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Pro Ecclesia Vol 19-N1: A Journal of Catholic and Evangelical Theology

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Pro Ecclesia is a quarterly journal of theology published by the Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology. It seeks to give contemporary expression to the one apostolic faith and its classic traditions, working for and manifesting the church's unity by research, theological construction, and free exchange of opinion. Members of its advisory council represent communities committed to the authority of Holy Scripture, ecumenical dogmatic teaching and the structural continuity of the church, and are themselves dedicated to maintaining and invigorating these commitments. The journal publishes biblical, liturgical, historical and doctrinal articles that promote or illumine its purposes.

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BLESSING: A SCRIPTURAL AND THEOLOGICAL REFLECTION

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BLESSING: A SCRIPTURAL AND

THEOLOGICAL REFLECTION

Ephraim Radner

In May 2007 the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada issued a pastoral statement on same-sex blessings. At the end of the statement, the bishops made the following request:

Looking ahead, we ask the Primate and General Synod for a report on:

1. The theological question whether the blessing of same-sex unions is a faithful, Spirit-led development of Christian doctrine (St. Michael

Report)1

2. The implications of the blessing of same-sex unions and /or marriage for our church and the Communion (The Windsor Report)

3. Scripture’s witness to the integrity of every human person and the question of the sanctity of human relationships.

The reflections that follow are a contribution to the discussion that this requested report has engendered.2 Rather than looking broadly at the question of same-sex blessings, my remarks concentrate on the scriptural meaning of blessing as it has been taken up by the church, and provides some preliminary evaluations of how this meaning applies to the question of same-sex blessings.

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“A SWORD WILL PIERCE THROUGH YOUR OWN SOULALSO”: THE SANCTIFICATION, CONVERSION, AND EXEMPLARY WITNESS OF THE BLESSED MARY

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“A SWORD WILL PIERCE

THROUGH YOUR OWN SOUL

ALSO”: THE SANCTIFICATION,

CONVERSION, AND EXEMPLARY

WITNESS OF THE BLESSED MARY

Gary Culpepper

And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against, and a sword will pierce through your own soul also, that thoughts out of many hearts will be revealed.”

—Lk 2:34–35

I. INTRODUCTION

There is abundant evidence today that many evangelicals and Catholics are prepared to reconsider together the basic features of a scripturally governed understanding of Mary in God’s plan of salvation. Chosen to be the mother of the Messiah, Mary interprets the significance of this election when she exclaims “all generations will call me blessed, for he who is mighty has done great things for me” (Lk 1:48–49). On the part of Roman

Catholics, much work has been done since the Second Vatican Council to clarify that the Blessed Mary is one of us, a member of the community of

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“WHAT IS LITTLE MARY HERE FOR?” BARTH, MARY, AND ELECTION

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“WHAT IS LITTLE MARY

HERE FOR?” BARTH, MARY,

AND ELECTION

Tim Perry

INTRODUCTION1

The trend among Protestants, and especially evangelical Protestants, to pay greater attention to the place of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Christian doctrine and devotion has been well documented and continues to show no sign of slowing down.2 In the popular and academic publications that grow out of and reflect this interest, however, little notice has been paid to the place and purpose of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Church Dogmatics (CD) of Karl Barth.3 Indeed, in the exploding secondary bibliography of Barth research, scant attention is offered. Only three essays and one book have been published since 1967 that devote themselves exclusively

Rev. Deacon Tim Perry, Ph.D., 5 Oak Crescent, Steinbach, Manitoba R5G 0G3,

Canada. E-mail: timothyscottperry@hotmail.com

1. This article began as a lunchtime conversation about my book, Mary for Evangelicals:

Toward an Understanding of the Mother of Our Lord (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2006) with the Rev. Professor Mac Watts. It is an attempt to answer his question, “What do you think old Barth would make of your book?” A student of T. F. Torrance, Mac was very helpful and encouraging, suggesting the avenues of thought that have led to these pages.

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OUR LADY OF SACRAMENTAL COMMUNION: MARIAN POSSIBILITIES EMERGING FROM CATHOLIC-METHODIST DIALOGUE

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OUR LADY OF SACRAMENTAL

COMMUNION: MARIAN

POSSIBILITIES EMERGING

FROM CATHOLIC-METHODIST

DIALOGUE1

Maura Hearden

The French ecumenical Dombes Group observed, “the Virgin Mary . . . is perhaps the point at which all the underlying confessional differences, especially in soteriology, anthropology, ecclesiology, and hermeneutics, become most clear.”2 Hers is the story of the way in which God has chosen to save mankind. It concretizes the aforementioned doctrines resulting in a uniquely powerful immediacy of understanding. For this reason, post-Reformation Christianity has often regarded the mother of our Lord as a symbol of that which divides us and a potentially inflammatory topic for those engaged in ecumenical dialogue. Such a state of affairs can be nothing less than tragic for all who desire a common Christian household, a household that must surely include the woman from whom the Son drew his humanity.

Fortunately, nearly a century of intra-Christian dialogue has chipped away at the walls that divide us and laid the groundwork for some significant progress in the area of Mariology. The most obvious signs of progress can be found in laudable dialogue efforts focusing specifically on “Marian” topics, each resulting in varying degrees of agreement.3

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SOME RECENT BOOKS ON MARY

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SOME RECENT BOOKS

ON MARY

Lawrence S. Cunningham

It is hardly a secret that the sixteenth-century magisterial reformers reacted strongly against the Marian piety regnant in the late medieval church. Marian pilgrimages, shrines, feast days, images, rosaries, books of prayer, and the other apparatus of the Marian cult were to larger and lesser degrees swept away even though the creedal communions still professed that Jesus was “born of the Virgin Mary.” It is, and has been, a subject of scholarly debate the degree to which the reformers threw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater in their reforming zeal.

Roman Catholic reactions to the reforming volte face with respect to

Marian devotion were complex. The Council of Trent satisfied itself by saying that invoking the intercession of Mary and the other saints was a legitimate part of Catholic piety; that their images were to be venerated; and, finally, that it was necessary to “root out utterly any abuses that may have crept into these holy and saving practices so that no representations of false doctrine should be set up which give occasion of dangerous error to the unlettered” (Session 25; 3–4 December 1565). That Trent did not say more or feel compelled to say more is easy to understand; the Reformers were resistant to many traditional Catholic practices but neither Catholics nor the magisterial Reformers were in dispute about the fundamental doctrines articulated by the ancient creeds. The Council of Trent was also careful not to pronounce on the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, as this doctrine was still a matter of theological disputation within Catholic circles even though from the late sixteenth century on the majority of the doctores were more inclined in favor of the doctrine than not.

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