“Sorry for the delay in responding!”
No problem. Thank you, so much, for your thoughtful, and rather thorough (Ha-ha!), response.
“That said, Augustine, sorry to say, qualifies as a heretic because he first taught Millennialism and then against it.”
I’m sorry, I am unfamiliar with Saint Augustine’s teaching of “Millennialism,” would you please provide a source? I don’t believe that the Church had definitive teaching on “Millennialism” in Augustine’s time, so, this theological issue was probably open for debate. Therefore, Augustine would not have been teaching “heresy.”
“When Anicetus was confronted, he essentially stated that he was just following the Roman Bishops before him and therefore couldn’t change it back.”
Pope Saint Anicetus, as head of Christ’s Church, allowed Saint Polycarp to continue to celebrate the Pasch on the date the Eastern (Greek) Church had been for decades, according to their tradition. The Latin (Western) Church continued to celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection on Sunday. Again, this was not a matter of “heresy,” it was a matter of two different traditions.
“That wasn’t the point of referencing them in my post. It was only to show that the perpetual virginity belief had its opponents. Truth be told, many other Catholic saints also held heretical views. Just compare their views to what Polycarb [sic], Polycrates, and Melitos taught.”
I agree, this teaching had its opponents. And, the Church declared these opponents…heretics. The fact that you can find Early Church Fathers who contradicted each other is not equivalent to them teaching heresies. Many theological subjects are open to debate, and, still are, to this very day.
This is precisely why Christ gave us His Church, to settle these disputes. Why do you accept Ss. Polycarp, Polycrates, and Melitos over the other saints, Lenard? By what authority do you declare Polycarp’s, et al, teaching to be of the Apostles? I think that you relying too much on the writings of Dr. Thiel.
“I don’t disagree that Jesus was ‘truly born of a virgin’.”
What about her title, i.e., the Virgin Mary? Why would the Apostles call her a virgin if she gave birth to other children besides Christ?
“No argument regarding your proof. However, the Catholic Encyclopedia implied otherwise. Read it for yourself[.]”
I not only read it, but, I posted the whole quotation, remember? The CE article “implied” no such thing. The article is stating that the Greek Fathers, apparently under the influence of The Protoevangelium of Saint James, believed that Christ’s “brethren” were Saint Joseph’s children, from a previous marriage. The Latins (Western Rite Catholics) believed that the “brethren” were Christ’s cousins. With Saint Ambrose, et al, being notable exceptions.
Ambrose, Hilary, & Gregory agreed with the Greek Fathers’ belief of Joseph having prior children, NOT the Antidicomarianites’ denial of Mary’s perpetual virginity. This is pretty clear. I suggest that you read it again. You, and Dr. Thiel, are misreading the plain text.
“Many scholars consider the Gospel of James dubious. There may be some truths, but when it is mixed with misinformation, how can you trust it?”
This is exactly the Catholic understanding of this apocryphal book, Lenard. The doctrine of Mary’s perpetual virginity is not based on this book. (I don’t usually trust wiki as a source, when it comes to religion, or politics. Sorry. But, Catholics also believe that the so-called gospels of James & Peter are NOT Scripture inspired by the Holy Spirit.)
“The problem is that you are basing ‘heresy’ from the Catholic point of view instead of original doctrine. Denominations tend to dilute original doctrine with their own traditions and dogma. Polycarp proved this.”
The problem is that you don’t accept that the Catholic Church was founded by Christ, and, that Her teachings are the “original doctrine.” Remember, there were no “denominations” for 1,500 years following Christ’s establishment of His Church. Only one schism, in the 11th century, A.D. Before the Great Schism, there were only heretics and the One, Holy, Catholic, & Apostolic Church.
And, the Sacred Scriptures teach us that “I am writing these instructions to you so that, if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth,” cf. 1 Timothy 3:14-15, RSV-CE.
“It was defended only after the Gospel of James was published [...] [s]how me a first generation saint (along the lines of Polycarp, Polycrates, Melitos) who defended it.”
I can’t, because it wasn’t attacked until the end of the second century, A.D. First century Christians accepted this dogma because it came from Christ and His Apostles. Show me a first generation saint (along the lines of Ss. Polycarp, Polycrates, & Melitos) who denied the doctrine of Mary’s perpetual virginity? An argument from silence does not prove your premise, I’m afraid.
“She said that because she wasn’t married to Joseph yet[.]”
Yes, she was. This is proved, in verse 19, of the passage of Scripture from which you quoted. Why did Saint Joseph have a “mind to divorce her quietly” if they were NOT already married, Lenard?
It is helpful to know first century Jewish marriage customs. When a couple were betrothed, they were legally married. This betrothal could last up to a year. This gave the man time to set up a household for his bride. Then the couple would have the ceremony, or marriage feast (like that of Cana,) which could last for a week. Then, they would consummate the marriage.
Under Jewish law, Joseph and Mary were married when they became betrothed. If Mary turned up pregnant before they had entered their permanent home, this would have caused a great scandal. And, under Mosaic Law, Mary could be charged with adultery. This is why Joseph was going to divorce her “quietly.” I will try to find a source that might explain this more fully.
“One possibility is that Jesus’ brothers were not known to be believers at that time (see John 7:5)...thus the reason that Jesus asked John to take care of Mary (John 19:25-28).”
Again, under the Law of Moses, the biological children were responsible for caring for their parents (cf. Exodus 20:12; Sirach 7:12-16). It wouldn’t have mattered if Christ’s brothers believed Him, or not. Unless, you are arguing that the brethren of Christ weren’t good practitioners of Judaism?
If so, what about Christ? Was He not a faithful Jew? Did Christ not obey every commandment of the Mosaic Law, perfectly? Jesus, as the “first born son” of Mary, had the responsibility to make sure that His mother was taken care of, after His death. If He had had a biological brother, He would have been violating the law by assigning guardianship to John, son of Zebedee, instead of letting this supposed “brother” care for His mother.
The links that you provided (thank you, by the way) contain arguments that the Church has encountered many time before.
The fact that Christ is called “first-born son” in Scripture, does not imply that there were other children born of Mother Mary. That is a Hebrew expression used throughout the Old Testament. It literally means open the womb. Under Jewish law, the “first-born” belonged to God, and had to be redeemed (the first-born son) or offered as sacrifice (animals & first-fruits).
There was no word for “cousin” in Aramaic. Yes, Greek does have a word for cousin, but, Saint Matthew’s Gospel was written in Hebrew or Aramaic. So, it would have used the word “brother” for any of Christ’s kinfolk. When Matthew was translated into Greek, the translator could have used the Greek “brethren” in the same way as Jews did. Especially, if the translator was Jewish!