Mary: Queen of Heaven

When God the Father sent His Son into the world He sent Jesus forth with a plan. Yet, Jesus does not deal with us as a builder deals with blueprints, bricks and mortar. Rather, He deals with us personally and calls us to cooperate with Him and to relate to Him personally. So it is that Jesus came into the world through the personal fiat, the personal ‘yes’ of one woman.

May is the month where we celebrate Mary and her ‘yes’ in the life of Jesus. We celebrate the Annunciation to Mary by the Angel Gabriel on March 25th, so it is that in May the life of Jesus was beginning to flower in her womb. Why is it though that Catholic and Orthodox Christians accord her such a high place in the life of faith?

We can of course, never understand Mary without reference to Jesus. When the Father sent His Son into the world with a plan, it was a plan formed long ago. It was a plan that developed from covenants with Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David. God was building a family from a holy couple, to a family, to a tribe, to a nation, and lastly to a kingdom with David. And it was from this final expansion of the family with David that we pick up with Jesus, who was the Son of David. So it was that the kingdom that Jesus preached was made concrete in its fulfillment of the kingdom given to David.

In David’s kingdom there were two people especially important: the prime minister and the queen. Jesus made St. Peter his prime minister (Mt 16:13-19; Is 22:22). Yet who was Jesus’ queen? After all, Jesus wasn’t married (cont. Dan Brown). Yet, in David’s kingdom it was not his wife who was the queen. Rather, it was the Queen Mother who sat upon the throne at David’s right hand (e.g. 1 Kgs 1:19). In fact, every Davidic King is listed, not with the name of his wife, but with the name of the Queen Mother (cf. 1 & 2 Kings). It is noteworthy that Jeremiah addresses them both: “Say to the king and to the queen mother: Come down from your throne” (Jer 13:18). In Hebrew her political title in the kingdom was Gebirah, or “Mighty Woman.” The Queen Mother “literally served as the flesh and blood link between the father and the son” (Crucified Rabbi, 41).

Mary’s ‘yes’ to the Father constitutes the link between father and son: “When the fullness of time came God sent His Son, born of a woman” (Gal. 4:4). Orthodox Christians speak of her as the Divine Directress who helped to initiate Jesus’ first miracle (John 2:1-11). She stands by His side as he reigns from the Cross (cf. Jn 19:25-7). It makes perfect sense that when James and John ask to sit on Jesus’ right and left in His kingdom, Jesus answers that it is “not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared” (Mt 20:23). The seat at Jesus’ right hand is reserved, as it was in David’s kingdom, for the Gebirah, the Queen Mother.

In this month of May, let us call on Mary who sits at Jesus’ right hand and ask her to obtain for us through her Son the grace to say ‘yes’ and be faithful to God’s personal plans for us. Hail Mary…

11 thoughts on “Mary: Queen of Heaven”

  1. Can you explain: “Mary’s yes to the Father constitutes the link between father and son.” This seems highly problematic even within the RC paradigm.

    More broadly, does it not concern you that the Bible never makes anything like a direct statement casting Mary as Cosmic Queen? How can something so vast be supported by the mere threads routinely offered?

    Is this not just a naked attempt to make RC dogmas seem biblical in the absence of compelling evidence? The Bible never advocates anything like the kind of hyper-exaltation of Mary to a functional deity seen today. A fair-minded reading of the early fathers is also very problematic for your position.

    Why not just say “The reason for embracing the Mary of RC dogma is the authority of Rome?” (Of course, this presumed authority is itself based on an implausible house-of-cards.)

    What is behind all this? With all respect, I submit: A common psychological need (based on a deficient view of Christ) to identify a figure imagined to be more merciful than the Son of God. Enter the archetypal mother figure. Add an inordinate valuing of virginity a la the classical world and you have an appealing and enduring myth as explainable as it is predictable.

    As I live, the RC approach seems to be: “Here is the target doctrine. How can we possibly retrofit our dogmas and make the text say this?” This is why you must per force resort to long-shot, highly pliable, unfalsifiable allegorical and typological readings. It’s all you’ve got. This is done while explaining away plain teachings like the fact that Jesus had brothers and sisters.

    I cannot fathom this. If you can explain, I’m all ears.

    Honestly brothers, does it not seem to you that a special brand of “logic” is showcased every time such teachings are defended? Or are you so immersed in it that you cannot see it? I ask you, why can’t Rome just do real exegesis without the perpetual slight of hand?

    1. Josh,

      You bring up a lot. I will try to answer at least some of your questions/comments. It is clear that we share very different positions on revelation. Nonetheless, hopefully I can clear up some confusion.

      1. Mary as Cosmic Queen. Mary is the Mother of Jesus Christ, the Almighty God. His is the Universe. Consequently, given the Old Testament understanding of Queen Mother, we can identify Mary as the Queen of the Universe. Moreover, Christ came to fulfill the Old. Thus, the importance of the King’s Mother (as Jeremy writes and briefly examines) also finds not only importance but fulfillment in Christ’s Mother, Mary. She stands at the right hand of the king as Ps 46 declares (v. 10, see 46:18, too). (NB: This Psalm is a prophetic of the Messiah, cf. 3ff.)

      2. I am happy that you said the Bible does not advocate a “hyper-exaltation of Mary to a functional deity”. I hope no one does! Perhaps, instead, you are confusing this with Catholics honoring Mary. Yet this seems to be what the Bible tells us; in Mary’s own voice recorded by Saint Luke, we read: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed” (Lk 1:46-48).

      3. I completely disagree with you about your statement regarding the Early Fathers. Perhaps help me out? As far as I am concerned, such is not the case. I would highly suggest reading some St. Irenaeus, for-instance. The Early Fathers are clear about Mary’s virginity; identifying her as the New Eve; considering her holiness quite unique; identifying her as the Mother of God; and giving to her great honors. (See also: Jerome, Cyril of Alexandria, Ambrose of Milan, Athanasius, and others). I hope to write a post about this, in the near future. So I will not shower this comment with quotes.

      4. You asked why the Church does not support her stance on Mary by simply saying “because we [the Church] said so”. The reason for this is, at one level, philosophical. The Church believes that truth is discovered. It is not created. Nothing is so because someone says so (this would be existentialism, theological voluntarism, or cultural relativism–all of which are flawed). On the contrary, through reason and revelation does the Church come to discover truth.

      Also, Saint Melito of Sardis calls the Church the “reservoir of truth”. As the presence of Christ and animated by the Holy Spirit, the Church is what Saint Melito identifies it as.

      5. From all of the above, I think I also am covering and commenting on your position that all of this is an archetypal myth. It is not a myth. It is the truth. Moreover, I want to pose a question. If the Catholic Church is wrong about her stance on Mary (and many of the Protestant Reformers agreed with the Church on this subject), don’t you think it is a little troubling that it took 1600 + years for “Christianity” to get this right? If that’s the case, it does not look like Jesus established a very reliable community.

      6. Regarding your “It’s all you got” comment. I really do not have much to say, other than I think you are very much mistaken. That is not how the Church works or has ever worked.

      Lastly, I want to add that the “New Testament was not conclusively settled until the North African synods of Hippo Regius (393) and Carthage (397, 419), whose conclusions were accepted by the universal Church” [1]. How do you reconcile that with your consistent dismissal of what seems to be literally anything Catholic?

      I want to end with a quote about Mary from the First Council of Ephesus, which states: “”We confess, then, our Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, perfect God and perfect man, of a rational soul and a body, begotten before all ages from the Father in his Godhead, the same in the last days, for us and for our salvation, born of Mary the Virgin according to his humanity, one and the same consubstantial with the Father in Godhead and consubstantial with us in humanity, for a union of two natures took place. Therefore we confess one Christ, one Son, one Lord. According to this understanding of the unconfused union, we confess the holy Virgin to be the Mother of God because God the Word took flesh and became man and from his very conception united to himself the temple he took from her” (Formula of Union [A.D. 431]).”

      Note: I really do hope to incorporate more of this in a future post! Keep posted! Pax et bonum

      1. Mike Aquilina, The Fathers of the Church: An Introduction to the First Christian Teachers, Expanded Edition (Our Sunday Visitor: Indiana, 2006), 29

  2. The history is more complex than you may have been told. Earliest mention of perpetual virginity is not even Christian but the heretical “Ascension of Isaiah,” and gnostic “Odes of Solomon.” Then came the amateurish “Infancy Gospel of James.” (Many notions enter popular imagination through painfully mythical apocryphal works.)

    Tertullian speaks of the normal married life and children of Mary. The Bible speaks of siblings of Christ often (always brothers and sisters, never cousins or kinsman – common words in Greek).

    The immaculate conception was demonstrably not in ancient tradition. Scholar P. Schaff notes that 7 different Popes taught contrary to the 19th cent. dogma. Augustine teaches only Christ was so conceived. Catholic big-gun L. Ott writes “Origin, Basil, Chrysostom, Cyril of Alex., taught that Mary suffered from venial personal faults, such as ambition and vanity.” Though regarded as very holy, many speak of her flaws and doubts. She (I think) is not spoken of as Heavenly Queen until the late 4th or 5th century.

    The bodily assumption first appears in “transitus narratives” of centuries 5 and 6, documents condemned as heretical by popes Hormisdas + Gelasius.

    I gladly affirm the unique blessing and peerless role of Mary. Yet there are light-years between the maiden of the NT and omnipotent Mediatrix of today. These ideas are not in scripture or even in early tradition. Instead, she disappears after Acts 1 and is mentioned by no apostle (save obliquely by Paul) ever again. Strange, no?

    Read the patristic sources again in context. Note exactly what they are saying without extrapolating, bearing in mind they are fallible men of their age. Also read the best representatives of those who disagree with your position. It’s the only way to see the full picture and not be hoodwinked by the spin. By the way, I read the Queen of Ps 45 as the Church, bride of the messiah. All the best.

  3. Thanks for the thoughts, Josh. I appreciate your research and thoughtful responses. I think it’s good that we can talk about these things as brothers in Christ.

    I don’t think Mary disappears after Acts 1. From a literary point of view that may be the case. However, what you point to in Acts is a largely a historical narrative of the evangelization path of Paul the Apostle. So, essentially, this is an argument from silence in the context of texts that do not perport to be dogmatic treatises. They are speaking about the spread of the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. Mary does not save us. When I speak with you about the Gospel I might mention Mary as Paul does: “born of a woman.” That being said, I think there’s more.

    From a historical perspective, Acts is not the final written book of the New Testament. Most likely, the Johanine writings were among the last written, and I think we can look there. So, if you’re looking for the link between the maiden of the NT and the Blessed Virgin Mary of Catholic veneration, I would point you squarely to the Johanine texts about Mary. She is the one who stands squarely in John’s narrative at the beginning of Jesus’ signs (Jn 2:1-12) and at His final sign (Jn 19:25-27). She is the one who is to be mother to the beloved disciple and the one whom the beloved disciple is to take into his home. As you suggest, doing some real exegesis, for example on the Marian texts in John, seems to point in the direciton of a continued role of Mary in the life of the Church. Do these texts give us a full mariology? No. Does the New Testament give us a full Trinitarian theology? No.

    This is why the complexity of the history is “more complex than you may have been told.” This is why we can read St. Justin Martyr’s 2nd century texts (and many other fathers) and wonder whether he believes in the Holy Spirit as part of the Triune Godhead, or just in a Bi-unity of Father and Son. The history is indeed more complex than we can possibly understand or reconstruct.

    This is again why we can read “Origin, Basil, Chrysostom, Cyril” and others (Aquinas) who either don’t understand or agree with the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. Yet, we can read others who speak of her as the “panhagia,” the all-holy one, the Ark of the Covenant whom the Holy Spirit filled / “overshadowed” in Luke 1:35-38, the same as the LORD “overshadowed” the Tabernacle in Exodus 40:35. Doctrines are defined not because there is unaniminity, but because there is disagreement.

    Let’s look at the patristic sources from this angle. What happens if we read the Fathers who are reading the New Testament prior to 325 and try to formulate a Trinitarian theology from their commentary and preaching. What happens? Well, you’ll get Binarianism, Arianism, Monarchianism, Modalism, Sabellianism, and many positions near and far. Doctrine develops and needs a living ecclesial tradition to develop and be defined. Obviously with the trinity you can’t point to a particular point in the development and say, ’see, it’s not there,’ and be fair. We know Dan Brown is flatly wrong when ’shows’ that Jesus’ divinity was established by a vote in 325.

    I would recommend reading the patristic sources again as well. I’m not advocating that we adopt any of their positions wholesale, but let’s ask some questions: what does their reverence toward Mary resemble? As the centuries pass, why is Mary venerated with equal regard in both Western Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, even after these two communities essentially stopped interacting very much after the fall of the Roman empire? [Interesting fact: Mary is mentioned maybe three times in the Catholic Mass; Mary is mentioned no less than 14 times in the Divine Liturgy of the Orthodox Church!] Since most people try to explain away Catholic devotion to Mary as a European medieval development, this parallel development of devotion is important because such a deviation from sound doctrine and practice would have to have come much earlier and been so pervasive as to flood both East and West, both hierarchy and laity.

    I think this link from the Catholic Encyclopedia is a good place to start when thinking about Mary’s perpetual virginity

  4. Honestly, I say no one can see what you say is in John unless they read their current belief back into the text. Respectfully, it’s like an apparition of Mary in a common object. It’s only there for the one who wants it to be. The rest of us think it’s just a tortilla.

    You don’t think it’s the least bit odd that none of the great doctrinal works of the NT ever mention Mary? Yet I could fill volumes with statements like: “All graces are dispensed by Mary, and all who are saved are saved only by means of this divine Mother.” (Ligouri, Doctor of the Church) Sounds essential to me.

    The RC faith is ostensibly based on scripture and tradition. Yet, if I demonstrate a doctrine is based on neither (not in scripture unless you’re wildly imaginative, and not believed by a soul for centuries), you pull development of doctrine. You want to have your cake and eat it too. But I dare call the bluff.

    This, you see, is an abuse of a true principle and indistinguishable from being utterly made up. True doctrinal development is based on sustained consideration of revealed truths or their good and necessary consequences. What you have here is a kind of evolution based on the introduction of novelties. There is no comparison between the Trinity and a thousand things Rome holds. Don’t you see your entire system has been generated in this way? I say the Marian accretions are fully explainable and even to be expected in terms of the ambient world of the early church.

    For the life of me, the RC system is like this vast fanciful system based ever so loosely on scripture and resting on a handful of really unfortunate and unwarranted assumptions. It has a kind of internal logic honed over the years, much like a game, but shows itself based on the frailest of “evidences” upon scrutiny. Yet for those inside it seems cogent, as if actors believed the play to be reality. What a curiosity! Well, all the best.

  5. Josh,

    How do you read the Marian texts in John’s Gospel? If she’s so meaningless, why does St. John, who doesn’t do anything by chance in his Gospel, choose to emphasize her role in these two most crucial pieces of his narrative? Why does he give his mother to the beloved disciple? Why does he ask his mother to take him as her son?

    Demonstrating something requires more than merely calling it a delusion and dismissing it. You said you wanted to do some real exegesis, so let’s see it. As they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating: give a better explanation for the place of the mother of Jesus in John’s narrative. John doesn’t do random, so why does he choose to relate these events in the way he does? Why does he tell us about her instigating Jesus’ signs at a wedding feast? Why does he bother telling us about Jesus making sure his mommy is taken care of?

    You say tortilla; I say John is being intentional about drawing out the Marian realities of discipleship…and many of the Father thought the same.

    Moreover, I find it astounding that a concurrent development, both East and West, is explicable through proportioned accretions and novelties that so parallel each other as to create a virtual mirror. If such Marian devotion is generated by accretions, it seems an amazing development.

    Have you even considered the parallel developments in both East and West? It becomes harder to explain away. It seems to me that if one looks at the evidence of the centuries, the Catholic and Orthodox position on Mary makes the most sense and preserves the authentic tradition of the Church.

    Why is there no comparison with the development of Trinitarian theology? Granted, the Trinity is an absolutely central teaching, but Mary has a central role in the economy of salvation…otherwise she wouldn’t have come up so often in the Ecumenical Councils. There is development in Mariology just as there is in Trinitarian theology. I’m not saying they’re the same.

  6. Thought experiment: Say, Phillip was in the place of Mary in John 2 and 19. Would you exalt him as cosmic-mediator? No. For any other you would not read into this as you do. Mary is uniquely blessed! Yet, as Paul says, let us not go beyond what is written.

    Jesus repeatedly distances himself from his mother, as if anticipating errors to come. (Matt 12:46-50, Lk 11:27-28) In John 2 he gently rebukes her, pointing to God’s timing. In 19 he, in agony, yet provides for her care. To say this means she is now our mother and cares for us is both an inversion and leap. If anything he is defining himself vis-à-vis Mary as Lord. The mother / son relationship is no longer relevant.

    In dealing with symbolism caution is in order. It can add depth, but apart from clear explication can never be the foundation for a point of doctrine. Happily, John expounds chief themes again repeatedly. There is one who will guide and intercede for the Church, the Spirit.

    Eastern and Western churches, strongly interacting in the formative centuries, sprang from the same matrix. Theirs was a world where virtue = asceticism (hence the value of virginity). Honoring female deities, mothers of gods and all manner of heroes was the air they breathed.

    Add to this human nature. Why do people in the early Americas and ancient east build pyramids and worship idols? It fits human nature.

    Doctrinal drift into excess and error was aided by fantastic tales of Mary in apocryphal gospels of centuries 3 and 4, giving way to the proliferation of Marian titles and honors. Ever notice no mention of prayer to Mary is made in the massive works of Augustine, Chrysostom, Athanasius and Basil 400 years post Pentacost, the last we hear of Mary in history?

    Witness what happens when theology jumps the tracks of the sacred text and men give themselves the blank check of “our tradition.” It evolves into an admixture of truth and much error.

    1. Hey all, I’m sorry I haven’t been able to post on here in such a long time. I love the discussions the posts are generating, and Josh, as ever, I am so appreciative of your contributions to the discussion. I just wanted to make a quick comment. I think it might be most beneficial if we focus our discussion more tightly. Currently many of the issues being brought up are very broad indeed, and it’s much easier to be precise when we focus on a very specific point, especially a point brought up in the post.

      There’s a lot I’d like to say, and had I more time at the moment I would. If the pace slows down this summer, hopefully I’ll get back in gear with the blog. Be that as it may, I’ll permit myself one observation on the role of Mary as mother.

      Josh, certainly there exist fanciful things about Mary in early literature, and the same can be said for the Lord Jesus—just read some of the Gnostic literature I’m sure your familiar with. Most of the Catholic teachings regarding Mary flow from the idea that she is our spiritual mother, which is what is meant by applying the title “New Eve” to Mary. Just as Eve was the mother of the living, so Mary is the mother of those alive in Christ. This goes back very early in the Church’s tradition, slightly earlier (a few decades before the end of the second century) than language about Trinity (at the dawn of the third century), and, as far as I am aware, the first to use Trinity was Tertullian who fell into heresy.

      St. Irenaeus explicitly described Mary as New Eve. I think this can be seen in John 2 (in light of 1) and Revelation 12 as well. Now, I’m sure you don’t read the woman in Rev. 12 as Mary. I think interpreting her as Mary is the best interpretation (at a literal level), but this could make for a great point of discussion. If it is Mary, then the fact that her “offspring” are “those who obey God’s commandments and hold the testimony of Jesus” would imply something like her being a spiritual mother, like a New Eve. You probably read the woman as Israel, which I think is a good allegorical interpretation of the passage, and don’t see anything wrong with this, but it would be interesting to discuss the primary meaning of the passage.

      John 1 appears to me to be a very moving theological reading of creation in Genesis. They both begin “in the beginning” (indeed, when following the LXX of Gen, the parallels become even closer). In Gen 1, God creates through His uttered word, in John 1 God creates through the Word which is God. In Gen. 1 we find the light and the darkness, and in John 1 we find the light shining in the darkness. In Gen. 1 we have the Spirit hovering over the waters, and in John 1 we hear about baptism. Now, I am not trying to indicate some sort of formal deductive argument, all I’m saying is that it would be quite natural for a Christian in the early centuries who is accustomed to reading (or hearing read) Genesis in Greek to pick up on these similarities when reading John in Greek. When I was involved at Miami with Campus Crusade for Christ, I was taught very useful, important, and frankly practical methods for inductive Bible study. One of the most (perhaps not the most) important lessons I learned was careful attention to detail—interrogating the text. Asking why the text mentions such-and-such a detail, like time, geography, etc.

      So when we reach Genesis 2, what do we find? The 7th day, and what do we have happen after this with the creation of Adam and Eve? A wedding. Where? Adam and Eve. What does this have to do with marriage? Genesis 2:24 makes the explicit link with marriage. When we come to John 2, where are we? The third day. Ok, the third day from when? Well, we have to walk backwards. The first time we have a time indicator (after the beginning) in John’s Gospel is John 1:29 (the next day….which implies day 2), then 1:35 (the next day….that would be day 3), then 1:43 (the next day….day 4), then……2:1, the third day….the third day from the fourth day would be the 7th day. And where are we? A wedding.

      Now this is not hard-and-fast, tightly deductive reasoning. It’s the sort of traditional Jewish exegesis someone like St. John would be more accustomed to using. A tight one-for-one rigidly modern logical approach might then link the couple getting married with Adam and Eve….but that’s not what’s going on. The context is suggestive to help lead to a specific interpretation, it’s not a tight rigid framework as we moderns tend to prefer.

      So what happens in the scene. Jesus rebukes His mother (breaking one of the ten commandments?)? Even if we argue it’s not breaking one of the commandments, I still think we’re neglecting some of the important details in the passage. Why does Jesus call her “woman,” is he rebuking her? The use of “woman” is insufficient for an interpretation that sees it as a rebuke. Why? Because Jesus calls her “woman” in John 19, in a passage where He is clearly not rebuking her. Just because He calls her “woman” doesn’t mean He’s rebuking her. His time has not yet come? No, His “hour” has not yet come. Is this a non sequitur? All she said was that the wine has run out. She’s trying to intercede when she sees a need that needs meeting. In order to read Jesus’ statement (rebuke or otherwise) so that it’s not a non sequitor, I would submit, following Scott Hahn, that Jesus is relating His hour to the production of new wine. When His hour does come, He will produce new wine. Not so odd when we realize that one major messianic expectation (based on readings of portions of Isaiah, etc.) was that when the Messiah came He would bring new wine. There’s actually a lot packed in here that I don’t have time to unpack right now. The important point is that Jesus actually obeys her. He listens to her. He does what she implied as a request by her observation. Jesus provides wine by transforming water put in jars set aside for Jewish rites of purification. Why does Jesus listen to her? He keeps the commandments and honors His mother. Moreover, if Jesus is the new Davidic king, then His mother is the new Queen Mother [see especially Ted Sri’s doctoral dissertation, Edward Sri, Queen Mother: A Biblical Theology of Mary’s Queenship (Steubenville, OH: Emmaus Road, 2005)], who was an important royal official in OT Israel, as well as in parts of the ANE (e.g., 1 Kings 15:13, 2 Kings 10:13, 2 Chronicles 15:16, Jeremiah 13:18, and Jeremiah 29:2). In 1 Kings 2:13-22 we find the Son of David’s (Solomon) mother (Bathsheba) petitioned by a member of the kingdom to approach the king with a request (which the king says he will of course grant). As Queen Mother, Bathsheba is given a throne to sit on next to the king…and where is this throne? At the king’s right hand. Now, in this instance, Solomon, the sinful king, does NOT grant his mother’s request. But the true Son of David, Jesus, does grant His mother’s request in John 2. And because of Mary’s intercession here, in John 2, the disciples are brought to faith in Jesus, they come to believe (2:11). Jesus reveals His glory in light of His mother’s request, and this leads to faith. Thus, when Jesus calls Mary (in John’s Gospel) “woman,” He is like Adam who called Eve “woman,” and thus we see why Mary becomes John’s mother in John 19 (having John take her into his home to care for her would have broken law had Mary had other biological children who would have been legally [halakhically] responsible for her….one of the many reasons, likely, that John Calvin, Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, and Martin Bucer, all held to the Catholic teaching of Mary’s perpetual virginity, even after they left the Catholic Church….there were many other biblical reasons why they likely retained this view). In light of this, when we approach John’s Book of Revelation, and when we (if we) interpret the woman wearing a crown (as a queen would wear) as Mary, it makes sense that she would be the mother of believers, since she is the New Eve. I could say a lot more, but I’ve probably been uncharitable in using so many words, and I gotta run. Would love to continue the conversation, and I do plan on getting to your other comments that I have left unanswered this past semester.

      Nothing but love her for you bro, and I really am thankful that we have you here to help keep the discussion going. I’ve read all of your comments with great interest, and great desire to respond.

      All the best,


  7. Jeff! I missed you man! But Tommy and Jeremy have been keeping me company and they seem like terrific guys.

    You’re right. I don’t believe the woman of Rev. 12 is Mary. My reading indicates the unanimous (and I do mean unanimous) view of the early fathers (which could nevertheless be wrong) is that it is the church / people of God. This view is found very early and continues unabated for a long time. (See Hyppolytus, Methodius of Olympus, Gregory, Aquinas and others for extended commentary.) By the way don’t RC’s teach that Mary did not suffer birth pangs as this woman does? Could be wrong about this.

    I need to think more about the John / Genesis line of reasoning. John clearly and intentionally parallels Genesis (you’ve got to love John), but I need to weigh this. By the way, I don’t dismiss all of the new Eve typology out of hand. However, I do think that for something that is so massive in the RC system, we sure have to do a lot of reading between the lines. I feel like you can only see this stuff if you have a secret de-coder ring or magic glasses. I do honor Mary and her role, but think you guys severed the cords with theological propriety in this matter ages ago.

    Unlike the doctrine of the Trinity, which flows very demonstrably, though not always obviously from scripture, Marian doctrine and much else in your world does not. And, it’s no secret, I think your understanding of tradition is uber-problematic and basically incoherent double-talk or smoke and mirrors. In other words, your view of development and how it works is nowhere near plausible. But I love you guys anyway and need to take my kids to the zoo. More on this later.

  8. Josh,

    I’m not a theologian but am a true believer. I was a Christian without a church when I met my husband Steve. Josh, I would just like to invite you to spend an hour with Jesus. He is truly present in the Tabernacle at any Catholic Church. I say it is his true presence which leads us. I know I am so blessed to receive the body, blood, soul and divinity of our lord through the Eucharist on Sunday. It is only through our lords help that I have lived through the trials of this life. I thank Jesus for bringing me to his church. I ask God’s blessings on you and your family.

    1. Jeananne,

      Thank you for your kind words. It’s more than okay that you are not a theologian. I’ll take one true believer over a room full of theologians any day. I think we are going to disagree on the specifics, but I sincerely pray that you and I both encounter the true Jesus and let him lead us into all truth. I encourage you to spend a lifetime getting to know him, not only in the eucharist, but also in the words of scripture where he is beautifully revealed as a perfect savior to all who will call upon him in faith. As you learn more and more of him, I pray that you would place all of your confidence in him and his sacrifice, so beautifully pictured in the supper. Blessings.

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