What is the Anglican Church's view of the perpetual virginity of Mary?

Discussion in 'Theology and Doctrine' started by Tom, May 30, 2017.

  1. Tom

    Tom New Member Anglican

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    The photo is from the Prolife March4LifeUK in Birmingham in opposition to abortion. There have been 8.7 million abortions (lives killed) in the UK since the 1967 abortion act.
     
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  2. alphaomega

    alphaomega Active Member

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    In Orthodox Christian icons of Mother Mary she usually always appears with 3 stars, one on each shoulder and one on the forehead. This separates her icon from other female icons. The 3 stars stands for her perpetual virginity: before, during and after the birth of Christ.
     
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  3. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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    I intend to participate in the coming March for life in Dublin
     
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  4. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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  5. Christina

    Christina Active Member

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    Yes, I linked to this article myself - possibly in another discussion.
     
  6. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    Oops...I'm sorry overlooked it.
     
  7. Christina

    Christina Active Member

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    No problem - good to see someone else found it and thought it interesting!
     
  8. Religious Fanatic

    Religious Fanatic Well-Known Member

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    Can anyone answer a question for me about whether there is some kind of spiritual irony or contradiction in the idea of Mary being 'married' by her son, Christ? The Douay commentary tries to claim that the Song of Solomon is symbolic of Jesus' union with his mother, the virgin Mary, something that makes me uncomfortable. Yet, there is often the idea of the church as the bride of Christ in the bible, so it seems to be an unavoidable image, likewise with the rest of Jesus' relatives who were saved. Can you people clarify how this is dealt with in Anglican theology?
     
  9. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I agree that the carnal theology of Mary married to her Son is super awkward if not outright blasphemous...

    That on the other hand makes perfect sense to me, what's the issue here? I don't believe that anyone tries to claim that Mary is the Church...
     
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  10. Religious Fanatic

    Religious Fanatic Well-Known Member

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    I guess you're right. A single person is not the church, rather, it is the collective body of believers. Gotcha. ;)
     
  11. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    The only good reason for them to care whether Mary and Joseph consummated their marriage was so that Mary could be regarded as sinless. Augustine (who was heavily influenced by the Manicheans to believe that intercourse is inherently sinful) wrote prolifically and played a large role in convincing people that Mary was ever-virgin. If Augustine and others had possessed a proper understanding that sexual intercourse in a marital setting is not evil, dirty or sinful, there would have been no need to come up with the 'ever-virgin' doctrine.

    And if people in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Centuries had not shown an ever-increasing proclivity and desire to elevate Mary far beyond the stature which the record reflects was accorded her by the earlier believers, again there would have been no reason to 'peek into Mary's bedroom' after the fact and come up with a doctrine. Mary was a sinner saved by grace who 'rejoiced in God her Savior'. Whether or not she and Joseph 'did it' should be none of our business, and it should be beside the point because we should not make a huge deal about her. The Roman church let the big deal about Mary snowball, and we see how it led them into serious error. We should want no part of that. Marian veneration distracts from the One we should be focusing on, Jesus our Redeemer and Mediator. The whole erroneous line of belief should be nipped at the root, not pruned a little off the top.
     
  12. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    The real question of the title of Mary as Theotokos (which is English is perhaps best rendered The God Bearer). Unfortunately that was translated into latin as Mater Dei (which renders in English as Mother of God). The Nestorian position diminished the understanding of the Divinity of Jesus, and so was condemned.

    The ongoing virginity of Mary has been held by a number of people through history, interestingly Luther, Zwingli, Latimer and Cranmer were all comfortable with the proposition, and it was only later that the revocation of the idea was championed perhaps in part to highlight the monstrous errors by those who followed in the way of the reformers.

    In the East, certainly from Chrysostom, the idea of perpetual virginity - based to some extent on the Mother behold your Son at the cross has held some sway and is expressed in a number of their liturgies. Ultimately I agree with you, Mary's life with Joseph is a matter for Mary and Joseph. I do however feel it is important for us to affirm Theotokos and the Chalcedonian definition of Christology, notably that Jesus was both Completely Divine and Completely Human, undivided.
     
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  13. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I agree with this. :thumbsup:
     
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  14. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    What a tragedy.
     
  15. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    The Oriental Orthodox definition also works, as it also affirms that our Lord is completely divine and completely human, without division, change or confusion; it is not Monophysite, contrary to popular belief. The actual Monophysites consisted of unpleasant chaps like Eutyches, who lied to Pope Dioscorus of Alexandria, thus causing Dioscorus to be deposed, and his followers such as the philosopher John Philoponus: their doctrine confused the divinity and humanity of our Lord by positing that His humanity “dissolved” into his Divinity, “like a drop in the ocean.” Later they descended into Tritheism before vanishing.

    The Monothelites also fall into this category, but they may have survived; some people believe the Maronites were Monothelites before they entered into communion with Rome during the Crusades, and that the Latinization of their liturgy that was to follow was largely to erase Monothelite elements.
     
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  16. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Indeed. I also find some of the mystical experiences of some Roman Catholic nuns which have a decidedly sexual subtext to be disturbing and unacceptable, and I can’t imagine why the Romans thought it was a good idea to canonize those nuns.
     
  17. Dave Kemp

    Dave Kemp Member Anglican

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    Amen!
     
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  18. Religious Fanatic

    Religious Fanatic Well-Known Member

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    If the councils (which are accepted by Anglicans) really said she was ever-virgin, why is it OK for Anglicans to consider this belief optional?
     
  19. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    That makes me wonder: is the strict acceptance of certain councils codified somewhere in official Anglican doctrine? Or is it more of a 'loose understanding' that some early church councils were 'correct in general'? Or something in between?

    Perhaps the answer to your question, RF, lies in the answers to mine. :dunno: I defer to others who know more about this.
     
  20. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    It's not really OK for Anglicans to consider this belief optional. All magisterial Reformers held to the doctrine, and certainly all of the famous Anglican Divines.

    However this particular doctrine wasn't enumerated in the Articles of Religion, and the position on Councils is not officially enumerated in the Articles or the Liturgy; rather it is found among our theologians, eg. the famous passage from Lancelot Andrewes: "One faith, two testaments, three creeds, four general councils, and the first five centuries form the boundaries of our faith." Thus if you are not a historically savvy Anglican, you will just confine yourself to the Articles and the Prayerbook as the totality of the historic Anglican doctrine, when it's much, much wider than that.

    So to answer your question, according to traditional classical Anglicanism, we affirm the perpetual Virginity of Mary; and we accept the first 4 councils as true in their totality; our divines will also typically accept most of the 5th, and parts of the 6th. The 7th council is widely considered to have erred. The Western Church of the time of the 7th council did not sign it; the Roman Catholics only signed up to it in the 1200s. The Reformation happened not much later, in the 1500s, to reverse their reversal.
     
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