In aWord ... Assumption
Mary was assumed into heaven, whereas Jesus ascended under his own steam
Flake, from Old English flakka, for ‘flat, level, particle’
Welcome to the feast of the Assumption, a dogma of the Catholic Church since 1950. It is a binding teaching on Catholics that Mary, mother of Jesus, was assumed to heaven. It is also believed to be the most recent occasion on which a pope spoke “infallibly”, in this case Pope Pius XII.
There is a popular misconception that whenever a pope speaks he does so infallibly. Not so. A pope speaks infallibly only when he asserts he is doing so and then on matters of faith and morals. (My apologies to people up the page for encroaching on their territory. It won’t become a habit!)
The dogma of papal infallibility is also recent, extant only since 1870, when it was opposed by some Irish bishops including then Archbishop of Tuam John McHale. The GAA pitch in Castlebar is named after him.
Mary was assumed into heaven, Jesus ascended. This was not for gender reasons so much as he, being divine, operated under his own steam.
Many Catholic teachings surrounding Mary are of comparatively recent vintage. Another Pope Pius (IX) promulgated the dogma that Mary was conceived without original sin. Better known as the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, it is only a teaching of the Catholic Church since 1854.
It was brought about in part by a theological conundrum: how could a divine being – Jesus – be born of a woman with original sin on her soul? It was decided this could not be the case.
Some may feel such teachings are remote from day-to-day living where other than the most devout are concerned. Again, not so, particularly for women.
In promulgating the dogma that Mary had been free – immaculate – from original sin at conception, it indicated her soul existed at conception, thus overturning almost 2,000 years of Christian belief.
It had previously been taught that the soul did not exist before “quickening” – when a child began to kick in the womb – as expressed by one of the greatest theologians, St Thomas Aquinas. Quickening was set at about 24 weeks, prior to which it was taught “no homicide” took place if there was an abortion.
In 1869 Pope Pius IX outlawed abortion from the moment of conception, under penalty of excommunication.
Assumption, from Latin assumere “to take up”.