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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

  • The blog header depicts an important and yet mis-understood New Testament scene, Jesus flogging the money-changers out of the temple. I selected it because the faith that gives us consolation can also make us very uncomfortable. Both Divine Mercy and Divine Justice meet in Jesus. Priests are ministers of reconciliation, but never at the cost of truth. In or out of season, we must be courageous in preaching and living out the Gospel of Life. The title of my blog is a play on words, not Flogger Priest but Blogger Priest.

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The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception

While the dogma of the Immaculate Conception was defined late in the Church’s history, its roots go back to the earliest days. The early Church fathers spoke about Mary as the new Eve because they viewed her as possessing the same original grace and justice. Sentiments about Mary’s purity and sinlessness are found in Tertullian, St. Justin, St. Irenaeus, St. Ambrose and St. Augustine.

Although the belief was generally accepted, the Church often spoke about the Immaculate Conception in an indirect or reverse manner. This was because there was a serious debate about how it could be true since Jesus is the Way and the Truth and the Life. He alone is the Savior. None are saved except through him and his Cross. Given the lack of precision, the Church just refused to talk about Mary in the context of sin. Even the Council of Trent insisted that while we could speak of original sin as infecting all mankind, the council fathers did not intend to include the “immaculate” Virgin Mary in this discussion.

The great theologian John Dun Scotus (1265-1308 AD) would set the groundwork for a later definition by speaking about how the redemptive work of Christ reached back into human history and preserved Mary from sin in honor of her place in salvation history as the Mother of Jesus Christ, the Messiah and Lord.

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