Saturday, May 16, 2009

Veneration of Mary Debate - Thoughts on Reflection - Part 7

This is the seventh section of my reflections on my recent debate on the veneration of Mary with Mr. William Albrecht. This one may discuss a few different miscellaneous points as I try to round up the last of my thoughts on the debate itself.

I. No Logical Link Between Mary's Being Blessed and Mary's Being Venerated

About 4 minutes into the debate, Mr. Albrecht makes the claim that Mary is called blessed in a different degree. Mr. Albrecht refers to the beatitudes where the followers of Jesus are called blessed. Then, Mr. Albrecht says: "But there is a great variance in degree when we compare those in the beatitudes and Mary." He doesn't really go on to support this, except to note that great things were done for Mary, and (according to Albrecht) because of these great things people are supposed to honor and venerate Mary.

First, there's no real logical connection between this being a matter of degree as opposed to simply a different kind of blessing. Second, there is no real reason to go from someone simply recognizing that God has blessed Mary to a person honoring or venerating Mary.

I didn't really go after this in the debate and perhaps I ought to have spent a few seconds explaining the fact that there is no comparison of degrees and no logical link between someone being blessed by God and someone deserving (or mandating) honor and veneration of men.

II. No Logical Link Between Loving the Brethren and Venerating Mary

Another odd argument that Mr. Albrecht used was one that basically said, that because Paul tells us to serve one another in love in the Epistle to the Galatians, that consequently we should venerate Mary. There's really no logical link there. The way in which we serve one another in love is not by engaging in any sort of religious veneration, such as offering up prayer or lighting candles and incense, but by meeting their needs. But Mary has passed into glory. She no longer has needs - or at least she certainly has no needs that we on Earth can meet. I mentioned this briefly in the debate, but perhaps I should have insisted that Mr. Albrecht justify himself more fully in this regard.

III. "Continue to be Graced"

There was an odd line that Mr. Albrecht took during his cross-examination questions, in which he asked about Mary continuing to be "graced." Mary was given a great honor, namely to be the mother of the Lord. But this was not like wearing a coat made from a shiny material called "grace" or something like that. The verb employed (as we have already discussed) relates to a past event that had (at the time the statement was being made) continuing effects. The past event was the dispensation of an enormous favor to Mary, namely the conception of our Lord in her womb. That had a continuing effect at the time the angel announced her pregnancy, namely that Jesus was in her womb. Mr. Albrecht appeared to be trying to suggest that the action of receiving favor from God was a continuing action, which it is not.

Well - that's about all for miscellaneous thoughts. Next up, I'm going to review what Mr. Albrecht has to say about the debate, as he's posted a video regarding the debate.


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