Tag: Mary


Why was Jesus Born of a Virgin? (Four Wrong Answers, and the Right One)

Virgin and Child, Hagia Sophia mosaic (867)
As Christmas day approaches, we’re also confronted with a part of the faith that has caused great difficulty for Catholic and Protestant believers alike: the Virgin Birth. About a quarter of Americans deny the Virgin Birth (along with about a quarter of Anglican clergy in England). What should we say to these doubters? Why should we believe in the Virgin Birth, and why does it matter? Why was Jesus born of a Virgin? And why did the early Christians think this doctrine so important that they included it in both the Apostle's Creed and Nicene Creed as a core part of what it is to hold the Christian faith?

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The Untamed Virgin Queen

Caravaggio, Madonna and Child with St. Anne (1606)
The world has just learned that three more Assyrian Christians have been executed in a particularly barbaric way by ISIS… who’ve promised to continue this murderous campaign if the Christians of the Middle East don’t submit. Pope Francis has repeatedly tried to call our attention to the ongoing genocide of these Christians, and that’s exactly what it is: a systematic attempt to wipe Christians off of the map, permanently. All of this bloodshed is being perpetrated in the name of a radical and expansionist form of Islam. To be sure, this isn’t the only form of Islam practiced, but it is nothing new, either. From the very beginning, there have been groups, beginning with Muhammad himself, who sought to spread Islam by the sword.

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The Virgin Mary, Suffering, and the School of the Cross

Michelangelo, Pieta (1499)
We, the Church, we are the Body of Christ. We say that all the time, but do we really believe that? If we do, then we need to know two things: (1) that Mary is our Mother, and (2) that our sorrows have meaning, they have a purpose. Jesus didn't say, “take up your Cross and throw it away,” but “take up your cross and follow me.” He doesn't suffer and die so that we don't have to suffer. He suffered and died so our sufferings have meaning.

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Aim at Mary, Hit Jesus

Virgin Mary and Jesus, from the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion, Axum, Ethiopia.
Many of the most popular attacks on Mary (both by Protestants today, and by figures like Nestorius throughout the history of the Church) end up being attacks on Jesus. This post looks at three specific examples: (1) "all have sinned" as a denial of the Immaculate Conception; (2) "no one greater than John the Baptist”; and (3) refusing to acknowledge Mary as Mother of God.

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Is Praying to the Saints Idolatrous?

Praying to the Saints isn't just not idolatry. It's the opposite of idolatry. Idolatry relies upon the idea that God is impotent, or at least not powerful or loving enough. Prayer to the Saints relies upon the idea that God is sovereign, and powerful or loving enough to answer the prayers we're asking the Saints to make for us. So the logic of prayer to the Saints and the logic of idolatry are diametrically opposed.

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