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Nareed
Nareed
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December 13th, 2011 at 5:31:26 PM permalink
Quote: Wizard

Don't they also differ on whether Mary stayed a virgin after Jesus' birth? Doesn't the bible say Jesus had brothers and sisters? If so, how do Catholics explain their maternity?



Maybe god was in the mood? ;)

Seriously, it's my understanding that Jewish law does allow for divorce. So even if their son (or is it their son of god?) was rewriting the book, Joseph woudl have had reasonable grounds for divorce ahd Mary remained virginal: failure to consumate the marriage.

Unless he was gay and Mary was his "beard." I doubt that would sit well with conservative Christians, but it would be one good thing to say for Mary.
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FrGamble
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December 13th, 2011 at 6:15:19 PM permalink
As usual pacomartin does a good job explaining things and I don't have much in the way of corrections to anything he said. There is a list of approved Marian apparitions and an approved list of saints. Both of these lists can be a little daunting and confusing. The list of approved saints is huge but not anywhere near 10,000. Blessed John Paul II canonized 482 saints and 1341 blessed, to put that number in perspective he alone made more saints and blessed than all of the Popes from 1588 combined. The list of the approved Marian Appearances is not as long as you might think as the Church is very careful. I think it might be more helpful and more interesting to look at a more important list which is the Liturgical Calendar of Saints Check it out here .

This list contains the approved liturgical celebrations for the Universal Church and a few particular feasts for the United States. The reason why this list is significantly smaller, containing roughly 178 saints is because it is like the hall of fame list for saints whose lives of holiness and example of love transcend borders and cultures. This list also has been purged of legendary figures and events that could not be historically proven. For example still on the list of saints but not on the liturgical calendar are St. Christopher and one of my favorites and my confirmation namesake, St. George the dragon slayer.

The Marian feast days can be broken into three categories: Life of Mary, Devotional and Appearances, and Misc.
Life of Mary Feasts are: Immaculate Conception, Birth of Mary, Presentation of Mary, Annunciation, Visitation, and Assumption.
Devotional Feasts: Mother of God, Our Lady of the Rosary, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Sorrows, Queenship of Mary, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Immaculate Heart of Mary, Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Fatima
Misc. feasts: Sts. Joachim and Anne (parents of Mary), St. Joseph, Dedication of Basilica of St. Mary Major
This means that in my book the major and universally approved Marian apparitions are Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Lourdes, and Our Lady of Fatima.
I want to emphasize there are more but these appearances in particular have been studied by the Church, their message found extraordinarily meaningful, and their devotion has spread around the world.

Just my two cents concerning why I love Our Lady of Guadalupe so much and why I think she is so important. Our Lady appeared as a native Mexican and spoke the Aztec language to native Mexican Juan Diego. She did not appear to a Spaniard or speak Spanish. In the midst of great tension between these two cultures of the Aztecs and Spanish Our Lady brought them together into a great people and culture we know today as Mexican. She is the only apparition to appear as pregnant, maybe because she became known as the mother of the Americas. Between 1531 and 1538 eight million native Aztecs and other indigenous people converted to Catholicism. What is also worth pointing out is that across the pond in Europe the reformation was breaking out; as the number of Catholics were being diminished in the sad divisions of Europe the numbers of converts were skyrocketing in Central America. It is as if the Lord said, "Fine you guys want to fight and rip apart my Church over your greed, thirst for power, and pride - I'm outta here and going to see my brothers and sisters in the New World."

The image itself is awesome and if I had to pick one thing that is amazing out of lots of them I would say the beautiful and vibrant image is imprinted on what amounts to a burlap sack of a poor man. Hang up a burlap sack for 30 years and it is going to fall apart, this cloak is now in its 480th year of inspiring the faithful. In my poverty you make me strong, O Lord!

Sorry for the long post and now to make it official - Yo quiero Taco Bell!
Wizard
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Wizard
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December 13th, 2011 at 6:53:12 PM permalink
Wow, thanks for the post, Padre! That is the kind of post that stands so well on its own that I think deserves the last word on the subject, at least from me.
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Nareed
Nareed
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December 13th, 2011 at 8:21:27 PM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

In the midst of great tension between these two cultures of the Aztecs and Spanish Our Lady brought them together into a great people and culture we know today as Mexican.



What's so great about violence and corruption? Come on, Mexico has been corrupt throughout history. And the history from Independence to 1921 is riddled with civil wars, including Juarez's little war on your church (which featured an invading French army and a puppet Hapsburg emperor of all things).

Quote:

Between 1531 and 1538 eight million native Aztecs and other indigenous people converted to Catholicism.



You do recall among ther things the Spaniards imported to the New World was the Inquisition, don't you?
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pacomartin
pacomartin
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December 14th, 2011 at 1:04:39 AM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

As usual pacomartin does a good job explaining things and I don't have much in the way of corrections to anything he said. There is a list of approved Marian apparitions and an approved list of saints. Both of these lists can be a little daunting and confusing. The list of approved saints is huge but not anywhere near 10,000. Blessed John Paul II canonized 482 saints and 1341 blessed, to put that number in perspective he alone made more saints and blessed than all of the Popes from 1588 combined.



Thank you for your enlightening explanation father. The websites are very helpful as well. My understanding is that the process of sainthood was less systematic in the early days of the church, and that led to some divergent views on the number of Saints.

Since Nareed brought up the Inquisition, let me post one of my favorite stories, about Jesus and The Grand Inquisitor by Feodor Dostoevsky (Translation by H.P. Blavatsky).
Wizard
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Wizard
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December 14th, 2011 at 5:53:09 AM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

The list of the approved Marian Appearances is not as long as you might think as the Church is very careful.



I went through the list and found mention of these Marian Appearances, if that is the right term.

Feb 11: Our Lady of Lourdes
May 13: Our Lady of Fatima
July 16: Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Sep 15: Our Lady of Sorrows
Oct 7: Our Lady of the Rosary
Dec 12: Our Lady of Guadalupe

Did any of these happen in the United States? Which is the one where a painting of the Virgin Mary at least appears like it is really crying? It seemed this list was intended for American Catholics. Might such a calendar in another country recognize a different list of appearances?

Here is my Spanish sentence, in honor of FrG.

El Señor es mi pastor; no voy a querer. = The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want -- Pslalm 23:1

I didn't know that pastor = shepherd before looking this up. One fun thing about learning Spanish is you learn more about English in the process.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
pacomartin
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December 14th, 2011 at 9:00:52 AM permalink
Quote: Wizard

Did any of these happen in the United States? Which is the one where a painting of the Virgin Mary at least appears like it is really crying? It seemed this list was intended for American Catholics. Might such a calendar in another country recognize a different list of appearances?

Here is my Spanish sentence, in honor of FrG.

El Señor es mi pastor; no voy a querer. = The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want -- Pslalm 23:1

I didn't know that pastor = shepherd before looking this up. One fun thing about learning Spanish is you learn more about English in the process.



Our Lady of Good Help had an apparition in 1859.

In 1871, a firestorm killed about 2,000 people. Adele Brise (who had seen the apparition in 1859) refused to leave and instead organized a procession to beg the Virgin Mary for her protection. The surrounding land was completely destroyed, but the chapel and its grounds, together with all the people who had taken refuge there, survived the fire unharmed.It was the worst recorded fire disaster in US history. But the formal recognition is only at the local bishop level, and is not among the list recognized by the Vatican

Most English colonies had official established churches; none of which were Catholic. In fact, some English colonies had anti-Catholic laws and anti-Catholicism was rampant. Maryland was founded by Lord Baltimore as the first 'non-denominational' colony and was the first to tolerate Catholics. In 1650, the Puritans in the colony rebelled and repealed the Act of Toleration. Catholicism was outlawed and Catholic priests were hunted and exiled. By 1658, the rebellion had been suppressed and the Act of Toleration was reinstated.

But a large percentage of the population was not Catholic until the Irish immigration in the mid 19th century. The Irish immigrants being poor and hungry were readily conscripted into the army to fight against Mexico in the Mexican American War. The San Patricios decided their loyalties should lie with Catholic Mexicans, plus the offer of land and wives was very appealing. They were of course killed or executed to the last man by the American army as traitors.

The Chieftans song for the San Patricios

Plaque in Mexico city
Wizard
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December 14th, 2011 at 9:39:32 AM permalink
Quote: pacomartin

Our Lady of Good Help had an apparition in 1859.



I'm surprised I haven't heard of this before. Here is a quote from their web site:

Quote: Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help

Reading from his decree, the Bishop stated, I declare with moral certainty and in accord with the norms of the Church that the events, apparitions and locutions given to Adele Brise in October of 1859 do exhibit the substance of supernatural character, and I do hereby approve these apparitions as worthy of belief (although not obligatory) by the Christian faithful.



Is belief in the more famous apparitions required by the "Christian faithful"? Might it depend on where you are? For example, is belief in Our Lady of Guadalupe required in Mexico? How about in Australia?

I also hate to bring up this subject again, but is belief in transubstantiation required of Catholics? I'd be interested to see a full list of everything Catholics are required to believe.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
pacomartin
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December 14th, 2011 at 1:31:45 PM permalink
Quote: Wizard

I also hate to bring up this subject again, but is belief in transubstantiation required of Catholics? I'd be interested to see a full list of everything Catholics are required to believe.



I think the father will have to answer definitively.

As I understand it, individual Marian apparitions are private revelations, and not core beliefs. As they are accepted by the church, I think it is not permitted to publicly denounce all of them as superstitions. To do so would be not be consistent with the "Assumption of Mary" which is a required belief.

The Trinity, the Virgin birth, the Resurrection of Jesus, that Jesus died for your sins, people are born with "original sin" and not "tabula rasa", existence of Heaven and Hell, the miracles of Jesus, and for the most part Transubstantiation are pretty much core Christian beliefs shared by all denominations.

Catholics believe in papal infallibility when he pronounces things ex cathedra (literally, "from the chair"). So the Assumption of Mary in 1950 and the Immaculate Conception in 1854 (which is not to be confused with the virgin birth) were pronounced ex cathedra. To the best of my knowledge these two dogmas are not accepted by any Protestant denomination (even the ones closest to Catholicism like Anglicans and Episcopalians). But I would have to research that statement to make sure it is not true. I know very little about Eastern Orthodox.

The Holy See itself has given no complete list of papal statements considered to be infallible. A 1998 commentary on Ad Tuendam Fidem issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith listed a number of instances of infallible pronouncements by popes and by ecumenical councils, but explicitly stated (at no. 11) that this was not meant to be a complete list.

Beliefs like "demonic possession" should not be considered impossible. You can doubt it's truth for individual cases, but you can't question it's existence.

I am not sure about "limbo" or concepts like "stigmata".
Wizard
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December 14th, 2011 at 6:55:02 PM permalink
Quote: pacomartin

... and for the most part Transubstantiation are pretty much core Christian beliefs shared by all denominations.



Protestants observe commune about once a month or so, depending on the denomination. However, they don't believe, as Catholics do, that the bread and wine are literally changed to the body and blood of Jesus. They believe they are symbolic of it. They do it to remember Jesus' sacrifice, and a feeling of redemption they get afterward.

A Catholic will never say or admit that the bread and wine are just symbolic. They really believe it changes somehow when the priest prays for it. You will really have to get a Catholic to explain it further, as I just find it nucking futs. It has also been debated here several months ago, but I didn't leave the debate with more clarity on the issue.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.

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