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The Passion of the Christ

Mrs. Maggott

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Thorin said:
FINALLY!!! At least some recognition that the church was wayward and corrupt in many areas for a time! That is pretty much all I wanted some admission on and not that everything the church has done has been God-breathed and endorsed without error.
Bless you, my dear Thorin! Whoever told you THAT!? My goodness! A ten second perusal of Church history - East and West - would make any such assertion by anyone a matter of ridicule and derision! The Church is a hospital for sinners, not some sort of glorious reliquery full of spotless saints! It is the Ark of Salvation, but like the first ark, it has a tendency to fill with effluvia unless it is constantly cleaned up!

Now, is there a "perfect, Godly Church"? YES! It is called "the Church Triumphant (we belong to the Church Militant) which is made up of those who have already "run the race" that St. Paul mentioned and have taken their place in the Lord's Kingdom. We, however, who are still "running" that race and "fighting" that battle have to put up with the vagries of our fallen natures and all that that entails - yes, including error and even wickedness done in the name of the Church and even of God Himself. To expect perfection is to misunderstand utterly what the Church is all about.
 

Mrs. Maggott

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Malbeth said:
As Eriol has said, we have admitted that the Church has committed some abuses before... we still say She has made no doctrinal error.

Mrs. Maggot said that there was error, but she's not Roman Catholic, but an Eastern Orthodox... it is the closest to Catholicism of all the other Christian denominations, so perhaps you were under the impression Mrs Maggot was a Catholic.

Mrs Maggot: We could talk about those things you mentioned, but I think it will get too abstruse for this thread (it is already too abstruse in many ways); we could exchange PMs if you wanted to.
Yes, a detailed history of the Church would be beyond anything that would be useful in this thread. I was baptized a Roman Catholic (in the days when the Church was much different than it presently is today), but I have been Orthodox for over 40 years. I would be happy to exchange e-mails when time allows. It is always interesting to discuss matters of faith with fellow believers.
 

Tar-Ancalime

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Mrs. Maggot, I would be glad to take up that offer, considering I'm in a catholic high school taking a church history course. Of course I'm not an orthodox, but its pretty much the same history, right?
 

Mrs. Maggott

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Yes indeed! The two Churches have much in common. It would be instructive, I think, for both of us to communicate when time permits.

God bless. ;)
 

joxy

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Mrs. Maggott said:
There are many beliefs in Orthodoxy that the Church does not forbid its members to hold (such as the Assumption of the Theotokos) but neither does it define them as doctrine simply because there is no absolutely reliable source to confirm them and they have not been put forth by a recognized Council.
Which statement, generally, also applies to Catholicism.
The exception is, of course, an important one, the one that you specify: the Assumption, and the Immaculate Conception from which that derives, of the Theotokos, the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Ultimately, the "reliable source" is the Authority given to the Apostolic Succession.
With regard to your comment, referring to the Infallibility, on "the number of people who became "Pope" who had absolutely no right (religious or secular) to that office", I'm not clear to what people and to what right you are referring. The Infallibility is attached to the office of the Pope, rather than to the individual qualities of the person who holds the office at any particular time.
 

joxy

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Tar-Ancalime said:
....its pretty much the same history, right?
Essentially there was only the one history, until, as Mrs M reminds us, 1054AD.
After that, "then there were two", for another four hundred years, and then came the flood, of countless numbers, that is only gradually subsiding today!
Fortunately the two flagships, the Orthodox and the Catholic, survived the storms together, despite their distance apart.
There are strong signs that the two will now come into port together, sooner rather than later.
 

Tar-Ancalime

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Yeah, that's what I meant ^_^;;...Anywho, it is true that some of the most important and establishing moments occured before the great schism.(Duh!)
 

Mrs. Maggott

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joxy said:
Which statement, generally, also applies to Catholicism.
The exception is, of course, an important one, the one that you specify: the Assumption, and the Immaculate Conception from which that derives, of the Theotokos, the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Ultimately, the "reliable source" is the Authority given to the Apostolic Succession.
With regard to your comment, referring to the Infallibility, on "the number of people who became "Pope" who had absolutely no right (religious or secular) to that office", I'm not clear to what people and to what right you are referring. The Infallibility is attached to the office of the Pope, rather than to the individual qualities of the person who holds the office at any particular time.
While it is true that the "infallibility in matters of faith and morals" attends to the office, it is also true that in the doctrines of the Church, the office of Bishop requires certain qualities which must be present in any candidate for that office; these are rather expressly stated in many documents of especially the early Church. Those Popes who were political hacks or who bought their way into office (and had mistresses and children standing with them when they greeted the faithful), simply did not fulfill the most rudimentary requirements for office and so could be considered illegitimate - unless, of course, you would like to bestow infallibility on the likes of "Pope Joan", a woman who held at least the title for a short time sometime in the Renaissance, I believe. Of course, no one is "worthy" of redemption, and still less, a high ecclesiastical office. But ordinary human "unworthiness" is one thing; in the case of these individuals - Borgias and the like - they weren't even close!

The Western Church had a tendency toward legalism. It generally was not happy with the Eastern Church's tendency toward a less regimented means of considering doctrine. When the Churches were one, they complimented each other. The "mystic" East softened the "legalistic" West and the more prosaic West kept the East's mysticism from getting out of hand and leaving everything up for grabs. Unfortunately, with the schism of 1054, both Churches lost out. There was no longer any gentle restraint of the Latin tendency to define things to death. Thus, when questions arose, it wasn't in the nature of Rome to let them lie. That was not, of course, the case in the East and hence, there is far less "dogma" in Orthodoxy than in Catholicism.

However, once you have "defined" something, you soon find that you have to continue to define everything that pertains to it. For instance, rather than accepting - as had the early Church - that human life (and hence all that implied) began at the moment of conception, Rome in the person of Thomas Aquinas attempted to "define" the moment at which the soul "enters" the developing fetus. In the end, the good Thomas came up with the theory that a male was ensouled in 40 days and a female in twice that time (I believe that is the case but I don't have the numbers in front of me). Why the 40/80 day time periods or the different period for a male vs. a female? Who knows? I am sure at the time Thomas must have given some acceptable theological reason for his conclusions, but they differed greatly with the teachings of his own Church (pre-schism) which said that the moment of the beginning of existence for both soul and body were one and the same.

The Immaculate Conception of the Virgin is another clear example of what happens once Rome began to "define" things. The East has no such doctrine. Why? Because it was not necessary. It all came about when Rome attempted to "define" man's nature as it pertained to the Fall. From that attempt came the doctrine of "original sin" - the belief that every man born is a partaker in the sin of Adam and Eve. Well, of course, that put the cat amongst the pigeons when the West came to consider Our Lord's Mother! GADZOOKS! According to the doctrine of original sin, Mary was a sinner from conception! Jesus was "enfleshed" by a sinful woman! That would never do - and hence, the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. God Himself kept His Mother pure so that He would not be corrupted when He took her humanity upon Himself.

Now, one might ask, why wasn't that doctrine necessary in the Orthodox East? Because Orthodoxy does not have the doctrine of "original sin". The Church believes that the only people guilty of the sin committed by Adam and Eve were - you guessed it! - Adam and Eve! What mankind "inherited" was not their sin, but their "fallen nature", a "nature" that tended toward sin. This means that children are conceived, born and live for a certain period of time totally sinless because he or she is not old enough to understand the concept of sin. If a child dies before the age of five, that child is referred to by the Church as "spotless". Ergo, Mary was - like all other children - spotless until she was five. It is believed (but it is NOT a doctrine) that she remained without at least "gross" sin for the rest of her life but she was not "perfect" - no human being ever has been - except one, Jesus Christ. As a human being, she had inherited mankind's fallen nature and hence, it can be said that Christ was truly human as well as divine since His Mother was fully human and not some sort of "semi-divinity" separated by God from the rest of our race.
 

Tar-Ancalime

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I should have some sort of comeback for that shouldn't I. You just did attack my beliefs of Mary's divinty...or at least I think you did :confused: . Althought I did not *think* about the different strenghts of each church (Mystic and Legalistic). Some other point though, is that at the time of the Schism you had a hot head Cardinal from the Latin Rite (I don't remember his name...) and you had a Patriarch ( No, I dont know that name either). After that merry trip where the two had managed to excommunicate each other there was an attempt to reunite the churches that went downhill after the Crusaders forgot to attack the Muslims and instead looted Byzantium...Ahh..What a history!
 

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Tar-Ancalime said:
You just did attack my beliefs of Mary's divinity!
No, that wasn't an attack, and the BV Mary is not divine! Your Catholic High School MUST have taught you that she isn't?!

My parish church, and its school, are named for St Mary, but the amount of attention we are allowed to give her these days is minimal. One Hail Mary at each Sunday Mass is a recent addition!
 

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Mrs. Maggott said:
....in the case of these individuals - Borgias and the like - they weren't even close!
...there is far less "dogma" in Orthodoxy than in Catholicism.
Indeed not, and yet we claim a dichotomy for them: that they retained the Apostolic Succession and were still capable, by the inspiration of the Third Person of the Trinity, of making infallible statements on matters of faith and morals - not that any did so,
as far as I am aware!
A comparable possible dichotomy applies to all ordained priests and bishops - that their sacramental actions are distinct from their individual human natures.
We share the Creeds, to a large extent - though with a vital exception. Those are the only "dogmas" which have any practical importance in Catholicism today.
Thank you for all the information in your posting. I have to admit with embarrassment not being aware of our differences in relation to "original sin"; that has been an education to me!
With regard to legalism, I suppose that IS a Western preoccupation, and it has been copied and repeated in all the branches that broke away from our half of the tree five hundred years ago.
 
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Thorin

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Mrs. Maggott said:
While it is true that the "infallibility in matters of faith and morals" attends to the office, it is also true that in the doctrines of the Church, the office of Bishop requires certain qualities which must be present in any candidate for that office; these are rather expressly stated in many documents of especially the early Church.
And to me this concept of the 'office' of the pope and not the pope being infallible is redundant and best and ludicrous at the least. Whomever is in office will call the shots, create any tradition they feel, write any document they feel or define any doctrine they feel. It is redundant because the outcome will depend on the person in the office. Of course despot popes like Benedict IX and John XXIII (the anti-pope of 1415, not he of Vatican II) wouldn't make any declaration of faith and morals because they were wicked and evil. The office had nothing to do with it. It is ludicrous because of that definition, any of those lousy popes could have drummed up some sort of heresy and it would have been considered infallible (and some even thought so themselves).

Mrs. Maggott said:
The Immaculate Conception of the Virgin is another clear example of what happens once Rome began to "define" things. The East has no such doctrine. Why? Because it was not necessary. It all came about when Rome attempted to "define" man's nature as it pertained to the Fall. From that attempt came the doctrine of "original sin" - the belief that every man born is a partaker in the sin of Adam and Eve. Well, of course, that put the cat amongst the pigeons when the West came to consider Our Lord's Mother! GADZOOKS! According to the doctrine of original sin, Mary was a sinner from conception! Jesus was "enfleshed" by a sinful woman! That would never do - and hence, the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. God Himself kept His Mother pure so that He would not be corrupted when He took her humanity upon Himself.
And here is an example of what I was talking about. You will not find any support in the scripture for such a concept and the church seems to have contradicted itself in this matter and yet we are supposed to swallow that this was given by God through sacred tradition and whether the scriptures support it or not, it doesn't matter? Why bother with the Bible, let the church come up with all interesting ideas and lets make them necessary for salvation and on par with the scriptures.
 

Mrs. Maggott

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Bits and Pieces:

The Church - East or West - never taught that Mary was "divine". However, she was an essential part of man's redemption because the Redeemer was to be born of her. She is called by the Church, the "new Eve" because whereas Eve said "no" to God, Mary said "yes". Mother Theresa put it very well when she said, simply, "No Mary, no Jesus!"

The Church is not some institution, but rather, the Bride of Christ, established by the Lord and "born" on Pentecost with the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the 125 people who had gathered in Jerusalem (including, of course, the at that point 11 Apostles). From the beginning there were contentions and debates. Neither Jesus nor the Holy Spirit left a manual regarding the Church. It was expected that those involved in the Church would "work it out" over time. For instance, shortly after the Church's inception, there was a very large debate between those Jews who believed that the Gentiles who were coming into the Church in droves should be circumcised in keeping with Jewish law. On the other hand, there were those who believed that Christianity was something "brand new" and that the old Jewish law did not apply. Interestingly enough, the Apostle who was in favor of retaining the old law was St. Peter; the Apostle who wanted all of that swept away was that most ferocious of Jews, St. Paul!! Obviously, St. Paul won the debate. But the fact is, there WAS A DEBATE! There was no "perfect structure" in place right from the beginning, so it would be strange indeed, if it were perfect today!

Bishops were men who were appointed by their fellow Christians to lead the community. They were supposed to be knowledgeable about the Faith, husbands of one wife (if they were married), continent, prayerful, kind, loving, generous and willing to, like Christ, SERVE those whom they led. These qualities are listed in Scripture itself, so there is no question what was required. Have there been venal even evil men who rose to high rank - and then became godly and even saints? Certainly. In the Soviet Union, one member of the KGB secretly planted in the Orthodox Church became a bishop - and was miraculously converted. He died a martyr to the Faith and is one of the "new martyrs" of Russia who have been canonized. You couldn't have started from a worse position - or ended in a better! And the same thing has happened in reverse! Ostensibly worthy candidates for priest, monk or bishop turn out to be anything but "worthy" when all is said and done.

Do not misunderstand the Church altogether as it plays out in the West. In the East, no dogma or doctrine can be formulated unless it is brought up in Council. This is not a matter of one man or a small group "making policy"! The only person who can "make policy" in the Church is Jesus Christ! Many of what some people think of as "policy" is, in fact, an attempt to explain certain theological issues that have arisen over time or a response to a heresy that has arising such as Arianism, Nestorianism, Manicheism, iconoclasm, dualism etc., etc. These were speculations regarding the faith brought to the fore by some "important person or persons" which then had to be addressed by a Council of the Church. It wasn't until well into the Middle Ages and even the Renaissance that individuals or small groups "made policy", but most of the time that policy had to do more with politics and war than faith.
 

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It is ludicrous because of that definition, any of those lousy popes could have drummed up some sort of heresy and it would have been considered infallible (and some even thought so themselves).
Indeed; isn't it amazing, almost to the point of miraculous, that those lousy popes never did that? It does seem that the office has divine protection if even such wicked men cannot abuse it (on the area they are protected of course).
 

Tar-Ancalime

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joxy: Yes, I know I am a confused person. That's why I didnt exactly respond, but anywho Thank you for seeing my error.

Malbeth: Mrs. Maggot may have already said this, but the only case which infallibitly can be claimed is on faith or moral issues and it has only been claimed twice. On the Assumption of Mary and the Immaculate Conception.
 

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Malbeth: Mrs. Maggot may have already said this, but the only case which infallibitly can be claimed is on faith or moral issues and it has only been claimed twice. On the Assumption of Mary and the Immaculate Conception.
It has only been claimed twice since the dogma of papal infalibility was first defined, in Council Vatican I; however, the dogma is retroactive (as it must be), and therefore all ex cathedra papal teachings on faith and morals are infallible, not just those two you mentioned; no Pope, no matter how corrupt, has ever taught anything ex cathedra that was repudiated by a later Pope, or repudiated any earlier Pope's teachings; that was what I was referring to.

Considering how bad those Popes were it is really something that they never taught any heresy.

This means that children are conceived, born and live for a certain period of time totally sinless because he or she is not old enough to understand the concept of sin. If a child dies before the age of five, that child is referred to by the Church as "spotless".
Does this mean the Orthodox Church does not perform infant baptism? If it does, I'm surprised; I had no idea. If it doesn't, then what is the reason for infant baptism for the Orthodox?

Now, one might ask, why wasn't that doctrine necessary in the Orthodox East? Because Orthodoxy does not have the doctrine of "original sin". The Church believes that the only people guilty of the sin committed by Adam and Eve were - you guessed it! - Adam and Eve! What mankind "inherited" was not their sin, but their "fallen nature", a "nature" that tended toward sin.
But if our nature only tends towards sin and we have free will, why has no human being ever been absolutely free from sin? (except Jesus, but I don't think He "counts", since He could not sin) A tendency that throughout billions and billions of individuals no one is able to break free from strikes me as something more than a tendency.

Also, you say that the West was too willing to define things; but to say that we did not inherit any sin from Adam is just as much of a definition as to say that we did inherit Original sin from him.

Mary was no less human for being born free from sin than Eve was.
 
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Mrs. Maggott

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Certainly we have infant baptism. We put off the "old man" with his fallen nature and put on Christ. But the child has yet to sin for all of that. He or she, however, has been born into a fallen creation and as such, part of that creation and therefore requires redemption. We also give the Eucharist to infants and we have no sacrament of "confirmation" since from the moment of baptism the child is fully a member of the Church.

Furthermore, if Eve had not sinned (being "born" sinless), there would have been no need for a Redeemer. Ergo, one cannot equate a "sinless" Mary with a "sinless" Eve. Mary was fully human and human kind at the time of Christ's Incarnation had a fallen nature - or Christ would not have had to be incarnate.

But, in any event, the differences between the two Churches, East and West, is hardly the focus of this thread. However, I will say one thing in it: in the East, there have been no "additions" to doctrine since the Great Councils: no "original sin", no "Immaculate Conception", no "infallibility" of any priest, bishop or patriarch. All of this - and much more including the filioque in the Creed - have been "added on" in the Western Church since the schism. The result of the consequences of at least some of these "additions" was the Protestant Reformation; there has been nothing even remotely similar to it in the East. Sometimes - even in the quest for truth - it is possible to embrace that which is not.
 

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Mrs. Maggott said:
The Church - East or West - never taught that Mary was "divine". However, she was an essential part of man's redemption because the Redeemer was to be born of her. She is called by the Church, the "new Eve" because whereas Eve said "no" to God, Mary said "yes". Mother Theresa put it very well when she said, simply, "No Mary, no Jesus!"
Who God chose is redundant. He HAD to choose someone. All that person is (as Mary thought of herself) is a messenger. God has called many throughout the Bible to do His work in some fashion or another. There is a difference between Mary helping Christ come to the world and being an 'essential' part of redemption. It is even further to call her a co-redemptrix in salvation. Why 'Hail Marys'? Why not 'Hail Elijahs' and 'Hail Peters' and 'Hail Pauls'?

This making Mary sacred simply because she brought Christ into the world is to take away the focus of the real mission of Christ. Christ is the only mediator between man and God because He saved us. Praying to the saints is like me praying to you. Just because you can pray to God FOR me and ABOUT me, doesn't mean you deserve my veneration and prayers because I think you have a good word in for me with the Lord. Christ alone deserves our prayers and he alone is our 'high priest'.

I believe that 'The Passion of the Christ' subtly shows this. Gibson himself said that this was a 'Marian' film and was very surprised with the evangelical support it was getting from non-Catholics.

Besides, Mary can't hear you. She's in her grave awaiting the resurrection along with everyone else. ;)
 

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Thorin said:
Who God chose is redundant. He HAD to choose someone. All that person is (as Mary thought of herself) is a messenger. God has called many throughout the Bible to do His work in some fashion or another. There is a difference between Mary helping Christ come to the world and being an 'essential' part of redemption. It is even further to call her a co-redemptrix in salvation. Why 'Hail Marys'? Why not 'Hail Elijahs' and 'Hail Peters' and 'Hail Pauls'?
That is so "not true". What do you think the Old Testament is all about? It was about "setting up a family" for the woman God was going to use to bring His Son into the world! Thus, He tells Abraham that all mankind will call him (Abraham) "blessed". Why? Because he is the ancestor of the woman who made redemption possible. God didn't just "choose" someone to be His Mother! He set apart a man - Abram - and his descendents - the Jews - as the means in which His Mother comes into the world. Furthermore, He sets forth one of Jacob's sons - Judah - and Judah's descendent David - as a further delineation of the line from which His Mother would descend! In that line you have Rahab, the prostitute from Jericho who is spared because she protected the Hebrew spies, Tamar, Judah's daughter-in-law who becomes pregnant by him through a ruse, Ruth, the Moabitess and grandmother of Jesse, father of David and so forth. To suggest that Mary was just "picked" to be the Theotokos - the Mother of God and not just the mother of the man Jesus (for that is what the Church has determined her to be), is ridiculous in the extreme.

Thorin said:
This making Mary sacred simply because she brought Christ into the world is to take away the focus of the real mission of Christ. Christ is the only mediator between man and God because He saved us. Praying to the saints is like me praying to you. Just because you can pray to God FOR me and ABOUT me, doesn't mean you deserve my veneration and prayers because I think you have a good word in for me with the Lord. Christ alone deserves our prayers and he alone is our 'high priest'.
Mary is not "sacred". She is venerated and properly so. One holds in veneration those individuals whose goodness and/or bravery makes them "special". No educated Christian "worships" Mary and she herself would reject any such actions. Indeed, in the Orthodox Church, there are no icons of Mary alone; she is always shown with her Son which is fitting since it is her connection to Him that makes her what she is in the Church. Mary is asked to "intercede" with God on our behalf the same way the saints are. Heavens! We ask our brothers and sisters in Christ to "pray" for us so why should we not ask those of us who are alive in Him (though they are no longer on the earth) to do so as well? What is wrong with that? We do not pray to anyone other than God for redemption or forgiveness, merely that they take our part before The Throne of God and intercede on our behalf. This has always been understood in the Church as not only proper, but even an expected thing. After all, if we can ask one another to speak up for us in worldly situations - and we do it all the time - what is so unusual that we should ask those who have inherited the Kingdom to do so as well?

And as for Mary being "special", well, she is. What is the FIRST Commandment of the Ten which deals with human interaction as opposed to our interaction with and obligations towards God? It is not one of the "thou shalt nots" but rather, it is thou shalt honor thy father and thy mother. This is the first Commandment of the Ten in which God specifically dictates how we are to behave as His people towards one another. Neither does He say "honor thy father and thy mother" only if they were great parents. He simply demands that we honor them, good, bad or indifferent. Now if this is God's own Commandment, do you suppose that He would fail to follow it Himself and not shower honor upon His own Mother? I think not! Remember, even from the Cross itself, He was concerned for her and commended her into the care of the only Apostle (St. John) who had the courage to be present at the crucifixion. Furthermore, if she is, as the Church declares, the "new Eve" (as Christ is the "new Adam"), then, like Eve, she is our Mother as well and as such, we are commanded to 'honor' her. Does this mean "worship"? Certainly not. Does it mean a "cult attachment" and a desire to make her into the Fourth Person of the Trinity? Absolutely not! Indeed, such things are forbidden by the Church.

Thorin said:
I believe that 'The Passion of the Christ' subtly shows this. Gibson himself said that this was a 'Marian' film and was very surprised with the evangelical support it was getting from non-Catholics.
I saw nothing in The Passion that made of Mary anything more than a loving mother who knew who her Son was and His ultimate fate. I certainly saw nothing to suggest that Gibson "worshipped" her or wanted anyone else to do so.

Thorin said:
Besides, Mary can't hear you. She's in her grave awaiting the resurrection along with everyone else. ;)
God is outside of time as is His Kingdom. Although we do know of the Second Coming and the Last Judgment, there are already those who are acknowledged in Scripture as having attained heaven prior thereto: Enoch, Elijah and Moses (who is seen with Christ at the Transfiguration). There has been much speculation as to the fate of those who die in Christ. Certainly, our bodies will not resurrect until the Last Judgment, but many believe that we will undergo at least a foretaste of the Kingdom. As well, there were witnesses to the fact that when many of the Apostles who were not present at the time of the Theotokos' death went to her tomb to venerate her body - and found the tomb empty; that is where the belief in the assumption of her body into heaven prior to the Last Judgment came from. It isn't "new doctrine" but dates back to the first and second centuries. And, after all, if Enoch and Elijah could be bodily taken into heaven, I personally would not dare to place limitations on what Christ could or would do for His own mother! However, as I have said, in the Orthodox Church, one may or may not accept the Assumption of the Virgin; it is up to the individual. Doubtless, it will be made known in God's own good time.
 

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I just took a religon test today (I only missed two! Yay!) and the definition of Immaculate Conception was Mary being born sinless and so on. Obviously, the Catholic Opinion has been rebuked politely. I do have one question, is it at all likely that there will EVER be another single church. A lutheran minister spoke to us (my class) about the small differences with the Lutheran faith and the Catholic faith ( 2 Sacraments for Lutherans, 7 for Catholicism) Also, while the Lutherans justify by scripture alone, Catholics use Sacred Tradition and Scripture, and the eucharist. That evidence makes it not seem so different and shows likely evidence that their may be a unified church again? What do you all think about that?
 

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