Any veterans of my blog will recall that back in '06 and '07, a large amount of my blog content came from Q&A's and debates that I engaged in at a Protestant forum called "Holy Culture Radio." It was always my favorite of all the Protestant forums I have ever joined. Reasoned argumentation is valued there and ad hominem bashing is always frowned upon. These people have actually thought a lot about what they believe and they love a good theological discussion. While they definitely don't always agree with me, the members of the forum have always treated me with respect (for the most part), and have always appreciated the fact that I am knowledgeable in my faith and well-versed in Scripture.
Some time last year the "powers that be" decided to shut down the "General Theology" board of the forum and I instantly lost all of the work that I had done there. Thankfully, most of it had been preserved in my blog, but there was still a lot of good stuff that I never had the opportunity to incorporate into a blog post. I was pretty bummed out about that, not only b/c of the material I lost but also because I felt like I lost a lot of my Protestant friends over there (since we had basically lost the very thing that brought us together).
Well, about 2-3 weeks ago I found out that Holy Culture Radio has new "powers that be" and those powers brought back the "General Theology" board! Yayyy!! I was pretty psyched when I heard the news, and ever since then I have been immersing myself in apologetical, theological, and ecumenical discussions again. This finally brings us to the purpose for this blog post.
So, I started a thread called "Ask the Crazy Catholic a Question," where people can, well, ask me questions, and I'll answer them. The first post came from someone who actually had two questions: one about Mary and one about the Sacrament of Confession. His questions with my answers are below. Also, even though this forum is public domain and anyone can read it at any time, I have decided not to provide the name of the poster, just in case people still have a problem with me posting this content on my blog.
- What are your views on Mary?
- Mother of God: Mary is the mother of Jesus; Jesus is God; therefore Mary is the Mother of God.
- Immaculate Conception: Mary was conceived without sin and never committed a sin
- Perpetual Virgin: Mary remained a virgin her whole life and did not have other children
- Assumption: at the end of her earthly life, Mary was assumed body and soul into heaven
- Coredemptrix: Mary had a unique role to play in the salvation of mankind (a role that was, nonetheless, quite secondary to the role of Christ)
Now, I realize that all of this sounds absolutely insane at first glance, but I assure you there is a very Scriptural and reasoned defense for it all.
- Do u believe that you can approach the throne of Grace, and confess your sins to God yourself, or do u need a medium?
People often have a knee-jerk reaction against mediation. But, if you think about it, God's presence and His power is always mediated to us somehow. We never actually encounter God directly. Instead, it is always through something, whether that something be prayer, or Scripture, or the sacraments, or your pastor, or your church service, or the love of a friend, or whatever. The only time we will experience God in all of his unmediated glory is when we see him face to face in heaven. I don't think this diminishes the access that we have to the "throne of Grace." It is still a grace that has been made available to us in an unprecedented way.
That said, I believe that God makes his grace abundantly available to all who approach His throne for it, and He does this through various instruments or mediums (many of which I have already listed). Prayer is the medium through which God desires to forgive our venial sins. The Sacrament of Reconciliation (or "Confession", or "Penance") is the medium through which God desires to forgive all the sins we commit, both venial and mortal.
For the Church in her own words, see CCC, nos. 1422-1484.