Wednesday, August 06, 2008


I wanted to finish my thoughts about Mary but my thoughts are moving already. Yet I want to write about the Great Schism and I don't want to write about it before I finish up on Mary to my satisfaction.

Tonight we watched a Rita Rudner comedy DVD. I like her very much. She's as funny as she used to be. I love that she wears an evening gown for her comedy show. And I say, she must work out daily. She had great arms and a flat tummy. I want her arms.

This is the statue at the ranch that got me to thinking about Mary. This statue is called Immaculate Conception or Blessed Virgin Mary statue and it's one of the most popular according to the Catholic online store I looked at. Note if you can, she's standing on something. See her right foot? She's standing on a serpent. And she's standing on a globe. The reason why she's standing over the serpent is because the serpent represents Satan and she, Mary, is victorious over the devil. Mary, unlike Eve, is obedient to the Lord. She agrees to have this baby as the angel Gabriel has instructed her whereas Eve was convinced to eat of the forbidden fruit in the garden. I am not positive but I think the globe she's standing on is in reference to her appearance to a young nun in France in 1830 who saw a vision of Mary on a globe - the globe was referring to France or the world.

Catholics refer to two verses especially in reference to the Immaculate Conception.

Genesis 3:15 - I will put enmity between you [the serpent] and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.


Revelation. 12: 1-5, 17 - And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and on her head a crown of twelve stars...And another portent appeared in heaven; behold, a great red dragon... And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, that he might devour her child when she brought it forth; she brought forth a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron... And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan...Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus. Verses copied from

And a Pope made it all official dogma, meaning they agreed to agree that it's official Catholic belief. Actually, even among Catholic scholars there has be debate for centuries over Mary being sinless.

From a Catholic guy's page I finally found some reasons why the Catholics infer so much more from Scripture than I do. He said:

Many believers in the doctrine of sola scriptura seem to hold this opinion, but this is not the Catholic position.

We Catholics believe that Scripture is inspired by an infinite God, and therefore it could have infinite layers of meaning in each and every verse.

We Catholics do believe that the human authors employed their own human agency while writing, and the intended meaning of the human author is the primary meaning, and no interpretation is considered correct that directly contradicts this primary meaning. We call this the "literal sense" of Scripture.

The literal sense does not necessarily mean "literal" the way some who define themselves as fundamentalist might say. Rather, if the human author was writing poetry, it needs to be read as poetry. If he intended history, it needs to be read as history, and so forth.

However, in addition to the literal sense, there is the allegorical sense, the moral sense, and the anagogical [Per Lil, note that anagogical is not a typo at Merriam-Webster] sense of Scripture, and all of these senses are developed with an eye to fitting everything into a coherent whole (for God is ultimately the author of all Scripture), and reading the text in continuity with the tradition of the Church.

Here is how the Catechism of the Catholic Church describes each sense of Scripture:

116 The literal sense is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture and discovered by exegesis, following the rules of sound interpretation: "All other senses of Sacred Scripture are based on the literal."

117 The spiritual sense. Thanks to the unity of God's plan, not only the text of Scripture but also the realities and events about which it speaks can be signs.

1. The allegorical sense. We can acquire a more profound understanding of events by recognizing their significance in Christ; thus the crossing of the Red Sea is a sign or type of Christ's victory and also of Christian Baptism.

2. The moral sense. The events reported in Scripture ought to lead us to act justly. As St. Paul says, they were written "for our instruction".

3. The anagogical sense (Greek: anagoge, "leading" ). We can view realities and events in terms of their eternal significance, leading us toward our true homeland: thus the Church on earth is a sign of the heavenly Jerusalem.

I like to know this so that I can explain to my Catholic friends, and to myself, why I think as I do. Generally, I think that Catholics tend to be people who prefer a more paternalistic church. Generally, I think that Protestants tend to be people who are individualists. Generally.

As Martin Luther, the leader of the Reformation believed, I too believe in sola scriptura.

Incidentally, the Great Schism is the forerunner of the Reformation. I might buy myself a tee shirt that says 1517 on it! That is the year that Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the church in Wittenburg, Germany, and unintentionally set off a firestorm across Europe! The invention of John Gutenberg's printing press in 1440 didn't hurt either.

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