Merry Christ Mass!

Wishing You A
Merry and Blessed
Christ Mass!

Today begins in darkness, and the Savior of the world who was incarnate nine months ago, in the darkness of this morning is born and we celebrate the Midnight Mass, the First Mass of Christmas.  Out of the darkness comes the Light of the World.  Today we celebrate the Mass of Christ - Christmas.  We are reminded that His entry as a Babe in the manger was so that He would exit in darkness also.  Darkness came early that Good Friday afternoon as our Lord and Savior hung upon the Cross.  Note the symbolism in the Eastern icon (left) to Golgatha ... yet this is an icon to the Nativity.  As darkness fell, He was laid in a cave.  However, again the darkness was overcome by the Light.  On the Third Day He rose from the dead - victorious over sin and death!  He freely gives that victory to anyone who will believe in Him and upon His Name.  Believing in Him is more than mere lip-service too.  Believing in Him means you DO what He commands and you live according to His Word - but most importantly, that you persevere to the Last Day.

Advent has ended, Christmas has begun! 
Now is the time the Christmas celebration SHOULD BEGIN!  Christmas does not end on December 25th, it STARTS!  The Christmas Season lasts at least through Epiphany, which is January 6th - and in some traditions it lasts through Candlemas, which is the celebration of the Mass of the Presentation at the Temple.  Candlemas is celebrated on February 2nd.  So don't put away that Christmas music!  Leave the decorations up!
Christmas has just begun!

So remember Him and His Sacrifice as you go to Mass this Christmas Season - and continue the Christmas Season for the "Twelve Days of Christmas" (to Epiphany) or even all the way to Candlemas!  If someone asks you why you're still listening to Christmas music or have your lights up - you can tell them why!  It's STILL Christmas!

Swan on Luther's View of the Immaculate Conception

This posting is in response to a comment left by James Swan on his blog on 9:50 PM, December 17, 2011.  Since my response became too long for a combox reply, I am responding on my own blog with this posting.
I thought I'd add some faces to the names too and I know many have seen our faces before, but it doesn't hurt to put them out there again...
James Swan said...

James Swan
Hi Scott,

JS: Yes, it appears I was too hasty with your final comment. My apologies.

sw: Thank you, apology accepted.

JS: On the other hand,it does seem as if there's a jab with your words. When you say, "I suppose if you want to read Luther without considering the context of Luther - well, that speaks volumes." Are you attributing this to me? If so, you would be in error. 

Scott Windsor
sw: If you're reading Luther without considering the context of Luther's other writings, then it applies to you.  If you are including Luther's other teachings (like that of the "two conceptions") then it would not apply to you.  Either way, there's no error in what I said.

JS:  That was the sentence that provoked me to see your comment as insulting, and really covertly charging me with ignorance. 

sw: No, I am not charging you with anything!  I said, "I suppose if you want to..." - so, if you don't want to and/or are not doing so - then it does not apply to you.  Again, I specifically stated I was NOT accusing you of ignorance either overtly or covertly - we both know ignorance of Luther on this matter does not apply to you.

JS:  If though I've mis-read your words, my apologies. 

sw: Apology accepted, again.

JS:  This is one of the difficulties of printed word exchanges. 

sw:  Understanding someone's motives can be difficult in printed word exchanges, but my words were quite clear on this matter.  It is also better to seek clarification before jumping to conclusions in a printed only exchange.

JS:  You then went on to use the word "disingenuous". Are you inferring that you think my opinion on this topic fits that description? 

sw:  Only if the shoe fits!  If you are willing to accept that Luther's teachings on the Immaculate Conception go beyond the 1532 sermon - then that word and that sentence do not apply to you.  If, however, you're insisting that this 1532 sermon summarizes Luther's belief in the Immaculate Conception (or lack thereof) - then I would have to say that shoe does fit.  

JS:  If there's anyone clearly deceiving and disingenuous currently, it's Voris and his use of the Luther quote in question.Since you've taken up the gauntlet to defend him, you would best spend some of your apologetic time contacting Mr. Voris and help him post honest and well-researched materials.

sw: I have made an attempt to contact Mr. Voris.  Prior to this exchange I have had absolutely no contact with him.  I have seen his "RealCatholicTV" before, but haven't spent much time on it.

JS:  You've now said a few times that it is I and not you who has taken Luther out of context. This is nonsense. 

sw:  If you are not considering the 1527 sermon (and other teachings prior) when reading the 1532 sermon - then you are indeed reading Luther outside the context of Luther.

JS: You haven't even responded to the meat of my comments in this current discussion. 

sw: The "meat" of THIS discussion is based in Luther's expressed belief in the Immaculate Conception - a matter which you have conceded he most definitely held in his earlier life.  My contention is that he never rejected his earlier belief.  He may have stopped talking about it as openly, but - and I repeat - your argument is one from silence.  Silence lends itself to consent, not rejection. 

JS: While you're certainly entitled to your opinion, at this point, it is simply that: a groundless opinion.

sw: Groundless?  I've presented my case (repeatedly now) and you've had a good YEAR to dig up evidence of Martin Luther rejecting the Immaculate Conception, and you - whom I concede has read a lot more Luther than most Lutherans, including myself - a former Lutheran, have not been able to come up with that reference which would silence my argument and elicit my concession.

JS: Quite frankly, I find your opinion and apologetic on this entire issue absurd. I'm sorry if you find that insulting, but I can't think of kinder word, and I'm not saying it with any guile. It's absurd because you've taken a deleted section of a sermon which only in the earliest edition (of a very popular Reformation book, published over multiple years) and attempted to read it into later contexts of a man whose theology of Mary demonstratively changed over time. 

sw:  As long as we're being frank - I find your apologetic and opinion on this matter to be blinded by an anti-Catholic agenda.  All along I have not rejected that the later editions of the 1527 sermon have left out part of it - expressly THE part we're discussing.  Again, the ABSENCE of saying something is not a rejection of it!  Did Luther's views on Mary change throughout his life?  I won't argue against that!  All I AM saying is that while he one time explicitly supported and taught the Immaculate Conception, that even while he mellowed in his support and even didn't speak of it so concisely later on - he NEVER came out and REJECTED it either.

JS: Further, as I pointed out here, you've used a flawed methodology to arrive at the bulk of your conclusions.

sw: I've made ONE conclusion in regard to this topic.  I've been quite consistent in that conclusion for over a year now - and even with all your resources which you laud over others how much you spend on them - you have not been able to come up with even ONE SENTENCE from Luther stating he flatly rejected the concept of the Immaculate Conception.  What you HAVE been able to do is establish a valid argument that Luther believed Mary was made immaculate at the time of Christ's conception - and I gave you that LONG ago.  Basically that just makes Luther's position of Mary being immaculate (without sin) a matter of timing, but does not change the reality of his belief that she indeed was/is immaculate.  

sw:  You can lash out emotionally all you want and attempt to label my methodology as flawed or my opinion and apologetic as absurd - but I've really made ONE POINT which you cannot counter - hence the emotional responses and the attacks on the person (ad hominem) instead of just presenting the evidence to gain my concession - OR - just conceding that I too have a point here.

JS: I'll let you clarify if you wish to as to the above statements in question (whether or not you intended a jab), but there really isn't any need to. What your opinion of me one way or the other really doesn't matter.If you want to keep me interested, present facts, contexts, exegesis of text, and interpretations.

sw: All I said was that it would be disingenuous to look at Luther's 1532 sermon without considering what he said just a few years earlier.  Keeping Luther in the context of Luther.  There is no "jab" intended - I merely stated that you can look at Luther in the context of Luther, or you can isolate the 1532 sermon from his previous writings/teachings and make arguments from silence IF YOU CHOOSE.  I choose NOT to accept a modern view of Luther rejecting something he himself never rejects based upon arguments from silence.  If you DO want to consider Luther outside the context of Luther then don't consider it a jab, consider it a well placed right cross and consider changing your apologetic.

JS:  By the way, do you have a complete copy of the 1527 sermon you're using to interpret all of Luther's later comments on the Immaculate Conception, and have you read it? Do you have a complete copy of the 1532 sermon Voris cited and have you read it? Well, I have. 

sw: Whether or not I have the "complete copy of the 1527 sermon" or the 1532 sermon is really irrelevant to the argument at hand.  I not only have considered the 1527 sermon in context, I presented it - without your assistance. 

JS:  I suggest that if you intend to get in to this subject again you track down the sources (if you have not already), because the first thing I will jump on if you haven't is that your presenting an opinion on documents you've never read. 

sw: I have already provided a contextual response (click here) including the context from the 1527 sermon.  Earlier this year you and I discussed a sermon from 1538.  As for the 1532 sermon, here is the context of that statement:
Martin Luther
Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according thy word.
14. That day, that moment when Mary assented to the angel Gabriel’s announcement, Christ was conceived. In that hour when she said, “Be it unto me according to thy word,” she conceived and became the mother of God; and Christ, therewith, became true God and true man in one person. Even though he is a tiny fetus, at that moment he is both God and man in Mary’s womb, an infant, and Mary is the mother of God.
15. The Turks and the Jews make fun of this article of faith and feel that they have excellent reason to deride it. For that matter, we could banter about it as well as they. But as Christians, we must firmly hold onto this article of faith and never waver. From the beginning of time it has been prophesied that God’s Son would become man and that his mother would be a virgin. The first prophecy given Adam and Eve soon after the fall (Gen. 3:15) stated: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shall bruise his heel.” God does not say the seed of the man, but rather the seed of the woman. Therefore, the mother of this serpent crusher must be a virgin. Later the patriarchs and the prophets also prophesied of this, until finally the beloved apostles proclaimed it to all the world. We have been baptized into this faith and are called Christians because we believe and confess it to be true. Let us, therefore, persevere unwaveringly in this faith. And if, as time goes on, sectarian spirits deny it, let us take a staunch stand in behalf of it.
16. This article is really the bottom line. Christ wanted his beginning to be like ours, but without sin, because he wanted to sanctify us wholly. We begin life in sin, we are conceived in sin, born in sin, no matter whether we be emperor, king, prince, rich, or poor; every human being is conceived in sin according to Psalm 51:5. Only Christ has the distinction and the honor to have been conceived by the Holy Ghost’s power. Since from our conception we are sinful, we are people whose flesh and blood and everything about us are soiled by sin, as indeed we see in ourselves; or when we look at those around us in the world, beset by evil desire, pride, multiple devils, and miserable unbelief. Thus we are conceived and born. For all of mankind is conceived and born in accord with creation’s decree, as recorded (Gen. 1:28): `Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” Christ could not be subject to such impure sinful conception and birth. He, indeed, was a genuinely true, natural human being, but not conceived or born in sin as all other descendants of Adam. That is why his mother had to be a virgin whom no man had touched, so that he would not be born under the curse, but rather conceived and born without sin, so that the devil had no right or power over him. Only the Holy Spirit was present to bring about the conception in her virgin body. Mother Mary, like us, was born in sin of sinful parents, but the Holy Spirit covered her, sanctified and purified her so that this child was born of flesh and blood, but not with sinful flesh and blood. The Holy Spirit permitted the Virgin Mary to remain a true, natural human being of flesh and blood, just as we. However, he warded off sin from her flesh and blood so that she became the mother of a pure child, not poisoned by sin as we are.
17. Thus what the angel spake came true: “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest.” For in that moment when she conceived, she was a holy mother filled with the Holy Spirit and her fruit is a holy, pure fruit, at once true God and truly man, in one person. In time, then, this godly mother gave birth to God’s Son, a genuine man, but without any sin. Undoubtedly, his blood was red, his flesh, white; he suckled at his mother’s breasts, ate porridge, cried, and slumbered like any other child; but his flesh and blood were holy and pure. He is a holy person, the son of a pure virgin and God’s Son, true God and man in one person. [Sermons of Martin Luther Vol. 7 (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2000), pp. 291-293]. (Emphasis mine). Source: James Swan
sw: So, there we have the context of the 1532 sermon.   I repeat what I said a year ago when talking about the 1538 sermon, this statement from Luther does not preclude the possibility that he's talking about the Holy Ghost covering her and sanctifying her at her own conception - thus leaving MY position to be a valid one.  Whether or not you AGREE with what I've said is not the point!  
sw:  Now, would *I* use this 1532 sermon ALONE to prove Luther still held to the concept of Mary's Immaculate Conception?  No, but taken in the context of his 1527 and earlier statements, it CAN be seen as consistent with his belief in the "two conceptions" theory (which, again, is HIS theory and not mine!).

sw: James, I believe that all along you've been making more of my argument than I am!  I am not one out there arguing that Luther explicitly and concisely taught the 1854 definition of the Immaculate Conception - all I AM saying is that in his earlier life he not only accepted a belief not contrary with the 1854 definition but taught it as well.  Later in life, while he did not continue to be as explicit about he belief in Mary's being made immaculate by the Holy Ghost - he also never flatly rejected the belief or teaching.

In the spirit of the Holy Family (JMJ),

Cowboy Advice



Does ANYONE Know What Christmas Is About?

Linus does:

He gets the translation wrong about "Goodwill" - for it is not "Peace, goodwill toward men" but "Peace to men of good will."  Other than that - it's nice to see this message on secular TV at least once a year...

We could take it a bit further - saying, "Christmas is really about the Christ Mass - which the Catholic Church selected December 25th as the day to celebrate the Feast of Christ's Birth - thus the Mass of that day is the Christ Mass - and while we're celebrating His birth, we're also remembering WHY He was born into this world.... to suffer and die for our sins because He loves us.


Fourth Sunday of Advent

The final Sunday in the Advent Season!  
Next Sunday is Christmas!  
John the Baptist is born of Zachary and Elizabeth - to perform the duty of "The One Crying in the Wilderness."  John was called to prepare the way of the Lord's First Coming - and today we are called to prepare for His Second Coming.  Make straight the ways, lay flat the mountains - our Lord comes soon!

The Readings According to the Extraordinary Rite
READING (I Cor. 4:1-5)
Brethren: Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ and the dispensers of the mysteries of God. Here now it is required among the dispensers that a man be found faithful. But to me it is a very small thing to be judged by you or by man's day. But neither do I judge my own self. For I am not conscious to myself of anything. Yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. Therefore, judge not before the time: until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts. And then shall every man have praise from God.

GRADUAL (Ps. 144:18, 21)
The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. V. My lips shall speak the praise of the Lord; let all men bless His holy name.

Alleluia, alleluia! V.
Come, O Lord; do not delay. Forgive the sins of Israel, Your people.

GOSPEL (Luke 3:1-6)
Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and Philip his brother tetrarch of Iturea and the country of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilina: Under the high priests Anna and Caiphas: the word of the Lord was made unto John, the son of Zachary, in the desert. And he came into all the country about the Jordan, preaching the baptism of penance for the remission of sins. As it was written in the book of the sayings of Isaias the prophet: "A voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be brought low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways plain. And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.

Why Was Luther Wrong (Part 3)

This is a continuing project reflecting upon Exurge Domini - where Pope Leo X declared the Errors of Martin Luther.  This article deals with the Eucharist and indulgences.
15. Great is the error of those who approach the sacrament of the Eucharist relying on this, that they have confessed, that they are not conscious of any mortal sin, that they have sent their prayers on ahead and made preparations; all these eat and drink judgment to themselves. But if they believe and trust that they will attain grace, then this faith alone makes them pure and worthy.

The "this" here is contrition (from #14).  If one did not have true contrition for their sins when they confessed them, then the confession would be invalid.  If the confession is invalid, then they would still have that/those sin/s upon their souls.  If one approaches the Eucharist with unforgiven sins upon them, then they do so in the unworthy manner St. Paul refers to in 1 Cor. 11:27.  To approach the Eucharist in such a manner - even if you "believe" in this "faith alone" does the exact opposite of making one "pure and worthy," for it brings upon them "the judgment."
16. It seems to have been decided that the Church in common Council established that the laity should communicate under both species; the Bohemians who communicate under both species are not heretics, but schismatics.

Participation in the Eucharist in one or both species is not a matter of heresy or schism; Eastern Catholics and Orthodox have continued the practice throughout history.
17. The treasures of the Church, from which the pope grants indulgences, are not the merits of Christ and of the saints.

18. Indulgences are pious frauds of the faithful, and remissions of good works; and they are among the number of those things which are allowed, and not of the number of those which are advantageous.

19. Indulgences are of no avail to those who truly gain them, for the remission of the penalty due to actual sin in the sight of divine justice.

20. They are seduced who believe that indulgences are salutary and useful for the fruit of the spirit.

21. Indulgences are necessary only for public crimes, and are properly conceded only to the harsh and impatient.
22. For six kinds of men indulgences are neither necessary nor useful; namely, for the dead and those about to die, the infirm, those legitimately hindered, and those who have not committed crimes, and those who have committed crimes, but not public ones, and those who devote themselves to better things.

Indulgences are granted by the authority of the Church.  This authority is given in Matthew 16:18-19 to St. Peter alone and in Matthew 18:18 to the Apostles, including St. Peter, as a group.  They were told, as the Father had sent the Son, He was sending them.  Thus, they too would "send" others with this same authority.  Therefore the pope (successor of St. Peter) and the bishops gathered in ecumenical council (successors of the Apostles) have this authority, to this day!  If an indulgence has so been bound or loosed - then amen!  It is so!  Luther has not the authority to deny this!

The next section I will deal with begins talking of excommunication.

White On The Vortex

White goes after "The Vortex"
40,000 Protestant denominations? Wow, we have proven the 33,000 number a bold-faced lie many times in the past, but hey, I guess it is just a matter of inflation! Hard to take promoters of Romanism who repeat these absurdities seriously...but it is even worse when they will stare into a video camera and claim that no one...NO ONE, ever accused Mary of sin until the Reformation!? I mean, the Immaculate Conception was not even defined as a dogma until the middle of the 19th century, and it is just too simple to provide citations proving such claims to be outright lies.
The 40,000 or 33,000 denominations statement is NOT a "lie" - and White has been shown this evidence in the past too - but rather a funky way of playing with the numbers.  The origin of that whole concept comes from a David A. Barrett 1995 report which counts each country that a given denomination exists in as another denomination.  By Barrett's numbering, while he has 33,000+ Protestant denominations - he also has the Catholic Church with 239 denominations in 234 countries (a statistical "1").  If we use the division of the countries into the overall count of denominations, the Protestantism is a statistical "140."  Protestantism still has a problem here because ANY NUMBER GREATER THAN "1" IS CONTRARY TO GOD'S WILL!  So, while 140 sounds a lot better to the Protestant than 33,000 (or 40,000) it is still greater than "1" and thus not within God's Will and Plan for His Church "That they may be One."  

White devotes the first part of his December 8th "Dividing Line Webcast" to the matter of Michael Voris, "The Vortex" (Voris' video was posted by me to this blog back on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the same day as White's entry) and to that portion, I will respond.

Webcast begins ripping on Voris' hair - as if that means anything, perhaps it does to one who has no hair?  Why even bring it up?  Does he have a toupee?  Who really cares?  After a bit of chit-chat on his server needs, he gets back to the Voris video - briefly.  After the first line from Voris about lies and falsehoods being trapped and exposed he digresses into a bit of whining about not being able to find Catholic apologists to debate him.  Then he talks about his upcoming course he'll be teaching and not talking about Voris' video!  Then finally, after nearly ten minutes, starts getting back to the audio from the video.  
9:58 (video time) - Voris states, "When Catholics celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, we have the esteemed privilege, yes privilege, of being caught up in the creative mind of God the Father in the desire He had from all eternity."  
White interrupts...
10:12 "Except that it's a dogma which did not become dogma until 1854 and was unknown, absolutely unknown in the early church.  In fact there are lots of quotations you can provide about that... I loved St. Bernard's against the concept, uh, how many people had argued against it and things like that.  I liked the comment of Ludwig Ott in Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma on page 221, "The dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary is not explicitly revealed in Scripture, neither the Greek nor Latin Fathers explictly teach the Immaculate Conception of Mary."  So, if this is in the mind of God, it took Him quite some time to finally get around to revealing it to men, which actually that would make it a new revelation because it's neither found in Scripture nor in Tradition, so it's revelation outside of the canon of the New Testament itself."

OK, now I must interject.  Dr. Ott stated the dogma/teaching is not explicitly found in Scripture or Tradition - and White jumps to it is not found, period.  That is not what Dr. Ott said, but purely an assertion of White's.  But is it not taught implicitly?  Let is look:

There are two passages in Scripture which point us to this truth. We look first at Genesis 3.15, in which we see the parallel between Mary and Eve of which the early Church Fathers already spoke: "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed: he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel." The Jews saw this passage as referring to the struggle between Christ and Satan, and so the Church see in "the woman" a prophetic foreshadowing of the Virgin Mary (Vatican II, Lumen gentium, # 55).  
Scotus wrote (cited from J. B. Carol, Mariology I, 368): "Either God was able to do this, and did not will to do it, or He willed to preserve her, and was unable to do so. If able to and yet unwilling to perform this for her, God was miserly towards her. And if He willed to do it but was unable to accomplish it, He was weak, for no one who is able to honor his mother would fail to do so." 
Early Church Fathers:
"Every personal sin must be excluded from the Blessed Virgin Mary for the sake of the honor of God." - St. Augustine, 390 AD to Jehoel. 
"Mary, a virgin not only undefiled but a virgin whom grace has made inviolate, free from every stain." - St. Ambrose of Milan, 340-370 AD.
"You, and your Mother are alone in this. You are wholly beautiful in every respect. There is in you, Lord, no stain, nor any spot in your Mother." - St. Ephraem, 350 AD.
The concept of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin is implied through these citations.  But wait!  There's more!

Theodotus, Bishop of Ancrya says:
“In place of Eve, an instrument of death, is chosen a Virgin, most pleasing to God and full of His grace, as an instrument of life. A Virgin included in woman’s sex, but without a share in woman’s fault. A Virgin innocent; immaculate; free from all guilt; spotless; undefiled; holy in spirit and body; a lily among thorns.” (Homily 6 in S. Deiparam, No. II, PG 77, 1427 A.)
He also spoke of Mary as being consecrated to the Creator before the Nativity (Homily 6, II; PO 19, 329). We can see a more developed knowledge of the Eve-Mary parallel from the quote above. Proclus of Constantinople makes a similar praise:
“He came forth from her without any flaw, who made her for Himself without any stain.” (Oratio I de Laudibus S. Mariae, PG, 65, 683 B.)   ....“Mary is the heavenly orb of a new creation, in whom the Sun of justice, ever shining, has vanished from her entire soul all the night of sin.” (Ibid, Oratio 6, PG 68, 758 A.)
Proclus also spoke of Mary as the ark of the Lord (Homily 5, 3; PG 65, 720 B). Hesychius of Jerusalem agrees with the consensus of the Fathers when he extolled the incorruptibility, immortality, immunity from concupiscence, impeccability, triumph over Satan, and the co-redemptive mission of the Mother of God (Oratio 39 in Sanctissimae Deiparae Annuntiationem, PG 85, 426).
From the sixth century, we have Anastasius I declare the privilege of the Immaculate Conception (Oratio 3 de Incarnatione, No. 6, PG 89, 1338). We also have Severus of Antioch who states:
“She…formed part of the human race, and was of the same essence as we, although she was pure from all taint and immaculate.” (Hom. Cathedralis 67)
Romanos the Melodist, whom the Byzantine Church proclaims as the cantor of the mysteries of Christ, and Mary says of Mary:
“…the tribes of Israel heard that Anna had conceived the immaculate one.” (On the Birth of Mary 4)
By the seventh century the doctrine of Mary’s freedom from original sin had become well elaborated that there was no controversy on the substance of the teaching (Carol, 1:354). Sophronius, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, describes Mary as:
“holy, immaculate in soul and body, entirely free from every contagion.” (Epistola Synodica ad Sergium, PG 87 (3), 3159; 3162)
He also speaks of the grace that no one has received besides her (Orat in Deiparae Annunt 25, PG 87, 3246-3247).
At the time of the eighth century, we have Andrew of Crete saying that the Redeemer was born from a pure and entirely Immaculate Virgin (Hom. in Dorm. Deipara). He also says:
“It was right, then, that the admirable Joachim and his spouse, Anna, inspired by divine thoughts, did obtain for her as the fruit of their prayer; her, I say, the queen of nature, the firstfruits of our race, whose birthday we celebrate, whose swaddling clothes we honor, and whom we venerate as the source of the restoration of our fallen race.” (Homily 3 on Mary’s Nativity, PG 97, 860 B-C)
Firstfruits of the human race in this text means that she is the first creature who received the gift of salvation (Gambero, 393). He then explains more fully:
“This is Mary the Theotokos, the common refuge of all Christians, the first to be liberated from the original fall of our first parents.” (Homily 4 on Mary’s Nativity, PG 97, 880 C)
We also have John Damascene who called Mary:
“the most holy daughter of Joachim and Anne, hidden from the fiery dart of Satan, dwelling in a bridal chamber of the spirit, preserved without stain as the Spouse and Mother of God.” (Homilia I in Nativitatem Beatae Virginis Mariae, No. 3, PG 96, 675)
So much for the Early Church Fathers being silent on this matter!  
11:16 - Voris: "Most Protestants have no desire to hear talk of the Immaculate Conception of our Blessed Mother."
11:18 - White: "Well, except those of us who actually debate people, as I have, twice on this particular subject.  So, it's not a matter of our not wanting to talk about it.  I don't mind talking about it, its a great illustration of where the Catholic Church has defined something, de fide, which absolutely, positively has no foundation in either Scripture or Tradition."
Again, I must interject - we've just demonstrated that it CAN be seen in both Scripture AND Tradition - just not explicitly. 
11:43 - White: "Now the only thing which has less, (giggles) if you can have...  you can have no, but you can have less than none, (this makes no sense!) is the Bodily Assumption (of the Blessed Virgin).  Ah, but both of them, now de fide dogmas, of the Romanist (sic) system that have nothing to do with Scripture or Tradition which demonstrates that Roman Catholicism, um, is not bound by any external authority outside of itself.  These are both excellent examples of sola ecclesia, the Church as the sole and final rule of faith for itself.  It's not a three-legged stool, or anything like that.  It's not Church, Tradition and Magisterium, no it's just the Magisterium, period, end of discussion. 
Well, fist off, Catholics would not deny "sola ecclesia!"  The Ecclesia (Church) IS Scripture, Tradition and Magisterium!  Now of course White would like you to believe that we do not accept a "three-legged stool" approach - but in fact, we do.  He wants you to believe we preach it is all Magisterium - but we don't.  Secondly, I wish to point out that White is digressing again and not talking about the Immaculate Conception, but of Church authority and governance - and THIS discussion is not about the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary!  That's a different subject - which I would be happy to deal with in the future.

White mentions that there are seven popes who taught against the Immaculate Conception and  numerous Early Church Fathers who talked about Mary's sin - "directly contrary to what Mr. Voris is going to say here in a moment..."

White then goes into another diatribe about the 33,000 denominations - I'll not bore you with all that again now, you can read my primary source material and see that White is just wrong here and disingenuously charging any Catholic who uses this number of bold-faced lying - when again, it's NOT a "lie" but just one way of looking at Barrett's 1995 numbers.  White carries on this 33,000 denominations discussion for a good six minutes... yawn.
For another 2 minutes White rambles on criticizing Roman Catholic apologists with empty assertions.  He hints about what Voris will discuss next (two founding Protestant leaders who believed in the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception long before it was defined as dogma) but then drifts back to the 33,000 denomination discussion again... yawn.

Finally, at the 22 minute mark in this webcast we get back to the Voris audio...
22:06 - Voris:  "Two founding fathers of their 16th century revolt against the Catholic Church each agree with..."
22:08 - White (in a gruff tone barges in):  "Revolt!  Revolting!"
22:14 - Voris:  "...with the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception."
22:16 - White: "No, they agree with the concept that was not yet a doctrine or a dogma.  See how different that is?
Well, it was a doctrine, it was a teaching, it was a celebrated feast day LONG before it was defined as dogma!  Perhaps White needs to brush up on the difference between doctrine and dogma?  Yes, the words CAN be used interchangeably at times - but fundamentally speaking, not all doctrines are dogmas - but all dogmas are doctrine.

White then makes the accusation of anachronism, he likes that word, and attempts to make a case that because it was not yet defined dogma in the time of Luther and Zwingli that they agreed with the "concept" but not as "doctrine."  The Feast of the Immaculate Conception was celebrated as such as early as the 5th century in the East and they refer to the Blessed Virgin as "achrantos" (spotless or immaculate).  In the West, the feast was celebrated as early as the 8th century.  By either account, it's nearly or over a millennium PRIOR to Luther and Zwingli!

Voris makes a statement that in the first 1500 years of Christendom NO ONE ever accused the Blessed Virgin of sin - that this was wholly something from the Protestant revolt of the 16th century.  White then names a few Church Fathers whom allegedly state Mary sinned..  That being said, I will not state that NO Church Father or ANYONE prior to the 16th century EVER stated Mary sinned - nor would it shake my faith if White, or anyone else, could present a quote here or there.  Voris may have been caught in a bit of hyperbole there - but the fact remains, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception was celebrated in the East over 1000 years prior to Protestantism's dawning - and some 800 years prior in the Western tradition. 

White concludes his on-topic discussion (he does go off on some other distractions after this) with a question for Voris:
33:43 - White: "One simple question Mr. Voris, and if you were ever to step out and debate these things in public, it's a question I'd ask you then, and I don't mind telling what the question is now because to be honest with you there is no meaningful answer to this question. (1) But Mr. Voris, do you really think that is what Mary meant when she said that?  (2) Do you really think that Mary, in her Magnificat, that she actually was saying that when she called God her Savior she recognized that she had been kept from the stain of Original Sin by the preemptive application and the merits of the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ when she did not even understand at that point in time what Jesus was going to have to do on the Cross? (3) Are you SERIOUSLY telling me that?
Now, I won't continue in White's preemptive answering, but I will answer him myself, and there's more than one question here, so let's answer them all (I've added numbers above to keep track)
(1) The words of the Magnificat are simply:

My soul doth magnify the Lord.
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid;
for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
Because he that is mighty,
hath done great things to me;
She is saying that her soul magnifies the Lord... her spirit rejoices in God her Savior - why?  Because He has regarded the humility of His handmaid (past tense) and from that time forward, all generations will call her blessed (future tense) because He has done (past tense again) great things to me.  God had already done great things to her.

(2) Look at it this way, it's not such a great thing to accomplish to get pregnant, so she wasn't talking about merely being pregnant with her God and Savior - but that God had already done great things to His humble handmaid.  Is this explicitly stating she was immaculately conceived?  No, but it's recognizing something "great" had already been done TO her.  

(3) To be preserved from the stain of Original Sin would be a "great thing."  To do this so that she could be the Ark of the New Covenant is a "great thing."  If you "SERIOUSLY" want to disbelieve - then sobeit.

I will close with this thought...  Frequently throughout this Dividing Line program, White is goading Voris to debate with him.  White has always been huge on debating, and I will acknowledge, he's pretty good at it!  I too used to be a bit more interested in formal debating, and while I've not abandoned it (I'll still engage in one, even with White if he chooses) in a debate, just because someone can present a better argument does not necessarily equate to the Truth "winning."  I've seen several debates where White would appear to "win" the debate, or at least part of the debate, yet it was not Truth which "won" - rather a tactful "gotcha" argument was used and his opponent was not prepared to answer him.  This is also why I prefer a WRITTEN debate as opposed to a face-to-face one.  When one has the time to research and respond in a scholarly fashion - White is put on an equal footing - and, at least in confrontations I've had with him - he cannot (or will not) answer to his (many) mistakes (well, there is ONE time that I can recall, in over 20 years of debating him where he admitted to a minor mistake).  Debating has its place, as it can help refine our own defenses and arguments - but such is RARELY the "end-all" in apologetics.


Be Proud You Are A Catholic!

Sam Miller - a non-Catholic of Jewish descent spoke out about the way Catholics have been treated in the scandals of a few years ago (some still lingering).  I found it a bit interesting and then also found someone attempting (unsuccessfully) to debunk what Miller said...  Here's an article posted by "ConnieTalk" in 2008 presenting the positive side of Miller's speech:
Cleveland Man Incensed over Catholicism Targeted in the Media
ConnieTalkMay 2, 2008
Sam Miller, prominent Cleveland businessman - Jewish, not Catholic - is fighting mad about the seemingly concentrated effort by the media to disparage the Catholic Church in the United States. The following are excerpts of a speech by well-known Cleveland businessman Mr. Miller at the City Club of Cleveland, given on Thursday, March 6. Even though of the Jewish faith, Miller has been a staunch supporter of the Cleveland Diocese and Bishop Anthony Pilla. It was published in the May-June issue of the Buckeye Bulletin.

"Why would newspapers carry on a vendetta on one of the most important institutions that we have today in the United States, namely the Catholic Church?  Do you know - the Catholic Church educates 2.6 million students everyday at the cost to your Church of 10 billion dollars, and a savings on the other hand to the American taxpayer of 18 billion dollars. Your graduates go on to graduate studies at the rate of 92%, all at a cost to you. To the rest of the Americans it's free.
The Church has 230 colleges and universities in the U.S. with an enrollment of 700,000 students. The Catholic Church has a non-profit hospital system of 637 hospitals, which account for hospital treatment of 1 out of every 5 people - not just Catholics - in the United States today.
But the press is vindictive and trying to totally denigrate in every way the Catholic Church in this country. They have blamed the disease of pedophilia on the Catholic Church, which is as irresponsible as blaming adultery on the institution of marriage. Let me give you some figures that you as Catholics should know and remember. For example, 12% of the 300 Protestant clergy surveyed admitted to sexual intercourse with a parishioner; 38% acknowledged other inappropriate sexual contact in a study by the United Methodist Church, 41.8 % of clergywomen reported unwanted sexual behavior; 17% of laywomen have been sexually harassed. Meanwhile, 1.7% of the Catholic clergy has been found guilty of pedophilia. 10% of the Protestant ministers have been found guilty of pedophilia. This is not a Catholic Problem.
A study of American priests showed that most are happy in the priesthood and find it even better than they had expected, and that most, if given the choice, would choose to be priests again in face of all this obnoxious PR the church has been receiving.
The Catholic Church is bleeding from self-inflicted wounds. The agony that Catholics have felt and suffered is not necessarily the fault of the Church. You have been hurt by a small number of wayward priests that have probably been totally weeded out by now.
Walk with your shoulders high and you head higher. Be a proud member of the most important non-governmental agency in the United States. Then remember what Jeremiah said: "Stand by the roads, and look and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is and walk in it, and find rest for your souls". Be proud to speak up for your faith with pride and reverence and learn what your Church does for all other religions. Be proud that you're a Catholic."
Thanks, Pete!

I then found THIS article, allegedly debunking the claims of "Sam Miller:"
"Jewish" Sam Miller lie exposed
 by Paul King Monday, Apr. 18, 2011 at 12:45 AM 
The "Jewish" Sam Miller who Catholics love to spam (defending the Catholic Church) is a liar and joke.  Sam Miller made up totally false figures in his speech (and admitted it later): -
The lies in question: -
Now let me give you some figures that you as Catholics should know and remember. For example, research by Richard Blackman at Fuller Theological Seminary shows that 12% of the 300 Protestant clergy surveyed admitted to sexual intercourse with a parishioner; 38% acknowledged other inappropriate sexual contact. In a 1990 study by the United Methodist Church, 41.8% of clergywomen reported unwanted sexual behavior by a colleague; 17% of laywomen said that their own pastors had sexually harassed them. Phillip Jenkins concludes in his book "Pedophiles and Priests" that while 1.7% of the Catholic clergy has been found guilty of pedophilia, 10% of Protestant ministers have been found guilty of pedophilia."
The REAL figures are 5.4% ( of Catholic Priests and a fraction of one per cent of Methodists have been accused.
He later apologized when questioned.
It also turns out that Sam Miller is Jewish by blood but is a Christian who has donated to a number of Christian Causes including the Salvation Army. Not one penny has he given to any non Jewish charity or cause.
He is a publicity hound who made up all the facts and figures in his speech.
None are factual.
Typical of Catholic Smoke and Mirror con tricks.
The U.S. bishops have reported receiving allegations of abuse by 5,948 priests in 1950-2010, or 5.4% of the 109,694 U.S. priests active since 1950.
Other percentages
After the March 2009 release of audit documents by the NH AG, the names of 74 accused Manchester priests are known, or over 8.9% of the 831 diocesan priests, which extrapolates to 9,768 nationally.  Covington diocese states that 9.6% of its priests have been accused, which extrapolates to 10,531 nationally. Over 10% of Providence RI priests have been accused, which extrapolates to over 10,969 nationally Richard Sipe estimates that 9% of U.S. priests have offended, which extrapolates to 9,872 priests nationally
 Almost every Catholic publication, blog and comment board has carried a story about a "Jewish" businessman defending the Catholic Church. The whole story is based on total lies and deceptions but still is circulated by the faithful.

It must be noted that the very site which is cited by Paul King is one of THE sites initially carrying Sam Miller's comments!  We must also note that Mr. King does not "document" his claims.  He merely cites the "Bishop Accountability" website, which, while it is notorious for publishing articles against the Catholic Church as well as King's "response" - it also published the initial article from Mr. Miller!  
King states, regarding the facts, "None are accurate," but he doesn't cite Miller's source(s) nor does he present any valid documentation of his own facts!  Simply citing the Bishop Accountability website is NOT documentation!  He would like us to believe him at his word that "the whole story is based on total lies and deceptions," but King only presents unsupported figures based upon individual diocesan statistics - which, even there, if we could believe his numbers the method he projects them onto a national level is a complete non sequitur.    He claims Miller "made up the facts and figures in his speech," but Miller cites his sources!  One of the sources of Miller's facts can be seen in an article entitled: "Sexual Harrassment in the United Methodist Church 2005" (click for link).  So much for King's (false) allegation that Miller made up all his facts!  I'm sure I can dig up more substance to back up Miller's facts, but even this ONE proves King's statement to be a lie!

Now, I realize there were indeed SOME priests and bishops involved in the scandal and cover-up, but as Miller stated - the number is VERY small and those offenders have been and are still being rounded up and turned over to proper authorities.  Some individuals were indeed harmed by these criminals, and that is indeed what they are - criminals, but overwhelmingly most Catholic priests and bishops are good, well-meaning individuals.  It's not fair to paint with a broad brush here - even in the face of those directly affected by the crimes of those few individuals.  Is it fair to punish ALL Catholics for the sins of a few?  THAT is ONE of Miller's points, which King seems to miss and/or refuses to admit to.  Another is all the GOOD Catholics do for society, which King completely ignores.


Third Sunday in Advent


Rejoice in the Lord always!  And AGAIN I say REJOICE!

A blessed Third Sunday in Advent - Guadete Sunday.

Epistle: Philipp. 4:4-7
Brethren: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Let your moderation be known to all men. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety, but in every prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your petitions be made known to God. And may the peace of God which surpasses all understanding guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus, our Lord.

Gospel: John 1:19-28
At that time, when the Jews sent from Jerusalem priests and Levites to him, to ask him: "Who art thou?" And he confessed and did not deny: and he confessed: "I am not the Christ." And they asked him: "What then? Art thou Elias?" And he said: "I am not." "Art thou the prophet? And he answered: "No." They said therefore unto him: "Who art thou, that we may give an answer to them that sent us? What sayest thou of thyself?" He said: "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Isaias." And they that were sent were of the Pharisees. And they asked him and said to him: "Why then dost thou baptize, if thou be not Christ, nor Elias, nor the prophet?" John answered them, saying: "I baptize with water: but there hath stood one in the midst of you, whom you know not. The same is he that shall come after me, who is preferred before me: the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to loose." These things were done in Bethania, beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

Comment: Gaudete Sunday!  Rejoice!  Our time of waiting is nearly over!  The coming of the Lord is near!  We meditate not only on the coming Christ Mass, but also the Second Coming of our Lord and Savior!   We rejoice in His confirmation by St. John the Baptist as prophecied by Isaiah.  Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say REJOICE!  Today we light the PINK candle of the Advent Wreath along with the first two purple candles we've lit the past two weeks.

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

St. Anne, Mother of the Immaculate Conception and Grandmother to our Lord and God, Jesus Christ!  It was in the womb of St. Anne that the Blessed Virgin Mary was conceived and preserved from the stain of Original Sin.  The definition of the Immaculate Conception does not state that Mary was preserved entirely from Original Sin, but only from the stain of it - she did inherit the penalty of it in that she died, and in death she too was in need of her Redeemer whom is found in her Son.

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception!

Feast of the Assumption

 The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary - another example of "not-so-ordinary" days! These are COUNTING days - and...