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Re: Immaculate Conception
Some have argued that new knowledge of conception prompted the Roman
Catholics to make this doctrine. For most of history, people thought that
the womb was merely the receptacle into which the male planted the child,
that the female made no genetic contribution. That made the Virgin Birth
much less complicated, because the Holy Spirit was merely planting God in
Mary, and she contributed nothing genetically, they presumed, and thus
she had none of the innate human fallenness to risk passing onto Jesus.
Once genetics proved that notion of conception wrong, it was somewhat
logical to be sure that Mary herself had also been conceived immaculately.
That kept Jesus safe from inheriting a sinful human nature like the rest
of us. But how did Mary escape it when she was born genetically of Saint
Ann her mother; would not Ann also have needed to be immaculate? and what
about the distaff side all the way back to Eve?
In Brecht's play GALILEO one of the younger clerics asks an older cleric
how the hierarchy can play such "logical" games in regard to the heresy
charges being brought against Galileo. "It's easy once you get the knack
of it," the older cleric assures him.
There is nothing immaculate about human conception, thanks be to God!
And Roman Catholics should certainly have known better. Hidden in the
Vatican museum are hundreds of paintings of the Madona in which she, St.
Ann, and St. Joseph are pointing with great excitement to the erect penis
of the baby Christ Child. (See them and read the scholarly analysis in
THE SEXUALITY OF JESUS.) Often Joseph is peering over a wall separating
him from the Virgin and St. Ann, and if you impose modern perceptions, he
looks like a dirty old man, a voyeur. That may be why so few of these
paintings are shown publicly any more.
Our lens does not help us see with the lens of the Middle Ages. Scholars
tell us that in the Middle Ages there was no concern to stress the
divinity of Christ: his divinity was given, unchallenged. What they
marveled at was Christ's humanity, and an erect pee-pee made that point
Joy to the world indeed! Thanks be to God for all erect pee-pees. Thanks
be to Jesus for redeeming us intact just as we are.