Is Mary the Queen of Heaven and Mother of Christians?

Revelation 12:1-5; 17

Diego Velázquez - Coronation of the Virgin

From Wikipedia: “Coronation of the Virgin” by Diego Velázquez, 1641-1644

A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child. And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.

So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.

Hebrews 1:8-9 quotes Psalms 45 as referring specifically to Christ. A couple verses later is the line “At Your right hand stands the queen in gold.”

So Hebrews says Psalms 45 is referring to Jesus and Psalms 45 says a queen is standing at His right hand. Interesting.

It sure sounds like the Bible considers Mary to be the Queen of Heaven and the Mother of the Church.

John Henry Newman on Interpreting Scripture

John-Henry-Cardinal-NewmanSince then there is in the Church an authority, divinely appointed and plenary, for judgment and for appeal in questions of Scripture interpretation, in matters of faith and morals, therefore, by the very force of the words, there is one such authority, and only one.

Again, it follows hence, that, when the legitimate authority has spoken, to resist its interpretation is a sin against the faith and an act of heresy.

And from this again it follows, that, till the Infallible Authority formally interprets a passage of Scripture, there is nothing heretical in advocating a contrary interpretation, provided of course there is nothing in the act intrinsically inconsistent with the faith, or the pietas fidei, nothing of contempt or rebellion, nothing temerarious, nothing offensive or scandalous, in the manner of acting or the circumstances of the case. I repeat, I am all along inquiring what Scripture, by reason of its literal text, obliges us to believe. An original view about Scripture or its parts may be as little contrary to the mind of the Church about it, as it need be an offence against its inspiration.

On the Inspiration of Scripture

What I gather from this is that it is not scandalous or weird for someone to hold a differing opinion before an official pronouncement has been made by the Church.  Once the pronouncement has been made is it heretical to hold contrary, but before then people are free to hypothesize, philosophize, ruminate, postulate, and offer disagreements with others (within reason, I’m sure).

Here is a bonus quote from Joseph T. Lienhard from his book The Bible, the Church, and Authority which is along the same lines of reasoning:

“Generally, the early Church did not define its teachings on its own initiative. Instead, it defined them by reacting. Only when someone announced, ‘I’ve got it all figured out,’ did the Church take a long look at the solution, measure it against its sense of the faith, and often enough say, ‘No, you don’t; that’s not in line with our faith.'”

—————————————-

Disclaimer – This blog post is just that: a blog post with my personal thoughts. I am not a Catholic apologist or theologian. What I say here is not official doctrine of the Catholic Church. I am still learning and am susceptible to error. Don’t take anything here as Gospel. Don’t be stupid. Do your own research and learn for yourself what the Church teaches.

Catholics: if my understanding of Catholic doctrine needs adjustment, please point out my error.

John Henry Newman thoughts on the Mosaic Law, the Catholic Church, and “legalism”

John-Henry-Cardinal-NewmanNow it is a very common charge against the Ancient and Catholic view of the Gospel, that it throws us back into a Jewish state, and subjects us to the dominion of the Law. On the other hand, from various remarks made in the course of these Lectures, it may be seen that that modern system, whose very life and breath (as I may say) consist in the maintenance of this charge, is itself not altogether free from the error which it denounces. Rather, as I would maintain, it is deeply imbued with it, having fallen, after the usual manner of self-appointed champions and reformers, into the evil which it professed to remedy. This, then, shall be our subject in this concluding Lecture, in which I shall suggest some remarks on the imputation of legalism, as it is called, wrongly urged against Catholic Truth, rightly urged against Protestant error;—not that I propose to enter upon a formal discussion of it, which would carry us far away from our main subject.

It may be objected, then, that as Judaism interposed the Mosaic Law between the soul and Christ, turning a means into an end, a resting-place into an abode, so the Christian Church, Ancient and Catholic, also obscures the sight and true worship of Him, and that, by insisting on Creeds, on Rites, and on Works;—that by its Creeds it leads to Bigotry, by its Rites to Formality, and by its doctrine concerning Works to Self-righteousness. Such is the charge.

Now here I most fully grant that those who in their thoughts substitute a Creed, or a Ritual, or external obedience, for Christ, do resemble the Jews. Nay, I do not care to deny (what, however, I leave it for others to prove), that there are, and have been, Catholic Christians open to the charge of forgetting the “One Thing needful,” in their over-anxiety about correct faith, ceremonial observances, or acts of charity and piety. But I will say this:—that, on the face of the case, such an error is a great inconsistency; and no system can be made answerable for consequences which flow from a neglect of its own provisions. When, for instance, the Church bids us be accurate in what we hold concerning the Person of Christ, she is thereby declaring that Christ is the Object of our worship; when she bids us frequent His House, she implies that He is in it; when she says, good works are acceptable, she means acceptable to Him. The Church has never laid it down that we are justified by Orthodoxy only, or by Baptism only, or by Works only; much less by some certain spiritual feelings or experiences; and less still has she decided that to believe this was the one fundamental truth of religion. And if this be turned into a charge against her, that whereas there is One only Saviour Invisible, she has made the visible instruments and means of approaching Him many, and so by their very multiplicity has hidden Him, I reply, that if this were a fair argument, it ought to tell against the Mosaic Law also, as if its divinely appointed ceremonies themselves were to blame for the blindness of the Jews; but if the Jews themselves were in fault, and not their Law, so there is no antecedent objection against Catholic Christianity, (and such objections only have I here to consider), for its insisting on Baptism and Orthodoxy and Works, and many things more, even though in individual cases it has occasioned forgetfulness of Him, by whom these conditions and channels of grace have been appointed.

John Henry Newman, Lectures on Justification #13: On Preaching the Gospel

—————————————-

Disclaimer – This blog post is just that: a blog post with my personal thoughts. I am not a Catholic apologist or theologian. What I say here is not official doctrine of the Catholic Church. I am still learning and am susceptible to error. Don’t take anything here as Gospel. Don’t be stupid. Do your own research and learn for yourself what the Church teaches.

Catholics: if my understanding of Catholic doctrine needs adjustment, please point out my error.

Jimmy Akin on the Practical Problems of Sola Scriptura

In summary, sola scriptura presupposes (1) the existence of the printing press, (2) the universal distribution of Bibles, (3) a cash-based economy, (4) universal literacy, (5) the universal possession of scholarly support materials, (6) the universal possession of adequate time for study, and (7) a universal education in a high level of critical thinking skills.

Needless to say, this group of conditions was not met in the crucial early centuries of the Church, was not met through the main course of Church history, and is not met even today. The non-existence of the printing press alone means sola scriptura was totally unthinkable for almost three-quarters of Christian history.

It is thus hard to think of sola scriptura as anything but the theory spawned by a group of Renaissance-era dilettantes-people who had an interest in being their own theologians, who had a classical education in critical thinking skills, who had plenty of leisure time for study, who had plenty of scholarly support materials, who had good reading skills, who had access to Bible-sellers, and most importantly, who had printed Bibles.

The average Christian today-even the average Christian in the developed world-does not fit that profile. Much less did the average Christian in the early centuries. What this means, since God does not ask a person to do what they are incapable of doing, is that God does not expect the average Christian of world history to use sola scriptura. He expects the average Christian to obtain and maintain his knowledge of theology in some other way.

But if God expects the average Christian to obtain and maintain the Christian faith without using sola scriptura, then sola scriptura is not God’s plan.

–Jimmy Akin, Ten Thousand Chickens for One Thousand Bibles: Some Practical Problems of Sola Scriptura

(Side note: This problem is probably why modern day Evangelicals don’t even worry so much about what the Bible teaches and would prefer to focus solely on their “personal relationship with Jesus” as a way to avoid difficult problems.)

—————————————-

Disclaimer – This blog post is just that: a blog post with my personal thoughts. I am not a Catholic apologist or theologian. What I say here is not official doctrine of the Catholic Church. I am still learning and am susceptible to error. Don’t take anything here as Gospel. Don’t be stupid. Do your own research and learn for yourself what the Church teaches.

Catholics: if my understanding of Catholic doctrine needs adjustment, please point out my error.