My good friend William Albrecht and I went on Sam Shamoun’s Youtube Channel to refute an Eastern Orthodox blogpost against the Immaculate Conception. Before continuing with this blogpost, I highly recommend you first check out my blogpost here and here to understand what the Catholic Church teaches on the Immaculate Conception. Because it’s a nuanced topic, there tends to be lots of misconceptions on it.
To watch the episode William Albrecht and I did on Sam’s show, click here. I promised on the show that I would give citations to what I was quoting on the show and this is what I am doing here with this blog post. However, I do go a bit further here than what I presented on the show.
I was on Facebook and I came across a post that one copy and pasted from an Eastern Orthodox website where they make some objections to the Catholic Dogma of the Immaculate Conception. The objections will be in red and with five asterisks (*****).
IC = Immaculate Conception
OS = Original Sin
BVM = Blessed Virgin Mary
*****“Immaculate Conception is the “New” dogma in Roman Catholic Church, this doctrine was not dogmatically defined in the Roman Church until 1854.”*****
Response: One can argue that Icons have always been part of the tradition of the Church but the dogma was not formulated until the latter part of the first millennium. One would hardly call this a new dogma. It was taught prior to the formulation of the dogma. The question with regards to the Immaculate Conception is: was it also taught prior to its formulation and from Apostolic times? If the answer is yes, then it is not a new dogma.
*****“The Immaculate Conception of Mary is a doctrine of Western Catholic Church (Rome) which is based on Augustine’s “original sin” doctrine. They believe that Mary was “immaculately conceived” apart from original sin, by the merits of Christ.”*****
On Reason and Theology (one of my favorite channel on Youtube), host Michael Lofton had Timothy Flanders, Erick Ybarra, William Albrecht, and Craig Truglia on earlier tonight. The topic of the show was, “Timothy Flanders on Eastern Orthodox Reactions to His Conversion”. Timothy, Erick, and William are all Roman Catholics and Craig is Eastern Orthodox. Craig made a comment on the show with regards to the papacy which clearly shows that he has a misunderstanding of what the Catholic Church teaches (specifically with regards to the papacy and its relation to Ecumenical Councils). Starting at 49:19 in the video, Mr. Truglia begins talking about Vatican I and how the council says the pope does not need the consent of the bishops and he applies it to Nicaea II (and Ecumenical Councils in general) and concludes that there is a contradiction between what Vatican I is claiming and what first millennium Christianity taught.. The discussion is picked back up at around 1:12:20 where this time, my question is placed on the video for Mr. Truglia to answer. I would recommend listening to those segments before reading on. You may also follow the live chat to see the correspondence between Mr. Truglia in the video and myself (Elijah Yasi) on the live chat.
So, is there a contradiction? Spoiler alert: No, there is not. Let’s begin.
An Eastern Orthodox apologist who (predictably) doesn’t hold to the Immaculate Conception (IC) dogma. He sent me an article that was issued by lay Catholics in The Catholic Layman from January 18, 1856 which argues against the Immaculate Conception. I would like to address some of the arguments it makes against Our Lady. I would like to address the quotes taken from first millennium Christendom that supposedly teach against the IC.
We will first start off by quoting the official declaration of the dogma by Pope Pius IX in Ineffabilis Deus: “We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful.” Continue reading
There have been many misconceptions from Eastern Orthodox Christians. They attack our immaculate conception dogma without understanding it. They build up a false version of the dogma and knock down that version. I’m going to clarify what we do and don’t believe about the immaculate conception.
1. The Catholic Church does *not* teach that Mary’s state is exactly that of Eve prior to the fall.
“The apostasy of
the city of Rome from the vicar of Christ and its destruction by
Antichrist may be thoughts so new to many Catholics, that I think it well to
recite the text of theologians of greatest repute. First Malvenda, who
writes expressly on the subject, states as the opinion of Ribera, Gaspar Melus,
Biegas, Suarrez, Bellarmine and Bosius that Rome shall
apostatise from the faith, drive away the Vicar of Christ and return to
its ancient paganism. …Then the Church shall be scattered, driven into
the wilderness, and shall be for a time, as it was in the
beginning, invisible hidden in catacombs, in dens, in mountains, in
lurking places; for a time it shall be swept, as it were from the face of the
earth. Such is the universal testimony of the Fathers of the early
-Henry Edward Cardinal
Manning, The Present Crisis of the Holy See, 1861