||"dawnbreak in the west"|
Saturday, December 24, 2016
The problem with Mary
Happy Christmas Eve, the anniversary of Saint Mary's last day of pregnancy.
I've been looking at John Zmirak's The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism. It has an interesting standpoint on the (small-e) episcopal Church: that its Tradition is the only way we may interpret the New Testament as something worth following. Without the Church's guidance, a Christian might take Jesus as an apocalyptic prophet who preached for humanity not to marry. Mankind's extinction would allow for the inevitable Resurrection. Zmirak has no truck with that; in effect he refuses to abide by the Church of Malacandra. Of the Christian options available Zmirak supports the Latin hierarchy; should this Church turn upon humanity, Zmirak will abandon it.
I must disclose that I have had my issues with the Regnery P.I.G. imprint. But I'll rate Catholicism as one of its good 'uns. Intellectually, Zmirak is honest, never saying of the Church what the Church does not say, as we've seen certain Muslims and those on their payroll dissemble around Islam. And Zmirak's willingness to anchor his faith upon the Roman Church's ongoing alliance with mankind is brave as well. His book is worth buying just for that.
But, me being me, I have to propose one point of dogma where I disagree with this Church. For me the biggest stumbling-block for choosing Catholicism, or for staying in it, is its inordinate concern placed upon Miryam theotokos and her Immaculate Conception. (Not to be confused with the Virgin Birth; the House of David concurs entirely with that.)
First, promoting Mary too far caters too much to miaphysitism. It allows to Christ more divinity than he needs to have, for the purpose of saving the world. Monotheletism, the weakest form of miaphysitism, has been classed as heresy and this much the Latins, alongside the Church of the East, have historically resisted.
And then there's the means how the Church has got here from there. Basically the Pope sat on his cathedra in 1860 and declared Mary to be immaculately conceived, without a synod backing him up. Later in 1870 the Papacy asserted infallibility - which means the Papal right not to require a synod. Then in the 1950s Pius XII assumed this seat and pronounced the Assumption of Mary - on the Papacy's, er, assumption that Mary was in life on par with Jesus, Moses, and Elijah.
But Zmirak will care most about what the Church does to humanity. So - once more - I invoke Girard and mimeticism. Mary is the patron saint of "single moms" (cue the compassionate headtilt!). It caters to the old urban temptation of Goddess-worship, undermining lawful authority and breeding bastards. My grandfather would have added that asking for her intercession, or for any saint's intercession, promotes a bribery-culture in Catholic nations; but I'm not getting into that here.
The slur "Mary-olatry", frankly, befits the Latin Church at present. We may respect Mary for her role, and we may wish all the best for her in the afterlife. But that's about as far as is safe.
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