The assumption of Mary is the doctrine that Mary was taken up bodily into Heaven. Some believers think she died and others think she didn't. The doctrine is essential for being a Roman Catholic. If you wilfully reject it then you are not a Catholic in your belief.

The assumption is really about validating the Catholic doctrine of TO JESUS THROUGH MARY. So the Catholic is to avoid having a direct relationship with Jesus. The Catholic confides in Mary and tells her his sins and prays to her and loves and gets devoted to her. If he does that then there is no need for him to establish a relationship with Jesus. Mary is alive and human now so we can relate to her. Hence the need for her assumption.
When a doctrine is question, the Church may issue a definition that makes it dogma or binding on belief. Defining means making it known for certain that the doctrine was revealed by God. Catholics hold that with the death of the last apostle, revelation ceased. So to be able to define a doctrine, the doctrine must be taught in the Bible or in tradition at least by implication if it is not explicitly mentioned. The problem is the Church teaching that it only teaches what is in scripture or tradition. Then if we ask what Church doctrines are in scripture and tradition, the answer is that whatever the Church says is in it. In reality, it is the Church that is heeded and not tradition or scripture. This contradicts the doctrine that revelation ended with the last apostle. Now if Mary died after the last apostle, and nobody knows for sure when she died, then belief in the assumption cannot be binding on us.  Also Mary could have died when the apostles were alive and not have been assumed for decades after their deaths. The mere fact that the Church has no right to make such a doctrine as it does not care about tradition or the Bible at all but only pretends it does is proof that the doctrine is not binding on belief.
The legend that the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ, was taken up into Heaven body and soul decades after his resurrection is an old one but not old enough.

Epiphanius, (Panarion 78.23.9; Williams edition, 2:169): “The holy virgin may have died and been buried—her falling asleep was with honor, her death in purity, her crown in virginity. Or she may have been put to death—as the scripture says, ‘And a sword shall pierce through her soul’—her fame is among the martyrs and her body, by which light rose in the world, [rests] amid blessings. Or she remained alive, for God is not incapable of doing whatever he wills. No one knows her end”.  This is what tradition says.  Catholicism went against early tradition to confect the doctrine.

There is no reason to suppose that the assumption is apostolic in origin and every reason to suppose that it is not. The legend became infallible Roman Catholic doctrine in 1950 under the wily Pope Pius XII. The Pope defined this doctrine. This definition was invalid because the pope and the Church can only define what is definable. There is no evidence that the apostles would have sanctioned such a doctrine. Plus they may have been dead when Mary was assumed meaning the doctrine is not binding on us and that the Catholic Church is inventing new doctrines. The Church says that the Church or the pope are infallible when they define a doctrine. To exercise infallibility, research is required. The Pope didn't even know when Mary died but could only guess so what right had he to declare that it was true that Mary was assumed into Heaven? He was not infallible for he hadn't done his homework - his procedure was incorrect.

"By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce and declare and define it to be a dogma divinely revealed that the Immaculate Mother of God, Mary ever-virgin, on the completion of her earthly life was assumed into Heavenly Glory both in body and soul. Wherefore if anyone presume (though God forbid) wilfully to deny or cast into doubt that which has been defined by us, let him know that he has fallen away entirely from the divine and Catholic faith".

Notice that this really affirms two doctrines. One that Mary was taken to Heaven body and soul and the second was that anybody denying this is not a Catholic believer AT ALL. By implication, the same is true should somebody contradict any other Catholic doctrine. The doctrine that the body and blood of Jesus are physically present in communion is more important so imagine the degree of separation from Catholic faith that the doubter or denier of it would incur.

Some say the assumption points out that Mary was such a perfect role model that she had to be taken body and soul to Heaven as a reward. So Mary is the chief role model for us among the saints. This is madness for we know barely anything about her. Saints whose lives we have detail are better role models. She is a failed role model. Evidence such as this is ignored by the popes.

The Catholic Church believes that infallibility does not give the Church the power to make new doctrine. It gives the Church the power to confirm old doctrines or doctrines that are implied by Church teachings.

In Catholicism, by Fr Richard P McBrien, pages 1102 to 1104, it is noted that when defining that Mary was conceived without sin, Pope Pius IX also said that whoever denies the dogma makes a shipwreck of his or her faith and fallen away from the unity of the Church- that is, become a non-Catholic. Liberal Catholic theologians claim that whoever in the Church denies these dogmas is not necessarily leaving the Church. They could be questioning the inadequacy of the dogmas - that is, considering them to be attempts to put some vague mysteries into words and failing. The theologians say that if they are otherwise good Catholics and don't challenge major doctrines such as that of the redemptive power of the death of Jesus Christ and his resurrection and the existence of God then their denial of the two dogmas cannot put them out of the Church for the dogmas are not that important. But the liberals say that if a person denies the dogmas just because they are dogmas given by the pope that means the person does not recognise the pope as necessary for the Church and so are putting themselves outside the Church.

To this I have to say some things.

The popes themselves claim to be putting mystery into words. Nobody can deny that Mary was conceived without sin and be excused by the excuse the liberals offer. It is plain enough what the words mean. To deny the definition is to say Mary was a sinner. A similar point can be made about the assumption dogma. Besides, if the mystery excuse works then why can't somebody say that Jesus never died to save and never rose from the dead? Why can't the excuse be used for them? The excuse is just an excuse. And pathetic.

So Pius XII proclaimed with infallibility that Mary went to Heaven body and soul. He didn’t say if it was Catholic doctrine that Mary died or not. He just said she was assumed body and soul into Heaven. One would think that the resurrection of Mary from the dead if that is what happened was a more important idea to promulgate and make a dogma than her bodily ascension into Heaven. That he couldn’t tell us more makes it all very suspicious.

For the six centuries since the origin of the Church the assumption was not accepted by any of the great teachers of the Church. Only a barmy French bishop gave it any credence. In 380 AD, Gregory of Nyssa began to reason that Mary must have been assumed into Heaven. It is significant that he said nothing about having any evidence for this but he was just indulging in warped pious "reasoning". The Breviary rejected the assumption until the Church decided to delete this rejection in 1570 which does not mean that the Church was starting to think there was something in the story. Benedict XIV said later that the tradition was too weak to be made into an Article of Faith or an infallible doctrine. (See Reason and Belief, page 88-89)

The doctrine springs from a need to make Mary, in effect, the female Christ. The doctrine seems to have originated among the Collyridians. These were heretics who believed in the gospels but treated Mary, who they worshipped as a virgin and Queen of Heaven, as a goddess. They were predominately female. Their Church began in Thrace and spread to the west and the North of the Black Sea and even to Arabia. Epiphanius said that they decorated a square throne and put a linen cloth over it. Then at a time regarded as special and holy they would lay bread on the throne and offer it as a sacrifice in the name of the Queen of Heaven. Then in some kind of communion rite they all ate the bread. The ceremony usually lasted for days. The name Collyridian is a nickname and comes from a word meaning a small loaf. He condemned them for worshipping Mary and he asserted that God did not become man from Mary to make a divine being out of her. He then condemned women priests so the Collyridians had a female priesthood. He even claimed that women could not baptise. It seems that the heresy was an exaggeration of Christian reverence for Mary for there was no evidence that it existed before Epiphanius which implies that it looked orthodox until a thorough investigation was undertaken. The Collyridians as Geoffrey Ashe said appear to have come from a tradition that Mary was immortal and taken up bodily into Heave like the Prophet Elijah was. St Gregory Nazianzus introduced much of the Church in and around Constantinople to the idea of praying to Mary.  Things like that led to the disintegration and absorption of the sect.

It is imagined that when Jesus preserved his mother from all sin from her conception that he wouldn’t have let decay touch her body. Nobody knows if the Virgin died or not but most theologians hold the opinion that she did. So, Mary rose from the dead. If Mary died then Jesus could have let her decay. Jesus let himself receive the most degrading death possible so how Catholics could argue that Mary couldn’t rot can only be explained by their feeling that they like her better than Jesus. Bodies are decaying by shedding dead cells even when they are alive and when they will be restored to something surpassing even their former glory in the resurrection Mary disintegrating is no big deal. So the Catholic argument for her assumption is incorrect. If the decay of a corpse is degrading it is that because the corpse should be alive so it is death itself that is degrading. It would be hypocritical to be more concerned about preserving the corpse when it was permitted to die.

The doctrine of the assumption is not in the Bible. The apostles were more important than her and they were not assumed into Heaven. Revelation makes them the twelve foundations of Heaven (21:14) which is proof that her importance is exaggerated.
Enoch and Elijah were assumed into Heaven but they could still have died after that. There were better prophets who were not assumed into Heaven which ought to warn Catholics that there is no reason for thinking that when that pair were taken up that the same probably happened to Mary. The Catholic notion that Mary was conceived without sin and was the mother of God so God couldn’t let decay touch her body is blasphemous nonsense for God let his own incarnation, Jesus, be crucified and degraded. It implies that Mary must be better than Jesus in a sense!

The Catholic Church says the early Christians never venerated the tomb of Mary where her body was or mentioned it which leads Catholics to suppose that this means she must have been taken up into Heaven. Jerome wrote about holy places in the Holy Land but did not mention the Virgin’s tomb. We know that relics and the remains of people considered to be holy were kept by Christians at least from the time the martyr, Polycarp, died. But that was not in Eastern Europe or Israel so the argument that the Virgin must have went up to Heaven when there were no remains to make relics of it is too feeble. There were lots of saints who died and for whom no body parts were kept. And most of the body parts that are kept today are fake relics anyway. There are enough relics claiming to be pieces of the cross to build a ship.


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