Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Dutch Protestants: EU car number plates symbolise 'adoration of Mary'

Who in their right mind could possibly be persuaded that a flag might have any kind of religious origin or religio-political provenance, especially when it is that of the anally-secular and thoroughly Godless European Union? What absurd, outrageous, appalling and delusional nonsense.

But Ecumenical News International writes of a Protestant group in the Netherlands who are objecting to the EU’s 12 stars being placed on car registration plates, asserting that ‘the symbol conflicts with their religious convictions’.

Of course, one might expect an ecumenical news agency to be a little intolerant of an organisation called ‘The National Foundation for the Preservation of the Political Reformed Principles’. In fact, Cranmer would be a little intolerant of having to declare himself a member of such an absurdly-named organisation. The foundation is a group of members of the Political Reformed Party (SGP), who judge the SGP to be ‘insufficiently Calvinist’.

A bit like the People’s Front of Judaea.

But this objection – on religious grounds – is not actually without merit in the context of the European Convention on Human Rights.

All challenges to this symbol in the UK have hitherto focused on the political symbolism, particularly when it appeared to be mandatory in the UK to display the EU emblem on car number plates while it was illegal to display the Union Flag, the Saltire, the Cross of St George, thistles, dragons, or lions and tigers and bears.

The religious objection is straightforward: The National Foundation for the Preservation of the Political Reformed Principles is of the opinion that the EU emblem - a circle of 12 golden stars on a blue background – ‘symbolises the veneration of Mary, the mother of Jesus, by the Roman Catholic Church’. The organisation’s chairman, P. H. op 't Hof (there’s a name) says: "Most people don't think about it” (he’s not wrong there), “But the EU symbol was thought up by a Roman Catholic in honour of Mary."

And so a court in the town of Leeuwarden has acknowledged that the issue concerns a matter of conscience.

Cranmer asks all of his intelligent, reasonable and discerning readers and communicants to observe the EU flag and this picture of Mary surrounded by a 12-star halo:

There is quite obviously no link whatsoever, and any similarities with regard to the number of stars or the colours scheme are purely coincidental.

But this Protestant group has written to Dutch transport minister Camiel Eurlings, requesting that the EU symbol be removed from their car number plates.

Mr Eurlings responded by saying that he saw no reason to do so since ‘it is European Union policy to have licence plates with the symbol’.

Well, that (to Cranmer) would seem like a very good reason to do so, but it is in any case a wholly inadequate response to Mr op 't Hof.

Ecumenical News International explains that the emblem and flag ‘were first used by another European body, the Council of Europe, before being adopted by the EU in 1985... In 1989, the Vatican newspaper l'Osservatore Romano, reported the emblem's designer, Arsène Heitz, had described the source of his inspiration as a series of reported apparitions by the Virgin Mary in 19th-century Paris. The date on which the Council of Europe adopted the flag, 8 December 1955, coincided with the Catholic Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary’.

But, notwithstanding the primary source testimony of the flag’s designer – that his inspiration had been the reference in Revelation to ‘a woman clothed with the sun...and a crown of twelve stars on her head’; and notwithstanding the historical account in l'Osservatore Romano concerning Marian apparitions, a Dutch MEP by the name of Toine Manders has rejected the group’s statement as ‘outrageous’. He says on his website: “These 12 stars were already around in the period of Greek mythology, in other words long before Christianity."

But there is absolutely no evidence that Greek mythology was the inspiration for this emblem. If it were, Cranmer thinks The National Foundation for the Preservation of the Political Reformed Principles might be on far stronger ground objecting to the imposition of these 12 stars on their number plates, for the Greeks were obsessed with matters of astrology and paganism which are condemned time and again by the Apostle Paul. Involvement in and corruption by either is expressly forbidden in Scripture.

But if the ‘woman clothed with the sun...and a crown of twelve stars on her head’ is indeed Mary, and if the United States of Europe is being forged beneath her blessed aegis – ‘Our Lady of Europa’ – someone ought to say a few more hails to her, for the beast that is emerging is not only pathologically anti-Christian; it is antithetical to everything she reputedly holds dear.


Anonymous len said...

This`lady` may be 'The queen of heaven'
Worship of the queen of heaven involves idols and sun worship.

18 March 2009 at 08:12  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Someone finds the EU flag offensive on religious grounds. Good for them. I hope they did their heels in real hard.

I object to displaying the EU rag period, stars or no stars. As far as I'm concerned it will NEVER supplant our national flags and emblems. And if I go abroad my car will sport a Union Flag or GB sticker somewhere or other whether those soulless EU ghouls like it or not...

18 March 2009 at 08:30  
Blogger Forlornehope said...

Thank you for this post. Now, rather than irritation, I will take the sight of the European flag as a reminder to venerate (not worship) Mary the Mother of God, in accordance with 2000 years of Christian tradition.

18 March 2009 at 09:09  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From David Lonsdale

Jeremiah 7:18
The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the Queen of Heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.

Exodus 20 v.3

Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.

The children of Israel got there before Rome but the deception is the same.

18 March 2009 at 09:21  
Blogger Si Hollett said...

"if the United States of Europe is being forged beneath her blessed aegis – ‘Our Lady of Europa’ – someone ought to say a few more hails to her, for the beast that is emerging is not only pathologically anti-Christian; it is antithetical to everything she reputedly holds dear."

So is hailing her, praying to her, anything like that...

Deciding to greet Mary (for that is what a 'hail' is) repeatedly is definitely not a part of Christian prayer, but probably irritates the Mother of God in that people go "hi, hi, hi, hi, hi, hi, hi, oh I'm going to talk to the Father now, done, hi, hi, hi, hi, hi (repeat)". A massively pointless exercise that no doubt would test Mary's patience. A 'babbling like Pagans' exercise.

Out of respect for Mary, you shouldn't deny her Son's relationship with his Father, by thinking we need another advocate in heaven and praying to her.

As the rosary is basically making another sacrifice to try and appease for confessed sins, it also denies Christ's divinity and his ability to make a once-for-all sacrifice. It's heretical.

There is of course, a great thing to learn about the communion of saints with hailing Mary - that believers don't cease to exist, that they are with God once they die, that they are our brothers and sisters. Then again, the bad far outweighs the good.


Back to the case - I can only think its coincidental that both have 12 gold stars and, while and interesting test case, is rather silly. Surely political views come under the freedom-of-conscience rights that these guys are using? Surely your Grace could try to make them non-mandatory due to that.

18 March 2009 at 09:59  
Anonymous Preacher said...

Your Grace.
I believe that research will show that the veneration of the "mother" godess goes much further back than Greek mythology, the "queen of heaven" mentioned has its origins in the legend of Nimrod & his mother Semiramis who upon his death proclaimed him God & herself "Mother" of God, she also appeared as "Shin Moo" in China & in Egypt as the mother of Horus, the Sun god. She always holds a place of prominence, & is often elevated above her "son", He being depicted as a babe in her arms. As you know, Constantine was a Sun worshiper, & "imported" many of the symbols of it into the Roman "church" (halos etc) it is also reputed that descriptions of the "coss" that He saw in the sky before his victory that made Him Emperor was not a cross but closer to an Ankh. There is still dispute about WHEN He became a Christian, & even IF He ever did. Put the above all together & draw your own conclusions, but it all looks very clear to me.

18 March 2009 at 10:24  
Anonymous Preacher said...

In addition to my previous post, I feel that We should view the legend of "Our Lady of Europa" who was said to be the beautiful daughter of a Mediterranean King, she attracted the attention of one of the gods on mount Olympus who appeared to her as a bull, he then lured her to ride on his back & swam out to sea, landing in the present "Europe", he then had his way with her & the offspring became todays "Europeans", there Your Grace is the "Greek connection".

18 March 2009 at 10:37  
OpenID jobtwenteewun1to3 said...

just thought i would mention that Mary whilst blessed was also a sinner like the rest of us. Luke ch 1 46-47 confirms. The worship of Mary is but blasphemy.

18 March 2009 at 10:41  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't care much about the religious angle, but like Gnostic I absolutely refuse to display the symbol of our subjugation on any property of mine whether fixed or mobile.

My car number plate bears no national symbol, but if any future replacement includes the "crown of thorns", then the hacksaw will be brought into play pretty snappily.

I will admit to the presence of a small St. Andrew's cross on my vehicle, but that is purely a mark of pride in the old Alma Mater.

(Captcha: "croques" - Monsieur, no doubt.

18 March 2009 at 10:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those unacquainted with his writings - but then, can anyone here be? - will find similar arguments in Adrian Hilton's work.

18 March 2009 at 10:56  
Blogger Cranmer said...

@2nd Anon 10:56

His Grace is honoured that you have so much time available to devote to him. One would think that those at Magdalen College Oxford might have more important matters to attend to.

He is touched that you log in numerous times each day for your political edification and spiritual enlightment. But you appear to have conveniently ignored the fact that the arguments are being made by both the flag's designer and l'Osservatore Romano.

18 March 2009 at 11:20  
Anonymous mckenzie said...

When I first read this I was in full agreement with His Grace. But after a bit of digging around Google out of mild curiosity, it seems there could be some truth in the connection. READ THIS

"Recently Heitz revealed to a French magazine the reason for his inspiration. At that time he was reading
the history of the Blessed Virgin's apparitions in Paris' Rue du Bac, known today as the Virgin of the
Miraculous Medal. According to the artist, he thought of the 12 stars in a circle on a blue background,
exactly the way it is represented in traditional iconography of this image of the Immaculate Conception. In
the beginning, Heitz saw it as a flight of fancy, among the many that run through an artist's imagination; but
the idea caught his attention, to the point that it became the subject of his meditation.

18 March 2009 at 11:21  
Anonymous jeremy hyatt said...

Hands up anyone who has ever met anyone who thought Mary is God or equal to God???

Thought not...

And as for complaints about the 'Hail Mary' - well the first part is the angelic salutation - nice and scriptural - the second part invites Mary to pray for us. The invocation of saints seems to me to be obvious and follow from the creed (remember the bit about believing in the communion of saints?) It's only a small step from asking your friends to pray for you. And what's wrong with that?

Problem solved :D

18 March 2009 at 11:30  
Blogger Theo said...

Whilst the erudition displayed on this page is truly impressive I wonder if, at the heart of the issue, is one of straining at gnats and swallowing camels by those pious Dutch souls. I would not deny them the right to protest, on whatever pretext, at being compelled to display any icon indicated the supremecy of the state over the individual. If, however the protest is regarding the idolatry of having to display a particular image perhaps they should first ensure that they have no idolatrous imagary, practices and possessions in their lives. After all for whose benefit is the protest? Are they seeking divine approval for their stand against the idol or trying to convince the EU that there is a power above that of the state?

18 March 2009 at 11:36  
Anonymous mckenzie said...

If you accidentally trip and fall into a meat mincing machine, you may have about five seconds to reach the conclusion that we are not really all that important in the grand scheme of things.

18 March 2009 at 11:42  
Anonymous Preacher said...

jeremy hyatt said....
Hands up anyone who has ever met anyone who thought Mary is God or equal to God.
Well Jeremy, As Christ was God & His mission to redeem the world by His sacrifice made Him the redeemer, what does that make a co-redeemer? also I believe that it's taught that Mary was assumed up into Heaven,as was Jesus. Jesus is THE advocate for us, not Mary, Paul, Peter or any one else. So all prayer should be made to the Father through the Son "I am the way, the truth & the life. No one comes to the Father but through ME".

18 March 2009 at 11:54  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From David Lonsdale to Jeremy Hyatt

Mary is referred to as the Queen of Heaven by Catholics and is also seen as a co-mediatrix and, in some circles as a co-redemptrix with Jesus.

The Apostle Peter said;

Acts 4:12

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.


1 Timothy 2:5
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

If Mary were a co-redemptrix or mediatrix, it has such huge significance that it would have been mentioned in the New Testament.
Also, if praying to dead Saints, as opposed to praying with live Saints was acceptable, the disciples would have done so. They didn't and it isn't

18 March 2009 at 12:00  
Anonymous len said...

Langdon tells us that Mary worship comes from ancient babylon where the virgin mother-goddess was worshipped under the name 'Ishtar'.Elsewhere in the Near East the mother-goddess was called Astarte, ashtoreth,, persephone,Artemis(Diana) of Ephesus, Venus and Isis. This goddess was considered to be greater than any god, was called by these heathen 'the virgin mother,merciful mother,Queen of Heaven and my lady.Langdon says she was often sculptured in mother-child images interceding for men with a wrathful god.
( from S H Langdon Semitic Mythology, 1931 edition pp12-34, 108-11, 341-344

18 March 2009 at 13:32  
Anonymous mckenzie said...

Does it matter? Its not like you will get a refund based on the finer points is it. If you want Mary to pray for you, where is the problem here? So long as the heart is trying to get the rest of it right, it should be OK you know. Can you imagine someone dead bleating that they "were not lead to believe this bit", or they "were not lead to believe that bit". Its all just dickin around at nonsense. I mean co-redemptrix?. It was never meant to be full of that level of shite. If it is, I want my money back! Ha!

18 March 2009 at 13:58  
Anonymous mckenzie said...

You do realise that being a Christian means you unquestionably accept the Old Testament to be the real word of God, and if when you die, God says "sorry mate, but the New testament was fabrication", then you can forget about Catholics and protestants because it will now mean you are a Jew!

18 March 2009 at 14:25  
Anonymous jeremy hyatt said...

Preacher - On this logic, where is the doctrine of the Trinity mae explicit in Scripture? If we are to accept the teachings of the Church Fathers on the Trinity, then why not on the invocation of saints?

McKenzie - Does it matter? No, maybe not much. I never said it was compulsory! ;) Maybe just helpful.

Oh and I nice quote I came across...

"In principle there is no question herein between us and any other portion of the Catholic Church. . . . Let not that most ancient custom, common to the Universal Church, as well Greek as Latin, of addressing Angels and Saints in the way we have said, be condemned as impious, or as vain and foolish" [Forbes, Bishop of Brechin (Anglican), "Of the Thirty-nine Articles", p. 422].

18 March 2009 at 14:47  
Blogger ZZMike said...

I thought only Muslims were that daft.

I don't suppose the stars have anything to do with the number of EU countries.

On the other hand, if this is the only way they can get to stopping the EU symbol, I'm all for it. Bring back the Union Flag &c!

It is a bit amusing to read all the anti-Catholic drivel bandied about in the comments.

"A bit like the People’s Front of Judaea." Good one! Clearly, lots more meetings are called for.

18 March 2009 at 16:23  
Anonymous len said...

If the truth doesn`t matter to you pray to anyone you like, so long as the heart is right,and your intentions are good.
Absolute bullshit!
I thought better of you!

18 March 2009 at 17:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace - I can only say what the situation regarding number plates used to be....because it may have altered. However..... it USED to be the case that there was freedom of choice as to whether you had a "blanko" version (without eu insignia) or a "stars" version (all hail Brussels)

And, certainly, the Scottish Saltaire or the Cross of England were quite definitely both illegal no-no's.

Interesting enough, the "all hail" version cost a fiver more than the blanko version did, however allegedly it was the car makers who decided - maybe with a nudge and a wink from the right places ("you give us the publicity and we give you the subsidy, perhaps"?) - who unilaterally decreed that Joe Public was positively champing at the bit to be considered good europeans and would, therefore, be delighted to pay the extra? Maybe the cost was just lost in the price of the car, of course.

Certainly I personally object strongly to any form of free publicity for the eu. (I have paid for one of those nice blue passport wallets that you can annoy airport officials with, that covers the eu burgandy up nicely and parades a proper British blue to the world.) So, like your earlier communcicant above, I too, if faced with no choice but an "all hail" plate in the future, well, it's a hacksaw job.'s also JUST possible that you can still ask and have a blanko plate instead. Possibly the rules have been changed, recently, as is the way of these things, and what was "purely voluntary" yesterday, is "mandatory" today, with no form of public announcement ever being made

18 March 2009 at 17:56  
Anonymous len said...

I am amazed at some of the comments from some of you learned gentlemen about spiritual matters.
Most of you are probably a lot more educated, probably a lot more intelligent than me.
But when it comes to spiritual matters you are so dumb !No discernment at all , apart from a few who stand out like stars.
Perhaps intelligence and education is a preclusion to spiritual matters.
God certainly chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise,perhaps that is why he chose me!.
Bring on you witty replies, your cutting comments, it doesn`t affect me , like his Grace I have already died.
Ileave you with 1 corinthians3:18

18 March 2009 at 18:08  
Anonymous mckenzie said...

To be honest Len, I don't really pray these days, as such. But I did read an interesting thing once which suggested that even when you say you hate God, this is still acknowledgment of the fact. But getting back to what you say, I don't have any radical anti-Christian beliefs, and I also think too much dogma is missing the point. If God wants to kick me in the knackers when the time comes, then fine, He will have a fight on His hands, but in the mean time, life is for living also. If people are going to hurt each other over details of personal interpretation, they had also better invest in some of those knacker shields that sportsmen wear, because I certain that it should not be this way.

I would never evangelise my own daft ideas, and nobody listens to me anyway, but do chill baby, I am on your side I swear (often and loud).

18 March 2009 at 18:18  
Anonymous mckenzie said...

In my early days of born againness, literal interpretation was crucial, or I felt I was letting the my side of the deal lapse. I was over pushy, and I attracted the wrong kind of attention, every single step was under close scrutiny by the anti hypocrisy squad. It wasn't long before my own sad, but well meaning intentions were causing more harm than good. I have learnt to chill.

Faith is not something you can physically pass on, especially if you are such an arshole as myself. I will fight for the cause as best I can in the hope that others, more worthy can continue the faith, but please, nobody look at me as an example of high moral Christian discipleship, I have too many personal issues.

18 March 2009 at 18:26  
Blogger Theo said...

At the risk of sounding patronising mckenzie, someone as honest as you can't really be a compleate arsehole

18 March 2009 at 19:07  
Anonymous mckenzie said...

Its my way of avoiding responsibility I suppose, it keeps me safe from the anti hypocrisy squad, without hearing the cocks crowing all night. Which, when you think about it is quite cowardly and fairly conducive. But its a jungle out there, and I'm afraid that if you slap me, I will turn the other cheek and swing round and crack you in the teeth. So, in another way, its also anger management.

But getting back to the thread, should we as Christians be beating each other up over the ins and outs of Catholic and Protestant details? Don't try and tell me that either has got it all right. The fact that we have these differences should be good testing ground for fulfilling the Christian ethos towards each other. We are fellow Christians, we fear God, we are keen to please and to obey, and we only wish to get it right. However, Islam is a totally different ball game. Its a ball game to me, where you get hold of the ball, set fire to it and throw it back whence it came, its dangerous and it is only a guest in this Christian nation.

18 March 2009 at 19:53  
Anonymous mckenzie said...

I am breaking the 'less is more' situation tonight, but I go away tomorrow so poo!

But listening to my comments could have you believe I am some kind of aggressive maniac. But the Christian community is not defending its self. It has become all wishy washy and Anglican, and gay, and Shariah Law, and Liberal, and Tolerant, and worse of all divided and partisan.

Consider the kids who live in these sink estates. What the hell chance have they got of ever showing any kind of Christian sentiment? They live in a cess pit, which they did not create. The word 'patronising' has been mentioned here, which has no effect on me because I know who and what I am, and who and what I am not, but these kids are suspicious of everyone, and it will not help by prancing around them with platitudes and bibles. And finger pointing only serves to reinforce their status, while hugging them is also plain daft. They need hope, where at the moment they have none. They have no role models. Their government lies blatantly. Their goal posts are shifted hourly. Their values are primitive: survival, tomorrow is another day.

While all this is taking place amongst our own people, non of us have the remotest cause to feel smug. Someone is going to have to climb down there and switch on the bloody lights, eventually, or other scenarios could condemn us all beyond feasible excuses.

What good is it to argue about symbols and bloody flags? We have a duty to attend to so many other things, and yet here we are expending energy on mole hill conversion tables. How is it that all these things are so important. To me, if you can get the Blessed Virgin Mary's face printed on the EU flag, it can only be a step in the right direction. Until I see some firm solid proof that the Catholic church is the slut of Babylon or whatever, I am more than happy to believe it is nothing less than committed to the Christian faith. I can think of many worse things than twelve stars and the Virgin Mary, I can tell you.

We need to get a grip. get together, and start turning things around. Get down to B&Q and buy a packet of spine seeds and reap what we sow in the harvest season.

18 March 2009 at 21:05  
Blogger The Young Oligarch said...

ZZMike 16:23

I am surprised that you regard the statement of perfectly orthodox Protestant theology as "anti-Catholic" .

Those of us who regard ourselves as members of the One True Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church , need not be Roman Catholics .

I respect your right to consider Calvinist theology as "drivel" , such a statement is , however , anti-Calvinist .
If Roman Catholicism is beyond even indirect criticism , in your view , why not Calvinism also ?

Perhaps you should respect the right of others to express their deeply held views .

18 March 2009 at 21:17  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why are protestant so ignorant? We don't worship Mary or pray to her.

18 March 2009 at 21:27  
Anonymous mckenzie said...

The Holy Spirit has just give me my P45. Gross misconduct, misappropriation of breath and good intentions.

18 March 2009 at 21:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

any flag that has not had warlike blood shed in its name is hardly a flag.

19 March 2009 at 00:24  
Anonymous not a machine said...

mm an interesting post your grace , pure conjecture naturally , if the EU design was to truly represent it , i would imagine it would be two hands in , handcuffs holding a wallet, whilst the hand of tailored suite (with gold EU cufflinks) is about to take the wallet.

similar to davincis cistene chapel representation of the hand of god but more everyday factual.

19 March 2009 at 01:16  
Blogger David Keaveny said...

According to my understanding of the typology of Revelation 12:1, the woman herself represents the church (the totality of all the Christians through the centuries, who were filled with Christ, and thus shine with His glory - He is the Sun of righteousness); the moon under her feet represents the Jewish nation (who having not received the Lord, cannot be filled with Him, but nonetheless, as His people, still can reflect His glory); and the 12 stars represents the Jewish patriarchs.

So maybe it's nothing to do with Mary (and Preacher has already summed up my thoughts on the matter), and it's actually a Jewish device? Now that would really upset the EU...

19 March 2009 at 02:17  
Anonymous len said...

If Jesus Christ walked into most churches and sat on the alter probably most would not recognise him, perhaps most would be happier with mary or possibly Ishtar?
Truth matters, (to me ).
If you don`t think you can be deceived you already are!

19 March 2009 at 08:31  
Anonymous Preacher said...

jeremy hyatt.
I really haven't touched on theology or the church fathers, mainly on the history of the icon which represents Mary in the Catholic church, & all the symbols that accompany her. Perhaps it might help if the aforesaid church had not produced graven images in the first place, but had worshiped the LIVING God who forbade this blasphemy. On the same subject, I recall that invoking the dead is forbiden too. It's very easy to use clever words, religous ceremonies & traditions to try to prove ones case, but all the non christian faiths do this too & would without doubt point to the teachings of their elders to substatiate their claims. perhaps its time for you to break out of the religous cocoon you find yourself in, spread your wings & fly, test all things.

19 March 2009 at 11:13  
Anonymous len said...

In case any think I am judging them or being self righteous I can say they are totally wrong!.
Like the apostle paul I judge my own righteousness to be as s---.
My righteousness was received as a gift imputed from the Lord.

19 March 2009 at 13:46  
Anonymous len said...

Inter Sodalicia pope benedict xv
"Mary suffered and as it were, nearly died with her suffering son,for the salvation of mankind she renounced her mothers rights and, as far as it depended on her, offered her son to placate divine justice, so we may well say she with Christ redeemed mankind."
Catholics say they don`t worship mary, according to statements like this perhaps they should re- think.
Anti- Christ isn`t necessarily against Christ, its instead of Christ!

19 March 2009 at 18:57  
Anonymous len said...

I would`nt consider attacking muslim doctrine as it is so far off centre it condemns itself.
Catholicism is so near the truth that it is far more dangerous.It bend and twists scripture that is quite ingenious, and deadly.
To tell a blatant lie is crude and obvious.
To mix a lie with the truth is far more deadly and shows the hand of a master deceiver!

20 March 2009 at 07:49  
Blogger ZZMike said...

Mr Oligarch - "I am surprised that you regard the statement of perfectly orthodox Protestant theology as "anti-Catholic".

You put words in my mouth (which is unsanitary) and find thoughts in what I write that are not there (which is unproductive). I do not criticize "perfectly orthodox theology" - in fact, I claim allegiance to the Presbyterian Church (USA), and by inheritance, to that of Luther and Calvin. I do think Calvin is a little grouchy in some matters, but I'm willing to put that to the fact that I haven't studied him in detail.

It is not Calvin, his theology, nor Protestant theology I find offensive, it is the habit of certain of our number to refer to "the whore of Babylon" and so on. That's simply uncivil.

"Perhaps you should respect the right of others to express their deeply held views."

I do respect that right, and I also claim my right (and yours) to call them into question when I find them wrong-headed and uncharitable.

For example, someone said

"Like the apostle paul I judge my own righteousness to be as s---.
My righteousness was received as a gift imputed from the Lord."

First I notice a Moses-like humility. Second, I have to conclude that he considers his "gift imputed from the Lord", "to be as s---".

That doesn't show much respect for a "gift from the Lord".

I don't recognize your name (Oligarch), most likely from not having read our gracious host's comments exhaustively, but I do hope we can come to understand one another.

20 March 2009 at 19:28  
Anonymous len said...

ZZ mike are you being deliberately obtuse or is it unintentional?

The difference is between self righteousness and imputed righteousness(from Christ).
I may have not explained this sufficiently enough that a fool might understand it!

21 March 2009 at 18:06  
Blogger Theresa said...

Couple of thoughts;

'The Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us,'

ie God took on an image, a personhood to show us His nature. What is wrong then, with using images if God Himself uses them?

Ishtar and Persephone do not exist. Mary is a real historical figure and is the mother of Christ, who is the second Person of the Trinity, ie God. This makes Mary the mother of God, Len, unless you want to deny Christ's divinity, but I wouldn't recommend it, unless you want to be tied in theological knots.

We all believe in the communion of saints. That means people above in heaven and people down here. Therefore there is nothing wrong with asking someone in that communion to pray for you. The saints in heaven have the advantage that they are in God's presence and understand things better, so their prayer is purer. Therefore there is nothing wrong in asking Mary or anyone else up there to pray for us.

McKenzie- you display an honesty and certain vulgar charm that cheers up this debate. I hope your sojurn will not be too long..

24 March 2009 at 02:04  
Blogger David Keaveny said...


To call Mary the mother of God is a logical fallacy. God is eternal, therefore there can be nothing that precedes Him. Mary was indeed the mother of the man Jesus; but Jesus Himself rejected any natural claims of blood: "And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, Behold, My mother and My brothers. For whoever does the will of My Father who is in the heavens, he is My brother and sister and mother." (Matt. 12:49-50). If Jesus valued His followers over His kin, on what basis can we assume that Mary had any special status over Him? No-one is denying either the divinity or the humanity of the Lord; but Jesus always placed the things of the Father over the concerns of His earthly parents (Luke 2:48-49).

The problem then with images in general and Mary in particular, is that they can become the focus of worship, rather than Christ Himself. Jesus said, "I am the way and the reality and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me". Hebrews 7:25 continues this thought : "Hence also He is able to save to the uttermost those who come forward to God through Him, since He lives always to intercede for them."

Anyway, I think we're starting to stray a little off the point. From the original article, the designer of the flag had a picture of Mary in mind, so maybe The National Foundation for the Preservation of the Political Reformed Principles have a valid point.

24 March 2009 at 03:41  
Anonymous len said...

Your defence of catholicism and its heretical doctrines is baffling!.
Are you so indoctrinated that you cannot see beyond the veil?.

I pray that you, and others will see the truth and HE will set you free.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.Stand firm, then,and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.(Galatians 5:1)

24 March 2009 at 13:38  
Blogger Theresa said...

David, Len,

I wasn’t going to reply to this, because these discussions tend to turn into a trial of strength, but I think I will. Catholics’ regard for Mary is one of the least understood and most vilified parts of our theology by other Christian religions, and if people are going to be against us I’d rather they were informed and against us, than uninformed and against us. so here goes.

If you think about the way that God chose to redeem the world, it was about the riskiest and dumbest plan he could have come up with. Send your son, who shares your divinity. Don’t send him directly, but have him born and grow up like humans for thirty years before you send him on his mission. And rely on a sixteen year old girl’s consent for any of this to happen. She might say yes. She might say no. And if she says no, what do you do then?

Why did God choose this path? Because of free will. If he was going to redeem us, we had to consent to it. Love cannot be forced on people; by its very nature love is freely given and not imposed. And he wanted the human race involved in its own redemption.

Which brings us to Mary. Now, there was a problem in having Christ born. Christ is not simply a man; he is both man and God. The theological name for this is the hypostatic union. There was no problem about Mary giving birth simply to a man, but there was a real problem in her giving birth to someone who was both man and God. It’s this; the barrier between man and God is sin, both the sins we ourselves commit, and original sin, which is why we all receive baptism as Christians to remove original sin. If there was any sin in Mary at all, either her own sin or original sin, it would have acted as a barrier to Christ’s divinity and she would not have been able to give birth to Christ. That is why we as Catholics say that Mary must have been free from sin from the moment of her conception and that is the belief of the Immaculate Conception ; that Mary was set apart for a very special task and was the first human being to be free of sin since Adam and Eve. And that is why we say that Mary is the mother of God, or to use the early Christian term, Theotokos, ‘God Bearer’. Both her innocence and her complete obedience to God, brought Christ into the world.

Having said all that, Mary is not worshipped by us. The last couple of lines of the Hail Mary go, ‘Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.’ She is special, she is the first disciple of Christ and his mother, but she is human, not divine. All prayers addressed to the saints finish with the line, ‘Pray for us.’

David, you point out the answer of Christ to those who told him that his mother and brothers were there. If you look at the context, I think you’ll agree he’s using a rhetorical device; it doesn’t mean that Mary wasn’t important to him. Similarly, both Christ and Mary did things, not because they had to, but so that they wouldn’t scandalise people. Christ had himself baptized and paid the temple tax for himself and Peter although he didn’t need to; Mary went through the purification ceremony at the Temple after Christ’s birth and for the first thirty years of his life, Christ was known simply as the son of Mary and Joseph, although that was not correct.

I hope you find this useful. Can I make an appeal to you guys; at some point will you please get hold of a copy of our Catechism and read it, so that you know what we actually believe? . I don’t feel there is much difference between us; I think we are all striving for the same thing, and part of that is understanding what someone else believes, if not agreeing with it. Most of the trouble between religions is not to do so much with belief, but the refusal of one party to explain themselves, and the refusal of the other party to consider the opposite view, ie pride on the part of both parties. I hope at some point in the far future we will find ourselves arguing in Heaven, with McKenzie making burgers from his mincer for the barbecue. God bless,

27 March 2009 at 23:53  
Anonymous len said...

I believe you are genuine in your comments, but totally misguided and deceived, which is very sad.
Catholicism is a mixture of christianity and paganism, oh, its a clever system.How to preserve error.How to perpetuate error.Make heresy infallible.And the arch heretic unassailable,ir-reformable and absolutely authoritive.It is possible that the final anti-Christ could be a pope because the final anti_Christ will be a world leader.He will not be subject to any other world leader.He will be an imitation of Christ, an anti-Christ, a pseudo -Christ.He will have international power. He will be a gentile..
And his system seems , in the book of revelation chapter 17, to be headed up in Rome.If the pope can fool evangelicals, it seems to me that the anti-Christ won`t have much trouble doing the same with the world.
God Bless, len

28 March 2009 at 13:17  
Blogger Theo said...

Slightly OT but worth a read: Bishop Strossmayers speech to the Vatican Council of 1870 challenging the authority of the pope and laying to rest any arguments about the primacy of the apostle Peter. Good meaty stuff!

28 March 2009 at 14:18  
Anonymous len said...

Bishop Strossmayers eyes must have been opened by the Holy Spirit, as was St Pauls on the road to Damascus. Saul thought he knew the truth, and thought he was serving God but he was blind to the living Truth ( Christ).
It is only the Power of the Holy Spirit that can break through the fog of religion and self delusion and reveal the Truth that is in Christ Jesus to us!

28 March 2009 at 19:40  
Blogger Theo said...

I think it is my turn to say "Amen to that"

28 March 2009 at 19:52  

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