On the other hand, sometimes (much more rarely) the RCC adds some new requirement to the list of things that must be believed. For example, about four years before the Lourdes event, the RCC defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception - requiring people to believe the unbiblical (and frankly Pelagian) doctrine of the Immaculate conception.(source)
In the comment box, John Martin (Roman Catholic) responded:
“and frankly Pelagian” are you for real? The Immaculate Conception is the very opposite of Pelagianism. It indicates Mary was saved completely by God through His grace from conception. This is the Gospel of salvation by grace and not by Pelagian works. You ought to be ashamed of yourself for making such a wild claim.There are at least two reasons to view the Immaculate Conception as Pelagian:
1) It denies the universality of Original Sin.
While Pelagianism would deny that anyone has Original Sin, the dogma of the Immaculate Conception asserts that Mary did not have Original Sin. Thus, it is Pelagianism as applied to Mary, though obviously my comment above should not be taken as suggesting that Roman Catholicism has the full breadth of Pelagianism. Indeed, Roman Catholicism (in Trent) sought to condemn full Pelagianism on the issue of original sin, even while making an explicit exception for Mary:
This same holy Synod doth nevertheless declare, that it is not its intention to include in this decree, where original sin is treated of, the blessed and immaculate Virgin Mary, the mother of God; but that the constitutions of Pope Sixtus IV., of happy memory, are to be observed, under the pains contained in the said constitutions, which it renews.(Interpretive Note for Session 5 on Original Sin)
Trent was wrong to make Mary an exception. It was a Pelagian error to do so, even if making that exception does not mean embracing all of Pelagianism.
Saying that Mary was "saved completely by God through His grace" is not a way of differentiating the Roman position on Mary from the Pelagian view on Mary. When God's gift of a pure nature to Mary is called "grace" and "salvation" - the Pelagian believed the same thing about Mary and people in general. In any event, the need to make an exception for Mary in Trent's Fifth Session should be an adequate answer to sophistical attempts to make Mary's condition consistent with orthodoxy. In other words, the fact that the Tridentine bishops felt the need to say that the doctrines of original sin they had just taught shouldn't be applied to Mary shows that they were not teaching the same thing about Mary that they were teaching against the Pelagian error.
2) As a minor, almost trivial point, the Pelagians are the first group we can document in church history who claim that Mary was born without original sin. Obviously, that doesn't make the doctrine in itself "Pelagian" in the normal sense, but it may make it "Pelagian" in a very loose sense.
So, I'm not sure what else to tell John Martin. His comment was long on shaming and assertion, but rather short on documentation and analysis. That may simply be a byproduct of the fact that he left his comment in the comment box, but perhaps this post will help him to think more deeply about the subject.