Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Answer to Doctrinal Quiz Show, Second Edition... and Bubble Awards!

Well, well, well! You guys continue to impress! I know you are really in this for the awards, but before I give those out, let's get to the big reveal.

The question I posed: According to the Catholic Church, why did God create Mary to be without sin from the first moment of her conception?

Answer: Because it was "wholly fitting" that the Mother of God be perfectly pure, without taint of sin.

I said it was sort of a trick question because I really wanted to focus attention on what Mother Church does NOT say. She does NOT say that it was "necessary" in any way that Mary be sinless so that she would not pass along Original Sin to Jesus. Because if that were the case (as Lauren pointed out), then St. Anne would have had to be sinless to bear a sinless Mary, and on and on all the way back through the generations.

It's amazing how many really sound and faithful Catholics believe (wrongly) that Mary's Immaculate Conception was necessary. I know a wonderfully orthodox Catholic who wrote a brilliant catechism which had this error in it. I pointed it out to him, and he just could not see the illogic of using that argument. I have even heard wonderful priests preach this error from the pulpit.

Anyway, it's just a little pet peeve of mine, so I wanted to clear that up.

So, in a nutshell, the "why" of it is because it was fitting, not because it was necessary.

(Find the entire encyclical defining the dogma of the Immaculate Conception here.)

The awesome answers you all offered really fleshed it out even more, diving into the understanding of Mary as Ark of the New Covenant, Mary as the New Eve. She is all that! And the encyclical above discusses those themes as well. Man, you guys are good. It also gets me excited about writing more on Mary as New Ark and New Eve. That is some amazing stuff!! Blows me away, really, so I will revisit that for sure.

Finally, what you have really been waiting for...

The Bubble Awards!

I am limiting these to six awards, or else I will end up giving one to everyone. The envelopes, please....

The Speedy Gonzales Award goes to Sew Infertile, for her quick response like last time! Secondary award for being the second commenter, commenting on her first comment. By the way, Sew will always get an award, just because she is Sew. I think that is, well, wholly fitting. ;)

The Patriot Award for Best Use of a Decoy Link in Order to Instruct Americans About Flag Etiquette goes to Cathy!

The Most Courageous Emergence of a Protestant Into the "Little Catholic Bubble" Award goes to Olya! I speak for everyone when I say that you are always welcome here!

The Most Likely to Have Written Her Comments From a Bar Award goes to Jenny!

The Flattery Will NOT Get You an Award Award goes to Shannon, for making me feel good about changing my blog design in the shameful and obvious hope of getting an award. Clearly that didn't work, but nice try!

And finally, the That's Pretty Much Exactly the Answer I Was Looking For Award goes to Lauren! I will ignore the fact that she confessed a grave sin from the last Doctrinal Quiz Show (although she will have to give back her Frank Sheed award), and I will also try to ignore her explicitly voiced complaint about my question. The fact that I still give her this coveted award is a testament to my good will, fair-mindedness, spirit of forgiveness, extreme generosity and almost unimaginable humility.

Now, please, don't despair if you didn't win a Bubble Award this time, because the rest of you won the Scarlett O'Hara Award for remembering that tomorrow is another day.

PS: Second Chances, you are still brown-nosing. ;)


  1. Adorable! I think I'm starting to live for this doctrinal quiz show! No lie! Taking my bow and humbly accepting my award. :)

  2. Oh how I wish I would have been in a bar!!! Love it!!

  3. LOL!! I did confess my grave sin...doesn't that helps! And I sadly return my previous Frank Sheed award. Sigh... :) But I gracious accept the "That's Pretty Much the Answer I was Looking For Award" and say WHOOP!! Thanks! :)

  4. You know, it's funny that you asked this question. I was waiting to see all the responses. I was actually given a paper about Mary on Monday at my meeting with the deacon. In this paper it used the word "necessary." I showed it to dh and asked if he thought that was a strange word to use. It just didn't sound right. I brought up the same thing about St. Anne and dh said that he thought the word should be "fitting" not necessary. I'll have to tell him about this. :)

  5. Leila, I have been immensely enjoying your blog, albeit as a "lurker". Coming out of the shadows to ask a question related, but I guess more tangential to the doctrinal question you posed. I can't seem to find the answer to why the Church teaches that Mary was "ever Virgin" after Christ was born. Do you know if the answer would also simply be because it "is wholly fitting"? This question has sort of plagued me because the Holy Family is supposed to be the role model for marriages (and I believe that it is), but the Church teaches that an unconsummated marriage is not a valid marriage or at least it can be dissolved through an annulment. Anyway, I am just confused by this and would love your wisdom in enlightening me.

    Adrienne (Dave is my husband and for some reason the one that shows up when I log into Blogger)

    ps--I am another fertile (though mostly lurking) in the world of the amazingly inspiring Catholic IF blog world. Though I think my dear IRL friend GIMH outed me in the first half of your "How a Fertile Found the IF Bloggers" series. ;) I am the new Kansan she spoke of.

  6. Oh interesting! Actually, I never thought there was any "danger" of Mary passing on original sin to Jesus. That had never occurred to me. I used the word "needed" because well, not sure why... from the perspective that it would be the "right" thing to do when carrying the Son of God. "Wholly fitting" expresses that more accurately. :)

  7. Actually, now that I think about it, I know why I said "necessary" or "needed"... I was thinking more along the lines of God doing it for her sake... like we're supposed to be in a state of grace before receiving Eucharist and Mary (who could not have been baptized etc) would ideally be "full of grace" when carrying Jesus. I dunno... that's how my brain processed that lol. But still not the answer!

  8. Adrienne (Dave), I do have your answer, and if I hadn't made an airport run at 3:00am, I would tell you right now. Hang tight, I'll be back.

  9. I missed the whole darn thing :(

    Can I get an award for working non-stop and being under such an insane amount of stress that it makes me miss important doctrinal quiz posts such as this one??!

    Or how 'bout an award for being infertile? :P

  10. I got an award, I got an award, I got an award hey hey hey hey!

    and p.s. I DO love your new blog background...

  11. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeee!

    Side note, when I was in the USCG, I got into a little trouble once. As punishment, I had to do 4 hours extra duty. My extra duty was to study military etiquette.
    Did you know that if you are a member of the US military onboard a ship of an ally of ours and it's sunset or sunrise and the colors are going up or down (or their national anthem is playing) the proper posture is to stand, face their flag, and salute, just as you would do in the US?
    Yeah, I learned that that day...


  12. Can I get the "Missed the Bus" award?

  13. Is "illogic" a noun?

    Do you have a smart-aleck award?

  14. P.S. You're brilliant, as usual. I knew the answer but it would have been 'wholly' impossible for me to have explained it even remotely as well as you did here. I would have said it was just 'better' that way.

  15. What did you do, Cathy? Something to do with beer?

  16. Hey, that's my first award ever! LOL. Thanks. I have been lurking for quite some time and promised myself to not comment since I am fertile and can't possibly have anything to contribute. But theology questions always get the best of me and I just can't resist. Thanks for not kicking me out because 1.I am presbyterian, and 2.I am fertile.

  17. Beth,
    You know me SO well.

    I have found that some of my best comments come from a) non-Catholics and b) non-parents.
    My dear, dear blog friend "Kiwi Nomad"'s first comment on my old Catholic blog was --- argumentative, to say the least.
    And I *loved* your suggestion about the warm towel on baby's tummy. Trust me, I have plenty of opportunity to use it --- sigh.

  18. Thank you everyone! This was super fun and I loved all your comments and input!!

    Karen, that is providential!
    Beth, I was going to ask the same thing of Cathy! ha!
    Lisa, "illogic" is not a word, but it should be!
    TCIE, I mourned your absence!
    Olya, I'm fertile, too, and these wonderful ladies welcomed me with open arms and hearts!
    Adrienne, you have inspired me to start a new blog feature called "Little Teachings From the Bubble"! Stay tuned!


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