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Passions in Poetry

The Cult of the Virgin Mary

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Huan Yi
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Waukegan


0 posted 10-19-2007 08:45 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.


I would very much like to read
a discussion on this subject;  it’s history
and impact on Western culture and civilization
as well as contrast to other cultures and civilizations
influenced by other perspectives.. .

I simply can’t afford books on the subject.

John


.
serenity blaze
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1 posted 10-19-2007 10:29 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

I understand your interest, John, but I am also perplexed a bit.

I completely understand the ache of an intellectual itch for want of conversation, too. Until the internet, I didn't even have much access to a library that wasn't my own. But now with the internet--how "freeing", eh?

So why don't you start?  

Or have you?

"The Cult of the Virgin Mary"

hmmm...are you trying to open up a conversation regarding Catholicism here?

Do we need to go through the motions of defining "cult", "virgin" and just WHICH Mary to whom you are referring?

(Not trying to be an ass here--just asking for a little clarification.)



(Came back to add--just on a little WHIM--I googled your subject--
http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GGIH_enUS210US211&q=free+e+books+virgin+mary

Enjoy! )

Huan Yi
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2 posted 10-20-2007 12:53 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.

It was something I think Joseph Campbell referred to
in one of his interviews and considered the origin of
ideals underlying the Western Age of Chivalry.

.
serenity blaze
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3 posted 10-20-2007 02:22 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Hmm...I happen to have an archive of that stuff. I'll check it out for you--I'm afraid I just have the Moyers interviews only though. If I find what I think you're looking for--I'll be back.
Essorant
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4 posted 10-21-2007 12:37 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant


Did you check the library?
hush
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5 posted 10-21-2007 04:30 AM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

I am so not Catholic. But- I went to a Catholic college, and took a women's history in religion class- we talked quite a bit about Mary, the Madonna complex. It's very interesting to me- here we have a female who is for once both revered and necessary. In fact, I think it was Sojourner Truth who said something to the effect that Jesus Christ, Savior of mankind, had nothing to do with Man himself... that was all between God and a woman.

But here's the catch... this revered woman was also an impossible woman and therefore no woman can ever live up to the ideal... we are all flawed.

Immaculate conception...? Joseph was awfully trusting.
Stephanos
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6 posted 10-22-2007 12:10 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Hush:
quote:
But here's the catch... this revered woman was also an impossible woman and therefore no woman can ever live up to the ideal... we are all flawed.


I think that's the difference between the "Mary" of Roman Catholic tradition, and the more historically plausible Mary of the gospels.  Mary, though a blessed and favored woman of God, was not without sin or fault.  There were moments in the record where her humanity was perplexed (understandably so) with the divine will, and really, who her son was, and what he was destined for.

quote:
Immaculate conception...? Joseph was awfully trusting.


The immaculate conception (in Roman Catholicism) has nothing to do with the virgin birth of Jesus.  It is actually the doctrine that Mary was born without sin.  For, (as the argument goes) how could divinity be born from the womb of a sinful woman?  The "solution" for this dilemma (wholly of tradition) is not in the least ascertained from a reading of the Gospels.  So it is historically dubious on that account.  Also it doesn't really solve the problem of how sinless divinity can come into such intimate contact with sinful humanity (a problem more to be marvelled at in a spirit of worship, than solved).  The immaculate conception creates a regress which does little more than displace the question and send it one generation backward.  For it could always be asked how a sinless Mary could be born from a sinful mother.  Why wouldn't an "immaculate conception" have to be invented for her birth as well?  

Anyway ... that's more information than you probably wanted, but I did want to point out that the Immaculate Conception and the Virgin Birth of Christ are not the same thing.  

As far as Joseph being "too trusting", he wasn't.  If you'll read the Gospel account, he was quite prepared to put Mary away (although discreetly out of kindness) because he thought her pregancy was quite natural and unrelated to himself.  It was a mystical experience involving an angelic encounter that convinced him of the truth of Mary's own innocence and divine encounter.  Call him gullible and subject to fantasy and altered states of consciousness if you will, but not "too trusting".  That kind of sentimentality isn't in the nature of a man, especially in the face of what would appear all too obvious.

And since both Catholics and Protestants treasure the piety of Mary (though they part ways about her near-divinity), your suggestion of her base infidelity might prove offensive to both.    


Stephen    
Kitherion
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7 posted 10-22-2007 07:40 AM       View Profile for Kitherion   Email Kitherion   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Kitherion

She was joking Steph.... chill

"Our Father who art in Heaven... Hallowed be thy name..."

Stephanos
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8 posted 10-22-2007 08:41 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Ever had anyone joke about your mother?



Stephen
hush
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9 posted 10-22-2007 02:52 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Mary's your mother?

Sorry, another joke...

Thanks though for pointing out the difference between the immaculate conception/virgin birth.

Don't get me wrong, I don't necessarily have a problem with the worship/story of Mary (though I did gather from the title of this thread we were talking specifically of Catholic worship of her).

I think it's interesting how important Mary is in some circles, suggesting to me that people found it necessary to incorporate a female element into the worship of the Christian god. I also just find her character and what that may say about what mankind wants out of women- the perfect ideal, to propogate the species without dirtying oneself in sexual acts. But then again, what man wants to marry a perpetual virgin... begging the question of whether or not that is perfection.

Just food for thought, I'm not trying to express any convictions one way or the other.
Stephanos
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10 posted 10-22-2007 04:22 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
I think it's interesting how important Mary is in some circles, suggesting to me that people found it necessary to incorporate a female element into the worship of the Christian god. I also just find her character and what that may say about what mankind wants out of women- the perfect ideal, to propogate the species without dirtying oneself in sexual acts. But then again, what man wants to marry a perpetual virgin... begging the question of whether or not that is perfection.

It is very interesting.  And I guess this thread was intended to be about the uniquely Roman Catholic approach to Mary.  But as a Protestant, and a lover of history, you'll have to bear with my pointing out the differences.  

Both the tendency of godess worship and the feeling that sex is "dirtying" (more in line with certain kinds of paganism and gnosticism respectively) are foreign to orthodox Christianity.  Many will tell you that Genesis somehow casts a negative shadow on sexuality that extends throughout the Bible, but a more careful reading dispels this.  I understand the psychological needs involved that you mentioned.  There was always a need for the feminine expression within divinity, though I would argue that its not necessary to find this by idolizing Mary, since (believe it or not) there were already signs and tokens of something transcendent of gender within God.  The desire is not wrong, as much as the results.  Mary becomes skewed into legend and her historical realness is trivialized, and something or someone is worshiped apart from God.  (though I'm aware that Roman Catholics insist on a difference between the veneration of Mary and the worship of God)

As far as perpetual virginity goes, what about the half brothers of Jesus (who were never lauded with miraculous births)?  Wouldn't the best answer be that Mary and Joseph (after the birth of Jesus) went on much the same as any married couple would?


Amy, thanks for the "food for thought".


(and this note is for Karen, lest she imagine that my pointing out of differences is meant to stop the discussion of these other traditions, and their virtues or influences on culture and individuals ... Not at all.)    


Stephen      
Huan Yi
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11 posted 10-22-2007 07:48 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.


But again did this cult/adoration of Mary,
who was not a goddess like Juno or Isis,
influence a different view of all women
as opposed to other cultures?


.
Stephanos
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12 posted 10-22-2007 08:58 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

John,

Are you asking whether Mary has anything to do with the prominence of the feminist ideal in the West?  


Stephen
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13 posted 10-23-2007 04:17 AM       View Profile for Kitherion   Email Kitherion   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Kitherion

To true Steph, to true

but you pose an interesting question, the feminist ideal within the west... coud it have stemmed from a predominately male ordained religion???

"Our Father who art in Heaven... Hallowed be thy name..."

Stephanos
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14 posted 10-23-2007 09:23 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
Too true Steph, too true


I didn't really make a statement there, only asked a question.


quote:
the feminist ideal within the west... could it have stemmed from a predominately male ordained religion???


Firstly (a disclaimer) I don't disagree with everything about feminism.  But whether good or bad, I think it partly came about due to failure of men in their roles ... not merely because those particular roles were given to men.  


Stephen
Huan Yi
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15 posted 10-23-2007 11:33 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

Not feminist but feminine
and again as it nurtured the ideals of chivalry etc
which I think may still influence views today.

And I wonder if it would be more accurate
to say that the cult was an unexpected consequence
rather than an intended outgrowth.

John
oceanvu2
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16 posted 10-23-2007 06:03 PM       View Profile for oceanvu2   Email oceanvu2   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for oceanvu2

Hi John -- The cult of the Goddess, fecundity, renewal, predates any examples so far.  The difficulty with Marianism reflects a shift from matrilineage to patrilineage.  And the guys don't want to give it up.  How about good old Kali?  She's still hanging around for millions and millions of folk, no?  Outside of Christianity, the "Mother" remains the iconic image.

Jim
Stephanos
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17 posted 10-23-2007 11:47 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Jim,

My understanding is that matriarchal worship (without corresponding male deities) was rare if ever.  Even Kali (if I understand her) had originated as a part of the god Agni.  I think the idea that matriarchalism was predominate until the advent of the allegedly male-chauvinistic Christianity (or Judaism) is a kind of popular myth.

That of course doesn't mean that godess worship wasn't around, side by side with the worship of male deities.  Your statement about all of this predating Mary, is of course correct.

I tend to think goddesses and gods were always coexistent within Pagan religions, and therefore see the quasi worship of Mary as a patching of these older tendencies upon Christianity.  The "Mother and Son" pattern can be seen many times over.

At any rate, John seems to credit the veneration of Mary with the feminine ideas of chivalry and so forth, while you seem to associate it with a return to Matriarchalism (or what I would call the feminist ideal).  Quite a difference in your views.
  
Or am I misunderstanding you both?

Stephen      

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (10-24-2007 12:00 AM).]

hush
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18 posted 10-25-2007 03:05 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

But even if goddess worship was in conjunction with male deities, it still existed. I completely agree that the tendency to venerate (or worship) Mary carries over from the pagan traditions of ancient Rome before the empire converted to Christianity. But what's more, I think it speaks to an innate need to have a female icon or religious figure to look to. For all the controversy and double standards, Mary does represent something very positive for both women and mankind as a whole- God chose a human woman to carry his son... and Mary was considered good enough to birth and raise the son of God.
Stephanos
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19 posted 10-25-2007 05:01 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Hush:
quote:
For all the controversy and double standards, Mary does represent something very positive for both women and mankind as a whole- God chose a human woman to carry his son... and Mary was considered good enough to birth and raise the son of God.

To that I say "Amen".  

Stephen.
Essorant
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20 posted 10-26-2007 02:14 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

It is only logical that we say "Amen" and not "Awomen"      
rwood
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21 posted 10-26-2007 11:38 AM       View Profile for rwood   Email rwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rwood

Ha. Very funny, Ess.


quote:
the feminist ideal within the west... could it have stemmed from a predominately male ordained religion??


There is a feminist ideal? Feminists are notoriously torn (and quite heatedly) over the portrayals of women in society. That’s why there are 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th? waves of ideals in the brew and I wish I could keep up, but I’m not able to any more. Last I heard: The ideal woman is one who rejects society’s ideals?? Sounds a lot like “Let’s all get in a circle and kick each other,” to me.

My female perspective is that the Madonna icon was formulated by the church as a counter attack on contemporary feminine ideals during 12th century reformation.

It’s No coincidence that the Cult of the Virgin Mary sprang up about the same time that the Cult of Courtly Love was gaining widespread “troubadourious” followers.

The church promoted Mary to a model adult female icon for very specific purposes, believing courtly traditions to be heretical. The catholic worship of Mary is/was decided “ex cathedra” by the Pope, which means by his authority & “infallible decisioning,” she is divined—below God but above all humans (excluding the Pope). Her symbolism is very much under the control of a patriarchal system of beliefs, and by what could be a more powerful pop-culture icon? Yall decide.

quote:
Not feminist but feminine
and again as it nurtured the ideals of chivalry etc
which I think may still influence views today.


For me, the Virgin Mary doesn’t win the daily double on chivalry.
It’s Eleanor D’Aquitaine, my dear Gent, and E D’A deserves her own acknowledgment, imo.
I believe her influence on the courts and chivalry is why the church needed to Madonna up.  

Different cults, courts, messages, loves, entirely. Agape vs. Courtly Love, or romantic love.

Mary’s simplest role in Christianity is enough for me to be amazed. And I will remain amazed by the continued grace while we seek/hash/suffer & hack out what we feel are the best/worst examples of who or what we should be as women, as long as we’re free to make our own choices. It’s just very difficult to do so in an iconically dependent society, so I wonder if all wouldn’t be better off with the pedestals removed, if anyone really feels there are any.
Essorant
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22 posted 10-26-2007 03:44 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

"...what we should be as women..."

We?
Stephanos
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23 posted 10-26-2007 08:47 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Regina:
quote:
believing courtly traditions to be heretical.


I'm curious.  What exactly are the "courtly traditions" which the Roman Catholic Church considered heretical, and why?  

quote:
The catholic worship of Mary is/was decided “ex cathedra” by the Pope, which means by his authority & “infallible decisioning,” she is divined—below God but above all humans (excluding the Pope).


Yet another reason to be sure that papal infallibility is a false and unbiblical doctrine.  Also didn't we read where the Apostle Paul wrote to the Church in Galatia, that even if he (or an Angel for that matter) were to preach any other gospel that he should be accursed?  Didn't an Angel in the Revelation of John, fearfully shy away from spontaneous adoration, asserting that even exalted beings are only "fellow servants" of God?  Surely what goes for Angelic powers, and Apostles, should apply to Popes as well?    

Worship of human beings (other than the one who happens to be God incarnate) is idolatry, whether male or female.


Stephen  
Essorant
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24 posted 10-27-2007 04:52 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

"Worship of human beings (other than the one who happens to be God incarnate) is idolatry, whether male or female."


If that is true, shouldn't you also say loving and marrying someone is "idolatry"?  Aren't love and marriage a form of worship too?

 
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