Origin of the Marian Dogmas: Where Do Catholic Scholars Say The Four Dogmas of Mary Came From?

By COGwriter

Having been baptized and raised Catholic, I have long been taught about the one known as Saint Mary, mother of Jesus, or sometimes referred to as mother Mary. Currently, there are four Marion adopted dogmas according to official Catholic sources, with the adoption of another advocated by some.

Where did each of the Marian/Marion dogmas come from? When were they adopted by the Church of Rome? What do Catholic and other scholars teach about their origins? What is the fifth proposed Marian dogma?

This article will provide documented Catholic approved evidence of where each of the Marian dogmas came from.

(Bible Version Abbreviations: DRB: Douay-Rheims Bible; NJB: New Jerusalem Bible; NKJV: New King James Version; KJV: King James Version--the first two are Catholic versions of the Bible, while the last two are Protestant versions. Multiple versions are shown in this article to show the consistency of translation of certain biblical passages related to Mary.)

Dogma 1: Divine Motherhood

This dogma and its origin are a bit tricky in a couple of ways. All who actually believe the Bible realize that Mary was the mother of Jesus (John 2:1,3) and that Jesus is divine (John 1:1). The New Testament specifically refers to her as "Mary the mother of Jesus" (Acts 1:14, DRB/NJB/KJV/NKJV).

Although Elizabeth referred to Mary as "mother of my lord" (Luke 1:43, DRB/NJB/KJV/NKJV), no passage in sacred scripture actually refers to Mary as the "mother of God." In the Bible Mary is mainly referred to simply as Mary.

While Mary is honored by the Greco-Romans more than other early saints, the reality is that early writings had more positive titles for the original apostles, like the Apostle John (e.g. Polycrates' Letter; Harris Fragments; Irenaeus Fragments 2,3; Irenaeus Against Heresies, V, 18:2), than they did for Mary.

Despite claims to the contrary concerning Mary, the expression “Mother of God” is never used by early “church fathers” like Ignatius, Irenaeus, or Tertullian nor is it directly found in scripture (DRB/NJB/NJB/NKJV). 

Second century writings show that Mary was mainly simply called Mary with no additional descriptions (cf. Ignatius to Ephesians, 7,18,19; Ignatius to Trallians, 9; Fragments from the Lost Writings of Irenæus, 52; Irenaeus Against Heresies, V, 1:2-3; 25:5; 31:1). She is sometimes also called the virgin Mary (e.g. Irenaeus Against Heresies, V, 19:1; Justin's Dialogue, 100, 113, 120) (Note: the context of the use of the term virgin Mary was at the annunciation and birth, and all who believe the Bible accept that Mary was a virgin then; the expression's context did not suggest perpetual virginity).

The first time, outside of falsified documents (falsified documents are those whose claimed date and authorships' are false--and the falsity of them is normally accepted by Catholic and other theological scholars), that the term "His mother Mary" appeared seems to have been around the beginning of the third century (Tertullian. On the Flesh of Christ, 7). And it is correct to call her Mary, mother of Jesus or His mother Mary.

However, several centuries after Mary died, some decided to go a little beyond that. Here is what may be the earliest declaration (there was a pre-311 Alexandrian church that had something similar but I have not been able to locate more specific details, as well details regarding a mid-third century claim involving Dionysius of Alexander):

Pre-328 Alexander of Alexandria calls Mary Theotokos ("God-Bearer"). (McNally TJ.  What Every Catholic Should Know about Mary.  Xlibris Corporation, 2009 , p. 186).

In 430, a Catholic bishop essentially warned:

If Mary is called the Mother of God, she will be made into a goddess, and the Gentiles will be scandalized. (Chapman, John. "Nestorius and Nestorianism." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 10. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 4 Aug. 2011 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10755a.htm>)

The bishop preferred a term indicating bearer of Christ (Ott L. Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, 4th ed . TAN Books, Rockford (IL), Nihil Obstat: Jeremiah J. O’ Sullivan.  Imprimatur: + Cornelius, 7 October 1954.,  Printed 1974, TAN Books, p. 196).

Despite his objections, the term Theotokos seems to have become more widely accepted in the 5th century:

Mary's divine motherhood was proclaimed at the Council of Ephesus in  431...Mary's Divine Motherhood was not the object of an independent or exclusive dogmatic declaration. The statement is embedded in texts defining the person and natures of Jesus Christ. (The Four Marian Dogmas. Catholic News Agency, http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/resource.php?n=424 viewed 08/26/11)

Yet, even the 431 statements about Mary referred to her as Theotokos literally translates as “one who bore God,“ as opposed to “Mother of God.” (McNally, pp. 186-187).

A Catholic writer, and admitted goddess enthusiast, reported:

Many scholars believe that Mary was declared the Mother of God and allowed to be venerated because of the need of the Hellenistic world for a heavenly feminine principle. They say it was a compromise with pagans in order for Christianity to become acceptable…this is quite true…(Rozett E.  Mother Mary and the Goddess.  http://www.interfaithmary.com/pages/mary_goddess.html viewed 08/05/11)

No wonder some opposed this in the fifth century as they felt this could make a “goddess“ out of Mary.

The semi-official adoption in the fifth century of the Theotokos title, which is now called the "Mother of God" dogma in the English language, was an innovation as it is not from sacred scripture nor the earliest traditions of the Christian church.

Dogma 2: Perpetual Virginity

The Catholics of Rome and even many of the Protestant Reformers have believed in the idea of the perpetual virginity of Mary.


      Surprisingly, the Protestant reformers affirmed their belief in Mary’s perpetual virginity.  For example, Martin Luther’s (1483-1546) was true to the Catholic tradition when he wrote: “It is an article of faith that Mary is Mother of the Lord and still a virgin. . . . Christ, we believe, came forth from a womb left perfectly intact.”

      The French reformer John Calvin (1509-1564) was not as profuse in his praise of Mary as Martin Luther, but he did not deny her perpetual virginity. The term he used most commonly in referring to Mary was “Holy Virgin.”

      The Swiss reformer, Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531), wrote, on the  perpetual virginity of Mary: “I firmly believe that Mary, according to the words of the gospel as a pure Virgin brought forth for us the Son of God and in childbirth and after childbirth forever remained a pure, intact Virgin.”   Elsewhere Zwingli affirmed:  “I esteem immensely the Mother of God, the ever chaste, immaculate Virgin Mary; Christ was born of a most undefiled Virgin.” (Bacchiocchi S. “MARIOLOGY”. ENDTIME ISSUES NEWSLETTER No. 191, 2007).

But where did this come from?

Well, it did not come from the Bible. Here is some of what two Catholic-translations of scripture teach about Mary and her family:

25 And he knew her not till she brought forth her first born son: and called his name JESUS (Matthew 1:25, DRB).

55…Is not his mother the woman called Mary, and his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Jude?  56 His sisters, too, are they not all here with us? (Matthew 13:55b-56a, NJB).

3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joseph, and Jude, and Simon? Are not also his sisters here with us? (Mark 6:3a, DRB)

So, perpetual virginity for Mary is not explicitly part of sacred scripture. Since Jesus was Mary’s first born son—the implication, which is confirmed in scripture, is that she had other sons. 

While some have argued that the term for brothers in Matthew 13:55 may mean cousins, the Greek expressions for brothers (adephos) and sisters (adelphe) are what is in the Greek texts. The Greek terms in those verses do not mean cousins (Danker FW, ed. A Greek-Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, 3rd ed. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, p. 18 ). The Greek terms that better convey "cousin" are suggenh/suggenes/anepsios (Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.). And those terms are the only ones that are translated as "cousin" in the Rheims New Testament (Luke 1:36 DRB; Colossians 4:10 DRB).  Mark 6:3 also uses the Greek expression for sisters (adelphe), and does not use the one that convey more distant kin like cousins. Thus, even Catholic translators seemingly admit that Jesus had brothers and sisters, and that cousin comes from different words.  If the terms in koine Greek clearly was understood to have meant cousins, then most of those who professed Christ and lived in the first century or so after His incarnation would have realized that.  But that was not their position.

Furthermore, notice the following:

56 Among whom was Mary Magdalen, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. (Matthew 27:56, DRB)

The above clearly states that Mary was the mother of James and Joseph. And this is the Mary, mother of Jesus (Mark 6:3; John 2:1)--the Greek term for mother, meéteer, is the same as the one in John 2:1 where Mary is referred to as Jesus' mother). James and Joseph were not Jesus' half-brothers from a sometimes claimed prior marriage for Joseph, Mary's husband. This is not just my opinion. Notice what Catholic Priest and scholar Bagatti has published:

Of the relatives of the Lord mention is made in the Gospels; four are called "brothers of Jesus", namely James, Joseph (Josuah), Simon and Jude. The first two have Mary as their mother Matt. 27, 56). (Bagatti, Bellarmino. Translated by Eugene Hoade. The Church from the Circumcision. Nihil obstat: Marcus Adinolfi. Imprimi potest: Herminius Roncari. Imprimatur: +Albertus Gori, die 26 Junii 1970. Franciscan Printing Press, Jerusalem, p.52)

Hence, since the Bible does not say Mary would remain a virgin and it shows that Mary was the mother of at least two of Jesus' brothers, there is no biblical reason to accept the doctrine of Mary’s perpetual virginity (but many still do).

Basically, scripture only says that she was a virgin UNTIL Jesus was born. All real Christians believe that Mary was a virgin when Jesus was conceived inside of her by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35) and that she remained a virgin until some time after Jesus was born (Matthew 1:25; 13:55-56).

Origen of Alexandria basically stated that the ‘perpetual virginity’ teaching was based upon two false gospels:

And they spoke, wondering, (not knowing that He was the son of a virgin, or not believing it even if it was told to them, but supposing that He was the son of Joseph the carpenter,) "is not this the carpenter's son?" And depreciating the whole of what appeared to be His nearest kindred, they said, "Is not His mother called Mary? And His brethren, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us?" They thought, then, that He was the son of Joseph and Mary. But some say, basing it on a tradition in the Gospel according to Peter, as it is entitled, or “The Book of James,” that the brethren of Jesus were sons of Joseph by a former wife, whom he married before Mary. Now those who say so wish to preserve the honour of Mary in virginity to the end (Origen. Commentary on Matthew, Book X, 17).

Thus, it is generally believed that the earliest written claim as to Mary's so-called perpetual virginity comes from a false document known as the Protoevangelium of James (McNally, p. 73) which Origen called "The Book of James" (Origen was NOT referring to the epistle of James). Why is it false?

This "gospel" falsely claims to have been written by James in Jerusalem and in the first century (The Protoevangelium of James.  Translated by Alexander Walker. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 8. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1886.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0847.htm>). It states Joseph had sons before marrying Mary and was concerned about Mary and that a midwife checked, and found, intact proof of Mary's viginity shortly after Jesus was born. The claims of its authorship and date of writing are both being claims scholars realize are false (The Infancy Gospel Of James; Alternate title: The Protovangelion.  Geoff Trowbridge's Introduction. http://www.maplenet.net/~trowbridge/infjames.htm viewed 08/13/11; Kirby, Peter. "Infancy Gospel of James." Early Christian Writings. 2011. 13 Aug. 2011 http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/infancyjames.html; Reid, George. "Apocrypha." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 17 Aug. 2011 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01601a.htm>). The "Gospel of Peter" is also a false gospel. 

Thus, this perpetual virginity teaching seems to have started from false sources.

It may be of interest to understand that the idea of Mary being a perpetual virgin was denounced once it started to become popular. The Catholic Encyclopedia notes:

Antidicomarianites An Eastern sect which flourished about A.D. 200 to 400...The sect denied the formula "ever-Virgin Mary" used in the Greek and Roman Liturgies. The earliest reference to this sect appears in Tertullian, and the doctrines taught by them are expressly mentioned by Origen (Homilia in Lucam, III, 940). Certain Arians, Eudocius and Eunomius, were great supporters of the teaching. (Shipman, Andrew. "Antidicomarianites." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. Nihil Obstat. March 1, 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York. 7 Oct. 2011 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01562a.htm>.)

…the Antidicomarianites, maintained that the “brethren” of Jesus were His uterine brothers the sons of Joseph and Mary (Bechtel, Florentine. "The Brethren of the Lord." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. Nihil Obstat. 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 10 Dec. 2008 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02767a.htm> ).

That last article in The Catholic Encyclopedia also teaches that "St. Ambrose, St. Hilary, and St. Gregory of Tours" held positions similar to the Antidicomarianites. Furthermore, another article in The Catholic Encyclopedia states, "writers like Tertullian, Hevidius, and possibly Hegesippus disputed the perpetual virginity of Mary." Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma adds that the perpetual virginity of Mary was also denied in the “Early Church” by Eunomius, Jovian, Helvidus, and Bishop Bonosus of Sardica as well as Christians with practices some considered to be Jewish (Ott, p. 204).

The Greco-Roman "Saint Basil the Great" in the fourth century wrote:

“[The opinion that Mary bore several children after Christ] ... is not against the faith; for virginity was imposed on Mary as a necessity only up to the time that she served as an instrument for the Incarnation. On the other hand, her subsequent virginity was not essential to the mystery of the Incarnation.” (Homilia in sanctam Christi generationem, PG 31:1468).

(Cited in Cleenewerck L. His Broken Body: Understanding and Healing the Schism Between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches (An Orthodox Perspective). Euclid University Consortium Press, Washington (DC), 2007, p. 409).

Therefore, the idea that from the beginning all believed that Mary was a "perpetual virgin" simply is without real merit.

It, however, seemed to become formalized in the sixth and seventh centuries:

The Fifth General Council (553) gives Mary the title of honour "perpetual virgin" (Ott, p. 206).

Mary conceived "without any detriment to her virginity, which remained inviolate even after his birth" (Council of the Lateran, 649). Although never explicated in detail, the Catholic Church holds as dogma that Mary was and is Virgin before, in and after Christ's birth. (The Four Marian Dogmas. Catholic News Agency, http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/resource.php?n=424 viewed 08/26/11)

This dogma originated from a false source (a "gospel" that Saint James did not write). It was opposed after it started to become popular. Catholic saints scholars, and others opposed it. There is simply no evidence that it was taught by the apostles.

The dogma of the perpetual virginity of Mary is an innovation that is not from sacred scripture nor the true earliest traditions of the Christian church.

Dogma 3: Immaculate Conception

What is the Immaculate Conception? The dogma of the Immaculate Conception is that Mary was conceived differently from other humans and that she never sinned. It is not the teaching that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit inside the then virgin Mary.

Understand that the Bible never refers to Mary’s "Immaculate Conception"—the doctrine that she was born without sin—nor that she led a sinless life. Actually the Bible contradicts that as, other than Jesus (Hebrews 4:15), "all have sinned" (Romans 3:23), and this includes Jesus' mother Mary.

Possibly because of his “miraculous abilities,” ideas advanced by Gregory the Wonder Worker in the third century apparently had more acceptance than what the Bible taught, and many were adopted.  Notice something he wrote:

O holy virgin…She is the ever-blooming paradise of incorruptibility, wherein is planted the tree that giveth life, and that furnisheth to all the fruits of immortality…Thus the holy Virgin, while still in the flesh, maintained the incorruptible life…the holy Virgin has surpassed even the perfection of the patriarchs (Gregory Thaumaturgus. The Second Homily on the Annunciation to the Holy Virgin Mary. http://www.tertullian.org/fathers2/ANF-06/anf06-24.htm#TopOfPage viewed 11/13/12)

The Bible does not teach that Mary led an “incorruptible life.”

Consider also the following:

10 As scripture says: Not one of them is upright, not a single one, 11 not a single one is wise, not a single one seeks God. 12 All have turned away, all alike turned sour, not one of them does right, not a single one. (Romans 3:10-12, New Jerusalem Bible)

22 God's saving justice given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. 23 No distinction is made: all have sinned and lack God's glory, (Romans 3:23-24, New Jerusalem Bible)

8 If we say, 'We have no sin,' we are deceiving ourselves, and truth has no place in us; 9 if we acknowledge our sins, he is trustworthy and upright, so that he will forgive our sins and will cleanse us from all evil. 10 If we say, 'We have never sinned,' we make him a liar, and his word has no place in us. (1 John 1:8-10, New Jerusalem Bible)

The above scriptures apply to Mary.

Similarly, The Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma teaches:

The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary is not explicitly revealed in scripture…Neither the Greek nor the Latin Fathers explicitly (explicite) teach the Immaculate Conception of Mary. (Ott, pp. 201-202)

The Continuing Church of God teaches that Mary was born like everyone else and did sin (the Bible teaches that all have sinned, Romans 3:23, except Jesus, Hebrews 4;15). The Bible gives no indication that Mary's conception was somehow different than others.

So where did this dogma seem to come from?

Well before the birth of Christ, the Iranian goddess Aredvi Sura Anāhitā, known as the Persian Diana (Boyce A. A history of Zoroastrianism, Part 1. BRILL, 1982, pp. 202-203),was called “the virgin,” “the immaculate” (Fischer-Hansen T, Poulsen B.  From Artemis to Diana: the goddess of man and beast.  Museum Tusculanum Press, 2009, pp. 44-47).   Kore-Persephoneia was also the “immaculate Maiden” and “Virgin of the World” who gave birth to a son for Zeus, and she is believed to be same goddess Diana (Kingsford AB, Maitland E.  Virgin of the World of Hermes Mercurius Trismegistus. Kessinger Publishing, 1997, reprint, pp. xx-xxiii).  Hence, it appears that at least some of the idea was part of paganism associated with “Diana“ goddess worship. In the late fourth century, some associated with goddess worship transferred some of their practices to Mary.

Apparently because of pagan compromise, “a sect of Christians called Collyridians…made offerings of cakes to the Virgin Mary as a Goddess and Queen of Heaven” (Higgins G.  Anacalypsis: an attempt to draw aside the veil of the Saitic Isis : or, An inquiry into the origin of languages, nations, and religions, Volume 1.  Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green, and Longman, 1836.  Original from the Bavarian State Library.  Digitized Mar 29, 2010, p. 305)  In the fourth century, the Catholic Bishop Epiphanius condemned those Marian devotees (Epiphanius. Section VII, 23,4, p. 618).  He claimed ”this idolatrous sect” (Epiphanius. Section VII, 1,7, p. 621) glorified ”her to excess”and seemed worried that this would spread (Epiphanius. Section VII, 1,4, p. 621). Some ignored that advice and sometimes call her Queen Mary or Mary Queen of Heaven.

Because Mary was a woman, Epiphanius then reported that Mary is not allowed to have any ”liturgical function” or ”’to speak’ in church either” (Epiphanius. Section VII, 3,1-3,7, pp. 622-623).   Despite Catholics considering the Collyridians heretics, the “Queen of Heaven” title seems to have entered the Vatican itself by way of a “private revelation” in the 7th century (Henry, Hugh. "Regina Coeli (Queen of Heaven)." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 12. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 14 Aug. 2011 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12718b.htm>). Others picked it up in that and later centuries (Pius XII, Pope.  Ad Caeli Reginam Encyclical on Proclaiming the Queenship of Mary.  Promulgated October 11, 1954  http://www.newadvent.org/library/docs_pi12ac.htm viewed 08/14/11). (More on the Queen of Heaven origin can be found in the article Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions.)

Despite the fact that the goddess followers were condemned as heretics, their influence spread.

Many considered to be saints by the Greco-Roman churches did not accept the idea that Mary was immaculate:

* Origen…thought that, at the time of Christ's passion, the sword of disbelief pierced Mary's soul; that she was struck by the poniard of doubt; and that for her sins also Christ died (Origen, "In Luc. hom. xvii").

* In the same manner St. Basil writes in the fourth century: he sees in the sword, of which Simeon speaks, the doubt which pierced Mary's soul (Epistle 259).

* St. Chrysostom accuses her of ambition, and of putting herself forward unduly when she sought to speak to Jesus at Capharnaum (Matthew 12:46; Chrysostom, Homily 44 on Matthew). (Holweck, Frederick. "Immaculate Conception." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 7. Nihil Obstat. June 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.  New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 28 Jan. 2011 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07674d.htm>)

A British monk Eadmer began to promote the idea of an Immaculate Conception of Mary in the 12th century.  When he did so, “St. Bernard of Clairvaux…(about 1140), warned the faithful that this was an unfounded innovation” (Ott, p. 201).  

So was the Catholic saint Bernard wrong condemning heresy here?  Of course not!  Others, at least as late as the 17th century supported Bernard’s position on this (Obrecht, Edmond. "Crisóstomo Henríquez." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 7. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 14 Aug. 2011 http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07219c.htm).

Yet, after claiming to see an apparition in Rue du Bac, Paris in 1830, the Catholic Saint Catherine Labouré claimed Mary “was conceived without sin” (Apostoli A.  Fatima for Today.  Ignatius Press, 2010, p. 7). (More on the apparitions like this, Lourdes, Medjugorje, and Fatima, can be found in the article Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions.)

In the 19th century, there was a female apparition in France, known as the Lady of Lourdes. One of the statements she reportedly stated in 1858 was, “I am the Immaculate Conception!”

Essentially, after having a similar concept in pagan goddess worship, combined with a innovation from a monk that was opposed by a Catholic saint, later combined with apparitions, this became dogma, despite the fact that it was not from scripture or an original apostolic tradition. The Roman Catholic Church teaches:

In the Constitution Ineffabilis Deus of 8 December, 1854, Pius IX pronounced and defined that the Blessed Virgin Mary 'in the first instance of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin.' (Immaculate Conception. Index of New Advent).

The Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus     Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin. (Pope Pius IX. Ineffabilis Deus. December 8, 1854)

Interestingly, the Eastern Orthodox, like the real Church of God, reject “the dogma of the immaculate conception of the Virgin" (Clendenin D.B. ed. Eastern Orthodox Theology, 2nd ed. Baker Academic, 2003, p. 67). Hence two groups that claim to trace themselves back to the original apostles (see Apostolic Succession) do reject the later added doctrine that Mary was conceived in a manner different than the rest of humanity.

The Orthodox in their Patriarchal Encyclical of 1895 declared:

XIII. The one holy, catholic and apostolic Church of the seven Ecumenical Councils teaches that the supernatural incarnation of the only-begotten Son and Word of God, of the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary, is alone pure and immaculate; but the Papal Church scarcely forty years ago again made an innovation by laying down a novel dogma concerning the immaculate conception of the Mother of God and ever-Virgin Mary, which was unknown to the ancient Church (and strongly opposed at different times even by the more distinguished among the Papal theologians). (As cited in Cleenewerck L. His Broken Body: Understanding and Healing the Schism Between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches (An Orthodox Perspective). Euclid University Consortium Press, Washington (DC), 2007, p. 400)

So, the Orthodox Patriarchal Encyclical of 1895 and Church of God agree on that there was no immaculate conception of Mary and the idea that she was "ever-Virgin Mary" "was unknown to the ancient Church."

Hence, this dogma is clearly an innovation. There is a 'Feast of the Immaculate Conception' that Roman Catholics celebrate on December 8th--the following post has more information about it as well as more about issues with the related doctrines: Feast of the Immaculate Conception?

Devotion to the Immaculate Heart?

A related innovation is that many added is devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Yet, it should be noted that, while a cardinal, Pope Benedict XVI has claimed that the only scripturally-appropriate devotion of the immaculate heart, essentially is to imitate Mary as she imitated Christ (Ratzinger J, Cardinal. Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The Message of Fatima: Theological Commentary. http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20000626_message-fatima_en.html viewed 04/12/2011).

He did not teach the unscriptual notion that Lucia of Fatima did that "Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is the means of salvation God has bestowed to help the Church and the world through these difficult times" (Bertone, p. 56).

Catholics and non-Catholics should immediately realize that according to the Holy Bible it is only through Jesus that and no other (including Mary) any can be saved:

10 Be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God hath raised from the dead, even by him this man standeth here before you whole.   11 This is the stone which was rejected by you the builders, which is become the head of the corner. 12 Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved.  (Acts 4:10-12 DRB)

There is no “salvation in any other” (Acts 4:12).  Offering an alternative is a false gospel (cf. Galatians 1:8).  According to the Bible, those that who offer a false gospel should be “accursed” (Galatians 1:9, NKJV) or “anathema” (DRB).

“Traditional” Catholics would also do well to consider that the type of veneration of Mary that many Catholics now participate in is not only NOT found in the Holy Bible, it is also NOT found in the earliest traditions of the church. This is well known to Catholic scholars, and here is some of what The Catholic Encyclopedia admits:

Devotion to Our Blessed Lady…is not contained, at least explicitly in the earlier forms of the Apostles’ Creed…we do not meet with any clear traces of the cultus of the Blessed Virgin in the first Christian centuries (Herbert Thurston. Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XV. Published 1912. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

The reason that there are no clear traces of the “cultus” associated with Mary is because it was not an apostolic tradition nor from the Bible. Notice what Saint Jude urged Christians:

3...I was under a necessity to write unto you: to beseech you to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. (Jude 3, DRB)

Catholics and non-Catholics should immediately realize that according to the Holy Bible it is only through Jesus that and no other (including Mary) any can be saved:

10 Be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God hath raised from the dead, even by him this man standeth here before you whole. 11 This is the stone which was rejected by you the builders, which is become the head of the corner. 12 Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:10-12 DRB)

There is no “salvation in any other” (Acts 4:12). Offering an alternative is a false gospel (cf. Galatians 1:8). According to the Bible, those that who offer a false gospel should be “accursed” (Galatians 1:9, NKJV) or “anathema” (DRB). We are not to call on, or turn to, Mary, but on the Lord God Jesus:

22 But flee thou youthful desires, and pursue justice, faith, charity, and peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. (2 Timothy 2:22, DRB)

12 For there is no distinction of the Jew and the Greek: for the same is Lord over all, rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved. (Romans 10:12-13, DRB)

20 But to them first that are at Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and unto all the country of Judea, and to the Gentiles did I preach, that they should do penance, and turn to God, doing works worthy of penance. (Acts 26:20, DRB)

No verse in the Bible says to pray to, turn to, or call upon, the name of Mary. Notice also that the only two times the DRB uses the term intercession it is referring to Jesus, not Mary:

34 Who is he that shall condemn? Christ Jesus that died, yea that is risen also again; who is at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. (Romans 8:34, DRB)

25 Whereby he is able also to save for ever them that come to God by him; always living to make intercession for us. (Hebrews 7:25, DRB)

Mary is not the intercessor of the Bible, nor was she considered to be by the early Christian church. Considering that Mary provides intercession is not biblically-proper and has other negative consequences.

The apparition known as the 'Lady of Fatima' allegedly made the following claim on July 13, 1917:

...the souls of poor sinners...To save them God wants to establish throughout the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If people will do what I tell you, many souls will be saved...(Flynn, Ted & Flynn, Maureen, p. 136).

Now believers of the Bible should be shocked by the above as there is nothing in the Bible that hints that the above could possibly be true. People are saved only through Jesus (Acts 4:12). "Nor is there salvation in any other" (Acts 4:12; 16:30-31), including "the Lady of Fatima". Hence, the Fatima apparition should not be considered as sent by God as at least that part of the message contradicts scripture (even if parts of what were claimed did come to pass). Here is a link to a video sermon Why Learn About Fatima?

Notice what Bishop Kennedy of the Celtic Orthodox Church wrote:

The great deceiver of Fatima promises salvation to those who embrace devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary… We can be very certain that God did not send Mary to earth to change God's eternal plan of salvation. It is just this kind of deceit that leads to other false statements about Mary; Mediatrix of all graces etc. The devil's deceit is felt far and wide within the Church as is evidenced in the number of well meaning but deceived souls proclaiming Mary is Mediatrix of all graces. How would have such a statement sounded to the Apostles? This salvation we enjoy is from God in Christ; “The man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as ransom for all". (1 Timothy 2:1, 3-6 NAB)… We should STOP THE DEVIL in his tracks and proclaim the vision of Fatima to be a fraud, a work of the devil and an abomination to God, Mary and to the Church. (Kennedy BJ, Bishop. The Fatima Affair. HOLY TRINITY CELTIC ORTHODOX CHURCH / MONASTERY. Toledo, Ohio. http:// www.celticorthodoxchurch.com/fatima.html viewed 05/17/12)

Sadly, on October 13, 2013, Pope Francis consecrated the world this so-called immaculate heart of Mary (see Francis consecrated world to the ‘immaculate heart’ of an alleged ‘Fatima’ statue).

I have long warned that devotion to, and appearances of apparitions claiming to be, Mary are likely to be factors in the coming ecumenical religion that will not be good. It not be good for the Orthodox, the Protestants, nor the Vatican (Revelation 17:15-17).

Dogma 4: Assumption of Mary

August 15th is a holiday known as the Assumption of Mary. It is now also a Marian dogma that Mary was bodily assumed into heaven (while most early writings indicated that she died first, some teach that she did not--whether or not she was dead or alive is not currently part of the dogma).

The Catholic News Agency teaches:

4) The Assumption...This dogma has no direct basis in scripture. (The Four Marian Dogmas. Catholic News Agency, http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/resource.php?n=424 viewed 08/26/11)

One Catholic writer noted:

Many people, even Catholics, don’t believe in the assumption of Mary. (Rozett E. Mother Mary and the Goddess. http://www.interfaithmary.com/pages/mary_rosary.html, viewed 08/15/2011)

The belief in the “Assumption of Mary”–the teaching that she did perhaps did not die but went directly to heaven (or was her body was “assumed” into heaven at or after death)–is based on assumption, mysticism, and apparently compromise.

Gregory the Wonder Worker (Gregory Thaumaturgus) seemingly influenced this as he wrote:

All who worthily observe the festival of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, the mother of God, acquire as their meet recompense the fuller interest in the message, Hail, thou that art highly favoured! It is our duty, therefore, to keep this feast, seeing that it has tilled the whole world with joy and gladness. And let us keep it with psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs. Of old did Israel also keep their festival, but then it was with unleavened bread and bitter herbs, of which the prophet says: I will turn their feasts into afflictions and lamentation, and their joy into shame. But our afflictions our Lord has assured us He will turn into joy by the fruits of penitence. (Gregory Thaumaturgus. The Second Homily on the Annunciation to the Holy Virgin Mary. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/06092.htm accessed 04/15/16)

Saint Mary's tomb has been claimed to have been in both Jerusalem and Ephesus, which suggests, at least, that it was believed that she died and was buried.

The Catholic Encyclopedia admits:

Regarding the day, year, and manner of Our Lady’s death, nothing certain is known…The dates assigned for it vary between three and fifteen years after Christ’s Ascension. Two cities claim to be the place of her departure: Jerusalem and Ephesus. Common consent favours Jerusalem, where her tomb is shown; but some argue in favour of Ephesus. The first six centuries did not know of the tomb of Mary at Jerusalem. The belief in the corporeal assumption of Mary is founded on the apocryphal treatise De Obitu S. Dominae, bearing the name of St. John, which belongs however to the fourth or fifth century. It is also found in the book De Transitu Virginis, falsely ascribed to St. Melito of Sardis, and in a spurious letter attributed to St. Denis the Areopagite.(Holweck, Frederick. “The Feast of the Assumption.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 26 Aug. 201114 Aug. 2010 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02006b.htm>)

So, according to The Catholic Encyclopedia the basis for the “belief in the corporeal assumption of Mary is founded on the apocryphal” texts which were claimed to be written by people (like the Apostle John and Melito of Sardis) who did not write them. This makes no sense as a source for any dogma people would hold to be true. Also, if the body of Mary was “assumed” into heaven 3-15 years after Christ’s ascension in the Book of Acts, then why is it not mentioned in sacred scripture?  All the books of the New Testament were written at least 5 years after Jesus’ ascension and the last book (Revelation) was apparently written over 60 years later–hence if this is a doctrine that God wanted His people to accept, why is it not specifically mentioned in the Bible? The Catholic writer Epiphanius, in the late fourth century, wrote:

Perhaps this [Rev. 12:13-14] can be applied to her; I cannot decide for certain, and I am not saying that she remained immortal. But neither am I saying that she died. (Panarion of Epiphanius, 78.11.4. As cited in Shoemaker S. The Ancient Traditions of the Virgin Mary’s Dormition and Assumption. Oxford University Press, 2006, p. 12)

Notice what a Catholic translation of the scripture Epiphanius referred to actually states:

13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman, who brought forth the man child: 14 And there were given to the woman two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the desert unto her place, where she is nourished for a time and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. (Revelation 12:13-14, DRB).

Notice that “the woman” goes to “the desert” and “here she is nourished for a time and times, and half a time”. Heaven is NOT a desert. Also understand that Catholic scholars tend to correctly believe that the expression “a time and times, and half a time” refers to 3 1/2 years in this passage (and even if that was in error, this is a finite period of time, not nearly two thousand years). Thus, it makes no sense that Revelation 12:13-14 could possibly apply to Mary. Epiphanius should have been able to decide for certain that it did not, around 400 years after she was born. It should be clear that the idea of Mary’s “assumption” was not a dogmatic belief centuries after she would likely have been expected to have died.

Of course, the Bible was clear in the mid-late 1st century that only Jesus had immortality:

13 I charge thee before God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who gave testimony under Pontius Pilate, a good confession, 14 That thou keep the commandment without spot, blameless, unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 Which in his times he shall shew who is the Blessed and only Mighty, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; 16 Who only hath immortality, and inhabiteth light inaccessible, whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and empire everlasting. Amen. (1 Timothy 6:13-16, DRB)

The above was written in approximately 63 A.D. (Ryrie Study Bible, p. 1847). That is more than 3-15 years after Jesus's ascension, and if Mary had obtained immortality by then, Saint Paul should have mentioned that, but he did not.

Now I have often used the Catholic-approved Douay-Rheims translation in this article to show that these ideas have support even within Catholic-approved writings. If Mary was immortal then, then the Apostle Paul would not have been inspired to write that.

Concerning Mary, the Catholic saint Augustine wrote of “her death” (Augustine. Tractates on the Gospel of John (Augustine) > Tractate 8, Chapter 9. Translated by John Gibb. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 7. Edited by Philip Schaff. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1888.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1701008.htm>). Thus, the idea of Mary dying was an old concept.

So where did the idea of Mary’s assumption come from? Basically, from apocryphal literature in the fourth century (or possibly as early as the late third century)–but mainly even later than that. Although Epiphanius tried to investigate it, he was uncertain as to when it really first developed.

Interestingly, the ancient Romans had a 1-3 day festival for the goddess Diana. On the first day she allegedly came to earth and on the third day, August 15, they apparently celebrated her assumption into heaven as the queen of heaven. This is the same day of the Catholic feast of the assumption of Mary. Some do not consider this to be coincidental. (Green CMC. Roman religion and the cult of Diana at Aricia, Volume 0, Issues 521-85150. Cambridge University Press, 2007, p. 62; Frazer JG.  The Magic Art and the Evolution of Kings V1, Volume 1. Kessinger Publishing, 2006, pp. 14-17).  Notice also the following:

Lena Gorve's name has symbolic significance, identifying her with Diana of Nemi, Diana of the Woods whose sacred groce stood on the lake of Nemi. The fact that the festival of Diana of Nemi gave place to the festival of the Assumption of the Virgin on August 15 offers an obvious basis in the combination of Lena of pagan qualities and of attributes associated with the Virgin Mary. (Kerr E. William Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha: "a Kind of Keystone in the Universe." Fordham Univ Press, 1985, p. 61)

The Assumption of the Virgin is set for the 15th of August. This day is marked in the Roman calendar of Columella as that of the death or disappearance of Virgo. (Hillard K. The Black Madonna of Loreto. Atlantic Monthly, September 1889, p. 412)

Diana was known as the “revered virgin” (Fischer-Hansen T, Poulsen B.  From Artemis to Diana: the goddess of man and beast.  Museum Tusculanum Press, 2009, p. 56) and “the Lady Artemis” (Davidson HE.  Roles of the northern goddess.  Psychology Press, 1998, p. 18); also as ”the virgin” (Morford MPO, Lenardon RJ.  Classical mythology, 6th edition.  Oxford University Press US, 1999, p. 141).

There is a suspected connection between Diana and various other goddesses and how many view Mary (Fischer-Hansen, p. 49). Yet, the Catholic saint Augustine specifically referred to Diana as one of several “false and lying deities” (Augustine.  The Harmony of the Gospels, Book I, Chapter 25.  Translated by S.D.F. Salmond. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 6. Edited by Philip Schaff. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1888.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1602125.htm>).  Hence, it would seem wise that Catholics consider the wisdom in observing the date of her claimed assumption into heaven.

Mary’s “assumption” apparently became more of an issue after the death of Mohammed. Wikipedia notes:

John of Damascus, from this period, is the first church authority to advocate the doctrine under his own name; he had been brought up in an environment in which a corporeal ascent of Muhammed into heaven was official policy, since he, and his father before him, held the post of imperial chancellor of the Islamic empire of the Umayyads, and Muhammed’s ascent into heaven is the subject of the Night Journey, a Surah in the Quran. His contemporaries, Gregory of Tours and Modestus of Jerusalem, helped promote the concept to the wider church.

So, it may be that the assumption became a Catholic-equivalent of not only the pagan Diana, but the Muslim Muhammed. Furthermore, perhaps I should mention that Muslims teach that Muhammed's daughter Fatima also was assumed into heaven. Some have considered that how certain Muslims venerate Fatima is very similar to how some Catholics venerate Mary.

Of course, since Mary is mentioned in the Quran, there is some Islamic veneration of her as well.

A Catholic writer posted:

The occasion and the site are sacred to Muslims and Christians alike. Every Sunday at least some Muslims come here before ‘Hazreti Meryem Ana’, Her Majesty Mother Mary and attend mass.

(Rozett E. Mother Mary and the Goddess. http://www.interfaithmary.com/pages/mary_Islam.html, viewed 08/15/2011)

Apparently because the Muslims claimed that Muhammed (and Fatima), and Greco-Romans that the goddess Diana, went to directly to heaven, certain Catholics began to promote the idea about Mary in a widespread manner.

However, it should be pointed out that even the place of the “assumption” changed. Wikipedia reports:

In some versions of the story the event is said to have taken place in Ephesus, in the House of the Virgin Mary, although this is a much more recent and localized tradition. The earliest traditions all locate the end of Mary’s life in Jerusalem…

So, the earliest accounts claimed Jerusalem, but that was later changed to Ephesus by some. If Mary died 3-15 years after Jesus, then she likely did not die in the area near Ephesus. Another article in The Catholic Encyclopedia mentions:

As to tradition, there is some testimony for Mary’s temporary residence in or near Ephesus, but the evidence for her permanent home in Jerusalem is much stronger… In Panaghia Kapoli, on a hill about nine or ten miles distant from Ephesus, was discovered a house, or rather its remains, in which Mary is supposed to have lived. The house was found, as it had been sought, according to the indications given by Catherine Emmerich in her life of the Blessed Virgin… In 451 Juvenal, Bishop of Jerusalem, testified to the presence of Mary’s tomb in Jerusalem…Another witness for the existence of a tradition placing the tomb of Mary in Gethsemani is the basilica erected above the sacred spot, about the end of the fourth or the beginning of the fifth century… It has been seen that we have no absolute certainty as to the place in which Mary lived after the day of Pentecost. Though it is more probable that she remained uninterruptedly in or near Jerusalem, she may have resided for a while in the vicinity of Ephesus, and this may have given rise to the tradition of her Ephesian death and burial. There is still less historical information concerning the particular incidents of her life. (Maas, Anthony. “The Blessed Virgin Mary.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 15. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 26 Aug. 201114 Aug. 2010 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15464b.htm>)

Of course, the presence of a tomb suggests that one was buried within it, not assumed directly to heaven. Others have claimed her body left the tomb:

In the eighth century, St. John Damascene was known for giving sermons at the holy places in Jerusalem. At the Tomb of Mary, he expressed the belief of the Church on the meaning of the feast: “Although the body was duly buried, it did not remain in the state of death, neither was it dissolved by decay. . . . You were transferred to your heavenly home, O Lady, Queen and Mother of God in truth.” (Stevens C, Priest. Assumption of Mary. Catholic Heritage, July-August 1996. http://www.ewtn.com/library/answers/aofmary.htm)

S. Shoemaker also claims that the earliest accounts of the assumption state it occurred in Jerusalem, but later Ephesus:

Nevertheless, the earliest evidence of any such belief appears only in the ninth century, in a Syriac manuscript, copied in 874 which reports that Mary accompanied John to Ephesus, where she died and was buried. (Shoemaker S. The Ancient Traditions of the Virgin Mary’s Dormition and Assumption. Oxford University Press, 2006, p. 75)

The idea that Mary’s house was specifically in Ephesus allegedly began to gain acceptance because of visions that the mystic nun Anne Catherine Emmerich claimed to have had in the early 19th century. Because of her visions,one or more priests went to Ephesus and found a house apparently matching her descriptions (Shoemaker, p. 76). Some in the local area confirmed the location as Mary’s last house. And while some may claim that is proof it was Mary’s home, I should also add that Anne Catherine Emmerich claimed to have seen Limbo in her visions, yet the current Pontiff (Benedict XVI) has indicated that there is no such place as Limbo (What is Limbo? Is There Such a Place as Limbo? What Happens to Babies When They Die?). Despite this, on October 3, 2004 Anne Catherine Emmerich was beatified by Pope John Paul II.

But irrespective of what location may have been “Mary’s house”, the historical accuracy of the “assumption of Mary,” is at best an assumption that seems to contradict scripture. Although some have claimed that the apostles originally reported “the assumption” there do not appear to be any pre-fourth century documents that state this (and even the “apostolic claim” was from testimony in the mid-fifth century by Juvenal, see The Catholic Encyclopedia Assumption of Mary).

The assumption position mainly seems to be have been accepted because people want to believe it as opposed to basing it upon reliable historical documentation:

In view of the striking absence of early historical evidence, the Vatican proceeded to establish the Assumption dogma primarily on a dogmatic rather than a historical basis. It was determined that despite the complete lack of any historical evidence for early belief in the Virgin’s Assumption, the dogma should still be proclaimed…(Shoemaker S. The Ancient Traditions of the Virgin Mary’s Dormition and Assumption. Oxford University Press, 2006, p. 15)

Wikipedia also noted:

Protestant theologians…cite the fact that the idea did not gain acceptance in the church until the sixth century, after Gregory of Tours accepted the apocryphal work “Transitus Beatae Mariae”…Catholic theologian Ludwig Ott stated, “The idea of the bodily assumption of Mary is first expressed in certain transitus-narratives of the fifth and sixth centuries…. The first Church author to speak of the bodily assumption of Mary, in association with an apocryphal transitus B.M.V., is St. Gregory of Tours.”…The Catholic writer Eamon Duffy goes further, conceding that “there is, clearly, no historical evidence whatever for it.”…

In Ludwig Ott’s Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma he states that “the fact of her death is almost generally accepted by the Fathers and Theologians, and is expressly affirmed in the Liturgy of the Church”, to which he adduces a number of helpful citations, and concludes that “for Mary, death, in consequence of her freedom from original sin and from personal sin, was not a consequence of punishment of sin. However, it seems fitting that Mary’s body, which was by nature mortal, should be, in conformity with that of her Divine Son, subject to the general law of death”…The point of her bodily death has not been infallibly defined, and many believe that she did not die at all, but was assumed directly into Heaven. The dogmatic definition within the Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus which, according to Roman Catholic dogma, infallibly proclaims the doctrine of the Assumption leaves open the question whether, in connection with her departure, Mary underwent bodily death; that is, it does not dogmatically define the point one way or the other, as shown by the words “having completed the course of her earthly life”…Many Catholics also believe that Mary first died before being assumed, but they add that she was miraculously resurrected before being assumed…This doctrine was dogmatically and infallibly defined by Pope Pius XII on November 1, 1950, in his Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus.

The holiday, then, is an assumption based upon mystic literature like the Transitus Mariae, essentially combined with a dogmatic declaration in 1950.

Now, the Transitus Mary was allegedly an account from an apparition claiming to be Mary. Yet, Catholics need to realize that in the early 6th century, a papal decree, Decretum Gelasianum, classified the Transitus Mariae writings as apocryphal (The Transitus Mariae Non-canonical Account of Mary’s passing. http://www.bibleprobe.com/transitusmariae.htm). Anyway, the Transitus Mariae claims that John was in Ephesus and the Holy Spirit transported him to Mary in Bethlehem (Smith Lewis A. Apocrypha syriaca: the Protevangelium Jacobi and Transitus Mariae, with texts from the Septuagint, the Corân, the Peshiṭta, and from a Syriac hymm in a Syro-Arabic palimpsest of the fifth and other centuries. C.J. Clay and sons, 1902, p. 25) and that Mary was taken in to heaven from her house in Bethlehem (p. 33) and that was within the jurisdiction of the governor of Jerusalem (p. 36).

Even noted Catholic scholars had written against the "assumption" dogma:

As it was, the 1950 dogma proclamation had been made despite protests from the Protestant and Orthodox churches and from many Catholics, who simply could not find any evidence in the Bible for this “truth of faith revealed by God.”

I remember German theology students, who were our guests in the Collegium Germanicum (German College) in Rome, discussing the problems they had with the dogma in the refectory at the time. Only a few weeks previously, an article by the then leading German patrologist, Professor Berthold Althaner, a highly regarded Catholic specialist in the theology of the Church Fathers, had been published in which Althaner, listing many examples, had shown that this dogma had did not even have a historical basis in the first centuries of the early church. It goes back to a legend in an apocryphal writing from the fifth century that is brimful of miracles. (Kung H. Infallibility — Hans Küng appeals to Pope Francis. National Catholic Reporter, March 9, 2016. http://ncronline.org/news/theology/infallibility-hans-k-ng-appeals-pope-francis accessed 03/12/16)

Now, having been to Ephesus a couple of times, I would like mention the Islamic Turks in that area actually do celebrate the “assumption of Mary” as well. Not because it is mentioned in the Quran (it does not seem to be), but because Mary is mentioned in the Quran more times than Jesus.  Certain Muslims venerate Mary to a degree.

Perhaps I should add that August 15th is considered by certain Catholics to be Mary’s “heavenly birthday”. However, perhaps it should be pointed out that early Christians did not observe birthdays (Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays?), hence the “birthday into heaven” position also was not a position of early Christians.

Notice what the Catholic news agency Zenit reported on the dogma:

Why a…dogmatic pronouncement on the Assumption? Because the Vicar of Christ…was inspired to do so to bring forth a new outpouring of grace for the Church through the intercession of the Queen of Heaven — the Mediatrix of all graces who was newly honored by a solemn papal proclamation of her parting earthly prerogative…

One objection voiced during the months preceding the 1950 definition by a group of theologians was that the new Marian definition would wreak havoc to ecumenical efforts newly initiated with other Christians. The late Cardinal Edouard Gagnon who lived through the years preceding and proceeding the Assumption definition, repeatedly testified to the opposite — that immediately following the papal proclamation of Our Lady’s Assumption, the Church experienced its greatest ever advancement in ecumenism in Church history up to its time, which consequently led to its historic flourishing at the Second Vatican Council.

Mothers unite. They do not divide. (Our Lady and Dogmas: Pondering the Assumption. ZE10081612 – 2010-08-16. Permalink: http://www.zenit.org/article-30069?l=english)

So, the dogma is for the eventual ecumenical plans of the Church of Rome. But it was not an original dogma (it was adopted in 1950), it is in conflict with sacred scripture, and it was not an original apostolic tradition.

Proposed Dogma 5: Co-Redemptrix

Some have wanted the Church of Rome to adopt a fifth Marian dogma to give Mary the title of co-redemptrix. One of the strongest advocates was Lucia of Fatima.

The Bible tells of only one redeemer, and the Redeemer is male:

25 For I know that my Redeemer liveth...(Job 19:25a, DRB)

34 Their redeemer is strong, the Lord of hosts is his name (Jeremiah 50:34a, DRB)

16...I am the Lord thy Saviour, and thy Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob. (Isaiah 60:16b, DRB)

Furthermore, on this co-redemptrix title for Mary, Cardinal Bertone wrote:

One of the main ideas of Sister Lucia’s book (which, I should add, she presents in a very somber fashion) is that the Church ought to acknowledge Mary as the “Co-redemptrix” of humanity…Both the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith and the Pontifical International Marian Academy had already raised some critical points about the idea of “co-redemption.” (Bertone T Cardinal, with De Carli, Guiseppe.  The Last Secret of Fatima.  Doubleday, 2008, p. 35)

Of course, if this were to be adopted in the 21st century, it too would clearly be an innovation that was not part of the Bible nor the original apostolic traditions. Some have proposed "co-mediatrix."

The Bible teaches:

5 For there is one God, and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus: 6 Who gave himself a redemption for all, a testimony in due times.(1 Timothy 2:5-6, DRB)

The biblical fact that there is ONE mediator, who is Jesus, means that there is not another, like Mary. This historically has been the teaching in the true Church of God (and this was also confirmed, for example, in 1705 via William Gibson, September 8, 1705; Cited in Dugger AN, Dodd CO, pp. 275-277).

The Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma states in its section about Mary being the Mediatrix, “Express scriptural proofs are lacking” (Ott, p. 214).

Thus, Catholics who do not wish to deviate from what the Bible teaches would do well not to promote non-biblical titles and attributes to Mary.  Furthermore, the Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma teaches:

The mystical interpretation…became prominent in the West in the late Middle Ages...Express testimonies, though few in number, to Mary’s position as mediatrix of grace are found since the eighth century. (Ott, p. 214)

Notice that calling Mary the mediatrix of grace was not from the Bible, was espoused by few, and that no one really started promoting it until the 8th century.  Surely this shows that it WAS NOT a belief of the early church.  The fact that Lúcia de Fatima wanted it promoted surely shows that she was not keeping with the teachings of the Bible nor the practices of the early church. (More on the apparitions can be found in the article Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions.)

While the Bible states that all should considered that Mary is blessed, nowhere in the Bible, nor the writings of those considered to be early (prior to the third century) "Church Fathers" do we see veneration for Mary.

The idea of a female 'mediatriz' is not new and appears to be of pagan origins:

Semiramis, as the female divinity, was called Baalti. This word translated into English means "MY LADY". In Latin it would be translated "MEA DONNA". This name became the name "MADONNA" which is the name by which Mary is often called. "MEDIATRIX", is another name for Mary, she received that title from "Mylitta" (Mediatrix), which was one of the names of the Mother Goddess of Babylon. (Wheeler C. Behold a White Horse. Xulon Press, 2009, p. 294)

Mullissu is a goddess who is the wife of the Assyrian god Ashur. Mullissu may be identical with the Mesopotamian goddess Ninlil...Mullissu, who was identified with Ishtar of Nineveh in Neo-Assyrian Empire times, is usually identified with Ishtar. Also proposed to be Mullissu is a goddess whom Herodotus called Mylitta and identified with Aphrodite. The name Mylitta may derive from Mulliltu or Mulitta, names related to Mullissu. (Wikipedia, viewed 12/19/13)

But she, as the mother of grace and mercy, as the celestial "Dove," as "the hope of the whole world," (BRYANT) was averse to blood, and was represented in a benign and gentle character. Accordingly, in Babylon she bore the name of Mylitta--that is, "The Mediatrix." (Hislop A. Two Babylons. 1858. Loizeaux Brothers, 2nd American edition 1959, p. 157)

The concept of a female mediatrix did not come from the Bible, Jesus, nor the original apostles.

Concluding Comments on the 'Dogmas of Saint Mary'

Marian dogmas (other than the virgin birth) and Marian devotion were absolutely not part of the original apostolic faith that the saints were given. The true Christian faith was not to be changed by heresies often called innovations.

None of the four dogmas for the one known as Saint Mary, mother of Jesus, were original. As far as can be reasonably determined, all originally came from falsified documents, seers of apparitions who reported error, and/or pagan practices. The fifth proposed one has similar problems and origins. None came from the Bible nor were the part of the earliest traditions of the church.

Nor, perhaps it should be added, are statues of Mary--they were not part of the original apostolic traditions (What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons?). (More on Mary statues can be found in the article Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions).

Basically, Catholic and secular history shows that there was opposition to certain titles and practices various heretics introduced about Mary. The opposers were often Catholic bishops, Catholic saints, Catholic scholars, as well as Christians with and/or who supported, original apostolic practices. Despite the opposition, many of those heretical titles and practices later became adopted as traditions, despite the fact that they were innovations, as not early apostolic traditions.

Of the early saints, Mary ended up with more titles than any by the Greco-Romans. Yet, there is nothing in scripture nor in the earliest (non-falsified) writings that suggested that early Christians honored her more than saints, like for example, the Apostle John.

For more information, consider checking out Fatima Shock! What the Vatican Does Not Want You to Know About Fatima, Dogmas of Mary, and Future Apparitions. Whether or not you believe anything happened at Fatima, if you live long enough, you will be affected by its ramifications (cf. Isaiah 47; Revelation 17). Fatima Shock! is a highly documented book by Bob Thiel for those interested in the real truth about Fatima, Marian doctrines, and how apparitions may affect the future.

Thiel Bob, Ph.D. Origin of the Marian Dogmas: Where Do Catholic Scholars Say The Four Dogmas of Mary Came From? www.cogwriter.com/saint-mary-dogmas.htm (c) 2011/2012/2013/2014/2014/2016/2017 0804

Back to early Christianity page                                                                                                                                   Back to home page