Ten Facts About the Assumption of Mary That You May Not Know

Today is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, one of the most important feasts of the year. Here are some facts of about today’s feast that you may not know:

José Benlliure y Gil, Mass in the Chapel (1871)

1. Today is a Holy Day of Obligation: Outside of Sundays, American Catholics are obliged to go to Mass on five or six other days out of the year. Today is one of them. So if you haven’t been to Mass yet, go. You should have no trouble finding an evening Mass near you. (This is true for you Eastern Catholics also, pursuant to Canon 880 § 3 of the Code of Canons of Oriental Churches.)

2. You Should Avoid “Servile Work” Today: Most Catholics know that they’re not supposed to work unnecessarily on Sundays and major holidays. We don’t really need to be told that going to work on Christmas isn’t what we’re called to as Christians. Working on Christmas feels wrong.

But many Catholics are unaware that the Church calls on us to avoid “servile labor” on all Holy Days of Obligation (including today) in the same way that we would on Sundays. This comes from the first of the five precepts of the Church (which are listed in the Catechism in CCC 2042-43): “You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor.CCC 2042 explains that this precept:

… requires the faithful to sanctify the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord as well as the principal liturgical feasts honoring the Mysteries of the Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the saints; in the first place, by participating in the Eucharistic celebration, in which the Christian community is gathered, and by resting from those works and activities which could impede such a sanctification of these days.

The five precepts of the Church (which are binding on all Catholics) are “meant to guarantee to the faithful the very necessary minimum in the spirit of prayer and moral effort, in the growth in love of God and neighbor” (CCC 2041). Giving a few days out of the year – Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation – is part of the bare minimum that you should be doing as a Catholic.

Granted, by the time you read this, it’s late notice. But bear this in mind on the next Holy Day of Obligation: All Saints Day, Friday, November 1, 2013. It’s not too early to plan on a three day weekend.

15th c. icon of the Dormition of Mary

3. The Assumption and the Dormition are the Same Thing: In the West, we celebrate today as the Assumption of Mary, emphasizing that Mary was taken up, body and soul, into Heaven. In the East, they celebrate today as the Dormition of Mary, emphasizing that Mary “fell asleep” in the Lord. Same feast, different focus.

4. The Assumption of Mary Doesn’t Mean She Never Died: One result of the difference in emphasis between East and West is that we Western Catholics don’t tend to focus on the fact that Mary died before she was Assumed. Some Catholics even deny that she died, pointing in support to the allegedly-ambiguous nature of the infallible teaching of Munificentissimus Deus, which holds as a divinely revealed dogma “that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.

But throughout the encyclical, Pope Pius XII is clear that Mary did die, and he cites longstanding Tradition and ancient liturgical texts that support this. For example:

Thus, to cite an illustrious example, this is set forth in that sacramentary which Adrian I, our predecessor of immortal memory, sent to the Emperor Charlemagne. These words are found in this volume: “Venerable to us, O Lord, is the festivity of this day on which the holy Mother of God suffered temporal death, but still could not be kept down by the bonds of death, who has begotten your Son our Lord incarnate from herself.”(11)

At least part of the confusion seems to be that art depicting the Assumption focuses on the reunion of her body and soul, as she was assumed (very much alive) into Heaven. Taylor Marshall has more to say on the subject, but the short answer is that Mary died, and then was assumed.

5. Jesus Wasn’t Assumed into Heaven: The Second Glorious Mystery of the Rosary is the Ascension of Jesus. The Fourth Glorious Mystery is the Assumption of Mary. The critical difference between the Ascension and Assumption is that Mary was taken up into Heaven, while Christ ascended by His own Divine power. Fr. James M. Keane, O.S.M., explains it this way:

Jesus arose from the tomb and ascended into heaven by his own power, whereas Mary’s body was taken up to heaven by the power of her Son. For that reason we use two different words: the Ascension of Christ and the Assumption of Mary.

In the words of St. Anthony of Padua, today celebrates when “the Virgin Mother has been taken up to her heavenly dwelling.” Having said that, Scripture also speaks of Christ being “taken up” in the Ascension (Acts 1:9, 11), just as He is said both to have risen from the grave, and been raised from the grave. None of this denies Christ’s Divine power, or His ability to raise Himself. Here again, Taylor Marshall has more.

6. There are Two Assumptions in the Bible Besides Mary’s: While Jesus wasn’t assumed into Heaven, at least two other people in Scripture were (besides Mary). The Old Testament hints that Enoch was assumed (Genesis 5:24), and the New Testament says so explicitly (Hebrews 11:5). The Old Testament explicitly says that Elijah was assumed (2 Kings 2:11).

Additionally, Deuteronomy 34:6 says that Moses “was buried in Moab, in the valley opposite Beth Peor, but to this day no one knows where his grave is.” Jude 1:9 has a cryptic allusion to a dispute between the devil and the archangel Michael about the body of Moses. What happened to his body – whether or not it was taken up – is left unsaid. More on that at Msgr. Charles Popes blog.

Peter Paul Rubens, Woman of Apocalypse (17th c.)

7. Mary’s Assumption is Implicit in Scripture: Just as the Old Testament hinted at Enoch’s assumption (a fact later confirmed by the New Testament), the New Testament hints at Mary’s Assumption (a fact later confirmed by the Church Fathers). The Assumption seems to be implicit in Revelation 11:19-12, in which we see that the Mother of God is already glorified in Heaven:

Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple; and there were flashes of lightning, loud noises, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.

And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; she was with child and she cried out in her pangs of birth, in anguish for delivery. And another portent appeared in heaven; behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems upon his heads. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, that he might devour her child when she brought it forth; she brought forth a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which to be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.

The reason that Protestants can read this and still deny the Assumption is that it’s not immediately clear who the Woman is.

I think that this can be answered by looking first to the Son. The Son is the one “who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron” (Rev. 12:5). The Book of Revelation actually reveals Who this is. It refers primarily to Jesus Christ (Revelation 19:15), and secondarily to the Saints (Revelation 2:27). This dual fulfillment is fitting, because Revelation 12:15 is the fulfillment of an Old Testament prophesy about the Son of God (Psalm 2:7-9). The Son of God, in the primary sense of the word, is Jesus Christ. But through baptism, we also become sons and daughters of God.

So the Son is Jesus first, the Saints second. So who is Jesus’ Mother and the Mother of the Church? Mary, obviously. Mary is described as Jesus’ Mother throughout Scripture, including in Matthew 1:16 and Galatians 4:4 (in which the Son is described as One “born of woman”). At the Cross, Jesus takes the extraordinary step of making Mary the Mother of the beloved Disciple (John 19:26-27), in prefigurement of her role as Mother of the Church (cf. Revelation 12:17).

I’ve written on this elsewhere on the blog, but if you’d rather listen to Fr. Dwight Longenecker say it instead, go right ahead. I won’t be offended.

8. Early Christian Tradition Supports the Assumption of Mary: While the New Testament hints as Mary’s Assumption, the early Christians embraced it explicitly. We find this from a wealth of sources: first and foremost, from liturgical celebrations. All throughout the global Church, we find ancient commemorations of Mary’s Dormition and Assumption into Heaven.

A wealth of literature (some reliable, some unreliable) sprang up quickly to relay stories about Mary’s last days. Some of this is merely pious legend, like the legend of George Washington and the cherry tree. But it reflects a global consensus within the Church that Mary was, in fact, assumed into Heaven. In other words, we don’t know all of the details about Mary’s last days, but we do know (because numerous sources attest to it, from all over the Church), that Mary was taken up. Pope Pius XII outlines some of this evidence, but I want to point out the (fascinating) fact that there’s no counter-tradition. That is, there’s apparently nobody in the early Church denying the Assumption, nor is there anyone claiming to have the relics of Mary’s bones, even though relics of the Blessed Mother would have been incredibly sought-after. Again, we simply see a consensus that Mary was assumed.

9. Modern Science Supports the Assumption of Mary: This is a clever point from Elizabeth Scalia. In short, every time a woman gets pregnant, her child leaves some of his cells in her body.  (even if the child later dies in the womb).  So even when a woman miscarries, or aborts her children, the cells of those children remain inside of her for decades, and can help her fight disease. It’s pretty incredible, and I imagine there’s a lot of potential to develop a pro-life apologetic around this science.

But Scalia points in a different direction: this means that Mary carried the Blood of Christ within her always. We receive the Eucharist, and carry Christ within us temporarily, but Mary was never wholly separated from Him, even physically.  Psalm 16:9-10 promises that the Body of Christ will not undergo decay. The Assumption is simply a further completion of that promise.

10. Mary’s Assumption Prefigures Our Own: The promise that the Body of Christ will not undergo decay is fulfilled first in Christ, then in His Mother, but its final fulfillment is in us, the Mystical Body. We shall not remain in the tomb, but shall rise again in Christ. What Mary underwent immediately, we shall undergo eventually, if we stay true to the faith.

This is why today’s Second Reading included this passage from Romans 8:29-30:

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.

This is also why I don’t understand Protestant squeamishness about the doctrine of the Assumption.

God took Enoch (Genesis 5:24),
from the LaHaye Bible (1728)

Certainly, I understand why those who believe in sola Scriptura would struggle with a doctrine found only implicitly, like the Assumption (or the Trinity, or original sin). All of those are great arguments (against sola Scriptura). But there are some Protestants who actually think it’s heretical to believe that Mary was Assumed into Heaven. For example:

The Roman Catholic Church has embraced an idolatrous false gospel. To say that Mary rose from the dead and was taken into Heaven as Queen is to accord her similar status as Christ, and ultimately to denigrate Christ.

 

Therefore, there can be no agreement or compromise between Anglicans and Roman Catholics on these issues.   To agree is to deny the authority of Scripture, to embrace error and denigrate Christ.   Until Rome repents of its false teaching unity must be an offence to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Likewise, GotQuestions claims thatTo teach the Assumption of Mary is a step toward making her equal to Christ, essentially proclaiming Mary’s deity.
This is blind prejudice against Mary (and Catholicism), not rational Biblical analysis. I would respond by looking at three sets of Biblical teachings that contradict the above two claims:
  • If it doesn’t denigrate Christ for Enoch or Elijah to be assumed into Heaven, why in the world would it denigrate Christ for Mary to be Assumed?  In declaring that Enoch or Elijah were assumed into Heaven, are we declaring them equal to Christ, or proclaiming their deity?
  • If it doesn’t denigrate Christ for the Saints to “reign with Him” (2 Timothy 2:12), why does it denigrate Him for His Mother to reign with Him? If 2 Timothy 2:12 doesn’t deify the Saints, why would the Assumption be held to deify Mary?
  • If the Twelve Apostles can be enthroned in Heaven (Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:30) without denigrating Christ or declaring them deities, why not Mary?
As you can see, to declare the Assumption heretical is ultimately to declare Scripture heretical. You can’t condemn the Assumption of Mary without condemning the assumptions of Enoch or Elijah. You can’t condemn the glorification of Mary without condemning the glorification of all of the Saints.
Hopefully, this has shown that the Assumption is both consist with, and implicit in, Sacred Scripture, and that what happened to Mary in the Assumption will eventually happen, in some sense, to all of the Saints.

50 Comments

  1. Thank you for the admonition to “avoid servile labor” on days like today. In parishes where the Assumption is referred to as a “holy day” (minus the awkward part about it being some kind of “obligation”) one is unlikely to ever hear that the Church asks us to avoid servile labor on certain days other than Sunday. This kind of instruction is greatly appreciated!

  2. Two things…

    1) I wish I could get away from servile labor. Unfortunately my children would starve. 🙂 (the joke being that my job is mom)

    2) More seriously, how does this apply to Canadians? I’m an American living in Canada so I know longer fall under the same obligations. Even though it’s not mandated as a holy day of obligation, shouldn’t we still treat it as one? Thoughts?

    1. Deltaflute,

      C.S. Lewis had this to say about housewives: “I think I can understand that feeling about a housewife’s work being like that of Sisyphus (who was the stone rolling gentleman). But it is surely in reality the most important work in the world.”

      As for your Canadian question, I was surprised and a bit saddened to see that the Canadians have transferred all but two Holy Days of Obligation: Christmas and Mary, Mother of God (New Year’s Day).

      Since they’ve transferred it, you’re under no obligation to go: the Mass for the Assumption was transferred to Sunday, so even if you went, that wouldn’t be the Mass that you’d be celebrating. Having said that, it’s certainly laudable to do something to honor the day. As I said in the post, the precepts of the Church are intended to establish a floor, not a ceiling.

      I.X.,

      Joe

    2. By the way, can. 1248 §2 says “If participation in the eucharistic celebration becomes impossible because of the absence of a sacred minister or for another grave cause, it is strongly recommended that the faithful take part in a liturgy of the word if such a liturgy is celebrated in a parish church or other sacred place according to the prescripts of the diocesan bishop or that they devote themselves to prayer for a suitable time alone, as a family, or, as the occasion permits, in groups of families.”

      That’s dealing with a different set of circumstances, but it seems like a good guide for someone looking to commemorate the Assumption, but unable to, because of the local liturgical calendar.

      I.X.,

      Joe

  3. “This is also why I don’t understand Protestant squeamishness about the doctrine of the Assumption.”

    Obviously we can’t speak for the conscious will of every individual Protestant but I think we all know the ultimate answer: the Devil hates the Virgin Mary. Ask any Protestant to read Revelation 12.

    1. Drawing any doctrine from Revelation is tough. I wish that there was another passage to defend the Assumption. I am personally reluctant to build any doctrine that comes from only one passage, especially if it is from Revelation. It does not help that the issue of her death before or after the assumption is not clear. I have come a long way in my respect for Mary, but this is still too much for my modern Protestant faith. Have fun with the Assumption though!

    2. Rev. Hans,

      I must say, I appreciate how far you’ve come in your respect for Mary. I’m curious as to where your views are now. Do you view the Assumption as false, or just a possibility?

      I.X.,

      Joe

    3. I am not quite sure how to describe my respect for Mary. She is the mother of God, and a great (if not the greatest) example of faith within us earthen vessels. I am trying to be open to the Pre-Trent Rosary.

      I actually did not know anything about the Assumption before your post. I am afraid to say that your post may have made it rather confusing for someone like me. Did she die or not die here on earth? Was she taken directly up to heaven like Elijah? I am open to all possibilities. With God, all things are possible! (Matthew 19:26b) It is not clearly stated in the Bible, then I am very reluctant to build a doctrine on it. If there is one verse about it, then I am reluctant to build a doctrine on it. I will be sure to ask Jesus about it when I get to heaven, so it is now on my long running list of questions for Jesus. I will try my best not to respond with “your mom!” to whatever Jesus tells me.

  4. Joe, with respect to refraining from servile labor, what would you suggest we do in a secular, capitalist country such as ours, where we do not control what days we are given off of work? I was able to attend Mass during my lunch hour, but I wasn’t given the day off…

    1. Mark,

      Not for nothing, Christ said that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27; CCC 2173). The Catechism also notes that “Family needs or important social service can legitimately excuse from the obligation of Sunday rest. The faithful should see to it that legitimate excuses do not lead to habits prejudicial to religion, family life, and health” (CCC 2185).

      More directly to your question, CCC 2187 has this to say:

      “Sanctifying Sundays and holy days requires a common effort. Every Christian should avoid making unnecessary demands on others that would hinder them from observing the Lord’s Day. Traditional activities (sport, restaurants, etc.), and social necessities (public services, etc.), require some people to work on Sundays, but everyone should still take care to set aside sufficient time for leisure. With temperance and charity the faithful will see to it that they avoid the excesses and violence sometimes associated with popular leisure activities. In spite of economic constraints, public authorities should ensure citizens a time intended for rest and divine worship. Employers have a similar obligation toward their employees.”

      In other words, if you’re legitimately unable to get the day off because of work obligations, that’s on your employer, not you. Your obligation is just to take time for leisure, and make sure that the way you’re spending your free time is consistent with the solemnity of the day, rather than something glorifying violence or excess. Beyond that, I think it comes down to the specifics of the situation.

      I.X.,

      Joe

    1. John,

      Pope John Paul II mentions three separate times in that audience that Mary died prior to the Assumption. He simply notes that her death isn’t part of the dogmatic definition – her Assumption is.

      First: “The dogma of the Assumption affirms that Mary’s body was glorified after her death.

      Also: “Belief in the glorious destiny of the body and soul of the Lord’s Mother after her death spread very rapidly from East to West, and has been widespread since the 14th century.”

      Also: “Although the New Testament does not explictly affirm Mary’s Assumption, it offers a basis for it because it strongly emphasized the Blessed Virgin’s perfect union with Jesus’ destiny. This union, which is manifested, from the time of the Saviour’s miraculous conception, in the Mother’s participation in her Son’s mission and especially in her association with his redemptive sacrifice, cannot fail to require a continuation after death.”

      I.X.,

      Joe

  5. I always assumed (pun very much intended) that Mary’s assumption was similar to Elijah being taken up by the fiery chariot. Was he not fully alive when this happen or did he die as well? Maybe I need to understand the Christian/Catholic definition of death first… I’m confused now. I didn’t have trouble with believing in the assumption during my conversion after understanding flaws of sola scriptura and knowing that it had happened in the old testament before to someone else he cared deeply for and committed his life to the Lord.

    1. ScruggsDL,

      Death is the separation of soul and body. After the body and soul of Mary were separated, they were reunited, and she was assumed (body and soul) into Heaven. So yes, she was alive at the time of the Assumption. It was an anticipate of the General Resurrection.

      I.X.,

      Joe

  6. Did I miss something John Gresham? Fourth sentence of your first link, “The dogma of the Assumption affirms that Mary’s body was glorified after her death.”

    Anyway, Joe, your best Bible verse (in my opinion) for the Assumption is:

    Psa 132:8 “Arise, O LORD, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy strength. “

    At least that’s what Aquinas used. http://www.ewtn.com/library/SOURCES/TA-CAT-5.TXT

  7. Refrain from servile labor? I wish I could, but in this economy I’m a lowly retail slave… At least I know how the Hebrew slaves in Egypt felt! (I kid, I kid.)

    🙂

    I did attend a Vigil Mass the night before, but unfortunately, I didn’t remember to ask for the day off, so I had to work. Not the end of the world, and also I gotta eat too. I’ll be putting in a time-off request for November 1st though!

    Good post!

  8. From the second nocturn of the old, pre-Pius XII Divine Office on the feast day are the following passages taken from the second sermon on the Dormition by St. John of Damascus:

    An ancient tradition has been handed down to us, that, at the time of the glorious falling-asleep of the blessed Virgin, all the Apostles, who were wandering throughout the world preaching salvation to the Gentiles, were caught up aloft in the twinkling of an eye, and met together in Jerusalem. And when they were all there, a vision of Angels appeared to them, and the chant of the heavenly powers was heard; and so with divine glory she gave up her soul into the hands of God. But her body, which bore God in an effable manner, being lifted up amid the hymns of Angels and Apostles was laid in a tomb in Gethsemane. There for three whole days the angelic song was heard. (Lesson IV)

    But after three days, the chant of the Angels ceased, and the Apostles who were present (for Thomas, the only one who had been absent, came after the third day, and wished to adore the body which had borne God) opened the tomb; but they could by no means find her sacred body in any part of it. But when they only found those garments in which she had been buried, and were filled with indescribable fragrance which emanated from them, they closed the tomb. Amazed at this wonderful mystery they could only think that he, who had been pleased to take flesh from the Virgin Mary, to be made man, and to be born though he was God the Word, and the Lord of glory, he who had preserved her virginity without stain after childbirth, should also have been pleased to honour her pure body after her death, keeping it incorrupt, and translating it into Heaven before the general resurrection. (Lesson V)

    Here is the old Mass for the Assumption, with the proper “Gaudeamus omnes” with Palestrina’s “Missa Assumpta est Maria” set as the ordinary. Quite a day/octave liturgically speaking.

  9. Posts like this remind me I am no longer a Roman Catholic. Ten facts were given. I’ll make 10 quick comments on each.

    Points 1 and 2 above are pure legalism. It’s one thing to urge people to avail themselves of the opportunity to grow closer to God. It’s quite another to threaten them if they do not. Only those who don’t have to work for a living can, with a straight face, require abstention from “servile work.” (I doubt seriously that avoiding “servile labor” was intended to mean “take a day off of work.” Personally, I’m grateful to all those Roman Catholic first responders, soldiers, teachers etc who have the integrity to do their jobs on holy days of obligation like Sundays, Christmas, and even the feast of the Assumption. I am suspect of any church that thinks the faithful have an even higher obligation to go to mass and burn a sick day just to be compliant with the precepts. This reeks of Jesus’ complaint against the Pharisees on piling on burdens but not lifting a finger to help with them.

    Point 3 overstates the case. The Dormition and Assumption are similar but not the same. The death of Mary is dogmatically defined for the Dormition, at least as far as the Orthodox are concerned.. Her death remains only probable opinion within Romanism. So one can hardly celebrate her death, if one isn’t certain that she died.

    Point 4 is clearly an intramural debate within Romanism. Those who wish to hide behind the ambiguity of “having completed the course of her earthly life,” are merely trying to be self-consistent with the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, which would seemingly make Mary immune not only to the penalty of sin, but also its consequences.

    Continued…

    1. Michael,

      What’s your understanding of “legalism”? Is it your belief that any Church laws are legalistic? Hebrews 10:24-25 commands church attendance. Is that legalistic? Is it legalistic for a church to say that services are at 9:30, rather than having people show up whenever they feel? When is a law okay, and when isn’t it, in your view?

      At its core, I think you’re conflating “laws” with “legalism,” which is a common mistake (but a dangerous one, since it leads towards antinomianism and doctrinal and disciplinary chaos). Legalism is the adherence to the letter of the law in such a way that the spirit of the law is impeded. That’s not occurring here. If it helps, see my response to Mark Duch above. The Church doesn’t order anything that’s impossible for Her members to do, nor does She treat the Holy Day of Obligation legalistically. If someone can’t take the day of, or it’s a grave inconvenience, they’re not bound by it. So your hand-wringing about first responders, soldiers, teachers, and the like is misplaced.

      As for point 3, I already answered it in point 4. We’re not left guessing about whether or not Mary died. At least three different popes have said as much. Not only is it false that we “can hardly celebrate her death,” the Dormition is a Holy Day of Obligation on the Eastern Catholic calendar. Remember, despite your inapt pejorative “Romanism,” that Eastern Catholics are in full communion with the Church.

      As for point 4, you’re right: Mary wasn’t “owed” death in the way that you and I are. She also wasn’t “owed” a sword piercing her soul. But even her Son, who also wasn’t owed death, underwent it anyway. It’s supererogatory.

      I.X>,

      Joe

    2. Where in deed is that fine line? You mentioned in your post that it just “feels” wrong to work on Christmas, but you didn’t say why it feels that way. Well, the whole idea of holy days of obligation just “feels” like legalism to me. The sabbath was made for man, not the other way around. That’s Jesus’ way of getting at the heart of why we honor the sabbath–not merely to be compliant, but because we are celebrating rest that we’ve already entered into. Hebrews 10:24-25 says much the same thing and exhorts us to encourage one another. Nothing about this passage “feels” like Romanism to me, i.e., “go to mass, cease from servile labor, or else!” Or else what?

      I like your definition of legalism. But I disagree with your conclusion. I think this is what happen in Roman Catholicism on a massive scale. The very wording of the laws along with the consequences for not complying with them have all the look, smell and feel of legalism to me.

      So in light of your answer to Mark above, I take it that the imperative to avoid “servile labor” is more of a suggestion than an absolute. So are you saying that Rome itself is saying we get to pick and choose which church laws and precepts we have to follow to the letter and which we do not?

      As for points 3 and 4, I still think you’re missing the point. Yes, the popes think she died, including Pius XII. But their opinion in this matter does not belong to the dogma itself. No Roman Catholic *has* to believe that she died. That’s not true of the Orthodox celebrating the Dormition since, by definition, this is a feast commemorating her death. So like I said, the feasts (and the dogmatic beliefs that stand behind them) are similar, but not the same. They overlap, but they’re not identical. But this is really a minor quibble…

      As for celebrating her death, the feast of the Assumption, however, is not a celebration of her death, and while Eastern rite Catholics are free to celebrate her death (as are those in the West), no one in union with Rome is *required* to believe that she died.

      As for the problems with think Mary died in point 4 above, apples and oranges. Mary wasn’t bearing the sins of her people. Jesus was. He died, not in punishment for his own sins or the sins of Adam, but rather freely offered “the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9:26) in reparation for the sins of his people. So Jesus wasn’t owed death, but he consented to die so as to satisfy the demands of divine justice, on the one hand, and to show mercy on the other. Mary could do neither of these things and so, logically speaking, if she was conceived without the stain of original sin and never committed an actual sin, then there would have been no reason for her to experience physical death. Our Redeemer, however, did have a good reason to experience death.

    3. Joe,

      I almost forgot this…

      You said: “despite your inapt pejorative “Romanism…”

      This is rich. You are aware that your blog is called “shameless popery.”

      So I’m here in Ontario, Canada on vacation and I just drove past “St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church,” in Huntsville. I don’t get it. I never had a problem referring to myself as a Roman Catholic. Yet I keep running into RCs who want to nix the “Roman” part of it so that they’re just “Catholic.”

      I don’t get it and I’m not going there. You’re Roman Catholic. Own it. Why do I say this? Because Rome doesn’t have dibs on the word “Catholic.” I consider myself “catholic” (small c) and so I use the word “Roman” just like the the Canadians are using it.

      I’ll make you a deal: When you stop calling your blog “shameless popery,” I’ll stop using the word “Romanism.” What say you?

  10. Continued from before…

    Point 5 is a nice point of order. Okay everyone, the Assumption is not the Ascension. Get it right!

    Point 6 is a distractor–a red herring which is besides the point. It is part of the Roman apologists’ attempt to create more plausibility for a dogma that needs all the help it can get: “So Enoch and Elijah and maybe even Moses were assumed, ergo what’s the problem with adding Mary to that list?” Yes there’s precedent for an assumption. No there’s no good evidence it happened in Mary’s case. Moving right along…

    Point 7 gives an all new meaning to the word “implicit” and tends to rely on mutually reinforcing streams of evidence, all of which are dubious in and of themselves. So Mary-as-New Ark typology coupled with a Marian interpretation of the Woman of Revelation 12 allegedly “imply” that Mary was Assumed. But even granting (for the sake of argument) that Mary is the Ark of Revl 11:19 and the Woman of Rev 12, how can we be sure that Mary got to heaven via an assumption? John saw other people in heaven too. Were they assumed? The point is this: the mere presence of Mary in heaven does not imply, much less entail, that she was assumed into it.

    Point 8 gives an all new meaning to the word “early” in the phrase “early Christian tradition.” What JH would call “early,” I think most historians would call “late.” The tradition doesn’t even get going until the 5th century and there the written sources are a bit vague and not always reliable as JH acknowledges. By the 7th century the feast is firmly established. But that’s a long time after the apostles lived. It seems far more likely that the belief has its source in pious imagination than anything the apostles taught.

    Point 9 is just awesome! Who knew that by having Jesus’ blood within you, you could stave off the corruption of death? All we need to is exhume the bodies of those who died while taking communion (I’m sure we can find at least someone in the East or West over the past 2,000 + years who died before the eucharistic elements were digested and assimilated) to see if they’re incorrupt. For if this argument from “modern science” is true, then incorruption (not assumption) is what we should expect to find. Hence this is an argument, not for Mary’s assumption, but for her incorruption, assuming it can hold up to scientific and theological scrutiny (which I doubt).

    Continued….

    1. Michael,

      You claim that point 6 is “a distractor” and “a red herring which is besides the point.” I disagree. Having shown that at least two or three other assumptions occurred within Scripture, it establishes precedent for the event in question. It also disproves the more extreme Protestant objections (e.g., the ones raised by GotQuestions and the Church Society, quoted in point 10, above). Any Protestant objections against Mary’s Assumption that rely could just as easily “disprove” Enoch’s or Elijah’s are shown thereby to be faulty arguments.

      Like I said above: “If it doesn’t denigrate Christ for Enoch or Elijah to be assumed into Heaven, why in the world would it denigrate Christ for Mary to be Assumed? In declaring that Enoch or Elijah were assumed into Heaven, are we declaring them equal to Christ, or proclaiming their deity?”

      So no, I don’t think that this is a red herring at all. I think that this both (a) helps support the Assumption and (b) refutes a great many arguments against the Assumption.

      Regarding point 7, you’re granting, arguendo, the Mary-New Ark typology, and that Mary is the Mother of God depicted in Revelation 12. This provides clear support for the Assumption. As Aquinas notes (see Daniel’s comment above), one of the Old Testament promises is to raise up Christ and His Ark:

      “The third curse is common both to man and woman in that both shall one day return to dust. The Blessed Virgin was spared this penalty, for her body was raised up into heaven, and so we believe that after her death she was revived and transported into heaven: ‘Arise, O Lord, into Thy resting place, Thou and the ark which Thou hast sanctified.’

      The Assumption is the belief that He did this. In any case, we Catholics aren’t sola Scripturists, so even if the Scriptural case for the Assumption is only probable, that’s okay. The unanimous witness of Tradition confirms it. As I said, there’s no counter-witness. Again, consider the Enoch comparison: is it possible to read the Old Testament passages about Enoch as meaning something other than an assumption? Sure. They support his assumption, but may not require it. But once we have their meaning explained later one, that window is closed. Here, Christian Tradition explains what a possibly-ambiguous set of Scriptural passages mean.

      Point 8 isn’t quite right. The Liber Requiei Mariae is believed to date back to as early as the third century, and there are other documents which are referred to, but now lost. The tradition of the Dormition and Assumption of Mary is found throughout the Coptic, Orthodox, and Catholic Churches, and is celebrated globally by all of those Churches founded by Apostles. If you’re going to debate the history, I think you’ll have to defend how every Church fell into heresy on this point. That argument is shaky historically, and impossible theologically.

    2. By point 9, you sort of stopped rational discourse, in favor of sarcasm, snark, and condescension (e.g., calling me “dude”). This culminates in the comment following it, in which you crow, “ you’re stuck with another indefensible dogma and we’re laughing at you.”

      Stop for a moment, and ask yourself, “is this Christ-like?” or “why am I behaving this way?” I mean, you’re literally saying that you’re hoping that Catholics fall into (what you believe to be) heresy, so that you can laugh at them. Doesn’t that strike you, even remotely, as … well, demonic?

      Revelation 12:17 talks about how the Enemy attacks Christians because he hates Mary, and the work of the Enemy is never more apparent than the vitriol towards the Blessed Mother. This is one of the key ways that he tries to attack Christ and His Church. We see this clearly in the history of the Church, particularly looking at the First Council of Ephesus (431 A.D) forwards.

      There are so many arguments in Catholic-Protestant dialogue that we can discuss rationally. But for certain Protestants, they’re not seemingly capable of discussing the doctrines surrounding the Mother of God for a prolonged period without lash out with irrational vitriol.

      Trying to sift through your arguments for substance, here’s what I can come up with: (a) Psalm 16:9-10 only promises incorruptibility, not resurrection; and (b) Psalm 16:9-10 should also promise incorruptibility for anyone who died shortly after receiving the Eucharist.

      To this, I would say, (a) Peter explicitly cites to Psalm 16:9-10 as a proof for the Resurrection in Acts 2:24-35 (see esp. Acts 2:31), in which David “foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.” He also says it doesn’t apply to David because he “both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day” (Acts 2:29). By your argument, Peter is wrong: Psalm 16:9-10 isn’t about the Resurrection, and so it might still apply to David.

      As for (b), it’s based on (a), which is wrong and contrary to Scripture. Also, you’re confusing Sacramental and local Presence. But Psalm 16:9-10 arguably does promise the resurrection to the Mystical Body. This supports my point 10.

      I.X.,

      Joe

    3. On the argument from precedent, I still maintain it’s a red herring since the fact of two or three prior assumptions doesn’t prove a fourth. It only makes the suggestion of a fourth more palatable, given the precedent. But this distracts from the real issue, namely, did God in fact do this?

      Furthermore, thinking it through, God doesn’t need a precedent to do a miracle. In fact, taking up Enoch was unprecedented. So we hardly need to point out biblical precedents to make the Assumption of Mary more plausible. What we need is evidence, in or outside the Bible, that God in fact did this. I’m not seeing anything in or outside of the Bible that would justify raising this pious belief to the level of infallible dogma.

      On the matter of history, I think you’ve only confirmed my claims–i.e., that the belief is late, not early. When was the feast first celebrated and how long did it take to become more or less universal? The conservative estimates point to the seventh century. Let’s grant that the belief itself was at least two centuries prior to that to give it time to get going. Even so, the stream dries up long before we get all the way back to the apostles. History lets you down. It points more to the probability of a pious legend turning into widespread belief than an oral tradition of apostolic origins.

      So let’s talk about the real reason you believe in the Assumption: Magisterial authority. As you said, you do not hold to sola scriptura and so it’s hardly an obstacle to you that the Bible has no direct teaching on the matter. From my perspective, however, dogmas like the Assumption are precisely what happens when sola scriptura is abandoned.

      When you have to give an account before God one day for why you believed this dogma and why you promoted it, about the only thing you will be able to say is, “because the Church ® told me so.” I wonder if that will hold up under scrutiny.

    4. Joe,

      On the issue of snark, sarcasm, laughing at you etc, I think you’ve being a bit dramatic here. Here’s why I’m laughing at you (plural) and here’s what I mean by that. I’m laughing because I know you know your position is indefensible. I know, because I once attempted to defend it using the very same arguments you’re using here (except for point 9–that’s a new one! It’s like C.S.I. Maria.) I know that if it were not for your love of the Roman church, its glory and grandeur, you would never seriously expect anyone to take the Assumption seriously as something the apostles handed on, given the paucity of historical and biblical evidence for it. You believe because of your love for the Church, which is something I find admirable up to a point. You believe, not because of the evidence, but in spite of it.

      But, finally, I think it is a misplaced love, just as is the Roman Catholic fascination with Mary. In short, I think mariolatry and ecclesiolatry go hand-in-glove, at least it did so in my experience. Error has no rights, Joe. Your church is in error and I think you’re bright enough to know this somewhere deep inside of you.

      And so on a very superficial level I am laughing at you because I feel for you. It’s not easy defending the indefensible and as I watch Rome’s apologists I sympathize with their plight. See behind my laugher a warm, knowing smile. As one who has been on your side of the apologetic trenches, I get it. It’s not easy defending the plausibility of Marian beliefs.

      But if you can just stand back and see this thing from afar. Think of all the time an energy you’re putting into this and what ultimately motivates you. I see it as your love for the Church. But I pray that behind that it is really, ultimately a love for Christ himself, and that’s why part of me thinks all of this back-and-forth debate is laughable.

      Ever heard of Campion’s Brag? There’s a line from it I just love. This is from a Roman Catholic priest living on the lamb in Elizabethan England where he spent his time defending the Roman perspective. There is wisdom here:

      ix. If these my offers be refused, and my endeavours can take no place, and I, having run thousands of miles to do you good, shall be rewarded with rigour. I have no more to say but to recommend your case and mine to Almighty God, the Searcher of Hearts, who send us his grace, and see us at accord before the day of payment, to the end we may at last be friends in heaven, when all injuries shall be forgotten.

      I can just see Campion “laughing” at all his Protestant persecutors with a complete absence of malice. Think of me as doing the same.

      Peace be with you.

    5. From your first paragraph, it sounds like we agree on point 4. God doesn’t need any precedent to perform a miracle, but the fact that there are precedents of Him performing assumptions makes it more probable (but doesn’t prove) that He did so in this case. Is that a far summary? If so, I would agree that it’s not a silver bullet, but would deny that it’s a red herring.

      On the history, my focus has been written sources, and the written sources don’t treat the Assumption as a recent belief, but as something that’s an accepted part of Christianity. To the extent that the stream “dries up,” it’s that we have references to documents we no longer have, or evidence from unusual sources (like religious art and liturgy). There’s still the fact that this belief is held to throughout the Catholic, Orthodox, and Coptic Churches. There’s also the lack of a counter-Tradition.

      Consider the matter this way: Protestants (with few exceptions) readily accept the teaching that all of the Apostles other than John were martyred. In fact, this teaching often plays a crucial role in the apologia for the faith: why would the Apostles have been martyred for something that they knew was a lie?

      But the only Apostolic martyrdoms Scripture speaks of are James’ (described directly) and Peter’s (hinted at, rather than stated outright). In other words, Protestants are willing to base their belief in the Gospel (and their rationale for why others should believe), in part, off of extra-Scriptural Traditions regarding the deaths of the Apostles.

      This belief is based off of the testimony of the early Christians. And to my knowledge, none of them claim that Mary remained in the tomb after death. The questions surrounding her death relate to (a) whether or not she died before being taken up to Heaven [which is resolved in favor of her having died], and (b) the precise circumstances surrounding her death and Assumption.

      This fact becomes even more glaring, given that the early Christians collected and venerated the relics of the Apostles. Yet nobody claimed to have the body of Mary. In fact, even though two sites claim to be the Tomb of Mary (one in Ephesus, and one in Jerusalem), neither claims to have her body. There weren’t even fake relics, because the Assumption of Mary was well-enough established that they wouldn’t be credible.

      If Mary had died and remained in the tomb, we may be sure that there would be accounts of this, and there certainly would have been relics (or at least alleged relics). So I think that your version of history leaves an empty tomb without a compelling explanation for its emptiness.

      I.X.,

      Joe

      P.S. As an aside, although I don’t think that Catholics are left saying simply, “because the Church ® told me so,” I’m also quite comfortable with that defense.

      The first words out of Christ’s mouth in Mark’s Gospel is a proclamation of the Gospel and the Kingdom: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:14). Jesus even describes the Gospel, in one of His final teachings, as the “Gospel of the Kingdom” (Matthew 24:14). So the Gospel and the Kingdom are inseparable, and Jesus gave the keys to that Kingdom to St. Peter (Matthew 16:18), and had His Apostle Paul tell us to look to the Church for the Truth (1 Timothy 3:15).

      I can rest secure that the visible Church founded by Christ can be trusted by the believer today as surely as She could be in the first century. Anything short of that would turn the Gospel of the Kingdom into some elaborate trick in which we’re pointed towards the Church, when we should be pointed in some other direction. Obviously, there’s much, much more than can be said about ecclesiology. But if Christ had wanted us all to build our own DIY Christianity using the Bible as a blueprint, He certainly had a funny way of expressing that.

    6. Joe,

      Precedent does not entail more probability. That’s the fallacy, I think, in appealing to Enoch, Elijah, Moses et alia. In other words, I don’t think the chariot of fire in 2 Kings was a more “probable” event simply because Enoch and perhaps Moses were assumed prior to this.

      The lack of a counter tradition also proves little, if anthing. (There isn’t much of a counter tradition to Santa Clause among children, but that doesn’t mean he exists in they way they think he does.) I think it’s ultimately an argument form silence to argue that just because no one (or relatively) few people questioned the tradition of the Assumption, that it therefore must be authentic. Such thinking (I think) rests more on the prior assumption that the church doesn’t hand on error.

      So that’s really question. Is it possible for pious beliefs to enter into the church and for the church to err in elevating these to the level of dogma? You would rule that out a priori. I would take an a posteriori approach: If the church has erred, then ergo it can.

      If we need precedent for this, I’d point to Israel. They seemed to fall into error and idolatrous practices throughout their history. And yet they are still the people of God. So..an indefectible church, but not an infallible one.

      As for the visible church-as-kingdom idea, if you’re right about this (and all the ancillary beliefs that go with this, such as infallibility), then you indeed could take the Church ® at its word on the matter. But if you really believe this, why do apologetics at all? Why scour history, the Bible for evidence, when at the end of the day, you don’t need any?

      This is why I “laugh” (that word again) at arguments like the one from C.S.I. Maria–the cells of Christ were in her decades later, ergo she was assumed. Can’t you find the humor in that kind of desperation? Merely suggesting such arguments in the first place make me wonder if you’re as confident about Rome’s infallibility as you claim. I mean why resort to them in the first place when you have Pius XII’s word on the matter already? Isn’t it enough that he has said so?

      Ultimately the case for Mary’s Assumption is only as good as the case for infallibility. I once bought into the “spiral argument” for an infallible church, until it was pointed out to me that the entire argument rested on my own fallible interpretation of Matthew 16:18. If I was wrong in my interpretation in that verse, then everything fell apart, including my foundation for taking the Church’s ® word for it.

    7. Your argument seems to be that, if the Church is the Kingdom, it’s a waste of time knowing anything other than “the Church says so.”

      This is a weird argument for you, of all people, to make, because you do Protestant apologetics. By your logic, does this arise out of your own insecurity with Protestantism? Or if you do Biblical archeology, and discover more about the places described in Scripture, does that mean you don’t trust the Bible? If you learn the philosophical proofs for God, is that bad because you’re going beyond the Bible? You see the silliness of this line of reasoning, right?

      We Catholics believe that the Church teaches these things because they’re true, not that they’re true because the Church teaches them – even though we can know that they’re true because the Church teaches them.

      So there are a great many reasons to study the truths of the faith that the Church hands on to us:
      1) Reason is a gift from God, as is faith;
      2) Faith seeks understanding – i.e., if we really believe this, we want to know more;
      3) The reasons for teachings allow the ascent from “notional assent” to “real assent”;
      4) The exploration of these teachings helps show their interconnectedness, and brings the faith to life;
      5) Successful apologetics must appeal even to those who don’t accept the Church as Magister.

      As for the rest, if the Church is in the same position of Israel, where She can fall away, what change does Christ introduce? What of His promise not to leave the Church an orphan? What of His promises to send the Holy Spirit to guide the Church into all truth? How could you simultaneously affirm that the Church is the Body of Christ and consider Her a heretic?

      I.X.,

      Joe

      P.S. If your entire argument for the infallibility of the Church rested on your interpretation of Matthew 16:18, you were building on a pretty incomplete foundation, and I can understand why it crumbled. Rest assured that Catholic ecclesiology can be convincingly articulated without recourse to that verse (although it’s obviously a good aide).

  11. Continued from previous…

    Finally we come to point 10. Do you want to know the real reason why we Protestants are squeamish about the Assumption? It’s not because there’s anything per se unbelievable about miracles of this sort (at least not from my charismatic perspective). Nor does it have anything to do with the didactic possibilities of the dogma: Yes, it does picture our own future glorification.

    But all of this is beside the point. The real issue is that Rome requires everyone to believe this probable fiction and condemns anyone who does not. Check out paragraphs 45 and 47 of Munificentissimus Deus. (I’m sure you can find the link). The language there is pretty harsh. Not only are we threatened with apostasy, but we’re also threatened with the wrath of “Almighty God” and the wrath of Peter and Paul (shudder!).

    So here we have a doctrine with, sorry dude, but I have to say it….*zero* biblical support and very little that is reliable from tradition since the belief only seems to emerge in late antiquity and therefore cannot be traced back to the apostles. And then we’re threatened with hellfire if we oppose the doctrine or even remain skeptical about it. That’s just rich, coming from Rome. So it’s not that we’re squeamish; it’s that we’re annoyed, even mad. No one likes a bully, not even a theological bully. Pius XII bullied this through because he had the votes. Now you’re stuck with another indefensible dogma and we’re laughing at you. But we’re also sad too. It’s a sad day when pious legend turns into infallible dogma and millions are thereby misled.

    1. Michael,

      Your claim is that Protestants are opposed to the Assumption of Mary because of Munificentissimus Deus? Are you serious? Munificentissimus Deus was promulgated in 1950. The most viscerally anti-Marian strains of Protestantism were alive and well long before that. So the explanatory power of blaming Munificentissimus Deus is pretty limited.

      I.X.,

      Joe

    2. Joe H>>Your claim is that Protestants are opposed to the Assumption of Mary because of Munificentissimus Deus? Are you serious?<<

      I am. But I don’t recall saying that this MD is the only reason why we’re opposed to the Assumption.

      >>Munificentissimus Deus was promulgated in 1950. The most viscerally anti-Marian strains of Protestantism were alive and well long before that. So the explanatory power of blaming Munificentissimus Deus is pretty limited.<<

      Woe there. You’ve just broadened our opposition to the Assumption into a blanket statement about “viscerally anti-Marian strains” in general. Of course our opposition *to the Assumption* began mainly in 1950 because prior to that no one, not even even Roman Catholics, were bound by the force of infallibly defined dogma to believe it. Read the last few paragraphs from MD, and I’ll think you what I mean. (At least I hope.)

      You seem to think we’re “squeamish” (your word) about the the Assumption only because we can’t find it in scripture and/or because it elevates Mary to a place only Christ should have. But there’s more to it than that.

      As I see it, the Assumption isn’t so much a doctrine as it is a miraculous event. So if someone were to say, “I believe Mary was assumed body and soul into heaven,” I’d say, “Really? Why do you think this?”

      If the reply is, “Because the Church ® says so,” then I would not find that to be compelling, because I’d still be left wondering why the church says so. I’d still want to know where the evidence is for such a belief.

      And no, it doesn’t have to be in the Bible for me to believe it’s true. All kinds of things are true that have not been recorded in the Bible. The Bible itself leads us to believe that there may have been all kinds of miraculous events that did not get recorded. So if there is some good extra-biblical evidence for the Assumption, say, reliable eye-witness testimony, etc, then that would be a good reason to agree that a miracle may have in fact taken place.

      But if it is going to be required of me to believe that the Assumption took place as a matter of normative, apostolic revelation, then I’m going to need to see it in scripture, because I know of no other source of genuine apostolic teaching outside of scripture. But if you do, great! Show us where that’s to be found.

    3. But if it is going to be required of me to believe that the Assumption took place as a matter of normative, apostolic revelation, then I’m going to need to see it in scripture, because I know of no other source of genuine apostolic teaching outside of scripture. But if you do, great! Show us where that’s to be found.

      2 Thessalonians 2:15 and 1 Timothy 3:15 come to mind immediately. Seriously, just as the Bible points to miracles outside of the ones it describes (and kudos to you for recognizing this), it also points to teachings outside of the ones it mentions.

      So we can debate the identity of binding extra-Scriptural Traditions, but we can’t debate the existence of binding extra-Scriptural Traditions without denying 1 Thessalonians 2:15. And 1 Timothy 3:15 gives us a clear indicator as to where to look: the Church (R).

      I.X.,

      Joe

  12. If we love Jesus with all our hearts, of course we respect his mother, Mary. But I personally won’t care too much how she went to heaven, because there is no doubt in my mind she is there.

    But I always go back to what Saint Paul said in 1 Corinthians, chapter 2, verses 1:2…

    “1”: And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. “

    2″: For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

    I considered becoming a Roman Catholic once but it was these darn fights that kept me away. So I just stay with the simple, more peaceful stuff.

    I would bet on one thing however, neither Jesus nor Mary would appreciate the family squabbles that separate the faithful.

    1. Edwin,

      I agree with you that it would be better if the family was all unified. I long for the days when we can all be reunited in one Church again, just as we were before the Great Schism and the Protestant Reformation.

      I’m not sure that I follow where you’re going on 1 Corinthians 2:1-2, though. Are you saying that Paul’s focus on our Crucified Lord would eliminate doctrinal definition of anything else (like the Assumption of Mary, or the Resurrection, or the Trinity)?

      I.X.,

      Joe

    2. Joe, in the essence of the verse I did not comment here to rouse any debate or be part of the flashy excessive reasoning. And I am sure as a seminarian you can follow on the verses quoted. Let it be then 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

      I long for the days when we can all be reunited in one Church again. And I hope you can be instrumental as well.

      Cheers and peace to all of us! 🙂

    3. Yet, Jesus said “34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and a man’s foes will be those of his own household. (Matt 10:34-36)

      If there is unity, it is almost always because something is wrong. The Lord divides, not unifies. If there is any disobedience to the Lord’s commands, any unity is just man’s vain religion.

  13. The “assumption of Mary” is fiction, invented by wicked men to advance wicked agendas. It did not happen, the Scriptures do not have any sort of thing occurring, and, in fact, speak against such a thing (1 Cor 15:50, among other places.) The Catholic organization, and her daughters, the Protestants, have changed (admittedly so) the day of rest from Saturday to Sunday, a direct contradiction of the Lord’s explicit command (among many, many such things.)

    The Lord calls His people out of man’s religious systems. They are all, from top to bottom, an abomination to Him, and He hates them all (Amos 5:21.)

  14. The two possibilities are not at all theologically excluding. Paul told us that for humankind to be glorify is not absolutely necessary to die first, that natural law can be broken by Gods will or Gods exception but is very very uncommon, and will be most evident during the end of times.

    1 Corinthians 15:51
    But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed!

    This explain why Enoch and Elijah were ascended without dying first but Moises did as Christ did. Epiphanius of salamis writing in 377AD was very honest when affirmed about Mary “if she died or not we do not know it” Panarion, Haer. 78.10–11, 23. but the reader must note that this church father didn’t say nothing about mary´s body final destination or even doubting the assumption specially if he wants to clarify or speak again this event in a time when the bodily assumption of Mary was a very well known church tradition preserved in several early christian narratives despite its non canonical status.

  15. Well citing examples of Enoch and Elijah does undermine your argument. Jesus said, John 3:13 (NIV) No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.

    As of Enoch, the Bible says, Genesis 5:24 (NIV) Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away. It didn’t say where. I think it improper and wrong to assume.

    As of Elijah, he wrote a letter to king Jehoram after he was taken. He could not have written from heaven, could he? 2 Chronicles 21:12-15

    He was taken to the sky but not heaven where God lives. So before Christ, no one has been to heaven as he said.

  16. Twisting scriptures to support a weak theory works when people were denied access to the scriptures. That plot has failed.

    Take a look at the Revelation 12 passage;
    Was Jesus snatched up to heaven immediately he was born?
    Did Mary flee to the desert and stayed for more than a thousand years?
    When was she given wings?
    When did the serpent spew water from his mouth?
    And lastly, did John write in the Apocalypse events past or future events? cf Revelation 4:1

    As of your point number 9, does it mean his placenta, nails he cut off, with hair, even foliated skin, all called themselves and followed Jesus to heaven on ascension? This is making the assumption story look and sound more like the fables and myth Paul warned Timothy about.

    On the analogy of faith mentioned, the doctrine of Immaculate conception which serves as a foundation for the assumption story is false too. If it can’t stand, what it supports can’t stand. Because the Bible says, Roman’s 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. You’re saying no, all except Mary.

    Then you spoke of church fathers filled with the Holy Spirit, was it not the same church that killed Copernicus? Killed William Tyndale? Assuming they were obviously wrong, when did the church obtain the right to kill? In God’s name?

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