Sunday, December 7, 2008

Our Lady's Immaculate Conception

Today is the third anniversary of Father Tony Iball's ordination to the priesthood; it was fitting, then, that he should have been the celebrant at Mass this morning.

Full marks to Father Hunwicke for good-naturedly speaking for all Anglican Catholics who celebrate the Feast. (Actually, his Blog is really worth keeping an eye on.) He says:

"It is possible for right-thinking people to feel a trifle awkward about the fact that the Byzantine Tradition and the Latin look just a weeny bit out of kilter on the question of our Lady's Immaculate Conception. Prescinding from detail, I find a lot of comfort in comparing the underlying logic of the Immaculate Conception with that of our Lady's Presentation in the Temple (Nov 21). In each case, our Lady is situated in a prelapsarian context.

"For us Latin Catholics, she is the new Eve and as immaculate as the first Eve was before her Fall. For S Gregory Palamas, Mary, while in the Temple, was fed there with 'mystic food by the care of the angels, food which Adam had not tasted: because, if he had, he would not have fallen from life'. He goes on to argue that 'this immaculate woman' did not logically need to die; although briefly she did so before her Assumption. West and East unite in seeing our Lady as the Paradisal Mother of the New Adam.

"Those, of course, who deny the Immaculate Conception fall under the anathema attached to Blessed Pius IX's definition of 1854. Those who deny the Presentation fall under the anathemas of the fourteenth century 'Palamite' Councils, damning those who say that 'the Immaculate One, the Theometer . . . did not enter into the Holy of Holies'. Moi, I don't incur either anathema."


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