31 January, 2011

Quotes from Leo the Great Indirectly Pertaining to the Immaculate Conception of Mary

"There is for all one common measure of joy, because as our Lord the destroyer of sin and death finds none free from charge, so is He come to free us all."

"Truly foreign to this nativity is that which we read of all others, "no one is clean from stain, not even the infant who has lived but one day upon earth." [Job 14:4-5, Septuagint] Nothing therefore of the lust of the flesh has passed into that peerless nativity, nothing of the law of sin has entered."
First Sermon on Nativity (Sermon 21), Chapter 1

"And to this end, without male seed Christ was conceived of a Virgin, who was fecundated not by human intercourse but by the Holy Spirit. And whereas in all mothers conception does not take place without stain of sin, this one received purification from the Source of her conception."
Second Sermon on the Nativity (Sermon 22), Chapter 3.

"... when by the condition of birth, there is one cause of perishing for all. And so among the sons of men, the Lord Jesus alone was born innocent, since he alone was conceived without the pollution of carnal concupiscence."
Fifth sermon on the Nativity (Sermon 25), Chapter 5.

[Note - In all instances, the italics are mine.]


Four points to note here:

1. Clearly Leo believes that among human beings only Christ has been born innocent, i.e. without the stain of original sin.

2. Leo links the purification of the Virgin Mary from the stain of sin (i.e. the 'pollution of concupiscence' - see below #4) during the birth of Christ to the immaculate conception of Christ, not her own supposedly immaculate conception, of which he seems to know nothing.

3. Leo he also seems to be a 'traducianist' rather than a 'creationist' when it comes to the origin of souls and the transmission of original sin. Lutheran theology allows for both opinions, although traducianism seems to be favoured by the greater number of orthodox theologians.

4. Leo regards the pollution of carnal concupiscence as sin, contrary to the later decision by the Council of Trent, contrary to the teaching of scripture, that concupiscence was only the 'fuel' or 'tinder' of sin (* see scripture references below).

Pope Leo I or Leo the Great (ca. 400 – November 10, 461) was pope from September 29, 440 to his death. He was an Italian aristocrat, and is the first pope of the Catholic Church to have been called "the Great". He is perhaps best known for having met Attila the Hun in 452, persuading him to turn back from his invasion of Italy. He is also a doctor of the Church.

Quotations taken from Jean de Launoy, Joannis Launoii Opera omnia, Volume 1, Part 1, available on-line here: http://books.google.com/books?id=pZ8-AAAAcAAJ&dq=editions%3ABCUL1092554631&pg=PA17#v=onepage&q&f=false
[Jean de Launoy (Joannes Launoius) (1603–1678) was a French historian. Known as "le denicheur des saints", he was a critical historiographer. He was on the sceptical side over the supposed papal bull Sacratissimo uti culmine. In papal politics he was a Gallican, in theology a Jansenist.

* "Concupiscence" is the English translation of the Koine Greek epithumia (ἐπιθυμία). Epithumia occurs 38 times in the New Testament: Mark 4:19, Luke 22:15, John 8:44, Romans 1:24, Romans 6:12, Romans 7:7,8, Romans 13:14, Galatians 5:16,24, Ephesians 2:3, Ephesians 4:22, Philippians 1:23, Colossians 3:5, 1 Thessalonians 2:17, 1 Thessalonians 4:5, 1 Timothy 6:9, 2 Timothy 2:22, 2 Timothy 3:6, 2 Timothy 4:3, Titus 2:12, Titus 3:3, James 1:14,15, 1 Peter 1:14, 1 Peter 2:11, 1 Peter 4:2,3, 2 Peter 1:4, 2 Peter 2:10,18, 2 Peter 3:3, 1 John 2:16,17, Jude 1:16,18, Revelation 18:14. The word "epithumia" is variously translated: desire, longing, lust, passion, covetousness, impulses, concupiscence.
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