Thursday, August 06, 2015

Logic, Logic, Logic

I'm thankful for Sean Hutton today; he teaches theology in New York state. He's younger than me, smarter, and better-looking. [Does that need to be hyphenated?--ed.] I don't know; it just looked wrong before.

Anyway, we're part of a rumble on Tim Dukeman's wall. There was a nice post affirming his Catholic and Orthodox "brothers" for standing for life amidst the Culture of Death. At that, the fundie hordes descended, and this lovely unity was shattered by theological disputation.

This is Tim Dukeman, so the only natural thing was to make another thread where we could argue about our differences. I was named as the other main Catholic combatant, which was dumb, because I can't hold a candle to Mr. Hutton; pointing out the holes in Protestant thought isn't the same as making an affirmative case. Sean had this great little syllogism for Mary as the Mother of God:

Mary is the mother of Jesus;

Jesus is God;

Therefore, Mary is the Mother of God.

If you are thinking along with the patristic logic train, what they were motivated by at Ephesus in 431 was to safeguard the unity of the two natures in the one divine Person of Christ. Nestorius had said that Mary was the mother of Jesus, but not the mother of the Logos. But you see, the Word became flesh; he didn't just borrow it, or appear to take it. That flesh was his, therefore it was hers.

Down the road, the Marian dogmas when viewed from the outside may well seem to be add-ons, accretions that threaten to make Mary divine. But from the inside, we have a whole theology of co-redemption and participation, for all of us. There is nothing more natural than to give her the place of co-redeemer par excellence. Christ alone is Our Savior and Lord, but we have many helpers, and it pleased the Lord to do this.

Really and typologically, Mary is the embodiment of faithful Israel, groaning in expectation for the New Covenant to be inaugurated. Any Jew between the exile and the time of Christ would have yearned to speak the words Mary spoke, recorded in Luke 1:46-55. Have you ever noticed how Jewish it sounds? Really, our whole New Testament is like this, but we don't see it, because Protestant biases and assumptions of discontinuity color the text, as surely as they color all of Christian history. I digress.

In another way, it pleases the Lord that we trust the Church as surely as we trust Him. If the Church proposes a dogma for us to believe, we must believe it, as if the Lord Jesus had told us himself. There is no difference. 

One of my teachers told us a story from the Charismatic Renewal. Some of these brothers had been Pentecostals, as you might imagine. They'd now decided to enter RCIA. Loving hearts they had, because the professor would lose them with overly complicated ecclesiastical jargon. Yet if he said, "Jesus said..." followed by a dogma, they would believe it or do it, without question. Do we trust Jesus like that? Do we hold the truths of our faith like that?

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