New user? Register here:
Email Address:
Retype Password:
First Name:
Last Name:
Existing user? Login here:
Letters to the editor >

ARCIC statement on the Blessed Virgin Mary: the debate continues

From Dr Eric Whittaker
Sir, - In his contribution to the subject of opinions about Mary ( Letters, 3 June), the Revd Richard Chown writes: "After all, her genes are his genes."

This is misleading. Jesus must have had some genes that were not Mary's, or he would have been a clone of Mary and, therefore, female. These other genes might have been produced miraculously out of nothing, having never previously belonged to a human being, but then he would not have been "made like unto his brethren" (Hebrews 2.17).

Alternatively, one might suggest that they were miraculously transferred from Joseph without sexual contact, which would at least make sense of the genealogies listed by Matthew and Luke, but would have been a miracle designed purely to compel belief - and such use of miracle was rejected by Jesus in the temptations.

It seems that belief in the Virgin birth is implicitly contrary to other fundamental Christian beliefs. This is a much more serious question than either the immaculate conception or the bodily assumption, which relate not to historical fact, but to one's personal attitude to Mary.
60 Exeter Road
Kidlington Oxon OX5 2DZ

From the Revd John Wells
Sir, - One of the letters that you publish ( 3 June) suggests that "there are clear indications in the New Testament of the way women's headship roles [in the Church] could develop"; and that therefore "most Anglicans [perhaps most of those with whom the writer associates] would say that the ordination of women to the priesthood is consonant with scripture."

Another seems to suggest that we should "interpret the Bible in a way that offers a celebration of diversity in human sexuality". Neither writer makes a direct assertion of the view that he or she is proposing; and neither quotes or indicates any scriptural text to back up the proposition.

I cannot agree with either of your correspondents; yet I cannot offer a reasoned disagreement when neither offers a definite statement or a scriptural proof. May I suggest that those who write to a Christian paper should state their views clearly and unambiguously; and that if they are appealing to scripture they should state the texts or passages on which they are relying.

A scriptural discussion of the two topics might well start with 1 Timothy 2.12 and 1 Corinthians 6.9ff respectively.
2 Clarkesmead, Tiptree
Colchester CO5 0BX

From Mr Michael Rathbone
Sir, - Regarding the ARCIC statement on the Blessed Virgin Mary and the RC doctrines of the immaculate conception and the bodily assumption: I suggest we look to the Eastern Orthodox Churches for guidance.

If my understanding is correct, the Orthodox position is that because these are doctrines lacking in scriptural warranty, and are based upon papal infallibility, they may be left to the conscience of the individual believer. A position that seems to me both eirenic and logical.
18 Pollard Crescent
Beverley Road, Hull


Job of the week

Chaplain - Development

West Midlands

VACANCY ADVERTISEMENT CHAPLAIN - DEVELOPMENT 18.75 HOURS PER WEEK The Pastoral Care Team at The Myton Hospices is committed to the provision of spiritual care across the organisation and deliveri...  Read More

Signup for job alerts
Top feature

The lighter side of fund-raising

The lighter side of fund-raising

Maggie Durran reviews entries to a competition to find the best fund-raising ideas  Read More

Question of the week
Would you like to see religious ads at the cinema?

To prevent multiple voting, we now ask readers to be logged in. This is free, quick and easy, honestly. Click here to login or register

Top comment

Questions to weigh before bombing

Just-war theory can guide MPs in these decisions, says Paul Vallely  Subscribe to read more

Mon 30 Nov 15 @ 15:48
RT @tswyattWhen a C of E priest is appointed as an archdeacon they are given an "electronic booklet" called So You're Going To Be An Archdeacon!

Mon 30 Nov 15 @ 13:53
Christians should get involved in reform of the financial system, argues Barbara Ridpath