Dear Jerome,

No matter how much you want Marian worship to go away, you'll have to do better than engage in squabbles over translations of the Pope's statement to convince the busloads of Catholics making pilgrimages to shrines to the Black Madonna all over Europe and America, to Lourdes, and everywhere else where Mary is worshipped, whether or not you consider it theologically correct. Soon the celebration of Mary, Queen of the May will be accompanied by processions, prayers, hymns of praise to her as "Queen of the Angels" and a ceremony in which her statue is crowned with a wreath of fresh flowers. I guess the faithful haven't received your memo.


Sent from my iPod

On Mar 9, 2010, at 3:47 PM, Jerome Walsh <[log in to unmask]> wrote:


Please don't cite random websites as if they were reliable sources; I don't even accept that as "research" when my undergraduates do it.  Neither Ian Paisley nor "RemnantOfGod.Org" qualify as authentic spokespeople for the official teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.  John Paul II's opinions as a theologian and John Paul II's teachings as bishop of Rome are less easily distinguished from one another; I can see how someone untrained in theology may conflate them, though distinguishing between them is fundamental to Catholic theological thought.  In the present case, however, I cannot see how one trained in the nuances of language can overlook the fact that John Paul II did not deliver that statement in English.  The Vatican Information Services translator apparently chose "worship" as a translation of the pope's term; the translator for L'Osservatore Romano chose "devotion."  To wit:

"In the light of this entrustment to his beloved disciple, one can understand the authentic meaning of Marian devotion in the ecclesial community. In fact, it places Christians in Jesus' filial relationship to his mother, putting them in a condition to grow in intimacy with both of them."

I have not been able to locate the original text of the audience; I assume it was in Italian. 

The act of translation does not establish official church teaching.  The act of (mis?)translation doesn't either.  "Worship" of Mary in the sense in which one "worships" God is no more acceptable as Roman Catholic Church teaching than "I absolutely adore ice cream" is an act of idolatry.

The Pope's statement, by the way, was made in the course of a general audience, not in an official proclamation, and is, therefore, not an "official teaching of the Church."  If it was printed in Acta Apostolica Sedis, then it is an official document of the Pope, but it still doesn't qualify as a "teaching of the Church."  The Pope is not the Church.

I would also point out that the quotation from Ian Paisley that you appeal to is explicit in its attribution of excessive Marian devotion to "the ignorant multitude."  Unless you intend to assert an identity between the Roman Catholic Church and "the ignorant multitude" (do you?), that citation counters your argument; it does not support it. 

Jerry Walsh

From: Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Tue, March 9, 2010 2:04:41 PM
Subject: Re: Christian Belief in Eliot's Pre-conversion Poetry

Dear Jerome:
Marian "worship" is a phrase used by at least one Pope. I do understand that there are those who oppose it, but that does not mean that it has not and does not exist among the faithful. See below. I don't want to do your research for you, since I don't need convincing. If you disagree, do some web searches yourself.
β€œOn May 7 Pope John Paul II dedicated his general audience to "the Virgin Mary" and urged all Christians to accept Mary as their mother. He noted the words spoken by Jesus on the cross to Mary and to John--"Woman, behold thy son!" and "Behold thy mother!" (John 19:26,27), and he claimed that in this statement "IT IS POSSIBLE TO UNDERSTAND THE AUTHENTIC MEANING OF MARIAN WORSHIP in the ecclesial community ... which furthermore is based on the will of Christ" (Vatican Information Service, May 7, 1997).”
β€œTHE worship of the Virgin Mary throughout the Romish Church is one of those things which there is no denying, any more than that the sun is in the firmament. It is a prime element of the system; and were it to be taken out of her literature, her conversation, and her devotions, it would leave a void that would look like desolation. Throughout the whole of the Popedom, wherever the eye falls it lights on.
A most intelligent and penetrating clergyman of the Church of England, Mr. Hobart Seymour, who recently visited, and for a season sojourned at Rome concerning which he has published a valuable book, declares that "the religion of Italy ought to be called not the religion of Jesus Christ, but the religion of the Virgin." The Son of God is in a great measure lost and forgotten amid the glories which surround his Mother, among the ignorant multitude.”
Pope John Paul II has 'dedicated himself and his Pontificate to Our Lady.' He bears the letter "M" for Mary in his coat of arms. And his personal motto, which is embroidered on the side of his robes in Latin is the following: "TOTUS TUUS SUM MARIA", which in English translates to: "MARY, I'M ALL YOURS."
"By awarding the Virgin a central place in the cathedral's narrative, the archdiocese is keeping faith with a long, if fluctuating, Catholic and Orthodox tradition of devotion to Our Lady, a tradition enjoying a resurgence under Pope John Paul II. (The pope's personal motto, "Totus tuus sum, Maria," or "I am all yours, Mary," reflects his belief that the Virgin intervened to save his life from an assassin's bullet in 1981 so that he could help defeat European communism.)" Sept 1, 2002 By REED JOHNSON, Times Staff Writer

Date: Tue, 9 Mar 2010 10:57:04 -0800
From: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Christian Belief in Eliot's Pre-conversion Poetry
To: [log in to unmask]


Really, Diana, you miss the point sometimes.  Worship of Mary is worship.  Veneration of Mary is not.

"Worship," in theology, is a technical term (just as "progressive present tense" is in grammatical discourse).  No Christian communion I am aware of (including the Catholic, in which I have some theological expertise) "worships" Mary.  Some Christian communions "venerate" (another technical term) her, as your source says.  Some individual Christians no doubt venerate her in ways that are virtually indistinguishable from their worship of God, but to attribute their idiosyncratic (and theologically untenable) practice to a Church as a whole is simply wrong.

If, on the other hand, it is not your intention to use "worship" as it is used in theology, then please define the term so that we understand what you are claiming.

Jerry Walsh

From: DIana Manister <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Tue, March 9, 2010 10:43:54 AM
Subject: Re: Christian Belief in Eliot's Pre-conversion Poetry

Really Peter you are tiresome sometimes. Worship of Mary is worship.

See below.


A mother figure is a central object of worship in several religions (for example, images of the Virgin and Child call to mind Egyptian representations of Isis nursing her son Horus). The history of the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus Christ, depends on the texts of the Gospels. Embellishments to her legend seem to have taken form in the fifth century in Syria. The life of the mother of Christ was exceptional: she was born free of original sin (21.168), through the Immaculate Conception; she was taken to heaven after her death (17.190.132); and, just as Saint Thomas doubted Christ's Resurrection, so he doubted Mary's Assumption. Theologians established a parallel between Christ's Passion and the Virgin's compassion: while he suffered physically on the cross, she was crucified in spirit. The Council of Ephesus in 431 sanctioned the cult of the Virgin as Mother of God; the dissemination of images of the Virgin and Child, which came to embody church doctrine, soon followed.

Since the first century, devotion to the Virgin Mary has been a major element of the spiritual life of a vast number of Christians, primarily in Catholicism. From the Council of Ephesus in 431 to Vatican II and Pope John Paul II's encyclical Redemptoris Mater, the Virgin Mary has come to be seen not only as the Mother of God but also as the Mother of the Church, a Mediatrix who intercedes to Jesus Christ and even a proposed Co-Redemptrix.

The key role of the Virgin Mary in the beliefs of many Christians, her veneration, and the growth of Mariology have not only come about by the Marian writings of the saints or official statements but have often been driven from the ground up, from the masses of believers, and at times via reported Marian apparitions, miracles and healings.

Sent from my iPod

On Mar 9, 2010, at 3:53 AM, Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

The Catholic Church does not worship Mary, nor does it consider her as
having anything of a divine nature. One of the very early councils of the
Church, I think the one in Nicea, defined Jesus Christ as both God and
man in an inseparable union, and to affirm that, indicated that Mary gave
birth to the entire person of Jesus, both divine and human, so the calling
of her to be the Mopther of God is a singular assertion of Christ's nature.
Mary is honoured or venerated in a very special way, but to say she is
worshipped would be to assert a heresy.
As I understand it, the Anglicans do subscribe to the same doctrines
of that early council.
Your highschool religious education is singularly lacking, it would seem,
----- Original Message -----
From: [log in to unmask]" ymailto="mailto:[log in to unmask]" target="_blank" href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">Diana Manister
To: [log in to unmask]" ymailto="mailto:[log in to unmask]" target="_blank" href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask]
Sent: Monday, March 08, 2010 6:16 AM
Subject: Re: Christian Belief in Eliot's Pre-conversion Poetry

Dear David,

Worship of the Virgin Mary as nearly the fourth person of the Blessed Trinity is absent from Anglicanism. There are many other differences, such as confession made to a priest, but the Mother of God is a biggie. The Catholic church decided to incorporate Mary when efforts to ban Mary-worship failed.


Sent from my iPod

On Mar 8, 2010, at 2:45 AM, David Boyd <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

At risk of being pedantic, don't think TSE ever converted to 'catholicism'
He converted to the established Church of England, to the 'High Church / Anglo-Catholic' faction within it, but still to Protestant Anglicanism, as opposed to Roman Catholicism.
Theology isn't my interest, but believe there are fundamental cultural and theological differences here, not least Papal authority / infallibility.
Not to mention female priests !
In reality, it's all the spectrum of the very 'broad' Anglican Church - at one end, the Pope has sought to entice the Anglo-Catholics back to the Vatican fold, but at the other 'Low Church' end, this notion would be unthinkable.
And culturally, this does still matter a lot - just look at Northern Ireland and its troubles, for example.

On 7 March 2010 17:18, Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
He grew up in a religious Christian home.  That is known.  No one has said otherwise.  That is not the issue.  It is a fact that at Harvard he attended Buddhist meetings and studied Eastern philosophy, but he did not become a Buddhist.  What is there to demonstrate about his early Christian milieu that anyone denies?

>>> Chokh Raj 03/07/10 11:32 AM >>>

Dear Listers,
In the posts that follow, I intend taking up Eliot's preoccupation with Christian thought and imagery in the poetry he chose to publish before his formal conversion to Catholicism. What fascinates is the fervence, ardor and earnestness that he brings to bear upon his treatment of them. To me it is here, more than anywhere else, that one can trace the poet's essential rootedness in Christian belief.

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