Evangelicals and Catholics on Marian Dogma
2:22PM Mar 26, 2021
Jonathan J. Armstrong
Today we're thrilled to be speaking with Dr. Brett Salkeld. Dr. Brett Salkeld is arch diocesan theologian in Regina, Saskatchewan. Thank you so much for joining us today, Brett.
It's great to be back.
And today we're doing something a little unusual. At least, we've never done this on the Unitas Fidei program, Dr. Salkeld and I, read through, "Do Whatever He Tells You: The Blessed Virgin Mary and Christian Faith and Life" which is a statement of Evangelicals and Catholics Together. We've read through this piece, and we're going to talk through it as representatives of the Roman Catholic faith: Dr. Salkeld, thanks for joining us. And I call myself an Evangelical. I teach at Moody Bible Institute. Thank you, Dr. Salkeld for your willingness to have this exploratory open conversation.
Yeah, thanks so much. You know, it was, after our last conversation, we had so much fun that we kind of thought, well, what what could we what else can we talk about? And, you know, I couldn't whip off another book that quick, that quickly. But Mary has always been really interesting for me as a point of discussion between Catholics and Evangelicals. And so we thought we'd look at this, this document by Evangelicals and Catholics Together. And I'm really glad we did, because rereading it, I just thought, there's just so much here for Catholics and Evangelicals to learn about together.
It's a fascinating dialogue. It's one that I have to admit I know very little about. So I feel like a newcomer to a conversation. And in that way, I actually feel like a genuine Evangelical. Evangelicals, we know Mary, we love Mary as the mother of Jesus, but we, we know her very little. And the way that we practice forms of worship has been very intentionally christological, Christ focused, we even might have an allergic reaction against Saints in general, against Mary. So so I feel like a newcomer to this conversation. I'm really grateful for your willingness to speak with me.
Right. Well, and and your position is, is if I may say quite typical, I mean, I've talked to various Evangelical audiences about Mary, and a lot of them come in with just, well, there's there's two things. One is curiosity. Like, we haven't thought very much about Mary and so I want to learn. And on the other hand, there might be a little suspicion because there's, you know, you've heard that Catholics believe things that aren't biblical, and so you know, that the guards might be up a little bit. And, and, and that's okay, if that, if that leads to good questions. That's okay, too. Right? You start where you start. Um, but yeah, typically, Evangelicals haven't thought a lot about Mary. But that's changing. And, and this document is, is one indicator that that's changing. And I and so we'll talk maybe a little too, about some of the dynamics in in relations between Catholics and Evangelicals over the last 50 years that have led to some of these changes and stuff. So yeah, I imagine a lot of your audience will be in the same position as you are.
Um, I'll just give our viewers a moment about Evangelicals and Catholics Together. And actually, I'll ask, I'll share a little of my story, I'll ask you to do the same. So why are you interested in Evangelical and Catholic dialogue? Let me just quickly answer that real quickly. So I was a student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, the Evangelical Free seminary up on the north side of Chicago and in around the year 2000 2001. And I studied under a man named John D. Woodbridge. I didn't know it at the time, but he was one of the the signatories of the Evangelicals and Catholics Together document, and he was part of the working group there. Later in my life, I went and did Ph. D. Studies at Fordham University and I had the honor of studying under Joseph T. Leonhard, who is one of the committee members of the ECT work as well as Avery Cardinal Dulles, who is also one of the committee members and maybe a mentor of some of the other more junior members. So I was brought into this movement, never formally I never participated in the creation of any of these documents, but I worked closely with people who did as part of my interest in this work and also love for Evangelical-Catholic relations. Brett, you are a Roman Catholic, and you're an arch diocesan theologian, but you're willing to take this call. Tell me about your interest in the dialogue.
Yeah, well, it goes back quite a ways when I was a teenager, basically some of my family who were not particularly practicing as Catholics, but they were Catholics left the Catholic Church to join a Pentecostal church. And that just raised a whole lot of questions because now they were hearing things about us that we didn't even know you know, you guys worship Mary. Really? I was unaware, you know, as a teenager, you were sort of blindsided by all of these. I mean, it, hope it's not too strong, but sometimes accusations. And so I started, you know, learning about this stuff as a teenager in a kind of rudimentary way. Because of divisions in my own family. And then in undergrad, I was a Catholic who hung around with a lot of Evangelicals went to Evangelical Bible studies and whatever. And so these questions were always swirling: Mary, the Pope, purgatory, all this kind of stuff. And so I kind of became, like, expert is not the right word, but like the go to person that people would ask about this amongst a small group of undergrads where Catholics and Evangelicals in varying like student bodies that were active on campus often did things together and had interesting conversations. And it was that that led me to bring these questions into grad school when I went away to study theology in grad school. So I wrote my master's thesis on purgatory. And actually, that's a little book called "Can Catholics and Evangelicals Agree About Purgatory and the Last Judgement", the title is way too long. But anyways, and then I, as we saw in my first interview with you, I wrote my doctorate on transubstantiation in ecumenical dialogue. And I've just always been interested in these, these neuralgic issues that separate Catholics and Protestants, and particularly Evangelical Protestants, and Mary is one of them. I think, sometimes if I didn't do my doctorate on transubstantiation, I might have done it on Mary. Because it's, it's really one of those ones where there's a lot of questions. But my experience working with Evangelicals has also been that it's a place where there's a lot of room for movement. Because when there's so much either lack of information or misinformation, a few key distinctions or ideas, can really break down walls and start introducing, I don't know what you might call more convergent thinking. And so that's kind of my hope for today. And it's it, you know, it was rekindled in me as I read the document, because I saw that same dynamic happening for the members of Evangelicals and Catholics Together.
Cool. Thank you very much for your willingness to share and to help us get some work done here to try to figure out what's what in the theology of Mary, what is shared and what's not shared? I'll just draw the observation that the beginning of the docu--documents really divided into three pieces, there is a statement of what are common, common understanding and the theology of Mary, then there's an a Catholic word to Evangelicals. That's a very kind way of saying a Catholic correction of Evangelical theology.
Yeah, get it right guys. Yeah.
I think they were just basically saying, here's, here's how a Catholic theology corrects an Evangelical theology. And then the Evangelicals tried to do the same as well, and Evangelical word to Catholics. And then there's a common prayer at the end. And you pointed out to me in the email that this is the first document that the Evangelicals and Catholics Together movement created that's not a, that's not a common statement there. There apparently was not enough agreement between the groups to write a whole statement together. And that's why they took this three fold structure.
Right. Yeah, yeah, it's so this is I think it's their ninth or 10th document or something like that. So there's several documents before this one. And they're always joint statements. We agree about this. And sometimes there will be acknowledgement of distinctions and differences. But I think it's really clear when you read this one that this was the hardest document they ever had to work on. It was the hardest to find broad agreement. And so the section on agreement is is narrower. And then it's really it's more of the beginning of a conversation than the end of a conversation. And so actually, at the end, there's some recommendations for questions moving forward. that I think are very helpful that that I think, I think they learned that there were there were methodological issues that were getting in the way of some agreement. And so they recommend at the end, that that moving forward, there needs to be more attention to those questions. And maybe they weren't in a position to say that before they tried doing the work itself, right. Maybe like, you say, Well, why didn't they just do the methodological issues? And then they could add a more complete document. But maybe, I mean, maybe you don't know until you try, right? So it's kind of a unique document in that way. In that it's it, it highlights a lot more difference than is typical of their their documents, and, and just sort of pledges that we need to keep working together on on that. So I hope maybe a couple of the things we can come up with today are not only like communicating what the document says, but maybe moving the conversation forward just just a little bit, right.
Brett, if I can ask you about the first part of the document which is meant to be a common statement agreem--agreement between Roman Catholics and Evangelicals on the doctrine of Mary. Do you have any comments on that statement? Is this a fair statement of both positions, in your view?
I think it's quite clear that there are some key points of agreement from which we always work forward. And one is, anything we say about Mary is saying something about Jesus, that Catholics and Evangelicals agree about that we disagree in some practical outworking of that. What does the assumption or the Immaculate Conception say? And is it necessary to say it and we can get to that, but the basic principle that when we talk about Mary, we're saying something about Jesus, is is clear at the front end. And so here's some really concrete examples from Christian history that Catholics and Evangelicals agree 100% about. The dogma that Mary is called in Greek Theotokos, we would say an English Mother of God emerges in the early church, in response to a Chirstological question. It's in response to Nestorius who wants to over emphasize the distinction between Christ's human and divine natures. And one way Nestorius wants to do that is he wants to say Mary's not the Mother of God, she's only the mother of Christ's human nature. And so it's inappropriate to call her Theotokos as was becoming common in Christian piety. But no, we should only call her Christotokos to emphasize the divine, that she's not the mother of the divine nature. And and the early Church says: no, Jesus, despite Jesus has two nature's but he's one person is one divine person. And Mary is the mother of that person, in the incarnation, right. And so, the Christians actually like party in the streets of Ephesus, after the council announces, we can call Mary Theotokos. Right. And that's, that's maybe the best example historically, of how any dogma or other teaching about Mary is always a teaching about Christ. And that's agreed upon from the beginning. And, and and the other end, the corollary of that is something like, if a teaching about Mary takes away from Christ, then you're doing it wrong. And so the Catholics can acknowledge the the Evangelical critique, that sometimes Catholic piety or language can look like it takes away from the unique role of Jesus and say, yeah, we need to be careful when we do that. Now we're gonna offer justification for the certain language that we use that, that Evangelicals aren't comfortable with. But we're but we acknowledge the critique that if this obscures the unique mediating role of Christ, then we're doing it wrong.
So that's incredibly winsome to Evangelical ears because I think a lot of a lot of my own and perhaps others resistance to an under--a deeper understanding of Marian doctrine is precisely that to safeguard the uniqueness of Jesus death and ministry, the uniqueness of His incarnation. So we might be leapfrogging ourselves, but that point is going to take some unpacking. And I think it's tied to a broader theology of the saints too. And I think it's tied to devotional practices which try to incorporate that communion of the saints, of which Evangelicalism have almost none. I have almost no devotional practices that try to attach myself to a theological understanding of Mary, I read Scripture, I pray, I go to church, I listen to sermons, none of that tradition has a Marian devotion.
And none of it has none of it has devotion to saints, either. So there I can see where the roots of this disagreement are going and how this is played out in differences of piety
Yeah, so what so I mean, the key word for what you're describing is, and it shows up in the document is mediation. Right? And so, okay, you know, Mary might get called mediatrix, sometimes by some Catholics. Now, actually, it's quite rare. And, and, and most Catholics are quite careful about it precisely since Vatican two, because we worried that it could give the wrong impression to Protestants. But the category, zoom back a minute, and let's think about the category of mediation, the document, actually in the Catholic word to Evangelicals, compares it to how Catholics talk about priesthood. And I think this is worth exploring. It's really interesting, because Evangelicals will will agree that the church is a priestly people, and they will, and they will, right. Luther is very emphatic about the priesthood of all believers. And so if we think about those categories, Catholics and Evangelicals are going to agree First of all, that there was one priest that's a primary category for priesthood in the New Testament is Jesus Christ, but secondly, we're going to agree actually on the next level two. And the next level is, it is appropriate to call the people of God in the church, it priestly people, because they somehow participate in Christ priesthood. Then if you get to a third level Catholics and Evangelicals will start to disagree, because Catholics will say, within the context of Jesus as priest, and then the sub context of the church as priestly. We have particular individuals who are ordained for priestly ministry, who represent the church to God and God to the church, but you, but we only rightly understand them within the priestly people within Christ, the priests. But it's important to recognize we agree on levels one and two. And we might agree more on level three than we recognize if we know that level three belongs under level two, and under level one. And that's an example of mediation, where it's not over and against Christ, that any mediation is happening. It's only within the context of Christ, that various members and we all believe that we pray for one another in Christ. Like we believe in mediation in Christ for one another in various ways. So yes, there's a difference. But I think we need to understand that difference within the context of more agreement than we might have guessed.
Cool. Hey, if I can just read a paragraph from the document, I think that's really very helpful. But the paragraph from the document there this is on page four of my printed version I'm using the version that comes from is posted on the first things website. So the text reads, "Mary is always and ever a creature among creatures and no less in need of redemption than any other human being Jesus only accepted Mary is always in ever in the role of His subordinate, and servant. And she said to the angel be holding handmade at the Lord, her message first spoken to the servants at the wedding of Canaan and also to us as simply do whatever He tells you."
I found these these opening statements very relieving, I was breathing a sense of relief good. I'm, I'm not being asked to hold to a doctrine of Mary being a coredemptrix or something. And that's where I think my, my instincts were most sharply allergic, really, I was trying to and continue to try to safeguard the uniqueness of the role of Jesus Christ. So long as that's taking place. I'm very interested in hearing how Roman Catholics make sense of devotion to the saints in general and makes sense of devotion to Mary in particular.
right. So I'm glad you grabbed that paragraph, cuz I actually wrote in the margins in my own copy that I just was reading yesterday. And this morning, I wrote two words. one ever was auxiliatrix. So Catholics have a whole host of terms we use for Mary, some more officially, some less, you know, there's some that are have dogmas attached to them, like immaculate conception, and some which are just, you know, parts of popular piety that may be open to misunderstanding. But auxiliatrix, which is quite, you know, obscure, and most Protestants won't have heard of it. Most Catholics may not have heard of it. Even though the the the word might sound like kind of weird, like, we don't want to give Mary titles at all, because that's dangerous, right? I think auxiliatrix is actually something that Protestants can probably get behind. But next to auxiliatrix. In my margins, I wrote coredemptrix with a question mark. And this is absolutely something that Protestants are allergic to. And for reasons, you've made very clear, if it threatens the unique redeeming mission of Jesus, it's off the table. And so a couple of things about the Catholic language of coredemptrix. First of all, it's rarely used precisely because of the concern that it will give the wrong impression to Protestants. But we must admit that it is in our tradition, we do use that language sometimes. And there is actually a small group. That is that there's a campaign for Rome to declare this the fifth Marian dogma. So after Theotokos, virgin birth, immaculate conception and assumption, those are the four Marian dogmas that the fifth would be declaring Mary coredemptrix, this has met with virtual silence from Rome. Yeah, even under John Paul II who was extremely Marian. Benedict and Francis, though of course, they love Mary, or use much more careful language around her then John Paul, and have seem to have less personal devotion in their own devotional life, which isn't to say they don't have any but John pPaul was really, you know, and it hasn't got anywhere. So I think Protestants can rest easy that it's unlikely to go anywhere, but there's still an important distinction to be made, which is Catholics will say, look, let's watch how we use the language of Co in the Roman Catholic-Evangelical dialogue. Canada that I'm a part of, there are co chairs. There's a Catholic co chair and an Evangelical co chair and they are equals. And they share their duties equally. And if we understand coredemptrix in that way, it we lose it. That's That's not right. But think about flying an airplane, you don't have a co pilot and a co pilot, you have a pilot and a co pilot. So sometimes in English, we use code to mean equal. And sometimes we use co to mean subordinate. And now, you might still say, even the pilot copilot thing is too much for me. I'm not willing to even put Mary in the cockpit. Okay, well, that we can have that discussion too. But it's but it is worth recognizing that in English, co might mean subordinate. And that's how it's that's how it's meant in this context. Literally in Latin, it just means "with", and does not actually distinguish between equality or subordination. It but but we can say as Catholics, if we're using that language, it has to be used in the copilot sense, and not in the co chair since it's language of subordination.
That's super helpful. And and Brett, I can't resist asking a like, side question. I don't want to take this down a rabbit trail. But when a lot what a lot of outsiders look into the Roman Catholic Church, we assume that it's monolithic. After all, you have magisterium which even if we don't say we're envious of, we'd all like to have the privilege and clarity of magisterium, that that can be a really good thing.
And everyone would like to have the Vatican Museum. But um, but so looking into the Roman Catholic Church, there seems to be a clarity of doctrine and a monolithic status. Now, sociologists and anthropologists would tell us that religious movements are never monolithic, there's always diversity of opinion, etc. Um, you know, so how do how does a non Catholic have categories to understand how some in the Catholic Church can hold this opinion and some can hold this opinion? I just want to say--
Yeah, well, and then the Evangelical word to Catholic so the third part of the document actually references that within certain cultural contexts, certain Marian practices or piety don't seem to conform with what the the Catholics in in, you know, this dialogue are saying, right? And so there's concern. And so this is a big concern in Latin America, where there's where Evangelicals are often evangelizing Catholics and they're encountering, you know, Marian piety that looks really like the worst caricature that you know, that that they would fear to encounter. And so, um, yeah, the Catholic Church, at the official level warns against sort of over exaggeration of Marian piety. Um, but but at the popular level, there's only so much you can enforce. And so particularly among the poor, and why one thing is worth acknowledging whether you whether you agree or not on how to deal with it. One thing that's worth acknowledging is in various cultural contexts, Mary in the saints replaced other practices, pre-Christian practices, right. So say you had some devotion to a moon goddess. Mary can sort of slot into that part of your religious imagination, and that needs to be purified. And, and it's a delicate thing when you're a missionary to know how to do this, right? So we all celebrate Christmas,
after the feast of Sol Invictus, you know, ancient Roman feast because the early Christians basically co-opted the pagan feast. Now, how much we think that's good or bad? And how much how much we think the Co-option actually went the other way? Did we co-opt the pagan feast? Or did the pagan feast co OPT us? Now? That's a question about Christmas today. Are we being co opted by a feast to Mammon and consumerism and whatever else? Right? So, so let's not pretend that poor indigenous people in Latin America are the only people with this problem. You know, every single culture faces and faces some form of it. But it's it's worth considering that when when we look at Marian practices that don't line up with official teaching that often in the background, there's this sort of enculturation process, which needs to be handled with kid gloves sometimes. And we might disagree. Not only Catholics and Protestants but Catholics among each other, might disagree about how heavy handed you need to be in making these distinctions clear to sometimes people who are illiterate or what do you like these kinds of questions? Right? So I don't have the answer to that. But just to say that's part of the context for these discussions, and to not, let's not imagine we're neutral, and it's the poor people who are illiterate. And, and, and let's assume that paganism is only a problem for them. Well, we have Black Friday, because I think there's pagan stuff going on in our own culture that we should be aware of, too. Right.
You know, so I think what the strength of that viewpoint, Brett is both its intellectual honesty, realizing that we all inhabit enculturated religious views. So the honesty is compelling. And also, its its ability to, to get pastoral care to us as culturally embodied people, right? The the Evangelical movement is just running different algorithms, you know, we're trying to get the Gospel right. And then the rest will follow. As, as the pastor preaches that to his people, the church is a creature of the Word if we get Gospel proclamation, right, the rest will follow. And there's a strength to that, too. There's a priority to that that's universally Christian. But, um, yeah, there's a that can lead to neglect in pastoral care, or just blind spots, huge blind spots in our own cultural
Blind spots. Yeah. Yeah. And and so one of the concerns among, you know, indigenous peoples in Latin America, is how blind Evangelical missionaries can be the role of corporate America in some right. So if this gets people off their land to get access to their resources, that does not look good for the gospel, you know, we all have these problems in some form or other right?
Yeah, no, I, I shudder, there, you're guilty as charged. and possibly even worse, I'm not sure if the Evangelical movement has the theological resources to fix the problem that you're identifying. So so I just gonna say that's a great point. And I appreciate that what else needs to be said about this introductory statement, any other points of agreement that need to be underlined here.
So there's a few things that I just I love. I mean, as a Catholic, it just sort of warms your heart, when you hear language of like Mary as the mother of the church, or the mother of all Christians. And you see that, you know, there's this line here, John, this is at the cross, right? John represents all the disciples through the ages, who will love and honor Mary as their blessing mother, and of their brother and their Lord. For Catholics to hear Evangelicals be able to say that it's just like, it's like, bomb, you know, because it's so it's so central to our imagination. And we, we feel it's very biblical. And I think when when the guards come down, Evangelicals can look at the Bible and say, yeah, it's there. It's in Scripture. But for 500 years, they haven't been able to say that, because of the concern that it would be sort of giving comfort to over exaggerations on Mary. And so that's, that's one thing. That's key. And then I think something that would be bomb to evangelicals, the flip side is this emphasis from Catholics. Mary is a creature as unique and special as she is as a creature. She's a creature she's not. There's a divide between creature and divine. And Mary's clearly on the creature side of that divide. And, and related to that is, Mary needs a savior. Right? So one,
You're right, that's bomb to the soul Brett. Yeah, that's pretty much all I needed to hear. Yep.
Whether she was saved in a unique way. And we'll get to that when we talk about immaculate conception. She needed a savior. And and she's she's not, she's not saved by herself, or she's not not in need of being saved. She is saved by the merits of Jesus Christ. Catholics will say in a unique way, but she needs a savior and she is saved by Jesus Christ, right. So I think those things that we can say together, then give us the space to explore the differences. With a little more peace in our heart, we don't have to be as defensive, we can be a little more open minded and curious, because because the thing that made us most afraid is off the table.
In the second two parts of the document, we have Catholic words of the Evangelical and have Evangelical words to the Catholics. I think rather than going through those one by one, why don't we just go point by point do you want to draw our attention to any one of the contested themes between the two movements,
The Catholics acknowledge at the front end so this is really interesting, and this goes to method. The first paragraph of the Catholic word quotes Ut Unum Sint, which is an encyclical from John Paul II on ecumenical dialogue, and in my experience working with Evangelicals, this contains the best articulation of a Catholic understanding of the role of Scripture and its relationship to tradition. It's paragraph 79 of Ut Unum Sint that they quote, and it says, we do so in fidelity to quote, The relationship between Sacred Scripture. And here's the money shot, as the highest authority in matters of faith and sacred tradition as indispensable to the interpretation of the Word of God. So Catholics believe in Scripture and tradition, the Protestants worry that we that we kind of equate those two. And some Catholic language can sound like we equate them, because we say that they always belong together and can't be understood apart from one another. But here, the Catholic Church says in the clearest language that I know of that Scripture is the highest authority in matters of faith in Scripture--and tradition is indispensable, because you can't have an uninterpreted scripture.
Like nobody, nobody gets a free pass here. Catholics interpret scripture, Protestants interpret scripture, you don't get to have it without interpreting it. And so tradition is, is the official well, tradition is a lot of things. But in this context, it is the pattern and history of the churches, interpretation of Scripture, but Scripture is the highest authority. So that's really key. And allows us to say that when we're talking about immaculate conception, assumption, whatever it is, that we all think we're responsible to Scripture, and at the at the bare minimum, what it means is, this can't contradict scripture. So but the difference ends up cashing out as his Catholic say, something like, Well, it's certainly consonant with Scripture. And it helps us to say lots of things that we agree are in Scripture. And it and and gosh darn, isn't it beautiful? You know, and we bring, we bring in this topology from the fathers and like, I always want to talk about Mary is the new Eve, because Christ is the new Adam. There's all this beautiful stuff. Right. And, and the and the Protestant response in general, when it's heard without fear. And when it when it's, you know, in this collegial kind of openness, the Protestant responses. Yeah, that's nice. But I just don't see that it's necessary. Scripture doesn't seem to mandate it. And Catholics are like, Yeah, no, we don't think it mandates it. But isn't it beautiful?
Yes. Thanks for drawing our attention to Ut Unum Sint 79. So I think this is basically finished business. I think, in a former time, Roman Catholics and Protestants would argue about, you know, is, is our theology constructed by one source of authority: Scripture alone, or is it by tradition? and I'm from my money, everybody's now ready to say you can't read Scripture, except that it has an interpretive tradition. You know, maybe that's a result of literary studies for the last 50 years more than theology, I don't know. But everybody, I think, is pretty much ready to say, there is a there's no such thing as a tradition free reading, we all read from a particular perspective. And if I'm reading scripture, I want to read scripture from the perspective of the Christian tradition, that could only be the right place to read Scripture. I want to read scripture in the context of the church as a churchly book. So I think theoretically, I don't think there's any disagreement there. Now, what you're saying about is our mariology scripturally necessary, I think this gets right to the meat of it. So and I'll use the analogy of algorithms, I think we're running different algorithms, the Evangelical algorithm to make sense theologically, if the world is to go to Scripture, and try to reconstruct a faith, a piety, a theology from Scripture alone. Acknowledging that that's an impossible task, one cannot wholly reconstitute the Christian faith from the Bible. But where that is possible, that's the way we ought to roll with things. And I'll quickly put up some red flags and say, the the Evangelical movement, I think, has to be aware of the fact that we do incorporate big chunks of tradition into the faith, not read, not created from the scriptures only, but from tradition, like the doctrine of the Trinity, one can see the doctrine of the Trinity and the text. And the doctrine of the Trinity is certainly not unbiblical. It is a biblical doctrine in that sense. But if I were just reading the pages of Scripture, you know, on on a desert island alone, I would not come up with the theological language of the Trinity to do that. So I acknowledge that and the case of the New Testament canon, or the biblical canon might be another case in point. The scripture itself does not define its own limitations. And so where did the New Testament canon come from? Right, right big blocks of tradition that come so So categorically, I'm open to what the Catholic Church is doing about Mary, which is saying, Here's another big block of tradition about Mary, the mother of the of the Savior. And here's our reception of that tradition. Categorically, I'm open to that. But I'm still, it's not the algorithm I run. And if I, if I just went to the Scripture, much of the the Catholic dogma about Mary, yeah, it does seem unnecessary. Maybe that is the right word for it.
Right? Yeah. And it the the Protestant, the Evangelicals in this document, acknowledge at the end, they acknowledge Yeah, there's no way to do this without tradition. And we have the Trinity in this way. But their question to Catholics is, you need to tell us how, you know if, if tradition has made a mistake, right? So we're with you on on Trinity 100%. We're probably with you on the formation in the New Testament, because there's really no way to square that circle without, you know, reference to tradition. Good, in theory, we're with you. But how do you know it hasn't gone off the rails with immaculate conception and assumption like, what's, what's the guarantee for the church? and Protestants will say, we believe that Christ has promised that, that he will find faith on Earth, right, that it will not fail, but he hasn't promised that you're going to get all the theology right. And, and Catholics just have a stronger view of how much the church can say, you know, and I and and so I think that's a big difference. And so even at various points that the Evangelical thing says, some Protestants might, for example, believe in Mary's perpetual virginity. But we don't see how we can insist on that from Scripture. And I mean, they have to say that some Protestants can believe in perpetual virginity because this document notes Luther believed in perpetual virginity, Calvin Zwingli, the early reformers didn't even think to question perpetual virginity, which, which is something that seems really odd to modern people. Maybe I can say a word about that in a second, if we want to dive into the specific dogmas, but they say, yeah, a Protestant might believe in perpetual virginity. The Bible is silent. The Bible doesn't say one way or another about perpetual virginity. And so we we can't mandate that of anyone, even if a Protestant might be convinced,
Thanks for your willingness to speak to this Brett. So one of the first questions that, that Evangelicals might bring to the table running these different algorithms as we do, we're trying to do a Scripture first theology. And so we want to see what the Bible says about Mary as the first guide to understanding her place in redemption, the redemption of the world. So let's go to Matthew 1:23. And I'll read it in the ESV version. And then I'll also read it in the New Jerusalem Bible because there is a discrepancy in the translation. So I'll read it in both and we can put that up on the screen. "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they should call his name Emanuel, which means God with us. When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the LORD commanded him, he took his wife, but he knew her not until she had given birth to a son, and he called his name Jesus." Now, back to back, let me also read the New Jerusalem Bible published in 1985, which I understand is one of the more popular Catholic Bibles in the States. "Look, the virgin is with child and will give birth to a son whom they will call Emanuel, a name, which means God is with us. When Joseph woke up he did with the angel of the Lord had told him to do he took his wife to his home. He had not had intercourse with her when she gave birth to a son, and he named him Jesus." So right now, we have a difference of opinion, a difference of translation. What's your view? Vis-a-vis, the perpetual virginity of Mary in these texts.
Right. Yeah, so so the question of un--, in the first translation, it sounds like until means, and then when this happened, then they did, which is one way we use until in English, the the New Jerusalem translation says, and I'm not a Greek scholar, so I can't speak to you know, the Greek scholars can argue about this, although it's worth noting, the Martin Luther was a Greek scholar, and he thought that it didn't imply that Mary and Joseph had relations. But what what what I have in front of me here is a couple other examples from Scripture. "Christ must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet." Well does that mean then he stops reigning after you know. "the daughter and saw had no child until the day of her death." But you know, until doesn't necessarily imply That, that when that time comes, then the situation changes. And in the ESV, it's it sounds at least our contemporary ears, like, well, then they did the thing, right. But in the New Jerusalem, it doesn't, it's more limited. And it just says, it highlights that this could not have been the result of their intimacy. Right, which which Catholics would think is the point now, I'll let I'll let the Greek scholars fight it out. Because I I'm not I don't have the capacity to weigh in on that. But just to say it, it's not hard to make the case either way. If you if you want to, you know, especially working in your second language, in various translations. So it's not a knockdown case. You know, sometimes Protestants will say, how can you believe in perpetual virginity? Scripture clearly says they had relations. Well, no, it doesn't. If it clearly said it, we would expect Martin Luther and John Calvin and Ulrich Zwingli to accept that reading and they don't.
So Brett, I, I agree, I think you're exactly right. There's no knockdown argument. There's no categorical--categorically denying one or the other position. I would plead that I do think, in conjunction with a couple other texts that I'll just quickly touch on. I do think the more I would argue the more natural reading is that Mary and Joseph did after the birth of Jesus have normal marital relations and produce a few children, at least six: four brothers and two sisters. But let me also acknowledge, I know the Greek words for brothers and sisters can be applied to cousins. There's an ancient tradition in the church, at least from the fifth century, possibly earlier, arguing that these were cousins of the Lord, not earthly brothers and sisters. So I acknowledge the possibility the linguistic possibility that Mary and Joseph Mary may have been a virgin perpetually. But I'd still argue that's not the natural reading of the text. And I think I could cite John P. Meier too whose "Marginal Jew" series, I believe, he also agrees there, he's a Roman Catholic writing a Notre Dame, a wonderful biblical scholar, but also says probably the basic meaning of the text, is that Mary did have sexual relations after Jesus. Are we seeing eye to eye or what's your view?
Yeah, I mean, like, I, like I say, I can't I'm not the Greek scholar, so I can't make the argument I get what I can talk about is how the Catholic tradition has interpreted these over time. And I'm gonna have to say like, as a modern English speaker, when I hear the ESV. That sounds like the natural reading. But then I have to say, two things. I'm a modern English speaker. And the ESV is a translation. And both of those things qualify what looks natural to me, you know, and so I'll say a word about being a modern English speaker in a second. But to go to the the brothers and cousins thing, there's a couple of different ways that that has been interpreted by people in the tradition who believe in Mary's perpetual virginity. So, Luther Luther, I believe, just as it's clearly cousins, you know that that's not a question for him. But another tradition in the church is that they are step siblings, so that Joseph was an older man who had children from a previous marriage. And Mary was a young woman who had pledged her virginity. And that meant that Joseph was then a kind of protector, and that this was never intended as as a sexual union. And so there's a couple things that go along with this. So these children would be Joseph's children from a previous marriage. Two Biblical arguments in favor, they're not knockdown arguments, they're just hints in the direction two Biblical arguments that have been used throughout Christian history on this. One is that Joseph only appears in the infancy narratives. And by the time of Jesus's adult ministry, and Paschal Mystery, Joseph is off the scene. One potential explanation for that is that he's an older man, and that he died between Jesus's infancy. Well, actually not just infancy because we do see Joseph when Jesus is 12. Right in the in the visit, but sometime between his childhood and and his adult ministry. The second argument is, and St. Jerome makes this the way Jerome makes everything, which is vehemently. He says, when the angel says, you will have a son. If you were expecting to have sex with your husband, that wouldn't be shocking. You'd think, okay, right. We're gonna get married, and then we'll do what couples do, and then we'll have a son, but it's this is good news. But it's not a mystery, because I'm expecting to do what married people do. And so Jerome says, If Mary If we imagine that Mary understood herself to already be in a vow of perpetual virginity, in a way that that young Jewish women sometimes did, but that women or men in the history of humanity have done for various reasons. It's unknown to modern Western people, but it's not unknown to humans to take a vow of virginity in pursuit of some high goal. Right? temple virgins do it. If Mary did that, then her her question to Gabriel makes more sense. So that's one argument. And then another one is, if if Jesus had all these brothers and sisters, why does He give Mary to John at the cross? If James, the brother of the Lord is the leader of the Jerusalem Christian community, and that's clear from scripture. Why does he not get married in his house? Because that would have been an obvious thing for a Jewish family to do. So, again, none of these are knockdown arguments, but they do introduce a plausibility to this tradition of of reading at the Scriptural level, right. And so again, I think the Protestant responses, yeah, you might believe that, but it's not mandated by Scripture, it's not so clear in Scripture has to be necessary.
That is super helpful, Brett. And and I think I agree, by and large with what you're saying. And I was not familiar with the two last arguments to that you just enumerated. So that's really helpful. Thanks for
Okay, yeah, yeah,
for tutoring me in that I really appreciate that. Ah, let me lay down my cards, here's what I think is happening. So okay. I think there are biblically sound reasons enough to, to support either view, to content theologians of both persuasions. But I do not think that the biblical data alone is actually what's justifying the Catholic position. So if I'm trying to get my mind into the Catholic position, I need to do enough biblical work that I can have my imagination open to a Marian devotion, but that's not really what's going to draw me into it. And what I think I mean, here now, I'm stepping out into thin ice and things I don't understand. But I think what would make sense of a Marian theology is a Marian devotion. And this is where Evangelicals have almost no experience, I have almost no experience, how do you pray with the saints? I can't pray to the saints, not where I stand. But I could learn perhaps, to pray, along with the saints. How does he do that? I don't know. So I think if, if we, if we keep the conversation purely on the doubt, dogmatic and Scriptural, probably, there's not going to be much motion, if you could introduce members of one religious tradition to the devotion and the devotional component that makes sense of the theology. I think that might be life giving. So talk to me about Marian devotion. What does that mean to you? How do you practice devotion to Mary? What does that look like?
Right. No this, I think, I think, before I answer that directly, I just want to say you're on the right track. Because here's a story that you hear over and over and over again, Catholics who--sorry, Evangelicals who become Catholic, very, very, very often the last piece to fall into place is Mary, generally speaking, not exclusively, but generally speaking, the first thing to fall into place is what you articulated earlier, is the magisterium. We need clarity on doctrine. And my tradition offers me not enough clarity. It's too open ended. Everyone says what they want every I--The problem is that we don't it's not that we don't have a magisterium it's that we have 1000s of magisteria. And, and I think one is better than 1000s. That's generally the first step for Evangelicals. But very often the last step is Mary. And I think it's for exactly the reason that you've highlighted. And here's what I think is happening spiritually. And this, this opens up actually a whole bunch of other doors, and we can't go through them all at once. So let's leave them open and see how many we can get through. Mary is always a symbol of the church, when you encounter and this shows up in the document, by the way, but but imagine, for those of us who haven't read the document, just imagine her in Scripture, anything she says or anything she does. When she says, "do whatever he tells you." This is the church when she ponders these things in her heart. That's the church's theological tradition of reflecting on the scriptures. When she is with the the disciples in the upper room, this is this. She This is the birth of the church and she is the mother of church, right? The Spirit that comes down in that upper room is the same Spirit that descends It on her at the Annunciation, right? I mean, she's the church, she's the church, she's the church. And so, um, for Catholics, that's just instinctive. And, and our relationship with her is our relationship with the body of believers throughout history, living and and gone to their reward. Right.
And, and that's, you can understand that intellectually, but it's actually more like being part of a family and having a mom. And now see Catholics get choked up here.
And so. So, I think you're right that you can you can grant the plausibility of the argument from scripture or dogmatic tradition. But until you meet your mom, you don't, you don't, it doesn't fall into place. And so I want to tell you a story. I was teaching a course at a at an Evangelical University, Ambrose--Ambrose University in Calgary. And it was the course was Roman Catholicism for Protestants. And I was talking about the Immaculate Conception, which we'll get to. And one of my students asked me at the break to come look at her laptop, she had a picture on her laptop, essentially an icon. And she said, can you talk to me about this icon, because I have looked at it before. And I found it very meaningful, but I didn't understand why, until your lecture on the Immaculate Conception. And it's a picture of I gonna bite my lip here. A picture of Eve, Eve is downcast. And she's, she's weeping and she's looking down at the ground. And there's a serpent that's wrapped around her leg. And but the serpent is is, is not completely wrapped around her leg, it's just the tail, and the head of the serpent is facing the other person in the icon, who is Mary, and Mary is pregnant. And she's standing with her hand on Eve's shoulder. And she's looking at her with with tender love. And she's, she's saying, you can see she's saying that it's okay. And when you look at the bottom of the picture, Mary's heel is crushing the serpent's head. But I see my tears are making your point. My Evangelical student said that this picture had always spoken to her. And she didn't know why. And when I talked about the Immaculate Conception, the picture made sense to her. Now why is that? It's because the Immaculate Conception says that Mary is the new Eve. And whereas Eve's no lead to Adam's No in the in the story in Genesis. Mary's yes to God through the angel Gabriel speaking of mediation, Mary's yes to God through Gabriel leads to leads to the new Adam and his yes to God on the cross. Right. Um, and so the Immaculate Conception is this is this articulation of this biblical imagery of the new Eve, leading to the new Adam. And it means that Mary, when she says her yes, is in the same position as Eve. Because we often say that Jesus is the only one without Original Sin. Actually, Adam and Eve don't have Original Sin. And, and, and it's to put Mary in the same position, so that her yes is made from the same depth of freedom uncompromised by the by Original Sin that Eve's no came from, and then it can actually cancel it out. Because it's made at the same level, right? And so the biblical tradition of-- Mary is also Israel, and Israel keeps offering these compromised yeses to God. They can give the full Yes, over and over and over Israel's yes is compromised. And finally, this is why we call her Daughter Zion. She is Israel in person. She's the new Israel who can finally offer an uncompromised yes that Israel can never offer. And, and I think, I hope what I've just done is I've given you the dogma in the context of this devotion and this relationship that that like you said, was probably the only way that it's it's gonna make sense the dogma might be plausible, but will it be convicting? I think it's only convicting when it's when it's a relationship with a person, and that person is your mom. And that person is the community of the church in in one symbolic person.
That was a, that was just an incredible statement, Brett. So let me just ask you some questions here. And we'll try to sort this out. So one thing you have just described, theologically, the sort of perfection and the beauty of this topology of Eve and the church and Mary in a way that I've theoretically known, I've never touched before. So that that's an amazingly powerful statement for you to be able to deliver thank you for sharing. And it makes my mind just spins. But it makes me think, if we, as Roman Catholic Church as Evangelical community, if we remain kind of within our current church structures will never be able to experience or the devotional life of the other, that probably is a necessary part of actually understanding what's animating the theological imagination of those communities. And, you know, with the way that we've done structures in the past, we've had such high walls for, you know, if you want to be part of this church, where you got to be here on Wednesdays, Sunday nights, Sunday mornings, you know, the pastor here is the only pastor you're gonna be listening to makes it really hard to move between religious communities in a way then to understand the the piety or the religious experience of another community. Maybe that's pastorally orally, the best option, maybe it's not good for people to be like listening into other church's religious life, I don't know. But at least I'm aware, the only way that, you know, a mariology is going to make sense to evangelicals is if they can taste it and get a little sample. Yeah. So like, you know, can you offer me like a Virtual Reality lecture on iconography or something so that people can sample it and start to make sense? Is any of that possible?
Yeah. So I mean, I'm not I'm actually quite bad at art, like the thing you just got for me on that icon is like the most I got, but there are people, right, who who do this and an art is kinda, it's a little safe. It's a little safe for Evangelicals to look and say, the Christian tradition. And now let's include the East here, because I'm Western, right? I'm Roman Catholic. Well, let's think about Eastern Catholic churches in the Orthodox churches, and their tradition of iconography. I'm sure you can find YouTube videos of people describing Marian icons and their meaning in the Eastern tradition. And it's, it's safe, because it's not making a dogmatic claim on you. It's saying, it's saying, Here's something beautiful. Does it strike you? Do you see the beauty here? And that's different than saying you're wrong. And I'm right, and I'm going to give you the biblical argument for why your tradition has been mistaken for 500 years.
Which may be the only type of interaction possible if we just keep it down to propositional statements and doctrine.
Yeah, so i think i think it's a really key one, but let me highlight a couple others. Yes. If you Google, you can find a Protestant rosary. So once in our Catholic-Evangelical dialogue in Canada, we always pray together. And and it's easy to it's easy for Catholics to do Evangelical prayer from Scripture. I mean, we have to learn how to do the spontaneous thing. We're not as good at that. But we don't have any theological problem with it. We're just not socialized into it. Right. So so we fumble around and like you guys are so fluent, you know, with this extemporaneous prayer, that's so awkward for us. But But we think it's good. We have no theological issue with it. But, but we wondered, how could we do something very Catholic, but that still didn't impinge on the consciences of the Evangelicals and it was Evangelicals who found a Protestant rosary. And so it was very biblical reflection, and it never set. I don't remember the words, so Google it, but it never said anything that a Protestant can't say. But it allowed the Protestants to see something of how the rosary worked. So something about meditating on biblical mysteries by repeating words. I think the Protestant concern is these repeating words is like mumbo jumbo, this is paganism. This is this is invocation of something, you know. And when they actually experienced it by meditating on scripture, and allowing them to be part of a community that meditates on scripture together, the logic clicked through the experience,
I think you're spot on. And I can think of for example, some Evangelical communities are practicing the Jesus Prayer from the Eastern tradition.
There you go. Yeah.
And and I'm, I'm imagining it could be the same thing as something that if it's if experienced, you'd realize, Oh, this actually is connecting me to God. It is actually calling me to a deeper life of holiness. And now when I see somebody do it, I don't necessarily have to be suspicious of it.
Yeah, I think I think that's exactly right. And then the other one, I would add, and I mean, it's a little different, but I would add, actually Scriptural study of Mary together is something we can really do because and this is one of the things that's highlighted in the document. Protestants have ignored Mary because they're worried about Catholic exaggerations, and Catholics have exaggerated Mary, because they're, they're concerned about Protestants downplaying her. And that dynamic has has led us to extreme positions that are unhelpful. And starting with Vatican II, where the Catholic Church was very conscious of dialing back exaggerated claims in order to make Mary more accessible to Protestants. Protestants have been able to look at Scripture and say, wow, like the depth of the mariology available in Scripture is more than we would have guessed. And and there's there's a profound capacity for reflection on all the places she shows up, whether it's the infancy narratives, the wedding at Cana, the her her position at the beginning of Acts, her role at the cross. Yeah, so that if you start digging into the Bible on Mary, we can even talk about revelation and the woman crown that stars unless you really don't want that to be a Marian image. It's it's hard not like the the relationship with the dragon and she here she's this cosmic figure who's giving she gives birth to the child. If that's not Mary, I don't know who is. But but she's also the church who's giving birth to Christians under persecution. Right. And so I could go on, but that but my basic point is, in addition to art, and some devotional practices that might be accessible to Protestants, we can really go after scripture, because the Protestant tradition has left this undeveloped. And my experience is when Protestant find Mary in the Bible, they get excited.
And thatthat might even be the right place to begin the next step, which is exactly what you're proposing a common study of the Bible, Catholics and Protestants studying together who is Mary according to the Bible. Yep.
Yeah. Yeah. Can I I left out a really obvious one that I have to say.
The Magnificat. The Magnificat. It could Protestant sing in their worship services. Some of our most glorious hymnody Catholic hymnody is just the Magnificat put to words. That is a direct quote from Scripture. I'm not and there's other versions of it that are not direct quotes, but that are built on it. There's a beautiful one called the Canticle of the Turning. Hmm, you should Google the canticle of the turning by Rory Cooney. It's sublime Irish poetry based on the Magnificat. And it's so scriptural. Um, you know, and and here's an image that Protestants are nervous about: Catholics like to call Mary a queen.
Do we have any scriptural warrant for calling Mary a queen? Well, it might take some pushing. She's crowned if she's the woman in Revelation, she's got a crown. Okay. In some of the topology with the Old Testament, there's a queen mother in Israel in you know, in the line of David so and she has certain authority. Is there some of that? Okay, we can do some of that. But I think actually our best image, this is my bias this i'm not saying this dogmatically. This is my bias. I think our best image of Mary is queen is the magnificant because she's a revolutionary. Right? Like she's this is a political claim. She's talking about the powers of this world and their insignificance in relationship to God's rule. And so what what is what is a human human king or queen in a Christian understanding, but someone subordinate to the rule of God who makes God's rule, brings it into reality manifests it on Earth, right. That's what a good ruler does. And what is what is Mary the queen doing in the Magnificat but--but, but that, right, and so, I think I think there's there's room for a lot of that if we want to go digging in the Bible. And then some of the extra biblical stuff we may agree to disagree, but it's contextualized within what we agree on, you know, there's a great line sorry, there's a great line where the Evangelicals say that they appreciate what the Catholics are intending to say, with Immaculate Conception. And I think that's exactly right. We don't agree with what you actually say. But we agree with what you're trying to say.
I wonder if the principle there is celebrating, celebrating the victories of an ally. So or or a brother in this case. So, you know, the Catholic Church has made some breakthroughs, understanding this deeper, richer picture of who Mary is from the Bible, also from tradition. And is this this source of life and piety and connection to God? And can I as an Evangelical, celebrate that when I witnessed that in your life? Yes, I think I can BretT. Thank you for sharing that. Thanks for helping me see that that is really, really cool.
So I said a little earlier about, you know, a modern modern personnel modern person reads. And it's not only linguistic, like, how do I understand the English language, I have categories that I bring to the text that I may-- may make it hard for me to understand what's going on. And one category that modern Western people understand differently than every culture that I'm aware of in human history is the category of virginity. Modern Western people see virginity as as bizarre, unfortunate, like awkward. And for most of human history, virginity has has symbolized for not just for Christians and Jews, but for humans. Virginity has symbolized total dedication. Now, why is that? It? What did Paul say? Right? I would that you were like me, meaning not married, right? Because what can I do if I'm not married, I can travel around and risk myself getting killed. Because I don't have a wife and family who are dependent on me. Right? Virginity for Paul meant complete dedication to his mission, because family commitments mean that we can't, we can't take the same kind of risks that Paul was able to take, right. And so historically, in some cultures, soldiers have have not married, right, you only married after you got out of the army, because otherwise you leave childless children, right? philosophers and various cultures have said, I'm not going to marry and have children, because I will dedicate myself to the life of the mind. But in lots of cultures, there have been temple virgins. All of these things are symbols of complete dedication, because family life demands something of you. That means you can't give your whole self to this other thing. That's been obvious to people and when the early church, when when the Fathers of the Church talk about Mary's perpetual virginity, it's just, it's just second nature to them. That virginity means complete dedication. And, and what other vocation in the history of the world might demand complete dedication beyond being the Mother of God. And we need to we need to take off our lenses and and say, we're actually the odd ducks here. I think. I think if if we if we if we have those lenses, right, if we understand that that's what makes us think about virginity the way we do, and we're the weird ones, then perpetual virginity might start to make more sense.
I think both that helps us understand it helps us question our own cultural assumptions in a really helpful way. Thank you, and also to a non-Catholic might help me start tying together how a theology of Mary might undergird clerical celibacy or any number of other moral questions. So thank you.
Yeah. Okay. So So I said that, I mean, there's for Marian dogmas, right, we've talked about Theotokos, we, which which we agree on, we've talked about virgin birth, which we agree on, but not necessarily on perpetual virginity, which is, which is a subcategory within that we've talked about immaculate conception. The fourth Marian dogma, in Catholic theology is the dogma of the assumption of Mary. And a teaches that Mary was assumed body and soul in heaven. The dogma doesn't specify whether she died or not, which is interesting. Catholics are free to believe that Mary died and then was assumed to heaven, or that she was assumed maybe along the lines of the Old Testament characters, Elijah and Enoch, you know, walked with God and was no more and I, I didn't go do my research and read all the Fathers and know exactly what they're saying on this. Although I do know that the Dormition the idea that Mary didn't die, but or at least didn't die the way we do, because her death would not be impacted by sin, the way ours was, so that death is a different experience for her and at least. Dormition from the Latin to sleep. Right, that she just peacefully went to sleep is quite ancient. So there's some senses something different going on. But here here I think is really interesting. One is archeological. What do we do when Peter and Paul die? We we build altars on their graves, and we celebrate Eucharist together. And we have ancient churches built on the graves of martyrs all over the ancient Mediterranean. Right? There's never been a claim that this was Mary's grave. So so I think that's one piece of evidence that's worth considering. But I think in general, I want to agree yeah, the assumption means all the things that the Evangelicals in this document, say it means, and and, and the last thing I would say about it is, it is an image of the destiny of the church. Mary in the assumption is kind of the first fruits of the redemption, right? If she's a symbol of the church, then her body and soul unity together with God in heaven for eternity. That's what we're all promised. I hope that seeing it in those terms, helps it make a little more sense. Christians have different on it in in history, you know, but, but what does it mean? And can we affirm the intention? And what would that mean for Christian unity? Would it divide us if we could affirm one another's intentions without always affirming one another's articulations? That's, that's an interesting question too, right?
Dr. Salkeld, I want to say thank you so much for working with us today. And I'm coming away very encouraged. So you've given me some good homework, I got to go back and even read my Bible, which is something that I do care about deeply as an Evangelical. And that's a good place to begin. I just want to enumerate three points here. One is, I feel that you're very effectively tutoring me in Roman Catholic doctrine and devotion. And this is something that I'm glad we can pass on to our viewers. People today can be tutored in another Christian tradition, even, you know, at a distance from their homes. I think that's really cool. And I think that's something that over the long haul, or the long term future could really help create, first mutual understanding between churches, and hopefully, better worship, better life, better practice better instruction, so so I'm really encouraged thanks for serving as a tutor in Roman Catholicism.
Oh, you're very welcome.
I'm super hopeful to because I think one of the themes that we've been teasing out here is, even if there is an impasse and dogma, and maybe there is maybe there isn't, but even if there is starting to get into the religious imagination, the theological imagination of the other community can be a right and proper experience. So even if I disagree with the assumption of Mary, you helping us understand what this means to Catholic devotion, that's incredibly important, and I think necessary for any real progress. So I'm super excited about that, too. And I'm not gonna give up that there could be dogmatic understanding between these communities too. We've got on the Evangelical side of the fence, got all kinds of homework to do on this issue and others, so I'm very hopeful that in the future, there might be better dogmatic articulations of common belief as well, that
I'm an optimist on dogma too!
Cool. Dr. Brett suckled. We've been so privileged to be speaking with you today. Dr. suckled is arch diocesan theologian, in the province of Regina, Saskatchewan. Thank you so much for joining us today for this dialogue.
Thanks. It's been fun.