Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Jesuit Historian Fitzmyer on the Perpetual Virginity

... one’s understanding of the doctrine of the continuous or perpetual virginity of Mary. Such church teaching was formulated by early Christians in the post-Apostolic era, making use of an interpretation of some passages in the New Testament that passed over others that were problematic, such as Jn. 1:45; 6:42; Lk. 4:22 (quoted above). The result was that that teaching was not universally accepted at first. Even though that teaching is thought sometimes to be implied in the second-century writing, Protevangelium Jacobi, it eventually became crystallized in the longstanding belief about Mary as aeiparthenos or semper virgo, “ever virgin,” in creeds from the fourth century on.

- Joseph Fitzmyer, S.J., America Magazine, "Whose Name is This?" (November 18, 2002)

What is particularly interesting about the above is how candid Fitzmyer is that this doctrine is post-Apostolic.  Many apologists of Rome's communion like to try to claim that Rome's doctrines are apostolic in origin and part of an unwritten tradition.  Fitzmyer's acknowledgment is the result, one supposes, of his view that there is no need for the doctrine to be Apostolic.  Thus, the quotation highlights a tension that exists between Rome's historians and her apologists.



Natamllc said...


a question:

What doctrines do the Roman Catholics identify as demonic doctrines? And when did they start teaching as much?

"1Ti 4:1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, ...".

I find it very revealing that it took Satan four centuries of work to bend the Truth about Mary especially in light of those verses cited about Jesus, the Son of Joseph.

We know Paul was confronted by Jesus and was given a mandate to make plain the power of Satan and the power of God:

Act 26:18 to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'

We know God gave Paul a perspicacious mind as He did the others, those used to finish the Canon of Scripture so we have a correct frame of reference to identify all doctrines of demons, even to this very age.

daniel hamilton said...

Note: Joseph A. Fitzmyer, S.J., is professor emeritus of biblical studies at The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.

Yes, but if he doesn't have the stamps, then how can that be considered not to differ from offical teaching?

But then again, we are told that the stamps are basically meaningless these days, esp by those who cannot get one or when Rome stamps something that is contrary to Traditional RC teaching.

Like the notes in the official RC Bible for America:

At least that is what an RC said in a debate on purgatory. It was also said that using "RC" was an insult.

Now where and how did John the Baptist get his authority?