

      Your connection the ark is tenuous at best as no one could touch the ark, but do you honestly believe that no one was allowed to touch Mary? Or does this protection only reside for her uterus? If it is only her uterus, then the rest of her is not perfect.

      Just because there are similarities between things, does not dictate that they are foreshadowing of Mary. Should we connect Mary as the second Noah since Luke 1:30 and Genesis 6:8 are so similar?

      How does it work for Mary’s mom to have Mary as a perfect being, but have another sibling that is obviously not? Or was her sibling perfect as well? Were they allowed to touch?

      How could Joseph and Mary truly become one flesh if he could never touch her or risk being struck down by God? Is this even a marriage? How would we reconcile that with Paul’s commands in 1 Cor 7:5?

      I do believe that Mary was honored and should not be slighted, but the elevation to sinlessness and holiness and perfection is quite simply idolatry. She is never seen to be prayed to in the Bible, nor is it even implied. She was honored and an obviously devout mother who walked with God. But be clear, this does not indicate perfection. I think you can make a case for Noah, David, Abraham, etc walking with God, yet we know for certain that they all sinned. But they all found favor with God, because it is by God’s grace they were counted as righteous.

    • Francis

      Hi Irene,

      I am a Protestant so I plead ignorance to Catholic theology. To my understanding, the Noah’s Ark correlates with the Ark of the Covenant, both of which correlate with Christ. Is that not the right understanding? Do Catholics understand Noah’s Ark differently from the Ark of the Covenant?

    • Irene

      Hi Francis,

      I am not aware of any Catholic perspective that especially links Noah’s Ark and the Ark of the Covenant –that doesn’t mean there isn’t one, though. Usually, we link Noah’s Ark with the Church, as the means by which God saves his people. (I suppose there is some correlation between the Ark of the Covenant as Mary, and Mary as the Church, and Noah’s Ark as the Church. . . . ) But normally, anyway, Noah’s Ark is associated with the Church, especially with baptism. Traditionally, baptismal fonts, and not just Catholic ones, are octagonal. This is to show the connection between baptism and the Flood, because there were 8 people saved on the ark, and the person being baptized is receiving saving grace.
      Does your church connect the Ark of theCovenant to Noah’s Ark in a particular way?
      I love the wisdom and richness of Catholic theology. It’s kind of like the windows of a cathedral -looking at it from the outside, you may think you know how it’s put together, and it looks pretty drab and superficial. But when you get inside, and experience the Catholic faith, it’s like seeing those stained glass windows from the inside, with the light shining through. Awesome! (:

      I just saw your comment here for the first time when I came to respond to Francis. I must have missed it in my email. I would love to give you more clarification -just as soon as I can tap it out on the smartphone I’m using today. Thanks for the questions!

    • Irene

      Ok, Chad, here we go.

      “If Mary was indeed “created perfect and sinless, and too holy to touch”, why did she not die on the cross to absolve us of sin?”

      Mary couldn’t die to save us, because she also needed redemption from the curse of sin that would have fallen on her. She is also saved by the merits of Christ. She couldn’t have saved herself and couldn’t save anyone else by herself.

      “How do you reconcile other verses like Romans 3:23-24? We have explicit verses that exempt Jesus from Romans 3, yet nothing for Mary.”

      Paul wasn’t intending every single person who ever lived. Not Jesus. Not Mary. Also exempted would be infants, who, while under the curse of original sin, have not committed any sin themselves. You said there are verses which exempt Jesus. Catholics have verses which exempt Mary.

      ” Further, in Revelation 12:2, it describes the woman as having “agony” during birth. If she was perfect, she wouldn’t she be exempt from the curse given upon the fall to greatly increase her pain in child birth? ”

      There are different interpretations of this, no dogmatic interpretation. One is that in Rev, the vision is of Mary giving birth to us, the Church. Probably has multiple layers of meaning, too.

      ” This also goes back into why would she die if she is perfect”

      Ha! See the discussion that was going on between Catholic and Orthodox in the comments of Mariology Part 1. Catholic teaching is that she died because she followed her son perfectly in all things.

      ” but do you honestly believe that no one was allowed to touch Mary? Or does this protection only reside for her uterus?”

      When I said said no one would touch her, I figured people would understand, but apparently you didn’t. Joseph, being a very good and faithful man, would not have dared to touch her virginity.

      ” If it is only her uterus, then the rest of her is not perfect”

      That’s ridiculous. John laid his head on Jesus’s heart. Thomas touched his hands and…

    • Irene

      That’s ridiculous. John laid his head on Jesus’s heart. Thomas touched his hands and side. Was Jesus not perfect?

      to be cont.

    • Chad Dougless


      Obviously there was a misunderstanding as to what you meant could not be touched. However, the question begins to be why could she not have sex with her husband? Do you have verses to support this?

      What verses do you have the support your position that Mary was sinless? I understand they will be from the “Apocrypha” so to speak, but I am still curious.

      You keep saying that Mary created the Church, yet Ephesians 5:25-32 clearly states that Christ is the perfecter of the church. He being the second Adam, gave Himself up for the “second Eve” being the church. The church being created from the side of Christ. He called it together, he formed it from the dust of the earth.

      I am certain that Revelation 12 has a ton of different interpretations, but I was trying to interact with your specific mention of her in that. It is very difficult to parse the metaphors, imagery, and symbolism in a way that says anything solely about Mary in a positive spin while discarding the negative impacts of those same verses.

      Wouldn’t Mary’s perfection negate her need for the righteousness propitiated through the death of Christ? She would be perfectly righteous before God and therefore under no legal condemnation. She would just die and be risen regardless of what Christ came to do.
      Hopefully this breaks up your responses so you don’t end up breaking any blog rules. =)

    • Irene

      Hi Chad,

      Mary’s perfection-
      Didn’t Mary need Christ? is a perfectly reasonable question. To answer, let me start at the very beginning, because Catholics and Protestants have different concepts of original sin and of grace.

      At the fall, Adam lost for us “sanctifying grace,” that is, the life of God within us, or, a participation in the life of God. You could also call it saving grace. Our inheritance from our first parents. Only, by sinning, they lost it. Original sin is a “state” in which we are without sanctifying grace, as opposed to an “act” in which we actually committed a sin ourselves. Since Adam and Eve no longer possessed sanctifying grace, they could not pass it on to their descendents. If they hadn’t sinned, sex could have been a kind of primordial sacrament, in which we received sanctifying grace from our parents at our conception. Of course, it didn’t work out that way.

      Mary’s Immaculate Conception-
      Mary, by a unique and extraordinary intervention of God, was given sanctifying grace by God at the moment of her conception. God intervened. Her parents, Anna and Joachim, were, like the rest of us, without sanctifying grace at their conceptions (when they themselves were conceived). Mary was given this grace *in view of the merits of her Son*. Indeed, there was no way for her to “earn” or “deserve” this, because this was from the very moment of her conception.

      the mystery-
      Mary is the only person to be able to say she gave birth to her own Creator. As Bishop Sheen said, As an artist makes a portrait of his mother as beautiful as possible, Jesus created his own mother to be his most beautiful creation ever.

      If you or someone else responds, I intend to answer your question about supporting verses. They would include “Hail, full of grace” from the Annunciation and “Blessed are you among women” from Elizabeth.

    • Chad Dougless


      The verses you reference do not indicate that Mary is sinless, nor perfect. Blessed are you among women, is quite simply an extra favor/blessing given to Mary. The Greek word for blessed is eulogeō, and no where in Luke does it mean sinless/perfect. It does mean praised, consecrated, celebrated, or favored of God. To which I agree, Mary was praised amongst women as the mother of God Incarnate. To your “full of grace” portion, other translations would put it as “favored one”. The Greek word being charitoō, from charis, from chairō. None of these mean sinless, they all mean rejoice, graced, graceful, bestowed with grace, joyful, etc. Perhaps you have other verses that you could point to.

      Most of your information about Mary, her “sinlessness”, ever virginity, etc., comes from things like the apocryphal “Gospel of James” and “Infancy Gospel of Matthew”. Both of these are not even included in the Apocrypha of the Roman Catholic Church. While I understand you are certainly not breaking new ground here, but supporting the claims of the RCC, I would ask you to look at the information openly.

      Also, sanctifying grace and saving grace would be different categories of grace. Sanctification is the process of becoming more like Christ, Salvation (saving) is the process of believing in Christ. I do not believe it is possible to have one without the other, but I would still distinguish that they are different. Either way, is your belief that Adam and Eve would have imparted this grace? Or would God have imparted this grace upon their children? Their sin certainly caused a separation between man and God, one that ripples through creation.

    • Irene


      First, I don’t know why you bring up noncanonical books. I certainly didn’t bring them up, it’s not where my beliefs about Mary come from, and as far as I’m concerned, you can just disregard them.

      about “Full of Grace”–

      You said sanctifying grace and saving grace are different. In Catholic theology, though, they are indeed the same, because we believe justification and sanctification are the same thing.
      {I’ve noticed when Protestants use the term “grace”, they mean something very close to mercy. When Catholics use the term “grace”, they mean the Holy Spirit in us, the life of God in a person, which we receive by mercy}
      Anyway, yes, if Adam and Eve had continued to possess sanctifying grace, it would have been passed to us as an inheritance. We would all be immaculately conceived. But since they lost it, we inherit a God-shaped void, a state of separation, called original sin instead.

      Sanctifying grace obliterates sin. So when Mary is “full” of grace, there is “no room” for sin. Catholics believe that sanctifying grace is received at baptism. So, for example, a just baptized baby would be completely sinless. Only Mary was given this grace from her conception instead.
      “Full of grace” is used nowhere else in the Bible. There are similar phrases, but nothing identical.
      Sorry for rambling (there’s so much to say!). Hope I’m clarifying a little anyway.

      Here’s the classic analogy:
      Original sin is like a pit. Normally, Jesus redeems by pulling us out of the pit. But in Mary’s case, Jesus prevented her from falling into the pit in the first place. (Without his redemptive power, she would have been in the pit like everyone else.)

    • Chad Dougless


      I certainly appreciate your explanation of what full of grace means in that context. However, I would say several different things in that. One, is that I could not find another translation other than KJV that translates that Greek word as “full of grace”, even the NKJV translates it as “favored one”. Two, is it a good idea to take a single word and create a doctrine surrounding it with material unsupported anywhere else in Scripture? Three, please use Scripture to support your observations as much as possible. Right now you are just making unsupported statements about Scripture and translating every other verse via the effect of one word that is not translated that way by other scholars. This of course lays in with your sinless post baptism thing, which I do not see support of in Scripture either.

      To the noncanonical statement: That is exactly my point. The very reference of Joachim and Anna comes from noncanonical sources yet has been incorporated in a way that is viewed as infallible Word of God. Most of the assumptions about Mary’s ever virginity, immaculate conception, Jesus’s brothers and sisters really being Joseph’s from another marriage, etc., all come from things written well after the fact and rejected from being infallible Word of God (or inerrant if you would prefer).

      Finally, the pit analogy is awful. You have no Scriptural support to say that Jesus prevented Mary from falling in the pit to begin with. Also, the pit analogy is weird as we don’t just “fall into a pit” when we sin. We are dead in our trespasses (Ephesians 2:5). We are all in the pit so to speak. The “wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) and I do not see how you can hold that Mary was without sin, yet still would have died regardless of your view of original sin.

    • Irene

      Hi Chad,

      Here are a few more Protestant translations that use “full of grace” or in the case of the Geneva, something very similar in the margin.

      Wyclife’s Version

      Tyndale’s 1534 New Testament

      Geneva 1599 Bible note says might literally be translated “full of favour and grace”

      So, you can see that “full of grace” is not exclusively Catholic, or a Protestant translational fluke.

      doctrine around a single word?–
      You also asked,
      –“Is it a good idea to take a single word and create a doctrine surrounding it with material unsupported anywhere else in Scripture?”–
      Well, no, but that’s not the case. There is a basis for Mary’s Immaculate Conception separate from Scripture, Sacred Tradition. (Sacred Tradition need not be explicitly stated in Scripture, but will never be contradicted by Scripture.) Sacred Tradition says that Mary is the New Eve, and the Ark of the New Covenant. So this verse, this word, is not the “basis” for the doctrine.

      noncanonical books–
      I guess I should have not mentioned the names of Mary’s parents so as not to introduce any confusion. Their names are not part of the infallibly declared doctrine. They are just pious tradition (with a small “t”).
      Again, those books are not the source of the doctrine.

      blessed among women–
      In Hebrew (or Aramaic, I guess), there is no superlative form , -est. To express the -est, they would compare 1 individual with a group, therefore making the individual the “most”. So “blessed are you among women” means Mary is the most blessed woman. You could conclude that since she is more blessed even than Eve, she could not have started out in a worse state than Eve, who was created perfectly innocent and not cursed.

    • Chad Dougless


      As you have illustrated for me, no modern Biblical translation will translate the word as “full of grace”. The ones that you have cited even predate the Authorized Version of the KJV. Are we sure that we can accurately look back upon 400+ year old translations and say with definitive accuracy exactly what they meant by “full of grace”? This is why we have modern translations, so that a large number of scholars can look at the texts and put them into the language we use every day.

      Sacred Tradition?-
      What you have pointed out here is that nowhere in Scripture is the doctrine written, other than some people holding an unsupported belief for several centuries before it is “infallibly declared”. Most of these Mariology related doctrines were not defined to be official dogma until 1860+. Why do we think that someone 1800+ years removed from the events suddenly has the authority to declare these things in this way? As I stated, these are not supported in the Bible, but rather from a summation of people’s unsupported beliefs. Iraneus did not appear to hold to these doctrines, but he did state that Mary was the second Eve. Doesn’t make it infallible. But on that note…Eve did have more than 1 child and consummated her marriage.

      Blessed among women-
      The text is in Greek. They used comparative forms to determine the degree of comparison when associated with other words. She may have been the “most” blessed women ever, or simply the most blessed woman alive. All the same, is the reason for this blessing that she was sinless? Or simply that she would be the only woman who can say that she gave birth to the Savior, God Incarnate? Her sinlessness, IC, Assumption, evervirginity, etc., are not in view of the text in any way. Jesus is. Jesus is the blessing. Mary is the recipient of grace and favor of God.

      So I must ask, how do we become more Christ like by elevating Mary with non-Scriptural support? How does this honor God?

    • Irene


      You asked just above,
      “So I must ask, how do we become more Christ like by elevating Mary with non-Scriptural support? How does this honor God?”

      When we honor Mary, we honor God. She is God’s work. He redeemed her. In fact, her redemption is even greater than our redemption, because He redeemed her more perfectly. He redeemed her more perfectly, when, by his intervention, he prevented original sin from ever touching her soul.

      And later, at the Annunciation, Mary was perfectly receptive to God when she gave her “yes”. She perfectly aligned her will with God’s. So Mary is the model for us of perfect servanthood. Her example is the example of perfect submission to God. When we follow her example, we become closer to God.

      By her redemption and by her receptivity to God, she reflects the glory of God. If God is the sun, Mary is the moon. She is nothing without God. With God, she is perfectly beautiful.

    • Chad Dougless


      We have not been discussing your “honoring” of Mary, but rather your worshiping of Mary. Honoring Mary is not an issue, as we honor Paul, Peter, David, Abraham, etc. As a matter of fact, we are ALL God’s work. All people are made in the image of God and deserve honor and respect, because it honors and respects our Creator. God has redeemed many, and did redeem Mary.

      However, I believe your next statement is where this slips into pure idolatry. You state it as “fact” when it is unsupported in Scripture and can only be claimed as “fact” because a Pope decided that it was extra revelation not revealed in Scripture. But let’s talk about this for a second before we go on: Luke 7:28. None is greater than John. Those are Jesus’s own words, and he would know fully well concerning his own mother. So if John is greater than Mary, and John is less than the least in the kingdom of God (who would be perfect creations), then it would dictate that John is not perfect and therefore Mary cannot be perfect either. Do you ask John the Baptist for intercession?

      Mary was highly receptive to God’s decree of favor upon her. But she did doubt enough to question how this grace would be bestowed upon her, is that perfectly receptive? But then you go straight into what I can only describe as blasphemy. Jesus, not Mary, is the model for us of perfect servanthood. Jesus is the example of perfect submission to God, not in a task, but in an entire lifetime. When we follow Jesus’s example, we become closer to God. I pray that you can see exactly what your words indicate with those statements.

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