This post may seem to come from left field, but it’s not.

Most of my objections to the Roman rite’s dogmas are — unlike like many Protestants who are only casual observers of Roman Catholicism — not Marian in nature. Instead, they have to do with the magesterium and how dogmas are promulgated. The others — such as Mariology and the closed mass — are an outgrowth of the issues presented by the magesterium.

For example, I could accept every tenet of Catholicism and begin RCIA tomorrow. But the day before I am a confirmed Catholic, the pope — or a council — could declare a new dogma. I don’t have a problem with the ideas of councils, because I affirm all of the councils of the (mostly) unbroken Church; but I do wonder how something could have slipped past the Church for 2,000 years that only now needs to be considered absolutely essential. There is a difference between continued theological refining and theological innovation.

For example, I have to wonder about the Immaculate Conception. A feast day was declared for it relatively late in the ball game (1476), but it was not considered a dogma. The Council of Trent revisited the issue, and again, it was not considered a dogma. It wasn’t until 1854 that it was declared from the papal throne to be dogmatic. I’m guessing the declaration of the dogma was to honor the Blessed Virgin, but if the issue had been visited twice before, why wasn’t it dogmatic before then? And how did the Church miss it for so long?

In a more present context, there is the current push to have Mary declared Co-Redemtrix, which does not mean what most Protestants thinks it means but would be hard pill for me to swallow. A lot of folks have signed a petition, and want to present it to the pope, who would in turn see how popular a belief the Mary-as-Co-Redemtrix doctrine is and then infallibly declare it a dogma.

Except, of course, that that doesn’t mean it was “believed by all at all times.” It means that it was believed by some, at some point, and is pretty popular among present-day Catholics.

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