The Catholic EWTN site posted an excerpted and adapted version of “Our Lady in Doctrine and Devotion,” by “Father” William G. Most which specifically deals with “The Assumption of Mary into Heaven.”
Under the subtitle of “Evidence for the Assumption” he offers to evidence but in typical Catholic dialectical “philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Colossians 2:8). Basically, evidence (either physical, historical, book, chapter and verse) is replaced with attempts at clever loopholes.
There seemed to be nothing in Scripture on it, and what things there were in the Tradition of the Fathers seemed to come not from an apostolic origin, but from some apocryphal stories that circulated chiefly beginning in the fourth century.
Beyond these well known facts, there is a further problem. One of the earliest feasts of the church is the dormition of Mary. As I explain in The history of Mary’s assumption in to heaven this refers to the wide knowledge of the fact that Mary died. This is actually considered a side issue within the context of Mary’s assumed assumption yet, it shows that no concept of assumption was connected to her death, that her death was not viewed as theologically problematic (as we shall see below) and that Catholicism’s lack of definition on whether or not she died goes again the church’s earliest knowledge of how Mary’s Earthly life ended. Also in my referenced article I note that the apocryphal fourth century texts were condemned by Pope Gelasius I.
William G. Most further notes:
Pope Pius [XII] showed the relation of the Assumption to the Immaculate Conception:
“For these two privileges are most closely related to each other. Christ has overcome sin and death by His own death; and one who is reborn in a heavenly way through baptism has, through Christ Himself, conquered sin and death. However, in accord with His general rule, God does not wish to grant the full effect of victory over death to the just until the end of time shall have come…. Yet God wished that the Blessed Virgin Mary be exempt from this general law. For she, by a completely singular privilege, conquered sin in her Immaculate Conception, and thus was not liable to that law of remaining in the corruption of the grave, nor did she have to wait for the end of time for the redemption of her body” (AAS 42. 754). [ellipses in Most’s quotation]
So Pius showed the relation of one thing that never happened to another thing that never happened.
Pius first argues that “God does not wish to grant the full effect of victory over death to the just until the end of time shall have come” but he then agues why this is not the case when it comes to Mary. We will encounter the Immaculate Conception again below.
Most continues thusly:
Pius XII next said he had asked the opinions of all the Bishops of the world on the Assumption. Their response was almost unanimous in the affirmative. The universal teaching of the authorities of the Church by itself, he tells us, gives us a proof (Cf. Lumen gentium ## 25 and 12).
In other words, it appears that divine revelation comes about as the result of a poll. The bottom line of many Catholic doctrines and dogmas is the vague claims such as that “The universal teaching of the authorities of the Church by itself, he tells us, gives us a proof.” For example, Catholic apologist Karl Keating wrote:
…where is the proof [of the Assumption] from Scripture? Strictly, there is none. It was the Catholic Church that was commissioned by Christ to teach all nations and to teach them infallibly. The mere fact that the Church teaches the doctrine of the Assumption as something definitely true is a guarantee that it is true.
Catholic apologist Robert Sungenis stated:
Some will say, “Where is the testimony of the Assumption in sacred scriptures? Where is the testimony in the ancient Fathers?” To the first question I answer, with Catholic theologian Ludwig Ott, quote, “Direct and express scriptural proofs are not to be had” unquote. But we have possible allusions the Assumption in scripture; allusions, not direct evidence…Where’s all the Patristic evidence for the Assumption of Mary? Well, I would say the same thing that Ludwig Ott says about scripture. I would say, about Patristic evidence, “Direct and express Patristic evidence is not to be had.” But what hangs in the balance here? We do have late Patristic witnesses…they come rather late on the scene…
William G. Most then notes that Pius also, “reviewed some of the outstanding statements of Tradition throughout all the centuries. This teaching is found at a very early date in the liturgical books”:
…the Pope quotes the words of St. Bernardine of Siena who “… gathered up and carefully treated everything that medieval theologians had said and discussed on this matter. He was not satisfied to repeat the chief considerations which doctors of previous times had already proposed, but added others of his own…the likeness of the Mother of God and the Divine Son…forbids the very thought that the heavenly Queen should be separated from the heavenly King—absolutely demands that Mary ‘must not be anywhere but where Christ is…'”
“…it seems practically impossible to think of her who conceived Christ, brought Him forth, gave Him milk, held Him in her hands and pressed Him to her heart as being separated from Him after this earthly life in body, even though not in soul” (AAS 42. 767-68).
Firstly, that which “it seems practically impossible to think” is purely subjective and thus certainly not a basis upon which to establish a dogma.
Bernardine decided to add considerations (read, loopholes) of his own, Pius adds his own, Most his own and those who came before Bernardine did likewise.
The concept of “the heavenly Queen” not being “separated from the heavenly King” is the loophole which “absolutely demands the assumption. Yet, even on its face it is mistaken and unnecessary since the Bible states that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8) thus, she would never have been “separated from the heavenly King.”
In case it is of interest, see Roman Catholic Maryology: Mary in Roman Catholicism, part 14 – Queen of Heaven? and On the Queen of Heaven as the spirit over Catholicism and the Rosary.
Furthermore, Most quotes:
“‘…since the Church has never sought for bodily relics of the Blessed Virgin, nor exposed them for the veneration of the faithful, we have an argument which can be considered as ‘practically a proof by sensory experience'” (AAS 42. 765-66).
So because the Catholic church has never, if this is accurate and for whatever reason, sought for bodily relics of May, then this is “practically a proof by sensory experience”: so now, lack of evidence is evidence. Apparently, since even though the body of Jimmy Hoffa has been sought, it has never been found thus, we have an argument which can be considered as practically a proof by sensory experience that he was assumed into heaven.
The following is also noted of Pius:
He then speaks of St. Francis de Sales, who “after stating that it would be wrong to doubt that Jesus Christ has kept in the most perfect way the divine commandment that children honor their parents, puts this question: ‘What son, if he could, would not bring his mother back to life, and take her, after death, into paradise?'”(AAS 42. 766).
So, apparently if you do not resurrect your mother from the dead then you do not honor your mother.
William G. Most offers another quote:
“We must remember especially that, since the second century, the Virgin Mary has been presented by the Holy Fathers as the New Eve, who, although subject to the New Adam, was most closely associated with Him in that struggle against the infernal enemy which, as foretold in the protoevangelium, was to result in that most complete victory over sin and death, which are always correlated in the writings of the Apostle of the Gentiles. Wherefore, just as the glorious resurrection of Christ was an essential part and final sign of this victory, so also that struggle which was common to the Blessed Virgin and her Son had to be closed by the ‘glorification’ of her virginal body” (AAS 42. 768).
He notes that this “thought is brilliant” (with “thought” being loophole). Note the claim that “the New Eve had been closely associated with the New Adam in the struggle against sin and death.” Yet, the original Eve had been closely associated with the original Adam in the fall into sin and death. Then, the alleged “New Eve” had no association with the New Adam in the struggle against sin and death as Jesus paid it all in full. In fact, in utter contradiction of the claim of an immaculate conception, Mary called God “my Savior” (Luke 1:47)—see Mary in Roman Catholicism, part 8 – Immaculately Conceived.
Lastly, Most adds a note about whether or not Mary died:
Pius XII carefully refrained from saying in his own words at any point that she died. Some, even a few of the Fathers, had denied that she ever died, basing this on the fact that death was the result of original sin, which she lacked. However, because as Pius XII also said, she was “always sharing His lot,” for this reason, likeness to Him, it seems much more probable that she did die.
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